Blog Tour, Book Review, Books, Christian Writer, Historical Fiction, Medieval Fiction


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.

Front cover of 'Wheel of Fortune' by C F Dunn. Featuring a white York Rose in a teal blue background, the titles in white and gold.


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.


Photograph of the author C F Dunn, against the backdrop of a medieval castle.
The author, C.F.Dunn, in one of her ‘natural habitats’

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

Belonging, Book Review, Books, Christian Writer, christmas, Faith, Forgiveness, Grief, Seasons of life


Christmas is coming! I know, I’m beginning to panic a bit too – it’s less than a month to go and I don’t feel in any way prepared for it! I am however praying that this Christmas will be a good one; a celebration of family and fun, a ray of light in the dark winter days, a time full of joy and hope. It will be wonderful, yet again, to tap into the true meaning of Christmas and look beyond the festivities to the One who came to bring the joy and hope, and dare I say it, fun!

I love Christmas. I treasure the memories of Christmases past and truly look forward to this one, especially as it is my first as a grandparent! But for many, Christmas isn’t a time for celebration, and may not carry those happy memories. For many, Christmas is a stark reminder of loved ones lost, of childhood traumas, of heartbreak and of the relentless passing of the years. It can be an acutely painful and lonely time.


Front cover of the book, Talking to Calippa Cumberland

Chick Yuill has drawn on that reality in his latest novel, Talking to Calippa Cumberland and I am absolutely thrilled to have been included in the blog tour. It all starts one Christmas Eve in 1976. A small child shopping with her mother in a department store hears the tannoy announce that there is a little girl lost and crying for her parents. For 3 year old Lori Bloom that lost child stays in her heart and imagination. The name she thinks she has heard is ‘Calippa Cumberland,’ and Calippa becomes her imaginary friend, someone she can talk to and confide in, someone who perhaps understands her. Because the truth is that Lori Bloom is herself lost.

As chapter follows chapter we follow Lori’s life through a snapshot of subsequent Christmas Eves. We journey with her into her teens and into adulthood, as she discovers painful secrets, faces betrayal, suffers heart-breaking loss, and makes life choices with complicated consequences. All the time she is confiding in her faceless friend, Calippa Cumberland. All the time searching for someone who understands and someone she can finally, fully trust.


Back cover of the book, Talking to Calippa Cumberland

The book is utterly compelling. I read it in almost one sitting. Chick draws Lori’s character so well, and describes the things she goes through sensitively and convincingly. It is not a maudlin book, but it is real and raw in places. The story brings tears to your eyes and a lump to your throat, but also the odd smile and nod of understanding. It covers subject matters that are not uncommon, things that many of us can relate to in some degree. You find yourself rooting for Lori, hoping that she will ultimately find what she is looking for.

She does find good friends, and one in particular has a lasting and positive effect on her. Not to divulge any spoilers. Let’s just say things definitely get better for Lori, and she comes to terms with much of what life has thrown at her in a deeply pleasing way.


I was unsure at first of the device Chick used to let us hear Lori’s deepest thoughts. Is it strange to have an imaginary friend, even in adulthood? Is it strange to write notes to them pouring out your soul? Well as one of the characters in the book says…

 ‘every night before I sleep I have a conversation with someone I can’t see, who many people tell me is a figment of my imagination and whose existence I can’t prove…’

What Lori is doing, is what many of us do in praying and journaling. Except of course, for those who know Him, Jesus is no imaginary friend. Talking to Calippa Cumberland is Christian fiction, and the message of the gospel is there subtly throughout, but is never forced down your throat. I found myself yearning for Lori to meet the one person she could completely trust and pour out her thoughts, fears and feelings to. The One who could make the lost child feel found again, and forever secure.

The book set against a Christmas scene


I loved this book, and Chick writes so well, especially as he convinces us that he knows what it feels to be like a woman with definite female issues to contend with! And I salute his encyclopaedic knowledge of Christmas Number Ones! I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially seeing as Christmas is just around the corner. This book would make a fabulous gift to anyone who loves a well written and beautifully told story based around Christmas. And perhaps is also a book not just for Christmas…

photo of the author


As a special offer, Chick is offering readers of this blog, a signed paperback copy of the book for the discounted price of £9.00. To avail yourself of this kind offer, and to bless the author, contact him via  before 4th December and quote the code joysblogg

Talking to Calippa Cumberland by Chick Yuill, was published by Instant Apostle (22 Oct 2021), ISBN 1912726483, RRP £9.99, and is available from all the usual places.