Blog Tour and Book Review: The Girl From Jonestown #JimJones #Guyana

Book Description:

The woman looked at me, anguish brimming in her eyes. I picked up the note she’d left and read the scrawl: HELP!!! Then: Mom. Followed by a number.

A gripping and heartbreaking read, based on the true story of the Jonestown cult, one of the darkest chapters in American history.

When journalist Zoe Quint loses her husband and child in a tragic accident, she returns home to Guyana to heal. But when she hears cries and music floating through the trees, her curiosity compels her to learn more about the Americans who have set up camp in a run-down village nearby. Their leader, Jim Jones, dark eyed and charismatic, claims to be a peaceful man who has promised his followers paradise.

But everything changes when Zoe meets one of his followers, a young woman called Lucy, in a ramshackle grocery store. Lucy grabs Zoe’s arm, raw terror in her eyes, and passes her a note with a phone number, begging her to call her mother in America.

Zoe is determined to help Lucy, but locals warn her to stay away from the camp, and as sirens and gunshots echo through the jungle at nightfall, she knows they are right. But she can’t shake the frightened woman’s face from her mind, and when she discovers that there are young children kept in the camp, she has to act fast.

Zoe’s only route to the lost people is to get close to their leader, Jim Jones. But if she is accepted, will she be able to persuade the frightened followers to risk their lives and embark on a perilous escape under the cover of darkness? And when Jim Jones hears of her plans, could she pay the highest price of all?

A powerful novel inspired by the true story of Jonestown, about a woman’s brave attempt to save people who were promised paradise but found only lies. Fans of Where the Crawdads SingBefore We Were Yours and The Girls will be captivated by The Girl from Jonestown.

BOOK REVIEW

Zoe comes home to Guyana to finally try and heal after the loss of her husband and child, but her peace is interrupted by strange voices and chantings in the jungle. That is when she learns about the group of Americans living there. They are The People’s Temple, led by the charismatic Jim Jones, and seem to be there of their own accord. When Lucy, a terrified girl from this group, passes her a note, Zoe realizes everyone may not be present willingly. Determined to help, she decides to go inside “Jonestown” and try to help.

This powerful book takes a fresh look at Jonestown through the eyes of a Guyanese reporter, Zoe, and a Jonestown captive, Lucy. We look at the reality of Jonestown as not just a group of willing people who “drank Kool-aid,” but as prisoners, some of whom were killed before the mass suicide, and many who were poisoned against their will. We see desperate people trying to escape, and evil leaders determined to stop them. The jungle setting and its deadly beauty is brilliantly described by Sharon Maas, who is from Guyana and knows it inside and out. She does a masterful job of portraying the tactics of an evil and malicious cult and of putting faces on the victims and survivors through the character Lucy and others. The absolute crazy of Jim Jones flies off the page, but we learn that his was not the only malicious mind in the group, and we are shown more about those who helped him wield his iron fist. True crime meets Historical Thriller in this fictionalized story of the complete horror that was the People’s Temple.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sharon Maas

Sharon Maas was born to politically active parents in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1951. She was educated in England, Guyana, and, later, Germany. After leaving school, she worked as a reporter with the Guyana Graphic in Georgetown and later wrote feature articles for the Sunday Chronicle as a staff journalist. Sharon has always had a great sense of adventure and curiosity about the world we live in, and Guyana could not hold her for long. In 1971 she set off on a year-long backpacking trip around South America, followed by an overland trek to South India, where she spent two years in an ashram. She lived in Germany for forty-three years and now lives in Ireland. She is the author of The Violin Maker’s Daughter, The Soldier’s Girl, Her Darkest Hour and many other novels.

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BUY THE GIRL FROM JONESTOWN ON AMAZON

Blog Tour and Audiobook Review: To Kiss a Wallflower #TimelessRegencyCollection

  • Genre:Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Inspirational Fiction
  • Publisher: Mirror Press (June 21, 2022)
  • Length: (305) pages
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-1952611261
  • Tour Dates: June 20 – July 1, 2022

BOOK DESCRIPTION

To Kiss a Wallflower is the nineteenth book in the Timeless Regency Collection, a bestselling anthology series from Mirror Press. The book features three novellas from acclaimed historical romance authors whose stories reveal that eventually, all wallflowers will have their chance at love . . . This is where it begins.

“The Wallflower’s Dance,” by Jen Geigle Johnson


Lottie Hughes likes people, as long as they aren’t too close. Does it bother her that no one asks her to dance? Yes, but she’s not sure how to drum up dance partners when she has almost no dowry, no title, and freezes up when anyone tries to talk to her. When she suddenly inherits a huge amount and is the new center of attention all over London, her secret dreams might come true but also her worst nightmares. Suddenly everyone wants to talk to her. Men ask her to dance. And she is inundated with interested suitors. She fights to stay close to the few friends she knows are true. One man saw her before her life changed forever. But does she want to accept his help when he, too, might be insincere?

“Letters to a Wallflower,” by Heather B. Moore


Ellen might be beautiful and considered a diamond of the first water by Society, but she is so very tired of the pressure to marry a titled gentleman so that her beauty won’t go to waste. When her cousin Dinah dares Ellen to attend a ball with no frills and to stand with the wallflowers, Ellen takes on the dare. What’s in the wager for her? The prize cuttings of her aunt’s extraordinary roses. But what Ellen isn’t expecting is Lord Ravenshire to engage her in the most interesting conversation. When she confesses to him of her opposition in marrying for a title, he confesses his distaste of the London scene. They strike a bargain together, one which will either push them apart or lead to a future sweeter than either of them could have imagined.

“To Marry a Wallflower,” by Anneka R. Walker


Charlotte Winters is destined to spinsterhood until she turns down an unwanted proposal and everything changes. With gossip rampant, her father attempts to salvage her reputation by betrothing her to another. Soon she is sent off to her aunt’s to meet Lord Templeton, her intended. Anxiety-ridden, Charlotte begs her aunt to let her observe Lord Templeton from afar before their introduction. She never planned to pretend to be her fictional cousin to learn more about him, or to fall in love with Lord Templeton’s friend in the process. Lord Templeton dreads returning to the empty halls of Newcliff Manor. When his father’s old friend, Mr. Winters reaches out for assistance, Lord Templeton finds himself returning home engaged to a woman he has never met. Desperate to learn more about Miss Winters, he befriends her cousin. He wouldn’t have spoken to her, or lied about his identity, if he’d known the quiet woman would sneak into his heart.

ABOUT THE SERIES

Since 2015, Mirror Press has been presenting the Timeless Regency Collection, a curated anthology of novellas and short stories featuring bestselling authors from the contemporary and historical romance genres. The collection has hit the USA TODAY bestselling list and charted at #1 at Amazon.com. Learn more about the series and other anthologies published by Mirror Press at their website.  

ADVANCE PRAISE

  • “5 STARS – I loved the unique twists that each author used in their stories and how they tied them into the theme.”— Julie Carpenter, Goodreads
  • “What a great set of stories! If you have read any of these three authors you know you are in for a treat. If you aren’t familiar with them, prepare to add their names to your list of favorites.”— Shauna Jones, Goodreads
  • “I thoroughly enjoyed all three of these novellas. They were lighthearted, fun, and took me away from my worries for a while.”— A Bookish Romantic, Goodreads

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

This is a collection of three Regency romances that revolve around the concept of a “wallflower,” and they all take a different and intriguing approach to the theme. I enjoyed all three stories. My favorite was “The Wallflower’s Dance,” with a light, “friends-to-romance” theme that kept me smiling and entertained. However, I enjoyed all three of these stories, which together provide another strong anthology in the Timeless Regency collection. “Letters to a Wallflower” is a funny and clever tale about a beautiful woman who would rather tend her garden than get betrothed to a titled gentleman, and “To Marry a Wallflower” is a delightful case of mistaken identity.

I listened to the audiobook, and I felt the narrators did a great job. I don’t always enjoy a book with two different narrators, but Shane East and Shakira Shute complemented each other perfectly.

This is a wonderful way to while away a summer day with three delightful novellas that will make you smile. I received a free copy of this audiobook from the publishers via Austenprose PR. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

AUTHOR BIOS

Jen Geigle Johnson

An award-winning author, including the GOLD in Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards and LDSPMA Praiseworthy’s top award for Romance, Jen Geigle Johnson has more stories circulating in her brain than can possibly be told. She discovered her passion for England while kayaking on the Thames near London as a young teenager. History is her main jam. Her literary heroes include the greats: Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. But she has modern sensibilities as well.

She loves to share bits of history that might otherwise be forgotten. Whether in Regency England, the French Revolution, or Colonial America, her romance novels are much like life is supposed to be: full of adventure.

WEBSITE |  TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Mooreis a USA Today bestseller and award-winning author of more than seventy publications. She’s lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States, including Hawaii, and attended school abroad including the Cairo American College in Egypt, and the Anglican School of Jerusalem in Israel. She loves to learn about anything in history and, as an author, is passionate about historical research.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Anneka R. Walker

Anneka Walker is an award-winning author raised by a librarian and an English teacher turned judge. After being fed a steady diet of books, she decided to learn about writing. The result was a bachelor’s degree in English and history. When she isn’t dreaming up a happy ending for a story, she is busy living her own with her husband and adorable children.

WEBSITE | PINTEREST | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

Blog Tour and Book Review: A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen:

QUICK FACTS

  • Title:A Dress of Violet Taffeta: A Novel
  • Author:Tessa Arlen
  • Genre:Historical Fiction
  • Publisher: ‎Berkley (July 5, 2022)
  • Length: (352) pages
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-0593436851
  • Tour Dates: June 27-July 11, 2022

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Lady Lucy Duff Gordon

A sumptuous novel based on the fascinating true story of La Belle Époque icon Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, who shattered the boundaries of fashion with her magnificently sensual and enchantingly unique designs.

Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, and texture in ways few people can begin to imagine. But is the male-dominated world of haute couture, who would use her art for their own gain, ready for her?
 
When she is deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is left penniless with an aging mother and her five-year-old daughter to support. Desperate to survive, Lucy turns to her one true talent to make a living. As a little girl, the dresses she made for her dolls were the envy of her group of playmates. Now, she uses her creative designs and her remarkable eye for color to take her place in the fashion world—failure is not an option. 
 
Then, on a frigid night in 1912, Lucy’s life changes once more, when she becomes one of 706 people to survive the sinking of the Titanic. She could never have imagined the effects the disaster would have on her fashion label Lucile, her marriage to her second husband, and her legacy. But no matter what life throws at her, Lucy will live on as a trailblazing and innovative fashion icon, never letting go of what she worked so hard to earn.

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Fans of the 1991 BBC series The House of Eliott will find familiar comfort in Arlen’s descriptions of fabrics, colorworks, and evolving fashions.” —Library Journal

“Tessa Arlen’s novel is as elegant as a Lucille gown, full of movement, color and beauty…For anyone interested in fashion, in the Gilded Age, in stories about strong, visionary woman, Tessa Arlen’s novel is a must read!” —Jeanne Mackin, author of The Last Collection

“A sumptuous treat of elegant prose, evocative descriptions, and compelling emotions. Arlen’s writing absolutely shines.” —Anna Lee Huber, USA TODAY Bestselling author of A Perilous Perspective

“Tessa Arlen delivers a fascinating tale based on the real-life fashion icon, Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, who went up against a male dominated industry and revolutionized it…A must read for fashion fans everywhere.” —Renee Rosen, USA Today bestselling author of The Social Graces

“…written in a sumptuous, engaging style that appeals to all the senses and brings Lucy, her creations, and her world vividly alive.” —Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries

ONE OF LUCY DUFF GORDON’S DESIGNS

This one’s not violet taffeta, but this 1918 evening dress of bright leaf green and red shot silk is another eye-catching design by Lady Duff Gordon.

BOOK REVIEW

What a gorgeously written and beautifully woven work of historical fiction! The accomplishments of “Madame Lucile,” aka Lucy Duff-Gordon, come to life. Tessa Arlen has managed to capture Lucy’s incredible talent and vision for color, and then translate that to the written word for all of us to see. Lucy led an absolutely incredible life, from penniless abandonment by her first husband to building her own business and finding success as a fashion designer. Despite poverty and the scorn of divorce at that time, Lucy took control of her own destiny. At her side is Celia, also impeccably written. Celia is actually a composite of two women who were very important in Lady Duff-Gordon’s life and business. The chapters vary between Lucy and Celia, and this gives us a look at two different class experiences of women in the early 1900s.

I also loved the peeks we get into the very dressing rooms of some of Lucy’s clients, and we get to see the way they are transformed by her amazing gowns. And we watch Lucy find love again. Lucy’s second marriage to Cosmo Duff-Gordon is written in a realistic way with all its ups and downs, especially their presence on and survival of the sinking of the Titanic, the media frenzy afterward, and its effect on their marriage. This is a mesmerizing, captivating work of art that transports us to late 19th and early 20th Century London (and later America). A Dress of Violet Taffeta truly shows us the life of a visionary woman who lived through hard times and made the most of them. Anyone who wants to read an incredible story of grit, determination, and extraordinary talent will certainly enjoy this gem by Tessa Arlen.

I received a free print copy of this book from Berkley Publishing via Austenprose Book Tours. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

AUTHOR BIO

Tessa Arlen writes historical fiction when she is not toiling away in her garden. She is the author of the Edwardian mystery series: Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson; the Woman of World War II mystery series. Poppy Redfern. And two standalone historical novels: In Royal Service to the Queen, and A Dress of Violet Taffeta.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW

SNEAK PEAK: Upcoming Books I’m Reviewing #HistoricalNovelSociety

*No book reviews included.

I’ve been busy reading and reviewing books for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society, and while I can’t post the reviews until August, I am sharing the covers and descriptions of some of the books I have been reviewing for them this time around. I can’t give a star rating or any impressions of them yet, but they are coming after August 1st.

AMAZON DESCRIPTION

A ravishing young mind reader stalks the streets at night in kitten heels, prowling for men to murder.

A soft-spoken genius toils away in the city morgue, desperate to unearth the science behind his gift for shapeshifting.

It’s a match made in 1928 Chicago, where gangsters run City Hall, jazz fills the air, and every good girl’s purse conceals a flask.

Until now, eighteen-year-old Ruby’s penchant for poison has been a secret. No one knows that she uses her mind-reading abilities to target men who prey on vulnerable women, men who escape the clutches of Chicago “justice.” When she meets a brilliant boy working at the morgue, his knack for forensic detail threatens to uncover her dark hobby. Even more unfortunately: sharp, independent Ruby has fallen in love with him.
 
Waltzing between a supernaturally enhanced romance, the battle to take down a gentleman’s club, and loyal friendships worth their weight in diamonds, Ruby brings defiant charm to every page of Murder for the Modern Girl—not to mention killer fashion. An irresistible caper perfect for fans of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, in an exquisite hardcover package with rose-gold foil.

AMAZON DESCRIPTION

It’s 1954. The place is Prosperity, North Carolina, a small farming community in Bliss County. Three teenagers, the 1953 championship-winning offensive backfield for Prosperity High, and lifelong friends, are unwilling participants in a horrific event that results in a young man’s death.

One of the friends harbors a tragic secret that could have prevented the crime. Divulging it would ruin his life, so he stays quiet, fully aware he will carry a stain of guilt for the rest of his life. The three buddies go their separate ways for almost a decade, before another tragedy brings them back to Prosperity in 1968. Now in their thirties, it is a time of civil and racial unrest in America.

They discover the man who committed murder back in ’54 is now the mayor. Worse, now he’s set his sights on Congress.

A Kind and Savage Place spans half a century from 1942 to 1989 and examines the dramatic racial and societal turmoil of that period through the microcosmic lens of a flyspeck North Carolina agricultural community.

AMAZON DESCRIPTION

Peggy Serrano couldn’t wait for her best friend to come home from the war. But the Jimmy Barnett who returns is much different from the Jimmy who left, changed so drastically by his experience as a medic in Europe that he can barely function. When he attempts the unthinkable, his parents check him into the VA hospital. Peggy determines to help the Barnetts unravel what might have happened to send their son over the edge. She starts by contacting Jimmy’s war buddies, trying to identify the mysterious woman in the photo they find in Jimmy’s belongings.

Seven years earlier, sensing the rising tide against her people, Gisela Wolff and her family flee Germany aboard the passenger ship St. Louis, bound for Havana, Cuba. Gisela meets Sam Shapiro on board and the two fall quickly in love. But the ship is denied safe harbor and sent back to Europe. Thus begins Gisela’s perilous journey of exile and survival, made possible only by the kindness and courage of a series of strangers she meets along the way, including one man who will change the course of her life.

Self-Published Saturday: The Scarlet Forest #RobinHood

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Self-Published/Indie authors. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with marketing, I’m happy to do it. This week’s feature is the audiobook of a wonderful Robin Hood retelling, The Scarlet Forest.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

The Scarlet Forest takes us back to medieval times and into the lives of Robin Hood and Marian.  This version of the Robin Hood legend is true to the dialect and very well researched, bringing history and legend together in a wonderful way. This collection includes oft-told stories and new ones as well. We are sometimes treated to “a tale within a tale,” as Marian (Anne) or one of the other characters tell stories of their own. 

The characters come alive from the first page, as we are introduced to Robin and watch him assemble his band of merry men. It is set in the 13th century and is entwined with the history of that time.  I loved the way the concept of “merry men” is explained by the men themselves, that it is much more enjoyable to roam free in the forest than to labor endlessly for meager wages. 

The adventures are full of suspense and often a moral lesson, for Robin doesn’t just give money to the poor, he seeks justice as well in some of the tales. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator, Joel Benedict, does a great job despite difficult dialect.  Tales like this were originally conveyed orally, so I thought the audiobook was the perfect vehicle for this story.  I was spellbound throughout. This is a captivating adventure in Sherwood Forest and beyond with Robin Hood and those who loved him.  Want to go on an epic journey in medieval times and also learn some history along the way?  Pick up The Scarlet Forest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A. E. Chandler holds a Master of Arts with Merit from the University of Nottingham, where she wrote her dissertation on the social history behind Robin Hood. While earning a BA in Ancient and Medieval Studies at the University of Calgary, she also took courses in publishing and creative writing.

Chandler has had short stories, poetry, and articles published, in addition to a book of collected non-fiction entitled Into the World, the Questionable Quizzes series, and the bestselling novel The Scarlet Forest: A Tale of Robin Hood. To get exclusive bonus content, including the original 2nd chapter of The Scarlet Forest, visit Chandler’s author website.

Living in England, and traveling in Europe, Asia, and Africa have also contributed to her stories and characters – she has been chased by a camel rider through the Sahara Desert, skated down a volcano in Sicily, and gotten unintentionally locked inside of a medieval prison in France. Currently, she lives in Calgary, where she is a visiting expert with the Glenbow Museum’s military collection, and writes historical fiction as well as contemporary fiction concerning history.

BUY LINKS

AMAZON|AMAZON UK|AUDIBLE

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Book Review: The Eleventh Commandment #JohnSingerSargent #VernonLee

This is the fourth book in the John Singer Sargent/Violet Paget mystery series. The amateur sleuthing pair of artist John and writer Violet, who wrote under the name Vernon Lee, make a great combination. These lifelong friends are drawn into an archaeological mystery when John receives a package from an acquaintance, Moses Shapira. Shapira had recently been accused of promoting a fake manuscript of the ten commandments, with an eleventh commandment added! Is the package of leather strips that John received an original, or is it a fake? Not long after receiving the package, John and Violet learn of a suicide that could actually be a murder. In alternating chapters, we follow Moses Shapira as he discovers and tries to verify the manuscripts, and Violet and John as they investigate a possible murder and the origin of those same artifacts. This book can be read as a standalone.

The duo of John and Violet as amateur investigators is delightful. Their friendship and Violet’s insight make for an entertaining read. Their travels revolve around the arts and their investigation. Violet is an excellent narrator, and the book includes snippets about her work and John’s paintings. The fact that they were real-life friends who traveled extensively makes the books even more authentic. The mystery is intriguing and multi-layered. With Moses, we travel with Bedouin guides into the deserts of the Middle East, searching for treasures. With Violet and John, we visit Rotterdam and search for clues into a mysterious death. This is a captivating and multi-layered mystery with absolutely endearing main characters.

I received a free copy of this book from Word by Word Press via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Burns’ varied writing experience includes more than twenty years in business and agency public relations and communications, including video scripts, radio commercials, annual reports, newsletters and executive speeches.  She managed the media coverage of the 1987 visit of Pope John Paul II to San Francisco, and was the producer of a local television morning talk show, Body and Soul.  She has run her own consulting business twice, alternating with corporate positions, and is currently pursuing several writing projects.

Mary’s creative fiction writing began with a short story that won a prize at the 2000 Mendocino (California) Coast Writers Conference.  Two other short stories garnered first places (see them at www.coffeehousefiction.com and www.jerryjazzmusician.com). She was an invited participant at the 2004 Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference in Lake Tahoe, California. Her first historical novel titled J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE, was published in July 2010 by O-Books Publishers, UK. She has just completed her fourth book in the JOHN SINGER SARGENT/VIOLET PAGENT MYSTERY SERIES.

For more information please visit Mary’s website.

BUY LINKS: AMAZON|AMAZON UK

LINK TO THE ENTIRE SERIES (CLICK IMAGE BELOW)

Self-Published Saturday: Books on Sale!

Here are some great books from two indie authors that are on sale today!

First up are two books from award-winning historical novelist Gail Meath: Songbird, which is the first book in the Jax Diamond mystery series, Framed, which is the second book in the series, and Fire Blossom, a historical western. Click on the photos to buy these books on Amazon.

See all of Gail’s books on her Amazon page.

Next up is a wonderful book of Christian poetry with accompanying photographs from amazing Christian poet Louise Belanger.

See Louise’s books on her Amazon page.

Book Review: Drawn By The Current #SSEastland #Chicago

In Chicago in 1915, Olive is an insurance agent for MetLife, an unusual occupation for a woman at that time, and she is facing prejudice as she tries to get promoted and gain more responsibility.  She also soon discovers that her friend Claire needs her help.  She invites Claire to travel on the SS Eastland from Chicago to a picnic in Michigan City, Indiana, as a temporary respite and a chance to talk.  When tragedy strikes, Claire makes an impossible request which places Olive in a position in which any choice she makes will compromise her values. Olive then volunteers for an opportunity to be an insurance investigator in the aftermath of the tragedy.  Facing discrimination from her boss and threats from others, she tries to help families who have lost loved ones while still keeping secrets herself. Although part of a series, this book can be read as a standalone.

This is a well-put-together story revolving around the 1915 capsizing of the SS Eastland, in which over 800 people were killed.  The description of the disaster as it occurs is well done.  There is another storyline involving abuse, and the fact that women in that time had little recourse for protection or escape.  The bias against women in business in the early 20th century is also addressed, and all these storylines are woven together skillfully.  The characters are all well developed, and the plot ranges from captivating to suspenseful to heartbreaking.  Drawn by the Current takes us back to one of the worst maritime disasters in U.S. history and also reminds us of the plight of women in those days.  Multi-layered and well-researched, this third book in the Windy City Saga series is not to be missed.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jocelyn Green is a former journalist who puts her investigative skills to work in writing both nonfiction and historical fiction to inspire faith and courage.

The honors her books have received include the Christy Award in historical fiction, and gold medals from the Military Writers Society of America and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Complex and nuanced characters, rich historical detail and twisting plots make her novels immersive experiences. Her fiction has been praised by Historical Novel Society, Romantic Times, Library Journal, historians specializing in her novels’ time periods, as well as popular and acclaimed authors Laura Frantz, Lori Benton, Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Joanne Bischof, Julie Lessman, and more.

Jocelyn loves Broadway musicals, the color red, strawberry-rhubarb pie, Mexican food, and well-done documentaries. She lives in Iowa with her husband, two children, and two cats she should have named Catticus Finch and Purrman Meowville. Visit her at her website, jocelyngreen.com.

BUY LINKS

Self-Published Saturday: A Class Coveted by Susie Murphy

Self-Published Saturday is my effort to help Self-Published/Indie authors with marketing. These authors have to do it all, from cover design to editing to marketing. If I can help even a little bit with marketing, I’m happy to do it. This week’s feature is A Class Coveted by Susie Murphy, the fourth book in the A Matter of Class series.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

It’s 1836, and Bridget and Cormac have arrived, full of hope, to the city of Boston with their growing family. However, as they adjust to domestic life together for the first time, they face anti-Irish sentiment from the local Americans, as well as a threat to their happiness from a much closer source.

Cormac undertakes the challenging search for his missing sister, Bronagh. He is determined to do all he can to put the broken pieces of his family back together, but the appalling truth he uncovers will shake him to his core.

Meanwhile, as Emily grows up in this new country, she realises how her parents’ past actions will affect her entire future and she begins to covet that which is no longer within her reach. When she receives an unexpected proposition, will she be able to resist its temptation, despite the untrustworthy nature of the person behind it?

A Class Coveted is the fourth book in Susie Murphy’s historical fiction series A Matter of Class. The story will continue in the fifth book, A Class Reunited.

BOOK REVIEW

A Class Coveted is the fourth book in the A Matter of Class series. I would recommend reading the books in order. Book One begins in Ireland with Cormac as a stablehand and Bridget as an heiress to a great estate, and their story continues to develop and progress throughout this saga. In this installment, Bridget, Cormac, their daughter Emily, and Cormac’s sister Orlaith have come to America searching for Cormac’s sister Bronagh. Upon arrival in Boston, they are shocked at the discrimination and outright shunning of the Irish people, who were often denied jobs and lodging just for being from Ireland. As they struggle to survive with dwindling funds, they continue their search for Bronagh. Orlaith also begins to try and make her own living as a midwife.

This is another captivating novel in this series and a fascinating look at Boston in 1836. The characters and their story still grab my attention four books in. We also learn more about Orlaith than we have before, and we watch the coming of age of Emily, who becomes a main character by the end of the book. Ultimately the story ends on a cliffhanger and several plotlines are still open, but the author promises us Book five in a note at the end. These are characters the reader will enjoy getting to know, and the author is great at creating captivating plotlines. Fans of historical romantic adventures will enjoy this one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susie Murphy is an Irish historical fiction author. She loves historical fiction so much that she often wishes she had been born two hundred years ago. Still, she remains grateful for many aspects of the modern age, including women’s suffrage, electric showers and pizza. Susie has published four novels in her A Matter of Class series, a sweeping romance saga which begins in Ireland in 1828.

To find out more, visit www.susiemurphywrites.com, where you can join the Susie Murphy Readers’ Club and receive a collection of six free short stories which tie in with A Matter of Class.

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Book Review: The Commandant’s Daughter #HistoricalNovelSociety #WorldWar2

Germany, 1933.  Hannelore (Hanni) Foss is a young girl living in Berlin as the Nazis rise to power.  Her father is a prominent figure in the Nazi party, and she lives the life that he dictates, attending Nazi functions and doing what she’s told.  Then she meets Ezra Stein, a photographer, and he shows her the art of looking at her surroundings through the lens of a camera.  She soon begins to see behind the façade of her father’s world.  In 1946 Berlin, after the fall of the Nazis, Hanni Winter has reinvented her life, working in the studio of Ezra’s son and hoping to one day bring her father to justice. With a new name and a new purpose, she keeps her past well hidden.  When she meets Detective Freddy Schlüssel, she becomes his crime scene photographer, and they begin to investigate a string of murders.

This is a compelling story that does not hold back on the descriptions of Nazi atrocities, making for an authentic and heartbreaking read. We learn a little about the history of the Nuremberg trials and the many Nazis who managed to avoid prosecution. Hanni is a purposeful and driven main character who is wracked with guilt and desperate for forgiveness. Her quest for justice is never-ending.  Through Ezra’s son Natan, and through Freddy Schlüssel we get the viewpoint of Jews who are still in Berlin and are trying to begin again after horrific persecution and loss. The evil manipulations and vile acts of the Nazis are shown through Hanni’s father. The author’s expert knowledge of and research into photography are evident throughout the story. The Commandant’s Daughter gives us a candid view of Berlin, both during and after unspeakable atrocities, uniquely conveyed through the lens of a camera.

I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via The Historical Novel Society. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

(In her own words) I seem to have followed a rather meandering career, including marketing and teaching and politics (don’t try and join the dots), to get where I have always wanted to be, which is writing historical fiction. I am a story lover as well as a story writer and nothing fascinates me more than a strong female protagonist and a quest. Hopefully those are what you will encounter when you pick up my books.

I am from the North of England but now live very happily in Glasgow with my American husband. Both my children have left home (one to London and one to Berlin) which may explain why I am finally writing. If I’m not at my desk you’ll most probably find me in the cinema, or just follow the sound of very loud music.

I’d love to hear from you and there are lots of ways you can find me, so jump in via my website https://www.catherinehokin.com/ or on my Cat Hokin FB page or on twitter @cathokin

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