Category: Midwives & Childbirth

#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. Laugheed

Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I am launching 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 am beginning 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 am celebrating 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: In [2013] I was still participating in the Early Reviewer programme via Book Browse wherein I received an ARC for “The Spirit Keeper” – a new Historical Fiction narrative which sought to break boundaries of its genre and which captured me heart and soul as I read it. It was an emotionally gutting read, a historical reckoning of a story and it left me ruminatively curious about what the ‘next’ chapter of this extraordinary character’s life would be in the sequel. 

I decided to write an expanded review on my blog for my own edification after having contributed my Early Reviewer review to Book Browse – it was one of the few times I was able to do this even though there are a few other ARCs I received from Book Browse I’d like to still blog about in the near future which fittingly have more to be said on their behalf from my readerly experience.

Likewise, I also reached out to the author directly shortly after I posted my review in September of 2013; remember dear hearts, I launched my blog live on the 6th of August, 2013 – so this expanded review became one of the first officially celebrated novels of Jorie Loves A Story in the beginning of finding my writerly voice and my bookish presence in the book blogosphere. It pre-dated hosting blog tours and working with publishers, publicists and authors directly.

Although I remained in contact with the author a bit over the years – simply checking the status on the sequel or offering encouraging thoughts on writing it – I don’t consider this a conflict of interest as to be honest, it was not constant contact and we weren’t in contact on a regular basis nor did we touch base each year since 2013.

When I received an email from Ms Laugheed this past December, 2018 – to say I was pleasantly gobsmacked to have heard from her after a long absence of communication is putting it mildly! I was overjoyed – more for her than for me – as she was announcing the sequel was being published! She decided at long last to go the Indie route towards  publication and I was full of joy and happiness for her as this was a very long and dedicated route back to publishing a sequel I believed in as a reader (and there are others like me out there) but of which I wasn’t sure if any of us would get a chance to embrace it in published form.

Thereby, I did not hesitate to respond to her request to accept this new novel for review consideration – the only thing which delayed my entrance into its chapters was my five week Winter virus (from before Christmas to the early weeks of January, 2019) and my three successive migraines (from mid-January to early February). I read this immediately after recovering from my third migraine and was thrilled I could finally attach my mind and heart round the continuing journey of Katie and Hector!

I received a complimentary copy of “The Gift of the Seer” by the author K.B. Laugheed in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting “The Spirit Keeper”

My original motivation to read the novel: I wanted to partake in her journey untoward becoming one man’s living vision of ‘a creature of fire and ice’ and to see if they could fulfill each other’s destinies therein. It is such a curious proposition, to be taken by force from one’s own family, and re-positioned into a life, by which, you’re in complete unfamiliar territory, amongst people who speak a different tongue than your own, and by your own wits, have to determine how to survive. I was curious by how she was going to effectively change her life and heart; and to what end she must do so! This felt to me like a piece of Magical Realism wrapped up inside a Historical Fiction, rooted into the conscience of the American Frontier! I was besotted with the plot, and needed to read it to ascertain what the story truly was about! The Spirit Keeper spoke to me, as a book I needed to read rather than merely a book I wanted to read! I listen to my intuition in other words!

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Ms Laugheed advised me to re-read “The Spirit Keeper” ahead of reading “The Gift of the Seer” – what I hadn’t the heart to tell her is my copy of the novel is packed as most of my personal library has been packed for the last four years. I couldn’t sort out which box it is held within if I had a compass as I literally have quite the expansive library being stored right now. This is one key reason why I can’t always re-read the novels I’m reviewing – as I only have a handful of books I’ve reviewed the past few years unpacked and shelved – most of which, are first or seconds in series, awaiting new releases to where I can turn back to and re-read a bit ahead of delving into the next installment. I did have The Spirit Keeper prominently shelved for quite a few years after it was released – it was only recently I had to make the hard choice to pack it away for safe keeping til I can restore my library back to rights.

Therefore, I did what any other book blogger would do in this situation – I borrowed a well-loved copy from my local library and as I re-entered the story, I was quite shocked by what I discovered! I hadn’t forgotten as much as I was expecting, too! I re-read the opening bridge of the novel – re-visiting how Katie was taken from her family, the traumatic transitioning into life with the Spirit Keeper and Hector as much as re-aligning in my mind the era this series is set and the mannerisms of how the story is told. As Ms Laugheed has a very distinctive style of historical story-telling; it is one reason I was hugged so dearly close into the story originally.

Secondly, as I noticed a lot of readerly flashbacks moving through my mind’s eye after that particular re-visitation – I immediately flipped to the last quarter of the novel, resumed as if I hadn’t been absent from this story for :six: long years and re-lived the concluding chapters, as fresh as dew on recently mowed grass. I seriously was re-captured by what was left behind for my eyes and heart to find – thereby, I knew with certainty I was prepared as I ever could be to re-enter Katie and Hector’s world.

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For those of you who might never have had the pleasure of joy reading this novel, let me select a few quotations from my original review – both from what I shared with Book Browse after first reading the ARC and what I expounded upon on Jorie Loves A Story thereafter.

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The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, your niched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavours you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematics that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.

I will lament, that if you’re a reader who begs off for lighter faire, you might want to caution yourself, as within Chapter One, the author does not hold back on the grim realities of what it was like in the 1700s when an Indian War Party descended upon a settler’s family.

The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump-start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit  (such as the menstrual huts for women).

Flickerments of “Medicine Man” (the motion picture) streamed through my mind, as did “Dances with Wolves” (the motion picture), as in each story, those who only spoke English, learnt to adapt and to live amongst the natives by which they found themselves belonging too better than their own kind. I am drawn into stories that attach us to whole new cultures, traditions, religions, and walks of life. Stories that etch into our imaginations a wholly new world, where there are similarities, but otherwise, as we dip into their narratives, we find ourselves in a foreign land, attempting to understand what we cannot yet conceive possible.

An incredible journey of self-preservation, fortitude of spirit, and overwhelming grief: I was not quite prepared for the journey that Katie, Syawa, and Hector embark upon! It wasn’t so much the long distances that they must traverse through rough hewn terrain, but rather, they are each going through a personal, intimate, internal journey concurrent to their outward journey towards the men’s originating homeland! Each is carrying secrets of their own experiences, and in Katie’s instance, her life is muddled and blighted with far more devastation than anyone could ill-afford possible to a seventeen year old young lady!

Her lot in life has been tempered by abuse and misguided notions of love, unto where she has encouraged a naĂŻve sense of the living world, and has grown an ignorance of how right a life can be lived! I grieved for her and bleed emotions with her recollections of past memories,.. memories that were nearly too hard to bare and to ruminatively lay pause upon. It is through Syawa’s gentleness and effective way of easing her out of her shell, that she truly started to see who she was and who she could be. I only wish I could pronounce Syawa’s name, as I feel as guilty she does in her own story, about the misunderstandings that evolve out of not understanding language and meaning of words, phrases, or names outside our own native tongues!

Language & Translation: the Invisible Barriers we never foresee: Laugheed paints a clear window towards our greatest struggle in accepting and understanding each other, as we present ourselves to each other in our conversations! Each inflection of tone, voice, and the words we use to explain ourselves, can lead us down a path of misunderstanding and of misalignment in what we are attempting to represent as our thoughts, hopes, dreams, and passions. Throughout the story, we are seeing the story as a first-hand account of a diary the protagonist is writing to assert her own history back in her life, as she’s amongst those who do not understand the necessity of having a living history or a story to be told of one’s heritage. She values her experiences, her struggles of faith, and the lessons she is ought being taught as she walks forward into her future. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives, but she isn’t going to allow herself to wallow in the situations she could never effectively change, but rather, pull out a strength deep from within her, to carry her through the tribulations that she was certain were still to come.

Whilst she’s (Katie O’ Toole) recounting her days in her diary, I mused about how this differed from the diary of Robinson Crusoe as it contained more of her essence, her internal quagmire of thoughts, and the irrevocable distraught by which she plagued herself with for most of her arduous journey towards Syawa and Hector’s homeland. From the moment I read the opening page, by which the author departed a precognitive knowledge of how the story might transform as you read the words, I was left with a museful pre-occupation of how that would transpire, and further still, of one particular scene that I had presumed was forgotten within the re-writes and draughts, leading up to publication! However, this falls perfectly into this category of observation about ‘language and translation’, about how what we first perceive to be just and truth, can altogether change and alter, either by the different perception we’ve learnt through experience OR through reading a book that is quite unlike another! This book truly lives up to the proportions of what Laugheed mentions at the start gate: the words transcend their own meaning as you etch closer to the ending, the whole of the story is much larger than the sum of the parts as they are revealed!

In this way,  she is giving each of us to turn on our heels, the gross misconception of how we drink in words, knowledge, and observational data. The reader is very much at the heart of this story, and I think, is as central as Katie’s voice in re-telling her own history. What is humbling too, is how as our knowledge expands, the words that were once lost on us, as being completely irreverent suddenly take on new meanings, as they now evoke an ’emotion’, a ‘resolution’, or a ‘truth’ we did not understand previously. An Irish girl cast out into the wilderness of the wild frontier, with two Indian’s as her sole guides and protectors, makes for a curious precept initially, but it’s how they interact with each other, during the everyday hours, that Laugheed excels in not disappointing her reader! She never makes their interactions dull or predictable, because she has woven their personalities into the core of how they interact with each other! You pick up little character traits that come to play a larger part of the story as it threads through its climax, but inside these key portals of frontier life in campsites and canoes, you start to see how its possible to thread a new life together out of the ashes of the old! In this way, I was quietly savouring each exchange between the threesome, curious how they would come to depend on each other, and how they would draw strength by each others’ presence.

The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper’s heart, but it’s the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It’s the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!

An environmental conscience: Is cleverly hidden within the context of the story, but is one of the inclusions that I found to be the most illuminating to see!! I oft have found myself the most happiest amongst the trees, rivers, lakes, streams, and out-of-door hideaways that only a person can walk to find! Nature’s door is ever beckoning us to re-enter that sacred space between the natural world and the world by which we live as men. We are drawn towards nature as keenly as we are attached to water as a source of lifeblood, but it isn’t always an easy attachment to maintain, when the hectic nature of our lifestyles can circumvent our efforts to keep our hearts and souls aligned with the seasons and timescape of the natural world just past our windows! Laugheed draws a breath of vitality into the forest, where you can nearly hear the echoings of the trees, the rushing power of the rivers, and the harmonious tickings of the inhabitants therein. I appreciated that the animals that were killed in the book were used for what they could give back to the ones who fell them. I always respected this aspect of Native American beliefs, as they take what they need and only what they can use, at the time they go hunting. It’s a beautiful circle of life, as nothing is wasted and everything is respected. She wants you to see the beauty past what you expect to find whilst out in the deep woods, as the forest plays a fourth character or rather, that of a narrator that has not yet found its voice.

-quoted from my review of The Spirit Keeper

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#HistoricalMondays | Book Review | “The Gift of the Seer” [long awaited sequel to “The Spirit Keeper” (2013)] by K.B. LaugheedThe Gift of the Seer
by K.B. Laugheed
Source: Direct from Author

Katie O' Toole's epic adventure began in "The Spirit Keeper" (Plume 2013) when she was rescued from a 1747 frontier massacre only to find herself chosen as the "Spirit Keeper" of a dying Indian seer. She hesitated to accept this mysterious obligation until she fell in love with the Seer's bodyguard, an Indian man she called Hector.

Much has happened since my last writing,..

In The Gift of the Seer, Katie and Hector continue their journey across the continent, but the more Katie learns about the peculiar ways of her husband's people, the more she dreads arriving at their destination. Will anyone believe she is the Spirit Keeper she pretends to be? Equally troubling, Katie knows the Seer expected her to prove his Vision - a Vision which foretold of infinite Invaders coming to his world - but to prove this prophecy, she must give his people the great Gift he also predicted. The only problem is that Katie has no gift to give.

Years pass as she desperately searches for a way to fulfill her promise to the dead Seer, but when his former rival threatens to expose her as a fraud, Katie finally understands that her life and the life of all the people in her new world hang in the balance. That's when she knows she must give a Gift - she must - before it is too late.

Did you honestly think you could get so much and give nothing in return?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1732886216

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Genre-bender, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Native American Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Women's Studies


Published by Self Published Author

on 7th January, 2019

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 372

the spirit keeper duology:

The Spirit keeper & the gift of the seer

This is a Self-Published novel

Available Formats: Hardback, Paperback and Ebook

Converse on Twitter: #GiftOfTheSeer, #TheSpiritKeeper Sequel + #KBLaugheed
as well as #HistNov + #HistoricalFiction or #HistFic

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About K.B. Laugheed

The Gift of the Seer by K.B. Laugheed

K.B. Laugheed is an organic gardener and master naturalist who wrote her first published novel, The Spirit Keeper, as part penance for the sins of her family’s pioneer past, part tribute to all our ancestors, and part grandiose delusion as she hopes to remind modern Americans of the grim price we paid for the glorious life we take for granted today.

But The Spirit Keeper is not a story about guilt. It’s about gratitude.

The Gift of the Seer is officially available worldwide as it was published on the 7th of January, 2019.

To support the author directly, kindly consider purchasing her novels through her online store.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 11 February, 2019 by jorielov in #HistoricalMondays, #JorieLovesIndies, 18th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Browse, Book Review (non-blog tour), Brothers and Sisters, Bullies and the Bullied, Colonial America, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Cultural Heritage, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Domestic Violence, Early Colonial America, Environmental Conscience, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Equality In Literature, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, First Impressions, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Folklore, Genre-bender, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, History, Horror-Lite, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Literary Fiction, Loss of an unbourne child, Magical Realism, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Midwives & Childbirth, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Motherhood | Parenthood, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Multicultural Marriages & Families, Native American Fiction, Native American Spirituality, Old World Arts & Crafts, Philosophical Intuitiveness, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Premonition-Precognitive Visions, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Social Change, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Story in Diary-Style Format, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Taboo Relationships & Romance, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, The American Frontier, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Vulgarity in Literature, Wilderness Adventures, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “There is always a Tomorrow” (Book No.9 of the Graham Saga) by Anna Belfrage with reflections on the debut novel in this series “A Rip in the Veil”!

Posted Thursday, 21 December, 2017 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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

Acquired Books By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “There is always a Tomorrow” direct from the author Anna Belfrage in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

In regards to my paperback copy of “A Rip in the Veil” this was a gift from my Mum after she learnt the struggles I was having borrowing this through my local library. I am sharing my thoughts on behalf of reading this first novel in a series of nine for my own edification whilst sharing the back-story of why I was enjoying this first installment of the series overall to my readers.

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Why this Time Travelling series caught my eye & how I tired to borrow it:

Prior to accepting this blog tour, I quickly conferred with my library’s inter-library loan catalogue to see if the series was in part or in full available to borrow. I was happily surprised to find the series was in fact, listed in libraries I could borrow from and set out to do just that. However, after two months of trying to borrow the series through ILL’ing – I nearly lost all hope of even being able to read the first novel A Rip in the Veil.

As you might already realise, I have a preference when it comes to epic series – I love to read them start to finish, irregardless of how many are connected and threaded through the series duration. After all, I spent three years reading the nine novels within the Hard Science Fiction series: The Clan Chronicles. However, in this instance – I was running into obstacles I could not fully sort out without making a few independent enquiries on my own behalf. My librarians were no longer seeking out our inter-library loans, it was all self-directed by us, the patrons and thereby, they could not help me sort out the technical issues or borrowing issues therein. Each time I tried to borrow the books in the series, my requests would fall away. No reason given but they would be removed.

Therefore, not to be left out of understanding this further, I called a few out of state libraries who had the first novel and enquired directly if there was an issue in receiving this through inter-library loan or other issues I wasn’t aware of in my request to ILL the title. I had a lovely conversation with two librarians out of state, of whom told me from their end, it didn’t seem like the request should have any trouble being fulfilled but they would check into it. They asked me to resume my request which I did, only it fell off again and I let it go. I resolved I’d just have to read the 9th novel and hope for the best.

I knew I couldn’t purchase the series at this point in time, and although, I tried to see if my library could purchase A Rip in the Veil – I hadn’t learnt if they had or hadn’t by the time the hours were missing off the clock to read it. It was then – in early December where Mum surprised me – the book was enroute at long last and it would only take a week and a half. This pushed my readings of the series a smidge too close for comfort to my blog tour dates – however, as I was having health issues earlier in the month, I hoped for the best. Perhaps my health and the migraines would stop plaguing me and I could focus on reading the stories. I was more confident in understanding the breadth of the story now I could read the first novel; as per my experience, first novels in series set the standard – the tone and the girth of what a writer intends to impart throughout the series as it develops and evolves. I also like to see how a series begins, if only to understand what motivated the successive chapters within the characters lives, better acquaint myself with the serial continuity and understand the writing style of the writer as well.

All of this made for interesting folly, however, I’ve known about the Graham Saga for at least three, if not four of the four and a half years I’ve been a book blogger! I’ve admired the tours featured on HFVBTs all these years – each year, I hoped I could have participated but the timing was never right for me and the tours were quite popular so even if timing hadn’t been an issue, I am unsure if I could have joined in the celebration of the series until now. As I will share shortly, the series took on it’s own rhythm and although, I couldn’t quite hold myself inside the 9th installment – the first story – the one which placed Alex and Matthew on a collision course, shall remain my favourite – especially in how the theory behind time travel exists in this world whilst the will of man and love to circumvent all else is the backbone of the series itself. And, you know how much I love reading a wicked good love story! (ie. Sira and Morgan, remember!)

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Blog Book Tour | “There is always a Tomorrow” (Book No.9 of the Graham Saga) by Anna Belfrage with reflections on the debut novel in this series “A Rip in the Veil”!There is always a Tomorrow
Subtitle: The Graham Saga (9)
by Anna Belfrage
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

There is Always a Tomorrow is the ninth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

It is 1692 and the Colony of Maryland is still adapting to the consequences of Coode’s Rebellion some years previously. Religious tolerance in the colony is now a thing of the past, but safe in their home, Alex and Matthew Graham have no reason to suspect they will become embroiled in the ongoing religious conflicts—until one of their sons betrays their friend Carlos Muñoz to the authorities.

Matthew Graham does not leave his friends to rot—not even if they’re papist priests—so soon enough most of the Graham family is involved in a rescue attempt, desperate to save Carlos from a sentence that may well kill him.

Meanwhile, in London little Rachel is going through hell. In a matter of months she loses everything, even her surname, as apparently her father is not Master Cooke but one Jacob Graham. Not that her paternity matters when her entire life implodes.

Will Alex and Matthew be able to help their unknown grandchild? More importantly, will Rachel want their help?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781788039666

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Published by Timelight Press

on 5th November, 2017

Format: POD | Print On Demand Paperback

Pages: 400

Published By: Silverwood Books + Timelight Press

The Graham Saga badge provided by HFVBTs and used with permission.

To better understand Maryland during this time-line read this Wikipedia Article as it outlines a lot of the key events and issues stemming out of this chapter of History set as a backdrop to where Alex and Matthew are being found in this section of their journey.

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #HistRom & #TimeTravel

About Anna Belfrage

Anna Belfrage

Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she’s multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive…

For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Thursday, 21 December, 2017 by jorielov in 17th Century, 21st Century, Ancestry & Genealogy, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Catholicism, Christianity, Cultural & Religious Traditions, Early Colonial America, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Homestead Life, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Life Shift, Loss of an unbourne child, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Midwife | Midwifery, Midwives & Childbirth, Modern Day, Multi-Generational Saga, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Religious History, Second Chance Love, Speculative Fiction, Time Slip, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Fiction, World Religions

Blog Book Tour | “Madame Presidentess” (Historical Biographical Sketch of Victoria Woodhull) by Nicole Evelina

Posted Friday, 26 August, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “Madame Presidentess” direct from the author Nicole Evelina in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I appreciate reading Nicole Evelina’s Historicals:

I appreciate the extra care and attention Evelina goes too in being openly transparent with her readers – not only about the inclusions of what she is writing into the backbone of her sequel for Camelot but for why she’s finding the choices she’s made are backed up by the research and the lore left behind for her to find to inspire her writing as a whole. It helps not only understand the time-line but how the time-line affects the events and how through digging deeper into the lore and legends of Camelot you can root out strongly wrought conflict and afflictions that can affect any woman of any age. Evelina isn’t an author who shies away from harder subjects and topics, but rather meets them head-on and tries to assert her feelings on the events in a manner that is welcoming to her readers. She puts her heart on the line and owns the truth of her words as her pen inks out her stories.

It’s this attention to both detail and sensitivities of readers, wherein I felt I might appreciate reading her next historical release Madame Presidentess (read about the book on her author’s site) after having first met her title character Victoria Woodhull through my readings of The Renegade Queen (see my review); where I first began my journey into a new vein of interest for #HistFic – the Feminist driven side of Historical Fiction! I was quite grateful for the introduction (as it was soon followed by Emmy Nation (see my review) and my first introduction into Evelina’s writing via Daughter of Destiny.

The reason I felt I might find myself a bit more smitten to read Evelina’s version of Woodhull’s story is because I was very much challenged by how Flynn portrayed those harder scenes and the way in which Woodhull’s earlier life was fused to the novel. I survived the text and I was genuinely curious about the sequel by Flynn, but part of me wondered if the story could have found a softer edging – thus, imagine my joy in finding Evelina has penned a different take on the same tale! I bring up Victoria Woodhull because she shares a thread of connection with the Guinevere your meeting inside Camelot’s Queen; both women are brutally attacked and suffer aftereffects of how men treated them. Sometimes tempering the hardest and most challenging of scenes or memories of a character fit better with my own sensitive heart than the ones that breach my own level of tolerance.

quoted from my review of Camelot’s Queen

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Blog Book Tour | “Madame Presidentess” (Historical Biographical Sketch of Victoria Woodhull) by Nicole EvelinaMadame Presidentess
by Nicole Evelina
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Jenny Quinlan (JennyQ)
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

*Winner: U.S. Women’s History category – 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction

Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.

Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”

But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.

Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.

Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.

This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.

Places to find the book:

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ISBN: 9780996763196

Also by this author: Daughter of Destiny, Nicole Evelina (Guest Post: Camelot's Queen), Camelot's Queen, Been Searching For You, Mistress of Legend

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Women's Studies


Published by Lawson Gartner Publishing

on 25th July, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

About Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina

Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her current novel, Been Searching for You, a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.

She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, took first place in the legend/legacy category of the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. Later this year (2016), she will release Madame Presidentess (July 25), a historical novel about Victoria Woodhull, America's first female Presidential candidate, which was the first place winner in the Women’s US History category of the 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction.

Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.

Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for the The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Author biography was updated July 2016.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 26 August, 2016 by jorielov in 19th Century, Based on an Actual Event &/or Court Case, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Disillusionment in Marriage, Domestic Violence, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Kidnapping or Unexplained Disappearances, Loss of an unbourne child, Marriage of Convenience, Midwives & Childbirth, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Superstitions & Old World Beliefs, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Victoria Woodhull, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage

Cover Reveal | A *new!* #HistFic trilogy by Tracey Warr kicks off this October! The #Conquest Trilogy is set in the Medieval Ages in the Anglo-Norman kingdom!

Posted Friday, 29 July, 2016 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

If your a regular reader or frequent visitor of Jorie Loves A Story, you might have seen my review for my first EPIC Historical novel published by Impress Books (UK) this week entitled: Almodis: The Peaceweaver! This novel marked my introduction to the historical crafting style of Impress Books authors and the impressive layer of breadth Ms Warr knits inside her historical fiction! I originally crossed paths with the publisher on Twitter in late 2015, whilst finding the novels of Ms Warr, as I quite seriously have a penchant for well-conceived historical stories set during eras of time I am keenly interested in visiting through literature!

Originally this reveal was scheduled for August, however, as we all know time schedules in publishing are fluid and I was thankful I was online this morning to catch the missive the publicist sent me in order to help spread the news now rather than await my tour stop to share my ruminations!

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I love going back to the author’s origins, especially to read their debut release as a good foundation to understand their approach to writing their collective works. I was most impressed by the layered realism and intricate attention to detail whilst building a strong level of grounding for the back-story of Almodis as well. Thus, I am thrilled to announce I am a part of the upcoming blog tour for the #Conquest series featuring this novel which sets off the pace for the trilogy!

Warr has constructed such an intricate plot around Almodis, as her fate is mirror to Guinevere in some ways, as neither woman could fully believe they were being deceived at every turn. Almodis had a servant working against her and a second marriage optioned to her to increase her brother’s steed of wealth and power. She was being used and taken by men, without any consideration for how this might affect her psychological well-being or her very spirit as a woman who had always believed in the purpose of her role as a wife and mother. She had a sharpened mind which caught her a few breaks along the way, without which she might not have fared as well as she did. Except to say, it was not without it’s hurdles.

The fact Almodis’s story is living history is a testament to the imagination of Tracey Warr who presented her life in such a fashion as to encourage us to draw closer to her journey towards ruling land, home and her mind with such an intricate understanding for order. I agree with Warr, this is definitely a story that played out well in a historical narrative, as there are such far reaching scenarios to understand what happened between her marriages, the births of her children and how everything knitted together in the end where different children took over the original three regions which were always succumbing to war. She wasn’t just the weaver of peace for her generation but for multi-generations down through her descendants as the works she accomplished whilst she was alive remained a living memory of who she was whilst she dared to entrust herself to live authentically towards the honour she felt she was always bestowed to upheld.

-quoted from my review of Almodis: The Peaceweaver

As you can see, I love how Warr is able to write-in the moments of a lost era where we not only can visually conceptionalise that particular part of a living history (as Almodis is Biograhpical Historical Fiction based on the life of a real person) but she etches out the fuller scope of that generations layers of place, time and setting. It’s a fully realised immersion into a hidden corridor of history that is such a pleasure to read as you become wholly absorbed by Warr’s vision and her understanding of her characters’ lives to such a degree, you feel like you’ve lived through their heartaches & the journey it took them to find their own levels of success as they fought against the tides of tradition.

Having been properly introduced to her writing style so wondrously tied to her knack for research, I was beyond elated to be in a position to continue to read her stories, starting with the #Conquest trilogy!

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Posted Friday, 29 July, 2016 by jorielov in 11th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover Reveal, Book Spotlight & Announcement, British Literature, Early Middle Ages [the Dark Ages] (1001-1300), France, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Impress Books, Indie Author, Inheritance & Identity, Jorie found the Publisher on Twitter, Life Shift, Midwife | Midwifery, Midwives & Childbirth, Passionate Researcher, Political Narrative & Modern Topics, Siblings, Spain, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event, Vulgarity in Literature, Warfare & Power Realignment, Writing Style & Voice