Category: Catholicism

Blog Book Tour | “The Masque of a Murderer” (Book 3 in the Lucy Campion Mysteries) by Susanna Calkins Whilst Jorie borrows the first novel in the series to properly become acquainted with Lucy Campion!

Posted Friday, 17 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Masque of a Murderer” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of “The Masque of a Murderer” direct from the publisher Minotaur Books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press via MacMillan), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Whilst I drew closer to my tour stop date, I realised the best way to draw entrance into a three book series is to read the first and second novel of the Lucy Campion mysteries. Therefore, I requested by ILL (inter-library loan) the first novel: “A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate” whilst submitting a purchase request at my local library for the second novel “From the Charred Remains” as it was released a month before my tour stop and I’m only able to ILL items outside of six months from publication. The ILL request went through and the purchase request is still pending, therefore, my readings of “A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate” are without being obligated to post a review, as my ruminations on behalf of this novel are for my own edification only.

Intrigued to Read:

To my own recollective memory, I first discovered A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate and the Lucy Campion series as a whole via my local library — as the choice to sub-title my blog ‘a bookish library girl’ is far more apt to who I am than one might first believe possible! You see, it’s a direct reference to the fact I spend half an age scouring the stacks (both physical and virtual) of my local library, seeking out literature of not just the historical past but literature across genre and declaration of style to curate a ‘next reads’ (or as the masses refer to as a ‘TBR’) list that would be most gratifying to undertake reading! My TBR List on Riffle is a bit of a work-in-progress as it’s not yet released to the public, as I’m cross-conferring with handwritten notes, and the few short stack of papers which were my personal book diaries which pre-dated my blog: Jorie Loves A Story. I shared the prior project with my close personal friends, wherein this project is shared with the world as a whole.

Those lists were generated by visiting local Indie book shoppes, national chains in lieu of local book shoppes (as let’s face it, not every area has local Indies; so very sad!), local libraries in four separate counties, and numerous bookish sites and/or group author blogs online — to where I would have this immersion of fiction that not only crossed over the centuries but through every style currently being published by novelists today! As previously declared in a variety of posts and on my Review Policy specifically, (or even on the header of my Twitter acc!) I ‘dance through genres’ inasmuch as I am a hybrid reader of both mainstream and INSPY markets.

Settling inside the 17th Century felt like a keen idea, as the 18th and 19th Centuries are more widely known to me, as they hold within their chapters of time such happiness found whilst alighting during the Victorian and Regency eras. A close second for me would be the Edwardian era, of which I have Downton Abbey to thank, and Ms Kaine to bless for giving me such a heightened awareness of a new ‘era’ to fall madly in love as I read! I am genuinely drawn to leading female characters whose strength of wit, turn of intellect, and smashingly accurate observation give a grounding of perspective and heart to the evolution of the stories themselves. I love finding writers who can charm us with a setting and a timescape but intuitively know to write in a breadth of heart and soul, giving us a story whose appeal is more tethered to the character and the story of their lives than simply time hopping era to era.

In this way, Lucy Campion was on my short-list of ‘next reads’ of whom she was keeping company alongside Aunt Dimity (by Nancy Alterton), Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes (by Laurie R. King), Ms Phryne Fisher (by Kerry Greenwood), Lady Emily (by Tasha Alexander), Lady Darby (by Anna Lee Huber), Eloise (of the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig), Molly Murphy and Lady Georgie (by Rhys Bowen), Hercules Poirot (by Dame Christie & Hannah Sophie), Maisie Dobbs (by Jacqueline Winspear) and all the lovelies who are populating this Riffle List entitled: Blissfully Finding Books which Enchant Me! Stay tuned to my Twitter feeds as I’m hoping to release this new list soon! It will be archived with the rest of my Bookish Lists in my top menu under “My Bookish Life”!

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Blog Book Tour | “The Masque of a Murderer” (Book 3 in the Lucy Campion Mysteries) by Susanna Calkins Whilst Jorie borrows the first novel in the series to properly become acquainted with Lucy Campion!The Masque of a Murderer
by Susanna Calkins
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Book Synopsis of The Masque of a Murderer:

In Susanna Calkins’ next richly drawn mystery set in 17th century England, Lucy Campion, formerly a ladies’ maid in the local magistrate’s household, has now found gainful employment as a printer’s apprentice. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate’s daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The man, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, only has a few hours left to live. Lucy scribbles down the Quaker man’s last utterances, but she’s unprepared for what he reveals to her—that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a secret he had recently uncovered.

Fearful that Sarah might be traveling in the company of a murderer, Lucy feels compelled to seek the truth, with the help of the magistrate’s son, Adam, and the local constable. But delving into the dead man’s background might prove more dangerous than any of them had imagined.

In The Masque of a Murderer, Susanna Calkins has once again combined finely wrought characters, a richly detailed historical atmosphere, and a tightly-plotted mystery into a compelling read.

Read an Excerpt of the Novel via Criminal Element

Read a hearty array of 'behind-the-book' features via Ms Calkins blog!

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Series: Lucy Campion Mysteries,


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Minotaur Books

on 14th April, 2015

Pages: 323

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 17 April, 2015 by jorielov in 17th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Catholicism, Christianity, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Detective Fiction, England, Geographically Specific, Good vs. Evil, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Historical Perspectives, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Passionate Researcher, Quakers, Religious History, Restoration England, Sociological Behavior, The Great Fire of London, The Great Plague of London, World Religions, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “The Vineyard” by Michael Hurley

Posted Wednesday, 12 November, 2014 by jorielov , , 3 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Vineyard by Michael Hurley

Published By: Ragbagger Press
Available Formats: Trade Paperback, E-book

Converse on Twitter via:#TheVineyard

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Vineyard” virtual book tour through TLC Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Michael Hurley, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Note about the Cover Art Design:

Prior to receiving the novel for review, there was a discussion threaded through TLC Book Tours via Twitter on which cover art design we would vote for in regards to the cover art for this particular novel. I must confess, I didn’t quite understand why the woman underwater would make any sense to be used, as I voted for the cover that placed the image of a woman at the edge of the shore instead. At least, I believe that was the scene I opted to choose, as it was a bit ago since I cast my vote! It wasn’t until I opened up the first chapter of “The Vineyard” that I had realised the basis for the cover image is the fact one of the women in the story is contemplating ending her life; and of all the methods available to her it is drowning in the ocean that appeals to her the most. On this level, the feeling of overwhelming emotion and to be put within the vise of a life-altering choice between life and death; yes, the cover art makes a bit more sense. The title however, I do agree was slightly misleading if you did not realise it was the shortened name for “Martha’s Vineyard” in regards to where the story is set.

The author included a small bookmark with the original cover art on display, which was a green and blue colour theme with leaves of a vine between both colours which take up 50% of the space for the cover itself. Almost as if the leaves were an underlay and overlay at the same time. To me it clued in to a dimensional thread of narrative where what is not readily known or able to be seen becomes a puncture of emotional drama. Or perhaps I prefer ambient gestures in cover art sometimes as opposed to curious images that do not always feel they are a strong fit such as the woman underwater tipping her finger to the surface. It does paint a different image altogether when pondering the story itself.

Blog Book Tour | “The Vineyard” by Michael HurleyThe Vineyard
by Michael Hurley
Source: Author via TLC Book Tours

Ten years after college, three very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. As they come to grips with various challenges in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive fisherman threatens to change everything they believe about their world—and each other.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Literary Fiction


Published by Ragbagger Press

on 25th November, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 384

About Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.

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My Review of The Vineyard:

Charlotte Harris a mother on a mission to save her daughter’s soul in death and to quell the anguish of her mother’s heart from the disillusionment her life became in the circumstances which catapulted her from a woman with a zest of life to one who was broken by the absurdity of regulations of the Catholic Church; at least to her mind and reason. Any mother grieving the loss of her deceased child would feel bound by angst out of spiteful rules that felt cruel and indifferent to the choices she had wanted to give her daughter; the baptismal blessing of a daughter whose mother wanted her to align on the side of Heaven was given a hard choice between accepting the limits of her faith and pursuing a route towards self-redemption. Her entire state of mind within the opening chapter hinges between sanity and the furrowing line of insanity — a sanction only Charlotte Harris could make a discernible ascertain as to which line she was living at that particular moment.

Charlotte received an invitation to the Vineyard which would single-handedly allow her to shape where her destiny was attempting to align her stars — Dory, the vagabond free-spirit friend of her youth encouraged her a Summery respite from the city to spend time with her by the ocean and hours filled to the brim with spontaneity. Dory was the type of friend who saw a friend spiraling into a well of depression and before it could be fully rotated into a sea of darkness, attempts to pull you out of your malaise. Dory’s family is old money as they say, a woman of means who lives an ordinary life (by her own justifications) but Charlotte is straight-up middle class with insecurities about her body image as much as the choices she made in life that feel unwarranted of declaring she lived life well.

Charlotte is a strong willed woman whose mission to greet her daughter in the in-between worlds of life and death blurred a bit whilst she attempted the unthinkable. In one figurative moment of where you could not back out of a course you struck out on, an intervention is given on behalf of what could have been Charlotte’s final hour. There is an immediate mystery surrounding how Charlotte is found bobbling offshore in a boat she doesn’t even remember taking out on her own as much as the identity of the person she’s convinced saved her life. Meanwhile, a third woman joins Dory and Charlotte; Turner who appears to be stuck in her own void whilst seizing an opportunity to promote Charlotte’s mysterious resurrection on her blog. The story not only goes viral but becomes the turning point for how their lives are suddenly stop drifting and start taking a trajectory that has merit of being explored.

Terminal illnesses play a central focus on the story – which I was a bit surprised to find but they are included at different integral parts of the novel. In regards to Charlotte’s daughter and in regards to the health of her beloved friend Dory; I generally steer clear of stories involving terminal illnesses due to the heavy weight of the yoke these stories affect on my mind and heart. However, I can say, that despite the heaviness of the subject they are treated with respect and consideration not only for the reader but for the characters who are living through the circumstances as revelations become known to them.

The issues started to arise for me after the mid-way point of the novel, where the entire foundation of where I felt this story was taking me ended up being shattered by a completely different story-line. Prior to my detachment with the novel and stopping to read it forthwith, I was perplexed by how the style and tone of the novel changed so suddenly. I had originally felt this about the writing style of the author:

Hurley has an incredible arc of characterising the level of depth a human can emote through life as much as internalise in an attempt to process what is perceived, felt, and layered into our unconscience. He knits into his story a level of uncanny perceptive intuition, where the details he describes are both perspicacious and viscerally accurate. His narrative prose gives this literary novel an elevation of tone, body, and attachment to the reader’s own ruminations to fall in step with the words he’s left behind for us to read off the printed page.

Yet at the point where I stopped reading his novel, I no longer felt the same. The transition from the first half to the second half of The Vineyard simply did not sit well with me. Especially as it explores the darker side of how vulnerable women can be taken advantage of, but the fact that the assault is attached to the priest was stepping a bit too far outside the lines of where I want to see a story shift forward. Prior to that moment, I appreciated the intuitiveness of his writing, but afterwards, I felt as though I wasted my time reading the built-up of emotional drama.

On the writing style of Michael Hurley:

Although I grew up in an industry akin and adjacent to the life of a medical examiner, the way in which Hurley chooses to describe the desperate act of a mother resolute in her belief that committing suicide is the only way in which to free her child and herself in oblique harmony can only be taken straight from an medical examiner’s journal of cases. Yet even within the framework of how the act could theoretically be carried through, he gives his character a pause to allow reason and the humanistic desire of holding onto life a chance to breathe. He gives Charlotte the window of exploring the depths of her soul and the gutting reality of a mother who has lost her child; allowing her the time to sort through her emotional heart and her soul wrenched memories of gutting grief.

Having the fisherman who gives Charlotte the shrimp in the beginning a scant view of the note Charlotte intended to leave behind for Dory to find was a nice eclipse of tide. It gave Charlotte a crimson flush of embarrassment yes, but it also alerted her mind to realise she was in a deeply wrought depression. A stop-start of realisation of where her act could lead and how it would affect everyone in her wake of sudden death.

Fly in the Ointment:

At first the inclusions of stronger choices of words was intermittent and infrequent, but by the time I reached the middle of the novel, they became a bit more repetitive and inclusive. They are still not the main focal point of the tone or voice of the novel itself, as they are included in moments of high tension and/or emotional disbelief. However, I will always contend I can read a novel without any vulgarity within its pages and still perceive the eclipse of the emotional turbulence all the same.

I do have issues with stories that involve impropriety between spiritual leaders and their flock; as it simply isn’t a story-line I would normally walk into blind. I originally felt this was a story rooted in sisterhood friendships and a life affirmative jaunt of a Summer where they would renew their spirits whilst celebrating their friendship. What I received instead is a darkening cloud of a drama leading me into a story I felt I hadn’t signed up to read. If that one thread of narrative had been removed, it would have told a completely different story. One that I might have wanted to finish reading.

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This blog tour stop was courtesy of TLC Book Tours:
{ click-through to follow the blogosphere tour }

TLC Book Tours | Tour Host

See what I am hosting next by stopping by my Bookish Events page!

I created a list on Riffle to share the books that I simply could not become attached to as a reader myself, but stories which would benefit a reader to find them, and appreciate them for what each writer gave to their story. For me, the reason I included The Vineyard is because I did not feel it appropriate to explore the infidelity and impropriety of a priest nor to have such an illicit disconnect from the opening first half of the novel tot he middle portion. Therefore, this is now listed on my Riffle List entitled: Stories Seeking Love from Readers.

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Vineyard”, author photograph, author biography, book synopsis and the tour badge were all provided by TLC Book Tours and used with permission. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Go Indie
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Posted Wednesday, 12 November, 2014 by jorielov in Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Cancer Scare, Cape Cod, Catholicism, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diet Weight & Body Image, Disillusionment in Marriage, Divorce & Martial Strife, Family Drama, Fly in the Ointment, Go Indie, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Indie Author, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Life Shift, Light vs Dark, Literary Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Near-Death Experience, Passionate Researcher, Reading Challenges, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Terminal Illness &/or Cancer, TLC Book Tours, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice

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

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

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Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

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

Available Formats: Hardback, Trade Paperback, & Ebook

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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

Inspired to Read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author:

Genres: Fairy-Tale Re-Telling, Historical Fiction


Published by A Thomas Donne Book

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

Pages: 496

Author Biography:

Kate Forsyth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Review of Bitter Greens:

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

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

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

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

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

On the writing style of Kate Forsyth:

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

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

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

Bitter Greens Book Trailer via Kate Forsyth

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
The Virtual Road Map for “Bitter Greens” can be found here:

Bitter Greens Virtual Tour with HFVBTs

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:
I will be hosting an Author Interview with Kate Foryth on this blog tour as well. 

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

 on my Bookish Events page!
This blog tour is also highlighting the:

Historical Novel Society

A society that I hope to one day join myself as I love their content & focus on Historical Fiction. I appreciate being able to use their badge in my blog’s sidebar to promote awareness of their efforts to spotlight emerging talent inside the genre & for providing amazing ways to become integrated into the mission of supporting today’s historical authors who write such convicting narratives and stories. For the moment I support from afar but I always love alighting on their site and seeing what is new & forthcoming. They even host live events & get togethers!
I positively *love!* comments in the threads below each of my posts, kindly know that I appreciate each thought you want to share with me and all the posts on my blog are open to new comments & commentary! Short or long, I appreciate the time you spent to leave behind a note of your visit! Return again soon! 
{SOURCES: Cover art of “Bitter Greens”, book synopsis, author photograph of Kate Forsyth, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer for “Bitter Greens” via Kate Forsyth had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Historical Novel Society badge was used with permission; as book bloggers are encouraged to promote the Society on their blogs.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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

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Comments on Twitter:

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