Category: the Roaring Twenties

Blog Book Tour | “Girl Runner” by Carrie Snyder

Posted Wednesday, 25 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , 2 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 “Girl Runner” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher HarperCollins Publishers, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I grew up watching the Winter (Olympic) Games, whilst the Games themselves inspired me to correspond with other girls who lived overseas, as my original pen pals were sought through a friendship exchange linked to the Norwegian Games in the early 1990s. Those friendships dissolved in my early to mid twenties, but the friendships sparked a love of exchanging postal mail and letters of correspondence! A tradition that I still carry forward today, as I will be blogging a bit more about my love for postal mail, stationeries, mixed media collage and postal mail art; intermixed with my love of knitting, as segues of how a bookish girl like me has found beauty and joy in lost arts of the recent past.

The Games themselves by definition and by example, lead us towards a world that is close-knit and tied together through sportsmanship and the honour of competing not merely against each other on teams, but against our ‘best moment inside the sport itself’ to better ourselves and strengthen our abilities therein. It’s a magical and inspirational time every four years, as we get to dip inside a country’s history and the passion they have for not only the continuation of the Games themselves but the diplomacy and the curated friendships that athletes find amongst the community of which they find themselves living for this moment in time and history. The Olympic Village stories combine with the Opening & Closing Ceremonies and the documentaries on the host country, to knit together my overall joy of watching from afar as the Games pursue as the telecast feeds are limited by time zone and distance.

I anchoured myself into the Winter Games a bit quicker than the Summer Games, but I enjoy each of them quite equally, whilst finding the X-Games are a wicked sweet surprise in-between! I have fond memories extending out of Nagano, Japan; Vancouver, British Columbia; London, England; and Beijing, China which gives an overview of my favourite Winter & Summer Games of the past decade or so. When I came to discover the narrative behind Girl Runner, I must confess I had an intense cascade of beautiful memories alighting through my mind’s eye as I considered accepting this novel for review. To explore a part of the Olympic past cast against a fictional character’s story simply enveloped me in full anticipation of what I would discover within the pages themselves!

On a separate note, I had to remind myself that I was a charity runner when I was nine years old who accomplished more than the runners twice her age or older. I hadn’t even realised I was running further and faster than the others around me; as I did experience a bit of what Snyder talks about in her novel Girl Runner where everything outside your run starts to blur and it is you alone on the track or path you’ve elected to race. Running a race isn’t always about a specific end result, it can be for the clock in competition or it can simply be a defining moment where you seek to prove your own fortitude of strength. How far can you personally take yourself to run? How far will you go? The irony is that before I picked up Girl Runner I had forgotten I was a runner myself; one who elected not to run for sport, but to run for myself. I gave myself the freedom to pace my extensions and my distance by what I knew I could achieve against the clock of how long the charity run would last. The best joy was knowing my true best was better than I could have dreamt.

Running gives you an honest account and assessment of your capabilities — how far you can push yourself and how where your own barriers might lie to hold you back from what you can do. There is freedom of spirit in running over and beyond where you felt you physically could travel.

I was encouraged to run during recess and P.E. even though I knew I could not compete with the girls who would make the track team. I decided to find my own buoyancy of rhythm, to tap into where my breath could match my feet and where my gait could extend itself into an individual pace of quickness. I hadn’t realised how I have missed that feeling of achieving something I never expected to gain. Running is an elevated joy from walking; but being in motion in and out of time itself is the appeal.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Blog Book Tour | “Girl Runner” by Carrie SnyderGirl Runner
by Carrie Snyder
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

An unforgettable novel about competition, ambition, and a woman’s struggle to earn a place in a man’s world, Girl Runner is the story of 1928 Olympic gold medalist Aganetha Smart. Will Aganetha’s undeniable talent help her to outrun the social conventions of her time, or the burden of her family’s secrets?

As a young runner, Aganetha Smart defied everyone’s expectations to win a gold medal for Canada in the 1928 Olympics. It was a revolutionary victory, because these were the first Games in which women could compete in track events—and they did so despite opposition. But now Aganetha is in a nursing home, and nobody realizes that the frail centenarian was once a bold pioneer.

When two young strangers appear asking to interview Aganetha for their documentary about female athletes, she readily agrees. Despite her frailty, she yearns for adventure and escape, and though her achievement may have been forgotten by history, her memories of chasing gold in Amsterdam remain sharp. But that triumph is only one thread in the rich tapestry of her life. Her remarkable story is colored by tragedy as well as joy, and as much as Aganetha tries, she cannot outrun her past.

Part historical page-turner, part contemporary mystery, Girl Runner peels back the layers of time to reveal how Aganetha’s amazing gift helped her break away from a family haunted by betrayals and sorrow. But as the pieces of her life take shape, it becomes clear that the power of blood ties does not diminish through the years, and that these filmmakers may not be who they claim to be. . . .

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780062336057

Genres: Canadian Lit, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction


Published by Harper Books

on 3rd February, 2015

Pages: 288

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published by: Harper Books (@harperbooks)

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Available FormatsHardback & Ebook

Converse via: #GirlRunner

About Carrie Snyder

Carrie Snyder’s Girl Runner is shortlisted for the 2014 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her previous book, The Juliet Stories, was shortlisted for the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award and named one of the Globe and Mail‘s Top 100 Books of the Year. Her first book, the short story collection Hair Hat, was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award for Short Fiction. A mother of four, Carrie lives with her family in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

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Posted Wednesday, 25 February, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Audio Play, Audiobook, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Bookish Films, Canada, Canadian Literature, Cats and Kittens, Chapter or Novel Adaptation in Audio, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death of a Sibling, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, During WWI, Geographically Specific, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Herbalist, Historical Fiction, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Literary Fiction, Lyrical Quotations, Midwife | Midwifery, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Soundcloud, Sports, The Olympic Games (Winter or Summer), the Roaring Twenties, TLC Book Tours, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

Blog Book Tour | “Hunting Shadows” by Charles Todd

Posted Monday, 9 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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 “Hunting Shadows” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I borrowed the first book in this series from my local library’s ILL (inter-library loan) services for my own edification and was not obligated to post my reflections and/or review on the story’s behalf. I wanted to understand a bit of the back-story on the principle character of Inspector Ian Rutledge prior to reading the 16th book in the series. I originally perceived the idea to read this book and the 15th book in the series prior to my tour stop, however, the hours disappeared before I could. I appreciate the chance to get to know new mystery and suspense authors I haven’t yet stumbled across myself.

Blog Book Tour | “Hunting Shadows” by Charles ToddHunting Shadows
by Charles Todd
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

In the latest mystery from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, Inspector Ian Rutledge is summoned to the quiet, isolated Fen country to solve a series of seemingly unconnected murders before the killer strikes again

August 1920. A society wedding at Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire becomes a crime scene when a guest is shot just as the bride arrives. Two weeks later, after a fruitless search for clues, the local police are forced to call in Scotland Yard. But not before there is another shooting in a village close by. This second murder has a witness; the only problem is that her description of the killer is so horrific it’s unbelievable. Badgered by the police, she quickly recants her story.

Despite his experience, Inspector Ian Rutledge can find no connection between the two deaths. One victim was an Army officer, the other a solicitor standing for Parliament; their paths have never crossed. What links these two murders? Is it something from the past? Or is it only in the mind of a clever killer?

Then the case reminds Rutledge of a legendary assassin whispered about during the war. His own dark memories come back to haunt him as he hunts for the missing connection—and yet, when he finds it, it isn’t as simple as he’d expected. He must put his trust in the devil in order to find the elusive and shocking answer.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: An Unwilling Accomplice, A Duty to the Dead

Genres: Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense


Published by William Morrow

on 21st January, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 336

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

Converse via: #HuntingShadows, #InspectorIanRutledge

About Charles Todd

Charles Todd is the author of the Bess Crawford mysteries, the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother and son writing team, they live in Delaware and North Carolina, respectively.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Monday, 9 February, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host, Blogs I Regularly Read, British Literature, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Crime Fiction, England, Equality In Literature, Good vs. Evil, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Military Fiction, PTSD, Readerly Musings, Realistic Fiction, Suspense, the Roaring Twenties, The World Wars, TLC Book Tours

#ChocLitSaturdays | A Twitter Chat focused on #Romance & #Booklovers; inspired by #ChocLit book reviews!

Posted Thursday, 24 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

#ChocLitSaturdays | a feature exclusive to Jorie Loves A Story

I truly would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has dropped by over the past week to *vote!* on the hour in which #ChocLitSaturdays the weekly Twitter chat will meet! I have appreciated your feedback and have had the difficult choice in sorting out what to trust more: the top vote cast in the Poll itself OR knowing the reality of the time zones! Therefore, let me break everything down and let you know how I came to my conclusion!

The final results of the Poll:

ChocLitSaturdays Poll Results bby Screen Capture
Screen Capture of Poll Results to determine #ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat Hour

And, therein lies the dilemma for me!

California | New York | London | Europe | Australia

8a | 11a | 4p | 5p | 1a = 30%

9a | Noon | 5p | 6p | 2a

10a | 1p | 6p | 7p | 3a = 15%

11a | 2p | 7p | 8p | 4a

1p | 4p | 9p | 10p | 6a

Noon | 3p | 8p | 9p | 5a

3p | 6p | 11p | Midnight | 8a

5p | 8p | 1a | 2a | 10a = 15%

Of the majority votes, my own personal inclination is to host #ChocLitSaturdays at either 11a OR 1p as it is more agreeable for my own time zone. Of the two choices, I cannot in my heart host the chat at 1p because asking someone in Australia or New Zealand to pop online after 3a in the morning is beyond inconsiderate! Moreso, I could theoretically yield to 11a as being a night owl (and many writers will agree with me!) 1a is not too late for a chat if you are regularly up past midnight!

On the flipside, as a lot of ChocLit authors are located in England, the reverse is equally plausible if the chat is held at 8p, as it would be 1a for them! My heart tells me that a more convenient hour for everyone concerned is actually going to be:

#ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat & Blog Feature of Jorie Loves A Story
#ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat & Blog Feature of Jorie Loves A Story

My Inspiration for #ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat:

By uniting readers & writers alike in a conversation where we can talk about why we love Romance and the kind of stories which encourage our spirits & hearts, as much as give us a calming balm when we sit down to read. I know the chat will expand and grow as time shifts forward however, I’d love to invite ChocLit authors to drop in if they were available to do so, as much as welcome other writers to join in on the fun too! I see it as a celebration of Romance for all that Romance offers but at the same time have it a bit hinged to the book I am reviewing that particular Saturday and use the themes inside the novel as a jumping off point of what to talk about in the Romance field in general.

I have been wanting to incorporate what the tagline on my #ChocLitSaturdays badge declares: romance, chocolate, and a cuppa tea is simply divine on the weekends! I’d love to talk and share about our favourite bits of chocolate, romance reads, and which cuppa tea or tea latte works brilliantly with the book in our hands! I’d like to start off the chat with the focus on the recent ChocLit novel I read and then, segue from there to talk about the themes inside it before going into the Romance genre as a broad stroke of conversation. Again, I’d like to offer the authors of ChocLit a chance to drop in and converse with us as well.

Join the Convo on Saturdays: @ChocLitSaturday

Watch the hashtag: #ChocLitSaturdays for weekly updates

OR login to auto-post the tag via: tchat.io/rooms/choclitsaturdays

Full Archives via Storify (*under construction*)

And, I look forward to seeing you on the morrow: 26 April, 2014!  We will be discussing the thematic complexity of “The Maid of Milan” as well as delving into how other romance writers have treated the same elements of psychological suspense & the depth of deceit. Be sure to read my book review ahead of joining in on the conversation as a ‘head’s up’! Thank you for your support!

The following is a guide to know when the book reviews will alight on my blog!

#ChocLitSaturdays Collage of Upcoming ChocLit Book Reviews

{Sources: #ChocLitSaturdays collage was created by Jorie in PicMonkey. Book Covers for ChocLit novels provided by ChocLitUK and used with permission. Jorie Loves A Story badge created by Ravven, with edits by Jorie in Fotoflexer. Screen capture of #ChocLitSaturdays Poll results via PollDaddy.com provided by keyboard shortcuts & edited in PicMonkey. #ChocLitSaturdays Twitter Chat Badge created by Jorie in PicMonkey.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Thursday, 24 April, 2014 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy Romance, Gothic Romance, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Paranormal Romance, Romance Fiction, Romantic Comedy, Romantic Suspense, Small Towne Fiction, the Edwardian era, The London Season, the Regency era, the Roaring Twenties, Time Slip, Time Travel Romance, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Victorian Era, War-time Romance

+Blog Book Tour+ Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones | Stepping back in time & visiting the Chinese #JazzAge!

Posted Wednesday, 23 April, 2014 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones

Night in Shanghai Tour via HFVBT

Published By: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, (@HMHCo4 March, 2014
Official Author Websites: Nicole Mones website
Available Formats: Hardback, Audiobook, & E-Book
Page Count: 288

Converse on Twitter:
#NightInShanghaiTour & #NightInShanghai OR #NicoleMones

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Night in Shanghai” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book 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.

Inspired to Read:

I’ve been swept into the Jazz Age since January of 2013 when I first read Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald. Having read the biographical fiction of Zelda, I started to understand the undercurrent of the era. There was a lot about that time in our history and in Europe’s history that I was not clued in on. Bits and pieces which surprised me, especially about the salons for writers & creatives, which apparently were not as free as they appeared to have been! I felt the hot scorn that Zelda felt and the inaccurate self-worth she struggled to regain control of whilst her husband took the spotlight even off of her own writings. Through that book, and the motion picture of “The Great Gatsby”, I became attached to the 1920s & 1930s even a bit more than I had been whilst I watched the BBC drama “The House of Elliott!” To the extent, that I sought out Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries which is a bang-on brilliant BBC/Aussie drama set in Melbourne around the same era of time!

I read the description of this novel, then moved over to the author’s website & played the book trailer. Somewhere between the description and the trailer I made my choice to read this novel! It’s sweeping in its depth and what I love uncovering through historical fiction are little nuggets of the unknown moments against the larger backdrop of historical events!!

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones}: Book Synopsis :{

In 1936, classical pianist Thomas Greene is recruited to Shanghai to lead a jazz orchestra of fellow African-American expats. From being flat broke in segregated Baltimore to living in a mansion with servants of his own, he becomes the toast of a city obsessed with music, money, pleasure and power, even as it ignores the rising winds of war.

Song Yuhua is refined, educated, and bonded since age eighteen to Shanghai’s most powerful crime boss in payment for her father’s gambling debts. Outwardly submissive, she burns with rage and risks her life spying on her master for the Communist Party.

Only when Shanghai is shattered by the Japanese invasion do Song and Thomas find their way to each other. Though their union is forbidden, neither can back down from it in the turbulent years of occupation and resistance that follow. Torn between music and survival, freedom and commitment, love and world war, they are borne on an irresistible riff of melody and improvisation to Night in Shanghai’s final, impossible choice.

In this impressively researched novel, Nicole Mones not only tells the forgotten story of black musicians in the Chinese Jazz age, but also weaves in a stunning true tale of Holocaust heroism little-known in the West.

 

Nicole MonesAuthor Biography:

A newly launched textile business took Nicole Mones to China for the first time in 1977, after the end of the Cultural Revolution. As an individual she traded textiles with China for eighteen years before she turned to writing about that country. Her novels Night in Shanghai, The Last Chinese Chef, Lost in Translation and A Cup of Light are in print in more than twenty-two languages and have received multiple juried prizes, including the Kafka Prize (year’s best work of fiction by any American woman) and Kiriyama Prize (finalist; for the work of fiction which best enhances understanding of any Pacific Rim Culture).

Mones’ nonfiction writing on China has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Gourmet, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. She is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Chinese Jazz Singer Jasmine Chen

– “Give Me A Kiss” via Jasmine Chen

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

A passion for Jazz: I came to appreciate jazz and the blues from a young age, as I grew up in a home full of classical music and a deep passion for the living arts. I was free to decide for myself where my inclinations would take me musically, or even if I wanted to simply appreciate listening to music verse learning how to play an instrument or develop my vocality of voice. As a child I could not grasp which instrument would whet long-term interest to learn, therefore I became an appreciator of music. Symphony and orchestrations were the main focus as I loved attending live events at performing art centers in my hometown. Jazz came into my life a bit of a whispering on the musical winds, as like its counter-companion of the blues, the original inertia of interest was sparked by the stories of the origins rather than of attending concerts.

I was always drawn into those elements of the historical past which brought forward the ruminations of music, to evoke out a harmony of song, ballard or chord which drove into the human emotional well of giving back a living moment through a musical presentation. I vividly remember walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans in the early 1990s, at a moment in my life where I could not enter the Jazz clubs but I could partake of their sounds emitting out onto the streets — giving everyone the freedom to listen as ears finely tuned to their music could always embrace the sounds! Another memory is hinged to the latter 1990s where I heard a vocal artist from Washington, DC create distinctive evocations with her voice. She sung Jazz in a way that felt like an experience rather than a performance! She was one artist I had hoped I could have travelled to see again live as I only had the one chance to be in an audience of her artistry. Thankfully, a short conversation afterwards has never left my memory.

Bluegrass by comparison is another thread of music I tend to gravitate towards for the same reasons I am attached to Billie Holiday, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Dinah Washington, Lena Horne, and countless more artists as there is a strong desire to curate human emotion into sound; and as such turn the sound into a living testament of life through story, vocals, and instrumentation. My dream is to collect albums on vinyl record and listen to the greatest voices throughout history belting out one memorable performance after another whilst sipping fresh brewed tea.

My Review of Night in Shanghai:

May I simply say, that any publisher who wraps their hardback in the loveliest shade of lavender such as Night in Shanghai has already warmed me to the experience of what lies within its covers!  The cover-art is equally eye-catching as you want to know about the symbolism of the lanterns as much as your quite curious about where the stairs are leading you. Her inclusion of Chinese expressions, as well as their iconic alphabet lends the reader to emerge into the story as though part of our spirits are hinged directly to Shanghai during the setting of which is about to unfold before us. Little cues like these help us take a step out of where we are reading the book and directly connect into the reality of the story. The essence of jazz has to be in your veins to settle into the background of the story as I felt it heightens your ability to pick up on the subtleties and in evoking a strong thumb of presence on how Shanghai was changing in the face of war.

Night in Shanghai paints a light of appreciation how difficult it was for the musicians to make a living whilst finding their race to be in opposition of receiving a fair wage if they staid in America. Never one to understand the prejudicial limits placed on others, this is one thread of the story that I felt was given honour by presenting the facts which led to the choice of switching countries on behalf of the musicians who chose to live in Shanghai rather than attempting to nick out a living for half of what they were worth. The first half reads like a memoir of a bloke who is attempting to absolve his soul at the end of his life by representing his journey towards self-redemption and self-acceptance of his art. Yet, the story is actually on behalf of his lover re-telling the tale than the artist himself of whom we are given a front row and center look into the ambiance of his life as it started to root in Shanghai’s Jazz scene of the mid-1930s. A progression of musical revolution which had begun in the Roaring Twenties, as musical scouts were frequently travelling throughout America to recruit the men back to China.

The most compelling part for me is watching Thomas Greene sort out his bearings in a city as flavourful and colourful in all matters of decadence as Shanghai, whilst being greeted by the notions of how close on the edge of war he truly was by seeing shades of it bleed into his daily wanderings. A musician at heart and of soul, compelled to work tirelessly on his craft as he was not blessed with the ear yet the grace of reading the music by sheet; his was a journey towards achieving his dreams as much as arriving at a place of self-acceptance. His race was muted compared to others and in having his skin not representative of his origins gave him flexibility to perform but it confused him on how he choose to identify himself. I would think this would bear weight on a person’s mind as you are neither of one race or another, as you’re a hybrid of two. Add to the churning tides a high sense of political despondency and it is a miracle any of the American musicians could find their footing!

The intriguing bit for me was seeing how Shanghai echoed of Chicago in how the city was controlled by organised crime families, except they are known as triads instead. Clearly there is more to history than meets the eye, and like many cities of the age Shanghai was not immune to the darker shades of living. The entire underworld was fresh to the eyes of Thomas Greene who affirmed his surname by being ‘green’ in the ways of the world. The essence of neighbourhoods of distinctive origins from the boroughs of New York City and Chicago were also bloomed in full in Shanghai. Each district had its own rules and were segregated from each other.

I loved seeing how the fusion of the West and East in music organically started to percolate in the early 20th century, as one musician was influenced by another. The music became the lifeblood language which broke the barriers of race and ethnicity, and in many ways sharpened the ability to put a pulse on what was happening around the city. There was such a decorum of unease yet the blinded sort where everyone would refute the obvious and elect instead to carry-on as though nothing major was happening. Music became the one avenue of honest representation and in so doing, gave a generational lineage that is still thriving today. Music gives a voice to the emotions which are too hard to put into words alone.

Thomas and Song were intricately bonded to each other through a synchronicity of passion which became an electrified explosion of notes and chords arching out of his fingers as he played the piano the only tunes which could solidify their connection. In the music, they lived with a freedom neither of them had in life. The passion of two souls caught up in a world of war, desolation, and tragic pain. The title of the novel is a hidden symbolism of their love and of the hope they each had for what it signified as a whole.

Gratitude for authors like Mones:

Who take the extra leap of faith to chase after a story which has nestled into their conscience and find a way to draw the story out for the readers who are in full appreciation of their efforts! To give us a piece of known history during an era of a war and conflict that has been written about from various angles and uncover a breadth of enlightenment not yet realised to the Western world is extraordinary! How kind of her to pursue her intuition and nettle out the story of how lives were changed during one of the most brutally savage moments in history’s ink blotter! And, to give us all a pure sense of how ordinary men can be called to accomplish such wonderful acts of kindness in the shadows of intense personal danger.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Nicole Mones – Night in Shanghai via Connie Martinson

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWatch the Night in Shanghai Book Trailer via NicoleMones.com

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

{including the quotation by Langston Hughes!}

Night in Shanghai by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comPreviously, I hosted an Author Guest Post about the creation of “Night in Shanghai”!

Blog Book Tour Stop, courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Road Map of “Night in Shanghai” Blog Tour can be visited here:

Night in Shanghai Tour via HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comCheck out

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva

to see what I will be hosting next for

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTand mark your calendars!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Shanghai Memories – Golden Songs from the 1930s & 1940s via BaBanChineseMusic

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comPlease take note of the Related Articles as they were hand selected due to being of cross-reference importance in relation to this book review. This applies to each post on my blog where you see Related Articles underneath the post. Be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the further readings which are offered.

{SOURCES: Night in Shanghai Book Cover, synopsis, tour badge, author photograph and HFVBT badge were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and were used by permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. The book discussion video by Connie Martinson, Shanghai Memories music video as well as the excerpt by Houghton Miffton Harcourt via Scribd had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Buy links on Scribd excerpt are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Shanghai Jazz – (shjazz.com)

Remaking all that Jazz from Shanghai’s Lost Era – (npr.org/blogs/codeswitch) There are videos and audio clips included in the article to give an introduction to the music which I found tranquil & lovely! I encourage everyone to click-over and discover the music!

The Shanghai Restoration Project – (shanghairestorationproject.com) I found this project through researching the Chinese Jazz era as this has a decidedly unique sound to the music.

Survivors of Chinese Jazz Age Play Anew – (npr.org/templates/story) More audio clips of music from the Chinese Jazz Age.

‘Night in Shanghai’ Dances on the Eve of Destruction – (npr.org) A beautiful Interview with Ms. Mones about the novel.

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Posted Wednesday, 23 April, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, African-American History, Aftermath of World War II, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, China, Chinese Literature, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Jazz Musicians, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Shanghai, the Roaring Twenties, The World Wars

*Author Guest Post* On the inspiration behind creating the story “Night in Shanghai” by Nicole Mones! Set during the Chinese #JazzAge!

Posted Monday, 21 April, 2014 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Guest Post by Parajunkee

Nicole MonesProposed Topic: How did your immersion into Chinese culture and tradition as a textile business owner lead you to uncover an unknown portal into the Chinese Jazz Age? Especially this particular story which would captivate those of us who are only starting to uncover the American Jazz Age and the ripple effects the era had in both music and literature? What did you find in your research that not only spark the genesis of the story but the overlaps in both countries musical movements?

I am honoured to welcome Ms. Nicole Mones to Jorie Loves A Story today, as I was completely captivated by the premise of her novel, Night in Shanghai! I have briefly mentioned my love and zeal of reading a biographical fiction of Ms. Zelda Fitzgerald last year (Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler) previously on my blog and also in the bookish blogosphere. I had participated in reading the book for discussion on Book Browse which allowed me the grace of becoming entranced with the Jazz Age through the lives and eyes of the Fitzgeralds. So much so, that by the time “The Great Gatsby” was released to the silver screen, I could not help but become quite eager to see the motion picture in June 2013! I felt as though I had spent half of the year entrenched with the Fitzgeralds’ in some ways, as Zelda’s voice was vivid and real to me, as if the author had harkened me back to their everyday world with the flick of her pen. My readings of this novel re-instilled my love and passion for the world of jazz music and the Roaring Twenties, as I had previously not sought out books set during the era. A bit of a misstep on my behalf, as whilst studying History in school I had a penchant for the era and for the riveting tales of Flappers and Jazz musicians who dared to live a life on their own terms! This is perhaps why the mystery series out of Australia “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” appeals to my heart as much as it does as well! And, of course who could forget the epic and encompassing “The House Of Elliott” by the BBC? An entire series set in a fashion house in England on the verge of a new time for designers and women wanting to express themselves a bit more freely? You can see, I have a long history in appreciating the 1920s, which is why when I saw “Night in Shanghai” arrive on Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours I was quite intrigued to become a part of the virtual tour!

I must confess, I had not known there was a Chinese Jazz Age, as somewhere in the threads of time this bit of information was not readily known to me or to my classmates. There always appears to be a lot of hidden history within the timescope of our knowledge of what happened in the early 20th Century. I oft find the most riveting stories are gathered out of obscurity by those writers who have the intuitive nature of seeking a story where the history recovered would become beneficial for the wider audience. I felt as I had read about “Night in Shanghai” that this is one of those stories that needed to be told and illuminated. It is with great honour that I welcome Ms. Mones to my blog and give her the breadth needed to explain her impetus of writing the story.


Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones}: Book Synopsis :{

In 1936, classical pianist Thomas Greene is recruited to Shanghai to lead a jazz orchestra of fellow African-American expats. From being flat broke in segregated Baltimore to living in a mansion with servants of his own, he becomes the toast of a city obsessed with music, money, pleasure and power, even as it ignores the rising winds of war.

Song Yuhua is refined, educated, and bonded since age eighteen to Shanghai’s most powerful crime boss in payment for her father’s gambling debts. Outwardly submissive, she burns with rage and risks her life spying on her master for the Communist Party.

Only when Shanghai is shattered by the Japanese invasion do Song and Thomas find their way to each other. Though their union is forbidden, neither can back down from it in the turbulent years of occupation and resistance that follow. Torn between music and survival, freedom and commitment, love and world war, they are borne on an irresistible riff of melody and improvisation to Night in Shanghai’s final, impossible choice.

In this impressively researched novel, Nicole Mones not only tells the forgotten story of black musicians in the Chinese Jazz age, but also weaves in a stunning true tale of Holocaust heroism little-known in the West.


}: The Impetus of Inspiration

behind Night in Shanghai :{

When I signed my first contract with the state-owned corporation in charge of Shanghai’s textile mills in 1977, it was only six weeks after the government had declared a formal end to the Cultural Revolution. The city in those years was quiet, cautious, a ghost of a once-great city—and yet, physically,little changed from its jazz age heyday. Many of the historic buildings and neighborhoods were still standing, though re-purposed to other, more acceptable uses. The Great World, for example, an infamous center for all manner of pleasure and unspeakable vice, had been reborn as Shanghai’s “Youth Palace”—how funny is that? Now, of course, it is once again the Great World, pleasure and vice center, but in the 70s and 80s you had to peel back the socialist layers to find the history, and that’s what I did. It was years before I would start to understand Shanghai, but I took to exploring it anyway, local history books in hand. I scoped out the haunts of gangsters and jazz men; the Canidrome’s dog track, for example, served as Shanghai’s municipal flower market for some years before it was finally torn down, and I loved wandering among the spectator stands, which still had their original wrought iron rails and lamps to remind me of the jazz world that once had been. This was decades before I even conceived of writing Night in Shanghai; I was just young, clueless, trying to figure out how to make a living in the China trade, and fascinated by the city’s past. Even then old Shanghai had me in its spell.

Still, with thirty-seven years’ personal and professional experience across China, and therefore such a broad range of possible stories for a novel, I never expected to write a Shanghai historical. It seemed to have been “done”. The second I stumbled on the startling and totally forgotten story of black American musicians in the Chinese jazz age, however, I changed my mind. These American musicians were part of modernizing China through this revolutionary sound they brought, called jazz—a sound that challenged hearts and minds as well as ears. Their story, their struggle to survive the war, and their contribution to making a new China has been forgotten and overlooked until now. As soon as I began researching, I found to my joy that their vanished world had in fact been documented, since memoirs, interviews, and photos were left behind by musicians (such as trumpeter Buck Clayton), who did not want their experiences in China to be forgotten.

But the one moment that really sparked me, prompted me, forced me to write Night in Shanghai? It was coming across Langston Hughes’ lengthy account of black musicians in Shanghai, told in his autobiography. Hughes starts by describing how his ship docked in Shanghai on a hot July day in the mid-thirties, whereupon he stepped onto the Bund and raised his hand for a conveyance which was encapsulated inside of a quotation from Langston Hughes’s autobiography “I Wonder As I Wander”. As the author graciously had included this quotation to give you an insight into her inspiration of writing her novel, however, I was unfortunately unable to include it due to not being able to find permissions on the publisher’s website.

That was the portal for me, the door at the back of the wardrobe, the sudden light that illuminated Night in Shanghai in my mind. It took years to research and write the book, but from the instant I read Hughes’ lines, I knew I would have to follow that man into the crowd on the Bund, revive his lost world, and bring you his story. Here it is: Night in Shanghai, the jazz age, recreated. I hope you enjoy it!

*Note: I only opened the novel to read this evening and discovered that the author had permission of Hill and Wang, a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. to reprint the full quotation of Langston Hughes. Therefore, when you pick up a copy of “Night in Shanghai” you can read the quotation in full on the page directly after the Dedication! Thank you for your understanding in why I could not gather the same permissions to post it on my blog. I had gone directly to the publisher’s website(s) and knew it would take extra legwork to achieve as I did not have enough hours to accomplish this in order to post by Monday!

Read an Excerpt of the Novel: {including the quotation by Langston Hughes!}

Author Connections: Nicole Mones website
Converse on Twitter: #NightInShanghaiTour
& #NightInShanghai OR #NicoleMones


I am not sure when I was more excited to read Night in Shanghai, the moment I first read about it going on tour OR the very moment Ms. Mone’s guest post arrived by email! I had proposed the topic due to the overwhelming spark of curiosity that had ignited inside me when I first read a snippet of the excerpt and felt myself drifting backwards into the folds of time to see if I could draw together an image which would help me hinge my hat to Shanghai in the 1920s. The realisation that my foray into seeking literature set during such a revolutionary era of history was not lost on me. And, I have a feeling that my inclinations towards seeking more stories set in the Jazz Age have only just begun, because my curiosity is as piqued as my interest in Revolutionary France!

There are some authors who have the instinctive drive to unearth a story where a blueprint to find the undercurrent research is not readily known, and as I read Ms. Mone’s descriptions of how she found Night in Shanghai holds this truth in her hand. I could nearly envision her walking around the city, sensing whilst exploring and being guided by an unknown desire to learn more and more until the point where the knowledge would bubble up and boil over into a manuscript not yet written. The impetus for all writers to create their stories is always such a vivid veiling of how inspiration guides a writer’s heart, and within each back-story of inspiration I find myself drawn closer to understanding how creativity and writing walk the line of intuition and inspiration. For without an inclining nod of curiosity, the spark of inspiration might fall flat, and then, we would be at the disadvantage as the stories which are able to lift the veils of history backwards to a time where African-American musicians left America in order to carve out a musical revolution in Shanghai might never have seen the light of day. And, how sad would that have been!? To not realise that the American Jazz Age was only half the story of the full scope of the Jazz Age!? I cannot wait to dig into the pages of the novel and watch as history intersected with war and how musicians set the course of cultural discovery in a place I would not have suspected to have embraced jazz.


Watch the Night in Shanghai Book Trailer via NicoleMones.com

Read an Excerpt of the Novel

Return on Wednesday when I review “Night in Shanghai”!

Blog Book Tour Stop, courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours:

Night in Shanghai Tour via HFVBT

Check out my upcoming bookish events to see what I will be hosting next for

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTand mark your calendars!

Similar to blog tours, when I feature a showcase for an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog.

{SOURCES: Night in Shanghai Book Cover, synopsis, tour badge, author photograph and HFVBT badge were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and were used by permission. I requested an Author Guest Post from Ms. Mones via Amy Bruno of HFVBT, by suggesting a topic and receiving the response from Ms. Mones via Ms. Bruno. Guest Post badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Monday, 21 April, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, African-American History, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Debut Novel, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Jazz Musicians, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Shanghai, the Roaring Twenties