Category: Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction

Book Review | “The Storm Sister” (Book No. 2 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda Riley The second installment took me directly into the heart of why the sport of sailing is an enthralling passion full of courage and the healthy respect for the sea.

Posted Tuesday, 30 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Borrowed Book By: I’ve known about the Seven Sisters book series for quite awhile now, however, I haven’t had the proper chance to dig into the series – therefore, when I was approached by the publisher to considering being on the blog tour this February, I decided it was time to borrow the books via my local library! Although, as a member of the blog tour I was receiving the fourth release “The Pearl Sister” for my honest ruminations, I decided to back-read the entire series ahead of soaking into the newest installment – my personal preference is to read serial fiction in order of sequence; even if sometimes I find myself bungling the order, I love to see how the writer has set the stage for a series which becomes progressively engaging! To start at the beginning is the best way to see how they laid down the foundation for both the series, their writing style and how the characters first make their entrances into our lives.

I borrowed the second novel in the Seven Sisters series “The Storm Sister” in hardback edition from my local library. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On how I felt after I read the first installment of the series:

I mirrored the sentiments of Maia – of feeling especially blessed for not having the gift of foresight to know the events of our lives ahead of their arrival. In this particular case, she’s referring to the news of her father’s passing – reflectively, as I’ve loved, lost and buried most of my living family – I can understand her sentiments. Each time I had to ‘let go’ of someone quite dear to me, if I had knowing about when their lives were to end this chapter of their lives, I am unsure if it would have helped the healing process or made each day leading up until ‘the day’ that much worse – knowing ahead of time how absent the hours would feel after they had moved into the next life. We’re dearly attached to those in our immediate orbit – we feel deeply and like to encourage memories out of the hours we share together – despite the epic loss, the memories remain, but the absence of their presence is never fully resolved as we still find reasons why we miss them even decades lateron.

So very acutely accurate – when crises arise in our lives, there is a vacuum effect on our persons; we feel as if we’ve become sequestered outside our ‘ordinary life’ but rather than having a marked change in our appearance or any outward suggestion of a radically altered moment threading into our hours – everything appears as normal as it had before we realised how altered we felt. Grief and trauma run concurrently similar in how you approach them – if your someone who likes to tackle life’s unpredictably curious curve balls head-on, you muddle through at first, a bit loss for how to process it all and then, eventually, you make sense of it – before you accept whatever it is which has happened and continue to find the strength to move forward.

My heart felt full upon finishing this story,.. so much so, I worried I wouldn’t be able to properly articulate exactly why I loved reading it! Smiles. It isn’t just the breadth of what Ms Riley wrote into the background of the seven sisters nor the lush landscapes of Rio, Paris and Geneva – it is the soulfulness of her intuitive murmurings of the human heart and the spirit of the soul – to first find resonance out of grief, freedom from fear and the mirth of joy after years of self-doubting uncertainty. This is a story which seeks to find the truth about the choices we all make and the ways in which our minds have trouble realising the greatest gift we have to give ourselves is forgiveness.

-quoted from my review of The Seven Sisters

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNotation on Cover Art: I have been wicked fascinated by the Northern Lights for most of my life; there is something about the colours within the phenom of the lights themselves and the ways in which they dance across the night’s sky which I think gives us the most joy to watch their displays of glory. There are some places on this world which feel wholly unique of their own making – where you can literally feel and sense the division of Heaven and Earth; of seeing the curvature of the Earth itself and observe a quiet awareness of how ancient the stars truly are by standing beneath a sky which reveals more of itself with each passing Season. I truly was captured by this artwork of how Ally seemed to be at peace with herself; perhaps for the first time?

Book Review | “The Storm Sister” (Book No. 2 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda Riley The second installment took me directly into the heart of why the sport of sailing is an enthralling passion full of courage and the healthy respect for the sea.The Storm Sister
by Lucinda Riley
Source: Borrowed from local library

Synopsis on the Inside Flap:

Talented sailor Ally D' Apliese is in the midst of preparations for one of the world's most challenging yacht races when she receives news of her beloved father's death. Saying goodbye to the love of her life, a man her family knows nothing about, she rushes back to her childhood home, an enchanting chateau on the shores of Lake Geneva where she and her five sisters - each adopted as infants - were raised.

When new tragedy strikes on the high seas, pummeling Ally yet again with a terrible and unexpected loss, she turns her back on the water and instead follows her own North Star - an intriguing clue left by her father that leads her to Norway, with the promise of unmasking her origins. Surrounded by the majestic beauty of an unfamiliar homeland, Ally discovers the century-old story of a remarkable young woman named Anna Landvik, a talented singer with an astonishing link to compose Edvard Grieg and his celebrated musical accompaniment to Henrik Ibsen's iconic play Peer Gynt. But as All learns more about Anna, she also begins to question who her father, Pa Salt, really was - and why her seventh sister remains missing.

Lucinda Riley's captivating story brings together two resilient women, decades apart, weaving their stories into an unforgettable examination of family, love, and identity.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781476759920

Also by this author: The Seven Sisters, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister, The Moon Sister

Also in this series: The Seven Sisters, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister, The Moon Sister


Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Biographical Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Women's Fiction


Published by Atria Books

on 22nd March, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 501

 Published By: Atria ()
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

I *love!* finding videos by authors who love to engage with readers about the inspiration behind their stories – this truly is a wonderful way to find yourself immersed even further into the settings as by catching small glimpses of the characters your reading about – you start to re-align what you’ve read with what they are seeing with their own eyes whilst feeling thankful the author took a very immersive path into the heart of this book series!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Seven Sisters Series: of whom are Maia, Ally (Alcyone), Star (Asterope), CeCe (Celeano), Tiggy (Taygete), Electra and Merope – the series is based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades – interestingly enough, this is a constellation in close proximity to Orion*.

The Seven Sisters : Maia’s Story (Book One) | (see also Review)

The Storm Sister : Ally’s Story (Book Two)

The Shadow Sister : Star’s Story (Book Three) | Synopsis

The Pearl Sister : CeCe’s Story (Book Four) | Synopsis *forthcoming review 1st of February, 2018!

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SevenSistersSeries

#whoispasalt ← I advise not visiting the second tag on Twitter as it tends to reveal a few things ahead of reading the stories themselves.

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of sixteen novels, including Hothouse Flower and The Seven Sisters. Her books have sold more than ten million copies in over 30 languages. Lucinda divides her time between West Cork, Ireland, and Norfolk, England with her husband and four children.

Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 30 January, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Adoption, Ancestry & Genealogy, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Films, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, History, Immigrant Stories, Inheritance & Identity, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Library Find, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Marriage of Convenience, Modern Day, Multi-Generational Saga, Orphans & Guardians, Passionate Researcher, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, Time Shift, Unexpected Inheritance, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

Book Review | “The Seven Sisters” (Book No.1 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda Riley A beautifully conceived novel about adoptive sisters, the search for identity and birth origin whilst happily cast against a back-drop of a time shifting series which moves seamlessly between the present and the past.

Posted Monday, 29 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Borrowed Book By: I’ve known about the Seven Sisters book series for quite awhile now, however, I haven’t had the proper chance to dig into the series – therefore, when I was approached by the publisher to considering being on the blog tour this February, I decided it was time to borrow the books via my local library! Although, as a member of the blog tour I was receiving the fourth release “The Pearl Sister” for my honest ruminations, I decided to back-read the entire series ahead of soaking into the newest installment – my personal preference is to read serial fiction in order of sequence; even if sometimes I find myself bungling the order, I love to see how the writer has set the stage for a series which becomes progressively engaging! To start at the beginning is the best way to see how they laid down the foundation for both the series, their writing style and how the characters first make their entrances into our lives.

I borrowed the first novel in the Seven Sisters series “The Seven Sisters” in hardback edition from my local library. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On what appealed to me about reading the Seven Sisters series:

When I realised this was going to be a story about adoptive sisters, I was instantly captured by the premise as I’m a Prospective Adoptive Mum – who wants to adopt a sibling group out of foster care in the future. However, prior to realising this key thread of the series dramatic arc and connection, what moved me more is how it was layered through History and dual time-lines of different characters who were in essence inter-connected in a way they did not even realise it at the time. This felt like quite an epic Historical series – where it would move in and out of the Contemporary world and the recent past; where histories of each of the sisters’ origins might become revealled in each new installment of the series.

The layers the author was assembling into the series was quite alluring as well – such as the overlay between Mythological Histories and the reasons why the Seven Sisters are such a key point of reference in both spoken histories and the mythologies we know have become beloved favourite stories passed down through different generations whilst the stories themselves are sometimes altered by who is telling them. Combine this with the clever mind of a writer who was able to visit the locales in which she is writing about – absorbing what was there to be seen and felt as she was writing the stories and I had a feeling this is one series which would give me the sensation of living ‘elsewhere’ quite wondrously until the final chapter of the final novel was read – as it’s not yet composed into life, I have a bit of a wait ahead of me!

Blessedly I’m a patient reader – I don’t mind waiting for the next sequences of a beloved series. I might get wicked excited and wish to read them sooner – but in the end, I respect the time needed to create them and I’d rather have patience than to have an installment feel it was rushed into existence. Somehow, I have stumbled across another writer who writes like I do – not something I generally find, but within the pages of Ms Riley’s #SevenSistersSeries, I see my own writing style mirrored within her own. It’s interesting to observe as this is the first time I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading her stories and I can tell I shall be spending a lot time seeking out her stories and wickedly delighted to see where she continues to take me,… one thing I can attest as being an inspiring segue from reading this novel is by watching adoptive stories on YT.

I took moments outside the text to watch videos of adoptive families being spotlighted on Ellen, Rachael Ray and other outlets celebrating the joys of being part of a blended family. I even learnt about an adoptive family of fourteen siblings – from various countries of origin – who surprised their Mum and Dad with a new living room as they wanted to give back part of the joy and happiness they had received throughout their lives to two selfless parents who never took time to focus on themselves because they had always put the children first (as it should be). I love stories which parlay into our own heart’s wishes and dreams whilst acknowledging the journey all children go through who are on a path of adoption. (see also the 14 adoptees who surprised their parents)

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comNotation on Cover Art: I had agreed with the author in one of her YT videos about how the constellation cover art truly suited this first novel of her series, however, having read the hardcover American edition – I personally liked how the evidence left behind by Pa Salt was imprinted (similar to a watermark) behind the author’s name (the armillary sphere) whilst below the title, we can see Rio and the sculpture of Christ the Redeemer whilst Maia is looking away from Rio – it’s a clever way of positioning you into the setting of where Maia starts to understand who she is and why she is one of Pa Salt’s daughters.

Book Review | “The Seven Sisters” (Book No.1 of the Seven Sisters series) by Lucinda Riley A beautifully conceived novel about adoptive sisters, the search for identity and birth origin whilst happily cast against a back-drop of a time shifting series which moves seamlessly between the present and the past.The Seven Sisters
by Lucinda Riley
Source: Borrowed from local library

Synopsis on the Inside Flap:

Maia D' Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, "Atlantis" - a fabulous, secluded castle on the shores of Lake Geneva - having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as infants, has died. Each of the sisters is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage - a clue that takes Maia, the eldest, across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to piece together the story of her own life's beginnings.

Eighty years earlier, in the Rio of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio's newly wealthy father has aspirations for his beautiful daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find a sculptor capable of completing his vision. Izabela - passionate and longing to see the world - convinces her father to allow her to accompany the da Silva Costa family to Europe before she is married off to a man whom she hardly knows. In Paris, at Paul Landowski's studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this beguilling entrancing novel, Lucinda Riley brings vividly to life two extraordinary women whose intertwining stories, set decades apart are a reminder of the courage it takes to accept love when it is offered.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5990-6

Also by this author: The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister, The Moon Sister

Also in this series: The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister, The Pearl Sister, The Moon Sister


Genres: Adoption & Foster Care, Biographical Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Women's Fiction


Published by Atria Books

on 5th May, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 480

 Published By: Atria ()
{imprint of} Simon & Schuster (

I *love!* finding videos by authors who love to engage with readers about the inspiration behind their stories – the more I learn about Ms Riley the more I see a lot of myself in her intuitive instincts for drawing out a story which she is as passionate about writing as I am to be reading it. I loved this video & thought you’d enjoy it, too.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Seven Sisters Series: of whom are Maia, Ally (Alcyone), Star (Asterope), CeCe (Celeano), Tiggy (Taygete), Electra and Merope – the series is based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades – interestingly enough, this is a constellation in close proximity to Orion*.

The Seven Sisters : Maia’s Story (Book One)

The Storm Sister : Ally’s Story (Book Two) | Synopsis

The Shadow Sister : Star’s Story (Book Three) | Synopsis

The Pearl Sister : CeCe’s Story (Book Four) | Synopsis *forthcoming review 1st of February, 2018!

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #SevenSistersSeries

#whoispasalt ← I advise not visiting the second tag on Twitter as it tends to reveal a few things ahead of reading the stories themselves.

*NOTE: My favourite constellation since I was young girl who lived at her Science Center, whilst finding the awe and wonder of studying a wide diversity of the Sciences through interactive play, experiments and lively engaging Summer camps – I had a focus of interest on Cosmology and Astronomy which had a healthy appreciation for the constellations and the intriguing stories behind how they were named and the lives ‘they’ once lived. All of this is a segue of interest which also parlays into my fascination and appreciation of the Quantum Realms and AstroPhysics. I hadn’t realised the connection to Orion until I opened The Seven Sisters; after which I immediately smiled – this series was meant to be read by me. The girl who looks for Orion every Autumn and wickedly smiles musefully at him throughout Winter and Spring. Geographically speaking, he’s not even meant to be seen outside one season a year yet I find him more frequently than most – a constant presence overhead and a comforting sight at that!

About Lucinda Riley

Lucinda Riley Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

Lucinda Riley is the #1 internationally bestselling author of sixteen novels, including Hothouse Flower and The Seven Sisters. Her books have sold more than ten million copies in over 30 languages. Lucinda divides her time between West Cork, Ireland, and Norfolk, England with her husband and four children.

Photo Credit: Boris Breuer

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 29 January, 2018 by jorielov in #SatBookChat, 20th Century, 21st Century, A Father's Heart, Adoption, Ancestry & Genealogy, Art, Art History, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Bookish Films, Brazil, Childhood Friendship, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fathers and Daughters, Genre-bender, Heitor da Silva Costa, Historical Fiction, History, Immigrant Stories, Inheritance & Identity, Inspiring Video Related to Content, Library Find, Library Love, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Marriage of Convenience, Modern Day, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multi-Generational Saga, Orphans & Guardians, Passionate Researcher, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Sculpture, Single Fathers, Sisterhood friendships, the Roaring Twenties, Time Shift, Unexpected Inheritance, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Working with Clay

Blog Book Tour | “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” by Jennifer Laam

Posted Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Books 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 ARC copy of “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” direct from the publisher St. Martin’s Press 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 was interested in the premise behind this novel:

Similar to why I wanted to read Who is to Blame?, this novel appealed to me because it is about Russian History. Being a reader of military dramas in my youth, Russia was one of the countries most used as a back-drop (especially in regards to the Jack Ryan series) wherein I developed an appreciation for seeing Russia in fictional settings. There were a few Historical Romances I’ve read over the years which are set in this country as well, but this was the first time, (I can recall) where the story is predominately showcasing Russian History.

Towards that end, I was most appreciative of finding a part of living history etched into the premise of this novel – of how Ms Laam had found a woman to champion – someone who was lost inside her own histories from the prejudices of memory by people who were not willing to understand her as she had lived. This is one of the issues with living histories of person who lived; they are not always fully understood whilst they are alive nor are they honoured lateron with a sense of self by biographers or those who seek to bridge their lives into the world of Historical Fiction. It takes an eye and heart like Ms Laam to see their worth – of hearing their voice and of finding a way to fuse their story into a captivating drama such as The Lost Season of Love and Snow.

The truer gift being given through this novel is having one woman’s life untarnished by supposition and hearsay – to get to the singular truths of her own story without the prejudices injusticed against her person – whilst re-alighting through her own journey towards womanhood, marriage, family and the ache of her own heart whilst she realised the folly of her own actions. This reads like a proper Biography – with the added benefit of listening to Natalya as she tells her own story. Including critical nods towards where living history and her fictionally voiced thoughts co-merge to paint the landscape of her life from the moment she lost Alexander to the moment she first knew she was in love with him.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” by Jennifer LaamThe Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: Guest Post (Jennifer Laam)

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Studies


Published by St. Martin's Griffin

on 2nd January, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

Published By: St. Martin’s Griffin via St. Martin’s Press (@StMartinsPress)
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #LostSeasonOfLoveAndSnow

About Jennifer Laam

Jennifer Laam

Jennifer Laam is the author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and the forthcoming The Lost Season of Love and Snow, all from St. Martin’s Griffin.

She is represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management. Jennifer has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, and currently resides in California’s Central Valley. When she is not busy writing or reading, Jennifer spends her time obsessing over cosplay, trying new vegetarian recipes, line dancing, and spoiling cats. She works for her alma mater, University of the Pacific.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “Death Comes” (Book Two of the #WillaCather and Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth Such a special treat to continue reading Willa & Edith’s adventures!

Posted Wednesday, 20 December, 2017 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

When I realised this was the first ‘book’ in a series, I requested to receive the first book (“On the Rocks”) in order to understand the continuity and flow between the lead characters within the second installment. It is a personal preference of mine to read series ‘in order’ and I was blessed I could start this one at the beginning! I received a complimentary copy of “Death Comes” direct from the publicist of Sue Hallgarth 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 love reading the Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:

Edith arrives first – her observational notations on gulls in flight offer a fond glimpse into how I’m not the only one who likes to contemplate our aerial companions! Her perspective also grounds us ‘where’ she is at the moment she’s seen – she’s just off the coast of what is known as ‘Downeast’ Maine – specifically by a city known for it’s grain mustard and a revitalisation of it’s community identity through the Arts: Eastport. To the starboard side of the towne, you will happily see you’re only a stone’s throw from the Fundy Isles and this part of where Edith & Willa’s story is uniquely set. This part of the North Atlantic has it’s own pulse and tone – life is not lived in the same fashion as elsewhere nor does the world touch this part of the world with the same fierce fire. Here, is a place where time is not measured in hours but in how far you’ve come to create a piece you’re working on whilst celebrating the journey you’ve taken to funnel your creativity into something ‘new’. I could ‘see’ Edith here – the heart of a naturalist who appreciates being out-of-doors (but with dirt beneath her feet, not the unease of water) where she can feel one with the harmonic rhythm of the natural world. No wonder she appreciated the art of painting in ‘Plein Air’ fashion!

Edith charmed me and Willa encouraged my inquisitive nature – the two of them have such an ease about their personalities. They find a companionable equality in how where one thinks about something specific, the other is ready for a follow-up remark – they are two minds which sometimes act as one, as most couples tend to claim for themselves. They knew how to get the neighbours to talk about the idle things no one suspects would mean something whilst they kept a steady eye on their own affairs, too. Their sleuthing simply fit into the background of their days; it was a welcome addition but not one which overshadowed their other interests, either! As they continued to seek answers to questions which seemed unending – you started to notice why they thrived outside the city (here: New York City). This community of Grand Manan is as quirky and humbly eccentric as all my favourite small townes in fiction (or IRL).

This was a thinking man’s mystery – the ‘mystery’ in of itself is also unique, because instead of being an isolated incident it’s a piece of a wider puzzle! I like how mysteries take on an enlarged cusp of an area’s secrets – of how whilst the reader has to stay patient to understand the different components of what is being fused together, it’s the manner of how things pull apart and are put back together in proper order which is the most exciting! For me, this mystery was wicked enjoyable if only to draw further insight into understanding the people of Grand Manan and how where they live influences their lives.

The way Hallgarth paints the portrait of the island community rings true of what I know of this area myself – of where neighbours pitch in to help one another and where no one is ever left without assistance for something they’re working on. It’s the opposite of how many townes and cities function on the mainland stateside – where there are clear distinctions and disconnections amongst neighbours and community members; where each are practically living on their own ‘island’ (metaphorically speaking!).

The pace of the narrative is set in such a way to encourage you to sip tea and musefully ponder what your reading – to fully sense and feel this world, whilst allowing Willa and Edith to share the duties for how you navigate it. It’s one of those lovely immersive narratives where you can get lost in the descriptive narrative and feel as if you’ve lived half a moon in this setting. She has given all of us the chance to ‘know’ Willa Cather up close and personal – ahead of reading her stories – of peering into what was important to her and why she felt the legacy she left behind might slip past people who hadn’t realised the point behind her stories. Intuitive readers would notice and see her messages, but to the casual reader? I can see how her narratives might be glossed over for what was readily taken as the truth of what they revealled.

-quoted from my review of On the Rocks

As soon as I returnt back inside the series – I found myself alighting so readily true to where we’d find Willa and Edith, it felt as if no time had elapsed between visitations! I truly love the continuity of this series, but also, the authentic voice Ms Hallgarth has given her characters – they truly feel as if they are the women themselves, recaptured for us to acquaint ourselves directly of their living hours. It is a special treat indeed, to find myself wholly enthused by such an intricately written Cosy Historical Mystery series – but to have the benefit of being able to read the first and second novels in successive order, is simply wicked divine!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Death Comes” (Book Two of the #WillaCather and Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth Such a special treat to continue reading Willa & Edith’s adventures!Death Comes
Subtitle: A Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mystery
by Sue Hallgarth
Source: Publicist via Poetic Book Tours

Death Comes gives us another glimpse into the life and work of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and her talented life partner. The year is 1926. Willa and Edith return to Mabel Dodge Luhan’s pink adobe in Taos, New Mexico.

Willa is writing Death Comes for the Archbishop. Edith is sketching Taos Pueblo and hoping for a visit to the nearby D.H. Lawrence ranch. The previous summer they had stumbled onto a woman’s body. Now the headless bodies of two women add to the mystery. Sue Hallgarth presents an intimate portrait of Cather, Lewis, the spectacular New Mexico landscape, and the famous artists and writers Mabel Dodge Luhan gathered in Taos.

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ISBN: 9780985520045

Also by this author: On the Rocks,

Also in this series: On the Rocks


Genres: Amateur Detective, Biographical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction


Published by Arbor Farm Press

on 1st October, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 268

Published By: Arbor Farm Press

Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

The Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries:

On the Rocks (Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue HallgarthDeath Comes (Willa Cather & Edith Lewis Mysteries) by Sue Hallgarth

Book One: On the Rocks (see also Review)

Book Two: Death Comes

Converse via: #WillaCather and #EdithLewis + #CosyMysteries or #Mysteries

About Sue Hallgarth

Sue Hallgarth

Sue Hallgarth is former English professor. She has written scholarly articles on Willa Cather and Edith Lewis, and Death Comes is her second book of fiction featuring the two of them. Her first book in the series On The Rocks, set in 1929 on the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick, Canada. She lives in Corrales, New Mexico.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 20 December, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Apothecary, Art, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bootleggers & Smugglers, Canada, Canadian Maritimes, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Historical Mystery, Creative Arts, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Edith Lewis, Equality In Literature, Fundy Isles, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Naturopathic Medicine, Poetic Book Tours, Seclusion in the Natural World, Sisterhood friendships, Small Towne Fiction, Social Change, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Roaring Twenties, Village Life, Walking & Hiking Trails, Willa Cather, Women's Rights