Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Interview: Elena Maria Vidal's "The Paradise Tree"

02_The Paradise Tree
Publication Date: September 19, 2014
Paperback; 252p

Genre: Historical Fiction

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The year is 1887 in Leeds County, Ontario. The O’Connor clan is gathering to mourn the loss of its patriarch Daniel O’Connor, an Irish immigrant. The story of Daniel and his wife Brigit is one of great hardships, including illness, ill-starred romances, war and political upheavals, as well as undying love and persevering faith. As Daniel is laid to rest, his grandson Fergus receives a piercing insight into what his own calling in life will be.


CW: Tell us why you choose to write
EMV: I have been writing since I learned to put two sentences together. I started keeping a diary at age seven. Writing has always been such an integral part of my life; it hardly seems like a choice. It is just something I must do.

CW: “The Paradise Tree” has a very unusual setting. Tell us why you were drawn to Ontario. 
EMV: I spent many glorious summer vacations in Ontario in the vicinity where the novel is set. It is a place of beauty and mystery as well as family memories and deep ancestral roots.

CW: Your website mentioned that you took a lot of pains to be authentic. What kind of research did that entail? 
EMV: It entailed finding long lost fourth cousins who had family heirlooms and documents that would provide me with the detailed information. It is the little things that make a novel authentic. I spent time at the Brockville Historical Society searching through deeds and records that mentioned family members and their property. It meant interviewing some of my older relatives (now deceased) who had memories of the children of Daniel and Brigit O’Connor. I studied old photographs and old maps and read lots of rare, out-of-print history books.

CW: You’ve published several books, all in different eras. Do you have a favorite? 
EMV: My personal favorite is Madame Royale, the story of the only survivor of the family of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

CW: Random question: If you could have a drink with a historical personage, who would it be? 
EMV: I would love to share a bottle of wine with Louis XVI. The King read widely; I would have enjoyed talking about books with him.

Thanks so much for joining us, Elena!

Praise for The Paradise Tree

"With this marvelous immigrant saga, Elena Maria Vidal reminds us why our forebears left the Old World for the New: for Faith, family, and freedom! Through three generations of an Irish clan in Canada, she invites us into their home for struggle and triumph, celebrations of joy and sorrow, music, feasting, and dancing. The Paradise Tree makes 'the past and present mingle and become one' for the reader’s great delight." --Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation

“Elena Maria Vidal’s latest book, The Paradise Tree, is the fictionalized true story of the author’s devoutly Catholic ancestors who immigrated to Canada from Ireland. It is filled with rich detailed history recounting the hardships and joys of the 19th century O’Connor Family. Beautifully written with great attention to historical, geographical and religious accuracy, this fascinating and moving family saga is a treasure that I highly recommend!” ~Ellen Gable Hrkach, award-winning author of In Name Only and four other novels

Buy the Book


About the Author

03_Elena Maria Vidal
Elena Maria Vidal grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, "fair as the garden of the Lord" as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels.

Elena graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, she joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children's etiquette classes. During a trip to Austria in 1995 she visited the tomb of Empress Maria Theresa in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Afterwords she decided to finish a novel about Marie-Antoinette she had started writing ten years before but had put aside. In 1997 her first historical novel TRIANON was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel MADAME ROYALE was published, as well as the second edition of TRIANON, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day. In 2010, the third edition of TRIANON and the second edition of MADAME ROYALE were released.

In November 2009, THE NIGHT'S DARK SHADE: A NOVEL OF THE CATHARS was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. Elena has been a contributor to Canticle Magazine, Touchstone Magazine, The National Observer, and The American Conservative. In April 2009 she was a speaker at the Eucharistic Convention in Auckland, New Zealand. In August 2010 Elena spoke at The Catholc Writers Conference in Valley Forge, PA. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She currently lives in Maryland with her family.

For more information please visit Elena's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Other Titles by Elena Maria Vidal

Trianon: A Novel of Royal France
Madame Royale: A Novel
The Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars

The Paradise Tree Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, October 4
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Sunday, October 5
Guest Post at Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, October 6
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, October 7
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, October 8
Review at West Metro Mommy

Thursday, October 9
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations

Friday, October 10
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, October 11
Interview at Supremacy & Survival

Sunday, October 12
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Monday, October 13
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Tuesday, October 14
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, October 15
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, October 16
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at She is Too Fond of Books

Friday, October 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog

Saturday, October 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 20
Review at Book Drunkard

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Interview with an Author: Regan Walker and "The Red Wolf's Prize"

02_The Red Wolf's Prize
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Paperback; 245p
ISBN: 978-06-15978-14-7

Genre: Historical Romance

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Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed Lady Serena, the heiress that goes with them.


Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord.

Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.

As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart?


A big thank you to Regan for joining us!

CW: Tell us a bit about your transition from law to writing?

RW: At first, it was difficult to take on a slower pace since my last job was pretty much 24/7. To give up the responsibility for the problems of others was not easy when that had characterized my legal career. I love solving problems and helping others, whether business or government leaders. But once I got used to having time on my hands, and setting my own schedule, I found I loved writing and reading (I am an avid reader and reviewer with my own Historical Romance Review blog). I love the research that goes into my novels. I learn something new every day. And that became very satisfying. Finally, my right brain was waking up after a very long sleep. I have no desire to go back to the practice of law.

CW: “The Red Wolf’s Prize” is set just after the Norman Conquest. What appealed to you about this era and/or plotline?

RW: I was drawn to the medieval period and specifically to England after the Conquest. I kept wondering what a feisty English maiden would do when her country was conquered, her beloved father was killed at Hastings and she and her lands were given to a Norman knight. I knew this happened many times after the Conquest, so I was writing a story that could have occurred. It was an adventure to dive into the 11th century and take a look at England after the Normans descended. It wasn't all a pretty picture, to be sure. William the Conqueror was a brutal king who treated his enemies despicably. But the knights in my story, The Red Wolf's Prize, are of a noble bent, inclined to pay homage to womanhood, even if the hero does lust after the heroine. And of course, my heroine is brave and noble of heart, though her independence leads her into trouble. I wanted to sweep readers away to that time and let them fall in love. I think I achieved my purpose.

CW: Was research terribly difficult given that nearly a thousand years has passed?

RW: Well, it was much more difficult than that for my other stories. I had to learn all about the Saxon/English culture (housing, food, dress, horses, armor, fighting techniques and weapons) and I had to learn about the Normans and the changes they brought to England, which were considerable. I spent hundreds of hours pouring over books, maps, old paintings and drawings as well as all the online material that was available. In the end, I found more than I thought I would—even some reported quotes by William the Conqueror himself.

CW: What are your influences? Perhaps a favorite author?

RW: I like the deep historicals where history is a real character. The authors whose names come to mind whose books I love are Jan Cox Speas and Kathleen Givens (Scottish historicals), Penelope Williamson, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Virginia Henley (my mentor of sorts), Elizabeth Stuart, Candice Proctor (Australian historicals), and many others. I have featured their novels on my “best lists” and shared my reviews of their books on my blog.

CW: Random question: If you could live during any historical period, what would it be?

RW: It would probably be Scotland, on a gorgeous lake (“loch”) in a castle, most likely prior to 1600 in some rare period when the clans thrived, had enough food and the Scots were not plagued by England. Hard to find.

Watch the Book Trailer

Praise for The Red Wolf's Prize

“Ms. Walker has the rare ability to make you forget you are reading a book…the characters become real, the modern world fades away and all that is left is the intrigue, drama and romance.” - Straight from the Library

“An engrossing love story grounded in meticulous research. Regan Walker makes the transition from Regency London to Anglo Norman England with consummate ease.” - Glynn Holloway, author of 1066 What Fates Impose

“Regan Walker has delivered an exciting tale and a passionate love story that brings to life England after the Conquest—medieval romance at its best!" - Virginia Henley New York Times Bestselling Author

“Regan Walker has once again written a story that grabs hold and doesn’t let go. There is intrigue, action and a beautifully developed romance." - Vickie Moore, The Reading Cafe

Pre-Order the eBook


About the Author

As a child Regan Walker loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors encouraged her to pursue the profession of law, which she did. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool. Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses. For more information please visit Regan Walker's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Red Wolf's Prize Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, October 1

Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, October 2

Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, October 3

Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Monday, October 6

Review at Historical Romance Lover

Tuesday, October 7

Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Wednesday, October 8

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Thursday, October 9

Spotlight at Book Reviews by Lanise Brown

Friday, October 10

Review at Unshelfish

Saturday, October 11

Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lusty Literate

Monday, October 13

Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict

Tuesday, October 14

Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Wednesday, October 15

Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 16

Review at Book Marks the Spot

Saturday, October 18

Spotlight at Romantic Historical Reviews

Wednesday, October 22

Review at Princess of Eboli
Spotlight & Giveaway at bookworm2bookworm's Blog

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Author Spotlight: Karen Hicks and "The Coming Woman"

The Coming Woman, by Karen J. Hicks, is a novel based on the life of feminist Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for U.S. President. Victoria Woodhull had the courage to enter the political arena before women had won the battle to vote. This is a timely, relevant, and compelling look at one of the women who paved the way for women like Hillary Clinton to claim their place on the national stage and in our history books. 

Running for President wasn’t Victoria’s only first as a woman. She was also the first to own a successful Wall Street firm, the first to publish a successful national newspaper, and the first to head the two-million-member Spiritualist Association.

She was the first woman to enter the Senate Judiciary Committee chambers to petition for woman's suffrage, her argument changing the entire focus of the suffragist movement by pointing out that the 14th and 15th Amendments already gave women the vote.

In her campaign for the Presidency, Victoria Woodhull boldly addressed many of the issues we still face today: equal pay for equal work; freedom in love; corporate greed and political corruption fueled by powerful lobbyists; and the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor, to name only a few. Her outspoken and common-sense ideas may shed a new perspective on the parallel conundrums of today’s world.

This bold, beautiful, and sexually progressive woman dared to take on society and religion. To make an example of the hypocrisy in what Mark Twain dubbed The Gilded Age, she exposed the extramarital affairs of the most popular religious figure of the day (Henry Ward Beecher). This led to her persecution and imprisonment and the longest, most infamous trial of the 19th century. But it did not stop her fight for equality.

Victoria’s epic story, set in the late 1800s, comes to life in a modern, fictional style, while staying true to the actual words and views of the many well-known characters.

The Coming Woman was published by Sartoris Literary Group in August 2014 and is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Genre: Women’s Fiction / Historical

Praise for The Coming Woman:

"If you have a heart, if you have a soul, Karen Hicks' The Coming Woman will make you fall in love with Victoria Woodhull." - Kinky Friedman, author & Governor of the Heart of Texas

"What kind of confidence would it take for a woman to buck the old boy's club of politics in 1872? More than 140 years pre-Hillary, there was Victoria Woodhull. This book takes you back with a breathtaking, present-tense bird's eye view into a time when women's liberation was primarily confined to one woman's very capable, independent mind. I couldn't put it down." - Ruth Buzzi, Golden Globe Award winner and Television Hall of Fame inductee

"The Coming Woman is a great read and a long overdue biography written beautifully by Ms. Hicks. Victoria Woodhull comes alive in each and every paragraph; a vital strength and spirit in Woodhull propels her to run for president of the United States when women weren’t even allowed to vote! What a woman, what a book! An inspiring must read for every woman and any adventurous men! Thank you, Ms. Hicks for finally telling her colorful story." - Jennifer Lee Pryor, author of Tarnished Angel: A Memoir and President, Indigo, Inc.

About the Author:

Karen J. Hicks is retired and lives in Henderson, Nevada. She recently published her second novel, The Coming Woman, based on the life of the infamous feminist Victoria C. Woodhull, who was the first woman to run for U.S. President. Her first book was a self-help book titled The Tao of a Uncluttered Life. Karen served as in-house editor for author Steve Allen and has written several screenplays, as well as poetry, short stories, and essays. To learn more, go to

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Author Spotlight: Sherry Jones and "The Sharp Hook of Love"

The Sharp Hook of Love

by Sherry Jones
[historical/biographical/literary fiction]
Release date: October 7, 2014
at Simon and Schuster/Gallery Books
384 pages
ISBN: 978-1451684797


“To forbid the fruit only sweetens its flavor”
Among the young women of 12th century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.
But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Nôtre Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.
Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.  [provided by the author]


SHERRY JONES is also the author of Four Sisters, All Queens;
The Sword of Medina; and her controversial, internationally bestselling debut, The Jewel of Medina.
She lives in Spokane, Washington.

Visit her website. Follow her on FacebookTwitter , Google +Pinterest, and Linked In

Subscribe to her newsletter.
Send her an email: sherry [at] authorsherryjones [dott com].

Buy the book:  S&S  |  Amazon  |  B&N  |  BAM  | IndieBound  | Kindle   | iBookstore  | Nook

Monday, October 6, 2014

Author Spotlight: Juliet Waldron

Roan Rose 
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Books We Love, Ltd.
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction

Loyalty Binds Her. More like a gangland war for turf and loot than chivalry, the War of Roses disrupted the life of the English commoners for hundreds of years. Roan Rose is the story of one of them, a girl born on the Yorkshire dales. When the Countess of Warwick decides to take sturdy, gentle Rose to Middleham Castle to be companion and bed-time poppet for her youngest daughter, Anne, her fate is changed forever. Rose bears intimate witness to the passions, betrayals, battles and all the reversals of fortune which will shape her lady’s life—and her own. Anne Neville will briefly become a Queen, and Richard, Rose’s secret love, will become a King, one whose name has become synonymous with evil. When her King is betrayed and slain at Bosworth Field, Rose returns to a peasant’s hard life. She has one final service to perform. Watch the Book Trailer

Praise for Roan Rose 
“A beautiful story of love and loyalty set during the tumultuous reign of Richard III” “I loved the strength of this woman”
“This author has a powerful sense of Time and Place”
“Waldron certainly knows her history…Yet despite its accuracy … Roan Rose is ultimately a book about character”.

Buy the Book 
Amazon (US) eBook
Amazon (US) Paperback
Amazon (AUS) eBook
Amazon (CAN) eBook
Amazon (UK) eBook
Amazon (UK) Paperback

Hand-Me-Down Bride 
Publication Date: October 26, 2013
Books We Love, Ltd. eBook;
Genre: Historical Romance

To help her impoverished family, Sophie agrees to marry a wealthy older man in far off America. Less than twenty-four hours after she arrives in German’s Mill, Pennsylvania, events have taken a far stranger turn than anything she could have imagined. Set in Post-Civil War Pennsylvania, this tale of an arranged marriage gone wrong is as much family saga as it is a romance. Sophie is a sensitive young woman trying to make sense of her past and to understand the unfamiliar ways of her new homeland. Karl Joe is not only a veteran of the great war, but scarred by the secret violence of his privileged childhood. How they learn to trust each other and how they discover love is the beating heart of this old time story.

Buy the Book 
Amazon (US) eBook
Amazon (AUS) eBook
Amazon (CAN) eBook
Amazon (UK) eBook

Angel’s Flight 
Publication Date: September 9, 2012
Books We Love, Ltd. eBook;
Genre: Historical Romance

Angelica is a Patriot heiress, stalked by a brutal, fortune-hunting British officer. Forced to trust Jack, the mystery man who pledges to take her on a dangerous war-time journey to her Albany home, she expects to encounter brigands, Tories and Indians. What she doesn’t expect is to lose her heart along the way.

Praise for Angel’s Flight 
“It’s quite a journey. If you like detailed historical novels, road romances, and war stories, then Angel’s Flight is for you.” -IRRS @ Amazon
“This story has heart… ” -Linda @ Romance Studio
“I found Juliet Waldron’s attention to detail and historical accuracy refreshing and entertaining…a unique voice … Readers will be transported to a time of peril, divided loyalties and intrigue as Angelica triumphs over threats and danger.” -Southern Gal @ Amazon

Buy the Book 
Amazon (US) eBook
Amazon (AUS) eBook
Amazon (CAN) eBook
Amazon (UK) eBook

About the Author
“Not all who wander are lost.” Juliet Waldron earned a B. A. in English, but has worked at jobs ranging from artist’s model to brokerage. Thirty years ago, after the boys left home, she dropped out of 9-5 and began to write, hoping to create a genuine time travel experience for herself–and for her readers. She loves her grand-girls and her kitties, likes to take long hikes, and reads historical/archeological non-fiction as well as reviewing for the Historical Novel Society. For summer adventure, she rides behind her husband of 50 years on his “bucket list” (black, and ridiculously fast) Hyabusa motorcycle. You can find more information at or connect with Juliet on Facebook.

Juliet Waldron Blog Tour Schedule 
Monday, October 6 Spotlight at Caroline Wilson Writes
Monday, October 13 Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, October 29 Review at Book Nerd (Hand-Me-Down Bride)
Monday, November 3 Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective (Roan Rose)
Monday, November 10 Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews (Roan Rose) Saturday, November 15 Guest Post at Romantic Historical Lovers
Tuesday, November 18 Review at TeacherWriter (Roan Rose)
Monday, November 24 Review at Book Nerd (Roan Rose)
Tuesday, November 25 Guest Post at TeacherWriter (Roan Rose)
Thursday, November 27 Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Spotlight and Review: "Prisoner of the Queen" by E. Knight

02_Prisoner of the Queen 
Publication Date: July 2014 | Knight Media, LLC | Formats: eBook, Paperback
Series: Tales From the Tudor Court
Genre: Historical Fiction
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I have served three queens in my life. One was my sister, one was my savior, and one my bitterest enemy. Knowing she was seen as a threat to the Queen she served, Lady Katherine Grey, legitimate heir to the throne, longs only for the comfort of a loving marriage and a quiet life far from the intrigue of the Tudor court. After seeing her sister become the pawn of their parents and others seeking royal power and then lose their lives for it, she is determined to avoid the vicious struggles over power and religion that dominate Queen Elizabeth’s court. Until she finds love—then Kat is willing to risk it all, even life in prison.

Tales From the Tudor Court Series

Book One: My Lady Viper
Book Two: Prisoner of the Queen

My Review

"Prisoner of the Queen" takes on the true story of Lady Katherine Grey. Often overlooked due to her older sister Jane, "the Queen of Nine Days", Katherine saw first hand what unbridled ambition could result in. Raised as a "Princess of the Blood" (her grand uncle was Henry VIII), Katherine knew she would be a pawn in the political machinations of her era. Instead, she chose to take her own destiny in hand and marry for love, which unfortunately had disastrous consequences.

E. Knight has a great way of detailing the Tudor period. It is clear that she has put in a remarkable amount of research while writing this book. The customs and language of the period were spot on. I really enjoyed reading something from Katherine's perspective though I wish her characterization had been a bit more filled out. Since the novel was written in first person, the reader sees Katherine's version of things only. She was obviously a sweet girl, somewhat naive, but able to play the game in order to get what she wanted. Ned's adoration of her was a bit unfounded at first as their relationship begins as a physical attraction and slowly blossoms into something deeper.

Overall, this new take on Katherine is a much needed entry in the historical fiction world. Tudor enthusiasts will certainly rejoice!

About the Author

Eliza KnightE. Knight is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and several RWA affiliate writing chapters: Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers. Growing up playing in castle ruins and traipsing the halls of Versailles when visiting her grandparents during the summer, instilled in a love of history and royals at an early age. Feeding her love of history, she created the popular historical blog, History Undressed ( Under the pseudonym Eliza Knight, she is a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author of historical and erotic romance. For more information please visit E. Knight's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Prisoner of the Queen Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15 Review at A Bookish Affair Review at WTF Are You Reading? Tuesday, September 16 Review & Giveaway at JulzReads Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading Wednesday, September 17 Review at Just One More Chapter Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Thursday, September 18 Review at A Chick Who Reads Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection Friday, September 19 Guest Post at What Is That Book About Monday, September 22 Review at Historical Fiction Obsession Interview & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast Tuesday, September 23 Review at Book Nerd Review at Historical Tapestry Wednesday, September 24 Review at Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time Thursday, September 25 Review at CelticLady's Reviews Review at Curling Up By the Fire Friday, September 26 Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages Monday, September 29 Review at Book Drunkard Review at So Many Books, So Little Time Tuesday, September 30 Review at Flashlight Commentary Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book Wednesday, October 1 Review at Caroline Wilson Writes Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews Thursday, October 2 Review & Excerpt at Romantic Historical Reviews Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading Friday, October 3 Review at The True Book Addict Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: "Bitter Greens" by Kate Forsyth

02_Bitter Greens 
Publication Date: September 23, 2014 | Thomas Dunne Books | Hardcover; 496p | ISBN-10: 1250047536
Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Fairy-Tale Retellings
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The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens... After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition. Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does. Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

My Review

Bitter Greens is an interesting tale that interweaves a whole host of characters. The main character Charlotte de la Force is a distant relation to King Louis XIV and coquettish courtier. Though not pretty, Charlotte is witty and intelligent. Still, her lack of dowry makes it almost impossible for her to marry, so she turns to her knack for a pretty phrase and begins writing. Her story opens with her incarceration at a convent--Charlotte has been banished from Versailles after publishing a mocking story about the King. She is horrified to learn that she cannot write or have any of the luxuries she once knew. But then she meets a fellow nun--Soeur Seraphina--who spins a tale of a girl named Marguerita with long hair who is locked in a tower by a sorceress.

The novel cuts back in forth to Charlotte's present and her past, and the tales of Marguerita and her witch are interspersed throughout. It can be confusing with so many stories and characters. Often I would be irritated because one portion of the story would be interrupted by the next portion of another story. But overall the novel moves quickly so the threads of the story are not hard to pick back up. I especially enjoyed Selena's back story; since it was written in first person, it allowed for a better understanding of an evil character that most authors overlook.

Kate Forsyth is an excellent writer with a knack for characterization and not glossing over the realities of life in a historical period. And the ending totally caught me by surprise as well, so look forward to that!

Praise for Bitter Greens

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is an enthralling concoction of history and magic, an absorbing, richly detailed, and heart-wrenching reimagining of a timeless fairytale.” —Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

“See how three vividly drawn women cope with injustice, loneliness, fear, longing. See how they survive—or perpetrate—treachery. Surrender yourself to a master storyteller, to delicious detail and spunky heroines. Bitter Greens is a complex, dazzling achievement.” —Susan Vreeland, New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany and Girl in Hyacinth Blue

“A magical blend of myth and history, truth and legend, Bitter Greens is one of those rare books that keeps you reading long after the lights have gone out, that carries you effortlessly to another place and time, that makes you weep and laugh and wish you could flip forward to make sure it all ends happily ever after—but for the fact that if you did so, you might miss a line, and no line of this book should be missed.” —Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Ashford Affair 

“Kate Forsyth wields her pen with all the grace and finesse of a master swordsman. In Bitter Greens she conjures a lyrical fairytale that is by turns breathtaking, inspiring, poetic, and heartbreakingly lovely. Set like a jewel within the events of history, it is pure, peerless enchantment.”—New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

“Bitter Greens is pure enchantment–gripping and lyrical. From the high convent walls where a 17th century noblewoman is exiled, to a hidden tower which imprisons an innocent girl with very long hair, to the bitter deeds of a beautiful witch who cannot grow old–Kate Forsyth weaves an engrossing, gorgeously written tale of three women in search of love and freedom. A truly original writer, Forsyth has crafted an often terrifying but ultimately redemptive dark fairy tale of the heart.”—Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award-winning author of Claude & Camille

“Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is not only a magnificent achievement that would make any novelist jealous, it’s one of the most beautiful paeans to the magic of storytelling that I’ve ever read.”—C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

"Threads of history and folklore are richly intertwined to form this spellbinding story. Kate Forsyth has excelled herself with Bitter Greens. Compulsively unputtdownable."—Juliet Marillier, national bestselling author of Flame of Sevenwaters and Heart’s Blood

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About the Author

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia's Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called 'one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world. Her most recent book for adults is a historical novel called 'The Wild Girl', which tells the true, untold love story of Wilhelm Grimm and Dortchen Wild, the young woman who told him many of the world's most famous fairy tales. Set during the Napoleonic Wars, 'The Wild Girl' is a story of love, war, heartbreak, and the redemptive power of storytelling, and was named the Most Memorable Love Story of 2013. She is probably most famous for 'Bitter Greens', a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale interwoven with the dramatic life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer, Charlotte-Rose de la Force. 'Bitter Greens' has been called 'the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter', and has been nominated for a Norma K. Hemming Award, the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Fiction, and a Ditmar Award. Her most recent book for children is 'Grumpy Grandpa', a charming picture book that shows people are not always what they seem. Since 'The Witches of Eileanan' was named a Best First Novel of 1998 by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for numerous awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She's also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series – beginning with 'The Gypsy Crown' - which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5 of the series, 'The Lightning Bolt', was also a CBCA Notable Book. Kate's books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing. Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, 'A Mother's Offering to her Children'. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books. For more information please visit Kate Forsyth's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Bitter Greens Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15 Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Tuesday, September 16 Review at Kinx's Book Nook Review & Giveaway at Bookish Wednesday, September 17 Review & Giveaway at Literary, etc Review & Giveaway at Book Drunkard Thursday, September 18 Review & Giveaway at Build a Bookshelf Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader Friday, September 19 Review at The Maiden's Court Review & Giveaway at Icey Books Monday, September 22 Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary Tuesday, September 23 Review at Book Dilettante Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at SurLaLune Wednesday, September 24 Review at Caroline Wilson Writes Review, Interview, and Giveaway at Ink Gypsy Review, Interview, and Giveaway at The Lit Bitch Thursday, September 25 Review & Giveaway at No BS Book Reviews Interview & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter Friday, September 26 Review at The Gilmore Guide to Books Review at Must Read Faster Monday, September 29 Review at Book Lovers Paradise Review & Giveaway at Bookworm Blues Tuesday, September 30 Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict Review & Excerpt at Books-n-Kisses Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee Wednesday, October 1 Review at One Book at a Time Review at Book-alicious Mama Review & Giveaway at Mina's Bookshelf Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books Thursday, October 2 Interview at Layered Pages Review & Giveaway at Oh Magic Hour Friday, October 3 Review at Bibliophilia, Please Review & Giveaway at Gone Pecan Sunday, October 5 Review at Carole's Ramblings Monday, October 6 Review at Book Babe Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews Interview, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Harlequin Junkie Tuesday, October 7 Review at A Chick Who Reads Review & Giveaway at The Pretty Good Gatsby Wednesday, October 8 Review at So Many Books, So Little Time Review & Giveaway at My Friends Are Fiction Thursday, October 9 Review at Jorie Loves a Story Friday, October 10 Review at Mel's Shelves Review & Giveaway at No More Grumpy Bookseller Interview at Jorie Loves a Story Monday, October 13 Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews Review & Giveaway at Layers of Thought Tuesday, October 14 Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace Review & Giveaway at Beth's Book Reviews Wednesday, October 15 Review at Crossroad Review Review at My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Thursday, October 16 Review at Cheryl's Book Nook Review at CelticLady's Reviews Friday, October 17 Review at Mary Gramlich Review at She Reads Novels Monday, October 20 Interview & Giveaway at The Reading Frenzy  photo 4f9883f9-1e44-4720-b49c-daaa3e8cd0df.png