Category: the Edwardian era

Blog Book Tour | “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C.W. Gortner An innovator who was self-motivated to change the way in which we not only view fashion but how fashion can be definitively original unto our own style.

Posted Friday, 3 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Mademoiselle Chanel” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My connection to Chanel:

My fascination with Chanel took center-stage when I selected my first Rosamunde Pilcher novel to read {The Shell Seekers} giving me a window into the world of Chanel No. 5. I had briefly hinted at this connection whilst tweeting Mr Gortner in January after learning I had become a part of the blog tour for Chanel. (the tweets are in a slideshow at the bottom of this review) I was fourteen and starting to seek out adult literature in all it’s glory after having read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton the year before when I was thirteen. I had reached the point where I was separating myself from what I had read as a young adult and what I wanted to shift forward into as an adult reader.

Romance was in my life ever since I first picked up the novella collections featuring Victorian Christmas stories penned by leading authors in the field such as Mary Jo Putney. I wanted to seek out new genres and other ways in which stories were told, which is why The Shell Seekers held such an appeal to me. It was a unique novel as it was practically a time slip as much as it was a multiple point of view story told from different pairs of eyes per each chapter you entered. It was part war drama and part multi-generational saga, yet at the heart of it all was the discovery of Chanel No. 5.

I hadn’t realised it at the time, but this novel in particular led me to realise how much I appreciated reading historical fiction, although a few years prior I should have known this after reading Judith Pella’s Frontier Lady. It was the scent of Chanel No. 5 which staid with me as I read the novel itself — it is hard to describe how I even would have known the scent, but as I read the story, I smelt the parfum, and that is the easiest way to explain it. I was so stirred by the emotional context of the novel shortly thereafter I had put the book down, I immediately sought out the parfum!

I had seen the Chanel counter at the malls, as much as anyone else, but I hadn’t connected to the scent of the fragrances themselves. The Shell Seekers provided the gateway yet it also proposed a dialogue of conversation revealing a particular unknown connection through my maternal line of heritage! Apparently, long before my own encounter with Chanel No. 5, my grandmother and mother had long since held this fragrance as their most beloved scent! It was at this time the torch was thus passed down to me, and I inherited my Mum’s bottle of the fragrance which I used sparingly until it ran out in my early twenties. The scent itself smelt differently on me, as it was very subtle and yet unique, and this is when I learnt the most about parfum; to each wearer our own chemistry changes how it is reflected to those who smell it on us.

I haven’t been able to wear it after this moment of my life as I started to develop allergies to most commercial fragrances, however, even as I use essential oils I still have very fond memories of Chanel and of Chanel No. 5. It united me with a legacy of how three women in my own family came across Chanel No. 5 in our own uniquely different ways and found a connection through the parfum itself. If I hadn’t picked up The Shell Seekers and been drawn in by the allure of Chanel No. 5, this story of my life would not have been written. Nor would I have known how others reacted to when I wore the fragrance as no one knew it was this particular scent, only that when I wore it, I was known. Anonymity was gone.

Blog Book Tour | “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C.W. Gortner An innovator who was self-motivated to change the way in which we not only view fashion but how fashion can be definitively original unto our own style.Mademoiselle Chanel
by C.W. Gortner
Source: Publisher via France Book Tours

For readers of “The Paris Wife” and “Z” comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel—the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to an orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.

An enthralling novel of an extraordinary designer who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: , The Tudor Vendetta

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on St. Patrick's Day, 2015

Pages: 416

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, Unabridged Audiobook, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #MademoiselleChanel, #CocoChanel

Author Biography:CW Gortner

C.W. Gortner is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, translated in over twenty-five languages to date. His new novel, “Mademoiselle Chanel”, traces the tumultuous rise to fame of iconic fashion designer, Coco Chanel.

In 2016, Random House will publish his eighth novel, “Vatican Princess”, about Lucrezia Borgia. Raised in Spain and a long-time resident of the Bay Area, C.W. is also dedicated to companion animal rescue from overcrowded shelters.

WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 3 April, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, 20th Century, Adoption, Belle Epoque Era, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coco Chanel, Courtesan & Cocottes, Equality In Literature, Fashion Fiction, Fashion Industry, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Parfum Industry, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Realistic Fiction, the Edwardian era, the Roaring Twenties

Author Guest Post | C.W. Gortner relates the beauty of inspiration behind how Coco Chanel’s effervescent presence in fashion and parfum have endured her legacy forty years after her death. {on behalf of “Mademoiselle Chanel”}

Posted Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , 6 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I had the opportunity to become introduced to the writings of Mr Gortner whilst I participated on his blog tour for The Tutor Vendetta, marking a special moment for me as it was Gortner’s writings which had first intrigued me to start hosting for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I had the chance to interview him about his writings and the Spymaster Trilogy, and now, only a handful of months since I first picked up a novel of his, I have the beautiful opportunity to dig inside an historical biographical fiction novel about Chanel! Chanel as I will reveal on my book review lateron tonight, held a key part of my personal growth with an affection for parfum which went back through my own maternal line of heritage without my realisation until I ‘met’ Chanel via a novel which changed my life.

I wanted to ask Mr Gortner about what inspired him to focus on Chanel but also, on how Chanel’s life has continued to have an impact on everyone who crosses path with either her personal history of what she’s left behind for us to discover about her or a part of her legacy in the fashion and/or parfum industries where she not only set a certain standard but directly had an impact on the direction of where both industries were going to break out into new territories.

It was further interesting to me, the synopsis for Mademoiselle Chanel mentions a previous novel I have held quite close to my heart: Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald as I had the pleasure of reading and discovering Zelda through such an authentic voice as portrayed in her biographical fiction novel from Therese Fowler as to be full of thanksgiving for the novel to cross my path via the First Impressions programme at Book Browse. I believe this speaks to the authenticity of the work as a whole, as I had previously encountered Gortner’s passionate dedication to research in the Spymaster series, and this tip-off with Chanel, gave me a bit of insight of what I might find inside the pages herein.

You see Zelda wasn’t simply spoken about in a third person point of view or a narration thus far removed from her living hours; no, to me Zelda’s voice was captured so surely by Fowler as to give definition to her character and a direct line of insight into who Zelda was whilst she was alive. On this note, I am perceiving the same must have been felt by early readers and the editors on behalf of Gortner’s take on Chanel. To knit together such a convincing portrait as if Chanel herself were echoing her thoughts directly into the pen of Gortner and thus, presenting us with a story which speaks as true as the woman who lived the life.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Mademoiselle Chanel

For readers of “The Paris Wife” and “Z” comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel—the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to an orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.

An enthralling novel of an extraordinary designer who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, Unabridged Audiobook, Ebook

Public Library | Add to Riffle

Converse on Twitter via: #MademoiselleChanel, #CocoChanel Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, 20th Century, Adoption, Belle Epoque Era, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coco Chanel, Courtesan & Cocottes, Equality In Literature, Fashion Fiction, Fashion Industry, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Parfum Industry, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Realistic Fiction, the Edwardian era, the Roaring Twenties

Blog Book Tour | “Seldom Come By” (Book 1: of the Iceberg Trilogy) by Sherryl Caulfield a historical fiction set on the Province of Newfoundland: a land of stories, hearty souls, and the spirit of thriving in the midst of adversity!

Posted Thursday, 11 December, 2014 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Parajunkee Designs

Seldom Come By by Sherryl Caulfield

Published By: Cedar Pocket Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #SeldomComeby & #SeldomComeByBlogTour

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Seldom Come By” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Sherryl Caulfield, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I remember catching a glimpse of this novel, whilst checking my feeds on Twitter, and thinking to myself how incredible visceral this novel sounded! I immediately tweeted the author & Ms. Bruno concurrently; I had the happiness of finding there was a spot on the blog tour and I was tucked inside the list of book bloggers! My visit to the author’s website for the first time revealed such a bevy of delight: from the behind-the-scenes extras to the depth of layers the author knitted into her author’s site to give any reader a heap of joy on their returning visits! I love websites you cannot simply devour in seconds, but rather have to linger over and absorb one page at a time! Caulfield has given us all something hearty to read whilst engaging our hearts into the stories flowing out of her pen!

Icebergs and glaciers have captured my attention from a young age — the Goliath of marvel within the natural world has a splendidness about it which is truly unique! I’d love to visit certain regions of North America where you can see icebergs as much as you can kiss the cold breath of their gracefulness! Awe-inspiring yet a ticking reminder of how fragile the balance is within the natural environment for which they are residing. Everything has a natural rhythm and balance — although I also grew up with the realisation of how destructive an iceberg can be to a ship (Titanic always drew my eye, my heart, and part of my soul) there is a measure of acceptance of tinkerature of chaos of which none of us can control.

What truly drew me into this enchanting premise of a novel is simply how it was sparked an experience in a Eastern Canadian Maritime Province I was already curious about (Newfoundland) and how the author herself, drew you into this slice of time breathing in an awareness of known truths out of the tanglements of war, life, and love.

(originally shared on my interview with Ms. Caulfield)

Blog Book Tour | “Seldom Come By” (Book 1: of the Iceberg Trilogy) by Sherryl Caulfield a historical fiction set on the Province of Newfoundland: a land of stories, hearty souls, and the spirit of thriving in the midst of adversity!Seldom Come By
by Sherryl Caulfield

Two years after the sinking of the Titanic, fifteen year-old Rebecca Crowe’s fascination with icebergs leads her to save a shipwrecked survivor, Samuel Dalton, the nineteen-year old son of a Toronto medical family.

Love sparks in the crystal cave of an iceberg but is thwarted by an unreasonable father and the Great War that drags Samuel and his brother, Matthew, to the Western Front as medical officers. Knowing Rebecca is home and safe in Newfoundland brings Samuel great comfort. But as the war moves towards its final harrowing days, they both discover that tragedy and terror can strike anywhere, setting their love on an unforeseen path.

Only when Samuel and Rebecca can fully come to terms with such devastating loss and their impossible choices can their love soar. With an emotional intensity reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman, Seldom Come By, named after an actual place in Newfoundland, is an unforgettable journey across waves and time and the full spectrum of human emotions.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author:

Series: The Iceberg Trilogy,


Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by Cedar Pocket Publishing

on 10th October, 2013

Format: Paperback

Pages: 490

About Sherryl Caulfield

Sherryl Caulfield

Australian-born Sherryl Caulfield is a marketer, writer and traveller. After twenty years working for some of the world’s leading technology brands and a stint with Outward Bound, she longed to write about the human experience and the redemptive qualities of nature.

In 2006, haunted by an encounter with a woman she met in Canada, Sherryl started what has now become known as The Iceberg Trilogy. From her home in the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand, she distilled the lives of three generations of women – Rebecca, Evangeline and Lindsay – over the course of a century. In the telling of their stories she crafted a series rich in landscapes – of sea, land and the human soul.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Newfoundland | frozen beauty:

I originally came to find Newfoundland by a Newfie who is an actor in television movies and series; my interest was further perked when I had learnt of the story behind Gander’s influence on the travellers who landed at their airport on 11th of September, 2001. Previously I had stumbled across the non-fiction book at my local library, but during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, the special documentary which went back to Gander was soul-inspiring. This was the Newfoundland I had uncovered whilst researching the Province, the people, and the land which encompasses it as a whole. I even sent for travel pamphlets wherein I received so much more from the tourism bureau, including a bookmark! The bookmark was one small clue to the fact Newfies love the art of story-telling and the craft behind how the stories evolve over the time they are first told aloud. The stories they tell are natural bourne, fused directly into their veins as the common celebration of alighting together in a pub or a friend’s house over supper; the stories linger onward into the night as conversation cascade the joy through the moment.

Moreso than even the depth of their connection to each other, is the connection they share with the land and sea. Like their American North Atlantic neighbours (in Northern New England; especially in regards to Maine), they rely on a living by what the sea and the land can yield as much as the dependency on what the weather will bring. There was always an undercurrent of Newfoundlanders as a whole, as a particular type of person you’d meet if you were to visit in everything I listened to or read. What I found amazing when I started to tuck inside Seldom Come By is how inherently precise Caulfield curated this awareness inside her story! It is something you have to feel as your senses gather an instinct of insight through your intuition as it is not tangible nor is it able to be seen outright. A bit more of a thread of how life can be lived whilst united with the people who stand behind you and of a place both untamed and preserved. Read More

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Posted Thursday, 11 December, 2014 by jorielov in #IndieWriterMonth, 20th Century, Australian Literature, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Canada, Canadian Literature, Debut Author, Debut Novel, During WWI, Family Drama, Family Life, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Military Fiction, Newfoundland, the Edwardian era, War Drama, War-time Romance, Warfare & Power Realignment