Category: 19th Century

Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

 

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Ecstasy” direct from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this novel about Alma Mahler:

This particular author has a special connection to Jorie Loves A Story – especially in regards to milestones and memories! Whilst I was a 1st Year Book Blogger, I had the pleasure of joy reading Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen} as my debut review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in November, 2013! The novel introduced me to an enriched version of reading biographies – an introduction that would carry me forward into the wonderful world of what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’; a mainstay of my reading queues! As routed through this category of interest!

From that foundation, I started to seek out traditional biographies and memoirs, under the new vein of interest called ‘Creative Non-Fiction’ where the stories are threaded through an emotional contextual core of narrative. For you see, if I hadn’t first read Illuminations all the lovelies I’ve been discovering since might not have alighted in my hands to read. Mary Sharratt truly opened my mind and eyes to how a story could be told whilst peering back into the historical past through a living history of a person who once lived. Her style of the craft is quite acutely realistic for the time periods she’s exploring; she has a conviction of setting with a lifeblood of drawing characters out of the wells of history to give us a resounding portrait of ‘who once lived’ can live once again in our own imaginations.

Whilst during my 3rd Year as a Book Blogger, I had the joy of discovering her prose within The Dark Lady’s Mask (see also Review) and now, as a newly minted 5th Year Book Blogger – I am embarking into my third reading of her collective works with Ecstasy! There is something quite special about the way in which Ms Sharratt approaches her subjects and characters – as I had this to say whilst encountering my last stay inside one of her stories:

I knew I would find the narrative an eloquent historical tome of insight on behalf of what I know of Sharratt’s writings; she fuses so much in such a short expanse of the story, you fully live within their pages. Her narrative has a way of not just transporting you back into the 16th Century but allowing you a bit of grace to flex your mind around what living in the 16th Century would be like from a sensory perception of insight. She taunts what you presume to be true with what is known about the century, giving you much more of a grounded respite than a flowery historical. This felt authentic to the era but also, to how the world would have been viewed during the different stages of Aemilia’s life.

I was caught up in the current of how fluid Ms Sharratt composed this novel and how she worked the story-line through the mind of a poetess. She truly championed the will of a poet and of a creative seeking to find their own way to express their creativity whilst proving that finding one’s way in life isn’t as easily to understand. Ms Sharratt will remain a favourite of mine to read, if only to see how her own mind fashions itself around thought, theory, inspiration and the fragility of where history and time become entwined as one. I will definitely savour the time I spend within The Dark Lady’s Mask the second time I read it, as it is not one you wish to put down in haste!

Only within the chapters of Illuminations did I find myself most akin to reading a different lifestyle than one I could personally relate too. As the elements of The Dark Lady’s Mask had such wonderful overtures of recognition from my favourite Bard, I felt there were portions of the narrative I had a pre-cursory understanding of – as I stepped inside Ecstasy, it was an easier transition by half, as any creative economist who picks up this novel will self-identity with Alma’s strong desire and need to fulfill not only her creative muses but to strike out on her own to develop her creative identity.

As such, this is one text where I found myself attempting to find the right words to articulate my reactions as I found the context of the story to be illuminatingly stimulating in it’s own right to parlay a multitude of thoughts about it’s inner theme, the heart of it’s message and the purpose we all seek as self-directed artists seeking our true selves and the rightful path we must walk in order to embrace the artistry within us which has not yet been revealled. These are the kinds of ruminative thoughts I am appreciative of being challenged to convey – as the writers who write these kinds of stories are digging into something dimensionally deeper than what might first be seen on the surface of their characters’ lives.

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Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.Esctasy
by Mary Sharratt
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780544800892

Also by this author: Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen}, The Dark Lady's Mask

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 10th April, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 387

Published ByHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHCo)

Converse via: #EcstasyBlogTour, #AlmaMahler + #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover & Ebook

About Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes: strong women who break all the rules.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Alma Mahler, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Classical Music | Composers, Composer, Creative Arts, Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired by Stories, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Phantom’s Apprentice” by Heather Webb a brilliant re-telling of #PhantomOfTheOpera by the #histnov author I admire for giving us strong female leads throughout History – providing a beautiful lens into #HerStory!

Posted Monday, 26 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 5 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Phantom’s Apprentice” direct from the author Heather Webb in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was so enamored with the premise behind ‘The Phantom’s Apprentice’:

Aside from being an admirer of the author’s collective works (as hinted at through my conversational tweets attached to the bottom of this review) and having had the joyful blessing of being able to follow her career whilst I’ve been a book blogger – all of this aside, I’ve been a girl whose appreciated Broadway and Musicals since I was old enough to listen to original soundtracks on cassette tape. I used to go to sleep with a tape of Annie – not the stage play version but the original motion picture soundtrack. From there, I graduated into more familiar Musicals – including listening to the Michael Crawford soundtrack for Phantom until it etched itself into my blood.

I continued to follow Phantom – from watching the PBS broadcast of the anniversary production from London to celebrating the motion picture adaptation starring Emmy Rossum. Whilst I was writing my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this novel, I was playing the motion picture soundtrack channel for Phantom via Pandora Radio which showcased all versions of the play and musical.

I am also an appreciator of Gothic Literature – something I haven’t actively pursued on my blog – except in short spurts and showcases – however, in the back of my wanderings is a keen interest to resume my Gothic readings, as I’ve had my eye on Kate Morton for several years now. She’s only one of the authors whose winked out a recognition of the kind of Gothic vein of interest which whets a healthy appetite to explore. Closer to finishing is my reading of Jane Eyre which I always held in high esteem – mostly stemming out of a love of the author’s vision for Eyre and what I found in a film adaptation I felt owned to the strength of who Eyre was and is for all of us to know through this beautiful novel.

The music of Phantom – irregardless of which incantation of performance and artistic vision are the songs which lift my soul. The sound of Phantom is individually distinctive and the story within it’s heart is one of gutting emotions surrounding the suspense of what is truly happening to Christine and of what motivates the Phantom himself to pursue her to such an extent of invested interest. It is also part cautionary tale about obsession and misguided love.

Knowing this story was in the hands, heart and mind of Ms Webb was enough to convince me I needed to read this evocative re-telling. She’s one author I appreciate reading due to her tenacious approach to drawing forward the strong female leads I personally find myself engaging with as I read their stories. I have a newfound interest in Feminist Historical Fiction and of finding the voices out of History who are celebrating #HerStory. You’ll find many writers who write these kinds of stories peppered throughout my archives and featured within my Story Vault. It is a pleasurable joy each time I get the chance to read a story which evokes such a strong reaction and provides me with hours of cherished happiness for having found the characters and the world in which they live.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Phantom’s Apprentice” by Heather Webb a brilliant re-telling of #PhantomOfTheOpera by the #histnov author I admire for giving us strong female leads throughout History – providing a beautiful lens into #HerStory!The Phantom's Apprentice
by Heather Webb
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine Daaé you’ve never seen before…

Christine Daaé sings with her violinist Papa in salons all over Paris, but she longs to practice her favorite pastime—illusions. When her beloved Papa dies during a conjurer’s show, she abandons her magic and surrenders to grief and guilt. Life as a female illusionist seems too dangerous, and she must honor her father’s memory.

Concerned for her welfare, family friend Professor Delacroix secures an audition for her at the Nouvel Opéra—the most illustrious stage in Europe. Yet Christine soon discovers the darker side of Paris opera. Rumors of murder float through the halls, and she is quickly trapped between a scheming diva and a mysterious phantom. The Angel of Music.

But is the Angel truly a spirit, or a man obsessed, stalking Christine for mysterious reasons tangled in her past?

As Christine’s fears mount, she returns to her magical arts with the encouragement of her childhood friend, Raoul. Newfound hope and romance abounds…until one fateful night at the masquerade ball. Those she cares for—Delacroix, the Angel, and even Raoul—aren’t as they seem. Now she must decide whom she trusts and which is her rightful path: singer or illusionist.

To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780999628508

Also by this author: Becoming Josephine, Author Interview: Heather Webb (Rodin's Lover), Rodin's Lover, Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War, Last Christmas in Paris

Genres: After Canons, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Re-telling &/or Sequel


Published by Sonnet Press

on 6th February, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 350

Published By: Sonnet Press

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #HistNov

as well as #ThePhantomsApprentice w/ #PhantomOfTheOpera

About Heather Webb

Heather Webb

HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews.

RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI released October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 26 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cemeteries & Graveyards, Composer, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Father-Daughter Relationships, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, France, French Literature, Good vs. Evil, Gothic Literature, Gothic Mystery, Gothic Romance, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Thriller Suspense, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Inspired by Stories, Literary Adaptations, Literary Fiction, Mediums & Clairvoyants, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, New York City, Opera, Psychological Suspense, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Unrequited Eternal Love, Women's Fiction

Audiobook Review | “Sherlock Holmes in A Reflection of Evil” by William Todd, narrated by Ben Werling

Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 2 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Sherlock Holmes in a Reflection of Evil” via Audiobookworm Promotions who is working directly with the author William Todd in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in listening to this story about Holmes:

As I was listening to the sampler of “A Reflection of Evil”, I noticed strong influences out of the canon itself and thus, was quite intrigued to listen to the whole story – seeing how Mr Todd interwove his story next to the ones we all know of being ‘Holmes’. Therefore, when I set to mind which topic I wanted to ask the author for the tour, I chose to focus on how he made the transition into voicing Holmes and giving us an authentic re-entry therein.

-quoted from the guest feature I hosted ahead of this review

This is what is most crucial for me when selecting after canon writers to read or listen to via audiobooks – of finding the writers who truly love the original stories and characters to the brink they enjoy bringing them back to life with their own unique insight into who they are as their stories continue forward. I was not disappointed by what I found inside the novella!

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Audiobook Review | “Sherlock Holmes in A Reflection of Evil” by William Todd, narrated by Ben WerlingSherlock Holmes in a Reflection in Evil
by William Todd
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Ben Werling

After months of inactivity, Holmes and Watson have two cases thrust in their lap in a single day. First, a mysterious woman from Swansea, Wales, seeks Holmes' help finding her husband who has disappeared in the middle of the night. As soon as she leaves, Holmes receives word that there has been a prison riot with several dead and a few inmates missing. Lestrade is asking for his services.

Holmes believes the two cases are not a coincidence, but he has no idea who is behind it and to what end. They go to Swansea in what could be either a wild goose chase or a setup. Will Holmes unravel the mystery before they get to Swansea? If not what will be in store for them when they step off the train?

Places to find the book:

ASIN: B078SC6TCM

Also by this author: Guest Post about A Reflection in Evil

Genres: Classic Detective, Crime Fiction, Short Story or Novella


Published by Self Published Author

on 5th January, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 2 hours and 4 minutes (unabridged)

Self Published Audiobook

William Todd’s Sherlock Holmes stories:

Sherlock Holmes in A Reflection of Evil

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Broken Window

Formats Available: Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

About William Todd

William Todd

I have been writing online since the early 2000’s, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft. I was the 2nd most popular author on the website storiesbyemail.com for two years before moving on.

I had my first book, a Victorian era horror compilation called Bumps in the Night, published by Mystic Moon Press just a week before they closed their website and never saw my hard work pay off. Afterwards I took publishing into my own hands, became an Indie author and haven’t looked back. My first self-published book was Dead of Night, another compilation of Victorian horror stories, published September 2016 by Createspace and on Kindle by KDP.

After its publication I left my comfort zone for mystery and wrote a short story about Sherlock Holmes in the Conan Doyle style. I loved it so much I then did a longer story A Reflection of Evil, both published in 2017 through Createspace and KDP. I have just released Beyond the Gossamer Veil, another compilation of both Victorian and modern supernatural/horror stories and am in the beginning stages of my third Sherlock Holmes installment.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, After the Canon, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Self-Published Author, Sequel Authors

Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.

Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you might recall, I happily read a novel in January which was set in Russia and captialised on a living person’s life – my latest in finding a compelling Biological Historical narrative which was so wickedly writ to the truth of the woman’s life as to make you feel you had walked a proper mile in her shoes. The author and I staid in touch after my review posted during her lovely blog tour – as I had hoped all along to feature her in a guest post talking about specific points of her story-line (the cross-references to today’s current events) and the curious hidden meanings (if any) behind the choice in ‘title’.

This lead to a wonderfully planned out essay which Ms Laam has written to be shared with all of you – I love how she talks to the purposeful meaning behind what is truly ‘lost’ and how the theme behind the title is played throughout the story, further revealling the homage seen in the title. Whilst I had observed whilst I was reading the novel, there are a lot of carry-overs into today’s society about the rights for women and the further need for our rights to be upheld in all instances (not just in the workplace). Natayla did not live in an age of freedom where she would have more choices than those which were availed to her and in many ways, her story does read like a tragic love story. I personally felt Natayla had been given a bad rap in History – as I sided with the author’s own reflections after I finished reading her rendition about her life.

Too often women in History are misunderstood or their motives are misconstrued in modern eras – in Natayla’s case, I don’t believe any historians had fully given her a chance to have her voice heard much less understood. When you read about what she was facing and what she was going through – your heart softens to her plight. You can definitely feel empathy for her and in the end, what is truly sad is how it all unfolds into such an emotionally charged ending. I am unsure if she’s a victim of the times or a victim of how sometimes you can become a victim of circumstances which are never fully resolved. In her case, love was not something without conditions placed against it and her life was never truly her own.

I hope you enjoy reading Ms Laam’s guest essay about “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” – perhaps inspiring you to pick up a copy of this dearly inspiring Historical narrative or if you’ve already read it – perhaps this will help clue you into things you’ve observed whilst you were reading it. Either way, be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and enjoy ruminating about what the author leaves behind to be pondered!

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Why I was interested in learning more about the hidden meaning behind this title:

There are so many keen moments of beautiful prose in this narrative – of observations on ordinary objects, to the traditions of holidays and the little touches of rooting us within the time-line of History, as Natayla steps further into the foreground of the story. The people she is interacting with are as viable as anything else being described because of the nature of how close certain circles were kept and maintained. It was fitting to find her in such company because her movements in social circles was evidence enough she would cross certain people’s path at some point or another. What lends such a gasp of awe for us who are reading about her for the first time is how her path started to intersect with so many well-known figures of her generation. A bit like the Fitzgeralds in the 1920s who curbed the market for knowing all the latest persons in literature, art, music and the creative arts.

It was not long for me to feel lost inside the world Ms Laam created within the pages of The Lost Season of Love and Snow; for this was a coming-of-age story which created it’s own niche out of what is known and unknown within the fables of history. As we dig further into the life of Natalya, we find a girl who is maturing into her own skin, of sorting out her emotions and of finding she does not fully ascribe to her mother’s sensible beliefs about marriage and life. Within these pages, you get to tuck close to her, watching her as she moves through the hours and attempts to forestall the influence of her sisters and brothers whilst owning to the fact, without being married she is still under her mother’s rules. This is partially what captured my attention most – as in so many ways this story reminded me why I love Little Women.

-quoted from my review of The Lost Season of Love and Snow

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Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.Author Guest Post (Jennifer Laam)
Subtitle: The Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: The Lost Season of Love and Snow

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Studies


on 2nd January, 2018

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Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice