If you have followed my blog or writing for any time now you must know that I absolutely love Historical Fiction. So it is my utter delight to be able to recommend this book to you. I have been fortunate to be able to see and read a pre-publication edition of ‘Wheel of Fortune’ the first book in The Tarnished Crown series by C F Dunn, as part of a review tour to celebrate its release.
BRINGING THE PAST TO LIFE
My favourite historical authors are those who can effortlessly weave real events and people into epic tales. A little bit of romance is acceptable as long as it is not the main storyline of the book. I don’t need there to be a murder mystery, or any kind of mystery at all. I just appreciate writers who can bring the past to life in a believable way, enough to transport you to that time and place. To keep you engaged and invested in the story and the characters. And I am pleased to say that C F Dunn does that extremely well in ‘Wheel of Fortune’.
It is set in the period of the Wars of the Roses when alliances among the powerful is forever shifting. Where no-one fully trusts anyone, and where, we discover, to be a young orphaned heiress of marriageable age is a to be a position of acute vulnerability. And so C F Dunn introduces us to Isobel Fenton, her life, despite the loss of her mother, seemingly idyllic. Her father is ailing, but a marriage agreement promises to secure Isobel’s future and her home.
Then when her father dies, Isobel finds herself without the protection she once knew. Those who were supposed to shield her and provide for her instead see her as a pawn to be played in their ever shifting power games. She is valuable. Her father’s land is in a contested area of the kingdom and the Earl, into whose care she has been committed, is reluctant to see her wed to a man whose allegiance to England’s new King is in question. As the story progresses we see the Earl has other, darker reasons for keeping Isobel close by him, and her life is changed irrevocably by his power over her.
VIVID AND COMPELLING
The descriptions of the period, the living conditions, food, and indeed the political situation, are vivid and compelling. The author knows her stuff and her extensive historical research shows. The characters are also well drawn and believable. We are drawn into Isobel’s world and feel it as she feels it. The joys, the pain, the anger and the despair. The first few chapters set the scene, and take some concentration, with the introduction of a cast of characters and other background details. But I found that once I was into the heart of Isobel’s unfolding story, I could not put the book down. And here comes my one criticism of the book – it does not end in resolution! The author leaves us hanging on a knife edge (literally!). I understand that there is a sequel* in the offing and invested as I am in Isobel’s story I cannot wait to read the next book. What will become of her? Her home? And the man she loves, who seems forever beyond her reach?
Wheel Of Fortune is a great read. It does not hold back in some of the more disturbing aspects of life in the period. There is blood letting, and betrayal. There are skirmishes and secrets. There is abuse of power and angry retaliations. But there are also lighter aspects of the book, and an underlying morality that you sense will end in good things for the good characters. The book is beautifully constructed, the writing fluid and descriptive. And the story is well told. If you are as much of a Historical Fiction lover as I am, I am pleased to recommend it to you. Oh, and the cover is stunning!
*Sun Ascending, the second in The Tarnished Crown series, will be out later this year
Wheel of Fortune by C.F. Dunn will be published 20th May 2023, by Resolute Books and will be available to purchase online through Amazon Books and by order through bookshops.
Wheel of Fortune is the first book in The Tarnished Crown series spanning the turbulent years of the fifteenth-century Wars of the Roses.
The Earl looked dispassionately at the boy still kneeling by his uncle’s body. “He bears his family’s shame; he is nothing.” He turned his back and stood for a moment contemplating the blank face of the sky. Then he breathed out, a long breath it seemed, held for an eternity. “It is done,” he said. “Justice is served.”
It’s 1469. England is in turmoil. For almost ten years, the charismatic Edward IV has ruled with the Earl of Warwick’s support, but now rebellion threatens the fragile peace.
Strong-willed and determined, Isobel Fenton is resolved that nothing will separate her from her beloved manor of Beaumancote – even if it means marrying Thomas Lacey. But Isobel is unaware of the importance she and her land represent, nor of the agenda of the formidable Earl in whose care she finds herself. As unrest boils into war Isobel is drawn into the very heart of the conflict. Can she escape from the web in which she is trapped, and will she ever find her way home?
Joy Margetts is a published author and blogger. Her books are works of Christian Historical fiction. Set in medieval Wales against the backdrop of Cistercian abbey life, they tell stories of faith, hope and God’s redemptive power. Her debut novel ‘The Healing‘ was published by Instant Apostle on 19 March 2021. Joy has also self- published a short novella, ‘The Beloved‘ as both a companion to ‘The Healing‘, and as an easy to read standalone story, which is available to buy on Amazon Kindle.
‘The Pilgrim‘, her second full length novel, was published by Instant Apostle on 22 July 2022
More information on Joy, and her books can be found here www.joymargetts.com