Book Spotlight: Harvest Moon by Jenny Knipfer

HarvestMoon-frontTitle: Harvest Moon

Author: Jenny Knipfer

Blurb: In the wilds of 19th century Ontario, Maang-ikwe, a young Ojibwe woman, falls into a forbidden love, breaks her father’s honor, and surrenders her trust to someone who betrays it. The abuse she suffers divides her from her tribe and causes her to give up what she holds most dear. 

Niin-mawin must come to grips with his culture being ripped away from him. Brought up in a “white man’s” school, he suffers through an enforced “civilized” education and separation from his family. When a man he respects reveals a secret about Niin-mawin’s past, he embarks on a search for the person he hopes can mend the part of his heart that’s always been missing. 

Both Maang-ikwe and Niin-mawin wonder how a harvest of pain and sorrow will impact their lives. Will they find the blessings amongst the hardships, or will they allow the results of division and abuse to taint their hearts forever?

Fans of historical fiction, Native American fiction, Christian historical fiction, clean romance, and literary fiction will be moved by this deep, heartfelt novel.

Praise for Harvest Moon

“A moving and authentic work or historical fiction, while this series is a testament to Knipfer’s skilled and versatile storytelling.” Self-Publishing Review

“Knipfer does an outstanding job of cementing place, time, and culture against the backdrop of evolving relationships.” D. Donavon for Midwest Book Review

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU


Review:
fivestars

I had originally reviewed this novel on behalf of Readers’ Favorite. As per their review guidelines, I’m unable to post my review on Goodreads or Amazon, but I’ve shared it below.

A tale of tragedy and self-discovery, Harvest Moon, the fourth book in the By the Light of the Moon series by Jenny Knipfer, takes the reader on a journey through the life and decisions of Maang-ikwe, an Ojibwe woman living during the 19th century. As a young girl, Maang-ikwe is forced to attend a Jesuit school, a way for the white men to maintain some control over the native populations. There, she meets a young incumbent priest, Ignacio. The pair decide to run away together, but they are thwarted, and the unthinkable happens to Maang-ikwe as she seeks comfort from another man she thought a friend. Paralleled with her son, Niin-mawin, the subsequent years take both on a journey to forgiveness and understanding, but also roots in Maang-ikwe the deep desire not to forsake her people’s ways.

This was certainly an interesting piece of historical fiction. I do find novels written around this time period very interesting because it shows literally how white men wanted to wipe out the culture of an entire people through the use of residential schools and cruel methods against Native American children. I can see why Maang-ikwe struggled with her beliefs throughout, and wanted to keep the Ojibwe way of life alive for future generations. Her son’s experiences were equally heart-breaking as her own. I appreciated the satisfying ending to this novel, and I won’t say too much about that, but it works so well for the story. Harvest Moon, the fourth book in the By the Light of the Moon series by Jenny Knipfer, explores so much about a past I’m sure many would like to forget, but it’s so important we remember what was done to the Native people.


IMG_7988-Edit-2-Edit-2Author Bio:

Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.

Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.

Her By the Light of the Moon series earned five-star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, a book review and award contest company. Their praise: Ruby Moon is entertaining, fast-paced, and features characters that are real. Blue Moon continues a well-written and highly engaging saga of family ties, betrayals, and heartaches. Silver Moon is a highly recommended read for fans of historical wartime fiction, powerful emotive drama, and excellent atmospheric writingHarvest Moon is probably one of the best historical fiction novels I have ever read. I have come away deep in thought, feeling somewhat like I’ve had a mystical experience and one I will never forget.”

She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.

Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set. She is currently writing a new historical fiction series entitled, Sheltering Trees. The first title in that series, In a Grove of Maples,—inspired by the lives of her grandparents in the late 1890’s—is slated for fall of 2021.

Connect with Jenny:

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Blog Tour: Ropewalk by HD Coulter

ropewalkebookTitle: Ropewalk; Rebellion. Love. Survival (The Ropewalk Series, Book 1)

Author: H D Coulter

Blurb:

The North of England, 1831. 

The working class are gathering. Rebellion is stirring, and the people are divided. 

Beatrice Lightfoot, a young woman fighting her own personal rebellion, is looking for an opportunity to change her luck. When she gains the attention of the enigmatic Captain Hanley, he offers her a tantalising deal to attend the May Day dance. She accepts, unaware of the true price of her own free will. 

Her subsequent entanglement with Joshua Mason, the son of a local merchant, draws all three into a destructive and dangerous relationship, which threatens to drag Beatrice, and all she knows into darkness. 

Now, Beatrice must choose between rebellion, love and survival before all is lost, and the Northern uprising changes her world forever. 

Buy Links: ROPEWALK IS 99 cents/99p for the duration of the tour! GO GO GO!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08MKZW4S5

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MKZW4S5

Universal Link to other bookshops: https://books2read.com/u/bxjlQd

Book 2, Saving Grace; Deception. Obsession. Redemption. is also on preorder.

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08YWBZRQY

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08YWBZRQY

Universal Link to other bookshops: https://books2read.com/u/38QrBV


Review:
fivestars

I am a historical romance/fiction nerd. I admit it, fully. And very rarely do I find a historical fiction novel that I completely gush over. Ropewalk is one of those rare gems of the genre. I love novels that delve deep into the characters, using the historical setting to enhance, not dominate, the story. With every page of this book, I was drawn deeper and deeper into a world of class divides, love, and hardship, but also of hope for a better tomorrow and future. Beatrice blew me away with her perseverance in the face of adversity. You can certainly tell that the author was invested in her characters completely. Please note, there is one scene that may cause distress, but I feel that it was wholly necessary for the storyline, so please don’t let that stop you from picking up the novel! I cannot wait for book two in the series. I HIGHLY recommend Ropewalk to any historical fiction fan.


Author Bio:

Hayley was born and raised in the lake district and across Cumbria. From a young age, Hayley loved learning about history, visiting castles and discovering local stories from the past. Hayley and her partner lived in Ulverston for three years and spent her weekends walking along the Ropewalk and down by the old harbour. She became inspired by the spirit of the area and stories that had taken place along the historic streets.

As a teacher, Hayley had loved the art of storytelling by studying drama and theatre. The power of the written word, how it can transport the reader to another world or even another time in history. But it wasn’t until living in Ulverston did she discover a story worth telling. From that point, the characters became alive and she fell in love with the story.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://hdcoulter.com/

Twitter:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hd.coulter/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hdcoulter


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Blog Tour: State of Treason by Paul Walker

State of Treason audioTitle: State of Treason (Book 1, William Constable Spy Thrillers)

Author: Paul Walker

Narrated by Edward Gist

Blurb:

London, 1578

William Constable is a scholar of mathematics, astrology and practices as a physician. He receives an unexpected summons to the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham in the middle of the night. He fears for his life when he spies the tortured body of an old friend in the palace precincts.

His meeting with Walsingham takes an unexpected turn when he is charged to assist a renowned Puritan, John Foxe, in uncovering the secrets of a mysterious cabinet containing an astrological chart and coded message. Together, these claim Elizabeth has a hidden, illegitimate child (an “unknowing maid”) who will be declared to the masses and serve as the focus for an invasion.

Constable is swept up in the chase to uncover the identity of the plotters, unaware that he is also under suspicion. He schemes to gain the confidence of the adventurer John Hawkins and a rich merchant. Pressured into taking a role as court physician to pick up unguarded comments from nobles and others, he has become a reluctant intelligencer for Walsingham.

Do the stars and cipher speak true, or is there some other malign intent in the complex web of scheming?

Constable must race to unravel the threads of political manoeuvring for power before a new-found love and perhaps his own life are forfeit.

Buy Links:

Amazon 

Audio: Amazon UKAmazon US


Audio Excerpt:

 


Paul WalkerAbout the Author:

Paul is married and lives in a village 30 miles north of London. Having worked in universities and run his own business, he is now a full-time writer of fiction and part-time director of an education trust. His writing in a garden shed is regularly disrupted by children and a growing number of grandchildren and dogs.

Paul writes historical fiction. He inherited his love of British history and historical fiction from his mother, who was an avid member of Richard III Society. The William Constable series of historical thrillers is based around real characters and events in the late sixteenth century. The first three books in the series are State of Treason; A Necessary Killing; and The Queen’s Devil. He promises more will follow.

Social Media Links:

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Blog Tour: The Lengthening Shadow by Liz Harris

The Lengthening Shadow Cover LARGE EBOOKTitle: The Lengthening Shadow (The Linford Series)

Author: Liz Harris

Blurb:

When Dorothy Linford marries former German internee, Franz Hartmann, at the end of WWI, she’s cast out by her father, Joseph, patriarch of the successful Linford family.

Dorothy and Franz go to live in a village in south-west Germany, where they have a daughter and son. Throughout the early years of the marriage, which are happy ones, Dorothy is secretly in contact with her sister, Nellie, in England.

Back in England, Louisa Linford, Dorothy’s cousin, is growing into an insolent teenager, forever at odds with her parents, Charles and Sarah, and with her wider family, until she faces a dramatic moment of truth.  

Life in Germany in the early 1930s darkens, and to Dorothy’s concern, what had initially seemed harmless, gradually assumes a threatening undertone.

Brought together by love, but endangered by acts beyond their control, Dorothy and Franz struggle to get through the changing times without being torn apart.

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon US


Review:
fourstars
A beautifully written novel, spanning generations, The Lengthening Shadow mainly focuses on the life of Dorothy, a once-nurse who left her family home and comforts to be with the man she loves, in Germany. But as time goes on and a new war looms, Dorothy must decide where she is safest.

I did very much enjoy reading this novel. It’s well-written and within the historical context of the time. I did find that there were too many storylines going on at once at times, between Nellie, Dorothy, and Louisa, and even with the other family members, and the ending was a bit rushed, however these did not diminish my enjoyment of the novel and I will definitely seek out other novels by Miss Harris.


044 - CopyAbout the Author:

Born in London, Liz Harris graduated from university with a Law degree, and then moved to California, where she led a varied life, from waitressing on Sunset Strip to working as secretary to the CEO of a large Japanese trading company.

A few years later, she returned to London and completed a degree in English, after which she taught secondary school pupils, first in Berkshire, and then in Cheshire.

In addition to the nine novels she’s had published, she’s had several short stories in anthologies and magazines.

Liz now lives in Oxfordshire. An active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Historical Novel Society, her interests are travel, the theatre, cinema, reading and cryptic crosswords.

Connect with Liz:

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Blog Tour: Widow’s Lace by Lelita Baldock

Widow's Lace coverTitle: Widow’s Lace

Author: Lelita Baldock

Blurb:

A hundred year old mystery, the widow left behind, a fallen soldier, the abandoned fiancée, an unnamed body and the young student determined to find the truth.

In 1886 famous English poet Edward Barrington moves from Derbyshire, England to a farm on the Finniss River, in South Australia. Two years later he disappears.

25 years later Archie Hargraves abandons his fiancée Clara and travels from England to meet with Edward’s widow, Rosalind. He plans to write a biography and make a name for himself, independent from his wealthy father. Returning to England in 1914 he abandons his work to join the war in Europe. His journal of notes from Australia is never released.

Ellie Cannon, a young PhD candidate at Sydney University, is writing a thesis on one of Barrington’s last known poems, The Fall. It’s not going well. Struggling with her relationship with her mother and loss of her father, Ellie is on the brink of failure.

Then a body is found by the Finniss River, 130 years after Edward’s disappearance. Could it be the famous poet?

The discovery draws Ellie into the worlds of Edward, Archie and Clara, taking her across Australia and England in her search for the truth.

Covering life in remote South Australia, the social pressures of 1900s Britain and the historical role of women, Widow’s Lace is an historical fiction, mystery cross-over dealing with themes of obsession, fear, love, inner-secrets and regret. But also the hope that can come from despair.

Buy Links:

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AUBarnes and Noble


Excerpt:

Part Two: Edward

Chapter 6

I approach. Hesitant step. 

Head too high to see horizon’s future. Gently glowing golden aura.

Port of London, England 1886

The long, loud wail of the ship’s horn blew a second time. Edward, sitting in his carriage on the dock, took a deep steadying breath. It was time. Gripping the carriage handle, he straightened his shoulders and swung out of his seat landing lightly on the dockside. Before him the docks teamed with activity; families of steerage passengers trying to navigate the crowded space while keeping together and managing their luggage; cargo boys hauling barrels and steering groups of pigs and lambs, presumably water and food for the journey; baggage men carting the belongings of the wealthy. Several boats were in port. Large bales of what Edward supposed was wool and barrels of wine were being hauled by dirty, hefty workers. Smoke rose from large chimneys on the deck of one of the cargo ships, creating a hazy shimmer over the dock, its heat and smell permeating the air and mixing unpleasantly with the slimy scent of the fish some men were catching further downstream. 

Despite all the bustling distractions of the port, it was their passenger vessel that dominated the scene. The Orient, her dark steel sides glistening in the morning sun, rose up from the water like a leviathan. Long and sleek, her body would house some 500 hundred souls on her voyage to Australia. She was a combined design, powered by steam on the run through the Suez Canal, then by sail as they surged across the empty oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. 

 Currently, her decks were awash with sailors checking ropes and packing sails or having a final cigarette before official duty began. Edward closed his eyes a moment, gathering himself. You can do this, he told himself firmly. His thundering heart beat a silent retort he resolved to ignore.

Edward scanned the docks for a luggage worker to manage his belongings. 

‘Excuse me, sir,’ a young man clad in tailored trousers and an Orient jacket stood before Edward. ‘Mr Barrington I presume? I’m Mr Davids, here to arrange your luggage, sir.’

‘I am Mr Barrington. Thank you. There is quite a lot I’m afraid, you may need to get some help…’

‘Don’t be worrying yourself, sir,’ the young man grinned up at Edward as he moved towards the luggage strapped to the back and top of the carriage. ‘Cabin 34, am I correct? ‘

‘Yes, thank you.’

‘Course, sir. Leave it to me.’ Mr Davids turned calling out to a group of lads standing off to the side dressed in brown slacks and shirts, not an Orient colour among them. The boys came running over, all pimples and fuzzy beards and began loading themselves up with more bags and boxes than seemed feasible before heading for the ship. Mr Davids swung a smile at Edward and joined them, leaving him adrift in the sea of activity. He strode to the carriage and opened the door once more, ‘Darling, if you are ready to board?’

A white gloved hand appeared from the carriage to grip his own and he gently guided his wife, Rosalind Barrington, down the carriage steps to the dockside.‘

‘Oh!’ The soft sound escaped her lips, but not his notice. Edward gripped her waist quickly, steadying her against the pull of gravity that threatened as her knees wobbled beneath her.

‘I am sorry my love,’ Rosalind breathed, ‘I must have risen too fast from my seat.’

Edward stared hard into her deep green eyes. Grey smudged the hollows beneath them, her skin waxy and pale. ‘Of course,’ he lied and gave her his most reassuring smile.

Rosalind smiled back, transforming her features to those of the healthy woman he married, offering a glimpse of why they were here, his hope and promise. If only for a moment. 

They’d met three years ago at his poetry recital in Manchester’s neo-gothic town hall. Dressed in green silk trimmed with black lace, hair gathered in large cascades, eyes bright with copper tinge, Rosalind had turned every head in the room. Edward could not look away. Showing an uncharacteristic confidence, he’d approached her, dared to touch her arm, invited her to Hathrone to take tea. She accepted. A week later they stood beneath the apple trees, red with winter’s promise and declared their hearts.

‘I love you,’ he had whispered.

‘I love you too. But, I must warn you. I am to be a divorced woman. I will… damage your reputation.’

Edward had laughed. Rosalind’s brutish husband was well known in society, loudly decrying his wife for the absence of an heir, while escorting a series of young women about town.

‘I am overjoyed that you are to be divorced. I do not wish to have you as a mistress. I wish to make you all mine. Now and always.’ 

Overcome, tears limned Rosalind’s eyes. 

Gently Edward wiped them away. ‘Don’t cry my love, not ever again. Until my last breath I will protect you. We will never know loneliness and sorrow again.’

They fell into each other and on a bed of leaves sealed their love, skin to skin, forever.

Straightening her sun hat, Rosalind turned to take in the docks. ‘This harbour is much larger than I expected, there are boats lining the water out as far as I can see.’

Edward leaned in close to her ear and whispered, ‘Follow the inlet with your eyes, where it seems to meet the sky? That is the start of our journey to Australia!’

Rosalind turned to face him, bringing their eyes, their lips closer. He felt a huff of breath as she laughed lightly, ‘What an adventure we are to begin.’

Edward’s heart tightened at the bravery of her words. Throwing social etiquette to the winds, he pecked her on the cheek, her skin warmer than it should be beneath his lips. 

‘Come Mary, it is time we boarded,’ he called back to the carriage.

The older lady, well into her 60s, stepped gingerly from the carriage, the swelling of her ankles and lower legs had been troubling her more as the days cooled into autumn. Her right hand clutched a single satchel, all her worldly possessions. She had been with Rosalind since his wife was a child, it would have been cruel to take a younger maid. Mary had earned this. She looked up at him and nodded stoically. They turned as one and walked to the Orient, their transport to another country, almost another world. And hopefully a new life.


Lelita BaldockAbout the Author:

Lelita has a passion for stories, especially those with a dark undercurrent, or a twist to be revealed. 

She hopes to tell interesting stories that people will find themselves drawn into. Stories that are for entertainment and escape, and hopefully a little thrill of the unexpected. She truly enjoys the experience of writing, exploring human traits and reactions as well as the darkness that can lurk unexpectedly inside anyone.

Born and raised in Adelaide, Australia, Lelita holds a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English and History from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Education from The University of South Australia. During her twenties she worked as an English teacher in both Australia and the United Kingdom, working with the International Baccalaureate curriculum.

Now Lelita and her husband run a web development business, and she makes time for writing after hours and on weekends. It can mean long days and late nights, but she doesn’t mind, stories are her passion.

Lelita’s long term goal as a writer is to be able to publish her stories regularly and hopefully appeal to a wide range of readers.

Lelita currently resides in the United Kingdom with her husband Ryan and beloved rescue-cat, Jasmine.

Connect with Lelita:

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Blog Tour: Beware the Lizard Lurking by Vivienne Brereton

The House of the Red Duke 2Title: Beware the Lizard Lurking
(The House of the Red Duke, Book 2)

Author: Vivienne Brereton

Blurb:

Welcome to the candlelit courts of Europe!

Uninvited guests at a secret wedding.

 A frozen River Thames.

 May Day celebrations to remember.

 The young Henry VIII, with the aid of his chief advisor, Thomas Wolsey, and against the counsel of Thomas Howard, the Earl of Surrey, is hellbent on a so-called holy war with France. This puts him at odds with his Scottish brother-in-law, James IV of Scotland, and his older sister, Margaret. 

Both Tristan and Nicolas know that time is running out for them before they have to…enter the Church – and into an arranged marriage, respectively. In the meantime, they remain at loggerheads over pretty Ysabeau de Sapincourt, the spoilt young wife of the hapless Robert.

At La Colombe, near Ardres, in Picardy, spirited little Valentine is still making mischief as she sees fit.

Across the Narrow Sea, Cecily is perfectly content in her beloved Zennor Castle, in Cornwall. 

None of them know what Dame Fortune has in store for them. Will she allow them to follow their own paths…or has she got other ideas?

Buy Links: Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon AU


Vivienne BreretonAbout the Author:

Born between historic Winchester and Southampton in the UK, Vivienne has been passionate about the Tudors for as long as she can remember. This led to a degree in Medieval History at university, and the growing desire to write a novel.

However, life took over somewhat and only after stays, short and long, in six countries she called home did she finally settle down to finish her novel.

Words have always played an important part in her life, whether it’s been writing, editing, teaching English, or just picking up a good book.

Having three sons came in very handy when she had to write about squabbles between the male characters in her novel. Not so handy when she took her boys to Hampton Court and one of them got lost in the maze!

Seeing ‘A Phoenix Rising’, the first book in the series ‘The House of the Red Duke’ in print for the first time was a moment of great joy for her. She very much hopes that anyone reading ‘Beware the Lizard Lurking’, the second book in the series, will enjoy the end result as much as she enjoyed writing it.

Social Media Links:

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Blog Tour: The Search by Michael L. Ross

The Search eBook CoverTitle: The Search (Across the Great Divide, Book II)

Author: Michael L. Ross

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

Where do you go when home is no longer an option?

The guns of the Civil War have ceased firing, and the shots are but an echo… yet the war rages on, deep inside Will Crump’s soul. His “soldier’s heart” is searching for peace, and in that quest Will joins the westward movement, setting his path on a collision course with adventure, loss, and love.

The Westward Expansion floods the sacred, untouched lands with immigrants, bringing conflict to the Shoshone, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Amidst the chaos Will finds safety in the shadow of the US Army, but the army brings battle-hardened troops into Red Cloud’s War, pulling Will into a tornado of conflict. Broken treaties and promises leave both sides searching for answers. Will’s search leads him to a battle for survival, and there he finds a love that could change him forever.

Dove, a young Shoshone woman, is a survivor of the Bear Creek Massacre. After being kidnapped and escaping from the Cheyenne, she joins Will’s search, seeking where she belongs. Dove longs for more than the restricted role placed on women in her tribe. If she can learn to trust a white man, he just might help her find home… and hope.

Together, Will and Dove must search for understanding, and reach Across the Great Divide.

Buy Links:
Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AUBarnes and Noble Kobo


Review:
fivestars
I immensely enjoyed this novel, even though I’ve not read the first one in the series (something I’m going to have to remedy). As an author of historical fiction set around the American Civil War as well, I fully appreciated the discussion of how early PTSD in soldiers was treated, and how the men suffering often had to cope by simply escaping. I loved Dove’s character, and felt she was a necessary part of Will’s journey, as well as providing pertinent parallels to modern day prejudices. I look forward to reading more by Michael Ross!


Michael RossAbout the Author:

Best-selling author Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories. He’s a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of forty years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas. The main character of “Across the Great Divide”, William Dorsey Crump, is one of the founders of Lubbock and Shallowater, Texas. Michael knew Will’s granddaughter when he was a child. He has written a scholarly article on Will Crump for the Texas Historical Society, published in the Handbook of Texas Online, and has sold short stories in the past. This is his first novel and the first in the Across the Great Divide series, now an Amazon bestseller.
Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old.

He sees many parallels between the time of the Civil War and our divided nation of today. Sanctuary cities, immigration, arguments around the holiday table, threats of secession – all are nothing new. Sometimes, to understand the present, you have to look at the past- and reach Across the Great Divide.  

Social Media Links:

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Blog Tour: A Lightness in My Soul by Annette Oppenlander

Cover_A Lightness in My SoulTitle: A Lightness in My Soul

Author: Annette Oppenlander

Genre:   Historical biographical

Blurb:

Inspired by the incredible true story of a German teen taken prisoner at the end of WWII, determined to survive and to reunite with his mother – A Lightness in My Soul is a tribute to the triumph of hope and redemption against all odds.

Germany, October 2019: In a car repair shop an elderly man waits next to a woman. They begin to talk about the Great War, when he was just a teen. He tells her a story, one he has never shared—his own.

Bavaria, April 1945: For the last two years, fifteen-year old Arthur and his classmates have lived in a youth camp. Far from home and allied bombs they spend their days with lessons, hikes, play fights and helping local farmers harvest ever decreasing crops. They have been told that the war will be over soon and that they’ll return home to a victorious Germany.

When the U.S. Army marches into camp, they are arrested and taken to the just liberated Dachau concentration camp. Everything they ever believed turns out to be false. They were lied to… not only has Germany lost the war, what they find is monstrous. But being a prisoner is only the beginning of their ordeal…


Review:

fivestarsA heartwarming, short novella based on a true story, A Lightness in my Soul takes the reader to the opposite side of WWII, through the eyes of a young man sent to a Hitler Youth camp in the closing years of the war. I loved this short snippet of Arthur’s life. There was no shying away from the evil realities of the Holocaust, and how some did not know what was going on right under their own noses. I would love to see this expanded out into a full novel, but the emotional impact gained by this format was enough to create a lasting impression.


Excerpt:

The Hitler Youth ran the camp, and even Herr Wagner had to follow their orders. He was pretty strict, a tall, skinny guy with a stern mouth, his hair short and stubbly with graying temples. He’d look at you with those deep-set eyes and you’d shut up. But the camp leader, a fellow named Steinmann, outdid him by far. He didn’t even have to look to get his point across. When he showed up we all hushed, including our teacher.

How he did it, I don’t know. He wasn’t even particularly tall; in fact, most of us towered over him. But that didn’t seem to stop him from doling out punishment when he saw fit. And that was daily. His favorite was marching and standing at salute for hours at a time. 

Half of Steinmann’s face was burned, leaving a pockmarked, scarred landscape that was rumored to be a war wound he’d suffered in one of the early battles in Poland. It made his face lopsided, having obliterated his right brow altogether. They say our eyes are windows into the soul, and that was the first time I believed it: Steinmann’s eyes were a metallic gray, cold and distant, and a little bit dead.


Author PictureAbout the Author:

Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past. 

Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, received multiple nominations/awards. The recently translated German version received the silver Skoutz Award 2020. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. 

Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries, festivals and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently returned to her home, Solingen, Germany where she lives with her husband.


Contact:

Website: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annetteoppenlanderauthor 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aoppenlander 

Pinterest: annoppenlander

Blog: http://www.annetteoppenlander.com/blog/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Annette-Oppenlander/e/B00W8QRTJ4/

Email: annette.oppenlander@yahoo.com 

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lightness-My-Soul-Inspired-Story-ebook/dp/B08KS9RGRQ/ 

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/de/en/ebook/a-lightness-in-my-soul 

Apple iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-lightness-in-my-soul/id1538221421


Giveaway: Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Blog Tour: The Salty Rose by Beth M. Caruso

Cover_TheSaltyRoseTitle: The Salty Rose

Author: Beth M. Caruso 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb:

Marie du Trieux, a tavern keeper with a salty tongue and a heart of gold, struggles as she navigates love and loss, Native wars, and possible banishment by authorities in the unruly trading port of New Amsterdam, an outpost of the Dutch West India Company.

In New England, John Tinker, merchant and assistant to a renowned alchemist and eventual leader of Connecticut Colony, must come to terms with a family tragedy of dark proportions, all the while supporting his mentor’s secret quest to find the Northwest Passage, a desired trading route purported to mystically unite the East with the West.

As the lives of Marie and John become intertwined through friendship and trade, a search for justice of a Dutch woman accused of witchcraft in Hartford puts them on a collision course affecting not only their own destinies but also the fate of colonial America.


Excerpt:

The Director General slammed the gavel down with the harsh thud of an ending. 

“Marie du Trieux, you are hereby banished from New Netherland forever!” he said. 

As I held on to the railing of a departing schooner, I remembered the jarring finality of those stark words against me. Looking back one last time at my town, a little place in the wilderness that had grown up with me—I longed to stay in the home where I gave birth to all my children, the location of my loves and of my losses. 

This is the best place to begin recounting the story of how I played a part in the transition from Dutch New Amsterdam to English New York, my dear granddaughter. 

I suppose the English will have their own tales to tell about the events that transpired but I want you to know my personal and secret version of the history of my beloved city before I am gone. 

Having left New Amsterdam for the first time on that cold winter day in 1664, I felt unsettled, not quite believing that the time for my departure had finally come. Where had the time gone? How quickly had it passed? It had been nearly forty years since I first set foot on the shores of Manhattan with my mother, father, and little brother. 

The view from our vessel, The Morning Star, was unrecognizable from the one my family saw many decades earlier. We had arrived to nothing but marsh, forest, and a few Indian canoes that approached our ship in greeting and curiosity. It’s easy to recall my excitement as a young girl of flowing dark hair seeing the Natives for the first time when we reached these shores many years ago. 

But at the point of my expulsion, I wasn’t an adventurous, naïve child anymore. A mature and defiant woman who had faced her share of hardship and disappointment had taken her place. The Council of New Netherland and Director General Stuyvesant had told me they were finished with my repeated offenses and had given the order for banishment. I’d been in trouble with the authorities far too often they said. They’d insisted that my tavern be closed. 

“So this is how it must end,” I uttered in disbelief to my son Pierre, your uncle, as we huddled together on deck.


AuthorPicAbout the Author:

Award-winning author, Beth M. Caruso, is passionate to discover and convey important and interesting stories of women from earlier times. She recently won the literary prize in Genre Fiction (2020) from IPNE (Independent Publishers of New England) for her most recent novel The Salty Rose: Alchemists, Witches & A Tapper In New Amsterdam (2019). The Salty Rose is Beth’s second historical novel and explores alchemy in early colonial times, an insider’s view of the takeover of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, and the Hartford Witch Panic with information she gathered from previous and ongoing research. Beth’s first historical novel is One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging (2015), a novel that tells the tale of Alice ‘Alse’ Young and the beginnings of the colonial witch trials. She based the story on original research she did by exploring early primary sources such as early Windsor land records, vital statistics, and other documents. She lives in Connecticut with her family. Beth kayaks and gardens to unwind.

Website: http://www.oneofwindsor.com

Email: oneofwindsor@yahoo.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/oneofwindsor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bethmcaruso/

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Salty-Rose-Alchemists-Witches-Amsterdam/dp/1733373802

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-salty-rose-beth-m-caruso/1133991342


Beth M. Caruso will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Blog Tour: Sannah by Miriam Newman

BookCover_Sannah-AppleTitle: Sannah

Author: Miriam Newman

Genre: Ancient times historical romance

Blurb:

Barely more than a girl, Sannah is taken by a man who is both warrior and shaman in a winter raid on her Stone Age camp. But Memmet believes the spirits have given her to him and he will keep her at any cost.

Two strong people must find the reason they have been brought together, because lives depend upon it.


Review:
fivestars
Having not read many Ancient historical romance novels, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with Sannah, but the cover intrigued me. I had enjoyed historical novels set during the Egyptian, Greek and Roman times, so I decided it would stand to reason, a book set in Ancient times wouldn’t be much different. I was very surprised at how much I did enjoy Sannah, especially the tribal dynamic.

The time period was, however, hard for me to pinpoint and that was probably the only criticism I had for the novel. From the cover, I did expect Middle East, yet still, I wasn’t really sure where the setting was.

However, this did not diminish my reading experience as the descriptions of the characters as well as the setting were enough to keep me drawn into the story. I appreciated the character development and the underlying theme of survival. I would be keen to read more from this author in the future.


Excerpt:

Stumbling through snow, she looked up at the man above her, trying to deduce what sort of monster had taken her.  Not much was visible amid the hooded bearskin except the craggy profile of a man not as young as their young hunters but much younger than Jodiah.  There were two diagonal scars beneath his eyes, too symmetrical to have been caused by injury, and a strip of thumb printed blue paint in a line from the bridge of his nose to his hairline.  Unlike the men of her clan, he had no beard, though shaggy dark hair stuck out at places beneath his hood.  He looked savage and alien.

He was more sun-browned than her men—not one of the fair mountain tribes. Those tribes did not often stray from their mountain camps, anyway, and had no horses.  This rider was something different.  His language was not far removed from hers, since she had been able to understand him.  But he didn’t say a word or look at her except to slow his horse slightly when she stumbled.

That was a more frequent occurrence as biting cold sliced through her hide shoes, even though the fur had been turned to the inside.  Her feet grew cold, then burning hot, then numb as she faltered beside the horse down the slope that led to the lowlands.  Her hands quickly lost all feeling and her breath came hard, then in panting gasps, and apparently he finally heard that.

He stopped his horse, calling to the others, who did the same, granting their captives a precious moment of respite.  Sannah stood, ribs heaving, starting in terror as he dropped down from his horse.  He would cut her throat if she could not keep up, and though perhaps in a way it was a better, she had the instinctive fear of death and jumped back from him.

“No,” he said—just that.  Short, sharp, an unmistakable command.  She froze and he reached for her, one hand gripping the back of her wrap, the other around her leg.  Lifting her easily, he pushed her on top of the horse and forward, almost over its shoulders. “Move.”

Feeling like she would topple off at any moment, she did her best to comply as he mounted behind her.  Reaching around, pinning her with his arms, he picked up the reins, clucking to the horse.  She gasped in alarm and clutched its mane as best she could as it began to walk, but there was nowhere she could go.  She would not fall as long as he held her.

Her feet hung down along the warmth of the heavy-coated horse just as her hands rested on its neck, and eventually she regained some feeling there, but the rest of her was frozen.  As the horse plodded solidly on, followed by the others, the man behind her opened his bearskin, wrapping it around her, sharing its heat. 

But he was an enemy.  He might speak to her or not, might kill her or not, might rape her or not.  Silently, trying not to let him hear, she sobbed in despair.  

He lifted one hand from his reins, pushing it inside her hood, his hand cupping her face.

“Be quiet,” he said.  “No one will hurt you.”

She was too shocked to move, but she did stop crying because tears were freezing on her cheeks.

Saying nothing more, he rode on.


Author Photo (1)About the Author:

Fantasy poetry driven by myths and legends has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I was published in poetry before catching the romance writing bug. I bring that background to my writing along with a lifelong addiction to horses, an 18 year career in various areas of psychiatric social services and many trips to Ireland, where I nurture my muse. My published works range from contemporary fantasy romance to fantasy historical, futuristic, science fiction and historical romance. Currently I live in rural Pennsylvania with a “motley crew” of rescue animals. You can see my books at http://www.miriamnewman.com.


Social Media Links:

Website:       http://miriamnewman.com

Website:       http://thedarkcastlelords.net 

Blog:              http://miriamnewman.com/blog

Blog:              http://thecelticroseblog.blogspot.com

Email:            mrmireland@aol.com

Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMiriamNewman

Twitter:        https://www.twitter.com/miriamnewman

BookBub:    https://www.bookbub.com/authors/miriam-newman-cf7ca8bf-caab-4b7e-a6f2-7dbtr90d9215

Goodreads Author Page:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3146550.Miriam_Newman

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Newman/e/B005DBFZUG 

SANNAH Buy Link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CSX2HSB


Giveaway:

Miriam Newman will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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