Tag Archives: historical fiction

Cover reveal and giveaway: America’s First Daughter, by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

14 Aug
Today I’m very happy to be part of the cover reveal for Laura Kaye‘s new book (writing as Laura Kamoie) with Stephanie Dray, America’s First Daughter. Laura is one of my favourite contemporary romance authors, and this will be her first foray into historical fiction. I can’t wait until next March when it comes out!
The publisher is also hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway for 10 lucky people to win an ARC. See down below for the link.
Tasty Book Tours is Pleased to Present…

 

AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER
Stephanie Dray & Laura Kamoie
Releasing March 1st, 2016
William Morrow
Historical Fiction 
In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.
From her earliest days, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France. And it is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that she learns of her father’s liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age.
Patsy too has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé, William Short, a staunch abolitionist intent on a career in Europe. Heartbroken at having to decide between being William’s wife or a devoted daughter, she returns to Virginia with her father and marries a man of his choosing, raising eleven children of her own.
Yet as family secrets come to light during her father’s presidency, Patsy must again decide how much she will sacrifice to protect his reputation, in the process defining not just Jefferson’s political
legacy, but that of the nation he founded.
 
Pre-Order Now
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Click on the link to win one of 10 ARC copies:

Rafflecopter giveaway

 
LAURA CROGHAN KAMOIE is a historian specializing in colonial and revolutionary America, Virginia history, and the history of slavery. She holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in American history from The College of William and Mary and has published two historical monographs, including Irons in the Fire: The Business History of the Tayloe Family and the Virginia Gentry, 1700-1865 (University Press of Virginia, 2007). Laura is an Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy. In her fourteen years of college teaching, she has taught numerous graduate and undergraduate courses on colonial America, revolutionary America, African-American Slavery, as well as seminars on Thomas Jefferson.
 
 As LAURA KAYE, she is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen titles in contemporary and paranormal romance. Her books have won numerous industry awards, including the EPIC eBook Award, the Golden Leaf award, the PRISM award, and the HOLT Medallion Award of Merit. She is a frequent panelist at national writing conferences and a frequent instructor of craft and social media workshops. Laura lives just outside the nation’s capital with her husband and two young daughters.
 
Find Laura Here
 
 
 
STEPHANIE DRAY is a bestselling and award-nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. As STEPHANIE DRAVEN, she is a national bestselling author of paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and American-set historical women’s fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.
 
Find Stephanie Here
 
 
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The Confectioner’s Tale, by Laura Madeleine

3 Jun

confectionerFormat: e-ARC, 336 pages

Publisher: Black Swan

Published: May 21, 2015

ISBN: 9781784160722

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Back cover blurb: At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.

But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.

Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.

Take a moment to savour an evocative, bittersweet love story that echoes through the decades – perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop.

My review: When I reached the end of this book, I couldn’t help but think that Jim Stevenson deserved his years of guilt and regret for what he did to Gui and Jeanne. The details of his misdeed form the basis of this fantastic debut novel, which tells the story of Gui and Jeanne’s love in Paris in 1910, alternating with investigations into the tale in 1988 by Stevenson’s granddaughter, Petra. Petra finds an old photo and a note expressing her journalist grandfather’s apologies, and must battle the clock and his nasty biographer to solve the mystery behind them. Her chapters alternate with the story of provincial Gui du Frere, who comes to Paris to work for the railway and ends up an apprentice pastry chef at the city’s top patisserie. He falls in love with the owner’s daughter, Jeanne Clermont, but their love is a huge scandal in those class-divided times.

I absolutely loved this story and was gripped by Petra’s search to uncover the truth. She loses a lot when she devotes herself to the search, but gains a love interest and there are a quite few laughs along the way. Gui’s story is heartbreaking and I’m not sure if Petra fully uncovers the horrifying details of Jim’s betrayal, as that chapter is told from Gui’s POV. The author describes the grimy backstreets of Paris in fetid detail, and captures the delicate confections of the patisserie with the knowledge of an expert baker. I was initially attracted to this book by the deliciously beautiful cover, and the content matched it perfectly. This is a great debut and I look forward to whatever Laura Madeleine writes next. Highly recommended.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

5cupcakes

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18 & Over Book Blogger Follow #14: Cast Your Current Read!

24 Jun

18 & Over Book Blogger Follow is a weekly feature that runs over the weekend, hosted by Crystal from one of my favourite blog sites, Reading Between the Wines.

Question of the Week If your current read was made into a movie who would you cast as the characters?

I’m a bit late with this one, but I’ve just finished reading Irish Captive Moon, by Sandi Layne (review to come), and I had definite pictures in my head as I read of who I would cast.

Set in the eighth century A.D., the story is about Charis, a pale-haired Irish healer with just a touch of magic about her, who is abducted by Vikings who raid her village.

All the way through I pictured Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones as Charis, only with her very white Targaryan hair, of course. She’s dirty in this picture, which is exactly how I imagined Charis as she is dragged off on the longboat to Norway and then forced to work as a slave.

Agnarr, the Viking who abducts her – and who I know I liked more than I should have – worshipped Thor and had a hammer charm on a rope around his neck, so I immediately saw him as Chris Hemsworth *sigh*

I’ve seen Thor a dozen times and would watch it every day – alternating with The Avengers when it comes out on Blu-ray – if I could. Maybe it was because I pictured him that I liked Agnarr so much 😉

Finally, there’s Cowan, an Irish prince with a knack for languages who is captured but later freed by the Vikings, and becomes Charis’s friend. I know he’s not Irish, but I pictured Alex Skarsgard in this role, only with a beard. He has the height and bearing of a prince, don’t you think?

What are you reading at the moment, and who would you cast? Leave a comment below or link up HERE to follow the meme.

The Governess Affair, by Courtney Milan

21 May

Format: Kindle Edition

Published: April 22, 2012

Publisher: Courtney Milan

Back cover blurb:

She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

My review:

Courtney Milan is fast becoming a favourite with me. First of all, her covers are gorgeous, but more than that, she can write in such a way to make you fall for even the most vilest of scoundrels.

Hugo Marshall is a coalminer’s son who is the Duke of Claremont’s “fixer” – he makes things go away – but when he is confronted by Serena Barton, a governess who was raped and left pregnant by the duke, he finds she is not so easy to pay off and dismiss.

I loved Serena and her stubborn persistence, and the way in which Hugo eventually gets her to reveal her story to him. She gets under his skin to the point where he cannot just leave her and her child to rot. Oh, the meeting in his office, and the game with the pins… *sigh*… and the letters! Milan really had me with the letters.

I couldn’t put this down, and cursed when I had finished and realised the next book isn’t out yet. The series seems to pick up next with the duke’s (legitimate) son, Robert, but I seriously hope we go back to find out what happens to Serena’s sister, Freddy. If anyone needs to get laid it’s her.

My rating: 5/5

Unlocked, by Courtney Milan

28 Feb

Format: Kindle Edition, 111 pages
Published: May 26, 2011
Publisher: Courtney Milan
Back cover blurb:
A perpetual wallflower destined for spinsterhood, Lady Elaine Warren is resigned to her position in society. So when Evan Carlton, the powerful, popular Earl of Westfeld, singles her out upon his return to England, she knows what it means. Her former tormenter is up to his old tricks, and she’s his intended victim. This time, though, the earl is going to discover that wallflowers can fight back.Evan has come to regret his cruel, callow past. At first, he only wants to make up for past wrongs. But when Elaine throws his initial apology in his face, he finds himself wanting more. And this time, what torments him might be love…

My review:
This beautiful story about a girl who is picked on by the in-crowd could have been set in any time, because it resonates so truthfully today. Lady Elaine’s laugh is just a little too loud for genteel society, so she is the butt of jokes, mostly instigated by Evan, the Earl of Westfeld. But he has a secret: like many small boys, he teases her because he is in love with her. Sadly, his taunts and those of his friends traumatise her so much they break her spirit, and when he realises what he’s done he flees to Europe.

Ten years later he returns and sees she is just the same – withdrawn and the butt of his friends’ jokes but still as lovely as he remembers. He sets about righting his wrong, and while she is slow to forgive him, she eventually comes to return his feelings.

I loved this. It reminded me so much of Pride and Prejudice, when Darcy helps find Wickham even though he believes his chances with Elizabeth are gone. Evan’s inner monologue is hawt, and the scene where she finally comes to him had me swooning. I also enjoyed the sly little nod to the modern reader, when his friend Diana mistakenly refers to his mountaineering crampons as “tampons”. Nice touch.

The cover is pretty, and reflects a pivotal moment in the story, but I think the woman’s face is a little too severe-looking to be Elaine. Cropping her at the neck might have been better. Nevertheless, I’ll be hunting out the other books in the series now.

My rating: 5/5

The Scottish Prisoner, by Diana Gabaldon

26 Jan

Format: Trade Paperback, 534 pages
Published: November 29, 2011
Publisher: Orion
Back cover blurb:
London, 1760. For Jamie Fraser, paroled prisoner-of-war in the remote Lake District, life could be worse: He’s not cutting sugar cane in the West Indies, and he’s close enough to the son he cannot claim as his own. But Jamie Fraser’s quiet existence is coming apart at the seams, interrupted first by dreams of his lost wife, then by the appearance of Tobias Quinn, an erstwhile comrade from the Rising.

Like many of the Jacobites who aren’t dead or in prison, Quinn still lives and breathes for the Cause. His latest plan involves an ancient relic that will rally the Irish. Jamie is having none of it—he’s sworn off politics, fighting, and war. Until Lord John Grey shows up with a summons that will take him away from everything he loves—again.

Lord John Grey—aristocrat, soldier, and occasional spy—finds himself in possession of a packet of explosive documents that exposes a damning case of corruption against a British officer. But they also hint at a more insidious danger. Time is of the essence as the investigation leads to Ireland, with a baffling message left in “Erse,” the tongue favored by Scottish Highlanders. Lord John, who oversaw Jacobite prisoners when he was governor of Ardsmiur prison, thinks Jamie may be able to translate—but will he agree to do it?

Soon Lord John and Jamie are unwilling companions on the road to Ireland, a country whose dark castles hold dreadful secrets, and whose bogs hide the bones of the dead. A captivating return to the world Diana Gabaldon created in her Outlander and Lord John series, The Scottish Prisoner is another masterpiece of epic history, wicked deceit, and scores that can only be settled in blood.

My review:
Gabaldon never disappoints, and here she has the added bonus of lots of Jamie Fraser as well as Lord John to work with. In other words, it’s pure win!

It’s been a while since I read any of the Outlander series (or Cross Stitch as it was called here) – I own the last two books but have been put off by their enormous size so they remain beside my bed gathering dust – so I had forgotten some of the relationships, including Hal and Harry Quarry’s previous dealings with Jamie. I like Harry. He’s one of my favourite secondary characters along with Tom the valet. But being reminded that he put Jamie in irons made me question why I liked him so much and come to the conclusion that maybe it was just the excellent poetry, lol!

Anyhoo, this story has all the elements we love from Gabaldon – mystery, romance, politics, fighting, men in period costume, men out of their period costume (!), women who are more than just a pretty face, and quite a few laughs. This also had a supernatural element, which DG also introduced into a previous Lord John adventure. What I loved the most was how this book filled out the main Outlander story by providing interesting background on Jamie’s time at Helwater and his early relationship with young Willie.

Not quite a five-cupcake read for me because I found myself putting it down at times, but it certainly made me want to dust off the volumes by my bed.

My rating: 4.5/5
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

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