Historical Fiction

#BlogTour | The Woman In The Green Dress by Tea Cooper #TheWomanInTheGreenDress #Review #HFVBTBlogTours @TeaCooper1 @HFVBT

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Hello, Sunshines! I have the massive pleasure to be today’s stop on this fabulous blog tour for; The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper. I am super excited to be sharing my review of this amazing book with you all, I hope you all love the sound of it as much as I do, plus if you are in the US there is a chance for you to win a copy of this brilliant book, do check it out!

The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper

Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback, eBook, & AudioBook

Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

 

 

A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.

After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.

In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.

This romantic mystery from award-winning Australian novelist Tea Cooper will keep readers guessing until the astonishing conclusion.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Kobo

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Praise

“Readers of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams will be dazzled. The Woman in the Green Dress spins readers into an evocative world of mystery and romance in this deeply researched book by Tea Cooper. There is a Dickensian flair to Cooper’s carefully constructed world of lost inheritances and found treasures as two indomitable women stretched across centuries work to reconcile their pasts while reclaiming love, identity and belonging against two richly moving historical settings. As soon as you turn the last page you want to start again just to see how every last thread is sewn in anticipation of its thrilling conclusion. One of the most intelligent, visceral and vibrant historical reads I have had the privilege of visiting in an age.” —Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration

“Refreshing and unique, The Woman in the Green Dress sweeps you across the wild lands of Australia in a thrilling whirl of mystery, romance, and danger. This magical tale weaves together two storylines with a heart-pounding finish that is drop-dead gorgeous.” —J’nell Ciesielski, author of The Socialite

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How much do I love this book??

Honestly, I can’t even put into words just how amazing this book is, everything that I love about historical fiction is here, ((she says pointing furiously at the book)) not only has it two of the most engaging, strong and defiant female characters, whose both stories will captivate and you will become fully absorbed into each of these two fine women’s worlds.

This is a beautiful, richly textured, atmospheric and mesmerizing story which not only has two amazing women who are traversing their way through uncertain times. I have always been a big fan of strong and detailed history and this does not disappoint, each and every scene is so vivid, the story entwines clear and passionate history with mystery and emotion, it swirls around the reader like a magical and easily some of the best I’ve read.

Opening in London 1918, that long and bloody war is over, Fleur is waiting for news on her husband; Hugh, but on Armistice Day she gets the worst news any person can receive. Her beloved Hugh is gone and she has been left a huge inheritance in his native Australia, Fleur doesn’t want it she only wants her husband, it’s heartbreaking to read at times. She diced to travel to Australia, find Hugh’s family and hand over the inheritance she believes that they deserve far more than her, but once there I think a little of her broken heart starts to breathe life again and she is soon in the midst of a huge mystery, a secret and a mysterious woman in a green dress…but who is she?

Moving side by side with Fleurs story is one set back in 1853 and revolves around Della a gusty woman who dips her toes into the world of Opal hunting and shop owning but there are odd things happening and Della must tread carefully. As much as I loved Della and how pioneering she is forging away in a man’s world, but I was more drawn to Fleur her story is sad and memorable and really grasped hold of my heart.

I haven’t read any of Tea Cooper’s work before, something which I am planning on remedying as soon as possible, I am in awe of her writing, her knowledge and passion for her native Australia, she has a real flare with words which really captures the readers imagination and attention. Tea Cooper is certainly a skilled and articulate writer with a great mind for knowing exactly what her readers want. The way she has flawlessly intertwined Fleur’s story in 1918 with Della’s story in 1853 is a stroke of genius and I just may be ruined me for all other duel timeline books now.

Overall, this is a cleverly written, beautiful and captivating book, I cannot recommend it more if you love your historical fiction which has drama, a little romance, strong female character’s, mystery and a intriguing plot then this is the book you need to read!

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About the Author

Téa Cooper is an award-winning, bestselling author of Australian historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 16
Review at Bitch Bookshelf

Wednesday, June 17
Review at McCombs on Main
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Interview at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Thursday, June 18
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, June 19
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Saturday, June 20
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, June 22
Review at Captivated Pages
Review at Books and Backroads

Tuesday, June 23
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, June 24
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, June 26
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Saturday, June 27
Review at A Darn Good Read

Sunday, June 28
Review at Rejoice in Reading

Monday, June 29
Feature at I’m All About Books
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, June 30
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 paperback copies of The Woman in the Green Dress! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Woman in the Green Dress

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

 

#BookBlast | The Memory House by Jenetta James #TheMemoryHouse #HFVBTBlogTours @jenettajames @HFVBT

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Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful book blast for; The Memory House by Jenetta James. This book looks and sounds fabulous, and it’s definitely going onto my wish list, I hope you love it too, go on take a peek!

The Memory House: A Love Story in Two Acts by Jenetta James

Publication Date: August 10, 2020
Publisher: Quills and Quartos Publishing

Genre: Historical Romance

 

 

A house in one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods is home to secrets, mysteries, and two love stories spanning two centuries.

In 1859, independent-minded Kitty Cathcart dreams of escaping Veronica Gardens but her father’s determination to marry her off to a rich man of his choosing forces her to seek happiness and find her own voice by other means. And then the handsome but poor Alex Faraday walks through the front doors.

In 2019, Oxford-educated Josie Minton never dreamt of living in a house as grand as Veronica Gardens, but the nanny’s quarters are a perfect fit for a young woman in need of a job. Wealthy financier James Cavendish and his twin girls quickly find her indispensable to their happiness, but Josie is still searching for her future.

Then the great house reveals the first of its secrets, and the tragedy and romance of one era are brought into sharp relief with another.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

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About the Author

Jenetta James is a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego.

She is the author of “Suddenly Mrs Darcy”, “The Elizabeth Papers” and “Lover’s Knot” as well as a contributor to The Quill Ink series of anthologies, “The Darcy Monologues”, “Dangerous to know”, “Rational Creatures” and “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl”.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 22
Robin Loves Reading
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, June 23
Momfluenster
Jorie Loves A Story

Wednesday, June 24
Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, June 25
A Darn Good Read
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, June 26
Austenprose
Donna’s Book Blog

Saturday, June 27
Reading is My Remedy

Sunday, June 28
Books, Cooks, Looks

Monday, June 29
Bookworlder
Passages to the Past

#BookBlast | Out of Night by Kellie Butler #OutOfNight #TheLaurelHurstChronicles #HFVBTBlogTours @kellierbutler @HFVBT

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Hello, Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the book blast tour for; Out of Night by Kellie Butler. This book looks fabulous, I am super excited to be sharing it with you all, plus there is a chance for you to win a signed copy, definitely not one to miss. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Out of Night by Kellie Butler

Publication Date: June 24, 2020
Publisher: Raleigh Hills Press
Format: Paperback & eBook; 328 pages

Series: The Laurelhurst Chronicles, Book 4
Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

How long can you run from yourself?

1968. In the continuing bestselling Laurelhurst Chronicles family saga series comes a gripping, moving tale of separation, self-discovery, new beginnings, and reconciliation.

Kate. A mainstay on Swinging London’s party circuit for years, Kate is plunged into a sordid world when Lord Elliott Cutterworth kicks her out of her home and takes custody of their daughter, Violet after she relapses on her journey to sobriety. Separated from her family, she’s determined to get clean and regain custody of her daughter. On the run from Elliott and her old life, she finds assistance in her reluctant brother-in-law, Edward Cavert, who is running away from some secrets of his own. Can she reconcile her past and face down Elliott?

Lydie. When her youngest son, Cole, is institutionalized from intellectual impairments, it sends Lydie into a downward spiral, and her once loving marriage is in jeopardy.

After botched treatments leave her memory in tatters, her husband, Henry, sends Lydie to Kansas, and to the one psychiatric hospital that can help her restore her memory and her sanity. There, Lydie meets new friends while reconnecting with a childhood friend, Lord Christopher “Kit” Alderley. As she puts the pieces of her life back together, can she finally leave the haunting memories from her youth in Lancashire behind her and reconcile with her brother and her husband?

Available on Amazon


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Giveaway

Win a copy of the book (paperback or eBook) and a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

Click the photo below to enter.

Giveaway ends on June 29th.


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About the Author

Kellie Butler is the author of Beneath a Moonless Sky, Before the Flood, and The Broken Tree, all part of the bestselling The Laurelhurst Chronicles series.

Born in the deep south and educated at Mississippi State University and Louisiana State University, she has travelled and lived around the globe. Besides writing books, she enjoys knitting, yoga, cooking, hiking, classical film, her MSU Bulldogs, and her dog, Chippy. She lives in Arizona with her family.

She enjoys hearing from readers. To connect with her, visit her website www.kellierbutler.com to join her newsletter, connect with her on social media, and receive updated news on signings and events.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 22
Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 23
Reading is My Remedy

Wednesday, June 24
SplendeurCaisse
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Thursday, June 25
Pursuing Stacie

Friday, June 26
Donna’s Book Blog

Saturday, June 27
CelticLady’s Reviews

Sunday, June 28
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, June 29
The Book Junkie Reads

 

#BlogTour | The Philosopher’s Daughter by Alison Booth #ThePhilosophersDaughter #Review @booth_alison @hfvbt

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Hello, Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this fabulous blog tour for; The Philosopher’s Daughter by Alison Booth, I am super excited to be sharing my review of this amazing and book, I hope you fall in love it as much as I have!

The Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth

Publication Date: April 2, 2020
Publisher: RedDoor Press
Format: Paperback & eBook; 356 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

A tale of two very different sisters whose 1890s voyage from London into remote outback Australia becomes a journey of self-discovery, set against a landscape of wild beauty and savage dispossession.

London in 1891: Harriet Cameron is a talented young artist whose mother died when she was barely five. She and her beloved sister Sarah were brought up by their father, radical thinker James Cameron. After adventurer Henry Vincent arrives on the scene, the sisters’ lives are changed forever. Sarah, the beauty of the family, marries Henry and embarks on a voyage to Australia. Harriet, intensely missing Sarah, must decide whether to help her father with his life’s work or devote herself to painting.

When James Cameron dies unexpectedly, Harriet is overwhelmed by grief. Seeking distraction, she follows Sarah to Australia, and afterwards into the Northern Territory outback, where she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life.

Her rejuvenation begins with her friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her growing love for the landscape. But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand seeking revenge.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository | Kobo UK | Kobo US | Apple iBooks

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Praise for The Philosopher’s Daughters

“A lyrical tale of wild, frontier Australia. Evocative, insightful, thought-provoking.” -Karen Viggers, author

?”Booth is superb at the small detail that creates a life, and the large one that gives it meaning.” –
Marion Halligan, author

“Delicately handled historical drama with a theme of finding self, both in relationships and art, backed by issues on race relations in Australia and women’s rights.” -Tom Flood, author and editor

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Firstly, can I talk about that gorgeous cover? There really is something enchanting about it which draws you in and makes you want to pick it up and fall into the book. 

I was attracted to this book as soon as I  read the description, I have a real love of this turbulent, ever-changing era and to be perfectly honest I did think that this was going to be one thing and it turned out to be something completely different, and so much better then I had originally hoped.

This is set on the cusp of the Suffrage movement of 1891, which was another reason I found this so attractive. First in London and then the story moves across the world to Australia and in my opinion that is when the whole book comes to life, in the writing seems to take on a whole different feel it is as though Alison Booth was just waiting for that moment when the reader had settled themselves into hot and dusty, yet dangerously beautiful Australia to really let her talent and passion to breakthrough.

It is obvious that Ms Booth has a lot of love for this aspect of history and not just hour upon hours of research has gone into this but also a little piece of her heart. I think you can always tell in the feel of the writing when the author loves the story and you get that feeling here, it’s captivating.

So the story follows two sisters; Sarah and Harriet, who when the tale opens are living with their radical father and philosopher; James. Sarah soon marries adventurer Henry and in the blink of an eye. they have both sailed off to the other side of the world Harriet a passionate artist with her father. But on James’ untimely death, Harriet now must choose in which direction her life will take, missing her sister she follows Sarah to Australia and this is when these two completely different, yet intelligent, feisty and independent women really come to life.

I was completely blown away by this, it’s beautiful as well as bleak, it’s poignant and powerful, there is a magic that swirls through it as you read, the pull of the beautiful Australian outback, the intrigue of the history and the overpowering love from the people of their land. At the same time, it is hard hitting, I personally found it very uncomfortable to read the way the aboriginal people were treated, the tactless and ignorant prejudice from those whom think themselves superior.

If you only read one book this year, make it The Philosopher’s Daughter, this is a powerful, though-provoking and at times hard book to read, but well worth it. It’s a mesmerizing, eloquent and disarming tale of love, passion and fighting for rights and justice. It’s a story that will make you think of your own choices in life and how the world is, it’s a story of self-discovery, of harsh and unjust treatment of others and a story of family and true friendship.

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About the Author

Alison Booth was born in Melbourne, brought up in Sydney and has worked in the UK and in Australia as a professor as well as a novelist. Her most recent novel, A Perfect Marriage, is in the genre of contemporary fiction, while her first three novels (Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky, and A Distant Land) are historical fiction spanning the decades 1950s through to the early 1970s. Alison’s work has been translated into French and has also been published by Reader’s Digest Select Editions in both Asia and Europe. Alison, who holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics, is an active public speaker and has participated in many writers’ festivals and literary events.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 17
Excerpt at Donna’s Book Blog

Thursday, June 18
Guest Post at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, June 19
Feature at What Is That Book About

Saturday, June 20
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, June 23
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, June 24
Excerpt at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Friday, June 26
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Monday, June 29
Review at A Darn Good Read

Wednesday, July 1
Excerpt at Bookworlder

Friday, July 3
Feature at I’m All About Books

Monday, July 6
Review at Impressions In Ink

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of The Philosopher’s Daughters! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – The Philosopher’s Daughters

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

#BlogTour | The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner #TheJaneAustenSociety #Review @NatalieMJenner @StMartinsPress

Posted on

Hello, Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. I am super excited to share my review of the enchanting book with you, I hope you love as much as I do!

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: St. Martins Press

Format: Ebook, Audio, Hardback

Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORYINDIEBOUND | AUDIBLEGOODREADS | BOOKBUB

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AudioBook

The full unabridged text of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was read by the distinguished English film, television, theatre and voice actor Richard Armitage for the audiobook recording. Best known by many period drama fans for his outstanding performance as John Thornton in the BBC television adaptation of North and South (2004), Armitage also portrayed Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit (2012 – 2014).

YouTube audiobook excerpt

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Praise for Natalie Jenner

Just like a story written by Austen herself, Jenner’s first novel is brimming with charming moments, endearing characters, and nuanced relationships…Readers won’t need previous knowledge of Austen and her novels to enjoy this tale’s slow revealing of secrets that build to a satisfying and dramatic ending.”Booklist (starred review)

Few things draw disparate people together so quickly as discovering they love the same writers. Few writers cement such friendships as deeply as Austen does. I believe that the readers of Jenner’s book will fall in love with the readers inside Jenner’s book, all of us thinking and dreaming of Austen the whole while. What could be better? Nothing, that’s what! A wonderful book, a wonderful read.” ―Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club

Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society… A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

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This is a real sweet and feel-good story of love, friendship and the power of reading! If anything this charming tale just goes to prove that books really are the balm for the soul, they can bring so much joy, which is what I am assuming Jane Austen would have loved to hear, that her books have brought people so much happiness and joy.

I have to say that I am immensely impressed by how solid and beautiful the writing is if I didn’t know that this was Natalie Jenner’s debut book I wouldn’t have believed it. This is a gorgeous, heart-warming and inspiring book which really does drum home the power of good friendships.

I have to be honest and say that when I volunteered to review this for this blog tour, it wasn’t the Jane Austen link that caught my attention first, I did love the sound of it but what captured my attention was the era, I love a WW2 or post WW2 novel and I caught up by the idea that the power of books and one author, the history and legacy of a place can help restore the hope in a time that was so fraught with its own challenges, the war is over but that isn’t the end; men are coming home, women are losing their positions, loved ones are lost forever and those left behind are having to cope plus on top of that there is still unease and rationing it was those aspects and how the Society would help rebuild peoples lives that captured me most.

Set during 1948, we are whisked away to the picturesque village of Chawton, the last home of one Jane Austen a place where she spent the last days of her life. Unfortunately, Janes familial estate is under threat which is where a group of completely different people all come together in a shared hope and attempt to save not only Jane’s home but her legacy too, and the Jane Austen Society is born!

Each one of these eight individuals may have come together to preserve history and to keep Jane’s legacy of friendship and love from books alive, they have thrown themselves in on the task, but they each are battling their own personal issues. They are all so different each one is from a completely different world from the next each has come into the village with different reasons, they are all trying to either forget, move on or find a new life, some have suffered because of the war, some are facing the worst possible moments of their lives, some have found themselves in tragedy but. But despite their differences and their struggles, they have two things in common; 1. they all need a friend and 2. they are all passionate about Jane Austen.

I can’t really go into too much detail regarding this book, as apart from each of the members own personal histories and drama, the back blurb practically tells the story itself,, it’s not a taxing heavy read you can sit back and lose a couple of hours easily as you are transported to Chawton. I love the overall feel to this is an enchanting and engaging, its beautiful nod to one of this countries greats, but what surprised me most is that this is Natalie Jenner’s debut book, I would never have thought that as the writing is so clear and rich in detail, it’s definitely easy to read the story flows over the reader like a swirling mist and before you know it you’re near the end and wondering how that happened.

It’s a simple story one that will really hold onto your heart and what I love about it is that it can be enjoyed by all readers of historical fiction, whether you are an Austen fan or not. I know this as a fact as – and yes, I realise that this admission will probably get me outcast for life, but hey, I am all for speaking the truth – I have never read a Jane Austen and I don’t particularly like Pride and Prejudice, I am and always have been a Bronte lass, sorry to all Janeites.

Oh and for those who like audiobooks, I would definitely recommend this one, I am not a big fan of audio, in fact, I can never get into them much preferring to read a book for myself but The Jane Austen Society is narrated by the very talented Richard Armitage (Yes, I know ladies, its Mr Thornton and now we shall all stop and remember that kiss…#DoubleSigh) so whether you like audio’s or not, who can say no to Richard Armitage? 😉

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Spotify Playlist

Spotify users can access a playlist for THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY  here – The Jane Austen Society Playlist.

The playlist includes music from various film adaptions of Jane Austen’s books, as well as film scores by such incomparable artists as Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman, and Michael Nyman.

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About the Author

Natalie Jenner is the debut author of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen wrote or revised her major works. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie graduated from the University of Toronto with degrees in English Literature and Law and has worked for decades in the legal industry. She recently founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

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Blog Tour Schedule

Join the virtual online book tour of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, Natalie Jenner’s highly acclaimed debut novel May 25 through June 30, 2020. Seventy-five popular blogs and websites specializing in historical fiction, historical romance, women’s fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature interviews and reviews of this post-WWII novel set in Chawton, England.

May 25 Jane Austen’s World

May 25 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog

May 26 Frolic Media

May 26 A Bookish Affair

May 26 Courtney Reads Romance

May 26 Margie’s Must Reads

May 26 The Reading Frenzy

May 27 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina

May 27 Gwendalyn’s Books

May 27 Romantically Inclined Reviews

May 28 Getting Your Read On

May 28 Living Read Girl

May 28 The Lit Bitch

May 29 History Lizzie

May 29 Silver Petticoat Reviews

May 30 Cup of Tea with that Book, Please

May 30 Historical Fiction Reader

May 31 Jane Austen in Vermont

June 01 From Pemberley to Milton

June 01 My Jane Austen Book Club

June 01 AustenBlog

June 02 Lu’s Reviews

June 02 The Green Mockingbird

June 03 The Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

June 03 Relz Reviews

June 03 Impressions in Ink

June 04 The Caffeinated Bibliophile

June 04 Life of Literature

June 04 Laura’s Reviews

June 05 Reading Ladies Book Club

June 05 Bookish Rantings

June 06 From the TBR Pile

June 07 Rachel Dodge

June 07 An Historian About Town

June 08 Bringing up Books

June 08 Austenesque Reviews

June 09 Captivated Reading

June 09 Savvy Verse and Witt

June 10 Lady with a Quill

June 10 Drunk Austen

June 11 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

June 11 Inkwell Inspirations

June 12 Nurse Bookie

June 12 A Bookish Way of Life

June 13 Calico Critic

June 14 Jane Austen’s World

June 15 Stuck in a Book

June 15 Storybook Reviews

June 15 Confessions of a Book Addict

June 16 Literary Quicksand

June 16 Becky on Books

June 17 The Reading Frenzy

June 17 Anita Loves Books

June 18 Chicks, Rogues, & Scandals

June 18 The Write Review

June 19 Diary of Eccentric

June 20 Cracking the Cover

June 21 Short Books & Scribes

June 22 Reading the Past

June 22 Babblings of a Bookworm

June 23 My Vices and Weaknesses

June 23 The Book Diva Reads

June 24 Books, Teacups & Reviews

June 24 Wishful Endings

June 25 Robin Loves Reading

June 25 Bookfoolery

June 26 Lit and Life

June 26 Vesper’s Place

June 27 Foxes and Fairy Tales

June 28 Probably at the Library

June 28 Scuffed Slippers Wormy Books

June 29 The Anglophile Channel

June 29 So Little Time…

June 30 BookNAround

#BlogTour | Spies by Ellie Midwood #Spies #AuthorInterview #HFVBTBlogTours @hfvbt

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Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are all well?! I have the massive pleasure to be today’s stop on this brilliant blog tour for; Spies by Ellie Midwood. I am super excited to be sharing this gorgeous book with you all, and I also have the most amazing exclusive interview with Ellie. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Spies by Ellie Midwood

Publication Date: May 15, 2020
Format: Paperback & eBook

Series: Metropolis, Book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Weimar Berlin, 1927

Having recovered from the hyperinflation, the decadent metropolis is prospering against all odds. Unbothered by the turbulent events of the previous years, Berlin plunges into an orgy of life, entirely oblivious to the dangerous signs of an upcoming catastrophe.

Much like the rest of Berlin’s artistic elite, Margot von Steinhoff is too preoccupied with her work on the set of the infamous Fritz Lang, to pay attention to the dark shadow of the nationalistic threat hanging over the city. When Ernst Weniger, her former lover and now an official NKVD officer, asks for her help in aiding the German communists, she refuses at first, choosing to stay apolitical, just like Lang. However, when the new Gauleiter of Berlin, Joseph Goebbels, arrives in the city and begins his relentless campaign of harassment and misinformation, Margot realizes that staying neutral is no longer an option. Playing on the wrong side can cost her not only her career but her freedom, yet Margot has never been more certain of her choice.

“I don’t read political newspapers, Margot. I only want to make my films… I don’t want to have anything to do with all those politics.”

“I don’t want to have anything to do with them either. But the sad fact is that sometimes politics wants to have everything to do with us, regardless of our desires. At some point, all of us will have to take sides. The good news, Fritz, is that I’ll always be on yours.”

Dark, gritty, yet full of hope, “Spies” is the novel of the doomed Weimar Republic and the last generation of free-thinking artists who lived and created their masterpieces in a city, on the verge of collapse.

Available on Amazon

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Hi Ellie, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, it’s so lovely having you on the blog! – thank you so much for having me!

Firstly, can you tell us all a little about yourself?

I’m a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. I owe my interest in the history of the Second World War to my grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling me about his experiences on the frontline when I was a young girl. Growing up, my interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining my BA in Linguistics, I decided to make writing my full-time career and began working on my first full-length historical novel, “The Girl from Berlin.” I’m continuously enriching my library with new research material and feed my passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents.

In my free time, I’m a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, neat freak, adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama. I live in New York with my fiancé and our Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Your new book; Spies looks amazing, it has gone straight on to my wish list, for those who haven’t heard of it yet, could you tell us a little about it?

Basically, “Spies” is a story of dual plot lines. One deals with the filming and the second, with the antifascist activity and my main protagonist Margot is involved with both. The story takes place in Weimar Berlin in the late twenties, which at the time was an incredibly liberal and cosmopolitan city with a vibrant cultural life. As the Nazis try to muscle their way in, Margot joins forces with Ernst Weniger, a German communist, in their effort to upset the newly-arrived Gauleiter Goebbels’s plans to win the Reichstag elections and also, to prevent the nationalistic ideology from overtaking the UFA – a film company Margot works for. Along the way, she finds an unexpected ally in Fritz Lang, Germany’s most celebrated director and her immediate boss. There’s plenty of intrigue, plotting, real historical figures taking unexpected sides and half of it all takes place right on the set of “Spies.”

Your new book is the second book in the Metropolis series, can you tell us a little more about this series?

Metropolis” will be a multiple book series. It starts with 1924, during the time of hyper-inflation and cultural and social revolution in Weimar Berlin (think Women’s Lib, sexual liberation, the development of psychoanalysis, expressionism, iconic silent movies etc etc) and will end only in 1945. The protagonist Margot von Steinhoff, who starts off as an apolitical photographer, gets more and more involved with the Berlin political scene and the further into series, the deeper that involvement will grow. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but there will be plenty of spying going on when the Nazis come to power in 1933 and plenty of close calls for Margot, who will be walking a very dangerous line as she plays a silent collaborator and works for the German underground at the same time.

When not writing or researching for your writing, what do you to relax?

Yoga, reading horror or psychological thrillers, watching old noir movies.

When you first sit down to write a new story, do you research before or during writing the book? and how much of the historical detail you find in your research ends up in the finished book?

Before and during writing and even during rewrites to insert additional scenes or descriptions that I could have missed out during the initial phase. To me, research is extremely important, so I stick to real historical events, lingo, historical figures etc as much a possible. I would say, about ninety percent of real history ends up in the finished product. For instance, in “Spies” the whole movie production process, the relationship between the actors, the conflicts with the UFA, the historical background (such as Goebbels’s arrival in Berlin and the following clashes with the German communists) – it’s all true to fact. The supporting characters, such as Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou, Leni Riefenstahl, Max Reinhardt, Theodor Wolff are all real historical figures. I only had to insert the main protagonist, Margot, in the middle of all this, create her own plot line that fit into the historical frame and have her interact with all of these real people. So yes, to me personally, the more historical accuracy and sticking to the fact, the better. You can not overdo research when writing historical fiction. After all, it’s the historical details (and I’m talking contemporary cigarette brands they smoked, books they read, social issues they had to deal with) that make a good, authentic historical fiction novel. Without such details, it’s just fiction.

It is so obvious that the WW2 era is real love and passion of yours, could you share with us what caught your attention and drew you into this era?

My family history. Many of my family members fought in the war and some perished. I grew up listening to my grandfather’s war stories (he was among the troops that took Berlin) and I guess they impressed me to such an extent, I began actively reading and researching the war and the events leading to it later in life and ended up writing about it. I guess, the main reason why I will never get tired of writing about it is because I want people to understand how hellish the war is, how dangerous racist and xenophobic rhetoric is, how important it is – and particularly now – to stand up to tyranny and fight for what is right. In general, how to prevent yet another war and another Holocaust from happening.

If you could have one of your books made into a film, which book would it be and who would play your lead characters?

Right now, I would love “Metropolis” series to be made into a Netflix series maybe, but it’s because I have just finished the second book and I’m still too emotionally involved with the project and excited about it. Weimar Berlin would look amazing on film – all that glitter and glamour and the ominous political cloud in the background. I think it would look fascinating. As for the actors, I would leave it to the professionals – producers and directors. They know their business better.

Are there challenges you face while writing and researching your books, and if so what do you do to work through these issues?

I can’t really come up with any challenges; once I get into the project, it pretty much writes itself. All I have to do it to sit before my laptop, let my characters talk, and type after them. The biggest challenge is the days when the words sometimes refuse to assemble themselves into coherent sentences, but that’s usually a sign that I overworked myself and that my brain needs a rest (I usually work 10-12 hours a day, so it’s easy to imagine how it can short-circuit sometimes, haha!). On days like these, I usually let myself recharge, listen to an audiobook, do some yoga, take a walk with my pup, watch some old classic movie and by the time I wake up the next day, I already have the entire new chapter in my head, ready to be written.

Your books are predominantly set during the twenties and WW2, would you ever write a story set during a completely different era?

As of now, I would say no. That is, it is not in my immediate plans. But you know what they say – never say never – so, maybe, someday, I’ll write about Louis XIV’s court intrigues or about Viking warrior women.

If you were hosting a dinner party which three people would you invite?

Living or dead? If living, it would be Stephen King, Johnny Depp, and Natalie Portman. All three are extremely talented individuals but they’re also very interesting people (impo) and I think it would be very interesting to just sit there and talk about social issues, art, literature, history and whatnot with them. If dead, it would be Erich Maria Remarque, Fritz Lang, and Albert Einstein – all three for the same reason.

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun; What is your favourite snacking food?

Cherries, bananas, or nectarines. I’m a health nut lol Thank you so much for having me! I really appreciate it!

It was a real pleasure having you visit the blog today, Ellie, Thank you!

***

About the Author

Ellie Midwood is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning historical fiction author. She owes her interest in the history of the Second World War to her grandfather, Junior Sergeant in the 2nd Guards Tank Army of the First Belorussian Front, who began telling her about his experiences on the frontline when she was a young girl. Growing up, her interest in history only deepened and transformed from reading about the war to writing about it. After obtaining her BA in Linguistics, Ellie decided to make writing her full-time career and began working on her first full-length historical novel, “The Girl from Berlin.” Ellie is continuously enriching her library with new research material and feeds her passion for WWII and Holocaust history by collecting rare memorabilia and documents.

In her free time, Ellie is a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, neat freak, adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew, and a doggie mama. Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

***

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, June 6
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, June 8
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, June 9
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 10
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, June 12
Interview at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, June 15
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Tuesday, June 16
Review at Nurse Bookie
Excerpt at I’m All About Books

Friday, June 19
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Review & Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading

Monday, June 22
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Spies by Ellie Midwood! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Spies

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

#BlogTour | Saving The Music Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco #SavingTheMusic #HFVBTBlogTours @VincentBLoCoco @hfvbt

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Hello, Sunshines! I hope everyone is well? I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Saving The Music by Vincent B. (Chips) LoCoco, I am super excited to be sharing this book with you all which sounds absolutely amazing and if I didn’t have a mammoth TBR I would have been reviewing this too, but it has gone straight onto my ‘next to buy’ list. I hope you love the sound of it as much as I do!

Saving the Music by Vincent B. “Chip” LoCoco

Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Publisher: Cefalutana Press
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook

Series: Bellafortuna, Book #2
Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

It is the winter of 1942, and the world is at war. A few Jewish musicians attempt to flee the Nazi death grip, each desperately trying to navigate his own path to safety. With the courageous aid and kindness of strangers, they soon find themselves in Rome, where under the highly secret help of the Vatican, they are hidden in Bellafortuna, a small village in Sicily. The residents of Bellafortuna welcome them and care for them, and for a fleeting moment, the horrors the musicians are facing are forgotten while residing in the beautiful, idyllic landscape of Sicily. But word soon reaches the small village that Italy has surrendered, now making Germany at war with Italy. War quickly comes to the village as the Germans storm into Sicily to repel the Allied advance. As Bellafortuna becomes front and center in the raging war, the villagers rise as one to try and protect and save the Jews hiding in their midst. Failure to keep them hidden will mean death to those under their protection…and perhaps even to the villagers themselves.

An intricately plotted and meticulously researched novel, Saving the Music demonstrates how, in the face of death and unspeakable horror, the strength of the human spirit of ordinary people can shine bright through the darkness.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

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Advance Praise

“In Saving the Music, author Chip LoCoco writes of the efforts undertaken by common villagers, priests, and even a Pope to protect Jews from the Nazis. He vividly depicts the horrors faced by the Jews as they confront the Holocaust. Filled with real heroism and high drama, this book brings perspective and depth to its subject. It’s an exciting read on an important topic, and I strongly recommend it.” -Ronald Rychlak, Author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope

“This is a well-composed novel that captures key moments of the Holocaust as it relates to the Italian people. I highly recommend it.” -Professor Vincent Lapomarda, S.J., Author of The Jesuits and the Third Reich

“This is a well-researched novel and reflects the situation as it then existed, hopefully, never to return.” -Fr. Peter Gumpel, S.J., postulator of the cause of beautification for Pius XII

“Chip LoCoco’s novel, Saving the Music, is a realistic fact-based story of pain, fear and true heroism. The premise is solidly grounded on documented facts of the actions of the Catholic Church under the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII down to priests and individual Catholics. Saving the Music is an exciting and engrossing read, which joins the list of wonderful truth-based books of late that is shedding light on the truth ending the worst character assassination of the 20th Century. Bravo.” -Gary L. Krupp, Author of Pope Pius XII and World War II- The Documented Truth

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About the Author

Chip LoCoco was born and raised in New Orleans. His first novel, Tempesta’s Dream, became an Amazon Bestseller.

His second novel, Bellafortuna, has been nationally recognized, being named a Short List Finalist in the William Faulkner Writing Competition and awarded the B.R.A.G. Award in Historical Fiction. Mr. LoCoco is a member of the Italian American Writers Association.

His newest work, Saving the Music, which is Book 2 of his Bellafortuna Series, was just recently released.

Chip, who is an attorney, is married to his wife of over 20 years, Wendy. They have two children, Matthew and Ellie and a beagle, named Scout. They reside in their beloved city of New Orleans, where if you try to find them on a Sunday in the Fall, they will be somewhere rooting on their Saints.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, June 3
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, June 5
Feature at What Is That Book About
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Monday, June 8
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 9
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, June 10
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, June 12
Review at Donna’s Book Blog

Monday, June 15
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, June 18
Review at Impressions In Ink

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Saving the Music! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Saving the Music
https://widget.gleamjs.io/e.js

 

 

#Review | The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore #TheGreatcoat #OffTheBookShelfReview

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Hello, Sunshines, I have raided the bookshelf again for another of my; Off the Bookshelf Reviews and I have the pleasure to be sharing my review of the spooky; The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore, I hope you enjoy it!

A terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story by the Orange-prize-winning Helen Dunmore.

In the summer of 1954, newly wed Isabel Carey arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. Life is not easy: she feels out-of-place and constantly judged by the people around her, so she spends much of her time alone.

One cold winter night, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she is beset by dreams. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled to hear a knock at her window, and to meet for the first time the intense gaze of a young Air Force pilot, handsome, blond and blue-eyed, staring in at her from outside.

His name is Alec, and his powerfully haunting presence both disturbs and excites Isabel. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin a delicious affair. But nothing could have prepared her for the truth about Alec’s life, nor the impact it will have on her own marriage.

I am a big fan of Helen Dunmore’s work ever since I read; The Lie, many years ago and was so very saddened to hear the world had lost her a while ago. That book haunted me from the moment I read it, right to today. So when I saw this in a local charity shop, I knew I had had it, the cover alone compelled me to buy it.

I think this book is proof that you should never judge a book by its cover alone, which is what I did. Yes, it is by Helen Dunmore, but what really grabbed my attention was the cover, and to be honest, the cover may just be my favourite thing about this whole book.

Oh, Gawd! That sounds awful.

The underlining story of this is all about how deeply unhappy Isabel is, the war is over, Isabel and her husband; Phillip has moved from everything she knew to a little Yorkshire village in the middle of no-where. They take up rooms not so far away from the old airbase, one cold night she finds an old RAF greatcoat in their little apartment, using it to keep her warm this is when life takes an unexpected turn. The greatcoat is the start of all what happens to Isabel, she starts having disturbing dreams leaving her unsettled and feeling more thane then ever. Then one day she hears a tapping at the window and right there is a handsome man pilot called Alec who wants to come in, it’s when he crosses the threshold that the whole story takes on an unexpected turn and we are soon plunged into a realm of what’s real and what’s a dream, what’s a memory and what’s a ghostly encounter as Alec and Isabel start their illicit affair where past and present merge together.

I have to be honest and say that this was a bit of a disappointment, it didn’t have the same haunting feel that The Lie had. The start of the story started off on the right foot, it has everything you want from a mind-bending ghost story with a touch of heartbreak and romance. When Isabel first encounters the ghostly man staring into her window it does send chills down the spine, even more so when she ‘meets’ him but then the plot sort of twisted into something else completely.

To say it wasn’t what I was expecting was an understatement!

But, beneath the initial disappointment, I did actually enjoy it, I was completely glued to Isabel’s and Alec’s rather unsettling affair, it’s heartbreaking and tender, yet at the same time, there are darker moments where Isabel thinks she may be going mad. It isn’t a light read, there is a more sombre feel to it, as the reader you really get a feel of what post-war Britain was like, there was still rationing (I believe rationing didn’t stop in England until around 1956) so people were still living on the bread line, there is a very melancholic feel to it too especially with Isabel who I do think shows signs of depression.

It’s hands down not one of Helen’s best, but it’s a sweetly romantic and enjoyable short read.

#Review | The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott #ThePhotographerOfTheLost @CScottBooks @simonschusterUK

Posted on Updated on

Hello, Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the incredible; The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott. This book is in no other words, but; stunning!! I may waffle quite a lot throughout this review, but I did get to the point where I just couldn’t find the adequate words to fully do this beautiful book justice. So, I hope you will look past my babble and fall in love with this book as much as I have because this one is very special indeed! 

The Photographer of The Lost by Caroline Scott.

Genre: Historical Fiction, War Fiction

Publisher: Simon & Shuster UK

Format: Ebook/Audio/Hardback/Paperback

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own…

An epic debut novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

1921, Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost, partially inspired by her family history, is her first novel.

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Praise for Photographer of the Lost

‘[An] impressive debut . . . a touching novel of love and loss’, The Sunday Times

‘There’s only one word for this novel . . . and that’s epic . . . A beautifully written must-read’, heat

‘This excellent debut is a melancholic reminder of the rippling after-effects of war’, The Times

‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ — Fanny Blake, author of A Summer Reunion

‘The pain of not knowing where a son, brother or husband lies, and the guilt and psychological dissonance that torment survivors, are movingly conveyed in this terrific first novel’, Daily Mail

‘I was utterly captivated by this novel, which swept me away, broke my heart, then shone wonderful light through all the pieces’ — Isabelle Broom, author of One Winter Morning

‘Beautiful, unflinching, elegiac: The Photographer of the Lost is going to be on an awful lot of Best Books of the Year lists, mine included . . . it’s unforgettable’ — Iona Grey, author of The Glittering Hour

‘A beautiful, tender novel which explores the aftermath of the Great War, and the shattered lives left behind. Written with gorgeous prose and a cast of memorable characters, this is a stunning debut which had me spellbound from the first page to the last’ — Hazel Gaynor, author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

‘What a stunningly beautiful book this is. Caroline Scott evokes the trenches of WWI and the heartache of the postwar period as vividly as if she had lived it herself . . . this is a powerful, redemptive novel, one that teaches us not only about history, but about our capacity for love. I could not put it down’ — Abigail DeWitt, author of News of Our Loved Ones

‘A gripping, devastating novel about the lost and the ones they left behind’ , RED

***

I read this last year, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to post this review. I can only put it down to other factors which were going in my world at the time, but this has been languishing neglected in my drafts box all this time. Even though all this time has passed as I am reading through my notes I made for this review then, and as I get it ready to post, I am still feeling that underlining sense that I will never read another book that affected me in such a way as this one did. Even now I have the clearest image of the characters and the story in my mind and in my heart and I still feel the tingles that I felt as I read this heart-breaking book the first time last year.

Anyone who follows me and those close to me will know how much I am fascinated and drawn to this era, how much this subject is so close to my heart. Which was why I found this book to review on Netgalley I just had to read it, which I did in one go. It really spoke to me, it got under my skin and buried itself into my heart and got to me on a level that no other book – especially those set during or after the great war – have before. It is isn’t just amazing, I say that far too many times as it is, no this book is very special, it’s a remarkable look at an aspect of history that is so fraught with loss and sadness.

This book has made me into an emotional wreck, I have never read anything as exquisitely heart-breaking, and I doubt I ever will again. This era and the stories of those who lived through it and those who never returned home are very close to my heart, even more so once I learned all about my own ancestors and what they did during the war, and how much they lost. So these type of books always impact on me, but this….this broke me!

My heart broke time and time again, I never genuinely cry over a book, but this literally reduced me to tears, by the end I was a red-eyed, snivelling, broken watering can with tingles up my spine at just how breath-taking this is.

We all know the stories of those brave incredibly young men who went off to war, how they had to not only survive in the those dark, dank and exhausting trenches, only to hear that whistle which tells them to grab that tack and go over the top to cross no man’s land and to face the worst horror that a young man can ever face. Something which was the last thing some of those poor brave boys ever saw. But this book tells a different story connected to the one we know and it’s as compelling and heart-breaking and it also allows the reader to be drawn in and maybe see the war through another set of eyes, those eyes of a loved one who hopes and dreads all at the same time.

The year is 1921, this is the time when the Red Cross and other charities were starting to trace the war dead and the try to reunite prisoners of war with loved ones, this is the year that most of the survivors were being de-mobbed and started to make their way home, and trying to pick up their lives again. Families are trying to reconnect with their loved ones and then there are those whose menfolk haven’t come home yet, or at all. Such as Edie whose husband; Francis is yet to return from the front, he is said to be missing in action but when Edie receives a photograph which has been taken by her husband, she doesn’t understand the meaning of it or why she has been sent this mysterious photograph but a glimmer of hope bursts within her and she starts her search.

Francis’ brother; Harry was also a soldier at the front, he is destroyed by the thought the last things he and brother said to each other weren’t the most loving. He hopes that his brother is still alive which is one of the reasons he returns to France, as well being hired to take photographs and document the war graves for the families. Which is where Harry and Edie’s path cross as they both search desperately for the man they both love.

I hands down can not thank Caroline enough for putting pen to paper and writing this truly stunning book, I have some idea of the long hours and tireless research Caroline obviously put into writing this, I know first hand that once you begin down the research path of WW1 you become fully immersed and you put so much of your heart into the story which you want to tell. It’s obvious that Caroline has a real passion for this era and its history and the stories, her passion, sensitivity and respect for those she is writing about comes through with every turn of the page.

I completely loved it!!

This is a beautiful and poignant, long-lasting nod to all those who never returned home and to all those families who never knew what happened to their loved ones. Francis, Edie and Harry each one of them stole a part of my heart, I was in tears for all three of them and for all those just like them.

The Photographer of the Lost will go down in history as one of the greats of our time, I just know it! It is a beautifully haunting, heart-breaking, compassionate, memorable and stunning book, one that every single person should read, no matter what genre you usually read, do try this. I can guarantee even though most hardened of heart will get a lump in the throat while reading, it really is stunning!!

***

About the Author

After completing a PhD in History, at the University of Durham, Caroline Scott worked as a researcher in Belgium and France. She has a particular interest in the experience of women during the First World War, in the challenges faced by the returning soldier, and in the development of tourism and pilgrimage in the former conflict zones. Caroline lives in southwest France and is now writing historical fiction for Simon & Schuster UK and William Morrow.

Caroline can be found on Twitter: @CScottBooks and her website: https://cscottbooks.co.uk/

#BlogTour | Of Darkness And Light (Soli Hansen Mysteries #1) by Heidi Eljarbo #OfDarknessAndLight #Review #HFVBTBlogTours @HeidiEljarbo @hfvbt

Posted on

Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for; Of Darkness and Light by Heidi Eljarbo, and I am super excited to be sharing my review of this brilliant book with you all. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Of Darkness and Light by Heidi Eljarbo

Publication Date: May 12, 2020

Series: Soli Hansen Mysteries, #1
Genre: Historical Mystery

 

 

In this first book of a new historical mystery series, a young art historian faces a tough choice in German-occupied Norway.

“Artful prose and at a pace that makes for a can’t-put-down, first-class literary voyage.”–Melissa Dalton-Bradford, bestselling author of Global Mom

Oslo, 1944. Soli Hansen’s passion for art history is and always has been a way of life for her. While she spends her days working in an art shop, WWII is taking its toll on everyone. Apprehensive of the consequences, Soli avoids becoming entangled in the war resistance efforts. She closes her eyes in hopes the enemy will retreat and leave her beautiful country for good.

But when a woman is found dead in the alley alongside the art shop and a painting from the last auction goes missing, Soli is thrown into the thickest of the fray involving both Nazi art theft and the Norwegian resistance.

Once Soli finds her courage, there’s no turning back. Her personal life is turned upside-down with danger, lies, spying, and an incredible discovery.

In this dual timeline novel, Heidi Eljarbo paints a vivid picture of what people are willing to do in desperate times. With unforgettable characters and rich historical details, Of Darkness and Light will keep the reader mesmerized until the last satisfying page.

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, Katherine Neville, and Kate Mosse.

Available on Amazon

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Praise for Of Darkness and Light

“Interspersing love, hope, and courage, the participants are drawn together in mysterious paths.“Pauline Isaksen, bestselling author of Dying for Justice

“Of Darkness and Light will reel you in and keep you hooked until the end.“ Mette Barfelt, bestselling author of The Solvik Series

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Full confession time, before reading this I had never read any of Heidi Eljarbo’s work before, even though I have read some really great things, this is the first and I am so pleased that I got the opportunity to be introduced to this hugely talented author’s work, through this incredible book, plus start a whole new series in the process. I can’t wait to read more from Heidi and judging by this beauty this series is going to be a corker!

I loved the sound of this book from the start, I was completely hooked and intrigued by the back blurb and the fact it was likened to one of my whole time favourite historical fiction/timeslip authors; Kate Mosse and I knew that I needed to read this book, and I am so happy to say that I was no disappointed.

I am a big fan of the ww2 era, I think everyone knows about how the Nazi’s used to steal precious art as they moved around and I am fascinated by the people who were trying to stop that from happening and by the people who were trying to retrieve the stolen art and return it. Once you start reading more about that aspect it is hugely fascinating and it is apart of history that still is relevant today as there are thousands upon thousands of stolen pieces of art that were never recovered. But what I wasn’t aware of was Norway’s involvement in the war and its history, and this book really captures all of that and makes the reader want to learn more about Norway’s long and intriguing past.

This is a split timeline novel, the majority is set during 1944, Norway and then at times we jump even further back with a glimpse into Malta; 1600. I am a fan of the split/dual timeline and this is brilliantly crafted. Each timeline is vivid and rich in detail and history, the story doesn’t jump and leap about making it difficult to follow but it flows smoothly, the move from 1944 to 1600 and back again is flawlessly done. My particular favourite part has to be the part set in 1944, there is just something about that era and that aspect of the story that really captures the attention.

Heidi Eljarbo has a brilliant way with words, her writing is engaging and illuminating, every scene leaps out at you and you become full drawn into the story.

I loved that this isn’t your stereotypical WW2 novel, yes there is danger, secrets, lies and the resistance hiding in the shadows, but with the addition of a murder mystery and brief leap back in time to the 1600s then this becomes a real feast for the senses.

Overall a brilliant introduction into this fine authors work, I loved it and I cannot wait to see what comes next in this brilliant new series.

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About the Author

Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of Catching a Witch. She grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.

After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren–so far–in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.

Their favourite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter. Heidi’s favourites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.

If you would like to know more, please visit Heidi’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 12
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 14
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Friday, May 15
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, May 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, May 19
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Thursday, May 21
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, May 22
Feature at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Monday, May 25
Review at Foals, Fiction, and Filligree

Tuesday, May 26
Feature at Books and Backroads

Thursday, May 28
Feature at Bookworlder

Monday, June 1
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, June 2
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Wednesday, June 3
Review at Jessica Belmont
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one copy of Of Darkness and Light in paperback! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Of Darkness and Light

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 3rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.