Friday, May 15, 2015

A Pledge of Better Times: Review and Giveaway!

Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Gallica Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-9907420-4-3
Pages: 400

Genre: Historical Fiction


A sweeping tale of ambition, treachery, and passion…

For generations Lady Diana de Vere’s family loyally served England’s crown. But after King Charles II’s untimely death, her father firmly opposes James II’s tyranny. Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans—the late king’s bastard son by actress Nell Gwyn—also rebels against his newly crowned uncle’s manipulation. Secretly pledging to wed Diana, he departs for the Continent to become a soldier.

Political and religious turmoil bring about revolution and yet another coronation before Charles returns to claim his promised bride. As companion to Queen Mary II, Diana has followed her de Vere forbears into royal service. She expects Charles to abandon his military career after marriage, but he proves unwilling to join the ranks of the courtiers he despises and mistrusts.

In palace corridors and within their own household the young duke and duchess confront betrayals, scandals, and tragedies that threaten to divide them. And neither the privileges of birth nor proximity to the throne can ensure their security, their advancement—or their happiness.

What Did I Think About the Story?

When I began A Pledge of Better Times I was anticipating the standard, yet still very enjoyable, historical novel that centered around a person from history that, while not as well known as some, had a strategic place within the greater machinations of the time. Well, this novel is that and so much more. While the relationship between Diana de Vere and Charles Beauclerk does play a big part in the story, for me the novel was more about the political and religious rollercoaster England went through during this time (1684-1705) and how the royalty and noblemen adjusted (or not) to the changing environment.

I have to say that I wasn't overly familiar with the history of this time period before starting, beyond some basic knowledge of the key players, but Margaret Porter did an incredible job of fleshing out this world for me in such a way that I now feel quite comfortable with the goings on and the people that shaped its history. There are just so many delicious details to absorb - from fashion to ceremony to the architecture and decoration of palaces - that the reader can easily imagine seeing it all right in front of them. While I can see how this eye for detail and the vast amount of time spent on military strategies and the ever shifting political, social and religious practices could feel somewhat dry to a reader at times, without it I just don't think this would be the same novel. It is very clear that Margaret Porter knows her history and, for someone like me who isn't as familiar with it but really wants to know that sort of information to feel fully absorbed in what is going on, I very much appreciated it.

The biggest surprise to me was just how much bed hopping seemed to go on for the  royalty and nobility during this time! While I knew Charles II was a well known womanizer and had bastards I had no idea how many others did the same. Beyond that, the fact that many of the mistresses and their children were openly accepted into the court and given titles, wealth and property was new to me. This sort of lascivious way of life made a wonderful counter to the more staid propriety that William III and Mary II brought to the court shortly after.

Speaking of Queen Mary, this novel felt to me as much her story as Diana's and was the most touching to me. She comes across as such a kind woman who comes to love and respect her husband beyond all else and who doesn't really get that reciprocated love back until the very end. So many people seemed to disappoint or let her down and I wanted to hope against  history that she would have a happier ending.

A Pledge of Better Times is a wonderful book for those that adore deeply researched and meticulously presented English Stuart history or someone that wants to learn more about this time period.  Diana is only one of many people given a voice within it and I very much enjoyed spending time with them all.    

What Did I Think About the Cover?

It's beautiful! Being that it is actually a picture of Diana de Vere, one discussed in the novel and one that has some significance given the orange she is holding, it makes it that much more poignant. I love knowing what the players actually looked like when reading a historical novel.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of A Pledge of Better Times in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to continue below for more information about the author, the book, the rest of the blog tour and your chance to win a copy!

Praise for A Pledge of Better Times

“Meticulously researched and offering an impressive cast of real life characters brought to vibrant life, A Pledge of Better Times expertly captures the drama, passions, politics and religious turmoil of England at the turn of the 18th century. Margaret Porter crafts her story with exquisite detail, transporting the reader into a world full of intrigue, scandal, and breathtaking danger . . . a masterful writer.” – Award-winning author M. Reed McCall

“With elegant prose and vivid detail, A Pledge of Better Times sweeps you into late Stuart England, transforming the lesser known adversities and triumphs of Lady Diana de Vere and Charles Beauclerk into a beautiful love story you won’t forget.” – Marci Jefferson, author of Enchantress of Paris and Girl on the Golden Coin

“A portrait of Diana de Vere as rich as the portraits that grace British museums and palaces.” – Christy K Robinson, author of Mary Dyer Illuminated

“The sparkling, dangerous, enticing post-Restoration period comes to vivid life! Porter gives us a wonderful, complicated heroine in Diana, drawing us deep into her world . . . . I couldn’t stop reading!” – Amanda Carmack, author of Murder in the Queen’s Garden: An Elizabethan Mystery


Official Book Trailer


About the Author

Margaret Porter is an award-winning, bestselling novelist whose lifelong study of British history
inspires her fiction and her travels. A former stage actress, she has also worked in film, television, and radio.

For more information please visit Margaret Porter’s website. You can also find her on Facebook here and here, and on Twitter.



For your chance to win a copy of A Pledge of Better Times (paperback or eBook, winner's choice) please enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to leave both your name and your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner (no email address, no entry!). For extra entries follow me via email or on social media (links on the right hand side) and enter the name (or email address) you follow with on the form. That's it!
Giveaway Rules: 
Open to US residents only
Must be 18 or older to enter.

 Giveaway is open to US residents only.

 Only one entry per household.

All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog
/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
Winner selected May 22nd, 2015.
Good luck everyone!

A Pledge of Better Times Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 4

Review at Just One More Chapter
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Spotlight & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, May 5

Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, May 6

Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, May 7

Review at Book Drunkard

Friday, May 8

Review at Books and Benches

Sunday, May 10

Review & Guest Post at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, May 11

Review at Reading the Past

Tuesday, May 12

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, May 14

Review at Unshelfish
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, May 15

Review & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

Monday, May 18

Guest Post at Book Babe



  1. GREAT review! I'm sometimes tired of royalty histfic but you made this one sound so good, I need to get it!!

  2. Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for a copy of A Pledge of Better Times! This giveaway had the most entrees yet so yay, thank you :)!! The winner, using a random number generator, was....Anne Berger!! Congratulations Anne! I will be emailing you soon and you will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I have to pick another winner. Everyone else be sure to keep an eye out for more giveaway coming up soon!