Thursday, December 18, 2014

Why I Love....Quilts: Guest Post by Leah Zieber, Author of Libby Morgan: Reunion

Quilts – I love quilts. The cozy feeling I get when snuggled beneath my quilt is like getting a hug from someone I love. They are one of the staples in my home that my family has grown to appreciate and love almost as much as I do. But what I feel for quilts is more than just an affinity for the actual, tangible thing that I wrap myself in each night; I love quilts for their mystery and the history they hold in their stitches and for all the memories they pass on for future generations to uncover, treasure and in my case – write about.

To understand just how a quilt can hold memories, it is important to understand what goes into making a quilt. It is a lengthy process that entails design consideration, fabric selection, gathering, cutting, sewing, sewing, and more sewing, block layout, more sewing, then layering, more design consideration for the quilting, more sewing and finally, the finishing process of binding up the unfinished edges. Hopefully, the quilt is given a label, too – but not usually, otherwise it wouldn’t be such a mystery.

Throughout the quilt making process, knowledge about the maker and a record of the times are often stitched into the folds of the object. The mystery comes in trying to decipher this knowledge. When designing a quilt, the maker considers the news of the day and the interests, desires and life altering events of the quilt’s recipient, as well as her own interests, desires and life events. For example, use of the heart design may indicate a marriage or death quilt, trees or the house design may reflect one’s love of family or home, and signature blocks with endearing sayings of remembrances may be used for someone leaving a community or for someone being left behind. (See figure 1 and 2 for signed quilt blocks from an 1850’s quilt.) Even religious, political and organizational affiliations can be represented in the designs of some quilts, both in the selected design (e.g., Temperance Block for the prohibitionists) and the fabrics chosen for the quilt (e.g., political ribbons or fabrics depicting government figures like presidents or war generals for the patriots).  Having a basic understanding of history, some knowledge about a person’s life events - as can be found on Ancestry.com - and a bit of background regarding the symbolism found in a community can often lead to a greater understanding of why a quilt was made.  I love to find a quilt with little or no history and try to unravel some of the mysteries held within.

 

Signature Block from 1853 Quilt

 
 
 
Close Up of Signature

 
 
The fabrics in quilts are usually quite beautiful. Every image conceivable can be found in both old and modern textiles. I love the variety of design and color, but my real love for the fabrics comes from a different perspective. Taking a closer look at the materials used to make the quilt can convey insight into the quilt’s secrets. A family legacy can be found in the fabrics that were selected to make a quilt. Sometimes, makers’ dresses gone out of fashion were used in quilts; old, quilted petticoats have also been found. Relatives and friends would share bits of fabrics and close examination of quilts from the same community will often reveal many of the same prints – this is often found in signature quilts from the Quaker communities. Makers would use feed sacks from the family farm; even salesman sample card fabric swatches from Papa’s mercantile store can be found in some quilts. A maker’s frugality can often be seen in fabrics they used; recycling was being done long before it was hip. But not just a maker’s economy, the family’s prosperity can also be seen in the costly yards of a French chintz fabric that was used to make up a quilt’s backing or in the finely made binding of store-bought, woven tape. The materials used to make a quilt imparts wisdom that bring me closer to understanding the circumstances of the maker, the owner and history of the textiles of the time, and for this reason I love the fabrics.
 
 
 
Mother Morgan’s Framed Angel Quilt – Made by Leah Zieber 2014 (a quilt from the novel.) This quilt is full of fabric that I love!
 
 
 
Quilt makers often remained anonymous, but many left pseudo-signatures hidden for only the most discerning eye to find. Looking closely at the quilting can reveal a lot about the maker or makers. Hidden in the multitude of stitches that hold the quilt layers together I find many clues to the quilt’s mystery of whom, why, where and when. Differences in the quality of quilting stitches can reveal a group project such as a quilting bee or perhaps a teacher and student (i.e., mother and child). Symbols stitched into the quilting can help define a particular region from which the quilt may have come or an association with a group. (e.g., The Order of Odd Fellows were often represented by the three interlocking chain links or circles. See Figure 4. ). The type of thread used for the quilting (two-ply or three) can reveal when a quilt was quilted. Occasionally, just the tiniest of initials cross-stitched in a corner can confirm or reject a names associated with the quilt. And sometimes, but not often, a quilt has a goldmine of information stitched into the designs – names, dates, locations, even the occasion for the quilt have all have been found in the quilt stitches.  There is a secret held in the stitches that brings me closer to the legacy waiting to be revealed.
 
 
 
Interlocking Rings in the quilting could symbolize an Order of the Odd Fellows affiliation
 
 
 
It takes patience to thoroughly examine a quilt, but my patience is usually rewarded with fragments of information about a person or people, about an unknown place and about the events of a time in history that, without the quilt, may have remained forever lost to posterity. I love the mystery, I love the history, I love quilts.

 
Thank you so much, Leah, for this thought-provoking guest post! I never would have guessed the mysteries hidden within a quilt...I need to go back and look closely at some my grandmother made!
 
Readers, please be sure to continue below for more about Leah's book, Libby Morgan: Reunion, and check out the rest of the blog tour!
 
 
 
 
Publication Date: September 7, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 283
ASIN: B00O35L1MO
Series: American Heritage Quilt Series
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
 
 
Coming from a long line of seamstresses, Libby has yet to sew anything more than the rudimentary button or hem, but on a visit to Connecticut she learns more than just how to sew patchwork. Set in 1855 New England and London, this tender story, Libby Morgan: Reunion, follows tenacious Elizabeth (Libby) Jane Morgan through her thirteenth summer of new adventures at home and abroad. She is given a birthday gift of sewing tools and fabric, as well as old family letters to use as templates for making her first quilt. Her decision to first read the letters results in questions that only her Grandmother Morgan’s stories can answer—stories of true love, horrible loss and family connections to London nobles. Her keen eye and inquisitive nature draws her family into a mysterious investigation that tests their faith, challenges their ability to forgive, and results in a resurrection and reunion of lost hearts.



 

Buy the Book

 
 

About the Author

 
Leah A. Zieber is a quilt historian and quilt maker from Temecula, California, specializing in
American quilt history and reproduction quilts from the nineteenth century. Her quilts have been exhibited across the country in quilt shows, museums and historical societies and were most recently published in Stars: A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts. Leah has worked closely with Southern California collectors, cataloging, managing, and independently researching their textile collections. Her own collection of antique quilts and related textile items spans one hundred and eighty five years, and she shares her knowledge of American quilt history using her collection in lectures and workshops. Libby Morgan: Reunion is her debut novel and the first in her American Heritage Quilt Series.

For more information please visit Leah Zieber’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.

 
 

Libby Morgan: Reunion Blog Tour Schedule

 
Monday, December 1

Review at WV Stitcher

Tuesday, December 2

Spotlight at I’d Rather Be Reading

Thursday, December 4

Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Friday, December 5

Review at Book Nerd

Saturday, December 6

Review at Mel’s Shelves

Monday, December 8

Review at Forever Ashley

Tuesday, December 9

Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews

Wednesday, December 10

Review at Luxury Reading
Spotlight & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Friday, December 12

Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, December 15

Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, December 16
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 17
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, December 18
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 19
Guest Post at Book Babe


 



Friday, December 12, 2014

Bookish Secret Santa

Ah, Christmas...my favorite time of the year! I am one of those happy suckers who get so excited when the lights start coming out around the neighborhood and the Christmas movies and music are everywhere. So let's just say I was really excited when I saw that the always delightful Michelle Stockard Miller from The True Book Addict was organizing a Bookish Secret Santa event on Facebook. I was in!

Having sent off my package to the recipient Michelle paired me up with (I hope she gets it soon and loves it!) I was eagerly waiting to see what my Secret Santa had in store for me. When I came home today my wait was over and this was waiting for me at the front door:




Oh the excitement! What could be in it?! Well it didn't take me long to tear it open to see what was inside. I discovered my Secret Santa...Stacy at Stacy's Books.... had quite the surprise waiting for me! Inside was beautifully wrapped gifts with Godiva chocolates attached.  It was almost too pretty to tear open! Almost....


 
 
 
To my absolute delight the smaller package had a real mistletoe inside that I have already had my husband hang up...it is so pretty! The bigger package was the real surprise for this bookie girl...a SIGNED copy of Jodi Picoult's newest novel, Leaving Time. A SIGNED COPY!!! Being that Jodie Picoult is one of my all time favorite writers this one is going on the forever shelf to be loved and savored and kept safe. I cannot wait to read it!
 
 
 
I am so happy I signed up to do this Bookish Secret Santa and I will definitely be doing it again next year! Thank you so much to Michelle for organizing it and to Stacy for the awesome gifts....I am definitely in the spirit of the season now!




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Spotlight On The Oblate's Confession by William Peak

Publication Date: December 2, 2014 Secant Publishing
Formats: eBook, Hardcover


Genre: Historical Fiction


Set in 7th century England, The Oblate’s Confession tells the story of Winwaed, a boy who – in a practice common at the time – is donated by his father to a local monastery. In a countryside wracked by plague and war, the child comes to serve as a regular messenger between the monastery and a hermit living on a nearby mountain. Missing his father, he finds a surrogate in the hermit, an old man who teaches him woodcraft, the practice of contemplative prayer, and, ultimately, the true meaning of fatherhood. When the boy’s natural father visits the monastery and asks him to pray for the death of his enemy – an enemy who turns out to be the child’s monastic superior – the boy’s life is thrown into turmoil. It is the struggle Winawed undergoes to answer the questions – Who is my father? Whom am I to obey? – that animates, and finally necessitates, The Oblate’s Confession.

While entirely a work of fiction, the novel’s background is historically accurate: all the kings and queens named really lived, all the political divisions and rivalries actually existed, and each of the plagues that visit the author’s imagined monastery did in fact ravage that long-ago world. In the midst of a tale that touches the human in all of us, readers will find themselves treated to a history of the “Dark Ages” unlike anything available today outside of textbooks and original source material.


Buy the Book


Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


About the Author


William Peak spent ten years researching and writing The Oblate’s Confession, his debut novel.
Based upon the work of one of the great (if less well known) figures of Western European history, the Venerable Bede, Peak’s book is meant to reawaken an interest in that lost and mysterious period of time sometimes called “The Dark Ages.”

Peak received his baccalaureate degree from Washington & Lee University and his master’s from the creative writing program at Hollins University.  He works for the Talbot County Free Library on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  Thanks to the column he writes for The Star Democrat about life at the library (archived at http://www.tcfl.org/peak/), Peak is regularly greeted on the streets of Easton: “Hey, library guy!”  In his free time he likes to fish and bird and write long love letters to his wife Melissa.

For more information please visit William Peak’s website.


 

 

The Oblate's Confession Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, December 1
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, December 2
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, December 3
Review at Back Porchervations
Review at A Fantastical Librarian

Thursday, December 4
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, December 5
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, December 8
Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, December 9
Review at The Writing Desk
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, December 11
Interview at Forever Ashley

Monday, December 15
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, December 16
Spotlight at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Thursday, December 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Guest Post at Books and Benches

Friday, December 19
Review at Book Nerd
Review at bookramblings

Monday, December 22
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, December 23
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, December 24
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, December 29
Review at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, December 30
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, January 2
Review at Library Educated

Monday, January 5
Review & Interview at Words and Peace

Tuesday, January 6
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, January 7
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Thursday, January 8
Review at Impressions in Ink

Friday, January 9
Review at The True Book Addict
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story


 


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Past Encounters Blog Tour: Review

Publication Date: November 22, 2014
CreateSpace
Paperback; 442p

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction

Synopsis


England 1955.

The day Rhoda Middleton opens a letter from another woman, she becomes convinced her husband, Peter, is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks the mysterious woman down, she discovers she is not Peter’s lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem – Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.

Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out why Peter has kept this friendship a secret for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter’s wartime experiences she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For Rhoda too cannot escape the ghosts of the past.

Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, PAST ENCOUNTERS explores themes of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.

Includes bonus material for reading groups.

 

So What Did I Think About The Story?



WWII seems to be a hot topic in novels nowadays and I am one of those readers that eats it up! There is just something about the horror and sacrifice intermingled with the determination, bravery and sheer will to not only survive but to come out the other side stronger than ever that gets me every time. Most of these stories seem to take the reader to the frontlines of the battles or into the homes of those left behind to pine for loved ones fighting. Brief Encounters, however, is the first I  have read that gives us an inside look at what it was like for British soldiers forced to work for the Germans in prisoner of war camps as well as the complicated emotions of someone left behind who is ready for her life to begin even while those around her expect her to put her life on hold for a man she barely knows. These varied topics really pulled me into Brief Encounters and kept me turning the pages to find out how the story would unfold.

The story goes back and forth between 1955, when Rhoda Middleton discovers her husband Peter has been hiding an entire part of his life from her since he returned from the war, and the late 1930s through 1945 when Rhoda and Peter meet, go through a quick courtship and Peter enlists and goes off to become a driver and finds himself a prisoner of war . Mostly alternating between Peter's and Rhoda's points of view, the reader gets to see first hand the struggles both of them go through during the war and what they hide from each other when Peter returns, leading to the marriage difficulties they are facing in 1955.

When we first meet Peter and Rhoda in 1955, their marriage of ten years seems to be a complete shame with no real relationship, either physical or emotional, and with both of them just going through the motions of everyday life. It isn't until Rhoda finds a letter from a woman named  Helen and she thinks Peter is having an affair that she finally learns how little she knows about her husband's past and what he went through while he was in a prisoner of war camp. As she builds a friendship with Helen, the wife of a man Peter survived the camp with, she begins to better understand the man she's married to and how her secrets have served to put a wedge between them as much as his. It is only with being honest with each other and letting their guards down that they might stand a chance at a happy life together.

The most captivating part of this twisting story for me was Peter's time in the camp. Davina Blake does an exceptional job of plopping the reader into the camp and making them feel, hear, see what these prisoners had to go through. The descriptions of what would go through their minds and what they experienced really helped not only to immerse me in the action but to somewhat explain why Peter becomes this different man when he goes home. Watching Peter and his fellow prisoners not only try to survive but retain some humanity was inspiring and I won't soon forget their stories.

While Rhoda's side of the story is less dramatic and attention-grabbing I did enjoy seeing her struggle against what she believed was expected of her as a "fiancée" (although you can barely call Peter her fiancée while he is serving as he asked her so abruptly before leaving for the war) and what her heart was telling her she wanted out of life. I couldn't help but feel for her, left at home with a less than perfect family life, always expected to find something useful to do with every second she had to spare, and wanting nothing more than to live a little as any red-blooded young woman in her early twenties would want to do. I don't want to give too  much away regarding the secret she has kept hidden from Peter but it is quite bittersweet and even when I finished the story I couldn't help but feel that she never really got what she wanted out of life.

Brief Encounters is a long but enticing story of the endurance of the human spirit, the hunger for love and appreciation and how secrets can fester and tear people away from each other. I only wish that the author had included an author's note at the back of the book that explained more about the real Great March of prisoners of war (something I knew nothing about) and maybe more facts regarding the loses sustained during the war (and I know I could just look this up online but I always enjoy turning that last page and finding that information ready to drive home the reality of what people such as the ones found in the book actually experienced). I highly recommend this to any lover of WWII history!

 

So What Did I Think About The Cover?



I think its very pretty and I like the idea of the misty, grey man and background being the past that Rhoda is trying to forget.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0


 
Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Past Encounters in exchange for an honest review! Make sure to continue below for more information about the book, the author and the rest of the blog tour.
 
 

Praise for Past Encounters

 
“Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly Recommended!” – The Historical Novels Review
 

Buy The Book

 
 

About the Author


Davina Blake used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time she developed a love of research which fueled her passion for the past. She holds an MA in Creative
Writing from Lancaster University and also writes successful seventeenth century historicals under the pen name Deborah Swift. ‘Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.’ The Historical Novels Review From Davina: ‘I was inspired to write ‘Past Encounters’ because I live close to the railway station where the iconic ‘Brief Encounter’ was filmed in 1945. I have often used the refreshment room that featured in the film when waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie!’

For more information visit Davina Blake’s website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter.


Past Encounters Blog Tour Schedule


Saturday, November 15

Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 16

Review at Library Educated

Monday, November 17

Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, November 18

Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, November 19

Review at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 20

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 21

Review & Interview at Bookish

Saturday, November 22

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, November 24

Review at A Bookish Affair
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 25

Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, November 27
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, December 1
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Interview at Casual Readers

Tuesday, December 2
Review at My Reader’s Block
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 3
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, December 4
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 5
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Saturday, December 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Historical Tapestry

 
 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Past Encounters Blog Tour: Why I Love...the Film "Brief Encounter"

 

A classic film inspires a novel: Past Encounters by Davina Blake

 

 

In England the film Brief Encounter is rated as the best romantic film of all time. I am pretty sure that in any other country in the world this wouldn’t be so, and because of that the film gives audiences a rare insight into our Englishness.
 
It is a film that I watched with my mother on a TV repeat, and I was astonished to see it bring her to tears, and she was a woman who rarely cried.
 
In my novel Past Encounters, Rhoda falls for Matthew, a location assistant for the film Brief Encounter, even though she is already engaged to army officer Peter. Peter is a long-term intern in a prisoner of war camp. This is a parallel to the film where middle class housewife Laura, and respectable doctor Alec, contemplate an affair. In the film, for the sake of their existing spouses, Laura and Alec sacrifice their love for each other in favour of returning to lives of conformity.
 
How many people must have been faced with exactly this dilemma? The pain and intensity of illicit love have an enduring fascination. In the US, the best-selling book (and film) ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ expresses exactly this idea.
 
This repression of passions and stiff upper-lip approach is what made English people so stoic during WWII, and why the film touched a nerve with the audiences of the time. The showing of emotion in this period was viewed as a weakness, and too much affection as sentimentality. Partly it was to do with wartime morale; that no matter what came, you would just grit your teeth and carry on. The theme of Brief Encounter was made more poignant at the time by the fact that the film came out when many men were away fighting and feared their wives would not wait for them to come home from war. In modern times the film has come to highlight the difference in attitudes to adultery between the pre and post-sexual revolution in the 1960’s.
 
One of the things I loved about the film was how understated the performances were, and this was an effect I wanted to build in the novel, to make the emotion deep but not showy, to build the relationships slowly and to make my couple real. When interviewing people for the novel I was struck by how matter-of-fact people were when talking about quite horrific wartime events. This did not make the stories less moving, but rather more powerful. It also put me in touch with the sensibility of the times, something I wanted to recreate in Past Encounters. For example class distinction was still an obvious part of English life (and still is, if we’re honest, though we Brits try our best to pretend it’s not there). I was also taken by the visual starkness of the film, and by Laura’s (Celia Johnson’s) first person narration, which was a highly unusual device back then, that you could actually hear the thoughts of the character in voice-over.
 
As for the outcome of Past Encounters you will have to read Past Encounters to read what happens in the love triangle of Rhoda, Peter and Matthew! And of course there is also Helen …
 
 
 
Thank you so much, Davina, for this wonderfully insightful guest post! What a fascinating concept to use a movie like Brief Encounter as a backdrop for a story that deals with much of the same emotions and suppression of desires. Now I want to see the movie!
 
 
Readers, come back on 12/6 for my review of Past Encounters and be sure to continue below for more information on the book, the author and the blog tour!
 
 


Publication Date: November 22, 2014
CreateSpace
Paperback; 442p
 
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction
 
 
 
England 1955.
 
The day Rhoda Middleton opens a letter from another woman, she becomes convinced her husband, Peter, is having an affair. But when Rhoda tracks the mysterious woman down, she discovers she is not Peter’s lover after all, but the wife of his best friend, Archie Foster. There is only one problem – Rhoda has never even heard of Archie Foster.
 
Devastated by this betrayal of trust, Rhoda tries to find out why Peter has kept this friendship a secret for so long. Her search leads her back to 1945, but as she gradually uncovers Peter’s wartime experiences she must wrestle with painful memories of her own. For Rhoda too cannot escape the ghosts of the past.
 
Taking us on a journey from the atmospheric filming of Brief Encounter, to the extraordinary Great March of prisoners of war through snow-bound Germany, PAST ENCOUNTERS explores themes of friendship, hope, and how in the end, it is the small things that enable love to survive.
 
Includes bonus material for reading groups.
 
 

Praise for Past Encounters

 
 
“Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly Recommended!” – The Historical Novels Review
 
 

About the Author

 
Davina Blake used to be a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, during which time she developed a love of research which fueled her passion for the past. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and also writes successful seventeenth century historicals under the pen name Deborah Swift. ‘Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended.’ The Historical Novels Review From Davina: ‘I was inspired to write ‘Past Encounters’ because I live close to the railway station where the iconic ‘Brief Encounter’ was filmed in 1945. I have often used the refreshment room that featured in the film when waiting for a train. I love a good cup of tea, preferably accompanied by a chocolate brownie!’

For more information visit Davina Blake’s website and blog. You can also find her on Twitter.
 


Praise For Deborah Swift

 
“stellar historical fiction” -Orange Prize Nominee Ann Weisgarber

“compelling'” -Westmorland Gazette

“The past comes alive through impeccable research…and the sheer power of descriptive prose” -Lancashire Evening Post


Buy the Book


Amazon US
Amazon UK


Past Encounters Blog Tour Schedule



Saturday, November 15

Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 16

Review at Library Educated

Monday, November 17

Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, November 18

Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, November 19

Review at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 20

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 21

Review & Interview at Bookish

Saturday, November 22

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, November 24

Review at A Bookish Affair
 Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 25

Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Book Nerd

Thursday, November 27
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, December 1
Review at Layered Pages
Review & Interview at Casual Readers

Tuesday, December 2
Review at My Reader’s Block
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 3
Review at The Worm Hole
Review at Diary of an Eccentric

Thursday, December 4
Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, December 5
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Saturday, December 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Historical Tapestry

 









Monday, December 1, 2014

Release Day! A Grave Inheritance by Kari Edgren

I really enjoyed Kari Edgren's first book in her Goddess Born series, Goddess Born, when I reviewed it a few months ago and am so excited the second book is coming out already! I'll be reading this one soon but in the meantime I am happy to share all the information you need about the book, the author and where you can get your own copy!


 


Publication Date: December 1, 2014 Carina Press
eBook; ASIN: B00OHV6MFA
 
Series: Goddess Born
Genre: Historical/Paranormal/New Adult/Romance


Selah Kilbrid may descend from the goddess Brigid, but her heart beats—and breaks—the same as any human. Yet enduring the scorn of London’s most noble lords and ladies is a small price to pay for a chance at true happiness. Selah would endure much more for love, and her betrothed, Lord Henry Fitzalan, is prepared to challenge anyone foolish enough to stand in their way—even another goddess born.

But when a captivating young gentleman draws Selah into a world shadowed by secrets, she is forced to confront her darkest fears. What if some differences are too great to overcome and a future with Henry is doomed from the start?

With these doubts threatening her impending marriage and the very last of Brigid’s fire draining from her soul, a violent attack on an innocent child pushes Selah to the very edge of her power. She must find a way to cross into the Otherworld and regain her strength—or forfeit the streets of London to death and disease.

 

About the Author



Kari Edgren is the author of the Goddess Born series. In 2010 and 2011 she was a semifinalist for the Amazon Break Through Novel Award. In 2013, she was a RWA Golden Heart finalist. Ms. Edgren enjoys writing both historical and contemporary fiction, so long as there’s a spark of paranormal. She resides on a mountain top in the Pacific Northwest where she spends a great deal of time dreaming about the sun and torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts.

For more information please visit Kari Edgren’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign Up for Kari Edgren’s Newsletter.


 

Buy the Book



Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble





Friday, November 28, 2014

The Sharp Hook of Love Blog Tour: Why I Love...the 12th Century by Sherry Jones

If you are a follower of Historical Tapestry then you probably saw my book release post for the Sharp Hook of Love (see HERE) as well as my review of the book  (see HERE). Hint: I loved it! Well now I am honored to have the author of The Sharp Hook of Love, Sherry Jones, on the blog with a wonderful guest post about why she loves the 12th Century. So please enjoy the post and continue below for more information about this wonderful book, its author and the rest of the book blog tour!

 

The First Renaissance, Abelard, and Heloise: Why I Love the 12th Century
 
 
 
 
 
Love, not gravity, makes the world go ‘round, goes the song. What if that were true? If the dawning of day and the fall of night, if the changing of the seasons, if the planet’s very spinning depended on love, we’d all be performing acts of kindness for one another all the time. We’d be loving it up.
 
I love love. At its best, it ennobles us, inspires us to be our very best selves, to give of ourselves to others. At its worst, it blinds us to others’ failings—but that only harms us if we’ve forgotten that, to love another well, we must love ourselves first.
 
Love is patient, as the Scriptures say; love is kind. Yes. But love is also messy, bewildering, frustrating, exalting, exciting, frightening, and capricious. Love holds a mirror to those in its thrall, showing us not only the other but our naked selves. And the best writing about love holds a mirror up to this complex emotion, revealing it to us in all its multi-faceted glory and inspiring us to think about love, to feel it, and, perhaps most important, to enact it in our lives.
 
Self-love wasn’t something they talked about in the early-to-high Middle Ages, or, if they did, they called it “vanity,” or “pride”: one of the Church’s so-called deadly sins. That’s the world in which the 12th-century Parisian scholar Heloise lived, one which cherished community over individuality, sacrifice over personal gain, giving over receiving.
 
Fortunately, for Heloise and for me, the author telling her tale in my book THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, another dynamic had begun to shape the culture, as well: the awakening of an awareness of the self, making this era one of the most exciting times to be alive in western Europe.
 
 
 
 
The dawn of a new era
 
The 12th century heralded the true beginning of the Renaissance Era, or at least as a prelude that set the stage for the rebirth of arts, culture and knowledge so prevalent before the fall of the Roman Empire. A new awareness of the individual as opposed to the collective began to emerge, as well, including questioning of Church doctrines at the highest level.
 
A number of events, beginning around 1070, led to this reawakening. The marriage of the Frankish King Philip to Bertrade de Montfort, both already married to others, captured the public’s imagination. Their passionate love for each other caused them to defy the Church’s condemnations and excommunications—and transformed marriage from a mere business arrangement, easily broken, to an everlasting affair of the heart.
 
This scandalous, exciting union—Philip’s repudiated queen, Bertha, left in shame for the convent—stimulated at least one copycat marriage. Around 1115, the already-married Count William of Poitiers, also the Duke of Aquitaine, “abducted” the wife of one of his vassals, a viscountess named Dangerose, and brought her to Poitou to live in the luxury tower he’d built there. They, too, suffered the censure of the Church, but neither seemed to care.
 
William, a famously seductive ladies’ man of great intellect and wit, wrote bawdy romantic songs, as well, starting the troubadour era from which springs the long tradition of courtly love.
 
 
 
 
Forbidden love: Heloise and Abelard
 
From this heady ferment of scholarly debate, rebellion, and passion sprang the love affair of the 21-year-old Heloise with her teacher, Pierre Abelard, the famously brilliant, and arrogant, philosopher and poet whose beautiful love songs made women swoon.
 
Their society forbade their love. Abelard, as headmaster of the Notre Dame Cloister school and a Church canon, was supposed to be chaste, and Heloise was a single young woman living under the protection of her uncle, a Notre Dame subdeacon. Yet the couple defied these strictures, risking everything to be together, and ultimately losing all except the love itself.
 
Caught by Heloise’s uncle and torn asunder by his cruel act of revenge, these lovers live on today in our books, movies, art, poems, plays, and songs. We love the story not only because of the shocking nature of Uncle Fulbert’s revenge, but also because their courage and daring for the sake of love inspire us all. In today’s throwaway society, it’s important to be reminded that love, even when beset by so many obstacles and sorrows, can indeed last a lifetime.
 
Which tale to tell?
 
In writing about the 12th century, I felt excited and privileged to portray this exciting era. My next book will be much more contemporary, but I know I will return again and again to the 12th Century Renaissance, a time as thrilling as our own.
 
William of Aquitaine, his granddaughter, Eleanor; Philip and Bertrade; the troubadours; Blanche de Castille; the Crusades: If only time travel had been invented, I’d go to 12th-century France in a heartbeat. Instead, I get to write about it, which may be even better. The question for me is, which story should I tell next?
 
 
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Gallery Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 352

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
 
The first retelling of the passionate, twelfth-century love story since the discovery of 113 lost love letters between Heloise d’Argenteuil and Pierre Abelard—the original Romeo and Juliet.

“While I sleep you never leave me, and after I wake I see you, as soon as I open my eyes, even before the light of day itself.” —Abelard to Heloise

Among the young women of twelfth-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 Notre-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.
 

 

Praise for The Sharp Hook of Love

 

“Heloise is the sort of heroine you cannot help rooting for: brilliant and naïve, vulnerable and tough. The Sharp Hook of Love will have you up all night holding your breath as you turn each page.” (Rebecca Kanner author of Sinners and the Sea)

“Jones weaves history and passion in a tale full of emotional heft that questions what it means to truly love someone…” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A sensual journey into twelfth century Paris. With a sharp eye for historical detail, Jones weaves an unforgettable, compelling tale about enduring love.” (Lynn Cullen nationally bestselling author of Mrs. Poe)

“Passion and treachery mingle in Sherry Jones’s explosive novel The Sharp Hook of Love. Wrenching and erotic, this is a grand romance in every sense of the word.” (Mary Sharratt author of Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen)
 

 

Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author

 


Sherry Jones is the author of five biographical fiction books: The Sharp Hook of Love, about the famed 12th-century lovers Abelard and Heloise; The Jewel of Medina and The Sword of Medina, international — and controversial — best sellers about the life of A’isha, who married the Muslim prophet Muhammad at age nine and went on to become the most famous and influential woman in Islam; Four Sisters, All Queens, a tale of four sisters in 13th century Provence who became queens of France, England, Germany, and Italy, and White Heart, an e-novella about the famous French “White Queen” Blanche de Castille.

For more information please visit Sherry Jones’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Goodreads.





 

The Sharp Hook of Love Blog Tour Schedule



Monday, November 24

Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, November 25

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, November 26

Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, November 28

Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Sunday, November 29

Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lusty Literate

Monday, December 1

Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, December 3

Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 4

Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, December 5

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Feature at Romantic Historical Lovers
Interview at To Read or Not to Read