What people think about ARDENT

ARDENT by Heloise West is a fascinating tale of two artists, Benedetto and Morello, set in the beautiful but strife-ridden city of Florence, Italy during the late fifteenth century.

How have people responded to it … ?

Lisa at The Novel Approach Reviews gave it four stars and said:

…. I was so eager to take on Heloise West’s Ardent. It’s not only set in a time not often covered in historical romantic fiction but is set in the Italian art community of the 15th century, incorporating a forbidden love story with murder and intrigue, and doing so beautifully.

Diane at Hearts on Fire Reviews gave it five stars and said:

While the story starts in Torrenta, the bulk of the story takes place in Florence and what is interesting in that is just how amazing as well as intimidating it must have been to be a painter at that time, in that city, with all that talent. No doubt, it was a dog eat dog industry, as much as it was a passion-filled one, on and off the canvas and serves as the backdrop of this story. …

As a history nerd, I … felt the author had the same interest [as me] in both the period and the location as the story was very well written and the whole plot was so well crafted. These are great main and supporting characters, and of course the culture of the village and city play parts in this too. The book has a great pace and really gets hard to put down once all the cards seem to be in play, which is when the author introduces the twists!

Kazza K at On Top Down Under Book Reviews with Substance gave it four stars and said:

I’ve never read Heloise West before but I was impressed with this book. The writing is pretty tight – it captures the essence of the Italian Renaissance, the mood and the people, very well. I don’t know much about the art world but that didn’t detract one iota from the well-named Ardent.

It’s a nice historical romance with some sexy moments, a murder/mystery which doesn’t shirk its task, including a twist or two and some other arcs that converged … The main characters are well developed and some of the secondaries were interesting as well. I would definitely recommend Ardent to those who want a well written and interesting historical romance that sets the right tone for the crime and the time.

Mari at Bayou Book Junkie gave it four stars and said:

The suspense part of the book was well-developed and kept my interest throughout the story, trying to figure out how it would all play out.

I love historical romance books, it’s one of my favorite genres and this one was really good! Heloise West obviously did a lot of research and it showed in the story. Her writing transported me to Italy during the Renaissance period and it had a good balance between the mystery/intrigue portion and the romance. Very recommendable!

Morningstar at Diverse Reader said:

This was a first for me even as someone that loves historical stories, as they often are not based in Italy.

The writing was beautiful and vivid. The characters were well fleshed out with their story told with detail bringing to life the world at that time and their struggle in it. It was suspenseful but well balanced with the love story of Morello and Benedetto.

Are you seduced, as I was … ? After re-reading all the reviews, I am yearning now to also re-read this colourful novel!

Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels – including ARDENT – at discount prices on Smashwords. Follow these links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice. (Whether you then click the Give as a gift button is entirely up to you, but hey it is the silly season soon!)

Happy reading!


Lindsey at The Novel Approach has recently been reading Elin Gregory’s delightful THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS, and has come up with a highly favourable review which begins with these words:

“I enjoy books which take place in small towns where everyone knows everyone and is all up in each other business, and Bones of our Fathers definitely delivers that with all kinds of shenanigans and a variety of interesting characters with the charm I have come to expect in stories with this particular setting”

and ends with these:

“If you love fully fleshed out, character driven stories set in small town, complete with cute banter, sweet MCs, and an interesting backstory, give this one a shot.”

Really, what more could we ask? Thank you, Lindsey, we’re very glad you enjoyed the book!

What people think about HARBINGER ISLAND

HARBINGER ISLAND by Dorian Dawes is a collection of character-driven stories which combine dark fantasy and horror elements within a modern setting, featuring a diverse cast of LGBT+ individuals.

How have people responded to it … ?

HARBINGER ISLAND received an Honourable Mention in the Rainbow Awards 2017. Among other things, the judges said:

Delightfully creepy tale that could well have been part of the Twilight Zone series … Interesting and spooky plot. … I loved the way the stories all linked together to form a full story. Great sense of evil and horror, and interesting diverse characters. Hope there’s a sequel as it feels as though the fight against evil has only just begun.

Cheryl at Sinfully Gay Romance Book Reviews gave it four stars and said:

Harbinger Island contains all the classic Lovecraft themes … While other horror writers focus on shadows, gore and violence, Lovecraft (and Dawes) paints beautifully creepy landscapes and situations then saturates them with ichor and sprinkles them with tentacles. … This was a real sit on the edge of the seat, keep your eye on the shadows and trust absolutely no one book. After a slow start, I thoroughly enjoyed it and can recommend it to anyone who has a love for creeping horror, ritualistic murder and things with more tentacles than they’ve any business to have – oh and a damn sexy, green gorgon with scales.

Our readers have also been impressed! Kyrah commented on our website to say:

This is one of the best up and coming authors I have ever had the pleasure to discover, their book is truly an amazing work of art. What a gifted writer! It is like reading colorful poetry that completely sucks you into a world of mystery and magic. Bravo, Dorian Dawes!

On Goodreads, Laura said:

this was a wild, gay ride from start to finish

And Lindsay Bee seemed particularly impressed:

I really enjoyed this book. Like. REALLY. A LOT. MUCH ENJOYMENT. … I love the interconnected-short-story format when it’s done right and here, it’s done right. … I also love how the book doesn’t feel the need to explain itself. It doesn’t infodump, or go into convoluted back stories – it gives you enough information to enjoy what’s happening while leaving enough unsaid to keep you thinking about it. … I would love to read more from this author, and I’d LOVE more books set within the universe of Harbinger Island; it’s a terrifying world for sure, but one with enough points of light to give you a bit of hope.

Meanwhile, on Amazon, Joshua Valley gave it five stars and said:

This is a horror story of impeccable craft, evoking cosmic terrors and oppressive forces from beyond the world that threaten to expose the insidious secrets of a community. The characters fight against these forces valiantly, with depth and beauty. It’s not a “fun” novel by any means, but it’s worthwhile and satisfying to those who have been looking for it’s like for ages.

Does that sound weird enough to be your kind of thing … ?

Manifold Press is currently offering five of our recent novels – including HARBINGER ISLAND – at discount prices on Smashwords. Follow these links, and then click the Buy with coupon buttons for the books of your choice. (Whether you then click the Give as a gift button is entirely up to you, but hey it is the silly season soon!)

Happy reading, and do remember to leave the lights on!

New review of CALL TO ARMS

In fact this is the very first review of our new anthology CALL TO ARMS – and it’s not a bad way to start! Our good friend Kazza K at On Top Down Under Reviews has posted a hugely enthusiastic review which examines the merits of each individual story – no small task, as there are seventeen of them! – and sums up with these resounding words:

“I really do love a good short story. If you can tell me a heartfelt tale in a limited word count I am in total awe, and that mission was well and truly accomplished. I also want to give mention to Heloise Mezen for meticulously compiling the anthology. I can’t recommend Call to Arms highly enough. 5 Stars!”

In return, we can say that we love a detailed review which lets us know when a book has met an appreciative reader: thank you, Kazza, we’re grateful for all the time and thought that went into your review – and very glad indeed that you enjoyed CALL TO ARMS so much!

New review of CALON LAN

Elin Gregory’s delightful Espresso Shot CALON LAN is making friends already. Over at On Top Under Book Reviews reviewer Kazza K has been particularly enthusiastic, awarding the book five stars and commenting – among other remarks in a supportive review –

I love short stories when they deliver so much in so few words. This novella may be shorter on page count but it’s huge on heart and vivid storytelling. The characters were all three dimensional thanks to Bethan’s patient, kind, and loving eyes. Thanks to the author’s skill. I can imagine both Alwyn and Joe before the war and I just knew how they were feeling when they could be together again.

You’re absolutely right, Kazza; CALON LAN packs a lot of great storytelling into quite a small number of pages, and we’re truly proud of it! Thank you for your time and your comments.


A delightful first review has emerged of Farah Mendlesohn’s debut novel SPRING FLOWERING, by author Heather Rose Jones on her own blog, Alpennia.

An informed and thoughtful evaluation of the book concludes with these wonderful words:

If you’ve longed to read stories of women loving women in history with happy endings that ground their love and their happiness in the spirit of the times, then Spring Flowering will be a breath of fresh air and a hope for a new wave of lesbian historical fiction.

That’s a powerful recommendation, which we can only echo wholeheartedly; thank you, Heather, for your time and for your eloquent endorsement!


Reviews continue to read us in random order, including this response of 12 September by reviewer Michael Joseph to Chris Quinton’s intriguing novel COINS NOT ACCEPTED. The reviewer loved the set-up and world-building, and concluded with this paragraph:

Allan, Miles’ childhood friend, is our main conduit for information about the parallel world. His story comes out little by little but in the end his history is, sadly, not that different from what some young men still go through in this world.

We love Chris’s world-building and her characters, too, and we feel that if ever a book was ripe for a sequel it’s this one; thank you, Michael, for your time and your good opinion!


These are arriving in rather random order at the moment, so apologies for posting out of sequence, but it’s always delightful to know that one of our titles has made an impression.

Once again it’s Elin Gregory’s THE BONES OF OUR FATHERS which has attracted attention, this time with reviewer Maya at Gay Book Reviews, who – among other things – has this to say:

The pacing never let up and the book held my interest continually. I was impressed at how plot twist was resolved. There is constant give and take between romantic part and the main story plot. Both Mal’s and Rob’s insecurities are cleverly used to pave the road for the two to learn to trust each other. Neither of them had that kind of emotional support in their life before so they have trouble adjusting.

This is interesting and well-thought out story. […] I’m looking forward to more books from this author!

As are we all, Maya! (No pressure, then, Elin!)


Our good friends at The Novel Approach have recently given their verdict on Chris Quinton’s latest title, COINS NOT ACCEPTED.  While we think it’s fair to say that the reviewer, Lindsey, was a little baffled at first, the end result is a charming and thoughtful appraisal of the book.

“I quite enjoyed this fairly unique story with its intriguing world building and interesting plot, even if I had to spend some time on the internet to figure out some of the historical and geographical references.”

Thank you, Lindsey – we totally agree that it’s an unusual tale and we’re glad you gave it a chance; as you’ve discovered, the magical world of Chris’s imagination is always well worth delving into!


A brief, but Austenishly elegant, review of A CERTAIN PERSUASION has appeared on The Historical Novel Society’s website, concluding with the words:

“The original Jane Austen characters’ full-throated independence, intelligence, curiosity and bravery serve these wonderful tributes well. Reimagined, one and all discover “there are many different ways of living in this world.” I think Miss Austen would be delighted, and I highly recommend this enchanting collection.”

As endorsements go, we can’t imagine how this could possibly be bettered – and we’d like to thank reviewer Eileen Charbonneau for her good opinion!