Category: Presidential Life & History

Blog Book Tour | “The First Lady and the Rebel” by Susan Higginbotham (aka. #JorieReads more about the Civil War)

Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2019 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! 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.

I received a complimentary of “The First Lady and the Rebel” direct from the publisher Sourcebooks exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read “The First Lady & the Rebel”:

I will say – when it comes to studying the Civil War, I am not the reader most would suspect would be interested. This stems from a bad experience of studying this era in high school – where the focus was askewed towards the Confederacy and excluded most of the context of the North’s position whilst it completely took out of proportion a lot of the crucial aspects of the war itself as  it related to Lincoln and his desire to end slavery.

There was a lot of frustrating moments for me realising that I had a full year of the Civil War ahead of me but without a lot of enjoyment to look forward to because it was all a regeneration of dates & facts; no biographical information on the persons involved, no stories in context or subtext and if it was outside the scope of the textbook, it simply did not exist. In other words, like a lot of structured education – my study of the Civil War was flawed. I was so discouraged by those semesters, I tabled any further research into Civil War History.

Although, being a reader of Historical Fiction – I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for stories which might tuck me back into the folds of this war in a way where my studies failed to take me originally. When I read the premise of “The First Lady & the Rebel” – I thought, perhaps for once, I’ve found the story I wished I could have read in high school. Where there is a balance of focus between the North & South with both perspectives presented in equal measure & worth to each other and where the reader gains a keen insight into what fuelled the war itself and how important it is to remember what caused the division of the States due to how far reaching the end result has become to modern history.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The First Lady and the Rebel” by Susan Higginbotham (aka. #JorieReads more about the Civil War)The First Lady and the Rebel
Subtitle: One North. One South. Two Todd Sisters Fighting to Shape Lincon's War.
by Susan Higginbotham
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

From the celebrated author Susan Higginbotham comes the incredible story of Lincoln’s First Lady

A Union’s First Lady

As the Civil War cracks the country in two, Mary Lincoln stands beside her husband praying for a swift Northern victory. But as the body count rises, Mary can’t help but fear each bloody gain. Because her beloved sister Emily is across party lines, fighting for the South, and Mary is at risk of losing both her country and her family in the tides of a brutal war.

A Confederate Rebel’s Wife

Emily Todd Helm has married the love of her life. But when her husband’s southern ties pull them into a war neither want to join, she must make a choice. Abandon the family she has built in the South or fight against the sister she has always loved best.

With a country’s legacy at stake, how will two sisters shape history?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781492647089

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction, Presidential Life & History, Southern Lit, War Drama


Published by Sourcebooks Landmark

on 1st October, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 386

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark (@sbkslandmark)
an imprint of Sourcebooks (@Sourcebooks)

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov
and #MaryToddLincoln, #Lincoln, #CivilWarHistory or  #HFVBTBlogTours

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Tuesday, 15 October, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Abraham Lincoln, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Civil War era, Civil War History | era, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Literary Fiction, Mary Todd Lincoln, Mid-West America, Military Fiction, Presidential Life & History, Women's Fiction

Guest Post | “The Men Behind the First Feminists” by Eva Flynn (author of: “The Renegade Queen”)

Posted Friday, 12 February, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

As you might have noticed, I love hosting authors in conjunction with blog tours I am reviewing their books as there are certain stories I am coming across which spark a renewed interest to know a bit more about either the writer behind the story and/or the story itself. In this particular case, my own topic was not able to reach the author in time to have a response, and I must admit, after having read the author’s suggested topic, I believe in a way she answered the question I had originally provided! For starters, I was seeking a way to better understand how the women of the American Reformation era were able to stand independent of men, seek out professions not yet readily available to them and how through her writings, she found inspiration by the women who are the focal point of her novel(s).

In some ways, I think she pitched a better topic to work the thesis I had only outlined in broader strokes, as you will be reading shortly below, how certain men (such as the men of today; if @HeforShe is a good barometer of cross-gender support!) who had recognised the progression of women’s rights and the freedoms women were rightly deserving to have at their command; gave their support and helped the cause move forward. It’s a good bit of insight into how the traditions of the past were colliding with a future where equality would become a mainstay and where women would find a voice to stand on their own merits and prove their independence from men.

In some regards, I have been finding stories championing strong women and/or strong views on how life can proceed forward with process since the New Year began if you consider my first review was on behalf of George Washington* (read my thoughts), followed by a legacy of writerly pursuits by the Brontës (read about this interesting origin story), and I recently composed my thoughts on women pioneers in Science of whom could provide inspiration for everyone who takes a moment to read their living histories.

*It’s the very end of the novel involving George Washington where you gather a better sense about how important it was for Washington to find Martha and what Martha gave back to Washington. Without her support and their mutual equality, he would have been a far different man.

I am concluding my reading of a Swedish author’s heart-stirring novel about a woman who lived outside of tradition and on her own terms (The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley) whilst moving back inside Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea in order to re-pick up the momentum to read two Jane Eyre sequel novels (All Hallows at Eyre Hall and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall) set after the original canons conclude. I even have a non-fiction story in my hands this weekend (More than the Tattooed Mormon) which is meant to be inspiring in of itself to reach the audience of modern women seeking a way to stay in step with their walk of faith.

I have a penchant for strong female leads and strong willed characters of woman who either stepped outside their family’s constrictive upbringings and/or rallied against society’s sharp edge of tongue and propriety to seek a different life and live radically courageous for the eras in which they lived. I love pulling back the layers of History and finding these women in historical fiction, such as I will be revealling in my forthcoming review of The Renegade Queen however, it’s just as keenly enjoyable for me to read these sorts of characters across genre and set inside non-fiction as well. For every woman (and man) has a story to share and a story which may endear us to a hidden aspect of the past we had not uncovered until our readings of their stories.

Postscript [1pm]: The author graciously offered to respond to my original topic and I am working with her to feature it within the next week or two as I found it quite kind of her to offer to do this! I cannot wait to read her response and to bring the second essay to my readers!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Renegade Queen by Eva Flynn
Presidential Election of 1844. James Polk 1795-1849 and George Dallas 1792-1864 ran as the Democratic candidates. .; Shutterstock ID 245959642

Two Renegades So Controversial, They Were Erased From History

Discarded by society, she led a social revolution. Disgusted by war, he sought a new world.

She was the first women to run for President, campaigning before women could vote.

He was the Hero of Vicksburg, disillusioned with the government after witnessing the devastating carnage of the Civil War.

Their social revolution attracted the unwanted who were left out of the new wealth: the freed slaves, the new immigrants, and women.

Who were they?

This is the true story of Victoria Woodhull and the love of her life, James Blood.

Adored by the poor, hated by the powerful, forced into hiding during their lifetimes and erased from history after death, the legend of their love lives on.

It’s 1869 and Victoria has a choice to make. She can stay in an abusive marriage and continue to work as a psychic, or she can take the offer of support from handsome Civil War general James Blood and set about to turn society upside down. Victoria chooses revolution.

But revolutions are expensive, and Victoria needs money. James introduces Victoria to one of the wealthiest man in America—Commodore Vanderbilt. Along with her loose and scandalous sister, Tennessee, Victoria manipulates Vanderbilt and together they conspire to crash the stock market—and profit from it. Victoria then parlays her fortune into the first female-owned brokerage firm.

When her idol Susan B. Anthony publishes scandalous rumors about Victoria’s past, Victoria enters into a fierce rivalry with Susan to control the women’s movement. James supports Victoria’s efforts despite his deep fears that she may lose more than the battle. She might lose part of herself.

Victoria starts her own newspaper, testifies to Congress, and even announces her candidacy for President. But when Victoria adopts James’s radical ideas and free love beliefs, she ignites new, bruising, battles with Susan B. Anthony and the powerful Reverend Henry Beecher. These skirmishes turn into an all-out war, with Victoria facing prejudice, prosecution, and imprisonment. Ultimately, Victoria and James face the hardest choice of all: the choice between their country and their love.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Men Behind the First Feminists by Eva Flynn

In researching The Renegade Queen, I was inspired by the sacrifices of the women suffragists but I was also impressed by the powerful men who supported them:

Commodore Vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in 1794 in Staten Island, New York, son of poor farmers, and began working at age 11. In 1810, when he was 16 years old, he borrowed $100 from his mother to purchase a sailboat and start a Staten Island-Manhattan ferry and freight service. Vanderbilt showed a ruthlessly competitive streak early, undercutting the competition by charging dramatically low fares, investing without his parents’ knowledge in other ferries, and even physically beating competitors who encroached on his customers. Read More

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Posted Friday, 12 February, 2016 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Indie Author, Passionate Researcher, Presidential Life & History, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Susan B. Anthony, Victoria Woodhull, War Drama, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage

Blog Book Tour | “Becoming George Washington” by Stephen Yoch

Posted Friday, 1 January, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Becoming George Washington” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “Becoming George Washington” direct from the author Stephen Yoch, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Interest in reading:

I garnished an appreciation for the Revolutionary War era from my Mum, who is a passionate researcher and reader about the Adams: John and Abigail along with Mr Adams friendship with Thomas Jefferson. They were a unique couple during those turbulent times, and as my Mum’s affection for them grew, so too did my own interest in the era as a whole. When I was younger, History was one of my most favourite subjects in school (shocking, eh? you were thinking I’d say ‘English’ but you would be grossly mistaken!) as I definitely loved watching ‘history’ come to life through the stories of the people who lived lives during historical eras of prime importance and of lesser known generations of whom impacted us just as deeply or gravely, depending on the circumstances.

If you were to credit me with a deep admiration for Science and the multitude of ‘ologies’ I fancy to explore in the scientific realms – you’d be equally cheerful to learn that I have a wicked heart for the historical past, and why it took me three decades of my life to unearth that ‘historical fiction and biographical historical fiction’ are my two primary interests to read is quite unnerving to say the least! Mind you, science fiction and fantasy are a close second before Romance takes up the final third quadrant. I digress.

One of my intentions this New Year of 2016 is to purposely find mindful ways of re-organising my focuses on what I am devouring as to entertain a bit more thought to seeking out wicked good non-fiction and historical fiction (in equal portions) that ascertain a working knowledge of the Revolutionary War era or even (Early) Colonial America inasmuch as entreating inside more biographies which are set to a pace where I find them both drinkable and enjoyable to consume. At hand, when I first caught sight of this novel about Washington, I was most keen to read it, as Washington held an appeal when I was in 4th Grade having spent a year on Presidential History (some of which spilt out as I reviewed The Residence in 2015). I even have a miniature statue of Washington and Martha – as they were the first couple I was focusing on learning more about at that age.

I even remember watching an interesting tv movie called: The Crossing (1999) starring Jeff Daniels as Washington, as pertaining to the crossing of the Delaware River in December 1776. Equally to this, I caught portions of 1776 (1972) the musical on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) a handful of years ago over Fourth of July weekend, to where I would very much like to see it in full as soon as time allows. It was curious to see all of the historical persons I’ve come to know through my school years and my own independent readings outside of it in such a way as to purport the era in time by which they lived.

This particular novel takes us back to the young man Washington was prior to marriage and I was curious to learn more about him during that scope of time. Every man has a beginning to their lives, but in Washington’s case, everything prior to when he became the ‘first President’ is even more curious as how did a man define himself prior to taking office for a new ‘country’ emerging out of independence from the British Crown and right his sails well enough to take on the courage he would need to lead a fragile new era of American life?

I was very grateful the author enclosed a small and compact bookmark for this novel, as I used it once before as I read ‘Soda Springs’ (review) prior to residing inside his own. I had originally intended to read them earlier in the weeks proceeding my tour stops in December, but illness took me away from books and left me with only my curiosity of what I would find inside them. The blessing for me, is to have such a handy bookmark and to have a note from the author wishing me godspeed in my readings. A nice surprise for a book blogger and a nice extension of the readings.

Blog Book Tour | “Becoming George Washington” by Stephen YochBecoming George Washington
by Stephen Yoch
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

George Washington, action hero . . .

Long before Washington was the old man on the dollar bill, he was a fatherless boy with few resources and even less education. So how did he become the most famous person in American history?

Becoming George Washington tells the story of a young man with boundless energy, bravery, and passion, who grew from a fatherless boy into a self-confident leader. At the same time, he struggled to suppress both an awful temper and his love for a married woman, Sally Fairfax. A courageous war hero, Washington rose to the pinnacle of Virginia politics. His experiences as a young man allowed him, decades later, to lead the Revolution.

This compelling historical novel reveals the person behind the famous face and how he grew to become America’s leading Founding Father.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781940014524

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Presidential Life & History, War Drama


Published by Wise Ink Creative Publishing

on 1st September, 2015

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 382

Published By: Wise Ink Creative Publishing (@Wiseink)
Available Formats: Paperback & Ebook

About Stephen Yoch

Steve doesn’t golf or fish and is a below average hunter, but his love of history and writing compelled him to pick up his pen and tell the little-known stories behind the men that made American history. After years of extensive research, Steve wrote his first book on young George Washington.

Steve lives in a suburb north of St. Paul, Minnesota with his supportive wife and two fantastic teenage sons. He graduated with honors from Boston College and the University of Minnesota Law School. He has enjoyed over two decades of practicing law in the Twin Cities, helping individuals and businesses solve complex problems.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 1 January, 2016 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Early Colonial America, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, George Washington, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Indie Author, Literature for Boys, Military Fiction, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Passionate Researcher, Presidential Life & History, Revolutionary War Era, Revolutionary War era, Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature, War Drama, Wilderness Adventures

Blog Book Tour | “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House” by Kate Andersen Brower A #bookblogger who adored #TheWestWing on tv and The American President on the silver screen, digs happily inside ‘The Residence’!

Posted Monday, 27 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on “The Residence” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary hardback copy of the book direct from the publisher Harper (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Books which stimulate a keen interest in their subjects:

It is not a widely known fact amongst my circle of friends, but I take after my Mum in regards to my love and curiosity about Presidential History! I grew up carting around a trivia book about the then 40 Presidents of the United States, as I was fascinated by the ‘little stories’ surrounding the men who worked inside the White House. My classmates and I, took learning the Presidents during fourth grade to a whole new level whilst we created our own trivia to remind us of the presidential ‘quirks’ and ‘personality traits’ that could help us score higher on our oral exams. Thereby, I would always remember some of the more curious trivia surrounding the Presidents as a whole, but definitely knew if your going out in the rain, sleet, or snow, best to wear a hat, coat, and gloves if you want to forestall an early demise! Singularly William H. Harrison (our 9th President) would be entombed forever for precipitating his own death, at least to my class of fourth graders! Taft on the other hand, gave us endless pleasure in making ‘pretend taffy’ whilst Hoover gave new meaning to what vacuum cleaners are known as across the Pond!

Visiting the Presidential Libraries is not just a prospect and dream of my Mum’s but one I share with her, as I love libraries in general, but there are certain collections inspired by the Presidents that I felt would be quite wicked lovely to visit! I haven’t yet had the pleasure to go to them, but I have visited my first ‘hometown’ of a President without planning too as Hope, Arkansas will remain the city that welcomed in travellers who needed assistance and gave back their hearts. Similarly, like the author Ms Brower I have long held a curiosity of sorts for those who work both upstairs / downstairs in large houses, estates, or castles — where the living proximity is tight but the depth of the divisions can be quite large.

This might explain why I have a penchant for these sorts of stories in motion pictures, as like the author, yes, I did draw a keen eye into the world Downton Abbey before the series broke my heart when Matthew died and crushed my soul a bit when certain story-lines from Series 4 were introduced. My heart has yet to be able to return, and thus, I might not see Series 5 or 6 as a result. However, it isn’t just my fascination with this particular era of history nor of the setting therein, as I loved watching The American President starring Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, and Martin Sheen. Sheen reprised his role on a tv series by the same creator settling into the role of the President on The West Wing. I loved the series, sharing an equal joy of it with my grandmother, except she was able to maintain an active viewing of it wherein I lost track of where I was in the episodes.

Overall, it is the stories of the everyday hours that seem to get lost in the shuffle. The little bits of ordinary life which barely have the chance to surfacing because there is always something much more dire and urgent to reveal instead. I understand the politics of the exclusions, but sometimes, it is quite nice to see a humbling view of a world that very few are allowed to enter, and to see a mark of their humanity as left behind by those who knew them best.

Blog Book Tour | “The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House” by Kate Andersen Brower A #bookblogger who adored #TheWestWing on tv and The American President on the silver screen, digs happily inside ‘The Residence’!The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House
by Kate Andersen Brower
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

A remarkable history with elements of both In the President’s Secret Service and The Butler, The Residence offers an intimate account of the service staff of the White House, from the Kennedys to the Obamas.

America’s First Families are unknowable in many ways. No one has insight into their true character like the people who serve their meals and make their beds every day. Full of stories and details by turns dramatic, humorous, and heartwarming, The Residence reveals daily life in the White House as it is really lived through the voices of the maids, butlers, cooks, florists, doormen, engineers, and others who tend to the needs of the President and First Family.

These dedicated professionals maintain the six-floor mansion’s 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, 28 fireplaces, three elevators, and eight staircases, and prepare everything from hors d’oeuvres for intimate gatherings to meals served at elaborate state dinners. Over the course of the day, they gather in the lower level’s basement kitchen to share stories, trade secrets, forge lifelong friendships, and sometimes even fall in love.

Combining incredible first-person anecdotes from extensive interviews with scores of White House staff members—many speaking for the first time—with archival research, Kate Andersen Brower tells their story. She reveals the intimacy between the First Family and the people who serve them, as well as tension that has shaken the staff over the decades. From the housekeeper and engineer who fell in love while serving President Reagan to Jackie Kennedy’s private moment of grief with a beloved staffer after her husband’s assassination to the tumultuous days surrounding President Nixon’s resignation and President Clinton’s impeachment battle, The Residence is full of surprising and moving details that illuminate day-to-day life at the White House.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Current Events, Non-Fiction, Presidential Life & History


Published by Harper Books

on 7th April, 2015

Pages: 320

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published by: Harper Books (@harperbooks)
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #TheResidence

About Kate Andersen Brower

Kate Andersen Brower spent four years covering the Obama White House for Bloomberg News and is a former CBS News staffer and Fox News producer. She lives outside Washington, D.C., with her husband and their two young children.

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Posted Monday, 27 April, 2015 by jorielov in 21st Century, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Films, Downton Abbey, Equality In Literature, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Humour & Satire in Fiction / Non Fiction, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Non-Fiction, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Presidential Life & History, Realistic Fiction, Soundcloud, TLC Book Tours