Category: Revolutionary War Era

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, 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 | “Silver Tongue” by AshleyRose Sullivan a story where Seventh Star Press tackles ‘alternative historical fiction’ and the #revwar!

Posted Friday, 4 September, 2015 by jorielov , , 2 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 stop on the “Silver Tongue” genre-bending alternative historical fiction release tour from Seventh Star Press. The tour is hosted by Tomorrow Comes Media who does the publicity and blog tours for Seventh Star Press and other Indie and/or Self Published authors. I am a regular blog tour host with Tomorrow Comes Media and originally had misconstrued the plot behind this novel; overlooking it’s potential! Something I read made me think it was more Horror than Historical, then after I realised my error I helped champion the blog tour to my book blogosphere friends whilst helping book bloggers come to know more about Seventh Star Press and hosting for TCM.

I received a complimentary copy of “Silver Tongue” direct from the publisher Seventh Star Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. Likewise, I did not receive compensation for helping to promote the blog tour to other histfic book bloggers who might appreciate finding a ‘next read’ whilst on the tour or to review it outside the tour.

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Blog Book Tour | “Silver Tongue” by AshleyRose Sullivan a story where Seventh Star Press tackles ‘alternative historical fiction’ and the #revwar!Silver Tongue
by AshleyRose Sullivan
Illustrator/Cover Designer: AshleyRose Sullivan
Source: Publisher via Tomorrow Comes Media

The Colonies lost the Revolutionary War. Now it's 1839 and the North American continent is divided into three territories: New Britannia, Nueva Espana, and Nouvelle France where seventeen-year-old Claire Poissant lives.

Claire has a magical way with words-literally. But a mystical power of persuasion isn't the only thing that makes her different. Half-French and half-Indian, Claire doesn't feel at home in either world. Maybe that's why she's bonded so tightly with her fellow outcasts and best friends: Phileas, a young man whose towering intellect and sexuality have always made him the target of bullies, and Sam, a descendant of George Washington who shares the disgraced general's terrible, secret curse.

But when Sam's family is murdered, these bonds are tested and Claire's special ability is strained to its limits as the three hunt the men responsible into dangerous lands. Along the way they cross paths with P.T. Barnum, William Frankenstein and other characters from both history and fantasy as they learn the hard way that man is often the most horrific monster and that growing up sometimes means learning to let go of the things you hold most dear.

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 9781941706800

Also by this author: Guest Post (Awesome Jones) by AshleyRose Sullivan

Genres: Alternative History, Fantasy Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by Seventh Star Press

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 274

Published By: Seventh Star Press (@7thStarPress)
Available Formats: Softcover, E-book

Converse via: #AshleyRoseSullivan & #7thStar

(I would have used #SilverTongue but it was being used in-progress for an event and festivities on Twitter. Perhaps #SilverTongueBook might be more advantageous?)

About AshleyRose Sullivan

AshleyRose Sullivan

Born and raised in Appalachia, AshleyRose Sullivan now lives, writes, and paints in Los Angeles. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and her first novel, Awesome Jones: A Superhero Fairy Tale is available from Seventh Star Press. She can be found at her website or her blog, My Year Of Star Trek.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 4 September, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 19th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Alternative History, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Cliffhanger Ending, Coming-Of Age, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Horror, Creative Arts, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Earthen Magic, Earthen Spirituality, Equality In Literature, Fly in the Ointment, French Literature, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Illustration for Books & Publishing, Indie Art, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Native American Fiction, Parapsychological Gifts, Revolutionary War Era, Seventh Star Press Week, Tomorrow Comes Media

+Blog Book Tour+ The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

Posted Tuesday, 2 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 4 Comments

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Published by: Harper Books (@harperbooks)

an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Available Formats: Hardback, Audiobook, & Ebook

Official Author Websites: Site | Her Quirky Blog w/ Qs to her brother

Converse via: #TheStoryOfLandAndSea & #KatySimpsonSmith

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Acquired Book By:

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

+Blog Book Tour+ The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson SmithThe Story of Land and Sea
by Katy Simpson Smith
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours
Narrator: Edoardo Ballerini

Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, this incandescent debut novel follows three generations of family—fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave—characters who yearn for redemption amid a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.

Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father’s stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew. Since the loss of his wife, Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more. Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.

Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father. Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday. Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship. Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father’s wishes by falling in love. Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger. Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.

In this elegant, evocative, and haunting debut, Katy Simpson Smith captures the singular love between parent and child, the devastation of love lost, and the desperate paths we travel in the name of renewal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-0062335944

Genres: Historical Fiction, Military Fiction, Revolutionary War Era


Published by Harper Books

on 26th August, 2014

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 256

Length: 7 hours and 28 minutes (unabridged)

Author Biography:Katy Simpson Smith 

Katy Simpson Smith was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. She attended Mount Holyoke College and received a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She has been working as an adjunct professor at Tulane University and is the author of We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. She lives in New Orleans.

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An Editor’s Note inside the ARC:

I am always happily amazed when I find the letter from the Editor or Acquisitions person inside the publishing house who has elected to publish a novel. I get a bit giddy over these little notes which are inclusive to ARCs because from the outside world this little insight is out of sight from those of us who grew up reading finished copies of novels, and never knew what was held within the opening pages of an ARC. I, myself was only exposed to ARCs originally through my participation in the First Impressions programme at Book Browse. The first year I was a book blogger I received a few here or there, but it was in late Spring and into Mid-Summer I started to notice I was receiving more than the occasional few. I simply smiled, because for me, the happiness is in seeing how each publisher approaches the binding of an ARC and the disclosures they put on their back jackets as to how they are going to proceed with publicity and marketing. I like the little unknown details of the passageway a novel travels once it leaves the publisher; little clues I would only be able to fathom a guess untold previously.

Not every ARC has such a note, mind you, but the ones that do always strike me as needing to be included with the finished copy. It is such a curious bit of the novel’s life – this note the person who first came across the manuscript saw the life which is now breathed into the pages has set a note inside this advanced copy as to give the advanced reader the joy by which they had for themselves prior to the novel’s release. This hidden and treasured burst of joy of discovering a new novelist and the manner in which the pen inked out their written legacy. I cherish these notes and as I read this one from Mr. Jonathan Burnham (not an Editor per se, but the Senior Vice President) I felt an inertia of excitement. I saw in his short note of praise on behalf of The Story of Land and Sea, a reader who is lit afire by words and palettes of stories painted by ink. I knew then what I knew at the conclusion of the novel: I had stumbled across something quite remarkable.

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Listen to a passage from the Novel:

The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

as narrated by Edoardo Ballerini via HarperAudio_US

Starting my second blog tour novel via TLC through an audiobook sample:

Originally, I had been most delighted to share my experience in finding that Yangsze Choo had narrated her novel The Ghost Bride, as I had listened to her read the opening chapter of her novel prior to soaking inside the pages myself with the book in my hands. Imagine my happier joy in finding that this particular book The Story of Land and Sea, is not only released in audiobook but it was available to ‘sample’ via SoundCloud! I have included the sample along with my review, as the most curious nature of ‘listening’ to a novel ahead of consumption for me is having the blessing of hearing certain words and phrases spoken aloud! As I had fully declared on my review for The Ghost Bride, being a dyslexic reader is quite the elliptical adventure! I do not oft know how certain words are intoned or meant to be said aloud, as I garnish my own endearing language as I turn through the pages of the stories I read. Invariably, by the time I have finally sorted out how a word or name is properly said I am not always keen to let go of my original renderings as they have become a ‘part of the story’ as felt and seen through my own eyes of how the tale is revealed.

However, the beauty of audiobook samples online is that I get to curb my dyslexic slips at the jump-start of reading a new novel, soaking in a bit of the author’s original intended voice for their words and alight rather soundly inside the story as it was always meant to be enjoyed. In this instance, the voice of the narrator had a rather profound effect on how I saw the father in the story carry himself through his carriage; he is a strong yet a bit shy of a fellow, confident but not quite fully aware of his strengths at the same time. The actor who portrayed him did a good job of presenting the furrowed thoughts any father would have on behalf of his young daughter growing up without the benefit of a mother; or rather even, as a reflective premonition of how his daughter could mature on the merits of whom her mother was as a younger woman. He is a bit anguished over the history of his wife and daughter, and I appreciated hearing this conviction of emotion thriving in the voice on the audiobook version. Likewise, he did quite a good job at showing the innocent nature of a child – not quite fully understanding her father’s emotional state, and yearning to simply be in his company.

I daresay, this is going to be placed on my audiobook wish list over on Riffle! To think actors are now lending their voices to breathing life into stories lit alive by voice and the mirth of telling a story through the spirit of vocal narration! I ought to have half a mind to recommend a few actors I follow on Twitter to see if they could start to audition as they have speaking voices that I never tire of listening too, and I’d be plumb surprised if they were not a natural fit to this type of story-telling!

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Posted Tuesday, 2 September, 2014 by jorielov in 18th Century, A Father's Heart, Action & Adventure Fiction, ARC | Galley Copy, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Bookish Films, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Editor's Note | Inside ARC, Family Drama, Family Life, Father-Daughter Relationships, Historical Fiction, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Pirates and Swashbucklers, Revolutionary War Era, Single Fathers, Soundcloud, TLC Book Tours, War Drama

+Blog Book Tour+ Queen of Bedlam by Laura Purcell #Georgian #histfic

Posted Tuesday, 15 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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Queen of Bedlam by Laura Purcell

Queen of Bedlam by Laura Purcell

Published ByMyrmidon Books Ltd (@myrmidonbooks), 10 June, 2014 (UK Edition)
Official Author Websites: Site | @Laura_D_Purcell  | Facebook | GoodReads
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook Page Count: 384

Converse on Twitter: #QueenOfBedlam, #QueenOfBedlamTour, & #MyrmidonBooks

The author’s plans for her Hanoverian series of which Queen of Bedlam is Book One.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Queen of Bedlam” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher Myrmidon Books Ltd, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I will admit I have not yet tackled the Georgian Era in British history, which is one of the most neglected eras of my reading exploits to have come to my notice this past year! The Tudors were a bit of an interest of mine originally, yet they simply always felt a bit difficult to entreat inside their stories. The recent popularity of the Tudors sort of left me a bit betwixt knowing if I wanted to broach into the Tudors at this particular moment or not. Thankfully, I was able to find a few stories most agreeable to my interests, which I happily reviewed in recent months! When I first read about this particular novel, what perked my interest the most is that it was writ with an air of knowledge of the Georgians! An entire group of British royals I had never once entranced a fevering wink or nod into researching or reading! I always celebrate moments of this sort, because it simply proves that when a book alights in one’s hand to read, there are entreaties of the historical past that still hold a candle of surprise for the reader! And, this one by far had a premise and a potential which bewitched the very essence of this sentiment!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBook Synopsis:

London, 1788. The calm order of Queen Charlotte’s court is shattered by screams. Her beloved husband, England’s King, has gone mad.

Left alone with thirteen children and a country at war, Charlotte must fight to hold her husband’s throne in a time of revolutionary fever. But it is not just the guillotine that Charlotte fears: it is the King himself.

Her six daughters are desperate to escape their palace asylum. Their only chance lies in a good marriage, but no Prince wants the daughter of a madman. They are forced to take love wherever they can find it – with devastating consequences.

The moving true story of George III’s madness and the women whose lives it destroyed.


Author Biography:

Laura Purcell

Laura Purcell lives in Colchester, the oldest recorded town in England. She met her husband working in Waterstones bookshop and they share their home with several pet guinea pigs.

Laura is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Society for Court Studies and Historic Royal Palaces. She has recently appeared on the PBS documentary The Secrets of Henry VIII’s Palace, talking about Queen Caroline’s life at Hampton Court.

Laura’s novels explore the lives of royal women during the Georgian era, who have largely been ignored by modern history. Her debut Queen Charlotte was originally self-published as God Save the King, receiving excellent reviews as an Amazon bestseller in biographical fiction.

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The Georgian Era:

I had not realised there was a bit of an overlap between the time of Marie Antoinette during Revolutionary France and the Georgian Era of British history. I think perhaps, I might have missed this pertinent note on where the timescape of the era lies because whenever I am reading a novel before, during, or after the French Revolution, I am wholly full into that particular character and time of France itself. I do not always remember the secondary details if another country is mentioned or if they are mentioned at all — as oft-times I do read novels from a French perspective rather than on a fuller scope of the whole. What was most curious to me is how different the two worlds truly were and how similar they felt at the same time. Both of the royal families, between England and France were honoured with duty and obligations befit to their crowns, yet neither appeared to be blissful and happy within their own lives.

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Posted Tuesday, 15 July, 2014 by jorielov in 18th Century, Blog Tour Host, Britian, Castles & Estates, Debut Author, Debut Novel, George III, Georgian Era, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Modern British Author, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Revolutionary France, Revolutionary War Era, Windsor Castle

+Blog Book Tour+ The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Posted Monday, 10 March, 2014 by jorielov , , 4 Comments

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The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien
Betsy Bonaparte illustration was created by the author
Ruth Hull Chatlien

Published By: Amika Press, 2 December 2013
Official Author WebsitesSite | Twitter | Facebook
Converse via: #AmbitiousMmeBonaparte, #Bonaparte & #HistFic
Available Formats: Softcover and E-Book
Page Count: 484

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on “The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of this book direct from the publisher Amika Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Intrigued to Read:

Becoming Josephine reconfirmed my enthused passion for the French Revolution set around Marie Antoinette, as the history of France during that period is as fiery as the war itself! I’ve only been seeking out French literature for a little over four and a half years now, slowly finding my way through historical fiction authors who offer something that perks my eye towards a time for the French which was both harrowing and uncertain at the same time. Being of French ancestry, I cannot even properly think of what it would have been like to see the cities flaming orange and the overturn government leaving the entire country in a state of distress. Part of the reason I am seeking out books about the Bonaparte’s (from different angles & relations) is a measure of a step towards understanding a part of history that is difficult to accept. There are always hidden stories within history, antidotes which go to reason out a secret ‘something yet known’ which could in turn draw our empathy to those who caused such widespread tragedy.

This particular story is centered around the American Bonaparte’s and the 1814 Battle of Baltimore.

Inspired to Share: To serve as a precursor to the story and the review of which follows!

“The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte” by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Book Trailer via Ruth Hull Chatlien

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Author Biography:

Ruth Hull ChatlienRuth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for twenty-five years. Her specialty is U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders and has published several short stories and poems in literary magazines. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte (2013) is her first published novel.

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

Book Synopsis:

As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy.Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage.

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The American “Bonaparte’s” through the eyes of Betsy:

The framework of this biographical fiction novel centers around a Bonaparte I have not yet become familiar or acquainted with previously. In point of fact truth, I did not even realise we had an “American” side of the Bonaparte family, nor did I expect the drama to start to unfold in June of 1870 whilst Betsy herself was in her late eighties! I was quite intrigued at that junction, as if this were to become either a time slip between her past and her present or a flashback of memories in sequence, I knew I would be in for quite the treat!

And, I had not realised the story would be set within the Revolutionary War era on our countries shores, as that is such an era full of intrigue awaiting to be uncovered out of the dust of history’s annuals! As Chatlien moves her reader to expand the concept of powdered wigs and intricately ornamented clothes, I felt as though the portal was quite complete whilst I exited my own alcove and traded it in for the rooms of Betsy’s youth! She was a child who stood out to me at the earliest bits of narrative, because she was determined not to befell the pitfalls of most of her generation. She had an instinctive mind for business as much as she had a heart for literature. Her greatest joy was her best gift in an age where girls were not always given the freedom to learn or grasp a portion of life outside the walls of domesticity.

Reading of her thoughts of inadequacy in tandem of her mother’s postpartum depression bouts, left me realising how important it was for Women’s Suffrage and the equality of rights bestowed between the sexes. Oft times its difficult to re-imagine how the world was bent against the freedoms girls of the latter half of the 20th Century had inside their fingertips as compared to all women of previous generations. Proper change evolved quite slowly whilst history was propelling itself at a frequent hyper-speed race towards the conquering of industry, commerce, and trade. At the backdrop were always the impression that the hardest measure of distance between a women’s right to advance her life in a manner in which she felt fitting and the life her father or guardians forced upon her was as wide as the seven seas! Only those of obstinate grit, gumpshun, and internal strength could transform their stations above what was generally presumed their fate. A pinch of daring dreams and the belief that if you tried to reach the stars, you’d at least grant yourself a position near them!

The capacity for knowledge was never limited to males, but its the ability for a male-driven world to endeavour to embrace the abilities of women that has been hard won.

My Review of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte:

As I started to alight inside Betsy’s life, I was arriving whilst her son was at his deathbed and her heart had grown melancholic about her past. Her weathered spirit encouraged her mind to wander backwards towards the days when she and her husband Jerome were at their happiest. Yet she was just as inclined to reflect upon the passageways of her youth as she grew up in high society Baltimore. As Chatlien inserted a mention of the plantation uprisings at Cape Francois, my mind darted back to Josephine’s narrow escape of the same uprising in Becoming Josephine. The intersection of one novel into this one allowed my mind the flexible breath to pick up nearly where I had left off with the other. A bit of a compass point to gather myself and reacquaint back in time to the point in which Betsy’s story is emerging.

I loved how Chatlien included French phrases into the dialect of Betsy’s teacher, Madame Lacomb because the inclusion added a unique touch to the reality of Betsy’s life. I adore foreign languages inserted into stories, as it allows us to grasp a portion of the words in which we would have heard had we been inside the shoes of the main character! Chatlien continued the French language throughout the story during exchanges between Betsy and Jerome.

Betsy Patterson was a young woman who had set her cap to a loftier goal than most of her generation; to befit the dream of her yearnings, she would indeed attempt to draw the eye of a worthy European who could aspire her position in life to royalty. She was not keen on becoming a housewife sworn to duties of child-rearing and domestic arts. She had the tenacious mind to implore more out of her days than her peers were willing to understand. Outside of her close confidante of Henriette, that is! I felt she was blinded by ambition whilst pursuing Jerome Bonaparte, but she would not be the first woman who felt a match in marriage could solidify her ill-thought out plans. Her grounding of internal anxiety came out of her collected memories of her dearly beloved Maxims which endears her to you, knowing that she is a young soul searching for her wings.

Torn apart from the man of whom she felt most beloved (Jerome Bonaparte), Betsy was forced into exile by her beguiling father and brother William. Her stronghold faith in Jerome’s sincerity inspired her to dig in her heels and refute any future without him. I celebrated seeing her efforts extolled in matrimony! Within the early bits of their honeymoon, Betsy learnt that Jerome had deceived her afterall and I found that to be a bit of truth ebbing out what is readily known about men who act in haste towards marriage. My heart grieved for a bit as she was truly the honest one in the union, never-failing in her heart’s desire nor in her protection of whom carried her heart’s vow. Shortly thereafter Chatlien included the scene of Jerome and Betsy having their portraits painted, which flashed back in mind the recollections an elder Betsy had mentioned in the Prologue, and for me this was a struck of continuity brilliance!

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

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

A survivor’s heart:

Crossing the North Atlantic waters when France was on the footsteps of impending war by the actions Napoleon was taking to assert his authority and rule, made me feel anxious for Betsy’s first journey to France. The bravery she must have needed to encourage out of her bosom to be steadfast in Jerome’s company is unparalleled. Travel has always had its fair share of difficulties and cause for concern for personal safety, but what I appreciated in how Chatlien was relaying the story of the Bonaparte’s taking a step towards returning to Jerome’s native country, is how difficult it was in that timescape for even the simplest matters to become resolved. Most of their intimate lives were controlled by their families guidance and obsternational tactics, but when they are finally able to break free and live as man and wife, I found that the world was even less inviting than prior to their betrothal!

Despite the looming obstacles in her path, I found Betsy Bonaparte to be a strong-willed and determined spirit to always find the silver lining when life dealt her a stronger hand than she felt she could incur. Her heart rallied against the rakish claims against her husband but moreso she was willing to put her desires of heart and society alleviation ahead of her anxiety over how perception could turn the tides against her and her husband. It must have taken the strength of an oxen to circumvent society’s presumptions whilst finding complete joy in being surrounded by Jerome. The two shared a love which passionately was inflamed from the moment they both felt entwined to the other, and regardless of each attempt to draw them distant from each other, they resolved to remain united.

Jerome Bonaparte: out of the shadow of Napoleon:

My early impression of Jerome Bonaparte was a man with a decisiveness about him, unto giving himself an inflated position of command. His arrogance in disregarding even the most informal of societal rules for courtship were a bit rebuking, as he would lay claim to Betsy on-sight rather than by virtue of her countenance. By the time they were able to come together in a proper courtship, Betsy’s ideals of marriage were tested by her father’s faults on infidelity grounds. She positioned herself to give Jerome a fighting chance at her heart, but became torn in love and loyalty to her family when her father sought to drive a wedge between them. In this regard, I felt Bonaparte was a gracious gentlemen in his attempts to not only appease her father but to find a common ground to where his most desired future with Betsy could still be secured. What earlier reeked of arrogance might have actually been a case of love at first sight. They were bound by the rules of engagement which dictated what they could and could not do. In some ways, by the time I reached page 62, where Jerome is in conference with Betsy about needing to depart, I felt a hitching of remorse for both of them. Wondering how they could repair the fracture her father was creating and what incident of reparations could ensure their bond.

Jerome Bonaparte at first felt like he living within the shadows of his brother, Napoleon. As time progressed forward I found him to be a wholly strong individual in his own rights with a pedigree that took his future into uncertain realms. Listening to his side of his brother’s endeavours of conquerment and control, one would wonder how anyone could refute the claims! His version of Napoleon is one of saviour rather than destructor! His reckless pursuit of living free from the confines and chains of propriety gave him a few more woes than he would have necessarily had to endure. His impediment and impulsive nature sparked an image I had of his brother, as both Bonaparte’s now appeared to suffer one common personality quirk: neither accepted anyone’s opinion on how best to obtain what they desired and felt due their course.

Eloquent Wordsmiths & Passionate Researchers:

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

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What do you find captivating about the Bonaparte family!? Are you familiar with this side of the Bonapartes or did my review inspire you to seek out the title!? How did you first come to appreciate French Revolution history in or around the time of Marie Antoinette, and why do you think their history is just as captivating to us now as it was to the world then!? Do you find biographical fiction novels easier to swallow the lives of historical figures who piqué your interest?

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte”, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Chatlien, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer by Ruth Hull Chatlien had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it.Post dividers were provided by Shabby Blogs, who give bloggers free resources to add personality to their blogs. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Francois de La Rochefoucauld (Biography) – (en.wikipedia.org)

Francois de La Rochefoucauld (Quoted) – (en.wikiquote.org)

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 10 March, 2014 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Baltimore, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Clever Turns of Phrase, Debut Novel, Elizabeth "Betsy" Patterson Bonaparte, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, French Revolution, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Napoleon Bonaparte, Passionate Researcher, Revolutionary France, Revolutionary War Era, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage