Category: 19th Century

Blog Book Tour | “Lilli de Jong” by Janet Benton

Posted Friday, 14 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 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 copy of “Lilli de Jong” direct from the author Janet Benton in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I was inspired to read Lilli de Jong:

The premise is INCREDIBLY strong, fierce and very pro-positive for today’s cultural climate where women are *still!* fighting for their rights – I wish the stigmas were gone for unwed Mums! I love the fact it’s told through the character’s journal! Eek.

I was wicked thankful I could join this blog tour – not only to read and review the novel but to converse with the author about the subject(s) explored therein.

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Blog Book Tour | “Lilli de Jong” by Janet BentonLilli de Jong
by Janet Benton
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Philadelphia, 1883. Twenty-three-year-old Lilli de Jong is pregnant and alone—abandoned by her lover and banished from her Quaker home. She gives birth at a charity for wronged women, planning to give up the baby. But the power of their bond sets her on a completely unexpected path. Unwed mothers in 1883 face staggering prejudice, yet Lilli refuses to give up her baby girl. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep the two of them alive.

Lilli confides this story to her diary as it unfolds, taking readers from a charity for unwed mothers to a wealthy family’s home and onto the streets of a burgeoning American city. Her story offers a rare and harrowing view into a time when a mother’s milk is crucial for infant survival. Written with startling intimacy and compassion, this accomplished novel is both a rich historical depiction and a testament to the saving force of a woman’s love.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

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ISBN: 9780525563327

Genres: Current Events, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Social Science, Women's Fiction, Women's Studies


Published by Anchor Books

on 10th July, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

 Published By: Anchor Books (@VintageAnchor)

an imprint of Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

Converse via: #LilliDeJong, #WomensRights, #mumhood & #HistFic or #HistNov
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Janet Benton

Janet Benton

JANET BENTON’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has cowritten and edited historical documentaries for television.
She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

For decades she has taught writing at universities and privately and has helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 14 September, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Child out of Wedlock, Coming-Of Age, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Literary Fiction, Mental Health, Quakers, Single Mothers, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Right to Choose (Health Care Rights), Women's Rights

Blog Book Tour | “Escapement” by Kristen Wolf

Posted Thursday, 13 September, 2018 by jorielov , , 0 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 copy of “Escapement” direct from the author Kristen Wolf in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was inspired to read Escapement:

It goes without saying, I love reading a diversely original ensemble of stories – I’ve made it rather plain these past five years I’ve been blogging how keen I am to soak into different genres & literary stylings as much as the fact I love regularly reading stories between traditionally published authors & the Indie side of the ledger as I personally have an Indie mindset myself. Likewise, I also appreciate reading LGBTQ+ literature and stories which breakaway from the regular offerings to give us something new to experience – whether it is a new timescape or a bent of genre(s). I love the eclectic nature of my reading life which constantly challenges me, re-defines the ways in which I interpret the world & enlarges my joy of being open to where the stories lead me to travel.

Each story is a capsule of a time – thereby, I am time travelling everytime I step within the pages of a novel or a story – if the length is shorter than the standard novel. Being a traditional reader of both print & audiobooks has given me new horizons to seek out – which is one reason I am looking forward to hearing more of this audiobook narrated by a full cast as the sampler gave only a small clue towards the larger experience! I love samplers for that reason, but to often you feel like your itching to hear the story in full!

What attracted me though to wanting to read this particular story is how it was set to unfold – there was something about the characters & their struggles which resonated with me. Plus, it was set against the background of the musical world – a world which has played a keenly important role in my life as life without music is not a life I wish to contemplate! I have had an ear for music since I was quite young – moving through different styles & performances each year which saw me transitioning through the decades of music as much as generations. By curating an eclectic nature of how I heard music & the various styles therein (including the Indie Music scene!) – I came to appreciate the wide interpretation of how music & the art of music can transport all of us someplace ‘new’ & wondrous.

I have read a few Musical Fiction stories in the past – finding myself drawn into how each writer contemplates the thematic of fusing music into the folds of their narrative and being thankful for the experiences I’ve been granted therein. When it came to ‘Escapement’ – I simply wanted to take the journey and see where it took me.

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Blog Book Tour | “Escapement” by Kristen WolfEscapement
by Kristen Wolf
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

***WINNER of the 2018 IndieReader DISCOVERY AWARD***

Henri keeps many secrets. Some even from herself…

Prepare to be transported into a sensual world of possibility by this lush, heart-wrenching and gorgeously-written tale. Brimming with passion, intrigue, extraordinary characters and breathtaking surprises, ESCAPEMENT will arouse the senses and seduce readers of every persuasion.

Cristofer’s star is poised to rise. Everyone expects the dashing and gifted composer to soar to the heights of musical genius—an expectation that terrifies the young artist as much as it drives him.

Walking into the fire with Cristofer is his housekeeper, Henri, a passionate and handsome young woman who takes pleasure in dressing as a man. Tending to her employer’s domestic needs, Henri has crafted a carefree life of routine behind which she hides the truth of a tragic past. Possessed herself of an extraordinary talent, she covertly guides her employer through the trials of his artistic and romantic pursuits while carefully guarding his most closely-held secret.

But Henri’s deceptively simple life is ripped apart when a wealthy and ruthless patron grants Cristofer a spectacular commission, then unwittingly hires Henri—whom he believes to be male—to give piano lessons to his alluring wife.

The resulting entanglements rise to a dangerous pitch as Cristofer struggles to create music of epic proportions while Henri is ignited by a love more powerful than any she has ever known. But when the monstrously ambitious patron catches wind of a duplicity, he and his henchmen mobilize quickly to target the threat and soon the only hope for either friend’s survival depends on one publicly exposing the other’s hidden truth—an act that would defy the bonds of love and loyalty and bring all their lives crashing down.

Can Henri stop the oncoming tragedy and still hold onto her greatest love? Or must she lose everything?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780999610305

Also by this author: Escapement (Author Interview)

Genres: Classical Music, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, LGBTQIA Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Pixeltry

on 1st August, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 534

 Published By: Pixeltry

Converse via: #Escapement, #LGBTQ & #HistFic or #HistNov
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Kristen Wolf

Kristen Wolf

KRISTEN WOLF is an award-winning author, creative and wondernaut living in the Rocky Mountains. Her debut novel, THE WAY, was hailed by O, The OPRAH Magazine as “A Title to Pick Up Now!” Her second novel, ESCAPEMENT, is a *WINNER – 2018 IndieReader Discovery Award* and received this praise: “Wolf is a masterful storyteller who has created an enchanting novel… It will resonate with anyone who has ever felt passion.” —IndieReader

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 13 September, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cats and Kittens, Classical Music | Composers, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Music History, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Romantic era, Self-Harm Practices

Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!

Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting blog tours with Cedar Fort Publishing and Media for several years now, wherein their new blog tour publicist (Ms Sydney Anderson) also runs her own publicity touring company: Singing Librarian Book Tours (or SLB Tours for short!). I happily joined her team of book bloggers as a hostess in late Spring, 2018 wherein my first tours with her as a hostess begin Summer, 2018. I appreciate reading INSPY literature and was happy to find these are most of the stories she is showcasing through SLB Tours! Most of her authors are published through Cedar Fort, though she does work with authors who are either Self-Published or Indie published through different publishers as well.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Secret of Haversham House” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Publishing & Media) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

To find out why I love Sweet Romances and the #PureRomance imprint you might like to check out my previous postings for Cedar Fort blog tours, wherein I related my love of Historical & INSPY stories on a previous blog tour featuring To Suit a Suitor, however, I have happily been reading the offerings of this particular imprint for quite a long while now. The stories which still stand out are as follows: ‘Willow Springs’, ‘The Darkest Summer’, ‘Unexpected Love (anthology)’ and ‘The Second Season’.

To follow through my readings, be sure to scroll through this tag Pure Romance!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A conversation with Julie Matern: Part I

What first drew your eye into Regencies and what were your favourite memories of reading your first Regency Romances? What attached yourself into them: the era, the lifestyle difference (upstairs/downstairs), the fashions or the historical backdrop and aesthetics?

Matern responds: I didn’t get into Jane Austen until after college – I was taking a French degree which required reading French Literature and there wasn’t time for much else. Quite honestly my connection to Austen’s books came as quite a surprise as I had been required to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronté at school when I was quite young and did not like it at all.

I decided then that those ‘old’ books were not for me. So when I chanced to read Pride and Prejudice as an adult I was amazed at how much I loved it almost immediately.  I enjoyed Jane’s voice and her characters and the era itself – so polite and civilized. I found I couldn’t put the books down. I think they swept me back in time. Then television and movie studios began making the adaptations with the beautiful scenery and costumes and I was totally hooked. I have three daughters and I have converted two of them! (PS I love Jane Eyre now too!)

I believe our reading lives have their Seasons,… I struggled to get into both Bronté and Austen when I was younger – though why I hesitated to read either of them, is lost to time itself. I started to focus on reading ‘Pride’ when Keira Knightley’s film was released (finishing it in time to see it live at the theater!) whilst my reading progress into ‘Jane Eyre’ has taken nearly the full five years I’ve been a book blogger! I haven’t a clue as to why either, except I find myself distracted from the text more times than naught and this year, I’m determined to conclude my ruminative thoughts as I would very much like to read a sequel author’s trilogy! Wish me well!

Strangely, despite the hiccups I incurred with these authors, I was into Classical Children’s Lit throughout my younger years as well as Contemporary favourites like Carolyn Keene (of whom I hadn’t realised to much later was a pen name!) and the other authors I’ve listed on my Children’s Lit page! The way you’ve described why you love reading these stories is something I can relate to myself ‘being swept into the historic past’, ‘the authenticity of Austen’s voice’ and the ways in which the manners of her time were eloquently brought forward into her stories. You’ve summarised it rather lovely!

It is an interesting premise, to have a girl raised in the ton (aristocracy) who didn’t realise her lot was not officially cast in those circles – what inspired this choice of entry into her shift of acceptance from her peers?

Matern responds: Well, heritage is so very important to the nobility at this time. Lady Catherine de Bourgh is probably the best example of this attitude in Austen’s writing. She is horrified that Elizabeth isn’t enough of a lady for her nephew. In Persuasion, Anne is discouraged from marrying Captain Wentworth because he ranks beneath her and in Emma, the thought that Harriet might marry Mr. Knightley makes Emma ill.

I thought it would be an interesting study to examine the possible reaction of this class of people to someone they knew and loved as a lady, under the new information that she was actually not. Then the question was how can this be accomplished and a secret adoption seemed a natural vehicle.

I love how you’ve found an interconnection between the plottings of Ms Austen’s novels – of how birth origins and your status in society meant everything towards a well-matched marriage than the person’s character; second only to reputation, as this was equally a concern of the aristocracy! It is a bit how I was happily surprised Adoption is now an option for Royals where previously it was not allowed. A secreted adoption I believe is the only way it could have worked within the framework of the Haversham’s case due to the nature of how constricted they were by both society and family alike. Blessedly not due to their own beliefs, thoughts and convictions!

Self-identity is oft-times linked to our ancestral heritage – did your interest in ancestry play a key role in exploring Francesca’s soul-search for her own identifiable truth? How did you want to show who you are and who you believe you are are oft-times not the same person?

Matern responds: I have researched my own genealogical lines for over 40 years. I find it absolutely fascinating. There are hidden secrets in many people’s lines; my grandmother thought she was a year younger than she was; people lied to their fiances about their age so that they didn’t seem too much older than them and it is discovered by researchers like me generations later when we notice the discrepancy between the birth certificate and the marriage certificate; I know of someone who did not know she was born before her parents married, until after her parents died and she examined all the certificates. The truth can shake people to their foundations. Any revelation that changes what you have believed to be true about yourself creates a need to know everything, I believe. Ancestry.com is using this common need in their advertising to create interest in their DNA testing – people who find out that they have ethnicity in their family tree that they did not know about, for example, often begin a study of that ethnicity to understand it in an attempt to understand themselves better.

Adoption is not something I have direct experience of and in our day and age it is very open. In writing about Francesca’s emotions I tried to put myself in her shoes and imagine receiving the news that my  mother was not my birth mother. It would spark an avalanche of emotions and confusion and a desire to seek out my birth relatives.

I do believe that ancestral heritage affects how we see ourselves and anchors us to our past, endowing us with a sense of connection to them and helping us have stronger self-esteem. My great-uncle died when he was 19 in WWI in France and my own grandfather almost died in the same war. Their sacrifice helps me feel that my family helped in the cause of freedom. My husband’s side has many pioneers who did extraordinary things under extremely difficult circumstances and it is very important to me that my children know about those on my side who fought and those on my husband’s side who sacrificed so much to connect them with these great heroic acts.

I’ve been blessed by having a Mum whose research into our own ancestral lines began 40+ years ago whereas my own journey as an #AncestrySleuth began roughly 10 years ago where we started to combine our efforts! It even led to a ‘match’ of finding living cousins in Sweden, of whom we thankfully had the chance to meet in Autumn 2017! We personally love the archives and the resources attached to FamilySearch.org as the services they provide are blessedly ‘free’ and all the information on Ancestry.com (which is a paid service) is available for ‘free’ as well as they share their databases. Towards that end, I even participated in a records updating weekend once which proved how tedious it is to update records and how thankful all of us are for the hours dedicated volunteers world-wide are giving to these records/databases to help us all interconnect with lost relatives and ancestral heritage (both living and dead).

Yes, and no. You’d be surprised — I knew in my early twenties I wanted to adopt my future children and despite being comfortable on my path, whenever I go to talk about how I intend to have children (through adoption) you’d be properly surprised how much negatively people project on you and how dedicated they are to tell you the choice you’ve made (for your own life, mind you!) is the wrong one! I never would have thought of all the topics and subjects the general public would feel the right to debate with you, the path you take towards mumhood would be one they would feel most inclined to argue!

Therefore, in many ways, I still see us a bit behind the times when it comes to Adoption – this is why there are many campaigns to re-think how people see adoption and how adoption is still not the option most families are willing to make to either expand or start their families. I wish it were different but the facts do not lie. We’re as closed-minded to adoption now as we were in the Regency in so many ways and that is something I hope will change within my lifetime.

I truly believe as you do – a healthier way forward is to know our past, to examine it, draw strength from it and to continue to ‘tell the living histories’ of our families if only to keep the voices of the past alive, present and acknowledged! I grew up with these kinds of stories myself and they re-etch an impression about yourself, your family and the legacies we all leave behind – some in larger ways than others but all of us have stories to share, tell and honour.

How did you decide on the surname Haversham? It is a rather unique choice and I was wondering if there might be a story behind it? Also, what is your process for selecting the names of your characters overall?

Matern responds: My husband, who is not English by birth, loves these types of quintessential English surnames and is often popping them into conversations. Haversham, Flaversham, Faversham. So it was a nod to him.

Choosing a name for a character is a bit like choosing a name for a baby – I want it to fit. Her name had to be Francesca because of the Italian-French connection so then I wanted a very English surname to pair it with. Then I say my character’s  full names out loud to make sure they have a good ring to them.

I always want to use very traditional names as the first names of my characters. (Langley is not very traditional but is a name of an ancestor of mine so I felt I could use it.) Then I use google to search English surnames that have several syllables (these seem more regal to me) or I look through my family tree for the perfect name. Septimus Sladden is an actual ancestor of mine. The minute I found him I knew I was going to use that name in a book.

Charles Dickens was so very clever with his name choices and JK Rowling too, as often the name tells us about the character. I hope to be able to imitate that in the future.

OOh, I am so glad you’ve mentioned this!! As this is part of my own process for selecting names for my own characters! I even have a lovely Baby Name Book which is multi-ethnic and pulls names from various ethnic backgrounds world-wide as well as various spellings therein! I can go off in small tangents of research just to dig up the Etymology of the names I’ve chosen to see if perhaps, I was choosing the right ‘name’ so to speak at any given time! Much like I would if it were naming a child of mine, to see if I honed in on their personality and the potential they would have in life to fill the shoes behind the name.

I thought your idea of combining the Italian name for ‘French’ as a nod to both Francesca’s Italian heritage but French set Adoption was a stroke of brilliance!

I shall readily admit – when it comes to old English names, I am as addicted to them as your husband! This is one reason I am thankful I’m personally British three times to Sunday! The names and titles alone in my ancestral lines are lushly addictive to research!

Yes! Isn’t it interesting how the names of our ancestors take us by shocked surprise? I have many revelations like this on my own family tree – but also, of whom they were, where they were bourne and where they ended their lives as they moved round quite frequently!

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Blog Book Tour | Double-Showcase: Reading my next installment of the lovely imprint #PureRomance (by Cedar Fort) and feat. an interview with Julie Matern!The Secret of Haversham House
by Julie Matern
Source: Direct from publisher via SLB Tours

Eighteen-year-old Francesca Haversham is privileged, beautiful, and naive. Lineage, titles, and wealth are the ultimate virtues among nineteenth-century English aristocracy, and Francesca is elite society's newest and most celebrated debutante from one of England's most illustrious families. Her pedigree is impeccable - or is it?

Her coming-out ball brings iwth it the appearance of one Mr. Langley Ashbourne, and Francesca is immediately taken in by his handsome features and flattering words. But not everything is as it seems, and flowery comments can only hide dark truths for so long. Meanwhile, a long-buried secret creeps ever closer to the light, one that would destroy her comfortable life, tarnish her family's character, and ruin all hopes of a reputable marriage.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781462122073

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Darkest Summer, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 12th June, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 231

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Converse via: #Regency or #RegencyRomance, #HistFic or #HistoricalRomance

#INSPYRom, #SweetRomance OR #HistRom; #Adoption

→ #SecretOfHavershamHouse

About Julie Matern

Julie Matern

Julie Matern is a resident of Utah. She attended the University of Exeter in Exeter, England, and graduated with a double major in French and Education. She was born and raised in England, moving to America after her marriage and is the mother of six children.

She has served in the PTA for over 20 years, taught tap dance, and enjoys amateur photography. She is the author of ‘British War Children’ (for which she received a “Recommended Read” award from the League of Utah Writers) and ‘British War Children 2: An Enemy Among Us’.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 28 July, 2018 by jorielov in Adoption, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, France, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Italy, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Singing Librarian Book Tours, Sweet Romance, the Regency era, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “The Underground River” by Martha Conway

Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 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 copy of “The Underground River” direct from the publisher Touchstone (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was inspired to read The Underground River:

I’ve read quite a lot of Southern Lit, especially centred around the Underground Railroad, from the emotionally numbing debut by Tara Conklin within the pages of The House Girl to the incredibly layered drama of Redfield Farm by Judith Redline Coopey and the gutting narrative of Balm by Dolen Perkins-Valdez – I suppose, you could say I do not shy away from stirringly dramatic narratives which highlight a particular era in our history which can be difficult to read.

Having said that, I was hopeful this new entry on a narrative I was familiar would shine a newfound light on both the era and the Underground Railroad. Similar to my bookish friend over at The Lit Bitch, there are times where I am striving to seek out new entries of thought into either the era of time I like reading about or a particular part of the historical past, which can lend well to new interpretations and new portals of thought we might not have explored previously. This is why I was tempted by the premise of The Underground River, as I thought by taking the traditional story off land and by placing it on the water, it would endear itself to be given a new opportunity to shine.

Unfortunately for me, I was not able to find the story I was seeking as you will soon find revealled. Still. I am thankful I tried to read a novel which on the offset felt like it was finding new traction in a thread of narrative I know quite a bit about – whether or not, I could personally feel attached to the story, I am presuming other readers might feel it is better suited to their bookish interests. After all, we all cannot love all the books we’re discovering as sometimes a book which doesn’t suit us might be the story someone else has been waiting to read themselves.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Underground River” by Martha ConwayThe Underground River
by Martha Conway
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Set aboard a nineteenth century riverboat theater, this is the moving, page-turning story of a charmingly frank and naive seamstress who is blackmailed into saving runaways on the Underground Railroad, jeopardizing her freedom, her livelihood, and a new love.

It’s 1838, and May Bedloe works as a seamstress for her cousin, the famous actress Comfort Vertue—until their steamboat sinks on the Ohio River. Though they both survive, both must find new employment. Comfort is hired to give lectures by noted abolitionist, Flora Howard, and May finds work on a small flatboat, Hugo and Helena’s Floating Theatre, as it cruises the border between the northern states and the southern slave-holding states.

May becomes indispensable to Hugo and his troupe, and all goes well until she sees her cousin again. Comfort and Mrs. Howard are also traveling down the Ohio River, speaking out against slavery at the many riverside towns. May owes Mrs. Howard a debt she cannot repay, and Mrs. Howard uses the opportunity to enlist May in her network of shadowy characters who ferry babies given up by their slave mothers across the river to freedom. Lying has never come easy to May, but now she is compelled to break the law, deceive all her new-found friends, and deflect the rising suspicions of Dr. Early who captures runaways and sells them back to their southern masters.

As May’s secrets become more tangled and harder to keep, the Floating Theatre readies for its biggest performance yet. May’s predicament could mean doom for all her friends on board, including her beloved Hugo, unless she can figure out a way to trap those who know her best.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

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ISBN: 9781501160202

Genres: Historical Fiction


Published by Touchstone

on 20th June, 2017

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 345

 Published By: Touchstone
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

Converse via: #TheUndergroundRiver + #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook

About Martha Conway

Martha Conway

Martha Conway grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, the sixth of seven daughters. Her first novel was nominated for an Edgar Award, and she has won several awards for her historical fiction, including an Independent Book Publishers Award and the North American Book Award for Historical Fiction.

Her short fiction has been published in the Iowa Review, Massachusetts Review, Carolina Quarterly, Folio, Epoch, The Quarterly, and other journals. She has received a California Arts Council Fellowship for Creative Writing, and has reviewed books for the Iowa Review and the San Francisco Chronicle. She now lives in San Francisco, and is an instructor of creative writing for Stanford University’s Continuing Studies Program and UC Berkeley Extension. She is the author of The Underground River.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 11 July, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Inspired by Stories

An Audiobook review feat. during #AudiobookMonth | “The Widow’s Redeemer” by Philippa Jane Keyworth I am dearly in awe of the narrator Alex Lee who completely changed my mind about this author!

Posted Thursday, 7 June, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , 0 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 “The Widow’s Redeemer” via Audiobookworm Promotion 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 take a second chance on a novel by Ms Keyworth:

Last year, I was first introduced to the writings of Ms Keyworth on the Historical Fiction blog tour showcasing Fool Me Twice, for which I had this to impart upon that reading:

Keyworth has a different approach at writing her Historicals, as she’s very matter-of-fact and doesn’t spoilt you on long descriptive passages of what is happening ‘in scene’ but rather gets to the heart of the truth whilst disclosing the details which are necessary to understand her lead protagonists’ motives. It took me a bit to adjust to her style, as all writers have their own written voice and style of narrative. I have the tendency to read more writers who opt for descriptive narrative over the blunter style of only giving out parse details, but both have their place in Historicals, as sometimes the focus is not on the settings nor the period of the story itself but rather the angst of the situation we meet the characters.

Despite finding myself appreciating a few things within the story itself, overall, I couldn’t find myself attached to the novel. I was taken out of it’s depths more than once, finding it was ill-matched for my preferences of the genre but I never quite ‘let go’ of reading one of her other stories. In fact, even after I attempted to read this first novel of hers, I mused to myself, one of her older titles might be more to my liking – in effect, I had made an error in where to insert myself into her stories!

Thus, when I saw this title was going on an audiobook blog tour, I immediately listened to the sampler – finding myself smitten by Ms Lee’s approach especially for her clarity of ‘place’ and of ‘person’. You immediately feel drawn into her narrative styling due to how she fuses her heart into what she is narrating – she is as immersively captivating as the narrator for the Kay Hunter series (Alison Campbell) due to her passionate approach in voicing the characters themselves!

I was thankful I had a chance to re-approach her writings so soon after discovering them initially. I had a good feeling about going into listening to this audiobook, as sometimes, you can rather quite a lot about a narrator through the samplers – in this instance, I felt like I might have blessed myself tenfold: a new narrator to champion and a writer who redeemed my opinion of her writerly style. Technically, this happened earlier this year, when I borrowed a copy of an audiobook version of Cotillion by Georgette Heyer; a novel I previously could not attach myself inside. Narrators have an uncanny way of presenting stories in such a way as to heighten the words left behind by the authors which cannot always translate through a print edition!

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An Audiobook review feat. during #AudiobookMonth | “The Widow’s Redeemer” by Philippa Jane Keyworth I am dearly in awe of the narrator Alex Lee who completely changed my mind about this author!The Widow's Redeemer
by Philippa Jane Keyworth
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Alex Lee

A penniless young widow with an indomitable spirit. A wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. London, 1815: After her husband's untimely death, Letty Burton comes up from the country with her domineering mother-in-law. Hiding a past she wishes to forget and facing an uncertain future, all she wants is to navigate London Society as a silent companion.

A chance meeting with London's most eligible bachelor sets in motion a series of events that will bring her quiet life under the unfriendly scrutiny of the ton. With the net of scandal, debts, and rivals closing in, will she let her dark past dictate her life forever? Will she learn to trust again? And most importantly, will she allow herself to love?

The Widow's Redeemer was a finalist in the 2012 RONE Awards (Reward of Novel Excellence) hosted by InD'Tale Magazine.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ASIN: B07CH4F4WL

Also by this author: Fool Me Twice

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Madison Street Publishing

on 19th April, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 9 hours and 35 minutes (unabridged)

Published By:  Madison Street Publishing (@MStPublishing)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Ebook and Audioook

Stories by Philippa Jane Keyworth:

Fool Me Twice by Philippa Jane KeyworthThe Widow's Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth

The Unexpected Earl | Synopsis

The Widow’s Redeemer

Fool Me Twice (see also Review)

Converse via: #HistFic + #HistRom

About Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth

Philippa Jane Keyworth, known to her friends as Pip, has been writing since she was twelve in every notebook she could find. Originally trained as a horse-riding instructor, Philippa went on to become a copywriter before beginning a degree in History. A born again Christian, Philippa lives in the south of England with her handsome husband.

Philippa has always written stories and believes that, since it is one of her loves and passions, she always will. In her early writing career, she dabbled in a variety of genres, but it was the encouragement of a friend to watch a film adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice that began her love affair with the British Regency. Since then, she has watched every Regency film and TV series she could get her hands on and become well acquainted with Georgette Heyer’s novels which gave her the inspiration to write her own.

Both as a reader and a writer, Philippa believes it is important to escape into a world you yourself would want to live in. This is why she writes stories that will draw you into the characters’ joys and heartaches in a world apart from our own. Her debut novel, The Widow’s Redeemer (Madison Street Publishing, 2012), is a traditional Regency romance bringing to life the romance between a young widow with an indomitable spirit and a wealthy viscount with an unsavory reputation. The novel has been received well by readers and reviewers who have praised the heartfelt story and admirable characters. Her second novel, The Unexpected Earl (Madison Street Publishing, 2014), explores another romance in the Regency era when an impetuous young woman has her life turned upside down by the reappearance of the earl who jilted her six years ago. Her third novel a Georgian romance will come out at the end of 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 7 June, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Britian, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Pride & Prejudice Re-telling, Romance Fiction