Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall is the darkest novel in The Eyre Hall Series, but it also has many exciting, nerve-wracking, and romantic scenes.
Jane and Michael are kidnapped, deprived of their freedom, and forced to escape as outlaws with false identities, for six months.
Fortunately, matters improve in the second half of the novel, although there will be major and surprising changes at Eyre Hall and in the lives of all the main characters.
Readers will witness more lies, betrayal and the revelation of family secrets dating back to the ever-present attic at Thornfield Hall.
Some new, surprising, and engaging characters will appear to become part of the permanent characters in the series. There will be wedding bells, a new and endearing romance, as well as unexpected heartache.
As always, there will be a death, including Mr Isaac das Junot’s unnerving presence and alarming predictions.
Readers who have read the first three novels will not be disappointed in this thrilling, gothic romance and fourth installment to The Eyre Hall Series.
What? You haven’t read Blood Moon, All Hallows and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall yet?
No worries! I have a fabulous plan for you!
The Eyre Hall Series Volume One, which includes the first three novels plus the novella Resurgam Book #0.5, is available for preorder and will be published on 28th October at a very special price, all four novels in the box set for $2.99!
So there’s no excuse not to binge read them all! Almost 1000 pages of adventure, romance, mystery and gothic thrills set in Victorian England (with a few short trips to colonial Jamaica).
If you have as much fun and angst as I had writing the series, you will be well and truly thrilled to bits! Go on, indulge!
By the way, did I tell you I’ve gone wide? That means Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall is available at most international retailers if you follow this link:
And if you want to preorder Volume One of The Eyre Hall Series, here’s the link:
Chapter Three also takes place at Eyre Hall in July 1865, twenty-two years after Jane Eyre’s marriage to Edward Rochester. As the title suggests, Mr Rochester is signing his last will and testament. In this case, the narrator is Mr Rochester.
He held out his hand. “Good morning, Mr Rochester. I trust you are in good health after your accident.”
“I’m still alive, for now,” I replied.
“And for many years to come, I hope.”
I wondered if he had forgotten I had called him to draft my last will and testament, or if he was more of an idiot than I had imagined.
“I am without patience, Mr Briggs. Be seated and let us get down to business.”
He sat, squinted, and looked around the room. “Is Master John not in attendance?”
“He’s not expected until tomorrow, but his presence is not required.”
Briggs coughed and wriggled in his chair. “Mr Rochester, I respectfully suggest Master John should be present.”
“My wife will be present. Master John is too young to take on any responsibility at Eyre Hall yet.”
“But Mrs Rochester…” He fumbled with his gold-rimmed eyeglasses and stared at me as if I had grown tusks. “She… I mean…The tenants and the leaseholders will not respect her.”
“Mr Briggs, you have forgotten your place, and you have also forgotten that Eyre Hall is so called in memory of my wife’s uncle, Mr John Eyre, a wealthy wine merchant from Madeira and her benefactor, whom I did not have the pleasure of meeting. My wife generously and wisely invested part of her inheritance in the construction of Eyre Hall. It is thanks to her insistence and desire that Eyre Hall was built on the grounds of Thornfield Hall.”
“Yes, I do recall the transaction, sir. In fact, as you may remember, Mr Eyre appointed me to locate his beloved niece. But that is not the issue, sir. Think of the land, the tenants; what will become of them? Need I remind you that Mrs Rochester, whom I greatly admire, is a woman? Therefore, she does not have enough knowledge to manage an estate.”
“Neither did I, as you well know. Mr Cooper takes care of the finances and you see to the legal matters. What else could she need? Or are you planning to abandon her?”
“Of course not. We will naturally assist Mrs Rochester in anything she requires; I am simply worried it could be too much for her.”
“Nothing is too much for Jane Eyre Rochester. She will have everything she deserves. Eyre Hall will belong to Jane for life. The Rochester Estate will remain in her hands until my son, John Rochester, is thirty, if he has a wife and legitimate heir, or as soon thereafter as the events should occur.”
“I must advise you that your son may not—”
“Did I ask you for your opinion, Mr Briggs?”
He shook his head, whispered, “No, sir,” and avoided my fierce gaze by opening his black leather case and extracting the documents.
“Then keep it to yourself unless I ask for it, which I guarantee you, I will not.”
He placed his brass fountain pen beside the documents and waited for my instructions. I had met plenty of pretentious London solicitors like him, making great effort to look important when travelling to the provinces, but I knew him too well to be fooled. He would sell his soul to the devil for the right price.
“It is my wish, and although my body is failing me, I am perfectly sound of mind. Write it all down, now. I do not want to wait another minute, or it may be too late. St Peter is impatient.”
“Sir, you exaggerate.”
“Don’t coddle me. I will not live long enough to lose my mind. Call my wife.”
“At once, sir. And we will need two witnesses, I suggest two trustworthy servants. Mrs Leah and Simon, perhaps?”
“Not Leah; it’s none of her business. She’ll find out soon enough. And Simon is a gossip who can’t even read. The others aren’t much wiser.”
He nodded, pursed his lips, and tapped his fingers on the table. “Who do you suggest, sir?”
“Call the sturdy one with wolf’s eyes and his sister, the glum girl who looks like a nun. Bring them and let us get this over with.”
“You mean Michael and Susan?”
“I’m not interested in their names; just bring them.”
Minutes later, the girl walked in behind her brother and lowered her head as if she would turn to stone if she looked at me, but the brother stood tall, with his hands behind his back, his amber eyes on me. He raised his eyebrows defiantly, wondering why I wanted to speak to him. I rarely spoke to any of the servants, except Simon, who had been my valet for years, but I had heard enough about this bold young man to know he was not an idiot like the rest of them.
“Simon told me you beat a man to an inch of his life because he made unwanted advances to one of our maids at the Rochester Arms. Is that true?”
His brow furrowed. He looked uncomfortable as if he were not proud of what he had done, or perhaps it was not true; Simon tended to exaggerate. Or perhaps he was just surprised by my question. In any case, he should have answered at once. “Well, is it?”
He nodded, pursing his lips. He was not going to volunteer any information, but I was curious, so I asked, “Why?” He clenched his fists in reply, but I was tired of his insolence. “Answer the question.”
“It was one of Mr Raven’s sons, sir. He was drunk, and Beth had not provoked his attentions. I asked him to respect her wishes, and when he ignored my words and Beth’s protests, I made him stop.”
“You made him stop? Old Raven was livid. His son’s vision was impaired for weeks after your battering, not to mention the limp he still sports.”
“I did what I had to do to protect Beth, sir.”
“She’s your sweetheart, is she?”
The fearless youth answered at once. “No, sir. I am not courting.”
“That’s not what Raven told me.”
His sister shot him a sideways glance; she knew her brother contained a beast who could be unleashed if provoked. She was not pretty, but neither was Jane when I met her, and yet she bloomed when she fell in love with me. The girl had intelligent eyes and a quiet strength about her. She was the type that could be taught to warm a man’s bed with fire. I turned back to her brother. “Have you ever had to defend your sister?”
He stood straighter, letting me know he was proud of defending his sister, but then he thought better of his admission, fidgeted, and looked towards the door. He did not want Jane to know, of course; righteous Jane would not like our servants to get involved in pub brawls. Little did she know he got up to a lot more than that.
“Well done. I can’t fault you for looking after your sister,” I said, because a man should defend the women he loves or the women he’s in charge of protecting.
“When I’m gone, you are to look after Mrs Rochester as if she were your sister; nobody is to take what is hers or molest her, do you hear me?”
His brow furrowed, and he nodded. Briggs was right; it was not easy for a woman to be respected in these parts, and Jane would be on her own. John was too youthful, coddled, and inexperienced to be of help, but this stealthy young man who had felt the pang of hunger and the fury of anger, he would do the job.
“John told me you carried him home, all the way from the Arms, after a problem with an unruly client.” He knitted his eyebrows, but his fierce gaze did not falter. “Yes, I found out, although John did not disclose the event.” The boy opened his mouth to speak but closed it again. He was hot-tempered, but not foolish. He knew it was not his place to question the master of the house. “And then you called Dr Carter, and you made sure his mother never found out about it.”
His sister did not know either. Her eyes widened, and she shot her brother a worried look. He glanced her way and then nodded, looking at me directly in the eyes. He was obedient, fearless, and astute, an excellent combination for a loyal servant.
“Look after John, too. Jane trusts you, and she is an excellent judge of character, so I’m willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, despite your audacious behaviour.” He blushed like a debutante and lowered his head in acknowledgement. “Give me your word that I can count on you to protect them.”
“You have my word, sir.”
“And you better keep it, or I’ll come back from hell and curse you till the day you die.”
“I give you my word that no one will harm Mrs Rochester or Master John while I’m employed at Eyre Hall.”
I lifted my cane towards Briggs. I needed to ensure the boy would stay at Eyre Hall for the foreseeable future.
“Tell Cooper to double his salary and secure it for the next ten years.”
Briggs nodded and made a note in his ledger.
The lad looked older and sturdier than John, too young to have many vices, but old enough to go to war. “How old are you?” I asked him.
“Twenty-five next month, sir.”
“You’re old enough to marry. Have you set your eyes on someone?”
“I’m not planning on marrying, sir. Not until my sister finds a position or marries.”
“Jane tells me your sister is apprenticed to the parish schoolteacher. She is a clever girl, and she’s not unpleasant to look at. Do not let her marry below her station. And keep away from Mrs Rossett, both of you. She’s a troublemaker.”
His sister turned to leave. “You wait here,” I said, and her face paled, but I was too sick to carry out what she thought I required. I might have desired her tender flesh once upon a time. She reminded me of the plain, meek Jane I had met twenty-three years ago, but my body was too wasted now. “Stay. You are both to be witnesses of my last will and testament.”
Their eyes widened, but they remained as still as two gate posts.
I turned to Briggs. “And where the devil is Jane?”
She walked in and strode to my side, placing her hand on my shoulder and glancing at the two servants in surprise. “Is everything all right, Edward?”
I squeezed her hand. “It is now that you’re here. Let us begin, Mr Briggs. Read out the testament you have written per my instructions.”
“It is time, Jane. I want everything to be in order as soon as possible.”
“Edward, shouldn’t we discuss—”
“Do not interrupt me.” The footman’s head jerked towards me, and I realised my words had been too harsh. “Because if you do, my darling, I will lose my nerve and my concentration. I am feeling stronger today, but I know this will not last, and I want everything to be in order before I leave. Do you understand, Jane?”
She nodded and sat beside me, covering her mouth with an embroidered handkerchief. I waved my cane at Briggs. “Read it!”
I watched them listen carefully as Briggs read my will and then presented the siblings with his pen so they could sign.
“Jane, find Susan a husband and her brother a wife.” She nodded, and I turned to them again. “Make sure you marry your equal, as I did. The man or woman who matches your wit and intelligence, who will adapt to your way of life and accept you as you are, with all your faults, because our virtues are easy to tolerate.”
The girl looked at her brother, who bowed and spoke. “Yes, sir. Thank you for your advice, sir.”
I didn’t like his tone, but I was in no mood to argue, and they had served their purpose. I waved towards the door. “You may return to your chores.”
The girl said, “Thank you, sir,” curtseyed, and spun towards the door, but her brother had the gall to ignore my words and turn to Jane.
“Mrs Rochester, is there anything you require?” I disliked his insolence, but it pleased me that he would be loyal to Jane over anyone else, including the present master of the house.
When she seemed too upset to reply, he insisted, “Shall I bring some tea to the drawing room?”
She composed herself, smiled and spoke at last. “Thank you, Michael.” It was a lovely smile, one that she had not bestowed on me for months, perhaps even years. She was right not to; I did not deserve her kindness. “I’ll be there shortly,” she added, and he followed his sister out.
“Jane, you are to be strong. John needs you, and you will have to run the estate single-handedly; he is not prepared yet. Mr Cooper is trustworthy. You can depend on him, but as with any employee, he must know you are his employer. He will respect you and answer to you. Have you gone through the books with him as I asked you?”
She nodded and glanced at Briggs. “There are some expenses I don’t understand. The payments to Jamaica, and others to…” she paused. I knew she must have seen the sums I had been sending to the convent in Spanish Town and London.
“You heard me tell Cooper yesterday they were to be discontinued, did you not?”
“Yes, I did, but I would like to know the subject and reason for the transactions.”
“They are old debts and burdens which have been amply paid. You are not required to carry any of them; that is all you need to know.”
The less she knew, the better. There was no point in displeasing her by opening old wounds. The past was dead and gone. I would soon be relegated to her memory, and I did not want her to know all the reasons she should not have loved me. I could at least be a better man in her recollections.
“Jane, you were too good for me. I never deserved you. I should have treasured you more, but I could not change my nature. You have been the love of my life, and if I did not love you more, it was because I was not capable of it, not because you did not deserve it. You are dearer to me than anyone has ever been, including my son. I have been a fortunate man to have had you by my side all these years. I am not proud of all my deeds; unfortunately, they cannot be undone, but I ask for your forgiveness.”
She was not angry or upset by my words, but she did not smile. Her face was calm, as if she had known a storm was coming and was taking refuge in a house on a cliff, watching the raging waves from afar.
“There is nothing to forgive that I have not already forgiven.
“There may be grievances you are not aware of and yet you must forgive them too.”
“Edward, I cannot forgive that which is unknown to me.”
“You would have me die in torment?”
“Of course not; I have nothing to reproach you.”
I wanted to tell her she was wrong; I needed her pardon, but she withheld her absolution. “Edward, I am tired. Simon will take you to your room and serve your dinner.” She dropped a chaste kiss on my forehead and left without waiting for my response. I never expected Jane to be so cruel, not after offering her my sincere repentance.
Why couldn’t she do as I asked and forgive all my sins, including the ones I had not confessed? If she understood I was trying to avoid the heavy burden she would have to carry if I told her everything, she would not deny me her forgiveness.
If you’d like to know more about Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, check out these three posts:
I would never have written The Eyre Hall Series if I had not read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (I was about fourteen the first time I read it). Many of the characters and events in The Eyre Hall Series were inspired by Jane Eyre, however my main inspiration for writing The Eyre Hall Series was Wide Sargasso Sea, the prequel to Jane Eyre, written by Jean Rhys in 1966 (I read WSS, many years after JE, when I was over forty, at the suggestion of my friend and colleague, Anne Gerd Petersen).
Wide Sargasso Sea tells us Bertha Antoinetta Mason’s story from her childhood in Jamaica to her tragic death at Thornfield Hall. It was Ms Rhys’s retelling of ‘the madwoman in the attic’s’ story which inspired my unique character, and one of the protagonists of The Eyre Hall Series: Annette Mason.
Annette is Jane’s antagonist in Blood Moon at Eyre Hall. She is the child who was born in the attic to Bertha Mason, rejected by Edward Rochester, and surreptitiously removed by her uncle, Richard Mason, to a convent in Jamaica.
The Eyre Hall Series would not exist without Annette Mason. Annette was inspired by Jane Eyre (Jane dreams she hears a baby in Jane Eyre, more information below), and created as a tribute to Bertha Antoinette Mason, a wealthy Creole heiress who was used and abused by Edward Rochester in both Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea.(Read my post about The Madwoman in the Attic here).
“But there was no baby in the attic in Jane Eyre,” you may say.
Only Grace Poole, Edward Rochester and Richard Mason knew what was happening, or who was in the attic for ten years, and none of them was a reliable narrator. The baby was not there the day Mr Rochester opened the attic and showed Jane Eyre, the Vicar and the solicitor who was inside, but that doesn’t mean the baby hadn’t been there at some point during the previous years.
There are two scenes in Jane Eyre in which Jane dreams of a baby and hears its cries while sheis sleeping directly under the attic at Thornfield Hall.
Chapter XXI of Jane Eyre, starts like this:
Presentiments are strange things! And so are sympathies; and so are signs; and the three combined make one mystery to which humanity has not yet found the key.
Jane then tells the reader about her dream:
The past week scarcely a night had gone over my couch that had not brought with it a dream of an infant, which I sometimes hushed in my arms, sometimes dandled on my knee, sometimes watched playing with daisies on a lawn, or again, dabbling its hands in running water. It was a wailing child this night, and a laughing one the next: now it nestled close to me, and now it ran from me; but whatever mood the apparition evinced, whatever aspect it wore, it failed not for seven successive nights to meet me the moment I entered the land of slumber.
And in the following paragraph:
It was from companionship with this baby-phantom I had been roused on that moonlit night when I heard the cry; and it was on the afternoon of the day following I was summoned downstairs by a message that someone wanted me in Mrs. Fairfax’s room.
This does not mean there was a baby in the attic. In fact, Jane attributes the dream to her childhood, but then, Jane has no idea what is going on in the attic, does she?
Jane’s dream also means that my imagining of the baby in the attic is not a feverish or absurd delusion. The baby is a result of reading between the lines of Jane Eyre. It is an account of what could have occurred in that attic, where the first Mrs Rochester was held prisoner for ten years, while her husband was away most of the time, galavanting with mistresses in the continent.
When I started writing the Eyre Hall Series in 2013, I had four characters in mind. Three first appeared in Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea, namely, Jane Eyre, Edward Rochester, and Richard Mason. The fourth belongs to my imagination: Annette Mason.
Annette Mason is meant to be a tribute to her mother, Bertha Antoinetta Mason. Her uncle, Richard Mason, has brought Annette to Eyre Hall for his own devious purposes, but from this author’s point of view, Annette has come to reinstate and vindicate her mother and face her mother’s rival: Jane Eyre Rochester. How will Jane react to Annette’s arrival, twenty-two years after her marriage to Edward Rochester? Well, you’ll have to read The Eyre Hall Series to find out!
Why not start with Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, Book One, and see if it’s for you?
Hi again! Sorry if I seem persistent, but this will be my last post reminding you that my novel, All Hallows at Eyre Hall, the sequel to Jane Eyre, and Book 1 of The Eyre Hall Trilogy, is free today, for the last day.
So, if you were thinking of purchasing it, hurry because today is your last chance! Follow this link!
I’d also like to thank those of you who have already downloaded your free copy, because thanks to you, All Hallows at Eyre Hallhas reached third position on Amazon’s Best Sellers for Historical Thrillers in the USA.
It has also reached second position on Amazon UK for the Victorian, Historical Romance category of free books, so I’m naturally thrilled.
In Spain it’s number one in Romance in English, right next to Jane Eyre, which is a real treat for my eyes!
I’m also thrilled that it’s in third position in Canada in Victorian Historical Romance, which is a wonderful discovery. I was in Montreal, some years ago and loved the city, but I have no friends there at all, so it’s a lovely surprise to know I have readers in Canada!
So, it’s been a really great promotion as far as visibility and publicity goes. Fingers crossed buyers will also be readers and hopefully reviewers!
It’s not easy being an Independent author, there’s a lot of work to be done which has nothing to do with creative writing, such as formatting, promotion and marketing, but it’s also empowering to make your own decisions and control the process from writing the novel to reaching the readers’ kindles and hopefully minds!
If you’ve read it or are in the process of doing so, I’d love to know about your experience as a reader of All Hallows at Eyre Hall.
Today I’m reviewing The Last Necromancer by C. J. Archer, which is Book 1 of the The Ministry Of Curiosities.
It’s a historical novel set in Victorian London, but it’s more than that, as you’ll find out in my review.
Don’t you love the covers?
I love writing and reading historical fiction.
I’m always on the lookout for novels set in Victorian times. Recently I discovered a ten book series with the following blurb:
A waif, her abductors and a twist you won’t see coming.
For five years, Charlotte (Charlie) Holloway has lived as a boy in the slums. But when one theft too many gets her arrested, her only means of escape lies with a dead man. Charlie hasn’t raiseda spirit since she first discovered she could do so five years ago. That time, her father banished her. This time, she brings even more trouble upon herself.
People are now hunting Charlie all over London, but only one man succeeds in capturing her.
Lincoln Fitzroy is the mysterious head of a secret organization on the trail of a madman who needs a necromancer to control his newly “made” creatures. There was only one known necromancer in theworld – Charlotte – but now there appears to be two. Lincoln captures the willful Charlie in the hopes the boy will lead him to Charlotte. But what happens when he discovers the boy is in fact the young woman he’s been searching for all along? And will she agree to work for the man who held her against her will, and for an organization she doesn’t trust?
Because Lincoln and his ministry might be just as dangerous as the madman they’re hunting.
I have recently read many intense family dramas and contemporary thrillers, most psychological, such as The Woman at the Window, Us, The Husband, Our House, The Good Girl, My Husband the Stranger, The Cellar, I Am Watching You, Silent Child, and A Stranger in the House, among others, so I felt I needed a break from the intensity. I was looking for a lighter read, and I found one, quite by chance!
The blurb of The Last Necromancer sounded interesting, but I must admit that the ten-book series put me off.
Do I have time to read a series of ten books?
Do I have the patience to read ten books by the same author?
I really didn’t think so, but I took a chance and downloaded book one to my kindle because it was free. I think this is a great idea to entice readers to try a new author, especially in such a long series. I then bought the audiobook for the reduced price of about $4 and listened to it in the space of two evenings (it was about eight hours long), and loved it! I’ll probably even read the following books in the series!
Read on for my review.
The Last Necromancer is a wonderful escapist read.
There’s a bit of everything I enjoy. It’s historical, set in the Victorian era, there’s action, mystery, suspense and a hint of romance.
The lead character is Charlie, an 18-year-old girl who has been living on the streets of London disguised as a boy for the last 5 years. She also has special powers (she can summon and speak to the dead) so she is being sought by unscrupulous villains. Charlie is a wonderful character. She’s clever, tough, resourceful, street-wise, caring, and sensitive.
The male lead, Lincoln Fitzroy is enigmatic and apparently heartless, and the rest of the ‘real’ villains, his enemies, are cruel and ruthless.
There are many references to other Victorian authors such as Mary Shelly and Conan Doyle. The novel includes secret societies, plots against the Queen, some supernatural, gothic elements, such as Charlie’s paranormal abilities, and some fantasy elements, such as Frankenstein-like monsters and other characters with special powers and knowledge.
The Last Necromancer is a well written and entertaining read, with plot twists, action, mystery, suspense and a slow burn, romance, which promises to bloom in future installments.
It is especially for lovers of the Victorian era, fantasy, paranormal, and entertaining fiction.
There are plenty of reasons why I’m looking forward to reading the following books in the series, as an antidote to the draining intensity of contemporary psychological and literary fiction, and the occasionally tedious reality of daily life.
In fact I’ve just downloaded the box set which includes the first three books in the series on Audible.