Interview with Eilidh McGinnis

Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog I am very excited to share my interview with Eilidh McGinnis, author of Josephine: Singer Dancer Soldier Spy!


Hello Eilidh and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy!

Thank you very much. I am thrilled to be here.

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I live in the South West of France and have done so for the last twelve years. I am inspired by -seemingly ordinary people who achieve extra-ordinary things.

What inspired you to write Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy?

I am lucky to live near the Chateau des Milandes which she owned in France and after visiting it felt compelled to write about her period as a spy.

What research did you undertake when writing Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy?

I read some books-in French -about this period in her life and I visited her chateau which is now a museum in her honor.

What would you like readers to take away from reading Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy?

I would like people to appreciate her bravery and vision.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The scenes where she considers herself an Arabian princess.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The scenes when she is a child.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

It has always been there.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I try to write at least a thousand words a day and I give myself targets.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

To keep going.

Who are your writing inspirations?

J K Rowling, Ursula le Guin

What was the first historical novel you read?

It would have been a Catherine Cookson-not sure which one.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I am reading Alone in Berlin which I will read again very soon.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I was born on the cusp. I can’t drink coffee. I am allergic to kiwi fruit.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

History fascinates me.

What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?

Scottish history any period and the 1920’s onwards.

What do you like to do when you aren't writing?

Reading.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I am writing a trilogy set around the French resistance in Dordogne during WW2.

Thanks so much for stopping by Passages to the Past today! I can't wait for your next book!


Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness

Publication Date: December 1, 2019
eBook & Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction


Josephine Baker is born into poverty in racially segregated America. Desperate to escape she flees to France where she embraces the hedonistic lifestyle on offer for those who dare, in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties.

Hitler's rise to power in Germany forces her to face her true self. Determined to protect the Liberty Equality and Fraternity she has found in France, she becomes an 'honorable correspondent' for the French Secret Service. So, beginning a journey which will take her from the Red Cross Shelters in Paris to the cruel deserts of North Africa. She will find love and enduring friendship but she must also face dangers which will threaten not only her life but all she holds dear.....Can she find the courage to fight for what she believes in....no matter what the cost?

Available on Amazon

About the Author


Eilidh was born and brought up in the Highlands of Scotland. She studied law at Aberdeen University. She practiced as a lawyer for twelve years, latterly specializing in criminal defense. Eilidh then moved to South West France with her then husband and four children. She established an independent estate agency business which she ran for twelve years before concentrating on writing- a long held dream. Eilidh has always been fascinated by history and ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 30
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, January 2
Review at Liberty's Literary Loves

Friday, January 3
Feature at Comet Readings

Monday, January 6
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, January 7
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, January 8
Review at Reader then Blogger

Thursday, January 9
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Saturday, January 11
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, January 13
Feature at I'm All About Books

Tuesday, January 14
Feature at BookNook 2020

Wednesday, January 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, January 16
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, January 17
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, January 18
Feature at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Sunday, January 19
Review at YA, It's Lit

Monday, January 20
Review at Nursebookie

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Josephine


Review: Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinnis


Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy by Eilidh McGinness

Publication Date: December 1, 2019
eBook & Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction


Josephine Baker is born into poverty in racially segregated America. Desperate to escape she flees to France where she embraces the hedonistic lifestyle on offer for those who dare, in the Paris of the Roaring Twenties.

Hitler's rise to power in Germany forces her to face her true self. Determined to protect the Liberty Equality and Fraternity she has found in France, she becomes an 'honorable correspondent' for the French Secret Service. So, beginning a journey which will take her from the Red Cross Shelters in Paris to the cruel deserts of North Africa. She will find love and enduring friendship but she must also face dangers which will threaten not only her life but all she holds dear.....Can she find the courage to fight for what she believes in....no matter what the cost?

Available on Amazon


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've been fascinated with Josephine Baker ever since I saw the 1991 movie, The Josephine Baker Story starring Lynn Whitfield, so I was super excited to pick up Eilidh's book.

The book is split into two parts - Singer Dancer and then Soldier Spy, which I thought was a clever way to break up her story. Another unique aspect of the book is that it's told almost like vignette-style vs. a continuous story. The chapters jump periods in time. I admit it took me a bit to get used to but it didn't bother me too much.

From her childhood in a big and extremely poor family, we follow Josephine's life as she breaks out to become the dancer and entertainer she always knew she wanted to be. I love how determined she was to fight for France, the country that finally accepted her and allowed her to be free in a world dominated by racism and prejudice.

Determined, strong, talented, and fascinating to no end - this book is a great look at Josephine Baker and her life. Highly recommended!

About the Author


Eilidh was born and brought up in the Highlands of Scotland. She studied law at Aberdeen University. She practiced as a lawyer for twelve years, latterly specializing in criminal defense. Eilidh then moved to South West France with her then husband and four children. She established an independent estate agency business which she ran for twelve years before concentrating on writing- a long held dream. Eilidh has always been fascinated by history and ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 30
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, January 2
Review at Liberty's Literary Loves

Friday, January 3
Feature at Comet Readings

Monday, January 6
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, January 7
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, January 8
Review at Reader then Blogger

Thursday, January 9
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Saturday, January 11
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, January 13
Feature at I'm All About Books

Tuesday, January 14
Feature at BookNook 2020

Wednesday, January 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, January 16
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, January 17
Feature at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, January 18
Feature at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Sunday, January 19
Review at YA, It's Lit

Monday, January 20
Review at Nursebookie

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Josephine: Singer Soldier Dancer Spy! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Josephine


Blog Tour Kick-Off & Giveaway: Salt the Snow by Carrie Callaghan


Salt the Snow by Carrie Callaghan

Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Chicago Review Press
eBook & Hardcover; 304 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


American journalist Milly Bennett has covered murders in San Francisco, fires in Hawaii, and a civil war in China, but 1930s Moscow presents her greatest challenge yet. When her young Russian husband is suddenly arrested by the secret police, Milly tries to get him released. But his arrest reveals both painful secrets about her marriage and hard truths about the Soviet state she has been working to serve. Disillusioned and pulled toward the front lines of a captivating new conflict, Milly must find a way to do the right thing for her husband, her conscience, and her heart. Salt the Snow is a vivid and impeccably researched tale of a woman ahead of her time, searching for her true calling in life and love.

Praise

“The vivid prose of Salt the Snow sets the reader in the middle of socioeconomic upheavals and political unrest with the best possible tour guide, wisecracking American journalist Milly Bennett. Callaghan excels at bringing little-known real-life women out of the darkness of historical obscurity and into the light of recognition. From the first scene, the reader is plunged into a world of suspense and intrigue, led by an unforgettable protagonist. Milly is not so much a character as a fully realized, complex human being: her brilliance and self-sufficiency are admirable, and her loneliness and feelings of unworthiness are heartbreaking. A fascinating novel!” —Clarissa Harwood, author of Impossible Saints and Bear No Malice

“A vivid, well-researched story of a complex and ahead-of-her-time woman, an American journalist, who finds herself—head and heart—while living and working in an equally complex Russia.” —Jenni L. Walsh, author of Becoming Bonnie

“Salt the Snow is a vivid journey through the kaleidoscope of 1930s Europe with an irrepressible and all too human guide in Milly Bennett. Don’t miss this book and its unforgettable heroine!” —Linnea Hartsuyker, author of The Half-Drowned King and The Golden Wolf

“Honest, vivid, and bold in the face of historical truths, Salt the Snow is a captivating story of a woman whose vulnerability and hopeful idealism resonate even today.” —Jennifer Klepper, bestselling author of Unbroken Threads

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Carrie Callaghan is a writer living in Maryland with her spouse, two young children, and two ridiculous cats. Her short fiction has appeared in Weave Magazine, The MacGuffin, Silk Road, Floodwall, and elsewhere. Carrie is also an editor and contributor with the Washington Independent Review of Books. She has a Master’s of Arts in International Affairs from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 13
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Review at Tales from the Book Dragon

Tuesday, January 14
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, January 15
Review at Broken Teepee

Thursday, January 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, January 17
Review at Books and Zebras

Saturday, January 18
Review at @gatticus_finch
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, January 20
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, January 21
Interview at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, January 22
Review at My Reading Chronicles

Thursday, January 23
Review at @rebecca.is.reading

Friday, January 24
Review at Wild Sage Book Blog

Monday, January 27
Review at @ya.its.lit
Review at Jorie Loves A Story

Wednesday, January 29
Review at Jackie & Angela's Book Reviews

Thursday, January 30
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, January 31
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, February 3
Review at Amy's Booket List

Tuesday, February 4
Review at Lost_in_a_book_reviewer

Wednesday, February 5
Review at Impressions In Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two signed copies of Salt the Snow by Carrie Callaghan! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

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

Salt the Snow


Book Blast & Giveaway: The King’s Greatest Enemy Series by Anna Belfrage

A weak king, a rebellious baron. A kingdom on the brink of civil war, an adulterous wife and an ambitious royal favourite. A blackmailed bride and an honourable knight, torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his wife and his future king. Welcome to the world of Adam de Guirande!

Book I: In the Shadow of the Storm

Adam de Guirande owes his lord, Roger Mortimer, much more than loyalty. He owes Lord Roger for his life and all his worldly goods, he owes him for his beautiful wife – even if Kit is not quite the woman Lord Roger thinks she is. So when Lord Roger rises in rebellion against the king, Adam has no choice but to ride with him – no matter what the ultimate cost may be.

England in 1321 is a confusing place. Edward II has been forced by his barons to exile his favourite, Hugh Despenser. The barons, led by the powerful Thomas of Lancaster, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, have reasons to believe they have finally tamed the king. But Edward is not about to take things lying down...

Adam fears his lord has over-reached, but Adam has other matters to concern him, first and foremost his new wife, Katherine de Monmouth. His bride comes surrounded by rumours concerning her and Lord Roger, and he hates it when his brother snickers and whispers of used goods.

Kit has the misfortune of being a perfect double of Katherine de Monmouth – which is why she finds herself coerced into wedding a man under a false name.

Domestic matters become irrelevant when the king sets out to punish his rebellious barons. The Welsh Marches explode into war, and soon Lord Roger and his men are fighting for their very lives. When hope splutters and dies, when death seems inevitable, it falls to Kit to save her man – if she can.

In the Shadow of the Storm is the first in Anna Belfrage’s new series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Book II: Days of Sun and Glory

Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit.

England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France.

Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as Edward II and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead.

Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Book III: Under the Approaching Dark

Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over.

England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster.

When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.

Under the Approaching Dark is the third in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Book IV: The Cold Light of Dawn

After Henry of Lancaster’s rebellion has been crushed early in 1329, a restless peace settles over England. However, the young Edward III is no longer content with being his regents’ puppet, no matter that neither Queen Isabella nor Roger Mortimer show any inclination to give up their power. Caught in between is Adam de Guirande, torn between his loyalty to the young king and that to his former lord, Roger Mortimer.

Edward III is growing up fast. No longer a boy to be manipulated, he resents the power of his mother, Queen Isabella, and Mortimer. His regents show little inclination of handing over their power to him, the rightful king, and Edward suspects they never will unless he forces their hand.

Adam de Guirande is first and foremost Edward’s man, and he too is of the opinion that the young king is capable of ruling on his own. But for Adam siding with his king causes heartache, as he still loves Roger Mortimer, the man who shaped him into who he is.

Inevitably, Edward and his regents march towards a final confrontation. And there is nothing Adam can do but pray and hope that somehow things will work out. Unfortunately, prayers don’t always help.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history and writing.

Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. (Medieval knight was also high on Anna’s list of potential professions. Yet another disappointment…)

With Jason and Helle, Anna has stepped out of her historical comfort zone and has loved doing so.

Find out more about Anna by visiting her website, www.annabelfrage.com, You can also connect with Anna on FacebookTwitterAmazon, and Goodreads.

Book Blast Schedule

Friday, January 10
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Saturday, January 11
Passages to the Past

Sunday, January 12
Robin Loves Reading

Monday, January 13
Jessica Belmont
A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, January 14
Broken Teepee

Wednesday, January 15
Donna's Book Blog

Thursday, January 16
Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, January 17
Let Them Read Books

Saturday, January 18
Gwendalyn's Books

Sunday, January 19
The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, January 20
Historical Graffiti
CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, January 21
Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, January 22
Nursebookie

Thursday, January 23
100 Pages a Day

Friday, January 24
The Lit Bitch

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a set of The King's Greatest Enemy Series in eBook! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on January 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

King's Greatest Enemy Blast


2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: January Reviews



HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone 🎉! I am thrilled that you are joining us for the 2020 Challenge! I can't wait to see what everyone reads this year!

Welcome to the January link page for the 2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This is the page where you will enter the links to your reviews during the month of January 2020.

Reading Challenge Instructions...

  • 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 sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, etc.)
  • Don't forget to look some of the other links that are present. You never know when you will discover new blogs or books!

There's still time to sign up for the 2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge! Sign Up Here.


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Review: Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau


Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: January 16, 2020
Endeavor Quill
eBook & Paperback; 386 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

But the invitation to Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer at the Moonrise Bookstore where she works voluntarily, than keeping up appearances with Brooklyn socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of Coney Island affords Peggy more of the freedom she has been longing for. For one, she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.s

It is up to Peggy to overcome the oppression of her family and clear the name of her vulnerable lover, before she or her beloved sister become the next victims of Dreamland.

Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for Dreamland

'Achingly believable' - Publishers Weekly

"This fast-paced, engrossing novel from Bilyeau (“Joanna Stafford” mysteries) gives readers an up-close and personal view of New York’s Gilded Age, from the flash and glamour of the decadently wealthy to the hardscrabble conditions of newly arrived immigrants." - Library Journal

'Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Dreamland is a rollicking ride.' - Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls

'A marvelous book!' - Ellen Marie Wiseman, bestselling author of What she Left Behind and The Life she was Given

'Bilyeau’s thrilling novel plunges deep into Dreamland’s maze of pleasure and menace' - Marlowe Benn, bestselling author of Relative Fortunes

'Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books' – Alison Weir

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Well, 2019 has come full circle! I kicked off the year by reading Nancy Bilyeau's novel, The Blue, and now I'm closing the year out with her newest novel, Dreamland! I could not think of a better book to be my last read of the year - it was fabulously entertaining!

Peggy is an heiress of the Batternberg family, a wealthy and powerful family along the likes of the Rockefellers. Despite the fact that she is the granddaughter of one of the richest men in America, she prefers her job as a shop girl at a local bookstore in NYC. She feels more at home with writers and artists then her family.

One day her uncle shows up and tells her she must join the family for the summer at the Oriental Hotel near Coney Island. Her sister is engaged to a wealthy man and the marriage is important as their father squandered their money away and they need the money that their marriage will bring. While out one evening at Dreamland at Coney Island Peggy meets an artist, Stefan, and she soon falls for him. He opens her eyes to the world outside her little bubble.

When two women are found murdered on the beach, Peggy becomes interested in the cases. When Stefan is implicated in the murders she must clear his name.

Dreamland checked every box for me. There was romance, mystery, and tough topics like immigrant rights and prejudice, the difference in social classes, bullying and gaslighting (lookin' at you, Henry), but what shines through is the author's love for the city of New York. I went there once on my honeymoon and loved it and Nancy makes me want to go back so badly!

A huge thanks to Endeavour Media for the chance to read this incredible book. I inhaled it in one sitting and cannot wait for more from Nancy Bilyeau!

About the Author

"Dreamland" is Nancy Bilyeau's fifth novel of historical suspense. She is the author of the best-selling historical thriller “The Blue” and the Tudor mystery series “The Crown,” “The Chalice,” and “The Tapestry,” on sale in nine countries.

Nancy is a magazine editor who has lived in the United States and Canada. She studied History and English Literature at the University of Michigan. After moving to New York City, she worked on the staffs of “InStyle,” “Good Housekeeping,” and “Rolling Stone.” She is currently the deputy editor of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at the Research Foundation of CUNY and a regular contributing writer to “Town & Country" and "Mystery Scene Magazine."

Nancy’s mind is always in past centuries but she currently lives with her husband and two children in Forest Hills in the borough of Queens. "Dreamland" is her first novel set in her adopted hometown of New York City.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub


2020 Release: The First Emma by Camille Di Maio

Oh wow, check out this upcoming release from Camille Di Maio! It sounds amazing. May can't come fast enough!


The First Emma by Camille Di Maio

Publication Date: May 5, 2020
Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction

Inspired by true events

1914 - Young bride Emma Koehler dreams of a happy marriage and a simple life with her husband, but her hopes are quickly dashed by Otto’s obsession with his business. Though they become one of the wealthiest couples in the country – a fortune made on beer, mining, and hospitality - Emma is lonely in their stone mansion, unable to have children and unable to keep his attentions at home. When a tragic accident changes everything, Otto presents a new betrayal – and Emma must choose between loyalty and independence in a world that demands convention.

1943 – Mabel Hartley flees Baltimore after the war leaves her broken and alone. She answers the advertisement of a dying woman in San Antonio, with an urgent plea to come write her memoirs. In Emma Koehler, Mabel discovers astounding resilience - a pioneer who weathered personal devastation and navigated her large brewery through the storm of Prohibition. Soon Mabel realizes that Texas holds more for her than this new friendship. Romance blooms even as she’s given up on love, and an unexpected phone call gives her hope that not all goodbyes are final.

The First Emma is a moving story of love, hope, and murder that captures one woman’s journey to make her mark on history and another’s desire to preserve it.

2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: End of Year Results


Wow, I cannot believe it's already the end of the year! I swear, I blinked and it was already December!

So, how many historicals did you read in 2020?
Did you reach your original challenge goal level?
What was your favorite historical of the year?
What what the most surprising historical read of the year for you?
What historical are you looking forward to most in 2020?

The 2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is open! Sign up today!

If you post an End of the Year recap for the challenge, please link it here!



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Review & Giveaway: The Spirit of Fire by Susanne Dunlap


The Spirit of Fire by Susanne Dunlap

Publication Date: December 6, 2019

Series: Orphans of Tolosa, Book two
Genre: Historical Fiction


Listen to the Wind has been rated 10 out of 10 and was a quarterfinalist in the BookLife Prize, and won a Gold badge from the International Review of Books.

The eagerly anticipated sequel to Listen to the Wind, “A complex, absorbing, and dramatic start to a planned series.” -Kirkus Reviews

Azemar—now a knight and Baron of Montpezat—has rescued his childhood friend, Azalais, from the Castel de Belascon, where she was forced to disguise as a noblewoman and become the wife of the baron. But the captivating trobairitz Jordane de la Moux d’Aniort and her damozel Johana have escaped with them, putting them all in grave peril. Will Jordane’s conflicting goal of reuniting with the rebel Raimon de Berenger thwart Azemar and Azalais’s quest to solve the mystery of their origins, which they believe lies within the heretic fortress of Montsegur? When a cryptic note leads them to the Templar stronghold at Mas Deu, Azemar undergoes brutal trials, and discovers that his ultimate purpose could lead him to betray the very people he wants to protect. And their altered route leads Azalais into the path of her old enemy, the Dominican monk, Fraire Martin. Full of surprising twists and turns, dangerous adventures, and true love, The Spirit of Fire continues the Orphans of Tolosa Trilogy.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

After reading and loving Listen to the Wind last year I was super anxious to get my hands on the second book in the series, The Spirit of Fire, and I am happy to report that I loved just as much!

To begin, the author graciously provides a history of the region during that time and a recap of what happened so that was super helpful to get acclimated back into the book.

The Spirit of Fire takes up the story immediately after the end of book one and in the years leading up to the conflict between the French and the Cathars at Montsegur. Jordane and Johana are hiding in a cave after escaping with Azemar and Azalais from the Castel de Balascon. Jordane is separated from her rebel lover, Raimon, and is desperate to see if he is still alive.

Azemar, now a Baron, and Azalais, still in disguise, set out on a mission to find a mysterious book and stone that were stolen from him.

Dunlap is a fabulous writer and her passion for the era only brings the story more to life. There's danger, adventure, romance, and religious conflict all combine for one exciting read! I cannot wait to see what happens in Book 3!

Praise for Listen to the Wind

Listen to the Wind has been rated 10 out of 10 in the BookLife Prize and won a Gold badge from the International Review of Books.

“Dunlap breathes life into the distant 13th-century setting... Poetry and music are as essential to the plot as warfare, with engaging glimpses of trobairitz (female troubadours). . . . A complex, absorbing, and dramatic start to a planned series.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Listen to the Wind is in its own league. Completely imaginative, mature and playful all at once, this book doesn’t compete with any other novel for its spot on the bookshelf, as it will outshine many and sit comfortably among the classics." - The BookLife Prize

“Susanne Dunlap... is both a superb storyteller and a rich historian of the period. Its customs and language, castles, troubadours, mountains, thick forests, villages, monasteries, and vineyards come vividly to life as Azemar and Azalaïs find themselves drawn into a path that will shape history.” - Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude and Camille: a novel of Monet

“In its mix of page-turning thriller with well researched historical novel, it draws comparison to the finely crafted work of Kate Mosse and Ariana Franklin.” - Nancy Bilyeau, author of
The Blue and the Joanna Stafford trilogy

“Susanne Dunlap’s sweeping saga captivates readers’ imaginations from the first page, plunging them back into the Languedoc region of France in the 13th Century. Her impeccable research allows her three spirited protagonists to live, love, fight and breathe life into the dangerous period of rebellion and inquisition, when the Cathars struggled to hold on to their culture and old faith against the power of the Pope. A compelling read for lovers of adventure and romance.” -Anne Easter Smith, author of
A Rose for the Crown, Daughter of York, Royal Mistress

“The fortitude and ingenuity of her characters helps them adapt to all manner of circumstances, and the result is an engaging tale of escape, secrets, and mental toughness. For those looking for a smartly written captivating read, I highly recommend this first book in the Orphans of Tolosa trilogy.” - Amy Hawes, Book Club Babble

“This is an intriguing and complex story with lots of secrets and lies interwoven within the characters personal stories, it is charming, exciting and mesmerising.” - Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

“I love how vibrant the world is made, how danger really struck fear into my heart, how the pain felt real…everything is beautifully written and I thoroughly enjoyed this.” - Clarissa Reads It All

About the Author

Susanne Dunlap is the author of six works of historical fiction. Two are for adults (Emilie's Voice and Liszt's Kiss, both published by Touchstone books of Simon & Schuster). Four are for young adults (The Musician's Daughter, Anastasia's Secret, In the Shadow of the Lamp, and The Academie, published by Bloomsbury). A graduate of Smith College with a PhD in Music History from Yale University, Susanne grew up in Buffalo, New York and has lived in London, Brooklyn and Northampton, MA. She now lives in Northampton with her long-time partner, Charles, has two grown daughters, three granddaughters, a grandson, a stepson and a stepdaughter, four step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter—that's a total of four children and nine grandchildren!

In her spare time she cycles in the beautiful Pioneer Valley.

For more information, please visit The Orphans of Tolosa website. You can follow author Susanne Dunlap on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, Pinterest, and BookBub.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, December 6
Review at Nursebookie
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, December 9
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Review at Mama's Reading Corner

Tuesday, December 10
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, December 11
Interview at The Writing Desk

Thursday, December 12
Review at Books and Zebras
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Friday, December 13
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, December 15
Review at my.boys.mom

Monday, December 16
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Wednesday, December 18
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 19
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, December 20
Review at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a set of Listen to the Wind & The Spirit of Fire by Susanne Dunlap! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Listen to the Wind


The Ghost of Madison Avenue by Nancy Bilyeau


The Ghost of Madison Avenue by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: December 13, 2019
eBook, 108 pages

Genre: Historical Mystery


Christmas Ghost Story in Old New York

In this compelling and poignant story, bestselling author Nancy Bilyeau takes readers to New York City’s Morgan Library in December 1912, when two very different people haunted by lost love come together in an unexpected way.

Helen O’Neill, part of a tight-knit Irish-American family in the Bronx, is only too happy to report to work at the spectacular private library built on Madison Avenue by millionaire financier J. P. Morgan. The head librarian, the brilliant and beautiful Belle da Costa Greene, had hired Helen away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art after she witnessed Helen’s unusual talent with handling artifacts.

Helen soon discovers the Morgan Library is a place like no other, with its secret staircases, magical manuscripts, and mysterious murals. But that’s nothing compared to a person who Helen alone can see: a young woman standing on Madison Avenue, looking as if she were keeping watch. In learning the woman’s true link to the Morgan, Helen must face the pain of her own past. And as she struggles to discover the truth behind these appearances, she finds herself with a second chance at happiness for herself on Christmas Eve—if she has the courage.

From the author of The Blue, the Joanna Stafford trilogy, and the soon-to-be published Dreamland, set in 1911 Coney Island, comes The Ghost of Madison Avenue, a novella both thrilling and moving.

Available on Amazon

Praise for Nancy Bilyeau

‘Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books' – Alison Weir

On Dreamland

'Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Dreamland is a rollicking ride.' - Fiona Davis, author of The Chelsea Girls

'A marvelous book!' - Ellen Marie Wiseman, author of What she Left Behind

On The Blue

'Definitely a winner!' - Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network

On the Joanna Stafford Trilogy

‘All the ingredients of the best historical fiction … will satisfy even the most ardent mystery fans.’ - Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches

About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau is a historical novelist and magazine editor based in New York. She wrote the Joanna Stafford trilogy, a trio of thrillers set in Henry VIII’s England, for Simon & Schuster. Her fourth novel is The Blue, an 18th-century thriller revolving around the art and porcelain world. Her next novel is Dreamland, set in Coney Island of 1911, to be published by Endeavour Quill on January 16, 2020. A former staff editor at Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and InStyle, Nancy is currently the deputy editor at the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at John Jay College and contributes to Town & Country, CrimeReads, and Mystery Scene magazine.

To learn more, go to www.nancybilyeau.com. You can follow Nancy on Facebook, Twitter, BookBub, and Goodreads.

Release Day Blast Hosts

Bookish Rantings
Books In Their Natural Habitat
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Comet Readings
Curling up by the Fire
Donna's Book Blog
Gwendalyn's Books
Historical Fiction with Spirit
I'm All About Books
Jackie & Angela's Book Reviews
Let Them Read Books
Liberty's Literary Loves
Lost_in_a_book_reviewer
Nursebookie
Orange County Readers
Passages to the Past
Reading is My Remedy
Rose is Reading
Tar Heel Reader
The Lit Bitch
The Nerdy Bookworm
To Read, Or Not to Read
What Is That Book About
Words and Peace
YA, It's Lit

Review & Giveaway: The Lords of the Wind by C.J. Adrien


The Lords of the Wind by C.J. Adrien

Publication Date: July 3, 2019
Runestone Books
eBook & Paperback; 339 Pages

Series: The Saga of Hasting the Avenger, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction


“For indeed the Frankish nation, which was crushed by the avenger Hasting, was full of filthy uncleanness. Treasonous and oath-breaking, they were deservedly condemned; unbelievers and faithless, they were justly punished.”

Orphaned as a child by a blood-feud, and sold as a slave to an exiled chieftain in Ireland, the boy Hasting had little hope of surviving to adulthood. The gods had other plans. A ship arrived at his master's longphort carrying a man who would alter the course of his destiny, and take him under his wing to teach him the ways of the Vikings. His is a story of a boy who was a slave, who became a warlord, and who helped topple an empire.

A supposed son of Ragnar Lodbrok, and referred to in the Gesta Normanorum as the Scourge of the Somme and Loire, his life exemplified the qualities of the ideal Viking. Join author and historian C.J. Adrien on an adventure that explores the coming of age of the Viking Hasting, his first love, his first great trials, and his first betrayal.

Available on Amazon

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

My new motto for 2020 is...more Vikings!

Author C.J. Adrien will take you on an epic adventure with his new historical, The Lords of the Wind. It's the first book in a planned series featuring the Viking, Hasting, known as the Scourge of the Somme and Loire.

When we first meet Hasting he is very young and after his Chieftain father is slain and his mother and siblings sold into slavery his life is forever changed. We then follow him from his early years in Ireland with Hagar, to his time as a ship's boy with Eilif on sea, then as a political hostage to a Celtic King, and finally as he sets out to find his first love that was kidnapped by Northmen during a raid. It was fascinating to watch Hasting's growth as a man and Viking, learning from each captor or leader along the way.

The battle scenes and the scenes on the sea were my favorite! I can totally see it playing out on a big screen! It was really cool to read about how the Vikings fought and defended themselves.

One thing that was really to cool to see is when Hakon showed up in the book. He features in Author Eric Schumacher's series so I will be picking that up too! I would also love to see two of the characters feature in their own book -- Arnulf and Bertrand, the beekeeper detectives, were awesome!

C.J. Adrien's knowledge and passion shine through in The Lords of the Wind. Little is know about Hasting's life but C.J. filled in the gaps to create a fascinating insight into the man. As the book ended he is heading out on the open sea to exact revenge, and I love me a good revenge story and I want to see what else happens to Hasting, so I absolutely cannot wait for that!

About the Author

C.J. Adrien is a French-American author of Viking historical fiction with a passion for Viking history. His Kindred of the Sea series was inspired by research conducted in preparation for a doctoral program in early medieval history as well as his admiration for historical fiction writers such as Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett.

C.J. Adrien’s novels and expertise have earned him invitations to speak at several international events, including the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds.

For more information, please visit C.J. Adrien's website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, November 18
Review at Al-Alhambra Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 19
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Wednesday, November 20
Review at @ya.its.lit

Thursday, November 21
Fetaure at The Book Junkie Reads

Monday, November 25
Interview at The Writing Desk

Tuesday, November 26
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, November 27
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, November 29
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Monday, December 2
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Tuesday, December 3
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, December 5
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Friday, December 6
Review at RokinRev

Monday, December 9
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, December 12
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Friday, December 13
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of The Lords of the Wind! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Lords of the Wind


2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge - Sign Ups Open!



Hello everyone & welcome to the Sign Up Page for the 2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!

I am thrilled to be hosting this challenge again at Passages to the Past! Sign Ups are open and ready for all that would like to join the challenge.

Here are the Reading Challenge details:

Each month, a new post dedicated to the HF Challenge will be created. To participate, you only have to follow the rules:
  • Everyone can participate! If you don't have a blog you can post a link to your review if it's posted on Goodreads, Facebook, or Amazon, or you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish.
  • 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 use the direct URL that will guide us directly to your review)
  • Any sub-genre of historical fiction is accepted (Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, Historical Fantasy, Young Adult, History/Non-Fiction, etc.)
During the following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels:

20th Century Reader - 2 books
Victorian Reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History - 25 books
Prehistoric - 50+ books

To join the challenge you only need to make a post about it, add your link in Mr. Linky below or just leave a link to your blog if you are not yet ready to post about it yet. If you don't have a blog you can just leave a comment for this post saying that you are joining, and link to your Facebook, Goodreads or other social media page where you will be sharing your reviews.

Join our Facebook Group for the Challenge HERE!

Grab the button!

The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st, 2020.

I look forward to having you join me in reading and enjoying the best in historical fiction over the 12 months.

Don't forget to grab the Reading Challenge Button to post on your blog. If you'd like a specific size, just let me know and I will send it over to you via email. Please share about the Reading Challenge to your fellow friends and readers using the hashtag below!

#2020HistFicReadingChallenge

If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment on this post or email Amy at passagestothepast@gmail.com.

What is your reading goal for 2020? What Reading Challenge level are you aiming for?


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2020 Release: Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan


Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan

Publication Date: May 5, 2020
William Morrow

Genre: Historical Fiction

From the critically acclaimed author of The Baker’s Secret and The Curiosity comes a novel of conscience, love, and redemption—a fascinating fictionalized account of the life of Charlie Fisk, a gifted mathematician who was drafted into Manhattan Project and ordered against his morals to build the detonator for the atomic bomb. With his musician wife, he spends his postwar life seeking redemption—and they find it together.

Graduating from Harvard at the height of World War II, brilliant mathematician Charlie Fish is assigned to the Manhattan Project. Working with some of the age’s greatest scientific minds, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Leo Szilard, Charlie is assigned the task of designing and building the detonator of the atomic bomb.

As he performs that work Charlie suffers a crisis of conscience, which his wife, Brenda—unaware of the true nature of Charlie’s top-secret task—mistakes as self-doubt. She urges him to set aside his qualms and continue. Once the bombs strike Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the feelings of culpability devastate him and Brenda.

At the war’s end, Charlie receives a scholarship to pursue a PhD in physics at Stanford—an opportunity he and Brenda hope will allow them a fresh start. But the past proves inescapable. All any of his new colleagues can talk about is the bomb, and what greater atomic weapons might be on the horizon. Haunted by guilt, Charlie and Brenda leave Stanford and decide to dedicate the rest of their lives to making amends for the evil he helped to birth into the world.

Based on the life of the actual mathematician Charles B. Fisk, Universe of Two combines riveting historical drama with a poignant love story. Stephen Kiernan has conjured a remarkable account of two people struggling to heal their consciences and find peace in a world forever changed.
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