Destination London

Guys! It is finally happening. My dream is coming true. I am going to the country of my dreams.


Gotcha. I am not really physically going to England. But I am transporting myself to this wonderful picturesque country in the pages of these wonderful two books that were given to me by my roommate.

IMG_0674Aren’t these books incredible? They are the perfect edition to my Anglophile collection. Today I decided to venture over to Barnes and Noble. I have been wanting to go there for a while now but because of weather/homework I have not been able to. But today was a nice day and I decided to go. While there, I came across the latest Britain magazine. I hadn’t planned on buying it but when I saw that inside came with Cotswolds: The Official Guide 2018 I couldn’t resist. This edition also happens to be about English Country gardens which is useful for my novel.


Then in their clearance section I found a small Travel the World Historic Travel Posters for 2018 that includes a vintage London poster.  There is also one for Hawaii. Not sure if I will use it as an actual calendar or cut the ones I want out and put them on a bulletin board once I get one.

I was hoping they had a bookmarker with a Churchill saying on it but I couldn’t find it. Oh well. What does your Anglophile Collection look like? I’d love to see it.







My Latest Anglophile Collection

LaughLadies and Gentlemen, I am proud to announce the first Anglophile Collection to go live on this blog. What is an Anglophile Collection? It is a post that I will write each time I acquire a new London themed item to go into my Anglophile collection. And this week I have acquired a lot.

First up, a London themed giveaway prizes. I am subscribed to author Jacquelyn Middleton’s newsletter and every month she draws names from her subscribers and they win London themed prizes. Jacquelyn writes novels set in England that involve an American named Alex and her friends. I have read the first novel London Belongs to Me. You can find my review of it on Tea, Books, and Britain. I won January’s giveaway and my prizes arrived on Monday.


In this photo, there are four different bookmarks:

  1. London bridge. This bookmark moves. When you tilt up, London bridge opens. When you tilt down, it is closed.
  2. London, Can You Wait? bookmark
  3. Bookmark of Alex and Keegan holding hands
  4. London Belongs to Me bookmark.

There is also a black tote bag from Broadway Market which is featured in London, Can You Wait? The tote comes all the way from England. Also included is the note she wrote me because there is a really cute London Bus stamped on it.

Then last night I was able to purchase the ebook of London, Can You Wait while it was on sale for 1.99. I signed up for Amazon’s daily rewards which gave me a dollar in free ebook credit which I used for this book. I got it for .99.


Today  I went to my favorite used bookstore and happened up on two London themed books. The first one I saw was Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn. The cover is so pretty I couldn’t resist buying it.  I have never read anything by Kuhn but the book sounds interesting.


Here’s the back cover description:

An absolute delight of a debut novel by William Kuhn—author of Reading Jackie:  Her Autobiography in BooksMrs Queen Takes the Train wittily imagines the kerfuffle that transpires when a bored Queen Elizabeth strolls out of the palace in search of a little fun, leaving behind a desperate team of courtiers who must find the missing Windsor before a national scandal erupts. Reminiscent of Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader, this lively, wonderfully inventive romp takes readers into the mind of the grand matriarch of Britain’s Royal Family, bringing us an endearing runaway Queen Elizabeth on the town—and leading us behind the Buckingham Palace walls and into the upstairs/downstairs spaces of England’s monarchy.


The second book I found is Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal. This is book one in the Maggie Hope mystery series. It is set in England during the Second World War. I read this book a long time ago right before my first semester of college. I have read all of her books so far. Looking forward to her new ones. I own her latest three novels and now the first book.

Here’s the back cover description:

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character, Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.


I hope you enjoyed this post. I love collecting Anglophile themed gifts!



Brighton Belle and The Wilson Deception

IMG_0622Graduate school can be very stressful at times. Especially when one of your classes your professor decides to have a group project where each grad student has to supervise their group of undergraduates. To balance out the stress (and hopefully relieve said stress) it is crucial that you find some fun activities to do in between doing homework. Today I decided to go to the local library. I hadn’t been in a while and I wanted to check out their used bookstore, the Book Nook. I also wanted to check out from the library a book called Winston’s War by Max Hastings to see if I need to buy it in the future for my WIP.

I found two lovely mysteries by authors I have not heard of or read before. The first book is Bright Belle by Sara Sheridan and luckily this is the first book in the Mirabelle Bevan Mystery series. Down below you will find the back cover description of the book as well as a photo of the cover.

Brighton Belle


 In post-World War II England, former Secret Service operative Mirabelle Bevan becomes embroiled in a new kind of intrigue…
1951: In the popular seaside town of Brighton, it’s time for Mirabelle Bevan to move beyond her tumultuous wartime years and start anew. Accepting a job at a debt collection agency seems a step toward a more tranquil life.

But as she follows up on a routine loan to Romana Laszlo, a pregnant Hungarian refugee who’s recently come off the train from London, Mirabelle’s instincts for spotting deception are stirred when the woman is reported dead, along with her unborn child.

After encountering a social-climbing doctor with a sudden influx of wealth and Romana’s sister, who seems far from bereaved and doesn’t sound Hungarian, Mirabelle decides to dig deeper into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death. Aided by her feisty sidekick—a fellow office worker named Vesta Churchill (“no relation to Winston,” as she explains)—Mirabelle unravels a web of evil that stretches from the Brighton beachfront to the darkest corners of Europe. Putting her own life at risk, she must navigate a lethal labyrinth of lies and danger to expose the truth.

If you have read my other posts on my author website History with Flair then you know that Churchill is my hero and I am interested in the Churchills and Britain during WWII. Even if the character is not related to Winston, the description really caught my eye.

The next book that caught my eye is The Wilson Deception by David O Stewart. I have also included the description of the book and a picture of the cover. Sadly, this is book two in the series. Book One is called the The Lincoln Deception and funny enough I checked out book one at my library back home but had to return it because it was due. I never got a chance to read it.

Wilson Deception

Against the backdrop of the Paris Peace Conference that would remake Europe in the wake of World War I, David O. Stewart reunites Dr. Jamie Fraser and Speed Cook, protagonists of the acclaimed The Lincoln Deception, in an intriguing presidential mystery . . .

The Great War has ended, and President Woodrow Wilson’s arrival in Paris unites the city in ecstatic celebration. Major Jamie Fraser, an army physician who has spent ten months tending American soldiers, is among the crowd. As an expert on the Spanish influenza, Fraser is also called in to advise the president’s own doctor on how best to avoid the deadly disease. Despite his robust appearance, Wilson is more frail than the public realizes. And at this pivotal moment in history, the president’s health could decide the fate of nations.

While Fraser investigates Wilson’s maladies, he encounters a man he has not seen for twenty years. Speed Cook—ex-professional ball player and advocate for Negro rights—is desperate to save his son Joshua, an army sergeant wrongly accused of desertion. Pledging to help Cook, Fraser and his friend are soon embroiled in dramatic events unfolding throughout Paris. At stake is not only Joshua Cook’s freedom, but the fragile treaty that may be the only way to stop Europe from plunging into another brutal war.

I can’t wait to sneak my teeth (so to speak) into these books when I am not busy with homework.

What I am Reading

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas. I know I did. It has been great being home with family relaxing after a stressful first semester of grad school (which I survived. YAY!). The first thing I do when on Christmas break is pick up a book that is not at all related to school. Usually I have some series or new book that I was eagerly waiting to suck my teeth into (not literally of course). This time there really wasn’t a book from a new series waiting for me to pick up. However, there was a biography that my Dad recommended I read.

This biography is of one of my favorite authors. Irish author Clive Staples Lewis or more lovingly known as C.S. Lewis. The author of the biography is Alister McGrath. I love McGrath’s writing style. It is so easy to read and understand. It doesn’t at all feel like a biography.


Here’s a photo in case you were wondering what it looked like. Photo taken from Google images

The second book I decided to pick up and read for the first time is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I know what you are thinking. You haven’t read The Hobbit! Shame on you. I know I should have read it along time ago but I just didn’t get around to it. And before you ask, yes, I have read The Lord of the Rings. In fact, I read Return of the King twice. Once for fun and the other time for my high school senior thesis which was on analyzing two books by no other than Lewis and Tolkien. I find it rather fitting that I am reading a biography on Lewis and a book by Tolkien who happened to be not only friends but were also part of the same literary club known as the Inklings which met at the infamous Oxford Pub, The Bird and the Baby. I just reached chapter 2. I am enjoying it.

On a different note, do you think I should start a Instagram account that is all about books? Also do you think I should join the world of book tubers? Answer in the poll down below.


New Addition to my Anglophile Collection

After school today, I decided to head back to the Cedar Falls Public library for two reasons. The first reason is, now that I have a library card, I wanted to check out some books. Which I did. I checked out three to be exact. Three books I hope will be useful in researching and plotting one of my story ideas. The second reason is I wanted to stop by the Book Nook again. On Monday I had bought the first season of the TV show Heroes which happens to be one of my favorite TV shows. It was, at one point, on Netflix and was an option for instant streaming. It has now been taken off. So when I saw not only the first season but also the second and third I knew I had to buy them. But since I didn’t have cash on me on Monday I just bought the first season. So I went back today hoping the other two seasons were still there and they were. I now have the complete collection of Heroes.

I also decided to check the history section. I didn’t see anything new in the WWII section but I did look through the British history section. There I found a real gem. I found Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey. I have been wanting to read this book for a very long time! It’s normal price is 16 dollars. I got for two!



My Newest E-Book purchases

The other day I was notified by Amazon that they were giving away three dollars which you could purchase on select romance novels. At first, I didn’t think there was anything in that list that would interest me but then I came across three novels two of which I recognized.

The two I recognized are Autumn in the Vineyard and Summer in the Vineyard. These two books were turned into Hallmark movies. Autumn in the Vineyard aired last year and Summer in the Vineyard aired this summer. They are two of my favorite movies on the Hallmark channel.

Here are pictures of the novels.

Photo taken from Amazon


Photo taken from Amazon


The third book I bought was the first book in the St. Helena Vineyard series which is winter themed. Even though it is book one, I decided to read Autumn in the Vineyard because it is autumn and I love autumn.

The Role of a Historian

This week marks the third week of graduate school. I am enjoying two of my three classes.  I really dislike my historical methods class. However, in today’s class reading, I came across two key quotes that I feel is still relevant to society today.

Here is the first quote:

In the teaching of history, we must be on our guard to preserve the truth; not to do what Germany has done–not to falsify and distort truth in order to gain an advantage.”-Novick, chapter 5

Though this quote is referring to World War I, I feel this can be applied to the events concerning the tearing down and the destruction of Civil War statues of Southern generals because people believe they signify racism. Historians and historical museums should not be buying into this. They should, instead, be fighting for the preservation of these statues. They should not be allowing them to be taken down. Thankfully, Gettysburg National Park has refused to take down their statues of southern generals. Other historical parks should follow suit.

Here is the second quote:

“There is one sacrifice no historian must make. He must not distort or pervert the facts of history to suit the present struggle.”-Novick Chapter 5

Historians should not compromise the truth just because the world wants them to. Instead, they should stand up for what is right and what is true. Is this just a historian’s job though?

No. It is our duty as Americans to stand up to the idiocies of our society and prevent the tearing down of our heritage. No matter how horrible or ugly the past is, it is still our history. It is still worth being preserved. Why? Because it reminds us of the mistakes our forefathers have made in order that we might learn from them and not let such tragedies occur again.