Author: C.W. Gortner

Blog Book Tour | “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C.W. Gortner An innovator who was self-motivated to change the way in which we not only view fashion but how fashion can be definitively original unto our own style.

Posted Friday, 3 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 “Mademoiselle Chanel” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the publisher William Morrow (an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers), in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

My connection to Chanel:

My fascination with Chanel took center-stage when I selected my first Rosamunde Pilcher novel to read {The Shell Seekers} giving me a window into the world of Chanel No. 5. I had briefly hinted at this connection whilst tweeting Mr Gortner in January after learning I had become a part of the blog tour for Chanel. (the tweets are in a slideshow at the bottom of this review) I was fourteen and starting to seek out adult literature in all it’s glory after having read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton the year before when I was thirteen. I had reached the point where I was separating myself from what I had read as a young adult and what I wanted to shift forward into as an adult reader.

Romance was in my life ever since I first picked up the novella collections featuring Victorian Christmas stories penned by leading authors in the field such as Mary Jo Putney. I wanted to seek out new genres and other ways in which stories were told, which is why The Shell Seekers held such an appeal to me. It was a unique novel as it was practically a time slip as much as it was a multiple point of view story told from different pairs of eyes per each chapter you entered. It was part war drama and part multi-generational saga, yet at the heart of it all was the discovery of Chanel No. 5.

I hadn’t realised it at the time, but this novel in particular led me to realise how much I appreciated reading historical fiction, although a few years prior I should have known this after reading Judith Pella’s Frontier Lady. It was the scent of Chanel No. 5 which staid with me as I read the novel itself — it is hard to describe how I even would have known the scent, but as I read the story, I smelt the parfum, and that is the easiest way to explain it. I was so stirred by the emotional context of the novel shortly thereafter I had put the book down, I immediately sought out the parfum!

I had seen the Chanel counter at the malls, as much as anyone else, but I hadn’t connected to the scent of the fragrances themselves. The Shell Seekers provided the gateway yet it also proposed a dialogue of conversation revealing a particular unknown connection through my maternal line of heritage! Apparently, long before my own encounter with Chanel No. 5, my grandmother and mother had long since held this fragrance as their most beloved scent! It was at this time the torch was thus passed down to me, and I inherited my Mum’s bottle of the fragrance which I used sparingly until it ran out in my early twenties. The scent itself smelt differently on me, as it was very subtle and yet unique, and this is when I learnt the most about parfum; to each wearer our own chemistry changes how it is reflected to those who smell it on us.

I haven’t been able to wear it after this moment of my life as I started to develop allergies to most commercial fragrances, however, even as I use essential oils I still have very fond memories of Chanel and of Chanel No. 5. It united me with a legacy of how three women in my own family came across Chanel No. 5 in our own uniquely different ways and found a connection through the parfum itself. If I hadn’t picked up The Shell Seekers and been drawn in by the allure of Chanel No. 5, this story of my life would not have been written. Nor would I have known how others reacted to when I wore the fragrance as no one knew it was this particular scent, only that when I wore it, I was known. Anonymity was gone.

Blog Book Tour | “Mademoiselle Chanel” by C.W. Gortner An innovator who was self-motivated to change the way in which we not only view fashion but how fashion can be definitively original unto our own style.Mademoiselle Chanel
by C.W. Gortner
Source: Publisher via France Book Tours

For readers of “The Paris Wife” and “Z” comes this vivid novel full of drama, passion, tragedy, and beauty that stunningly imagines the life of iconic fashion designer Coco Chanel—the ambitious, gifted laundrywoman’s daughter who revolutionized fashion, built an international empire, and became one of the most influential and controversial figures of the twentieth century.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her siblings are sent to an orphanage after their mother’s death. The sisters nurture Gabrielle’s exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel the willful young woman into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Coco—a seamstress and sometime torch singer—the petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek, minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Coco’s reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. But her fame and fortune cannot save her from heartbreak as the years pass. And when Paris falls to the Nazis, Coco is forced to make choices that will haunt her.

An enthralling novel of an extraordinary designer who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel explores the inner world of a woman of staggering ambition whose strength, passion and artistic vision would become her trademark.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Also by this author: , The Tudor Vendetta

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by William Morrow

on St. Patrick's Day, 2015

Pages: 416

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)
Available Formats: Hardback, Unabridged Audiobook, Ebook

Converse on Twitter via: #MademoiselleChanel, #CocoChanel

Author Biography:CW Gortner

C.W. Gortner is the international bestselling author of six historical novels, translated in over twenty-five languages to date. His new novel, “Mademoiselle Chanel”, traces the tumultuous rise to fame of iconic fashion designer, Coco Chanel.

In 2016, Random House will publish his eighth novel, “Vatican Princess”, about Lucrezia Borgia. Raised in Spain and a long-time resident of the Bay Area, C.W. is also dedicated to companion animal rescue from overcrowded shelters.

WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookGoodreads

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 3 April, 2015 by jorielov in 19th Century, 20th Century, Adoption, Belle Epoque Era, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coco Chanel, Courtesan & Cocottes, Equality In Literature, Fashion Fiction, Fashion Industry, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Parfum Industry, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author, Realistic Fiction, the Edwardian era, the Roaring Twenties

Blog Book Tour | “The Tudor Vendetta” by C.W. Gortner, the concluding installment of the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy!

Posted Friday, 28 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Tudor Vendetta by C.W. Gortner

Published By: St. Martin’s Griffin via St. Martin’s Press
imprints of St. Martin’s Publishing Group,
which is now a part of MacMillian Publishers

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TudorVendetta, #HistoricalMystery & #TudorVendettaBlogTour

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

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

Interested in Reading:

As I had previously disclosed on my interview with Mr. Gortner, I had made a bit of a mistake in having confused one of his stand-alone novels for being inclusive to the Spymaster Chronicles series; when I realised the error, I had run out of time to ILL the second novel The Tudor Conspiracy and this past week, I plumb ran out of time to read The Tudor Secret, as I had originally planned to read the first novel if I only had the chance to read one of the two. I am always making an attempt to remember to allow time to read a series properly, however, there are moments in each of our lives where our best intended plans go a bit differently than we planned them too.

Nevertheless, the main reason this series and the writings of Gortner had attracted me in the first place, were the uncanny technical eye for history and historical accuracy the writer fuses into his stories overall. I started to read the author’s blog last Autumn 2013, and noted his dedication combined with a spirit for history. History has either inspired people or befuddled them, because even as I was a young girl, I was quite the history buff myself — my curious  mind was inclined to ponder where my classmates tended not to mind knowing one way or the other. The blessing to me were the writers of historical fiction and biographical fiction (one of my favourite sub-genres) who bridged the gap between what a history (technically written) textbook and a novel could give the reader.

I was quite charmed to the prospect of reading a C.W. Gortner novel my 2nd Year as a Book Blogger, and I am hopeful this will only be the beginning of my readings of his stories. As you see, there are quite a few I am keen on reading next: the forementioned Spymaster Chronicles, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici and Mademoiselle Chanel in 2015.

Blog Book Tour | “The Tudor Vendetta” by C.W. Gortner, the concluding installment of the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy!The Tudor Vendetta
by C.W. Gortner
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: , Mademoiselle Chanel

Series: The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles,


Also in this series:


Genres: Historical Fiction


Published by St. Martin's Griffin

on 21st October, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 304

The Tudor Secret (Book 1: the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles) Book Trailer via C.W. Gortner 

About C.W. Gortner

CW Gortner

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

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Posted Friday, 28 November, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Elizabeth I, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Tudor Era

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