Sophia’s Secret by Susanna Kearsley (won at Historical Tapestry)
When bestselling author Carrie McClelland visits the windswept ruins of Slains Castle, she is enchanted by the stark and beautiful Scottish landscape. The area is strangely familiar to her but she puts aside her faint sense of unease to begin her new novel, using the castle as her setting, and one of her own ancestors, Sophia, as her heroine. Then Carrie realises her writing is taking on a life of its own and the lines between fact and fiction become increasingly blurred. As Sophia’s memories draw Carrie more deeply into the intrigue of 1708, she discovers a captivating love story lost in time.
The Widow’s War by Mary Mackey (from bookmooch)
In 1853, Carolyn Vinton is left alone and pregnant after her fiance, abolitionist doctor William Saylor, disappears. After his stepbrother convinces her that William is dead, Carolyn accepts his offer of marriage, not realizing that she is being drawn into an elaborate ruse by her new husband and his father, a pro-slavery senator – and that William is still alive.
Their passionate reunion takes place in the midst of the violent Civil War, as abolitionists and pro-slavers battle over the Kansas Territory. Now only their willingness to sacrifice their lives for their beliefs – and for each other – can save them.
Geisha of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki (from bookmooch)
“Many say I was the best geisha of my generation,” writes Mineko Iwasaki. “And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave.” Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other “women of art” in Kyoto’s Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan’s history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning.
The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland (from bookmooch)
As Duchess of Aquitaine, Eleanor grew up knowing what it was to be regarded for herself and not for her husband’s title. Now, as wife to Louis VII and Queen of France, she has found herself unsatisfied with reflected glory-and feeling constantly under threat, even though she outranks every woman in Paris.
Then, standing beside her much older husband in the course of a court ceremony, Eleanor locks eyes with a man-hardly more than a boy, really- across the throne room, and knows that her world has changed irrevocably…
He is Henry D’Anjou, eldest son of the Duke of Anjou, and he is in line, somewhat tenuously, for the British throne. She meets him in secret. She has a gift for secrecy, for she is watched like a prisoner by spies even among her own women. She is determined that Louis must set her free. Employing deception and disguise, seduction and manipulation, Eleanor is determined to find her way to power-and make her mark on history…
The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner (from bookmooch)
I was ten years old when I discovered I might be a witch…
The sixteenth century: the era of queens. Catherine de Medici is an impressionable, mystical girl. She is orphaned and taken hostage by her enemies, and manipulated by her advisors; yet she is to become France’s most powerful regent.
History will make her name synonymous with evil, but she is all too human. Humiliated at the hands of her husband and his mistress, and haunted by her gift of second sight, she must rise above her troubles and fight to save her dynasty and adopted country.
I already had ARC copy of this but when I saw this on bookmooch I just couldn’t resist! And it has different cover :)