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Thursday, March 2, 2017

With Love For Romantic Books - Bride from the Sea by Frances Housden - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Escape Publishing Goodreads

Review by Suze

Celestina's father is convinced he'd better take his daughter away from Spain, by boat, because of the many battles that are being fought there. Women on board of ships are being considered bad luck and after losing her father's protection the men are threatening Celestina. The only thing she can do to save her life is jumping into the sea. She miraculously survives this and ends up on the Scottish shore. There she's being rescued by Niall and he takes her home, believing her to be a Selkie.

Niall is a laird who just got back to his family after a long period of absence. He's a widower with three daughters. Selkies are supposed to bring good luck, so he's delighted to find one on his beach and he hopes she will stay with them. Selkies aren't supposed to remain on land though, but Niall immediately likes Celestina and thinks of her as his Selkie. He isn't prepared to let her go and Celestina would love to stay, but will Niall feel the same way when he discovers she isn't a Selkie?

Bride from the sea is a lovely romantic story. Celestina is kindhearted and brave. She fights for her own happiness and fortunately after a terrible loss the sea gives her a break by sparing her. Niall is smitten with Celestina. He's a strong man with an attitude, but he's also friendly and fair. He can't believe his luck when the water brings him the woman of his dreams. He's big, he's a tough warrior and he likes challenges, but he also loves deeply. I loved his unpolished personality and couldn't wait to find out what would happen to him and Celestina. They have plenty of sparks, but at the same time they are tender and sweet, which I found an endearing combination.

Bride from the Sea has a gorgeous setting. I immediately fell in love with the stunning Scottish coast and loved Frances Housden's descriptions of the landscape. Her writing has an authentic feel because of her fabulous choice of words. Some of them are old fashioned and they make the story even more wonderful. I liked the idea of true love between a laird and a woman from the sea. I love stories about Selkies and this is definitely a great one. I really enjoyed reading this amazing story.
About Frances Housden

When I think back, I’m reminded of that song, ‘What I did for love’. I guess you can say I’ve always been a romantic, why else would I have travelled to what seemed like the ends of the Earth for love of a man. For both of us it was love at first sight, and because of that I left my native Scotland for New Zealand. A choice I’ve never regretted.

I’ve had a varied career. Anyone who knows me, knows I love clothes and I began my working life in a fashion store. That meant I was never short of the latest styles, more importantly, it was where my creative side was first given free rein as a window dresser. After the birth of my children I worked in a furniture factory, sewing for the designer – but they were his ideas not mine. Eventually I found myself drawn to creative writing classes and knew I’d found my niche. I’d always been a voracious reader, but it was an English teacher who convinced me I could go further, write my own stories, and Romance Writers of New Zealand who showed me the way.

My first romantic suspense won RWNZs Clendon Award and the selection of THE MAN FOR MAGGIE as a Silhouette Intimate Moment. I published six books with that imprint and just as the format for the line began changing my husband had a health crisis and all my energies were focused on him getting better. Crisis over, I began to look for new genres and new outlets for my writing and so my latest effort is a Scottish medieval. A genre where my knowledge of Scottish history was put to good use and it has found a home with Harlequin Escape Publishing in Australia. I found this latest writing journey delightful, but for the bride who once travelled to the ends of the earth for love, who knows what lies ahead.

Frances Housden has two sons and four grandchildren and loves to travel. She’s a member of Romances Writers of New Zealand, Romance Writers of Australia and Romance Writers of America. Through these associations she has made a multitude of good friends and indulged in her love of travel by attending conferences in other countries.


Guest post

Inspiration—Where does it come from?
by Frances Housden

I’ve discovered that it’s no good sitting around waiting for inspiration to strike, but when it does I get excited. The idea for Bride from the Sea came from watching Time Team on the History Channel. Instead of being up to their armpits in dirt digging for ancient artefacts, this episode was spent underwater diving down to a Spanish ship that had sunk on the northwest coast of Scotland near Loch Inverbrevie in the storms after the Spanish Armada. This was during the period of Elizabeth the first of England and Mary Queen of Scots. 

10% of light bulb moments lead to 90% of research, which in truth suits me down to the ground. With all my historical romances I like to find a turning point in history that I can set the characters of my plot against and I enjoy discovering events, which will cause conflict in my hero and heroine’s relationship. Romance is no fun if it’s too easy. I also enjoy bringing mythical elements into my plot and my working title for Bride from the Sea began as The Selkie Bride, which should give you a hint.

This is my first book set in the Elizabethan era. The six books in my Chieftain series are all set in the 11th and 12th century. My inspiration for the first Chieftain book came to me in a dream of a naked Highlander with blood up to his elbows, shaking his fists and yelling, ‘Will this bluidy curse never end.’ There was no way I could ignore that spark of inspiration, as I was determined to discover what the curse was all about.


Three very lucky readers of With Love For Books will receive a digital copy of Bride from the Sea by Frances Housden.
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. This sounds like a beautiful story with an amazing setting!

  2. The book review sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Love the cover and guest post too.

  3. interesting inspiration

  4. this looks fab, would love to read it xx

  5. Your book seems fascinating to read!

  6. What a fascinating book! Thanks for sharing your inspiration.

  7. that's an interesting plotline of like mistaken identity almost of sorts? great review, sounds like a sweet romance.

  8. Thanks for the giveaway!


  9. Sounds like an interesting read.

  10. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

  11. Thanks for the competition. Good luck everyone.

  12. I remember that episode of Time Team! Just goes to show, inspiration can come from anywhere!