Tag: Mary Sharratt

Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.

Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov , , 1 Comment

 

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 copy of “Ecstasy” direct from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Why I wanted to read this novel about Alma Mahler:

This particular author has a special connection to Jorie Loves A Story – especially in regards to milestones and memories! Whilst I was a 1st Year Book Blogger, I had the pleasure of joy reading Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen} as my debut review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in November, 2013! The novel introduced me to an enriched version of reading biographies – an introduction that would carry me forward into the wonderful world of what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’; a mainstay of my reading queues! As routed through this category of interest!

From that foundation, I started to seek out traditional biographies and memoirs, under the new vein of interest called ‘Creative Non-Fiction’ where the stories are threaded through an emotional contextual core of narrative. For you see, if I hadn’t first read Illuminations all the lovelies I’ve been discovering since might not have alighted in my hands to read. Mary Sharratt truly opened my mind and eyes to how a story could be told whilst peering back into the historical past through a living history of a person who once lived. Her style of the craft is quite acutely realistic for the time periods she’s exploring; she has a conviction of setting with a lifeblood of drawing characters out of the wells of history to give us a resounding portrait of ‘who once lived’ can live once again in our own imaginations.

Whilst during my 3rd Year as a Book Blogger, I had the joy of discovering her prose within The Dark Lady’s Mask (see also Review) and now, as a newly minted 5th Year Book Blogger – I am embarking into my third reading of her collective works with Ecstasy! There is something quite special about the way in which Ms Sharratt approaches her subjects and characters – as I had this to say whilst encountering my last stay inside one of her stories:

I knew I would find the narrative an eloquent historical tome of insight on behalf of what I know of Sharratt’s writings; she fuses so much in such a short expanse of the story, you fully live within their pages. Her narrative has a way of not just transporting you back into the 16th Century but allowing you a bit of grace to flex your mind around what living in the 16th Century would be like from a sensory perception of insight. She taunts what you presume to be true with what is known about the century, giving you much more of a grounded respite than a flowery historical. This felt authentic to the era but also, to how the world would have been viewed during the different stages of Aemilia’s life.

I was caught up in the current of how fluid Ms Sharratt composed this novel and how she worked the story-line through the mind of a poetess. She truly championed the will of a poet and of a creative seeking to find their own way to express their creativity whilst proving that finding one’s way in life isn’t as easily to understand. Ms Sharratt will remain a favourite of mine to read, if only to see how her own mind fashions itself around thought, theory, inspiration and the fragility of where history and time become entwined as one. I will definitely savour the time I spend within The Dark Lady’s Mask the second time I read it, as it is not one you wish to put down in haste!

Only within the chapters of Illuminations did I find myself most akin to reading a different lifestyle than one I could personally relate too. As the elements of The Dark Lady’s Mask had such wonderful overtures of recognition from my favourite Bard, I felt there were portions of the narrative I had a pre-cursory understanding of – as I stepped inside Ecstasy, it was an easier transition by half, as any creative economist who picks up this novel will self-identity with Alma’s strong desire and need to fulfill not only her creative muses but to strike out on her own to develop her creative identity.

As such, this is one text where I found myself attempting to find the right words to articulate my reactions as I found the context of the story to be illuminatingly stimulating in it’s own right to parlay a multitude of thoughts about it’s inner theme, the heart of it’s message and the purpose we all seek as self-directed artists seeking our true selves and the rightful path we must walk in order to embrace the artistry within us which has not yet been revealled. These are the kinds of ruminative thoughts I am appreciative of being challenged to convey – as the writers who write these kinds of stories are digging into something dimensionally deeper than what might first be seen on the surface of their characters’ lives.

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Blog Book Tour | ” Ecstasy” by Mary Sharratt A Biological Historical Fiction account of the life of Alma Mahler and how her intense love affair with Gustav Mahler changed her life.Esctasy
by Mary Sharratt
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780544800892

Also by this author: Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen}, The Dark Lady's Mask

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 10th April, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 387

Published ByHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHCo)

Converse via: #EcstasyBlogTour, #AlmaMahler + #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover & Ebook

About Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes: strong women who break all the rules.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Friday, 18 May, 2018 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Alma Mahler, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Classical Music | Composers, Composer, Creative Arts, Gustav Klimt, Gustav Mahler, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Inspired by Stories, Musical Fiction | Non-Fiction

#TopTenTuesday No.6 | Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward to In 2018

Posted Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday blog banner created by Jorie in Canva.

[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 by That Artsy Reader Girl.

[Topic #370 originally shared on 26th December, 2017] *elected to rewind, rather than stay OT

I shared this post for today’s topic linky – as I wasn’t sure if the original blogger who hosted this was going to archive their blog now that they have stepped down from blogging. (see List)

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Today’s entry was inspiring to me for the following reasons:

I’ve wanted to sort out which stories I want to read per each new year for *decades!* However, despite all the bookish feeds I read, consume and try to digest per annum, I am the girl who is constantly and consistently *surprise!* by which stories are published per year! Try as I might, I either get wholly consumed by #currentreads to notice #newreleases and/or I’m distracted by life itself – as all of us live full lives outside our reading queues!

This year, however, I was a bit ahead of the curve! I knew about several releases I was wicked itching to read! What fun, eh!? I also found a few new ones before January – somehow, the one thread of literature I source every year the easiest are the stories within the realms of *Historical Fiction* as let’s be honest – Jorie loves travelling through the historic past! (smiles) If there were a story out there set during a timeline of History I haven’t yet visited, there is a strong variable of interest for me to dig inside it and take the journey!

The two veins of interest I am most under-read are Science Fiction & Fantasy as well as INSPY Fiction (see my 70 Authors Challenge, which resumes this 2018!). Slowly but surely I shall re-inspire myself to bring these stories back into my life with the same gusto I have for #HistFic! It’s just when it comes to the past, of stories which are set elsewhere in time – I’m as giddy a girl watching a hot air balloon ascend into the heavens to see what the world looks like from above! #HistoricalFiction allows us to re-align our world-view, of re-examining History and of setting ourselves into the footsteps of characters who re-theorise the lives of those who lived prior to us. This is why it’s addictive to consume and why my heart flutters it’s joy every year I find myself happily alighted ‘somewhere’ in the timelines of History!

In regards to #MGLit (Middle Grade) and #YALit (Young Adult) – truthfully, I get so distracted throughout the year, I forget to *read them!* as they come into the library! I quite literally always put these novels on ‘hold’ to be in queue or I am one of the ones happily queuing them into a purchase request status – either way you slice it, when it comes to Children’s Lit, I’m falling dearly behind on my mission to #readDEEPER into these realms!

Ergo, this List is mostly aligned for releases within the first months of the year – with some extensions into Summer; though, I haven’t taken a critical eye to notice ALL the stories which will publish this year,… generally speaking, this is one reason I made my presence on Twitter my sole haunt online outside of my blog. I love being caught up in the netherspheres of conversations wherein the bookish and readerly spirits alight – everyone is happily chattering about ‘this or that and why this has to be seen to be believed or why this one touched their bookish soul in such a wicked sweet way, etc, etc’. To be in the timeline of #readers and #bookbloggers whilst interacting with #writers who are #amwriting our #nextreads whilst celebrating their #currentlypublished tomes of joy – this is where I like to spend my hours whilst I’m not #amreading my own #currentreads or #amblogging my readerly life here on Jorie Loves A Story!

In other words,… you’ll see me gush like the chattastically joyful tweeter I am throughout the year when I spy a #mustread I simply MUST find a copy of in which to disappear! Generally this means I will be sourcing through my local #Library though on occasion, I do purchase hardbacks and paperbacks which are a few years out of Pub (on discount) or I find backlist lovelies at local bookshelves (think: Little Free Libraries movement) or I am gifted a book from my Mum and Dad which grants me invaluable joy for their knowledge of how bookishly inclined I am!

I do wonder – how do you approach a NEW YEAR of STORIES?

I love to JUMP and DIVE into a New Year — with some stories in my mind to seek out, leaving the vast majority to be the unexpectedly blissful journey which unfolds before me,..

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Posted Tuesday, 16 January, 2018 by jorielov in Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Memes, JLAS Update Post, Jorie Loves A Story, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Top Ten Tuesday

Blog Book Tour | “The Dark Lady’s Mask” by Mary Sharratt

Posted Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 by jorielov , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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 copy of “The Dark Lady’s Mask” direct from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Why I wanted to read this novel about William Shakespeare:

Ahead of sharing my love of Shakespeare, I am celebrating the return of being able to read a novel of Mary Sharratt for review on Jorie Loves A Story! Whilst I was a 1st Year Book Blogger (observed my 3rd blog birthday earlier this month on the 6th of August), I had the pleasure of joy reading Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen} as my debut review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in November, 2013! The novel introduced me to an enriched version of reading biographies – an introduction that would carry me forward into the wonderful world of what I refer to as ‘Biographical Historical Fiction’; a mainstay of my reading queues! As routed through this category of interest!

From that foundation, I started to seek out traditional biographies and memoirs, under the new vein of interest called ‘Creative Non-Fiction’ where the stories are threaded through an emotional contextual core of narrative. For you see, if I hadn’t first read Illuminations all the lovelies I’ve been discovering since might not have alighted in my hands to read. Mary Sharratt truly opened my mind and eyes to how a story could be told whilst peering back into the historical past through a living history of a person who once lived. Her style of the craft is quite acutely realistic for the time periods she’s exploring; she has a conviction of setting with a lifeblood of drawing characters out of the wells of history to give us a resounding portrait of ‘who once lived’ can live once again in our own imaginations.

You see, I fell in love with reading Shakespeare when I was fourteen; prior to that year, (as a freshman in high school) I knew of the Bard far more than I had read his works. I was smitten by the idea of what a Shakespearean play would contain but I had not started reading his works until it became required reading. Ironic, no? Of those readings (Romeo & Juliet & Julius Caesar), it was my readings of Caesar that staid with me the most! I liked the tenacity of the piece and the guttingly humanistic emotional tides ebbing in and out of the realisation of how the conspirators befell a leader. There was such a lot of dramatic eclipse in that back-story, I daresay, right then and there, I should have realised how much I would come to appreciate reading Historical Fiction! If only hindsight were available,..

I was gifted a portable collection of Shakespeare’s works for my four and twenty birthday, a fact that isn’t lost on me now that I’m in the latter years of my twentytens; of which selections of plausible readings are listed on my own Classics Club List where they lie in wait for me to soak inside their stories. It isn’t that I have balked at reading more Shakespeare, it’s the mere fact I simply haven’t felt in ‘the mood’ to re-enter his works. There are moments where I distinctively feel literature is based on our moods; this clearly is one of them! Another example would be my distance from the ghost stories of Heather Graham; for me, those require a certain atmosphere to enjoy (i.e. thunderstorms).

As so much has become disputed and/or proved in regards to Shakespeare’s legacy and identity, I felt it was proper time to delve into a portion of the history surrounding him I haven’t yet learnt of first-hand. This is where reading Biographical HistFic is especially fun for me! I get to tuck inside the research and the visionary plausibilities of where known fact and supposition reside to paint an image of ‘what could have been’ and very much could honestly be the living testament of a person who lived so very long ago!

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Blog Book Tour | “The Dark Lady’s Mask” by Mary SharrattThe Dark Lady's Mask
by Mary Sharratt
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Shakespeare in Love meets Shakespeare’s Sister in this novel of England’s first professional woman poet and her collaboration and love affair with William Shakespeare.

London, 1593. Aemilia Bassano Lanier is beautiful and accomplished, but her societal conformity ends there. She frequently cross-dresses to escape her loveless marriage and to gain freedoms only men enjoy, but a chance encounter with a ragged, little-known poet named Shakespeare changes everything.

Aemilia grabs at the chance to pursue her long-held dream of writing and the two outsiders strike up a literary bargain. They leave plague-ridden London for Italy, where they begin secretly writing comedies together and where Will falls in love with the beautiful country — and with Aemilia, his Dark Lady. Their Italian idyll, though, cannot last and their collaborative affair comes to a devastating end. Will gains fame and fortune for their plays back in London and years later publishes the sonnets mocking his former muse. Not one to stand by in humiliation, Aemilia takes up her own pen in her defense and in defense of all women.

The Dark Lady’s Mask gives voice to a real Renaissance woman in every sense of the word.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780544300767

Also by this author: Illuminations: {A novel of Hildegard von Bingen}, Esctasy

Genres: Biographical Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

on 19th April, 2016

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 416

Published ByHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (@HMHCo)

Converse via: #TheDarkLadysMask, #Shakespeare + #HistFic
Available Formats: Hardcover, Trade Paperback & Ebook

Read about Aemilia Bassano Lanier via Poetry Foundation

Read Ms Sharratt’s blog post about The Dark Lady’s Mask via Feminism & Religion

About Mary Sharratt

Mary Sharratt

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes: strong women who break all the rules.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2016 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
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Posted Wednesday, 24 August, 2016 by jorielov in 16th Century, Aemilia Bassano Lanier, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, Classical Literature, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Historical Romance, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, William Shakespeare

tCC (the Classics Club) | The #Classics Spin #8 eek! too wicked awesome for words! my first tCC Spin!

Posted Friday, 7 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 11 Comments

The Classics Club badge by Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story

Official Blurb & Rules: 

It’s time for another Classics Spin for any who are interested. What is the spin?

It’s easy. At your blog, by next Monday, November 10, list your choice of any twenty books you’ve left to read from your Classics Club list — in a separate post.

This is your Spin List. You have to read one of these twenty books in November & December. (Details follow.) So, try to challenge yourself. For example, you could list five Classics Club books you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)

Next Monday, we’ll post a number from 1 through 20. The challenge is to read whatever book falls under that number on your Spin List, by January 5, 2015. We’ll have a check in here in January, to see who made it the whole way and finished the spin book.

Try to challenge yourself: list five you are dreading/hesitant to read, five you can’t WAIT to read, five you are neutral about, and five free choice (favorite author, rereads, ancients — whatever you choose.)

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5 Choices to Celebrate my participation in Sci Fi November: (SPIN 1-5)

  1. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  2. A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
  3. The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson
  4. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
  5. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

5 Choices of Novels I am trepideriously curious about reading: (SPIN 6-10)

  1. The Murders of the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
  2. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  3. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
  4. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

10 Novels I am wicked happy about Reading Next: (SPIN 11-20)

  1. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
  2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  3. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (Lucky 13!)
  4. Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt
  5. The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley
  6. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  7. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
  8. Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
  9. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
  10. The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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I honestly haven’t had the proper chance to participate too much in The Classics Club for the first year I am a tenure in the club! I felt for sure I’d be visiting a heap of lovely clubbers throughout the book blogosphere, whilst participating in all the wicked fun activities that the club puts together for us to enjoy! However, 2014 proved to be a bit more unique as time went forward and thus, I have found myself on the fringes of being in the tCC rather than being directly apart of the community itself! So much so, that I honestly only remember joining in for ONE (oy vie!) club check-in and recently and I only recently published my thoughts on a collection of ghost stories by Edith Wharton (one review in twelvemonths? ohh, dear!)!

I even lost the hours to join in the wicked joy of being a part of Austen in August — whilst reminding myself that Austen can be appreciated any month of the year, and this year, I am picking *December!* as my Austen in Reading month! I am going to be blogging my visits within the joy of my first readings of the following:

Mansfield Park | Northanger Abbey | Persuasion

And, if I hadn’t been tweeting about the ghost stories by Wharton, I never would have had the beautifully lovely convo with the Wharton enthused ladies I met who have inspired me to combine my readings of Austen with Wharton between December & January respectively! (shared the convo on my interview with Marcia DeSanctis) I am going to put together a bit of an official RAL for the authors, and encourage anyone who wants to join me to do so! Especially the ladies who were involved with the tweeting!

I read the tCC updates by email subscription, as when I first read about the Spin this time round, I misunderstood the deadline completely and therefore, when Lost Generation Reader sent out this tweet: 

I had the happy-go-lucky moment of realising I could FINALLY play the SPIN! It was a wicked sweet moment, truly! And, now without further adieu I wanted to explain my choices!

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells | One of my focus tracks during SFN is a continuation of exploring “Time Travel”, and as I had declared last year, I have never had the honour of reading the one book I always felt set the stage for the stories published after it’s release; The Time Machine is simply a classic on a lot of different levels! To read my thoughts on Time Travel as a Focus Track, please visit the post I wrote for SFN 2013 which will become expanded for SFN 2014 this weekend!

A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge | One of my favourite branches of science fiction in tv series & motion picture is Space Opera, except when I stop to consider how much I’ve honestly read within this sub-genre I come up short each time I try to set a list to mind. This is one of my choices to branch into a beloved section of the genre and to seek out stories that take place in the cosmos and beyond our share of the universe.

The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson | One of my favourite characters in the world of Star Trek is “Seven of Nine” who embraced the technology of nanos as much as giving credit to how a character you once would have feared has a way of transitioning into a character you are quite attached to rallying behind. This novel explores nanotechnology & artificial intelligence in a way that I felt befit exploring and taking a step outside the world of Trek.

Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson | Ever since I was quite young scientists have been attempting to sort out ‘the next planet’ where man can continue to thrive within the range of planets outside our obit. Mars was always on the top level of choices and somewhere within the race to settle ourselves on Mars and the pursuit of seeing how far we have gone to create a plausible way to move there; I became quite enthralled in the science articles and non-fiction works which defended the choice. Robinson’s series was found whilst I was caught up in the race for Mars.

Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke | Quite literally one of my regrets as a letter-writer was not reaching out by pen and paper to Mr Clarke who passed before I found the courage to draft a letter to him. The Rama series has been on my list of ‘next reads’ long before I discovered the online bookish culture and world of book bloggers; it felt fitting to include this on my first SPIN!

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The Murders of the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe | Although I established a newfound respect and admiration for Poe whilst reading Mrs. Poe on a blog tour earlier this year, I am still curiously cautious about reading his collective works! If any book would put me betwixt and between knowing whether or not I wanted to read it, this surely qualifies!

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh | Quite happily I found the newest adaption for this classic novel on dvd earlier in the year, and soon after I had joined tCC officially! It was one of two dvd collections based on classic novels I had hoped would not only encourage me to expand my tCC List but encourage me forward towards reading the classics on a more regularly basis! Clearly I sidestepped a bit from that goal, but there was always a twitch of anxiety to begin this one for me.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë | My only attachment to the Brontë’ sisters is my readings of Jane Eyre which began during the Septemb-Eyre RAL in 2013; a RAL I had meant to continue forward with in step with the reading pace of my classically passionate friend Maggie (previously of ‘An American in France’ thus redefined as ‘Macarons & Paperbacks’) — yet haven’t yet found the hours to pick up from whence I left off! This includes an attempt to read Eyre during Horror October! Oy vie. I have had my eyes on her sisters for awhile and felt it was a fitting time to include one of them on this list; yet a bit daunting too, as I know their styles are entirely different from one another!

Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell | I am personally a champion & enthused reader of Gaskell without ever once reading one of her novels! I had an instant connection to Gaskell first and foremost as a fellow writer (the appreciation I am referencing here also applies to Austen) and then shifted into the merriment of a reader who was discovering the breadth of her work whilst researching the life she lived. This was actually a purchase request I turnt in at my local library whereupon they acquired a beautiful hardback copy of the novel and the BBC/Masterpiece PBS adaptation of the novel at the same time. In hindsight, I wanted to read the novel prior to seeing the mini-series yet I ended up seeing Part 1 of the mini-series and as I was left emotionally shattered I never picked up the book! I have since spoilt myself on spoilers and learnt at least that I can handle what happens in Part 2! Only just barely! Hence why this is under the 5 novels I’m a bit unsure if whether or not I’m ready to read them!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy | I recently felt re-inspired to start reading War and Peace due to my recent visit with #LitChat where I had the pleasure of talking about the novel I have been attempting to read since February! In fact, my War and Peace main post will finally publish on my blog this weekend as I simply haven’t had the proper chance to conclude my thoughts on how I want to read it and why I felt 2014 was the right year to tackle the breadth that is Tolstoy! Therefore, this is an obvious choice for me to include under the thread of a ‘daunting’ read, as who tackles War and Peace followed by Anna Karenina!

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Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier | A lot of the books I want to read follow in sequence after reading Rebecca; within the last year alone I have stumbled across sequel authors and/or continuations of the story Du Maurier inspired from her original work. It is a novel I have wanted to start for a long time but I felt it might be the interesting to see if it comes up in the SPIN.

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern | Of all the different start times I’ve tried to get into The Night Circus, it was last Christmas (2013) when I nearly found myself able to stay with the story! I heard a bit about this prior to becoming curious about reading it myself — but to be honest, I found it through my local library before anyone started to talk about it exclusively one way or the other. It is what I read on the opening pages that has kept my attention for nearly a full year! I want to know more of this story and perhaps now I can!?

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe | This was one of my personal gifts to myself for one of my birthdays, where I wanted to try to find a new author who was writing an incredible novel set in an era that either I had an interest to dig into more and/or was a new thread of story that held my attention as soon as I read the premise. Deliverance Dane fit that part of history where witch hunts and prejudice against people who were living a different life were running rampant against the truth of who they actually were.

Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt | Prior to reading Illuminations, I enjoyed learning more about the author via her website where I found a bit of a back-story on why she wrote Daughters of the Witching Hill and the measure of truth her own research yielded to become revealed on the historical women she rooted her story to focus on. It was such a captivating premise within an enriched part of the historical past that is not always given a focus in modern literature. I originally foresaw reading this alongside Deliverance Dane and will do so if one of them pops up in the SPIN!

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley | Even before one of the Mods for #LitChat approached me about conversing about reading this novel, I had already earmarked myself to read this particular title! This is another classic example of the beautiful books I discover through browsing my local library’s card catalogue! I get excited seeing which books are being added to the collection as a whole and which new authors are penning stories who write outside the regular releases to wink at you to read!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith | Earlier in 2014 or late in 2013, I had the pleasure of seeing a motion picture adaptation of this on Turner Classic Movies (TCM), although at the time I hadn’t been aware of that fact! There was a turning point in the film where I sort of put the pieces together for myself, to where I realised the title of the film and the fact it was a film based off a novel I had already thought to add to my tCC List! As even back in 2013, I was planning the books I would include on the list once I had my blog set-up to where I could join!

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender | A library find I was uncertain at first if I truly wanted to read because it was such a clever story that steps outside it’s own shelving spot! I like stories which push themselves out of a ‘genre’ designation because at the end of the day, I thrive on the craft of stories and the gift of story-telling; to me a story’s genre selection is not as important as the story within the pages of the novel! As I was setting up this list I saw the title on my tCC List and felt, “Why not?”

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery | I honestly attempted to borrow this from a local library attached to a church I was attending in 2013 but the hours were not in my favour as the borrow time was limited. What fascinated me the most is there was a whole new series of novels by Montgomery I hadn’t discovered when I was younger! I am not sure how I missed Emily of New Moon when I devourted Anne of Green Gables!?

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen + The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni| For my last two selections I wanted to take a bit of a magical diversion in my reading selections as both The Sugar Queen & The Mistress of Spices are selections I made for reading more “Magical Realism”. They are not the only ones I choose to focus on for this SPIN either, but these two particular novels have enchanted me since I first breathed in their book synopsises and/or since I saw the film adaptation! There is a beautifully eloquent Bollywood inspired film for The Mistress of Spices (of which I have blogged about in the past) whose dream sequences, musical interludes, and the setting of the story at a spice market left me bewitched! I have wanted to read the novel ever since I first saw Aishwarya Rai on screen for the first time!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Reader Interactive Question:

Are any of my SPIN choices a novel that interests you?

Have you previously read one of them? IF so, include a link in your comment!

How do you curate your SPIN lists for tCC?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

UPDATE: 10th Monday, November 2014

Ooh, this is seriously beyond exciting!! Not only did I get a book I had put on my ‘short list’ of hopefuls to come out of the SPIN *but!* the tCC SPIN # is my LUCKY 13! I am over the moon in wicked sweet joy for this tCC SPIN READ! Ooh, boy! I’m simply bursting! Talk about a book I’ve been wanting to read for half an age and never could get myself motivated to pick it up!? Ooh, boy!

Lest I mention the tCC published a stellar survey for members!

Monday this week simply ROCKS!

For three key reasons:

  1. My SPIN # Choice is bang-on brilliant!
  2. I’m blogging & sharing my thoughts on book 2 of
    Piercing the Veil this evening!
  3. A new fun-loving survey about *books!* & my admiration for the *classics!*

How’s your Classic SPIN Monday going!?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

The first 5 Classic Science Fiction Book Selections are part of my contribution of:

SFN 2014 Participant badge created by Jorie in Canva

{SOURCE: Wildlife photography by Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story, badge edited & created in PicMonkey by Jorie. Sci Fi Month badge created by Jorie in Canva.Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Friday, 7 November, 2014 by jorielov in Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Discussions, British Literature, Children's Classics, Children's Literature, Classic Horror, Classic Mystery, Classic Science Fiction, Classical Literature, Crime Fiction, Gothic Literature, Historical Fiction, Library Catalogues & Databases, Library Find, Literary Fiction, Literature of India, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Reading Challenges, Sci-Fi November, Science Fiction, tCC The Classics Club, tCC The Classics Club SPIN, Time Travel

_+ #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