Historical Fiction

#BlogTour | Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness #JosephineSingerSoldierDancerSpy #Feature #HFVBTBlogTours @eilidhmcginness @hfvbt

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Hello Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this brilliant blog tour, for Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but there is a chance for you all to win a copy too, as always sit back grab that cuppa and enjoy.

Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness

Publication Date: December 1, 2019
Format: eBook & Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Josephine Baker is born into poverty in racially segregated America. Desperate to escape she flees to France where she embraces the hedonistic lifestyle on offer for those who dare, in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties.

Hitler’s rise to power in Germany forces her to face her true self. Determined to protect the Liberty Equality and Fraternity she has found in France, she becomes an ‘honorable correspondent’ for the French Secret Service. So, beginning a journey which will take her from the Red Cross Shelters in Paris to the cruel deserts of North Africa. She will find love and enduring friendship but she must also face dangers which will threaten not only her life but all she holds dear…..Can she find the courage to fight for what she believes in….no matter what the cost?

Available on Amazon

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About the Author

Eilidh was born and brought up in the Highlands of Scotland. She studied law at Aberdeen University. She practiced as a lawyer for twelve years, latterly specializing in criminal defense. Eilidh then moved to South West France with her then husband and four children. She established an independent estate agency business which she ran for twelve years before concentrating on writing- a long held dream. Eilidh has always been fascinated by history and ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 30
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, January 2
Review at Liberty’s Literary Loves

Friday, January 3
Feature at Comet Readings

Monday, January 6
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, January 7
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, January 8
Review at Reader then Blogger

Thursday, January 9
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Saturday, January 11
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, January 13
Feature at I’m All About Books

Tuesday, January 14
Feature at BookNook 2020

Wednesday, January 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, January 16
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, January 17
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, January 18
Feature at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Sunday, January 19
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Monday, January 20
Review at Nursebookie

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Josephine

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 20th. 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.


#BlogTour | The Viking’s Captive by Ingrid Hahn #TheVikingsCaptive #Excerpt #HFVBTBlogtour @Ingrid_Writer @hfvbt

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Hello, my festive little sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this brilliant blog tour for; The Viking’s Captive by Ingrid Hahn. Not only will I telling you all about this book, but I have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will make you want to rush out and grab a Viking – I mean a copy of this book 😉  So, settle in grab that cuppa and enjoy!

The Viking’s Captive by Ingrid Hahn

Publication Date: December 9, 2019
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Format: ebook; 371 pages

Genre: Historical Romance

 

 

Thorvald Longsword can’t believe all he has to do is kidnap the daughter of his jarl’s enemy to get his land back. Easy. But when he finally snatches the princess up and tosses her over his shoulder, the beautiful spitfire makes him question his determination to get his land back at any cost.

Alodie gladly agrees to impersonate the princess so the bloodthirsty Northmen will take her instead. While Alodie might be ready to die for her people, she wasn’t prepared for how her pulse races for the maddeningly noble captor whom she’d just as soon hate.

But what happens when Thorvald finds out she’s not who she says she is…

Amazon | Barnes and Noble 

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Exclusive Excerpt

You may choose your own punishment.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Being near you is punishment enough. There. Are we finished?”

For me as well.”

She raised her brows at him. “Pardon me?”

It’s a punishment for me to be near you.” He stepped closer. His voice was raw and needy. “Torture. In ways you don’t even want to know about.”

Awareness stirred between them. All the things Thorvald had thought he could live without—around her, they became as vital as air.

Her voice lowered. “Nothing you can say will frighten me.”

This would. But I think…I think you already know.” The admission was so close he could taste it.

Sometimes things need to be said.”

It was what he needed to hear. “Don’t you see? I want to touch you and caress you and do things to you like I’ve never done to a woman before.”

She licked her bottom lip. “And yet you handed me over to him.”

It was what I had to do.” Thorvald rubbed his brow and let out a heavy sigh. “I gave him my word—”

Your word. Your word. Your word. Are you as weary of hearing that as the rest of us?”

It’s not an excuse.” There was a note of desperation in his voice that made him hate himself. It was like he was clinging to a thrashing beast that would kill him, yet he was still unable to release himself.

Then you have no right to say these things to me.”

I’ve wanted you for so long.” Now that he’d started, he couldn’t stop. “But while you were in thrall to me, I couldn’t touch you. Not because I knew you would ultimately belong to him—”

I belong to nobody,” she snapped. “And you did touch me.”

He nodded. “I was wrong to do so.”

She paced to one side of the room and lingered, her back to him. Neither spoke. Beyond the walls were the sounds of the food being enjoyed and laughter that would only grow louder as more ale was consumed.

Is that your idea of punishment? Is that why you brought me here? Were you merely obeying him or did you think that you and I…we might…”

They were perilously close to speaking of something dangerous. Something forbidden. Something he wanted with all the dust in his bones. Did he dare?

He was a warrior. He’d been trained to tread into the unknown. Since his first summer as a man, he’d fought and felled bigger, heavier, stronger warriors than himself.

Being with her was different. What he said here didn’t threaten bodily harm. It threatened what was inside of him should she see how desperately he wanted her. If she saw, she could rip him apart and he’d never recover.

Oh, yes. He dared. If he remained silent, he’d never forgive himself. “I think about it constantly. You. Me. Everything a man and woman can have together, I think about that with us. More than you can probably begin to imagine.”

But you still have to punish me.” Her voice was flat.

A tortured sigh escaped his lungs. “I still have to punish you.”

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About the Author

Ingrid Hahn is a failed administrative assistant with a B.A. in Art History. Her love of reading has turned her mortgage payment into a book storage fee, which makes her the friend who you never want to ask you for help moving. Though originally from Seattle, she now lives in the metropolitan DC area with her ship-nerd husband, small son, and four opinionated cats. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves knitting, theater, nature walks, travel, history, and is a hopelessly devoted fan of Jane Austen.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, December 18
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Thursday, December 19
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, December 20
Excerpt at I’m All About Books
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Saturday, December 21
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, December 22
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, December 23
Feature at YA, It’s Lit

Tuesday, December 24
Review at Liberty’s Literary Loves

Thursday, December 26
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, December 27
Feature at A Book Geek
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, December 30
Review at Amy’s Booket List

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – The Viking’s Captive

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 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.


#BlogTour | The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. III by Collins Hemingway #TheMarriageOfMissJaneAusten #GuestPost #HFVBTBlogtour @austenmarriage @hfvbt

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Hello, my Festive Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen by Collins Hemingway. Not only will I be telling you all about this book, but I have an exclusive guest post by Collins, which is so good, plus a giveaway. So, grab a cuppa and enjoy!

The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. III by Collins Hemingway

Publication Date: November 4, 2017
Format: eBook & Paperback; 338 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

The Stunning Finale to Jane Austen’s Saga

In the moving conclusion to “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen,” Jane and her husband struggle with the serious illness of their son, confront a bitter relationship with the aristocratic family who were once their friends and face the horrific prospect of war when the British Army falters on the continent. The momentous events of the Napoleonic wars and the agonizing trials of their personal lives take Jane and Ashton to a decision that will decide their fate—and her future—once and for all.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

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Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series

Hemingway again displays his notable ability to recreate time and place, moving on from the heady days of Jane Austen’s early love to a marriage beset by difficulties and a country at war. Hemingway … vividly and authentically portrays the times. … [T]his is a lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving finale to Hemingway’s successful trilogy. —BlueInk Review

Immensely satisfying … Marriage is lively, compelling, and fun. … [Her] relationship with her husband Ashton still sparkles. Marriage is a lovely ode to their connection. … Hemingway has combined Austen’s humanity with her fiction and created a Jane that lives and breathes on the page. Audiences will want her to be real… It offers a wonderful, imagined alternate life for the well-loved author. —Claire Foster, Foreword Review

‘Enjoyable … an imaginative, well-researched series.’ —Kirkus Reviews

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Guest Post

What Do We Really Know of Austen’s Romantic Life? by Collins Hemmingway

If we talk on a superficial level, Jane Austen’s life is one of the best documented of any writer. She was born and raised at Steventon, Hampshire, moved to Bath (unhappily, it appears) when her father retired in 1801, and settled in 1809 in the now famous Chawton Cottage where she produced her literary masterpieces.

But what of the years between her mid-twenties to early thirties? Unlike the rest of her life, this seven-year period between 1802 and 1809 goes puzzlingly blank. About all we know is that she, her mother, and her sister shuttled around southern England looking for cheap places to live after her father died in 1805.

Jane’s beloved sister Cass destroyed virtually all her correspondence about the seven-year period, along with any journals she may have kept. For most of her life, the surviving correspondence is relatively steady at ten or so letters a year. But the 1802-09 period contains gaps of a year at a time to three-and-a-half-years at a time. From 1801 to late 1808, we have only 13 letters—not quite 2 a year. Except for an occasional passing reference to her in other people’s letters and diaries, we know very little of Jane’s whereabouts or doings for this time.

Though her family maintains she had no serious relationships, it’s this seven-year period when any romance would have occurred. There is an alleged proposal from a person she wasn’t serious about, and little else. Yet there have been rumors of at least one other man, of which little is known.

According to the family, in 1828 Cassandra saw a man who reminded her of a one-time suitor of Jane. She told her nieces Caroline and Louisa that they had met the beau on the Devonshire coast in 1801, he and Jane had fallen in love, and they were to meet again, when a proposal was expected. Instead, Jane learned that he had died. Cass says he was “pleasing and very good looking,” but never provides the man’s name.

What’s odd is that Cass does not mention this story until 1828— more than a quarter-century after it is supposed to have happened! The nieces cannot even agree about where on the Devonshire coast this romance occurs. Cassandra spreads more confusion than information about that circumstance.

Even speaking about this expected proposal, she apparently fails to mention to her nieces a proposal that Jane supposedly did receive in December 1802. Biographers dutifully recount the engagement to Harris Bigg-Wither, when (the story is) she accepted a proposal from the wealthy but boorish young man, recanted it overnight, and fled back to her parents in Bath.

This purported engagement and refusal, which would have created a scandal, does not show up in any surviving contemporaneous letters or journals by anyone who knew Jane. The event is not recorded until nearly 70 years later by one of same nieces, Caroline, who was not even alive when it supposedly occurred in 1802!

Caroline sourced the story to her mother, Mary, who died in 1843—26 years after Jane died, 41 years after the event, and 27 years before Caroline’s telling. How would Mary have recalled the exact dates, December 2-3, 1802, of a proposal involving a sister-in-law she was not close to? In her notes, Caroline references her mother’s day books—brief diaries. However, the entries say nothing of the proposal, only that Jane and Cassandra were at Steventon on those dates. The suitor lived nearby.

The proposal is recounted in the first memoir of Jane, put together by James Edward, Caroline’s older brother, with Caroline’s help. Caroline is one of the younger relatives. How is it this story is handed down by her but not by the many other older nieces and nephews? James Edward was seven years older than Caroline and was around Jane on a regular basis. He attended her funeral on behalf of his ill father. Yet he sources his younger sister for the tale of the botched proposal. Wouldn’t he have heard the story around the dining room table himself?

Both of these “romances” come across as a bit unreal. There are too many specifics in one encounter (Bigg-Wither) and far too few in another (the mysterious suitor on the beach). Were there separate romantic encounters, each one ending disastrously, or perhaps one relationship that these inconsistent stories point to—or are designed to point away from?

Austen’s family took notice of her increasing fame in the middle of the repressed Victorian era. As the memoir makes clear, her younger relatives were happy to bury any suggestion that Austen would have ever done anything untoward such as write to make a living or—fall in love. The author Virginia Woolf, in contrast, says that her last novel Persuasion proves that Austen had loved intensely and, in the last year of her life, no longer cared who knew.

One does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to envision the possibility that there may have been a very serious relationship overlooked or even hidden by her prim and proper descendants. What if Jane Austen had married? What if she had met someone very much her equal but also the sort of man a Victorian might want to lose in the mists of time?

What kind of man might that be? How would their relationship have begun? Might bits and pieces of the history be true? How would it have developed? How would it have ended? This possibility led me on a lengthy research and writing project culminating in the trilogy The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen.

My goal was to tell a tale of a meaningful relationship built upon the “understanding” Austen often writes about. I wanted to see how, as a married woman, she might have fit into the large and turbulent world of the Regency. I wanted to create a story that seriously tested a woman when everything was against her—law, society, biology. Perhaps most important, I wanted to see how the archetypal woman of the period would have handled all that marriage meant for a woman of that day.

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About the Author

Collins’ passion for literature, history, and science enable him to create complete, sharply drawn fictional characters fully engaged in their complex and often dangerous worlds. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding respect for courage in the face of adversity.

As a nonfiction book author, Collins has investigated topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he co-authored with Bill Gates, he tackles challenging topics with clarity and insight, writing for the intelligent but nontechnical reader.

Born and raised in Arkansas, Collins has lived most of his adult life in the American Northwest, with a career that has spanned writing, high tech, and aviation. He has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Arkansas, Phi Beta Kappa; a master’s degree in English literature from the University of Oregon; and numerous technical certifications in computer technology.

For more information please visit Collins Hemingway’s website and blog. You can also find him on FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, and Goodreads.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 16
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, December 17
Review at Jackie and Angela’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, December 18
Review at Books and Zebras
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Thursday, December 19
Excerpt at Jathan & Heather
Guest Post at Library of Clean Reads

Saturday, December 21
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, December 27
Review at Pencils & Pages

Saturday, December 28
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, January 1
Review at Older & Smarter

Thursday, January 2
Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, January 3
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, January 6
Review at @ya.its.lit

Thursday, January 9
Excerpt at I’m All About Books

Friday, January 10
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Peaceful Pastime

Monday, January 13
Review at Jackie & Angela’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 14
Review at Impressions In Ink

Thursday, January 16
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Friday, January 17
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review & Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol III

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 17th. 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.

#CoverReveal | The Ghost of Madison Avenue by Nancy Bilyeau #TheGhostOfMadisonAvenue #HFVBTBlogtours @Tudorscribe @hfvbt

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Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be apart of this amazing cover reveal for The Ghost of Madison Avenue by Nancy Bilyeau. This cover is so gorgeous, I know you will fall in love with it as much as I have, go on and take a peek for yourself.

The Ghost of Madison Avenue by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: December 13, 2019
eBook, 108 pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

 

 

Christmas Ghost Story in Old New York

In this compelling and poignant story, bestselling author Nancy Bilyeau takes readers to New York City’s Morgan Library in December 1912, when two very different people haunted by lost love come together in an unexpected way.

Helen O’Neill, part of a tight-knit Irish-American family in the Bronx, is only too happy to report to work at the spectacular private library built on Madison Avenue by millionaire financier J. P. Morgan. The head librarian, the brilliant and beautiful Belle da Costa Greene, had hired Helen away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art after she witnessed Helen’s unusual talent with handling artifacts.

Helen soon discovers the Morgan Library is a place like no other, with its secret staircases, magical manuscripts, and mysterious murals. But that’s nothing compared to a person who Helen alone can see: a young woman standing on Madison Avenue, looking as if she were keeping watch. In learning the woman’s true link to the Morgan, Helen must face the pain of her own past. And as she struggles to discover the truth behind these appearances, she finds herself with a second chance at happiness for herself on Christmas Eve—if she has the courage.

From the author of The Blue, the Joanna Stafford trilogy, and the soon-to-be published Dreamland, set in 1911 Coney Island, comes The Ghost of Madison Avenue, a novella both thrilling and moving.

Available on Amazon

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Praise for Nancy Bilyeau

‘Nancy Bilyeau’s passion for history infuses her books’ – Alison Weir

On Dreamland

‘Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Dreamland is a rollicking ride.’ – Fiona Davis, author of The Chelsea Girls

‘A marvelous book!’ – Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of What she Left Behind

On The Blue

‘Definitely a winner!’ – Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

On the Joanna Stafford Trilogy

‘All the ingredients of the best historical fiction … will satisfy even the most ardent mystery fans.’ – Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches

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About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau is a historical novelist and magazine editor based in New York. She wrote the Joanna Stafford trilogy, a trio of thrillers set in Henry VIII’s England, for Simon & Schuster. Her fourth novel is The Blue, an 18th-century thriller revolving around the art and porcelain world. Her next novel is Dreamland, set in Coney Island of 1911, to be published by Endeavour Quill on January 16, 2020. A former staff editor at Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and InStyle, Nancy is currently the deputy editor at the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College and contributes to Town & Country, CrimeReads, and Mystery Scene magazine.

To learn more, go to www.nancybilyeau.com. You can follow Nancy on Facebook, Twitter, BookBub, and Goodreads.

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Release Day Blast Hosts

Bookish Rantings
Books In Their Natural Habitat
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Comet Readings
Curling up by the Fire
Donna’s Book Blog
Gwendalyn’s Books
Historical Fiction with Spirit
I’m All About Books
Jackie & Angela’s Book Reviews
Let Them Read Books
Liberty’s Literary Loves
Lost_in_a_book_reviewer
Nursebookie
Orange County Readers
Passages to the Past
Reading is My Remedy
Rose is Reading
Tar Heel Reader
The Lit Bitch
The Nerdy Bookworm
To Read, Or Not to Read
What Is That Book About
Words and Peace
YA, It’s Lit


#Review | Mrs P’s Book of Secrets by Lorna Gray #MrsPsBookOfSecrets #30DaysofBookBlogs @MsLornaGray @OneMoreChapter

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Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of this highly original and atmospheric book; Mrs P’s Book Of Secrets by Lorna Gray. This review is also in collaboration with Lorna’s epic #30DaysOfBookBlogs Event which is happening across social media. So grab a cuppa and enjoy!

There are no white shrouded spectres here, no wailing ghouls. Just the echoes of those who have passed, whispering that history is set to repeat itself.

The Cotswolds, Christmastime 1946: A young widow leaves behind the tragedy of her wartime life, and returns home to her ageing aunt and uncle. For Lucy – known as Mrs P – and the people who raised her, the books that line the walls of the family publishing business bring comfort and the promise of new beginnings.

But the kind and reserved new editor at the Kershaw and Kathay Book Press is a former prisoner of war, and he has his own shadows to bear. And when the old secrets of a little girl’s abandonment are uncovered within the pages of Robert Underhills’s latest project, Lucy must work quickly if she is to understand the truth behind his frequent trips away.

For a ghost dwells in the record of an orphan girl’s last days. And even as Lucy dares to risk her heart, the grief of her own past seems to be whispering a warning of fresh loss…

I have been really looking forward to reading a new Lorna Gray book, I love her attention to detail, her passion for the era and the stories which she tells radiates off the pages, it’s immersive and atmospheric. I do have to say first that I did feel a little misled when I started reading as the story itself does feel different to what the back blurb hints at. I did expect a bit more of the supernatural feel to it, but I liked how that aspect of the story was hinted at.

The story is written in the first person, through Lucy’s eyes which allows the reader to really see how much of a low patch she is in, unable and unsure of how to move forward after losing her husband who she only really knew for a short period of time, yet that doesn’t diminish her loss. She has sunk into a bit of a depression, her mind is broken and it is actually very uncomfortable reading at times as we get to know her and are privy to her inner thoughts, but also crucial for the story.

It is 1946, Lucy (Mrs P) finds herself not only widowed but unemployed, she has no choice but to go home, back to the relatives who raised her; her aunt and uncle who basically takes pity on her current state and gives her a job as a receptionist in their family-run publishing house. But as with a lot of women in the same situation life just isn’t the same, she feels a little put out she doesn’t feel she belongs there. Once at her aunt and uncles she meets the new editor; Robert Undershill, a former prisoner of war who has shadows that cloud his mind as he too tries to move forward with his life.

The project Robert is working on soon reveals old and hidden secret of an unknown little girl, that little girl is missing and it is a mystery that Lucy feels she needs to uncover, plus she wants to understand the mystery behind where Robert frequently disappears off to, what is he hiding? What are his secrets and how is it all connected? These questions are hidden in the story.

This really is one my favourite period in British history, it is a harsh and yet fascinating moment in history. The war is over, there is a moment of peace, yet the county is still on rations and will be for quite some years to come, life is hard for everyone. The men who survived are now returning and having to find a place in this completely different society, they not only must find their feet again but most have to overcome great trauma, not just physically but mentally they are broken. Most can’t return to their old lives as they don’t exist anymore and when they do everything has changed. Women who have been keeping the country going either in the fields with the land army or in the factories are now being told to return to their homes. Then there are those who a loved never returned to them, young women who may have had only months or weeks with their husbands, never really knowing them are now widows. I have always found stories from this particular era fascinating. Lorna Gray really grasp hold of that uncertainty which people would have been feeling during the time, she writes Lucy’s emotional conflict towards her life, what she starts to feel for Robert with such sensitivity and realism.

This isn’t the type of book that you can settle in to read in a weekend, then put it down and come back the weekend after when times allows, no it makes you take notice you really need to put 100% concentration into this to fully grasp the happenings within the pages, but if you do put all your focus and mind into the story you will be hugely rewarded as this is a beautifully written, complex, poignant and very loving story all about family, finding one’s feet after trauma and how important true friends are to a person. I can guarantee that if you really delve into this one and look past the misleading back blurb you will love it.

This was an Arc copy via the publisher and Netgalley, which I voluntarily reviewed.

Mrs P’s Book Of Secrets is available from the 14th December in the UK HERE and it will be released as The Book Ghost in the U available HERE.

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As Apart of the 30 days of Book Blogs event, I have also taken part in an exclusive interview with Lorna, which will be shared on Lorna’s social media sites, I hope you all will hop on over and take a peek at my rambling answers to her questions.

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About the Author

Lorna Gray is passionate about understanding the past and takes much of her research from spoken history. She loves the fact that writing gives her the excuse to ask people about their memories, and treasures the unique little insights that every new conversation has to offer. She is also a published illustrator and her work has featured in a number of archaeological reports, children’s books and non-fiction titles.

Above all, Lorna loves a good adventure. She doesn’t mind whether it comes in the form of a good book, a film or rambling about the ruins of a castle as long as it is guaranteed to have a happy ending.

You can find out more by visiting Lorna’s website and following her on Twitter @MsLornaGray and Instagram or by finding her on Facebook.

#BlogTour | The Spirit Of Fire (The Orphans of Tolosa Trilogy #2) by Susanne Dunlap #TheSpiritOfFire #Review #HFVBTBlogTour @Susanne_Dunlap @hfvbt

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Hello sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for; The Spirit of Fire by Susanne Dunlap. I am super excited to be sharing my review of this gorgeous book with you all, so settle back grab a cuppa and enjoy!

The Spirit of Fire by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: December 6, 2019

Series: Orphans of Tolosa, Book two
Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Listen to the Wind has been rated 10 out of 10 and was a quarterfinalist in the BookLife Prize, and won a Gold badge from the International Review of Books.

The eagerly anticipated sequel to Listen to the Wind, “A complex, absorbing, and dramatic start to a planned series.” -Kirkus Reviews

Azemar—now a knight and Baron of Montpezat—has rescued his childhood friend, Azalais, from the Castel de Belascon, where she was forced to disguise as a noblewoman and become the wife of the baron. But the captivating trobairitz Jordane de la Moux d’Aniort and her damozel Johana have escaped with them, putting them all in grave peril. Will Jordane’s conflicting goal of reuniting with the rebel Raimon de Berenger thwart Azemar and Azalais’s quest to solve the mystery of their origins, which they believe lies within the heretic fortress of Montsegur? When a cryptic note leads them to the Templar stronghold at Mas Deu, Azemar undergoes brutal trials, and discovers that his ultimate purpose could lead him to betray the very people he wants to protect. And their altered route leads Azalais into the path of her old enemy, the Dominican monk, Fraire Martin. Full of surprising twists and turns, dangerous adventures, and true love, The Spirit of Fire continues the Orphans of Tolosa Trilogy.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

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Praise for Listen to the Wind

Listen to the Wind has been rated 10 out of 10 in the BookLife Prize and won a Gold badge from the International Review of Books.

“Dunlap breathes life into the distant 13th-century setting… Poetry and music are as essential to the plot as warfare, with engaging glimpses of trobairitz (female troubadours). . . . A complex, absorbing, and dramatic start to a planned series.” – Kirkus Reviews

“Listen to the Wind is in its own league. Completely imaginative, mature and playful all at once, this book doesn’t compete with any other novel for its spot on the bookshelf, as it will outshine many and sit comfortably among the classics.” – The BookLife Prize

“Susanne Dunlap… is both a superb storyteller and a rich historian of the period. Its customs and language, castles, troubadours, mountains, thick forests, villages, monasteries, and vineyards come vividly to life as Azemar and Azalaïs find themselves drawn into a path that will shape history.” – Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille: a novel of Monet

“In its mix of page-turning thriller with well researched historical novel, it draws comparison to the finely crafted work of Kate Mosse and Ariana Franklin.” – Nancy Bilyeau, author of
The Blue and the Joanna Stafford trilogy

“Susanne Dunlap’s sweeping saga captivates readers’ imaginations from the first page, plunging them back into the Languedoc region of France in the 13th Century. Her impeccable research allows her three spirited protagonists to live, love, fight and breathe life into the dangerous period of rebellion and inquisition, when the Cathars struggled to hold on to their culture and old faith against the power of the Pope. A compelling read for lovers of adventure and romance.” -Anne Easter Smith, author of
A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, Royal Mistress

“The fortitude and ingenuity of her characters helps them adapt to all manner of circumstances, and the result is an engaging tale of escape, secrets, and mental toughness. For those looking for a smartly written captivating read, I highly recommend this first book in the Orphans of Tolosa trilogy.” – Amy Hawes, Book Club Babble

“This is an intriguing and complex story with lots of secrets and lies interwoven within the characters personal stories, it is charming, exciting and mesmerising.” – Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

“I love how vibrant the world is made, how danger really struck fear into my heart, how the pain felt real…everything is beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed this.” – Clarissa Reads It All

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Here it is the highly waited for the second instalment of the Orphan’s of Tolosa Trilogy, The Spirit of Fire carries on from where the previous book left off as the Orphans; Azemar and Azalais continue with their perilous journey through the Languedoc. For those have yet discovered the beauty of this series, I would definitely recommend that you read the books in order, that way you won’t miss out on anything within the intricate and compelling plot.

Set during the 13th century, the Languedoc has been torn apart after years, upon years of crusades all against the Cathar heretics and now we have reached penultimate last stand between the catholic church and the people who reside in the Montegur Fortress. After the death of his patron; the Baron de Montpezat, Azemar get the shock of his life as he is the named the Baron’s heir, but he and fellow orphan Azalais – who is currently in disguise – after their escape from the Castel de Balascon they are now fugitives and must reach the safety of the Fortress, but they aren’t alone in their escape they were followed by Jordane de la Moux d’Aniort and Johana, whose very presence could cost them all dearly especially with Jordane’s urgency to be reunited with her rebel Raimon.

Azemar receive a cryptic note which sends them off on a journey, one that could lead them to their destiny – which if you have read the first book you will know all about this shared destiny between Azemar and Azalais – the notes take them to the Templar monks at M’as Deau, but once there, Azemar finds that all is not exactly how it seems and he is put to the test in more ways then one.

Susanne Dunlap is a master storyteller, she has a incredible skill and drawing the reader into a dark and perilous time in history, her attention to detail is mind-blowing, as is her grasp of the language, the history and the all-round culture and violence of the times. As with the previous, it is evident from the first page the amount of time and research which has gone into every part of the story, and the same can be said about the author’s passion for the era, for the people and for the history. The violence that the Cathars went through once being classed as heretics was unnerving and at times is very difficult reading as with other books that feature this sort of violence to another human, the history needs to be told, it needs to be learned from.

What I particularly loved about this book is it’s strong and brilliantly portrayed female character’s, Susanne Dunlap has given a voice to these amazing women. They are strong, brave, loyal and fierce, it was wonderful watching the story unfold through their eyes.

Overall this is an amazingly mesmerising and unique book with an unpredictable and engrossing plot which is full of surprises, mystery, deadly history, adventure and Templars. It is so beautifully written, the rich and vivid historical detail is completely immersive and very highly recommended for anyone who loves their darker and really in-depth historical fiction.

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About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of six works of historical fiction. Two are for adults (Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss, both published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Four are for young adults (The Musician’s Daughter, Anastasia’s Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie, published by Bloomsbury). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, four step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that’s a total of four children and nine grandchildren!

In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

For more information, please visit The Orphans of Tolosa website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, December 6
Review at Nursebookie
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, December 9
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Review at Mama’s Reading Corner

Tuesday, December 10
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, December 11
Interview at The Writing Desk

Thursday, December 12
Review at Books and Zebras
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, December 13
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, December 15
Review at my.boys.mom

Monday, December 16
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Wednesday, December 18
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 19
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, December 20
Review at Coffee and Ink

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a set of Listen to the Wind & The Spirit of Fire by Susanne Dunlap! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – Listen to the Wind

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 20th. 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.


#Blogtour | The Shop Girls Of Harpers by Rosie Clarke #TheShopGirlsOfHarpers #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @BoldWoodBooks @AnneHarris

Posted on

Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; The Shop Girls of Harpers by Rosie Clarke. Not only will I be telling you all about this wonderful book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I know you will love. So settle in, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

The Shop Girls Of Harpers by Rosie Clarke

Publication date: December 3, 2019

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format: Paperback/Ebook/Audiobook

Genre: Historical Fiction/ Saga

Brilliant read. Wonderful characters that draw you into Harpers world. Thoroughly enjoyable.’ Kitty Neale

1911 – The beginning of a brand new series for No1 bestselling author Rosie Clarke, Welcome to Harpers of Oxford Street.

When Sally, Beth, Margaret and Rachel meet at a job interview for the wonderful new store in Oxford Street they have no idea they will become lifelong friends.

When all four girls are lucky enough to be selected as sales staff their exciting new adventure begins.

Join them as they overcome heartbreak and grief, find love and happiness and remain united in their friendship, whatever life throws at them.

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What readers are saying about The Shop Girls Of Harpers

A lovely book to read and the first of a new series with characters that blend so well and a great story of friendship, family and love. Well worth 5*’

A lovely read first in a new series, looking forward to the next. English saga writing at its best: wonderful characters, emotional, warm, lovely, highly recommend’

Boldwood Books / Amazon 

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Exclusive Excerpt

Chapter 1

Beth took a deep breath as she crept past her aunt’s front parlour that sunny but cold morning in March 1912, but the harsh voice stopped her before she could reach the back door. She sighed and went to the parlour door, where Aunt Helen was busy at her sewing machine, her left foot working the black metal treadle in a steady rhythm.

Let me look at your shoes before you go,’ her aunt commanded without looking up. Beth smothered her anger, her blue-green eyes smouldering with suppressed passion. She was a woman, not a careless child, and would hardly leave for such an important appointment with dirty shoes. They were smart shoes that fastened with two buttons at the side and made of black leather, which shone so she could see her reflection in them

I spent ages on them last night,’ Beth said. She stood where her aunt could see her in her neat grey ankle length skirt, white blouse and darker grey jacket that nipped in at her slim waist. Her thick pale tresses were swept up neatly at the back of her head and she wore a black velvet hat that shaded her face and hid her hair. She carried black gloves to match her highly polished shoes. The colour did nothing for her pale complexion, but Beth had not yet ceased mourning her mother, who had died less than four months earlier. Besides, she would be expected to wear grey or black for work, or perhaps a uniform.

You look washed out, girl,’ Aunt Helen frowned, ‘but I suppose you can’t help that. You will merely be a salesgirl, so I dare say it does not matter.’ She removed her sewing from the machine and snipped the thread with a small pair of fancy silver-plated scissors. ‘Come straight back when your interview is over.’ She looked at Beth over the glasses she wore for her sewing.

Yes, Aunt,’ Beth replied meekly, though inside resentment stirred once more.

She was almost two and twenty and this was the first time she’d had to apply for a commercial situation. Beth’s mother, Jessie Grey, had been an invalid for most of the past ten years, since her husband died of a terrible fever. Mr Grey had been a brilliant doctor and their lifestyle had been comfortable, though after his death the money had been tight. When Jessie Grey’s inherited income died with her, Beth was left with very little. The news that her mother’s few possessions would be sold to pay their debts meant Beth was forced to accept an offer to live with her aunt, whom she knew through her infrequent visits over the years, though she sensed her aunt’s resentment and wondered at it. She could only think that Aunt Helen resented the fact that for a while Jessie had been loved and happy, while she had never married.

But why did she never tell me we lived beyond our means?’ Beth had asked her aunt when the solicitor had told them the awful news. The inheritance in her mother’s name was finished and nothing was left for Beth. ‘I could have perhaps worked…’

Jess was ever a little fool,’ Aunt Helen had said sharply. ‘She might have married anyone with her looks and background, but she chose a doctor who devoted his life to the poor and consequently left her nothing but a few pounds. Your mother lived off what our father left her and never thought of the future. You may live with me, but you must find work for I cannot feed and clothe you.’

I am perfectly happy to work, Aunt,’ Beth had said proudly, but unfortunately thus far she had not been able to find a suitable job. She was properly brought up and from a decent family, which meant she could not work in an inn or a factory. Aunt Helen thought she ought to look for work as a lady’s companion but, although Beth had applied for two such positions, she had not been lucky enough to be chosen from amongst the many applicants.

Well, I do not know why you were not chosen,’ her aunt had grumbled when she was told Beth had not been selected. ‘You’ve looked after an invalid mother for years and are capable of running after an old woman, I imagine.’

Lady Vera said she wanted someone with experience and Mrs Thompson said I was too attractive, because she has sons…’

Tush!’ Aunt Helen had looked disgusted, for it was obviously unfair. ‘Well, you must work, Beth – we shall look through the newspaper this Friday and see what is advertised…’

The large advert wanting staff for the new department store in what Aunt Helen said was the wrong end of Oxford Street took up half a page of the local paper. There were all kinds of positions on offer, including cleaners, office staff, as well as a floor walker, salesgirls and supervisors. The advert made it clear that Harpers was to be a prestigious store, set over four floors, with lifts, a café on the top floor and, it said, merchandise to rival anything in London.

It says here that training will be given,’ Beth had read aloud. ‘We are invited to write an application for an interview…’

Shop girl…’ Her aunt’s mouth had twisted in disapproval. ‘I must say that I never expected my niece would work as a common shop girl…’

I don’t think it is a common shop,’ Beth replied. ‘Harpers is to be a prestigious store.’

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About the Author

Rosie’s Bio – Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire. Rosie’s brand new saga series, The Shop Girls of Oxford Street, will begin publishing with Boldwood in December 2019.

Website / Twitter / Bookbub / Boldwood Books Profile

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Blog Tour Schedule