Monday, 18 June 2018

Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey by Jennifer C Wilson.
Series:  Kindred Spirits #3
Release Date: 8th June 2018
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Genres:  Paranormal Historical Fiction

On hallowed ground…
With over three thousand burials and memorials, including seventeen monarchs, life for the ghostly community of Westminster Abbey was never going to be a quiet one. Add in some fiery Tudor tempers, and several centuries-old feuds, and things can only go one way: chaotic.
Against the backdrop of England’s most important church, though, it isn't all tempers and tantrums. Poets' Corner hosts poetry battles and writing workshops, and close friendships form across the ages.
With the arrival of Mary Queen of Scots, however, battle ensues. Will Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I ever find their common ground, and lasting peace?
The bestselling Kindred Spirits series continues within the ancient walls of Westminster Abbey.  

Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey – Prologue
Mary-Eleanor Bowes triumphantly held the small scrap of paper aloft. The style of Westminster Abbey’s monthly Poets’ Corner Poetry Battle had been selected.
“No!” The anguish in Chaucer’s voice was clear. “We had him only three months back – surely we must pick again! Or, I shall pick. I pull rank, there must be a reselection.”
“There will be no reselection, Geoffrey, not by you or anyone else. And as for pulling rank, what right do you have? Ah, but of course, ‘your wife was sister to the Duchess of Lancaster.’ Well, my grand-daughter IS the Duchess of Lancaster.” Mary-Eleanor straightened out the piece of paper as she spoke.
“Your grand-daughter? Add a few ‘greats’ in there, I think. Besides, you mean ‘Duke of Lancaster’, which any true royal relation should know already, don’t you think?” retorted Chaucer, determined not to let her have the last word. Again.
“Oh, come, come now. Our form is chosen, we must work with what we have.” The calm, steady voice of Charles Dickens broke into the midst of their argument. “Now, shall we re-assert the rules?”
Reluctantly, Mary-Eleanor and Chaucer nodded, and returned to their seats among the rest of the group. With the crowds of the day gone, and Evensong finished, the silence in Westminster Abbey was growing, and in the South Transept, the residents of Poets’ Corner had emerged from their various tombs to take their places, waiting for the monthly competition to start. The first Saturday of the month, every month, since 1343. Although, in fairness, for the first few years it had mainly been Geoffrey Chaucer amusing himself, trying desperately to get the other spirits of the Abbey to join him. It had never worked, no others being so literarily inclined. But now he finally had some competition. Each passing decade and century had brought a whole host of new poets, new writers and new styles.
This month, however, saw a return to the nineteenth century, and the doggerel poetry of William McGonagall.
“At least McGonagall isn’t here to complain about anything,” called Shakespeare, from the corner in which he was huddled with Kit Marlowe. Their heads were bowed over a new academic analysis of Shakespeare’s work, left behind by a careless student. The ghosts were nervous each time such a volume was released, for fear it would spark yet more debate as to the plays’ true authorship. Marlowe had enough fun taunting his friend without help from academics.
“Thank our lucky stars – he stays up in Edinburgh, apparently. I heard it from Mary Queen of
Scots herself, last time she visited,” said Jane Austen. The pride of associating with monarchs was clear in her voice.
“Anyway, to return to the rules,” said Dickens, bringing them back to the point in hand. “Only those writers who are actually buried here may participate. Each poet will contribute two lines of poetry. The order of competitors will be decided first come, first served.” At this he glared at Chaucer, daring him to try and contradict him. The poet kept his silence; Dickens continued. “Any poet not able to contribute two lines within one minute is dismissed from this month’s competition. All agreed?”
“I still don’t see why poets who aren’t buried here shouldn’t be allowed to take part. This rule is surely out-dated by now, and besides, it limits your competition.” Oscar Wilde raised his monthly objection from his position, reclining on the floor and staring up at the ceiling. “Also, think of the lovely collaborations we could run with – all these styles and ideas to play with.”
Rudyard Kipling spoke up. “Rules are rules, Oscar, and these have been in place for centuries, long before you deigned to begin to join us. Perhaps, going forward, we shall hold the odd open competition, but even then, they would be open to those who attend our meetings regularly, not those who simply arrive on Eurostar the day before.”

Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey by Jennifer C Wilson is the first book I have read in this series. Its absolutely not necessary to have read the first two books in the series but as you will see below, I have provided the buy links to buy all 3 books should you wish to.

As you can see from the extract I have included in this post the book opens with famous faces from history getting together to have a Poet's Corner battle. The ghostly celebrities, which includes Kings, Queens, poets, writers and other historical greats are all buried at Westminster Abbey and have their own special type of afterlife. They have a social life of sorts, they get together for events such as poet's corner and sometimes they even have trips outside of the Abbey. Like every community, there are arguments, friendships, enemies and allegiances. Sometimes the historical events that brought the spirits together in their lives, often intrude on the afterlife and old enemies struggle to maintain an uneasy peace within the Abbey. 

This is a very cleverly written book and an absolute must for all you history buffs! There are so many characters in the book and at times my head spun trying to keep up with who they all were, who hated who and which Queen was taking a temper tantrum. Love the image of a famous historical figure having a full blown meltdown! The interactions between the characters was entertaining and I like the idea that the afterlife is a hotbed of rivalries, jokers, friendships and social get togethers. The spirits often mess with the living too, sometimes revealing themselves, creating some great comedy moments.

Jennifer C Wilson has very clearly done a massive amount of research for this book. Her brain must be bursting with historical facts! A fun read for those of you who enjoy seeing their favourite historical figures in a whole new light. I enjoyed the book despite being a bit muddled at times by the massive cast of characters but this and wanting to see the story move a bit quicker would be my only criticisms. Otherwise, a great read! 


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Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books. In October 2017, she celebrated Richard III’s birthday by releasing her first timeslip novella, The Last Plantagenet.

2 Responses so far.

  1. LeilaB says:

    Love a good thriller.

  2. Looks like a great book--right up my interest.

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