Category: Story in Diary-Style Format

Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!

Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “Legacy of Mercy” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. The Digital Audiobook copy of the novel “Waves of Mercy” was inclusive of the audiobooks I am able to listen to due to my Scribd subscription. My ruminations on behalf of the audiobook (and the borrowed print edition from my local library) which serves as a prequel are being shared for my own edification and to help introduce my readers to the series overall whilst sharing my own journey in its discovery. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I love reading INSPY Historical Fiction, especially Sagas:

I am a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY Fiction – the kind of stories I love to read are reflective of my ardent passion for the collective works of Julie Lessman (which will start to be reflection on #JLASblog this coming Winter) wherein I discovered one of my favourite INSPY Historical saga writers! Her family within the original trilogy ‘Daughters of Boston’ became such a firm fixture of my heart and soul, I can’t wait to re-enter their lives starting inside the prequel this December wherein I finally get to read Marcy and Patrick’s courtship story! (A Light in the Window)

From there – I could aptly remember stories of my childhood which befit this category – even some one-offs such as Frontier Lady (which became a trilogy lateron) by Judith Pella were quite beloved (a series I dearly need to find second-hand if only to resume from whence I once left off) – whilst as a book blogger I’ve carved out a list of authors I am pursuing to read to curate a greater list of #mustread authors of both Historical and Contemporary INSPY Fiction.

This is why being a part of this blog tour was such a blessing – as I was hoping Ms Austin would become a new author I could continue to read and enjoy following – from a backlist and frontlist perspective of interest! As soon as I began reading Waves of Mercy, I recognised my instincts for finding a saga writer I could love was well founded!

The key reason I love reading sagas (especially of the historical past!) is the continuation of spending time with the characters! Of knitting out a well-rounded history of their families and of being able to stay with them as they grow, mature and move through the milestones of their lives! Oft-times sagas also embrace the next generations of their lives – through their children and grand-children – where each new story is an extension of the originals but moving deeper into their descendants and sometimes shifting backwards into their ancestors lives; depending on which way the writer wishes to take their focus.

I have an affinity of passion for serial fiction – this is why sagas are a wicked good fit for me! I have trouble parting with characters I feel especially close as a kindred spirit and being able to re-visit with them in latter installments if the best kind of joy I know as a reader! By extension, I also love this when it happens in motion pictures – such as the mini-series or tv serials on television or in motion pictures – a few which come to mind are the Love Comes Softly series, Avonlea, Anne with an E, Murdoch Mysteries (up til a certain season), Downton Abbey (up til a certain season), Legacy (prior to the final year), Dr Quinn Medicine Woman (prior to the final few seasons) and most adaptations based on Classical Literature. The one I never had the chance to see (as of yet) is Wind at my Back which is a Canadian series.

These are only a few of the ones I’ve appreciated over the years and I continuously find myself smitten by sagas in fiction – there is such a breadth of joy in seeing how the worlds are built and how the characters themselves become the touchstones of reading about our human condition whilst we sort out our lives as we live each day fully present and captured in the moments which become the memories we cherish in the future.

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Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!Waves of Mercy
Source: Scribd | Audiobook Subscription, Borrowed from local library
Narrator: Rachel Dulude

Haunted by the Unknowns of Their Pasts,
Two Women Search for Answers Along the Shores of Lake Michigan

Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiancé. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.

Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial anniversary of the town's settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.

Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0764217616

ASIN: B01LYI8NFZ

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Recorded Books

on 4th October, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback, Audiobook | Digital

Pages: 384

Length: 14 hours, 15 minutes (unabridged)

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Anna is terrified by her nightmares about being aboard a ship during rough weather crossing Lake Michigan from Chicago to the Michigan shore – to such an extent, that when she’s starting to experience this nightmare coming real to life it overtakes her sensibility to separate fantasy from reality. Her thoughts in turmoil over how her boyfriend and her separated – over a disagreement about a church and the beliefs therein are what brought her heart to be torn and spilt between letting go of the past and embracing the future. She was still tucked inside those moments they exchanged and the last fragments of her life she had lived in Chicago – all the while the storms continued to plague her anxieties and the manner in which she was about to arrive via the steamship which was a trial of nerves in of itself.

Despite her mother’s kind assurances and her faithfulness in prayer and the virtues of affirmative thoughts to carry you through the roughest of situations – not even her memories of sermons and easier times could dissuade herself from rolling through afflicted memories which caused her more discomfort. It wasn’t until her ship allowed her disembark did she first find her feet and heart able to ease out of their quaking displeasure to give way towards a calmer beginning on solid ground once more.

This first chapter of the novel I listened to via audiobook – wherein I found the narrator had a pleasant way of bringing Anna to life even though a few of her phrases and wordings felt a bit harder in tone than what was necessary, she aptly described how the churnings of a worried mind could inflict undue duress during a lake crossing aboard a ship which was cast against a difficult storm. I felt she brought Anna’s emotional state to life quite well and allowed us to peer into this young woman’s thoughts in such a way as to make us feel as if we were aboard this ship ourselves, standing near to Anna and observing her discomfort first-hand.

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We first become introduced to Geesje as she observes the changes in her town – from communication and lightning changes to simply the way people were approaching their lives. Although she’s still in her sixties, people have the tendency to treat her as modern people would treat the elderly – as if she is fragile and not with a lot of her youth still left to give a spring to her step – yet as you observe her directly, she’s a young sixty-something who loves life, even if the changes round her leave her a bit unsettled as she remembers a simpler time before the complications of industry and progress catapulted everyone forward. How well we can all stipulate the same even over the past thirty to forty years where technology has almost superseded our own lives.

The irony here is how where progress can inflict a nuance in some ways it allows for shortages in others – how ironic Geesje would find it that infrastructure (ie. roads, etc) are still an oversight of progress (left to be the last of priority) and how we’re a disposal society inasmuch as the one she observed in the late 1800s just ahead of the dawning of the 20th Century! She was commenting how in the Netherlands they reused their buildings, cherished their architectural designs and yet, in Holland, Michigan (where this story is set) they would prefer to demolish and rebuild forsaking the old for the new; the irony dear hearts is that our society today in the 21st Century has the same pattern of destruction and reconstruction!

I love how Geesje is a knitter! If only I could one day master the art and complexities of socks, I think I shall be a happier knitter! For now, I appreciate what I can stitch into prayer shawls and friendship shawls – though to be honest, I yearn to aspire to master Fair Isle knitting patterns as much as wearables inasmuch as expound into fibre artist and textile arts of all varieties, techniques and styles. Once your hands enjoy the tactical blissitude of yarn, you find yourself drawn further inside Old World Arts & Crafts – though, of course, what I was most curious over is the pattern she was knitting as the style wasn’t mentioned.

You feel for her, truly! She’s being asked to write about her exodus from the Netherlands and what inspired the journey to Michigan – her family emigrated to the States when she was seventeen, which brought back memories of my own relatives who made the journey from their European countries to the States (as I am only a few generations down from when my relatives crossed the Atlantic inasmuch as I enjoy being an Ancestry Sleuth alongside my Mum) – as she started to talk about her honest emotions and the conflicting ways she struggled against her faith and finally found reconciliation – you could tell the journey to a new country was not without its depths of strife and adversity. It had to be incredibly despairing for her and even my own relatives – as I am sure not every person in every family who made the trip overseas wished to leave their home countries – some perhaps, but all? Surely, not! It was a daunting prospect – leaving everything behind to risk a stake of claim to set down new roots elsewhere? You can just imagine how that would lead to a conflict in faith and prayer – of where you might even feel distanced from your spirituality rather than closer in the walk you always felt endured through your life’s path. Especially of course if the hardest part of reconcile were the circumstances you faced after you arrived – if tragedy struck or affliction of illness took away lives – how do you rally against the darkness to resume your walk in the Light?

This is the conflict Geesje is having now – of weighing how to best explain the past without revealling herself in such a way where she could lose favour with her neighbours, family and friends alike – as if being completely transparent about the journey and the settlement in a new country could somehow become a negative influence or muddled in such a way with emotional anguish as to paint her life’s story in a different light than it was previously viewed. This gave a deeper scope of insight into how everyone is at times hesitative to share portions of their story – of sharing the living truth of their own lives if it runs against what society or community perceive of a person’s life. Where strife and adversity afflict the memories, there are moments where it feels as if absence of disclosure is a better course than honesty; however, it isn’t the best way of leaving behind a historical artifact of the hours lived but a gentler course if you don’t want to erase someone elses perception of the past. It was interesting watching her work through her emotions and sort out her thoughts on the subject – seeing how she chose what was best for her and what might benefit the community of Holland.

Before we can resume Anna’s story, we must first experience Geesje’s through a series of flashbacks and recollective memories. As we move backwards into her childhood in the Netherlands we learn about how her family were Separatists from the main church striving to hold-fast to a living God and not to be confined by the rituals of change ordained by man taking them further away from the scriptures they lived by. For her family, their faith was their rock and foundation of how they approached living – they were tethered to their beliefs as it was as important as air, shelter and food. They believed so dearly strong in their faith their attempts to outwit their opposition and repressive tactics of those who felt they had no right to rebel against the status quo set them apart from most of their family members who despite holding their same thoughts on the subject were not as strong as they were to leave and seek a better place to live.

As your reading about Geesje’s family’s history it reflects back on the stories I’ve read during the World War eras – of how irregardless of which country of origin or which era in history you move back inside – there have been many instances of persecution and violence. The manner in which Austin approaches this realistic truth of Geesje’s past points towards her compassionate heart for writing convicting narrative rooted out of History itself and re-fuelled inside fiction to offer keen insight into lives which were once lived but perhaps are not as readily known as other stories oft-times gain the spotlight more often.

Anna has gone to Michigan to find recovery after her spilt with her ex and to heal a heart which is still in the process of understanding why relationships can splinter a person’s resolve. Her very first day at the hotel she runs into Geesje’s nephew (an adopted one by association and neighbourly love) Derk which didn’t surprise me as this is a close-knit community. I had a feeling this is the kind of place where most know each other quite well if not by reputation and regards to visitors or tourists, I would imagine they would readily separate a stranger from familiar community members rather quickly. Likewise, I was not surprised either when Derk started to mention how many ships have been lost on the Lake – as the Great Lakes are notorious for keeping their dead, especially shipbound souls as the Lakes hold many watery graves. Anna’s fears of drowning were not misguided whims – especially if you consider the song The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.

What perked my interest is learning Anna was adopted – as I love sourcing stories of adoption and foster care story-lines. It was revealled through her conversation with Derk who presumed she was from Holland or had family settled there due to how she appeared to be of Dutch ancestry. I could understand where he was coming from as people from similar origins have the tendency of taking on the same features of each other – from hair colour to eyes, as well as the features which make them stand out from others such as height or bone structure or even how they speak or use certain phrases in their speech. There are little hintings towards our origins without even realising we’re giving away clues to our present or past.

Due to my migraines and my eye injury this October, I wasn’t able to read this story in full – however, the first four chapters were so illuminating towards the arc and journey Anna and Geesje were taking I felt as if I could predict how their lives would start to intersect and unite! It was such a warm-hearted insight into both their lives – especially as it was revealled in this opening bridge of the novel what stirred so strongly inside Anna’s heart – why she felt lost inside her relationship with her fiance and why she ached to learn about her birth parents and the origins of her birth if not strictly the country of her origins. I knew after the fourth chapter I had enough insight to head into Legacy of Mercy as this was tracking into a beautifully lovely saga following in Anna’s footsteps and building on the foundation set forth within Waves of Mercy. At my leisure this Autumn or Winter, I would love to re-explore Waves of Mercy and seeing for myself how Geesje and Anna’s paths finally united, though I suspected I might learn a bit about this as I moved into reading Legacy of Mercy!

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Blog Book Tour | “Legacy of Mercy” (Book Two: Waves of Mercy) by Lynn Austin An #INSPY Historical Fiction, I had the pleasure of becoming introduced by the prequel “Waves of Mercy” ahead of reading the sequel on the blog tour!Legacy of Mercy
by Lynn Austin
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours
Narrator: Rachel Botchan, Stina Nielsen, Suzanne Toren, Amanda Leigh Cobb, Laura Knight Keating, Andrea Gallo

She Knew Her New Life Would Not Be Easy,
But Nothing Could Prepare Her For What Waits Ahead

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can't seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she's learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her discover the whole truth.

But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden. With pressure mounting to keep the past quiet, she discovers daily that her choice to seek God's purpose for her life isn't as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje's been helping new Dutch immigrants--including a teen with a troubled history--adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

ISBN: 978-0764217630

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction


Published by Bethany House Publishers, Recorded Books

on 2nd October, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Length: 12 hours and 17 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Stories within the series Waves of Mercy:

Waves of Mercy by Lynn AustinLegacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Book One: Waves of Mercy (prequel) | Pub’d 4th October, 2016

Book Two: Legacy of Mercy

Converse via: #INSPYbooks, #INSPYHistFic, #INSPY or #HistRom

About Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin

Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into an Original Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home in western Michigan.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 24 October, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Adoption, Audiobook, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Christianity, Clever Turns of Phrase, Coming-Of Age, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Family Drama, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories, Inheritance & Identity, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction | Non-Fiction, Intergenerational Saga, Knitting, Library Find, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Marriage of Convenience, Mental Health, Mid-West America, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Non-traditional characters, Pinkerton Detective | Pinkerton Agency, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Self-Harm Practices, Small Towne Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Gilded Age, Widows & Widowers, Women's Fiction, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “The Darkest Summer” by Rebecca J. Greenwood

Posted Wednesday, 22 November, 2017 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Darkest Summer” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I wanted to read this re-telling:

I’ve come to love the lovely niche of literary re-tellings – over the past four years, I’ve found quite a lovely array of re-inspired tales to where I must say, it is with apt curiosity I continue to seek them out! Each writer I come across has a different approach and of course, as they are each re-telling a different niche of literature – the stories themselves tend to be wholly unique and individually well-conceived for giving us new insight into a story we might already feel we understand. In this, what moved my interest to read ‘The Darkest Summer’ is how it was approaching Greek Mythos from a different port of entrance: from the story of Hades and Persephone.

I, readily admit, I am not well-versed in Greek Mythos, but I do try to seek out a new vision of the Greeks legacies whenever I can, if only to draw a step closer to understanding the Gods & Goddesses as well as the origin of the stories the Greeks left behind for us to contemplate. I have oft found the Greeks to be dearly confusing to understand – but there are some enroads being taken to bridge the gap between what I find muddling about the Greek Mythos and what I find intriguing.

Hence, why as soon as I read the premise behind this novel, I sensed I might have found not only a compelling story set in the Regency, an era I already have a passion for reading – but perhaps, in a small way, might start to understand some of the connections which were inspired by the Greeks themselves. I wasn’t sure on that score – as I wasn’t sure if this was a direct re-telling – where you can see the parallels between the two narrative arcs (ie. within the relationships themselves or in the descriptive bits of the characters) or if, the novel was more nuanced and you had to have more than a cursory knowledge of ‘who’ these lovelies were in Greek Mythos to be able to fully understand the route in which Ms Greenwood took to tell her tale. Either way, I knew I was going to appreciate re-visiting her writings as I knew she’d make a wicked good novelist ever since I first crossed paths with her whilst she was writing Non-Fiction.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Darkest Summer” by Rebecca J. GreenwoodThe Darkest Summer
Subtitle: Pure Romance
by Rebecca J. Greenwood
Source: Direct from Publisher

In this riveting retelling of the classic myth of Hades and Persephone, Lady Cora Winfield is captivated when she first meets Adam Douglas, Duke of Blackdale. Despite their attraction, Cora’s mother refuses to allow the duke to marry her. Taking matters into his own hands, the duke abducts his bride-to-be, and Cora is swept into the adventure of her lifetime. Amidst danger and thrilling uncertainty, Cora must face the reality that she is falling in love with her captor.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781462120949

Also by this author: Scripture Princesses, Author Q&A with Rebecca J. Greenwood

Also in this series: Willow Springs, Sophia, The Second Season, To Suit a Suitor, Mischief & Manors, Unexpected Love, Lies & Letters, The Secret of Haversham House, Love and Secrets at Cassfield Manor


Genres: Greek Mythos | Legacies, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Sweet Romance


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 14th November, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 294

Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

A Novella & Novel entwined:

The Darkest Hour by Rebecca J. GreenwoodThe Darkest Summer by Rebecca J. Greenwood

When dutiful Lady Hester Douglas, over thirty and long on the shelf, receives word that her brother Adam, the Duke of Blackdale, has survived the Battle of Waterloo, she abandons propriety and heads to Brussels to be by his side. Her widowed minister, Mr. Alasdair Gilchrist, escorts her on the journey from Scotland into a Europe recovering from years of war.

Once she reaches her injured brother, Hester must fight to keep Adam alive and tightly guard her heart’s deepest secret—she’s been in love with Mr. Gilchrist for years.

Will the pain of being with the minister, the man she loves and can never have, distract her from her purpose? Or will she overcome the barriers of age, rank, and station, and seize the love she’s dreamt of?

The Darkest Hour is a standalone inspirational Regency romance novella, and is also a prequel to The Darkest Summer.

Converse via: #Regency + #Romance, #GreekMyths + #Retelling as well as #Persephone

About Rebecca J. Greenwood

Rebecca J. Greenwood

Rebecca J. Greenwood studied visual art with a music minor at Brigham Young University. She is a multimedia artist, illustrator, comic creator, and designer with a love of stories. She has worked in publishing for the last six years. Rebecca lives in Utah with her husband, where she listens to audiobooks, cooks experimentally, has an interest in alternative health, and constantly has a new project in mind.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 22 November, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Debut Novel, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Thriller Suspense, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Inspired by Stories, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, PTSD, Re-Told Tales, Realistic Fiction, Scotland, Sisterhood friendships, Story in Diary-Style Format, Sweet Romance, The London Season, the Regency era

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!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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, The Phantom's Apprentice

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.

Read More

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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