Tag: Hazel Gaynor

Blog Book Tour | “Last Christmas in Paris” (an #Epistolary novel of #WWI) by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor!

Posted Friday, 20 October, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary ARC copy of “Last Christmas in Paris” direct from the publisher William Morrow in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why this #Epistolary novel captured my attention:

It will not surprise those who regularly read Jorie Loves A Story to denote the stories Jorie loves to read most these past four years have been hinged somewhere in the historical past! Of those, I tend to reside somewhere in the World War eras more readily than other eras (other timescapes I have a penchant for are the Regency, Victorian, Edwardian and Roaring Twenties) as there is always a new approach to telling a story either at war or on the home-front which resonates with my heart for Historical Fiction. When it comes to reading Ms Webb’s stories, I had the grace of finding her whilst her debut novel ‘Becoming Josephine’ was first releasing, finding a strong voice and emerging talent where I had this to say on her behalf:

Ms. Webb gives the reader a rendering of the situations and events which befit the era of the story’s origins but on the level that even a sensitive reader could walk through the scenes without blushing too severely or cringing at the imagery painted in narrative. Even though she does plainly give the raw visceral imagery its due course. She doesn’t allow it to take over completely, but allows it to fade in the background. Except for what occurs in Rose’s home of Martinique and what happens when she returns to Paris, in which the horror of the attacks are in full measure. Rather than focus solely on the horror that erupted she gave the smaller details of the aftermath which proved just as difficult if not moreso to read. Such a horrid time in history for the survivors to have lived through. She chose instead to direct the focus on Rose’s rise into the persona of Josephine who became the woman’s edificial Phoenix.

In regards to Ms Gaynor’s writings, I am only just starting to get to the point where I can focus on her writings – having picked up a copy of ‘The Girl Who Came Home’ for my thirty-fourth birthday (four years ago). It was one of three novels I came home with by authors I either knew of or dearly wanted to read next! If you visit the Cover Reveal w/ Notes I wrote on behalf of “Fall of Poppies” her links were remiss because I could not find them ahead of posting my showcase. I was meant to receive a copy to read and review but will be reading this through my local library instead.

There is a bit of a back-story about how my path crossed originally with Ms Gaynor as it goes back to #LitChat in May of 2014! Here I refer to snippets of the conversation I participated in which led me to become curious about the story I would find inside ‘The Girl Who Came Home’ and plant the seed of interest to follow Ms Gaynor’s career:

I had fully planned to host a dual-interview between Ms Webb & Ms Gaynor, however, as I had to turn my questions in rather late (within the past week or so) I am unsure if the interview will still be able to be completed at this time. I was hoping to get two perspectives on the same questions which would culminate on a lively chat about this novel and Historical Fiction. Meanwhile, I was unable to finish reading the story itself by the 13th as originally scheduled and had to push my review forward to Sunday giving me enough time to finish collecting my thoughts as I am sharing them now.

As previously mentioned last week as I reviewed ‘Dennis and Greer: A Love Story’, I have a strong passion for Epistolary Fiction – which alighted in my life quite happily when I first read ‘Letters from Skye’. Since then, I have sought out various authors and story-lines which follow either a letters & correspondence narrative or entreat through slippages in time via diaries or journals. Either way, I feel quite the zest of mirth for finding a new ‘story’ caught inside the time capsule of what is left behind through the words people write down – either to be shared or kept private for their own edification.

I hadn’t known at the time when I asked to be a part of this blog tour, I’d finally find a story written through the sequences of letters & correspondences I had first discovered in ‘Letters from Skye’! I cannot even begin to tell you how overjoyed I was at this little discovery when I first started reading the ARC! I hadn’t known when it first arrived either – as I wanted to savour reading this without doing what I usually do which is to look over a novel tip to stern – never reading out of sequence but becoming acquainted with what it contains – I sometimes read the Appendixes first, too, as those are places where Authors Notes or other such lovelies could reside or even for those of us who like a bit more information, where back-stories or research notes are presented!

I was also wicked happy for reading a new release by William Morrow – as this is one imprint I have fond memories of reviewing for off and on for the past four years! It has become one of my favourite imprints for finding convicting fiction and characters of whom give me lasting hours of joy walking beside them!

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Blog Book Tour | “Last Christmas in Paris” (an #Epistolary novel of #WWI) by Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor!Last Christmas in Paris
Subtitle: A Novel of World War I
by Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.

August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.

But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…

Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?

Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780062562685

Also by this author: Cover Reveal: Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War, Becoming Josephine, Author Interview: Heather Webb (Rodin's Lover), Rodin's Lover, The Phantom's Apprentice

Genres: Epistolary | Letters & Correspondences, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Military Fiction, War Drama


Published by William Morrow

on 3rd October, 2017

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 368

Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks),
an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers (@HarperCollins)

Converse via: #HistFic, #HistoricalFiction + #Epistolary

About Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. Her third novel The Girl from the Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail Canada bestseller, and was shortlisted for the BGE Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris will be published in 2017.

Hazel was selected by US Library Journal as one of ‘Ten Big Breakout Authors’ for 2015 and her work has been translated into several languages. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland.

About Heather Webb

Heather Webb

HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews.

RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI released October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2017 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Friday, 20 October, 2017 by jorielov in 20th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Debilitating Diagnosis & Illness, Diary Accountment of Life, During WWI, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, History, Literary Fiction, Medical Fiction, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Postal Mail | Letters & Correspondence, Psychiatric Facilities, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Nineteen Hundreds, The World Wars, Women's Fiction

The Sunday Post | No.3 | I am so wholly consumed by “The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds”!

Posted Sunday, 30 July, 2017 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 6 Comments

The Sunday Post badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

My participation in this meme was directly inspired by my new bookish friends: Avalinah + Savanah via this post!

[Official Blurb] The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog. This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little. Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies. Link up once a week or once a month, you decide. Book haul can include library books, yard sale finds, arcs and bought books..share them!

  • Enter your link on the post- Sundays beginning at 12:01 am (CST) (link will be open all week)
  • Link back to this post or this blog
  • Visit others who have linked up

A note about the format I am using to journal #TheSundayPost: I am finding I like being able to give my readers who cannot visit my blog each time a new post, review or guest feature goes live a digest journal of what is happening on #JLASblog each week! If you are familiar with the style in which I journal my readerly adventures via #WWWednesdays (see also Archive) you’ll know why I like this journalled style for #TheSundayPost!

It’s a way of talking about what is bookishly on my mind whilst sharing where my travels in Fiction & Non-Fiction took me through the last seven days! Quite stellar – so very thankful I was encouraged to participate as I love being able to think about which stories settled into my heart and which of the stories I am most eager to see arrive by postal mail and/or via audiobook! It’s a bit of a lovely way to journal your bookish life and have a weekly reminder of the experiences of you’ve gathered and love to remember! In regards to getting back into the groove with #WWWeds – I’m either going to make the meme bi-monthly or monthly which I’ll decide within the next fortnight.

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Hallo, Hallo, dear hearts!

I am so wholly consumed by “The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds”!

I can honestly say, the ONLY book I have been reading this week is Ms Siak’s – of which I was even talking about during #ChocLitSaturday – as once you find a story whose narrative has a way of washing over you to such a degree of joy, you find every opportunity you can to talk about it. I was also trying to inspire some readers to pick it up for themselves, as it’s one of the most beautiful cultural exchanges of tradition and identity. I am truly captured by the metaphoric folklore, the dramatic story-line and the way in which Chye Hoon continues to grow, mature and develop as a woman on the verge of different transitions in her life. Not just in girlhood but also to mumhood and finding the strength to realise her own worth in what she can do to help her family. It’s one of those stories you cannot read quickly – the narrative is dense and alive with this woman’s life story to where you want to let her experiences soak through you in order to gain the full effect of the novel.

Whilst I wasn’t reading this story, I was thinking about what I wanted to talk about during my guest post for #AustenInAugust – as this was the first year I decided I might fancy contributing something to the event. I do not often write guest features on blogs, but this year, I felt I might give it a try and I ended up with a piece I am hoping others can relate too.

I caught sight of a way I could start to work on my own writings – a new idea which materialised to mind and heart as soon as I saw a project I wanted to become a part of – if I could – which has a bit of a tight deadline. I am going to start to flesh together my initial idea this week and next, whilst honing in on the research I want to do to make sure I get things accurate. The interesting bit to note though is that this project is the first I’ve taken on in nine years as a writer. If you discount Jorie Loves A Story, as I started blogging five years after I won Nanowrimo. It is high time I start to get back into the groove of where my pen inspires me to embrace my own creative worlds and characters. I’ve felt this coming on for awhile now – but perhaps this is the Summer for sorting it out?

I also found myself on Twitter quite a bit this week at key moments where something quite extraordinary was happening – whether this meant a threaded conversation, a life-affecting historical decision of the Senate or the realistic artistic portrayal of animatronics in Canada – this was the week, where it would appear being socially engaged on Twitter is a happenstance blessing for anyone in the 21st Century!

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Celebrating the 1st Year Anniversary of “Sari & A Single Malt”:

Saris and a Single Malt by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

I still remember how evocative this collection was to read, how powerfully stirring the poems were to find inside this raw and honest collection of poetry. I’ve been blessed many times over through my participation on Poetic Book Tours showcasing Contemporary Poets, of whom, I would not have otherwise crossed paths. This is what originally inspired me to work with Ms Cox, as I loved her philosophy of finding the story-tellers you might overlook or never discover, if her keen eye hadn’t first introduced you to their collective works. She works yearly with poets and the story-tellers who choose Small Trade & Indie routes of publishing.

Read the Guest Post by Ms Vikram

Saris and a Single Malt is a slimline paperback collection of poetry, speaking to the humble heart of truths where life and death merge into the legacy of a soul. The collection is precipitated by a quotation about ‘life, loss, and recovery’ where you gather the ending result for the author is in accord with it’s truism about how as devastating as loss can bleed your heart and affect your emotional well-being, there is a turning tide where all will become calm, where memories return and love forevermore is a lasting impression upon your heart. Healing takes time, as hours cannot be measured nor grasped how long a period is needed to recover from the shock of a loved one’s absence and their death which permanently shook them out of our everyday reality.

In an unusual method of cathartic release, the poems, connective thoughts and essays are presented in a living sphere of conscious and emotional anguish as the author herself, flew back home to India to say her good-byes to her mother. An emotionally raw moment for anyone to come to terms with the sudden death of their Mum, much less for a writer whose pen can sometimes become unable to compel the words to fit against a blank page – somewhere in that emotional chaos, Vikram found her path towards healing her mind, spirit and heart through the words she’s left behind inside Saris and a Single Malt.

Quoted from my Review of Saris and a Single Malt

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Quotes from the Blog Tour:

Chick with Books said of the collection, “Heartfelt, raw, honest and thought-provoking.”

Jorie Loves A Story said, “Vikram bleeds her emotions through words.”

Taken from this portion of my review: A harbinger of solemnity and of the truth of realising that you cannot escape the sorrows of your life, Vikram bleeds her emotions through the words of “I Write” with such heart-wrenching clarity as to be accurately representative of what you feel inside that moment of ‘how does time renew itself from here?’ How does one recover themselves to the point where ‘getting on’ with life doesn’t feel so empty and apathetic?

Diary of an Eccentric said, Saris and a Single Malt is a touching tribute to Vikram’s mother, a love song from a grieving daughter.”

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Posted Sunday, 30 July, 2017 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie the Writer, The Sunday Post

Cover Reveal | “Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War” an #anthology of war dramas including three #authors I personally *love!* reading: Lauren Willig, Jessica Brockmole + Heather Webb! Including a small notation on Jorie Loves A Story’s 2nd Birthday!

Posted Thursday, 6 August, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Stories Sailing into View Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

I didn’t take long to decide to join the Cover Reveal blog tour for this enticingly curious NEW RELEASE by William Morrow Spring, 2016! For starters, I have become entranced and captured by *three!* of the authors whose convicting stories etch their characters and literary worlds straight into my mind’s eye in such a convincing way as to leave heart prints of their memories inside my spirit long after I have put down their novels!

There is a aching realism to war dramas and a churning of courage intermixed with a fierce dedication to service, country, self, and family. The lives of servicemen and women as much as the civilian staff who aide them directly both at home and overseas are dedicated to keeping all of us safe in an unsafe world. Their sacrifices are passionately applauded and it is our honour to celebrate their lives of which have ensured our times of peace.

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Notations on the realisation some of the authors are already ‘familiar’ to me:

Being a regular book blogger for William Morrow (as I have a heart full of gratitude for the books which come up for review by HarperCollins, of whom has become one of my favourite Major Trade publishers) I was overjoyed at finding out this anthology collection of shorts (stories) not only includes a new work by Jessica Brockmore (of my beloved Letters from Skye), Lauren Willig (of whom has created a delish historical/contemporary suspense series in Pink Carnation), and the historically passionate researcher (novelist) Heather Webb (of Becoming Josephine + Rodin’s Lover) this collection  yields many #newtomeauthors of whom I would be most delighted to ‘meet’ for the first-time!

Prior to confirmation of my participation on this tour, I had the joy of finding a beautifully up-close and personal review of Marci Jefferson’s new release Enchantress of Paris via Literary, Etc. wherein I enjoyed adding to the conversation surrounding it’s story. Ms Jefferson’s previous novel Girl on the Golden Coin was a novel I had hoped to have read in 2014 and sadly was not able to get to it. I definitely hope I can find a way to borrow both copies from the library once their available!

For my thirty-fourth birthday I selected Hazel Gaynor’s The Girl Who Came Home as one of my *birthday books* of choice which was gifted to me by my Mum and Da! It remains one of the books I am most adamant of reading as soon as I have the hours to devout to it! A Memory of Violets has intrigued me as well although it is constantly being checked out at my library!

I hadn’t realised it until I visited her website, but the novels of Jennifer Robson have been garnishing my curious eye towards picking them up and seeing what I shall find inside for quite awhile now! I have either seen her in the book blogosphere or finding I can borrow her books from my local library! Wicked sweet!

I typically gravitate and devour novels of WWII, and it is a rare treat indeed when I find a novel based on WWI! I tend to be a bit particular about the kind of war dramas I prefer reading and therefore my quest to find new stories to soak my mind inside takes a bit of seeking and patience! This collection not only winked out a keen interest to read it, I felt as though the authors knew exactly what kind of war dramas I would appreciate reading in shorter form! I cannot wait for this release!

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Read a delish snippet of a preview:

Excerpt from “Hour of the Bells”
A short story included in Fall of Poppies

Reprinted Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

Beatrix whisked around the showroom, feather duster in hand. Not a speck of dirt could remain or Joseph would be disappointed. The hour struck noon. A chorus of clocks whirred, their birds popping out from hiding to announce midday. Maidens twirled in their frocks with braids down their backs, woodcutters clacked their axes against pine, and the odd sawmill wheel spun in tune to the melody of a nursery rhyme. Two dozen cuckoos warbled and dinged, each crafted with loving detail by the same pair of hands—those with thick fingers and a steady grip.

Beatrix paused in her cleaning. One clock chimed to its own rhythm, apart from the others. She could turn them off—the tinkling melodies, the incessant clatter of pendulums, wheels, and cogs, with the levers located near the weights—just as their creator had done before bed each evening, but she could not bring herself to do the same. To silence their music was to silence him, her husband, Joseph. The Great War had already done that; ravaged his gentle nature, stolen his final breath, and silenced him forever. Read More

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Posted Thursday, 6 August, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Birthdays & Blogoversaries, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Blogs I Regularly Read, Book | Novel Excerpt, Book Cover Reveal, During WWI, Historical Fiction, Literary Etc., Short Stories or Essays, The World Wars, War Drama