Category: The World Wars

Author Interview featuring the debut war drama “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan Byrnes

Posted Friday, 8 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Good afternoon, dear hearts!

I read a very stirring war drama set against the back-drop of WWI this week, wherein it hinges itself to the very real Christmas miracle those men experienced during the first Christmas season of the war. It has become a story etched through various outlets of how a story can be told – from novels to films, but Byrnes took a new approach – where he placed a man with special needs (he has Autism) on the front lines and showed how sometimes in the middle of a war, the people you grew up with in a small community might hold the keys to your survival.

Today, I am warmly welcoming this debut Historical Fiction novelist to my blog, as I had some questions to ask him about his writing craft and the story itself. I wanted to find out a few details ‘behind the debut’ which might also be of interest to my readers and those visitors who are following the blog tour route – to see what has inspired this story to be told in the way it was published. It was a rather unique read – you find yourself shifting points of view from the past when Luther was growing up with Rodney to the present, where they are in the height of the conflict in No Man’s Land.

It is gruelingly realistic from that perspective but Byrnes tempers what he visually shows you with the humanistic side of how brother to brother, those men helped each other through the worst of it. It is a character driven plot and you find yourself drawn into how their lives have remained interconnected despite the fact they each have grown up into their lives and careers.

To shift the perspective off the battlefield – Byrnes hugged us close to those who were living outside the battles but were closer still to the war than we were stateside. These were the families left behind in the ruts of what was left behind to be found in the townes, cities and harbours where supplies could be loaded and unloaded; where replacements could be housed or routed through – where everyday life was half stalled due to the war and progressively moving forward all the same. Byrnes gives out the smaller details – of how these communities had to harden themselves against the war itself and of making their children feel less fearful of the changes – as they constantly had to re-direct their focus and attention off what was happening round them into something resembling the normalcy their lives had lost. It was a humbling moment where a writer offset the front by showing what ordinary Mums and grandmothers were doing to do their bit in keeping the younger generations shielded as best they could be from the realities crowding into their childhoods.

The best moment I felt where Byrnes showed how Mums raising special needs children assert their power and strength to those in authority who do not respect them is how Mrs Baker (Luther and Jim’s Mum) gave that Doctor a bit of a run for his money! I would have hoped it would have affected his approach to his doctoring of others but something told me he was as closed minded as they come and given the era he lived, it might be expected but it is never easy to read.

The most gutting scene of course is what happened to Rodney in No Man’s Land and I was thankful for how Byrnes approached writing the scene itself. It could have become more visually graphic and more gruesome to read – but the way he depicted that incident – it was poetic in how it gave conscience thought to what your thinking about in those heightened moments of trauma and how if you were a person who felt obligated to protect someone – how in your own moment of crisis, your thoughts are not your own and there is something else protecting you from the pain which was surely buckling your resolve.

Rodney was raised in the same village as Luther – though the two were never quite close, their Mums were more distant themselves. Yet, here at war, Rodney had taken a kindness on Luther and had vowed to watch over the man – this is why this was difficult to read, as whenever you begin a war drama it is a bit like re-embarking through the Titanic exhibit – not knowing which ticket you’re holding in your hands – First Class or Third; what that foretells of your destiny had you been the person whose ticket is now yours for the day. You have to take it step by step and work through the story because that is what is pivotal – how everyone becomes connected to everyone else and how without understand the invisible lines which connect us, they are dearly important to respect.

The further you move into the context of Royal Beauty Bright the more you understand how this is a generational montage of persons who grew up in the same small community and found themselves at war at the same location of each other and all of them were inter-connected through Luther. They shared a similar history of knowledge of his character and in many ways, had interactions with him in a previous life before the war itself had overtaken their lives. In this regard, the novel is a time shift – where you move from the present moments at the front of the war itself and then you re-shift backwards by a few decades to reach into their past, to see how they first interacted with each other and how that laid down the foundation of how they would become reconnected in the future. To bridge into the theory that for every person you meet in life it is unknown whom of which might become the most important person you need to know lateron.

-quoted from my review of Royal Beauty Bright

As you can see, Byrnes has written a dramatic war drama which puts you close to the war but re-focuses your attention on the men and women who were directly afflicted by that war. It is also a partial Epistolary novel on the level that there are a healthy collection of letters and correspondences which are also important in the context of the story.

If you haven’t had the chance to read this novel, I am hopeful you might find interest in either what I’ve shared on my review and/or inside this insightful interview with the author. Be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and find a comfy chair to enjoy what we’ve conversed about in regards to “Royal Beauty Bright”!

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Author Interview featuring the debut war drama “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan ByrnesRoyal Beauty Bright
Subtitle: A Novel of World War I
by Ryan Byrnes

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781943075607

Also by this author: Royal Beauty Bright

Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by Blank Slate Press

on 5th November, 2019

Pages: 304

Published by: Blank Slate Press (@blankslatepress)
an imprint of Amphorae Publishing (@amphoraepub)

Read the story behind this women and veteran owned publishing company

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
+ #WWI war drama and  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes is a St. Louis native. His first foray into writing was founding the publishing imprint, Avency Press, where he wrote one illustrated chapter book, The Adventures of Wheatail, and four young adult fantasy novels in the Son of Time series.

Since then, he has worked with a publishing company, a literary agency, and various aspiring writers seeking to self-publish. Ryan now lives in Iowa as a student in mechanical engineering and English. Between work hours, he builds Mars Rovers with his roommates, plays with cats, and watches Wes Anderson movies.

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Posted Friday, 8 November, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, During WWI, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Mary Todd Lincoln, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, The World Wars, War Drama

Blog Book Tour (a pre-#blogmas Christmas Story) | “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan Byrnes

Posted Thursday, 7 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By:

I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary of “Royal Beauty Bright” direct from the publisher Blank Slate Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read “Royal Beauty Bright”:

I cannot remember when I first stumbled across the story of the truce of 1914 – however, it left quite the impression on me throughout the years. I’ve continued to find stories rooted round this phenom of WWI as well as select films – one of which I believe was released in French, which was one reason why I haven’t yet seen it as I wasn’t sure how much I would understand. Though technically I do watch foreign language films (such as those in Mandarin or Italian) but in this particular instance, I sometimes find French harder to follow as it is a language which has quite the fast clip of a pace to listen too.

Aside from those murmurs of insight, I haven’t had any direct readings about this particular moment in history which left such an endurable impression on every generations since the war era ended. It was a moment in time which no one felt could happen and yet it did. It was proving in a very humbling way there was still a heap of humanity left on the battlefield and how in at times of war, people can surprise you by their actions and the choices they make together.

Several years ago now, I made the conscience choice to re-select war dramas I am reading anchoured more into a human interest story, a romantic arc or a mystery plotting than I would continue to seek out war dramas which are more directly connected to the battles themselves. A few might slip into my readerly queues but overall, stories like “Royal Beauty Bright” are tipping my hat of interest more due to their humbling glimpse into the human condition and the enduring strength of all of us who simply want to see peace flourish in our world.

The irony of course is that this particular novel does take you directly into the heart of the battlefield – straight into No Man’s Land no less and hugs you close to where you would find the men who were serving on the front lines. However, part of me felt this would be a good choice to tuck closer to the truth of the truce and to find out might have inspired the action to host a cease-fire at Christmas; as that is what has always interested me the most – how did they choose to do that and take inaction at Christmas despite orders to do the opposite?

What also stood out to me is this a narrative with an autistic lead character and a diversely unique cast behind him – which gave further gravity to the fact not all the stories are yet known or readily told. I wanted to read this to see what the author’s vision was for the setting, the historic event itself and how he elected to have his characters in the middle of it all tell us a story which would touch our hearts and enrich our mind with their presence. It was also a selection I felt fitting as the lead-in towards seeking out #ChristmasReads & #ChristmasRomances as I seek out holiday stories which speak to me this holiday season 2019.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour (a pre-#blogmas Christmas Story) | “Royal Beauty Bright” (A Novel of WWI) by Ryan ByrnesRoyal Beauty Bright
Subtitle: A Novel of World War I
by Ryan Byrnes
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781943075607

Also by this author: Royal Beauty Bright

Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama


on 5th November, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 304

Published by: Blank Slate Press (@blankslatepress)
an imprint of Amphorae Publishing (@amphoraepub)

Read the story behind this women and veteran owned publishing company

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
+ #WWI war drama and  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

About Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes

Ryan Byrnes is a St. Louis native. His first foray into writing was founding the publishing imprint, Avency Press, where he wrote one illustrated chapter book, The Adventures of Wheatail, and four young adult fantasy novels in the Son of Time series.

Since then, he has worked with a publishing company, a literary agency, and various aspiring writers seeking to self-publish. Ryan now lives in Iowa as a student in mechanical engineering and English. Between work hours, he builds Mars Rovers with his roommates, plays with cats, and watches Wes Anderson movies.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 7 November, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, During WWI, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Mary Todd Lincoln, Military Families of the Deployed, Military Fiction, The World Wars, War Drama

#PubDay Book Spotlight | “The Girls of Pearl Harbor” by Soraya M. Lane

Posted Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Books in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I have a special treat for you today! Earlier in February, of this year – I had the joyful pleasure of interacting with Ms Lane during her #HistFicChat! As you might know if you’re following me via Twitter – #HistFicChat is hosted by Vivian Conroy (@VivWrites) which gives readers and authors of Historical Fiction a chance to interact! Aside from my beloved #HistoricalFix chat hosted by Erin Lindsay McCabe (of which has been on hiatus for a year or so now) – this is my next favourite due to the conversations it encourages between everyone who participates!

Sadly due to different reasons which arose through the Spring and Summer months, I haven’t had the chance to pop back round into #HistFicChat. I think the chat might be on hiatus as when I tried to pull up the recent scheduled guess, I was not finding one.

You can read an archive of our chat discussing “The Spitfire Girls” wherein I was delighted about not just discovering more about her writing style but more about the stories which she is passionate about writing! I have a special niche of love in my heart for war dramas – always have – yet, it has been through recent years where I’ve had to amend my search for the war dramas I desire to be reading. Sometimes as a reader, my bookish heart breaks and my soul feels crushed due to how authentically accurate some war dramas are being written. This is a credit to the novelists, yes, but as a reader, I have to be cautious about how I proceed forward.

When it came to Ms Lane’s war dramas – I still remember awaiting her chat and being happily consumed by how her narrator was pulling me into her narratives! I love listening to audiobooks for the full-on immersion experience of how I can feel transported directly into the heart of a novel in a different layer of insight than I can as I read stories in print. I am a traditional reader in that regard, as I only read books in print or audio, but what I love most about audio is how transformative the stories become as there is this pure fusion of an experience as the narrators evoke such a stirringly realistic connection to the characters and the world in which they are building us through their narrations.

Into late Summer, early Autumn, I’ll be listening to my first novel by Ms Lane (“Hearts of Resistance”) and I hope to be listening to more of her releases thereafter, as I am looking forward to getting back my Scribd membership to listen to audiobooks as I had to take a brief hiatus due the last bout of migraines I had in May. Right now in July, I’m six weeks migraine-free and I feel blessed for the reprieve.

Today, however, I wanted to highlight her latest release “The Girls of Pearl Harbour” as I felt it was an incredible premise and a story which I felt was a dramatic one to be told.

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#PubDay Book Spotlight | “The Girls of Pearl Harbor” by Soraya M. LaneThe Girls of Pearl Harbor
by Soraya M. Lane

From the bestselling author of Wives of War comes a harrowing tale of four brave young nurses whose lives change forever in the wake of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.

When Grace, April, and Poppy join the US Army Nurse Corps, they see it as little more than an adventure, one made all the better by their first station: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Joined at the hip, idealistic Grace, exuberant Poppy, and brave but haunted April frolic in the sun, attending parties, flirting with the handsome soldiers, and becoming fast friends with seasoned nurse Eva. Like the Hawaiian sun, their future seems warm and bright—until the infamous morning of December 7.

Within just a few horrifying hours, their sparkling hopes turn to black rubble and ash. Now embroiled in a war they never could have imagined, they must decide what truly matters to them and face grief as they never have before. Death may await them—but so do hope and purpose. In the midst of the carnage, can they find happiness and learn to fight not just for their country’s honor but for themselves?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B07PLHWP46

Genres: Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 16th July, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Published by: Lake Union (@AmazonPub)

Follow Lake Union Authors (@LUAuthors) for updates on their releases!

Converse via: #GirlsOfPearlHarbor, #HistNov and #HistFic
as well as #LakeUnionAuthors

This is a Digital First release → print and audiobook releases are forthcoming!

→ Audiobook & Print cross-release scheduled for 10th September, 2019!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

About Soraya M. Lane

Soraya M. Lane

Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn't the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women's fiction, and her novel Wives of War was an Amazon Charts bestseller.

Soraya lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she's not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

Soraya M. Lane (MFA, LLB)

Author

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Posted Tuesday, 16 July, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Book Spotlight of E-Book (ahead of POD/print edition), Historical Fiction, The World Wars, War Drama

#INSPYSundays | Blog Book Tour feat. “The Medallion” by Cathy Gohlke

Posted Sunday, 9 June, 2019 by jorielov , , 7 Comments

#INSPYSundays banner made my Jorie in Canva.

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! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Medallion” direct from the publisher Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 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

Why I am launching a special showcase called #INPSYSundays:

You might be aware of my 7o Authors Challenge – wherein I am attempting to get to know more Inspirational Fiction authors and their series? I have been wanting to find a way to bring this reading focus into the life of my blog but also, highlight some of the stories I am receiving for review purposes as well – not all of them can be featured on the weekends, but those which can I’ll be highlighting through this new series of posts as I love the idea of showcasing them on a day meant for renewal of spirit & rest.

The short version of “Inspirational Fiction” is INSPY and I have enjoyed using the tag #INSPY on Twitter to talk about the stories which fall under this umbrella of literature. It is far more encompassing than strictly reading Christian based fiction as INSPY is inclusive of all religions and faith backgrounds of interest – which is why eventually I’ll be expounding outwards from my initial wanderings of my reading challenge and seeking out more authors who write stories of INSPY that are from new and differing perspectives. A lot of what I currently have marked to read are traditional Christian Fiction selections as they were found via a fellow book blogger’s blog.

Although I had intended to introduce this featured focus in January, 2019 – I decided the timing wasn’t right for me to do so until June. I look forward to seeing where my readerly wanderings will take me as this will be just as wicked interesting of a feature to follow as my #HistoricalMondays or #SaturdaysAreBookish!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#INSPYSundays | Blog Book Tour feat. “The Medallion” by Cathy GohlkeThe Medallion
by Cathy Gohlke
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

For fans of bestselling World War II fiction like Sarah’s Key and The Nightingale comes an illuminating tale of courage, sacrifice, and survival, about two couples whose lives are ravaged by Hitler’s mad war yet eventually redeemed through the fate of one little girl.

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen–Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war–if any of them survive–is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496429674

Genres: Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, War Drama


Published by Tyndale House Publishers

on 4th June, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 409

Published By: Tyndale House Publishers (@TyndaleHouse)
secondary site: Crazy4Fiction (@Crazy4Fiction)

Formats Available: Trade paperback, ebook and audiobook

Converse via: #TheMedallion, #INSPY w/ #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

About Cathy Gohlke

Cathy Gohlke

Cathy Gohlke is the three-time Christy Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed novels The Medallion, Until We Find Home, Secrets She Kept (winner of the 2016 Carol and INSPY Awards), Saving Amelie (winner of the 2015 INSPY Award), Band of Sisters, Promise Me This (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2012), William Henry Is a Fine Name, and I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires (listed by Library Journal as one of the best books of 2008), which also won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Award.

Cathy writes novels steeped with inspirational lessons from history. Her stories reveal how people break the chains that bind them and triumph over adversity through faith.

When not traveling to historic sites for research, she, her husband, and their dog, Reilly, divide their time between Northern Virginia and the Jersey Shore, enjoying time with their grown children and grandchildren.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 9 June, 2019 by jorielov in #INSPYSundays, 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Judiasm, Loss of an unbourne child, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, The World Wars, Women's Health