Genre: Historical Romance

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.

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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 Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

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 , , , , , , , 9 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 Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

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

Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.

Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

As you might recall, I happily read a novel in January which was set in Russia and captialised on a living person’s life – my latest in finding a compelling Biological Historical narrative which was so wickedly writ to the truth of the woman’s life as to make you feel you had walked a proper mile in her shoes. The author and I staid in touch after my review posted during her lovely blog tour – as I had hoped all along to feature her in a guest post talking about specific points of her story-line (the cross-references to today’s current events) and the curious hidden meanings (if any) behind the choice in ‘title’.

This lead to a wonderfully planned out essay which Ms Laam has written to be shared with all of you – I love how she talks to the purposeful meaning behind what is truly ‘lost’ and how the theme behind the title is played throughout the story, further revealling the homage seen in the title. Whilst I had observed whilst I was reading the novel, there are a lot of carry-overs into today’s society about the rights for women and the further need for our rights to be upheld in all instances (not just in the workplace). Natayla did not live in an age of freedom where she would have more choices than those which were availed to her and in many ways, her story does read like a tragic love story. I personally felt Natayla had been given a bad rap in History – as I sided with the author’s own reflections after I finished reading her rendition about her life.

Too often women in History are misunderstood or their motives are misconstrued in modern eras – in Natayla’s case, I don’t believe any historians had fully given her a chance to have her voice heard much less understood. When you read about what she was facing and what she was going through – your heart softens to her plight. You can definitely feel empathy for her and in the end, what is truly sad is how it all unfolds into such an emotionally charged ending. I am unsure if she’s a victim of the times or a victim of how sometimes you can become a victim of circumstances which are never fully resolved. In her case, love was not something without conditions placed against it and her life was never truly her own.

I hope you enjoy reading Ms Laam’s guest essay about “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” – perhaps inspiring you to pick up a copy of this dearly inspiring Historical narrative or if you’ve already read it – perhaps this will help clue you into things you’ve observed whilst you were reading it. Either way, be sure to brew yourself a cuppa and enjoy ruminating about what the author leaves behind to be pondered!

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Why I was interested in learning more about the hidden meaning behind this title:

There are so many keen moments of beautiful prose in this narrative – of observations on ordinary objects, to the traditions of holidays and the little touches of rooting us within the time-line of History, as Natayla steps further into the foreground of the story. The people she is interacting with are as viable as anything else being described because of the nature of how close certain circles were kept and maintained. It was fitting to find her in such company because her movements in social circles was evidence enough she would cross certain people’s path at some point or another. What lends such a gasp of awe for us who are reading about her for the first time is how her path started to intersect with so many well-known figures of her generation. A bit like the Fitzgeralds in the 1920s who curbed the market for knowing all the latest persons in literature, art, music and the creative arts.

It was not long for me to feel lost inside the world Ms Laam created within the pages of The Lost Season of Love and Snow; for this was a coming-of-age story which created it’s own niche out of what is known and unknown within the fables of history. As we dig further into the life of Natalya, we find a girl who is maturing into her own skin, of sorting out her emotions and of finding she does not fully ascribe to her mother’s sensible beliefs about marriage and life. Within these pages, you get to tuck close to her, watching her as she moves through the hours and attempts to forestall the influence of her sisters and brothers whilst owning to the fact, without being married she is still under her mother’s rules. This is partially what captured my attention most – as in so many ways this story reminded me why I love Little Women.

-quoted from my review of The Lost Season of Love and Snow

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Author Guest Post | The author behind “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” explores the hidden meaning behind the title and talks about how it inter-relates to Natayla herself.The Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: The Lost Season of Love and Snow

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


on 2nd January, 2018

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Posted Thursday, 8 February, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” by Jennifer Laam

Posted Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 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 ARC copy of “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” 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.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I was interested in the premise behind this novel:

Similar to why I wanted to read Who is to Blame?, this novel appealed to me because it is about Russian History. Being a reader of military dramas in my youth, Russia was one of the countries most used as a back-drop (especially in regards to the Jack Ryan series) wherein I developed an appreciation for seeing Russia in fictional settings. There were a few Historical Romances I’ve read over the years which are set in this country as well, but this was the first time, (I can recall) where the story is predominately showcasing Russian History.

Towards that end, I was most appreciative of finding a part of living history etched into the premise of this novel – of how Ms Laam had found a woman to champion – someone who was lost inside her own histories from the prejudices of memory by people who were not willing to understand her as she had lived. This is one of the issues with living histories of person who lived; they are not always fully understood whilst they are alive nor are they honoured lateron with a sense of self by biographers or those who seek to bridge their lives into the world of Historical Fiction. It takes an eye and heart like Ms Laam to see their worth – of hearing their voice and of finding a way to fuse their story into a captivating drama such as The Lost Season of Love and Snow.

The truer gift being given through this novel is having one woman’s life untarnished by supposition and hearsay – to get to the singular truths of her own story without the prejudices injusticed against her person – whilst re-alighting through her own journey towards womanhood, marriage, family and the ache of her own heart whilst she realised the folly of her own actions. This reads like a proper Biography – with the added benefit of listening to Natalya as she tells her own story. Including critical nods towards where living history and her fictionally voiced thoughts co-merge to paint the landscape of her life from the moment she lost Alexander to the moment she first knew she was in love with him.

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Blog Book Tour | “The Lost Season of Love & Snow” by Jennifer LaamThe Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-250-12188-2

Also by this author: The Lost Season of Love and Snow

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


Published by St. Martin's Griffin

on 2nd January, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

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

Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #LostSeasonOfLoveAndSnow

About Jennifer Laam

Jennifer Laam

Jennifer Laam is the author of The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, The Tsarina’s Legacy, and the forthcoming The Lost Season of Love and Snow, all from St. Martin’s Griffin.

She is represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management. Jennifer has lived in Los Angeles and the suburbs of Detroit, and currently resides in California’s Central Valley. When she is not busy writing or reading, Jennifer spends her time obsessing over cosplay, trying new vegetarian recipes, line dancing, and spoiling cats. She works for her alma mater, University of the Pacific.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 17 January, 2018 by jorielov in 19th Century, Alexander Pushkin, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Discussions, Coming-Of Age, Creative Arts, Family Drama, Family Life, Grief & Anguish of Guilt, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, History, Inspired By Author OR Book, Life Shift, Mother-Daughter Relationships, Passionate Researcher, Russia, Russian History, Second Chance Love, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writer, Writing Style & Voice