Category: Clever Turns of Phrase

+Book Review+ A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet (a Shakespearean re-telling)

Posted Saturday, 12 April, 2014 by jorielov , , 4 Comments

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A MidSummer Night's Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet
Artwork Credit: Dale Pease (of Walking Stick Books) http://walkingstickbooks.com

Published By: Xchyler Publishing () 18 November, 2013
Official Editor WebsitesSite  | Twitter
Converse via: #AMidSummerNightsSteampunk
Genres: After the Canon | Classic Re-Telling | Shakespearean | Steampunk | Fantasy
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and E-Book
Page Count: 324


Acquired Book By: I contacted Xchyler Publishing about receiving books in exchange for honest reviews and was asked to pick the two books I’d like to request. Moments in Millennia was my second choice, as my first choice was A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk. My interest in this novel is based on a life-long love of William Shakespeare’s writings! I received a complimentary copy of “A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk” in exchange for an honest review direct from the publisher Xchyler Publishing. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On Appreciation of William Shakespeare:

As a participant of the A to Z Challenge this April, whereupon each blogger is undertaking 26 Essays | 26 Days, I elected to focus on my love and appreciation of Classical Literature on Day 3: Letter C. Therein, I discuss my fascination and affinity for William Shakespeare from the very first moment I first read his plays and Sonnets. I knew I had found a writer I would be reading for the rest of my life. He had this classic way of ebbing out the human sphere of emotion, psyche, and our living observations. He was the best at conveying each dynamical evocation of human emotions as well. A champion of wordsmiths, it was through his bar of sophisticated eloquence I tend to seek out in other writers. He always felt to me to give great pause before enduing his characters with action or dialogue. He wanted us to have a legacy of thought left behind and for this I am in his debt.

Imagine my happiness in finding there was an author out there who would not only take his own passion for Shakespeare to a new height of re-telling the magically laced “A MidSummer Night’s Dream” and retrofit it into a Steampunkified re-telling of the classic tale with the bentings of a scientific quality of theory!


Author Biography:

Scott E. TarbetScott Tarbet writes enthusiastically in several genres, sings opera, was married in full Elizabethan regalia, loves Steampunk waltzes, and slow-smokes thousands of pounds of Texas-style barbeque. An avid skier, hiker, golfer, and tandem kayaker, he makes his home in the mountains of Utah.

You can learn more about Mr. Tarbet through the Interview I conducted ahead of this book review! He shares his thoughts on Steampunk as a genre, his appreciation of Shakespeare, and a lot of keen bits for writers & readers alike!

Book Synopsis:

Immerse yourself in this Steampunk retelling of Shakespeare’s classic, replete with the newfound wizardry of alternative Victorian technology, mistaken identities, love triangles, and deadly peril, set against the backdrop of a world bracing itself for war, and Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

Pauline Spiegel, a master artificer like her mother before her, wants just one thing: to wed the love of her life, Alexander MacIntyre, a lowly undersecretary of the Royal Household. However, a long-term pact between her parents, and a noble House, stands between her and her happily ever after. When a priceless mechanoid of unfathomable power is stolen, Pauline finds herself entangled in skullduggery and international intrigue, upon which the fate of nations rest. Only with the help of her friends, and a brilliant scientist with a swarm of micromechanical insects, can Pauline survive the dark forces determined to destroy her. But will her betrothed and his rag-tag band of semi-mechanical soldiers reveal Alexander’s secrets as well?

 


To begin with a parting of prose:

A lover of quotations and bits of poetry, I am one reader who appreciated the warming of my reading palette with bobblements of poems greeting me at each interface! A lovely poem reminiscent of the innocence of fairies greets you before you reach the Prologue. And, yet another poem graces the upper corner of Chapter 1. A little nibbling of foreshadow in which I took the most delight! And off from here comes the divergence into a world of mechanisms and the air in which humanity’s door is slightly skewed towards automation. Rehabilitating veterans of war has been turnt on its heels to retrofit survivors into the most efficient entity of their trades. A fantastical yet questioningly haunting insight into how production and quantity can supersede plausibility and ethics.

Each chapter is lit with a piercing thought writ out through the hand of poets to help give heed to the next foray of intrigue!

My Review of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk:

As I nestled into the story of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk, I attempt to recollect if I had read the original play or if perchance, I had seen an adaptation of it instead? The corridors of my memory are a bit foggy at best, which is why I had to shift a bit of my fragmented memories and emerge into the sadistic fever of mechs who were created not necessarily for the well-being of their inhabitors but for the progression of automated industrialism as I aforesaid. The shockingly brutal rebuilding of a sentient being is off-set by the fact that the mechs do not seem to realise their individualistic freedoms have become abandoned on the whim of their creator.

The words in which Tarbet uses to create his universal pace is a pure delight to this wordsmith’s heart! He gives you a felicity of choice as you ease your way forward into the chapters which yield the most foreshadowing to satisfy your appetite for the action yet to transpire. Picking up where Shakespeare had left off is not an easy task, but to knit together a story which honours the canon and gives such a creative spark to Steampunk at the same time is a celebration of his writing style.

The forbearing inertia of caution is under-stitched into the story of the classic tale, giving a new appreciation for the choices humans have made since the Victorian age as each path chosen has turnt out a different avenue of progress. If we had opted instead to keep the heart of what Steampunk gives the reader, the age of steampower and gaslight we might have made deviations in other areas where the Industrial Revolution had yet to enlighten. By keeping Victorian technology in place, we see how devious the experiments can take inventors when their minds are wired for clockwork and automation. A little too much good for their own souls if you ask me!

At first I found it a bit tricky to ascertain how to proportionate the mech characters in my mind’s eye, as I’m quite new to Steampunk & Clockpunk alike. Then, all of a sudden whilst the mech men made their way through to central London, it dawned on me how to visualise them! From that moment forward, I had this envisioning shadow of how they were created and how they would stand out in ordinary streets of London! I think if there were illustrative plates for this particular piece it might have helped me out a bit. Character sketches to off-set the lack of baseline recognition! Except to say, Tarbet expertly gives such a vivid viewing of each of the mech’s mannerisms to purport an honest impression of how they can be perceived! I am such a visual learner that at times, when I step outside a world I’ve previously visited, I must adjust my eyes to a new one! In this, I celebrated my ability to see visually in my mind’s eye what Tarbet was attempting all of us to embrace!

A clever re-telling by far, as he has etched in such a reformed rite of passage for women in the story, where there is an alliance between Lakshmi, Jennie, and Vicky – all women of equal power and without the ambiguity of being able to blend in from behind prying eyes. For them to launch a series of events to forestall a dictator’s diabolical plans to overtake surrounding nations is one of the best moments I was celebrating! It gave way to the expression that ‘behind all good men, is a great woman’; and in this particular story it could not be more true! A separate alliance was forged out of necessity from the mech men, a wickedly fascinating engineer Pauline, her two suitors Alexander & Winston, along with a besotted in love girl named Clementine who only has eyes for Winston!

At the very heart of the story is the searing warmonger Wilhelm who is blinded by carnal rage and a robust ill-fated sense of power. His intentions for his home country is strengthened by his assertion that power and proclivity towards violent rule are his inherit gifts. A madman on the collision course towards altering history whilst utilising another madman’s offering of technology. There are moments of intense fighting and heated battle between human and mechs, and mechs vs mechs with an equaling sense of unease. Each is caught in the cross-hairs of an emerging war neither fully understands. It is only when logic is cast aside and reason is indued by a spark of enlightenment which dances straight into the vortex of human understanding can true change be cast. Free will of man and mech is the turning point towards diplomacy and democracy.

As I was reading the story, I thought this particular book would be a great lesson in ethics for a University class to undertake. There is enough within the chapters to take both sides of the argument and dissect the worth of its message. What foolish folly and provocation can be found in the nettling and maddening proclamations of one man’s dream for supreme rule.

Equality & Diversity : Undertone Components

An undertone component of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk is the inequality of the mechs inside the story. They have become their own race of men as their lives were irrefutably altered when they came home from the battlefield and/or the hospital in which their very life hung in the balance between being medically altered through technology and death. Due to their new status of half man | half machine, they are no longer viewed as individuals outside the scope of what trade they perform based on their ‘upgrades’ towards industry efficiency.  And, therein lies the problem. Rather than being viewed as the people they were prior to the surgeries that were performed without their consent, they are no longer given the compassion of humanity by any person who crosses their path. Rather instead they are refuted from view, a mere glimpse of a hint of the ravages of war and a different age of invention.

Tarbet presents both sides of the argument giving a positive light on how restoration of a person’s self-worth, self-identity, and the living freedoms of liberty each of us is innately inherit to have is plausible if there are still those who agree all sentient life has rights to keep in tact.

Fly in the Ointment:

Although I enjoyed reading this re-telling of William Shakespeare’s “A MidSummer Night’s Dream”, there is a curious attachment in the second half of the story to bring out the full measure of Jack the Ripper’s presence. At first, the subtle nodding towards Hitler’s reign over Germany; the conquest of Napoleon through France; and the merciless tactile militant force of the mechs carved out of the unwilling criminally insane patients was taken for what each representation was given to highlight. However, for me, this stretched a bit too far into the darker shadows of the theories behind why Jack the Ripper killed and what his motivations were to hunt innocents in the streets of London. I was a bit surprised that the wielding of the alternative history components were writ as strong as they were, as the backdrop of the story which illuminated the most joy for me were the clockpunk and automation engineering technologic advances on the side of the good.

There is always a battleground arc for good vs. evil, but there are times where I feel the vile bits to highlighting said evil can inadvertently overtake the good bits. I was pleased to see Tarbet use the eloquence of Shakespeare to empathise the vocalisations of human emotion without falling into the quandary I normally express in Fly in the Ointment. No, it’s not an issue of language but rather of how far pushed the envelope felt to me for the level of violence against the backdrop of where the story was leading. Of course, all stories are open to interpretation of the reader, and I for one, felt the story was guiding me towards one passageway of an ending rather than diverting down another.

A decidedly splendid extra:

Behind the conclusion of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk, the author’s biography & acknowledgements and a bit of a mini catalogue of titles via Xchyler Publishing itself, is a decidedly splendid extra: a preview of On the Isle of Sound and Wonder by Alyson Grauer! A book which is not yet released and an author of whom Mr. Tarbet spoke about in his Author’s Interview!


A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk Book Trailer by Xchyler Publishing

There is something magical afoot at Xchyler Publishing as their music accompaniments inside their book trailers draw your imagination into the narratives of their stories long before you pick up their books!


This book review is courtesy of:

Xchyler Publishing

check out my upcoming bookish events and mark your calendars!

I have been blessed with four spotlights on behalf of Xchyler Publishing:

An Editor Interview with Penny Freeman,

a book review of Moments in Millennia: a Fantasy Anthology,

and my Interview with author Scott E. Tarbet ahead of this book review!

I’d be keen to hear reader responses to my review of A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk, as I was happily settled into the alternative history backing of story against the clockpunk elements of automation before plunging head-first into the Jack the Ripper thread. Have you ever felt ensconced into a story-line which at a certain point in time arched into a different thread of discovery than you forethought? What do you look for within the realm of Steampunk, Clockpunk, and automation stories? What draws you in and what if anything disappoints you?

{SOURCES:  A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk Book Cover, and synopsis were provided by Xchyler Publishing and were used by permission. Author photograph & biography were provided by the author Scott E. Tarbet and used with permission. Book Review badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.  The book trailer by Xchyler Publishing 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.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Saturday, 12 April, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, After the Canon, Airship, Alternative History, Automation, Book for University Study, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bullies and the Bullied, Classical Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Clockmakers & Watchmakers, Clockpunk, Clockwork & Mechanisations, Clogs & Gears, Debut Novel, Dirigible, England, Excessive Violence in Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Fly in the Ointment, Genre-bender, Good vs. Evil, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, MidSummer's Night Dream, Re-Told Tales, Steampunk, the Victorian era, Warfare & Power Realignment, William Shakespeare, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Xchyler Publishing

_+ #atozchallenge _+ 26 Days | 26 Essays [epic journey] Today is Letter “A”. #Anthologies

Posted Tuesday, 1 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Day 1: Letter A of the A to Z ChallengeAn eruption of blog posts throughout the blogosphere are going *live!* in different intervals throughout April Fool’s Day, and this isn’t a prank nor a joke! This is a world-wide globally connected blogosphere challenge where each blogger who signs into the participant linky is quite literally confirming their express desire to blog straight [except on Sundays!] for *26 Days!* whilst writing *26!* most intriguing & thought-producing alphabet essays! Or, to be comically inspiring, randomly cheekily, and otherwise delightfully entertaining! The bloggers who have signed into the challenge are from all walks of blogosphere life: book bloggers united alongside lifestyle gurus; writers of all literary styles nudged up against travelogues; the gambit runs the full course of each and every theme, topic, subject, and genre you could possibly light your heart with joy to broach in a blog! And, the curious bit to the journey is where your posts lead you as much as where other blogger’s posts inspire you! It’s this fantastic community to celebrate the spirit within the blogosphere as much as the spirit of connection amongst the bloggers who might not have crossed paths with each other otherwise. After all, the road map for blogs is as wide and large as the actual world outside the nethersphere of websites, pixels, and memes! Walk with us whilst we discover a bit about ourselves, our blog, & each other!

I am blogger #552 out of 2155!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comOne quick tour around Jorie Loves A Story, and the new visitor willParajunkee Designs notice that I am a bookish girl bent on literary excursions which encourage my spirit as much as they challenge my perspective of what I have learnt thus far in my life. Literature by definition is a self-guided and self-evolving process of gaining knowledge through books and ruminations of those who walked before us, imparting their words and tangible thoughts to the page. I truly do “blog books!” and I am most esteemed to say “I <3 Fiction” as the badge to the right expresses quite definitively! Yet, how does a book blogger translate the rhythmic murmurings of her wandering compass when there isn’t a fixed point of entry or landing point? How to encase within a blog challenge to relate what motivates her and what excites her beyond the girth of what is deemed plausible!?

I tend to move like a dancer through genres, as what motivates me is the inertia of magnetism that draws my eye, heart, and mind into a particular setting, time period, locale, and character sketching… that vortex of suspension in-between first finding a book that whets your fancy and drinking in the words that will either leave you blissfully entranced or ruminative about where the writer was intending to take you.

– quoted from my Introduction Post

For you see I truly am passionate about the art of discovering new authors and the legacies of their words left to the world to find them. There is an electric pulse to seeking out a bookish tome of joy, especially if your heart holds within it a heavy attachment to wordsmiths and world-builders whose narratives jump you straight out of your chair and into the heart of their stories. Where time itself is eclipsed by the overwhelmingly familiar experience your about to engrave inside you through sensory registers you were given. To soak into a character’s shoes to the brink of attaching a piece of them to your DNA and vice versa. We take bits and bobbles of light along with us for where we tread next along the labyrinth pathways of literature. Wanderlust abounds because it only takes the impetus of a notion of seeing a title, an author’s name, a book’s cover-art or the premise winking at you from off the shelf to whet your palette of interest towards reading its story.

Each book which settles itself into my mind’s eye whereupon it fixated itself and has become a part of me, will be rendering a new chapter of my collective memory. A story of which has etched itself a remnant piece of my journey as I continue to make an onwards advance towards my next literary find. The books featured here are the ones that left me with a hitching in my chest, a murmuring in my soul, and a thankfulness in my heart. Books like these are to become the cherished friends that sit upon a bookshelf ready for a second conversation and visit.

– quoted from my Introduction Post

Story-tellers of whom engage with their audience in such a clever way as to give them a sampling of a taste of their collective work OR even a breath of an introduction to enliven the imagination of their readership is one step I’ve taken towards embracing the world of “A N T H O L O G I E S“!! And, yes dear hearts, today’s Letter A which I cheekily enscribed as a reference “Day1 is 1APR (Not a Foolish Day!) A is for?” whilst announcing today’s post via Twitter is a winking nudge towards the fact I posted ‘two’ new posts today which curate the essence of the “Letter A”. The first of which is “ANDRA Watkins” on behalf of her debut novel “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis and the second of which is the post your reading right now!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA N T H O L O G I E S are little dirths and dots of curiously broaching short stories! They give us a nibblement of an idea, whisk us away into this alternative realm and properly deposit us back to whence we started long before we were ready to make our exit! I had always become curious about anthologies but as to where to alight my hat within its vast vault of choice was beyond daunting! My first notion was to sink into the mystery genre before approaching the science fiction & fantasy genre anthologies! My thinking was based upon my enjoyment of the Agatha Christie omnibus editions of her stories! You could gather a heap of Christie inside of a hardback volume of joy, let me tell you! It was Christie who inspired my heart towards having murder & suspense on my brain as a youngster because I was forever engaged on bated breath to see ‘who’ was guilty and of ‘whom’ would catch the nefarious deviant criminals! You might be surprised to realise then, my first ‘A N T H O L O G I E S exposure’ came on behalf of: Regency Christmas novellas & novella collections of inspirational romances from Barbour Publishing! At least, this is where my memory alights as being the first time I realised I was reading an anthological collection of short stories! I am in love with the aspect of creating a dramatically splendid experience out of the smallness of space in which ‘shorts’ are notorious to be inhabited. My personal writings in fiction are too akin to breadth and depth of expression to suit the needs of a proper short story, but its the joy I have pulsing through me as I endeavour to read the works of others which captivates the fullness of my attention!

The Chronicles of Ave
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Whilst being a book blogger, I am finding the wide sea of anthologies mingling around the bookish sphere of choice isn’t quite as difficult to unearth as I once feared! In fact, oft-times I am finding anthologies are starting to become quite the choice of publishers to either offer as a review option or they place them on a blog tour to help introduce the timid anthology readers like me take a small step towards embracing their mirth! I say ‘timid’ here as a way of expressing that because I struggle to get the words to fit within a confine word count limit, I sometimes notice my mind ‘over-thinks’ itself to death whilst I read! Instead of simply appreciating the experience of the story, my ferret of a head is trying to augment how the writer elected to make the choices she or he did to keep the story alive yet without the girth of a novel to anchor its dimension. In this, I find anthologies extraordinary!

The first anthology which crossed my path was “Chronicles of Ave: Volume 1” by Stephen Zimmer, published by Indie publisher Seventh Star Press. This collection of which fronts a curious dragon in flight on the cover illustrative plate is a map of sorts for a new visitor of the Ave world to become acquainted with key characters and uncover little nuisances of where the larger tome of the book series “Fires of Eden” will take the reader. Zimmer expands fully to encase certain elements of where a previously published portion of Ave might have been edited for length or content, but within his Chronicles he can re-examine, re-define, and re-explore those moments of Ave which deserve to have their light shined on their own.

He parlays his fervent passion for research by interspersing what he uncovers into the tapestry by which Ave is threaded against! It’s a world that encompasses as many distinctively unique cultures, traditions, spirituality’s, and languages as our own living counterpart, and yet, it has something to give back to us as well!

It’s quite apparent at first reading that Ave is a world that you can gently enter into but its a world that draws a breath of dedication with each glance! The further you walk inside Ave, the more you want to know, the more you want to experience, and the more your drawn to wonder about the extensive scope of the stories that prompted this collection of shorts, which marks a transition through a lesser notation of them in the serial installments already known! Bits and bobbles of undercurrent histories stitched into the under threads, that give a larger impression of the story on a whole! OR, at least this is what I imagine to be true!

– quoted from my review of “Chronicles of Ave: Volume 1” by Stephen Zimmer

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Michael Knost
Artwork Credit: Matthew Perry

Second out of the gate in my newly minted exploration of anthologies was the incomparable “Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy” edited by Michael Knost. I felt as though I was sitting down with the collected writers who gathered to inspire other writers’ within their genres and outside them with the encouragement needed to boldly dare to pursue their craft! Writers sometimes forget that the one bit that is most important is the totality of belief in their imagination and their writing. Writers need to remember to ‘own their work’ and refute disbelief whilst pushing ahead when odds stack against them like ricochet hail at the tail end of a severe storm! Negative electrons are everywhere in life, but if we refuse to accept defeat we will always walk out the other end with a level of grace and knowledge of how to proceed forward on a better leaf than the prior! The anthologies which attract me to read are not limited to fiction, as I have always had a piqué curiosity of the writer’s craft.

And, it’s within this boiling and brewing of ideas where I gather my energy for the story about to transfer out of my mind’s vortex and unto the written page! To take a thread of an idea, nurture it into being and then, allowing the freedom of the idea to transition and transmorph into its full-bodied existence of what its meant to be is a writer’s realised dream. Nibblements of ruminations sprinkled throughout a lifetime of experience and adventure start to ink out into our imagination. Transcending both time and memory, as pieces of ourselves are wrangled into the lifeblood of our characters! Being a writer is akin to being a nurturer of ideas and of ideals. We take our observations from our living realities, and pour our heart into our works attempting to yield a story that others might find palatable. I say ‘might’ find as I am one writer who writes the stories which flow through her rather than write a story which is hinged to a specific audience or topic. We (writers) all hope that the momentum and passion we have for an idea will garnish itself a foothold in a reader’s queue. Perhaps even, enlighten their outlook or perception, but moreso than naught, to give them a hearty piece of narrative which leaves them pensively grateful for the idea which started the words to fill the page!

– quoted from my review of “Writers Workshop of Science Fiction & Fantasy” edited by Michael Knost

I was transfixed and inspired as you can see by the inertia of what was being revealed inside this anthology! What made my heart flutter the most are the topics & subjects explored by the writers who contributed to the anthology were giving advice across the literary divides! The advice was not limited strictly to science fiction and fantasy, although in some instances they were given direct instances of how to write a story in this particular world of vision; but any writer could eek out the lessons of the writer’s craft itself. Enabling all writers to feel a bit more motivated and uplifted for the time spent inside its pages!

Is editing an anthology more difficult than writing a book? If so, why? And, how did you coordinate the sections of Writers Workshop on Science Fiction and Fantasy in such a way that the previous writer melded into the next’s topic?

Knost responds: Each has its own difficulty, and each has its own strengths. As an editor, I am tasked as a conductor, seeking to keep the whole in a harmonic state, which sometimes can be nearly impossible. Where the writer is concerned about his or her solo, the editor is concerned about the entire piece. Just as each song is different, so is each anthology or collection, and because of that, each is structured by going with one’s heart. As for WWOSFF, I assigned the particular element of the craft of which I wanted each writer to focus. And I planned the layout while in the assignment stages, which evolved somewhat.

– quoted from my interview of Michael Knost whilst featuring the anthology during Seventh Star Press Week.

Moments in Millenia edited by Penny Freeman
Artwork Credit: Dale Pease (of Walking Stick Books) http://walkingstickbooks.com

On 8th April, I will be posting my first book review on behalf of Indie publisher Xchyler Publishing, which is “Moments in Millennia” a fantasy anthology of futuristic fantasy set against the continuum of time and space! I found Xchyler Press through a tweet posted by Marian Allen, which led me to the discovery of “A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk” by Scott E. Tarbet. Whilst browsing the catalogue of choices on their website this particular A N T H O L O G Y stood out to me. I was intrigued by the concept of allowing each writer the freedom to answer the thesis of thought in their own methodology of choice.

I had the honour of interviewing Ms. Penny Freeman

who is the Editor of the A N T H O L O G Y.

We had an excellent exchangement of conversation surrounding its creation:

In regards to book trailers, I was quite impressed with the motion picture quality of “Moments in Millennia” where the undercurrent score and cut-away sequences where the broadcast is nearly being cut-off draws the reader into the scene. The vortex of how ‘time’ itself draws a circle around the necessity of ‘now’. Of being in a position to react and effectively impact the state of ‘what is happening right this instant’. How as an editor did you draw a stitching of continuity inside the anthology, where stories were brought together whilst giving freedom to the writers to explore the premise in their own vision?

Freeman responds: The continuity is a product of several different factors. The first, of course, is the theme we set. When we come up with something we think might spark the imagination (in this case, back to the future), we announce it as part of our writing competition. Writers will often ask us exactly what we mean by that. Our answer is always the same: what does that mean to you?

This particular project was interesting to me in that so many of the entries (and ultimately the winners) focused on dark scenarios. Going in, I rather expected some fun fantasy romps, and I think the fact that we didn’t have anything of that nature reflects society’s outlook as a whole. We seem to be a rather cheerless bunch at the moment.

The next influence is our judging algorithm. Because each individual judge has their own likes and dislikes, the stories that suit their aesthetic will rank higher, so that tends to influence the overall outcome. Finally, the editorial process itself plays a significant role. We look at the entries as first drafts, and then we work with the authors to polish their work. Because the same content editor works with every author, that influence is felt within each story.

For instance, I like stories to get inside people’s heads and ask questions: how do situations and events affect the characters emotionally; what are the ramifications of an event? My mantra: dig deeper! Another editor may have wanted more emphasis on technical details or more “atmosphere”. The editor’s own “what does this mean to you” comes into bear and becomes that consistent thread that runs through everything.

Thank you for giving me such a beautiful insight into the production of  “Moments in Milliennia”, as the scope of the project is as multi-dimensional as I had forethought it might have been! I do agree with you on the ‘dark undertones’ throughout the anthology itself, as I was quite curious when I first picked it up to read on how each writer surprised me in turn by giving me a revelation inside their story I had not expected to find after having read their individual premises. I believe its going to the heart of what you revealed yourself: there is an undercurrent in our society for focusing more on the dark than the light; even if those of us who are reading fantasy have a penchant for seeking out the light at each possible turn! For without the Light, where then do we find the Hope!? Yet. Despite this, the anthology gave me numerous sociological implications to ponder about and for that, I give the writers credit for taking up the bold challenge of answering your submission call in a way which will stand out to the readers who pick up the anthology!

– quoted from my Interview with Interview with Penny Freeman

Likewise, I am quite eager to find A N T H O L O G Y which will help introduce me to Steampunk, as I am approaching it from a historical fiction reader’s point-of-view as I described in this Question to Mr. Tarbet:

Being that you’re a history enthusiast, I noticed that you inserted 12 historically known characters into your story. Do you feel you’re creating a new niche in steampunk which might be considered historical steam? Where those who appreciate historical fiction might find themselves crossing over to reading your stories due to the nature of how much history you’ve woven into the background?

Tarbet responds: Nice term, that: historical steam. I like it. It captures A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk very well in its “something for everyone” essence. And by ‘everyone’ I mean ME. I believe that an author worth reading will be writing something that they would want to read themselves. For me that means having way more than one element to any story. Mine always have at least two of three, sometimes more. A Midsummer Night’s Steampunk has Steampunk, Shakespeare, and alternative history. I would want to read it. It tickles me pink that other people find it a satisfying blend as well.

– quoted from my Interview with Scott E. Tarbet

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comWithin the hours leading up the A to Z Challenge, I was presented with a chance to host a blog tour for an inspirational devotional from the perspective of a woman whoCats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too Virtual Blog Tour hosted by Editing Through the Seasons has rescued cats and observed lessons of life etch out of her time in their role as caregiver. I always knew the animals who become our companions hold a very special place in our hearts as much as in the corner-most spot of our spirits. They endear us to grounding ourselves into the pureness of love, acceptance, and friendship. The world is oft-times a jaded askewed place to inhabit and with the companions of those whose innocence block out the shade, we find ourselves softened and affirmed by their grace.

Parajunkee DesignsI wanted to take part in this tour because I have always enjoyed snippets of inspiring stories shared through the Chicken Soup for the Soul series such as “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Tough Times: 101 Daily Devotions to Inspire & Support You in Times of Need” by Susan M. Heim & Karen C. Talcott of which I mentioned in my review of “The Prayer Box” by Lisa Wingate. I want to wander through the pages of more non-fiction titles as time progresses forward here on Jorie Loves A Story. There is such a beautiful gift in knowing the world of A N T H O L O G I E S is not limited to a specific definition of context. They are merely a representation of a collection of stories and writers uniting together for a common purpose. Sometimes they are not even stories in the traditional sense. They can transmorph into life lessons, antidotes of memory, and affirmations of how to strive towards a well-balanced life within the light of tomorrow’s dawn.

Anthologies are lightning inside the ether,
one spark of imaginary bliss,
can ignite a fever pitch for quantitative consumption!
– Jorie, of Jorie Loves A Story

I am happy to share with you the book covers of three Seventh Star Press A N T H O L O G I E S I am most anxious to see hit the book blogosphere by storm! Their press releases on the Seventh Star Press blog are directed on their titles. I am hopeful to take part in their virtual tours and I look forward to your return visit on the 8th of April for “Moments in Millennia” as well as watching my Bookish Events page or my Twitter feeds to see when the forthcoming A N T H O L O G I E S on tour will alight here! When you click over to read about the stories contained inside them you will realise why I am as excited about them as I am!

Fantasy Anthologies by Seventh Star Press
Artwork Credit by: Enggar Adirasa
{: Hero’s Best Friend :}
{: Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court,
and A Chimerical World: Tales of the Unseelie Court
:}

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comA bit of an extra surprise for those A to Z Challengers

who patiently awaited my “Letter A”:

Moments in Millennia : A Fantasy Anthology Book Trailer by Xchyler Publishing

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThank you for joining me on DAY 1 | A to Z Challenge!

I am a girl named Jorie who loves a story!
I am a bookish library girl on a quest for literary enlightenment!
I am predominately self-taught and library educated!
I am Mademoiselle Jorie!
Thank you for joining me on this journey!

This marks my first post for the:

A to Z Challenge

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

And, might I add as an observation on Day 1? 

Bless A to Z Challenge for giving me a way to explore my writerly muse! I want to take a moment to *wave!* a bit to my new visitors from the following countries:

United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Greece, India, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, South Africa, France, & Switzerland! I thank you for dropping by either yesterday on my 1st Blogoversary OR today my first A to Z Challenge!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Would you lament the same as I do?! The brilliance of the revolution of anthologies is to give us a bit of a teaser of a taste of a writer’s style? What do you appreciate the most from reading anthologies!? And, like me, do you ever notice your being pulled towards one author moreso than another!? Do you follow-up your readings of the ‘shorts’ by expanding your knowledge in seeking out full-length novels by the writer who you were hungrily consuming in the collection!? Which writers are most beloved to you right now were originally discovered in an anthology? And, which anthologies do you gravitate to purchase, borrow from the library, or simply sit in a coffeehouse attached to a wicked sweet Indie bookshoppe and peruse!?

{SOURCES: A to Z Challenge Participant & Letter A Badge provided by the A to Z Challenge site for bloggers to use on their individual posts & blogs to help promote the challenge to others.”I Blog Books” badges by Parajunkee Designs is a free resource provided for book bloggers. Cats Are Part of His Kingdom Too devotional tour provided by Editing Through the Seasons and used with permission. Book covers provided by Tomorrow Comes Media & Xchyler Publishing for promotion and review on Jorie Loves A Story; used with permission. The book trailer by Xchyler Publishing 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 & My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Comments via Twitter:

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Posted Tuesday, 1 April, 2014 by jorielov in A to Z Challenge, An Editor Point of View, Anthology Collection of Stories, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, Classical Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Mystery, Editing Through The Seasons, Fantasy Fiction, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, MidSummer's Night Dream, Multi-Author Serial Fiction, Passionate Researcher, Romance Fiction, Science Fiction, Seventh Star Press, Silver Hair Sleuths, Steampunk, the Regency era, The Writers Life, William Shakespeare, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Advice & Tips, Writing Style & Voice, Xchyler Publishing

+Blog Book Tour+ Citadel [Book 3: of Languedoc Trilogy] by Kate Mosse

Posted Thursday, 20 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 5 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Citadel by Kate Mosse
Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks)
(an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers (), 18 March 2014
Official Author WebsitesSite | Twitter | Facebook
Converse via: #KateMosse, #LanguedocTrilogy, #Citadel, #FranceBookTours, & #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover and E-Book
Page Count: 704

Acquired By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Citadel” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Encouraged to Read:

Mum has a foresight of knowledge of which books would whet my appetite for not only historical intrigue but deft story-telling, where the research slips past the reader’s eye, and allows one to insert one’s heart directly into the core of the narrative! I am always on the forefront of discovering ‘a genuine new voice in literature’ because I am always inspired and captivated by such an eclectically diverse sphere of writers! I like to seek out stories which not only challenge convention but the perceptional eclipse we might unintentionally tether ourselves too! I like to broach outside my comfort zones whenever possible, and sink into a portion of the historical past which is wholly unknown and unvisited previously! My literary adventures draw me one step closer to the world’s front door and a breath closer to empathy for the unsung heroes of a past fraught with drama, suspense, and intuitive souls who choose to lead rather extraordinary lives! In this intuited glimpse into my reader’s heart, Mum purchased Labyrinth for me whilst it was in paperback (as I recollect!?) release. I had oft meant to endow myself to the page, yet I never quite managed to broach into the novel. On the brink of a blog book tour in the bookish blogosphere, I find myself able to redeem my ill-wrought wanderings, bringing me full circle back into the realm of Kate Mosse! How fruitious it is that her name resonated with me whilst offered on tour!

Inspired to Share a Snippet of a Preview:

I originally intended to read the first two novels in the  series Labyrinth & Sepulchre ahead of my book review for Citadel via France Book Tours. However, as life can dictate and quite often predict, the plans we set in motion are occasionally derailed for circumstances which arise altering our reading adventures! Therefore, I am stepping into the world of Kate Mosse’s literary threshold without prior knowledge of her characters nor of the direction in which her style illumines the narrative for the avid reader of her works! I am quite eager to read the forementioned previous titles on the footheels of this installment, but for now, I am overjoyed I have the pleasure of ‘meeting’ a new author of whom has held my intrigue for the years between Labyrinth & Citadel releases!

Kate Mosse discusses “Citadel” & ‘Sisterhood’ via Orion Publishing

Book Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of Labyrinth and Sepulchre comes a thrilling novel, set in the South of France during World War II, that interweaves history and legend, love and conflict, passion and adventure, bringing to life brave women of the French Resistance and a secret they must protect from the Nazis. In Carcassonne, a colorful historic village nestled deep in the Pyrenees, a group of courageous and determined operatives are engaged in a lethal battle. Like their ancestors who fought to protect their land from Northern invaders seven hundred years before, these women—codenamed Citadel —fight to liberate their home from the Germans.

But smuggling refugees over the mountains into neutral territory and sabotaging their Nazi occupiers is only part of their mission. These members of the resistance must also protect an ancient secret that, if discovered by the enemy, could change the course of history.

A superb blend of rugged action and haunting mystery based on real-life figures, Citadel is a vivid and richly atmospheric story of a group of heroic women who dared the odds to survive.

Author Biography:

Kate MosseKate Mosse is the multimillion selling author of four works of nonfiction, three plays, one volume of short stories and six novels, including the New York Times bestselling Labyrinth and Sepulchre. A popular presenter for BBC television and radio in the UK, she is also cofounder and chair of the prestigious Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and a member of the board of the National Theatre of Great Britain. In 2013, she was named as one of the Top 100 most influential people in British publishing and also awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature. She divides her time between England and Carcassonne, France.


A Prelude to Citadel:

An absolute blessing of mine in receiving an ARC (advanced reading copy) to read of a novel, is the inclusion of both the Editor’s Note (generally found on the inside first page!) and/or a letter from the publisher which gives a bit of a history of how the novel was created or a bit about the author herself! For Citadel, I was twice-fold blessed! Not only was the Editor’s Note included but so was the publisher’s! I am fascinated truly by the marketing and promotional campaigns by publishers to alert the readership of an author’s work! Even for new readers of Mosse’s stories like me for instance, cannot help but become caught up in the excitement and the reverence of honour she is bestowed by her dedicated readership! IF a sequel to her last tome took four years, can you imagine how long we shall all be willing to wait for her next treasure of literature?!

The best of stories have to soak into their creators, they have to wholly absorb the characters, the setting, the era, and the entirety of the story’s essence in order to fully bring everything to illuminating light. I celebrate writers like Mosse who cherish the ‘process of writing’ and allow themselves the full measure of grace to produce heart-stopping narrative time and time again! At least this is my presumption prior to broaching the pages!

I’m entering this particular review a bit blind to the knowledge of Ms. Mosse, as when I read her championing spirit for bookish culture, writers, and wordsmiths I must confess my heart did a bit of skip and a jump! Especially on noting I had already planned to make an appearance on a Blog Talk Radio podcast the night prior to this review posting in which I would be drawing to light a topical bookish interest: volunteer public libraries set on trains running through New York City and London! A kindred spirit, most indeed!

Dear hearts, do you know what William Morrow included as a ‘extra special’ surprise for this particular book blogger!? OR, should I clarify, it wasn’t placed inside for ‘me’ in particular mind you, but rather those who received the ARC! A full-on brilliant interview by Ann Patchett & Kate Mosse! A most delectable treat I held off reading until ‘after I had read Citadel’!

A proper Introduction to the novel by the author:

There is an amazing breadth of history pulled out of World War II, where brave souls stood up in our conjoined living history of a time in our world where nothing made sense and everything was turnt upside down by the cruelty and evil of a world war. Mosse examines the inter-dimensional connections of the trilogy against the intricacies of research of the historical past. Her passion for the South of France and for this particular window she’s served as a portal for her audience to endear themselves to the women who stand strong allowing their courage to bolster us a bit in the present. These are stories on behalf of women who perhaps never saw themselves as heroes but to every life they positively affected they were! Mosse has such an effervescent passion for writing, and giving her readers such a full embodied story which can wash over you and give you a living experience.

Kate Mosse Over Citadel via bol.com {she speaks in English; Dutch subtitles}


An archaeological bent of historical intrigue:

From the time I was quite young, I was always caught up in the annuls of history, seeking out remnants of the past which could be brought into the present through the art of story-telling! My passion for history led me to consider bunkering into a life pursuit of archaeological digs, hidden ancestral passageways into the living past, and a life’s sole intent of preserving the artifacts I’d uncover. Ever since my eyes lit up with the pure joy of ‘digging in the dirt’ by theory not practice, I have had a keen attention placed on historical details in novels. Including ancient symbolism,  dead languages, and the turnt of phrase fashioned centuries within the past where Old English was the everyday vernacular! Part of my interests in seeing the sociological perspectives in stories and the dynamics of a character’s action verse personality is rooted in my appreciation for archaeology’s introverted sister: anthropology which focuses on the study of societies and how people lived.

To find an author who has transmorphed an intricate range of research into a dense tome of historical fiction whilst remaining true to each era she’s brimming to life inside her narrative is nothing short of literary brilliance! I oft wondered if I could find an author who could fully immerse the reader’s senses into what I felt I had shared within my spirit whilst previously considering an entirely different lifepath! In Mosse, I do believe I have at long last found the writer, the wordsmith, and the story-teller I have sought so hard to find! And, I have my Mum to thank for this lovely discovery as my gratitude is hers forevermore!

My previous readings of Illuminations and A Study in Murder allowed me to understand the monk’s (Arinius) traditions of matins, sext, and nones! There is an entire pace to living whilst your sliding into a moment in history where tradition and ritual intersect and spirituality endeavours to give a calming balm to one’s day.

My Review of Citadel:

Oh, my oh dear my, such a delightful author who includes not only a full-on brilliant map to orientate the reader into the realm of the historical past she’s about to embark on visiting, but she is given an acute alacrity of the principal cast and characters in a proper pronouncement ahead of the beginning of Chapter I! Oh, my dear hearts, this reader was over the moon entranced by these short few pages,… wretched and jolted out of my reverie of an unsuspecting opening which would bring the level of brutality witnessed by survivors and members of resistance forces during World War II came startling into view as soon as I broached the Prologue. The recollections of my joyous heart can wait, the narrative cannot! I not merely ‘sense’ the urgency, I sense it! I am breathing it in with each drip of words formulating the paragraphs. A dire race is afoot and I am on the brink of understanding the fullness of its scope! The novel births unto the page with each delicate turnt page, words extending themselves into the edge-most sections of its published space; a murmuring echo of its story eager for the eyes of the reader to grasp its heart!

Mosse has a clever eye for evoking peripheral psychological hauntings of a world set askew by war. She invites you into the mind of her characters whilst they brace and bolt to live through a day of hell. Fraught with human anxiety and fears of what happens to those who are captured, the imagery is not a brutal one in totality but rather, a stark remembrance of the reality of being on the ground, running and scavenging for safety. I was quite startled to be pulled out of Southern France during World War II to arrive at the doorstop of AD 342, and yet, that is precisely where my timeclock registered me on the first page of Part I! I murmured to myself this might be a time slip, generational in-depth and millennia in scope!

Meeting Arinius as he made his journey to free the Codex text he believed to be absolute truth ahead of dipping into Sandrine’s world in 1942; the year she was eighteen, two years past her mother’s death was quite the unique place to enter both of their lives. Each were on the footfalls of reaching a new pathway in their lives which would transform their futures. Sandrine was not unlike her age of peers, where she was standing on the tipping stone of adulthood, eager to greet the morrow and make her way in life. She was thirsty for experience and for the sweetness of freedom outside the stagnant pattern of her days. Sandrine comes from an ethereal section of France, where murmurings of spirits and of divine knowledge echo out across the land and encroach on the open hearts and minds of those willing to listen.

I appreciated the symbolism of Sandrine’s thoughts being interwoven and threaded as a knitter’s skein of fiber! The observation is at the closing end of Chapter 7, but it simply warmed this knitty girl’s heart to see one of the clever turnt phrases to be a reflection of an interest held most dear! I can oft relate to how she felt; muddle yet unclear of the placement of the events and memories. Uncertain if memory is the fault or if memory is the key to understanding what happened. We can become caught up in ourselves to where we second guess our instincts and the intuition that is a constant guide.

Sandrine was still an innocent as her hometown of Carcassonne was evolving into a deadly sufferage of wills between those who first would commit harm to gain secrets within the arms of the war and those who would rally to bolster the shield around the innocents who died. Her older sister Marianne sheltered her younger sister too well, in not giving her the ability to see past the illusion of memory. Her spirit stirred and soared standing in the warming sea of voices raised high for the liberation of France. She was starting to put the pieces of the picture together, forming her own opinion where her life was leading her and how where she was living was all but directing its course. She was thrust into the throes of war without the foreknowledge to understand its intricacies. Yet. I mused if perhaps this was almost a better approach? To not be as self-aware at first in order to have the courage in the long-term to act without a thought for yourself but to act to protect and free people you might never know?

History has a unique way of imparting important acknowledgements out of the past, by finding the ways in which the words can travel through vessels of time. Words handed and passed down through generations, from family to stranger seeking a confidence of protection is one of the most reliable methods of keeping knowledge secret from eyes who would take the same words and twist them into harmful deeds. It’s how we as a society react and root out resilience in the face of our foremost dire fears and shake away the rootings of evil. Resistance from oppression and the strife of a regime bent against the welfare of the people is true courage lit aflame.

Sandrine, Marianne, their close friends, and French Resistant fighter Raoul are being shadowed by a thrilling chase against time. By the time my mind realised the full perimeter of the story, I was all but rushing to find my voice to shout-out a decree of bravery I was slowly losing sight of as I watched how their individual plights grew more dim. The hardest time in life to latch onto Hope is when every effort you make to walk out of the adversity you have lived through starts to unfold and uncoil around you. You fight as hard as you dare, you believe as willingly as you dream, but in the end, without the additional help of others acting on your behalf; you can find yourself truly alone betwixt a choice for flight, freedom, or the valor of saving lives.

Sandrine is an intuitive woman who was set apart from others; she could see past the veils of our reality and into the next life just beyond our focus. She was tuned into mystical truths which gave her a bolster of strength in the nanoseconds where her own inner resolve faltered. Her life was writ to be in service of others, and in of giving all of her mind, body, and soul to fighting for the sanctity of life, liberty, and freedom. Citadel is epic in scale, emotionally convicting, and powerfully written to leave you quite still at its conclusion retrospectively museful, and enlightened. Your heart shatters and aches in an indescribable way when you read the four sentences on page 673. With eyes too blurry and a heart too gutted to carry-on into the Epilogue.

Fly in the Ointment:

In this instance, it is more of a forewarning for a sensitive heart reading the book, as although I was quite thrilled to see Mosse tempering the harsh realities of war and giving us a proper sense of the danger, the blight, and the misery without fuller details which would make even a strong man gag; there are passages where naturally the narrative has to take a sharper intact of detail. Where the horrors of the war during World War II under the Nazi regime are represented for what they were and how they were elicited out through the ranks. Before I reached Chapter 14, I languished in the beauty of the words which felt like soft pebbles rather than hardened spikes of a war drama. I am not sure why, but Chapter 14 re-presented the reality for me, where Antoine is being tortured into submission. Except to say, Mosse holds back, she gives you the ease to breathe and to realise although your being led into one of the darkest corners of the past, inside history’s dark hours, you are going with a guide who respects what you can handle and the elements of which you cannot. And, how she maintains this balance between the evil darkness and the light is a credit to her as a story-teller.

The most sickening part though lies in the truth inside the torture for information: that there are certain people who feel that inflicting unimaginable pain is justified in the end if it yields a response they are searching to hear. Mosse gives you a lot to muddle over and ruminate about as this is a novel whose layers are half-hidden and seen throughout the action of where the story evolves into being. There is a greater message than a recollection of war-time horror, survival, and courage. We are never quite as alone as we fear we have been cast out from our protective spheres of love’s embrace. Always guided over and protected by the Ones we cannot see but sometimes can hear as our heart listens for the cues our eyes have forgotten to see.



Virtual Road Map for “Citadel” Blog Tour:

Citadel by Kate Mosse

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

France Book Tours

on my

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva


A parting glimpse behind the esoteric elements of the Languedoc Trilogy: 

Kate Mosse discusses Citadel, myths and fantasy via Orion Publishing


I must confess, I am always quite curious about how each of us selects which book we want to engage in. With Mosse, I feel as though I was always meant to be a reader of hers, but the timing hadn’t quite aligned for me to broach her writings until ‘this moment’ whilst I am participating on a blog book tour with France Book Tours! Do you ever find there is a particular time for you to soak into a narrative or an author? What do you think prompts the discovery to be a bit delayed from our initial moment of curiosity!? Also, have you read each of the Languedoc trilogy books as they released, or did you discover them out-of-order!? I’d be keen to hear your recollections and ruminations on behalf of either Citadel, Kate Mosse, or the trilogy! I do know, it will not be long from now before I am reading the first ‘two’ installments to have the richness of the tapestry expanded inside my mind!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Citadel”, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Mosse, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer by Orion Publishing 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. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 20 March, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Films, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Feminine Heroism, Fly in the Ointment, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, French Resistance, Geographically Specific, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, The World Wars, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

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

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

Parajunkee Designs

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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 & Reviewer, 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