Category: Literary Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “Marion Hatley” by Beth Castrodale

Posted Saturday, 15 July, 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 copy of “Marion Hatley” direct from the author Beth Castrodale in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I felt this was a story I wanted to read:

I love the premise behind ‘The Ladies Paradise’ and have been wanting to start reading it in order to watch the mini-series. Therefore, as I read about the lead character is ‘Marion Hatley’ being of a like-minded character from that book, I was smitten!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Marion Hatley” by Beth CastrodaleMarion Hatley
by Beth Castrodale
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

To escape a big-city scandal, a Depression-era lingerie seamstress flees to the countryside, where she hopes to live and work in peace. Instead, she finds herself unraveling uncomfortable secrets about herself and those closest to her.

In February of 1931, Marion Hatley steps off a train and into the small town of Cooper’s Ford, hoping she’s left her big-city problems behind. She plans to trade the bustling hubbub of a Pittsburgh lingerie shop for the orderly life of a village schoolteacher. More significantly, she believes she’ll be trading her reputation-tainting affair with a married man for the dutiful quiet of tending to her sick aunt. Underpinning her hopes for Cooper’s Ford is Marion’s dream of bringing the daily, private trials of all corset-wearing women—especially working women—to an end, and a beautiful one at that.

Instead, she confronts new challenges: a mysteriously troubled student; frustrations in attempts to create a truly comfortable corset; and, most daunting, her ailing aunt. Once a virtual stranger to Marion, her aunt holds the key to old secrets whose revelation could change the way Marion sees her family and herself.

As her problems from Pittsburgh threaten to resurface in Cooper’s Ford, Marion finds herself racing against time to learn the truth behind these secrets and to get to the bottom of her student’s troubles. Meanwhile, Marion forms a bond with a local war veteran. But her past, and his, may be too much to sustain a second chance at happiness.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

ISBN: 9781940782027

Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction


Published by Garland Press

on 20th April, 2017

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 277

Published By: Garland Press | Facebook
Available Formats: Paperback & E-Book (Audiobook *forthcoming!)

Converse via: #HistFic

About Beth Castrodale

Beth Castrodale

Beth Castrodale started out as a newspaper reporter and editor, then transitioned to book publishing, serving for many years as an editor for an academic press. She has completed three novels: Marion Hatley, a finalist for a 2014 Nilsen Prize for a First Novel from Southeast Missouri State University Press (to be published in April 2017 by Garland Press); Gold River; and In This Ground, an excerpt of which was a shortlist finalist for a 2014 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Award. Beth recommends literary fiction on her website SmallPressPicks.com, and she has published stories in Printer’s Devil Review, The Writing Disorder, Marathon Literary Review, and Mulberry Fork Review. She lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Saturday, 15 July, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 20th Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fashion Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Literary Fiction, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Siblings, Small Towne USA, The Great Depression, the Thirties

Blog Book Tour | “The Belle of Two Arbors” by Paul Dimond feat. poetry by Martha Buhr Grimes

Posted Thursday, 1 June, 2017 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft. I was thankful to be selected for the blog tour featuring a unique combination of historical fiction, poetry and a saga of one woman’s life lived through the story within ‘The Belle of Two Arbors’ as it sounded like such an original concept to be explored in Historical Fiction. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publicist of Paul Dimond in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I felt inspired to read this novel:

Through my literary wanderings hosting for Poetic Book Tours, I have come to expand my Contemporary Poetry readings whilst continuing to seek out Indie Fiction by writers who may or may not become widely known in the bookish community. I love finding the innovating voices who write inspiring novels but one thing I also like to seek out are the writers who bend genre to their own will. One of my favourite sub-niches of literature are the genre-benders – where there is a fusion of influences from more than one genre or thematic of story-telling being bridged into one singular story or the arc of a character’s journey told through a series.

What intrigued me about this release is how it’s a story which is not only told from narrative prose but through poetic insight into the character’s internal mind. Poetry is a personal release of emotion, vision and imagination. Purporting through a styled layout of lyrical insightfulness, poetry can transcend a wide field of emotional range. I was inspired to seek out this title if only to see how poetry and narrative scope could interlink to each other and expound upon the telling of a character’s journey.

Interestingly enough, I knew this story was set in Michigan, however, it wasn’t until I started reading the story I learnt where in Michigan the story takes place as I didn’t look up the specifics until I was already inside the chapters. I have known about Ann Arbor for most of my life, as it’s a progressively diverse city and has been on the forefront of political liberalism for years. It’s a University city but moreso than that, it’s a city which likes to stand on it’s own – curating it’s own mind about things and taking a stand against what goes against it’s core beliefs. In effect, it’s been a rockstar city for the state. However, the other half of the story is set further North, just before you get to Sault Ste. Marie, there is this little tucked away corner of the Michigan Coast where the Traverse Bay region resides. I know a great deal about this portion of the state even if I haven’t stepped foot on her shores. This is partially why as I read more of the story, it tugged at my heart knowing about all the recent changes happening up there and around the rest of the state as a whole. I hint about this a bit but as the focus is not about Environmental Science, Geology or the cause for concern over contaminated water basins – I opted to yield to focusing on the literary side of the book rather than the grief I have felt over the issues most at hand for Michigan’s residents.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Belle of Two Arbors” by Paul Dimond feat. poetry by Martha Buhr GrimesThe Belle of Two Arbors
by Paul Dimond
Source: Publicist via Poetic Book Tours

Born at the turn of the twentieth century in Glen Arbor, near the dunes of Northern Michigan, young Belle is the first child of a gruff stove works boss and a crippled mother who weaned Belle on the verse of Emily Dickenson. When a natural disaster results in her mother’s death and nearly takes the life of her younger brother Pip, Belle creates a fierce, almost ecstatic farewell song. Thus begins her journey to compose a perfect Goodbye to Mama.

At 21, Belle ventures south to Ann Arbor for university, with teenaged Pip in tow. There, she befriends Robert Frost, Ted Roethke and Wystan Auden and finds that her poetry stands alongside theirs, and even with that of her hero, Dickinson. Her lyrics capture the sounds, sights, and rhythms of the changing seasons in the northern forests, amidst the rolling dunes by the shores of the Great Lake.

Despite the peace she finds, Belle also struggles in both homes. Up north, she battles her father who thinks a woman can’t run the family business; and clashes against developers who would scar the natural landscape. In Ann Arbor, she challenges the status quo of academic pedants and chauvinists.

Belle’s narrative brings these two places to life in their historic context: a growing Midwestern town driven by a public university, striving for greatness; and a rural peninsula seeking prosperity while preserving its natural heritage. Through the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Post-War Boom, Belle’s story is hard to put down. Her voice and songs will be even harder to forget.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1943290215

Also by this author: Author Interview: Paul Dimond

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Cedar Forge Press

on 4th April, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 696

Published By: Cedar Forge Press

Available Formats: Paperback

Read the article about the author via The Ann Arbor News

Converse via: #BelleOfTwoArbors

About Paul Dimond

Since birth Paul Dimond has shared his time between Ann Arbor, home of the University of Michigan, and Glen Arbor amidst Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan.

Prior to researching and writing The Belle of Two Arbors, Paul Dimond served as the Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, tried several major race case that divided the U.S. Supreme Court and served as the Special Assistant to President Clinton for Economic Policy. He has also practiced law, chaired a national real estate firm and continues to spend his time between the two Arbors. He is an alumni of Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 1 June, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Astronomy, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Native American Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Realistic Fiction, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne USA, Sports, Sustainability & Ecological Preservation, Swimming & Competition, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, the Forties, the Great Depression, the Nineteen Hundreds, the Thirties, The World Wars, Upper Mid-West America, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights, World Religions

Blog Book Tour | “Kinship of Clover” by Ellen Meeropol An ecological #SciFantasy written in the style of a Literary Novel which seeks to express a plea for developing an environmental conscious & awareness of the plight befalling the natural world.

Posted Thursday, 4 May, 2017 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft. I was selected to review “Kinship of Clover” by Poetic Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “The Kinship of Clover” direct from author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was inspired to read this story:

I developed an environmental conscious at a very young age – recently I shared a few reasons why the natural world encourages my curiosity through discussing BioDiversity but this is a topic I regularly speak about as it parlays to my interests of staying environmentally aware. I appreciate seeking out stories which are uniquely written and told in a voice which illuminates the joy of finding story-tellers who are bending genre to their own will of style. I mentioned this on a recent Top Ten Tuesday topic as well. What draws my eye to the innovative styles of telling stories is simply being enfolded into a story which remembers there are no boundaries of where a story can take us visually nor through depth of heart. There is a spirit in the crafting of stories – of finding ways of telling stories which not only enrich the mind but endeavour to embrace the hidden truths of our world.

Therefore it was a pleasure and joy to find this title being offered for review on a blog tour recently. Reading the Editor’s Note was a bolt of inspiration too, as I liked how she mentioned most story-tellers who tackle a story similar to this one in breadth and centreing would focus on the negative or the darker undertones of how a story such as this is regularly conceived. I personally could do with less negativity and more pro-positive examples of how humanity still has the hope of turning things around or at the very least of limiting our impact which has grown out of hand. Positive hope is far better than the bitterness of pessimistic apocalyptic futures or dystopian violence.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Kinship of Clover” by Ellen Meeropol An ecological #SciFantasy written in the style of a Literary Novel which seeks to express a plea for developing an environmental conscious & awareness of the plight befalling the natural world.Kinship of Clover
by Ellen Meeropol
Source: Publicist via Poetic Book Tours

He was nine when the vines first wrapped themselves around him and burrowed into his skin. Now a college botany major, Jeremy is desperately looking for a way to listen to the plants and stave off their extinction. But when the grip of the vines becomes too intense and Health Services starts asking questions, he flees to Brooklyn, where fate puts him face to face with a group of climate-justice activists who assure him they have a plan to save the planet, and his plants.

As the group readies itself to make a big Earth Day splash, Jeremy soon realizes these eco-terrorists devotion to activism might have him and those closest to him tangled up in more trouble than he was prepared to face. With the help of a determined, differently abled flame from his childhood, Zoe; her deteriorating, once rabble-rousing grandmother; and some shocking and illuminating revelations from the past, Jeremy must weigh completing his mission to save the plants against protecting the ones he loves, and confront the most critical question of all: how do you stay true to the people you care about while trying to change the world?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1597093811

Genres: Biological Diversity, Botany, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Current Events, Ecology, Genre-bender, Psychology & Cognitive Science, Sci-Fantasy


Published by Red Hen Press

on 4th April, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 272

Published By: Red Hen Press (@RedHenPress)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #KinshipOfClover + #SmallPress & #ThinkGreen or #EarthDayEveryday

About Ellen Meeropol

Ellen Meeropol is fascinated by characters on the fault lines of political upheaval. Previous work includes a dramatic script telling the story of the Rosenberg Fund for Children which has been produced in four U.S cities, most recently in Boston. Elli is the wife of Robert Meeropol, youngest son of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.

Elli is a former nurse and independent bookstore event coordinator and the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island. She is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild. Short fiction and essays have appeared in Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine, and the Writer’s Chronicle.

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Posted Thursday, 4 May, 2017 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book for University Study, Botany, Climate Change, Coming-Of Age, Conservation, Ecology, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Conscience, Environmental Science, Equality In Literature, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, GeoPhysical History, Horticulture, Indie Author, Literary Fiction, Literature for Boys, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern Day, Mother-Son Relationships, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Poetic Book Tours, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Science Fantasy, Siblings, Twin Siblings, Vulgarity in Literature

#PubDay Book Review | “Beyond the Wild River” by Sarah Maine

Posted Tuesday, 18 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna

Acquired Book By: I received an enquiry from a publicist at Atria in regards to a novel of suspense by an author I had not yet heard of previously. What captured my attention about this release was the heart of the story itself and the way in which this felt like an Introspective Novel which is of particular interest in my reading life as I like seeking out the Literary novels which bespeak of digging a bit deeper than genre fiction and asking different kinds of questions on behalf of the readers who enjoy reading them. They genuinely get you thinking about the layers of the story and also, of the message within the fuller scope of what the author was attempting to present to you through the duration of the novel. I was keenly grateful I could receive a print ARC in order to read this ahead of publication.

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Beyond the Wild River” direct from the publisher Atria (an imprint of Simon & Schuster) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was keenly interested in this particular release:

One thing I truly appreciate is a wicked good novel of atmospheric suspense – which is a nod to my lifelong appreciation of Psychological Suspense films including those which were the founding entries which brought the Horror film genre to brilliant life. In other words, I grew up appreciating Alfred Hitchcock and his particular style of letting your imagination fill in the gaps between where his narrative lens left-off in such classics as: The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Lady Vanishes, North by Northwest, The Rope, Dial M for Murder and other such lovelies which truly knitted suspense into the cornerstone of the character’s journey. I specifically found his style of the craft to be a lead-in towards finding authors how convey the same appreciation for what he did in film.

A few years ago, I attempted to read my first Kate Morton novel (The Distant Hours) yet sadly never truly was able to attach myself into the story-line due to time constraints. Yet, in the beginning of her novel, I felt a kinetic energy of atmospheric beauty etching out of the narrative; both haunting and compelling all at once. There are other authors I’ve read and blogged about meeting here on Jorie Loves A Story, of whom write in a similar vein of interest – such as Kate Forsyth, M.J. Rose, Lena Coakley, Sarah E. Boucher, Richard Storry, Helene Wecker, Yangsze Choo, Edith Wharton and others of whom write in a particular style of evokes a certain layer of world-building through a Gothic-esque lens.

Whilst I continue to seek out stories which have this evocation, I am truly a Historical girl at heart – a realisation I discovered about myself as I became a book blogger, as until I blogged (in effect, journalled my reading life!) I hadn’t taken stock of which types of stories I lean towards to read moreso than others which happily enchant me as I meet them. Historical Fiction and all the lovely variants of it’s sub-genres have kept me entertained for the fullness of my reading life (ie. since I was a young girl!) due to how breath-taking Historicals can be penned! The eclipse of course to fully entreat into the historical past whilst following in the footsteps of characters so well conceived you feel as if you’ve slipped into their shoes and tackled living their life for a spell!

This particular novel felt it held enough Suspense threading through it to keep me on the pins of my nerves whilst the backdrop of moving between England and Canada would be a refreshing change in scenery! As I am oft wandering back through time periods and settings often visited; to where I like to switch things up a bit and go ‘somewhere’ new every once in awhile! I also felt it had an introspective vibe about it whilst attempting to pull out the human condition and psychological back-story of it’s lead characters who might not expect to be ‘caught’ at a fork in the road where they could chose which way they would go forward vs following an expected trajectory by someones choice.

As this is my first reading by the author, I was thankful to receive the ARC in which I had the joy of reading the Editor’s remarks on behalf of the author and of this story. I love receiving ARCs in that regard – for the little ‘extra’ insights into the author’s collective works or their initial debuts; it gives a sense of the author’s style but also, of their story’s heart. I also like seeing how each Editor in turn chooses to highlight what they feel is the core of the author’s message for the story at hand. I had to smirk to myself realising I had mentioned my personal love of Hitchcock when I was reading a direct reference to him in this Editor’s Note! Laughs. Sometimes I find there are happy coincidences and moments of quirky connections as I read and blog my reading life; this is surely one of them! I was keenly right about this being introspective – as there is a hint of a nod towards how this novel is both figuratively poignant as much as it is metaphorical; for me, that’s the baseline of a wicked good literary novel!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

#PubDay Book Review | “Beyond the Wild River” by Sarah MaineBeyond the Wild River
by Sarah Maine
Source: Direct from Publisher

The day comes sooner than expected when Charles, prompted by a near-scandal between Evelyn and a servant, brings her on a business trip to New York City and the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Evelyn welcomes the chance to escape her cloistered life and see the world.

But a fishing expedition up the Nipigon River in Canada takes an unexpected turn when Evelyn discovers that their river guide is none other than James Douglas. Even more startling, her father betrays no shock, simply instructing Evelyn not to reveal their past connection with James to the rest of their party.

Evelyn never believed that James was guilty, but speculation about her father’s role in the killing has made her fearful. What is he hiding? As they travel deeper into the wilderness, and further from the constraints of polite society, the secrets and lies surrounding that night are finally stripped away, revealing the true natures of everyone in their party.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781501126956

Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Suspense


Published by Atria Books

on 18th April, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 352

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

Converse via: #BeyondTheWildRiver
Available Formats: Hardback and E-Book

About Sarah Maine

Sarah Maine Photo Credit Susie McDonald at Brick Lane Studio

Sarah Maine was born in England but grew up partly in Canada before returning to the United Kingdom, where she now lives. She is the author of The House Between Tides.

Photo Credit: Susie McDonald at Brick Lane Studio

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 18 April, 2017 by jorielov in 19th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Canada, Chicago, Coming-Of Age, England, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Suspense