Category: Historical Romance

Blog Book Tour | “Dreaming of Tomorrow” (Dreaming of Tomorrow, Tomorrow series Book Three) by Melissa McClone

Posted Friday, 20 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.

I received a complimentary copy of “Dreaming of Tomorrow” direct from the author Michelle de Bruin exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWhy I was interested in reading this Historical Romance:

I’ve have a penchant for Historical Romances – however, what makes this series a bit different is the fact the whole series (as it is thus far written) centres round two central characters who are involved in a slow brewing romance. At least from what I can stipulate is the case from the author’s page for the Tomorrow series. I wasn’t able to secure copies of the first two novels in the series – as per my usual preference when it comes to serial fiction (even if the installments are adverted as standalones) – which is why I was thankful for the synopsis of the first two stories ahead of Dreaming of Tomorrow.

It felt the timing was off for Logan and Karen; as they each had their own lives to live and to lead; yet what I was slightly confused by were the book covers as they aren’t traditional artwork for Historical Fiction novels. In fact, the cover for ‘Dreaming of Tomorrow’ felt more like 21st Century than the early Nineteen Hundreds. Not that I choose a book by its cover art nor do I let the art on covers dictate how I will approach reading a story – but in this particular case, it just felt more ‘modern’ bride than historical farmer’s wife who wants to co-lead their community in ministry.

I think I’m spoilt off the covers @JennyQinVA creates as she has created most of the historical covers sported on the books I’ve been reading these past seven years.

What was more interesting is how the author approached making this a bit of a saga and a slow brewed romance series – as I am definitely a girl who can either take a romance resolved in one installment or across a series, if the author has convinced me the two belong together and I find myself caught in the throes of their courtship. Now, the only question mark I had is what separated Karen from Logan? And, what turnt their relationship into a long distanced romance!? I am hoping bits of the first two installments are shared within the third in order to feel better rooted in their life’s story.

On a secondary note, I am a book blogger who loves supporting Indie & Self-Published authors – it has been the backbone of my readerly experience as a book blogger and as a chat host via @SatBookChat. These authors across all genres of personal interest fast become my top favourites because of how they approach writing their stories and the fact I have an Indie writerly soul at heart myself.

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Blog Book Tour | “Dreaming of Tomorrow” (Dreaming of Tomorrow, Tomorrow series Book Three) by Melissa McCloneDreaming of Tomorrow
Subtitle: Tomorrow Series Book Three
by Michelle De Bruin
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Love leads them to a lifetime of commitment where the dreams they have held onto for so long start to come true.

Popular and eligible, Logan De Witt must convince the women in town that he is engaged to be married. A quiet, simple ceremony is what he has in mind for his wedding day, but when the date and time of his bride’s arrival is published in the newspaper, the whole town joins in the celebration proving to Logan and his new wife their sincere friendship and support. Added to the excitement of Logan’s marriage is the question of what the congregation should do with the unexpected donation of an orchard.

Karen Millerson is counting the days until her long-distance engagement comes to an end and she may travel to Oswell City to marry Logan. More than anything, she wants to share in his life as a help and support, but keeping a house and finding her place in the community requires much more work than she ever expected.

Learn, laugh, and love with Karen and Logan as they start a new marriage and work together ministering to the citizens of their small town.

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1649170828

Published by Scrivenings Press

on 15th October, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 318

The Tomorrow series:

Hope for Tomorrow by Michelle de BruinPromise for Tomorrow by Michelle de BruinDreaming of Tomorrow by Michelle de Bruin

Hope for Tomorrow (book one)

Promise for Tomorrow (book two)

Dreaming of Tomorrow (book three)

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Published by: Scrivenings Press (@ScriveningsLLC)
co-owned by Shannon Vannatter (@stvauthor)

I was happily surprised to discover this Indie Publisher is co-owned by Ms Vannatter as when I first came across the book blogosphere in (2012) the year before I created and developed Jorie Loves A Story – this author’s blog was one of my mainstays wherein I would read, comment and visit. She is one of the authors’ who has a blog which connects readers to writers and hosts bookaways, too. In the world of INSPY she was one of the authors I enjoyed visiting with due to how she kept her blog and the conversations with authors both approachable but also entertaining to where you learnt something about their stories and their craft for writing. She usually breaks up her blog features into two parts, too which gives you an extra moment to visit with her featured authors.

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #TomorrowSeries, #HistFic or #HistoricalFiction
as well as #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance,
#IndieAuthor, #IndieChristian, #INSPYRomance+ #DTPrism

About Michelle De Bruin

Michelle De Bruin

Michelle De Bruin lives in Iowa with her husband and two teenage sons. She has a bachelor’s degree in Religion with a Christian Ministry emphasis, and in Music. Michelle is the spiritual services provider for an organization that offers services for people with mental and physical disabilities. She has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) since 2015.

Michelle writes Inspirational Historical Romance about people who live in rural communities. Characters that bring to life the delights of farm and small-town living, whispers of Dutch heritage, and Christian faith make Michelle’s stories distinct. A romantic at heart, Michelle is always on the lookout for glimpses of God’s love through the window of a good story.

Her first book, Hope for Tomorrow, released in 2018. The sequel, Promise for Tomorrow, released November 2019. The third book in the series, Dreaming of Tomorrow, released November 2020.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 20 November, 2020 by jorielov in 20th Century, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Prism Book Tours, Romance Fiction, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, the Nineteen Hundreds

A #HistFic Book Spotlight with Notes | feat. “Gentleman Jim” by Mimi Matthews – the third story by this author Jorie wants to be #amreading!

Posted Thursday, 19 November, 2020 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

This marks my second time hosting with Austenprose – although, I have been a long time admirer of her blog and it is an honour to start a new journey in hosting her blog tours! Ms Laurel reached out to me initially to host her authors for my bookish chat known for showcasing Romance & Women’s Fiction as well as stories of Feminist Lit – @SatBookChat meets on Saturdays January-November annually. Through conversing with her I had the pleasure of joy of becoming better acquainted with two authors I have been itching to start reading over the years – Ms Sarah M. Eden of whom I spotlighted yesterday ahead of my review at the end of the blog tour and Ms Mimi Matthews of whom I am spotlighting today.

I have been seeing a lot of my fellow book bloggers speak highly in praise & admiration for Ms Matthews stories over the past several years in the book blogosphere. I’ve been wanting to start reading them myself – however, either the blog tours fill too quickly to join or the stories are not available in print to request for review. This Christmas, part of my #blogmas selections is “Holiday in Gaslight” which made the rounds through a lot of my friends’ blogs a few years ago now becomes the first Matthews story I will be able to read courtesy of my library accepting my purchase request.

Historical Romance is one of my favourite subgenres of Historical Fiction – so much so, I have the tendency to read more of it than I do Contemporary Fiction – though I would suspect in the past years since 2016 I might have had a better balance between the modern world and the historic past courtesy of finding authors & publishers who are producing the kind of stories I love to read the most. With Historical Romance you get to jettison off into a different timescape and era – to see how life could have been lived and a reflection of where we were in the world at the same time. Both on a note of societal perspectives and of the political spheres as well.

This particular story was an interesting one for me to find – as generally, I try to avoid reading stories about revenge – until of course, I realised earlier this Spring sometimes a good story of revenge if told well can become an intriguing read of its own. What changed my mind was one of the Dolly Parton movies via NetFlix – the ones based round her songs? I’ve been a *huge!* appreciator of Ms Parton since I was a kid and to see her songs transformed into stories and films was quite the feat of joy for me! The mini series overall was called “Heartstrings” but the historical revenge plot was featured in “JJ Sneed”. Quite literally the best revenge Westerns I’ve seen or read in quite a long time!

Ergo, when it came time to consider hosting this blog tour – based on what I loved in Parton’s film, I thought perhaps I ought to try reading more stories of #HistFic which deal with this particular topic of interest and see where those stories take me. Thereby, I decided to be on the tour and in lieu of a print copy available to request I am happily spotlighting this title to help other Historical readers like me see if this might be their cuppa tea, too!

This marks my final tour to host for Austenprose before 2021 – however, I am keenly excited about what the New Year might bring and I look forward to continuing to host for Ms Laurel as it has been such a wonderful experience this Autumn.

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A #HistFic Book Spotlight with Notes | feat. “Gentleman Jim” by Mimi Matthews – the third story by this author Jorie wants to be #amreading!Gentleman Jim
Subtitle: A tale of Romance and Revenge
by Ms Mimi Matthews, Mimi Matthews
Source: Publisher via Austenprose

She Couldn't Forget...

Wealthy squire's daughter Margaret Honeywell was always meant to marry her neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, but it's bastard-born Nicholas Seaton who has her heart. Raised alongside her on her father's estate, Nick is the rumored son of notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Fred frames him for theft, Nick escapes into the night, vowing to find his legendary sire. But Nick never returns. A decade later, he's long been presumed dead.

He Wouldn't Forgive...

After years spent on the continent, John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare has finally come home to England. Tall, blond, and dangerous, he's on a mission to restore his family's honor. If he can mete out a bit of revenge along the way, so much the better. But he hasn't reckoned for Maggie Honeywell. She's bold and beautiful--and entirely convinced he's someone else.

As danger closes in, St. Clare is torn between love and vengeance. Will he sacrifice one to gain other? Or, with a little daring, will he find a way to have them both?

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1733056991

Also by this author: A Modest Independence

Published by Perfectly Proper Press

on 10th November, 2020

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The stories on Jorie’s radar by Ms Matthews:

Holiday by Gaslight (2018)

A Modest Independence (2019) (see also post)

Gentleman Jim (2020)

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Converse via: #HistoricalRomance or #HistRom
+ #GentlemanJim, #HistoricalFiction and #Austenprose

Available Formats: Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

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Posted Thursday, 19 November, 2020 by jorielov in Austenprose, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Romance Fiction

An INSPY Victorian #25PagePreview Spotlight | “The Gentleman and the Thief” (The Dread Penny Society, Book Two) by Sarah M. Eden

Posted Wednesday, 18 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

This marks my first time hosting with Austenprose – although, I have been a long time admirer of her blog and it is an honour to start a new journey in hosting her blog tours! Ms Laurel reached out to me initially to host her authors for my bookish chat known for showcasing Romance & Women’s Fiction as well as stories of Feminist Lit – @SatBookChat meets on Saturdays January-November annually. Through conversing with her I had the pleasure of joy of becoming better acquainted with two authors I have been itching to start reading over the years – Ms Sarah M. Eden of whom I’m spotlighting today ahead of my review at the end of the blog tour and Ms Mimi Matthews of whom I am spotlighting on the morrow.

I started to come across Shadow Mountain Publishing authors & stories whilst participating in my favourite INSPY readathon every year during the Summer, hosted by Sydney @ Singing Librarian Books. Being a hybrid reader of both mainstream & INSPY throughout my life, I am constantly seeking out more authors who write Inspirational Fiction across both genre and publishing routes (ie. from major trade to Indie publishers (like Shadow Mountain) to self-published authors) – thus, I was delighted when I started to see Ms Eden’s novel popping up on my routes throughout the book blogosphere and being featured during Ms Sydney’s readathon.

When I first joined this blog tour, I hadn’t realised it was a series in-progress – as regular readers of Jorie Loves A Story know my personal preference for reading serials is to read them start to finish – even if that means, borrowing missing installments by inter-library loan if my local library or regional library does not carry the author, book or series. However, in this instance – between my health afflictions and my migraines, I wasn’t able to sort out a way to get a copy of “The Lady and the Highwayman” ahead of starting to read “The Gentleman and the Thief”. I decided instead to reply on a review I found quite wonderfully in-depth via Austenprose.

I even checked Scribd and was sad to see this series was not listed in their catalogue for audiobooks as that would have been a brilliant way to ‘catch’ up with the series – as being a migraineur, I regularly turn to audiobooks to help offset my migraines and/or to help me transition back into reading after having a supernova migraine such as the one I had earlier in November.

The main reason I am choosing to spotlight this novel today is because due to being taken ill at the end of October (as I was emotionally distraught over the fate of trees in my neighbourhood recently as well as other stress factors involved at the time) and the migraines I sustained as well – I haven’t had the proper chance to get into this novel and understand the story as I would  prefer as a book blogger. This novel also has a different technique in how it is being told and the layout of the novel as well – as the narrative shifts between two penny dreadful stories and the main thread of the story involving the characters of this installment.

I plan to continue reading this novel and posting my review on the last day of the tour, which is the 29th. Until then, I decided to share my thoughts on the first twenty-five pages and to give my readers & visitors alike a bit of a preview of where my thoughts are tracking as I read my first Sarah M. Eden novel as well as on diving into the second novel of the Dread Penny Society. I hope this might tip your hat towards selecting this novel and/or the fuller series to be put on your to read stack!

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An INSPY Victorian #25PagePreview Spotlight | “The Gentleman and the Thief” (The Dread Penny Society, Book Two) by Sarah M. EdenThe Gentleman and the Thief
Subtitle: Proper Romance
by Sarah M. Eden
Source: Publisher via Austenprose

A standalone novel in The Dread Penny Society set in 1865 London brimming with secrets, scandal, suspense, and romance.

From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he's smitten. Even though he's from a wealthy, established family and she isn't, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers that have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.

Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father's successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the "Phantom Fox." She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.

When Hollis's brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.

When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?

Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1629727905

Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing

on 3rd November, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

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The Dreadful Penny Society:

The Lady and the Highwayman (book one)

The Gentleman and the Thief (book two)

The Merchant and the Rogue (book three) ← forthcoming, August, 2021!

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Published by: Shadow Mountain Publishing (@ShadowMountn)

Read a review of the first story in this series: The Lady and the Highwayman via Austenprose

Converse via: #HistoricalRomance or #HistRom
+ #TheGentlemanAndTheThief, #ProperRomance and #Austenprose

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Posted Wednesday, 18 November, 2020 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, Austenprose, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Content Note, Cosy Historical Mystery, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Romance Fiction

#HistoricalMondays Book Review | [prequel novella] “The River Jewel” [The Letter series] by Kathleen Shoop

Posted Monday, 7 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

In [2019] I launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since [2013] and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.

This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.

I began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in [2013] – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.

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Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

My path first crossed with Kathleen Shoop in [2015] whilst I was participating in a summer reading challenge by BookSparks. I was also a reviewer and blog tour hostess with the  publicity firm whilst I was joining the SRC reading challenge they were quite infamous of hosting for the very first time. My experiences that summer were less than gratifying as I lost traction with the challenge itself and only posted a few reviews out of the ones I was meant to be posting. Ms Shoop and I crossed paths that year due to her latest Letter series release “The Road Home” which was part of the SRC challenge for [2015]. During that summer I also received a #bookmail parcel from the author which include a variety of her stories for me to start reading. They were not for review consideration but if I was inspired to blog about them after I read them that was up to my own discretion and choice. I had a feeling I might be leaning in that direction as just by browsing through the stories and where they could be taking me, I felt they would be the #nextreads I would most enjoy experiencing.

Life and health afflictions (especially my chronic migraines) conflicted with my start/stop attempts to read the books themselves until I felt re-inspired to re-attempt to read one of the novels – “After the Fog” [Spring 2019] which I had no idea was being anchoured to a sequel “The Strongman and the Mermaid” which was also going to be featured on a blog tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours [Spring 2019]. Thereby, it felt like the timing was aligning properly for me to start to read her canon of stories and with my newfound inspiration I couldn’t wait to begin my journey into her collective works.

A bit over a year lateron, I am still struggling to get focused onto the stories on my backlogue due to various reasons where my IRL adversities in health and the health crises of my parents (we’ve been in the ER 6x times since November 2019; the last of which was this past Saturday!) to where I’ve effectively experience a lot of start/stops in my progress to read the stories on my shelves. When I saw this blog tour adverted I thought, there’s a novella prequel to the Letter series? Hmm. I took that as a sign of entrance into a series I have wanted to be reading for so many years now.

I received a complimentary copy of “The River Jewel” direct from the author Kathleen Shoop in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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My reactions to reading Kathleen Shoop:

You can hardly draw a breath as you enter into Rose’s life as a nurse in a small industrial towne which barely has enough medical practitioners that it needs to be medically sound in a place where emergencies were commonplace. In this instance, Shoop begins on a sombering note – of a mother and child who both exited the world the same night as the child’s arrival. It was difficult on Rose – a nurse who grieved for her patients as readily as the doctor she served, but what was one nurse to do with a patient whose birth went sideways as soon as it began? The house she was birthing inside was less than ideal – the light was missing but the effects of the hard birth were not lost on Rose. In many ways, this Rose reminded me of the Rose from Charton Minster (the historical series I loved reading by Margaret James) as both are nurses who go above and beyond their calls of duty.

We also get a firm overview of the towne – of how Donora is co-dependent on her industries and how those industries are co-dependent on each other. Situated below Pittsburgh, its location is on the opposite end of the state than I am familiar though I have passed through the Amish area north of Pittsburgh; it is one city I never had the proper chance to visit. The fact this story is rooted in the steel industry was not a surprise – though like most industrial stories, I found this one refreshing as I haven’t learnt as much about the Industrial Revolution as I ought to have before I graduated. Interestingly enough, no one was ever interested in talking about History after the Civil War or outside of the war eras of the early 20th Century. You have to rally together the missing pieces of history on your own and through reading Historical Fiction these past six years I’ve filled in the gaps far easier than all the years I was in school (which is telling in of its own).

Shoop writes with historical realism – the descriptive details you’d nearly expect out of a Historical narrative but also with a grittiness you might not be fully prepared for reading. Rather than gloss over certain aspects of the novel’s period history, Shoop delves into the gritty depictions of what this kind of life can lead to observing as you live through the era in which it is written about – from the visuals of what Rose must endure as a nurse to the ways in which the lives within the novel are spoken about or referenced. This is a historical novel that tucks you close to the edges – where you can peer at these people’s lives with a rawness as if they were going about their hours without realising someone was taking notes about how they were living, what they were doing or how they occupied their hours. It is an examination on a sociological layer of insight but it is also a gut-punch reality of how people lived through a particular jarring era in history where personal health and the environmental toxicity in their air was assaulting their lungs – “After the Fog” – is a cautionary story about how a disaster in the past can be a foreshadow to the future.

-quoted from my review of After the Fog

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A grandfather in his nineties takes a moment to sit with his granddaughter and his great-grandson to tell them about the fabled Strongman and Mermaid – at least this is our reckoning, as the story of who they had been has nearly become lost in time itself had he not held strong to the book which started to unravel his hidden memories of the past. For her sake, you could tell the strain was affecting her – she simply wanted to do right by her grandfather, where his mind was not allowing himself to remain independent and how the effects of his condition were not just growing worse but they were allowing her to think about the issues which would soon arise if she didn’t force the issue of his relocation. Anyone whose had elder relations knows the position she was in and knows it well; for circumventing problems before they arise in families is one of the hardest obstacles you can transition through outside of resolving the grief which stems from the loss of the relatives who’ve gone on into the next life.

It was here – in a kitchen, you find his voice is still viable enough to piece together the words which compose the story – of how someone’s parents were the better part of a story long since told and that is how we find ourselves time shifting back into 1910 – leaving 2019 with a fresh perspective about Donora about to flicker through our mind as we re-shift back into this sooty dusty mill towne which has a grip of a grasp on everyone whose once lived there.

Mary is a girl ahead of her years – in charge of rallying her siblings to rights before she heads off to work – they were bound for school but she needed to put in a day’s wage and help her family earn the keep which would enable them to stay afloat. You could see her industrious nature in how she attended to the fuel her family needed – not one to shy away from hard work or the arduous litany of chores most girls’ her age might not be as willing to do – you gathered Mary was a forward-thinking kind of girl which was a refreshing change out of her generation. She didn’t see herself limited by means nor in ownership of her future based on her present circumstances; she chose to look towards something positive rather than give into the fact her life could be a repetitious pattern of the hours she currently spent. You felt for Mary – for her courage but also her willingness to see the lighter side to life – where joy and happiness reside.

You immediately get lost inside The Strongman and the Mermaid – not just because the story is part legend and lore; of the personalities and personas people believe in despite the appearances of their composites in reality but because of how Shoop crafted the story. We find our vehicle in the presence of Patryk – a grandfather who simply wants to re-live the olden days if only to give the next generation pause to think about how their ancestors carved out the future they are currently enjoying to live. Part of his joy also stemmed from a deeply felt sense of honour and admiration for Mary and Lukasz – for their story was what had given him the most hope for his own situation. If he could hold onto the stories – keeping the memories close in mind as much as in heart, I believed Patryk felt he wasn’t going to completely remove himself from his own past. He was still a part of the stories being passed down and those living histories meant everything to him.

The more you disappear into the lives of Mary and Lukasz, the more you realise how hard they both were struggling against their own conventions. Their towne had a society of obligation about it – where old school philosophies hadn’t quite become exchanged for the new world mentality where a man and a woman could afford their own choices in their lives. Mary was expected to do the bidding of her parents – irregardless of what she personally wanted for herself, she was needed to work in order to provide whatever they needed based off her pay. This proved to be an exhausting commitment but also a sad one, too as she truly enjoyed her time spent with Mrs Dunn. Dunn was the kind of woman who appreciated Mary’s assistance but knew she couldn’t provide everything she needed – in many ways Dunn was the surrogate mother Mary needed in her life – guiding her with inspiration, encouraging her to think outside the required box her parents wished for her to feel security inside and giving her a chance to breathe a dream of her own choosing.

I truly liked how the story was paced – how you feel emotionally connected to both lead characters and how the towne itself feels a bit more alive somehow – it has its own pace of delivering its presence, not just due to the way work is scheduled but how the people live there. It is a fitting testament to this towne’s history but also as a nod towards the people who forged a life out of an area that was a hard-won place to carve out a living. All of this created the best atmosphere in which to soak inside the historical backdrop Shoop gave us and fittingly, it felt like a better place to begin the series rather than as a sophomore installment.

-quoted from my review of The Strongman and the Mermaid

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#HistoricalMondays Book Review | [prequel novella] “The River Jewel” [The Letter series] by Kathleen ShoopThe River Jewel
by Kathleen Shoop
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

For everyone who hopes to find the perfect match…

1875 Des Moines, Iowa

The novella, The River Jewel, takes readers of the bestselling Letter Series novels back in time, before there was a last letter, before the Arthurs lost everything, before they knew a girl named Pearl.

Meet Tilly Rabel, a proud oyster-woman, and Landon Lockwood, the troubled son of one of the wealthiest men in America. The two could not be less suited for love. But when an old legend draws Landon to a hidden river cove, Tilly and he find each other, are lured by growing attraction, and repelled by competing desires to control Tilly’s waters. The hidden pool is replete with valuable mussel beds and the source of everything that makes Tilly who she is. Landon sees the illustrious treasure as the path to proving to his parents he is worth their love and worthy of the Lockwood name. Can Tilly trust Landon with her heart, with her beloved mussel beds? Can Landon trust that he has truly changed and doesn’t need his parents approval to live the life he wants?

Heartbreak, triumph, and a very special baby weave a tale sure to please readers who’ve read the entire Letter Series and those who are just starting the journey.

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction


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Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1708629236

Also by this author: The Strongman and the Mermaid

Published by Self Published

on 3rd December, 2019

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 172

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The Letter series:

The River Jewel by Kathleen ShoopThe Last Letter by Kathleen ShoopThe Road Home by Kathleen ShoopThe Kitchen Mistress by Kathleen Shoop

The River Jewel & The River Promise (series novellas) (prequel duology)

The Last Letter (book one)

The Road Home (book two)

The Kitchen Mistress (book three)

The Thief’s Heart (book four)

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and ebook

About Kathleen Shoop

Kathleen Shoop

Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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Posted Monday, 7 September, 2020 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, 18th Century, Blog Tour Host, Content Note, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Iowa, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Multiple POV, Self-Published Author, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction