Publisher: Doubleday

+Blog Book Tour+ Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Posted Thursday, 3 July, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 3 Comments

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Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman

Published By: Alfred A. Knopf (),
an imprint of DoubleDay and part of Random House Publishing Group 1 April, 2014
Official Author Websites: Site | Twitter | Facebook
Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Ebook Page Count: 334

Converse on Twitter: #LoveandTreasure & #LoveandTreasureBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Love & Treasure” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary hardback copy of the book direct from the publisher Alfred A. Knof, 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.comBook Synopsis:

A spellbinding new novel of contraband masterpieces, tragic love, and the unexpected legacies of forgotten crimes, Ayelet Waldman’s Love and Treasure weaves a tale around the fascinating, true history of the Hungarian Gold Train in the Second World War.

In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.

A story of brilliantly drawn characters—a suave and shady art historian, a delusive and infatuated Freudian, a family of singing circus dwarfs fallen into the clutches of Josef Mengele, and desperate lovers facing choices that will tear them apart—Love and Treasure is Ayelet Waldman’s finest novel to date: a sad, funny, richly detailed work that poses hard questions about the value of precious things in a time when life itself has no value, and about the slenderest of chains that can bind us to the griefs and passions of the past.


Praise on behalf of the novel:

“Love and Treasure is something of a treasure trove of a novel. Its beautifully integrated parts fit inside one another like the talismanic pendant/ locket at the heart of several love stories. Where the opening chapters evoke the nightmare of Europe in the aftermath of World War II with the hallucinatory vividness of Anselm Kiefer’s disturbing canvases, the concluding chapters, set decades before, in a more seemingly innocent time in the early 20th century, are a bittersweet evocation, in miniature, of thwarted personal destinies that yet yield to something like cultural triumph. Ayelet Waldman is not afraid to create characters for whom we feel an urgency of emotion, and she does not resolve what is unresolvable in this ambitious, absorbing and poignantly moving work of fiction.”
—Joyce Carol Oates

Author Biography:

Ayelet Waldman Photo Credit: Reenie Raschke
Photo Credit: Reenie Raschke

Ayelet Waldman is the author of the newly released Love and Treasure (Knopf, January 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was made into a film starring Natalie Portman. Her personal essays and profiles of such public figures as Hillary Clinton have been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Vogue, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. Her radio commentaries have appeared on “All Things Considered” and “The California Report.”

For more information please visit Ayelet’s website . Her missives also appear on Facebook and Twitter.

Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, Korea and Italy.

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My Review of Love & Treasure:

Of all the ways in which I had an illusion of how this novel would open and begin, I think the first paragraph for me was an eye opener, as it did not quite match where my mind felt this novel would start. The rest of the first page was a bit jolting as well, as I found I had trouble finding my feet in the narrative. Where I thought the narrative voice would be empathic and soft, I found myself reading a sharpened edge of sound and vision. When Waldman starts to focus on the heart of the story centered around the lost possessions and valuable heirlooms of the Jewish families from World War II, her writing finds its clarity and knits together in a way that is a bit more fluid for me than the opening bits of dialogue being exchanged between a grand-daughter and her grand-father. She writes more into the historical bits than the everyday moments, which lends me to thinking her writing voice is hitched inside the historical elements to where she could write full-on historicals without the modern era attached.

The most tender scenes were exchanged between Jack Wiseman and Ilona Jakab, as each of them during the war were attempting to keep their sanity intact by not losing their humanity. Wiseman deferred to showing kindness during the rehousing of those who were returning from internment camps, and Ilona was electing to show her true strength and spirit, but deflecting her fears as she interacted with Wiseman. I appreciated how they met quite accidentally due to the train Wiseman was in charge of shifting its cargo to a warehouse. It reminded me a bit of a ‘meet cute’ in motion picture, despite the tragedy of their paths crossing during the Allied Occupation of Hungry. They each took each other by a surprise which refreshed their spirits and gave a kind grace to their situations.

I kept finding myself falling in and out of step with this story, because I am not one for crude humour nor crude expressions, and as I tried to continue to read the story with an open mind towards the time and era the story is set, I kept finding myself wishing Waldman had chosen different ways to express what was happening. I have read plenty of stories set during both World Wars, and the writers were not buckling down to this level of bare boned narration. The bits and bobbles I appreciated were starting to grow pale against the increasing tide of what either made me flinch or had my eyes adverting reading the paragraphs completely.

For me the story is told in a bit of a gritty and stark reality vein of dialogue and narrative voice; which made this difficult to read for my own readings tend to be towards a different vein of tact. I appreciate stories set during the wars, as war dramas and war romances are ones I tend to gravitate towards, but there is something different inside this one. I felt there was an undertone that I could not quite put my finger on but it wasn’t something that I felt I wanted to continue to read. I left the story fully intact without reaching the middle because to do so would have not proved enjoyable. I believe this story is best for readers who can appreciate the tone and dictation of action with a language presence that would not affect someone as much as it did me. I was truly disappointed as I was hoping to discover a historical mystery inside of a war drama; leading me through passages of research and provenance of personal property and giving me a historical epic of humanity.

Fly in the Ointment:

There are times where I give a pass on vulgarity but in this particular instance, the inclusion of strong language does not sit well with me because I could think of at least a handful of expressions or phrases to elicit the same manner of empathsis as found on page 6. The most obvious word instead is ‘muddled’. I am not an advocate for vulgarity in literature, and the few times I have given leeway to an author’s choice of inclusion is few and far between; the reasons were valid and if you go through the “Topics, Subjects, & Genres” cloud in the lower sidebar area of my blog, you will discover the reasons why I find strong language offensive and why in certain instances I did not wrinkle a brow over them. This novel kept pushing my envelope for tolerance.

I happen to know a bit about the setting of the story (the state of Maine) and what disrupted me a bit were the observations knitted into the backdrop, most especially about Bangor. I found myself with conflicting information, to where I was thinking to myself, that’s not true! The way in which Maine is represented in the book and specifics such as only one restaurant is open in Bangor during the long Winter months, in all honesty surprised me? I felt like there was a ‘fictional’ representation of Maine happening in this book, rather than an honest window into life in Maine.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comThis book review is courtesy of: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Virtual Road Map of “Love & Treasure” Blog Tour:

Love & Treasure Virtual Tour with HFVBTs

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comas I am happily honoured to be a blog tour hostess for:

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBTPlease visit my

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva

to stay in the know for upcoming events!

Previously I  hosted Ms. Waldman in an interview attached to this tour!

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Love and Treasure (book trailer) by Ayelet Waldman via KnopfDoubleday

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “Love & Treasure”, Author Biography, Book Synopsis, and the quoted praise by Joyce Carol Oates  were provided by HFVBT – Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Author Interview badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs.   Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. The book trailer for “Love & Treasure” via KnopfDoubleday had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Thursday, 3 July, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Aftermath of World War II, Art, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Judaism in Fiction, Maine, The World Wars, Vulgarity in Literature

+Blog Book Tour+ The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

Posted Friday, 25 April, 2014 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

The Shadow Queen Virtual Book Tour with France Book Tours

Published By: DoubleDay (), 8 April, 2014
Official Author Websites: Site | Twitter | Facebook | Pin(terest Boards | GoodReads
Available Formats: Hardback & Ebook
Page Count: 336

Converse on Twitter: #TheShadowQueen & #FranceBT

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comAcquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Shadow Queen” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher Doubleday, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

First Impression of the Novel:

What appeals to me about this novel is the intense study of history during a time in France I do know anything about! I love well researched historical fiction stories and this one, appears to be one that I will have trouble putting down!

The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

From the author of the beloved Josephine B. Trilogy, comes a spellbinding novel inspired by the true story of a young woman who rises from poverty to become confidante to the most powerful, provocative and dangerous woman in the 17th century French court: the mistress of the charismatic Sun King.

1660, Paris

Claudette’s life is like an ever-revolving stage set. From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family’s acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother’s astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine, Claudette’s life is culturally rich, but like all in the theatrical world at the time, she’s socially scorned.

A series of chance encounters pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning “Shadow Queen.” Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant.

Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage, with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king’s bed.

Indeed, Claudette’s “reputable” new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs, becomes ever more desperate to hold onto the King’s favor, innocent love charms move into the realm of deadly Black Magic, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life—and the family she loves so dearly—at risk.

Set against the gilded opulence of a newly-constructed Versailles and the blood-stained fields of the Franco-Dutch war, THE SHADOW QUEEN is a seductive, gripping novel about the lure of wealth, the illusion of power, and the increasingly uneasy relationship between two strong-willed women whose actions could shape the future of France.

Sandra Gulland
Photo Credit: James Brylowski http://www.jamesbrylowski.com/

{: Author Biography :}

Sandra Gulland is the author of the Josephine B. Trilogy, internationally best-selling novels about Josephine Bonaparte which have been published in over seventeen countries. Her forth novel, Mistress of the Sun , set in the 17th-century court of the Sun King, was also a bestseller and published internationally. Her most recent novel is The Shadow Queen, also set in the era of the Sun King, published in April of 2014 by HarperCollins in Canada and Doubleday in the U.S.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comGetting to Know Author Sandra Gulland

via Simon & Schuster

A novel befit a bookish soul:

The little extra inclusions within the scope of a novel is what set my mind aflame with gratitude for the author who gave us such a lovely little extra glimpse into their creative process. This comes to the reader in all different ways and mannerisms, but inside The Shadow Queen there are the delights of finding a Dedication to Ms. Gulland’s father who inspired character quirks to nestle inside the cast of characters; a lovely disclosure of contents set to the tone and pitch of a play on the stage; and a Historical Note to elude to the greater circle of knowledge we ought to realise about 17th Century France on the expeditious hour of our arrival in the story. A bemuseful quotation taunts us with a fevering of expectation of where we might be led.

In the back of the novel, one discovers An Author’s Note of which I hesitated to read ahead of the story and thus kept my curiosity at bay ever justly muted; a Glossary of Terminology & an index blueprint of currencies. A full list of the Cast of Characters replete with a biographical sketch on each of their behalf (I had to wink a smile seeing this section!) turnt out the Appendixes as my copy is a bound galley remiss of the Author’s Acknowledgement Notes and Author Biography.

And, here is what I happily discovered after the story absorbed into my mind’s eye and found a cosy place to occupy my wonton thoughts on its behalf. Each time young Gaston is portrayed, I  could not help but notice he was either Down Syndrome or had a variation of autism. By all counts, Gaston teaches humility, pure joy, and an appreciation for kindness. He is written well for the era in which the story lives, but I wish I had found a bit more about him in the Cast of Characters Appendix. Gulland goes a step further to explain the differences between fictional accounts and the real-life histories of the main protagonists which I was thankful to see were included in the ARC!

My Review of The Shadow Queen:

We enter Claudette’s life at the turbulent hour of her family arriving on the larkspur hope of gaining a performance for the King as he is sequestered away from Paris. Her young heart is not only full of pride on behalf of her family’s innovative spirit of self-sufficiency but in her abilities to walk a line of honour as she has entered into a time of shifting away from her girlhood and into womanhood. Her maternal affection towards her dear brother Gaston is as honest as her approach to her theatrical craft of living. A girl her age is not oft full of grace towards a sibling nor one who has a bit of a disadvantage in how he observes and learns about the world. She draws out his innocent love of others and of life itself.

Gulland has stitched into the subtext a tone of 17th Century living, striving to give the modern reader a point-of-reference whenceforth to deposit them into the time and setting of where The Shadow Queen evolves into being. A bittersweet image of a dichotomy of difference between the caste sets of class and how the struggles of the commoners were out of alignment with the aristocrats who true to their nature did not feel empathy of their misfortunes. A barring of diffidence set against the rippling tides of mistrust from the Crown downward. Theatre in the 17th Century was such a curious period of ingenuity, in how troupes brought stories to life and kept the audience animated by their efforts. Even the holiday celebrations of Mardis Gras were an elaborate display of theatrical masking of character performance! The only downside is how horridly misunderstood and mistreated the players of the stage were often attacked by those of the upper classes. Curiously to me, was the belief in their falsehood performance was a direct influence against faith and how being an actor was in some reference a defiance of God. Historical stories such as The Shadow Queen bring into light the superstitious ways of the past and how perception can alter a person’s ability to thrive or besotted by poverty.

Caught in a world of varying influences and consequences, Claudette finds that her best method of advancing is keeping herself hugged to the shadows of those of whom she’d envision walking alongside in full equality. It is in the shadows she starts to see how she can alter her stars and re-align her position to lead a comfortable life compared to her poverty stricken childhood, yet in order to do so, she has to shake off the disillusioned reality of not always being in agreement with the practiced actions of the aristocracy.

Gulland split her novel into separate acts as though we were attending a large production set to stage rather than walking through a portal leading to the court in 17th Century Paris!  Her deft hand to illuminate the delicacy needed to make bold choices and daring a glimpse at the consequences, her story propels you forward into a world glinted by masquerade.The masks are both illusionary and tangibly real, as they belie the front of which the heart attempts to dis-sway.

The agility of theatre to be an elixir of reincarnated joy out of the sorrow acts of grief, and the metamorphosis of personality entertain the notion of not allowing our past to ever be a vindication of our future. The theatre heals the soul by igniting the spirit back into the caress of emotion and of humanity dignity. I found Claudette to be a woman who always tried to listen to her heart and to honour her family by standing by them at all costs. Her own life and dreams were put on hold in order to keep the balance. The position Athénaïs puts her in is not one that can be condoned because she was only thinking of her own selfish desires and not the welfare of her confidante. I applauded her small successes and moments of feeling truly free as herself, as she never could quite break out of the pattern her life had taken. The most happiness she always protected and yielded to were wrapped inside the cosy confines of family. As true freedom is always hinged to love and is set free on the wings of hope.

 

Claudette’s self-confidence was her best gift:

And, yet it was one of her virtues that nearly overtook her ability to perform, not merely on the stage, but whilst she was out with others. She faltered a bit when she was presented with a situation outside her comfort zone, but she rebounded by adhering to the lessons of her father and in the notion that even if your cast out from what is familiar, you can find common ground. I appreciated seeing how she was keen to find an anchoring with her father’s whispered truths and how these truths guided her throughout her life after he had long since passed.

Claudette has given me a pause and urge to speak the expression “mon dieu!” As it is quite a fitting expression for a variety of situations! Most especially a blessed way of showing exasperation! Gulland is most surely a wordsmith in arms, as she has given such wonderful forgotten words and phrases a shining light of candescence! Words you must allow soak into for a bit of measure and absorb back to a time when the spoken language was slightly more curling of eloquence than our modern dialect has befallen!

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The Shadow Queen Book Trailer via KnopfDoubleDay

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Virtual Road Map for “The Shadow Queen” Blog Tour:

The Shadow Queen Virtual Book Tour with France Book Tours

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Please take note of the Related Articles as they were hand selected due to being of cross-reference importance in relation to this book review. This applies to each post on my blog where you see Related Articles underneath the post. Be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the further readings which are offered.

Be sure to scope out upcoming tours I will be hosting with:

France Book Tours

on my Bookish Events page!
Be sure to drop back on 30 April for my Author Interview with Ms. Gulland!
Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com
On Beginning to Write my Next Novel by Sandra Gulland via Sandra Gulland
{ of which I presume was the jump-start of “The Shadow Queen” }

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Shadow Queen”, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Gulland, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer by KnopfDoubleDay & personal video by Sandra Gulland had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. France Book Tours badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Related Articles:

Claude de Vin des Oeillets – (en.wikipedia.org)

Claude de Vin des Oeillets – (thisisversaillesmadame.blogspot.com)

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Posted Friday, 25 April, 2014 by jorielov in 17th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Claude de Vin des Oeillets, Clever Turns of Phrase, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, Passionate Researcher, Sociological Behavior, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

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