Category: Nun

Blog Book Tour | “The Shepherdess of Siena” by Linda Lafferty

Posted Thursday, 14 May, 2015 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 originally found BookSparks PR last Spring, when I came upon the Summer Reading Challenge a bit too late in the game. I hadn’t forgotten about it, and was going to re-contact them this Spring to see if I could join the challenge this year instead. Coincidentally, before I sorted this out, I was contacted by one of their publicists about Linda Lafferty’s Renaissance historical novel.  I received a complimentary copy of “The Shepherdess of Siena” direct from the publicist at BookSparks in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

I will be blogging about my contributions and participation in the Summer Reading Challenge 2015 because something quite remarkable happened to allow me to read the first six novels of the ten I selected to blog about. Mum’s the word until I post a very special edition of ’10 Bookish / Not Bookish Thoughts’!

On reading about the Renaissance and stories about strong women:

I fell in love with Renaissance Italy as a child, swept away by the artisans and artists during the re-genesis of creative voice and freedom of expression across their societal divides. The Renaissance is fraught with drama depending on where you alight during it’s different periods of time, but one thing remains: the will of the people to not only overcome what is happening but to dig deeper into a well of strength to overtake what is wrong and shift forward into the future on a sturdier path towards change. It was an incredible time in history, and it is the stories of the people that I am always drawn towards most when I pick up a historical work of fiction.

To tuck inside a commoners or royals life, seeing what they might have seen or felt what they might have bled out of their hearts whilst surviving or yielding to the fray of the hour. Historical fiction I find is enriching because it presents a different worldview than our contemporary timescape; it knits together ideas and motivations to conquer issues which have had lasting results even in our own generations. I like seeing how the people rose to the occasions they were presented with living through but moreso to that end, I like reading about their ordinary lives. Even a royal family at the end of the day are merely who they are behind closed doors — the circumstances of their royal origins do not limit their curiosity but rather increase it, as who are they when the world is not looking?

On the opposite end of it, I love unearthing little unknown pockets of the historical past, elements of how time, life, family, and evolution of thought can expand itself into a boiling stew of passion and declaration for liberty to live on one’s own terms. Strong women in fiction is awe-inspiring, but my favourite preference is finding the women who lived so very long ago held within them a chalice of strength written into the fiber of all women before and after them.

Blog Book Tour | “The Shepherdess of Siena” by Linda LaffertyThe Shepherdess of Siena: a novel of Renaissance Tuscany
by Linda Lafferty
Source: Direct from Publicist

The Shepherdess of Siena takes us to the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside in a lush drama of untamed horses and wild hearts played out in historic Siena.

Linda Lafferty, bestselling author of The Bloodletter’s Daughter, releases her fourth novel The Shepherdess of Siena. This riveting new novel is based on the real life tale of Virgina Tacci who at age fourteen rode the Palio Horse tournament in 1581 bareback. Linda’s love of all things equestrian and her extensive travel to Italy paints a vivid picture of Tuscany with passion and truth.

Raised by her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, young orphan Virginia Tacci has big dreams of competing in Siena’s Palio horse race. As a shepherdess in sixteenth-century Italy, her peasant class and her gender supremely limit Virginia’s possibilities. Inspired by the daring equestrian feats of Isabella de’ Medici, who rides with the strength and courage of any man, Virgina’s dreams don’t seem so difficult to reach.

The Shepherdess of Siena brings alive the rich history of one of Tuscany’s most famed cities and this lush, captivating saga draws an illuminating portrait of one girl with an unbreakable spirit.

 

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 31st March, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 616

Published By: Lake Union Publishing
Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook, and Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #ShepherdessOfSiena

About Linda Lafferty

Linda Lafferty taught in public education for nearly three decades, in schools from the American School of Madrid to the Boulder Valley schools to the Aspen school district. She completed her PhD in bilingual special education and went on to work in that field, as well as teaching English as a second language and bilingual American history.

Horses are Linda’s first love, and she rode on the University of Lancaster’s riding team for a year in England. As a teenager, her uncle introduced her to the sport of polo, and she played in her first polo tournament when she was seventeen.

Linda also loves Siena, Italy, and the people of the region and has returned to the city half a dozen times in the past three years to research her novel. Linda is the author of three previous novels: The Bloodletter’s Daughter, The Drowning Guard, and House of Bathory. She lives in Colorado with her husband.

Lafferty's Author Page on Book Browse

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Divider

Posted Thursday, 14 May, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 15th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, BookSparks, Catherine de Medici, Catholicism, Coming-Of Age, Father-Daughter Relationships, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Horse Drama & Fiction, Indie Author, Isabella de' Medici, Italy, Library Love, Literary Fiction, Literature of Italy, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Nun, Orphans & Guardians, Religious Orders, Renaissance Tuscany, Sisterhood friendships, Soundcloud, the Renaissance (14th-17th Centuries), Tuscany, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Rights

Blog Book Tour | “Last Night at the Blue Angel” by Rebecca Rotert

Posted Thursday, 30 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 3 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 “Last Night at the Blue Angel” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

A Note on the Cover Art Design:

I can honestly say that this is one time where I prefer the cover art design on the first edition rather than the P.S. Edition, as you will see via the SoundCloud Novel Excerpt and the After Story feature below the review, the original design I felt befit the story much better than this new version which only sought to confuse me when I first received the book. You have to look at it from afar if you can even hope to understand what the image is representing whereas the original design had the elements of the synopsis held within the gaze. The colour hues of the original fit better to as far as atmosphere of the kind of story your about to read.

Blog Book Tour | “Last Night at the Blue Angel” by Rebecca RotertLast Night at the Blue Angel
by Rebecca Rotert
Source: Publisher via TLC Book Tours

Set against the turbulence of 1960s Chicago—a city in transformation—and its legendary jazz scene, Last Night at the Blue Angel is a lush and immensely heartfelt mother-daughter tale about a talented but troubled singer’s relationship with her precocious ten-year-old daughter.

 It is the early 1960s, and Chicago is teeming with the tensions of the day—segregation, sexual experimentation, the Cold War and Vietnam—but it is also home to some of the country’s most influential jazz. Naomi Hill, a singer at the Blue Angel club, has been poised on the brink of stardom for nearly ten years. But when her big break, the cover of Look magazine, finally arrives, it carries with it an enormous personal cost. Sensual and magnetic, Naomi is a fiercely ambitious yet self-destructive woman whose charms tend to hurt those around her, and no one knows this better than her daughter, Sophia.

As the only child of a single mother growing up in an adult world, Sophia is wise beyond her years, a casualty of her mother’s desperate struggle for fame and adoration. Unsettled by her home life, she harbors a terrible fear that her world could disappear at any moment, and compulsively maintains a list of everyday objects she might need to reinvent should nuclear catastrophe strike. Her only constant is the colorful and unconventional family that surrounds her and her mother, particularly the photographer, Jim, who is Sophia’s best friend, surrogate father, and protector—but Jim is also deeply in love with Naomi.

Weaving between the perspectives of Sophia and Naomi, Last Night at the Blue Angel is a poignant and unforgettable story about what happens when our passion for the life we want is at sharp odds with the life we have. Part stylish period piece, part heartbreaking family drama, it’s a novel rife with revelations, a vivid and propulsive page-turner—and the major debut of an extraordinary new writer.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Genres: Literary Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on 14th April, 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 352

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, P.S. Edition paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #LastNightAtTheBlueAngel

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
Listen to an Excerpt of the Novel:

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

About Rebecca Rotert

Rebecca Rotert received an M.A. in literature from Hollins College, where she was the recipient of the Academy of American Poets prize. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and other publications. She's also an experienced singer and songwriter, who has performed with several bands, and a teacher with the Nebraska Writers Collective. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska. This is her first novel.

Read More

Divider

Posted Thursday, 30 April, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Audiobook, Audiobook Excerpt, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Chicago, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, History, Jazz Musicians, Jazz Singers, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction, Nun, Photography, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Realistic Fiction, Soundcloud, The Sixties, TLC Book Tours

Book Cover Reveal & Announcement | #CoorahCreek No.2 coming soon from #ChocLit (@ChocLitUK) by Janet Gover A Western Outback small towne where the close-knit community truly uplifts your joy of visiting Coorah Creek!

Posted Saturday, 21 March, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

As you might have recalled, Flight to Coorah Creek was one of my favourite ChocLit reads of the past year, as I started reading novels by ChocLitUK authors in January of 2014. As I enter into my second year of reading ChocLitUK, I am overjoyed at the journey I’ve taken through their backlist and new releases thus far along, inasmuch as I have a wicked lovely ‘ChocLit Next Reads list‘ which continues to grow each month I find there is another ‘must read’ ChocLit novel being released!
A year ago, most new releases were available in print, however, in 2015 they are debuting in ebook versions prior to audiobook and print, which will follow suit in latter months. Imagine my wicked sweet surprise in being contacted by Ms Gover to host a special ‘book announcement’ and series spotlight on my blog overnight!? I had become enchanted with Coorah Creek for it’s representation of ‘small towne Romance’ and hearty fiction set within a Western / Outback world!
One of my happily devoured sections of Romance are the stories set in small townes, such as Serenity where we greet the women who make up the Sweet Magnolia’s (a sisterhood friendship amongst career women at different stages of their lives; sharing life, love, memories, and a lot of sweet tea!) penned by Sherryl Woods. Woods has a way of endearing you with realistic themes and compelling drama inside a series that remains true to itself per each new installment of the women who live in Serenity.
Cedar Cove came into my life years before the tv series came to Hallmark Channel, as I honestly encouraged Ms MacComber to pitch the series and her Angel stories to the network as I felt even back in the early 2000s, MacComber would be a ‘good fit’ for Hallmark’s collection of sweet romances and quality television in a sex crazy world where relationships are rarely seen on film. I loved Cedar Cove for it’s Pacific Northwest setting as much as I loved the familiarity of the characters from novel to novel. I am unsure of the translation of it to tv, as I missed the 1st season as it aired.
Coorah Creek wooed me with it’s rugged outback location, it’s salt of the earth quirky characters, and it’s willingness to not only become a safe harbour for someone seeking solace from the world at large, but a place of a new beginning where you can put down roots and carve out your own destiny. Coorah Creek has the beauty of a close-knitted community you find within small townes, against the eloquently vivid backdrop of the Outback; where horses, humans, and wild blue skies greet each other. Gover had me so over the moon for Coorah Creek, even as I read Flight to Coorah Creek I was envisioning myself returning; yet that felt strange, how do you return if a sequel isn’t even known?
There are other small townes and other writers who pen compelling instances of what I consider a wicked good read for small towne life, community connectiveness, nature and wildlife in close proximity to where you lay your hat, and the beauty of not being clogged inside the wheel of chaos each time you want to step outside your door as most larger areas give you the impression of whilst your there. I was bourne and bred in the city, but I had a chance to exchange it for the country; now my heart is half-tethered to both worlds; seeking a way to find balance between convenience and serenity of spirit. Not to mention a slower pace and a calming rhythm of being connected with neighbours, community members, and the natural world.
The news originally broke inside a #ChocLitSaturdays chat (prior to when I changed our tag) that Coorah Creek was not singularly defined by Flight to Coorah Creek but merely a first greeting in which to become acquainted and book our residence for a long-term stay at the only Inn in towne (it’s above the ‘better’ bar; smiles). A place where you can happily snuggle into jeans, boots, and a fedora whilst embracing the freedom of riding horses, kicking up dust in jeeps, and being there for your neighbours.
I was overjoyed to throw a Pub Party for Ms Gover on #ChocLitSaturday today! The details of which will partially be revealed on this post, but will also alight when I write up the compliment blog post for today’s convo! It was a happy hour full of #booklove, #bookjoy, and the camaraderie amongst friends who’ve only known each other for just shy of a year!  At least, I’ve only known the ChocLit’ers for the twelvemonths I’ve been hosting the chat, as we’ve had the chance to get to know each other off-blog and out in life. The convos are the blissful happy moments I cherish, and to celebrate a new release by an author I already smashingly love reading, wells, what could be better?!
Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

The Wild One {Coorah Creek No.2 } by Janet Gover

Previously I read and reviewed Flight to Coorah Creek

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK), 3 April 2015 (PRE-ORDER time!)

Available Formats: Ebook; more formats forthcoming!

Converse via: #ChocLit & #CoorahCreek

Illustrated By: Berni Stevens

 @circleoflebanon | Writer | Illustrator

Genre(s): Fiction | Romance | Small Towne Fiction

the Australian Outback | Second Chances

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Divider

Posted Saturday, 21 March, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Australia, Australian Literature, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Cookery, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Novel, Divorce & Martial Strife, Domestic Violence, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Horse Drama & Fiction, Indie Author, Life Shift, Medical Fiction, Military Fiction, Modern British Literature, Nun, Passionate Researcher, Photography, Psychological Abuse, Religious Orders, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Second Chance Love, Single Mothers, Singletons & Commitment, Small Towne Fiction, Western Fiction, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth a #fairytale re-telling of Rapunzel by #BrothersGrimm

Posted Thursday, 9 October, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Published By: Minotaur Books (@MinotaurBooks), (a Thomas Donne book)
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group, which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers
Official Author Websites:  Site | Blog @KateForsyth | Facebook

Available Formats: Hardback, Trade Paperback, & Ebook

Converse via: #BitterGreensBlogTour, #Rapunzel, #FairyTale, & #BitterGreens

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Bitter Greens” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

I grew up inside the world of fairy-tales like most young children whose imagination is captured by the fantasy worlds a fairy-tale can generate and explode inside their minds and hearts. I did not always read the direct stories from literature, but opted instead for the motion picture versions and/or re-tellings of the same tale told from a different writer; as part of me always felt that the Brothers Grimm fairy-tales were for someone a bit older than I was at the time I had stumbled across them. I did, of course, read stories like “Little Red Riding Hood” or others that were in collection anthologies for children, but I never truly paid any mind or attention to who was writing them as I liked reading each of the short stories in succession of each other. I do know I appreciated Hans Christian Anderson as a child, but I am not sure which of his were my ultimate favourite either; I will have to re-explore his works at some point down the road.

Even if I heard the stories told aloud by family members or watched an adaptation on the screen, the entire world always fit quite happily inside my mind’s eye, as I liked the lessons stitched into the fabric of the stories themselves. I always liked seeing how the characters worked themselves out of situations and found true strength in the midst of difficulty. The fact there were more happy endings than there were unresolved cliffhangers was a big draw as well, as despite the obstacles that arose, it was quite wicked to find they could live peacefully in the end.

One of my favourite adaptations is “Ever After” on behalf of “Cinderella”, although there are a few other adaptations I appreciate as well. I am not remembering which versions of Rapunzel I am familiar with but when I first learnt of this novel, I was attracted to the deeply wrought story as an underlay to the main thread of context for the well-known fairy-tale. I do remember I used to tell different variants of the story whilst I was in elementary school, as it was a bit of a game we used to play at lunch. We were either re-inventing different outcomes for Rapunzel or Rumpelstiltskin; when we weren’t fondly trying to trip each other up remembering our US Presidents with their various nicknames to help clue us to which one was which. Elementary school games were filled with fond memories as it was one of the few times my classmates and I truly came together as one for the pure joy of ‘sharing’ and being full of ‘laughter’.

I did get a kick out of watching “Tangled” which I realise now was a Rapunzel variant of the story, but then again I grew up on Disney animated films; I tend to keep my eye on the releases that remind me of my childhood.

Blog Book Tour | Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth a #fairytale re-telling of Rapunzel by #BrothersGrimmBitter Greens
by Kate Forsyth

The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love.

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens…

After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author:

Genres: Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Historical Fiction


Published by A Thomas Donne Book

on 23rd September, 2014 (in the United States)

Pages: 496

Author Biography:

Kate Forsyth

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.

Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called ‘The Wild Girl’, which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world’s most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, ‘The Wild Girl’ is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013.

She is probably most famous for ‘Bitter Greens’, a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. ‘Bitter Greens’ has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’, and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award.

Her most recent book for children is ‘Grumpy Grandpa’, a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem.

Since ‘The Witches of Eileanan’ was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with ‘The Gypsy Crown’ – which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, ‘The Lightning Bolt’, was also a CBCA Notable Book.

Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing.

Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, ‘A Mother’s Offering to her Children’. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

On reading a re-telling ahead of an original canon:

I clearly have stepped outside my own preferences in reading this past year, as previously I would attempt to read an original canon version of a story prior to picking up a re-telling of the same story. I have found that due to different reasons time doesn’t always allow the luxury of going back to the canon, but rather only allows me to read the book at hand. On the other side of the coin, there have been a few times where I felt not reading the original work might befit me moreso than if I had, such as the case with Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-Day Tale and my forthcoming review of The Monogram Murders (Hercules Poirot). As this particular story is a Brothers Grimm, I was more akin to yearning to read a re-telling than perhaps the original, as I always felt the Grimm brothers wrote stories a bit more intense than I might be drawn to read on a regular basis. At the heart of their stories, I was always wholly entranced but to the actually reading of them? I was always a bit on the fence of where I fit with my inclinations. Realising I had known enough about Rapunzel to insert myself into the flow of the novel, is why I settled myself into the pace Forsyth was generating from the opening of the story and onward. I would be curious if other readers make the same choices I do, or if they have a preference for reading canons prior to after canons; it is such a curious situation to have and I find myself yielding a bit when it comes to where my preferences lie on the issue.

My Review of Bitter Greens:

The Abbey into which Charlotte-Rose de la Force enters has such a strict rule base to follow, that I was curious how she could abide by a quarter of their order’s restrictions when she was entering the convent a free-spirit of the 17th Century. The rules of her day were quite forthright as she was simply another woman cast into an Abbey at the voice of the King, as she was no longer useful nor wanted at Court. The harshness of the sentence was in the fact that most of the women who were forced into this life did not go willingly but rather begrudgingly yet they had little recourse to pursue a different course. In many ways, at the beginning of this novel I started to think back on my reading of Illuminations as the circumstances of being cast into a particular closed off from society insular world was highly familiar. On this level, Bitter Greens is a historical fiction arc of a story set against the back-drop of a biographical fiction narrative, as we are learning about the story of Rapunzel through the writer who gave birth to the idea that has staid with us for generations.

The ache of Mademoiselle’s heart clenched into a tight knot as her new cloister environment did not permit her to continue her writings or her stories from being spilt out of her quill. I was tucked up in curiosity at this revelation to sort out how her story of Rapunzel would come to flourish inside such a stark and dank place where the creative arts were discouraged. It was a bit striking to me that they did not want their sisters to take up a hobby or have a personal vice to keep their own sanity amongst the duties they would endure – so many hours would stack against the clock, and to have a bit of a reprieve in my mind would have settled the heart to endurance.

One particular part of the story I was rather keen on involves beekeeping and the wisdom of knowledge the apothecarist at the convent shares with Charlotte-Rose during a measure of repentance she owes for stepping out of line. Sister Seraphina keeps not only a full garden for her sisters but an active hive, where she cares for her bees with both love and reverence for their culture. I have always appreciated learning more about bees as their struggle to survive is always so very perilous of a plight. Inserting this thread of Sister Seraphina was most delightful, as it spoke to how some of the sisters carved out a bit of peace for themselves even within the walls of a ruled life of order. This was a turning point for me in the story, as I started to feel attached to both characters as warmly as I have felt towards Hildegard.

The origins of Rapunzel are presented as a symphony of a lived life from an era prior to Charlotte-Rose’s own, as told to her by Sister Seraphina whilst they toiled in the garden. What I found so incredible about this bit of traction of where the inspiration for the story of Rapunzel was spun from is how ironic it was for Charlotte-Rose to find herself putting roots into her time at the abbey. She was as indifferent to the life of service as Hildegard (there are a lot of cross-references for me in my mind between both stories!), irked beyond her ire to make peace with her situation, and yet had a bit of a warming glow towards acknowledging that there could be a way towards happiness despite her emotions as a small flicking candle lighting the flame. Her solace was always hinged to stories and the craft of telling stories in a voice that carried the mirth of joy of having them being told. She wandered off into her mind as soon as a measure of shadow and ill will would work itself into her path or affect those she knew around her. The stories were a freedom from reality to help her mind heal from what it did not want to acknowledge as being real as much as to calm her nerves from feeling overwhelmed by something she witnessed or heard. The infusion of how she worked her words into her own creative voice for stories is an outlet of her truest strength. Seeing how this originated and how it percolated at the abbey was the kind of insight that we do not always perceive on behalf of writers of fairy-tales and mythologies. I am not sure how much was based on actual knowledge and how much was creatively inspired, but the notion of where it all stemmed from was beyond fascinating to read in Bitter Greens!

Charlotte-Rose has been given the rarest of gifts: the chance to thread her memories through the spindle of her mind and takeaway insight into how she became the woman she is and how the choices she made affected her future. The tome of wonder you will find within this novel is only one part of the whole of Charlotte-Rose’s life and an expedition of a theory of how she came to fulfill her destiny as a spinning of stories and telling tales full of incredible wisdom. There is a particular surprise for all of us who have travelled down the rabbit hole with Kate Forsyth seeking Rapunzel and finding someone unexpectedly present instead. I felt like smirking when I realised the beauty of Forsyth’s choice and the level of eloquence she stitched into this story overall. I was quite struck by the realisation that from the moment I first opened Bitter Greens to the moment I closed the ARC, I was taken completely unawares and most delighted by the experience!

On the writing style of Kate Forsyth:

Somehow I had forgotten that the novel The Wild Girl was the first novel I had come across by Kate Forsyth at my local library – a book I had checked out a few times yet had not had the honour of reading in full. Forsyth puts dual empathsis on the story of Charlotte-Rose and of Margherita (the inspiration behind Rapunzel) throughout Bitter Greens; owning to each vein of the narrative when writing from one fusion of the story to the other. I found myself drawn closer into the plight of Charlotte-Rose during this reading as I think for me, I found a connection in her that I had discovered whilst reading Hildegard (from Illuminations), and thereby my mind simply alighted onto her path a bit more than Margherita’s at this time. I will have to see after I have the pleasure of reading the Brothers Grimm tale of Rapunzel if I feel more attachment to the passages involving Margherita.

The breadth of her vision for this re-telling is quite impressive, as she didn’t just present a new way of seeing Rupunzel but rather to bridge the gap between the fairy-tale, the reality of two women who truly lived, and the way in which the story has evolved through each generation who fell in sync with it’s telling. She has given us a hearty adaptation whose layers curate in your mind and encourage the reader to take a second reading to fully absolve through the multi-dimensional story in full earnest. I know I will be seeing how my impression of the duality shifts and evolves, but for a first reading I was properly enchanted and spellbound. This is a gutting story-line of perseverance and fortitude whilst dealing with tribulations that no one would soon want to find themselves in the midst of personally.

I do highly recommend that readers might consider reading Illuminations before they read Bitter Greens, as there are instances of overlap between situations found within both stories; for me personally, some of those instances were better understood because I had read Illuminations last year.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Bitter Greens Book Trailer via Kate Forsyth

Inspired to Share: The placards and music presented in this impressive book trailer elude to the passages that will be found within the pages of “Bitter Greens”; as this is not your ordinary fairy-tale nor is it a re-telling that you’re expecting to find; the layers of story and of time itself through different eras and recollective memories is what helps enchant you as you read; but it is the sheer vision of Forsyth to spin the tale as only she could give it life that stays with you. Consider this trailer a bit of a ‘teaser’ of what the novel will yield!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Virtual Road Map for “Bitter Greens” can be found here:

Bitter Greens Virtual Tour with HFVBTsBe sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

I will be hosting an Author Interview
with Kate Foryth on this blog tour as well. 

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT on my Bookish Events page!

This blog tour is also highlighting the:

Historical Novel SocietyA society that I hope to one day join myself as I love their content & focus on Historical Fiction. I appreciate being able to use their badge in my blog’s sidebar to promote awareness of their efforts to spotlight emerging talent inside the genre & for providing amazing ways to become integrated into the mission of supporting today’s historical authors who write such convicting narratives and stories. For the moment I support from afar but I always love alighting on their site and seeing what is new & forthcoming. They even host live events & get togethers!

I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Bitter Greens”, book synopsis, author photograph of Kate Forsyth, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer for “Bitter Greens” via Kate Forsyth 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. 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 by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Historical Novel Society badge was used with permission; as book bloggers are encouraged to promote the Society on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The ‘live reading’ tweets I shared as I read & reviewed “Bitter Greens”:

{ favourite & Re-tweet if inspired to share }

Comments on Twitter:

Divider

Posted Thursday, 9 October, 2014 by jorielov in 17th Century, Apiculture, Apothecary, ARC | Galley Copy, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Catholicism, Charlotte-Rose de la Force, Domestic Violence, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Honeybees, Nun, Religious Orders, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Widows & Widowers