Review: Cadenza by Stella Riley #HistFic #HFVBTBlogTours #Giveaway

by Stella Riley

Publication Date: November 22, 2018
eBook; 380 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance



The performance finished in a flourish of technical brilliance and the young man rose from the harpsichord to a storm of applause.

Julian Langham was poised on the brink of a dazzling career when the lawyers lured him into making a catastrophic mistake. Now, instead of the concert platform, he has a title he doesn’t want, an estate verging on bankruptcy … and bewildering responsibilities for which he is totally unfitted.

And yet the wreckage of Julian’s life is not a completely ill wind. For Tom, Rob and Ellie it brings something that is almost a miracle … if they dare believe in it.

Meanwhile, first-cousins Arabella Brandon and Elizabeth Marsden embark on a daring escapade which will provide each of them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The adventure will last only a few weeks, after which everything will be the way it was before. Or so they think. What neither of them expects is for it to change a number of lives … most notably, their own.

And there is an additional complication of which they are wholly unaware.

The famed omniscience of the Duke of Rockliffe.


Harpsichord virtuoso Julian’s obliviousness to anything besides his music is both a strength and a deep flaw. It keeps him focused on his passion but someone else must manage his affairs for him. Urged by his manager not to make promises of free performances, he is nevertheless taken from Vienna and the world of music he loves when an unexpected and unwanted earldom in England falls at his feet.

For young Arabella, daughter of landed gentry, disaster strikes hard when her betrothed jilts her for another. The prospect of a London season, balls, parties, the opera, alone and without her best friend, daughter of the local curate, Elizabeth, does not excite her. In her turn, Elizabeth has been looking for a position to help her family, perhaps as a governess, housekeeper or lady’s companion.

The three of them are reluctantly stepping into roles proscribed for them by society. Arabella decides to shake things up a bit, so she and Elizabeth change places. Beautiful, but poor, Elizabeth to London for the season, perhaps to find a rich (but loving) husband, Arabella to the rapidly dilapidating home, and health, of the new earl, Julius, and relief from hurtful gossip.

While Arabella deals with the hopelessly new earl Julius, three orphans, and the tangled affairs of his earldom, Elizabeth moves on to London to take Arabella’s place. A carriage accident brings her into the cold and reluctant sphere of Lord Sherbourne. He, too, has had to make a sacrifice of love, but for darker reasons than Julius.

Well, this was lovely and wonderful! So wonderful that after I finished Cadenza, I bought the first of the series, the Parfit Knight. I loved it and can’t wait for more. The covers of all the books are a joy, bursting with color and character. The pages are steeped in historical detail and the narrative moves along at a good, even pace. Spiced with colorful secondary characters, both helpful and hindering, the stories stayed with me even after I finished the books.  The writing is superb, and the intertwined plots are emotionally complex, complicated by the manners and mores of the Georgian era.


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About the Author

Readers’ Favorite award-winning author and B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree Stella Riley trained as a teacher in London and now lives in Kent. She enjoys Amateur Dramatics, dancing, reading and travel. She is fascinated by the English Civil Wars and has written six books set in that period. She loves the extravagant fashions of the mid-Georgian period, likes men with long hair and her current passion is for Baroque harpsichord music.

The first 5 books of the Rockliffe series (recommended in The Times newspaper!) are also available in audio, narrated by Alex Wyndham. And Rockliffe Book Six – CADENZA – is currently available for pre-order and will be released on November 22nd.

Visit Stella at for all the latest information on her books and her ‘Who’s Who’ and Extras pages. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, November 22
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, November 23
Feature at What Is That Book About

Saturday, November 24
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Sunday, November 25
Excerpt at Old Timey Books

Monday, November 26
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, November 27
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Thursday, November 29
Excerpt at Among the Reads

Monday, December 3
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, December 17
Review at Coffee and Ink

Tuesday, December 18
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 19
Interview at Passages to the Past


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away eBooks from Stella Riley’s Rockliffe series – The Parfit Knight, The Mésalliance, The Player, The Wicked Cousin, or Hazard! 5 eBooks are up for grabs!

To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 19th. You 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 has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.