Category: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Author Interview | Historical debut novelist, Tanya E. Williams on behalf of her #Epistolary war drama “Becoming Mrs Smith”!

Posted Tuesday, 14 November, 2017 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

This #Epistolary novel captured my attention recently, as I’ve been seeking out more stories evoking ‘letters & correspondences’ for quite a long while now! You might have seen my ruminative thoughts on behalf of Last Christmas in Paris? Whilst previously, you might have seen my happy tweeting and my thoughts on behalf of my beloved Skye? (ie. Letters from Skye!) Or, perhaps – you caught sight of a debut Non-Fiction release this year, entitled: Dennis & Greer: A Love Story? You see, I have a particular penchant for these kinds of stories – not just in Historical Fiction, mind you – nor for the focus to be on war dramas, as my love of ‘3000 Miles to Eternity’ will attest!

What I found so very intriguing about ‘Becoming Mrs Smith’ is how the story is crafted through a succession of novellas! As you might also be aware of – I have a particular interest in reading short stories and novellas – generally, I’ve approached them through one of my two favourite genres: Romance & Speculative Literature (ie. Science Fiction, Fantasy or Cosy Horror) – however, I am finding more authors are releasing novellas and/or shorts – either as accompaniments to their novels directly or as stand-alone arcs for new series and/or an extension of a character’s story from a novel without a series in which to carry the story-line forward. In this case, what is uniquely lovely – the novellas are the series!

I like uncovering new formats for serial fiction – series are a lovely lifeblood of their own – something I cannot pass up the chance to read, as one blessing with a series is how long you get to extend your stay inside the world the writer has knitted together for you! You get to carry the load with the characters, of feeling everything they do as events and memories unfold – whilst feeling as if you, yourself have become drafted into their shoes, fully aware and absorbing their lives.

As I read the premise behind ‘Becoming Mrs Smith’ – my first instinct was to request this story for review purposes – however, realising it was a Digital First release – I opted instead to host the author for a conversation whilst I sought out how to engage in the story-line to help introduce this debut novelist to you, my readers. Perhaps like me, this is an interest of your own – seeking out the stories crafted out of ‘letters & correspondences’ or perhaps, your simply game for a new war drama! Either way, I hope you’ve brewed yourself a cuppa and are ready to settle in for our convo!

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Author Interview | Historical debut novelist, Tanya E. Williams on behalf of her #Epistolary war drama “Becoming Mrs Smith”!Becoming Mrs Smith
by Tanya E. Williams

Not all of war’s destruction takes place on the battlefield.

Violet’s heart flutters from the scarlet fever she survived as a child, and it beats faster at the sight of John Smith, the man she plans to marry. America is entrenched in WWII, and when John enlists, Violet is certain she won’t ever forgive him for dashing their dreams. As the realities of war slowly overtake her life, Violet’s days are filled with uncertainty and grief. She struggles to maintain her faith in John, as the world as she knows it, crumbles.

Becoming Mrs. Smith is the inspiring, and at times, heartbreaking story of a woman’s struggle to reclaim what she lost. War stole the man she loves, and childhood illness weakened her heart—perhaps beyond repair. While guns rage in Europe, the war Violet faces at home may be even more devastating.

Places to find the book:

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1775070603

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Military Fiction, War Drama


Published by Rippling Effects Writing & Photography

on 3rd October, 2017

Excerpt from ‘Becoming Mrs Smith’ provided by the author Tanya E. Williams and is being used with permission.

The walls of the old farmhouse quiver. Thump. Thump. Thump. The sound reverberates inside of me with each strike against our solid oak door. My insides shake like a ground tremor. Until now, I couldn’t have believed my body could shake any more brutally. This cruel and ruthless fever has vibrated inside of me since before yesterday’s sunrise. Doc Walton and his hammer, the cause of all the commotion, have traveled from Cedar Springs. He has since confirmed Mother’s fears. Scarlet fever has attacked our home and invaded my slight, now fragile body. The notice nailed to the front door is both a proclamation of quarantine and a warning. Those who enter or leave the Sanderson property will be reported and punished by South Dakota law.

At eleven years old, I’m not keen to lift my nightdress for the doctor. Mother’s stern gaze, which bores through me from the corner of the bedroom I share with Iris, tells me refusing is not an option. My skin, warm to the touch, shivers as air whispers across the tiny red bumps. The doctor listens to my heart with his instrument, the round metal end cold from winter frost, before he lowers my bedclothes and tucks me into bed. He murmurs to himself as he pats my shoulder and smiles sadly, before the latch on his black bag snaps shut.

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As two of your characters inspired you to tell their stories in two separate novellas, how do these novellas prepare the reader for reading the novel they are anchoured too? What can you tell us about the novel which is the third half of the total story?

Williams responds: Becoming Mrs. Smith and Stealing Mr. Smith (both novellas) allow the reader a deeper view into what motivates these two important female characters in John Smith’s life. Both Violet and Bernice are center stage in John’s life, at different times, and their actions and decisions have a direct affect on how John’s life unfolds.

The final novel in the series, A Man Called Smith will bring the perspective of the story back to John, allowing the reader a global view of his life, his decisions, what haunts him, and what he learns to accept. Essentially, John is defined by these two strong and unique women and he ends up living his life as a result of those definitions.

A Man Called Smith, was where the story started for me. As a writer, I had a desire to answer the question, “What if it is not the choices we make in life that alter the outcome of our life’s path? What if it is instead, the choices that we do not make, the ones we are afraid of, the ones that torture us, threatening our existence and stealing from us along the way? What if those are the moments that truly define us as an individual?” John is a likable character. He is soft spoken and kind yet his life takes a detour and in the end he must live with those consequences. Read More

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Posted Tuesday, 14 November, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Diary Accountment of Life, During WWI, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Medical Fiction, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Last Christmas in Paris” (an #Epistolary novel of #WWI) by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor!

Posted Friday, 20 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

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

Why this #Epistolary novel captured my attention:

It will not surprise those who regularly read Jorie Loves A Story to denote the stories Jorie loves to read most these past four years have been hinged somewhere in the historical past! Of those, I tend to reside somewhere in the World War eras more readily than other eras (other timescapes I have a penchant for are the Regency, Victorian, Edwardian and Roaring Twenties) as there is always a new approach to telling a story either at war or on the home-front which resonates with my heart for Historical Fiction. When it comes to reading Ms Webb’s stories, I had the grace of finding her whilst her debut novel ‘Becoming Josephine’ was first releasing, finding a strong voice and emerging talent where I had this to say on her behalf:

Ms. Webb gives the reader a rendering of the situations and events which befit the era of the story’s origins but on the level that even a sensitive reader could walk through the scenes without blushing too severely or cringing at the imagery painted in narrative. Even though she does plainly give the raw visceral imagery its due course. She doesn’t allow it to take over completely, but allows it to fade in the background. Except for what occurs in Rose’s home of Martinique and what happens when she returns to Paris, in which the horror of the attacks are in full measure. Rather than focus solely on the horror that erupted she gave the smaller details of the aftermath which proved just as difficult if not moreso to read. Such a horrid time in history for the survivors to have lived through. She chose instead to direct the focus on Rose’s rise into the persona of Josephine who became the woman’s edificial Phoenix.

In regards to Ms Gaynor’s writings, I am only just starting to get to the point where I can focus on her writings – having picked up a copy of ‘The Girl Who Came Home’ for my thirty-fourth birthday (four years ago). It was one of three novels I came home with by authors I either knew of or dearly wanted to read next! If you visit the Cover Reveal w/ Notes I wrote on behalf of “Fall of Poppies” her links were remiss because I could not find them ahead of posting my showcase. I was meant to receive a copy to read and review but will be reading this through my local library instead.

There is a bit of a back-story about how my path crossed originally with Ms Gaynor as it goes back to #LitChat in May of 2014! Here I refer to snippets of the conversation I participated in which led me to become curious about the story I would find inside ‘The Girl Who Came Home’ and plant the seed of interest to follow Ms Gaynor’s career:

I had fully planned to host a dual-interview between Ms Webb & Ms Gaynor, however, as I had to turn my questions in rather late (within the past week or so) I am unsure if the interview will still be able to be completed at this time. I was hoping to get two perspectives on the same questions which would culminate on a lively chat about this novel and Historical Fiction. Meanwhile, I was unable to finish reading the story itself by the 13th as originally scheduled and had to push my review forward to Sunday giving me enough time to finish collecting my thoughts as I am sharing them now.

As previously mentioned last week as I reviewed ‘Dennis and Greer: A Love Story’, I have a strong passion for Epistolary Fiction – which alighted in my life quite happily when I first read ‘Letters from Skye’. Since then, I have sought out various authors and story-lines which follow either a letters & correspondence narrative or entreat through slippages in time via diaries or journals. Either way, I feel quite the zest of mirth for finding a new ‘story’ caught inside the time capsule of what is left behind through the words people write down – either to be shared or kept private for their own edification.

I hadn’t known at the time when I asked to be a part of this blog tour, I’d finally find a story written through the sequences of letters & correspondences I had first discovered in ‘Letters from Skye’! I cannot even begin to tell you how overjoyed I was at this little discovery when I first started reading the ARC! I hadn’t known when it first arrived either – as I wanted to savour reading this without doing what I usually do which is to look over a novel tip to stern – never reading out of sequence but becoming acquainted with what it contains – I sometimes read the Appendixes first, too, as those are places where Authors Notes or other such lovelies could reside or even for those of us who like a bit more information, where back-stories or research notes are presented!

I was also wicked happy for reading a new release by William Morrow – as this is one imprint I have fond memories of reviewing for off and on for the past four years! It has become one of my favourite imprints for finding convicting fiction and characters of whom give me lasting hours of joy walking beside them!

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Blog Book Tour | “Last Christmas in Paris” (an #Epistolary novel of #WWI) by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor!Last Christmas in Paris
Subtitle: A Novel of World War I
by Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780062562685

Also by this author: Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War, Becoming Josephine, Author Interview: Heather Webb (Rodin's Lover), Rodin's Lover

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Military Fiction, War Drama


Published by William Morrow

on 3rd October, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 368

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #Epistolary

About Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.

Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

About Heather Webb

Heather Webb

HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews.

RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI released October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 20 October, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Diary Accountment of Life, During WWI, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychiatric Facilities, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Women's Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Woman Enters Left” by Jessica Brockmole The novel which brings Jorie full-circle into the heart of #Epistolary Fiction by the author who penned Elspeth’s story!

Posted Sunday, 8 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

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

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

Why I wanted to read this release and a note about why I had to postpone participating in the blog tour: or rather, (if you prefer) how Jorie is a lot like Ms Brockmole in her passion for Ephemera & the Historical Past!

I still remember when ‘At the Edge of Summer’ released and how enthused I was for the ‘next’ Jessica Brockmole novel – as she had truly captured everything I love about narrative prose in a uniquely stylised novel within her debut of “Letters from Skye”. Although, her sophomore release was strikingly different than her debut – I was still keenly interested in reading it – could have theoretically as my local library purchased a copy of it, however, it is one of the many titles I’ve placed myself in a holds queue to receive, finding the hours eclipsing off my clock as soon as it arrives to be read! Ergo, it’s her third novel ‘Woman Enters Left’ which is my second reading of hers, rather than my third entreaty into her literary style.

And, what a treat is is for me! I personally *love!* anything to do with the historic past and everything associated with ‘vintage or ephemera’! The two are not connected – as by the ‘historic past’ this is a broad stroke I’m using to talk about how large in scope History is to explore through literary fiction whereas when I refer to ‘vintage’ and ‘ephemera’ I’m talking about a more specific time period – generally contained within the 20th Century, though with some leanings into the 19th.

I first stumbled into vintage art practices when I took up small (mixed media) art collages in my late twenties – if your familiar with Tim Holtz, you know a smidge about what I’m referring too. Let’s just say ‘distressed inks’ were one of the greatest inventions! lol Resources such as vintage image and ephemeral discs curated by collectors and artists themselves helped move the artistic style forward for those of us unable to collect as much as we’d prefer!

However, despite taking a hiatus from my artistic wanderings (as I traded in my mixed media supplies for fibre; hereinafter being Knitty!) I still remember browsing through early-attic shoppes, vintage emporiums, yesteryear auction houses and thrift shoppes of all kinds – seeking not only the obvious, the tangible bits of the past (ie. Postcards, Letters, Photographs, etc) but the not so obvious – the artwork, the jewelry, the furniture, the quilts and the china! Have you ever just humbly browsed the dish rooms at these places? Still my soul!

You can step through a portal of time – not just observing the changes in technology and manufacturing but you can ‘touch’ time itself. You can peer into people’s lives simply by what is left behind after they’ve past on from this world and rightly, start to piece back together a fragment of ordinary life in specific time periods! This is one reason I’ve been drawn into Historical Fiction (and all it’s lovely sub-genres) – it’s a fusion of what is known, what is suspected and what is investigated (or rather sleuthed out) by writers to become ‘re-known’ once again.

I definitely could relate to the conversation with Ms Brockmole in the back of ‘Woman Enters Left’ about how one tangible fragment of the past can hold one of the keys to re-immersion into a time period earnestly being sought in today’s 21st Century world. It is similar to why I dreamt of owning a retro (manual) typewriter and was happily surprised when I saw a late 1930s/early 1940s Royal being gifted to me by my Mum and Dad a few years ago! It still needs a good cleaning and some new ink – but guess what? It still types! It is only one of many I shall be collecting to use – as I truly want to ink out my fiction and poetry on vintage typewriters – I started off with an electric typewriter before I moved to typing my words on a computer – something never quite ‘clicked’ as having the same attachment of ‘centre’ for me.

Computers are lovely (don’t get me wrong!) however, I think the Typosphere has one thing right: sometimes going back a few steps has more freedom than taking a leap forward. The Typosphere for those who are unfamiliar is a collective of typewriting bloggers – wherein, they ‘type’ their blog posts on ‘typewriters’ (most of which are vintage & retrofitted) then scanning their ‘posts’ to upload into their ‘blogs’ – hence it’s called “The Typosphere”. It’s quite the charming collective! I stumbled into their community several years ago whilst seeking out the ‘letter writers’ in our world of technology – as I’ve been a letter writer since I was eleven years old with perhaps, a decade of hiatus between then and now. It’s something I’m working towards returning too in full haste, as I do miss communicating through postal mail. There is a ‘whole’ world within the internet where people are scaling back their technologic presence and re-affirming things of the past which still are relevant for today. For those who are curious – point your browser to The Letter Writers Alliance, it’s a good place to start! Whilst the blog at The Missive Maven will be your best gateway into the community at large! If you’d like to see my Royal, direct your mouse to this Post!

In regards to the delay in my participation the blog tour, I hinted about the reason in brief during my Sunday Post; however, it is my absolute joy to have read this novel this first week of October as it was a wonderful reunion with an author I already admired and a novelist who entices us all into a special perspective on the past which has a breadth of wonder all of it’s own.

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Notation on Cover Art: The arrangement of the cover design is right on ‘point’ to the title and has the best authentic to the era cognition you are hoping to find about a story which hinges on the legacy of a Mum re-visited through her daughter whose about to re-trace her steps quite unexpectedly on Route 66! Even the car, looks exactly how I was envisioning it whilst I was reading the story-line and I love her outfit!

Blog Book Tour | “Woman Enters Left” by Jessica Brockmole The novel which brings Jorie full-circle into the heart of #Epistolary Fiction by the author who penned Elspeth’s story!Woman Enters Left
by Jessica Brockmole
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before.

In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage.

Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival.

In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780399178511

Also by this author: Letters from Skye, Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction


Published by Ballantine Books

on 8th August, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 337

Published By: Ballantine Books,
an imprint of Random House Publishing Group

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #Epistolary

About Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole is the author of At the Edge of Summer, the internationally bestselling Letters from Skye, which was named one of the best books of 2013 by Publishers Weekly, and Something Worth Landing For, a novella featured in Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War. She lives in northern Indiana with her husband, two children, and far too many books.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Sunday, 8 October, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Content Note, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Nurses & Hospital Life, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Realistic Fiction, Small Towne USA, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Roaring Twenties, West Coast USA, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Author Interview | Conversing with Biographical Historical Fiction writer Ruth Hull Chatlien whose narratives feature unknown women in History whose stories deserve to be told.

Posted Friday, 1 September, 2017 by jorielov , , 4 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Yesterday, I had the joy of sharing my ruminations on behalf of the second novel penned by Ms Chatlien which steps through the threshold of time and resides inside the footsteps of a woman who lived with a courageous heart and a fortitude of faith during one of the most arduous situations anyone could face – living captive during a conflict involving Native Americans and the fallout of a missing payment owed to them which would have provided means to live on throughout the Winter and coming months instead of facing food insecurity and the horrors of death through hunger and starvation.

Similarly, it was my honour to read this author’s debut The Ambitious Madame Boneparte wherein I felt an equally riveting attachment to Betsy Boneparte! Three years separate the two narratives but the critical eye given to the details of etching out a realistic portrait of these women’s lives is a credit to the creative eye for detail and biographical research embraced by Ms Chatlien. If you’ve missed my review for her latest (Blood Moon) let me share an overview of what I posted on my review – as this will give you a precursor of insight into why this narrative was such a convicting story to read:

about finding my spirit in sync with sarah:

Sarah is not afraid to share the realities of her marriage, her duties as a mother or her life on the prairies of Minnesota where tensions between the settlers and the Sioux are quite strenuous due to how the Sioux felt they were being cheated out of what they were due (in regards to payment) which put Sarah and her young family at risk. She has a calming sense of center in her spirit – she might have lurches of anxiety and the fears which assault anyone who was living in such a precarious time of ‘peace’ but she finds her will to stay on target with her duties and it’s how she puts her worries into her work which I think helped her the most.

Sarah was such a tall woman – six feet! I had to smile reading about her height, as the way in which she carried herself, you wouldn’t have guessed her height! In some ways, as we first get to know Sarah she doesn’t seem to have a lot of confidence in herself which I think is attributed to how she grew up and how she feels indifferent to those who have more education or had more opportunities to do more with their lives than she was allowed. Despite her insecurities – what is quite incredible is what she is able to accomplish, despite her fears and the obstacles soon to be standing in her path.

Sarah is a God-fearing woman – taking her faith seriously at all times, turning to prayer and seeking solitude to understand the harder issues of the day. Through these introspective musings we see Sarah twisting over the hardest aspects of faith, where not everything is understood as it is lived nor can all problems have a ready resolution. Her faith is tested quite often but she turns inward to seek understanding and mercy or grace for her own transgressions where she fears she has erred on the wrong side of her beliefs.

I truly loved how Ms Chatlien approached giving us a way into Sarah’s life – she took a very direct route, dropping us into Sarah’s life on the very fringe of the uprising, where things start to happen quite quickly. There were little nudges of insight of how Sarah’s view of the Sioux differed from her neighbours and her husband John whilst there were still personal impressions which Sarah was contemplating might not fit in step with her walk of faith. Chatlien added layers of depth and centreing to Sarah – to give us a more exploratory experience of her psychological state and the intuitive approach she took to guiding herself through trying times of adversity.

One thing which is a strong credit to Ms Chatlien’s passion for taking on these women in history is how she presents a realistic image of their lives. She holds nothing back – she let’s you into their life bit by bit – laying bare the facts of their days and how they would fill those hours either through work, duty or the intimate moments with their spouse. She sought to find a way to give these woman dimension in the present by re-tracing their footsteps in the past and I believe she’s done this twice over now and will continue to find the hidden voices who are clamouring for a writer like her to take up their stories and give them the freedom to be seen at long last.

-quoted from my review of Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale

Throughout my conversation with Ms Chatlien, I wanted to dig a bit deeper into the heart of what inspires her to tell these heart-capturing stories of women whose lives can still inspire us today. I found equal inspiration by reading both Betsy and Sarah’s Historical Biographies as they were told through Chatlien’s narratives. When you can dive into the soul of a living person who lived whilst embracing everything they saw as they lived as readily and as real as they did themselves, we start to draw empathy out of their experiences and find what resonates out of their life experiences which leaves a striking impression on us; these many generations lateron.

I asked some deeper questions too about perspectives and opinions inter-related to the stories themselves whilst allowing Ms Chatlien to share a bit about her writerly process to pen the stories which motivate her own spirit to create. She revealled she has survived Breast Cancer in our conversation, and I am at a loss to remember if I had known this at the time I first crossed paths with her in [2014] however, to the best of my knowledge, I did not know of this health crisis affecting her at that time. I definitely understood why she is appreciative of living in our era of time for the advancements in modern medicine; not just for surviving Cancer but for overcoming Stroke such as my father’s journey these past nine months.

I also understood her hesitation to reveal too much about her current writing project even though I admit, I have my curiosity piqued! In some ways, I think Mrs Madison still qualifies as ‘unknown’ from our historical perspectives as the bits of her life Ms Chatlien wants to highlight are not part of the well-known bits all of us might have come across at one point or another whilst studying American History or the US Presidents in school.

Remember – the best way to enjoy the conversations I present to you here on Jorie Loves A Story is to brew your favourite cuppa, settle into a comfy chair and gleam new insight into a writer you may or may not have come across previously!

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Blood Moon by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Southern Minnesota, August 1862. Smoke fills the horizon and blood soaks the prairie as the Sioux fight to drive white settlers from their ancestral homeland. Sarah Wakefield and her young son and baby daughter are fleeing for their lives when two warriors capture them. One is Hapa, who intends to murder them. The other is Chaska, an old acquaintance who promises to protect the family. Chaska shelters them in his mother’s tepee, but with emotions running so high among both Indians and whites, the danger only intensifies. As she struggles to protect herself and those she loves, Sarah is forced to choose between doing what others expect of her and following her own deep beliefs.

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #BioFic & #BloodMoon

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Posted Friday, 1 September, 2017 by jorielov in 19th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, The American Frontier

Blog Book Tour | “Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale” by Ruth Hull Chatlien The sophomore release by one of my favourite Biological Historical Fiction authors!

Posted Thursday, 31 August, 2017 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

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

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

What drew me eye into wanting to read this novel:

I had the joy of finding this author when her debut novel was released – whilst participating on a blog tour to celebrate Madame Boneparte! I was struck by the beauty of her narrative and the insightfulness of her approach in telling the story through Betsy’s perspective! As you can see through this quotation of my review, she truly has a gift for breathing to life ‘Biological Historical Fiction’:

Ms. Chatlien is one prime example of an eloquent wordsmith who is a decidedly passionate researcher of her book’s subject, setting, and tone! She is one of the writers I am thankful to uncover for her guiding hand with witticism and cunning turns of phrase which bolster the novel’s setting within the era in which the story exists. The elaborate and delicate attentions to details, to endue the genteel society’s preferences of colours, textiles, and surroundings allows your mind to sink into the artistry of the story’s set decorations as much as the words of the author’s palette. I am always championing the writers who take such a decisive hand to interweave such realism into their historical fiction novels which impart a duality of purpose: a slice of a historical antidote set to life in fiction and the intimate portrait of a living historical person lit inside a biographical fiction. Appreciators of stories like these will find a balm in the wind whilst making sure their settled into a comfy chair to whittle away the hours enraptured in a time portal back into the 1700s!

The intrigue of the politics of both America on the footheels of Revolution and of France, caught up in a new regime of power struggling to keep itself afloat left me in the full grip of Chatlien’s ability to tone down the complexity and examine the era from both sides of the Atlantic! The intricacies threaded through their lives became thwarted and entangled at each turn due to Jerome’s connection to Napoleon, who very much was attempting to control his brother’s life at such a distance as France. As they made a determined effort to restore themselves to France, the intrigue of the harrowing journey Betsy would take to reach French soil was beyond riveting as it was etched in danger at each turn. Including whilst trying to protect her unbourne babe for whom had not yet had the pleasure of meeting his father who was kept separate from them. Her tumultuous return to the States gave me a window of what lengths war and insurrection can separate those who are caught up in the actions of others.

I could only imagine what was rollicking through Betsy’s mind and heart whilst she was being tested against will to re-acquire her beloved’s presence. I am thankful to have this particular biographical fiction cross my path, because it has inspired me to seek out more historical novels set around the Bonaparte’s. For every imagined truth we all perceive about those who lived in the historical past, there is oft-times a hidden story surrounding the very people who might have repelled our interest. I oft wondered about the lives interconnected to Napoleon, the unsung voices of his reign, and through Becoming Josephine and The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte I am embarking towards that end; of unveiling the incredible women who not only backed their men but forged through all the doubts of their eras to secure their futures. And, for this I thank the authors who are giving their readers quite a heap to ruminate on!

-quoted from my review of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

It is interesting how life ebbs and flows; over the years, I have wondered if the writer I loved so much from Madame Boneparte might have attached her pen and muse to another woman’s story and/or if she had taken up a new direction in her Historical wanderings. I have oft-times meant to follow-up with all the lovely beloved authors I’ve blogged about here on Jorie Loves A Story, but the project keeps getting pushed forward. It is often when I see a story go on a blog tour, I might first get clued into forthcoming titles by the authors I love to read and/or I might stumble across their newsbits via the twitterverse or browsing bookish sites or a book shoppe!

Part of my journey into my 5th Year (in 2018) will be re-exploring where the writers are now in their writerly paths and the books they might have published since I first ‘met’ them either through their debut release or one of their other titles. The joy for me was not only finding out Ms Chatlien had a new story being published this past June but in realising there was a space left on the blog tour celebrating it’s publication! I truly smiled after I had ‘made’ the tour – she is one author I’ve hoped would keep finding her muse to bring forward the living persons of whom History has a way of either marginalising or leaving behind tucked into the hidden corridors of historical archive where their voices are left unknown. Through her efforts and other Historical authors like Ms Chatlien who write captivating and emotionally convicting Biographical Historical Fiction, I get to re-examine the past through fresh eyes and the emotional introspection these characters bring to their stories.

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Notation on Cover Art: One of the most striking cover art designs I’ve seen in Historical Fiction is this one for ‘Blood Moon’. Not only does the imagery have ‘flight of motion and depth of emotion’ it is simply an incredible capture of ‘one moment’ of Sarah’s life – and of the dire situation she was encapsulated inside for those terrifying weeks where the world was upturnt. I loved how evocative the palette of colours adds to the dimension of the ‘scene’ – all in, it’s wicked good!

Blog Book Tour | “Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale” by Ruth Hull Chatlien The sophomore release by one of my favourite Biological Historical Fiction authors!Blood Moon
Subtitle: A Captive's Tale
by Ruth Hull Chatlien
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Southern Minnesota, August 1862. Smoke fills the horizon and blood soaks the prairie as the Sioux fight to drive white settlers from their ancestral homeland. Sarah Wakefield and her young son and baby daughter are fleeing for their lives when two warriors capture them. One is Hapa, who intends to murder them. The other is Chaska, an old acquaintance who promises to protect the family. Chaska shelters them in his mother’s tepee, but with emotions running so high among both Indians and whites, the danger only intensifies. As she struggles to protect herself and those she loves, Sarah is forced to choose between doing what others expect of her and following her own deep beliefs.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781937484460

Also by this author: The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, Author Interview: Ruth Hull Chatlien

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Amika Press

on 14th June, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 412

Published By: Amika Press | @AmikaPress

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #BioFic & #BloodMoon

About Ruth Hull Chatlien

Ruth Hull Chatlien

Ruth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for nearly thirty years, specializing in U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders for middle-grade readers. Her award-winning first novel, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, portrays the tumultuous life of Elizabeth “Betsy” Patterson Bonaparte. Her latest novel, Blood Moon: A Captive’s Tale was published in June 2017.

She lives in northeastern Illinois with her husband, Michael, and a very pampered dog named Smokey. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found gardening, knitting, drawing, painting, or watching football.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 31 August, 2017 by jorielov in 19th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, The American Frontier