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From the Clink to Queen Elizabeth's Court - an Editorial Review of "Heart of Deception"

Book Blurb:

Intrigue and treachery stalk the grimy streets and the royal courts of Elizabethan England. Returning from war, Rafe Fletcher finds his family accused of conspiring to murder Elizabeth and place Mary, Queen of Scots, on her throne. His only hope to save them lies in infiltrating the criminal underworld of nefarious siblings Nick and Vivian Swift.

Rafe discovers it’s Viv who is the mastermind of the duo. Bold, clever and ruthless, Viv is also loyal and fiercely passionate. Rafe fights the intense magnetism that pulls him ever closer to destruction. But desire defies every warning he gives himself and they begin a blazing affair--until murder and betrayal severs their newly formed trust. But restoring that trust may be the only way Rafe can save the Queen, his own family, and the woman he’s come to love.

Their adventure takes them from the fledgling theatres of Shakespeare’s London to the desperate corridors of Bedlam, from the deadly backstreets of the Clink to the glittering court of Queen Elizabeth. It is a world of dark secrets and darker intrigues. Will the fire of their passion burn bright enough to incinerate the lies, and illuminate the truth?

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Author Bio:

A Libra with Scorpio Rising, Gayle Feyrer merges romance and passion in her novels. The Prince of Cups,romance, takes place in the lush and violent world of Renaissance Italy. The second, Marian (previously The Thief's Mistress), is set amid the earthy glamour of Robin Hood's Sherwood. These books were published by Dell, Gayle is reprinting them with her own cover designs, along with the two Elizabethan historical romances she wrote for Avon under the nom de plume Taylor Chase - Heart of Deception and Heart of Night. Along with her book length fiction, Gayle has numerous small press publications and a fantasy story in Lonnie Barbach’s collection Erotic Interludes. She has won prizes for her fiction, art, and her chocolate desserts.

Currently, Gayle is writing a historical mystery series set in Belle Époque Paris. The first two books of her Paris Trilogy, Floats the Dark Shadow and Bitter Draughts, available on Amazon. Her nom de plume for this series is Yves Fey.

Her own name, Feyrer, is Bavarian. The first syllable is pronounced Fie as in Fee FIE Foe Fum. The second starts with a little roll, burr, or grrrrowl, FIE-rrer. Don't worry, only three Americans have ever guessed right. Just one of these, a linguist, actually knew what was correct. Usually people take the r from rer and move it to the front, Freyer, or Fryer. Sometimes they just mutter, Fee-er-er.

Editorial Review:

I want to find Sir Gabriel’s killer, and clear my family of these false charges,” Rafe reaffirmed. “You can be sure that I will use any means within my power to do that.”

Raphael Fletcher has come home from one war only to face the fight of his life. Due to accusations of treason, Rafe's grandfather and cousin are now locked up in the notorious Fleet Prison. To save them from being hanged, drawn, and quartered, Rafe must identify the mastermind behind the gun tampering that occurred in his family's manufacturing business. In light of the wild rumours that Mary, Queen of Scots, and her devoted followers are plotting to seize the throne from Queen Elizabeth, Rafe must take decisive action. To uncover the truth about the tampered guns and their potential connection to the exiled Scottish queen, Rafe has been instructed by Sir Francis Walsingham to infiltrate the underworld of the Swift criminal gang. There is significant risk involved in this task, as the Swifts are not forgiving towards those who betray them, but Rafe must win the trust of the Swift siblings. However, things do not go exactly as planned. Despite himself, he experiences a sudden surge of emotional feelings for Vivian Swift - the self-proclaimed queen of The Liberty of the Clink. He must protect his heart from Vivian's grasp, or else he'll never uncover the truth and his grandfather and cousin will perish as traitors… Heart of Deception by Gayle Feyrer is a dramatic and impressive story that takes you from the criminal underworld to the gilded rooms of Queen Elizabeth. With a keen sense of time and place, Feyrer has created a thrilling story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until that final full stop. Raphael Fletcher is a conflicted character. He is driven by desperation to save his grandfather and cousin from a traitor's execution and to seek justice for his best friend's murder. Sir Francis Walsingham, the Queen's spymaster, assigns Rafe the job of infiltrating the Swifts, one of the most influential organised crime families who run The Liberty of the Clink. I thought Rafe’s depiction was fabulous. He may tread where angels fear to, but he is not foolish. He cares not who he has to stand on to come up with the evidence that will free his family and avenge his friend. Despite everything, his emotions for Vivian Swift (the queen of this dangerous world) catch him off guard. After his parents died of the plague, he was raised with strict Puritan values. His childhood was marked by beatings, sermons, love, and his grandfather's eventual acceptance. Vivian is the direct contrast to this rather drab upbringing. And yet, he is unfailingly loyal to his grandfather and Queen Elizabeth. Hence, he has no qualms about lying to Vivian if it will help him acquire the answers and evidence he needs to rescue his grandfather and cousin. As the story unfolds and Vivian reveals more about her past, he finds it difficult to stick to his original plan. Rafe doesn't want to be a hero, but he is undeniably heroic - in both his deeds and actions. What I found refreshing was that he's the kind of character who's willing to admit when he's made a mistake. Rafe's character was pivotal to the story's progression and I enjoyed reading about him.

It seems we have need of a new guard,” Viv remarked to her brother as she tied Garnet’s purse to her girdle. “So it seems.” Nick shrugged then turned and walked off, Rosy flowing alongside. Facing Rafe, Vivian studied him a moment, then said, “You’re a bold one. I like that.” Her dark eyes issued dare and warning. “We’ll see if you know the difference between boldness and insolence.” Rafe subdued his demeanor, murmuring his gratitude. “My lady.” “Izzy will show you the guardhouse. Go get yourself fitted for my livery. From now on you’re working for me.”

Vivian Swift burns as brightly as her hair does. She is a woman who is passionate and accustomed to getting her own way. In the beginning, she came across as a spoiled princess with a bad attitude, making her unappealing, and it took me some time to warm up to her. Her attitude towards everything seems to be playful as if it's all a game, and she takes pride in her own sense of self-worth and ability to control things. She is a woman of great allure who is aware of her power and uses it to her advantage. If she wants a man, then he is hers - poor Rafe doesn't stand a chance! It is much later in the story when the reader is given a glimpse into the real Vivian Swift that I really began to warm to her. She is a woman who has suffered great emotional and physical hardship and the only person she can count on is her brother. As the book reaches its climax Vivian shows tremendous courage and she becomes a character who I really wanted to have that happy-ever-after ending.

The Liberty of the Clink was the very heart of Southwark—a dark and vicious heart, Rafe warned himself, but he felt its vitality throbbing around him.

The Liberty of the Clink was a kingdom within a kingdom, ruled by its own king and queen. The kingdom was notorious for its immoral establishments such as brothels, gambling dens, and bear-baiting pits, and it didn't stop there - they also had playhouses and theatres! There were back allies and shady dealings, and a most notorious prison, The Clink. Feyrer deserves commendation for the hours of research dedicated to depicting The Liberty of the Clink. The historical detailing is outstanding, and the era is truly reflected through the crystal-clear prose and captivating narrative. It felt as though I had travelled back in time and was witnessing the events as they were unfolding. Kudos, Ms Feyrer. Kudos, indeed! The nature of the book's narrative results in multiple scenes of violence and torture. The novel includes some disturbing scenes that might be upsetting for some readers, but I believe the author's decision to include them is justified because the book is not a typical historical romance; rather, it is a Tudor spy tale with an array of memorable characters (both real and fictional). Despite never making an appearance, Mary, Queen of Scots, and her accomplices, who wish for her to seize the English throne from the Virgin Queen, are often discussed. The author also gives a nod to historical characters such as Christopher Marlowe, William Shakespeare and Thomas Kyd. By featuring these historical characters, the reader is reminded of the political and theatrical landscape that shaped this era. Heart of Deception by Gayle Feyrer is a work of exceptional historical scholarship. Not only should this book have a place on your bookshelf, but it also deserves to be read over and over again. I cannot express my admiration enough for this impressively dramatic story. This book should definitely be added to your to-read list if you're a fan of historical fiction set in the Tudor period. I can't recommend it enough.


“Heart of Deception” by Gayle Feyrer receives five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award of excellence from The Historical Fiction Company



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