The Phantom’s Apprentice: A Review.

The Phantom’s Apprentice
by Heather Webb

Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Sonnet Press
Paperback & eBook; 350 Pages
ISBN13: 9780999628508

Genre: Historical Fiction



In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine Daaé you’ve never seen before…

Christine Daaé sings with her violinist Papa in salons all over Paris, but she longs to practice her favorite pastime—illusions. When her beloved Papa dies during a conjurer’s show, she abandons her magic and surrenders to grief and guilt. Life as a female illusionist seems too dangerous, and she must honor her father’s memory.

Concerned for her welfare, family friend Professor Delacroix secures an audition for her at the Nouvel Opéra—the most illustrious stage in Europe. Yet Christine soon discovers the darker side of Paris opera. Rumors of murder float through the halls, and she is quickly trapped between a scheming diva and a mysterious phantom. The Angel of Music.

But is the Angel truly a spirit, or a man obsessed, stalking Christine for mysterious reasons tangled in her past?

As Christine’s fears mount, she returns to her magical arts with the encouragement of her childhood friend, Raoul. Newfound hope and romance abounds…until one fateful night at the masquerade ball. Those she cares for—Delacroix, the Angel, and even Raoul—aren’t as they seem. Now she must decide whom she trusts and which is her rightful path: singer or illusionist.

To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.

“Heather Webb combines music and magic seamlessly in The Phantom’s Apprentice, weaving glittering new threads into the fabric of a classic story. Romantic, suspenseful and inventive, this novel sweeps you along to its breathless conclusion.”—Greer Macallister, USA Today bestselling author of The Magician’s Lie and Girl in Disguise

“Heather Webb’s The Phantom’s Apprentice delivers a performance worthy of the Paris Opera. Unlike so many other renditions of the Phantom’s tale, Webb breathes life into Christine, so often portrayed as the helpless victim. Christine’s evolution from ‘damsel in distress’ to self-reliant woman is masterfully done, hooking the reader from the first page. Webb’s work is immersive, well-crafted, and beautifully paced. A must-read for fans of this bewitching legend!”—Aimie Runyan, author of Daughters of the Night Sky

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Brava, brava, belissima…

I had been anxiously awaiting this book since Ms. Webb announced that she had written it and that it would be released. I’m a HUGE Phantom fan and so is the author, which made me excited. Phans tend to respect the source material–the book and the play–so I trusted Ms. Webb. This is a reimagined version yet I still sensed the respect and love for the original versions. Christine is a bit more assertive in this version and to that I say “hell yeah!” She’s always been portrayed as this meek figure but I loved that she had a bit more spirit. By the end of the novel, she no longer allows for anyone to decide her fate but her.

In a shock to me, I was actually invested in Raoul and Christine’s romance. It isn’t a huge factor; this is not  romance novel. He comes off more as someone you root for, rather than a fop. As to our Phantom, I found he was more similar to Susan Kay’s version; he is far more malevolent and threatening. This is to say, he was a bad ass and I loved him still. (I’d never want to be with him but I am a fangirl.)

The story itself is strong and it will stay with you, you’ll find yourself thinking about it and that’s a good thing. The characters are well developed–even the secondary ones. The scenery is richly described and it’s easy to lose yourself whilst reading. Ms. Webb is a powerful writer and I daresay the ‘Angel of Music’ was on her shoulder as she wrote this. It was a wonderful read and I can’t wait to read it again.


Additional Notes:

  • I’d give it ★★★★ stars.
  • I received a copy of this in exchange for my honest review. Thank you! ❤
  • would (and have!) recommend this to a friend.


About the Author

HEATHER WEBB is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, and the anthology Fall of Poppies, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and more, as well as received national starred reviews. RODIN’S LOVER was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. Up and coming, Last Christmas in Paris, an epistolary love story set during WWI will release October 3, 2017, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, a re-imagining of the Gothic classic Phantom of the Opera from Christine Daae’s point of view releases February 6, 2018. To date, her novels have sold in ten countries. Heather is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

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

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 5
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, February 6
Review at The Lit Bitch
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, February 7
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, February 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, February 9
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads

Saturday, February 10
Review at Bookish

Monday, February 12
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, February 13
Review at Linda’s Book Obsession

Wednesday, February 14
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, February 15
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, February 16
Review at Baer Books

Monday, February 19
Review at Cup of Sensibility
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at Bookworms Anonymous

Tuesday, February 20
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 21
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Monday, February 26
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story


During the Blog Tour we are giving away two paperback copies of The Phantom’s Apprentice! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Phantom’s Apprentice


Happy Release Day!


A spellbinding debut novel about the trailblazing 1960s poet Forugh Farrokzhad, who defied Iranian society to find her voice and her destiny.

“Remember the flight, for the bird is mortal.”—Forugh Farrokhzad

All through her childhood in Tehran, Forugh is told that Iranian daughters should be quiet and modest. She is taught only to obey, but she always finds ways to rebel—gossiping with her sister among the fragrant roses of her mother’s walled garden, venturing to the forbidden rooftop to roughhouse with her three brothers, writing poems to impress her strict, disapproving father, and sneaking out to flirt with a teenage paramour over café glacé. It’s during the summer of 1950 that Forugh’s passion for poetry really takes flight—and that tradition seeks to clip her wings.

Forced into a suffocating marriage, Forugh runs away and falls into an affair that fuels her desire to write and to achieve freedom and independence. Forugh’s poems are considered both scandalous and brilliant; she is heralded by some as a national treasure, vilified by others as a demon influenced by the West. She perseveres, finding love with a notorious filmmaker and living by her own rules—at enormous cost. But the power of her writing grows only stronger amid the upheaval of the Iranian revolution.

Inspired by Forugh Farrokhzad’s verse, letters, films, and interviews—and including original translations of her poems—Jasmin Darznik has written a haunting novel, using the lens of fiction to capture the tenacity, spirit, and conflicting desires of a brave woman who represents the birth of feminism in Iran—and who continues to inspire generations of women around the world.


IndieBound | Book Passage | Powell’s | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Amazon | Hudson Books | Target | Walmart


Jasmin Darznik’s novel Song of a Captive Bird is a fictional account of Iran’s trailblazing woman poet, Forugh Farrokhzad, and will be published by Random House on February 13, 2018. Jasmin is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her essays have appeared in numerous periodicals, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

Jasmin was born in Tehran, Iran and came to America when she was five years old. She holds an MFA in fiction from Bennington College and a Ph.D. in English from Princeton University. Now a professor of English and creative writing at California College of the Arts, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family.

Why I Hate 50 Shades.

“Clarissa, why do you hate Fifty Shades of Grey?”


My friends have asked me this more than once and I suppose it’s time I address it attumblr_inline_ndnmdhwpvp1rpogym length, rather than sounding like an old biddy. First off, I hate it because the writing is godawful. The trope of “falling in love with your bully” is overused. I was bullied incessantly as a kid. Let me tell you something, I would never in a million years want to get together with someone who made me feel my value was nothing. I don’t know about you guys, but that’s definitely a ‘no’ in my book. I think it’s an overused trope.

Anyway…here are some gems. Some are laughably bad, others are just cringeworthy.


“His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel … or something.”
(Or something, lol.)

“And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain — probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells — comes the thought: He’s here to see you.”

“My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five year old.”

“My inner goddess is beside herself, hopping from foot to foot. Anticipation hangs heavy and portentous over my head like a dark tropical storm cloud. Butterflies flood my belly – as well as a darker, carnal, captivating ache as I try to imagine what he will do to me. … And of course, I have to sign that damned contract. Or do I?”

“I pull him deeper into my mouth so I can feel him at the back of my throat and then to the front again. My tongue swirls around the end. He’s my very own Christian Grey-flavored Popsicle. I suck harder and harder. … My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves.”
(Err…how sexy?)

Christian: “Dr. Green is coming to sort you out…”
Ana: “Why?”
Christian: “Because I hate condoms …”
Ana: “It’s my body.”
Christian: “It’s mine, too.”

“He’s said such loving things today … But how long will he want to do this without wanting to beat the crap out of me.”
(Romance at its finest.)

“Sitting beside me, he gently pulls my sweatpants down again. Up and down like whores.”
(Say what?) 


(Click to enlarge the images.)


Second. Ana.

Dude, there’s so little description of her. How is anyone supposed to connect with her if they don’t quite grasp who she is? Beyond someone who listens to her ‘inner goddess’ and is generally awkward and gawky. Ana is made to look like an airhead. She isn’t given a good physical description, she’s namby-pamby. Ana is a Mary Sue.

She also believes she can “save” Christian from his being “fifty-shades of fucked up”. No, honey. At what cost? To your own dignity? It isn’t worth it. The only one who can fix him is himself and a lot of therapy. Learn your value.


Third: Christian Grey.

I don’t get the hype. I don’t find him or his behavior sexy. He stalks Ana; he literally tracks her cell phone and does it more than once. He also does a background check on her; her a girl who was just doing an article on him for her college newspaper. Let’s go on. He tries to control how she learns about things; seriously, she’s limited to Wikipedia for BDSM info. He blames her if things go wrong–like, man up dude, accept that you screw up too. If Ana is near another dude? Christian loses his ever-loving mind. He gets ridiculously angry. He tries to control what she eats, who she sees and where she goes. Yeah, totally sexy. And let’s not talk about how he tries to bribe her and manipulates her.

That’s romance.

Now, before someone says, “well, she signed a contract.” No, he was doing that pre-contract.

Also, there have been instances where Ana has used the safe word or said ‘no!’ and Christian continues anyway.

Ladies, that isn’t love. That’s rape.


If you find yourself in an abusive situation, ladies and gents, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline or try to visit a site to get information. There are ways out. You are a beautiful, wonderful person. Don’t ever let someone make you feel less than what you are. You deserve the best. To have something like this glamorize the terror you endure is disgusting.

You are not alone. You don’t need to endure someone’s abuse. There are ways out. Maybe that person does love you, but love equals respect. Don’t let anyone disrespect you.

And this is just another reason why I hate Fifty Shades; it glamorizes a dark reality. Let’s be real, if Christian was broke, he’d be on Criminal Minds. (I saw that quote somewhere and it was perfect.) There is nothing sexy about this. Be brave, keep fighting and reject anyone who makes you feel worthless. No person is worth that pain. xx

Bookish Naughty List!


I saw this on Dee’s Reads and Reviews and I thought, this would be fun! So here I am. 🙂  This tag was originally created by A Page of Jenniely. 


  • Tag & link the person who tagged you
  • Tag and link me/this post (if you would be so kind, I love reading your answers!)
  • Tick/cross off the ones you’ve done
  • Tag another 10 people!
  • If you’ve not been tagged, go ahead and do it anyway!


1. Received an ARC and not reviewed it?

Once or twice. :/

2. Have less than 60% feedback rating on NetGalley?

I do. I always forget to post on there. raw

3. Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)?

I tend to update when I go on the site, so this is a no.

4. Folded down the page of a book?

When I was a kid and reading in class when I wasn’t supposed to be, yes.

5. Skim read a book?

I have. I feel so ashamed!

6. DNF a book this year?

Not so far!

7. Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it?

…Guilty. I’ve done it before, but I am trying to be better about it.

8. Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else?

Hahaha, yes! I read when I should be sleeping!


9. Accidentally spilled on a book?


10. Completely missed your Goodreads goal?

I have. #BadGalRissRiss

11. Borrowed a book and not returned it?


I borrowed Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in 7th or 8th grade. I never returned it.

12. Broke a book buying ban?

This is why I don’t ban myself.

13. Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about?

Yes, I have.


14. Wrote in a book you were reading?



15. Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads?

Yes, lol. And then I’m like, “Oh hey!”


That was fun! 

I’m not going to tag anybody specifically, but if you feel like doing this… Go for it! I’d love to read your responses!

The thoughts of a blogger.

ARCs. Advanced Reader’s Copy, for those who don’t know. Or a galley. There’s many different ways to say it but when it comes down to it, there is a problem. The problem is…people are selling them! tenor (1)

As a book blogger/reviewer, we understand that these are not meant to go on sale. They’re not meant for anything but the express purpose of being read and then being reviewed. It even says on most copies, “Not For Sale!” And yet, if you look on eBay you’ll find a boatload of them. This is something that frustrates me and I thought I’d dedicate a post to it. I know I saw another post recently expressing disappointment about it, I just forget who posted it. However, it is something that I can always hope that if addressed enough, maybe it’ll change.

I don’t quite understand how people feel that’s okay. You purport to love an author, yet by buying a copy of their work in such a manner, you’re not helping to support them. You’re supporting Joe Blow from Missoula or something. (Not that they may not need the help, but support your favorite author. If they got dropped from their publishing house or something, you’d be disappointed. Help them out!

ARCs are hard enough to get. Trust me. Trust all of us. It isn’t always the easiest. Some authors and publicists are delighted and happily send you one. If you go through a publisher, they’re trusting that you won’t break their trust in you. That you’ll respect theminionsad sort of ‘silent but understood’ agreement between us all. But to go through the whole process of requesting and waiting, only to be denied because they can’t trust that the book won’t go up for sale on a site, it’s a bit deflating to those of us who genuinely love the books we receive.

Please be considerate of those who apply for them and use them for the purpose of what we got them for. And even if you won it, don’t sell it. I see it as a breach of trust between a publisher and the reader. These are uncorrected proofs. That means, they’re not edited entirely. There are mistakes or there may be something changed. To some, that means, “dollar signs.” No, guys. That just makes you a bit of a tool. Don’t do it. Don’t sell it. When I’m done with them, they either sit on my shelf forever or I pass it to a friend or family member who might enjoy them. (Someone who understands, ‘we don’t sell these’.)  Another suggestion I have is that you can donate them to a shelter. Perhaps a hospital? Somewhere someone can enjoy them. Maybe the library? You can always ask.

My thing is, just be considerate. It’s not hard; it’s lovely to be polite. ❤

What are your thoughts?

The Atomic City Girls: A Spotlight.


“Focuses on the little-known realities behind the Manhattan Project […] Readers who enjoyed Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls will appreciate this glimpse into the beliefs and attitudes that shaped America during World War II.”— Library Journal

In the bestselling tradition of Hidden Figures and The Wives of Los Alamos, comes this riveting novel of the everyday people who worked on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

“What you see here, what you hear here, what you do here, let it stay here.”

In November 1944, eighteen-year-old June Walker boards an unmarked bus, destined for a city that doesn’t officially exist. Oak Ridge, Tennessee has sprung up in a matter of months—a town of trailers and segregated houses, 24-hour cafeterias, and constant security checks. There, June joins hundreds of other young girls operating massive machines whose purpose is never explained. They know they are helping to win the war, but must ask no questions and reveal nothing to outsiders.

The girls spend their evenings socializing and flirting with soldiers, scientists, and workmen at dances and movies, bowling alleys and canteens. June longs to know more about their top-secret assignment and begins an affair with Sam Cantor, the young Jewish physicist from New York who oversees the lab where she works and understands the end goal only too well, while her beautiful roommate Cici is on her own mission: to find a wealthy husband and escape her sharecropper roots. Across town, African-American construction worker Joe Brewer knows nothing of the government’s plans, only that his new job pays enough to make it worth leaving his family behind, at least for now. But a breach in security will intertwine his fate with June’s search for answers.

When the bombing of Hiroshima brings the truth about Oak Ridge into devastating focus, June must confront her ideals about loyalty, patriotism, and war itself.

The Atomic City Girls is a fascinating and compelling novel about a little-known piece of WWII history.”—Maggie Leffler, international bestselling author (Globe and Mail) of The Secrets of Flight


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1425436Born and raised in East Tennessee, Janet Beard moved to New York to study screenwriting at NYU and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her first novel, Beneath the Pines, was published in 2008, and her follow-up, The Atomic City Girls will be published in 2018. Janet has lived and worked in Australia, England, Boston, and Columbus, Ohio, where she is currently teaching writing, raising a daughter, and working on a new novel.



Summer Hours at the Robbers Library: A Spotlight.



From journalist and author Sue Halpern comes a wry, observant look at contemporary life and its refugees.  Halpern’s novel is an unforgettable tale of family…the kind you come from and the kind you create.

People are drawn to libraries for all kinds of reasons. Most come for the books themselves, of course; some come to borrow companionship. For head librarian Kit, the public library in Riverton, New Hampshire, offers what she craves most: peace. Here, no one expects Kit to talk about the calamitous events that catapulted her out of what she thought was a settled, suburban life. She can simply submerge herself in her beloved books and try to forget her problems.

But that changes when fifteen-year-old, home-schooled Sunny gets arrested for shoplifting a dictionary. The judge throws the book at Sunny—literally—assigning her to do community service at the library for the summer. Bright, curious, and eager to connect with someone other than her off-the-grid hippie parents, Sunny coaxes Kit out of her self-imposed isolation. They’re joined by Rusty, a Wall Street high-flyer suddenly crashed to earth.

In this little library that has become the heart of this small town, Kit, Sunny, and Rusty are drawn to each other, and to a cast of other offbeat regulars. As they come to terms with how their lives have unraveled, they also discover how they might knit them together again and finally reclaim their stories.


“Finely choreographed and lucidly told, Halpern infuses this tale of derailments and second chances with free-ranging empathy, lithe humor, and penetrating insights into the human psyche. [Halpern is] a discerning and sensitive novelist.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

Summer Hours at The Robbers Library is whip-smart, funny and moving all at once. A rare combination.”
—Maggie Gyllenhaal, Academy Award-nominated actress

“Sue Halpern’s nonfiction books tell wonderful and engaging stories in prose that is crystal clear and beautifully crafted.  So, it’s no surprise that when she turns her attention to fiction she casts her spell of narrative enchantment. This novel presents a full cast of intriguing, complex characters and a heart-warming message about how our losses are often what allow us to connect with each other. And who can resist falling in love with a novel in which a small-town library is saved and with it the community that finds meaning and solace there!”
—Julia Alvarez, New York Times bestselling author of In the Time of the Butterflies

“Sometimes the best stories in the library aren’t found on its shelves; they’re walking through its doors and congregating by the reference desk. Sue Halpern knows this and mines the setting for comic and tragicomic gold.”
—Marilyn Johnson, author of This Book Is Overdue! and The Dead Beat


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As Bright As Heaven: A Spotlight.

35133917From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.

In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters–Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa–a chance at a better life.

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without–and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world, not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.


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Susan Meissner was born in San Diego, California, the second of three. She spent her 60390childhood in just two houses. Her first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories she wrote when she was eight.

She attended Point Loma College in San Diego and married her husband, Bob, who is now an associate pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, in 1980. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small group’s ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoys teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with my family, music, reading great books, and traveling.

Spotlight: Promise by Minrose Gwin

35098703In the aftermath of a devastating tornado that rips through the town of Tupelo, Mississippi, at the height of the Great Depression, two women worlds apart—one black, one white; one a great-grandmother, the other a teenager—fight for their families’ survival in this lyrical and powerful novel

“Gwin’s gift shines in the complexity of her characters and their fraught relationships with each other, their capacity for courage and hope, coupled with their passion for justice.” —Jonis Agee, bestselling author of The River Wife

A few minutes after 9 p.m. on Palm Sunday, April 5, 1936, a massive funnel cloud flashing a giant fireball and roaring like a runaway train careened into the thriving cotton-mill town of Tupelo, Mississippi, killing more than 200 people, not counting an unknown number of black citizens, one-third of Tupelo’s population, who were not included in the official casualty figures.

When the tornado hits, Dovey, a local laundress, is flung by the terrifying winds into a nearby lake. Bruised and nearly drowned, she makes her way across Tupelo to find her small family—her hardworking husband, Virgil, her clever sixteen-year-old granddaughter, Dreama, and Promise, Dreama’s beautiful light-skinned three-month-old son.

Slowly navigating the broken streets of Tupelo, Dovey stops at the house of the despised McNabb family. Inside, she discovers that the tornado has spared no one, including Jo, the McNabbs’ dutiful teenage daughter, who has suffered a terrible head wound. When Jo later discovers a baby in the wreckage, she is certain that she’s found her baby brother, Tommy, and vows to protect him.

During the harrowing hours and days of the chaos that follows, Jo and Dovey will struggle to navigate a landscape of disaster and to battle, both the demons and the history that link and haunt them. Drawing on historical events, Minrose Gwin beautifully imagines natural and human destruction in the deep South of the 1930s through the experiences of two remarkable women whose lives are indelibly connected by forces beyond their control. A story of loss, hope, despair, grit, courage, and race, Promise reminds us of the transformative power and promise that come from confronting our most troubled relations with one another.



“A gripping tale of racism, power, and the bonds that make a family, Promise explores how one can rebuild after tragedy strikes.” —Booklist

“Gwin’s prose is profound and Faulknerian in tone. Those who enjoy Southern fiction that explores both sides of the color line will want to give Gwin’s latest a gander and the novel’s especially timely focus on what happens to communities in the aftermath of a natural disaster will draw many readers.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[An] atmospheric whirlwind of a book. A memorable, dreamlike narrative…it also brings to light the vast disparity in the care and treatment of white vs. black residents” —Library Journal

“This story of bravery and survival is heart wrenching and uplifting, well researched and realistic. Filled with beautiful language and a quick pace, Promise will not be easily forgotten by readers.” —RT Book Reviews

“Promise is an extraordinary novel […] one of racial divides, good and evil, destruction and salvation and those clear moments of grace and humanity that bring hope into the most desperate times. I could not put it down.” —Jill McCorkle, author of Life After Life

“Gwin’s gift shines in the complexity of her characters and their fraught relationships with each other, their capacity for courage and hope, coupled with their passion for justice. […] I couldn’t put this novel down, and I don’t think you’ll want to either.”—Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife

“This book is a monumental achievement, and Gwin is a fiercely talented writer.” —Jaimee Wriston Colbert, author of Vanishing Acts

“Lyrically precise, taut, and realistic, Promise kept me absorbed from beginning to end.” —Julie Kibler, author of Calling Me Home

Promise is a powerful story about yet another forgotten chapter in our great national drama. Minrose Gwin knows her characters well and writes about them and their place and times with sympathy and wisdom.” —Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World

“Minrose Gwin is equal to the challenge of leading the reader through a terrible national disaster, the tornado that struck and all but destroyed the small city of Tupelo, Mississippi. The victims, black and white, are portrayed with compassion and insight.” —Elizabeth Spencer, author of Starting Over


73984Minrose Gwin is a writer, scholar, and educator. Her most recent books are a novel, The Queen of Palmyra (Harper Collins/Harper Perennial) and a memoir, Wishing for Snow (HarperCollins/Harper Perennial). She lives in Chapel Hill, NC, and teaches literature and creative writing at the University of North Carolina and fiction and creative nonfiction workshops at the University of New Mexico Taos Writers Conference.

Minrose has been a writer all of her working life, starting out as a newspaper and wire service reporter and working in Mobile, Atlanta, Nashville, and Knoxville.


Cover Reveal: The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel



When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new add-to-goodreads-button312schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina – unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina’s father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together – all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow’s legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows’s Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend – and rumored witch – Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane’s disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional – often magical – means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo’s The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won’t erase.



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