Thursday, October 23, 2014

Enchantress Spotlight

02_Enchantress

Enchantress by Maggie Anton
Publication Date: September 2, 2014 Plume
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 400
Series: Rav Hisda's Daughter
Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Fantasy

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Fantastic tales of demons and the Evil Eye, magical incantations, and powerful attractions abound in Enchantress, a novel that weaves together Talmudic lore, ancient Jewish magic, and a timeless love story set in fourth-century Babylonia.

One of the most powerful practitioners of these mysterious arts is Rav Hisda’s daughter, whose innate awareness allows her to possess the skills men lack. With her husband, Rava--whose arcane knowledge of the secret Torah enables him to create a "man” out of earth and to resurrect another rabbi from death--the two brave an evil sorceress, Ashmedai the Demon King, and even the Angel of Death in their quest to safeguard their people, even while putting their romance at risk.

The author of the acclaimed Rashi’s Daughters series and the award-winning Rav Hisda’s Daughter: Apprentice has conjured literary magic in the land where "abracadabra” originated. Based on five years of research and populated with characters from the Talmud, Enchantress brings a pivotal era of Jewish and Christian history to life from the perspective of a courageous and passionate woman.

Praise for Apprentice (Rav Hisda's Daughter: Book I)


“A lushly detailed look into a fascinatingly unknown time and culture—a tale of Talmud, sorcery, and a most engaging heroine!” —Diana Gabaldon, author of the bestselling Outlander series

Anton, the author of the acclaimed “Rashi’s Daughters” trilogy, has penned her best book to date. Using her extensive knowledge of the Talmud and other historical Jewish writings, she immersed herself in the tractates to uncover a marvelous heroine for this historical novel… Complex discussions of Jewish law and tradition as well as detailed description of the culture and customs of the times enhance truly wonderful storytelling. VERDICT This absorbing novel should be on everyone’s historical fiction reading list." —Library Journal (starred review)

“Fascinating reading await those who dive into the vividly depicted world of Babylonian Jewry … Anton succeeds brilliantly in drawing us into the formative period leading up to the Talmud … what we have is the work of a master craftswoman set upon repairing a major gap in Jewish literature —Philadelphia Jewish Voice

“Rav Hisda’s Daughter provides a wealth of historical detail about Jewish life in Babylon and Israel in the 3rd century CE. It depicts the daily life and coming of age of a prominent rabbi’s daughter rather than propelling its reader through a traditional arc of action with a crisis and resolution. Its interest lies in its portrayal of the sorcery, incantations, and women’s customs in this exotic, faraway period of time and place, sometimes against the backdrop of war.” —Historical Novel Society

Praise for the Rashi's Daughters Trilogy


“Anton delivers a tour de force . . . [Readers] will fly through the pages and come away wishing for more.” –Library Journal (starred review)

“A compelling combination of drama, suspense, and romance.” –Lilith magazine

Buy the Book


Amazon
Barnes & Noble

About the Author


03_Maggie AntonMaggie Anton was born Margaret Antonofsky in Los Angeles, California. Raised in a secular, socialist household, she reached adulthood with little knowledge of her Jewish religion. All that changed when David Parkhurst, who was to become her husband, entered her life, and they both discovered Judaism as adults. That was the start of a lifetime of Jewish education, synagogue involvement, and ritual observance. In 2006, Anton retired from being a clinical chemist in Kaiser Permanente's Biochemical Genetics Laboratory to become a fulltime writer.

In the early 1990's, Anton learned about a women's Talmud class taught by Rachel Adler, now a professor at Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles. She became intrigued with the idea that Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish scholars ever, had no sons, only three daughters. Slowly but surely, she began to research the family and the time in which they lived. Much was written about Rashi, but almost nothing of the daughters, except their names and the names of their husbands. Legend has it that Rashi's daughters were learned in a time when women were traditionally forbidden to study the sacred texts. These forgotten women seemed ripe for rediscovery, and the idea of a trilogy of historical novels about them was born.

After the success of "Rashi's Daughters" Anton started researching the lives of women in 4th-century Babylonia, where the Talmud was being created. Surprised by the prevalence of sorcery among rabbinic families, she wrote "Rav Hisda's Daughter: Bk 1 - Apprentice," which was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award Fiction finalist and a Library Journal pick for Best Historical Fiction.

For more information please visit Maggie Anton's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Enchantress Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, October 6
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Book Drunkard

Tuesday, October 7
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, October 8
Review at A Dream Within a Dream

Thursday, October 8
Guest Post at Bookish

Friday, October 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 13
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, October 14
Review at leeanna.me
Spotlight & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Wednesday, October 15
Review at Based on a True Story

Thursday, October 16
Review at Mari Reads

Friday, October 17
Interview at Layered Pages

Tuesday, October 21
Review at History From A Woman's Perspective
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, October 22
Guest Post at History From A Woman's Perspective

Thursday, October 23
Review at Layered Pages
Spotlight at A Book Geek

Friday, October 24
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Interview at Mina's Bookshelf

Saturday, October 25
Review & Interview at A Cup of Tea & A Big Book

Monday, October 27
Review at TeacherWriter

Tuesday, October 28
Review at My Book Addiction and More
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, October 29
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, October 30
Review at Book Nerd

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sleep in Peace Tonight Excerpt post

I am happy to participate in the blog tour for the new book by James MacManus, Sleep in Peace Tonight. I previously reviewed his book Black Venus and quite enjoyed it. Please enjoy the excerpt.



Sleep in Peace Tonight by James MacManus

Publication date: October 7, 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books

Description:

It’s January 1941, and the Blitz is devastating England. Food supplies are low, Tube stations in London have become bomb shelters, and U-boats have hampered any hope of easy victory. Though the United States maintains its isolationist position, Churchill knows that England is finished without the aid of its powerful ally.

Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt’s most trusted adviser, is sent to London as his emissary, and there he falls under the spell of Churchill’s commanding rhetoric---and legendary drinking habits. As he experiences life in a country under attack, Hopkins questions the United States’ silence in the war. But back home FDR is paranoid about the isolationist lobby, and even Hopkins is having trouble convincing him to support the war.

As Hopkins grapples with his mission and personal loyalties, he also revels in secret clubs with newsman Edward R. Murrow and has an affair with his younger driver. Except Hopkins doesn’t know that his driver is a British intelligence agent. She craves wartime action and will go to any lengths to prove she should be on the front line. This is London under fire, and it’s only when the night descends and the bombs fall that people’s inner darkness comes to light.

In Sleep in Peace Tonight, a tale of courage, loyalty, and love, and the sacrifices one will make in the name of each, James MacManus brings to life not only Blitz-era London and the tortuous politics of the White House but also the poignant characters and personalities that shaped the course of world history.




JAMES MACMANUS is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of Ocean Devil, which was made into a film starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers. His other novels include The Language of the Sea and Black Venus. www.jamesmacmanus.com  


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


SLEEP IN PEACE TONIGHT By James MacManus


Chapter 1 Excerpt

In spite of the whisky and the long journey, Hopkins found sleep difficult that night. He had been
shocked by the earsplitting cacophony of guns, bombs, and sirens during the raid. News reports from
London all talked of civilian deaths, the destruction of homes, the plight of the homeless, food shortages, rationing, queues, but none mentioned the deafening nightly thunder of the Blitz. He wondered how anyone got any sleep.

The next morning, as his car drove down Park Lane to 10 Downing Street, he realized that sleep
was probably a dimly remembered luxury for most Londoners. Despite the cold, he wound the window down and caught the acrid smell of smoke and burning. He saw pale faces pinched with cold waiting patiently at bus stops, trying to get to work. People stamped their feet and rubbed gloved hands against the cold, craning around the queue hoping to see their bus. Others gave up the wait and trudged past still- burning buildings, heads down, hands clasping handbags or briefcases, all wondering on that freezing morning whether there would be transport home that night. They looked exhausted, hollowed out, half people.

Red double- decker buses lumbered over still- smoldering rubble strewn across the roads, weaving past piles of shattered brick and occasional geysers of water as they went from bus stop to bus stop scooping up passengers from long, orderly queues.

As they passed Hyde Park Hopkins saw the antiaircraft crews cleaning and servicing the guns for
the night ahead. Piles of expended shell cases were stacked neatly in brass pyramids under the plane trees. Elderly men and women walked dogs around the gun emplacements as if it were normal to find batteries of long- barreled 3.7- inch antiaircraft guns in the middle of a city park.

That’s the point, Hopkins realized. This is normal. The Blitz had been going on for four months. Twenty- eight thousand people had been killed in London alone and forty thousand homes destroyed, leaving almost half a million people displaced. And yet here on the streets on a bitter January morning people were queuing for the bus and trudging to work over the debris from the latest raid. The chargé d’affaires had been right. No one in Washington had any idea of what was happening in London.

Hopkins opened his briefcase and pulled out his letter of authorization from President Roosevelt:

     Reposing special faith and confidence in you, I am asking you to proceed at your earliest convenience to Great Britain, there to act as my personal representative. I am also asking you to convey a communication in this sense to His Majesty George VI. You will of course communicate to this government any matters which may come to your attention in the performance of your mission which you may feel will serve the best interests of the United States. 
     With all best wishes for the success of your mission I am,     Sincerely yours     Franklin D. Roosevelt


SLEEP IN PEACE TO NIGHT. Copyright © 2014 by James MacManus. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.




Monday, October 20, 2014

The Secrets of Casanova blog tour and review

Please join author Greg Michaels as he tours with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Secrets of Casanova, from October 13-24.

02_The Secrets of Casanova 

The Secrets of Casanova by Greg Michaels
Publication Date: October 21, 2013 Booktrope Editions 
Formats: eBook Paperback; 334p
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review


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2014 Nancy Pearl Award Winner for Fiction.

Loosely based on the life of Jacques Casanova, The Secrets of Casanova is a rich, lush novel of love, sex, family, ambition, intrigue, and adventure. Set in Paris of 1755, Casanova's luck is fading and his past is shoving up against his present with potentially disastrous consequences. What price must he pay to uncover a treasure of inestimable value? What hearts must he break along the way? Casanova's will and destiny collide again and again in this riveting historical fiction that brings to light a man of great passion and not a few secrets.

Praise for The Secrets of Casanova


A Shakespearean actor with a flair for the dramatic and a superb ear for dialogue, Michaels's debut novel puts a brilliantly original spin on an historical figure whose very name is a clich?. This Casanova must wrestle not only with falling hopelessly and passionately in love, but embarking on a mysterious quest that is as much a spiritual awakening as a swashbuckling adventure. The Secrets of Casanova is so erotic and so sensitively written, I found it difficult to believe its author was a man.? -Robin Maxwell, national best-selling author of The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

Buy the Book

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iTunes

My Take:

The Secrets of Casanova wasn't really what I was expecting - but in a good way. I hadn't expected to actually like Jacques Casanova, but I did. He and his brother Francesco are very different, but considering all the problems they have, they are very loyal to each other.  The novel starts off with Jacques short of money and staying with Francesco and his wife, Dominique. It seems like much of the trouble Jacques gets himself into is because he is always short on money and having to contend with people he has upset or owes money to.

Despite his reputation as a ladies man, Jacques is interesting and more complex  than might be expected. Jacques learns about a riddle and the rumor of a great treasure and sets off on another adventure. And when I say adventure, I really mean adventure -- he gets access to the Vatican's archive of forbidden books to look for information, is taken by pirates at sea, has a duel fought over him, goes to Jerusalem, gets caught in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, and he actually  does find an amazing treasure -- although not quite the one he had expected. This book is so full of fun, wild, exciting escapades. There are also a few sex scenes -- which one would expect in any book about Casanova, but not as many as I had expected.

I think anyone who enjoys a wild adventure tale would enjoy The Secrets of Casanova. As a fictionalized version of Casanova's life, I thought it did a wonderful job of showing Jacques as a complex, troubled, ambitious man and not just the shallow, two dimensional version of the man that we have become accustomed to seeing.


About the Author

03_Greg MichaelsAfter receiving his B.A. in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, a chance experience thrust Greg into a career as a professional actor and fight director. To date he's acted in over fifty theater productions, more than forty television shows, and choreographed dozens of swordfights for stage and screen. In THE SECRETS OF CASANOVA, Greg again proves his skill at telling a theatrical story. He lives with his wife, two sons, and Andy the hamster.

For more information please visit Greg Michaels's website. Like The Secrets of Casanova Facebook Page. Follow Greg Michaels on Twitter.

The Secrets of Casanova Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, October 13
Review at Bookish

Tuesday, October 14
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at With Her Nose Stick in a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, October 15
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Obsession

Thursday, October 16
Review & Interview at Carpe Librum
Spotlight at Historical Tapestry

Friday, October 17
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 20
Review at A Book Geek
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 21
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 22
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Good Friends, Good Books and a Sleepy Conscience
Guest Post at Mina's Bookshelf

Thursday, October 23
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Friday, October 24
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Goddess Born Blog Tour and Review

02_Goddess Born
Goddess Born by Kari Edgren
Publication Date: May 29, 2014
Carina Press
eBook; ISBN: 9781426898365
Genre: Historical/Fantasy/Paranormal/New Adult
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review


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2013 RWA Golden Heart© Finalist
2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist

The power to heal is her divine gift, the fear of discovery, her mortal curse.

Selah Kilbrid is caught between two worlds. A direct descendant of the Celtic goddess Brigid, she is bound by Tuatha Dé law to help those in need. Yet as a human, she must keep her unique abilities hidden or risk being charged for a witch. In 1730 Pennsylvania, the Quaker community of Hopewell has become a haven for religious freedom—and fanaticism—and there are those who would see her hanged if the truth were revealed.

For eighteen years, Selah safely navigates the narrow gap between duty and self-preservation, until the day a prominent minister uncovers her secret. Obsessed with her power, Nathan Crowley disregards her betrothal to a distant cousin from Ireland and demands marriage in exchange for his silence. Selah stalls for time, but when news reaches the Colonies of her cousin’s death, time has run out.

Rather than submit to Nathan, Selah coerces a stranger to pose as her husband. It’s a good plan—her only plan—even though Henry Alan harbors his own dark secrets. But when she returns to Hopewell a married woman, the real fight has just begun. As unseen forces move against her, Selah doesn’t know which poses the greater danger—a malignant shadow closing in from outside or the internal fire that threatens to consume her heart.

Book Two in the Goddess Born series will be published in November 2014 and Book Three in June 2015.



My Take:

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I agreed to review Goddess Born, but the premise interested me enough that I had high hopes. I liked the whole descendant of the goddess Brigid and gift of healing aspect a lot.

I really love books that take place in Colonial America and I was happy that Goddess Born includes details about daily life, the differing religious groups in the area and the herbal knowledge of the times. I really appreciated the attention to detail in the descriptions about the Quaker religious beliefs and services.

I found Selah to be a sympathetic, engaging character and I knew she and Henry would end up together. I did feel that the romance seemed a bit rushed, and I would have liked it to be a bit more drawn out or at least explain a bit more how they fell for each so fast, but overall, the romance between Selah and Henry was satisfyingly sweet.

I was sufficiently appalled and upset by the villains of the novel. I think they were about as despicable as a person could be in this setting. I was quickly drawn into the drama and was anxious to find out who was behind all the accusations against Selah and I was totally surprised by the big reveal.

I think that Goddess Born will appeal to its target audience and I found it engaging and enjoyable. I actually already suggested the book to my daughter, so I think that pretty much says it all.



Buy the eBook

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Carina Press

About the Author


03_Kari EdgrenKari Edgren did not dream of becoming a writer. Instead, she dreamed of everything else and was often made to stay inside during kindergarten recess to practice her letters. Despite doting parents and a decent school system, Ms. Edgren managed to make it through elementary school having completed only one book cover to cover – The Box Car Children, which she read approximately forty-seven times. Things improved during high school, but not until she read Gabrielle Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude in college, did she truly understand the power of a book.

Ms. Edgren aspires to be a Vulcan, a world-acclaimed opera singer, and two inches taller. She resides in the Pacific NW where she spends a great deal of time torturing her husband and children with strange food and random historical facts. Ms. Edgren hasn’t stopped dreaming, but has finally mastered her letters enough to put the stories on paper.

For more information please visit Kari Edgren's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Sign Up for Kari Edgren's Newsletter.

Goddess Born Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, September 22
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, September 23
Review at By the Book Reviews
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 24
Review at The Readers Hollow
Interview at Manga Maniac Cafe

Thursday, September 25
Review at Book Babe

Friday, September 26
Review at Curling Up With a Good Book

Sunday, September 28
Spotlight & Excerpt at Casual Readers

Monday, September 29
Review at Unabridged Chick
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 1
Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise

Thursday, October 2
Review at Books, Etc.
Review at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews

Friday, October 3
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Monday, October 6
Review at Bookish
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 7
Spotlight & Giveaway at The Flashlight Reader

Wednesday, October 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, October 9
Review at The True Book Addict

Friday, October 10
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Monday, October 13
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, October 14
Review at I'd So Rather Be Reading

Wednesday, October 15
Review at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, October 16
Review at A Book Geek
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, October 17
Review at Historical Tapestry

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Paradise Tree Blog Tour and Review

02_The Paradise Tree
The Paradise Tree by Elena Maria Vidal
Publication Date: September 19, 2014 CreateSpace
Paperback; 252p
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Genre: Historical Fiction


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The year is 1887 in Leeds County, Ontario. The O’Connor clan is gathering to mourn the loss of its patriarch Daniel O’Connor, an Irish immigrant. The story of Daniel and his wife Brigit is one of great hardships, including illness, ill-starred romances, war and political upheavals, as well as undying love and persevering faith. As Daniel is laid to rest, his grandson Fergus receives a piercing insight into what his own calling in life will be.

My Take:

I have read two of Vidal's other novels and I enjoyed them. I think that The Paradise Tree is my favorite, though. I loved the family history aspect to the novel. I love researching my family history and am always intrigued when I get to read about others' family histories as well. 

Vidal does a wonderful job of bringing the folklore, mythology, legend and history of Ireland into the story - Daniel O'Connor is patriarch of the family and continues to tell his children and grandchildren the story of the O'Connor family and their origins in Ireland. The stories his mother told him are passed down the generations and it continues to be part of the family story even after they have become established in Canada. Daniel's own tale of persecution and suffering due to the penal laws was heartbreaking and informative. This time period is a continuing interest of mine.

I really enjoyed getting to know the family members and the stories did feel like a family history - even though it has, of course, been fictionalized. I liked that Daniel worked so hard and patiently to establish his farm and to prepare for finding a wife so he could start a family. The times were very different from now, and the focus was less on love and more on suitability and stability. Even though some really terrible things happen to the family over the years, I got the sense of a security the family members felt within their family and in their faith.

I liked the frank manner that Vidal deals with the hardships and tragedies that happen. The pain is not trivialized, but is presented as part of a hard, but satisfying and worthy life spent striving to be the best they can be and fulfilling their responsibilities. There were also plenty of happy events, family celebrations, holidays, and always central to their lives was the strong faith they were all raised in. The descriptions of their strong, simple faith were heartwarming and fit in with the lives they led. 

The Paradise Tree is one of those books that made me feel happy and secure while reading even though some really terrible things happened to the family. I always had the sense that they would persevere and thrive. The Paradise Tree is a sweeping family saga that I will be suggesting to my friends and family. It was such an enjoyable book.

Praise for The Paradise Tree

"With this marvelous immigrant saga, Elena Maria Vidal reminds us why our forebears left the Old World for the New: for Faith, family, and freedom! Through three generations of an Irish clan in Canada, she invites us into their home for struggle and triumph, celebrations of joy and sorrow, music, feasting, and dancing. The Paradise Tree makes 'the past and present mingle and become one' for the reader’s great delight." --Stephanie A. Mann, author of Supremacy and Survival: How Catholics Endured the English Reformation

“Elena Maria Vidal’s latest book, The Paradise Tree, is the fictionalized true story of the author’s devoutly Catholic ancestors who immigrated to Canada from Ireland. It is filled with rich detailed history recounting the hardships and joys of the 19th century O’Connor Family. Beautifully written with great attention to historical, geographical and religious accuracy, this fascinating and moving family saga is a treasure that I highly recommend!” ~Ellen Gable Hrkach, award-winning author of In Name Only and four other novels

Buy the Book


Amazon

About the Author

03_Elena Maria VidalElena Maria Vidal grew up in the countryside outside of Frederick, Maryland, "fair as the garden of the Lord" as the poet Whittier said of it. As a child she read so many books that her mother had to put restrictions on her hours of reading. During her teenage years, she spent a great deal of her free time writing stories and short novels.

Elena graduated in 1984 from Hood College in Frederick with a BA in Psychology, and in 1985 from the State University of New York at Albany with an MA in Modern European History. In 1986, she joined the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Elena taught at the Frederick Visitation Academy and worked as a private tutor as well as teaching children's etiquette classes. During a trip to Austria in 1995 she visited the tomb of Empress Maria Theresa in the Capuchin crypt in Vienna. Afterwords she decided to finish a novel about Marie-Antoinette she had started writing ten years before but had put aside. In 1997 her first historical novel TRIANON was published by St. Michaels Press. In 2000, the sequel MADAME ROYALE was published, as well as the second edition of TRIANON, by The Neumann Press. Both books quickly found an international following which continues to this day. In 2010, the third edition of TRIANON and the second edition of MADAME ROYALE were released.

In November 2009, THE NIGHT'S DARK SHADE: A NOVEL OF THE CATHARS was published by Mayapple Books. The new historical novel deals with the controversial Albigensian Crusade in thirteenth century France. Elena has been a contributor to Canticle Magazine, Touchstone Magazine, The National Observer, and The American Conservative. In April 2009 she was a speaker at the Eucharistic Convention in Auckland, New Zealand. In August 2010 Elena spoke at The Catholc Writers Conference in Valley Forge, PA. She is a member of the Catholic Writers Guild and the Eastern Shore Writers Association. She currently lives in Maryland with her family.

For more information please visit Elena's website and blog. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Other Titles by Elena Maria Vidal


Trianon: A Novel of Royal France
Madame Royale: A Novel
The Night's Dark Shade: A Novel of the Cathars

The Paradise Tree Blog Tour Schedule


Saturday, October 4
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Sunday, October 5
Guest Post at Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, October 6
Review at Savvy Verse & Wit
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, October 7
Review at Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, October 8
Review at West Metro Mommy

Thursday, October 9
Review & Interview at Back Porchervations

Friday, October 10
Review at Beth's Book Reviews
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, October 11
Interview at Supremacy & Survival

Sunday, October 12
Spotlight at Queen of All She Reads

Monday, October 13
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews

Tuesday, October 14
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, October 15
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes

Thursday, October 16
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at She is Too Fond of Books

Friday, October 17
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog

Saturday, October 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 20
Review at Book Drunkard

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Land of Dreams

Land of Dreams by Kate KerriganPublication date: October 7, 2014 by William Morrow PaperbacksSource: Publisher via TLC Book Tours for an honest review
Description:

Set in 1940s Los Angeles, the compelling final installment in New York Times bestselling author Kate Kerrigan’s sweeping immigrant trilogy begun in Ellis Island and City of Hope—a story of family, love, danger, and ambition in Hollywood during World War II.

Irish immigrant Ellie Hogan has finally achieved the American Dream. But her comfortable bohemian life on Fire Island, New York, is shattered when her eldest adopted son, Leo, runs away, lured by the promise of fortune and fame in Hollywood. Determined to keep her family intact, Ellie follows him west, uprooting her youngest son and long-time friend Bridie.

In Los Angeles, Ellie creates a fashionable new home among the city’s celebrities, artists, and movie moguls. She is also drawn into intense new friendships, including talented film composer Stan, a man far different from any she has ever met, and Suri, a beautiful Japanese woman and kindred spirit, who opens Ellie’s eyes to the injustices of her country.

While Leo is dazzled by Hollywood’s glitz, Ellie quickly sees that the golden glamour masks a world of vanity and greed. Though she tries to navigate them around the dangers of their new home, she will not be able protect them from an even more terrifying threat: war.



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My Take:

I was thrilled at the opportunity to catch up with Ellie Hogan again and see where Land of Dreams,  the final book in the Ellis Island trilogy took her. Considering her love for New York, I can't say that Hollywood is where I thought Ellie would end up, but it would have been a very different and exciting place to be during the 1940's.

It was interesting to see how Ellie has changed from City of Hope. She has become a well-known artist and spent most of her time on an island painting while Leo was away school. She has lost two husbands and besides her art, raising her two sons is her primary focus. But, as usual, Ellie still has some learning ahead of her. Leo runs off to Hollywood in the hopes of becoming an actor. In a state of panic Ellie follows him and sets up her household there in the attempt to let him pursue his dream while still being able to watch out for him.

As seems to be her talent, Ellie meets and befriends a variety of people from different backgrounds and talents. I enjoyed following along as Ellie finds her way in California - not a place she ever thought to find herself. During her time in Hollywood, Ellie must confront some of her own failings and adjust her own desires to allow her sons to thrive.

I found Land of Dreams to be very entertaining and I appreciated that Ellie has to come to terms with some of her not-so-great tendencies - just like we all do. Kerrigan allows her to experience some cringe-worthy moments - some of those "why can't I just keep my big mouth shut?" kind of moments. Ellie must also learn how to juggle  being true to herself and her creativity while also being a good mother to her sons.

I was quite pleased by the gentleman in her life in this book -- Stan is older, more mature and is able to handle Ellie's strong personality and ambition without being intimidated.  He also holds her accountable for her own behavior and decisions. I found their budding relationship to be fun, challenging and interesting. I think the book will appeal to a fairly wide reading audience. The historical period is interesting as well as the political issues of the time. I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to the Ellis Island trilogy.  I will be suggesting Land of Dreams to my friends just as I did City of Hope.




Kate KerriganAbout Kate Kerrigan

Kate Kerrigan is the author of three previous novels. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two sons.
Visit Kate’s website at www.katekerrigan.ie and follow her on Twitter: @katekerrigan.

Kate’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, October 7th: A Book Geek
Thursday, October 9th: Drey’s Library
Tuesday, October 14th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, October 15th: Diary of an Eccentric
Thursday, October 16th: The Reader’s Hollow
Monday, October 20th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Tuesday, October 21st: FictionZeal
Wednesday, October 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, October 23rd: 5 Minutes For Books
Friday, October 24th: bookchickdi
Tuesday, October 28th: The Gilmore Guide to Books


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Night of a Thousand Stars Excerpt

02_Night of a Thousand Stars


Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn
Publication Date: October 1, 2014
Harlequin MIRA
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction


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New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn returns with a Jazz Age tale of grand adventure...

On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat's wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing—she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father's quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than it seems.

With only her feisty lady's maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognita—east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan—one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, that she holds dear.

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Chapter One
March 1920
“I say, if you’re running away from your wedding, you’re going about it quite wrong.”
I paused with my leg out the window, satin wedding gown hitched up above my knees. A layer of tulle floated over my face, obscuring my view. I shoved it aside to find a tall, bespectacled young man standing behind me. His expression was serious, but there was an unmistakable gleam in his eyes that was distinctly at odds with his clerical garb.
“Oh! Are you the curate? I know you can’t be the vicar. I met him last night at the rehearsal and he’s simply ancient. Looks like Methuselah’s godfather. You’re awfully young to be a priest, aren’t you?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at him.
“But I’m wearing a dog collar. I must be,” he protested. “And as I said, if you’re running away, you’ve gone about it quite stupidly.”
“I have not,” I returned hotly. “I managed to elude both my mother and my future mother-in-law, and if you think that was easy, I’d like to sell you a bridge in Brooklyn.”
“Brooklyn? Where on earth is that?”
I rolled my eyes heavenward. “New York. Where I live.”
“You can’t be American. You speak properly.”
“My parents are English and I was educated here—oh, criminy, I don’t have time for this!” I pushed my head out the window, but to my intense irritation, he pulled me back, his large hands gently crushing the puffed sleeves of my gown.
“You haven’t thought this through, have you? You can get out the window easily enough, but what then? You can’t exactly hop on the Underground dressed like that. And have you money for a cab?”
“I—” I snapped my mouth shut, thinking furiously. “No, I haven’t. I thought I’d just get away first and worry about the rest of it later.”
“As I said, not a very good plan. Where are you bound, anyway?”
I said nothing. My escape plan was not so much a plan as a desperate flight from the church as soon as I heard the organist warming up the Mendelssohn. I was beginning to see the flaw in that thinking thanks to the helpful curate. “Surely you don’t intend to go back to the hotel?” he went on. “All your friends and relations will go there straight away when they realise you’ve gone missing. And since your stepfather is Reginald Hammond—”
I brandished my bouquet at him, flowers snapping on their slender stems. “Don’t finish that sentence, I beg you. I know exactly what will happen if the newspapers get hold of the story. Fine. I need a place to lie low, and I have one, I think, but I will need a ride.” I stared him down. “Do you have a motorcar?”
He looked startled. “Well, yes, but—”
“Excellent. You can drive me.”
“See here, Miss Hammond, I don’t usually make a habit of helping runaway brides to abscond. After all, from what I hear Mr. Madderley is a perfectly nice fellow. You might be making a frightful mistake, and how would it look to the bishop if I aided and abetted—”
“Never mind!” I said irritably. I poked my head through the window again, and this time when he retrieved me he was almost smiling, although a slim line of worry still threaded between his brows.
“All right then, I surrender. Where are you going?”
I pointed in the direction I thought might be west. “To Devon.”
He raised his brows skyward. “You don’t ask for much, do you?”
“I’ll go on my own then,” I told him, setting my chin firmly. Exactly how, I had no idea, but I could always think of that later.
He seemed to be wrestling with something, but a sound at the door decided him. “Time to get on. My motorcar is parked just in the next street. I’ll drive you to Devon.”
I gave him what I hoped was a dazzling smile. “Oh, you are a lamb, the absolute bee’s knees!”
“No, I’m not. But we won’t quarrel about that now. I locked the door behind me but someone’s rattling the knob, and I give them about two minutes before they find the key. Out you go, Miss Hammond.”
Without a further word, he shoved me lightly through the window and I landed in the shrubbery. I smothered a few choice words as I bounced out of his way. He vaulted over the windowsill and landed on his feet—quite athletically for a clergyman.
“That was completely uncalled-for—” I began, furiously plucking leaves out of the veil.
He grabbed my hand and I stopped talking, as surprised by the gesture as the warmth of his hand.
“Come along, Miss Hammond. I think I hear your mother,” he said.
I gave a little shriek and began to run. At the last moment, I remembered the bouquet—a heavy, spidery affair of lilies and ivy that I detested. I flung it behind us, laughing as I ran.


“I shouldn’t have laughed,” I said mournfully. We were in the motorcar—a chic little affair painted a startling shade of bright blue—and the curate was weaving his way nimbly through the London traffic. He seemed to be listening with only half an ear.
“What was that?”
“I said I shouldn’t have laughed. I mean, I feel relieved, enormously so, if I’m honest, but then there’s Gerald. One does feel badly about Gerald.”
“Why? Will you break his heart?”
“What an absurd question,” I said, shoving aside the veil so I could look the curate fully in the face. “And what a rude one.” I lapsed into near-silence, muttering to myself as I unpicked the pins that held the veil in place. “I don’t know,” I said after a while. “I mean, Gerald is so guarded, so English, it’s impossible to tell. He might be gutted. But he might not. He’s just such a practical fellow—do you understand? Sometimes I had the feeling he had simply ticked me off a list.”
“A list?” The curate dodged the little motorcar around an idling lorry, causing a cart driver to abuse him loudly. He waved a vague apology and motored on. For a curate, he drove with considerable flair.
“Yes. You know—the list of things all proper English gentlemen are expected to do. Go to school, meet a suitable girl, get married, father an heir and a spare, shoot things, die quietly.”
“Sounds rather grim when you put it like that.”
“It is grim, literally so in Gerald’s case. He has a shooting lodge in Norfolk called Grimfield. It’s the most appalling house I’ve ever seen, like something out of a Brontë novel. I half expected to find a mad wife locked up in the attic or Heathcliff abusing someone in the stables.”
“Did you?”
“No, thank heaven. Nothing but furniture in the attic and horses in the stables. Rather disappointingly prosaic, as it happens. But the point is, men like Gerald have their lives already laid out for them in a tidy little pattern. And I’m, well, I’m simply not tidy.” I glanced at the interior of the motorcar. Books and discarded wellies fought for space with a spare overcoat and crumpled bits of greaseproof paper—the remains of many sandwich suppers, it seemed. “You’re untidy too, I’m glad to see. I always think a little disorder means a creative mind. And I have dreams of my own, you know.” I paused then hurried on, hoping he wouldn’t think to ask what those dreams might be. I couldn’t explain them to him; I didn’t even understand them myself. “I realised with Gerald, my life would always take second place. I would be his wife, and eventually Viscountess Madderley, and then I would die. In the meantime I would open fêtes and have his children and perhaps hold a memorable dinner party or two, but what else? Nothing. I would have walked into that church today as Penelope Hammond and walked out as the Honourable Mrs. Gerald Madderley, and no one would have remembered me except as a footnote in the chronicles of the Madderley family.”
“Quite the existential crisis,” he said lightly. I nodded.
“Precisely. I’m very glad you understand these things.” I looked around again. “I don’t suppose you have a cigarette lying about anywhere? I'd very much like one.”
He gestured towards the glovebox and I helped myself. As soon as I opened it, an avalanche of business cards, tickets, receipts and even a prayer book fell out. I waved a slip of paper at him. “You haven’t paid your garage bill,” I told him. “Second notice.”
He smiled and pocketed the paper. “Slipped my mind. I’ll take care of it tomorrow.”
I shoveled the rest of the detritus back into the glovebox, and he produced a packet of matches. I lit a cigarette and settled back then gave a little shriek of dismay. “Heavens, where are my manners? I forgot to ask if you wanted one.”
He shook his head. “I don’t indulge.”
I cocked my head. “But you keep them around?”
“One never knows when they’ll be in demand,” he said. "How long have you had the habit?"
"Oh, I don't. It just seems the sort of thing a runaway bride ought to do. I'll be notorious now, you know."
    I gave the unlit cigarette a sniff. "Heavens, that's foul. I think I shall have to find a different vice." I dropped the cigarette back into the packet.
    He smiled but said nothing and we lapsed into a comfortable silence.
I studied him—from the unlined, rather noble brow to the shabby, oversized suit of clothes with the shiny knees and the unpolished shoes. There was something improbable about him, as if in looking at him one could add two and two and never make four. There was an occasional, just occasional, flash from his dark eyes that put me in mind of a buccaneer. He was broad-shouldered and athletic, but the spectacles and occupation hinted he was bookish.
There were other contradictions as well, I observed. Being a curate clearly didn’t pay well, but the car was mint. Perhaps he came from family money, I surmised. Or perhaps he had a secret gambling habit. I gave him a piercing look. “You don’t smoke. Do you have other vices? Secret sins? I adore secrets.”
Another fellow might have taken offence but he merely laughed. “None worth talking about. Besides, we were discussing you. Tell me,” he said, smoothly negotiating a roundabout and shooting the motorcar out onto the road towards Devon, “What prompted this examination of your feelings? It couldn’t be just the thought of marrying him. You’ve had months to accustom yourself to the notion of being the future Viscountess Madderley. Why bolt now?”
I hesitated, feeling my cheeks grow warm. “Well, I might as well tell you. You are a priest, after all. It would be nice to talk about it, and since you’re bound by the confessional, it would be perfectly safe to tell you because if you ever tell anyone you’ll be damned forever.”
His lips twitched as if he were suppressing a smile. “That isn’t exactly how it works, you know.”
I flapped a hand. “Close enough. I always had doubts about Gerald, if I’m honest. Ever since he asked me to dance at the Crichlows’ Christmas ball during the little season. He was just so staid, as if someone had washed him in starch rather than his clothes. But there were flashes of something more. Wit or kindness or gentleness, I suppose. Things I thought I could bring out in him.” I darted the curate a glance. “I see now how impossibly stupid that was. You can’t change a man. Not unless he wants changing, and what man wants changing? The closer the wedding got, the more nervous I became and I couldn’t imagine why I wasn’t entirely over the moon about marrying Gerald. And then my aunt sent me a book that made everything so clear.”
“What book?”
“Mrs. Stopes’ book, Married Love.”
“Oh, God.” He swerved and neatly corrected, but not before I gave him a searching look.
“I’ve shocked you.” Most people had heard of the book, but few had read it. It had been extensively banned for its forthright language and extremely modern—some would say indecent—ideas.
He hurried to reassure me. “No, no. Your aunt shocked me. I wouldn’t imagine most ladies would send an affianced bride such a book.”
“My aunt isn’t most ladies,” I said darkly. “She’s my father’s sister, and they’re all eccentric. They’re famous for it, and because they’re aristocrats, no one seems to mind. Of course, Mother nearly had an apoplexy when she found the book, but I’d already read it by that point, and I knew what I had to do.”
“And what was that?”
“I had to seduce Gerald.”
This time the curate clipped the edge of a kerb, bouncing us hard before he recovered himself and steered the motorcar back onto the road.
“I shocked you again,” I said sadly.
“Not in the slightest,” he assured me, his voice slightly strangled. He cleared his throat, adopting a distinctly paternal tone in spite of his youth. “Go on, child.”
“Well, it was rather more difficult to arrange than I’d expected. No one seems to want to leave you alone when you’re betrothed, which is rather silly because whatever you get up to can’t be all that bad because you’re with the person you’re going to be getting up to it with once you’re married, and it’s all right then. And isn’t it peculiar that just because a priest says a few words over your head, the thing that was sinful and wrong is suddenly perfectly all right? No offence to present company.”
“None taken. It does indeed give one pause for thought. You were saying?”
“Oh, the arrangements. Well, I couldn’t manage it until a fortnight ago. By that time I was fairly seething with impatience. I’m sorry—did you say something?”
“Not at all. It was the mental image of you seething with impatience. It was rather distracting.”
“Oh, I am sorry. Should we postpone this discussion for another time? When you’re not driving perhaps?”
“No, indeed. I promise you this is the most interesting discussion I’ve had in a very long while.”
“And you’re still not shocked?” I asked him. I was feeling a bit anxious on that point. I had a habit of engaging in what Mother called Inappropriate Conversation. The trouble was, I never realised I was doing it until after the fact. I was always far too busy enjoying myself.
“Not in the slightest. Continue—you were seething.”
“Yes, I was in an absolute fever, I was so anxious. We were invited to the Madderleys’ main estate in Kent—a sort of ‘getting to know you’ affair between the Madderleys and the Hammonds. It was very gracious of Gerald’s mother to suggest it, although now that I think about it, it wasn’t so much about the families getting to know one another as about the viscount and my stepfather discussing the drains and the roofs and how far my dowry would go to repairing it all.”
I stopped to finish unpinning the veil and pulled it free, tearing the lace a little in my haste. I shoved my hands through my hair, ruffling up my curls and giving a profound sigh. “Oh, that’s better! Pity about the veil. That’s Belgian lace, you know. Made by nuns, although why nuns should want to make bridal veils is beyond me. Anyway, the gentlemen were discussing the money my dowry would bring to the estate, and the ladies were going on about the children we were going to have and what would be expected of me as the future viscountess. Do you know Gerald’s mother even hired my lady’s maid? Masterman, frightful creature. I’m terrified of her—she’s so efficient and correct. Anyway, I suddenly realised that was going to be the rest of my life—doing what was perfectly proper at all times and bearing just the right number of children—and I was so bored with it all I nearly threw myself in front of a train like Anna Karenina just to be done with it. I couldn’t imagine actually living in that draughty great pile of stone, eating off the same china the Madderleys have been using since the time of Queen Anne. But I thought it would all be bearable if Gerald and I were compatible in the Art of Love.”
“The Art of Love?”
“That’s what Mrs. Stopes called it in Married Love. She says that no matter what differences a couple might have in religion or politics or social customs, if they are compatible in the Art of Love, all may be adjusted.”
“I see.” He sounded strangled again.
“So, one night after everyone had retired, I crept to Gerald’s room and insisted we discover if we were mutually compatible.”
“And were you?
“No,” I said flatly. “I thought it was my fault at first. But I chose the date so carefully to make sure my sex-tide would be at its highest.”
“Your sex-tide?”
“Yes. Really, you ought to know these things if you mean to counsel your parishioners. The achievement of perfect marital harmony only comes with an understanding of the sex-tides—the ebb and flow of a person’s desires and inclinations for physical pleasure.”
He cleared his throat lavishly. “Oh, the sex-tides. Of course.”
“In any event, Gerald and I were most definitely not compatible.” I paused then plunged on. “To begin with, he wouldn’t even take off his pyjamas when we were engaged in the Act of Love.”
The curate’s lips twitched into a small smile. “Now that shocks me.”
“Doesn’t it? What sort of man wants a barrier of cloth between himself and the skin of his beloved? I have read the Song of Solomon, you know. It’s a very informative piece of literature and it was quite explicit with all the talk of breasts like twin fawns and eating of the secret honeycomb and honey. I presume you’ve read the Song of Solomon? It is in the Bible, after all.”
“It is,” he agreed. “Quite the most interesting book, if you ask me.” Again there was a flash of something wicked as he shot me a quick look. “So, was your betrothed a young god with legs like pillars of marble and a body like polished ivory?”
I pulled a face. “He was not. That was a very great disappointment, let me tell you. And then it was over with so quickly—I mean, I scarcely had time to get accustomed to the strangeness of it because, let’s be frank, there is something so frightfully silly about doing that, although you probably don’t know yourself, being a member of the clergy and all. But before I could quite get a handle on things, it was finished.”
“Finished?” he said, his hands tight on the steering wheel.
“Finished. At least, Gerald was,” I added sulkily. “He gave a great shudder and made an odd sort of squeaking sound.”
“Squeaking sound?”
“Yes.” I tipped my head, thinking. “Like a rabbit that’s just seen a fox. And then he rolled over and went to sleep just like that.”
“Philistine,” he pronounced.
“Then you do understand! How important the physical side of marriage is, I mean. Particularly with a husband like Gerald. One would need a satisfactory time in the bedroom to make up for—” I clapped a hand to my mouth. He smiled then, indulgently, and I dropped my hand, but I still felt abashed. “Oh, that was unkind. Gerald has many sterling attributes. Sterling,” I assured him.
Sterling is what one wants out of one’s silver. Not a husband,” he said mildly.
I sighed in contentment. “You are good at this. You understand. And you haven’t made me feel guilty over the sin of it, although you mustn’t tell anyone, but I don’t really believe in sin at all. I know that’s a wicked thing to say, but I think all God really expects is a little common sense and kindness out of us. Surely He’s too busy to keep a tally of all our misdeeds. That would make Him nothing more than a sort of junior clerk with a very important sense of Himself, wouldn’t it?”
“I suppose.”
“Oh, I know you can’t agree with me. You make your career on sin, just as much as anybody who sells liquor or naughty photographs. Sin is your bread and butter.”
“You have a unique way of looking at the world, Miss Hammond.”
“I think it’s because I’ve been so much on my own,” I told him after a moment. “I’ve had a lot of time to think things over.”
“Why have you been so much on your own?” he asked. His voice was gentler than it had been, and the air of perpetual amusement had been replaced by something kinder, and it seemed as if he were genuinely interested. It was a novel situation for me. Most people who wanted to talk to me did so because of my stepfather’s money.
“Oh, didn’t you know? Apparently it was a bit of a scandal at the time. It was in all the newspapers and of course they raked it all up again when I became engaged to Gerald. My parents divorced, and Mother took me to America when she left my father. I was an infant at the time, and apparently he let her take me because he knew it would utterly break her heart to leave me behind. He stayed in England and she went off to America We’re practically strangers, Father and I. He’s always been a bit of a sore spot to Mother, even though she did quite well out of it all. She married Mr. Hammond—Reginald. He’s a lovely man, but rather too interested in golf.”
“Lots of gentlemen play,” he remarked. His hands were relaxed again, and he opened the car up a little, guiding it expertly as we fairly flew down the road.
“Oh, Reginald doesn’t just play. He builds golf courses. Designing them amuses him, and after he made his millions in copper, he decided to travel around the world, building golf courses. Places like Florida, the Bahamas. He’s quite mad about the game—he even named his yacht the Gutta-Percha, even though no one uses gutta-percha balls anymore.”
He shook his head as if to clear it and I gave him a sympathetic look. “Do you need me to read maps or something? It must be fatiguing to drive all this way.”
“The conversation is keeping me entirely alert,” he promised.
“Oh, good. Where was I?”
“Reginald Hammond doesn’t have gutta-percha balls,” he replied solemnly. If he had been one of my half-brothers, I would have suspected him of making an indelicate joke, but his face was perfectly solemn.
“No one does,” I assured him. “Anyway, he’s a lovely man but he isn’t really my father. And when the twins came along, and then the boys, well, they had their own family, didn’t they? It was nothing to do with me.” I fell silent a moment then pressed on, adopting a firmly cheerful tone. “Still, it hasn’t been so bad. I thoroughly enjoyed coming back here to go to school, and I have found my father.”
“You’ve seen him?” he asked quickly.
“No. But I made some inquiries, and I know where he is. He’s a painter,” I told him. I was rather proud of the little bit of detection I had done to track him down. “We wrote letters for a while, but he travelled extensively—looking for subjects to paint, I suppose. He gave me a London address in Half Moon Street to send the letters, but he didn’t actually live there. You know, it’s quite sad, but I always felt so guilty when his letters came. Mother would take to her bed with a bottle of reviving tonic every time she saw his handwriting in the post. I didn’t dare ask to invite him to the wedding. She would have shrieked the house down, and it did seem rather beastly to Reginald since he was paying for it. Still, it is peculiar to have an entire family I haven’t met. Some of them kept in touch—my Aunt Portia, for one. She sent me the copy of Married Love. When I came to England for the little season, I asked her where Father was. She promised not to tell him I’d asked, but she sent me his address. He has a house in Devon. He likes the light there, something about it being good for his work.”
“I see.”
“It’s very kind of you to drive me,” I said, suddenly feeling rather shy with this stranger to whom I had revealed entirely too much. “Oh!” I sat up very straight. “I don’t even know your name.”
“Sebastian. My name is Sebastian Cantrip.”
“Cantrip? That’s an odd name,” I told him.
“No odder than Penelope.”
I laughed. “It’s Greek, I think. My mother’s choice. She thought it sounded very elegant and educated. But my father called me Poppy.”
Sebastian slanted me a look. “It suits you better.”
“I think so, but when I was presented as a debutante, Mother insisted on calling me Penelope Hammond. Hammond isn’t my legal name, you know. It gave me quite a start to see the name on the invitations to the wedding. Mr. and Mrs. Reginald Hammond cordially invite you to the wedding of their daughter, Penelope Hammond. But I’m not Penelope Hammond, not really.” I lifted my chin towards the road rising before us. “I’m Poppy March.”





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About the Author


03_Deanna RaybournA sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio, where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel. After three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time.

Deanna Raybourn is the author of the bestselling and award-winning Lady Julia series, as well as, The Dead Travel Fast, A Spear of Summer Grass, and City of Jasmine.

For more information please visit Deanna Raybourn's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Night of a Thousand Stars Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, September 29
Review & Giveaway at Bookish

Tuesday, September 30
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 1
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at Svetlana's Reads and Views

Thursday, October 2
Review at Ramblings From This Chick

Friday, October 3
Review at Book Babe

Monday, October 6
Review at Unabridged Chick
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Tuesday, October 7
Review at Candace's Book Blog
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 8
Review at Good Books and Good Wine

Thursday, October 9
Excerpt at A Book Geek
Guest Post & Giveaway at Good Books and Good Wine

Friday, October 10
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, October 13
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, October 14
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, October 15
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Thursday, October 16
Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, October 17
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Monday, October 20
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Excerpt at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 21
Review & Giveaway at Bookshelf Fantasies
Spotlight & Giveaway at Susan Heim on Writing

Wednesday, October 22
Review, Excerpt & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, October 23
Review at Musings of a Bookish Kitty

Friday, October 24
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Monday, October 27
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, October 28
Review at To Read or Not to Read

Wednesday, October 29
Review & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please

Thursday, October 30
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry




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