Tag: Historical Romance (page 1 of 6)

BOOK REVIEW: Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

BOOK REVIEW: Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana GabaldonOutlander (Outlander #1)
by Diana Gabaldon
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord...1743.

Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart. For here James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire—and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

 

For where all love is, the speaking is unnecessary. It is all. It is undying. And it is enough.

I have many other reviews that I was supposed to post before this one but, frankly, I don’t care. When a book sweeps you off your feet, you take that passion and make into a review because you damn well feel like it. When I picked this up, I had no clue if I’d enjoy it or not-in fact, I have a long-winded story that goes along with this series, and I don’t want to bore you with the details but, well, that’s kind of what I do. So…

…knowing, as so many other edible creatures have found, that there is protection in numbers. And that knowledge, bred in the bone, is what lies behind mob rule. Because to step outside the group, let alone to stand against it, was for uncounted thousands of years death to the creature who dared it. To stand against a crowd would take something more than ordinary courage; something that went beyond human instinct. And I feared I did not have it, and fearing, was ashamed.

I have a weird-um-thing with accents. I don’t really enjoy reading them in stories, especially heavy accents, so this series just never has appealed to me. English? Okay, I can deal with a British tone if the writing is good alongside the Brit speak. But Scottish? I don’t know-this is hard for me. It’s probably the ONE accent I swore I’d never read. Back in 2014/2015 when my lovely buddy was big into these, I told her I was ABSOLUTELY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES EVER GOING TO PICK UP THESE BOOKS. Then the show came out. But still-I was not moved (even if that guy they cast is hella good looking and I was partially tempted). And, plus, this was such a long time ago. I did NOT read very big fantasies, at the time, and it seemed like a really big deal to me to undertake such a behemoth of a book. I did like fantasy-I loved it! But it wasn’t my main focus and it all seemed so daunting to jump into the larger fantasies.

The sun was setting. The last rays of light shone through a blue glass flagon that stood on the table, streaking the wall with a shaft of brilliant lapis. I felt as fragile and as brilliant as the glass, as though I would shatter with a touch, and fall in glittering fragments to the floor. If I had meant to spare either Jamie’s emotions or my own, it seemed I was very much too late.

Fast forward to 2018, a couple months ago, and I see a picture of Mr. Jamie on GR (Yeah, good marketing, bravo, really) and a quote underneath it (in his heavy Scottish tone, no less) and something happened that day-my heart stirred and my breath quickened or shallowed or whatever you want to say-I got the feels, okay?

That man and those bookish quote feels happened and I knew it was time. I’m a big girl now. All I really read is fantasy, I’m hard to please (urmm kind of?), and, frankly, BBFs are few and far between (bahaha okay, no, not really but whatever) and I just-I’m always on the search for a book or series these days that will take my breath away and completely consume my soul-it’s been a tough road, this year, for series. All I could deal with were standalones, it seemed, because series were so underwhelming to me. But then came August-now. And will you look at that? I HAVE BEEN A SERIES BINGING FOOL. It turns out that fantasy/historical fiction is my JAM. The diviners + Outlander. WTF? Will wonders never cease?

That’s right. The girl who is against all things historical (mostly) and accents read two of the most daunting type books ever and they kicked my teeth in with the feels. Which, this just goes to show you that my feelings have been right all along on this matter: You read what you feel. I would NEVER have liked the Diviners three years ago-maybe not even a year ago. Outlander would have bored me to death. Maybe it’s because I had a little girl. Maybe it’s because I’ve been faced with appreciating the finer things in life. Whatever the reason, I have found a Genre that steals my heart almost every time I pick it up-and that genre is fantasy.

“Now, then. What does ‘fucking’ mean?”
My surprise must have shown plainly, for he said irritably, “If ye must call me names, that’s one thing. But I dinna care to be called things I can’t answer. I know it’s a damn filthy word, from the way ye said it, but what does it mean?”

Anyway. My point is, this book is just absolutely wonderful-but it’s not going to be for everybody. For me, I found humor in the smallest places, the silliest moments, like when they’d fight, or Claire’s voice. I’d be angry at the most pivotal moments-There were just, ugh, so many triggers. There really were….yet I just loved this story so much. Then there was Jamie and, well, where do I even START??

“I can bear pain, myself,” he said softly, “but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have.”

Jamie is, was, and will always be the heart of this book. He is kind, thoughtful, and without a doubt one of the most selfless heroes I’ve ever met. Really. The things he did, the things he sacrificed, the way he loved Claire so deeply and wholly, the way he trusted her so faithfully and supported her wholeheartedly…It’s unparalleled. And she was willing to leave him in the blink of an eye, for a while. I just-I can’t. He is the epitome of a book boyfriend and I cannot fathom never meeting him-shame on me. But I am so glad I chose a time when I was mature enough to fully cherish him, because he is worth the wait.

I mean, I’ve held women in my arms before, and kissed them, and … well.

He reached out and touched my lower lip, barely brushing the edge. “It starts out the same, but then, after a moment,” he said, speaking softly, “suddenly it’s as though I’ve a living flame in my arms.” His touch grew firmer, outlining my lips and caressing the line of my jaw. “And I want only to throw myself into it and be consumed.”

And I don’t say this lightly-yes, I love my book boyfriends, but-Jamie is on another level. The dedication and bravery and loyalty and willingness to save Claire at all costs-and I DO mean ALL costs-literally. It’s spell-binding. And I don’t think my heart was even close to ready for it.

Getting up once in the dark to go adventuring is a lark. Twice in two days smacks of masochism.

Babies and animals and pregnancy and probably more things than I can possibly remember, this book gutted me with the issues it brought forth. And, for other people (didn’t bother me at all, but I’m a different sort)-View Spoiler ». Those are the things to watch out for, FYI.

There is a fine line sometimes, between justice and brutality.

And thus concludes my book review that always somehow turns into a book in and of itself. If it weren’t for the fact that these books are so. Dang. LONG. I would already be halfway through book 2 by now. But, alas, I’m just not able to skip out on other books I was excited to read about before the year’s end, but I’m ecstatic to start the next book-and the tv show-in 2019! I know I’m getting some Outlander goodies for Christmas, and I just can hardly contain myself-this book got me through my surgery, and it got me out of it. I love it and it will always hold a very special place in my heart.

*****

If I’m being honest, I finished this book more than a week ago-but, unfortunately, I was on the mend after emergency surgery to get my appendix removed sooooo that’s why I haven’t been able to post anything for a while. But, in one gif, this is how this series, this book, and my darling Jamie made me feel:

RTC.

View all my reviews

BOOK REVIEW – The Importance of Being Scandalous (A Tale of Two Sisters #1) by Kimberly Bell

BOOK REVIEW – The Importance of Being Scandalous (A Tale of Two Sisters #1) by Kimberly BellThe Importance of Being Scandalous by Kimberly Bell
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

A horse race in trousers on Rotten Row. Visiting a gaming hall in a dress that would make her mother faint. Sneaking an invitation to a masquerade ball attended by only the wickedest, most debauched members of society…

None of these things are scaring off bookish but strong-willed Amelia Bishop’s stuffy, egotistical fiancé.

The only thing left is to entice childhood friend Nicholas Wakefield into a truly engagement-ending scandal. The Wakefields are the height of propriety, and Nicholas’s parents have made it clear a wife from the neighboring Bishop family would be unacceptable…

But Nicholas would give up his family and his fortune if Amelia would ever see him as more than just a childhood friend. He’ll go along with her scheme, even if it means ruining them both, because he’s got a plan that will change her mind about him being merely the boy next door.

Review:

You know that feeling when you click with a book and the whole world around you fades away?  That’s exactly what happened to me. I found myself addicted to the story and completely obsessed with these characters.  So if you adore romance that makes your heart race, has strong friendships, and is laced with moments that will have you laughing and then sighing out loud, then you definitely have to give The Importance of Being Scandalous a try!

“What is for you?” she teased.
You
.  Nick put a stranglehold on his heart so he didn’t say it out loud.

Amelia Bishop was in a tough predicament.  What was once a wonderful idea, being engaged, now felt claustrophobic.  She tried her hardest to give her fiance a chance, but the more she saw who he was, the more desperate she was to get out of her arrangement.  With her childhood friend back home, Nicholas Wakefield, Amelia had someone to help her out. Nicholas was the boy next door, who had secretly been in love with her.  He was the perfect person to help Amelia end her engagement and I found myself constantly smiling with everything that took place.

Amelia sighed.  Before she closed the cloak, she turned to her sister. “How do I look, honestly?”
“Like a women who is up to absolutely no good.”
Amelia nodded. “Well, then I suppose I’m ready.”

You guys, I loved Amelia.  She was strong willed, fierce and protected those that she loved.  It was a breath of fresh air that she knew what she wanted and had no problems speaking her mind.  I clicked with her instantly. Amelia made me smile, laugh and my heart hurt for her for the situation she was in.  Thankfully she had a lot of light in her life. I loved the relationship she had with her sister Julia. While they didn’t always see eye to eye at times, I loved that they were the best of friends.  They joked around and caused lots of hilarious trouble. While I adored their relationship, I was even more addicted to the one she had with Nicholas.

He might not be ready to declare himself, but he could start clearing up some misunderstandings of her not knowing he was interested. “Just because I haven’t doesn’t mean I haven’t thought about it.”
She blushed, looking away when he didn’t. “Well, maybe you should have.”
Nicholas took a streaming breath.

Nicholas, sigh.  Nicholas was beyond intoxicating and spellbinding.  His words, mannerisms and slight touches had my heart racing.  I loved how he was there for Amelia and that they confided in one another.  Their friendship and trust was so beautiful.  But underneath that friendship simmered tension, since Nicholas had been in love with Amelia for forever.  I was an emotional mess over it because a union between them shouldn’t happen, regardless of her fiance. Being with Amelia would disgrace his family. But Nicholas was a smart man, and while he knew his role with his family, he also knew what he wanted his life to be.  And I loved that he went after what he wanted.

Nick pushed his hands through his hair in frustration. “I love her, Jas.  I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I can’t start with a stolen kiss in her bedroom while she belongs to someone else.”
“And that’s where you and I differ,” Jasper said, raising his glass. “Because I can imagine no better beginning.”

There was someone else that I loved in this story, Jas/Jasper/Viscount Bellamy.  He was Nicholas’ friend and I loved him whole heartedly. When Jasper, Nicholas and Amelia where together, I couldn’t help but laugh and smile while they got into trouble.  It was seemless how easily Jasper fit into their lives and it was amazing to watch him protect and help those he cared for.  He was such a hilarious, brave, smart man.  And I’m excited to see more of him in the next book!

His words died off as she leaned in close, lips a hair’s breadth from his.  The deep rise and fall of his chest as he breathed in drew her hand up in fascination.  She played her fingers along the edges of his cravat. “I’m still interested. Are you certain?”
His hand brushed her rib cage.  His thumb whispered against the underside of her breast.  “It is not in my power to deny you.”

The Importance of Being Scandalous was mesmerizing and I loved being lost in the pages.  This was my first book by Kimberly Bell and I adored this charming story. She made it so easy to fall head over heels in love with these characters.  So I definitely can’t wait to read the rest of Kimberly Bell’s books!

BOOK REVIEW – A Bridge Through Time (Thistle & Hive #1) by Jennae Vale

BOOK REVIEW – A Bridge Through Time (Thistle & Hive #1) by Jennae ValeA Bridge Through Time (Thistle & Hive #1)
by Jennae Vale
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Ashley Moore's life in San Francisco has hit a few snags, not the least of which involves sightings of a mystery man around every corner. Is she losing her mind or does he really exist? Her search for this grey-eyed stranger leads her to Scotland. There she meets a witch with a secret, a vindictive English knight who is bent on revenge, and she crosses a fog shrouded bridge into the arms of a 16th century Highlander.

Cailin MacBayne is no stranger to beautiful women, but has always managed to stay one step ahead of commitment. That all comes to an end when he meets Ashley. He doesn't care where this beautiful, yet unusual lass came from, he's just happy to have found her. Ashley cannot resist the handsome Scot and finds herself falling hopelessly in love. In the process, a secret is revealed, a battle is waged and Ashley must ultimately decide whether to return to her own time or give up her 21st century life to stay with the love she has found in the past.

Review:

A Bridge Through Time was completely enchanting!  While I don’t have a lot of experience in time travel books and I’ve never read a Highlander book, I easily found myself addicted to the story.  Especially since there was a sprinkling of magic here and there. This book was so much fun and I’m excited to try more books by Jennae Vale!

Ashley realized she was staring at him again, as if he were an apparition, and shook her head impatiently. “It’s nothing really. My name is Ashley, by the way.”
She held out her hand, but instead of shaking it, he merely held it gently in his much larger one. He looked as confused as Ashley felt.
“I’m pleased to meet ye, Ashley Bytheway. I am Cailin MacBayne of the Clan MacKenzie, at yer service.” He lifted her hand to his lips and softly kissed it.

Ashley Moore kept seeing a man appear, that no one else could see.  He was Scottish, oh so hot and she felt this strange pull to him. With nothing keeping her in San Francisco, besides a best friend, she travelled to Scotland in hopes of finding her mystery man.  She thought that she could be crazy, but her gut led her to Glendaloch, which was the most charming town ever. And so were its townspeople, especially Edna. I loved how there always seemed to be more going on in that little town than her or I could ever grasp.  It felt as if there was a magical element in the air, which was a lot of fun. But one day, Ashley found herself face to face with her mystery man, Cailin MacBayne.  Plus a whole lot more than she ever could have bargained for.

She smiled up at him and her beauty nearly made his knees buckle. He pulled her close and his lips met hers, in a kiss that said everything he believed they were both thinking and feeling. He was the first one to pull away, albeit unwillingly.
“Good night, Ashley, love,” he murmured. He pressed another brief kiss against her forehead and slipped out the door, before he could talk himself into staying.

Ashley and Cailin met each other in a bang of action.  After a life and death situation, and just being together for a few days, they easily formed a strong bond.  Underneath that bond they had the most amazing sexual chemistry and it left me breathless.  But it wasn’t all lust and chemistry because a friendship started between them that warmed my heart.  They fit together so seamlessly, it was almost as though they had always been meant for each other.  With Ashley being brave, resourceful, selfless and having the hugest heart ever, she complimented Cailin perfectly.  Cailin was also brave but his ability to make Ashley laugh and captivate everyone’s attention made it hard for Ashley to remember that she should go back home.

He hadn’t wanted to stop kissing her and would likely have taken it much further if they hadn’t been interrupted by the impending storm. Much further than he should. She was a lady, and it was his sworn duty to protect her, even from himself. No matter what his body was telling him, Cailin was determined to treat her with the respect she deserved.

But Ashley was uncertain of her surroundings.  Cailin had never heard of America and the way he lived seemed so archaic.  Castles, knights, and ladies filled the pages and unbeknownst to her, Ashley had somehow stumbled back into the 16th Century.  I loved taking in the sights and their ways of life.  But most of all I loved that anytime Ashley and Cailin were together I found myself with butterflies.  They had everything from adorable to sexy moments together. It was the perfect mix and oh so addicting!

Desperately, she reached for the belt holding his plaid in place, unbuckled it and sent the plaid sailing to the floor.
“Mmm… that’s convenient,” Ashley murmured breathlessly, as her eyes travelled the length of his completely naked body.
“Aye, ‘tis convenient, indeed,” he said with a wry grin.

There were so many of the side characters that added charm to this book.  I found myself loving Cailin’s siblings, Cormac and Irene.  And Irene’s husband, Robert. I even adored Helene, who was a servant in the castle, and I found myself just as invested in her love story.  I loved how welcoming they all were to Ashley. And that over time they felt like an extended family to her. But not everything was all fun and happiness.  A war was brewing from old grudges and it seemed as though it could not be avoided. While I was nervous for everyone’s fate, Ashley had the biggest decision in front of her.  To stay here with Cailin, and her newly created family, or to go back to the 21st century.

“I’ll give ye all the time ye need, but be warned, I’m going tae do my best tae convince ye tae stay.” Cailin leaned in and kissed her gently on the lips, caressing her cheek. His eyes never left hers, as he twirled a stray curl of her hair around his finger. “I’ll not make it easy for ye, lass.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to,” she smiled.

A Bridge Through Time was so much fun.  The writing was easy to devour, the characters all captivated my attention and I’m excited to see a lot of them in future books.  So if you adore romance stories that encompass multiple time periods, and has characters that easily find their way into your heart, then definitely take a look at A Bridge Through Time!

BOOK REVIEW: Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1) by Rachel L. Dementer

BOOK REVIEW: Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1) by Rachel L. DementerBeauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1)
by Rachel L. Dementer
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

* * *

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

* * *

Disclaimer: This is an edgy, historical romance retelling of the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

Beauty of the Beast is a slow-burn romance that features a descriptive, richly detailed, and atmospheric writing style. (l

I need to scream the word *TRIGGER* because there is extremely graphic rape. It is not glorified but it is extremely disturbing.

The writing hooked me from page one. I mean seriously guys, this might be the best prologue I’ve ever read. I was floored and TOTALLY into it. I had no doubt it was going to be a five star book.

And then things started to change. First of all, I need to commend the writing. I can’t even tell you how many lines I highlighted because of how beautifully written this book is. The rest? Perhaps its personal preference, but the story just didn’t work for me.

While the story is reminiscent of the Disney version (probably the closest I’ve read yet), it still holds up on its own as unique. No magic here folks, and it is MUCH darker. Not to mention the issues the book deals with (everything from abuse, rape, PTSD, etc.) Does it handle them well? Most of the time, yes, but I definitely had some issues with it. Especially with the rape. No, it is not glorified in the least OR made romantic in any way, but my question is… why? Why describe it in great detail? (No, it isn’t the beast who does it. It’s the ‘Gaston’ character – FYI.) I don’t know, I was just disturbed.

The other issues I had were the pacing. While I wanted to soak up the language, I was also trying to keep my eyes open for large chunks at a time.

The overall story (I.e. the romance) was okay at first, but then got cheesy, lustful, and just not my cup of tea. I think I’m just done reading Beauty and the Beast retellings. It’s more than likely personal taste, but I’m just not into the disturbed man going after the damsel in destress trope. I’m probably in the rare on that one. This book also reminded me of ‘Romancing the Duke’ – so that’s probably a good tell on whether or not you’ll like this. I see some comparing it to Phantom of the Opera and that kinda fits too (but I LOVE Phantom of the Opera soooo I don’t know.)

Additionally, I didn’t connect to the romance. The author was certainly going for the ‘healing’ aspect of romance – where both characters involved are recovering from PTSD – but I just didn’t buy it. Lust overtook the healing aspect and it just felt awkward at times.

I don’t want to say too much more, aside from that I DID appreciate little bits, for instance – Isabelle DOES stand up to Adam when he crosses a line / personal boundaries.

Anyway, I think I’m a rare one here, as I’ve seen only positive reviews for the most part. But it just wasn’t my cup of tea, unfortunately.

BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri ManiscalcoStalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper)
by Kerri Maniscalco
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world

Wow okay this was super fun. I mean really – if you’re in the market for YA Sherlock Holmes with a badass heroine and a super snarky (and charming) sidekick, definitely pick this up. I do have some mixed feelings about parts and I’ll admit I skipped some chunks because ew, not for me. Some of the ending really rubbed me the wrong way, but you can see those details below in the spoiler tag.

Aubrey Rose is basically an unconventional female in her society. She’s super into education and volunteers her time at her uncle’s lab studying forensic science. And we get all the gory details, lol. So if you’re here for that kinda thing, you’ll enjoy it. If not, just skip over it. I’d say the story is just as enjoyable without the details of the… dead.

And then she meets the cocky, ever so flirty Thomas Cresswell who is pretty much Captain Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles reincarnate. Ohmigosh he is pretty much the reason I loved this book. The banter and everythinggggggg yessss give me more.

“Thomas smiled at my eye roll, puffing his chest up and standing with one foot proudly resting on a chair as if posing for a portrait. “I don’t blame you, I am rather attractive. The tall, dark hero of your dreams, swooping in to save you with my vast intellect. You should accept my hand at once.”

Anyway, a string of murders starts going down and as the story progresses, Aubrey starts to realize the murderer might be connected to her family somehow. And of course, Thomas is there to annoy Aubrey while she figures it all out.

“If I don’t murder you this afternoon, it’ll be a gift sent directly from God Himself, and I vow to attend services again,” I said, holding a hand against my heart.
“I knew I’d get you to church eventually.”

I would just like to say, for the record (and friends can vouch for me…) I KNEW WHO THE MURDER WAS ALL ALONG. So I win a cookie or something, right? I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT.

Anyway, I definitely was not into the saence part and I skipped it. Spirits are just not my thing, yo. I don’t feel like I missed out on much.

***Minor spoilers below – don’t read if you want to keep the mystery alive!***

As far as the ending, I definitely felt a bit of glee knowing I guessed the killer, but aside from that, it was just really sad. I actually even teared up a bit. And honestly, some of it really rubbed me the wrong way. (view spoiler)

But as far as the set up for the next book, I’m super on board with that. I’m already REALLY looking forward to it and trying to beg my way to an arc lol. Mostly I’m just hoping for lots of time with Thomas Cresswell, though I hope the banter stays alive!

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