The Purple Shroud
By Stella Duffy
Once, Theodora was little more than a slave, the daughter of a bear-keeper, running barefoot through the streets of Constantinople. Now she is Theou doron, 'the Gift of God', Empress of Byzantine Rome and the most powerful woman in the world. In Stella Duffy's compelling new novel, the beguiling and extraordinary Empress Theodora emerges from the shadow of history into brilliant light. Clever, courageous and ruthless when betrayed, Theodora rules alongside her husband, the Emperor Justinian - a true love match in a world of political marriages. While wars rage on the borders of the Empire, Theodora discovers that the greatest danger to her reign - and her life - lies much closer to home. From the catastrophic and terrifying riots that burn through the city; to vengeful enemies at the palace who will never accept 'Theodora-from-the-brothel'; to plagues and plots and murder, Theodora learns what it truly means to be Empress.Spanning over twenty dramatic years of Theodora's reign, The Purple Shroud is a vivid portrait of a charismatic, exceptional woman and a fascinating exploration of both the pleasures and the burdens of power.
By Frances Osborne
London, 1914. Two young women dream of breaking free from tradition and obligation; they know that suffragettes are on the march and that war looms, but at 35 Park Lane, Lady Masters, head of a dying industrial dynasty, insists that life is about service and duty.Below stairs, housemaid Grace Campbell is struggling. Her family in Carlisle believes she is a high earning secretary, but she has barely managed to get work in service - something she keeps even from her adored brother. Asked to send home more money than she earns, Grace is in trouble.As third housemaid she waits on Miss Beatrice, the youngest daughter of the house, who, fatigued with the social season, is increasingly drawn into Mrs Pankhurst's captivating underground world of militant suffragettes. Soon Bea is playing a dangerous game that will throw her in the path of a man her mother wouldn't let through the front door.Then war comes and it is not just their secrets - now on a collision course - that will change their lives for good.Brilliantly capturing a deeply fascinating period of British life in which the normal boundaries of behaviour were overturned and the social hierarchy could no longer be taken for granted, Park Lane is as gripping and intense as Frances Osborne's number one bestselling The Bolter.
By Judy Nunn
Young Australian actress Samantha Lindsay, fresh from her success on the London stage, is thrilled when she lands the lead role in the latest Hollywood war epic to be filmed in the dramatic South Pacific islands of Vanuatu. It's the role of a lifetime.In another era, Jane Thackeray travels from her home in England to the far distant islands of the New Hebrides with her husband, a Presbyterian missionary. Ensnared in the turmoil of war in the South Pacific, Jane witnesses the devastating effect human conflict has upon an innocent race of people, and her life becomes entwined in a maelstrom of love, hate, sacrifice and revenge.On location in Vanuatu, Samantha plays a character based on the life of 'Mamma Tack', a World War II heroine who was invaluable to both the US forces and the New Hebredian natives. Uncanny parallels between history and fiction emerge and Sam begins a quest for the truth.
The Perfect Lover
By Stephanie Laurens
Simon Frederick Cynster is determined to find a wife. However, nothing could be more tiresome than having every blushing miss on the marriage mart thrust upon him. So he discreetly begins his search at a house party at Glossup Halland is astonished that the lady who immediately captures his interest is Portia Ashford. Simon has never considered Portia as a potential bride. He's known the raven-haired beauty since childhood; she's willfully independent and has always claimed to be uninterested in marriage. But an unexpectedly heated kiss abruptly alters the rules of their decade-long interaction. Soon they begin to long for the moments they can spend in each other's arms.But all is not as it seems at Glossup Hall. As Simon and Portia begin to explore the depths of their mutual passion, a shocking murder is committed.
The Promise In A Kiss
By Stephanie Laurens
When a handsome man literally falls at her feet while she's walking through a moonlit convent courtyard, Helena knows he must be there for a scandalous liaison. Yet she keeps his presence a secret from the questioning nuns - and for her silence the stranger rewards her with an enticing, unforgettable kiss. What Helena doesn't know was that her wild Englishman is Sebastian Cynster, Duke of St. Ives. Seven years later, Sebastian spies Helena from across a crowded ballroom. This heiress is dazzling London society with her wit and beauty, tantalising all the eligible men with the prospect of taking her hand in marriage. But Helena is not looking for just any husband. She wants an equal, a challenge - someone who can live up to the promise of that delicious, never-forgotten kiss.
By Frank Kitson
This is a romantic and colourful story of Prince Rupert of the Rhine, an extraordinary military commander. General Kitson discusses Rupert's boyhood study of fortifications, the early campaigns, his military studies and battle procedures.