BOOK CLUB: Skulduggery

Click to rate this book!
[Total: 3 Average: 5]

Skulduggery by Paul Rushworth-Brown is a historical crime story and also a story of love. It is set in the early 1600s in England during a time of unrest and violence.

Queen Bess, Elizabeth I, had died and King James now reigns. A Catholic plot against him, The Gun Powder Plot, has put the country in turmoil.

Catholics were hunted, tortured and imprisoned. The poor were poorer, food was scarce. It was a difficult and dangerous time.

On the moors of Yorkshire Thomas Rushworth is reminiscing the past, from the death of his father to the present time. There have been good times and bad, happy times and sad.

His life as a peasant is to tend in the fields for the Lord from sunrise to sunset, pruning, weeding, harvesting and ploughing.

One night Thomas and Margery, his mother, come across a drunkard who had been bashed and robbed. John Hargreaves had won money at the King’s Arms, been followed and his winnings stolen. They help John to their cottage and assist him.

This chance meeting with John Hargreaves changes the lives of both families.

Margery has noticed John’s daughter, Agnes, and has plans for her to marry Thomas.

The Hargreaves and the Rushworth families attempt to get to the bottom of the thieving and attacks, putting themselves in danger.

The historical aspect of the story keeps you interested as you learn how the rich and the poor lived at the time. All the fines, the dues, the death and wedding fees all paid to the Lord of the manor.

The relationships between the characters keep you engaged.

The dictionary definition of Skulduggery is “underhand, unscrupulous, dishonest behaviour or activities”. There is definitely plenty of this in the story.

This is a book for fans of historical fiction. It is well written using the language of the time to describe the events.

Red Winter Journey is the follow up book. This book is set in 1642 and follows the Rushworth family now caught up in the ravages of the English Civil War.

It is interesting to mention that Paul Rushworth-Brown embarked on a project to write a family history for his children. Through his research it has led him to a passion for writing historical novels.

Thank you to the Shawline Publishing Group and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this interesting book.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading Skulduggery by Paul Rushworth-Brown. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

17 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Skulduggery

  1. Skulduggery by Paul Rushworth Brown ( Shawling Publishing Group) is a vividly told story which quickly transports you to another place and time. A harsher time where, beset by poverty, thugs and thievery, just to get through each day was tough.
    In the time that this book is set, just following the Gunpowder Plot, King James I enforced strict penalties against Catholics. Many of whom were persecuted and forced to practice their religion in secret. This forms an underlying theme running through the book and factors as the potential motivation for the skulduggery that occurs.
    The story follows the life of peasant farmer Thomas – from his relationship and obligations to the Lord of the Manor and his court, to his arranged marriage and developing affection for Agnes his (secretly Catholic) wife.
    Skulduggery is an interesting glimpse into the past.

    1. Thank you for reading the book and for reviewing it. It was my first novel so I hope I have learned a few things since writing the next two novels Red Winter Journey and Dream of Courage due out in November.

  2. I was not a fan of the writing style of this book but nevertheless the story was engaging. The historical aspect seems to be well researched and for me, it gives a glimpse into life in England in the 1600s. I enjoyed the characters and found them well developed and true to life. Overall, if you like historical drama, I recommend this book as a worthwhile read.

    1. Thank you for reading the book and for reviewing it. It was my first novel so I hope I have learned a few things since writing the next two novels Red Winter Journey and Dream of Courage due out in November.

  3. Thank you so much Beauty and Lace and Paul Rushworth-Brown for allowing me to read and review Skulduggery.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I love historical fiction, especially when an author really researches their subject and it comes across in the novel.
    Paul had me feeling like I was actually genuinely there with all of the characters and not a lot of authors can do this.
    Thank you so much for an very enjoyable read. 5 stars from me.

  4. This wouldn’t be a book a pick up and go I’d want to read that. I’m really glad I’ve read it though great historical knowledge and research has gone into making this as authentic as possible, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and no matter what genre you like reading this is a wonderful book and worth it to add to your list. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review

  5. Old time England, a time of turmoil, of religious change and persecution. A time where times were tough, death is common and crime was harsh. But these things also bring people together.
    Thomas has lost his father and now has to step up to manage the holding his family has under the Lord of the manner. Their resources are stretched, to say the least, and he is only young, but stepping up is what he need do.
    John has been fortunate to own land, to have funds to support his family, his problem is his faith has been outlawed, their very lives are at risk. But its not his faith that ends him in a ditch, it was his luck gambling on a dog and some dead rats. Thieves took his winnings, leaving him for dead. Thankfully Thomas is a good man, despite his youth. They take him in, his mum patches him up and an inter family relationship is born, a marriage is orchestrated.
    Agnes was not keen on being ordered to marry, what if he is horrible, harsh, unkind and demanding. How happy she was to find none of the above. Thomas was unexpected.
    Will John and Thomas’s plan to correct the injustice, to challenge the crime, to involve the Lords people, put everything in jeopardy?
    I loved the descriptions, the rawness of the story and the chance for a better life something to believe in, even if they could not.
    Paul Rushworth-Brown provides a read that is hard to put down and a story to suck you in. Thank you to Beauty and Lace for encouraging this read.

  6. Set in 16th century Yorkshire this Historical book is written by author Paul Rushworth-Brown. Thomas becomes man of the house and is set for an arranged marriage but then he actually falls in love with Agnes.
    Kept in suspense through the book it is a must read!!.
    I’m a big fan of historical Fiction

    Thankyou to Beauty and Lace and Shawline Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review this amazing book.

  7. Bringing characters from best selling novel RED WINTER JOURNEY to life. England, 1642. When bloody civil war breaks out between the King and Parliament, families and communities are driven by different allegiances. Red Winter Journey is a sweeping tale of adventure and loss, sacrifice and love, with a unique and unforgettable story of a boy becoming a man at its heart.
    Feel free to subscribe to The History website (4K subscribers) and The History FB group (7K members)

  8. As the sun sets on Queen Elizabeth’s era, King James ascends to the throne, casting a new light on England and Scotland. With Thomas now shouldering the responsibilities of his household, an arranged marriage looms with Agnes. Yet, beneath the watchful gaze of the moors, a love story blossoms between them, their emotions intertwining with the rugged beauty of the landscape—its cruck house cottages and thick-wooled sheep, its dry stone walls that stand as silent witnesses to the passage of time.
    But this tale is more than a mere love story; it’s an intricate tapestry woven with threads of religious tolerance, loyalty, and the pursuit of justice. As you journey through these pages, suspense will grip you, leaving you pondering whether the forces of good will ultimately conquer evil within this labyrinthine web of secrets. Paul Rushworth-Brown, a virtuoso of storytelling, transports you effortlessly across the ages, immersing you in the vivid lives and landscapes of an era long past.
    From compelling characters that leap off the page to the evocative descriptions that stir your senses, ‘Skulduggery: Shadows of Yorkshire’ promises an unforgettable historical adventure that will linger in your thoughts long after you’ve turned the final page. Brace yourself for a literary experience that transcends time, a journey through history, mystery, and romance. As you traverse the moors and peel back the layers of intrigue, you’ll find yourself irresistibly drawn into the secrets they hold, losing yourself in their enigmatic allure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *