Publisher: New American Library

Blog Book Tour | “The Beautiful American” by Jeanne Mackin

Posted Tuesday, 29 September, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Beautiful American” virtual book tour through HFVBT: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Jeanne Mackin, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I felt I might fancy this novel:

I have a personal penchant for what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’ wherein the historical persons who lived are aptly portrayed through a historical treatment of their lives by a novelist who has a flaire for bringing their lives so fully to life, we feel as though we’ve met them in person. You’ll find that I have read quite a hearty array of historicals which befit this category and am always quite in full search of new writers who can lead me back through the corridors of the past and introduce me to someone who will bring history alive to me in all it’s glory and heartache. As for each life told, there is a happy balance of joy and strife, such is a well-rounded life well lived and told thereafter the person has passed on.

I personally find joy in this section of historical stories because the past becomes fiercely alive through the voices of the authors who pen these kinds of stories. We get to take an up close and personal voyage back through the tides of time whilst being caught up in the livelihood of a person who truly lived and felt every inch of the emotions we hope to catch sight of in the novel.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Note on the Cover Art: Did anyone else notice the sepia tone of hue on the cover when Lee Miller is being highlighted and how Paris in the background is a more muted reverie? I felt this was a fitting touch to the novel, especially as you become further into her folds, this novel doesn’t quite want to let you go – it stays with you, and you realise things you hadn’t seen at first glaance.

Blog Book Tour | “The Beautiful American” by Jeanne MackinThe Beautiful American
by Jeanne Mackin
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

As recovery from World War II begins, expat American Nora Tours travels from her home in southern France to London in search of her missing sixteen-year-old daughter. There, she unexpectedly meets up with an old acquaintance, famous model-turned-photographer Lee Miller. Neither has emerged from the war unscathed. Nora is racked with the fear that her efforts to survive under the Vichy regime may have cost her daughter’s life. Lee suffers from what she witnessed as a war correspondent photographing the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.

Nora and Lee knew each other in the heady days of late 1920’s Paris, when Nora was giddy with love for her childhood sweetheart, Lee became the celebrated mistress of the artist Man Ray, and Lee’s magnetic beauty drew them all into the glamorous lives of famous artists and their wealthy patrons. But Lee fails to realize that her friendship with Nora is even older, that it goes back to their days as children in Poughkeepsie, New York, when a devastating trauma marked Lee forever. Will Nora’s reunion with Lee give them a chance to forgive past betrayals, and break years of silence?

A novel of freedom and frailty, desire and daring, The Beautiful American portrays the extraordinary relationship between two passionate, unconventional woman.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780451465825

Also by this author:

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by New American Library

on 3rd June 2014

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 352

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published By: New American Library (NAL)
( ) an imprint of Penguin Group (USA
)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TheBeautifulAmerican

About Jeanne Mackin

Jeanne Mackin

Jeanne Mackin’s novel, The Beautiful American (New American Library), based on the life of photographer and war correspondent Lee Miller, received the 2014 CNY award for fiction. Her other novels include A Lady of Good Family, about gilded age personality Beatrix Farrand, The Sweet By and By, about nineteenth century spiritualist Maggie Fox, Dreams of Empire set in Napoleonic Egypt, The Queen’s War, about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and The Frenchwoman, set in revolutionary France and the Pennsylvania wilderness.

Jeanne Mackin is also the author of the Cornell Book of Herbs and Edible Flowers (Cornell University publications) and co-editor of The Book of Love (W.W. Norton.) She was the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society and a keynote speaker for The Dickens Fellowship. Her work in journalism won awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, in Washington, D.C. She has taught or conducted workshops in Pennsylvania, Hawaii and at Goddard College in Vermont.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Tuesday, 29 September, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Adulterous Affair, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Cover | Notation on Design, Bookish Discussions, Clever Turns of Phrase, Fashion Industry, Father-Daughter Relationships, France, French Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Lee Miller, Literary Fiction, Parfum Industry, Passionate Researcher, Photography, The World Wars, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, War-time Romance, Women's Health, Women's Rights, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice

Blog Book Tour | “The Tiger Queens” by Stephanie Thornton a more humanistic side of Genghis Khan which will take a #histfic reader by surprise

Posted Wednesday, 26 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

The Tiger Queens by Stephanie Thornton

Published By: New American Library (NAL)
( ) an imprint of Penguin Group (USA
)
Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

Converse via: #TheTigerQueens, #TheTigerQueensBlogTour,
#GenghisKhan, #StephanieThornton

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Tiger Queens” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the book direct from the author Stephanie Thornton, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Blog Book Tour | “The Tiger Queens” by Stephanie Thornton a more humanistic side of Genghis Khan which will take a #histfic reader by surpriseThe Tiger Queens
by Stephanie Thornton
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In the late twelfth century on the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, following a violent feud between blood brothers, the victor Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself Genghis Khan. But behind one powerful man stand many strong women…

After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, darkness looms over Borte’s life. She becomes an outcast among her clan and after seeking comfort in the arms of an aristocratic traveler, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man she was betrothed to years ago but who abandoned her long before they could marry. And he will only leave her behind again.

Temujin will make Borte his khatun, his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new empire. Their daughter, a fierce girl named Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, seeks revenge against the Mongol barbarians who destroyed her city and murdered her family, but in the end will sacrifice everything to protect the Golden Family. Demure widow to Genghis’ son, Sorkhokhtani positions her sons to inherit the Empire when it begins to fracture from within.

As Genghis Khan sets out to expand his conquests and the steppes run red with blood, Borte and the women of the clan will fight, love, scheme, and sacrifice, all for the good of their family and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls…

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Daughter of the Gods, Author Interview (Stephanie Thornton), A Song of War

Genres: Ancient Civilisation, Historical Fiction, War Drama


Published by New American Library

on 4th November, 2014

Pages: 496

About Stephanie Thornton

Stepanie Thornton

Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where she is at work on her next novel.

“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” are available from NAL/Penguin. “The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan” will hit the shelves November 4, 2014, followed by “The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great” in November 2015.

Khan | a reverend yet feared name:

Perhaps it was reader optimism or naiveté, as my enthused eagerness to continue to read the stories penned by the author of Daughter of the Gods emerged onto the calendar this November, I had not truly given a measured thought to how violent an account of Genghis Khan might truly have become inside The Tiger Queens. Therefore, instead of mentioning too much about the accounts on behalf of the battles and surges of where sword and bone meet each other with such a blast of blood hunger, I am choosing instead to focus on what inspired me most directly to read this particular novel! As at the central core and heart of The Tiger Queens lie the women behind Khan, the women I never knew existed if point were to be frank, as Khan has had a way of announcing his presence in such an alarmingly convincing way as to not question his place of mention on Asian History.

He was always a bit of a curious figure for me to uncover in my lessons at school, as very little was spoken on his behalf than the most obvious attributes of his character (more banked on his thirst for battle than for his compassion for family or hearth), which had led to a nettling of curiosity within my own daydreams on who Khan was behind the shadows of where history drew their own accorded record?

My Review of The Tiger Queens:

Finding a Prologue to a novel about Genghis Khan writ of the hand by Stephanie Thornton, gives a reader an appreciation for finding not only a wordsmith whose historical narrative has already proven to secure your appeal for re-entering into a world she pens, but to tether directly into the soul of spirit the characters your about to greet forthwith inside this new novel; is a direct merit of Thornton’s dedicated research for aligning her heart into the full essence of whom she is writing on behalf of. A powerful statement of declaration is bleeding into this Prologue, by the ancient insightfulness of a woman who not only lived a hard row to hoe in life but knew of how her life might be viewed in generations long past the acknowledgement of her own people. A life which might become carted and swept into the annuals of history, forgotten perhaps but not without an urgency of being brought back into the light; to the forefront of history and a mindfulness of where the past and the future will forever overlay into each other’s hands. This is the kind of Prologue Thornton gives her readers, a keen intuitive voice whispering you from afar and encouraging you forward into a land you shall not soon want to fade out of your memory,… a people who will carve themselves as if an etched impression was laid into your internal circuits as having lived a breath of their life whilst you read a novel set around where time &  history eclipse through the printed page.

Borte’s first impression of Temujin (as Genghis Khan was known originally as a child) was not one of beloved passion, but of contempt; contempt for the proof of her life would shift away from the folds of her mother and father’s home. She was an unexpected child, bourne to parents who never felt they could be blessed with a child so late in life, and yet she were the joy of their souls. Borte knew of the role every woman played in her part of the world – to protect not only the heirs for future generations to be breathed onto earth but to stand sturdy behind the men they were chosen to wed. Even if the selection were not of their favour nor of a personality of their choosing. Temujin and Borte grew up worlds apart, even for those who were raised on the steppes where you would nearly believe more commonalities amongst them would be rampant than singularly absent. For Borte, I gathered the impression she would have preferred to live a life outside her customs and traditions; whereas with Temujin he felt to me the product of his father’s guidance without a voice of his own in the tender years of his youth.

The way in which Borte and her family lived is a testament against the elements and of living with less than what would ordinarily be found as a fair balance of food, shelter, and warmth. Making do with the provisions one is blessed to secure and with a mind on finding the fortitude to stabilise a family’s needs with what can be found is the mark of strength for Borte’s village. They have a way of life similar to other tribal communities who not only live on the land directly inside humble abodes but they live off the land as well. On a larkspur moment of indulging her adventurous naure, Borte has a confessional conversation with Temujin anchoring her to seeing her lifepath in a way she had not yet considered; mostly out of fear of her mother’s premonition (her mother’s line is strongly gifted with second sight) and partially out of the fears most young girls have of a destiny given to them rather than chosen. Temujin surprises her by his brave words chosen out of an attempt to convince her his lineage is not the mark of who a man is but rather merely the bones of who his flesh shall become turnt into in the future.

Borte’s husband grew into a warrior who never allowed the odds against him to diminish his optimism, nor allow any defeat of death befallen his men to undermine his authority or his chances to overcome his enemies. Genghis was a man who dared to see opportunity and carve out a path towards justice and upturn adversity by any means he could, especially if it was a mark of honour to help his people. Not every enemy held honour in battle, and the searing anguish of the dead, whose wives were widowed from the battlefields did not have the chance for a burial of rest for their loved ones if their husband came back half rather than whole. It was a time of distinctive absolutes – where what you gave to your cause could take back more than your mere life but affect your afterlife as well. It was surely not a time in history for the weak of heart nor for anyone whose bravery could buckle in the sight of blood, war, and the fear of being overturnt by a ruler other than the one you drew allegiance.

What surprised me the most, was how Thornton’s research into Genghis Khan could shed so much light onto who he was as a man outside of battle and bloodshed. He comes across as a man who not only had a sensitive heart and spirit, but he truly was in love soul to moon to his wife Borte! She was the woman who could stand up to him as much as she could challenge him as a wife – she was not passive nor was she overly pensive; they shared an equality of marriage by respect for their bond and their differences alike. It was quite unusual to witness how much Genghis respected Borte, as he never took another wife and always claimed Borte was the one true love of his life.

I found myself connected to Borte even moreso than I originally felt I might have become, as I appreciated seeing Genghis through her eyes; she was never sparred upheaval nor anguish of loss, as if anything she was given such a heavy burden out of her path with her husband as to nearly break her spirit for the next days which lay ahead. She found ways to carry onwards which I found strength of heart and faith; as much as I credit how vivid she was present in the story to Thornton who truly knows how to gather insight into the characters she brings out of history.

To me that is the greatest joy I had whilst reading The Tiger Queens, seeing the impressions and observations of the women who surround Genghis Khan and Borte; each of them had so much more to give than their place in their world would always allow or condone, but Thornton found a way to honour each of them all the same. She painted a living portrait of life during Khan’s reign as much as extending it past his death, to keep a continuity of his legacy perpetuated into the future. I will attest the hard-hitting battle scenes tested my will of stomach and mind, but as I had foresaid in the beginning of this review, I truly ought to have realised a novel about Genghis Khan would not borrow a lighter faire of story in exchange for lessoning what the reality drew out of his life.

On the dedicative writing style which endears me to Stephanie Thornton:

As settled into The Tiger Queens, I was thankful for two things: I had previously had the pleasure of reading Liz Harris’s The Road Back and I had watched the documentary Babies (2010) where I had found myself attached the most to two of the babies overall:  Ponijao of the small village Opuwo in Namibia and Bayar(jargal) of Bayanchandmani a remote area of Mongolia. The reason I appreciated their portions of the documentary over the American and Japanese children is simply because of how uniquely tied their culture and being a mother become entwined into each other. I loved having the chance to see how life is strikingly different yet altogether parallel to the lives we live inside our own lives. I recommend everyone to take a moment to read the novel and watch this documentary, even before you pick up The Tiger Queens, as they serve as a primer for getting into the full scope of where this novel takes the reader next! I have to credit my local library for stocking our shelves not only with theatrical releases everyone will recognise but for bringing foreign film, documentaries and the serials of the BBC to our community as well.

I loved the idea of seeing how Khan saw Borte — to give his first wife the mindfulness of her countenance being set apart from those of her clan, as a merit of goodwill towards winning her heart. Thornton has truly uncovered a part of Khan’s life that roots out more of his depth as a man and as a husband, rather than merely focusing on who he was as a warrior. I could understand better his inclination to fight through bloodshed as his rearing was based on what could be conquered rather than what a man could raise through hard work and sweat in the soils of the earth. They (Khan & Borte) were raised within two separate clans, yet the bounty of their upbringings would unite their lineage in time.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The Virtual Road Map for “The Tiger Queens” can be found here:

The Tiger Queens Blog Tour via HFVBTs

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

Previously I had the pleasure of reading “Daughter of the Gods” which sparked an appreciation for Thornton’s style of Historical Fiction! So much so, that I asked for a copy of her first novel “The Secret History” for one of my birthday picks this past Summer 2014! I cannot wait to discover what awaits me inside her debut novel when I can set aside time to read it in early 2015! I am thankful to HFVBTs for  inspiring me to find new historical fiction authors such as Stephanie Thornton!

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours - HFVBT

 on my Bookish Events page!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Tiger Queens”, book synopsis, author photograph of Stephanie Thornton, author biography, the tour host badge & HFVBT banner were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. 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.}

 

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

The live reading tweets in regards to “The Tiger Queens”:

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Posted Wednesday, 26 November, 2014 by jorielov in 12th Century, Alaqai, Ancient Civilisation, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Borte, Fatima, Genghis Khan, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Important Figures of Ancient Times, Sorkhokhtani

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