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[personal profile] caz963
You know how, sometimes, you see or read or listen to something that really makes an impression on you? So much so that it stays with you long after you first encountered it?

Back in 1985/6, I picked up a book - completely randomly, and because I thought it sounded interesting - by a British author called Stella Riley. It was historical fiction, which is my literary drug of choice and has been since I was eleven years old - and was set during the English Civil war. It's all based on fact, and many of the characters in the book existed, although the two protagonists in the romance that runs throughout it are fictional.

Anyway. I enjoyed the book so much, that I went looking for more by this author. Sadly, I found only one other title (this time set in the Restoration) but devoured it and loved it as well. Even more disappointing was the fact that she seemed to have stopped writing altogether, which I thought was a great shame. Over the next few years, both books became "comfort" reads - you know the sort of thing; you want to read something undemanding and familiar but good so you're not disappointed in your choice, especially if you're reading something to cheer you up a bit.

Somewhere along the way however, my paperback copies of both books disappeared. I don't know when or how - I can only assume during a house move (and I did plenty of those in the early 90s - divorce has that effect!) or something similar - but I always remembered those stories fondly and more recently, would occasionally check Amazon to see if there were any second-hand copies around so I could read them again. There were copies - but they were on the pricey side. I also discovered that Stella Riley had penned another four or five books, but they were even harder to get hold of and even more expensive.

The fact that, over twenty-five years later, I would still occasionally put her name into the search box at Amazon shows what an impression her writing made on me (either that, or I'm just a saddo - take your pick!) - and imagine my joy when, earlier this year, I discovered not only that she had revised and republished one of those very titles I had lost in ebook form, The Marigold Chain, but that she was revising all her novels with the same intention!

Yes - I was one very happy Caz :D

What all this is leading up to is that today, Stella Riley has published the book that started it all off for me, which is called A Splendid Defiance. That makes four of her titles that are now available as ebooks, and she is planning to republish her remaining backlist next year.

If you like historical fiction laced with romance and adventure; if you like incredibly well-written stories that feature memorable characters and excellent dialogue - I can't recommend her novels highly enough. If you're looking for something good to read over the weekend, you could do a lot worse than check them out.

ETA I reviewed the new edition here yesterday, and today, the author has written a blog post about how it came about.

And if anyone reading this needs more convincing, Stella is a fellow West Wing fan. Nuff sed :-)
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