Spotlight: The Secret Life of Mrs. London, by Rebecca Rosenberg

Spotlight Secret Life of Mrs. London

About the book: The Secret Life of Mrs. London

  • Publication Date: January 30, 2018
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
  • Formats: eBook & Paperback; 348 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

The Secret Life of Mrs. LondonSan Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

Praise for The Secret Life of Mrs. London:

“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren’t enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion, and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.” —Victoria Kelly, author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel

“One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner.” —John Cox, Wild about Harry

Pre-order or discuss The Secret Life of Mrs. London:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads


About the author, Rebecca Rosenberg

Rebecca RosenbergA California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.


Visit the other blogs in this blast:

Tuesday, January 2
Passages to the Past

Friday, January 5
Creating Herstory (Fierce Femme Friday)

Monday, January 8
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, January 9
The Lit Bitch
Just One More Chapter
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Wednesday, January 10
To Read, or Not to Read

Thursday, January 11
Suzy Approved Book Reviews

Friday, January 12
Bibliotica

Monday, January 15
Donna’s Book Blog
View From the Birdhouse

Tuesday, January 16
A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 19
I Heart Reading

Monday, January 22
Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, January 23
The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, January 25
Pursuing Stacie

Monday, January 29
What Cathy Read Next

Spotlight Secret Life of Mrs. London

Spotlight: The Langsford Series, by A.E. Wasserman – with Giveaway

About the books in The Langsford Series

1884 - No Boundaries1884 No Boundaries: A Story of Espionage, and International Intrigue

  • Publication Date: April 29, 2015
    Archway Publishing – Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook;
  • Pages: 382
  • Series: Langford Series, Book #1
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

Love, murder, sex, and terrorism swirl within a collapsed world economy.

No, it’s not today.

It’s London, 1884.

Recently married Langsford, born of wealth and privilege, is bound by the restrictions of Victorian society. Dynamite has been invented, but the term “homosexuality” has not and men can be arrested for either.

Langsford accompanies his visiting friend, HEINRICH, eighteen, who innocently flirts with young ANNA at London’s Leadenhall Market.

What should be the end of the story becomes the beginning, for Heinrich falls in love with her, never part of the plan. Instead it becomes the catalyst for everything that follows when he flees Germany to return to her. Events unfold that expose terrorists, espionage and international intrigue.

Langsford walks a fine line as he crosses boundaries he never imagined, rubbing elbows with spies, killers and would-be assassins to save his friend, stop an assassination, and prevent a war.

“Wasserman’s writing is atmospherically rich. Very strongly recommended.” – Historical Novel Society, London, critical review of 1884 No Boundaries

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Goodreads

9781480836648_COVER.indd

1886 Ties That Bind: A Story of Politics, Graft, and Greed

  • Publication Date: November 3, 2016
    Archway Publishing – Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook; 320 Pages
  • Series: Langford Series, Book #2
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

It is 1886 as Englishman Lord Langsford travels by train to San Francisco. Newly widowed, Langsford is desperate to escape his grief, demons, and life in England. As Langsford completes the last leg of his transcontinental journey, his life unexpectedly changes once again when he crosses paths with Miss Sally Baxter, a beautiful rancher who packs a pistol in her purse.

Sally has made it her mission to find the men who robbed a train and killed her brother. Unfortunately, no one—not even the owners of the Southern Pacific Railroad—seem to care. Unable to resist her pleas, Langsford offers to help Sally and soon becomes entangled in a web of politics, corruption, and greed. As murder, threats, and attacks ensue that endanger both Sally and Langsford, influential men in both California and Washington, D.C. jockey for positions of power. Langsford, who finds himself oddly attracted to Sally, now must sort through criminals and politicians alike to discover the truth behind her brother’s death and prevent his own murder.

“The author has woven a complex net of intrigue and background to the murder that makes the entire book so much more than just a mystery. As the title appropriately states, this deals with issues of politics, corruption and greed in a very accomplished way. One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended.” – Christoph Fischer, UK Reviewer Discovering Diamonds

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

 

1885: Crossings

  • Publication Date: October 5, 2017
    Archway Publishing, Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook; 142 Pages
  • Series: Langford Series, Book #3
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

Anna’s hand holding the letter trembled as her vision rocked, going in and out of focus. She felt as though she was falling backward and at the same time rolling forward, expecting to land face first on the floor. She put her hand on the table to brace herself. She no longer heard the song birds in the buckeye tree outside the window, or the hoof beats on the cobblestones passing the front door, or any sound at all.

The world around her ceased to exist—only the paper with Henry’s written words: his own account of what happened during the past year.

The entire time, she’d known he wasn’t telling her everything—but this—she could never have imagined any of it. The hard fact was, Henry will never escape the truth.

“1885 Crossings gives us another opportunity to return to the world of Henry, Anna, and Langsford. A.E. Wasserman’s writing is beautifully done—tense and uncomfortable. The ending gave me a chill.” -Chuck Sambuchino, Bestselling Author

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the Author, A.E. Wasserman

The daughter of a newspaperman, A.E. Wasserman grew up in a household filled with books and stories. At age 14, she wrote her first novella and never stopped writing.

She is the author of a new mystery/thrillers series, the first of which takes place in London: 1884 No Boundaries, A Story of Espionage and International Intrigue. The second in the Langsford Series, 1886 Ties That Bind, A Story of Politics, Graft and Greed, has just been released.

Her work, critically acclaimed as “richly atmospheric,” is being noticed by readers and critics alike, and has garnered international attention, not only in the U.S., but Europe and the U.K. as well. She recently received top honors from Writer’s Digest for her work.

After graduating from The Ohio State University, she lived in London, then San Francisco. Currently she resides in Southern California with her family and her muse, a Border Collie named Topper.

For more information, please Visit the author’s web site at www.aewasserman.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


Giveaway

During the Book Blast we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– 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.

Langsford Series Blast

 


Langsford Series Book Blast

Review: A Minor Deception by Nupur Tustin – with Giveaway

A Minor DeceptionAbout the book, A Minor Deception

  • Publication Date: November 15, 2016, Foiled Plots Press
  • Format: eBook & Trade Paperback; 254 Pages
  • Series: Joseph Haydn Mysteries
  • Genre: Historical Mystery

When his newly hired violinist disappears just weeks before the Empress’s visit, Haydn is forced to confront a disturbing truth. . .

Kapellmeister Joseph Haydn would like nothing better than to show his principal violinist, Bartó Daboczi, the door. But with the Empress Maria Theresa’s visit scheduled in three weeks, Haydn can ill-afford to lose his surly virtuoso.

But when Bartó disappears—along with all the music composed for the imperial visit—the Kapellmeister is forced to don the role of Kapell-detective, or risk losing his job.

Before long Haydn’s search uncovers pieces of a disturbing puzzle. Bartó, it appears, is more than just a petty thief—and more dangerous. And what seemed like a minor musical mishap could modulate into a major political catastrophe unless Haydn can find his missing virtuoso.

Buy, read, and discuss A Minor Deception

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | Goodreads


About the author, Nupur Tustin Nupur Tustin

A former journalist, Nupur Tustin relies upon a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English to orchestrate fictional mayhem. The Haydn mysteries are a result of her life-long passion for classical music and its history. Childhood piano lessons and a 1903 Weber Upright share equal blame for her original compositions, available on ntustin.musicaneo.com.

Her writing includes work for Reuters and CNBC, short stories and freelance articles, and research published in peer-reviewed academic journals. She lives in Southern California with her husband, three rambunctious children, and a pit bull.

For details on the Haydn series and monthly blog posts on the great composer, visit the official Haydn Mystery website.

Connect with Nupur

Facebook | Goodreads


Melissa A. BartellMy Thoughts

As a classically trained cellist (though strictly an amateur), this book really resonated with me.

First, I really loved the use of Joseph Haydn as the main character. I don’t know a lot about him, though I know his music, but he felt real and vivid, and based on my own experience with temperamental conductors, I believed in the author’s version of him.

Then there was the dual dynamic of orchestra/chamber ensemble vs. court. In many ways, the two are similar – both are based on heirarchies that aren’t always obvious to the outsider, and both involve directors/leaders who wield great power, not always judiciously. In particular, I loved the character of Bartó, who reminded me of so many arrogant musicians I’ve worked with – and, though I’m reluctant to admit this, a little of myself.

Finally, there was the mystery. Nupur Tustin combined her love of music and history with research and a genius for plot, and this story kept me guessing to the very enjoyable end.

Basically, if Mozart in the Jungle were set in the court of the Holy Roman Empire, you would get something akin to this novel, except this story, for all it’s drama and theatrics, feels more plausible than the popular Amazon television show.

If you want a compelling mystery that is blended into a gripping story populated by vivid, dimensional characters, and with a soundtrack you can almost hear in your mind’s ear while you’re reading, you need to read A Minor Deception.

Goes well with goulash, not because it’s period-accurate or story specific, but because it’s chilly and rainy and goulash is on my brain.


Giveaway A Minor Deception

To win a paperback copy of A Minor Deception, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Rules

  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Giveaway is open to residents in Europe & North America 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.

A Minor Deception

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/yfHxC/a-minor-deception


Tour Stops

Tuesday, January 17
Interview at The Book Connection
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, January 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, January 19
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 20
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Review at Bibliotica

Sunday, January 22
Review at Laura’s Interests

Monday, January 23
Review at Luxury Reading

A Minor Deception at HFVBT

Cover Reveal: The Fortune Teller, by Gwendolyn Womack

About the book, The Fortune Teller The Fortune Teller

  • Release Date: June 6, 2017
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • Format: eBook & Paperback; 320 Pages
  • Genre: Fiction/Romantic Suspense

FROM THE AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE MEMORY PAINTER COMES A SWEEPING AND SUSPENSEFUL TALE OF ROMANCE, FATE, AND FORTUNE.

Semele Cohen appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, specializing in deciphering ancient texts. And when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele’s life. But what happened to the cards? As the mystery of her connection to the manuscript deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Brossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere—someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Brossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

Pre-order The Fortune Teller

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads


About the Author, Gwendolyn WomackGwendolyn Womack, Copyright JennKL Photography

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack studied theater at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She holds an MFA in Directing Theatre, Video and Cinema from California Institute of the Arts. Her first novel, The Memory Painter, was an RWA PRISM award winner in the Time Travel/Steampunk category and a finalist for Best First Novel. She now resides in Los Angeles with her husband and her son.

Praise for Gwendolyn Womack and The Memory Painter

“A sweeping, mesmerizing feat of absolute magic.” ―M. J. Rose, author of the Reincarnationist Series and The Witch of Painted Sorrows

“Gwendolyn Womack is a storytelling virtuosa, whose sexy, action-packed mind-boggler of a book is destined to become a classic.” ―Anne Fortier, author of Juliet and The Lost Sisterhood

Connect with Gwendolyn

Website  | Facebook  | Twitter | Goodreads


The Fortune TellerCover Reveal Hosts

100 Pages a Day
A Bookaholic Swede
A Literary Vacation
Ageless Pages Reviews
Bibliotica
Book Nerd
Books, Dreams, Life
Buried Under Books
History From a Woman’s Perspective
Jorie Loves a Story
Let Them Read Books
Passages to the Past
Queen of All She Reads
Susan Heim on Writing
The Lit Bitch
The Maiden’s Court
The Never-Ending Book
The Reading Queen
Time 2 Read
Trisha Jenn Reads
What Is That Book About

The Fortune Teller

#Bibliotica reviews The Railway Man’s Wife, by Ashley Hay

About the book, The Railway Man’s Wife The Railway Man's Wife

  • Publication Date: April 5, 2016
    Publisher: Atria Books, 288 Pages
  • Format: Hardcover, eBook, & AudioBook; 288 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary

Amidst the strange, silent aftermath of World War II, a widow, a poet, and a doctor search for lasting peace and fresh beginnings in this internationally acclaimed, award-winning novel.

When Anikka Lachlan’s husband, Mac, is killed in a railway accident, she is offered—and accepts—a job at the Railway Institute’s library and searches there for some solace in her unexpectedly new life. But in Thirroul, in 1948, she’s not the only person trying to chase dreams through books. There’s Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, but who has now lost his words and his hope. There’s Frank Draper, trapped by the guilt of those his medical treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle to find their own peace, and their own new story.

But along with the firming of this triangle of friendship and a sense of lives inching towards renewal come other extremities—and misunderstandings. In the end, love and freedom can have unexpected ways of expressing themselves.

The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can sometimes be to tell them apart. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.

Buy, read, and discuss The Railway Man’s Wife

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Goodreads


About the author, Ashley Hay Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of four nonfiction books, including The Secret: The Strange Marriage of Annabella Milbanke and Lord Byron, and the novels The Body in the Clouds and The Railwayman’s Wife, which was honored with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

For more information please visit Ashley Hay’s website.

 


My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

“This is how you touch grief.” Ani Lachlan’s thought a short while after hearing of her husband’s work-related death rocked me in a way that few sentences have. So much so that as I read the line, I texted it to a friend.

Ani is the railway man’s wife, but she’s also a book lover, a reader, mother to an adorable young girl, Isabelle, and a woman who, like most of us, possesses more inner strength than she at firest realizes. This novel is really her story, and I found it quite easy to connect with her, and her life in a coastal village in Australia.

Early in the novel  – chapter two – Ani and Mac are on a shopping trip, and their last item to purchase is “something magical” for their daughter’s birthday. They choose a kaleidoscope, and I can’t help feeling that this story was also a kaleidoscope of sorts, in that everything happens within a constrained set of parameters, in a close town, within a relatively few changes of scene, despite the emotional twists and turns. Yes, it’s a satisfying 288 pages, but it’s a literary novel, so it’s okay that this lyrical story never explores much beyond the town limits, or that we only really see a few locations. It’s not about place, anyway, it’s about people, and they way they respond to love, loss, grief, and solace.

Author Ashley Hay works magic, populating her pages with people who leap of the page. Ani, of course, and Mac, her husband. While we don’t really get to see a lot of them before he dies, what we do see is so emotionally truthful that I reacted to news of his death with that visceral knife-in-the-gut feeling. Their love for each other, and for their daughter, is imbued in every page of the story. Similarly, the characters of Roy, the WWII veteran who writes poetry to process his pain, and Frank, who is carrying his own guilt and hurt, felt dimensional and real. I believed their dual gravitation toward the (sort of) oblivious about it Ani.

The post-war coastal Australia setting worked well for me – a story like this needs to be set against the blue expanse of the sea.

This is a story about grief and loss and love and hope, and while it is both literary and historical, its themes are universal ones, and it feels contemporary in terms of language and style, but not in an anachronistic way.

This is a novel that touched me.

I think it will touch you, too.

Goes well with a bowl of clam chowder, crusty bread, and a mug of brisk, black tea.


Giveaway The Railway Man's Wife

One lucky reader in the United States will win a paperback copy of this book. To enter, find me on Twitter, follow me, and retweet my tweet about this book review OR leave a comment here (you must use a valid email address) and tell me about your favorite library.

The winner will be chosen by me, and their information will be forwarded to the tour host/publicist for fulfillment. This may take up to six weeks after the day of the end of this blog tour.

This giveaway opportunity is open until noon, central time, on Wednesday, May 18th.


Railway Man's Wife Blog TourBlog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 18
Review at #redhead.with.book

Tuesday, April 19
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Wednesday, April 20
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Poof Books
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, April 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Ashley LaMar

Monday, May 2
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, May 3
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Thursday, May 5
Review & Giveaway at Bibliotica

Friday, May 6
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, May 10
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, May 23
Giveaway at Passages to the Past

 

 

 

Loving Eleanor, by Susan Wittig Albert

About the book, Loving Eleanor Loving Eleanor

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2016
  • Persevero Press; Thorndike (Large Print)
  • Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Large Print
  • Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical Fiction

When AP political reporter Lorena Hickok—Hick—is assigned to cover Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, the wife of the 1932 Democratic presidential candidate, the two women become deeply, intimately involved. Their relationship begins with mutual romantic passion, matures through stormy periods of enforced separation and competing interests, and warms into an enduring, encompassing friendship that ends only with both women’s deaths in the 1960s—all of it documented by 3300 letters exchanged over thirty years.

Now, New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert recreates the fascinating story of Hick and Eleanor, set during the chaotic years of the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the Second World War. Loving Eleanor is Hick’s personal story, revealing Eleanor as a complex, contradictory, and entirely human woman who is pulled in many directions by her obligations to her husband and family and her role as the nation’s First Lady, as well as by a compelling need to care and be cared for. For her part, Hick is revealed as an accomplished journalist, who, at the pinnacle of her career, gives it all up for the woman she loves. Then, as Eleanor is transformed into Eleanor Everywhere, First Lady of the World, Hick must create her own independent, productive life.

Drawing on extensive research in the letters that were sealed for a decade following Hick’s death, Albert creates a compelling narrative: a dramatic love story, vividly portraying two strikingly unconventional women, neither of whom is satisfied to live according to the script society has written for her. Loving Eleanor is a profoundly moving novel that illuminates a relationship we are seldom privileged to see and celebrates the depth and durability of women’s love.

Buy, read, and discuss Loving Eleanor

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Goodreads


About the author, Susan Wittig Albert Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of the forthcoming historical novel Loving Eleanor (2016), about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; and A Wilder Rose (2014), about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books.

Her award-winning fiction also includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

She has written two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, published by the University of Texas Press.

Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.

She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

For more information please visit www.susanalbert.com and www.LovingEleanor.com, or read her blog. You can also find Susan on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Like the Loving Eleanor page on Facebook.


My Thoughts Melissa A. Bartell

I read this book months ago, when I first received the e-galley, and stupidly didn’t write my review right then, so forgive me if this isn’t detailed.

Put simply, this is a wonderful book. It’s challenging to write plausible fiction about real people, but Susan Wittig Albert has done so before, and in this novel, Loving Eleanor, she’s really gone beyond the even her usual skill. I felt like I was experiencing everything along with Hick. Then again, Albert used the real Hick’s actual letters, which were kept private until her death, out of respect for all of the people mentioned within. Knowing that, can this really be called fiction? Doesn’t it ride the edge of being creative non-fiction? Don’t all true stories include some extrapolation?

Whether or not you accept this novel, and the relationship depicted between Hick and Eleanor as factual, it cannot be denied that this book is truthful. It speaks to period in which both women came of age, and came into their power as adults. It speaks to the political and cultural climate of the bulk of their lifetimes, and it speaks to the longing that we all have, not just for a life partner, but for that bosom friendship so few contemporary women seem to have.

Wittig’s tackled a difficult subject with a delicate hand, giving us a glimpse of the Eleanor Roosevelt we all know and love through the eyes of someone who knew her, and loved her, better and differently, than we who can only view her through the long lens of history could ever do. And yet, this isn’t a dry biography. There is humor. There is warmth. There is also grief and loss.

While much of the novel is Hicks’s view of Eleanor, the reality is that this is Hicks’s own story. We see her build her successful journalism career. We see her have to choose between that career and the woman she loves, and when the object of her affection becomes a global icon, she has to choose again how to be – how close, how far, how truthful.

Again, I come back to: this is a wonderful book. Rich in detail, a perfect blend of fiction and history. Truthful, on the deepest emotional levels.

Goes well with strong coffee and mint Milano cookies.


Giveaway

Three copies of Loving Eleanor by Sisan Wittig Albert are up for grabs! To enter, please use the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada 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.

Embed Code for Giveaway: Loving Eleanor

Direct Link to Giveaway: https://gleam.io/QlWl0/loving-eleanor-


Blog Tour Schedule Loving Eleanor Blog Tour

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Bibliotica

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 28
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Friday, April 29
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, May 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, May 3
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Wednesday, May 4
Review at A Holland Reads

Thursday, May 5
Interview at A Holland Reads

Friday, May 6
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter
Spotlight at To Read, or Not to Read

Monday, May 9
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, May 10
Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, May 12
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, May 16
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, May 17
Spotlight at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, May 18
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, May 20
Guest Post at Creating Herstory

Monday, May 23
Review at Unabridged Chick
Interview at Layered Pages

Tuesday, May 24
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, May 25
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, May 26
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Monday, May 30
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, May 31
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Oliver & Jack at Lodgings in Lyme, by Christina E. Pilz (@ChristinaEPilz) #review @HFVBT

About the book, Oliver & Jack At Lodgings in Lyme (Fagin’s Boy, Book 2) Oliver & Jack at Lodgings in Lyme

  • Publication Date: June 14, 2015,  Blue Rain Press
  • Format: eBook & Paperback; 450 Pages
  • Genre: Historical/LGBT/M/M Romance

An ex-apprentice and his street thief companion flee the dangers of Victorian London and the threat of the hangman’s noose in search of family and the promise of a better life.

After Oliver Twist commits murder to protect Jack Dawkins (The Artful Dodger), both must flee London’s familiar but dangerous environs for safety elsewhere. Together they travel to Lyme Regis in the hopes of finding Oliver’s family. Along the way, Jack becomes gravely ill and Oliver is forced to perform manual labor to pay for the doctor’s bills.

While Oliver struggles to balance his need for respectability with his growing love for Jack, Jack becomes disenchanted with the staid nature of village life and his inability to practice his trade. But in spite of their personal struggles, and in the face of dire circumstances, they discover the depth of their love for each other.

Buy, read, and discuss Oliver & Jack at Lodgings in Lyme

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | ITUNES | KOBO | GOODREADS


About the author, Christina E. Pilz Christina E. Pilz

Christina was born in Waco, Texas in 1962. After living on a variety of air force bases, in 1972 her Dad retired and the family moved to Boulder, Colorado. There amidst the clear, dry air of the high plains, as the moss started to grow beneath her feet, her love for historical fiction began with a classroom reading of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

She attended a variety of community colleges (Tacoma Community College) and state universities (UNC-Greeley, CU-Boulder, CU-Denver), and finally found her career in technical writing, which, between layoffs, she has been doing for 18 years. During that time, her love for historical fiction and old-fashioned objects, ideas, and eras has never waned.

In addition to writing, her interests include road trips around the U.S. and frequent flights to England, where she eats fish and chips, drinks hard cider, and listens to the voices in the pub around her. She also loves coffee shops, mountain sunsets, prairie storms, and the smell of lavender. She is a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.

Connect with Christina

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | PINTEREST


My Thoughts: MissMeliss

When I read the description of this book in the email from HFVBT, I thought, “Really? An m/m romance between Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger?” The concept very quickly grew on me, and so I volunteered to be a reviewer.

My only disappointment is that I’ve never read the first book in the series, so I was a bit muddled about the ages of Oliver and Jack, but aside from that, the necessary information from the previous plot is all there in context and there’s just enough exposition to make you understand what happened without feeling like someone’s telling you the previous plot in its entirety.

From the start, I really loved Christina E. Pilz’s writing style. This is an historical novel, but the language is completely accessible while still retaining that ‘period’ feel. I especially appreciate that she didn’t try to emulate Dickens, because that would have taken this story, this beautiful, beautiful story, into the realm of pastiche, or worse, parody.

And it is a beautiful story, one that involves deep friendship that turns into real love, and addresses everything from the roles society expects us to play to our own great expectations about how our lives will turn out. Oliver is a bit self-entitled, Jack is a bit too attached to his ‘career’ as a pickpocket (one he excels at, but still…) and each has issues with class as well as the relationship forming between them. Oh, and there’s a healthy amount of hurt/comfort, as well, but that works in the context of the novel.

For me, the challenging moments of this story weren’t the times when the two men were at odds with each other, because even people who love each other unconditionally have arguments. Nor did I have any issues with the intimate scenes – they were, for the most part – very real, sometimes tender, sometimes less so, but perfectly in tune with the characters as Pilz wrote them, and completely HOT.  No, my challenge was that the boys (yes, I know they’re not children, but still…) spent so much of the novel being tired, wet, cold, hungry, and dirty, and I have issues with too much of that sort of thing.

Not that you’d expect to be anything OTHER than tired, wet, cold, hungry, and dirty while tramping around Victorian England with almost no money.

Overall, I thought this was a really enjoyable, quite sexy read, grounded in the source material, but also very much it’s own thing.

Goes well with steak and kidney pie and a good stout.


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE Oliver & Jack Blog Tour

Monday, September 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 29
Review at Bibliotica
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Wednesday, September 30
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, October 1
Spotlight at Book Nerd

Monday, October 5
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, October 6
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, October 9
Spotlight at History Undressed

Tuesday, October 13
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 14
Review at Broken Teepee

 

 

 

Godiva’s Ancient History, a Guest Post from Eliza Redgold (@elizaredgold) #giveaway @hfvbt

Naked Blog Tour

Godiva’s Ancient History: Pagan goddess or Christian saint?

This blog post comes to us from Eliza Redgold, author, academic and unashamed romantic. Her new novel Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva was released by St Martin’s Press in July.

After dinner, the gleeman took up his usual place in front of the fire. For the first time since the festival of Easter we had supped on hare stew. Many of my people, Aine included, still celebrated the Christian feast as well as honoring Eostre, our goddess of Spring. Since hares were sacred to Eostre they would not eat them until after her feast day.

Quote from NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva

Eliza Redgold at Amazon.com

How old is the legend of Lady Godiva? The tale of her famous naked ride is over a thousand years old. So the story goes, Godiva of Coventry begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. He demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town.

Lady Godiva (or Countess Godgyfu, in the Anglo-Saxon version of her name) was a real person who lived in 11th century Anglo-Saxon England. Yet her myth goes even further back in time.

There are many ancient stories linked to Godiva. Her tale is connected to Greek and Celtic myths and sacred, semi-clad female processions. The Teutonic goddess Hertha made a procession through the woods after her ritual bath, while in Greek legend there is the secret woodland bathing of the goddess of the hunt, Diana. Godiva’s ride may well have descended from one of these rites.

In another version, Godiva’s ride is not a procession, but a love-chase. In this story, Leofric sets his wife a riddle to test her. She must come to him neither being clothed or unclothed, without a foot touching the ground. Cleverly, Godiva rides rather than walks and covers her naked body with a golden net of her hair. In some tellings of this love chase, Godiva is accompanied by a hare – connecting her to the Celtic goddess of Spirng, Eostre. She also strongly resembles another spring goddess who took a woodland May-Day procession to summon the new season. Her name? The goddess Goda.

Like many pagan myths, such stories were absorbed into Christianity. In the Middle Ages Goda’s tale became connected with the real and genuinely philanthropic Countess Godgyfu and the old pagan love-chase became a Christian procession celebrating her piety. Godiva’s story has also been Biblically linked to that of Mary Magdalene, twisted with her long hair and the idea of a ride made in repentance of sin. Even more powerfully are threads of Godiva’s ride interwoven with the tale of third century martyr, St Agnes. The beautiful Agnes was forced to walk naked through the town as a punishment for refusing to give up her faith. Agnes’s hair miraculously grew long enough to cover her, and such a bright angelic light surrounded her that no man could see her.

Godiva’s story has come down to us through the ages in a mix of fact, folk-lore and legend. Some call her a goddess, some call her a saint. All we know for certain is that her extraordinary story continues to catch us in the net of her long, golden hair.


About the book, Naked: a Novel of Lady Godiva Naked, a Novel of Lady Godiva

Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Pages: 320

Genre: Historical Fiction

We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don’t know her true story.

We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit: that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various endings to Godiva’s ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for ‘peeping Tom’) and that her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.

Naked is an original version of Godiva’s tale with a twist that may be closer to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked brings an epic story new voice.

Buy, read, and discuss Naked: a Novel of Lady Godiva

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | ITUNES | INDIEBOUND | KOBO | GOODREADS


About the author, Eliza Redgold Eliza Redgold

ELIZA REDGOLD is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia.

Connect with Eliza

Website | Facebook | Twitter


BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

Monday, August 10
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, August 11
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, August 12
Guest Post at The Maiden’s Court
Spotlight at A Book Geek

Thursday, August 13
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, August 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Saturday, August 15
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf

Monday, August 17
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, August 18
Review at Book Nerd
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, August 19
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, August 20
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Friday, August 21
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, August 24
Review at I’m Shelf-ish
Review at Please Pass the Books
Guest Post at Bibliotica

Tuesday, August 25
Review at A Fold in the Spine
Review & Interview at History Undressed
Guest Post at Curling Up By the Fire

Wednesday, August 26
Review at Bookish
Spotlight at The True Book Addict

Thursday, August 27
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Guest Post at Romantic Historical Reviews
Guest Post at The Lit Bitch

Friday, August 28
Review at A Book Drunkard
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Let Them Read Books


 

GIVEAWAY

To enter to win a copy of Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva or a $50 Amazon Gift Card, please enter via the GLEAM form below. Three winners will be chosen.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 28th. 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.

Naked: A Novel of Lady Godiva Blog Tour

RELEASED TODAY: Roman Mask, by Thomas M.D. Brooke (@thomasmdbrooke) #blitz @hfvbt

About the book, Roman Mask Roman Mask

Publisher CreateSpace (June 29, 2015)
Formats: Kindle, Paperback
Pages: 388
Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure/Action

What is it we normally expect of the leading character in our books? Self-sacrifice? Bravery? Strength of character? Possibly with a hint of self-deprecation? Well, Cassius doesn’t have any of those. Cynicism – yes. Cowardice – possibly. Prepared to live a lie in order to further his own ends – absolutely!

It is Rome AD 9 and Augustus Caesar rules Imperial Rome at the height of its power, as the Roman Empire stretches across the known world. Cassius, son of one of her most powerful families, is the personification of Rome’s imperial strength: wealthy, popular, a war hero with a decorated military career. None of Rome’s fashionable parties are complete without him.

But he hides a secret.

After his nerve is broken in Germany, even the thought of genuine armed combat is enough to send him into a cold sweat. But this doesn’t dissuade him from living off a false reputation so he can continue a life of womanising, wine and wild parties, as he is seduced by the many vices of Rome. However, his scandalous life is interrupted by a summons from the emperor’s wife. It ends his happy decadent life and returns him to Germany to assist the Roman legions in their greatest ever trial. The events will resound through history, in the dark forests of the Teutoburg …

I have researched the calamitous history of the doomed legions that marched into the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9, using a wide range of historical sources including the classical works of Tacitus and the more recent archaeological findings of the early 1990s in Kalkriese. I have put my complicated hero, who clearly suffers from the post-traumatic stress of his last encounter with the German tribes, at the centre of the events that rocked Rome to its foundations. How can a man, so flawed in so many respects, possibly impact on these terrible events? By his humanity, by coming to terms with his flaws, and learning to stop hating himself for them. It is a tale of betrayal and hardship, but also personal redemption.

Buy a copy of Roman Mask

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon DE


About the author Thomas M.D. Brooke Thomas M.D. Brooke

Thomas Brooke lives in London where he works in the exciting, and sometimes crazy, fashion world. He is also a committed writer and he spends as much time as he can in his beloved Northumbrian hills, where up until recently could be seen walking with his black Labrador Fergus, who sadly passed in January 2015. Fergus was a constant companion to the writing of the novel and prevented many writers’ tantrums.

Roman Mask is Thomas Brooke’s second novel, although this will be the first available for sale.

As well as writing novels, he also writes a blog on both historical and fantasy genre novels.

Connect with Thomas

Author’s Website | Roman Mask website | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest

Roman Mask Blog Tour

Return to the Outer Banks House, by Diann Ducharme (@diannducharme) #review @hfvbt

About the book Return to the Outer Banks House Return to the Outer Banks House

  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Kill Devil Publishing; 1 edition (December 10, 2014)

She was the spirited daughter of a North Carolina plantation owner, and he was a poor fisherman who she tutored on the porch of her family’s Nags Head cottage. When we last saw Abigail Sinclair and Ben Whimble at the close of The Outer Banks House, they’d overcome their differences in life stations and defied convention to begin their new life together.

But now it’s seven years later, and Return to the Outer Banks House finds the couple married and in hard times—riddled by poverty, miscarriages, and weakened family ties. The strong bonds that once held them together have eroded over time, and their marriage threatens to unravel, particularly when relationships from the past and ambitions for the future find their way into the mismatched couple’s present predicament.

Can their love survive? Or are the challenges they face insurmountable? Return to the Outer Banks House carries readers back to 1875 to answer these questions and explore the ebb and flow of a rocky marriage set against the enchanting North Carolina shoreline. Replete with history, intrigue, and plenty of maritime drama, it’s an evocative tale of struggle in the Reconstruction-era South.

Buy, read, and discuss Return to the Outer Banks House

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads


 

About the author, Diann Ducharme Diann Ducharme

Diann was born in Indiana in 1971, but she spent the majority of her childhood in Newport News, Virginia. She majored in English literature at the University of Virginia, but she never wrote creatively until, after the birth of her second child in 2003, she sat down to write The Outer Banks House. She soon followed up with her second book, Chasing Eternity, and in 2015 the sequel to her first novel, Return to the Outer Banks House.

Diann has vacationed on the Outer Banks since the age of three. She even married her husband of 10 years, Sean Ducharme, in Duck, North Carolina, immediately after a stubborn Hurricane Bonnie churned through the Outer Banks. Conveniently, the family beach house in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina provided shelter while she conducted research for her historical fiction novels.

She has three beach-loving children and a border collie named Toby, who enjoys his sprints along the shore. The family lives in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, counting down the months until summer.

Connect with Diann

Website | Blog | Twitter | Goodreads


My Thoughts:

In Return to the Outer Banks House, Diann Ducharme brings us back to Nag’s Head seven years after we first met Abigail and Ben in The Outer Banks House, but this novel, set against the Reconstruction of the South is also about the deconstruction of a marriage. The lovers from the first novel have gone through so much, that it’s actually pretty realistic that their relationship is strained, and I applaud the author for writing such an open, honest story, and trusting that we readers will get it.

At the same time, though, the ultimate resolution of Abbie and Ben’s issues is a sad one, and comes as a bitter blow after all the love and hope that existed between them in the first novel. Ducharme does give us a secondary character to follow, Eliza, replete with her own love story, but while she’s an interesting character, it’s not quite the same, and I felt like the whole tone of this book was a subdued one.

Still, it was a great read, even if the ending wasn’t what I expected. Ducharme’s descriptions of the land and sea and sky are almost photo-realistic, and this novel is almost worth it just to get to read more of that. As well, she continues to excel at writing dialogue that feels both natural and period at the same time, using dialect effectively to show differences in class, status, and origin.

This novel can be read alone, but is much more effective, and makes more sense, if you read The Outer Banks House first, though, now that I’ve written that, I wonder if the focus would be more on Eliza, and the readerly response a bit brighter if it’s read as a standalone, without the investment in Abigail and Ben as the primary couple in the tale. Something to ponder, I suppose.

Again, this novel takes place at the shore, but it isn’t at all a typical “beach read,” and I believe it will appeal both to casual readers and those who prefer more literary fiction.

Goes well with fresh caught fish, homegrown tomatoes, and sweet corn.


The Outer Banks Series Blog Tour Schedule 05_Outer-Banks-Series_Blog-Tour-Banner_FINAL-1024x327

Monday, May 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Raven Haired Girl

Tuesday, May 26
Guest Post & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, May 27
Review (Book One) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, May 28
Review (Book One) at In a Minute

Friday, May 29
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Saturday, May 30
Spotlight at Becky on Books

Sunday, May 31
Review (Book One) at Book Nerd

Monday, June 1
Review (Book Two) at Let them Read Books
Spotlight at I’d So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, June 2
Review (Book One) at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, June 3
Review (Book Two) at Back Porchervations

Thursday, June 4
Spotlight & Giveaway (Book One) at View from the Birdhouse

Friday, June 5
Review (Both Books) at Bibliotica

Sunday, June 7
Review (Book One) at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 8
Review (Book One) at Ageless Pages Reviews
Guest Post at Curling Up With A Good Book

Tuesday, June 9
Review & Giveaway (Book One) at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, June 10
Review (Both Books) at Unshelfish
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 11
Review (Book Two) at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, June 12
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Sunday, June 14
Review (Book Two) at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 15
Review & Giveaway (Both Books) at Genre Queen

Tuesday, June 16
Interview at Books and Benches
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, June 17
Review (Both Books) at Luxury Reading

Thursday, June 18
Review (Book One) at Books and Benches
Interview at Layered Pages

Friday, June 19
Review (Book One) at Build a Bookshelf
Review (Book Two) at Ageless Pages Reviews