Today I’m joined by Christina Courtenay, author of Echoes of the Runes. Isn’t that cover just so beautiful and atmospheric?Christina is sharing #TenThings she’d like her readers to know about her and actually, her #TenThings are ten favourite books. Without further ado, over to Christina.
We all know how difficult it is to choose just ten favourite books, and each year we discover new and more wonderful ones to sit alongside previous ones on our shelves, but here are some of the ones that have made a great impression on me or influenced me in some way:-
- Cotillion by Georgette Heyer – When I was in high school, I was supposed to spend time in the library studying, but instead I discovered a shelf full of Georgette Heyer novels. That didn’t do much for my grades, I have to admit, but it was so much more fun reading those than doing homework. I continued to buy her books once I moved on to uni, and I remember reading Cotillion on a train (on my way to visit my grandmother) which was a big mistake. It’s definitely her most humorous story and I was laughing so hard I was crying. I’m pretty sure all the other passengers thought I was completely mad! It still makes me laugh and is my ultimate comfort read.
- Midnight is a Lonely Place by Barbara Erskine– Ms Erskine made me fall in love with the timeslip genre with her book Lady of Hay, but when I read Midnight is a Lonely Place I was completely entranced. It was brilliant and terrifying at the same time, to the point where I was scared of reading it when I was alone at home. The characters have stayed with me to this day and just the title gives me shivers!
- The Winter Sea (aka Sophia’s Secret) by Susanna Kearsley – This book had me so involved and emotional that I cried and that doesn’t happen very often with me. The love stories (both in the present and the past) are just perfect, and I have always loved the Jacobites and their cause so this story has everything I want in a timeslip novel and more.
- Shadow of the Moon by M M Kaye – When this book came out I read it because I’d loved The Far Pavilions by the same author, but even though that was a great story, it was completely overshadowed by this one as far as I’m concerned. The author brought 19th century India (and the 1857 Indian Mutiny) to life so vividly I felt I was there. And she created a heroine I will never forget – strong and determined in the face of everything she had to endure. Just fabulous!
- Possession by A S Byatt – I have to admit to having been biased against Booker Prize winners as I’ve always preferred light-hearted reading, but someone gave me this book as a present and I felt obliged to read it. And oh, was I glad I did! It is utterly brilliant, the story alternating between the present and Victorian times, and I absolutely devoured it. That definitely taught me not to have preconceived notions!
- Just Listen by Sarah Dessen – I think this was the first Young Adult book I read and it made me realise there was a whole new amazing sub-genre to explore. Ms Dessen tackles serious issues, but I am always drawn to her characters and just love the way the stories unfold. This is one of her earliest ones but still my favourite.
- The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry – I’ve been fascinated by the Knights Templar since long before reading the Da Vinci Code (yes, I know, but it was a damn good story!) and when Steve Berry started his Cotton Malone series with this one, I was hooked. If a book has Templars, ancient treasure and mystery, I’m there, and this one had it all.
- So Speaks the Heart by Johanna Lindsey – Ok, so this is very 1980s and I haven’t reread it in a while, but I’ve loved all the late Ms Lindsey’s novels and will miss my yearly “fix” now that she is so sadly gone. This one always stood out for me – perhaps because it featured castles and knights, and an amazingly brave and faithful canine companion? (I’m a sucker for dogs in books).
- Brother Cadfael’s Penance by Ellis Peters – I shall be forever grateful that Ms Peters managed to finish the Brother Cadfael series before she passed away and this, the final book, was a truly satisfying ending. The blend of humour, mystery and a little bit of romance in each book was wonderful and I will never tire of rereading them.
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I have adored fairy tales ever since I was little, and with this the first book in her Lunar Chronicles series, Ms Meyer showed me how amazingly inventive retellings of them can be. I was gripped from the very first chapter and couldn’t wait to pick up the next book when this one was done. And then I went looking for other retellings as well …
I’m sure there are lots of wonderful books I have forgotten and should have included, but these sprang to mind first so there we are.
My thanks to Kelly at Love Books Tours for inviting me to take part in the blogtour. Echoes of the Runes is published by Headline Review and available now in. You can order a copy online here: Echoes of the Runes
From the back of the book
When Mia inherits her beloved grandmother’s summer cottage, Birch Thorpe, in Sweden, she faces a dilemma. Her fiance Charles urges her to sell and buy a swanky London home, but Mia cannot let it go easily. The request to carry out an archaeological dig for more Viking artefacts like the gold ring Mia’s grandmother also left her, offers her a reprieve from a decision – and from Charles.
Whilst Mia becomes absorbed in the dig’s discoveries, she finds herself drawn to archaeologist Haakon Berger. Like her, he can sense the past inhabitants whose lives are becoming more vivid every day. Trying to resist the growing attraction between them, Mia and Haakon begin to piece together the story of a Welsh noblewoman, Ceri, and the mysterious Viking, known as the ‘White Hawk’, who stole her away from her people in 869 AD.
As the present begins to echo the past, and enemies threaten Birch Thorpe’s inhabitants, they will all have to fight to protect what has become most precious to each of them…
About the author
Christina Courtenay lives in Herefordshire and is married with two children. Although born in England, she is half Swedish and was brought up in Sweden. In her teens, the family moved to Japan and she had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Far East and other parts of the world.
Christina is a former Chairman of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and has won several of their prizes – the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy for a historical short story in 2001, the Katie Fforde Bursary in 2006 and the RoNA for Best Historical in 2012 and 2014 (see below).
Her debut novel Trade Winds, a historical romance and adventure story, was short-listed for the Pure Passion Award for Best Historical Fiction 2011. Her second novel, The Scarlet Kimono, received the Best Historical Fiction prize for the Big Red Read 2011. Her novels Highland Storms and The Gilded Fan both won the RoNA (Romantic Novelists Association Award) for Best Historical Romantic Novel (Highland Storms in 2012 and The Gilded Fan in 2014), while The Silent Touch of Shadows (time slip) won the Festival of Romance award for Best Historical in 2013.
Christina also writes contemporary YA and New England Rocks was shortlisted for the RoNAs in the YA category in 2014. (The second book in the series, New England Crush, was published under a different name – Pia Fenton.)
As well as her novels, Christina has had four Regency novellas published, all available in Large Print and as ebooks.
Her hobbies include genealogy, archaeology (the armchair variety), listening to loud rock music and collecting things. She loves dogs, reading and chocolate.
Social Media Links