Category: London

Author Interview | feat. the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne Freeman

Posted Saturday, 13 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 1 Comment

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I had a delightful time reading the Lady Guide’s series of Cosy Mysteries recently to where I was overjoyed I would be able to bring an interview with the author to my readers. What I hadn’t foreseen of course was feeling under the weather for a week & having that week end on a tornado scare on a major highway – as journalled on my Twitter feeds almost immediately after I returnt home. To say I had delayed shock and was quite ill overnight would be putting it mildly – I will never forget that experience with my parents and I was never more grateful to be *home* with my cats as those are the moments where your tested in life if you can handle the crises and emergencies you never see coming. At the same time, it wasn’t just owr own well being I was thankful for – it was the entire *gridlocked traffic botttlenecked* on that highway…

Thereby, I apologise to my readers and to the lovely Ms Bruno & Ms Freeman for the delays in being able to bring this conversation to Jorie Loves A Story. I simply haven’t been myself lately and with this experience last night, I’ve spent the last twelve to eighteen hours trying to re-settle my nerves whilst living through prayer. It was definitely one of those defining moments where you lean hard on your faith.

Now – the joyful news is how lovely Ms Freeman was in giving me such a hearty conversation about her writing process & how she’s crafted these Cosy Historical Mysteries! I hope if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading the stories, this conversation might nudge your interest towards seeking them out – they are such a treat for the Cosy reader who is seeking something a bit more unique & different in their Historical Cosies.

Be sure to brew yourself a cuppa & settle in for some fun!

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What I personally *loved!* about reading this series:

Part of the joy of reading this series are the layers of etiquette permeating into the fabric of the story-line – fitting for this debut of the series itself as it lends a certain view of the absurdity of tradition these lords and ladies were put through when their era was in its heyday! All the confining points of societal regulations and the fact, you couldn’t just remove yourself from the obligations as that would be lent to scandal and gossip; Freeman takes you through the motions of how frivolous the ton can be and how determined you must become to outwit them all the same! Frances shows this by her unwavering belief that if you lead with strength and a resolve to overcome whatever befalls you, society will either a) move on to the next lead story or b) forget you completely; which I felt was her preference. Frances wasn’t the kind who welcomed notoriety – quite the opposite, I believed she wanted to live a more ordinary life without all the pops and poms of the elevated class.

I was endeared to the plot long before I caught-on to the mysterious events happening in the background – for me, this series is wickedly driven by its characters – specifically everyone related into the  personal orbit and sphere of Frances! You can’t help but feel caught inside her life – seeing how even the most ordinary of lives can suddenly become a feast of trouble yet with a sturdy circle of friends and family; any obstacle can surely become defeated! I must admit, by the time I unearthed the actual crime and the person behind it – I was quite somber! I hadn’t expected the villain in the story to be whom they were as I was expecting it be someone else completely! The way in which Freeman related those finer details of the whys and hows lead me to believe the rest of this series is going to be as charmingly cosy to read as its debut!

-a quote from my review of The Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Interview | feat. the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne FreemanA Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (Author Interview)
Subtitle: A Countess of Harleigh Mystery
by Dianne Freeman
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out…

Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.

Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?

Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496716903

Also by this author: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder, A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder

Also in this series: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder


Genres: Historical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Amateur Detective


Setting: London, England


Published by Kensington Books

on 25th June, 2019

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #CosyMystery OR #Cosy #HistoricalMystery
and #CountessOfHarleighMystery

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Read More

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Posted Saturday, 13 July, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, London

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | feat. the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne Freeman

Posted Saturday, 6 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring.

It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

As this blog tour features a new Cosy Historical Mystery author I hadn’t yet read, I requested the first novel in the series to read in tandem with the latest release. I was blessed by the publisher to receive both novels in order to understand the continuity and sequencing of the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries series. Thereby I received a complimentary ARC copy of “A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder” and a complimentary copy of “A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder” direct from the publisher St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for honest reviews. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On why this series appealled to me:

There are two things I truly enjoy: Historical stories & Cosy Mysteries – when you find a serial which combines these two loves of my mine – you find yourself in the happy niche of *Cosy Historical Mysteries!* A discovery I made as a book blogger – wherein, authors are anchouring their Cosies into the historic past – moving us through different centuries of interest and giving us a wicked brilliant Historical Mystery to boot!

The main reason I wanted to read this series is because I liked the charm of it – a woman who was being encouraged to fit within high society & yet find herself not willing nor ready to take-on the duties that come with widowhood. She is quite the remarkable character – independent by nature & elevated to a certain seat of formality by the death of her husband, Frances has to re-invent herself & still be in a position of honour to raise her young daughter, Rose.

What I love most about Cosy Historical Mysteries though is the truer sense of how we can move through time but still find a happy place to reside whilst the amateur sleuths tackle their most curious cases and how each of us as readers find new authors to follow & lovely new series to capture our attention. These truly are my favourites to find and I am thankful that they haven’t yet gone out of style with the novelists who are endeavouring to write them!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

I decided to play honour to the cover art – purple for the colour itself and a cheeky nod to how addictive Cosy Historical Mysteries are to me as a reader – you just can’t eat one of these French cookies without feeling the desire to grab more – and that is how Cosies are for me in this branch of the genre – once I settle myself into one installment, I can’t remove myself until I fetch after more and feel truly rooted in the author’s vision for her series!

Unsplash Photography (Creative Commons Zero) Photo Credit: Anastasiia Ostapovych
Unsplash Photography (Creative Commons Zero)
Photo Credit: Anastasiia Ostapovych

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder
by Dianne Freeman
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496716880

Also by this author: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (Author Interview)

Genres: Historical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Amateur Detective


Setting: London, England


Published by Kensington Books

on 28th May, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

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my review of a lady’s guide to etiquette & murder:

Rather immediately, I found myself drawn into the life of Frances – not just because her husband was a cad and a louse of a husband but because of how Ms Freeman endeared us to champion her cause as a woman exiting her mourning period and getting on with her life! It was quite horrid for women in the 19th Century – still attached to that tradition of wearing dearly depressing hues of black and grey (in different increments which were rather strictly enforced!) for at least a year after becoming widowed. It was only then, where she could ‘re-emerge’ into her colours and start to make her presence more widely known in society. How those women managed it, I’ll never know not – as in the case of Frances, it most have truly become a chore knowing her her husband departed his life! Oyy, vie such a rat!

Her in-laws were quite typical – only out for themselves, more concerned with the affairs relating to their estate and less enthused to even entertain a thought of concern over Frances. For her benefit, she was made of stronger stock than they would have believed and she took her daughter (Rose) and herself off to the city to carve out their future elsewhere from the throes of the Harleigh family and the responsibilities therein. Freeman gave you such a hearty and joyful introduction to her character – part of her antics reminded me of why I have such cheeky joy in reading the Anna Blanc series and part of the exchanges also reminded me of my recent over the Discreet Detective Agency – there is something to be said for well-timed satire and humour in the Cosy Historical Mysteries your reading! The appeal of course is being able to burst into giggles alongside the allure of moving deeper into the context of the building mystery!

Of course, not all is ill for Frances – she has enough resources within her means to purchase a least outright for a house which still has eighty years to be lived inside! Imagine? She might have sparse furnishings and staff but something told me her and Rose would thrive here rather than having stayed on with the relatives at the estate. One of my favourite moments is when she bribes one of the maids not to spoilt her news by giving her the chance to make haste and away with her once she moves out. It was a ploy to cover-up the fact she had a bit of a rebellious nature inside her to where she did not like to leave things to fate if there was a loophole round the unknown! Smartly written, Freeman keeps you entertained from one chapter to the next to where it is just a delight to overhear what Frances will say next and what her next actions might be which become the new concerns of the family she’s left behind!

If it weren’t such a serious moment for Frances, you could giggle a bit more about it – as she recounted her discovery of her late husband and the goings-on shortly thereafter, you could tell she had a strong reason for not wishing to be next of doors to Mr Hazelton! And, yet, as life would have it – the things one wants and the things which happen to live a blight on a path towards newfound happiness are not entirely equal. Though I must admit, what was charming about this part of the story is how willingly she was helped by Hazelton and how he hadn’t broached the subject of that night since it occurred! Made you wonder – was her need of his services that night just a cheeky clever way of placing them on each other’s paths to where they could interact more down the road rather than of the concerns she had if he would hold it over her for a reason not yet known?

When Fi enters into the scene, you start to see Frances in her own element – as would be the case when your round your best friend who knows you better than you know yourself! Fiona surprisingly is the sister to Mr Hazelton – which I felt was a good bit of drama ontop of the fact the investigation into the death of her husband was becoming re-examined! Felt fitting in one regard but also entirely terrifying on the other hand as what could they find a full twelvemonths later? It left a curious note in your mind as you watched Frances continuing to build her life in the city. Curiously her mother seems to have found herself in wont of her daughter’s assistance in attempting to have a second daughter of the family wed to the London aristocracy. I, was in full agreement with Frances – wasn’t one marriage good enough? I was just thankful she had Rose – of all the grief she’d been put through, having a daughter of her own seemed to be the only bright light in her life especially as she was constantly attempting to be a better mother to her child than her Mum was to her growing up.

As fate continued to give Frances more headaches than smiles, you had to give it to her – she chose to set her attitude on the positive and despite the arduous circumstances alighting towards her at an alarming speed of haste from her brother-in-law, Frances wouldn’t let her resolve falter. There was much more at stake than inconvenient delays in the normality of her life – no, she simply turnt her chin up with a strength she might not have entirely felt but one which would see her through with the kindness of her friends. This was another instance where you could see how lovely it was for her to have Fiona in her life – the kind of huckleberry friend everyone needs and is blessed to have found.

Part of the joy of reading this series are the layers of etiquette permeating into the fabric of the story-line – fitting for this debut of the series itself as it lends a certain view of the absurdity of tradition these lords and ladies were put through when their era was in its heyday! All the confining points of societal regulations and the fact, you couldn’t just remove yourself from the obligations as that would be lent to scandal and gossip; Freeman takes you through the motions of how frivolous the ton can be and how determined you must become to outwit them all the same! Frances shows this by her unwavering belief that if you lead with strength and a resolve to overcome whatever befalls you, society will either a) move on to the next lead story or b) forget you completely; which I felt was her preference. Frances wasn’t the kind who welcomed notoriety – quite the opposite, I believed she wanted to live a more ordinary life without all the pops and poms of the elevated class.

As Lily becomes more convinced of her mother’s reasoning for sending her off to London (to fetch a husband!) the more protective Frances feels to guide her off that goal. For Frances learnt the hard way about what hard choices mean to a young woman whose caught up in the innocence of wanting to wed a man but without the proportional insight into what can go wrong if you act too impulsively and do not research a man’s character the level of knowing exactly what might be in your future if you were to wed. You felt for Frances in that scene – of wanting to be the sister who could spare another the same kind of misery she had faced herself but with the knowledge that despite her earnest hopes of doing that, it was truly left to Lily to take her counsel to heart and adhere to it.

What an incredible find in Mr Hazelton! Not only can this bloke handle himself under pressure but he continues to amaze me how much he will go to lengths to help Frances! Of course, in the back of mind, I was quite aware of the fact he could be smitten with her – as whom else would do all the tasks asked of him and on such short notice? It isn’t even the most typical of duties to be asked and yet, here his Hazelton – willing, able and happily lending his hand to Frances whenever she needs him, no qualms or questions asked! If anything, he is also her guiding sound board of advice – as sometimes she struggles to balance her own thoughts with the logic needed to re-assess things that are happening just outside her own control. He never fails to make me smile in other words because he’s such an easy-going bloke!

I was endeared to the plot long before I caught-on to the mysterious events happening in the background – for me, this series is wickedly driven by its characters – specifically everyone related into the  personal orbit and sphere of Frances! You can’t help but feel caught inside her life – seeing how even the most ordinary of lives can suddenly become a feast of trouble yet with a sturdy circle of friends and family; any obstacle can surely become defeated! I must admit, by the time I unearthed the actual crime and the person behind it – I was quite somber! I hadn’t expected the villain in the story to be whom they were as I was expecting it be someone else completely! The way in which Freeman related those finer details of the whys and hows lead me to believe the rest of this series is going to be as charmingly cosy to read as its debut!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | feat. the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne FreemanA Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder
Subtitle: A Countess of Harleigh Mystery
by Dianne Freeman
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

How far will some go to safeguard a secret? In the latest novel in Dianne Freeman’s witty and delightful historical mystery series, the adventurous Countess Harleigh finds out…

Though American by birth, Frances Wynn, the now-widowed Countess of Harleigh, has adapted admirably to the quirks and traditions of the British aristocracy. On August twelfth each year, otherwise known as the Glorious Twelfth, most members of the upper class retire to their country estates for grouse-shooting season. Frances has little interest in hunting—for birds or a second husband—and is expecting to spend a quiet few months in London with her almost-engaged sister, Lily, until the throng returns.

Instead, she’s immersed in a shocking mystery when a friend, Mary Archer, is found murdered. Frances had hoped Mary might make a suitable bride for her cousin, Charles, but their courtship recently fizzled out. Unfortunately, this puts Charles in the spotlight—along with dozens of others. It seems Mary had countless notes hidden in her home, detailing the private indiscretions of society’s elite. Frances can hardly believe that the genteel and genial Mary was a blackmailer, yet why else would she horde such juicy tidbits?

Aided by her gallant friend and neighbor, George Hazelton, Frances begins assisting the police in this highly sensitive case, learning more about her peers than she ever wished to know. Too many suspects may be worse than none at all—but even more worrying is that the number of victims is increasing too. And unless Frances takes care, she’ll soon find herself among them…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496716903

Also by this author: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (Author Interview)

Also in this series: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (Author Interview)


Genres: Historical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Amateur Detective


Setting: London, England


Published by Kensington Books

on 25th June, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 277

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #CosyMystery OR #Cosy #HistoricalMystery
and #CountessOfHarleighMystery

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Dianne Freeman

Dianne Freeman

Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She’s been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Saturday, 6 July, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, London

Blog Book Tour | “Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann West

Posted Sunday, 3 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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 “Claiming My Place” direct from the author Planaria Price in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On why this story appealled to me:

When I was contacted about being on this blog tour, I must admit, I nearly declined it. Not because I wasn’t interested in the story – the reason stems from my childhood. As a young girl – an impressionable reader and a person with a sensitive heart, I was never able to read The Diary of Anne Frank – despite the nudges from my Mum and my grandparents; there was something preventing me from reading the book. I know I recognised a lot of myself in Anne – I was even her age when I re-attempted to read her words but there was an emotional reasoning in my head and heart; knowing if I walked into her world, I might have difficulty walking out knowing how she died. I had a lot of issues with death as a child and this in part could have played a role in not wanting to re-live Anne’s life as a young girl. The distance between her life and mine felt smaller somehow – when your the age of someone whose died tragically – somehow time, distance and proportional understanding of their life draws closer to your heart.

I also was frustrated by how my school teachers were avoiding talking about the war eras though they had no difficulty in speaking about the Civil War. Comparatively, I felt it was more relevant to everyone who grew up in the GenX generation to focus more on 20th Century History – from the war era straight into the heart of Civil Rights and the 1970s; than it would have been to dredge up history where both sides still were aggrieved about what happened. The relevancy of the 20th Century still had an important role in understanding our present and our future; at least, this was what I tried to reason in my arguments about a lack of proportional education for an engaged student losing interest in an education system which befitted no one due to how much was lost from being learnt.

As I researched the story itself – there is one particular reason why I said ‘yes’ to reading this story and why I knew I could handle the story I’d find within it. It has a happier ending than Anne Frank – hers is an uplifting story of a different nature; this one seeks to go into how someone survived but also found happiness after the war. I think for me, I needed this ‘extra chapter’ on a story which seeks to re-explain what was happening during Anne Frank’s living years whilst giving us an ending that is easier to swallow and accept.

There is a reason why I’ve altered the kind of war dramas I seek out to read – I used to read all sorts of them; including the guttingly convicting narratives which gave me nightmares. Why? I haven’t the foggiest clue. Something was directing me towards them and although I don’t regret reading them per se – I had to take a full step back from reading half of the war dramas I was naturally curious about reading. The one which crushed my soul and clued me into needing to make this change in selection was Citadel. I was within my first year of book blogging and although this novel opened my eyes to quite a heap of unknown history within the era in question, it also drew to my mind there are levels of reality I need to avoid finding in fiction.

Having said that – what inspired me to read Claiming My Place is knowing why Mum originally wanted me to read Anne Frank’s story. I knew why she wanted me to read it was simply a matter of a girl recognising she couldn’t read her story. I have regretted that personal choice over the years and as I’m inching towards turning thirtyten, it is nice to finally resolve this with being able to handle reading a different story which seeks to highlight the same truths within a classic I had to appreciate from afar.

In the same vein of interest, I did go to the theater to see Life is Beautiful and Saving Private Ryan; the latter not only gutted me emotionally but left me shell-shocked; in effect, it was too much to process. The former was my preferred experience of the two – guttingly realistic, emotionally powerful and at the root of the story is what truly was hard to reconcile about the second world war. It ends with a ray of hopefulness with the sombering tragedy of loss intermixed with your emotional reaction of having felt as if you had personally lived through the story. Notwithstanding the fact by the end of the film I no longer remembered it wasn’t in my native language. When other film goers complained about reading the subtitles – I still remember walking out going “What subtitles?” I was dearly invested in that film and I credit this to how Roberto Benigni wrote the story and brought his character to life in such a way as to transcend time, language and the human spirit.

Reading Claiming My Place is a daughter’s way of reconnecting to her mother’s memory of Anne Frank and of resolving not being able to read one of the most popular books for young readers.

I am grateful for this story, especially as the war eras have held a captivating impression on me since I was a young girl. I grew into a reader of war dramas & historical narratives set at the battlefields & on the home fronts; from one continent to the other – seeking the living truths of those who lived through the era and of the humbling ways in which History merits becoming known in each new generation past these marked fixtures in time which ought never become repeated.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann WestClaiming My Place
by Planaria Price
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Ilyana Kadushin

A Junior Library Guild selection

Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight.

Meet Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. A Jew growing up in predominantly Catholic Poland during the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future. Her world is turned upside down when Nazis invade Poland and establish the first Jewish ghetto of World War II in her town of Piotrkow Trybunalski. As the war escalates, Gucia and her family, friends, and neighbors suffer starvation, disease, and worse. She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: risk either the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp, or certain death if she is caught resisting. She decides to hide her identity as a Jew and adopts the gentile name Danuta Barbara Tanska. Barbara, nicknamed Basia, leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known in order to claim a new life for herself.

Writing in the first person, author Planaria Price brings the immediacy of Barbara’s voice to this true account of a young woman whose unlikely survival hinges upon the same determination and defiant spirit already evident in the six-year-old girl we meet as this story begins. The final portion of this narrative, written by Barbara’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, completes Barbara’s journey from her immigration to America until her natural, timely death. Includes maps and photographs.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780374305291

ASIN: B07BHQCW1B

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Biography / Autobiography, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers

on 13th March, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital, Hardcover Edition

Pages: 278

Length: 9 hours and 19 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers (@fsgbooks)
an imprint of Macmillan Publishing

Converse via: #WarDrama + #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Hardback, Ebook and Audiobook

About Planaria Price

Planaria Price

After graduating from Berkeley and earning a Master’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA, Planaria Price began her career teaching English to adult immigrants in Los Angeles. She has written several textbooks for University of Michigan Press and has lectured at over 75 conferences. In addition to her passion for teaching and writing, Planaria has worked with her husband to save and restore over 30 Victorian and Craftsman homes in her historic Los Angeles neighborhood. Claiming My Place is her first book for young adults.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 3 March, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, The World Wars, War Drama, Young Adult Fiction

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana Aikin

Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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

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On why this novel appealled to me:

A good portion of the story is hinged on ancestral sleuthing and of keeping the living histories of our families alive for each new generation who has the chance to hear them told. Being one half of the Ancestry Sleuth team in my own family, I can attest to how the preservation and the exploration of one’s family line can become quite a wicked adventure! Especially if you only have subtle clues towards researching past your maternal and paternal great-grandparents or know the names of at least a few of your great-greats going back from there – genealogy is a pursuit of joy for both my Mum and I.

I keep missing the #HistFicChat’s on Thursdays as my hours during the chat are unfortunately taken elsewhere now to where I can’t chat with fellow enthused readers and the writers of Historical Fiction as I had been free to do the previous year. It was only this Friday where I realised this past Thursday the featured guest was Ms Aikin and as I read a part of the feeds for the chat, I soon unearthed that part of this story was inspired by her own ancestral lineage! In fact, she had an actress in her family (see this tweet) whilst she also was heavily read in pre-revolutionary Russian Lit which also inspired the story itself (see also this tweet).

I’m hopeful I can start to return to the chat – as Rachel Brimble is returning to speak about a sequel to her Pennington novel – of which I enjoyed discussing when it first published and Soraya Lane is going to be featured the following week for her latest release The Spitfire Girls which I enjoyed talking to her a bit about on Twitter previously during the last year. I purchased one of Soraya Lane’s past novels on audiobook via Audible and I placed a request for The Mistress of Pennington’s which was accepted by my local library. The paperback is on hand to be read and the audiobook is one I have slated to be listened to this Spring whilst I endeavour to read, listen and focus on Historical Fiction selections during my #HistoricalMondays showcases.

I decided to feature this during my #SaturdaysAreBookish feature as to me it spoke to me as being a Historical Women’s Fiction narrative – whereby, the main threads of the author’s muse were interconnected to her grandaunt and the legacy of the life she had lived. It is a particular lens into how one woman dared to live a different life – go to different places in the world and to curate her own path from her era’s conventions. To me that is at the heart of why Women’s Fiction is relevant today as it doesn’t matter if the stories are Contemporary or Historical in nature if they are focused on telling a woman’s journey – towards her own destiny on terms she determined herself or how she overcame adversity or tragedy and still found a way to move forward in the aftermath. These kinds of stories always interest me and are part of the inspiration behind both the feature and the the redirection of my chat @SatBookChat.

Thereby, you can see – I predominately focus on reading the historic past and attempt to find new voices in Historical Fiction every year, such as Ms Aikin!

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Notation on Cover Art: I could honestly envision Lily is on the cover – letter-writing was dearly important to her as it was a method of keeping in touch with her brother and sister. Her letters are a featured pause in the narrative arc and I, personally, loved how they were included in the chapters. Therefore, whomever designed this cover truly tapped into the heart of Lily and gave her a cover where you could almost see her coming in from a hectic day where she simply wanted to ink out her thoughts and draft a new letter to post! Even the outfit here reminds me of Lily from Ms Aikin’s pen!

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana AikinWe Shall See The Sky Sparkling
by Susana Aikin
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

Set in London and Russia at the turn of the century, Susana Aikin’s debut introduces a vibrant young woman determined to defy convention and shape an extraordinary future.

Like other well-bred young women in Edwardian England, Lily Throop is expected to think of little beyond marriage and motherhood. Passionate about the stage, Lily has very different ambitions. To her father’s dismay, she secures an apprenticeship at London’s famous Imperial Theatre. Soon, her talent and beauty bring coveted roles and devoted admirers. Yet to most of society, the line between actress and harlot is whisper-thin. With her reputation threatened by her mentor’s vicious betrayal, Lily flees to St. Petersburg with an acting troupe–leaving her first love behind.

Life in Russia is as exhilarating as it is difficult. The streets rumble with talk of revolution, and Lily is drawn into an affair with Sergei, a Count with fervent revolutionary ideals. Following Sergei when he is banished to Vladivostok, Lily struggles to find her role in an increasingly dangerous world. And as Russian tensions with Japan erupt into war, only fortitude and single-mindedness can steer her to freedom and safety at last.

With its sweeping backdrop and evocative details, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling explores a fascinating period in history through the eyes of a strong-willed, singular heroine, in a moving story of love and resilience.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496717658

ASIN: B07MQ3FCHR

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 29th January, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 416

Length: 14 hours and 53 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Susana Aikin

Susana Aikin

Born in Spain of an English father and a Spanish mother, Susana Aikin is a writer and a filmmaker who has lived and worked in New York City since 1982. She was educated in both England and Spain; studied law at the University of Madrid, and later Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

In 1986 she started her own independent film production company, Starfish Productions, producing and directing documentary films that won her multiple awards, including an American Film Institute grant, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and an Emmy Award in 1997. She started writing fiction full time in 2010. She has two sons and now lives between Brooklyn and the mountains north of Madrid.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Mental Health, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery