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My Dearest Friend
By Hazel Statham. KY: Wings e-Press Inc. 2008. $6 Download; $11.95 Paperback.

My Dearest Friend traces the growth of the love between Jane Chandler and Robert Blake, the Duke of Lear. Jane requests the Duke’s assistance in returning her wounded brother back from Portugal to England. The Duke, riddled with guilt because he could not save his own brother from the conflict, is more than eager to help. Along the way, they encounter adventure, treachery, illness, and find out that the Duke’s brother has a now-orphaned child. What starts as friendship blossoms into love between Jane and the Duke as they support each other through this difficult time. It’s when they are home and married that trouble brews, most of it caused by the tenant now renting Jane’s former home. How they are torn apart and fight to find a way back together over rocky emotional terrain makes a lively, warm, and intriguing read.

Regency historicals are tricky; Statham takes us beyond the confines of the genre in the best possible way with her depiction of the genuine friendship and caring that forms the basis for their love, instead of one party simply being determined to “tame” the other. The mutual respect and regard for each other makes this a cut above most books in the genre.

Bio: Hazel Statham lives in Staffordshire, England. She started writing at fifteen and has written on and off ever since. She has always been fascinated by history and writes mainly in the Regency and Georgian eras, although she has been known to occasionally stray into Medieval times. Writing is a compulsion she just can’t ignore and her work has been mainly influenced by Heyer, Bronte and Austen, although over the years, she has read many authors who have inspired her. When she was a child, she often told herself stories and this just progressed to committing them to paper to entertain family and friends. However, there have been gaps in her writing years where marriage and employment have intervened, but now that she no longer works, she is able to return to her first love and devote her time to writing. She had her first two novels published in 2005.

She has been married to her husband, Terry, since 1969 and have a grown daughter and beautiful grandson. Apart from reading and writing historical novels, her other ruling passion is animals and until recently, she was treasurer for an organisation that raised money for animal charities. She currently shares her home with a lovely yellow Labrador named Lucy, who is her constant companion. Lucy is a real sweetie, but it’s not always easy working at the computer with a large Labrador trying to get on your knee!

Her website is www.hazel-statham.co.uk

Her books is available at the Wings Press website.

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