Thursday 21 June 2018

Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey - Jennifer C. Wilson

I always love taking part in Brook Cottage Books tours, not only because they have great books, but there are always some extra little treats for visitors to the various blogs on the tour.  I have only recently discovered Jennifer C. Wilson's brilliant Kindred Spirits series so I couldn't wait to read Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey, book 3 in the series.

For my spot on the tour, I have an extract from Chapter 1, my review and a giveaway to win an e-copy of book 1, Kindred Spirits: Tower of London.  I absolutely loved Kindred Spirits: Tower of London and you can read my review here so make sure you enter the giveaway at the end of this post - good luck!

Extract - Chapter 1

Queen Elizabeth I of England was sulking. And not quietly, as the rest of the Abbey’s residents would have preferred. Despite her advancing years, she could still flounce in style, and was keen to ensure everyone knew what was annoying her this time.

“It’s so boring here!” she exclaimed, dropping gracelessly into one of the choir stalls. “Nothing ever happens.”

“She’s been to the Tower again,” whispered Catherine Knollys to her brother, but not quite quietly enough, as the queen’s friends and cousins wandered over to see what specifically had been troubling her this time.

“Yes, yes, I have. At least things happen there.”

“Our Uncle George still as entertaining as ever then?” Henry Carey tried to divert his cousin’s attention, but only made it worse.

“Naturally. He was haunting the barrel of Malmsey with Clarence, and it was hilarious, as usual. Scaring people out of their skins. That’s what we ghosts should be doing, not just loitering about discussing experiments.” She glared at where Charles Darwin and Robert Stephenson were once again in deep conversation, sitting out of the way of the early tourists starting to make their way through the great church. Without a word, Darwin glared at her, then shifted in his seat turning his back against her, much to Elizabeth’s disgust.

“We do plenty of haunting, Cousin. It’s just that, well, you know the Abbey’s never really lent itself to that.”

“No, Catherine – everyone has simply become too old and too dull over the centuries. And too weak to stand up to my wretched great-grandmother. It’s all her fault.”

Catherine and Henry shot nervous glances at each other. When Elizabeth was in one of these moods, little could be done to stop her. Even her beloved Dudley had retreated back to Warwick after witnessing one of her angrier days. Before either could speak again, their cousin had moved on, stomping through the Abbey until she found the memorial to William Pulteney, the Earl of Bath.

As though knowing what was expected, the book in the centre of the statue flicked pages in silence. It wasn’t good enough.

“See? See that? A page of a statue’s book turning. Over three thousand of us in here, seventeen monarchs, no less, as the guidebooks tell us, and that’s the best we can come up with?” Queen Elizabeth spun on her heel, turning back to the siblings. “At the Tower they have my mother removing her severed head, with my step-mother and my aunt alongside her. They have a young, robust King, leading the way forward. They have wailings and chain-rattlings and, well, everything. We have a statue, turning its page.”

By now, a crowd had grown around the Queen, noting, not for the first time, how similar she was to her great-grandmother when her temper really took hold. Fiery Tudor blood indeed.

“We’ve talked about this, Elizabeth.” The chattering and ranting was broken by the only voice which ever had any control over the wayward Queen.

“Now she’s in trouble,” Mary-Eleanor smirked to her companion, only to receive a regal nudge in the ribs from Anne of Cleves.

Edward the Confessor moved slowly through the group, not troubling himself with meeting anyone’s eyes, but knowing they would move for him. They always did.

“We do not waste our time with such infantile behaviour here, Elizabeth, as well you know. We have held meetings.”

“Then we should hold more,” Elizabeth protested. “Otherwise, what is the point of us being ghosts?”

“Spirits,” the Confessor corrected her. “We use ‘spirits’ here. I don’t like ‘ghosts’.”

“Either way, we should be haunting. Surely even just a couple of calm visitations. You’ve never had a problem with Father Benedictus.”

“The good Father has his reasons for still being here. And he does the people he talks to no harm whatsoever. The souls of the Tower are troubled; they know no better than to disturb the peace of the living. Those of us here, we are not of the same ilk.” He glanced at Mary-Eleanor, knowing that of all those present, she would be the second most likely to argue with him. But instead she lowered her head in a slow, graceful nod, not uttering a word.

“I trust this matter is dealt with.” The Confessor ended the conversation and headed back to his shrine.

My Review

Series: Kindred Spirits
Genre: Paranormal Historical Fiction
Release Date:8th June 2018
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
On hallowed ground…
With over three thousand burials and memorials, including seventeen monarchs, life for the ghostly community of Westminster Abbey was never going to be a quiet one. Add in some fiery Tudor tempers, and several centuries-old feuds, and things can only go one way: chaotic.
Against the backdrop of England’s most important church, though, it isn't all tempers and tantrums. Poets' Corner hosts poetry battles and writing workshops, and close friendships form across the ages.
With the arrival of Mary Queen of Scots, however, battle ensues. Will Queens Mary I and Elizabeth I ever find their common ground, and lasting peace?
The bestselling Kindred Spirits series continues within the ancient walls of Westminster Abbey.

What did I think?

I came across Jennifer C. Wilson's 'historical fiction with a difference' series thanks to the North East Authors and Readers group on Facebook.  I am passionate about supporting local authors and Jennifer's books really appealed to me as a history lover who loves something that little bit different.  The Kindred Spirits series definitely fits that bill: it's history but not as we know it.

In Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey you can read about your favourite people from history as you've never seen them before.  Jennifer C. Wilson's passion for history, especially Plantagenet history, is very apparent as she effortlessly brings the past into the present.  Jennifer C. Wilson breaks the mould that many historical fiction writers fit into; she doesn't just regurgitate our favourite stories from history but rather breathes new life into our favourite historical characters.  You just need to take a look at the handy cast list provided in the back of the book to see the impossible made possible as people from different eras become friends and acquaintances in the spectral world: who could ever imagine 16th century Queen Anne of Cleves and 15th century Queen Anne Neville gossiping together like lifelong friends or a poetry competition with Chaucer, Dickens, Kipling and Tennyson?  This is all made possible thanks to the amazing imagination of Jennifer C. Wilson.

I loved learning more about the characters as they glide around Westminster Abbey with little bits of information from their past sprinkled throughout the prose like an Easter egg hunt.  Even if you don't know anything about history, you will learn things you didn't know before in a fun and almost subliminal way.  I know Henry VIII's least favourite wife was Anne of Cleves as he married her based on a less than accurate painting, but I didn't know that he allegedly then named her the 'Flanders Mare'.  So how does Jennifer C. Wilson tell us this little historical nugget?  By having Anne of Cleves sneaking on to the computer in the abbey's office to take out the reference to 'Flanders Mare' on her Wikipedia page.  Brilliant!

There are loads of hidden historical gems in Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey and I have probably missed so many of them by reading it so fast, so that's as good an excuse as any to read it again.  Well I have two copies after all; after receiving an advance e-copy, I also bought a finished paperback to read at my leisure.

So if you're looking for something different and you're tired of reading the same old historical fiction stories, you must pick up a copy of Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey and let Jennifer C. Wilson bring the past to life right in front of your eyes.

My rating:

Buy Kindred Spirits: Westminster Abbey from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Or buy all three books in the series from:
Amazon UK

About the author:

Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating. 

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books. In October 2017, she celebrated Richard III’s birthday by releasing her first timeslip novella, The Last Plantagenet.



Win an ecopy of book 1 in the series – Kindred Spirits Tower of London.


  1. Great review Michelle. Love having you on Brook Cottage Books tours! Thanks for all your support. x