Category: Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction

+Blog Book Tour+ Murder by Misrule (a Francis Bacon mystery) by Anna Castle #histnov

Posted Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 by jorielov , , 5 Comments

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Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle

Murder by Misrule Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Capitol Crime Writers, 8 June, 2014
Official Author Websites: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Available Formats: Softcover Page Count: 350

Converse on Twitter: #MurderbyMisRule & #MurderbyMisruleBlogTour

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

Curiosity of Francis Bacon:

I must admit, that although I know of Bacon in name only, I have always wanted to learn a bit more about him and the time in which he led. There are some many wonderful facets of living history that I have not yet had the pleasure of broaching in literature, and one of them, is the Elizabethan era! I had not realised at first that this is the same era as the Tudors, as to be honest, sometimes I find the designations of eras a bit confusing! I only knew that I would appreciate this particular timescape due to how close it hugs the Renaissance and the time of Shakespeare! Finding a mystery set during this age was a true delight, but further to say, what I am appreciating is the discovery of historical based cosies which tempt us to engage with historically known persons who are doing quite extraordinary things such as solving murders and the crimes therein! I like the perspective that this eludes too and the way in which each character is then handled by its writer is quite lovely too!

Previously, for historical mysteries based on living persons I have started to enjoy reading the Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron! I will be re-picking up the series during this year’s Austen in August, which is being hosted by Lost Generation Reader! I believe I am discovering a new breadth of historical fiction to soak inside as prior to Barron, I was wrapped up inside The Study of Murder & Inscription! I clearly appreciate the full scope of what a historical cosy mystery can provide! I’d be curious to find out in anyone else has been equally tempted!?

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Book Synopsis:

Murder by Misrule by Anna CastleFrancis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray’s Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon’s powerful uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man’s legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.

Series Synopsis:

This series of historical mysteries features the philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon as a sleuth and spymaster. Since Francis prefers the comfort of his own chambers, like his spiritual descendent Nero Wolfe, he sends his pupil, the handsome young Thomas Clarady, out to gather information. Tom loves the work, not least because he meets so many interesting people, like Lord Burghley, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Christopher Marlowe. Murder by Misrule is the first book in the series.

Author Biography:Anna Castle

Anna Castle has been a waitress, software engineer, documentary linguist, college professor, and digital archivist. Historical fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas, and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.

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My Review of Murder by Misrule:

I had not expected such an auspicious beginning to the story, as to have Mr. Bacon quite literally ‘stumble across’ his very first murder! I thought it was befitting of his character traits of attempting to avoid the mass public during the frivolities of state, and by taking such a winding turnabout during his walk, he in full effect changes his course of action! What I appreciated in the very opening bits to the story, is the layer of depth given to purport the setting and time into a reader’s mind. Castle takes the moment to curate a full scope narrative of the elemental nods you’d expect for a period specific piece, but does so in such a way to alight your mind full of recognition for what could have been seen whilst you were actually alive in the 16th Century! This mindfulness of detail is one that I always appreciate once I am able to find it, as it allows a deeper connection to your reading than a writer who might not have given as much to fully encase your heart inside the shoes of the character.

In the background of the story, there is talk of Mary Queen of Scots having a particular strain of interest to the duration of the conspiracies which are unsettling the order of the status que. What I found relevant there is that each book I am picking up that takes place during this time, has a direct connection to her plight and to her accusations of what placed her on death’s row. I am noticing that next I truly ought to seek out literature that encompasses more about her life and about how she was such a cardinal threat to the Crown. I have only heard hearsay and rumours about what might have triggered her discourse from being removed as a threat, but as to know precisely I must yield to those who have researched her ahead of my own curious wanderings!

How Bacon articulates the data and the evidence is of particular interest, because he is not your traditional detective in the sense that he is writ with an affluence of understanding that most greenhorn detectives would not have picked up upon. I can see now, why Castle was inspired to write him as a detective as he does have such a unique quality of deduction and reason inside him! His mysteries are reminding me of the intellectual appeal of Holmes, whereupon the mystery to the reader is nearly as paramount to uncover as to the actual case at hand! His ruminations and his lengthy ways about riddling out the true nature behind the crime could have been warranted by reflecting on my viewings of “Inspector Morse” as well. I like the fact that Bacon is portrayed as a rather classic fellow who approaches his sleuthing from a different perspective than what is readily found in cosies. He stands out because his uniqueness is refreshing and the homage giving to his process is lushly written with illuminating narration!

The intricacies of his station and of his livelihood were a surprise to me, because I had this preconceived notion about barristers and lawyers that for whichever reason was not even a fathering of the truth! There is far more political nuances and discourse than one would readily suspect to find encroaching on their everyday expenditures. I felt that for the most part there would have been a common core of strength and interplay between the colleagues but apparently even in the 16th Century the eyes were fond of scuttlebutt and supposition; rather than facts and truth. Bacon is such an honourable bloke attempting to go about his own affairs, that their rebuttal at his life and of his options afforded him take him quite off-guard, as they well should! The pettiness is such a true observation of how other people’s lack of self-esteem can curate a well of indifference and prejudicial remarks.

The manner in which Francis Bacon employs his colleague’s student, Tom to help with the investigation allows us to see a greater scope of the inner life of barristers and how their status at Court can be affected by their choices. I liked seeing into this world, as it denoted a new way of thinking about life at court and life outside of court. Everything is connected and the ways in which men could strengthen their status was nearly co-dependent on who they knew in a position that could help heighten their progress. In this, my original noddings of seeing Inspector Morse came back to mind, as he too, had taken on a partner who grew into Inspector Lewis! I like the felicity of mysteries being investigated in a mentor-student relationship, and this series is surely going to grow a wide readership once the mystery realm finds it’s release!

On the style of writing Castle inks onto the page:

Wordsmiths and appreciators of the dialect of Old English will appreciate the mentions of phrases and words that were spoken during Francis Bacon’s time. I personally loved riddling out a few of the meanings for the words I had not yet come across, as much as I appreciated the attention given to give historical accuracy within a historical fiction novel! I even loved the inclusions of Latin phrases, as it would be perfectly logical that during that time everyone would be sharing their thoughts by interspersing Latin into their everyday vernacular!

The surprise for me in receiving this book for review was the curious photograph of the finished copy cover art, which was autographed by Ms. Castle! I was struck by its simplicity of design and how with its glossy finish it was a startling piece of art to be sent! I will enjoy finding a frame to place it inside, as the cover art held my eye from the first moment I stole a glance at it! What a delightful treat to be tucked into the opening bits of the ARC! And, I must say, it was the very first photography copy of a book’s cover design I have thus far received!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

Murder by Misrule Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Previously I had the honour of interviewing Ms. Castle about ‘Murder by Misrule‘!

{SOURCES: Book cover for “Murder by Misrule”, Author Biography and Book Synopsis were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Blog tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, Elizabethan Era, England, Francis Bacon, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Mary Queen of Scots, Self-Published Author, Sir Walter Raleigh, Tudor Era

+Blog Book Tour+ The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

Posted Friday, 20 June, 2014 by jorielov , , , 5 Comments

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The Lost Duchess by Jenny Barden

The Lost Duchess Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Published By: Ebury Press (), 5 June, 2014 (paperback)
an imprint of Random House Group, Ltd. UK ()

Official Author Websites: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook
Author is Active on: English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Available Formats:  Hardcover, Paperback, & Ebook
Page Count: 448

Converse on Twitter: #LostDuchessBlogTour & #TheLostDuchess OR

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

Curiosity Inspired Me to Read:

I felt plumb delighted to read this novel as it sounded quite exciting if you ask me! I love the appeal of diving into the lost colonies and of course, who wouldn’t like a thriller set at sea and land?!

I am always a reader whose eye bewitches her attention from one period of history to another, and the one section of literature I have not yet rallied my will to venture into is that of the high seas epics! I have already earmarked off the novels of Patrick O’ Brian and others like him, who enhance my curiosity and warm me to the descriptions of life at sea. I am an adventurer in spirit, and as I had relaid to MaryLu Tyndall last year whilst she was touring the blogosphere for Forsaken Dreams, I felt inclined to tell her that if I had had the proposition to set sail for a new world and a new way of living, I’d have embarked on the journey forthwith! My mind furvoured over this recollection as I broached the premise of The Lost Duchess; twirling over in my mind if I was ready to set sail and fully breathe in narrative on the high seas! As you can see, the answer that bubbled to the surface was a resounding yes! And, I think a bit inspired by my fascination and delight in reading a ChocLitUK novel entitled: Close to the Wind!

I am always forever grateful when there are enclosures with the books I receive for review, in this particular case, the paperback copy of The Lost Duchess was signed by the author! She even went so far as to include a business card which features the book cover art and her contact information, as well as a lovely postcard which includes the book synopsis on one side and a framed book cover image on the opposite one! I am always marvelling at the little surprises authors and publishers tuck into books for book bloggers, because it is one step closer to keeping the circle between us an interactive experience. I even adore the Editor’s Notes that come inside ARCs or the extensive Press Releases which publishers generally tuck inside ARCs and finished copies alike! Little bobbles of joy which make me smile as I ease into the narratives at hand! A charming reminder that what we do as we blog is appreciated but more than that, that writers are as bookish as the readers who appreciate the opportunity to read their novels! In that, we all like to have little tangible memories to reflect back on our experiences, and I am always pleasantly delighted to find what is included inside my book parcels!

I cannot express my gratitude enough for the bookmarks, as previously mentioned mine are all packed along with my personal library (for the most part!). The little business card for The Lost Duchess held my place as I shifted through the pages, and it was as fondly used as the curious little business card I wished I had had for To Live Forever by Andra Wakins! I watched so many of Wakins “Natchez Trace videos” I nearly thought it would be a keen keepsake to have a little card as a nodding reminder of my connection to her experience and journey on the Trace! The happy bit for me is using bookmarks from various authors inside new books as they arrive to be read — little fingerprints of reflections drift through my mind and heart, as I nestle into the story at hand, and for that, I am one very blessed and thankful book blogger!

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Book Synopsis:

An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan’s rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep…

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh’s settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; ‘The Lost Duchess’ explores what might have happened to the ill-starred ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke.

Author Biography:Jenny Barden

I’ve had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan ‘lost colony’ of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I’ve written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the ‘Get Writing’ conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers’ Association, the Romantic Nevelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. I’ll be co-ordinating the RNA’s annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I’m not so keen on coming down!).

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA notation on Cover Art:

There are moments of great joy to discover a book cover as captivating as the one on The Lost Duchess. The moment you lock eyes with the woman who graces the page, you instinctively realise that you want to venture into her life and follow where she will lead. Her clothes are quite ornate, but it is the unexpected notice she is giving you that eludes the story will no doubt capture your full attention once it is begun to be consumed. She has a story to tell, and I knew that in combination with the book’s synopsis, this was a story I wanted to walk alongside her and know intimately.

There is a common debate I have noticed recently in the book blogosphere and the twitterverse, about the presumption of selection on the books we elect to read. One side claims it is by the book cover alone and the other side laments that it is on the merits of the story’s premise. I, on the other hand, have claimed to say:

Truly though, about why I am drawn into a book!? It goes directly into the heart of the narrative — I look for book synopsis which etch out a story-line full of heart & soul characters, who either need to go on a journey of discovery or are going to live through a life experience which will either shape them, break them, or transform them. Thinking back on my own young adult years — it was the story which took central focus – I have not changed my spots! My blog is aptly named as you get to know me! I might love a book cover, but I cannot love it fully unless I get a sense of the story within it – the cover is the shell, the heart of the joy in reading lies in the pages between the covers! -quoted from my comment on Ellen Mulholland’s blog

Mistress of the Sea by Jenny BardenFor you see, I may well fancy a book’s cover illustrations and artwork, but for me, if the book itself does not ink out a reason to savvy my interest and eyes to become enthralled with its contents, I am afraid I do not pick the book up irregardless of how much I might admit the cover is quite a remarkable piece of art. For to me, it is art then, and not a story of interest. I am not sure if the debate will ever be settled, but one thing I wanted to mention is how I appreciate book covers in successive order of release from authors have a ‘turning nod’ to each other. Case in point, is the début novel (Mistress of the Sea) by Ms. Barden (seen in this paragraph) whereupon the filigree edges and the atmosphere of colours selected against the backdrop are in tune with the cover for The Lost Duchess.

Previously, I observed the same keen attention given to the books of Stephanie Thornton, as I reviewed her second novel, Daughter of the Gods recently on another Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour. The connectiveness in sequence and choice of design makes me smile inwardly, because the covers then become a bit of a triptych when viewed alongside each other (if there are three in sequence, such as the Daughter of Boston series by Julie Lessman). I like this attention to nuance detail and the methodology of selecting covers which help readers identify the collective work of an author when they go to borrow or purchase their books. I will need to remember to add notations each time I discover this amongst the books I read next, as it is one detail that I appreciate most.

Aside from period specific choices in clothing, as although I do not always realise when I am being duped by period designs and examples, there are moments where I have an inclination to feel that perhaps the clothing or manner of style on a cover is a bit of out time for the story it is attempting to reflect. Barden’s covers are an elegant grace in excellence and her tomes of work will delight all the senses a reader uses to soak into a novel’s heart.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comMy Review of The Lost Duchess:

The Lost Duchess by Jenny BardenThe wide-eyed innocence of a maid-in-waiting to the Queen is ripped out of her bodice and attacked by a most vile individual who did not see Emme Fifield as a woman to respect and honour, but an object to possess. Her most tender courage of youthful spirit encapsulated her from the worst of the attack by muffling her angst ridden heart and the screams she would have belted to heaven if not in fear of the Queen, her liege in finding out the truth. Barden opens The Lost Duchess in such a powerful way as to beg the reader’s notice that what was once felt in locking eyes with Emme on the cover, now turns to an increasingly beguiling sense of knowing.

Her steadfast knowledge of a woman’s place in the Elizabethan age purported her plight, as she knew very well that if any person learnt of her disgrace of being attacked, the brunt of the burden would be solely placed on her shoulders. The rights of women then and the rights of women now are not so very far apart from each other when it comes to domestic violence and the collision of unwanted advances from men. Barden writ inside the passages following the attack a wholesome truth of the inner workings of a woman attempting to balance her reality of the incident against the reality of her place in court. Her life was a fragile balance of obligation, duty, and expected service to her Queen.

As we are gaining insight into her strength of character, we are seeing further into her courage as she decides to carry-on and forge ahead as though nothing sinister had occurred at all; as who is there to confide in when women are always viewed as being the harbingers of their own fate?

Emme is a woman who has vision outside the plight of her own circumstances, and on the confidence of the Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth I, (Sir Francis Walsingham) she endeavours to change her stars by her own conviction and merit of industry by joining the voyage back to the New World. She knows her future is blighted at best if she stays behind to face the uncivilous rumours head-on, but to jump aboard ship and sail to Virginia? To help forge a colony in the Chesapeake that is stronger and sturdier than that of Roanoke?! I must confess, as her mind danced with images of fanciful new dreams and possibilities, I was alongside her rallying hope and encouragement for what this new beginning would mean to her well-being.

Besmirched with the tides of fate, Emme and Kit, the man entrusted to keep her safe aboard ship each have their own personal reasons for sailing for presumed sanctity in Virginia. As I had the pleasure of seeing Belle on the silver screen for my birthday this year, (a mere week ago) I could settle in my mind the joy of seeing a father acknowledge his child; a child of biracial origins and one he most earnestly loved. Reading the passages where Kit was attempting to explain to his brother the true reason he wanted to pursue a new life abroad warmed my heart, as foresaid Belle was only recently seen and has already stitched itself into my most beloved motion pictures of recent years; akin to Amazing Grace! I also appreciated the character of Manteo who is a Native amongst the Britons travelling to and fro the New World. He was given full respect for his person and I liked his ease in conversing with Emme, as he did not see her as others might and she was in full appreciation for the reprieve.

As their journey led them to the New World, so too did their adventure lead them to a rebirth of living with the full grace of freedom transformed. I appreciated the hearty realism stitched into life on ship as much as the curious details woven into the days in which they were ashore in Roanoke. Barden took a fissure of disjointed and fragmented history, and pulled together a pliable accountment of what ‘could have been’ but of which will quite surely ‘never truly be known’ of the ill-fated attempt to colonise Virginia at that point in time. I must commend her for her vision, as this particular slice of history always fascinated me in school, always thirsty for new details or curious scenarios of possibilities, and in reading The Lost Duchess, I find myself bemuseful of how this story could very well have a stock in reality.

The only bits that I found a bit disconcerning at times were the visual nature of some of the scenes, yet I did not attach a ‘fly in the ointment’ to this post because quite frankly they were very few and far between. They only entered a scene when needed to express the seriousness of an attack; especially a fatal one where someone was brutally murdered by Natives in Roanoke where the colonists were attempting to take residence. I flitted over the passages because within the whole of the book, my heart was enraptured with the evolving story between Emme and Kit, who are the heroes of the tale!

The wordsmith stylings of Barden’s narrative was rapturously exaulted:

I am forevermore blessed to have stumbled across such wonderful wordsmiths who enlighten our minds with words of which are not commonly used nor known in today’s literature. Even those words which would be harkened back to an age of the historical page in which the story entreats our imaginations to venture, not every author is able to knit the ties of that era in such a way as to unite a clarity of speech. I am always in a celebratory mood when I find a writer whose pen inks out a frothy amount of phrase, word, and era specific mentionings as to help alight us in the setting in which the story takes place. I feared not the moment I opened this particular novel, as between the Chapter Heading Quotation disclosures of passages taken from historical documents (I presume?) to engage our eye in the real characters behind the fictional story, to the benefit of the words in which grace the pages, my mind was lit afire with a truism of the Elizabethan Court!

She takes you inside this unknown world with such a propensity for details and enriched voices of the past, that you feel as though you are stepping directly into Emme’s shoes, casting footfalls where she alights in Richmond Palace as much as the shores of the New World. I found myself eating the words and pages as readily as my eyes were able to absorb their murmurings, because I had found another new author of whose story was soaking into my heart and that swelled a sea of thankfulness inside my heart! And, prompted a most curious thought as to seek out Mistress of the Sea!

A note on behalf of Ebury Press sustainability conscience:

On the reverse cover of The Lost Duchess, I was happily struck by the presence of the FSC recognisble label! I had mentioned their conservation efforts to source paper without hurting old growth forests on a previous post, as I am attempting to make a reference note of each book I read henceforth forward that has a mention inside its sleeves for stewardship and sustainable printing practices. More and more publishers (from major trade to independent press) are striving towards finding greener ways to print books and thereby, proving the point that those of us who can only read books in print can effectively read greener! A bit like how each of us who purchases second-hand books is taking a step towards the unnecessity of successive printings of the same novel. I applaud Ebury Press and Random House Group, Ltd. for being part of the forebearers of change and for giving all readers everywhere something to chew on about how reading green does not have to be electronically originated.

They mention briefly about their green-minded practices on their FAQ page, but go into greater detail on their page dedicated to how they acquire the paper for the books they bind into print editions. The best bit for me is seeing their green practices go a bit past paper production and more towards the whole concept of being a green publisher using green resources!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

The Lost Duchess Virtual Book Tour with HFVBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Reader Interactive Question:

I am curious, what are your impressions of the ill-fated colony of Roanoke!? Have you sought out previous stories set amidst the rumours of unknown truths!? What do you think is plausible to explain the fact they were never found and that the search continues to today for their ancestors!? There is a lovely ‘Author’s Note’ in the back of “The Lost Duchess” which goes into a bit of detail to explain not only the author’s take on the history but how history is continuing being penned as the research continues to seek out the truth of what happened to the colony. I was grateful the passages were included as they tethered all the pieces together in both fiction and reality.

{SOURCES: Book covers for “The Lost Duchess” & “Mistress of the Sea”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, and blog tour badges  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 20 June, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Adulterous Affair, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Domestic Violence, Elizabethan Era, England, Green-Minded Publishers, High Seas Epic, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Modern British Literature, Native American Fiction, Nautical Fiction, Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Drake, Sir Francis Walsingham, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sustainability Practices inside the Publishing Industry, Sustainable Forest Certification, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Tudor Era, Virginia, Women of Power & Rule, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

+Blog Book Tour+ Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Posted Thursday, 12 June, 2014 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

Mrs. Poe Virtual Tour via HFVBT

Published By: Gallery Books ()
(an imprint of
Simon & Schuster: ), 1 April, 2014 (paperback edition)
Official Author Websites: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

Available Formats:  Hardback, Paperback, E-Book
Page Count: 352

Accomplishments Thus Far:

Great Reads of 2013 –NPR
Books That Make Time Stand Still –Oprah.com
Editor’s Pick—The Historical Novels Review
Best Books of 2013—Atlanta Magazine
Indie Next List Pick

Converse on Twitter: #MrsPoeBlogTour  OR #MrsPoe

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

Curiosity Inspired Me to Read:

I actually requested to be placed on this blog tour originally, as I had heard of this book previously and was always fascinated by the premise! I wasn’t into Edgar growing up, but then, I sort of became curious about him in my twenties!? And, of course I adore *biographical fiction*! I even devoted an entire A to Z challenge post all about it! (Jorie’s Letter B) I am also finding creative new ways to blog about the books I am reviewing to garnish new interest in my book reviews! Not to mention I undertook the A to Z to be a bit of an ‘introduction’ to who I am as a book blogger! A project that I am still keen to continue writing once I sort out how to convey my thoughts for F through Z!

On the level of Poe, I think I spoke rather well about where my curiosity arose on the Interview for this blog tour:

When I first saw the blog tour for “Mrs. Poe” arrive on the dockets for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I was quite hopeful that I might secure a spot on the blog tour! And, I knew if I had, I would be more than compelled to enquiry a bit into the back-story of the novel itself as well as ask questions that would go a bit into the disparaging differences between the Edgar Allan Poe I grew up knowing as the true ‘Poe’, and the Poe, of whom is only recently (after apparently 150+ years of ill-begotten truths tainted our minds) has emerged as quite the dapper Dan (in appearance) and a wholly new Poe by personality! His measurement as a writer and of a man, have completely changed in my eyes and that was *before!* I ever breathed one word of the novel by Ms. Cullen! 

– quoted from the Interview I gave on behalf of Ms. Cullen author of Mrs. Poe

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com Read an Excerpt:

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (excerpt) by Simon and Schuster

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Book Synopsis:

A vivid and compelling novel about a woman who becomes entangled in an affair with Edgar Allan Poe—at the same time she becomes the unwilling confidante of his much-younger wife.

It is 1845, and Frances Osgood is desperately trying to make a living as a writer in New York; not an easy task for a woman—especially one with two children and a philandering portrait painter as her husband. As Frances tries to sell her work, she finds that editors are only interested in writing similar to that of the new renegade literary sensation Edgar Allan Poe, whose poem, “The Raven” has struck a public nerve.

She meets the handsome and mysterious Poe at a literary party, and the two have an immediate connection. Poe wants Frances to meet with his wife since she claims to be an admirer of her poems, and Frances is curious to see the woman whom Edgar married.

As Frances spends more and more time with the intriguing couple, her intense attraction for Edgar brings her into dangerous territory. And Mrs. Poe, who acts like an innocent child, is actually more manipulative and threatening than she appears. As Frances and Edgar’s passionate affair escalates, Frances must decide whether she can walk away before it’s too late…

Set amidst the fascinating world of New York’s literati, this smart and sexy novel offers a unique view into the life of one of history’s most unforgettable literary figures.

Author Biography:Lynn Cullen

Lynn Cullen grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the fifth girl in a family of seven children. She learned to love history combined with traveling while visiting historic sites across the U.S. on annual family camping trips. She attended Indiana University in Bloomington and Fort Wayne, and took writing classes with Tom McHaney at Georgia State. She wrote children’s books as her three daughters were growing up, while working in a pediatric office and later, at Emory University on the editorial staff of a psychoanalytic journal. While her camping expeditions across the States have become fact-finding missions across Europe, she still loves digging into the past. She does not miss, however, sleeping in musty sleeping bags. Or eating canned fruit cocktail. She now lives in Atlanta with her husband, their dog, and two unscrupulous cats.

Lynn Cullen is the author of The Creation of Eve, named among the best fiction books of 2010 by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and as an April 2010 Indie Next selection. She is also the author of numerous award-winning books for children, including the young adult novel I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, which was a 2007 Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection, and an ALA Best Book of 2008. Her novel, Reign of Madness, about Juana the Mad, daughter of the Spanish Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand, was chosen as a 2011 Best of the South selection by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and was a 2012 Townsend Prize finalist. Her newest novel, MRS. POE, examines the fall of Edgar Allan Poe through the eyes of poet Francis Osgood.

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New York in 1845:

The blackened viewing of New York City in the mid-19th Century does not surprise me, because most of the larger metro cities during the same era were full of wretched realities for the working class. I am not even sure how anyone fared well living amongst the filth and the grit of what would be visible on the streets, much less what could be smelt in the air. Cullen paints a true black picture of a reality that can be seen as it shines out of her narrative, giving New York City’s backdrop a character narrative it its own.

I was delighted how the everyday muck and interesting bits of ordinary life were spun into life by the pen of Cullen, who had a true knack for descriptive narrative to propel the reader directly into the light of the scenes. Even if the scene was featured in the background rather than the foreground, as a sweeping arc of giving the narrative depth, what I appreciated was the level of realism stitched into those words whose paragraphs held bewitching choices of word and phrase. She had a way of saying something Osgood might be thinking, but in a way which conveyed the scene of which was before Osgood’s own eyes as she traversed through her everyday environment. In this, we are given a closer pull and tug towards this specific bracket of elapsed time between Poe and Osgood, almost as though our time travel experience was set on a singular slice of time and not a second more.

Fly in the Ointment: The bit that surprised me the most is the art on the cover art of the novel itself: where I had first felt the woman was either Mrs. Poe directly (as to being Edgar’s actual wife) or Frances Osgood, I was a bit disappointed to have learnt through the disclosure of its materials that the frame and the woman were stock images used to compile the theme of the novel. I felt for sure that perhaps historical photographs might have been found through research and then, used to paint a realism of who the story unfolds to encompass. However, I sadly am finding there is a shift with publishers to use more stock images and less original sources of art. Even if an illustrator could have created a likeness to Osgood, I think I might have preferred that over a stock image of a woman who could seemingly ‘fit’ inside the era of the story’s heart.

Perhaps I am simply a reader who is growing tired of being tricked and fooled by cover art that may or may not have a connection to the story underneath the pages it is attached.

My Review of Mrs. Poe:

I found myself betwixt and at ease whilst setting into the atmosphere of Mrs. Poe, due to the beguiling bent of mischievous intrigue woven into the fabric of the opening chapters. Here, I am lamenting on the level of stepping inside the folds of where time intersects with Edgar Allan Poe and Frances Osgood, at a point of a place in New York where the two writers would become ill-fated to draw a close match of wills towards each other. Their story envelopes you into their innermost nooks of thought and sanctum of writerly enclave to broach a dialogue of thought which extends out of history’s timeline.

The finger pulse of Osgood outing Poe on behalf of The Raven was quite fetching of her character, because it is Osgood who comes out strong and viable in this story, moreso than Poe, of whom is a counterpart compliment of her own search for literary freedom. The choices she had to contend with as a married woman with a louse of a husband would make any modern woman shudder – for her was not a choice of will, but one of propriety which determined her worth. Worth which could only be bartered against her willingness to pen what her heart was not always willing to concede. I liked the conversation she had with her daughters about the poem, because it etched alive in my own mind what I found so vexing about the poem myself! It was surely not what I had forethought it would be! How clever the full scope of its measure is included in the opening bits of the novel! It takes on a lifeblood of its own as the story progresses, and if anything becomes a measuring stick for Osgood to assert her own voice in ink to compete with Poe himself.

Osgood comes across as a woman who is determined to right her own sails and make her way in the world on her own means. She was given a hand that dealt her against her society’s provisions of acceptability when her husband walked out and left her in the wake of two small girls and the edge of propriety’s mirror peering into her soul. Rallying a force from inside she knew not the strength, she continued to chin up the courage to draw a breath of creativity through her pen, and ink stories which would sell a handsome income. Likewise, Poe on the other hand is an affable bloke of whom you are endeared due to his cautious and conscience nature towards his young bride-wife, who is afflicted and sickly. His loving kindness towards her and his awkward way of acknowledging Osgood paint a different portrait than the one of a writer I was most determined not to read during my own lifetime.

Having read and learnt of the literary salons of Paris whilst reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, I was pleasantly surprised by the tone of the private salon mentioned in this story, where Osgood would garnish her ability to learn without notice of others, and buckle down in strength to write what needed to be writ in order to survive on a wage that would allow her and her girls a bit of independence. Her friendship with Poe was by a strange fate of interlocking souls who creatively were equal to the other. She was attracted to Poe for the same reasons he was keen on her, to sense a recognition of understanding and of clarity of thought behind the outward appearance they each upheld to keep their place in society. A mask to allow each of them the grace of moving within the circles of their peers, yet always striving to step out of their circumstances. Neither willing to falter the illusion for the real connection they each shared, as their friendship blossomed during a crossroads they were each walking alone.

I enjoyed watching her mind draw a knitted brow of confliction, in wondering if the course she were to pursue would be worth any anguish in the long-term. Cullen writes a breadth of reflection and echoes Osgood vividly through her nuances of her character’s thoughtful mind, and culling process of teetering on which side of the line of right and wrong she wants to cross. I could have languished inside this ebb of life bubbling to the surface of the text, because inside the pages where Poe is interacting with Osgood, you start to notice a bit of a dance. A dance with two partners not always willing to keep distance, and yet, partners who appear to notice the shocking truth of where their feet wish to lead.

The hint and inclusion of other writers of the century’s prolific achievers were stitched into the backdrop, especially on behalf of the literary salon, which gained an element of joy for me. I enjoyed seeing which authors would intermingle with each other and the atmosphere of taking such different personalities and placing them aside one another. Although the story has a heart of depth, it is truly centered in its telling tale of two hearts betwixt with each other during a point in their lives where neither was free to be entwined. The subtle notions of their lives, the small attachments of their spirits, and their uncanny way of understanding before words were broached aloud is what drew me instantly into their story. This is a story that warms itself into your mind’s eye, for favour of reading the subtleties of life and how within those hidden moments, we all must decide which way our next course of action is meant to be.

My thoughts on Edgar Allan Poe:

Being this is the first time I have allowed myself to drink in the words of “The Raven” by Poe, I must confess, that what I was thinking I’d find inside the poem was most amiss of my attention and what laid bare inside took me by quite a happy surprise? Could I have been lead to believe one variation of Poe’s legacy over the truer nature of his gifts leading towards another ending of museful thoughts? I find that the Poe in which I was taught to know throughout the years I spent in lower grades at school did a most disserviceable disfavour towards allowing me to perceive Poe as he were rather than the Poe of whom everyone broached an acquaintance of. In this way, I think the impressions of how we perceive those of the literary past and those of whom are of the literary past can blur and blind us from the truth, if we were only given a marginal opening perception of who they were whilst they lived. In this particular instance, having found through the interview of Ms. Cullen I previously posted that Poe was marginalised and erased from an authentic true reality of his living years from the annals of history, I find myself besotted with a sorrow for the years in whence I could have spent knowing of his other writings. Giving myself the joy of knowing his truer self and revealing the legacy he would have preferred to have left behind in earnest.

Poe is most certainly not the first bloke whose memory has been asconed and defaced by a person who’d rather have control over the populist perception of their living reality, but to what disadvantage is served by not to bring forward the information which upturnt the prior legacy with the truth of the what scholars have unearthed? And, why then does it take such a long grievous of time to rectify what was already a blight on one man’s soulful truth? I was processing the 150+ mentioning of time elapsed between the Poe who lived and the Poe of whom we were tainted to be appalled and abhorred. Whole generations of readers were befuddled and bemuddled by one man’s ghastly take on another man’s dreams. That is the greater interest of mine. Of rectifying my own perception of a writer I truly never knew and allowing myself the grace in knowing there is still time in the clock-piece to visit with Poe.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis Book Review is courtesy of:

Mrs. Poe Virtual Tour via HFVBT

Monday, May 19
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 20
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, May 21
Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, May 22
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Friday, May 23
Review at A Bookish Affair

Monday, May 26
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, May 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, May 28
Review at Turning the Pages

Friday, May 30
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Monday, June 2
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, June 3
Review at Kelsey’s Book Corner
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, June 4
Review & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Thursday, June 5
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, June 6
postponed due to illness*Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Interview & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, June 9
Review at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, June 11
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, June 12
Interview & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, June 13
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, June 16
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Tuesday, June 17
Review & Interview at Layered Pages
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, June 18
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my Bookish Events page to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Previously I interviewed Ms. Cullen on this blog tour & enjoyed what I learnt on Poe!

As this book has been released for awhile now, what was the greatest takeaway you learnt whilst reading about Edgar Allan Poe & Frances Osgood!? What surprised you the most about the nature of their characters and of how the story revealed itself within the narrative? Were you a dedicated appreciator of Poe OR did you come into the story completely without prior knowledge such as I had?

{SOURCES: Book cover for “Mrs. Poe”, Author Biography and Book Synopsis  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Buy links on Scribd excerpt are not affiliated with Jorie Loves A Story. Book Excerpt was able to be embedded due to codes provided by Scribd.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Thursday, 12 June, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book | Novel Excerpt, Edgar Allan Poe, Fly in the Ointment, Frances Osgood, Geographically Specific, Gothic Literature, Gothic Poetry, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, New York City, Scribd