Genre: Feminist Historical Fiction

Author Interview | #JorieReads the Miramonde series and has the wickedly delightful joy in being able to converse with the novelist behind this epic #HistFic saga – Amy Maroney

Posted Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Conversations with the Bookish badge created by Jorie in Canva

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,

I have a lovely conversation to share with you this afternoon which is wicked brilliant as it comes shortly after I had the pleasure of reading The Girl from Oto – the first installment of an EPIC saga of Historical Fiction from the imagination & heart of Amy Maroney! This is a story which not only intrigued me but it is so dearly lush in descriptive narrative with a keen emotionally driven plotting that you will find yourself unable to extract yourself from its grip until you’ve concluded reading its chapters! I postively loved my experience within this realm – where I was slipping through time between the past and the present, eagerly awaiting word from both centuries to check-in on the characters who became so very dear to me and feeling pinges of worriment over how their lives would resolve!

If you’ve missed my ruminative thoughts earlier in the week during my #HistoricalMondays showcase(s) here is an excerpt from my musings about what anchoured me into Ms Maroney’s vision for her series:

I became entranced as soon as I read the Prologue – to be caught inside Zari’s footsteps during an electrical storm is one surefire way to feel rooted inside the opening pages of The Girl from Oto! There is something quite disconcerting about how lightning storms pop and sizzle through the skies – if your out in the thick of them, I’d much prefer a car than boots in a rain sodden meadow, however, you can respectfully understand why Zari is here and why this is an important moment for her to be in an area where she can verify a mystery.

When it comes to the children who can’t stay amongst their families and the people they have become bourne was an interesting turning of the tides; especially to see Mira was carted off into an abbey if only to keep her safe whilst she grew far away from her biological relations. There was a hinting of a a reason towards this end – of how her twin brother would be the preferred choice to stay with their parents and how getting her out as quick as a horse can canter was the best course of action for her own life. It is here we first find Elena – of whom is focused on in the prequel novella The Promise. Elena has the difficult job of having to handle the curiously hard situation where a daughter has to be secreted away from her family – an act of bravery on her part, as it is hinted at how her life is not as readily secured anymore than the infant in her keep. It was only after she reached her destination that we realised just how perilous this act was for her to take-on and how much is looming at stake over the choice to separate Mira from her family. The details were not yet readily known but there is enough psychological suspense in the under-threads of the narrative to elude to the fact this was the only way in which to ensure Mira would be ‘kept safe’ and in a place where she could thrive.

Beatrice struck me as a quite remarkable woman – at first I couldn’t get a good read on her person, not until we learnt more about her father and how she came to be set-up at the abbey itself. It was here where we find a sister (as her two sisters were wed at very young ages) who had a chance at freedom in a manner of speaking that her own sisters would never know themselves. She was meant to live her life amongst the nuns and although their spiritual home (the abbey) was protected there was a part of her nature which was non-conforming and non-traditional. She did as she pleased for reasons which made logical sense – not just to her but to anyone looking in on her life.

As Maroney re-settled us into the life and heart of Mira’s mother, Marguerite – we find a woman whose strength and resolve goes back to her childhood when she was a young girl of nine years taken from her family and brought to the Oto stronghold. She was destined to wed and to have children but her life was not her own. In some ways, I had wondered if this is partially why she had sent Mira away – to give her a chance she hadn’t had herself and to try to reset parts of the past she wasn’t able to resolve until now. There is a passage which explains the seashell and the importance of this necklace – it is an inheritance of its own right and the significance of its presence in her life is a remarkable one of faith.

Marguerite isn’t a woman who backed down when bad things happened; if anything she was re-inspired to dig deeper and to find a way to step outside the adversity to live for tomorrow. Not everyone around her was this strong in spirit nor in mind; she had to be the one others could look up towards when the unthinkable started to alight at her door. The fortitude it would have taken to deal with that at hand and to keep her wits about her as well when you could tell she wanted to wilt under the pressure of what that moment would mean for her and how it would change her life.

In this series, we are anchoured in the present by Zari, in the past with Mira and Elena. The ability to seek out the story through the voices of their characters is quite delightful as you are immediately drawn to Zari due to how adventurous she is in seeking out the truth and the proof of what was once thriving in the past but in the present is only a fluttering of a memory. As you enter Elena’s life as a mountain woman who finds comfort in her healing practices and being a midwife, you also start to see the complications of being a woman in her generation. She has to walk a fine line between her independence and the life which is expected of her to give to a kingdom which is quite unforgiving round the edges. And, then, there is Mira who was an innocent babe in this story – a daughter who was not wanted, an heir of the wrong gender and a twin bourne in secret where only her brother was the celebrated birth.

There is a lot riding the coattails of their lives – especially if you bring into the fray Beatrice who is a nun at an abbey which needs to find a way to financially stablise itself and the arrival of Mira was a welcoming grace as she brought with her a dowry they could not have hoped to have received otherwise. Elena I felt was the most changed by Mira’s birth and Zari is someone we are getting to know in smaller periods of revelation in the opening chapters of the story – to where, Mira’s young life is the central focus to help us align ourselves into their lives and better understand their motivations.

It isn’t often you find a story which stands out from others – by the way it was written, how it was assembled if it were a series and also, what makes it uniquely original. For me, as I read The Girl from Oto – I found a wonderfully Feminist driven plot, strong female leads and an atmosphere of introspective intuitiveness from the past. I found her style not just sophisticated in its scope but multi-layered as she tucked you close to the footsteps of her characters. You didn’t just re-live their lives as they are being depicted but you took a very emotionally connective journey with them.

-quoted from my review of The Girl from Oto

As you can see, there is a lot of layering to her style of Historical Fiction – she writes a fiercely passionate story with wicked brilliant Feminist Historical Fiction insight into the past whilst she encourages you to take this journey with Mira, Elena, Beatrice and Zari – for me, the story had five fierecely strong women inside it if you include Marguerite (Mira’s Mum) who in their own individual ways are leaving pieces of themselves imprinted on your memory.

I was thrilled to bits I could ask Ms Maroney questions about this story and the series as it is evolving whilst tucking close to the heart of her writing life and the process in which the stories alight in her heart to be written.

As your reading our convo I hope it will spark a keen interest in seeking out this series and if you’ve perchanced already started reading either the novella “The Promise” and/or have read “The Girl from Oto” – I would love to hear your reactions, thoughts and comments in the threads below this conversation! Let me know what drew you to this saga and why you love Historical Fiction series like this one – as it is champion to find fellow readers who are attracted to similar story-lines! Remember – brew your favourite cuppa before you begin!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Author Interview | #JorieReads the Miramonde series and has the wickedly delightful joy in being able to converse with the novelist behind this epic #HistFic saga – Amy MaroneyThe Girl From Oto
by Amy Maroney

A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…

The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.

1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?

2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997521306

Also by this author: The Girl From Oto (Spotlight), The Girl From Oto

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Artelan Press

on 20th September, 2016

Published by: Artelan Press

The Miramode Series:

The Promise by Amy MaroneyThe Girl from Oto by Amy MaroneyMira's Way by Amy Maroney

The Promise (prequel) novella – about Elena (mountain healer, midwife)

The Girl from Oto (book one) } see also review
– where we are introduced to Zari, Elena & Mira

Mira’s Way (book two)

Ideally, I would have preferred to rad “The Promise” ahead of the first installment as I love reading series in order of sequence. Except it is not yet released into print and/or audio
– I loved Elena instantly in “book one”.

Converse via: ##TheGirlfromOto + #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #TimeShift and #HistoricalFiction

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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Posted Wednesday, 20 March, 2019 by jorielov in 16th Century, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debut Author, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001)

Blog Book Tour | “The Girl from Oto” (The Miramonde Series, Book One) by Amy Maroney

Posted Monday, 18 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#HistoricalMondays blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I’ve launched 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 began 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 celebrated 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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Girl from Oto” direct from the author Amy Maroney 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

On why this story appealled to me:

In truth, the trifecta of ‘time’ narratives (ie. time shift, time slip and time travel) are three of my favourite ways in which genre can become bent towards the will of a novelists pen. It never fails to ensnare a wicked curiosity about what I shall find if I were to dip into a narrative set in a duality of focus between the past and the present whilst what motivates me to seek out these stories is the fact I love being a time traveller of History. There is a benefit to reading Historical Fiction – as the writers who are curating their worlds for us to read are the ones who are re-illuminating the past in such strong strokes of colours and lives to give us a building of the past in our imaginations which befits the real persons who once lived.

When I first read the premise of the novel The Girl from Oto – I was rather charmed by the time shift narrative as reading dual timelines in stories is one of my favourite past-times! I like seeing how different writers handle the stories and how the duality of the focus is built through the distinctiveness of having two timescapes to disappear inside as we follow the central lead characters.

It is through this exploration of the human condition, of humanity’s progress and the journeys we venture forth into embracing through this portal of interest where we seek out the most hope for the future because we have a better foundational understanding of whence we’ve previously have travelled.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “The Girl from Oto” (The Miramonde Series, Book One) by Amy MaroneyThe Girl From Oto
by Amy Maroney
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…

The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.

1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?

2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997521306

Also by this author: The Girl From Oto (Spotlight), The Girl From Oto

Also in this series: The Girl From Oto (Spotlight)


Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Artelan Press

on 20th September, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 532

Published by: Artelan Press

The Miramode Series:

The Promise by Amy MaroneyThe Girl from Oto by Amy MaroneyMira's Way by Amy Maroney

The Promise (prequel) novella – about Elena (mountain healer, midwife)

The Girl from Oto (book one)
– where we are introduced to Zari, Elena & Mira

Mira’s Way (book two)

Ideally, I would have preferred to rad “The Promise” ahead of the first installment as I love reading series in order of sequence. Except it is not yet released into print and/or audio
– I loved Elena instantly in “book one”.

Converse via: ##TheGirlfromOto + #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #TimeShift and #HistoricalFiction

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She studied English literature at Boston University and public policy at Portland State University, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, painting, drawing, dancing and reading. The Girl from Oto and Mira’s Way are books 1 & 2 in The Miramonde Series.

For a free prelude to The Girl from Oto, for the full scoop on the research behind the book, and for news about the sequel, please visit www.amymaroney.com.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Divider

Posted Monday, 18 March, 2019 by jorielov in 16th Century, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debut Author, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001)

Blog Tour Spotlight | Celebrating “The Girl from Oto” (The Miramonde Series, Book One) by Amy Maroney

Posted Tuesday, 12 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. It has been a wicked fantastical journey into the heart of the historic past, wherein I’ve been blessed truly by discovering new timescapes, new living realities of the persons who once lived (ie. Biographical Historical Fiction) inasmuch as itched my healthy appetite for Cosy Historical Mysteries! If there is a #HistRom out there it is generally a beloved favourite and I love soaking into a wicked wonderful work of Historical Fiction where you feel the beauty of the historic world, the depth of the characters and the joyfulness in which the historical novelists brought everything to light in such a lovingly diverse palette of portraiture of the eras we become time travellers through their stories.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Girl from Oto” direct from the author Amy Maroney 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

On why this story appealled to me:

In truth, the trifecta of ‘time’ narratives (ie. time shift, time slip and time travel) are three of my favourite ways in which genre can become bent towards the will of a novelists pen. It never fails to ensnare a wicked curiosity about what I shall find if I were to dip into a narrative set in a duality of focus between the past and the present whilst what motivates me to seek out these stories is the fact I love being a time traveller of History. There is a benefit to reading Historical Fiction – as the writers who are curating their worlds for us to read are the ones who are re-illuminating the past in such strong strokes of colours and lives to give us a building of the past in our imaginations which befits the real persons who once lived.

It is through this exploration of the human condition, of humanity’s progress and the journeys we venture forth into embracing through this portal of interest where we seek out the most hope for the future because we have a better foundational understanding of whence we’ve previously have travelled.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Tour Spotlight | Celebrating “The Girl from Oto” (The Miramonde Series, Book One) by Amy MaroneyThe Girl From Oto (Spotlight)
by Amy Maroney
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…

The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.

1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?

2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780997521306

Also by this author: The Girl From Oto, The Girl From Oto

Also in this series: The Girl From Oto


Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Artelan Press

on 20th September, 2016

Format: Trade Paperback

Published by: Artelan Press

The Miramode Series:

The Promise by Amy MaroneyThe Girl from Oto by Amy MaroneyMira's Way by Amy Maroney

The Promise (prequel) novella – about Elena (mountain healer, midwife)

The Girl from Oto (book one)
– where we are introduced to Zari, Elena & Mira

Mira’s Way (book two)

Ideally, I would have preferred to rad “The Promise” ahead of the first installment as I love reading series in order of sequence. Except it is not yet released into print and/or audio
– I loved Elena instantly in “book one”.

Converse via: ##TheGirlfromOto + #HistFic or #HistNov
as well as #TimeShift and #HistoricalFiction

Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

About Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney

Amy Maroney lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She studied English literature at Boston University and public policy at Portland State University, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, painting, drawing, dancing and reading. The Girl from Oto and Mira’s Way are books 1 & 2 in The Miramonde Series.

For a free prelude to The Girl from Oto, for the full scoop on the research behind the book, and for news about the sequel, please visit www.amymaroney.com.

Read More

Divider

Posted Tuesday, 12 March, 2019 by jorielov in 16th Century, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debut Author, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001)

Blog Book Tour | “Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann West

Posted Sunday, 3 March, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

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 “Claiming My Place” direct from the author Planaria Price 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

On why this story appealled to me:

When I was contacted about being on this blog tour, I must admit, I nearly declined it. Not because I wasn’t interested in the story – the reason stems from my childhood. As a young girl – an impressionable reader and a person with a sensitive heart, I was never able to read The Diary of Anne Frank – despite the nudges from my Mum and my grandparents; there was something preventing me from reading the book. I know I recognised a lot of myself in Anne – I was even her age when I re-attempted to read her words but there was an emotional reasoning in my head and heart; knowing if I walked into her world, I might have difficulty walking out knowing how she died. I had a lot of issues with death as a child and this in part could have played a role in not wanting to re-live Anne’s life as a young girl. The distance between her life and mine felt smaller somehow – when your the age of someone whose died tragically – somehow time, distance and proportional understanding of their life draws closer to your heart.

I also was frustrated by how my school teachers were avoiding talking about the war eras though they had no difficulty in speaking about the Civil War. Comparatively, I felt it was more relevant to everyone who grew up in the GenX generation to focus more on 20th Century History – from the war era straight into the heart of Civil Rights and the 1970s; than it would have been to dredge up history where both sides still were aggrieved about what happened. The relevancy of the 20th Century still had an important role in understanding our present and our future; at least, this was what I tried to reason in my arguments about a lack of proportional education for an engaged student losing interest in an education system which befitted no one due to how much was lost from being learnt.

As I researched the story itself – there is one particular reason why I said ‘yes’ to reading this story and why I knew I could handle the story I’d find within it. It has a happier ending than Anne Frank – hers is an uplifting story of a different nature; this one seeks to go into how someone survived but also found happiness after the war. I think for me, I needed this ‘extra chapter’ on a story which seeks to re-explain what was happening during Anne Frank’s living years whilst giving us an ending that is easier to swallow and accept.

There is a reason why I’ve altered the kind of war dramas I seek out to read – I used to read all sorts of them; including the guttingly convicting narratives which gave me nightmares. Why? I haven’t the foggiest clue. Something was directing me towards them and although I don’t regret reading them per se – I had to take a full step back from reading half of the war dramas I was naturally curious about reading. The one which crushed my soul and clued me into needing to make this change in selection was Citadel. I was within my first year of book blogging and although this novel opened my eyes to quite a heap of unknown history within the era in question, it also drew to my mind there are levels of reality I need to avoid finding in fiction.

Having said that – what inspired me to read Claiming My Place is knowing why Mum originally wanted me to read Anne Frank’s story. I knew why she wanted me to read it was simply a matter of a girl recognising she couldn’t read her story. I have regretted that personal choice over the years and as I’m inching towards turning thirtyten, it is nice to finally resolve this with being able to handle reading a different story which seeks to highlight the same truths within a classic I had to appreciate from afar.

In the same vein of interest, I did go to the theater to see Life is Beautiful and Saving Private Ryan; the latter not only gutted me emotionally but left me shell-shocked; in effect, it was too much to process. The former was my preferred experience of the two – guttingly realistic, emotionally powerful and at the root of the story is what truly was hard to reconcile about the second world war. It ends with a ray of hopefulness with the sombering tragedy of loss intermixed with your emotional reaction of having felt as if you had personally lived through the story. Notwithstanding the fact by the end of the film I no longer remembered it wasn’t in my native language. When other film goers complained about reading the subtitles – I still remember walking out going “What subtitles?” I was dearly invested in that film and I credit this to how Roberto Benigni wrote the story and brought his character to life in such a way as to transcend time, language and the human spirit.

Reading Claiming My Place is a daughter’s way of reconnecting to her mother’s memory of Anne Frank and of resolving not being able to read one of the most popular books for young readers.

I am grateful for this story, especially as the war eras have held a captivating impression on me since I was a young girl. I grew into a reader of war dramas & historical narratives set at the battlefields & on the home fronts; from one continent to the other – seeking the living truths of those who lived through the era and of the humbling ways in which History merits becoming known in each new generation past these marked fixtures in time which ought never become repeated.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Blog Book Tour | “Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust” by Planaria Price with Helen Reichmann WestClaiming My Place
by Planaria Price
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Ilyana Kadushin

A Junior Library Guild selection

Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight.

Meet Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. A Jew growing up in predominantly Catholic Poland during the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future. Her world is turned upside down when Nazis invade Poland and establish the first Jewish ghetto of World War II in her town of Piotrkow Trybunalski. As the war escalates, Gucia and her family, friends, and neighbors suffer starvation, disease, and worse. She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: risk either the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp, or certain death if she is caught resisting. She decides to hide her identity as a Jew and adopts the gentile name Danuta Barbara Tanska. Barbara, nicknamed Basia, leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known in order to claim a new life for herself.

Writing in the first person, author Planaria Price brings the immediacy of Barbara’s voice to this true account of a young woman whose unlikely survival hinges upon the same determination and defiant spirit already evident in the six-year-old girl we meet as this story begins. The final portion of this narrative, written by Barbara’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, completes Barbara’s journey from her immigration to America until her natural, timely death. Includes maps and photographs.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780374305291

ASIN: B07BHQCW1B

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Biography / Autobiography, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Non-Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers

on 13th March, 2018

Format: Audiobook | Digital, Hardcover Edition

Pages: 278

Length: 9 hours and 19 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers (@fsgbooks)
an imprint of Macmillan Publishing

Converse via: #WarDrama + #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Hardback, Ebook and Audiobook

About Planaria Price

Planaria Price

After graduating from Berkeley and earning a Master’s Degree in English Literature from UCLA, Planaria Price began her career teaching English to adult immigrants in Los Angeles. She has written several textbooks for University of Michigan Press and has lectured at over 75 conferences. In addition to her passion for teaching and writing, Planaria has worked with her husband to save and restore over 30 Victorian and Craftsman homes in her historic Los Angeles neighborhood. Claiming My Place is her first book for young adults.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Sunday, 3 March, 2019 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Coming-Of Age, Debut Author, England, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Prejudicial Bullying & Non-Tolerance, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, The World Wars, War Drama, Young Adult Fiction

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana Aikin

Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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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 ARC copy of “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” direct from the publisher Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On why this novel appealled to me:

A good portion of the story is hinged on ancestral sleuthing and of keeping the living histories of our families alive for each new generation who has the chance to hear them told. Being one half of the Ancestry Sleuth team in my own family, I can attest to how the preservation and the exploration of one’s family line can become quite a wicked adventure! Especially if you only have subtle clues towards researching past your maternal and paternal great-grandparents or know the names of at least a few of your great-greats going back from there – genealogy is a pursuit of joy for both my Mum and I.

I keep missing the #HistFicChat’s on Thursdays as my hours during the chat are unfortunately taken elsewhere now to where I can’t chat with fellow enthused readers and the writers of Historical Fiction as I had been free to do the previous year. It was only this Friday where I realised this past Thursday the featured guest was Ms Aikin and as I read a part of the feeds for the chat, I soon unearthed that part of this story was inspired by her own ancestral lineage! In fact, she had an actress in her family (see this tweet) whilst she also was heavily read in pre-revolutionary Russian Lit which also inspired the story itself (see also this tweet).

I’m hopeful I can start to return to the chat – as Rachel Brimble is returning to speak about a sequel to her Pennington novel – of which I enjoyed discussing when it first published and Soraya Lane is going to be featured the following week for her latest release The Spitfire Girls which I enjoyed talking to her a bit about on Twitter previously during the last year. I purchased one of Soraya Lane’s past novels on audiobook via Audible and I placed a request for The Mistress of Pennington’s which was accepted by my local library. The paperback is on hand to be read and the audiobook is one I have slated to be listened to this Spring whilst I endeavour to read, listen and focus on Historical Fiction selections during my #HistoricalMondays showcases.

I decided to feature this during my #SaturdaysAreBookish feature as to me it spoke to me as being a Historical Women’s Fiction narrative – whereby, the main threads of the author’s muse were interconnected to her grandaunt and the legacy of the life she had lived. It is a particular lens into how one woman dared to live a different life – go to different places in the world and to curate her own path from her era’s conventions. To me that is at the heart of why Women’s Fiction is relevant today as it doesn’t matter if the stories are Contemporary or Historical in nature if they are focused on telling a woman’s journey – towards her own destiny on terms she determined herself or how she overcame adversity or tragedy and still found a way to move forward in the aftermath. These kinds of stories always interest me and are part of the inspiration behind both the feature and the the redirection of my chat @SatBookChat.

Thereby, you can see – I predominately focus on reading the historic past and attempt to find new voices in Historical Fiction every year, such as Ms Aikin!

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Notation on Cover Art: I could honestly envision Lily is on the cover – letter-writing was dearly important to her as it was a method of keeping in touch with her brother and sister. Her letters are a featured pause in the narrative arc and I, personally, loved how they were included in the chapters. Therefore, whomever designed this cover truly tapped into the heart of Lily and gave her a cover where you could almost see her coming in from a hectic day where she simply wanted to ink out her thoughts and draft a new letter to post! Even the outfit here reminds me of Lily from Ms Aikin’s pen!

#SaturdaysAreBookish | “We Shall See The Sky Sparkling” by Susana AikinWe Shall See The Sky Sparkling
by Susana Aikin
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Narrator: Rosalyn Landor

Set in London and Russia at the turn of the century, Susana Aikin’s debut introduces a vibrant young woman determined to defy convention and shape an extraordinary future.

Like other well-bred young women in Edwardian England, Lily Throop is expected to think of little beyond marriage and motherhood. Passionate about the stage, Lily has very different ambitions. To her father’s dismay, she secures an apprenticeship at London’s famous Imperial Theatre. Soon, her talent and beauty bring coveted roles and devoted admirers. Yet to most of society, the line between actress and harlot is whisper-thin. With her reputation threatened by her mentor’s vicious betrayal, Lily flees to St. Petersburg with an acting troupe–leaving her first love behind.

Life in Russia is as exhilarating as it is difficult. The streets rumble with talk of revolution, and Lily is drawn into an affair with Sergei, a Count with fervent revolutionary ideals. Following Sergei when he is banished to Vladivostok, Lily struggles to find her role in an increasingly dangerous world. And as Russian tensions with Japan erupt into war, only fortitude and single-mindedness can steer her to freedom and safety at last.

With its sweeping backdrop and evocative details, We Shall See the Sky Sparkling explores a fascinating period in history through the eyes of a strong-willed, singular heroine, in a moving story of love and resilience.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496717658

ASIN: B07MQ3FCHR

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction


Published by Kensington Books

on 29th January, 2019

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 416

Length: 14 hours and 53 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #Epistolary #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Susana Aikin

Susana Aikin

Born in Spain of an English father and a Spanish mother, Susana Aikin is a writer and a filmmaker who has lived and worked in New York City since 1982. She was educated in both England and Spain; studied law at the University of Madrid, and later Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

In 1986 she started her own independent film production company, Starfish Productions, producing and directing documentary films that won her multiple awards, including an American Film Institute grant, a Rockefeller Fellowship, and an Emmy Award in 1997. She started writing fiction full time in 2010. She has two sons and now lives between Brooklyn and the mountains north of Madrid.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 16 February, 2019 by jorielov in 19th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Domestic Violence, England, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, London, Mental Health, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychological Abuse, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Scribd, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery