The Henna Artist: A Spotlight.

I have always been fascinated by Indian culture and I adore Henna tattoos. I wish I knew how to do them myself or knew someone who could do them for me. The designs are stunning and they last a fair bit, which is wonderful. I was looking for new books to look forward to next year and I came across this one. I’m very excited about it. It comes out on March 10, 2020.

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“The Henna Artist” is like a brilliant, magical kaleidoscope, bursting with color. Through her vivid, compelling portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, debut novelist Alka Joshi opens a door into a world that is at once lush, fascinating, stark, and cruel. “The Henna Artist” kept me riveted from start to finish, consumed by the question posed by all great fiction: what happens next?

Lauren Belfer– New York Times Bestselling author of And After the Fire and City of Light

Alka Joshi is a remarkable new writer with the novelistic gifts of a seasoned veteran. The Henna Artist is a bold, ambitious, beautifully written novel, about India in the decade after independence, and about class, identity, love, and deceit. The broadcast of characters will etch themselves in your psyche, most of all Lakshmi and Radha—both cursed and gifted by fate.

Tom Barbash, author of Stay Up With Me and Dakota Winters

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For fans of Balli Kuar Jaswal’s Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women and Thrity Umrigar’s The Space Between Us, Alka Josh’s The Henna Artist by is lushly-rendered, emotional book club fiction set in post-Raj 1950s Jaipur about a young woman struggling to shape her own destiny in a world pivoting between the traditional and the modern.

Escaping from an arranged and abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone from her 1950s rural village to the vibrant pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the henna artist—and confidante—most in demand to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own…

Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still, she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.

Vivid and compelling in its portrait of one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern, The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel.

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Indiebound || BAM! || Barnes & Noble || Amazon

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Alka Joshi was born in India and raised in the U.S. She has a degree from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts and runs an advertising and marketing agency. She lives in Pacific Grove, California. The Henna Artist is her first novel.

The Kopp Sisters Novels.

I’m so excited to share with you that one of my favorite series of books will be growing by another addition this September. If you’ve been reading along for a while, you know that I’m a big fan of the ‘Girl Waits With Gun’ series by Amy Stewart, that follows Constance Kopp and her younger sisters. Constance is a force to be reckoned with, going against the grain and simply being herself, in an age where most would frown upon that. I first became familiar with the series because Ms. Stewart did a blog tour with HFVBT, which you guys know, I frequently take part in those tours.

In case you didn’t know? Constance was, in fact, a real person. Ms. Stewart has a section (click there!) on her page all about her, her sisters and other characters you’ll find in the series. It makes it all the more fascinating to me, knowing she was a real person. Yet, as with many women in history, she was forgotten.

Ms. Stewart’s love for the series shines through in each book and I hope that love inspires many more books. ❤ Here’s the synopsis’ for the first books and the latest.

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Constance Kopp doesn’t quite fit the mold. She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters into hiding fifteen years ago. One day a belligerent and powerful silk factory owner runs down their buggy, and a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their family farm. When the sheriff enlists her help in convicting the men, Constance is forced to confront her past and defend her family — and she does it in a way that few women of 1914 would have dared.

I wrote a review back in 2015!

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The best-selling author of Girl Waits with Gun returns with another adventure featuring the fascinating, feisty, and unforgettable Kopp sisters. After besting (and arresting) a ruthless silk factory owner and his gang of thugs in Girl Waits with Gun, Constance Kopp became one of the nation’s first deputy sheriffs. She’s proven that she can’t be deterred, evaded, or outrun. But when the wiles of a German-speaking con man threaten her position and her hopes for this new life and endanger the honorable Sheriff Heath, Constance may not be able to make things right.

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Deputy sheriff Constance Kopp is outraged to see young women brought into the Hackensack jail over dubious charges of waywardness, incorrigibility, and moral depravity. But such were the laws—and morals—of 1916. Constance uses her authority as a deputy sheriff and occasionally exceeds it, to investigate and defend these women when no one else will. But it’s her sister Fleurette who puts Constance’s beliefs to the test and forces her to reckon with her own ideas of how a young woman should and shouldn’t behave.

 

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Trailblazing Constance’s hard-won job as deputy sheriff is on the line in Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit, the fourth installment of Amy Stewart’s Kopp Sisters series.

After a year on the job, New Jersey’s first female deputy sheriff has collared criminals, demanded justice for wronged women, and gained notoriety nationwide for her exploits. But on one stormy night, everything falls apart.

While transporting a woman to an insane asylum, Deputy Kopp discovers something deeply troubling about her story. Before she can investigate, another inmate bound for the asylum breaks free and tries to escape.

In both cases, Constance runs instinctively toward justice. But the fall of 1916 is a high-stakes election year, and any move she makes could jeopardize Sheriff Heath’s future—and her own. Although Constance is not on the ballot, her controversial career makes her the target of political attacks.

With wit and verve, book-club favorite Amy Stewart brilliantly conjures the life and times of the real Constance Kopp to give us this “unforgettable, not-to-be messed-with heroine” (Marie Claire) under fire in Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit.

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In the fifth installment of Amy Stewart’s clever and original Kopp Sisters series, the sisters learn some military discipline—whether they’re ready or not—as the U.S. prepares to enter World War I.

It’s the spring of 1917 and change is in the air. American women have done something remarkable: they’ve banded together to create military-style training camps for women who want to serve. These so-called National Service Schools prove irresistible to the Kopp sisters, who leave their farm in New Jersey to join up.

When an accident befalls the matron, Constance reluctantly agrees to oversee the camp—much to the alarm of the Kopps’ tent-mate, the real-life Beulah Binford, who is seeking refuge from her own scandalous past under the cover of a false identity. Will she be denied a second chance? And after notoriety, can a woman’s life ever be her own again?

In Kopp Sisters on the March, the women of Camp Chevy Chase face down the skepticism of the War Department, the double standards of a scornful public, and the very real perils of war. Once again, Amy Stewart has brilliantly brought a little-known moment in history to light with her fearless and funny Kopp sisters novels.

Amazon || BAM! || Barnes & Noble || Indie Bound

The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King {A Review!|

The Chef’s Secret
by Crystal King

Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Atria Books
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.

When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—properties, money, and his position—to his nephew and apprentice Giovanni. He also gives Giovanni the keys to two strongboxes and strict instructions to burn their contents. Despite Scappi’s dire warning that the information concealed in those boxes could put Giovanni’s life and others at risk, Giovanni is compelled to learn his uncle’s secrets. He undertakes the arduous task of decoding Scappi’s journals and uncovers a history of deception, betrayal, and murder—all to protect an illicit love affair.

As Giovanni pieces together the details of Scappi’s past, he must contend with two rivals who have joined forces—his brother Cesare and Scappi’s former protégé, Domenico Romoli, who will do anything to get his hands on the late chef’s recipes.

With luscious prose that captures the full scale of the sumptuous feasts for which Scappi was known, The Chef’s Secret serves up power, intrigue, and passion, bringing Renaissance Italy to life in a delectable fashion.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Praise for The Chef’s Secret

“King’s characters are drawn as lovingly, as sensually as the food and the Vatican world she describes, and the plot itself — part secret-code mystery, part love story — moves like a well-paced meal.” (Boston Globe)

“King supplies all of the elements historical fiction fans expect in a juicy Renaissance tale, including luscious meals, erotic interludes, and deaths by poison and blade. This rich tale should satisfy the appetites of fans of historicals.” (Publishers Weekly)

“In The Chef’s Secret, Crystal King serves up a delectable read stuffed with passion, danger, and a plot worthy of Dan Brown. This fast-paced, engrossing novel brings Renaissance Rome and the Vatican to life through the eyes of a famous papal chef. You won’t be able to put it down.” (Stephanie Storey, author of Oil and Marble)

“A veritable feast for the senses, The Chef’s Secret is part mystery, part love story, and all sumptuous sixteenth-century Italy. This tale of one of the world’s first celebrity chefs—Bartolomeo Scappi, a DaVinci of Renaissance cuisine—sent me on a quest to know more, and to my kitchen to experiment—a sign of a great historical novel. Readers will delight in a plot as juicy as Scappi’s braised beef!” (Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris)

“The Chef’s Secret is a sumptuous buffet, serving up a love story (two of them!); mystery and suspense so thick you could cut it with, well, a chef’s knife; and such a vibrant panorama of Ancient Rome you’ll feel you’ve walked its streets and inhabited its kitchens. Anyone who loves history, food, a great story—read this novel! Warning: it will make you hungry.” (Jenna Blum, New York Times and international bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Lost Family)

“Crystal King’s The Chef’s Secret is a fabulous immersion in the world of Renaissance Italy, full of passion, intrigue, secrets, danger, and of course food. Come hungry!” (Melodie Winawer, author of The Scribe of Siena)

“With adventure, engaging characters, and an absorbing mystery, King expertly blends fact with fiction, intrigue, and a powerful love story. Well written and perfectly paced, The Chef’s Secret is a fascinating immersion into sixteenth-century Italian life, an introduction to the world’s first celebrity chef, and a reminder of the power of food to influence a civilization.” (Booklist)

“King twists in romance, mystery, cultural richness, and some zesty research. Scappi’s secrets are unveiled at a pace that simmers with intrigue…Mixed together with decadent banquets and sweeping historical detail, King has a recipe that entices the senses… vibrant in both visual and flavorful detail.” (Historical Novel Review)

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Italy. The Vatican. Food. Scandal. Adventure. Suspense. Mystery. Culture.

Trigger words, essentially, for all the things that make a good book, next level. Welcome, my friends, to my review for The Chef’s Secret. I love reading things about Papal anything, honestly. And given that this featured Bartolomeo Scappi, who was the Papal chef…I was intrigued. We begin in 1577, with the death of the famed chef. He’s left instructions to his apprentice and nephew, Giovanni, to burn everything along with all of his worldly goods.

Giovanni doesn’t listen. Thus, we have our plot. And what a story! From page one to the very last, you’ll be hard-pressed to look away because this will consume your attention and have you guessing. Ms. King has proven not only does she know her medieval history, but also that of food. It’s amazing and I might suggest not reading this whilst hungry. One would think that a chef would simply focus on the food…but Bartolomeo’s diaries–which Giovanni must decode–are ripe with all the things we’d clutch our pearls at…and want more of.

Did I mention a secret love-affair? No? That’s there too. Scrumptious. That’s the word I’ll use for this book. A scrumptious read.

Fast-paced, well researched, a culinary delight and just a tour de force in general, I loved this book and I know I’ll reread it.

Buon mangiare, Buona lettura! Bravo! 

 

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Crystal King is the author of THE CHEF’S SECRET and FEAST OF SORROW. A culinary enthusiast and social media professional, her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language, and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity, and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet, one of the leading creative writing centers in the US. A Pushcart-nominated poet and former co-editor of the online literary arts journal Plum Ruby Review, Crystal received her M.A. in Critical and Creative Thinking from UMass Boston, where she developed a series of exercises and writing prompts to help fiction writers in medias res. She resides in Boston.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, June 18
Review at Tar Heel Reader
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, June 20
Review at My Reading Chronicles
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Friday, June 21
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Monday, June 24
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, June 25
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, June 26
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Orange County Readers

Thursday, June 27
Review at Book Frolic
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, June 28
Review at Mama’s Reading Corner
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, July 1
Review at Comet Readings
Review at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Tuesday, July 2
Review at Melissa Reads
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Wednesday, July 3
Review at Henry and Benny’s Book Nook
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, July 4
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, July 5
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Girls Just Reading
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a set of Feast of Sorrow and The Chef’s Secret! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Chef’s Secret

The Impaler’s Wife (A Review)

The Impaler’s Wife
by Autumn Bardot

Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Flores Publishing
eBook; 452 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

 

 

Legend, history, and passion collide in this gritty, evocative, and sensual story about history’s most notorious price and the woman who paid love’s ultimate price.

The year is 1464, and young King Matthias controls Hungary, his family, and the fate of the world’s most notorious political prisoner, Prince Vlad Dracula.

Ilona Szilágy, the king’s cousin, is young and ambitious. Dracula is determined to marry into the Hunyadi family. It is love at first sight…but the king has other plans. The Impaler Prince, however, never takes no for an answer.

This begins Ilona’s journey into the treacherous world of court intrigues, family betrayals, and her husband’s dark desires. Eager to become Vlad’s trusted confidant, Ilona soon discovers that marriage to a man tortured by his past comes with a price.

Woven throughout is a peek into the life and times of one of the world’s most enigmatic and maligned rulers…the man before the legend.

With Bardot’s decadent period detail and a cast of gritty evocative characters, The Impaler’s Wife offers a fierce yet sensuous glimpse into the violent 15th century.

Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

 

About the Author

Autumn Bardot writes historical fiction and erotica about sassy women and daring passions!

Her erotic fiction includes Legends of Lust, Erotic Myths from around the World, published by Cleis Press. Confessions of a Sheba Queen (erotica) will be available Jan 2020.

The Impaler’s Wife is her debut historical fiction, releasing in April 2019.

Autumn has a BA in English literature and a MaEd in curriculum and instruction. She’s been teaching literary analysis for fourteen years.

When Autumn’s not writing or working, you’ll find her hanging out with her ever-growing family, spoiled husband, and pampered rescue pooch. Her favorite things include salty French fries, coffee, swimming, and a great book.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

Dracula Untold is one of my favorite films. Is it the best? No. But Luke Evans as Vlad is enough to make me happy any day of the week. Besides, it touched upon how he came to be the man he actually was. Yes, he did impale people. It was something picked up in his time with the Sultan, with whom he lived and who’s court he was raised in. Anyway, I will say that I envisioned him as I read this, and considering there were a number of rather spicy scenes, let us say, I enjoyed the visual greatly. I’m not hard to please, really. All I ever want in a historical fiction book is a good story, with history actually tied in–not just claptrap that some swear is true and has been debunked!–and also just a dedication to the subject. I found all of that here. Ilona and Vlad are good narrators, each telling various points in their lives and ultimately the story of their lives together. As mentioned in Autumn’s guest post, she really goes hard when it comes to her research. It definitely shows, when she speaks of locales, they sound period accurate and you can envision yourself there perfectly. Her writing of the food and of traditions all further intrigued me. I loved learning more about Vlad and about Ilona, as I knew nothing of her, really. Once thinks Vlad Dracul, and instantly, Bela Lugosi or Gary Oldman come to mind, playing him in his vampiric form. It’s sometimes hard to remember that Vlad was a real man and one who truly strived to better the lives of his people, despite what is said of him. I really enjoy this book and learning about the Draculs.

I think my biggest complaint was how paranoid Ilona could be. That she kept asking if he was seeing anyone else was getting on my nerves. Beyond that, this is a rich, lustrous read that I hope you’ll grab a copy up and give it a try. 🙂

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 3
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, June 4
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, June 5
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Friday, June 7
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Monday, June 10
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, June 11
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, June 17
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, June 18
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Friday, June 21
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, June 25
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 1
Review at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, July 2
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, July 3
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, July 4
Review & Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Friday, July 5
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Giveaway!!

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one paperback copy of the Impaler’s Wife! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Impaler’s Wife

The Impaler’s Wife Excerpt.

Prince Vlad rests his hand on the small of my back. “Come, Lady Ilona, look at the faces of anarchy and villainy, and see how much they resemble your friends and family.”

“I will not.” I back away from the entrance where moans rise from the bowels of the labyrinth like a demon’s song.

“The choice is yours, of course.” His tone is low and gentle, but in the lamplight his stare is wolf-like.

I shift from foot to foot, look away, only to glance back. Does he hear my heart knocking against my breast? Can he smell my fear as it beads wet on my neck? Do I want to rise to this challenge? Or am I a fool for allowing him to bait me?

My fingers tighten around the lamp’s clay handle. “I will humor you, my lord, but only because Father taught me courage and graciousness.”

“Mihály taught you well.” He holds out his hand. “My lady.”

The lamp divides the darkness like a saber, each foot forward lighting our descent into hell. Ghostly groans from below seep through the rock. I sink into Vlad’s fur-lined coat as though their suffering will soak into my soul.

Vlad pauses before descending the narrow rock steps leading into the labyrinth’s deepest level. “Are you certain?” His eyes glint with challenge. “A weak constitution is nothing to be ashamed of.”

I lift my chin and glare with pretended insult. “I am the daughter of Michael Szilágyi and Margit Báthory. Iron courage flows in my blood.” I push back my cuff and show him the blue-forked veins in my wrist. “I am as brave as Hadak Ura, our ancient pagan warlord.”

“I believe you, my lady. I will not doubt again.”

The clanking chains and eerie moans get louder with each step down, the noises merging into a demonic choir like that of Ördög’s requiem to the Underworld. My legs shake, my neck wet with icy prickles, and my skin tightens around my chest.

I lift the lamp into hell.

The circle of light shines upon a pockmarked man stretching his arm between the bars, his fingers curled like claws. “Bless me, good sister.”

In the cell next to him, a naked wretch spits onto the ground. “Menj a fenébe!”

“I am innocent!” A third prisoner grabs the bars and presses his wild-bearded face against the iron. “Tell His Highness there is a Turkish spy in his court. He is in danger! You must warn him!”

My head swivels toward Prince Vlad.

“There are always spies,” Vlad whispers.

I walk with measured pace and let the lantern reveal each doomed prisoner. Most stare, empty-eyed; the whips, chains, skin shredders, bone crushers, and strappado take away all hope and spirit. Others shout obscenities. One man kneels, hands in prayer, and mutters the Hail Mary.

The weight of their misery crashes down, squeezes my heart, and crushes my breath. This place must be worse than hell’s torments because these wretches yet live, have all their faculties! No one deserves this! It is inhumane! Sadistic and depraved!

My breath comes in shreds and clumps. I cover my nose with Prince Vlad’s cape, the stench of rotting flesh enfolding me in its putrid embrace. My pace quickens. It is time to end this test of my courage.

“You!” A milky-eyed wretch points to Prince Vlad and begins chanting in a foreign tongue.

Prince Vlad guides me away from the cells. “You have thrice over proven your courage tonight.”

“What language was that man speaking?”

“He recites from the Corpus Hermeticum.” Dracula takes the lantern and illuminates the stairwell. “It’s a pagan book of alchemy, astronomy, and metaphysics.”

“It sounded like he cursed us.”

“Pay no attention to a madman’s rants. That particular book is nothing but Egyptian and Greek nonsense.”

I tread upwards, evil’s chill clinging to my limbs. At the top, I try to purge the dungeon’s misery, malice, and madness with a long exhalation. Yet the horror sticks like nettles in my soul.

“This way.” I move past the dark tunnel and enter the lighted one, relieved to put space and distance between the prisoners and me.

The tunnel ends at a large grotto where Prince Vlad pauses to light the ring of torches affixed to the walls. I wait on a stone bench near the baptismal font, sighing with relief as the golden glow of the church-like arches infuses peace into my troubled soul.

Prince Vlad sits beside me. “We go from hell to heaven.”

I tuck a stray lock behind my ear. “This was Father’s favorite grotto. God’s Buried Cathedral, he called it. His second favorite has a Titan-sized head emerging from the ground—like a god got stuck in molten rock. I was only in that grotto once. It reminded me of an insect trapped in tree sap that ages to amber—the insect forever entombed—never aging, almost alive in its resin grave.”

“Do you find that horrific or beautiful?” His eyes search mine.

“Both I suppose.” My shoulders move into my sigh. “Caves are dreary places.”

“I rather enjoy them. Tunnels have saved my life several times.” Dracula stands. “I think we are both ready for fresh air.” He offers his hand, its warmth a familiar comfort.

Together we walk through the tunnel lit by small lanterns that flicker like fireflies all the way to the exit.

Prince Vlad gives the stubborn iron-crossed door a hard yank and it groans open. Outside, a sapphire dawn drapes over Buda.

“Oh no.” My hands fly to my face. “It’s so late it’s early.” Were we in the tunnels that long? If my aunts discover I never returned to my room…I spin about, my voice edged with panic. “I have to go back. Now.”

Vlad’s brows crease with concern. He tugs a handkerchief from his robe and touches it to my lips as though dabbing at a smudge. “There’s something I must do first.” He lays the linen over my lips and sets his mouth on mine.

Even through the thin fabric, his lips sear my own. I part my lips, feel the linen moisten with the breath of our lust. I collapse into him, my body sizzling with desire. I am about to rip away the fabric and taste his lips when he breaks the kiss.

Vlad Dracula steps back, the handkerchief between thumb and forefinger. “If you marry Luigi della Scala you will still be chaste.” He drags the handkerchief across his mouth. “I will always have this.”

Chaste? Prince Vlad just violated my heart and corrupted my flesh!

Back in my chambers, I touch my lips that still burn with the memory of our kiss—my first kiss—and groan. Vlad Dracula used my virtue, conceit, and fears to study the labyrinth’s secrets. He took advantage of my desire for romantic adventure to learn the escape route.

Guest Post: Autumn Bardot!

Romancing the Research!

Reading historical fiction is about as close as you can get to time travel! That’s why I love it! I’m instantly transported to a long-ago time and faraway place. Description, detail—I breathe it in. As a mom of four children I only left the house to go to the pediatrician and grocery store, so reading a big delicious historical novel during naptime was decadent escapism. Not only did I immerse myself in story and time, I learned more about history than I ever did in school! Who knew I loved history?!

One of the first historical novels I read was Far Pavilions, and I remember thinking, one day I’m going to write a historical novel. This was before the internet. Before Amazon. Before the whole world was at a writer’s fingertips. It was a pipe dream, one I did not have the resources, life experience, or writing skills to accomplish. But I held that dream in my heart. One day…

Fast forward—the children grew up and several big life changes happened. I went back to school, earned a degree in literature, and began a new career teaching literature and writing. The dream was still there, but the process seemed so daunting. After getting my Masters, I decided to give writing a go. First, I wrote a paranormal romance series using another pen name. Then, I decided to give the whole historical fiction thing a shot.

Good thing, I love research! Because writing historical fiction is a daunting task. Readers and friends always ask, “How much research did you do?”

My answer, “More than you can possibly imagine.”

I probably read a thousand pages or more before I ever write a single sentence.

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As you can see from the stack, I read about the Middle Ages. There’s a book about Renaissance Italy too. That book was for only one particular character.

The giant tome at the bottom is amazing. It has illustrations and descriptions of all the cultures I needed. It especially came in handy to describe the different kinds of dress that the Turkish court and military wore.

For you history buffs, here’s my research ‘system.’

  1. Type all manner of key words in Amazon for the best non-fiction books in the subject manner. This is ongoing and takes weeks.
  2. Buy those books and read them. Some of them I read several times. I mark them up, A LOT. I know, it horrifies many people. My research books are well loved.
  3. Make charts with details like indigenous trees, animals, food, weapons, jobs/trades, weather, maps, entertainment, dress, titles, ranks, customs, politics, superstitions, religion, rituals, topography, houses—basically anything I think I may need.
  4. Make an extensive timeline. I use a six-foot long white board propped on my mantel. (Very writer chic.)
  5. Internet research.
  6. Create a secret board on Pinterest with all the links to my internet research.
  7. Visit relevant museums and exhibits.
  8. Study art of the time period. This is invaluable! I have many art books and the symbology found in medieval paintings offered a plethora of source material, fascinating details, and inspiration.
  9. Google Maps is my second-best friend. (Hubby is my favorite.) For Dracula’s trip across the Borgo Pass, I took a virtual tour on google maps using the street view. When a reader told me she just returned from Romania and loved my descriptions I was so happy!
  10. Watch videos. For example, I watched hours of venery (hawking) on YouTube for one scene. I also watched medieval dances and listened to traditional Romanian music. (For Confessions of a Sheba Queen ( Cleis Press, Jan 2020 ) I watched an hour of camels farting, grunting, walking, and running.)
  11. I ate Romanian and Hungarian food. I don’t know why but I had a hankering for goulash.

Extra Benefits of Research

  1. I can bore my friends for hours with details about the weirdest things, like the different ways to impale someone, medieval torture methods, marriage customs, and birthing practices.
  2. I can justify buying almost anything if it’s for a novel I’m writing. “Yes, I really need these renaissance dragon wine glasses.” LOL.
  3. Readers message me to say that they looked up this-or-that fact and ‘it’s true!” I LOVE that.

Thanks so much for hosting me today and putting a spotlight on The Impaler’s Wife.

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What’s coming next?

Dragon Lady (historical fiction) will be released August 1st.

The Emperor’s Assassin (historical fiction) will be released next spring.

Confessions of a Sheba Queen (historical erotica/ Cleis Press ) will be released January 2020.

Diros is a work in progress.

Thank you!!

Calendar Girls: Bookish OTP!

Hosted by Katie @ Never Not Reading and Darque Reader Reads, “Calendar Girls is a monthly blog event created by Melanie at MNBernard Books, and Flavia at Flavia the Bibliophile, and will now be hosted by Katie. It is designed to ignite bookish discussions among readers and was inspired by the 1961 Neil Sedaka song, Calendar Girl. Just like the song, each month has a different theme. Each blogger picks their favorite book from the theme, and on the first Monday of the month reveals their pick in a Calendar Girls post. Make sure to post back to the hostess’s post, and I will make a master list for the month. The master lists allow everyone to see the other Calendar Girls’ picks and to pop on over to their blogs. Thus, we all get to chat about books and even make some new friends!” — Katie

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The theme this month is our Bookish OTP! This, as always, was hard for me to choose. There are many couples in books that I really love. Lei and Wren from Girls of Paper and

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My pick for Audrey & Thomas. Ben Barnes & Nina Dobrev.

Fire, Audrey and Thomas from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, Claire and Jaime from Outlander, Scarlett, and Rhett from Gone With the Wind. (hey, don’t rain on my parade, okay?) Lily and James Potter from the HP series, Harry and Hermione. (I will die on that mountain. Harry and Hermione were better suited for one another. I didn’t get the Ron/Mione thing in books and on screen.) I don’t believe we have to pick a canon couple, but I was good and I chose one.

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My choice comes from Me Before You!
Untitled-x1Ime-before-you really, honestly, and I’m sure I’ll get some grief, but I loved the hell out of Will and Louisa from Me Before You. I know the end of the book is devastating and there are many who feel that it was wrong to have Will die, but I think he wanted to go on his own terms. He wasn’t happy, he was suffering, and the woman he loved would never live a full life without him. Granted, I’d have done as Lou did, I’d have fought hard for him. If I loved someone that much, the idea of life without them would be impossible to fathom. Eventually, I’d accept it, but I think you all understand my meaning. Will Traynor was the spark that ignited a passion for life, for everything. Once she broke down those walls he had erected around himself, I loved Will too.

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Scarlett & Rhett.

Now, given Will deciding to end his life, and ultimately his suffering, I know people think it’s selfish. But I don’t. And I think Lou eventually saw that, given how she saw first hand how limited and miserable his life was. I think people have to make the decisions that will give them peace, ultimately. As with everything in this day and age, people find fault with everything, but I really love them and they will always be one of my favorites. (Scarlett and Rhett are my all time favorite, but I know people are sick of me talking Gone With The Wind, lol.)

 

Lou and Will complimented each other, despite their differences. And I think that’s an important thing people should realise that you can come from two entirely different backgrounds, and yet, still be entirely perfect for the other. Will, being in the situation that he was, made Lou see that there is an entire world out there and she shouldn’t be ‘maudlin’ and miss out. And yet, he never made her change her style, her quirkiness, any of it, despite it initially annoying him.

Rather, he embraced her for it. And though there were occasions Lou wanted to leave, she was head over heels for Will and she did her best to make his time pleasant.  Where he was quiet, she was chatty, where she was naive, he was experienced. There were so many ways that they complimented one another and I really, really loved that.

It was the film that alerted me to the existence of the book. I am not, as most of you know, a romance lover really. But taking Emilia Clarke and putting her in this role…and giving me Sam Claflin to look at, well, of course, I was going to be pulled in. I recently got the DVD, but I haven’t watched yet as I have no intention of bawling my eyes out. Having seen the movie, when I read the book finally, I could see them perfectly in the roles. I think it was a rare case of really brilliant casting.

I suppose I also love Lou so much because as I said in another post, I see myself in her. There is so much of her in me, that sometimes reading the book, I felt I knew what I would do and lo and behold, she did it. It isn’t often I connect with a character like that. Especially given that when asked what characters I think are like me, I say, Belle, Jo March, and Scarlett O’Hara. But yes…that’s one of my bookish OTP’s. I hope you enjoyed the read and that you sound off, telling me if you agree or not, who you would pick.

And be sure to visit the other Calendar Girls blogs to read who they pick. Be kind to one another, as Ellen DeGeneres says!

Over and out, bookworms! xx

PS: If you are in Europe and in the midst of the heatwave, please, please stay cool. Stay Hydrated, take cool showers/baths. If you like ice cream? Go for it. Sit with fans. Also, if you are an animal lover like I am, leave some water out for them. And be mindful of the hotness of concrete–it will burn the pads of your pet’s feet! Keep them cool too. xx

Titles I’m looking forward to…

I have been in the throes of a horrid book rut. Not to mention internet troubles (again!) and then my friend visiting me (yay!). But the book rut has been monstrous and so I decided that I’d try and psyche myself up for some upcoming releases. I’m over the moon for these and I hope you guys will be too. I didn’t include any purchase links this time, except on one. Figured you’d all just enjoy reading about these stunning titles. What are you guys currently reading?

And what do you do when you’re in a book rut? Sound off in comments!! xx

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In this mesmerizing sequel to the New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire, Lei and Wren have escaped their oppressive lives in the Hidden Palace, but soon learn that freedom comes with a terrible cost.

Lei, the naive country girl who became a royal courtesan, is now known as the Moonchosen, the commoner who managed to do what no one else could. But slaying the cruel Demon King wasn’t the end of the plan—it’s just the beginning. Now Lei and her warrior love Wren must travel the kingdom to gain support from the far-flung rebel clans. The journey is made even more treacherous thanks to a heavy bounty on Lei’s head, as well as insidious doubts that threaten to tear Lei and Wren apart from within.

Meanwhile, an evil plot to eliminate the rebel uprising is taking shape, fueled by dark magic and vengeance. Will Lei succeed in her quest to overthrow the monarchy and protect her love for Wren, or will she fall victim to the sinister magic that seeks to destroy her?

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In this irresistibly-priced short story, catch a glimpse of the inner struggles and triumphs that drive Stalking Jack the Ripper‘s endearing but troubled hero.

Enigmatic, brooding, and darkly handsome, Thomas Cresswell has always been the one mystery Audrey Rose has never been able to fully solve. As brilliant partners in crime investigation, they understand each other perfectly…but as young lovers, their passionate natures have led to both euphoria and heartbreak throughout the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.

This novella features a collection of scenes that takes place during and after the pair’s horrifying Atlantic voyage in Escaping From Houdini. Experience new and familiar scenes from Thomas’s unique point of view, including an intensely personal look into his plea for Audrey Rose’s hand in marriage.
With a romance for the ages, Audrey Rose and Thomas reach the conclusion to their epic, irresistible partnership in their final adventure, Capturing the Devil.

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From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.

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The first in a sweeping and epic own voices debut fantasy trilogy—set in a stunning Latinx-inspired world—about a face-changing thief and a risk-taking prince who must team up to defeat a powerful evil they accidentally unleashed. Perfect for fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Leigh Bardugo, and V. E. Schwab.

To Finn Voy, magic is two things: a knife to hold under the chin of anyone who crosses her…and a disguise she shrugs on as easily as others pull on cloaks.

As a talented faceshifter, it’s been years since Finn has seen her own face, and that’s exactly how she likes it. But when Finn gets caught by a powerful mobster, she’s forced into an impossible mission: steal a legendary treasure from Castallan’s royal palace or be stripped of her magic forever.

After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfehr is first in line for the Castallan throne. But Alfie can’t help but feel that he will never live up to his brother’s legacy. Riddled with grief, Alfie is obsessed with finding a way to bring his brother back, even if it means dabbling in forbidden magic.

But when Finn and Alfie’s fates collide, they accidentally unlock a terrible, ancient power—which, if not contained, will devour the world. And with Castallan’s fate in their hands, Alfie and Finn must race to vanquish what they have unleashed, even if it means facing the deepest darkness in their pasts.

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo comes a mesmerizing tale of power, privilege, and dark magic set among the Ivy League elite.

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. Their eight windowless “tombs” are the well-known haunts of the rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street’s biggest players. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive. They tamper with forbidden magic. They raise the dead. And, sometimes, they prey on the living.

Ninth House is the long-awaited adult debut by the beloved author of Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows. Leigh Bardugo will take her place alongside Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness as one of the finest practitioners of literary fantasy writing today.

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The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

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In the shocking finale to the bestselling series that began with Stalking Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose and Thomas are on the hunt for the depraved, elusive killer known as the White City Devil. A deadly game of cat-and-mouse has them fighting to stay one step ahead of the brilliant serial killer—or see their fateful romance cut short by an unspeakable tragedy.

 
Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell have landed in America, a bold, brash land unlike the genteel streets of London. But like London, the city of Chicago hides its dark secrets well. When the two attend the spectacular World’s Fair, they find the once-in-a-lifetime event tainted with reports of missing people and unsolved murders.
Determined to help, Audrey Rose and Thomas begin their investigations, only to find themselves facing a serial killer unlike any they’ve encountered before. Identifying him is one thing, but capturing him—and getting dangerously lost in the infamous Murder Hotel he constructed as a terrifying torture device—is another.
Will Audrey Rose and Thomas see their last mystery to the end—together and in love—or will their fortunes finally run out when their most depraved adversary makes one final, devastating kill?
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In the final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns series, an all-out war is brewing—one that will pit sister against sister and dead against undead.

After the grim confrontation with Queen Katharine, the rebellion lies in tatters. Jules’s legion curse has been unbound, and it is up to Arsinoe to find a cure, even as the responsibility of stopping the ravaging mist lies heavy on her shoulders, and her shoulders alone. Mirabella has disappeared.

Katharine’s reign remains intact—for now. When Mirabella arrives, seemingly under a banner of truce, Katharine begins to yearn for the closeness that Mirabella and Arsinoe share. But as the two circle each other, the dead queens hiss caution—Mirabella is not to be trusted.

In this conclusion to the Three Dark Crowns series, three sisters will rise to fight as the secrets of Fennbirn’s history are laid bare. Allegiances will shift. Bonds will be tested. But the fate of the island lies in the hands of its queens. It always has.

Guest Post: Rebecca Rosenberg!

Historical Fiction Virtual Tour Guest Blog

Have you noticed symbols in fiction books you read? Do you like them?

I love what they do in a story! Especially if they are well integrated into the story and change in meaning along the way.

Here are a few examples from my new novel GOLD DIGGER, the Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor, and a few from other authors. I hope these examples will make you think of other examples.

peacock fans

PEACOCKS! In the beginning of the story, Baby Doe has a peacock fan, a symbol of her beauty and pride. She has never seen a peacock and has always wanted to, so it also stands for her unfulfilled dreams and wishes. Mid-story, she quotes that the eyes of a peacock feather can see the future, which is unknown and uncertain for her. She tells the Silver King, Horace Tabor, she would love to see a real peacock. After they are married, he brings her a hundred; a symbol of his extravagant love for her. The Tabor’s neighbors complain about the peacocks and when they lose their fortune, Baby Doe has to sell all the beautiful birds.

SILVER DOLLARS! Horace Tabor gives silver dollars away to everyone he meets as a symbol of his open-handed generosity, which gets out of hand. At his funeral, everyone gives Baby Doe silver dollars as a tribute to him.

In GOLD DIGGER, Baby Doe Tabor is deathly afraid of the Chinese miner foreman, Chin Pi-Xiu-Pi-Yao-wealth-symbolLin Sou, since she’s never seen Chinese people before. Chin scares people with his towering height of 6 feet, 6 inches, incongruous blue eyes and few words. Imagine her fear when she has to work side-by-side with Chin in the gold mine! However, when she is in trouble, Chin transforms himself to a Pixiu and protects her through many dangerous situations.

PIXIU! A Pixiu is a mythological Chinese creature who protects its human master. Pixiu have the frightening head of a horned dragon and the fierce body of a lion, with clawed feet and feathered wings which fly between Heaven and Earth. Pixiu crave the smell of gold and silver and like to bring their masters precious ore in their mouth. Pixiu is said to have feathered wings with which can fly between heaven and earth.

Mrs London IPPY (002)In THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON (2019 Gold Medal winner of world’s largest book competition, the IPPY’s) is about the love triangle between Houdini, Jack London his wife, Charmian. Symbols have a lot of meaning.

Jack London dictates his stories to his wife, Charmian, who types up his work on her trusty Remington typewriter. They spend every morning together, with him telling her stories, then in the afternoons she edits and embellishes them. Charmian always serves Jack, and he likes it that way. Later, when Charmian starts writing her own books, she gets him a new-fangled ediphone to record his stories for a secretary to type up later. Through these symbols, we understand that the London’s relationship is changing and Charmian is standing up for herself. Jack throws the ediphone at a palm tree and breaks it, unhappy with the change.

FOOD! In THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON, Charmain has a sensual relationship with food, which symbolizes her unrequited love/lust for her husband, Jack London, and her taste for the exotic and unusual, which is both Houdini and Jack. Charmian loves Dungenous crabs, oysters, raw bonita fish…and

in Hawaii, she eats friend masala and in New York, gooey Gogosi pastries and cheese and mushroom strudel.

SUFFRAGETTE DOLL. Perhaps my favorite symbol is Bess Houdini who carries a Suffragette Dollsuffragette doll in her carpet bag. The doll is a symbol of the children she longs to have, and also the times where women have not yet earned the right to vote. Former showgirl Bess Houdini is the least likely person for educated Charmian London to befriend, and yet what the doll symbolizes is meaningful for both of them. Bess gives Charmian the doll when she leaves for Hawaii, symbolizing their shared desires.

 In the novel THIEVING FOREST, Susanna Quiner follows her five older sisters after they’ve been abducted from their Ohio cabin in 1806. She takes with her a turkey hen bone, which her father, now dead, found in a field after a herd of buffalo ran through it, and he gave it to Susannah. It is Susanna’s symbol of luck, and of family, and of change. (It was the last buffalo they ever saw.) Later, after she loses the bone, she receives a necklace of turkey hen bones from a Chippewa chief as a symbol of good will.”

From author Ann Howard Creel:

“In my upcoming novel, MERCY ROAD, the main character wears a baby locket given to her by her father as a symbol of his love. After she loses everything in a fire except what she was wearing at the time, including the locket, she also sees it as a symbol of survival. Later in the novel she passes it on to someone headed to the front in hopes that he survives.

In THE UNCERTAIN SEASON, a wealthy socialite gives a homeless waif a blue satin evening gown as a gift, so it begins as a symbol of well wishes. But the dress ends up causing harm to the girl, therefore it transforms into a symbol of misguided charity and the gap between the social classes.”

So, what symbols have you noticed in the novels?

Rebecca Rosenberg

http://www.rebecca-rosenberg.com

GOLD DIGGER, The Remarkable Baby Doe Tabor, by Rebecca Rosenberg. When Baby Doe’s family loses everything in a fire in 1878, the twenty-year-old is forced to marry and go west to prospect a gold mine. Abandoned and running the mine alone, she finds true passion with Silver King Horace Tabor, married and twice her age. When scandal and economic ruin threatens Tabor’s life, Baby Doe is forced to make a painful choice. http://bit.ly/GDBabyDoe

Gold Digger: A Review.

Gold Digger
by Rebecca Rosenberg

Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Lion Heart Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 312 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical/American

 

 

One look at Baby Doe and you know she was meant to be a legend! She was just twenty years old when she came to Colorado to work a gold mine with her new husband. Little did she expect that she’d be abandoned and pregnant and left to manage the gold mine alone. But that didn’t stop her!

She moved to Leadville and fell in love with a married prospector, twice her age. Horace Tabor struck the biggest silver vein in history, divorced his wife and married Baby Doe. Though his new wife was known for her beauty, her fashion, and even her philanthropy, she was never welcomed in polite society.

Discover how the Tabors navigated the worlds of wealth, power, politics, and scandal in the wild days of western mining.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

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Praise for Gold Digger

“Rosenberg’s rollicking Western adventure strikes gold with a gutsy, good-hearted spitfire of a heroine and action aplenty.” —THELMA ADAMS, bestselling author of Bittersweet Brooklyn and The Last Woman Standing

“Gold Digger tells the true story of Lizzie ‘Baby Doe’ Tabor, a beautiful young woman who in 1878 marries the son of a wealthy miner in order to save her family from penury. Shrewd and stubborn, Lizzie fights back-biting Victorian society, wins and loses vast fortunes, and bests conniving politicians in her larger-than-life story. A twisting tale worthy of Mark Twain, with a big-hearted heroine at the center.” —MARTHA CONWAY, author of The Underground River

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About the Author

A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas, and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.

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There are three things about this book that I really love.

First…that cover. It’s simple but stunning. Baby Doe Tabor truly was a stunner and it’s easy to imagine why men fell in love with her easily. If only money could buy happiness.

Two. History has a nasty habit of calling women who were poor and marrying rich a ‘gold digger’. Baby Doe Tabor is definitely one of those unfortunate souls. She was born in a relatively well off family who lost everything. She hoped by marrying, she might help to recover the family’s burden. Husband number one didn’t do that. It was not a love match and it was, in the long run, an epic fail. And husband number two? The one who left his wife of twenty-five years to marry the much younger Baby Doe? The one she really did love? Went broke. This left Baby Doe in harsh conditions for the remainder of her life. So what did I love? How she kept going. Despite the odds against her. So I suppose it’s the idea of ‘let’s stop calling her this underserved name’.

Okay, I know you’re probably screaming, “SPOILERS.” But that doesn’t take away from this book, I promise. There’s so much going on that knowing these little facts won’t impede your enjoying this. Scout’s honor! (And I was a Girl Scout!)

And yet…she’s a striking figure, one who stands out despite the valiant attempt of time and history to make her not relevant. I don’t know if there are other books about her, but Rebecca Rosenberg took someone I knew nothing of and made her so vibrant and three dimensional, that I felt like she was an old friend. I love an author who can do that. And I love when a subject is chosen and is brought to my attention. Baby Doe was ahead of her time, not wanting to fit into gender norms and traditional roles–one of my favorite moments was at the very beginning of the book where she was quite irritated at the porter on the train looking to her husband for permission before answering a question of hers. (I’d have been livid too, trust in that!)

I’m someone who enjoys reading about miners and the history of it; of learning how they made their living and how dangerous the work actually was.  (One of my favorite field trips in elementary school was to the Lackawanna Coal Mine. So fascinating and so so fun.) The idea of this 19th-century woman donning work clothes and going to work in a mine is rather hilarious if you ask me. But I digress. This is a truly fascinating read and I can’t recommend it enough. Yeah, there are little things that I might tweak, but I thought this was a really fantastic read and I think you guys should grab it up if you get the chance.

Oh and number three? There’s a sequel coming. 😀

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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a copy of Gold Digger, a gold facial mask & soap set, and recipe brochure to five winners. Three winners will receive an ebook of Gold Digger.

To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Gold Digger

 

The Tiger Catcher: Spotlight & Giveaway

The first novel in a beautiful, heartbreaking new trilogy from Paullina Simons, the international bestselling author of Tully and The Bronze Horseman.

Can true love ever die?

Julian lives a charmed life in Los Angeles. Surrounded by friends, he is young, handsome, and runs a successful business. Everything changes after he has a fateful encounter with a mysterious young woman named Josephine. Julian’s world is turned upside down by a love affair that takes him—and everyone else in his life—by storm. For the two new lovers, the City of Angels is transformed into a magical playground.

But Josephine is not what she seems and carries secrets that threaten to tear them apart—seemingly forever.

A broken man, his faith in tatters, Julian meets a mysterious stranger who tells him how to find Josephine again if he is willing to give up everything and take a death-defying trip from which no one has ever returned.

So begins Julian and Josephine’s extraordinary adventure of love, loss, and the mystical forces that bind people across time and space. It is a journey that propels Julian toward an impossible choice which will lead him to love fulfilled…or to oblivion.

The Tiger Catcher takes readers from the depths of despair to the dizzying heights of joy in the first novel of an unforgettable trilogy of love lost and found. For all fans of Outlander, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Jojo Moyes.

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Amazon || Barnes & Noble || Powell’s || Indie Bound

*Giveaway!!*

To enter to win an autographed copy of The Tiger Catcher by Paulina Simons, please make sure you are following my blog and comment below. US entries only, per the publisher’s rules. (Sorry, international people!) One random winner will be selected on June 25th, 2019.

Paullina Simons is also running a giveaway on her blog with an amazing grand prize! You can also check out the rest of the tour stops for more chances to win here. Go and check it out! 🙂

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Paullina Simons was born and raised in Leningrad, USSR. In 1968, her father was arrested for protesting the Soviet Union’s invasion of Czechoslovakia and spent the next five years of his life in the Gulag prison camps and in exile. In the mid-seventies, Paullina and her family managed to leave the U.S.S.R. and immigrate to the United States. While growing up in Russia, Paullina dreamed of someday becoming a writer. Her dreams were put on hold as she learned English and overcame the shock of a new culture.

After graduating from the University of Kansas and various jobs including working as a financial journalist and as a translator, Paullina wrote her first novel Tully. Through word of mouth, the book was welcomed by readers all over the world. She has since written twelve novels, a memoir, a cookbook, and two children’s books. Her books have been published in over 23 countries, sold millions of copies, and have been on many bestseller lists around the world. Paullina has lived in Rome, London, and Dallas, and now lives in New York with her husband and half of her children.

THE TIGER CATCHER, Paullina’s first book in the new End of Forever Trilogy, will be published in May 2019. A BEGGAR’S KINGDOM, Book Two, will be published in August 2019, and the final book in the trilogy, INEXPRESSIBLE ISLAND, will be published in December 2019.