Category: Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Madame Presidentess” (Historical Biographical Sketch of Victoria Woodhull) by Nicole Evelina

Posted Friday, 26 August, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

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

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Why I appreciate reading Nicole Evelina’s Historicals:

I appreciate the extra care and attention Evelina goes too in being openly transparent with her readers – not only about the inclusions of what she is writing into the backbone of her sequel for Camelot but for why she’s finding the choices she’s made are backed up by the research and the lore left behind for her to find to inspire her writing as a whole. It helps not only understand the time-line but how the time-line affects the events and how through digging deeper into the lore and legends of Camelot you can root out strongly wrought conflict and afflictions that can affect any woman of any age. Evelina isn’t an author who shies away from harder subjects and topics, but rather meets them head-on and tries to assert her feelings on the events in a manner that is welcoming to her readers. She puts her heart on the line and owns the truth of her words as her pen inks out her stories.

It’s this attention to both detail and sensitivities of readers, wherein I felt I might appreciate reading her next historical release Madame Presidentess (read about the book on her author’s site) after having first met her title character Victoria Woodhull through my readings of The Renegade Queen (see my review); where I first began my journey into a new vein of interest for #HistFic – the Feminist driven side of Historical Fiction! I was quite grateful for the introduction (as it was soon followed by Emmy Nation (see my review) and my first introduction into Evelina’s writing via Daughter of Destiny.

The reason I felt I might find myself a bit more smitten to read Evelina’s version of Woodhull’s story is because I was very much challenged by how Flynn portrayed those harder scenes and the way in which Woodhull’s earlier life was fused to the novel. I survived the text and I was genuinely curious about the sequel by Flynn, but part of me wondered if the story could have found a softer edging – thus, imagine my joy in finding Evelina has penned a different take on the same tale! I bring up Victoria Woodhull because she shares a thread of connection with the Guinevere your meeting inside Camelot’s Queen; both women are brutally attacked and suffer aftereffects of how men treated them. Sometimes tempering the hardest and most challenging of scenes or memories of a character fit better with my own sensitive heart than the ones that breach my own level of tolerance.

quoted from my review of Camelot’s Queen

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Blog Book Tour | “Madame Presidentess” (Historical Biographical Sketch of Victoria Woodhull) by Nicole EvelinaMadame Presidentess
by Nicole Evelina
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Jenny Quinlan (JennyQ)
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

*Winner: U.S. Women’s History category – 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction

Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.

Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”

But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.

Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.

Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.

This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.

Places to find the book:

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ISBN: 9780996763196

Also by this author: Daughter of Destiny, Nicole Evelina (Guest Post: Camelot's Queen), Camelot's Queen, Been Searching For You, Mistress of Legend

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Women's Studies


Published by Lawson Gartner Publishing

on 25th July, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

About Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her current novel, Been Searching for You, a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, took first place in the legend/legacy category of the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Later this year (2016), she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Author biography was updated July 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 26 August, 2016 by jorielov in 19th Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Disillusionment in Marriage, Domestic Violence, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Loss of an unbourne child, Marriage of Convenience, Midwives & Childbirth, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Victoria Woodhull, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage

Blog Book Tour | “The Dark Lady’s Mask” by Mary Sharratt

Posted Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by 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! I received a complimentary copy of “The Dark Lady’s Mask” direct from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this novel about William Shakespeare:

Ahead of sharing my love of Shakespeare, I am celebrating the return of being able to read a novel of Mary Sharratt for review on Jorie Loves A Story! Whilst I was a 1st Year Book Blogger (observed my 3rd blog birthday earlier this month on the 6th of August), I had the pleasure of joy reading Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen} as my debut review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in November, 2013! The novel introduced me to an enriched version of reading biographies – an introduction that would carry me forward into the wonderful world of what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’; a mainstay of my reading queues! As routed through this category of interest!

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

You see, I fell in love with reading Shakespeare when I was fourteen; prior to that year, (as a freshman in high school) I knew of the Bard far more than I had read his works. I was smitten by the idea of what a Shakespearean play would contain but I had not started reading his works until it became required reading. Ironic, no? Of those readings (Romeo & Juliet & Julius Caesar), it was my readings of Caesar that staid with me the most! I liked the tenacity of the piece and the guttingly humanistic emotional tides ebbing in and out of the realisation of how the conspirators befell a leader. There was such a lot of dramatic eclipse in that back-story, I daresay, right then and there, I should have realised how much I would come to appreciate reading Historical Fiction! If only hindsight were available,..

I was gifted a portable collection of Shakespeare’s works for my four and twenty birthday, a fact that isn’t lost on me now that I’m in the latter years of my twentytens; of which selections of plausible readings are listed on my own Classics Club List where they lie in wait for me to soak inside their stories. It isn’t that I have balked at reading more Shakespeare, it’s the mere fact I simply haven’t felt in ‘the mood’ to re-enter his works. There are moments where I distinctively feel literature is based on our moods; this clearly is one of them! Another example would be my distance from the ghost stories of Heather Graham; for me, those require a certain atmosphere to enjoy (i.e. thunderstorms).

As so much has become disputed and/or proved in regards to Shakespeare’s legacy and identity, I felt it was proper time to delve into a portion of the history surrounding him I haven’t yet learnt of first-hand. This is where reading Biographical HistFic is especially fun for me! I get to tuck inside the research and the visionary plausibilities of where known fact and supposition reside to paint an image of ‘what could have been’ and very much could honestly be the living testament of a person who lived so very long ago!

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Blog Book Tour | “The Dark Lady’s Mask” by Mary SharrattThe Dark Lady's Mask
by Mary Sharratt
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister in this novel of England’s first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare.

London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.

Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.

The Dark Lady’s Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.

Places to find the book:

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ISBN: 9780544300767

Also by this author: Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen}, Esctasy

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 19th April, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 416

Published ByHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHCo)

Converse via: #TheDarkLadysMask, #Shakespeare + #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback & Ebook

Read about Aemilia Bassano Lanier via Poetry Foundation

Read Ms Sharratt’s blog post about The Dark Lady’s Mask via Feminism & Religion

About Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

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

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 by jorielov in 16th Century, Aemilia Bassano Lanier, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Classical Literature, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, William Shakespeare

Book Review | “Einstein at Home” by Friedrich Herneck

Posted Friday, 19 August, 2016 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Prometheus Books and their imprints starting in [2016] as I contacted them through their Edelweiss catalogues and Twitter. I appreciated the diversity of titles across genre and literary explorations – especially focusing on Historical Fiction, Mystery, Science Fiction and Scientific Topics in Non-Fiction. I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Einstein at Home” direct from the publisher Prometheus Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My lifelong appreciation of Albert Einstein:

I have been fascinated by Einstein for most of my life, as I am a keen reader of the quantum realms. I have oft wondered how he was outside of the public eye and this incredible tome gives a reader an insight into this private world of his that I would appreciate reading.

My lifelong appreciation on behalf of Albert Einstein started at quite a young age – as I was a science & science-fiction geek for as long as I can remember. There was something wicked genuine about everything I read on behalf of Einstein – from his pursuit of understanding the fabric of creation from both a religious and scientific background to his interests in taking theory and understanding to new levels of creative thought and illumination; Einstein to me, was one of those rare finds of a childhood where I spent a lot of time sorting out which scientists I wanted to learn more about over the score of my lifetime.

I started off in the fringes of where (recorded) history, time and scientific rhetoric leave the trail of his legacy and allow for pop cultural speculation, public praise and layreader intuition to take-over his personal history. Threading my way through whichever ‘new’ discovery I could put my hands on about Einstein’s journey was some of the happier memories growing up, as whenever I would even learn a new kernel of insight towards finding the stories behind the man who left everyone pondering E=mc² was worth pursuing!

Towards that end, I have several books in my personal library I am working towards reading including Einstein and Religion by Max Jammer and Einstein by Walter Isaacson.

I am thrilled to bits to have an unexpected ‘start’ to my non-fiction readings on behalf of the man whose inspired me to pursue re-living his path whilst attempting to see what he saw and understand what only he knew – retreating into a conversational collection of who he was before everything else was known is quite the treat!

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Book Review | “Einstein at Home” by Friedrich HerneckEinstein at Home
by (Translator) Josef Eisinger, Friedrich Herneck
Translator: Josef Eisinger
Source: Direct from Publisher

These intimate, candid descriptions of the private life of Albert Einstein come from a series of interviews with Herta Waldow, a housekeeper who lived with Einstein and his wife and daughter from 1927 to 1933 at their residence in Berlin. After World War II, science historian Friedrich Herneck interviewed Ms. Waldow and published the conversations in the former East Germany. Unavailable in English till now, these five interviews offer fascinating glimpses into the great scientist’s daily routines while he lived as a celebrated scientist in Weimar Germany.

Einstein’s well-known idiosyncrasies come to life in these conversations: his disheveled hair that was only poorly trimmed by his myopic wife, his love of classical music, his playing of the violin to help him think, his delight in sailing, his wide circle of friends and many social engagements, and his female companions besides his wife. Many celebrity acquaintances are also mentioned: from movie star Charlie Chaplin and conductor Erich Kleiber to writers Thomas and Heinrich Mann and fellow scientists Max Planck, Max Born, and Erwin Schrödinger.

With a detailed introduction that puts these interviews in context, these colorful conversations create a vivid picture of Albert Einstein the man.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

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ISBN: 9781633881464

Genres: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Biography / Autobiography, Interviews & Conversations, Non-Fiction, Quantum Physics, Science, Science & Technology


Published by Prometheus Books

on 10th May, 2016

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 200

About (Translator) Josef Eisinger

Josef Eisinger

Josef Eisinger is the author of Einstein on the Road and the translator of Brahms’s letters in Johannes Brahms, Life and Letters, by Styra Avins.

A native of Vienna, he is a physicist whose research has ranged from nuclear physics to molecular biology and from the history of medicine to music history. He is professor emeritus in the Department of Structural and Chemical Biology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, the author of some two hundred articles in professional journals and books, and the recipient of two Guggenheim fellowships.

About Friedrich Herneck

Friedrich Herneck (1909-1993) was a German historian of science. Among his many books were Einstein and His Worldview and Einstein and the Atom Bomb.

Published By: Prometheus Books (@prometheusbks)

Originally published as Einstein privat in German (1978)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback & Ebook

Special Note:

Available in English for the first time, these five interviews with a housemaid who worked for Albert Einstein offer vivid glimpses of the great scientist’s life in Germany before World War II.

Converse via: #AlbertEinstein OR #Einstein, #QuantumPhysics OR #Physics + #ScienceBooks

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Posted Friday, 19 August, 2016 by jorielov in #FuellYourSciFi, #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Albert Einstein, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Book Review (non-blog tour), Life in Another Country, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Prometheus Books, Quantum | Mechanics Physics Theory, Quantum Physics, Science, The World Wars, Vignettes of Real Life

Blog Book Tour | “The Lady of the Tower” by Elizabeth St. John

Posted Saturday, 13 August, 2016 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by 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! I received a complimentary copy of “The Lady of the Tower” direct from the author Elizabeth St. John 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 a story writ out of the author’s historical past:

Hallo, dear hearted readers – I was especially keen on the idea of a historical fiction novel inspired by the ancestral history of the author’s past because I am an Ancestry Sleuth myself! I have had a penchant of following in the footsteps of my Mum and grandfather who originally started to ferret out the remnants of our ancestry past through the groundwork they started in the 1970s to not only unearth hidden threads of our ancestors but to start the quest to work towards understanding where we all originated once you enter into the historical data on immigration from the UK and Europe respectively.

It’s an interesting process, as an Ancestry Sleuth as your digging through records and following leads – where some days you come up empty and other days, you might get a lucky break – where finding one ancestor could lead you to find a whole lot of ancestors you never even heard about previously! Thus, knowing this about how much I love researching where the living histories of my family could lead to new ancestors in the historic past, imagine then, my joy in reading the synopsis and back-story attached to The Lady of the Tower, wherein Ms St. John used one of her ancestors as the cornerstone of enquiry into how her story was both set and told.

I could be mistaken, but I believe the Stuart period of England is one that I haven’t yet had the joy of exploring? I love when I get to dig into another chapter of British history, seeing a whole generation pop alive against the pages of a historical novel and give me a cardinal viewing of that generation’s untold insights & stories. I remember when I first read a novel set during the era of the Tudors & the Georgian era, too. Of the two, I leaned more towards the Tudors – however, I have the tendency to fall back on my regular haunts of the Regency & Victorian eras whilst traversing a bit into the Edwardian. It would be quite lovely to feel an equal attachment for another era – perhaps, the Stuart will appeal? I do appreciate certain stories set during Elizabethan England, too. It’s just my heart flutters such joy in the other three eras it’s hard to pull myself out of them! Laughs.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Lady of the Tower” by Elizabeth St. JohnThe Lady of the Tower
by Elizabeth St. John
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Orphaned Lucy St.John, described as “the most beautiful of all,” defies English society by carving her own path through the decadent Stuart court. In 1609, the early days of the rule of James I are a time of glittering pageantry and cutthroat ambition, when the most dangerous thing one can do is fall in love . . . or make an enemy of Frances Howard, the reigning court beauty.

Lucy catches the eye of the Earl of Suffolk, but her envious sister Barbara is determined to ruin her happiness. Exiling herself from the court, Lucy has to find her own path through life, becoming mistress of the Tower of London. Riding the coattails of the king’s favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, the fortunes of the St.Johns rise to dizzying heights. But with great wealth comes betrayal, leaving Lucy to fight for her survival—and her honor—in a world of deceit and debauchery.

Elizabeth St.John tells this dramatic story of love, betrayal, family bonds and loyalty through the eyes of her ancestor Lucy and her family’s surviving diaries, letters and court papers.

Places to find the book:

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ISBN: 9781523417889

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Self Published Author

on 30th January, 2016

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 246

Published By: Self-Published Author

Read more about the Stuart period of England via WikiHow

Converse via: #TheLadyOfTheTower & #Ancestry + #HistFic
Available Formats: Softcover paperback and E-Book

About Elizabeth St. John

Elizabeth St. John

Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. To inform her writing, she has tracked down family papers and sites from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and the British Library to Castle Fonmon and The Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them – in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their imprint. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story…

Elizabeth is currently writing a sequel to The Lady of the Tower, following the fortunes of the St.John family during the English Civil War. The working title is “By Love Divided”, and it is due to publish in early 2017.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 13 August, 2016 by jorielov in 17th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Lucy St. John, Multi-Generational Saga, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data