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***** Powerfully Engaging Epic Tale —– Review by Rox Burkey

Authors Barnes and Briles introduce a new layer of intrigue to the Harmonie Series with Book 2, The Secret Hamlet. The narrative delves into 11th-century France with meticulous detail as Nichol and her extended family escape the threats of Paris. Guided by The Lady, Nichol embarks on a perilous journey across the country, her infant daughter’s safety her utmost priority. Including supernatural elements, such as the hawk protector and The Lady’s guidance, adds a thrilling undercurrent of tension to the story.

These authors paint the journey’s delicate flavors and complex textures with endearing multi-dimensional characters, essential to the twists and turns of the story. Ezra continues the merchant training Nichol began with her papa. His wife Helene embraces Nichol like a daughter. Looking for a place to settle and grow, the travelers add to the number, each with a need to begin anew without hate or fear.

A solid female lead entering this story, Nichol’s character gains additional strength as she becomes a mother and moves into the leadership role of the extended family she brings together. Her honesty, simple truth, and honor make her a unique individual readers can embrace. When Nichol gains a heart sister, Emma, she learns of a possible ally in her brother, the Duke. Nichol’s wolf-dog protector, Shadow, a favorite character, sticks close to Nichol or the children, attuned to every subtle command.

The layers of evil, religious alliances, slavery, magic, love, and long-range goals add to the exciting threads of the journey to The Secret Hamlet. It was inspiring to see Individual characters use untapped strengths that Nichol sees to make a difference in the direction of their lives. Readers of medieval history with touches of fantasy will enjoy this captivating tale. Enjoy this outstanding stand-alone tale, but it is highly recommended as better if you read The Secret Journey, Book 1 in the Harmonie Series. It is essential to call out the stunning cover by Rebecca Finkle.

About the Authors

Brian Barnes spent decades in construction. While he built and could anything that required a hammer, screwdriver, saw, or drill, his mind filled with stories that only retirement gave him the time to write.

An avid reader of history, historical fiction, and a follower of politics and world events, he is appalled when injustice and stupidity are prevalent in the behaviors of those who are in leadership roles. Much of the underlying theme within The Secret Journey was ignited by such events and the ignorance of what women are capable of accomplishing and achieving.

The Secret Journey is Brian’s debut novel in the Harmonie Books series. He’s now working on The Secret Hamlet, the sequel that will be folled by The Secret Rise.

Calling Colorado home, he’s known as the “fixit guy” to family and friends. Summers pull him and wife Julie into gardening and maintenance with their community of townhomes.

Judith Briles is the author of 45 books. Her latest book for authors and writers is The Author’s Walk: Finding Your Voice to Create Publishing Success, released in 2023. It joins How to Avoid Book Publishing Blunders, How to Create a Million Dollar Speech, How to Create Crowdfunding Success for Authors and Writers, and Snappy Sassy Salty Success for Authors and Writers.

Judith is the host of the AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing podcast that has enjoyed over 16 million downloads since its launch in 2017 available over major podcast platforms.

Her personal memoir is When God Says NO: Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present. Three main categories claim her books: personal finance in the 80s and 90s; behavior/toxic workplaces in female dominated workplaces in the late 80s to 2010. Since 2010, she has focused on authors, publishing, and writing. In 2023, Judith  crossed over to add “novelist” to her bio. Women’s Historical Fiction entered the mainstream, introducing The Secret Journey and The Secret Hamlet.

She has spoken about them in all 50 states, 17 countries, and on land and sea—small groups of less than 20 to large groups with 5,000. In person, over 1,500 presentations; online, over 500 total.

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    6 replies to "The Secret Hamlet"

    • Jan Sikes

      Thanks for sharing Judith and Brian’s new book. It sounds like a fun read!

      • RoxBurkey

        Hey Jan, Always a treat to see you. It is a great series you would enjoy.

    • Judith Briles

      As an author who reads reviews of other authors, I love it when the reviewer gets the essence of the characters and the storyline. Rox Burkey “gets it” with her review of our book, The Secret Hamlet, Book 2 in the Harmonie series. Seeing and experiencing the growth of our key character, Nichol–a visionary woman deep in th hear of the Kingdom of Normany in the 11th century. We loved where she took us … and I promise our readers … Book 3, The Secret Rise will stretch Nichol and her three children into areas unexpected.

      Thank you Rox for bringing The Secret Hamlet to your followers.

      • RoxBurkey

        Hi Judith, I think you and Brian are on creative fire as you keeping ramping up the stakes. Book 3 sounds amazing. Can’t wait. Thank you for stopping in.

    • Judith Briles

      I’m an author of 45 books-and the co-author of The Secret Hamlet. I read book reviews–lots of them. It’s an honor that Rox Burkey chose our book to review and share with her followers. AND, it’s a happy dance when a reviewer connects with a book, “gets” the storyline and essence of what and where the book is and going.

      Creating and revealing the character of Nichol in Book 1 The Secret Journey, and expanding it in Book 2 The Secret Hamlet was fun for both Brian and I. We loved presenting a smart girl who is recognized as such; one that has moxie and a vision beyond her times and present experiences has been fun. What will Nichol do next? We have a story for you coming in Book 3, The Secret Rise.

      Thank you Rox, your review made our day!

      • RoxBurkey

        Your book took me on a journey where one brave woman feels she is destined to make a difference. Thank you for powerful your storytelling.

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