Friday, March 6, 2015

Author Spotlight: Kate Quinn and "The Lady of the Eternal City"

01_Lady of the Eternal City

Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Berkley Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback
528 Pages

Series: Empress of Rome Series, Book Four
Genre: Historical Fiction

Add to GR Button



National bestselling author Kate Quinn returns with the long-awaited fourth volume in the Empress of Rome series, an unforgettable new tale of the politics, power, and passion that defined ancient Rome.

Elegant, secretive Sabina may be Empress of Rome, but she still stands poised on a knife’s edge. She must keep the peace between two deadly enemies: her husband Hadrian, Rome’s brilliant and sinister Emperor; and battered warrior Vix, who is her first love. But Sabina is guardian of a deadly secret: Vix’s beautiful son Antinous has become the Emperor’s latest obsession.

Empress and Emperor, father and son will spin in a deadly dance of passion, betrayal, conspiracy, and war. As tragedy sends Hadrian spiraling into madness, Vix and Sabina form a last desperate pact to save the Empire. But ultimately, the fate of Rome lies with an untried girl, a spirited redhead who may just be the next Lady of the Eternal City...

Praise for Lady of the Eternal City

“Quinn specializes in bringing the splendor of Britannia and Rome to readers. The tangled lives of her three-dimensional characters represent the entanglements of the Empire. She cleverly pulls readers into the complex relationships, and even more complicated history, while bouncing back and forth between viewpoints. This is a feast for historical readers.” - Romantic Times Book Reviews

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Books-a-Million
iTunes
IndieBound

Titles in The Empress of Rome Series

Book One: Mistress of Rome
Book Two: Daughters of Rome
Book Three: Empress of the Seven Hills
Book Four: Lady of the Eternal City

Praise for The Empress of Rome Series

“Gorgeously wrought.”— C. W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow

“Deeply passionate.”—Kate Furnivall, author of Shadows on the Nile

“[An] epic, sexy romp.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

02_Kate Quinn Author


Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with a small black dog named Caesar, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

For more information visit Kate Quinn's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Lady of the Eternal City Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 2
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, March 3
Spotlight at Historical Readings and Reviews

Wednesday, March 4
Review at Back Porchervations

Thursday, March 5
Review at The Maiden's Court

Friday, March 6
Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, March 9
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Wednesday, March 11
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, March 12
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Sunday, March 15
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, March 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, March 17
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Wednesday, March 18
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Monday, March 23
Review at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 26
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, March 27
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Genre Queen
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

 photo c4177ea1-e2c1-49cf-9620-81852f3db1c5.png

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Author Spotlight: Jerome Charyn and "I am Abraham"

02_I Am Abraham
PB Publication Date: February 9, 2015
Liveright Publishing Corporation
Paperback; 480p
 Genre: Historical Fiction
  Add to GR Button  

Narrated in Lincoln’s own voice, the tragicomic I Am Abraham promises to be the masterwork of Jerome Charyn’s remarkable career. Since publishing his first novel in 1964, Jerome Charyn has established himself as one of the most inventive and prolific literary chroniclers of the American landscape. Here in I Am Abraham, Charyn returns with an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War. Narrated boldly in the first person, I Am Abraham effortlessly mixes humor with Shakespearean-like tragedy, in the process creating an achingly human portrait of our sixteenth President. Tracing the historic arc of Lincoln's life from his picaresque days as a gangly young lawyer in Sangamon County, Illinois, through his improbable marriage to Kentucky belle Mary Todd, to his 1865 visit to war-shattered Richmond only days before his assassination, I Am Abraham hews closely to the familiar Lincoln saga. Charyn seamlessly braids historical figures such as Mrs. Keckley—the former slave, who became the First Lady's dressmaker and confidante—and the swaggering and almost treasonous General McClellan with a parade of fictional extras: wise-cracking knaves, conniving hangers-on, speculators, scheming Senators, and even patriotic whores. We encounter the renegade Rebel soldiers who flanked the District in tattered uniforms and cardboard shoes, living in a no-man's-land between North and South; as well as the Northern deserters, young men all, with sunken, hollowed faces, sitting in the punishing sun, waiting for their rendezvous with the firing squad; and the black recruits, whom Lincoln’s own generals wanted to discard, but who play a pivotal role in winning the Civil War. At the center of this grand pageant is always Lincoln himself, clad in a green shawl, pacing the White House halls in the darkest hours of America’s bloodiest war. Using biblically cadenced prose, cornpone nineteenth-century humor, and Lincoln’s own letters and speeches, Charyn concocts a profoundly moral but troubled commander in chief, whose relationship with his Ophelia-like wife and sons—Robert, Willie, and Tad—is explored with penetrating psychological insight and the utmost compassion. Seized by melancholy and imbued with an unfaltering sense of human worth, Charyn’s President Lincoln comes to vibrant, three-dimensional life in a haunting portrait we have rarely seen in historical fiction.

Praise for I Am Abraham: A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War


“Thoughtful, observant and droll.” — Richard Brookhiser, New York Times Book Review “Not only the best novel about President Lincoln since Gore Vidal’s Lincoln in 1984, but it is also twice as good to read.” — Gabor Boritt, author of The Lincoln Enigma and recipient of the National Humanities Medal “Jerome Charyn [is] a fearless writer… Brave and brazen… The book is daringly imagined, written with exuberance, and with a remarkable command of historical detail. It gives us a human Lincoln besieged by vividly drawn enemies and allies… Placing Lincoln within the web ordinary and sometimes petty human relations is no small achievement.” — Andrew Delbanco, New York Review of Books “Audacious as ever, Jerome Charyn now casts his novelist’s gimlet eye on sad-souled Abraham Lincoln, a man of many parts, who controls events and people—wife, sons, a splintering nation—even though they often are, as they must be, beyond his compassion or power. Brooding, dreamlike, resonant, and studded with strutting characters, I Am Abraham is as wide and deep and morally sure as its wonderful subjects.” — Brenda Wineapple, author of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compassion: 1848-1877 “If all historians—or any historian—could write with the magnetic charm and authoritative verve of Jerome Charyn, American readers would be fighting over the privilege of learning about their past. They can learn much from this book—an audacious, first-person novel that makes Lincoln the most irresistible figure of a compelling story singed with equal doses of comedy, tragedy, and moral grandeur. Here is something beyond history and approaching art.” — Harold Holzer, chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation “Jerome Charyn is one of the most important writers in American literature.” — Michael Chabon “Jerome Charyn is merely one of our finest writers with a polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing. Whatever milieu he chooses to inhabit, his characters sizzle with life, and his sentences are pure vernacular music, his voice unmistakable.” — Jonathan Lethem “Charyn, like Nabokov, is that most fiendish sort of writer—so seductive as to beg imitation, so singular as to make imitation impossible.” — Tom Bissell “One of our most intriguing fiction writers takes on the story of Honest Abe, narrating the tale in Lincoln’s voice and offering a revealing portrait of a man as flawed as he was great.” — Abbe Wright, O, The Oprah Magazine “Jerome Charyn, like Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s superb 2012 movie, manages a feat of ventriloquism to be admired… Most of all, Lincoln comes across as human and not some remote giant… With that, Jerome Charyn has given Lincoln a most appropriate present for what would have been his 205th birthday this month: rebirth not as a marble memorial but as a three-dimensional human who overcame much to save his nation.” — Erik Spanberg, Christian Science Monitor “Daring… Memorable… Charyn’s richly textured portrait captures the pragmatism, cunning, despair, and moral strength of a man who could have empathy for his bitterest foes, and who ‘had never outgrown the forest and a dirt floor.’” — The New Yorker

Jack Ford presents the new Lincoln novel by Jerome Charyn




Buy the Paperback

Amazon Barnes & Noble


About the Author


03_Jerome Charyn_Author Photo

Jerome Charyn is an award-winning American author. With nearly 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life. Michael Chabon calls him "one of the most important writers in American literature." New York Newsday hailed Charyn as "a contemporary American Balzac,"and the Los Angeles Times described him as "absolutely unique among American writers." Since the 1964 release of Charyn's first novel, Once Upon a Droshky, he has published 30 novels, three memoirs, eight graphic novels, two books about film, short stories, plays and works of non-fiction. Two of his memoirs were named New York Times Book of the Year. Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has been named Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture. Charyn was Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the American University of Paris until he left teaching in 2009. In addition to his writing and teaching, Charyn is a tournament table tennis player, once ranked in the top 10 percent of players in France. Noted novelist Don DeLillo called Charyn's book on table tennis, Sizzling Chops & Devilish Spins, "The Sun Also Rises of ping-pong." Charyn lives in Paris and New York City. For more information please visit Jerome Charyn's website. You can also find him on Twitter and Goodreads.


I Am Abraham Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, February 9 Review at Flashlight Commentary Tuesday, February 10 Interview & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary Wednesday, February 11 Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Thursday, February 12 Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book Friday, February 13 Spotlight at What Is That Book About Monday, February 16 Review & Excerpt at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus Tuesday, February 17 Interview & Giveaway at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Wednesday, February 18 Review at Back Porchervations Thursday, February 19 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation Friday, February 20 Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books Saturday, February 21 Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews Monday, February 23 Interview & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Tuesday, February 24 Audio Book Review & Interview at Just One More Chapter Wednesday, February 25 Review at Bookish Thursday, February 26 Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection Monday, March 2 Review at Forever Ashley Tuesday, March 3 Interview at Books and Benches Wednesday, March 4 Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes Thursday, March 5 Review & Reader's Guide at She is Too Fond of Books Friday, March 6 Review at Impressions in Ink  photo 914148de-11fd-452e-8d73-f31093b70254.jpg

Friday, February 27, 2015

Interview with an Author: Sam Thomas and "The Witch Hunter's Tale

Today I have Sam Thomas, author of the Midwife Mysteries on the blog. The third in the series "The Witch Hunter's Tale" is out now. Welcome Sam and let's get to it.


CW: How did you become interested in 17th century England?

ST: I more or less stumbled into it. As an undergraduate I was fascinated by cheap literature that was churned out during the 17th century, sort of an early modern National Enquirer. They were bloody as heck, and really fascinating, so I wrote about them for my thesis. 

Added to that, is the massive changes that England went through - civil war, the execution of King Charles, the establishment of a republic, witch hunts, the rise of radical political and religious groups...really, what's not to like? 

CW: Bridget, your midwife-turned-detective protagonist, was a real life historical personage. How did you stumble upon her?

ST: Pure chance. I was reading wills from the city of York (long story!), and just found hers in with all the others from June, 1683. I had read enough wills to know that hers was something pretty unusual, so I started trying to find out everything I could about her, which turned out to be quite a lot! (Readers who would like to learn more about the historical Bridget can visit my webpage:http://samthomasbooks.com/historical-bridget-hodgson/historical-bridget.html

CW: How many books will be in the Midwife Mysteries?

ST: Well, four at least! The Midwife and the Assassin will be out in January of next year. It's a bit early to think about a fifth in the series as I'm about 3/4 of the way through a stand-alone set in New England, but we'll see what happens this summer! 

CW: You have a PhD in history. Do you feel that has made you a better writer or do you fight against the urge to include too much historical detail in your novels?



ST: Both, actually! By the time I started writing fiction, I'd already written a history book and six articles...so nearly two books worth of material. It's not the same kind of writing, but if you spend enough time wrestling with the English language you're bound to learn something. 

The problem of including too much detail is a tough one, and a constant struggle. If there is a fact that you spent six hours trying to nail down (what did the judges in the Old Bailey wear?) are you really going to cut that out? The answer ought to be "Yes, if it doesn't make the book any better" but...you spent six hours!

I keep a separate file on my computer where I keel "interesting stuff for the next book." Sometimes it even gets in!

CW: Any tips for aspiring authors?



ST: Write, write, write. Read, read, read. 

Read outside your chosen genre. My writing could not be more different than Cormac McCarthy's, but Blood Meridian is as beautiful as it is bloody. (Not at all for the faint of heart, but man can he write. Here's a passage from All the Pretty Horses. His protagonist and best friend have ridden out into the night, leaving home for who knows what? 

“They heard somewhere in that tenantless night a bell that tolled and ceased where no bell was and they rode out on the round dais of the earth which alone was dark and no light to it and which carried their figures and bore them up into the swarming stars so that they rode not under but among them and they rode at once jaunty and circumspect, like thieves newly loosed in that dark electric, like young thieves in a glowing orchard, loosely jacketed against the cold and ten thousand worlds for the choosing.”

CW: Bonus question time. If you could meet any historical personage, who would it be?

ST: Bridget Hodgson, of course!

Thanks Sam for stopping in and best of luck with your newest release. Scroll on down for more details!

About The Witch Hunter's Tale

Publication date: January 6, 2015
St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Hardcover
Pages: 320
Series: Book Three, The Midwife Mysteries Series
Genre: Historical Mystery

Add to GR Button

Sam Thomas takes readers back to Puritan England with midwife Bridget Hodgson, hailed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as “one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction.”
Winter has come to the city of York, and with it the threat of witchcraft. As women and children sicken and die, midwife Bridget Hodgson is pulled against her will into a full-scale witch-hunt that threatens to devour all in its path, guilty and innocent alike.
Bridget—accompanied once again by her deputy Martha Hawkins and her nephew Will Hodgson—finds herself playing a lethal game of cat and mouse against the most dangerous men in York, as well as her sworn enemy Rebecca Hooke. As the trials begin, and the noose begins to tighten around her neck, Bridget must answer the question: How far will she go to protect the people she loves?


Praise for the Midwife Mysteries Series


“Sam Thomas has created one of the most fascinating detectives in contemporary mystery fiction—a crime-solving, wealthy, widowed midwife in embattled 17th-century York, England. . . . Bridget is as fascinating, fun and fierce as ever.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on "The Harlot’s Tale”

"Besides making his heroine a plausible sleuth, Thomas conveys the challenges of midwifery without clumsy exposition.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Harlot’s Tale

“As pleasurable as his mystery is, the true thrill here is Thomas’s lively portrait of 1644 York and his unique heroine.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer on The Midwife’s Tale

“A briskly plotted historical mystery starring a pair of brave, tenacious, intelligent women who take no prisoners and make no apologies.” —Lyndsay Faye, author of Gods of Gotham

“Thomas is a historian by profession and it shows in the wealth of detail with which he recreates the city of York amid the turmoil of the English civil war.” —Rhys Bowen, author of the bestselling Royal Spyness series

“A heart-stopping page-turner coupled with a gritty and realistic portrayal of two strong and contrasting woman characters vividly depicted against the backdrop of the besieged city of York.” —Cora Harrison, author of I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend

“The gripping story, fascinating characters, and intriguing era make Thomas’s debut mystery a reader’s delight.” —Priscilla Royal, author of The Killing Season

“Thomas’s fiction debut is packed with fascinating information about a midwife’s skills and life during the English civil war. The ingenious, fast-paced mystery is a bonus.” —Kirkus Reviews on The Midwife’s Tale

“Everything rings true in historian Thomas’s superb first mystery. . . Authentic details of life in 17th-century York complement the whodunit’s intelligently concealed clues.” —Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Midwife’s Tale


About the Author


sam-thomas.jpg
Lisa DeJong, The Plain Dealer
Sam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.

For more information please visit Sam Thomas’s website. You can also find him on Facebook,Twitter, and Goodreads.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Author Spotlight: Andrea Cefalo and "The Fairytale Keeper"

02_The Fairytale Keeper_CoverPlease join Author Andrea Cefalo as she tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Fairytale Keeper, from February 16-March 13. Take the Fairytale Keeper Playbuzz quiz and enter to win a Fairytale Keeper Clutch Purse & $25 Amazon Gift Card!
Re-Release Date: February 1, 2015
Scarlet Primrose Press
Formats: eBook; Paperback
Pages: 262
Series: Book One, Fairytale Keeper
Genre: Young Adult/Historical/Fairytale Retelling

 Add to GR Button  

Adelaide’s mother, Katrina, was the finest storyteller in all of Airsbach, a borough in the great city of Cologne, but she left one story untold, that of her daughter, that of Snow White. Snow White was a pet name Adelaide’s mother had given her. It was a name Adelaide hated, until now. Now, she would give anything to hear her mother say it once more. A rampant fever claimed Adelaide’s mother just like a thousand others in Cologne where the people die without last rites and the dead are dumped in a vast pit outside the city walls. In an effort to save Katrina’s soul, Adelaide’s father obtains a secret funeral for his wife by bribing the parish priest, Father Soren. Soren commits an unforgivable atrocity, pushing Adelaide toward vengeance. When Adelaide realizes that the corruption in Cologne reaches far beyond Soren, the cost of settling scores quickly escalates. Avenging the mother she lost may cost Adelaide everything she has left: her father, her friends, her first love, and maybe even her life. Seamlessly weaving historical events and Grimm’s fairy tales into a tale of corruption and devotion, The Fairytale Keeper, leaves the reader wondering where fact ends and fiction begins. The novel paints Medieval Cologne accurately and vividly. The story develops a set of dynamic characters, casting the famous villains, heroes, and damsels of Grimm’s fairy tales into believable medieval lives. Though historically set, The Fairytale Keeper brims with timeless themes of love, loyalty, and the struggle for justice.


Praise for The Fairytale Keeper

“A…resonant tale set late in the 13th century… with unexpected plot twists. An engaging story of revenge.” –Publisher’s Weekly “Great historical fiction. Strong emotion injected into almost every page.” –Amazon Vine Reviewer “…a unique twist on the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Part fairy tale retelling, part historical fiction… The Fairytale Keeper is a story of corruption.” -Copperfield Historical Fiction Review “The story that Cefalo weaves is intriguing and leaves you hanging on, wanting more.” -Hooked to Books Book Review Blog “…it doesn’t feel like any retelling. Because it’s not. The Fairytale Keeper is its own unique story…very entertaining, containing a strong female role, a sweet romance, and much more.” -Lulu The Bookworm Book Review Blog


Buy the eBook

Amazon Barnes and Noble Smashwords Kobo


Buy the Paperback

Amazon


Take the The Fairytale Keeper Playbuzz Quiz


About the Author

01_Andrea Cefalo_AuthorBesides being the award-winning author of The Fairytale Keeper series, Andrea Cefalo is a self-proclaimed medievalist, hopeless bookworm, and social media junkie. She graduated with honors from Winthrop University in 2007 where she studied Medieval art history and children’s literature. The next three books in The Fairytale Keeper series—The Countess’ Captive, The Baseborn Lady, and The Traitor’s Target—will debut in 2015 and 2016. She resides in Greenville, South Carolina—ever perched before her trusty laptop—with her husband and their two border collies. For more information please visit Andrea Cefalo's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Follow The Fairytale Keeper Pinterest Board.


The Fairytale Keeper Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 16 Spotlight at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers Tuesday, February 17 Review at Book Drunkard Wednesday, February 18 Review at Bibliotica Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book Thursday, February 19 Review at Cheryl's Book Nook Friday, February 20 Review at Back Porchervations Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes Saturday, February 21 Spotlight at I Heart Reading Monday, February 23 Review at Bookish Wednesday, February 25 Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews Thursday, February 26 Review at Carpe Librum Friday, February 27 Review at The Bookish Outsider Monday, March 2 Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews Tuesday, March 3 Spotlight at A Literary Vacation Wednesday, March 4 Spotlight at The Lit Bitch Spotlight at Let Them Read Books Friday, March 6 Spotlight at What Is That Book About Monday, March 9 Review at Shelf Full of Books Wednesday, March 11 Review at Brooke Blogs Review at Boom Baby Reviews Thursday, March 12 Review at A Leisure Moment Guest Post at Brooke Blogs Friday, March 13 Review at Library Educated Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book


Giveaway

To enter to win a Fairytale Keeper Clutch Purse & $25 Amazon Gift Card please complete the giveaway form below.

Clutch Purse Giveaway
* Giveaway is open to US residents only. * Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on March 13th. * You must be 18 or older to enter. * Only one entry per household. * All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. * Winner will be chosen via GLEAM on March 14th and notified via email. Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. * Please email Amy @ hfvirtualbooktours@gmail.com with any questions.

 photo c0d50c9f-f49f-4b63-bd50-d0da5880bb7a.pngThe Fairytale Keeper

Friday, February 13, 2015

Author Spotlight: John Sadler and "The Blood Divide"

02_Blood Divide Cover
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Lion Fiction Paperback; 352p
ISBN: 978-1782640899
 Genre: Historical Fiction
  Add to GR Button  

Gripping, visceral, and accessible historical fiction. The Battle of Flodden in September 1513 was one of the bloodiest battles ever fought on British soil, in which James IV, King of Scots, and virtually the whole of his nobility and gentry were annihilated in an afternoon along with 15,000 soldiers. Five centuries later, the slaughter still occupies a core position in the Scottish nationalist debate and in the pantheon of heroic failures. This novel puts you in the heart of the action; you’ll feel the sweat and the fear, the curtain of red mist. The narrative covers April through September 1513, focusing around a handful of key characters: John Heron, Bastard of Ford, swaggering, violent, and disreputable, the black sheep of a good English family; Sir Thomas Howard, leader of the English forces and skilled strategist; Alexander, 3rd Lord Hume, leader of the Scots, bold but impetuous; Isabella Hoppringle, Abbess of Coldstream, hub of a web of influential women throughout the Scottish borders, a woman of significant influence and charisma. Laced with dark humor and fascinating period detail, Blood Divide reminder readers that political intrigue and human folly are timeless.

Buy the Book


Amazon Barnes & Noble Kregel Publications


About the Author

03_John Sadler Author

John Sadler is an experienced military historian, a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and the author of more than two dozen books. He is also a much traveled battlefield tour guide covering most major conflicts in the UK, Europe, and North Africa. For more information please visit John Sadler's website.


Blood Divide: A Novel of Flodden Field Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, January 26 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books Tuesday, January 27 Review at Flashlight Commentary Wednesday, January 28 Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection Friday, January 30 Spotlight at Layered Pages Sunday, February 1 Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More Monday, February 2 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Tuesday, February 3 Spotlight & Giveaway at Words and Peace Thursday, February 5 Interview and Review at A Virtual Hobby Store and Coffee Haus Saturday, February 6 Review at Book Nerd Monday, February 9 Review at Just One More Chapter Tuesday, February 10 Review at Broken Teepee Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession Wednesday, February 11 Review at Forever Ashley Review at The Mad Reviewer Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Thursday, February 12 Interview at Books and Benches Friday, February 13 Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes  photo 6462c21d-0620-42ff-b190-3fd807234753.png

Friday, February 6, 2015

Empress Elizabeth of Austria and a Review of "The Accidental Empress"

Hello good readers! Today I am bringing you a little biography of the absolutely beautiful and fascinating Empress Elizabeth of Austria, as well as a review of Alison Pataki's "The Accidental Empress".

Sisi right after her marriage in 1855. The portrait
is by AmandaBergstedt.
First off a little more about Elizabeth, or "Sisi" as she was called. Born into the somewhat eccentric House of Wittelsbach (Bavaria) in December of 1837, Elizabeth was raised in a large family with relatively few restrictions. She became an expert horsewoman in her youth and was generally a free spirit. In 1853, she accompanied her eldest sister Helene to Bad Ischal, the summer retreat of their cousin, Emperor Franz Joseph. Helene was the intended bride, but Franz fell in love with Sisi instead. Oops. And so began Sisi's transformation from country bumpkin to fabulous empress. Only Sisi never quite took to the stifling Hapsburg court. Her misery was only compounded by her domineering aunt and mother-in-law, Princess Sophie. When children came along, Sisi was seldom allowed to interact with them as they were reared by Sophie. As a result, Sisi became sickly and oftentimes displayed symptoms of panic attacks. The love that she had for Franz began to waver, and by the time the couple's third child was born (a much needed heir), Sisi had become withdrawn, despondent, and was on the verge of nervous collapse. She was plagued with anemia and doctors feared that she had consumption. Whether her symptoms were just in her head or the result of a venereal disease contracted from her husband, Sisi left for Madeira, and then ventured to Corfu for her health. Upon return to the Hofburg, she was once again struck down with coughing fits, anemia and even signs of edema. She removed to Bad Kissingen for rest but then returned to Bavaria to stay with her family. She did not return to Austria for two years.

An intimate portrait of Sissi by Franz
Winterhalter in 1864.
Sisi was a complex individual. She was absolutely beautiful and hugely popular due to her "common" ways. But she was fearful of growing old and fat. She indulged in some strange beauty regimens (including layering her face in fresh veal) and had exceedingly long hair that took hours to dress. She often complained of headaches because her hair was so long. In addition to being a proficient rider, she also was an amateur gymnast. She succeeded in keeping her girlish figure, even after multiple pregnancies, though starvation or "fasting cures" were frequently used in order to achieve this.

When Sisi returned to Austria, the court was abuzz about her extended travels, but also about the rabble rousing Hungarians that were essentially conquered peoples. Sisi loved Hungarian culture and even learned the language. She became the personal advocate of Count Andassy, a Hungarian freedom fighter. Historians now believe that the two were lovers, in addition to being close friends. In 1867, a compromise was brokered (largely by Sisi) to allow the Hungarians to govern themselves with a parliament. In exchange Franz and Sisi would be crowned the Emperor and Empress of Hungary. Soon after, Sisi found herself pregnant for a fourth time. However, she now openly rebelled and refused to give the child up to her mother-in-law. But yet Sisi was still unhappy; she began to travel extensively and was constantly dogged by the press. She was very protective of herself, and did not like to photographed. She often carried a parasol and a leather fan to shield herself from prying eyes. She visited England and may have been the lover of George "Bay" Middleton (the subject of Daisy Goodwin's The Fortune Hunter).

Erzsebet kiralyne photo 1867.jpg
Sisi at her Hungarian Coronation, 1867
After years of being on the run, Sisi sustained a huge loss when her son Rudolf, the Crown Prince, murdered his mistress and then committed suicide. Soon after, Count Andassy died. From then on, Sisi suffered from continual melancholy. She traveled the Mediterranean on her steamer and rarely spent time in Austria. On September 10, 1898, 60 year old Sisi was in Geneva, Switzerland preparing to embark on a ship bound for Montreux. An Italian anarchist approached her and stabbed her with a sharpened needle file. At first no one knew what had happened as she lost consciousness. It was only after she was disrobed that a doctor discovered a wound above her left breast. She died forty minutes later. An autopsy revealed she had been stabbed in the heart and that her tight corset had prevented the internal bleeding. When her attendants cut her corset laces, her pericardium sack was filled with blood, which caused her heart to stop. It was ignominious end for a woman who had captivated Europe for forty years.

And now for my review of Alison Pataki's The Accidental Empress. It opens just before Sisi leaves on the journey that will change her life. Her reluctant attraction to Franz is detailed as is her utter happiness at being united to him in marriage. But the fairy tale soon ends as Sisi is frustrated at every turn by her husband's aloofness and her mother-in-law's domineering ways. The novel follows Sisi to her coronation in Hungary, and covers her attraction and relationship with Count Andassy. As with Pataki's first novel, there were several mistakes in the clothing descriptions. At times, modern attitudes prevail as well. However, Sisi proves to be much more sympathetic than Peggy Shippen. Readers will find The Accidental Empress a good entry point on the life of Elizabeth, Empress of Austria.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: "Rodin's Lover" by Heather Webb

02_Rodin's LoverPlease join Heather Webb as she tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for Rodin's Lover, from January 19-February 13.

Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Plume
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 320
 Genre: Historical Fiction
  Add to GR Button    

 A mesmerizing tale of art and passion in Belle Époque France. As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice—and his muse—their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet, Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness. Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.


My Thoughts

Auguste Rodin is a household name in the art world. His stunning, full scale sculptures can be seen at Musee Rodin in Paris. But also in this museum lie the works of Camille Claudel, Rodin’s student turned lover, and a brilliant sculptor in her own right. Rodin’s Lover follows Camille from the early days of her life in Villeneuve to the tumultuous obsession of her relationship with Rodin.

I knew nothing about Camille Claudel before reading this new book Heather Webb. But I was quickly swept up in Camille’s story. Heather Webb brings Camille and her pursuit of success in Paris's art world vividly to life. Passionate and headstrong, Claudel runs off the established path of womanhood in the pursuit of her art. She is at once buoyed and held back by her family and her relationship with Rodin; but as her fame grows, she becomes increasingly estranged from everyone that she loves. It becomes clear that Camille is suffering from a mental illness as her tirades and paranoia increase. Rodin is a conflicted character in that he refuses to part ways with his long time paramour Rose, and yet he is obsessed with Camille. The tug-of-war of their relationship along with Camille’s failure to conform leads to her downfall.

While the novel drags in some places as it minutely details Camille’s breakdown, it is still a fascinating portrait of a little known artist. The final pages of the novel are heart wrenching as Camille is finally committed to an asylum. Though Rodin struggled with the women in his life, his final insistence that Camille’s works be housed along with his own is a true testament of his love and respect for her. I was pleasantly surprised Rodin's Lover and recommend it for lovers of art based fiction as well as Belle Epoque France. It is an enthralling exploration of art, talent, and madness.


Advance Praise for Rodin's Lover

“Rodin’s Lover is a textured historical novel that captures the indomitable spirit of artist Camille Claudel, a woman whose mighty talent was nearly eclipsed by her potent love for fellow artist Auguste Rodin. Can two passionate, creative talents thrive together or will one flame inevitably consume the other? Webb gracefully explores this ignitable relationship while illuminating Claudel’s untold heartbreak and evocative artwork. A story of human emotion, once raw and malleable, now preserved to lasting stone.” ~ Sarah McCoy, New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter

“Rodin’s Lover is the story of Camille Claudel–one of history’s boldest and most brilliant artists. Forced to choose between a torturous love affair and the art that consumed her, Claudel is an audacious and authentic character who deserves to be remembered. RODIN’S LOVER is epic and unflinching–a book you won’t soon forget.” –Deanna Raybourn, NYT bestselling author and Rita Winner of City of Jasmine waltz

“Rodin’s Lover is an evocative portrait of the talented and explosive Camille Claudel who struggled between passion as the lover of Rodin and recognition as an innovative sculptor in her own right. From smoky cafés to clay-streaked ateliers, Heather Webb has created a vivid picture of Belle Époque Paris.” –Jessica Brockmole, author of Letters from Skye

“Dazzling!….. In Rodin’s Lover, author Heather Webb brings to life, with vivid detail, the story of brilliant and tormented sculptress Camille Claudel and the epic love affair with the legendary sculptor who worshiped her. Deeply moving and meticulously researched, this book will capture your heart, then hold it tightly long after the final page.” –Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso

“A rich, sensuous novel…[was] written with great empathy for the very human Rodin and his lover, this novel of the visceral world of the 19th century Paris ateliers, of clay-stained dresses and fingernails, lithe models who vow to remain and then go, family love which stays through all difficulties and talent which endures, comes vividly to life.” --Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

“Rodin’s Lover is a taut and engrossing look at sexism in the arts through the eyes of a lesser known figure, Camille Claudel, inspiring the reader to examine what’s changed and what hasn’t.” –Julie Kibler, bestselling author of Calling Me Home


Buy the Book

Amazon Barnes & Noble IndieBound


About the Author

Heather Webb

Heather Webb grew up a military brat and naturally became obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before turning to full time novel writing and freelance editing. Her debut, BECOMING JOSEPHINE, released January 2014 from Plume/Penguin. Her forthcoming novel, RODIN'S LOVER, will release in winter of 2015. When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world. For more information, please visit Heather's website. She loves to chitchat on Twitter with new reader friends or writers (@msheatherwebb), on Facebook, or via her blog. Stop on by!


Rodin's Lover Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 19 Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books Review & Interview at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book Tuesday, January 20 Review at Broken Teepee Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews Wednesday, January 21 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Thursday, January 22 Review at History From a Woman's Perspective Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Friday, January 23 Review at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More Monday, January 26 Review at Poof Books Review at Ageless Pages Reviews Tuesday, January 27 Review at Library Educated Spotlight at The Lit Bitch Wednesday, January 28 Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages Thursday, January 29 Review at Book Babe Review at The Book Binder's Daughter Friday, January 30 Review at Book Drunkard Monday, February 2 Review at Unabridged Chick Tuesday, February 3 Review at Caroline Wilson Writes Interview at Unabridged Chick Wednesday, February 4 Review at Brooke Blogs Thursday, February 5 Review at A Book Geek Friday, February 6 Review at The True Book Addict Monday, February 9 Review at A Literary Vacation Review at CelticLady's Reviews Tuesday, February 10 Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection Wednesday, February 11 Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews Thursday, February 12 Review at Flashlight Commentary Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews Friday, February 13 Review at The Maiden's Court
 photo 9842b192-587d-451c-be37-89c39fa34f2d.png