Friday, February 21, 2020

#Friday'sFeaturedTitle #TheBlackCoach

Title: The Black Coach
Author: Nickie Fleming

Genre: Gothic Romance
Book Heat Level: 3

REVIEW: The Black Coach

The Black Coach
Nickie Fleming

Reviewed by Tamara White

5 Stars of 5

Abuse, Murder, Love, and the Black Coach

Nickie Fleming’s crisp and colorful words thrust the reader back into a time where horse drawn coaches were the mode of transportation and women’s dresses dragged on the ground. The author’s words give you a real sense of being there. I enjoyed the pace of the book. The book moves effortlessly through the well-defined plot. The book creates an immediate interest in the main character. From the first page the author quickly draws you into the tumultuous life of the young blonde hair woman Maggie. Maggie is a woman who possesses a quiet determination that gives her the strength she needs to defy her beginnings.  From the moment you meet Maggie you want to see her make it. Neil Pickering, the man whose life becomes unexpectedly intertwined with Maggie’s, is a unique character. He is as intellectually strong and determined as he is handsome. Whenever Pickering is present his personality commands the scene. His need to understand medicine matches her need to survive. I enjoyed the gritty murders that take place in the book. The murders have a dark undertone, which left me eager to finish each page and discover who has such a thirst for death. The Black Coach plot offers its readers mystery, hope, intrigue, and a quiet love story. It is an immediate for anyone passionate about reading.


The Devil is riding his black coach across the moors of Yorkshire and hunts virgins. Or is this so?

BLURB: The Black Coach

Strange things are happening in the village of Pickering, Yorkshire. Two girls are found murdered, and there is talk about strange going-ons at night. Caught in the middle of this turmoil is Maggie Thompson, an orphan, who needs to fend for herself. Running away from an employer who maltreated her, she nearly dies during a winter storm. She is rescued by a man who lives in a nearly abandoned house. Neil Harrington has his own secrets however. Maggie will have to trust on her feelings to know what is right or wrong. And she can’t forget there is a killer on the rampage…

EXCERPT: The Black Coach

It didn't take long before Maggie was fast asleep once again. When Martha noted her drooping head, she put a cushion behind it, to make the girl more comfortable and lastly spread a plaid over her, lest she should catch a cold.
She studied the girl for a while. Cleaned up, she already looked a lot better than the previous day. She had better talk to the master. The girl's speech was remarkable fine for a working-class child. She felt sure there was something of a mystery involved here. Perhaps thinking about this would lighten Neil's mood. He'd been mourning Lady Suzanne long enough to her liking.
Around noon her son walked into the kitchen for his lunch. He looked up when he saw the sleeping girl.
"Is she fit to come down already?" he wanted to know.
"She's not completely better," Martha told him, "but she ate all of her breakfast, and as you can see she's sleeping again. No better healer then rest, I say."
"The master asked me how she was," Amos said. "I'm glad I can tell him she's doing fine."
"Did he need you to fetch something?" Martha wanted to know. They both knew to what she was referring.
"I brought in the usual. I don't mind, though," her son acknowledged.
She nodded. "We have a good master in his lordship. No matter what other people may think, he's a decent human and I'm proud to be serving him."
"So am I," Amos agreed.
He sat down at the kitchen table and immediately began to eat when his mother put a full plate before him.
"I thought you'd like some stew," Martha said. "There is enough meat in it to give you stamina for the next trip."
No need for more words. Mother and son understood each other perfectly.

~ * ~

Later that afternoon, in Pickering village, the men of the region gathered in the local pub after ending their work on the fields and farms. The talk was lively and the beer flowed freely.
John Barry put down his pint, wiped his mouth with his sleeve and remarked to his mate Ben, "Saw that black coach again yesterday, when I went to check on the sheep."
Ben hardly looked up. "Aye, I'm listening."
"Wonder whose property it is and what its business is. Always appears when darkness falls."
Ben took another gulp of his pint. Then he acknowledged what John mentioned. "My brother's son, Tim, saw it too. He said it rode so fast, as if chased by the devil."
"Yeah, it was speeding for sure. Could not see who or what was in it."
"Not the first time it's been seen on our road. Something strange going on, I think."
Joshua Thistlewaite, the landlord, heard the comments but didn't comment on them. He just poured the drinks like a good landlord. Besides, he couldn't well afford to spend time talking to his customers. The pub was full, as always around this time. His sharp eyes surveyed everything to be sure he could intervene at a timely fashion.
All the men and lads he knew from around, except for the one stranger. He'd never seen the man before. The man entered about half an hour ago and ordered a light ale in a polite way. Now he was seated in the farthest corner of the pub, sipping his pint.
While enjoying a calmer moment behind the tap, Joshua studied the stranger more closely. He looked to be in his forties, had a stern face and lips which seldom laughed. A lawyer or a banker in all probability,he thought.
What bothered him a little was that the man appeared to be listening in on the conversation of Ben and John, although he couldn't fathom why such ordinary talk would interest a man of his quality.
Disturbing his thoughts, the stranger beckoned him.
"What can I do for you, sir?" he asked, hurrying over to his table and trying not to show he had been studying him.
"First, fetch me another pint of this excellent lager and then, if you can spare the time, I'd like to talk to you for a while."
It was said in a cultivated tongue, and Joshua could immediately tell the stranger didn't originate from this part of the country. London or some other southern town, he guessed.
He hurried to carry out the order, while asking Ben to step behind the bar for the time he was occupied elsewhere. He returned to the table.
"I am now at your disposal, sir."
He saw how the stranger glanced shortly at Ben, who was already tapping another pint for John.
"Do you get a lot of people in here?" he then wanted to know.
"It depends," Joshua replied. "On weekdays it can get busy when all the men need to water their throats."
"You must know quite well what goes on in the village," the stranger continued.
Joshua shrugged. He carefully weighed his words, not wanting to reveal too much. His instinct told him something was not right here.
"Not much goes on in Pickering I don't know about."
The gent nodded. "I thought so. Well, I am trying to locate a young woman by the name of Margaret Thompson. She would be eighteen years of age and has blonde hair. Do you know if any such girl lives in or passed by your village?"
Joshua was silent for a moment. The request confirmed his ill feelings. He understood he would have to be very sparse in answering, to make sure he didn't cause harm to anyone or anything.
"Why do you need to know?" he asked, but in such a way the other would not be insulted.
The man smiled. To all appearances, he looked innocent and seemed trustworthy. Joshua knew better. He felt an underlying coldness and sensed some feeling of threat.
"She's come into an inheritance and the trustees have asked me to find out her whereabouts," the man answered, while smiling again, and producing a gold coin out of one of his pockets.
Joshua eyed the coin and reconsidered. It could be true. He knew there existed men who were employed to search for people who were lost or had disappeared. After all, the stranger had done nothing wrong yet.
"Farmer Aldleigh has a blonde girl working for him," he offered, feeling at last he could trust the man enough. "She came asking for work not so long ago. Perhaps she's the one you are looking for?"
"It might be," the other agreed, while putting the gold coin into his hand. "Can you be so kind as to give me directions to this farm?"
"It'll be my pleasure, sir," Joshua beamed. "When you follow the road leading out of the village, you go until the crossroads and then turn left. Aldleigh's farm is a mile or so from there. If you don't wait too long, you can be there before darkness falls."
"Thank you. I'll go and have a talk with the farmer."
"Glad to be of service."
"No, it is I who must thank you," the stranger said while putting a second gold coin on the table. He then got to his feet and grabbed his overcoat.
Joshua returned to his work. His eyes followed the gentleman as he made his way through the throngs of farmers and finally left the pub.


The Black Coach

by Nickie Fleming

3.5 stars

Reviewed by D. A. Cairns

A troubled young woman flees an abusive situation and is rescued by a mysterious man. Another man is searching for her, and a series of murders links all three in this intriguing, and suspenseful romance.
The Black Coach was engaging from the beginning. I immediately fell for Maggie and wanted a happy ending for her. I was curious about her rescuer’s activities and behavior, and also wondered how the murders were connected to her, even though it was obvious they most certainly were. Lots of questions and doubts were raised in my mind as I read, especially with Fleming’s deft foreshadowing. Nice slow burn on the sexual tension between the lead characters who were very believable. Very neatly plotted, it is a pacey and compelling story which I can recommend to readers of mystery/romance.
I read the whole novella length book in one sitting because I enjoyed it a lot. I suspect you will too.


THE BLACK COACH--a gothic romance
by Nickie Fleming
Rating-- 4.5
Reviewed by G. Lloyd Helm

Ms. Fleming has written a wonderfully Dickensian tale of a poor girl who has the great good fortune of almost dying on the road in front of a coach carrying a kindly young doctor. There is some Bronte-esque serendipity throughout the story, but it only makes the story more charming.

I knocked off a half point of the rating because the story is somewhat predictable, but not so much so as to be clichéd. It is worth the read with a satisfying happily ever after ending.

G. L Helm


The Black Coach
By Nickie Fleming
Review by Courtney Rene
Rating 4 Stars

Maggie Thompson, an orphan flees from an abusive household, and is then rescued by a mysterious man, Neil Harrington, but strange happenings continue to follow in her wake. Two girls are found murdered, there is a strange black coach that is traveling the roadways at night, and aman is searching for Maggie.

The Black Coach took off and engaged the reader from the start. Maggie although struggling with life trouble at the beginning, shows herself to be a strong character and I connected with her right away. Her inner battles and her strength, paired with her kind nature, makes you cheer her on from the other side.  Neil is a question. Who is he? What is he doing and is he a good guy or not? The intrigue and the romance make for fun read. The story stayed strong throughout and the book and kept you moving along at a nice pace. I enjoyed the read. The author makes believable characters and realist dialogue. The mystery and romance made for an easy and enjoyable read. 


Title of the book: The Black Coach
Author: Richard C. McClain
Rating: 4 stars of 5

Reviewed by: ERJ

The Coterie is the first novel in a series set in present day America. The central character, the teenaged Dakarai Holt, is an awkward genius, unable to speak and yet able to hack into any bank account he chooses.
Dakarai is arrested for hacking and sent to the Sheffield Academy, a rehabilitation centre for juvenile offenders. There he must learn to live with others, survive attempts at brainwashing and confront his own issues.
Dakarai is a character who grew upon me and it is unclear how reliable a narrator he is until the story gets underway. However this adds to the tale’s slightly paranoid atmosphere and engages the reader. I felt as though I had gotten under the skin of an interesting, albeit not always likeable, character. What he does next should make interesting reading.


AUTHOR:  Nickie Fleming
RATING 4 Stars
REVIEWED BY: Lucia Carter Keates

At the age of fourteen Maggie has to leave the orphanage and take up an offer of employment with Tobias Hadley. Tobias is a cruel man whose demands go well beyond domestic duties. When he attacks Maggie she hits him with  a candlestick and escapes. Cold and hungry after two days and nights in the bitter cold of Yorkshire's winter, Maggie collapses. She is found by Lord Neil Stoketon and taken to his mansion. As she begins to recover Neil finds himself attracted to the pretty, blonde haired girl whom he suspects may be of noble birth.
A black coach has been seen travelling the roads late at night. Every time the coach appears a young, blonde haired woman is found with her throat cut. The local villagers believe it is the work of the devil. And someone has been asking about Maggie.
Neil Stoketon is a bit of a recluse although he is often out late at night. His servants are sworn to secrecy. Maggie falls in love with Neil but when the police become suspicious of him, the black coach he travels in and his nocturnal visits to the cemetery, Maggie's life takes a dangerous turn.

I wanted to read this Gothic romance because it's set in Pickering, Yorkshire ( I used to live in Yorkshire). I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. It's fast paced with plenty of dialogue and it keeps the reader's interest flowing. It never flags. I felt it lacked description with regards to the setting and certain scenes but did not detract from the story. I would definitely recommend you read it.

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