[Official Blurb] Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature / weekly meme created by The Broke & the Bookish. The meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke & the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your Top 10 Lists! In January, 2018 this meme is now hosted byThat Artsy Reader Girl.
Why I wanted to give one last Top Ten Tuesday for 2019:
I’ve been wanting to participate in the *Mid-Year Freak Out* tag for quite a number of years now – being a Six Year Book Blogger one would have thought I could have joined this tag *years ago!* – however, for whichever reason, the timing wasn’t right for me until *2019!* Except to say, my Summer was wrecked by more than *one!* plumbing fiasco which led to some seriously EPIC floods in the flat which nearly broke my spirits and my readerly blissitudes! In essence, I never did release the Mid-Year Freak Out tag when I originally wrote it in July!
I earnestly attempted to keep this list limited to a Top Ten List – however, as you will soon realise, I er, loved a bit more than 10x #newtomeauthors in 2019!
This is over and beyond the joy of being able to read more new stories by already beloved favourites – especially within the Contemporary Romance & Suspense categories – I’m looking at you Harlequin Heartwarming and Clare Chase! Whilst I loved revisiting a beloved series of mine (Anna Blanc) and other such lovelies throughout the year which will be happily cheered over once I sort out my final of the best favourites which will be presented in-line with my 2019 *End of the Year Survey* which has been horridly overdue for the past few years,…
I divided my list into my Top Read Genres for 2019 which are as follows:
Historical Fiction → featuring six authors
Speculative Fiction → featuring eight authors
Contemporary Romance → featuring seven authors
& an Eclectic Sampling of the other Genres/Themes I regularly read
→ featuring ten different selections of stories!
For a grand total of being Jorie’s Top 32 #NewToMeAuthors of 2019!
DUE NOTE: all the books featured on this Top Ten Tuesday were books sent to me for review consideration and/or were part of my participation on blog tours wherein the book itself was featured and reviewed. With the exception of the following: Christmas Once Again by Jina Bacarr; Rosemary & Rue by Seanan McGuire; Mount Vernon Love Story by Mary Higgins Clark; A Changed Agent by Tracey J. Lyons; Deadly Exchange & Taken by Lisa Harris andThe Amish Witness by Diane Burke – all of which were borrowed through my local library. Christmas Once Again was also a purchase request of mine which was accepted and added into the card catalogue.
A note of connection: Of all the authors listed on this List – Jennifer Silverwood and I have become friends betwixt and between the blog tours I’ve hosted on behalf of her stories. We simply hit it off due to a mutual passion for SpecLit stories and the fantastical realms we both love to immerse our bookish hearts inside.
I’ve launched a new weekly featured concentration of book reviews on Jorie Loves A Story which celebrates my love and passion for the historical past! For those of whom are regular readers and visitors to my blog, you’ll denote a dedicated passion for reading Historical Fiction (and all the lovely segues of thematic therein) – I am a time traveller of the historical past every chance I get to disappear into a new era and/or century of exploration. There isn’t a time period I haven’t enjoyed ruminating over since  and there are a heap of lovely timescapes I’ve yet to encounter.
This feature was inspired by the stories I’ve read, the stories I’ve yet to experience and the beauty of feeling interconnected to History through the representation of the past through the narratives being writ by today’s Historical Fiction authors. It is to those authors I owe a debt of gratitude for enlightening my bookish mind and my readerly heart with realistic characters, illuminating portals of living history and a purposeful intent on giving each of us a strong representation of ‘life’ which should never become dismissed, forgotten or erased.
I am began this feature with the sequel to a beloved historical novel I first read in  – it was one of the first ARCs I received and it was the first year I was a book blogger though it was through a connection outside my life as a blogger. I celebrated K.B. Laugheed’s literature to kick-off this feature and hopefully will inspire my followers to take this new weekly journey with me into the stories which are beckoning to read their narrative depths and find the words in which to express the thoughts I experienced as I read.
Borrowed Book By: I am a reviewer for Simon & Schuster – however, this book review is not affiliated with the reviews I am considering on behalf of the publisher. This is a novel a family friend lent my Mum and after she finished reading it, knowing how much I share her passion for the Revolutionary War era and early Colonial Americana History – she felt this might be a good fit for me to read after she did as a way to discuss the story together. This is something new we’ve been doing for the past few years now – ever since Mum first started getting back into reading with the Love Inspired Suspense novels. As we both share a healthy interest in Historical Fiction, this felt like a fitting ‘step outside’ the stories of Suspense we could both pursue together.
As the copy of “Mount Vernon Love Story” I borrowed via a family friend was read for my own edification and for future discussion with my Mum, I was not obligated to post a review; even though I elected to do so as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein.
NOTE: The Press Materials featured on this review were provided by the publisher and are used with permission after I made an enquiry with publicists I work with on blog tours. The Press Materials were found via this page and the attribution for the author’s photo has been maintained.
On why I thought I’d enjoy reading about Martha & George Washington:
It is hard to recollect when my fascination with the Washington’s began – though if you were to hear me say their names aloud, it would sound closer to Wershington per a telling sign of my parentage and grandparents roots being hinged in the North. I do know my fourth grade year was a keen one for Presidential History exploration – which I’ll recant a bit lateron on this post – however, I also remember being given two figurines – one of George, one of Martha. I am unsure why I don’t have a similar set for John and Abigail Adams, but I believe it might be because I was more keenly invested in Washington as a young girl rather than having the admiration I now have for the Adam’s which came lateron in my twenties and thirties.
He was quite the man of mystery for most of my life – though like most inquisitive souls, I did chase down some facts about him and some stories as well. I have aspired to visit Mount Vernon as I am quite interested in visiting the places which were of importance to the Presidents; I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a few of their hometowns and other places of interest in the past though I do long to visit a few more estates as much as I’d love to begin visiting their Presidential Libraries.
In regards to Washington directly, before I started seeking out Historical Fiction narratives featuring either him directly and/or the Revolutionary War or early Colonial Americana stories – there was the film The Crossing (1999) which left quite the strong impression on me. From there, I started moving into fictional accounts of History whilst in my mid-thirties whilst binging on Classical Films via Turner Classic Movies (a channel I can never tire of watching) – I watched 1776 (1969) which is a musical film about the founding of our country but more strictly about the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
You could say my jaunts into this era of history are quite eclectically tethered to different parts of my life and you’d be correct in that observation. The beauty of course is not being in any particular haste to ferret out new stories but to take a bit of time to seek out the stories which keep me invested in the subject of interest as I navigate new stories and new authors who are re-telling History in such of way as to re-paint it alive for those us far, far removed from the 18th Century to consider it ‘living history’.
Towards that end – I don’t oft get the pleasure of reading stories anchoured to both spouses – mostly I find stories through the portal of one of the husbands (ie. former Presidents) rather than in full scope of whom they were in their personal and/or their professional capacities. I felt this particular novel would be intriguing as it puts us behind closed doors and gets to see Washington as “George” the man who was in love with Patsy (‘Martha’) who just happened to be our first President of the United States.
In Mount Vernon Love Story -- famed suspense writer Mary Higgins Clark's long-out-of-print first novel -- the bestselling author reveals the flesh-and-blood man who became the "father of our country" in a story that is charming, insightful, and immensely entertaining.
Always a lover of history, Mary Higgins Clark wrote this extensively researched biographical novel and titled it Aspire to the Heavens, after the motto of George Washington's mother. Published in 1969, the book was more recently discovered by a Washington family descendant and reissued as Mount Vernon Love Story. Dispelling the widespread belief that although George Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis, he reserved his true love for Sally Carey Fairfax, his best friend's wife, Mary Higgins Clark describes the Washington marriage as one full of tenderness and passion, as a bond between two people who shared their lives -- even the bitter hardship of a winter in Valley Forge -- in every way. In this author's skilled hands, the history, the love, and the man come fully and dramatically alive.
This particular novel was the author’s first published story.
Interestingly enough it is also my *first!* story of Ms Clark’s I’ve read!
A bit of trivia: this novel was originally entitled: “Aspire to the Heavens” (1969).
The version of the book I have is the hardcover edition published in *2002!* – however, I’ve included the details if you want to seek out this 2003 edition by Simon & Schuster. It should also be noted I read the *Large Print!* edition of the hardcover release – wherein it was quite easy on the eyes to read and a blessing for a girl recovering from five migraines in May, 2019.
I am delighted to say this hardcover edition features lovely interior illustrations!
as well as #HistRom or #HistoricalRomance; #HistNov + #ColonialAmerica
About Mary Higgins Clark
The #1 New York Times bestselling author Mary Higgins Clark has written thirty-seven suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a historical novel, a memoir, and two children’s books.
With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has coauthored five more suspense novels, and also wrote The Cinderella Murder, All Dressed in White, The Sleeping Beauty Killer, and Every Breath You Take with bestselling author Alafair Burke.
More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Her books are international bestsellers.