Tag: Jonathan West

+Blog Book Tour+ Tower of Tears {Book No. 1: the McClusky series} by Rhoda E’ttore

Posted Friday, 12 September, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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Tower of Tears by Rhoda D’Ettore

Published by: Self-Published Author

Available Formats: Paperback, Ebook

 Official Author Websites: Site | @rhodadettore | Facebook

Converse via: #TowerofTearsBlogTour

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

Inspired to Read:

When I first learnt of this novel going on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I was a bit intrigued by the premise, as I have been reading quite a few immigrant stories of late, and this particular one interested me because the McClusky family was arriving in America from Ireland. I have newly defined ancestral roots to Ireland, and now that I know for a bonefide fact I descended from an Irishman, I have noticed my appreciation for reading about the Irish who came to America has increased tenfold. A bit due to the fact there is such a breadth of unknown factors and stories that are simply out in the void of the past; inches away from knowing anything further about this side of my family and perhaps even, the route they took to arrive not only in America but as settlers on land they chose to farm.

I was captured by this one particular family’s plight to forge their own future in a country so far removed from their own, and encouraged by their determined spirit to make it irregardless of what would come across their path! 

– quoted from my Interview of the author who is going to pen a series around the McClusky’s and giving us a bit of a taste of who they are inside Tower of Tears

+Blog Book Tour+ Tower of Tears {Book No. 1: the McClusky series} by Rhoda E’ttoreTower of Tears
by Jonathan West, Rhoda D’Ettore
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Read an Excerpt of the Novel:

Chapter 1: The Voyage

Betrayal. Despair. Murder. Mystery. Romance. Blackmail. “If God be good, Mr. Landon will burn in the eternal flames of hell. If God be bad, he will suffer much worse.” In 1820, a young woman and her son leave Ireland for a better life in America. She soon suffers heartache and tragedy, while residing with family whom she has never met.

Unbeknownst to her, the family had already set her up with employment in a factory–a factory run by a lecherous man. This is the first book in a series that will follow the McClusky family while they become Americanized while face with the Potato Famine, the US Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author:

Series: McClusky,


Genres: Historical Fiction


Published by Self Published Author

on 25th May, 2014

Format: Paperback

Pages: 308

Author Biography:

Rhoda D'EttoreRhoda D’Ettore was born in Woodbury, New Jersey, into a family of 5 siblings–which has provided her with plenty of comical material. She began working at the United States Postal Service at 25 years old, and over the past 15 years has accumulated many humorous stories about situations that the public never gets to know about. Her first ebook, “Goin’ Postal: True Stories of a U.S. Postal Worker” was so popular that readers requested it in paperback. Recently, she published the humorous “Goin’ Postal” in paperback along with another story entitled, “The Creek: Where Stories of the Past Come Alive”. Combining these two into one book may seem strange, as one is humorous and the other is a heart wrenching historical fiction, however, doing so proves to the reader Rhoda D’Ettore’s versatility.

Rhoda D’Ettore received her degree in Human & Social Services while working at USPS, has travelled extensively, and loves history. Over the years she has volunteered for several community service organizations, including fostering abused and neglected dogs for a Dalmatian rescue.

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The Irish & America as a new place to lay one’s hat:

D’Ettore honoured her Irish characters by allowing them to speak in a vernacular which would befit the era and the time in which they were living. I always appreciate the syntax of language and of dialect of characters who either originated from one country and moved to another, or simply lived within a country and culture other than my own completely. I like getting the proper sense of life being lived elsewhere and within historical fiction it is always nice to root around and see where a writer’s own research and heart for the story led them to create the essence of whom they are writing about the most. The Irish are represented well in the novel, as not only are the obstacles in their path representative of time appropriate events, but they are given that determined grit and reserved emotional life that is characteristic of their nature.

One of the bits I appreciated on the voyage was the close kinship Jane felt towards Anna; two women attempting to change the stars for their children and daring to see into the unknown beyond anything they could have dreamt. I appreciated she had someone she could connect too and of course, Anna is one of those pure optimistic spirits who can wiggle out a ray of light even when darkness threatens to supersede your thoughts! I even enjoyed how she turnt the supposed horrid news of an unexpected pregnancy (on Jane’s behalf) to a light of joy!

My Review of Tower of Tears:

As the story opens we are settling into the new life Jane McClusky is attempting to carve out for her three year old son Liam, her husband Thomas (still in Ireland), and herself – she quite literally embarked on a transatlantic voyage to the New World devoid of understanding the hardships and tribulations she would greet once she landed on American soil. She had conversed with her husband about the necessities and the monies she would need to survive living with her Cousins in Philadelphia, but as soon as the wind is back in her chest and rest has given her clarity of mind, her American Cousins who emigrated ahead of her are not as they appear inside their letters. She had a growing fear of this as she was never quite sure if they were as open as they seemed inside their conversations within the postal correspondences. She strove to leave behind the adversities which plagued Ireland at the time: short life expectancy, no forward motion of families as they were co-dependent on the crop yields per annum, little to no hope of pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, and the worst of all — a constant worriment over the life your child will have as he’s reared through the hurdles of trying to survive Summer to Summer. The major crop was potatoes (of which I had known before I opened the novel, but hadn’t realise how dependent they were on its yield) yet the greatest hope any of the farmers had were to attempt a new life elsewhere, whilst leaving behind family, nationality and the certainty of self-identity.

D’Ettore is not shy from disclosing the lesser known facts of what such a life shift would entail to those who were brave enough to set sail. She gives you a bird’s eye glimpse at how harsh an immigrant life was for someone to forge as much as how everything changes from an accord you struck prior to your voyage. I always found it interesting studying history that there were always prejudicial misconceptions about immigrants and thus, direct consequences were faced in the work force. In this particular story we are seeing the point-of-view of the Irish, which interested me due to my own newly found ancestral roots stemming from the Emerald Isle; however, I have also read other stories about how Italians and Jewish families were equally displaced with unequal opportunities. I find all of our ancestors were hardened not only by the way in which life affected them, but how their lives were constantly challenged by everything they attempted to do in order to provide an honest wage.

The story shifts view from Jane’s new world in America to the life her husband Thomas was living without her back home on their farm in Ireland. A very typical situation starts to incur inside Thomas’s life; re-pleasant of loneliness and the insecurity of understanding his new role in his wife’s life. Unfortunately, I suppose I had hoped perhaps her husband might have held more honour inside his heart, as their love had such a strong bond to crumble due to distance of only a handful of months felt dishonest to the strength inside Jane’s own mind and fortitude to overcome their situation. Yet, this is a very honest interpretation of a family attempting to change their lives; not every family has an upward light shining to keep them on a path without strife in marriage.

I personally had to stop reading this novel between a rape scene of a pregnant woman and the murder of her abuser, which is a bit of spoiler but not the whole truth of the story. I felt the heinous attack on someone withchild was a bit too much for me to be included — it simply didn’t warrant to happen. I felt a more fitting scene would have been seeing the start of Jane’s affection towards Richard her Cousin in America. Her affection for him and his in return for her were being nurtured from the beginning when they first started to work together. There was already a story-line in place that would have allowed their love to blossom legally and affirmatively, so I am not as sure why the thread of story-line was pitched to take the route of severe emotional and physical abuse. It was quite shocking to read and it didn’t sit well with my conscience either. I could not continue because I simply could not find a reason to go forward as instead of finding a bit of light in the undertone of the novel, I felt the story was growing in oppressive anguish and upturnt devastation.

Fly in the Ointment:

A continuity issue arose when I reached page 26, as Jane is reflecting to her Cousin Richard as they are walking to work about her mother; in this scene she mentioned her name was Erin. Yet, on page 18 Erin is clearly the name of her sister, as she is having a flashback memory of when they were younger. Of course, she might have been named after the Mum, but I was a bit confused by the omission of knowing Jane’s Mum’s name. The few hiccups in proofreading I overlooked as I oft find a few here or there in most of the books I read. Continuity however is something I take a closer gander at as it can alter the perception of the pace and flow of where the story is heading.

The story turnt out to be a bit more brutal and absent of what I was hoping it would yield — there are moments where violence and even violation of a person’s rights has plausible appeal, but for some reason I simply felt there were a few too many circumstances alighting in Jane’s life for her to overcome. Every chance she tried to stand on her feet, something else was taken away from her. I also thought it was a mis-step not to include Anna as an anchor for Jane; there was an absence of aligning Jane with a circle of support from the beginning. And, the family she believed she was welcomed into with open arms was a deceptive web which rankled my joy a bit because I had believed this was a story which was going to go in one direction but found it headed in the opposite instead.

As this is not a comedy of errors, it is a historical fiction rooted in historical fact, and I was just a bit disappointed that one or two threads of narrative were explored, but not all of them combined. I could have even foreseen an issue with Jane’s boss as it is well-known women were not always treated equally or fairly throughout history in employment; but it is the lengths of which her life unravells and how it unravells that left me feeling uncomfortable as I turnt the pages. I was disheartened as I had hoped this would be a multi-generational saga centered around a family I would enjoy reading as the series continued.

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Virtual Road Map of “Tower of Tears” Blog Tour found here:

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{SOURCES: Book Cover for “Tower of Tears”, Author Photograph of Rhoda D’Ettore,  & Author Biography were 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. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Jorie asked to host the author ahead of reading the novel as she is most keen on Jane Austen & the sequel authors who give us such a wonderful joy to read their literary muse after being inspired by Austen herself; she was most happy to receive his replies from the Interview through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours via the author himself.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 12 September, 2014 by jorielov in 19th Century, Abortion, Adulterous Affair, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Domestic Violence, Feminine Heroism, Flashbacks & Recollective Memories, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Immigrant Stories, Realistic Fiction, Self-Published Author, Trauma | Abuse & Recovery, Unexpected Pregnancy, Women's Fiction, Women's Rights