Thursday, October 2, 2014

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: October reviews


Apologies for not having a linky up for last month. I thought about doing it and then forgot until late in the month, at which point I figured it would be best just to wait for the beginning of October. So, here it is! I will do better next month!

If you haven't already signed up, it's not too late! The sign up post is here.

Just to recap what participants need to know. At the beginning of each month we will put up a post which will have a Mr Linky embedded into it for you to add your link.

Please remember...

  • Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review). A direct link to your Goodreads review is also acceptable 
  • any kind of historical fiction is accepted (fantasy, young adult, graphic novels...) 
  • if you have time, have a look some of the other links that are present. You never know when you will discover new blogs or books! 
Please leave your links for your July reviews in Mr. Linky below or if you don't have a blog, in the comments below

*Note: if you missed posting your links last month, please always post "late" links in the current month's Mr. Linky. For example, if you forgot to post a link in May, please post it on this Mr. Linky in this post.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Blast and Giveaway: Color Song

Publication Date: September 16, 2014 Skyscape (Amazon Children’s Publishing)
Formats: eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: YA Historical

About Color Song


READ AN EXCERPT.

By the author of the acclaimed Passion Blue, a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2012 and “a rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion,” comes a fascinating companion novel.

Artistically brilliant, Giulia is blessed – or cursed – with a spirit’s gift: she can hear the mysterious singing of the colors she creates in the convent workshop of Maestra Humilità. It’s here that Giulia, forced into the convent against her will, has found unexpected happiness, and rekindled her passion to become a painter – an impossible dream for any woman in 15th century Italy.

But when a dying Humilità bequeaths Giulia her most prized possession – the secret formula for the luminously beautiful paint called Passion blue – Giulia realizes she’s in danger from those who have long coveted the famous color for themselves. Faced with the prospect of lifelong imprisonment in the convent, forever barred from painting as a punishment for keeping Humilita’s secret, Giulia is struck by a desperate idea: What if she disguises herself as a boy? Could she make her way to Venice and find work as an artist’s apprentice?

Along with the truth of who she is, Giulia carries more dangerous secrets: the exquisite voices of her paint colors and the formula for Humilità’s precious blue. And Venice, with its graceful gondolas and twisting canals, its gilded palazzi and masked balls, has secrets of its own. Trapped in her false identity in this dream-like place where reality and reflection are easily confused, where art and ambition, love and deception hover like dense fog, can Giulia find her way?

This compelling novel explores timeless themes of love and illusion, gender and identity as it asks the question: what does it mean to risk everything to follow your true passion?

Praise for the novels of Victoria Strauss


“Fantasy elements and a historical setting rich with sensuous detail are satisfying, but it’s Giulia’s achingly real search for her heart’s desire that resonates most today, when millions of girls still have limited choices. A rare, rewarding, sumptuous exploration of artistic passion.” – Kirkus Reviews on PASSION BLUE (Starred Review, a Best Teen Book of 2012)

“Compelling…absorbing…An intriguing historical novel inspired by accounts of women artists in the Italian Renaissance.” – Booklist on PASSION BLUE

“Mysterious dreams, suspense-filled legends, the terror that unfolds as the dig ensues, and the fine characterizations weave together beautifully to make this adventure fantasy a winner.” – Booklist on GUARDIAN OF THE HILLS (Starred Review)

“A rich story about human nature, this fantasy is a thought-provoking page-turner. The characters are deeply etched, and the plot turns are credible yet arresting…A thoroughly enjoyable read.” – Kliatt on THE ARM OF THE STONE

“The plot is complex yet convincing, and the abundant, well-chosen details of the settings–as well as the carefully developed characters–make this high fantasy a superior and original novel.” – Publishers Weekly on THE GARDEN OF THE STONE (Starred Review)

Buy the Book


Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound


About the Author


Victoria Strauss is the author of nine novels for adults and young adults, including the STONE duology (THE ARM OF THE STONE and THE GARDEN OF THE STONE), and a historical novel for teens, PASSION BLUE. She has written hundreds of book reviews for magazines and ezines, including SF Site, and her articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest and elsewhere. In 2006, she served as a judge for the World Fantasy Awards.

An active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), she’s co-founder, with Ann Crispin, of Writer Beware, a publishing industry watchdog group that tracks and warns about literary fraud. She maintains the popular Writer Beware website, Facebook page, and blog, for which she was a 2012 winner of an Independent Book Blogger Award. She was honored with the SFWA Service Award in 2009.

She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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

Color Song Blog Tour and Book Blast Schedule


Monday, September 16
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, September 17
Review at Oh the Books
Book Blast at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, September 18
Review at Casual Readers
Review at Leeanna.com (Passion Blue)

Thursday, September 19
Review at Leeanna.com

Monday, September 22
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Feature at Oh the Books

Tuesday, September 23
Book Blast at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, September 24
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective
Interview at Bibliophilia, Please
Book Blast at Reading Lark

Thursday, September 25
Book Blast at A Book Geek

Friday, September 26
Review at Reading Room Book Reviews
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter

Monday, September 29
Review at Tribute Books Mama
Interview at Math, Science & Social Studies…Oh My!

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Book Babe
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, October 1
Review & Interview at Bookish
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, October 2
Review at Brooke Blogs
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, October 3
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch

Saturday, October 4
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, October 6
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, October 7
Review at A Leisure Moment

Wednesday, October 8
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, October 10
Review at A Bookish Affair

Giveaways


To enter to win any of the following prizes please complete the form HERE:

2 Grand Prizes Winners: One Kindle Paperwhite with custom Color Song cover with Color Song and Passion Blue ebooks pre-loaded, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks), and signed paperback editions of Strauss’s Stone duology (The Arm of the Stone and The Garden of the Stone) (US only)

2 winners: Signed hardcovers of Color Song and Passion Blue, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks) (US and Canada)
 
5 winners: Signed paperbacks of Color Song and Passion Blue, plus swag (postcards, bookmarks) (US and Canada)

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on October 10th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on October 11th and notified via email.

Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ravensdale Blog Tour: Spotlight

 
Publication Date: April 18, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback; 260p
 
Genre: Historical Regency/Comedy-Spoof

When the group of highwaymen headed by the disgraced Earl of Little Dean, Reynaud Ravensdale hold up the hoydenish Isabella Murray’s coach, she knocks one of them down and lectures them all on following Robin Hood’s example.

The rascally Reynaud Ravensdale – otherwise known as the dashing highwayman Mr Fox – is fascinated by her spirit.

He escaped abroad three years back following his supposedly shooting a friend dead after a quarrel. Rumour has it that his far more respectable cousin was involved. Now, having come back during his father’s last illness, the young Earl is seeking to clear his name.

Isabella’s ambitious parents are eager to marry her off to Reynaud Ravensdale’s cousin, the next in line to his title. The totally unromantic Isabella is even ready to elope with her outlaw admirer to escape this fate – on condition that he teaches her how to be a highwaywoman herself.

This hilarious spoof uses vivid characters and lively comedy to bring new life to a theme traditionally favoured by historical novelists – that of the wild young Earl, who, falsely accused of murder by the machinations of a conniving cousin and prejudged by his reputation, lives as an outlaw whilst seeking to clear his name.

‘Ravensdale’ is a fast paced, funny and romantic read from the writer of ‘That Scoundrel Émile Dubois’, following the adventures of his equally roguish cousin and set in 1792, just prior to the French Revolution, two years before ‘That Scoundrel Émile Dubois’.

Praise For Ravensdale


“This was a good book. Well written and funny. As far as historical romances go, this one is quite a page turner. She turned a historical romance into something fun and different with comedy added in.” – Brenny’s Book Obsession (Amazon.com)

“I liked how Elliot poked fun at the clichés of historical romances. The chapter titles made me laugh. They were these little parody’s which gave just enough lightness to the story without turning it into a joke.” – Lauryn April (Amazon.com)

“And despite all the satire there is still an enjoyable story taking place in this book. Elliot does a fine job of allowing the reader to not only laugh at some of the absurdities in this tale but also root for the players to find their happy ending. There is plenty of emotion and heart in this book as both Isabella and Reynaud are characters of admirable quality and depth. ..I applaud Elliot for making the poetic regency romances we hold dear to our heart into something fun and different. She never insults or tarnishes what we love about the genre but allows it to blossom with comedy making it something I particularly loved even more.” – JC @ All is Read (Amazon.com)

“This was a cleverly written story, similar to a tongue in cheek Jane Austen classic.” – Gidgeemamma (Amazon.com)

“Ravensdale achieves everything it sets out to do, playing with formulas and stereotypes of older romance novels with abandon.The writer manages to pay tribute to the genre while having fun at the same time. In one paragraph, the sturdy no-nonsense heroine muses on the cliches of the plot she finds herself in, capitalizing all the character types such as the Wild Young Buck, the Villain of the Piece, and the Sweet Young Maiden. You can see her eyes rolling as she teases. But then the novel transforms, as the stereotypes become real people under the clever typing fingers of Lucinda Elliot.” – Jo (Amazon.com)

“If you enjoy Georgette Heyer-style period romances, you’ll probably enjoy “Ravensdale”. However – and this is what is so clever about this novel – if you don’t, then there’s a good chance that you’ll enjoy “Ravensdale” anyway. It provides you with both characters that you can genuinely like and care about, an interesting story, and a parody that is at times hilarious.” – Mari Biella (Amazon.com)

“I didn’t want it to end. Ravensdale is a thoroughly enjoyable read.” – Anne Carlisle PhD (Amazon.com)

“I was so engrossed that I couldn’t stop reading and ended up with a terrible headache, but it was worth it. What an amazing bunch of characters! First of all, there’s Lord Reynaud Ravensdale, the Disgraced Outlaw and Earl: this is a character to really fall in love with. He’s intelligent, quick, wild, impetuous, an amazing shot, and absolutely bursting with honor. ..Isabella is an amazing kick ass woman, and a true, perfect match for the larger than life Ravensdale.” – Ral in the West (Amazon.com)


 
 
Watch the Book Trailer
 
 

Buy The Book

 
 
 

About The Author

 
 
Lucinda Elliot loves writing Gothic style stories, which isn’t surprising because she was brought up in a series of big old isolated houses which her parents were refurbishing (it wasn’t so fashionable back then). After that, she lived, studied and worked in London for many years and now lives in Mid Wales with her family.

She loves writing about strong women to complement gung ho males.

Her interests do include weight training and body shaping,and she was once a champion Sports fighter, but apart from that her interests are quite geeky. Reading classic novels, conservation, gardening, and even names and their meanings (bring on the carrot juice). She loves a laugh above anything.

For more information please visit Lucinda’s website. You can also connect with her on Goodreads.


Ravensdale Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, September 22

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, September 23
Interview at Layered Pages

Wednesday, September 24
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, September 25
Review at “Good Friends, Good Books and a Sleepy Conscience: This is the Ideal Life.”
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Saturday, September 27
Spotlight at Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers

Sunday, September 28
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, September 29
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, September 30
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Devilishly Delicious Book Blog

Thursday, October 2
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

Friday, October 3
Spotlight at SOS Aloha



 
 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Prisoner of the Queen Blog Tour: Review

Publication Date: July 2014
Knight Media, LLC
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: Tales From the Tudor Court
Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis From Goodreads:


I have served three queens in my life. One was my sister, one was my savior, and one my bitterest enemy.

Knowing she was seen as a threat to the Queen she served, Lady Katherine Grey, legitimate heir to the throne, longs only for the comfort of a loving marriage and a quiet life far from the intrigue of the Tudor court. After seeing her sister become the pawn of their parents and others seeking royal power and then lose their lives for it, she is determined to avoid the vicious struggles over power and religion that dominate Queen Elizabeth’s court. Until she finds love—then Kat is willing to risk it all, even life in prison.


 So What Did I Think About The Story?:


There are few things I like better than a well told Tudor historical! There are so many angles to take and interpretations to present that show the many players and many sides in this political viper’s nest. While Jane Grey, the 9 days queen, is a key player in many novels surrounding the Tudor court her younger sisters, Katherine and Mary Grey, are usually relegated to the sidelines. Ms. Knight’s Prisoner of the Queen places Katherine front and center, letting her tell her heavy story of great love and much loss.
I have to say that I could not help but love Katharine! Sweet, generous and often innocently naïve, Katherine wants nothing more than to devote herself to helping others less fortunate and to find a marriage match based in true love and safety, something she has rarely seen among those of her class. But being a princess of the blood means many others – including her own cruel and unloving parents – will use her as a pawn in the dangerous game of power that always looms heavy around the throne. Seeing her sister beheaded by their own cousin, Queen Mary, for doing nothing more than being the unwitting recipient of the crown placed on her head by men who wished to rule through her, Katherine learns quickly she wants nothing of it. But everyone is suspicious of her and she can’t be sure who she can trust as she carefully slides around those jealous of her beauty and kindness, no one more than her other cousin, Queen Elizabeth. But don’t let her kindness deceive you! Katherine’s spine is all steel under her elaborate finery and she will let no one – not even the Queen – keep her from having the true love she finds in Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford.  She will live for her heart, regardless of the consequences. How can you not root for a woman like that?!

Elizabeth is portrayed as a nasty, vengeful young woman and, eventually, Queen. While she seeks the love of her subjects she is refused the passion and love of a man of her own, making her bitter and jealous of anyone else having it. She plays quite the loathsome villain with all her arrogant, vicious and hypocritical ways. I kept thinking a glimmer of heart would shimmer through all that cold and calculation but she proved to be too damaged and scarred to see beyond her selfishness and fear. The gilding on this glamorous court and its people is thoroughly stripped off and what is left is the defensiveness and cunning of a group of people always living on the line between greatness and destruction.

Even with this wonderful character development my favorite aspect of the novel would still be the elaborate descriptive style. The reader is so effectively saturated in period details and descriptions that they can almost hear the wind rustling the elaborately embroidered dresses and feel the abject fear flowing through Katherine’s royal blood. I felt completely transported into her world and wanted her to find the peace and happiness she so longed for – even as I knew her story couldn’t possibly end that way – as if she was a real friend of mine.

Prisoner of the Queen is top shelf historical fiction. Anyone as addicted to Tudor history as I am will love escaping into this heartbreaking yet touching look at a woman taking her own life into her hands and making her own choices despite what tragedies may come.
 

So What Did I Think About The Cover?:


I really like it! While the woman on the cover isn't exactly the picture of Katherine I had in my head I love her dress and the color scheme. I also enjoy the bare wall behind her, making me think of Katherine trapped in the Tower of London.
 

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

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



About The Author

 
E. Knight is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America and severalwww.historyundressed.com). Under the pseudonym Eliza Knight, she is a bestselling, award-winning, multi-published author of historical and erotic romance.

For more information please visit E. Knight’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
RWA affiliate writing chapters: Hearts Through History, Celtic Hearts, Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers. Growing up playing in castle ruins and traipsing the halls of Versailles when visiting her grandparents during the summer, instilled in a love of history and royals at an early age. Feeding her love of history, she created the popular historical blog, History Undressed (

 

Tales From The Tudor Court Series


Book One: My Lady Viper
Book Two: Prisoner of the Queen

Prisoner of the Queen Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, September 15

Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Tuesday, September 16

Review & Giveaway at JulzReads
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, September 17

Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 18
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, September 19
Guest Post at What Is That Book About

Monday, September 22
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Interview & Giveaway at The Tudor Enthusiast

Tuesday, September 23
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, September 24
Review at leeanna.me
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Thursday, September 25
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Friday, September 26
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, September 29
Review at Book Drunkard
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, October 1
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Thursday, October 2
Review & Excerpt at Romantic Historical Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Friday, October 3
Review at The True Book Addict
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee





Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii Cover Reveal and Giveaway!!

I am super excited to reveal the cover for “A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii!” This is a book for historical fiction TBR piles everywhere—six authors (look at that list!), one volume, the gripping story of Pompeii’s final days. And now you can pre-order your copy so that, come November 4th, you won’t have to wait.




 
 
Title: A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii
Authors: Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: November 4, 2014

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain's wrath . . .
 
Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

A boy who loses his innocence in Pompeii's flourishing streets;
An heiress dreading her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire;
An ex-legionary who stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished;
A crippled senator welcoming death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue;
A young mother facing an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls;
And a priestess and a whore seeking redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.
 

Pre-Order The Book

 
 

About The Authors

 
STEPHANIE DRAY is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical Nile series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt's ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Learn more at www.StephanieDray.com

BEN KANE worked as a veterinarian for sixteen years, but his love of ancient history and historical fiction drew him to write fast-paced novels about Roman soldiers, generals and gladiators. Irish by nationality but UK-based, he is the author of seven books, the last five of which have been Sunday Times top ten bestsellers.Ben’s books have been translated into ten languages. In 2013, Ben walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall with two other authors, for charity; he did so in full Roman military kit, including hobnailed boots. He repeated the madness in 2014, over 130 miles in Italy. Over $50,000 has been raised with these two efforts. Learn more at http://www.benkane.net/

E. KNIGHT is an award-winning, indie national best-selling author historical fiction. Under the name, Eliza Knight she writes historical romance and time-travel. Her debut historical fiction novel, MY LADY VIPER, has received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Historical Novel Society 2015 Annual Indie Award. She regularly presents on writing panels and was named Romance Writer’s of America’s 2013 PRO Mentor of the Year. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and a very naughty puppy. For more information, visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com.

SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of the acclaimed debut, The Sister Queens, which weaves the story of medieval sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became queens of France and England respectively. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences, serving as a panelist at the most recent. When she is not visiting corners of the past, Sophie lives in Great Falls, VA. Learn more at www.SophiePerinot.com

KATE QUINN is the national bestselling author of the Empress of Rome novels, which have been variously translated into thirteen different languages. She first got hooked on Roman history while watching "I, Claudius" at the age of seven, and wrote her first book during her freshman year in college, retreating from a Boston winter into ancient Rome. She and her husband now live in Maryland with an imperious black dog named Caesar. Learn more at http://www.katequinnauthor.com

VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the award-winning author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra's only daughter. She is also the author of two biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. The LA Times called Cleopatra’s Moon--set in Rome and Egypt--"magical" and "impressive." Publisher’s Weekly said it was "fascinating" and "highly memorable." Her young adult novel of Pompeii, Curses and Smoke (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), released in June 2014. She has two other upcoming books for younger readers, Anubis Speaks! and Hades Speaks! Vicky is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.vickyalvearshecter.com/main
 

Giveaway!

 
To win a copy of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii please complete the Rafflecopter form HERE. There are two copies (Ebook or Paperback) up for grabs. Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only.
 
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on September 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on September 27th and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Shadow On The Highway Blog Tour: Review

Publication Date: July 15, 2014
Endeavor Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback; 200P

Series: The Highway Trilogy
Genre: Historical Fiction/YA (14+)

Synopsis:


May 1651. England has been in the midst of a civil war for nearly ten years. The country has been torn in two, and the King is getting ready to make his last stand against Cromwell’s New Model Army.

Abigail Chaplin, a young mute girl, has lost her father to the parliamentarian cause. But with her family now in reduced circumstances, she is forced to work as a servant at a royalist household – the estate of Lady Katherine Fanshawe.

Abi is soon caught up in a web of sinister secrets which surround the Fanshawe estate. The most curious of which is the disappearance of Lady Katherine late at night.

Why are her husband’s clothes worn and muddy even though he hasn’t been home for weeks? How is she stealing out of the house late at night when her room is being guarded? And what is her involvement with the robberies being committed by the mysterious Shadow on the Highway?

‘Shadow On The Highway’ is based on the life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, the highwaywoman, sometimes known as ‘The Wicked Lady’. It is the first book in ‘The Highway Trilogy’.

So What Did I Think About The Story?:


Shadow on the Highway is an exciting peek into the English Civil War from both sides of the fighting as well as from the viewpoint of those left at home to fend for themselves. I was impressed with how the author was able to highlight the greed and corruption on both sides of this coin and how this English war ripped apart families and communities.  No one seems better equipped to represent this dividing of loyalties and the chaos that swirled through England during this time than young Abigail, a girl caught between the parliamentarian leanings of her family and the royalist household she finds herself ensconced in.

Abigail was by far my favorite character. You can't help but feel terrible for all she has had to go through: the guilt she feels over causing the fire that destroyed her family's home and the belief that the illness that caused her deafness was retribution for her actions; the sadness over losing her father and the hard life this left her mother and siblings in; the feeling that she has to stick it out and take whatever abuse she receives at the Fanshawe household because she has very few choices in life and needs to do what she can to help her family. With all of this she is stuck in the middle of all the varying beliefs and dangers around her, made to keep secrets from everyone and forced to find a way to survive, and all without being able to hear a thing! It was remarkable seeing her use her other senses to navigate the world around her and I got a great delight when she would let her anger and jealousies surface and act out in what little ways she could safely do.

My least favorite character would have to be Lady Katherine Fanshawe. She was bossy, stubborn and used poor Abi to get her way without taking into consideration what problems her demands might cause. Even when we see her in a more sympathetic light - seeing her being used by first her step-father and then the manor's overseer, the physical abuse she is made to suffer through for not doing what she is told, etc. - Katherine would turn around and threaten or cajole Abi into doing something or helping her to do something that could get them both into a lot of trouble. By the end she does show herself to be a better, more humble person that initially expected but I would have preferred  that to happen a lot sooner. Being that this is the first in a trilogy and the final book is slated to be from Katherine's perspective I am hoping she will redeem herself in full when she gets to tell her own story.

Possibly the most fascinating aspect of Shadow on the Highway for me was the introduction of aspects of the English Civil War I had never heard of before. For example, The Diggers were a group of Englishman during this time who tried to live in what we would now call communes, living off the land in a state of equality for all and the sharing of all goods and properties. By having Abi's brother Ralph (who will be the centerpiece of the second book in this trilogy) advocating for a Digger's community on their village's common land we the reader are able to walk into this fascinating segment of history and see how these radical thinkers of the time tried desperately to make a place for themselves in a country placing so many restrictions and demands on their freedom.

One of the aspects of historical novels I cherish the most are the historical notes many authors put at the back of the book, letting the reader know where they have stuck to the true events discussed and where they have embellished to advance the story in some way. Deborah Swift's historical notes are delightful and prompted me to want to learn more about the English Civil War, the real life Lady Katherine Fanshawe, the 17th century advancements in helping non-hearing children communicate and so much more. This rounding up of the themes and characters discussed in the story really solidified the story for me and has me excited to read the next two books in the trilogy.

Being that this is categorized as a YA novel I think it will appear to young readers just learning about the English Civil War as well as readers well versed in this era. I have enjoyed Deborah Swift's writing before and this was no exception. I very much look forward to the next two books in this trilogy!

So What Did I Think About The Cover?:


I think it's beautiful! I love the sumptuous red dress and the swirling gold around the edges. I am assuming the woman on the cover is meant to be Lady Katherine and I think it represents her well. 

My Rating: 4.0/5.0




Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Shadow on the Highway in exchange for an honest review! Be sure to continue below for more information about the author and the book tour.


Praise for Deborah Swift


“There is no greater compliment than ‘Give me more!’” – Author Susanna Gregory

“realistic dialogue, an author’s obvious love for history, and characters that leap off the pages” – Romance Reviews Today

“genuinely engrossing… with characters you can get interested in” – The Mum Website

 

Buy The Book


Amazon US
Amazon UK

About The Author




Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before
studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park. She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.
For more information, please visit Deborah’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.



Shadow on the Highway Blog Tour


Monday, August 25

Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, August 26

Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli

Wednesday, August 27

Guest Post at Reading the Past
Book Blast at Broken Teepee

Thursday, August 28

Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, August 29

Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Book Blast at What Is That Book About

Monday, September 1

Review at The Maiden’s Court
Book Blast at Reading Lark

Tuesday, September 2

Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, September 3

Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, September 5

Book Blast at Curling Up By the Fire

Saturday, September 6

Book Blast at A Book Geek

Monday, September 8

Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession

Tuesday, September 9

Review at Brooke Blogs
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, September 10

Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, September 11

Review & Guest Post at Just One More Chapter
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Book Blast at Luxury Reading

Friday, September 12
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, September 15
Review at Historical Tapestry
Book Blast at A Bibliophile’s Reverie


Friday, September 12, 2014

Facebook Launch Party for Linda Covella's Yakimali's Gift!

If you have never been to a Facebook launch party then you are really missing out! I have participated in a few and I always have the best time interacting with authors and other bookworms as well as getting the chance to win some fabulous prizes (I even won the prettiest Tudor rose ring at the launch party for E. Knight's My Lady Viper!). Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours will be hosting a Facebook launch party for Linda Covella's Yakimali's Gift on September 16th so read below for all the information you need. I hope to "see" you there!



 
 
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Astraea Press
eBook; 206p
Genre: YA Historical Fiction


HF Virtual Book Tours proudly presents Linda Covella’s Yakimali’s Gift Launch Party on September 16th, from 7-9pm EST! There will be fabulous giveaways and prizes, guest authors, Q&A, trivia, & more! We hope you’ll join us & your fellow HistFic fans for some bookish fun!


Where: Facebook Event (click to RSVP)
When: Tuesday, September 16, 20147:00-9:00pm EST

About The Book

READ AN EXCERPT

It’s 1775 in Mexico, New Spain, and 15-year-old Fernanda Marquina, half Pima Indian and half Spanish, can’t seem to live up to her mother’s expectations or fit into the limited female roles of her culture. While she tends her garden, matches wits with buyers and sellers at the weekly market, and avoids Mama’s lectures and the demands of Nicolas, the handsome soldier pursuing her, Fernanda grabs any opportunity to ride the horses she loves, racing across the desert, dreaming of adventure in faraway lands.

But when a tragic accident presents her with the adventure she longed for, it’s at a greater cost than she could have ever imagined. With her family, Fernanda joins Juan Bautista de Anza’s historic colonization expedition to California.

On the arduous four-month journey, Fernanda makes friends with Feliciana, the young widow Fernanda can entrust with her deepest thoughts; Gloria, who becomes the sister Fernanda always wished for; and Gloria’s handsome brother Miguel, gentle one moment, angry the next and, like Fernanda, a mestizo–half Indian and half Spanish. As Fernanda penetrates Miguel’s layers of hidden feelings, she’s torn between him and Nicolas, who has joined the journey in the ranks of Anza’s soldiers and whose plans include marrying Fernanda when they reach California.

But propelling Fernanda along the journey is her search for Mama’s Pima Indian past, a past Mama refused to talk about, a past with secrets that Fernanda is determined to learn. The truths she discovers will change the way she sees her ancestry, her family, and herself.

Watch The Book Trailer HERE

Praise For Yakimali's Gift


“Linda Covella brings the early settlement of California to life in this tale of adventure, drama, romance, and mystery…The novel is full of imagination and wisdom and speaks to the universal need of young people to rebel and to find the courage to invent their own lives.” – Dr. Virginia M. Bouvier, author of Women and the Conquest of California

“Yakimali’s Gift is written for the young, the old, and everyone in between. It’s about a young girl named Fernanda, and her adventure in 1775, when King Carlos III of Spain ordered Juan Bautista de Anza to lead an expedition of settlers from Mexico to California. This book is written with such detail I felt like I could reach out and touch the desert sand, or pet the beautiful horses:) The other characters in this book are just as wonderful as Fernanda. You can’t help but feel their pain or smile when there happy. Linda is an excellent writer, she grabs you from the beginning and takes you on an exciting adventure. This is a story you can read and then pass along to your daughter, that means a lot to me as my thirteen year-old usually can’t read the books I’m asked to review. I recommend this book to everyone!” ~Tanya Watt, reviewer/designer

Quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

“The dialogue, character development, and historical details all serve the story and come together seamlessly…Although tagged as Young Adult…would also appeal to adult readers.”
~Amazon ABNA Judge

“Clear and imaginative writing…Excellent eye for descriptive detail. I am feeling a very strong sense of place as you describe the scenes…”
~Amazon ABNA Judge

Buy The Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes
Kobo
Smashwords

About The Author


Linda Covella’s varied job experience and education (associate degrees in art, business and mechanical drafting & design, a BS degree in Manufacturing Management) have led her down many paths and enriched her life experiences. But one thing she never strayed from is her love of writing.

A writer for over 30 years, her first official publication was a restaurant review column in a local newspaper, and as a freelance writer, she continued to publish numerous articles in a variety of publications. But when she published articles for children’s magazines (“Games and Toys in Ancient Rome” and “Traveling the Tokaido in 17th Century Japan,” in Learning Through History magazine, and “Barry’s Very Grown Up Day” in Zootles magazine), she realized she’d found her niche: writing for children. She wants to share with kids and teens her love of books: the worlds they open, the things they teach, the feelings they express.

Yakimali’s Gift, a historical novel for young adults published by Astraea Press, and middle grade paranormal The Castle Blues Quake published by Beau Coup Publishing are her first novels.

No matter what new paths she may travel down, she sees her writing as a lifelong joy and commitment.

She’s a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She blogs about writing on her website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.