Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Great Review

Perfidia - Elspeth McKendrick

Elspeth McKendrick

Romantic Suspense/Historical Romance

In 1937, Sophie de Havilland left England for Germany once she discovered the shocking truth about her fiancé, vowing never to return. For the past two years, she’s lived in Berlin with her Aunt Augusta, widow of a German Baron. Sophie admires the way the German government has pulled Germany out of the complete chaos that followed World War I. According to Herr Hitler, SS officers have a duty to procreate both in and out of marriage with young Aryan woman, the better to increase the Aryan race. When war is declared in September of 1939, Sophie, like many others, assumes that Germany will win quickly and that their lives will remain mostly undisturbed.

In the days leading up the declaration of open war, Aunt Augusta asks Sophie to help her leave the country. Augusta wants Sophie to come with her, but Sophie refuses. An incredibly clumsy attempt at blackmail puts Sophie in the hands of an intimidating SS officer, Karl von Richten. Karl agrees to help smuggle Augusta out of Germany, but demands payment. Sophie must move into his home, live with him, and pose as his mistress. Such arrangements carry no stigma after Hitler’s edict, but Sophie is wary. Only when Karl promises that she will be a mistress in appearance only does she agree. Karl tells Sophie in no uncertain terms to stay out of his business, but Sophie becomes curious. Her curiosity could get them both killed.

I admit that, at the outset, I wanted to shake Sophie for her incredibly naïve and myopic view of the Nazi regime. Then I realized that, as a member of the aristocracy, and as someone who enjoyed the good favor of high-ranking officials, Sophie would be mostly sheltered from the horrible realities. It’s amazing that the author manages to take this rather selfish woman and turn her into a heroine with a spine and a brain; in short, a character who is likeable. But that’s what happens here. Sometime around the midpoint of the story, I realized that I was rooting for Sophie.

The story takes place between September and November of 1939, the very early days of what would become World War II. Set in Berlin, the reader gets a rare inside glimpse of the enemy camp during this time. Even characters who are dedicated to the Nazi ideals do not come off as caricatures. They’re real people, caught up in events that are too overwhelming to comprehend. It’s obvious that quite a lot of research went into this novel, and each chapter begins with a date and the historical highlights. It’s fascinating to juxtapose what we know now to the actions and beliefs of the characters who are “living” through the events. The romance is lovely, but it’s really the historical context that makes this one a real standout.

Rating: 8
September 2007
ISBN# 978-0-505-52739-4
posted by Deborah Hern

Sunday, September 09, 2007

One More Time - I Couldn't Resist

Allow me to introduce you to something fresh, yet filled with nostalgia, suspense and romance. A tempting story served with a twist...something that will keep you turning those pages.
By Cerri Ellis

by Elspeth McKendrick

Sophie de Havilland fled London and her past, vowing never to return. In Germany she sought solace, with her aunt, and couldn’t help but admire how the Third Reich had reclaimed a country so near ruin. But soon the veneer crumbled. Beneath the frenetic nightlife of 1939 Berlin, the swirling parties with the dashing SS in their night-black uniforms and their beautiful dames, she saw cancer growing. Stories of an impossible nature—terrible stories, terrible crimes—she began to believe.

These Nazis were Germany’s demon lover: handsome, fearsome, faithless, murderous. Her aunt had been right to seek escape. But, was it possible? One man offered hope: a handsome half-American. But while his spicy scent and strong arms seduced her with safety, the lightning on his collar and his searing blue eyes reminded her that sometimes the handsomest faces hid perfidious intent.

McKendrick writes with a fluid style she uses to pull you into her world. Perfidia is no exception. The story is a long, dangerous curve of hidden passions; of innocence smashed under the heels of broken illusion. The romance balances on a blade's edge as suspicions fly.

The author stretches her powerful voice, flush with emotion, and enables the reader to immerse themselves safely within a frightening time in our history. The narrowed focus set against this backdrop delineates the fine character studies of her hero and heroine. Sophie's thoughts, feelings and words made it seem as though I were reading the journal of a very personal experience. Living history as opposed to a stagnant tale rehashed once more for the masses. Brilliant, Ms. McKendrick. I may have to eat my words. Please pass the ketchup.

Leisure/Lovespell • Paperback • September 2007 • ISBN-10: 0505527391, ISBN-13: 978-0505527394 • 321 pages

Thursday, September 06, 2007

5 Cup Review From Coffee Time Romances

Morag McKendrick Pippin
ISBN# 0505527391
September 2007
Leisure Books/Dorchester Publishing Co.
200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016
320 Pages
Historical Romantic Suspense
Rating: 5 cups

Sophia de Havilland is a young woman who fled her native England when she walked in on her betrothed having sex with another man. She lives with her aunt in Berlin, Germany. Hitler rules Germany with an iron hand and Sophia is one of his favored Aryan misses. However all is not as it seems, and when Sophia is introduced to a handsome half American SS officer, it is not long before she begins to see the light in more ways than one with his help. Her emotions regarding him are mixed, but the attraction is definitely there.

Karl Von Richten is playing a dangerous game. Embroiled deeply in SS politics and one of Hitler’s right hand men, he also helps “undesirables” escape Germany to a better life. He truly cares for Sophie almost from the beginning and tries in subtle ways to show her that Hitler and his plans for Germany are bad. In the process he falls for her hard, but feels he cannot truly have her, at least not in any permanent sense.

When Sophie’s aunt wants to escape Germany and return to England, Sophie goes to Karl for help. Karl arranges for Sophie’s aunt to get away, but in return he asks Sophie to pose as his mistress. Worried that he will want more from her than she is willing to give, at first she is unsure. However, when he assures her she will not be expected to be intimate with him, and that it will help to protect her from the SS figuring out the truth about her aunt, she goes along with it. Karl slowly but surely educates Sophie on what the Third Reich is really doing and it is only a short time before Sophie is helping him. But Karl has a greedy half-brother who wants his home, his lands and his title and who will stop at nothing to get them, even if it means turning his own brother in. Will Sophie and Karl be able to defeat this evil man?

Perfidia is an action packed book that gives a very detailed look at the Third Reich, and all the atrocities and corruption that the regime engendered. The reader is easily able to follow Sophie’s progress from supporter of Hitler to rebel and spy as the clues are laid out one by one. The author does a splendid job of showing that not all German officers agreed with Hitler. Karl is mesmerizing as the SS officer who wants his country back and who will do anything to see that goal accomplished. Historically accurate down to the last detail, this book gives a bird’s eye view into a world that unless you were actually there would be hard to understand, and yet Ms. Pippin pulls it off beautifully. I highly recommend this book both for its romance and history.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

5 Star Review from Cata Romance!

PERFIDIA by Elspeth McKendrick
Love Spell
Genre: historical
ISBN: 0505527391
Page Count: 320
Price: $6.99
Reviewer: Donna Zapf
Sensuality Rating: Sizzling
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Author's Website:

Elspeth McKendrick, a new pen name for a favorite author, creatively weaves the atrocities of WWII Germany with a timeless romance forged by a love that is tested beyond human endurance.

Sophie de Havilland left England for good when she discovered her fiancé in a compromising position with another man. She arrived in Germany to live with her widowed aunt just as the Third Reich came into power. Sophie openly admired the social changes that appeared to revitalize Germany. But even as she enjoyed the pleasures of the aristocracy, the real evil that was the German Nazis and especially the Gestapo was reveled to her. Her aunt begs Sophie to find some way to leave Germany and it just so happens that a German SS officer is willing to help, if Sophie remains with him as his pretend lover.

Sturmbannfhrer Barron Karl von Richten is not what he seems. Sophie is mesmerized by his piercing blue eyes and his handsome face but what does he really want of her. Karl assures Sophie that he will not touch her physically and only wants a ruse to keep other women away. All officers are expected to “breed” well and often, thus women are always being pushed on them. Sophie and her friends tread a perilous existence keeping in favor with the elite of the party but what of Karl, is he capable of perfidy? He has too many secrets and they are beginning to involve Sophie.

PERFIDIA, a nail-biting, edge of your seat, romantic thriller that had me steadily turning pages and blocking out the world while I raced to the conclusion, is the debut novel of talented Elspeth McKendrick. Captivating characters and a creative storyline that just would not let me go make PERFIDIA a riveting read. Personally, stories that intertwine history with fictionalized author creations are my favorite. The author must investigate, invent and immerse her readers in order to make the story come to life and Ms. McKendrick does that to perfection. The progressively budding romance between Karl and Sophie melted my heart and had me weeping as they suffered together for what they believed, trusting each other and ultimately willing to die for each other. Elspeth McKendrick has won a loyal fan with PERFIDIA, a most fascinating book.

Release date September 2007