Wednesday, August 13, 2014

August's ebook 'Together For Christmas'

My Great War Centenary book ‘Together For Christmas’ is published in ebook this month. So August is a very exciting month for me, as publication coincides with the Centenary celebrations. 'Together for Christmas' opens as Britain declares war on Germany. The whole country seems to be in uproar as Flo, Hilda and Will, orphans who have just left St Boniface's Orphanage in the East End for their first jobs, sit in the sunshine of Hyde Park on a rare day off, discussing the impending war and the changes it will bring to their lives.
Little do they know what is ahead of them - nine million combatants are to be killed during the period July 1914 – November 1918. The effects of this conflict will shatter families for years to come. Some returning troops suffered what we now recognize as post traumatic stress disorder and in one way or another my young characters' lives are linked to this heart rending disaster .
Should you like to read a little more about the novel please visit my website carolrolrivers or call by where you can download an excerpt from the first part of the book.
My very best wishes Carol Rivers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Kitty McKenzie's Land

After a bit of a delay, I've managed to get the sequel to my novel, Kitty McKenzie, re-released.
Titled, Kitty McKenzie's Land, the story continues of Kitty's new life in Australia after leaving England to follow the man she loves. But not all goes to plan.

This story was previously published in 2006, so it's been a while since it's original 15 minutes of fame. I'm hoping this time around, the story reaches new audiences and readers enjoy the two books about Kitty and her extraordinary life.


Kitty McKenzie's path has taken her from the slums of York to the inhospitable bush of colonial Australia. Yet, when she believes her dreams will never be attained, she is shown that sometimes life can be even better than what you wish for.

Kitty McKenzie is gifted land in the far north of New South Wales. Life at the northern property is full of hardships as she learns how to become a successful landowner.

However, Kitty’s strength of will and belief in herself gives her the courage most women of her time never realize they have. A decided thorn in her side is the arrogant and patronizing Miles Grayson, owner of the adjourning run. He wants her gone so he can have her land, but he wants her even more.

Available 0.99c as an ebook in several formats.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Steam Yacht Parties on Lake Windermere

During the Industrial Revolution the local gentry, rich cotton magnates and entrepreneurs loved to socialise on Lake Windermere. They held weekend steamer and tea parties, the ladies showing off their elegant dresses and parasols, while the gentlemen competed for the finest looking steam launch. These would display the very best in velvet upholstery, carpets and leather seating. Even the boat’s name and their own family crest on the crockery. There would be lace tablecloths and servants would be present to serve lunch or the picnic, perhaps on an island on the lake.


The gentlemen might indulge in a little fishing for salmon, trout or char, while the ladies gossiped and relaxed. Char was considered to be a great delicacy in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Regattas, FĂȘtes and Water festivals were an important feature of Lakeland life, a wonderful opportunity to show off a new boat, and take part in water sports, sailing and fishing competitions. Kaiser Wilhelm II visited in 1895, while staying with the Earl of Lonsdale at Lowther Castle. The streets of Bowness and Ambleside were decorated with flags and bunting to celebrate the event. Then there was the ice skating when it froze over, including the winter of 1929. Lily gets involved in many such events, although things do not always turn out quite as she expects.

The Gondola on Ullswater

Lake Windermere has been a focal point of the community since at least the time of the Romans, who could access it from their camp, Galava, at Waterhead. Medieval monks also used the lake as a source of food and transport.

Steam launches still operate on the lake to this day, where visitors can enjoy a sail and even tea out on the lake made on a Windermere kettle. To see a fine display of the most historic, the Windermere Steamboat Museum is most definitely worth a visit.

Excerpt from Lakeland Lily:

The town was humming with people in their best summer dresses. Flags and streamers were everywhere, with much splashing and squealing coming from the lake, everyone enjoying the fun. Besides the sailing races there were always plenty of games for the children: musical chairs at the water’s edge, balloon bursting, eating buns on cycles, tent pegging and apple bobbing. Lily didn’t think herself too old for such fun. Not quite yet.

For the more adventurous, there would be home-made raft races and lots of other silly water games which resulted in the contestants getting a proper soaking if they were anything like her twin brothers. Later there might be a sham sea battle with mock explosions and clouds of smoke as if in a real war. Then the winning side would storm on to the other team’s island and everyone would cheer.

Lily knew her father would take part in the fishermen’s boat race, and likely win it as he so often did. After a picnic tea, which they would take together beneath the trees, they’d loll about and recover from their adventures for a while. Then would follow the grand firework display. It was worth coming to the Water Carnival for that glory alone.

The uncertain Lakes weather had been known to spoil the day in the past, for all it took place in early summer. Lily was delighted that this particular June day was perfect, with a merry blue sky and hardly a puff of cloud, the striped Egyptian cotton sails of the small boats dazzling in the sun. When the figure of Dick emerged from a stand of trees a few yards from the water’s edge, Lily’s happiness was complete.

Sadly, her happiness did not last for long, and what followed set in action a need for revenge which held dire consequences for Lily.However, as with all my books, there is a happy ending.

 Buy from Amazon

Friday, July 11, 2014

Could the daughters of Downton Abbey cope?

Imagine the daughters of Downton Abbey losing their home, their parents, their wealth, their status, their friends.
This is what happens to the characters in my historical novel, Kitty McKenzie.
Kitty has lost everything, and as the eldest daughter, she has to now provide and care for her younger siblings, a task she has no experience or knowledge of how to do. From a life of privilege she is faced with all kinds of adversities to overcome.
How will she manage to cope with these new challenges when the only decisions she used to make was what dress she needed to wear and what book to read after dinner?
How was she to create a home for them all, and an income?
She never realised that buried deep inside her was an inner strength that would come to the fore and allow her to manage, even prosper, in an alien world of the working class.

Could Mary or Edith from Downton Abbey have coped so well? I'd like to think they would.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


It's always nice to see an older book being released. It gives me the sense of renewal and that hopefully my book just might reach a new audience and give readers some hours of enjoyment.

The very first book I wrote, To Gain What's Lost, has been re-released under my new pen name of Annemarie Brear. It's available in ebook, paperback and now large print.

I loved writing this book. At the time (1997) I had no idea about the art of writing, I simply just let it pour out of me and got it down on paper. The story was huge, enormous. It took me two years to finish it and was obviously in need of serious editing. Eventually it was cut down in word length, edited, chopped, re-written and finally allowed out into the world a few years later.

Now, it's been given another chance to shine. I do hope you like it.

She thinks her life has changed for the better, her dark secrets hidden, but little does she know… The daughter of a wealthy landowner in Yorkshire, England in 1864, Anna Thornton leads a privileged life. But she is not content. She wants her life to mean something and longs to be accepted for the free-thinking, independent woman she is. When the dashing, adventurer Matt Cowan sweeps her off her feet, she thinks she has finally met her soul mate. However, he’s not the man he seems to be. After he sails for South America, leaving her behind in England, Anna discovers she’s preg¬nant. Heartbroken she flees her family home, determined to keep her child’s illegitimacy a secret. He has a few dark secrets of his own… 
Brenton O’Mara is a strong, independent man who wants to make his own way without relying on his father’s wealth. He comes to Anna’s new home looking for work and convinces the reluctant woman to hire him. But Anna's wary of men, of love, and treats him as nothing more than the penniless laborer she believes him to be. Then, just when Anna seems to feel she is getting on with her new life, and Brenton believes he has a chance with her, the past rears up to confront them. 

Can Brenton and Anna learn to trust each other, or will they let yesterday destroy tomorrow?

So you can grab a copy in the normal online places.
ebook, at:
Amazon Kindle
and large print at Amazon.UK

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A June Competition

It’s June and time for the summer competition. As many of you know, I write about East Enders – the cockney communities who came before the EastEnders of Albert Square in Walford. I set my East End families on the real Isle of Dogs (map above), Whitechapel, Limehouse, Poplar and surrounding hamlets, pre 1960. My family dramas are gritty stories and always include a heroine who will not be brow-beaten by the crime bosses and heart-rending poverty of the time. My wartime stories also reveal a whole raft of sub-plots simmering below the surface of the bombed and broken East End. So I have one question for you to answer. In one hundred words or less, name your favourite Carol Rivers book and explain the reason for your choice. One hundred words is the maximum, but if you can convey your message in less, that’s brilliant. Visit my website and click on the link NEWS & COMPETITIONS. Here you will find all the information you need to enter. Good luck and happy writing!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ebook Sale!

My publisher, Knox Robinson is having a sale on all ebooks this week, which obviously includes my novels.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Heatseeking East End Angel

Where did the idea come from for one of my best-selling novels, EAST END ANGEL? During a conversation with a friend about the romantic intrigues and dangers of life in the Blitz, the character of Pearl Jenkins began to form. I saw her clearly - on her wedding day, but the occasion was threatened by the appearance of an old flame who just wouldn't let go! My setting for the Rivers novels is the Isle of Dogs in London’s East End, widely known as Docklands. The island, a horseshoe-shaped piece of land surrounded on 3 sides by the river Thames, was ear-marked by the Luftwaffe and bombed, almost flattened in World War ll. My dad survived service in the navy and was decorated at Buckingham Palace by the King. My grandfather returned from the trench warfare of World War l whilst my parents house was blown apart by a doodlebug. East Enders were a rare breed in a strangely liberated world. So it's no wonder that I like to write about a new kind of resourceful heroine, battling for equality and independence. EAST END ANGEL is the story of Pearl Jenkins, who beat the Blitz but had a far more dangerous adversary to contend with - and some!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Wartime Christmas

I'm Carol Rivers and I write about London's historical docklands from where my family came. The book above was published in October 2013.

During the 1920’s, Grandad was given the chance to rent a small, three-bedroom council terrace with a front parlour, kitchen and yard. Having lived in just two rooms above a shop with a shared outside lavatory, this was paradise.

Grandad was a casual in the docks and often out of work. He was also a revolutionary after having been tied to a gun-wheel and flogged in the Great War – by his own side. He challenged the unions and the government and Gran feared his “principles” would forever keep them in poverty. Unfortunately they did.

The sense of community in the East End pervaded everyday life. Islanders were close then, as they are now. My Gran who had been in service was a true matriarch, employing what she had learned as a lady’s maid, in her own home. She gave birth to stunningly beautiful daughters and a strong, handsome son who left for sea and the Spanish conflict. This is why my books are peppered with home-grown politics – as seen from an East Enders viewpoint. Very basic, but absolutely spot-on when it comes to shrewd survival.

The Rivers novels reach back to the first half of the 20th century and are a mixture of family drama, politics, the underworld and at the heart of all my books, a romance. In October I have a Great War book published with Simon & Schuster. TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS, celebrates the Centenary Year.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Kitty McKenzie re-released!

Kitty McKenzie, my Victorian historical novel, has been re-released with a new cover and under my name, Annemarie Brear.
It's now available in all ebook formats.

1864 - Suddenly left as the head of the family, Kitty McKenzie must find her inner strength to keep her family together against the odds. Evicted from their resplendent home in the fashionable part of York after her parents’ deaths, Kitty must fight the legacy of bankruptcy and homelessness to secure a home for her and her siblings. Through sheer willpower and determination she grabs opportunities with both hands from working on a clothes and rag stall in the market to creating a teashop for the wealthy. Her road to happiness is fraught with obstacles of hardship and despair, but she refuses to let her dream of a better life for her family die. She soon learns that love and loyalty brings its own reward. 

Available in Kindle from:
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
other ebook formats available at