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The James Blakiston Series

Where: Ryton parish in County Durham in the north-east of England

When: In the 1760s, when things were hotting up in the American colonies and the working poor of England, Wales and Scotland were having a very hard time of it

Why: Perhaps the best way to tell you what this series is about is to let James Blakiston, the man whose name it bears, tell you about it. Here he is in person:

So there we have it; the essence of the James Blakiston Series is that it’s historical fiction from the point of view of the people at the bottom of the social heap – not dukes and duchesses but farm labourers and the poor. I hope that was clear, but if it wasn’t, or you just didn’t feel like listening, you can read a transcript of what he said here.

The Books

Book 1 in the James Blakiston Series

A Just and Upright Man

Shortlisted for the Historical Novel Society’s 2015 Indie Prize

An absolute gem, R.J Lynch’s tale put me in mind of Winston Graham’s Poldark.” Janis Smith

This novel is on a par with Thomas Hardy’s meaty offerings of country life and the hardships of the less well off: those beholden to the super-rich of their day” Francine Howarth, Romance Reviews Magazine

It is 1763. James Blakiston wants to solve the mystery of old Reuben Cooper’s murder. He wants to forget what his father’s foolish speculation has cost him. Most of all, he wants to ignore his yearning for the beautiful and spirited Kate Greener. It takes time, but he finds the murderer. He comes to terms with the loss of fortune and position. But his love for the woman he longs for and can’t have grows…and grows…and grows

Book 2 in the James Blakiston Series

Poor Law

This is Book 2 in R J Lynch’s James Blakiston Series set in the northeast of England in the 1760s. Lynch’s concern is not with the aristocracy, wayward dukes and spoilt princesses – he writes about the people at the bottom of the social heap, for whom every day is a struggle to survive and yet whose humanity stands out as they love, bicker and sometimes fight. In this book, Kate Greener’s love for James Blakiston conceived in Book 1 (A Just and Upright Man) is opposed by James’s implacable sister, Hannah and Susannah Bent’s belief that James is meant for her. In the midst of all this, a serial killer stalks Ryton. But why? And who?

The First Greeners in America

Book 3 in the James Blakiston Series

Publication Date: December 2021

In Book 1 of the series, A Just and Upright Man, Tom Laws helped his brother-in-law, Joseph Greener, escape to the American colonies when wanted on trumped-up charges of murder. This, Book 3 of the series, follows the story of Joe and his young brother Miles as they settle in the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania to make their way in their new land. But these are dangerous times in the colonies, with England’s inept King George and his government determined to show the colonists who’s boss – and the colonists’ equal determination to show the king he has it wrong.

Joe, having spent his life till now being looked down on and exploited by those who think themselves his betters, rapidly comes down on the colonists’ side. If there’s to be what will amount to a civil war, Joe will fight for freedom.

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