Genre: Biographical Fiction

Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

 

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

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 “Ecstasy” direct from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this novel about Alma Mahler:

This particular author has a special connection to Jorie Loves A Story – especially in regards to milestones and memories! Whilst I was a 1st Year Book Blogger, I had the pleasure of joy reading Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen} as my debut review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in November, 2013! The novel introduced me to an enriched version of reading biographies – an introduction that would carry me forward into the wonderful world of what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’; a mainstay of my reading queues! As routed through this category of interest!

From that foundation, I started to seek out traditional biographies and memoirs, under the new vein of interest called ‘Creative Non-Fiction’ where the stories are threaded through an emotional contextual core of narrative. For you see, if I hadn’t first read Illuminations all the lovelies I’ve been discovering since might not have alighted in my hands to read. Mary Sharratt truly opened my mind and eyes to how a story could be told whilst peering back into the historical past through a living history of a person who once lived. Her style of the craft is quite acutely realistic for the time periods she’s exploring; she has a conviction of setting with a lifeblood of drawing characters out of the wells of history to give us a resounding portrait of ‘who once lived’ can live once again in our own imaginations.

Whilst during my 3rd Year as a Book Blogger, I had the joy of discovering her prose within The Dark Lady’s Mask (see also Review) and now, as a newly minted 5th Year Book Blogger – I am embarking into my third reading of her collective works with Ecstasy! There is something quite special about the way in which Ms Sharratt approaches her subjects and characters – as I had this to say whilst encountering my last stay inside one of her stories:

I knew I would find the narrative an eloquent historical tome of insight on behalf of what I know of Sharratt’s writings; she fuses so much in such a short expanse of the story, you fully live within their pages. Her narrative has a way of not just transporting you back into the 16th Century but allowing you a bit of grace to flex your mind around what living in the 16th Century would be like from a sensory perception of insight. She taunts what you presume to be true with what is known about the century, giving you much more of a grounded respite than a flowery historical. This felt authentic to the era but also, to how the world would have been viewed during the different stages of Aemilia’s life.

I was caught up in the current of how fluid Ms Sharratt composed this novel and how she worked the story-line through the mind of a poetess. She truly championed the will of a poet and of a creative seeking to find their own way to express their creativity whilst proving that finding one’s way in life isn’t as easily to understand. Ms Sharratt will remain a favourite of mine to read, if only to see how her own mind fashions itself around thought, theory, inspiration and the fragility of where history and time become entwined as one. I will definitely savour the time I spend within The Dark Lady’s Mask the second time I read it, as it is not one you wish to put down in haste!

Only within the chapters of Illuminations did I find myself most akin to reading a different lifestyle than one I could personally relate too. As the elements of The Dark Lady’s Mask had such wonderful overtures of recognition from my favourite Bard, I felt there were portions of the narrative I had a pre-cursory understanding of – as I stepped inside Ecstasy, it was an easier transition by half, as any creative economist who picks up this novel will self-identity with Alma’s strong desire and need to fulfill not only her creative muses but to strike out on her own to develop her creative identity.

As such, this is one text where I found myself attempting to find the right words to articulate my reactions as I found the context of the story to be illuminatingly stimulating in it’s own right to parlay a multitude of thoughts about it’s inner theme, the heart of it’s message and the purpose we all seek as self-directed artists seeking our true selves and the rightful path we must walk in order to embrace the artistry within us which has not yet been revealled. These are the kinds of ruminative thoughts I am appreciative of being challenged to convey – as the writers who write these kinds of stories are digging into something dimensionally deeper than what might first be seen on the surface of their characters’ lives.

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Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.Esctasy
by Mary Sharratt
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9780544800892

Also by this author: Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen}, The Dark Lady's Mask

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 10th April, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 387

Published ByHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHCo)

Converse via: #EcstasyBlogTour, #AlmaMahler + #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover & Ebook

About Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes: strong women who break all the rules.

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Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Alma Mahler, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Classical Music | Composers, Composer, Creative Arts, Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired by Stories, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction

Blog Book Tour | “In Spite of Lions” by Scarlette Pike

Posted Friday, 23 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “In Spite of Lions” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I also read the copy my library purchased (due to my request) whilst finishing the story as I happily was the first person who borrowed the novel. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this story:

I have been looking forward to reading this story for quite a long while – as I still remember finding out about the story *ahead* of Ms Pike contacting me about the blog tour! I was trying to sort out if this was going on a blog tour or if it was a book I ought to ask my library to purchase. In the end, I was able to join the tour *and!* find out the happy news my library accepted the purchase request! In the end, however, I nearly wasn’t sure if the book would arrive – from the publisher or the library, as was the last person to receive her copy to review. I ended up reading my review copy *and!* the library copy in tandem as I left one at home whilst the other was a bit more portable as I continued to read the story itself.

I was striving to make the last day of the tour – except due to my health issues these past few weeks and the tech difficulties I couldn’t circumvent (making blogging a nightmare!) – it turnt out I ran out of the hours I needed to finish the story prior to St. Patrick’s Day weekend. If my weekend had been without a small smidge of strife, I might have had a bit more time to read as well. However, the good news is I am able to run this review on Friday to catch everyone seeking out their #weekendreads! I am blessed to finish my readings and happily share my ruminative thoughts on behalf of this lovely debut novel: In Spite of Lions whilst moving through the tour route to see what everyone else had to say on its behalf.

The closer I was coming to receiving the novel in the Post, I spied Ms Bruno (of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours) reading a copy of the story and saw The Lit Bitch was keen on reading it as well! Imagine!? And, here I was thinking I’d be talking to them about it – rather than finding out they already knew! I love how those of us who *love!* reading Historical Fiction have the tendency to find the same books at the *exact!* same time! lol

Truly what initially convinced me to read this story is what I had mentioned on Twitter – who wouldn’t contemplate what the rest of the world was getting up to whilst Mr Darcy was trying to get acquainted with Lizzie!? As this was lead-in towards understanding the timescape via the author’s website. From that one small revelation – combined with the briefest synopsis I’ve seen in a long time – I felt an intense curiosity to seek out what was inside this novel!

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Notation on Cover Art: As soon as I saw the cover for this novel, I was transfixed on the image of Anna and the lion who is super-imposed through her portrait. The effect of which is quite incredible when your holding the book in your hands and it is becoming a fast favourite of all covers & the dimensional effects you can have whilst giving a glimpse into your story & characters.

Blog Book Tour | “In Spite of Lions” by Scarlette PikeIn Spite of Lions
Subtitle: They warned her that Africa was dangerous... they couldn't know it would be her santuary.
by Scarlette Pike
Source: Borrowed from local library, Direct from Publisher, Purchase REQ | local library

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1462120642

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, INSPY Realistic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 13th February, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 184

 Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistoricalFiction + #InSpiteOfLions

About Scarlette Pike

Scarlette Pike

Scarlette Pike became a writer by being an avid reader of Georgette Heyer and many other regency authors. She is a senior in UVU’s English program with an emphasis in Literature Studies. In Spite of Lions is her first finished novel inspired by her love for the regency era. The story has been carefully researched in order to preserve and promote historical accuracy.

Photo Credit: Alyssia Baird Photography

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 23 March, 2018 by jorielov in Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Christianity, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Dr Livingstone and Mary Livingstone, Family Drama, Family Life, Fathers and Daughters, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Immigrant Stories, Indie Author, Life Shift, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Spirituality & Metaphysics, Twin Siblings, Women's Fiction, Women's Health

Blog Book Tour | “The Forgotten Girl” by Heather Chapman

Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I have been a blog tour hostess with Cedar Fort for the past three years, wherein I took a brief hiatus from hosting before resuming August 2016. I appreciate the diversity of the stories the Indie publisher is publishing per year, not only for fiction and non-fiction but for healthy eats within their Front Table Books (cookbooks). I appreciate their dedication to writing general market, INSPY reads and LDS focused stories across the genres they publish.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Forgotten Girl” direct from the publisher Sweetwater Books (an imprint of Cedar Fort Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I wanted to read this story:

The Forgotten Girl Quote banner provided by the author Heather Chapman and is used with permission.
Photo Credit: Amanda Conley Photography

There is something about Biological Historical Fiction which pulls me inside the stories – of seeing how close we are to grasping the truths of our ancestors – known or unknown – as we traverse back through time, if only to pause for breath within a lived life so wholly brought back to life through the writer’s heartful attempt at honouring the past. This is also true of why I love reading Historical Fiction, as we get to re-live the past, seek out the hidden truths therein finding new empathy and understanding for our own lives today. There is a wider scope of how everyone is inter-connected and by re-visiting the historical lives of those who came before us we can find further insight into our world and into what unites us rather than focusing on our differences which try to divide us.

One particular branch of Biological Historical Fiction I am loving are the stories writ straight out the ancestral records and living histories of the writers themselves! I have had the pleasure of reading quite a number of these kinds of stories the past few years, each time I stumble across them I am truly thankful for the time the writer has taken to not only tell the stories but to find such an authentic voice of their ancestors channelling through their story.

As soon as I picked up The Forgotten Girl it did not sound like a contemporary writer was telling this story – it was one of those rare moments where it felt akin to a descendant who had fused so truly into their ancestor’s life as to channel them directly forward to tell their own story. These beautiful quotation banners were provided by the author for me to use as I help spread the word about this novel, as it truly is a story everyone who loves a hard-won second chance, a renewal of spirit and the redemptive healing of true love will attest this novel rounds out the true impression of what Ms Chapman’s great-grandparents (Stella and Mike) truly could have experienced when they were alive.

This first quotation I’m sharing is at the heart of Stella’s story – which lies at the heart of all our stories, for those of us who are seeking to change our stars or to endeavour to live elsewhere from whence we were bourne. We might cross miles rather than oceans, but wherever each of us is led to live and take a leap of faith towards seeking out a new path elsewhere from where we once were is to etch out a will towards believing in what tomorrow can yield even if the path isn’t clearly defined to follow. This quote speaks to how change is sometimes so mute and subtle as you nearly feel you’ve imagined hearing it against the wind. I felt it was an accurate statement for Stella’s change of destiny, too. She had to fight her doubt and believe in the unthinkable whilst holding onto the change which nearly didn’t arrive in time to alter her journey.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Forgotten Girl” by Heather ChapmanThe Forgotten Girl
by Heather Chapman
Source: Direct from Publisher

It is 1906, and sixteen-year-old Stella’s future in Durliosy, Poland has never looked bleaker. After losing her parents at a young age, she was taken in by her brother’s family. But now, after yearsof mistreatment, she determines to escape her brother and the oppression of Russian-occupied Poland and travel to America - a land of hope and opportunity.

Determined to find her independence, Stella is not looking for love, but after arriving in Fells Point, Maryland, she’s can’t help but be drawn in by a tall stranger, despite his rough exterior. What follows is a journey of love, loss and self-discovery. Can Stella find happiness in her new life? Will she be able to let someone love her, and can she let herself love him in return?

Inspired by a true story, witness how a forgotten girl made her life truly unforgettable.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-1462120642

Also by this author: The Second Season, Author Interview (A Second Season), Unexpected Love

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Fiction


Published by Sweetwater Books

on 13th February, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 184

 Published By: Sweetwater Books (@SweetwaterBooks),
an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc (@CedarFort)

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Stories I’ve read by this author:

The Second Season by Heather ChapmanUnexpecred Love (anthology) stories of Marriage of Convenience by Cedar Fort authors

Converse via: #HistFic or #HistoricalFiction, Stories based on #Ancestry

About Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman

Heather Chapman currently resides in Soda Springs, Idaho, with her husband and four children. She graduated magna cum laude from Brigham Young University. Heather has worked in various administrative assistant roles and as an event planner. Heather has also worked as a piano accompanist and piano teacher on the side. She currently spends her time writing and working as a stay-at-home mother.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 21 February, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Brothers and Sisters, Cedar Fort Publishing & Media, Coming-Of Age, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Family Drama, Family Life, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Immigrant Stories, Indie Author, Life Shift, Mental Health, Orphans & Guardians, Realistic Fiction, Shirtwaist Industry, Siblings, Sisterhood friendships, Story knitted out of Ancestral Data, the Nineteen Hundreds

Blog Book Tour | “The Secret Life of Mrs London” by Rebecca Rosenberg

Posted Thursday, 15 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , 11 Comments

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 “The Secret Life of Mrs London” direct from the author Rebecca Rosenberg in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I was interested in the premise behind this novel:

My first entrance into Biological Historical Fiction was prior to becoming a book blogger – it was when I read the back-story about Mrs (Charles) Dickens in the beautifully conceived novel Girl in a Blue Dress. At the time, I was mesmorised by how realistically the story-line flowed and how wonderfully intricate the novel revealled the finer points of how Mrs Dickens had much more to give than what she personally felt she had in self-worth. Another critical entry in this section of Literature for me was Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald of which I had the happenstance to read as an ARC – the narrative clarity of Zelda’s voice inside this novel was incredibly layered! I still think about my readings of this novel – as I spread it out over several months, savouring the respite I had outside it but hungry for more insight into Zelda’s life all the same. It is a haunting account truly of one woman’ spiral and her journey back to ‘self’ out of the chaos of health issues which were never fully addressed until the very last chapter of her life. It’s beyond tragic how Zelda never felt she realised her own artistic merit in the literary world and how suppressed she had become as a writer due to her overbearing husband whose ego would not allow him to admit her writerly strength of voice.

Over the past four and a half years, I’ve encountered quite a large number of entries of Biological Historical Fiction – each in turn giving me such an incredibly humbling experience as I held close to the whispers of truth etching out of the lives by the living persons who had lived these lives I was now attached to through the renditions the writers had given them in their novels. When I read the premise about Mrs London and how her life intersected with the Houdini’s – there was a moment in my mind as I contemplated the plot itself wherein I felt I heard an echo of Zelda’s life. Of two women who were caught inside a marriage which was not the healthiest of relationships for them nor was it a marriage built on love or trust. They were each caught into a cycle of living which worked against them and in part, this is why I wanted to read Mrs London’s story. I wanted to know how she worked through the anguish of living in Jack’s shadow but also, how she dealt with the absence of having a husband who appreciated her and held her interests in his own heart.

In regards to Jack London – although I have an omnibus of his stories (in hardback) which my family gave me as young girl, there was something about his stories which put me off reading them. I could say the same about Dickens, too. When it came to disappearing inside either of their stories a part of me ‘held back’ interest despite the fact they both had concepts of stories I felt I would have loved reading. And, in turn, I came to know them better through their film adaptations than I did in their original canon of release! Uniquely enough. The two which stood out to me were White Fang and A Christmas Carol – which of course, remain two my favourite films of all time. The latter of which I consistently seek out as they re-invent the wheel every so many years in how to properly explore the story & the message within it.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Secret Life of Mrs London” by Rebecca RosenbergThe Secret Life of Mrs London
by Rebecca Rosenberg
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 9781542048736

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Women's Studies


Published by Lake Union Publishing

on 30th January, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 348

In retrospect, after re-reading my review, I realised I needed to add the flames to this review, as I felt the sensuality and sexuality explored in the story was on the higher end of what I am comfortable about finding in either Romance or Historical Romance novels. I also felt in this story, the subject was threaded throughout the context of the novel and re-highlighted to the point where it nearly felt like it was the main focus of the story rather than on the dynamics of the who the characters were outside their boudoir exploits.

four-half-flames

Published By: Lake Union Publishing

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #JackLondon

About Rebecca Rosenberg

Rebecca Rosenberg

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 15 February, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Adulterous Affair, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Charmian London, Creative Arts, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Disabilities & Medical Afflictions, Disillusionment in Marriage, During WWI, Equality In Literature, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Inspired By Author OR Book, Jack London, Life of Thirty-Somethings, Mental Health, Multi-cultural Characters and/or Honest Representations of Ethnicity, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Self-Harm Practices, Taboo Relationships & Romance, the Nineteen Hundreds, Vulgarity in Literature, Women's Fiction, Women's Health, Women's Rights, Women's Suffrage, Writer, Zelda Fitzgerald