Fort Howe, protection during the American War of Independence.

DianeI know I have many readers from Canada, so today  I welcome Diane Parkinson to share her research for her new book  ‘On a Stormy Primeval Shore‘. Over to Diane.

In researching my novel set in New Brunswick, Canada, in the eighteenth century, I needed a fort for my heroine’s father to be stationed. Several forts had been built around the Bay of Fundy coast. Unfortunately, none have survived. The French constructed forts during the seventeenth century when France occupied the area they’d named New France. England took possession in 1763 after the Seven Years War (also called the French and Indian War) and built their own forts.

I traveled to the port city of Saint John in New Brunswick in May 2017, and discovered a lone block house on a hill behind the town. Thus, I ferreted out the history.

Park Blockhouse Ft. Howe NB (2)In 1777, Brigade-Major Gilfred Studholme was sent to Parr Town (future Saint John) to ensure the settlement’s security. Two years before the American colonies to the south had erupted in rebellion against Britain. American privateers were raiding the harbor and encampments up the St John River.

On the limestone knoll that overlooked the harbor, Studholme’s detachment along with local inhabitants built Fort Howe, named for General William Howe, commander of the North American British forces.

The fort was surrounded by a palisade of massive, pointed wooden logs. A blockhouse sat on the west side with a barracks and residences in the center. The Royal Fencible Americans, Studholme’s regiment, manned the blockhouse on the eastern side. The coastal end of the Appalachian Mountains formed a part of the fortifications. Fort Howe provided security, and doled out food during starvation conditions, for the area.

Even the famous—or infamous—Benedict Arnold, traitor to some, hero to others, lived at the fort in the later 1780s. General Arnold had started out on the American side, but then, feeling underappreciated, and underpaid, he joined the British forces.

A fire destroyed Fort Howe in 1819. Two hundred years later I stood on the isolated hill where a plaque commemorates the fort. A reconstructed Block House is the only evidence a great fort once existed here.

Park CanadianBrides-NewBrunswick-small

I incorporate life at the fort in my novel, On a Stormy Primeval Shore:

In 1784, Englishwoman Amelia Latimer sails to the new colony of New Brunswick in faraway Canada. She’s to marry a man chosen by her soldier father. Amelia is repulsed by her betrothed, and refuses to marry him. She is attracted to a handsome Acadian trader, Gilbert, a man beneath her in status. Gilbert must fight the incursion of English Loyalists from the American war to hold onto his land and heritage. Will he and Amelia find peace when events seek to destroy their love and lives.

Diane Parkinson (Diane Scott Lewis) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Navy at nineteen and has written and edited freelance since high school. She writes book reviews for the Historical Novels Review and worked as a historical editor for The Wild Rose Press. She’s had several historical novels published. Diane lives with her husband in Western Pennsylvania.

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Lies Told in Silence by MK Tod – Historical Highlight



Just occasionally, I’ll highlight a new release that deserves wider attention. This week it is Lies Told in Silence by M K  Tod.

About the Book

In 1914 Paris half the city expects war while the other half scoffs at the possibility. With knowledge gained from his role at the War Department, Henri Noisette fears that Germany may soon attack Paris. He therefore sends his wife, mother and two younger children to Beaufort, a small village in northern France. By late 1914, instead of a safe haven, Beaufort is less than twenty miles from the front. As war unfolds, Henri’s daughter, Helene, grows up quickly and in 1917 falls in love with Edward Jamieson, a young Canadian soldier. The novel examines love and loss, duty and sacrifice and the unexpected consequence of lies.

About the Author

M.K. Tod has enjoyed a passion for historical novels that began in her early teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. During her twenties, armed with Mathematics and Computer Science degrees, she embarked on a career in technology and consulting continuing to read historical fiction in the tiny snippets of time available to working women with children to raise.

In 2004, she moved to Hong Kong with her husband and no job. To keep busy Mary decided to research her grandfather’s part in the Great War. What began as an effort to understand her grandparents’ lives blossomed into a full time occupation as a writer. Her debut novel is UNRAVELLED: Two wars, Two affairs. One Marriage. LIES TOLD IN SILENCE, her second novel, is set in WWI France and tells the story of Helene Noisette who featured in Unravelled. Mary has an active blog – – which discusses all aspects of historical fiction and includes author and reader interviews. Additionally, she is a book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. Mary lives in Toronto where she is happily married with two adult children.

Connect with M.K. Tod on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.


‘Dramatically depicts the horror and heartbreak of war, while also celebrating the resilience of the human spirit.’ – SHARON KAY PENMAN author of A King’s Ransom

‘An intricate, well-researched novel of life forever changed by WWI yet still sweet with the tender innocence of the age.’ – DONNA RUSSO MORIN author of The King’s Agent

‘M.K. Tod is a powerful new voice in the historical fiction genre.’ – AMY BRUNO Historical fiction blogger at Passages to the Past

‘An absorbing and rewarding historical read .. depicting the ruinous impact of war on human lives across the generations.’ – MARGARET EVANS PORTER author of The Proposal

‘A compelling read right up to its taut page-turning ending.’ – RICHARD LEE founder of the Historical Novel Society

Amazon US
Amazon UK

In the Blogosphere:

Monday, July 28

Review at Unshelfish
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Our Wolves Den

Tuesday, July 29
Review at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Book Babe
Book Blast at A Book Geek
Book Blast at Mel’s Shelves

Wednesday, July 30
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Book Blast at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 31
Book Blast at Royalty Free Fiction

Friday, August 1
Book Blast at Back Porchervations
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Saturday, August 2
Book Blast at Mythical Books

Monday, August 4
Review & Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, August 5
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, August 7
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Book Blast at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, August 8
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court

Monday, August 11
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Book Blast at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Bookworm

Wednesday, August 13
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, August 14
Book Blast at Words and Peace
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, August 15
Review at Lost in Books
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer

Sunday, August 17
Book Blast at Brooke Blogs

Monday, August 18
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Review at Historical Fiction Notebook


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