Tag: Kate Mosse

_+ #atozchallenge _+ 26 Days | 26 Essays [epic journey] Today is Letter “B”. Hint: Living Histories

Posted Wednesday, 2 April, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Day 1: Letter B of the A to Z ChallengeYesterday was the beginning of my EPIC JOURNEY towards revealing why I am a book blogger & what motivates me as a reader! I am involved in a world-wide globally connected blogosphere challenge where each blogger who signs into the participant linky is quite literally confirming their express desire to blog straight [except on Sundays!] for *26 Days!* whilst writing *26!* most intriguing & thought-producing alphabet essays! Or, to be comically inspiring, randomly cheeky, and otherwise delightfully entertaining! The bloggers who have signed into the challenge are from all walks of blogosphere life: book bloggers united alongside lifestyle gurus; writers of all literary styles nudged up against travelogues; the gambit runs the full course of each and every theme, topic, subject, and genre you could possibly light your heart with joy to broach in a blog! And, the curious bit to the journey is where your posts lead you as much as where other blogger’s posts inspire you! It’s this fantastic community to celebrate the spirit within the blogosphere as much as the spirit of connection amongst the bloggers who might not have crossed paths with each other otherwise. After all, the road map for blogs is as wide and large as the actual world outside the nethersphere of websites, pixels, and memes! Walk with us whilst we discover a bit about ourselves, our blog, & each other!

I am blogger #552 out of 2279!

{Notice the slight increase!?}


Few may realise it could be possible, but it was only a handful of years since I pulled myself  out of this EPIC READERS RUT to where I could lay heart and mind back into the depths of the books I always loved to consume! I was even without a proper library branch to call ‘home’, when in late Spring 2009 a new branch opened in a tucked away hamlet! A hamlet by all definitions of being wholly true to itself after the years had raged away its essence and left behind an artistically creative vibe bent on preservation of historic homes, community united festivals and fairs, as well as one of the best self-guided walking tours I have ever come across as you get to amble through time itself, whilst hinged to the present. It was during those hours of having the ability to resume where I had left off a decade before in my reading adventures, I started to gather books which perked an interest inside me that might not even have been there previously! Imagine only being able to collect books by authors you were nearly certain you’d love and appreciate for most of those years, but for whichever reason you could not soak into the narratives because your mind wasn’t willing to go into the heart of what was held within the text!? Imagine if you will, a floodgate of epic proportions allows you the ability to search, pick up, and gather as many books as you could physically carry out of the library whilst re-discovering where your literary heart wanted to wander!

I was bursting at the seams wanting to share my newly discovered reading life which is why the original ‘Jorie Loves A Story’ was a private journal shared amongst her close friends as a way to encourage bookish discussions and reflections based on the books she was reading OR even books that she felt she would enjoy only to discover had not quite floated her boat in the end! She wrote lists of books newly published whilst she had discovered them at local bookstores (big box as at that point in time the local Indies were washed away) and mused about how many ILLs (inter-library loans) and holds (regular in-library materials) one girl could possibly handle within thirty days!? It was this blissful joy of knowing I was going to walk back into my imagination, all the while uncertain about what I might discover about myself and about the characters I was going to meet. In those early dawning months, I was curiously attracted to titles such as “Girl in a Blue Dress” by Gaynor Arnold. I remember going on hold for this lovely book a few times before I could settle the hours to sit for a spell and actually read it! This is the very novel which introduced the idea of B I O G R A P H I C A L F I C T I O N into my heart! I say this because truly, when you sit down to read a fictional accountment of a living person who actually walked the earth, you are properly engaged heart, mind, and soul with their affairs! Their ability to walk outside the pages and land within your living reality as though they were simply popping out for a bit of takeaway nourishment is what makes this particular branch of literature as riveting as it is!

B I O G R A P H I C A L  F I C T I O N
is a nexus of immersion into the inner heart of a living person’s life.
– Jorie, of Jorie Loves A Story


Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb

When I first decided to undertake being a Hostess for blog tours, I wanted to use the opportunities I was being granted to flex my wings and undertake reading books with topics & subjects I may not have had the honour of reading previously. One new fascination of mine is of Revolutionary France, of which I delved into whilst reading “The Golden Hour” by Maiya Williams. A Young Adult book I discovered in the catalogue for my local library, which quite literally changed my perception of the genre! There is a lot of dark undertones happening right now in Young Adult literature and although, they have merit to those who appreciate them, I seek out a different kind of ‘YA’ to read. I entered back into the realms of Children’s Literature with the intent of picking up where I had left off in my own childhood, as I am an Auntie to nieces & nephews as much as I am a Mum-In-Waiting. (see blog lower sidebar: look for Brave Love badge) Uniquely enough, I discovered another quirky French YA book entitled “The Sixty-Eight Rooms” by Marianne Malone! From there my intrepid curious heart watched a classic motion picture on Turner Classic Movies (TCM is quite literally one of two favourite channels of mine! My Twitter feeds elude to the second!) which haunted me a bit as it was approaching Marie Antoinette’s life just prior and just leading after her family lost their lives at the guillotine. I knew there was a good chance hosting for France Book Tours & Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours I might start to intersect books which dealt with the French Revolution! And, happily they started to alight into view when Becoming Josephine entered my life!

I had this to share ahead of sharing my reading impressions of the author & story:

I simply adore historical fiction, including historical biographical fiction, which I think this falls under, as it’s about Bonaparte and his wife! I like the backdrop of the story, and how strong Rose had to become in order to overtake her plight! You see, I have a bit of a long-standing admiration for the French Revolution, even though by many estimates I have only just begun my sojourn into this fascinating section of literature! My attention is thus esteemed to continue to seek out stories set before, during, and after the French Revolution! What can I say? Once you become attached to the living characters of whom most of the books are based upon, in as much as the characters created to walk amongst their living counterparts, you find that one book or five is not quite enough to fully encompass the history of what is left behind to be known!

Stemming from this short history of mine with French Literature, there was a cursory exploration of Bonaparte whilst I was eighteen! Having ducked out of a heavy rainstorm and into the warmth glow of a bookshoppe I had accidentally discovered along a main street – I took the balm of books against nature’s thunderstorm! As I wandered around, I remember finding a rather curious little book, tattered yet readable, (as the bookshoppe sold new and used copies!) about the life of Napoléon Bonaparte! Intrigued I purchased the book and stored it inside a rain-proof bookslip! Ever since that aplomb discovery I have whet my appetite for more! I would be curious to learn how you alighted to read about the French?

– quoted from my review of “Becoming Josephine” by Heather Webb

B I O G R A P H I C A L  F I C T I O N for me allows for a more inter-personal connection to the person stepping forward out of history’s door. I have attempted to read full-on biographies, but more than naught, I fail in making an emotional connection much less an interested one as some of them can languish rather than enliven. When I turn to B I O G R A P H I C A L  F I C T I O N I feel as though the writer has planted me directly into the living person’s shoes and innermost thoughts. I get to breathe in their essence and live a bit in the world in which they knew whilst they were alive. Each of us arrives at a connecting point inside books at different junctions and fixtures, this perhaps is mine. The most alarming part of reading about Josephine as she grew to become Bonaparte’s wife is this reflection on behalf of France:

The backdrop of Becoming Josephine is quintessentially Revolutionary France, where the French hinged between the start of the revolt and the ensuing Reign of Terror. A shuddering of emotions always rings through me whilst thinking on the harder hitting realities of the age which the French had to endure. Webb has a way of acknowledging the back-story of history behind the coattails of the character’s lives in such a way, as to gently guide the reader forward and through, rather than shocking us to our core. The revolution ekes out in small fashion, where rumours of revolt start to erupt in the salons of the day, and where the commoners start to realise they need to launch into a retreat from Royal rule. Part of me understands this and part of me grieves for the loss of the Royal family, due to how brutal the Revolution turns and ends.

And, yet at the heart of the center core of the Revolution you have Josephine and Napoleon, two people I never thought I’d see come together, now that I know the origins of Josephine’s past. The tapestry of fashion is lit and gilded behind the tumult which has been brewing to explode. Interspersed with the flamboyance of cloth and jewels, you gather the sense of urgency in the fever of desperation.

– quoted from my review of “Becoming Josephine” by Heather Webb

Illuminations by Mary SharrattIlluminations: a novel of Hildegard von Bingen by Mary Sharratt was a novel I came to acquaint myself with through Shelf Awareness for Readers (bi-weekly Literary newsletter). As I researched more about the author, I realised I was stumbling across an intuitive writer who dared to shed a light on unknown fixtures of historical merit. As much as I knew she was a writer who broke the barriers and wrote the stories which evoked a passion within her to tell. I am naturally drawn to writers who forge their own literary paths unto where their stories need to find a reader who appreciates the alternative nature of their writing voice. I like seeing writers taking risks for their stories as much as listening to the characters who step forward in their mind’s eye. At times, those characters are ethereal apparitions of a living soul whose own history would be better served in a living narrative than a testament of facts and notations of life milestones.

To illumine the mind and strengthen the spirit,…

I have always known of the interconnectedness of humanity, the natural world, and the realm behind the veil of this world which is the gateway to spirit world. Each of us is connected to each other and to what is not yet understood though believed to be in existence on faith alone. What I appreciated about reading Hilegard’s story is that she is touching on the elemental truths that each spiritual person comes to realise and accept: the circle of life and of time, the abundance of the interlocking connections, and how we are only in the infancy of our understandings of the greater whole that we strive to obtain whilst we walk Earth.

By examining her life through this biographic exposition, we are striving to become closer to understanding what she came to understand herself. Each of us are given gifts in life to share and pass down, small legacies of goodwill, hope, peace, love, charity, and grace. We tap into where our lifepath is leading us whilst we are openly receptive to where we are being guided to go next. Hilegard was unique in this, as she viewed herself as a flawed human who made more mistakes than deemed repentable, and yet, she could not help acknowledge that she had become a vessel of truth, as chosen as her destiny to give others’ insight that they were not privy too. She reminds me of women I have heard about prior to her, who never felt they were good enough to be placed in a position of importance. How humbling it is then, to realise that these are the women and spiritual beings who are called upon to do the most good during their lifetime!? To ingenuate a plausibility of which most of us might forego or bypass whilst caught up in the clatterment of living our lives!?

– quoted from my review of Illuminations: a novel of Hildegard von Bingen by Mary Sharratt

To extend out of our known reality and intersect on the path of another who lived more than a handful of centuries ago, is the fruitious blessing of reading. We get to pull ourselves in and out of our comfort zones. We get to take a risk ourselves, with our heart and with our mind’s ability to process the imagery and historical truism that we find knitted into B I O G R A P H I C A L  F I C T I O N. We honour the past and the lives in which were lived each time we juxtaposition ourselves into the fractured space where the temporal gravity of time yields a veil in which we can step backwards and forwards; endeavouring greater empathy and giving us a humbling account of humanity.

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull ChatlienThere are moments where I truly feel we are given select books to read at a certain fixed point in which we are meant to read them. For instance, if I hadn’t previously read Becoming Josephine I would not have realised the greater scope of circumstances which befell Betsy Patterson inside The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien! The full realisation of the breadth of how their lives were cross-sected hit me will full force whilst I was in the early chapters of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte. The fabric of space we set out to explore in literature become little beckoning notes to the universe. Notes in which flutter into the cosmos and are answered in the curious ability of having books placed into our hands which carry-on the research and conversation which was already broached.

I could only imagine what was rollicking through Betsy’s mind and heart whilst she was being tested against will to re-acquire her beloved’s presence. I am thankful to have this particular biographical fiction cross my path, because it has inspired me to seek out more historical novels set around the Bonaparte’s. For every imagined truth we all perceive about those who lived in the historical past, there is oft-times a hidden story surrounding the very people who might have repelled our interest. I oft wondered about the lives interconnected to Napoleon, the unsung voices of his reign, and through Becoming Josephine and The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte I am embarking towards that end; of unveiling the incredible women who not only backed their men but forged through all the doubts of their eras to secure their futures. And, for this I thank the authors who are giving their readers quite a heap to ruminate on!

– quoted from my review of The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien

Nor did I ever find myself inquisitively compassionate on behalf of the Bonaparte’s. Napoleon Bonaparte is simultaneous with nearly ever other dictatorial ruler who attempted to sequester and compress his rule over others who had natural bourne freedoms and rights. There are members of his family who were outside the depth of knowledge of what his true convictions and actions were to be undertook, and in their histories we find compassion. The mere fact that even his family was left privy to being pawned in and out of his schemes is a grief they never could shake free. There are other aspects of the French Revolution which goes against most of what is widely known about the era and in some ways, not all of it is rosy from the perspectives of the commoners either. And, this is were being a book blogger is a true gift. I am able to journall out my thoughts and ruminations as I read. Sharing them with an audience I hope is willing to take the journey with me and perhaps even start a conversation based upon what I have expressed. Rooting in on the underlining issues and coming to a connection stitched solely through what was read, internalised, and processed. Conversations are a unique benefit because they help pool our ponderments and gives us the will to examine differentiating revelations. It is my hope to garnish these kinds of conversations on each post where a reader drops by and adds his/her thoughts into the comment threads.

Sebastian's Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger

There are moments too, which arise for a book blogger where one falters the confidence to believe she’s picked a book that might be a bit past her ability to handle. Although I instantly requested Sebastian’s Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger my ruminative thoughts after my review state my full emotional state prior to picking up the book:

I dare thought it might not be plausible to settle into a thick slice of historical suspense such as a story of Charlemagne, until I was given the chance to read Sebastian’s Way: The Pathfinder! A book which lives up to the virtues of historical fiction by etching into our mind’s eye the very inclinations and notions of the age in which Steger’s central figure lived and breathed. It was an age of boldness and an age of religious upheaval. The battle to control the power of the land and the power of the people was not forged through mediation. It was a time which bespoke more of war wounds and proven allegiances based on leadership in the field. To approach the narrative with a slight hesitation of what the context would reveal to me, gave me a bit of an edge once I was ensconced! My nerves melted with each word and paragraph I hungrily drank in to see where the author was taking me next. His ability to light the story from within the heart of the narrative itself is a gift.

– quoted from my review of Sebastian’s Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger

Charlemagne is a near-ghost entity whose entered the nethersphere of my literary walk for as many years as I first drew an inclinating nod towards being a history buff! The corridors of history are as closely-knit together as the world of art, in which, you don’t have traverse very far before hearing echoes of Charlemagne! Yet. The curious bit to those echoes is that oft-times they are not completely dimensional of who the man behind the ‘infamous name’ was or what he represented of himself in life. If I hadn’t clued into an episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” I might still be a bit in the dark about the fullness of his transformative soul and his heart for leading his mind towards redemptive restitution. Steger pulls you into the folds of where the myth of Charlemagne leads into the man Charlemagne became.

Citadel by Kate MosseA reader’s heart bleeds as readily as the character’s whose life is afflicted and fraught with conflictual adversity. Mosse is an author I first learnt of through my Mum’s suggestion to read Labyrinth. As this book came up for review, I instantly tipped my hat to read Citadel as it felt as my moment to read Kate Mosse had arrived. My goal was simple enough: read the first two books in the series before proceeding into Citadel; except time and life had other plans! As a book blogger you have to adapt and stay flexible to everything that can arrive out of the clear blue, whilst still being able to bring the stories your reviewing into the limelight of your reading hours.

History has a unique way of imparting important acknowledgements out of the past, by finding the ways in which the words can travel through vessels of time. Words handed and passed down through generations, from family to stranger seeking a confidence of protection is one of the most reliable methods of keeping knowledge secret from eyes who would take the same words and twist them into harmful deeds. It’s how we as a society react and root out resilience in the face of our foremost dire fears and shake away the rootings of evil. Resistance from oppression and the strife of a regime bent against the welfare of the people is true courage lit aflame.

Sandrine is an intuitive woman who was set apart from others; she could see past the veils of our reality and into the next life just beyond our focus. She was tuned into mystical truths which gave her a bolster of strength in the nanoseconds where her own inner resolve faltered. Her life was writ to be in service of others, and in of giving all of her mind, body, and soul to fighting for the sanctity of life, liberty, and freedom. Citadel is epic in scale, emotionally convicting, and powerfully written to leave you quite still at its conclusion retrospectively museful, and enlightened. Your heart shatters and aches in an indescribable way when you read the four sentences on page 673. With eyes too blurry and a heart too gutted to carry-on into the Epilogue.

– quoted from my review of Citadel by Kate Mosse

To Live Forever by Andra Wakins

The best surprise I have had in a long time as a book blogger is having a blog tour alight in my Inbox which stirred my avidly curious imagination into drinking the proportional elements of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Wakins! The very first time I saw the book cover art and hungrily read the book synopsis, I knew I had found lightning in the bottle, because the manner in which the story was presenting itself, it was a one-off chance to get to know an emerging new writer on the peripatetic jolt beginning of her literary career! A long-term appreciator of Western fiction and the expeditions of early American frontier settlers, Lewis & Clark are a fixture of my memories of frontier living. To take a formidable presence such as Meriwether Lewis and re-invent the way in which we soak into B I O G R A P H I C A L  F I C T I O N as his story is only half of the scope of the story is literary brilliance!

The story is interwoven as a refractive mirror of the Natchez Trace itself. The harder you believe any blight of adversity is in your life to conquer and overcome, the more your spirit will start to believe your too fragile to try anything. The Trace is a test of wills as much as it’s a test of inner fortitude to re-strengthen our shield against unwanted storms and periods of stress which arise out of nowhere. Life can ebb and flow, bobbing us along until we’re ready to see what our eyes blinded us towards revealing. All of our passageways lead us further towards where our feet are meant to land, but what if we hold ourselves back from the greatest revelations of all? Simply because we’re not willing to alight where we’re lead to go? The Trace is unique in that it withholds its past like a tightly woven tapestry. Each piece of its innate soul is stitched inside the weathered path where feet and souls mingled into the mist. There lessons linger and their spirits shudder to grieve.

There is an ever-knowing pool of truth and hope awaiting us around each bend and turn. The people we feel we are ‘randomly’ encountering are the kind of teachers and advisers we might never expect would be important to our growth. Listen with compassion. Be kind to strangers who might one day become a cherished friend. Grow through friendship and rise each day realising the beauty of the hour. Our lives are leading us through the light and back inside it.

– quoted from my review of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Wakins

The Tenor by Peter Danish

On the foot-heels of Meriwether Lewis, I am embarking on an intimate portrait of a previously unknown opera singer Maria Callas, as I entered into the fictional account of how a soldier she knew in real life became the living angel who saved her. I was curious about this book due to my appreciation of opera (classical opera, rock opera, & modern opera band) and for finding a hidden story out of a portion of World War II I was not expecting to unearth! These are the stories I like to discovery the most: fixtures within history who had the most to lose and the most to gain, whose lives were lived nearly unknown to each generation who came after they had lived. Men and women whose spirits are rejoicing a bit each time a writer clues in on their legacy and gives a light upon their days with a new mirth of compassion and understanding. The past deserves compassion due to how difficult most of the harder chapters were to survive as they were lived through.

As a precursor to my review which goes live on Friday, 4th of April, I want to share with you a piece of Mr. Danish’s interview:

What touched you most about the story whilst giving you the breadth of creating “The Tenor”?

Danish responds: I originally learned the story of the soldier from Arianna Stassinopoulos (now more famously known as Arianna Huffington, of Huffington Post fame) and her biography of Maria Callas. But when I read a half-dozen other accounts of her life, none of them mentioned him! So I sought out an old family friend who was a personal friend of Callas (actually a friend of my ex-in-laws – yes, I cared enough to reach out to my ex-in-laws!) He informed me that the story was indeed true, and not only had the soldier existed, but Maria had a school-girl crush on him! And that the two of them often sang together! The fact that they sang together struck me deeply. I just knew he had to be a fellow opera singer, because only another opera singer would have recognized the subtleties, the nuances that separate the good from the great and the great from the once-in-a-lifetime voices.

– quoted from my Interview with Peter Danish, author of “The Tenor”

The one B I O G R A P H I C A L  F I C T I O N novel which slipped through my fingers this year is Nancy Horan’s “Under a Wide & Starry Sky” of which I requested twiceover and was unfortunately one of too many who had itched to read the story! I even had the book arrive on hold at my local library only to boomrang back as its timing in my life was quite ill-conceived! I am hopeful that before Summer starts her wrath of a reign, I can dig into the biographical sketch of Robert Louis Stevenson and get to know one writer out of history I was never quite keen on reading, but felt there was more to him than perhaps I could have foreseen!

However, there is another B I O G R A P H I C A L  F I C T I O N account of a life I have not fully explored on my blog but of which captured my heart full the first six months of 2013! Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler had the ability to beseech Zelda’s voice out of the grave, presenting herself as strong as she were in life. Fowler’s writer’s road towards publication of Z is quite the testament of how one writer is destined to pen the life of a living person, giving themselves a history of an attachment with them, and enabling the readers who find their stories an ability to understand them. I read Fowler’s novel through Book Browse and participated in an exchange of forum based conversations, whereupon I felt most of the other readers entered into the book and the discussions bias against Zelda Fitzgerald. I went in with an open eye for giving Zelda the freedom to be herself and to explain herself for her actions and lifestyle if she felt it necessary. What is rather evident as you read Z is that Zelda was living under thumb of a controlling and manipulative husband who self-less desire for fame, fortune, and immortal legacy in print overrode her most basic needs. The most gutting part of the book for me is the ending chapters, where we start to see Zelda brave the will to remove herself from the toxic environment and start to stake her own claim on her life. I realise I tweeted I would re-read this volume of her life this year, in 2014, but I still feel as though I need a bit of distance before I re-open her story. Sometimes, the books we read are not meant to be examined in length but absorbed privately and cherished forevermore. Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald might be one of mine. The capstone of spending time with her was seeing the modern remake of “The Great Gatsby” in which the Fitzgeralds were illuminated on camera and the life in which they lived were on full display. It was so clearly evident of a fictional account of how dangerous they lived and how daring they believed they were invisible that I was emotional off-kilter for my birthday! As it was the film I elected to celebrate seeing!

And, there lies the beauty of uncovering B I O G R A P H I C A L  F I C T I O N as it forces us to emphatically connected the threads in which all of us are bonded.


A bit of an extra surprise for those A to Z Challengers

who patiently awaited my “Letter B”:

The Tenor by Peter Danish Book Trailer by Peter Danish


Thank you for joining me on DAY 2 | A to Z Challenge!

I am a girl named Jorie who loves a story!
I am a bookish library girl on a quest for literary enlightenment!
I am predominately self-taught and library educated!
I am Mademoiselle Jorie!
Thank you for joining me on this journey!

This marks my second post for the:

A to Z Challenge

And, might I add as an observation on Day 2? 

Why do you think we illicit such a curious attachment to understanding a person through biographical fiction OR within the tomes of biographies & autobiographies!? Where does your personal preference lie when wanting to drink in the history of a person who lived!?

{SOURCES: A to Z Challenge Participant & Letter B Badge provided by the A to Z Challenge site for bloggers to use on their individual posts & blogs to help promote the challenge to others. Book covers provided by France Book Tours & Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for promotion and review on Jorie Loves A Story; used with permission. The book trailer by Peter Danish 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. }

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Wednesday, 2 April, 2014 by jorielov in A to Z Challenge, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Book Browse, Bookish Discussions, Charlemagne, Debut Novel, Elizabeth "Betsy" Patterson Bonaparte, France Book Tours, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Josephine Bonaparte, Maria Callas, Meriwether Lewis

+Blog Book Tour+ Citadel [Book 3: of Languedoc Trilogy] by Kate Mosse

Posted Thursday, 20 March, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 5 Comments

Parajunkee Designs

Citadel by Kate Mosse
Published By: William Morrow (@WmMorrowBks)
(an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers (), 18 March 2014
Official Author WebsitesSite | Twitter | Facebook
Converse via: #KateMosse, #LanguedocTrilogy, #Citadel, #FranceBookTours, & #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover and E-Book
Page Count: 704

Acquired By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “Citadel” virtual book tour through France Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC direct from the publisher William Morrow, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Encouraged to Read:

Mum has a foresight of knowledge of which books would whet my appetite for not only historical intrigue but deft story-telling, where the research slips past the reader’s eye, and allows one to insert one’s heart directly into the core of the narrative! I am always on the forefront of discovering ‘a genuine new voice in literature’ because I am always inspired and captivated by such an eclectically diverse sphere of writers! I like to seek out stories which not only challenge convention but the perceptional eclipse we might unintentionally tether ourselves too! I like to broach outside my comfort zones whenever possible, and sink into a portion of the historical past which is wholly unknown and unvisited previously! My literary adventures draw me one step closer to the world’s front door and a breath closer to empathy for the unsung heroes of a past fraught with drama, suspense, and intuitive souls who choose to lead rather extraordinary lives! In this intuited glimpse into my reader’s heart, Mum purchased Labyrinth for me whilst it was in paperback (as I recollect!?) release. I had oft meant to endow myself to the page, yet I never quite managed to broach into the novel. On the brink of a blog book tour in the bookish blogosphere, I find myself able to redeem my ill-wrought wanderings, bringing me full circle back into the realm of Kate Mosse! How fruitious it is that her name resonated with me whilst offered on tour!

Inspired to Share a Snippet of a Preview:

I originally intended to read the first two novels in the  series Labyrinth & Sepulchre ahead of my book review for Citadel via France Book Tours. However, as life can dictate and quite often predict, the plans we set in motion are occasionally derailed for circumstances which arise altering our reading adventures! Therefore, I am stepping into the world of Kate Mosse’s literary threshold without prior knowledge of her characters nor of the direction in which her style illumines the narrative for the avid reader of her works! I am quite eager to read the forementioned previous titles on the footheels of this installment, but for now, I am overjoyed I have the pleasure of ‘meeting’ a new author of whom has held my intrigue for the years between Labyrinth & Citadel releases!

Kate Mosse discusses “Citadel” & ‘Sisterhood’ via Orion Publishing

Book Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of Labyrinth and Sepulchre comes a thrilling novel, set in the South of France during World War II, that interweaves history and legend, love and conflict, passion and adventure, bringing to life brave women of the French Resistance and a secret they must protect from the Nazis. In Carcassonne, a colorful historic village nestled deep in the Pyrenees, a group of courageous and determined operatives are engaged in a lethal battle. Like their ancestors who fought to protect their land from Northern invaders seven hundred years before, these women—codenamed Citadel —fight to liberate their home from the Germans.

But smuggling refugees over the mountains into neutral territory and sabotaging their Nazi occupiers is only part of their mission. These members of the resistance must also protect an ancient secret that, if discovered by the enemy, could change the course of history.

A superb blend of rugged action and haunting mystery based on real-life figures, Citadel is a vivid and richly atmospheric story of a group of heroic women who dared the odds to survive.

Author Biography:

Kate MosseKate Mosse is the multimillion selling author of four works of nonfiction, three plays, one volume of short stories and six novels, including the New York Times bestselling Labyrinth and Sepulchre. A popular presenter for BBC television and radio in the UK, she is also cofounder and chair of the prestigious Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and a member of the board of the National Theatre of Great Britain. In 2013, she was named as one of the Top 100 most influential people in British publishing and also awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to literature. She divides her time between England and Carcassonne, France.


A Prelude to Citadel:

An absolute blessing of mine in receiving an ARC (advanced reading copy) to read of a novel, is the inclusion of both the Editor’s Note (generally found on the inside first page!) and/or a letter from the publisher which gives a bit of a history of how the novel was created or a bit about the author herself! For Citadel, I was twice-fold blessed! Not only was the Editor’s Note included but so was the publisher’s! I am fascinated truly by the marketing and promotional campaigns by publishers to alert the readership of an author’s work! Even for new readers of Mosse’s stories like me for instance, cannot help but become caught up in the excitement and the reverence of honour she is bestowed by her dedicated readership! IF a sequel to her last tome took four years, can you imagine how long we shall all be willing to wait for her next treasure of literature?!

The best of stories have to soak into their creators, they have to wholly absorb the characters, the setting, the era, and the entirety of the story’s essence in order to fully bring everything to illuminating light. I celebrate writers like Mosse who cherish the ‘process of writing’ and allow themselves the full measure of grace to produce heart-stopping narrative time and time again! At least this is my presumption prior to broaching the pages!

I’m entering this particular review a bit blind to the knowledge of Ms. Mosse, as when I read her championing spirit for bookish culture, writers, and wordsmiths I must confess my heart did a bit of skip and a jump! Especially on noting I had already planned to make an appearance on a Blog Talk Radio podcast the night prior to this review posting in which I would be drawing to light a topical bookish interest: volunteer public libraries set on trains running through New York City and London! A kindred spirit, most indeed!

Dear hearts, do you know what William Morrow included as a ‘extra special’ surprise for this particular book blogger!? OR, should I clarify, it wasn’t placed inside for ‘me’ in particular mind you, but rather those who received the ARC! A full-on brilliant interview by Ann Patchett & Kate Mosse! A most delectable treat I held off reading until ‘after I had read Citadel’!

A proper Introduction to the novel by the author:

There is an amazing breadth of history pulled out of World War II, where brave souls stood up in our conjoined living history of a time in our world where nothing made sense and everything was turnt upside down by the cruelty and evil of a world war. Mosse examines the inter-dimensional connections of the trilogy against the intricacies of research of the historical past. Her passion for the South of France and for this particular window she’s served as a portal for her audience to endear themselves to the women who stand strong allowing their courage to bolster us a bit in the present. These are stories on behalf of women who perhaps never saw themselves as heroes but to every life they positively affected they were! Mosse has such an effervescent passion for writing, and giving her readers such a full embodied story which can wash over you and give you a living experience.

Kate Mosse Over Citadel via bol.com {she speaks in English; Dutch subtitles}


An archaeological bent of historical intrigue:

From the time I was quite young, I was always caught up in the annuls of history, seeking out remnants of the past which could be brought into the present through the art of story-telling! My passion for history led me to consider bunkering into a life pursuit of archaeological digs, hidden ancestral passageways into the living past, and a life’s sole intent of preserving the artifacts I’d uncover. Ever since my eyes lit up with the pure joy of ‘digging in the dirt’ by theory not practice, I have had a keen attention placed on historical details in novels. Including ancient symbolism,  dead languages, and the turnt of phrase fashioned centuries within the past where Old English was the everyday vernacular! Part of my interests in seeing the sociological perspectives in stories and the dynamics of a character’s action verse personality is rooted in my appreciation for archaeology’s introverted sister: anthropology which focuses on the study of societies and how people lived.

To find an author who has transmorphed an intricate range of research into a dense tome of historical fiction whilst remaining true to each era she’s brimming to life inside her narrative is nothing short of literary brilliance! I oft wondered if I could find an author who could fully immerse the reader’s senses into what I felt I had shared within my spirit whilst previously considering an entirely different lifepath! In Mosse, I do believe I have at long last found the writer, the wordsmith, and the story-teller I have sought so hard to find! And, I have my Mum to thank for this lovely discovery as my gratitude is hers forevermore!

My previous readings of Illuminations and A Study in Murder allowed me to understand the monk’s (Arinius) traditions of matins, sext, and nones! There is an entire pace to living whilst your sliding into a moment in history where tradition and ritual intersect and spirituality endeavours to give a calming balm to one’s day.

My Review of Citadel:

Oh, my oh dear my, such a delightful author who includes not only a full-on brilliant map to orientate the reader into the realm of the historical past she’s about to embark on visiting, but she is given an acute alacrity of the principal cast and characters in a proper pronouncement ahead of the beginning of Chapter I! Oh, my dear hearts, this reader was over the moon entranced by these short few pages,… wretched and jolted out of my reverie of an unsuspecting opening which would bring the level of brutality witnessed by survivors and members of resistance forces during World War II came startling into view as soon as I broached the Prologue. The recollections of my joyous heart can wait, the narrative cannot! I not merely ‘sense’ the urgency, I sense it! I am breathing it in with each drip of words formulating the paragraphs. A dire race is afoot and I am on the brink of understanding the fullness of its scope! The novel births unto the page with each delicate turnt page, words extending themselves into the edge-most sections of its published space; a murmuring echo of its story eager for the eyes of the reader to grasp its heart!

Mosse has a clever eye for evoking peripheral psychological hauntings of a world set askew by war. She invites you into the mind of her characters whilst they brace and bolt to live through a day of hell. Fraught with human anxiety and fears of what happens to those who are captured, the imagery is not a brutal one in totality but rather, a stark remembrance of the reality of being on the ground, running and scavenging for safety. I was quite startled to be pulled out of Southern France during World War II to arrive at the doorstop of AD 342, and yet, that is precisely where my timeclock registered me on the first page of Part I! I murmured to myself this might be a time slip, generational in-depth and millennia in scope!

Meeting Arinius as he made his journey to free the Codex text he believed to be absolute truth ahead of dipping into Sandrine’s world in 1942; the year she was eighteen, two years past her mother’s death was quite the unique place to enter both of their lives. Each were on the footfalls of reaching a new pathway in their lives which would transform their futures. Sandrine was not unlike her age of peers, where she was standing on the tipping stone of adulthood, eager to greet the morrow and make her way in life. She was thirsty for experience and for the sweetness of freedom outside the stagnant pattern of her days. Sandrine comes from an ethereal section of France, where murmurings of spirits and of divine knowledge echo out across the land and encroach on the open hearts and minds of those willing to listen.

I appreciated the symbolism of Sandrine’s thoughts being interwoven and threaded as a knitter’s skein of fiber! The observation is at the closing end of Chapter 7, but it simply warmed this knitty girl’s heart to see one of the clever turnt phrases to be a reflection of an interest held most dear! I can oft relate to how she felt; muddle yet unclear of the placement of the events and memories. Uncertain if memory is the fault or if memory is the key to understanding what happened. We can become caught up in ourselves to where we second guess our instincts and the intuition that is a constant guide.

Sandrine was still an innocent as her hometown of Carcassonne was evolving into a deadly sufferage of wills between those who first would commit harm to gain secrets within the arms of the war and those who would rally to bolster the shield around the innocents who died. Her older sister Marianne sheltered her younger sister too well, in not giving her the ability to see past the illusion of memory. Her spirit stirred and soared standing in the warming sea of voices raised high for the liberation of France. She was starting to put the pieces of the picture together, forming her own opinion where her life was leading her and how where she was living was all but directing its course. She was thrust into the throes of war without the foreknowledge to understand its intricacies. Yet. I mused if perhaps this was almost a better approach? To not be as self-aware at first in order to have the courage in the long-term to act without a thought for yourself but to act to protect and free people you might never know?

History has a unique way of imparting important acknowledgements out of the past, by finding the ways in which the words can travel through vessels of time. Words handed and passed down through generations, from family to stranger seeking a confidence of protection is one of the most reliable methods of keeping knowledge secret from eyes who would take the same words and twist them into harmful deeds. It’s how we as a society react and root out resilience in the face of our foremost dire fears and shake away the rootings of evil. Resistance from oppression and the strife of a regime bent against the welfare of the people is true courage lit aflame.

Sandrine, Marianne, their close friends, and French Resistant fighter Raoul are being shadowed by a thrilling chase against time. By the time my mind realised the full perimeter of the story, I was all but rushing to find my voice to shout-out a decree of bravery I was slowly losing sight of as I watched how their individual plights grew more dim. The hardest time in life to latch onto Hope is when every effort you make to walk out of the adversity you have lived through starts to unfold and uncoil around you. You fight as hard as you dare, you believe as willingly as you dream, but in the end, without the additional help of others acting on your behalf; you can find yourself truly alone betwixt a choice for flight, freedom, or the valor of saving lives.

Sandrine is an intuitive woman who was set apart from others; she could see past the veils of our reality and into the next life just beyond our focus. She was tuned into mystical truths which gave her a bolster of strength in the nanoseconds where her own inner resolve faltered. Her life was writ to be in service of others, and in of giving all of her mind, body, and soul to fighting for the sanctity of life, liberty, and freedom. Citadel is epic in scale, emotionally convicting, and powerfully written to leave you quite still at its conclusion retrospectively museful, and enlightened. Your heart shatters and aches in an indescribable way when you read the four sentences on page 673. With eyes too blurry and a heart too gutted to carry-on into the Epilogue.

Fly in the Ointment:

In this instance, it is more of a forewarning for a sensitive heart reading the book, as although I was quite thrilled to see Mosse tempering the harsh realities of war and giving us a proper sense of the danger, the blight, and the misery without fuller details which would make even a strong man gag; there are passages where naturally the narrative has to take a sharper intact of detail. Where the horrors of the war during World War II under the Nazi regime are represented for what they were and how they were elicited out through the ranks. Before I reached Chapter 14, I languished in the beauty of the words which felt like soft pebbles rather than hardened spikes of a war drama. I am not sure why, but Chapter 14 re-presented the reality for me, where Antoine is being tortured into submission. Except to say, Mosse holds back, she gives you the ease to breathe and to realise although your being led into one of the darkest corners of the past, inside history’s dark hours, you are going with a guide who respects what you can handle and the elements of which you cannot. And, how she maintains this balance between the evil darkness and the light is a credit to her as a story-teller.

The most sickening part though lies in the truth inside the torture for information: that there are certain people who feel that inflicting unimaginable pain is justified in the end if it yields a response they are searching to hear. Mosse gives you a lot to muddle over and ruminate about as this is a novel whose layers are half-hidden and seen throughout the action of where the story evolves into being. There is a greater message than a recollection of war-time horror, survival, and courage. We are never quite as alone as we fear we have been cast out from our protective spheres of love’s embrace. Always guided over and protected by the Ones we cannot see but sometimes can hear as our heart listens for the cues our eyes have forgotten to see.



Virtual Road Map for “Citadel” Blog Tour:

Citadel by Kate Mosse

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

France Book Tours

on my

Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva


A parting glimpse behind the esoteric elements of the Languedoc Trilogy: 

Kate Mosse discusses Citadel, myths and fantasy via Orion Publishing


I must confess, I am always quite curious about how each of us selects which book we want to engage in. With Mosse, I feel as though I was always meant to be a reader of hers, but the timing hadn’t quite aligned for me to broach her writings until ‘this moment’ whilst I am participating on a blog book tour with France Book Tours! Do you ever find there is a particular time for you to soak into a narrative or an author? What do you think prompts the discovery to be a bit delayed from our initial moment of curiosity!? Also, have you read each of the Languedoc trilogy books as they released, or did you discover them out-of-order!? I’d be keen to hear your recollections and ruminations on behalf of either Citadel, Kate Mosse, or the trilogy! I do know, it will not be long from now before I am reading the first ‘two’ installments to have the richness of the tapestry expanded inside my mind!

{SOURCES: Cover art of “Citadel”, book synopsis, author photograph of Ms. Mosse, author biography, and the tour host badge were all provided by France Book Tours and used with permission. The book trailer by Orion Publishing 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. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 20 March, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Bookish Films, Clever Turns of Phrase, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Fantasy Fiction, Feminine Heroism, Fly in the Ointment, France, France Book Tours, French Literature, French Resistance, Geographically Specific, Haunting & Ethereal, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Interviews Related to Content of Novel, The World Wars, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage

+2014 Chunkster Reading Challenge+ Or, how Jorie <3s novels of hearty depth!

Posted Monday, 17 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

2014 Chunkster Challenge hosted by Vasilly

I, must admit, I am always quite curious about the books I gravitate towards reading time after time. Do I pick a specific genre to explore!? Is there a particular heart of depth to the stories I am selecting?! Is there any specifics that would stand out!? Setting?! Time preference!? Locale!? Or, could it be that I, Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story have a natural curiosity and eye bent towards falling in love with novels of hearty depth! What the rest of the world considers a ‘chunkser’ I consider “Now! That’s what I call a wicked sweet tome of a novel!”

Although I have seen posts attributed to this particular reading challenge over the past few years, I was always curious about the length requirements of the reader’s choices!? Apparently, any novel over the mark of 450 pages is considered a ‘chunkster’ by the broader readership! I consider anything under 750 pages to be a full-fledged novel of wickedly delightful sagas! Then, again, I happen to have a penchant for reading multi-generational sagas, of which cannot be fully contained in one singular volume! I oft find the sagas are separated into multiples; either in a running serial of the same family &/or spilt into trilogy installments. The odd quartet is thrown in for good measure as well!

I am a reader who envelops her mind, her heart, and her soul around the characters she meets inside the stories her mind illuminates for her as she reads. The main characters as well as the supporting characters all have equal footing in her heart because each of the characters mentioned may hold a piece of the evolving story. Or at the very least, provide a backdrop flow of continuity for the time, setting, and place of the novel! I love seeing the smaller details, the finer points of everyday hours which elapse at different intervals whilst your engrossed into a hearty historical inasmuch as you might be jettisoning into a time slip or time travel narrative! I like seeing the finite details because they in of themselves give a winking nod towards our own histories. How life was for those who came before us in the not-so-far-off past can be ruminated in a historical story.

This wicked sweet challenge is hosted by Vasilly of Chunkster Challenge!

{Proposed Goal of Reading *25* Chunksters}

Given the rate of probability of increasing my page counts as the months progress forward, I have decided to aim even higher than I originally felt I could achieve over the next 10 months, as I am beginning to count this challenge in the second month rather than the first! And, at the latter half of February, I might add! I originally felt only five novels of considerable length might be possible! Who knew!? I suppose this would fall under the ‘hidden talent’ category for performance artists!?

{Reading List} | Combination of Blog Tour Reviews & Personal Selections

IF a book is in italics I have bumped it into 2015 rather than reading it in 2014.

  1. Crown of Vengeance {Book 1: Fires of Eden series} by Stephen Zimmer (612 pages)
  2. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1,215 pages)
  3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (643 pages)
  4. Somerset by Leila Meacham {Prequel to Roses} (610 pages)
  5. Roses by Leila Meacham (609 pages)
  6. Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham (470 pages)
  7. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hill Chatlien (484 pages)
  8. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse (528 pages)* officially on hold for another year
  9. Sepulchre by Kate Mosse (592 pages)* officially on hold for another year
  10. Citadel by Kate Mosse (680 pages)
  11. The Reincarnationist (Book 1: Reincarnationist series) by M.J. Rose* (464 pages)
  12. The Memorist (Book 2: Reincarnationist series) by M.J. Rose* (464 pages)
  13. A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander* (480 pages)
  14. [7,851 pages thus far!]
  15. Intangible by C.A. Gray (482 pages)
  16. Awesome Jones by AshleyRose Sullivan (456 pages)

{In consideration} | A considerable number are on my tCC List!

[projected pages to read: 8,498!]

  1. Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (582 pages)
  2. Jaran {Book 1: Sword of Heaven series} by Kate Elliott (494 pages)
  3. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (834 pages)
  4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (552 pages)
  5. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (479 pages)
  6. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (552 pages)
  7. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton (473 pages)
  8. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton (562 pages)
  9. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (656 pages)
  10. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (704 pages)
  11. The Crimson Petal & the White by Michael Faber (on TBR Challenge List) (833)
  12. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1,024 pages)
  13. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (753)

{Previously Read}

[Pages thus far consumed: 1,548 & counting!]

  1. The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (486 pages)
  2. King’s Dragon {Book 1: Crown of Stars saga} by Kate Elliott (532)
  3. The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher (530)
  4. and continuing,.. as I sort out which books were of considerable length!

{*} reading in conjunction with scheduled book review of next in sequence

Already at the start of keeping track of the length of each novel I read, I am amazed at how the list begins with *13!* Curiously, I am fascinated to seeing which ‘length’ of book attracts me the most!? If spilt into 100 page increments, will it be the 400 mark? 500? I’ll have to continue this part of the discussion come New Year’s Eve, 2015!

*UPDATE (18FEB’14): As I read Christine’s note about how many actual pages I’d consume, I was curious, how many would that be!? I added the figures!

{SOURCE: Jorie Loves A Story Badge created by Ravven with edits by Jorie in PicMonkey.

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Monday, 17 February, 2014 by jorielov in Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Discussions, Chunkster Reading Challenge, Classical Literature, Debut Novel, Fantasy Fiction, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Library Find, Literary Fiction, Reading Challenges, Romance Fiction, Science Fiction