Archive for November, 2016


I’m delighted to welcome Award Winning Australian author ALISON STUART to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

Hi Carol… thanks so much for the warm welcome.



Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

I was born in Kenya in the dying days of the British Empire. My mother had been born there and my father had found his way to Kenya with the British Army. He fell in love with the country and decided to get out of the army and settle there.

It sounds romantic but childhood is childhood where ever you are and, while I have memories of visiting game parks and holidays at Mombasa, it was an unsettled time in Kenya and I remember being afraid much of the time. I was also quite a sickly child.

The move to Australia at the age of ten was like a move to paradise. I never looked back.

A prize winner in August 1966


How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

My goodness… that might depend who you ask. I am sure my husband thinks I am temperamental but frankly it cuts both ways and I consider myself a saint in comparison to him!

I am a dyed in the wool Capricorn. Sense and Sensibility are my middle names. But I do like to have things organised and once I make a decision it is made and needs to be actioned… like yesterday!


When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

I am not a big sweet tooth. When I lived in Singapore I loved going to the Hawker markets for meals and trying all sorts of different tastes (including pig entrail soup!)


What is your most treasured possession?

Possibly my teddy bear. My father produced Ted when I was born and Ted has been everywhere with me – including (as an adult) on our posting to Singapore. He is so loved that he is now almost bald and had become quite flat. In recent years he got into a rumble with one of the cats and came out looking very much the worst for wear (‘Bear,’ I said, ‘You must remember your age!’).

He came back from the Doll Hospital all fixed and looking like he’d been on a course of steroids.



If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

I live in the best country in the world… but for a home away from home, my husband and I love the family cottage near Dolgellau in North Wales and always make a point of escaping there on every trip to the UK. There is something about being among those old hills and byways that calls to me.


Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

You want me to pick one???

It was the time I dislocated my shoulder skiing and although I was walking wounded, the ski patroller insisted on strapping me into a gurney and skiing me down a busy track to the NEXT ski lift which had to be stopped while I was lifted on to it and hauled back up the hill while he regaled me with stories of his heli-skiing in NZ. At the top of the hill, the gurney was attached to a ski-do and I was jet skied off, through the middle of the village, to the hospital where I arrived, purple with embarrassment.



Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Alison.

Thank you for having me!


If you would like to find out more about Alison and her books, here are the links:


and, if you want to find out about Alison’s latest releases, enjoy exclusive sneak peeks and contests and subscribe to her newsletter, visit her website.


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(Spindle Cove, #5)

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency, 1819)

Cover Blurb:

On the night of the Parkhurst ball, someone had a scandalous tryst in the library.
•Was it Lord Canby, with the maid, on the divan?
•Or Miss Fairchild, with a rake, against the wall?
•Perhaps the butler did it.

All Charlotte Highwood knows is this: it wasn’t her. But rumors to the contrary are buzzing. Unless she can discover the lovers’ true identity, she’ll be forced to marry Piers Brandon, Lord Granville—the coldest, most arrogantly handsome gentleman she’s ever had the misfortune to embrace. When it comes to emotion, the man hasn’t got a clue.

But as they set about finding the mystery lovers, Piers reveals a few secrets of his own. The oh-so-proper marquess can pick locks, land punches, tease with sly wit … and melt a woman’s knees with a single kiss. The only thing he guards more fiercely than Charlotte’s safety is the truth about his dark past.

Their passion is intense. The danger is real. Soon Charlotte’s feeling torn. Will she risk all to prove her innocence? Or surrender it to a man who’s sworn to never love?


I adore Tessa Dare’s books! They are always enchanting, romantic, sexy and funny!

I love the crossover of characters from the two series. The heroine, Charlotte, is the youngest of the Highwood sisters who feature in the Spindle Cove series and the hero, Piers Brandon, Marquess of Granville, appears in the second book of the Castles Ever After series.

Clever, witty, vivacious, good-natured and forthright, Charlotte is like a breath of fresh air. Despite her mother’s ill-conceived attempts to “throw” her into the paths of eligible, titled gentleman (sometimes literally), Charlotte values her independence and has no immediate plans to marry, intending to travel with her friend before settling down. Even then, she will only marry for love.

Attending a house party being held by Sir Vernon and Lady Parkhurst, her best friend, Delia’s parents, she is aware that her mother has set her sights on Piers Brandon, Earl of Granville, as a prospective husband for her daughter. Desperate to warn him of her mother’s machinations and her own unsuitability as a prospective bride (the Prattler has dubbed her “The Desperate Debutante.”), she follows him into the library.

“Don’t be alarmed,” she said, closing the door behind her. “I’ve come to save you.”
“Save me.” His low, rich voice glided over her like fine-grain leather. “From  .  .  .  ?”
“Oh, all kinds of things. Inconvenience and mortification, chiefly. But broken bones aren’t outside the realm of possibility.”

What follows must rank as one of the most delightful and funny first meetings between a hero and heroine. Charlotte’s talk of May-December matches had me chuckling.

However, the best laid plans have a habit of going wrong and disaster strikes when they are discovered in what appears to be a compromising situation. Forced into an “understanding” with Piers, Charlotte is determined to discover the identity of the mystery couple they heard “tupping” from their hiding place in the library. That will release her from a marriage to someone who obviously doesn’t love her.

At first, Charlotte sees Piers as cold and restrained and talking to him “was rather like conversing with an ice sculpture” but his unexpected wicked charm, subtle humour and passionate kiss belie that icy exterior.  He believes there is too much darkness and deception in his past and, if Charlotte knew the truth, she wouldn’t want anything to do with him. He sees himself as ruthless, deceitful, cold-blooded and heartless. I love how Charlotte refuses to give up on him, sees someone worthy of her love, and slowly breaks down the walls around his heart.

I know what’s inside you, behind all those walls. I’ll keep chipping away until I get at it. Even if it takes years. Decades. I know you’ll be worth the effort.” She rested against his chest, burying her face into the crook of his neck. “I’m never giving up on you.”

I also enjoyed seeing Piers losing all his vaunted control around Charlotte.

Good God. What was happening to him? He was falling apart.

In addition to a romantic, tender, poignant and deliciously sexy love story, Ms Dare’s books always contain wonderful humour. There are two scenes that I thought were hilarious. The first is where Charlotte’s mother is trying to explain to her what to expect on her wedding night using edible aids! The other is the scene where Charlotte is in the perfume shop and here’s a snippet.

“I thought you might. All the young ladies do. It’s fresh and grassy, isn’t it? Lemon verbena and gardenia blossoms. But the secret is in the fixative. A touch of castoreum is what makes the summery scents take hold, rather than fade.”
“Castoreum. That’s not from whales, is it?”
“Not at all.” He chuckled. 
Charlotte laughed, too. “Oh, good. What a relief.”
“It’s from beavers.”

Colin, Minerva and Diana (Spindle Cove) make a welcome appearance as does Piers’ brother, Rafe (Castles Ever After).

The mystery surrounding the identity of the lovers in the library kept me guessing and I thought the revelation was a nice twist.

If you are lover of Epilogues, like me, Ms Dare doesn’t disappoint.

MY VERDICT: If you’re looking for a story that is romantic, sexy, funny and full of wonderful characters that steal your heart, then I can most definitely recommend this book.




Read October 2016


Spindle Cove series – for details of all the books click on the link below:


Castles Ever After series – for details of all the books click on the link below:






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