Saving Crofton Hall by Rebecca Cohen Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hi peeps, we have Rebecca Cohen and her newest release Saving Crofton Hall stopping by on her blog tour, we have a super guest post, an intriguing excerpt and a fantastic giveaway for you to enjoy. I’ve also added my review of this tasty story so make sure you read it *narrows eyes* and then click that Rafflecopter link <3 ~Pixie~
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Saving Crofton Hall

(Stately Passions 01)
by

Rebecca Cohen

Benjamin Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, has no intention of giving up his beloved ancestral home without a fight. Faced with his mother’s gambling debts, forgery, and the possibility of foreclosure by the bank, Ben vows to make Crofton Hall pay for herself. But opening an Elizabethan manor house  to the public isn’t a one man job. With time running out, Ben needs help—and fast.

Ashley Niven has experience managing events, and he also loves history. Being in charge of opening Crofton Hall is a dream come true. As he works with Ben to prepare the house as a venue for lavish weddings and receptions, Ashley finds himself drawn not just to the charm of the house but to the dashing Earl of Crofton.  Even if Ashley can look past Ben’s playboy reputation, he fears an affair could prove too much of a distraction.

But Crofton Hall has many secrets, and something hidden for over four hundred years is about to change all their lives.

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I asked Rebecca about bringing Crofton Hall to the 21st Century and what gave her the idea of skipping from historical to modern times in the Redbourn family.

Crofton Hall, and its owners the Redbourn family, first saw the light of day in my historical series, The Crofton Chronicles, set in Elizabethan England. I love grand British architecture, and Crofton Hall is amalgamation of three of my favourite buildings. So having fallen love with the house I’d created, I really wanted to revisit this splendid stately home.

Now, I’ll be honest, I did think about dropping in on the Redbourns in different historical eras, but when push came to shove I realized that while I love the Tudor period, I wouldn’t be able to have the same affection, and let’s face it – knowledge, for say the Georgian or Victorian eras. So I bit the bullet and decided to write my first contemporary, and out came Saving Crofton Hall.

As well as showing how the house has changed over the centuries – the Victorian kitchens, new Georgian banqueting hall – it was fun to hint at some of the earls that come between Anthony Redbourn (the 1st Earl), and Benjamin (the 16th) without having to dedicate whole novels to them. Ben makes comments all over the place about what his rowdy ancestors got up to, and if anyone were to write the full Redbourn family history eyebrows would be raised so high they’d never come down. From winning a Gainsborough painting in a bet, to chasing off rogues with a pike, the earls have been having fun for over 400 years, and I loved dropping in these little nuggets.

There’s another reason why I wanted to bring the family up to date. I wanted to write a contemporary novel set in the UK because I’m feeling a little nostalgic. I’m a Brit, but I’ve lived in Switzerland for three years, and as much I love living in der Schweiz I do have the odd pang of homesickness from time to time. Writing Saving Crofton Hall allowed me to visit, at least with my words, a part of the UK I know very well (Hertfordshire, a home country north of London). And I enjoyed it so much, I will be doing it again.  I have plans for new romances to bloom at Crofton Hall, after all I believe it is a truly magnificent background for any love story.

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Excerpt

“How much?”

She wouldn’t meet his eye.

“Mum!”

“Just short of five million to the bank.”

Ben lost his balance and landed heavily on his arse in a nearby chair.

“How the hell did you manage that? I only agreed to borrow five hundred thousand, and that was for essential repairs, and the estate could easily repay the loan in ten years.”

“I approached the bank with a business case for a visitor attraction.

They were very enthusiastic.”

“What gave you the right?”

“Your father left us both in charge of Crofton Hall, Benjamin,” she said sharply.

He glowered at her and she deflated.

“I needed the money, and the only way I could get it was to tell the bank I wanted to open Crofton Hall to the public.”

“And they agreed to lend the money without my permission?” he asked carefully, hardly believing his mother’s audacity, but getting the feeling he knew what she was going to say next.

“They might have been under the impression that you’d agreed to it, and I was acting on both our behalves.”

“Really. And how would they have thought that?”

“Your signature isn’t exactly hard to copy.”

Ben covered his face with his hands, understanding what his mother had done.

“I know I shouldn’t have, not without your permission, but I was desperate. And the bank thought our business plan was excellent.”

He looked up at her. Elena’s eyes were red from crying, but there was still an edge of defiance in her face. “How much is left?”

She shrugged. “A few thousand, maybe.”

“And you used Crofton Hall as security?”

“Yes.”

The anger flashed through him, burning through his usual amicable nature. “How could you have been so stupid? Were you even thinking past your own selfishness?”

Elena cowered in her seat.

“You’ve ruined us, destroyed this family!”

“I didn’t mean—”

Ben didn’t want to hear her feeble excuses. “Oh, that’s all right, then. We’ll tell the bank, you didn’t mean it, and they’ll forget all about it.”

Ben reined in his anger. Taking deep, slow breaths, he clenched and unclenched his fists as he regained his calm. He watched Catlin pace up and down. Harry stood slumped against the fireplace, shell-shocked. Now was not the time to panic. He needed to know exactly how much trouble they were in and deal with it. “Get me the paperwork.”

Without argument, Elena jumped to her feet and scurried over to the writing bureau in the corner. From the folds of frills and ruffles of her blouse, she fished out a key on a chain and unlocked the bureau. She drew out a sheaf of paper. “It’s all here.”

“Right, let’s hope my economics degree wasn’t for nothing.” Ben snatched the papers. “I suggest you all keep your distance until I’ve finished reading.”

He sank into a chair by the unlit fireplace, blocking out the angry thoughts as he scanned sheet after sheet. The figures danced before his eyes, and he saw the terms and conditions his mother had agreed to. The interest, compound interest, and payback terms were listed and categorized in black and white with no way of denying the facts. They were in deep shit, the bank would be at the door within weeks, and Ben seethed internally at his mother’s gall.

The effort she’d put into defrauding the bank was amazing, the business case had been full of fine details and promised an excellent return, but little help would that do them now.

Unless….

Ben stared around the sitting room; generations of Redbourns had sat in here. Men who’d fought at Blenheim, Waterloo, and El Alamein —they would never have given in and surrendered Crofton Hall in the face of adversity. And it wasn’t about to happen while Ben was Earl of Crofton either. As much as he wanted to rail against it, their only hope was to convince the bank they were following through with the idea of opening the house to the public.

“We can probably sell the London apartment. That’ll raise around two million. Our trust funds are protected, so we can’t release the equity from those. If we’ve any hope of holding on to her, Crofton Hall is going have to earn her keep.”

About Rebecca

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and baby son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

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Giveaway!

 Win an e-book of Saving Crofton Hall
(Just click the link below)

Rebecca Cohen Rafflecopter giveaway!

 (Ends 5th December 2014)

Review

Rebecca Cohen - Saving Crofton Hall 300x450Title: Saving Crofton Hall

Series: Stately Passions 01 (A Crofton Hall Novel)

Author: Rebecca Cohen

Genre: Contemporary

Length: Novel (240pgs)

ISBN: 978-1-63216-508-4

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (24th November 2014)

Heat Level: Low – Moderate

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 4 ½ Hearts

Reviewer: Pixie

Blurb: Benjamin Redbourn, Earl of Crofton, has no intention of giving up his beloved ancestral home without a fight. Faced with his mother’s gambling debts, forgery, and the possibility of foreclosure by the bank, Ben vows to make Crofton Hall pay for herself. But opening an Elizabethan manor house to the public isn’t a one man job. With time running out, Ben needs help—and fast.

Ashley Niven has experience managing events, and he also loves history. Being in charge of opening Crofton Hall is a dream come true. As he works with Ben to prepare the house as a venue for lavish weddings and receptions, Ashley finds himself drawn not just to the charm of the house but to the dashing Earl of Crofton. Even if Ashley can look past Ben’s playboy reputation, he fears an affair could prove too much of a distraction.

But Crofton Hall has many secrets, and something hidden for over four hundred years is about to change all their lives.

Purchase Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5725

Review: Although this is the first book in a new series I’d advise that The Crofton Chronicles be read first as there are some revelations in this story that connect directly to The Crofton Chronicles. Ben Redbourn is the 16th Earl of Crofton something he is very proud of and uses to his advantage… in nightclubs. Ben finds himself in dire straits when his mother confesses her gambling debts has led to them facing foreclosure of Crofton Hall, and Ben swears that Croton Hall will have to start paying for herself as he has no intention of losing the old girl, and he needs help. Ashley is being laid off from his job at a castle when a plum opportunity falls into his lap, he adores Crofton Hall and its Earl and working there would be a dream. Ashley throws himself into getting Crofton Hall ready for the public but keeps his attraction to Ben close to his chest, Ben is known for being a playboy and Ashley prefers relationships but as secrets from long past are revealed Ashley will have to take a chance that Ben wants more than just a brief fling.

This is a fantastic addition to the Crofton Hall stories, we are brought into contemporary times and the struggles the current Earl faces because of his mother’s irresponsible actions. Ben is a superb character who has played the field since he got his heart broken, when he faces the loss of his beloved home he puts his private life on hold to try and pull off a miracle. Ashley is brilliant as the events manager who has some slightly shady connections, he is the perfect person to get Crofton Hall up and running and who sneaks his way into Ben’s heart. Ben’s family are wonderful as they each act their parts, Ben’s mother, Elena, as the tearful remorseful gambler, his sister, Caitlin, as the sneaky match maker and his brother Harry as the artistic dreamer.  

Although there is a romance brewing between Ben and Ashley it doesn’t actually pick up till later in the story, first we are faced with the hoop jumping of getting Crofton Hall ready to open to the public, a startling discovery and secrets from the past revealed. When Ben and Ashley finally get together they are then faced with another secret Elena was keeping, one that puts them in danger. Their relationship moves fast but the build up to it has you knowing that they both know each other well and that their feelings aren’t fickle or fleeting.

I loved this story, seeing Crofton Hall brought up to date and the way that Sebastian (from The Crofton Chronicles) still managed to look after the Redbourn’s interests after so many years was amazing. The storyline was wonderful, the characters brilliant and the writing flowed smoothly with a couple of twists… I especially loved Ashley’s family’s immediate history and the way that his father’s influence helped Ben out. Rebecca Cohen delved into just what it takes to open a manor like Crofton Hall to the public, there was no glossing over the requirements and there was even a bit of dodgy dealing snuck in to keep it interesting, add in a sweet romance and you have a wonderful story.

I recommend this to those who love wonderful stories, great characters, two men who embark on a new romance, secrets and revelations, a touch of danger and a fantastic ending.  

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Check out the other blogs on the tour

November 26: Nephylim, BFD Book Blog
Pride Promotions Transparent Proud Blogger

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