Interview & Giveaway: The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton by Sophie Schiller

Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog I have a great interview with Sophie Schiller, the author of The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton, and a chance for you to win a copy! 



Hello Sophie and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton!

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

Thanks for having me! I’m a writer who has always been captivated by the past; or rather, by learning about the past through reading historical fiction. I find the drama and challenges the characters have to face and overcome to be cathartic. This is the whole reason why people read fiction, for the cathartic element. I discovered historical fiction as a teen one summer when I was bored, and it opened up a whole new world to me. Now I want nothing more than to tell the stories that I feel need to be told.

What inspired you to write The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton?

In April of 2016, I was approached by a gentleman from St. Croix who asked me to write a novel about Alexander Hamilton’s childhood in the West Indies. The reason for his request, he told me, was to show the world the importance of St. Croix in forming Hamilton’s character and financial vision for America. He wanted to demonstrate how this West Indian island provided the backdrop for Hamilton’s singular genius in developing America’s financial system.

We spoke over the phone several times and the wheels in my brain started turning, but I was deeply involved with another project that I wanted to finish. And truthfully, I had doubts that I would be able to tackle this subject matter. While we did hold several conversations about the idea, I remained skeptical about the feasibility of it. But I was firmly committed to writing it. His belief in me and my unwillingness to back down was the fuel that drove me to finish this novel.

What research did you undertake when writing The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton?

When I was ready to start in February of 2018, I almost didn’t know where to begin. I had to learn about the 18th century, the history of the West Indies, the importance of smuggling and privateering, the history of St. Croix and the Danish West Indies, the social, political, and commercial life of St. Croix during colonial times, plantation slavery, the triangular trade, how to manage a counting house, the duties of a counting house clerk, slave auctions, bribing customs officials, social values and customs of people in the West Indies, the history of Alexander Hamilton’s family, his parents’ struggles, his personal struggles, plus I had to develop a timeline of everything that happened until Hamilton left for America in 1772. The timeline ended up being around 50 pages full of details. Sounds like a lot? ;)

Luckily, at this time, I made the acquaintance of an American historian named Michael Newton, who was working on his own biography of Alexander Hamilton’s childhood in the West Indies, using newly discovered records from the Royal Danish Archives. Michael’s research was indispensable to me, and I will forever remain indebted to his perseverance and commitment to uncovering the truth about Hamilton’s boyhood. Michael kept me grounded and he always steered me in the right direction every time I asked a question. In addition to all this, I read numerous scholarly papers and novels set in 18th century Colonial America. Writing a novel of this magnitude is a little like training for the Olympics. You push aside everything that is not important and focus on your goal. The effects may be detrimental to your personal life and well-being, but nothing matters so much as finishing your project.

During your research did you learn anything about Alexander Hamilton that surprised you?

What surprised me was how similar our childhoods were. I also grew up in the West Indies, endured the breakup of my parents’ marriage, worked in numerous trading firms in the islands, studied international trade, spoke foreign languages, and experienced the same loneliness, hopelessness, and ambition to succeed.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton?

That success comes from within. That any person, no matter what his station in life can succeed if he has the will and is willing to work hard and sacrifice everything to obtain his goals.

What was your favorite scene to write?

My favorite scenes were the ones with Captain Peter Tongelo, the captain of the Free Black Militia. I based his character on Louis Gossett Jr.’s performance in An Officer and a Gentleman. I loved that character! And I loved writing the repartee between him and Alex, and especially the bond of friendship and respect that grew between them.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The hardest scenes to write were the scenes involving slave auctions and the suffering of slaves on the plantations. This was a huge hurdle for me! But then, of course, another hard scene to write was that of the father leaving the mother. I wrote that scene one day when I had no plans to write at all. I was reading in my room during a quiet moment when all of the sudden the characters came to life inside of me and they started speaking. I wrote down everything they said, and that entire painful scene mostly appears in the book as I originally wrote it.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Probably from the time I was in middle school. But I lacked the self-confidence and self-knowledge to pursue that path. I lived under the delusion that I had to live a long, full life before I could begin to write. I didn’t know that writing is a very personal experience where the writer communicates his thoughts and feelings in a natural, spontaneous manner that touches the reader on an emotional level. One does not need to have lived a long life to do that! This is one of the hardest lessons of all. It is a lesson I am still learning.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

It depends on which stage of writing I’m in. Generally I write in three stages. There’s the story development stage, the first draft stage, and the “production” stage. During the story development stage, I do all the research and take notes. I read everything I can about the subject and develop a plot and a basic outline. During the first draft stage I write scenes that drive the story forward and flesh out the characters even more. Usually I write chronologically, but sometimes I have future scenes written ahead of time. During the final stage—the production stage—I am producing a readable novel that answers all story questions and concludes all plot lines. During this stage, I employ an editor and spend hours working on each scene so that the narrative flows naturally and quickly. I sometimes go away for weeks at a time to work in solitude, and I try to spend minimal amount of time on social media. But this is not always the case!

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

Believing in myself is a huge challenge. Balancing the needs of my family with my need to produce great novels is another huge challenge. I’ve been able to overcome the first challenge by realizing that every time I sit down to write, something good happens. Stories are born. The second challenge is still a work in progress. And the third challenge is guessing what kind of novels the market wants to read. Since this question has no answer, the only possible answer for each writer is to write the stories that appear organically in their head. The stories they feel they were born to write.

Who are your writing inspirations? 

I admire the work of Graham Greene, Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, Helen MacInnes, Ann Rinaldi, Tracy Chevalier, Lionel Davidson, and some of the great philosopher writers like Albert Camus and Ayn Rand.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I believe it was QBVII by Leon Uris. It was the summer of 1980 and I was spending the summer with my father, complaining that I had nothing to read. This was back in the days when there was very little TV in the islands and no satellite TV at all. He thought for a moment, walked over to his bookshelf and plucked this book out and told me to read it. I was instantly entranced and haven’t been the same since.

What is the last historical novel you read?

The Secret of Sarah Revere by Ann Rinaldi, as research for The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton. Ann Rinaldi is one of America’s top writers of 18th century American historical fiction for young readers. Her sense of time and place and detail with respect to the American colonial experience is second to none. She’s right up there with Esther Forbes (Johnny Tremain) and John Jakes (The Bastard). 

What are three things people may not know about you? 
 
I’m multilingual. I started out life wanting to be a diplomat like Raoul Wallenberg, traveling the world and stamping visas for would-be immigrants. My knowledge of foreign languages has helped me read obscure foreign books as research for my novels.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love learning about history. I love asking the ‘what if’ questions and creating thrillers that take readers on a journey they could not have foreseen. I love delighting my audience with exotic cultures and locations. I love filling in the missing gap in literature: writing thrillers set in the most unexpected locations and with colorful, entertaining characters.

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

I read more by author than by era. For instance, I would read anything by Follett regardless of time period. Ditto for Lionel Davidson, Graham Greene, or Leon Uris. But generally from 1880 to WWI, venturing occasionally into WWII.

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

Traveling, gourmet cooking, writing poetry, working on self-improvement and mindfulness, spending time with my kids, and traveling.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I am working on a modern-day fable similar to The Little Prince and a WWI espionage thriller.


The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton by Sophie Schiller

Publication Date: July 3, 2020
Tradewinds Publishing

Genre: YA/US Colonial & Revolutionary Period/Historical Fiction


The story of Alexander Hamilton’s lost childhood in the Caribbean—a land of sugar plantations and slavery—where an impoverished orphan must learn to survive despite impossible odds. It is a story of struggle, heartbreak, resilience, and ultimately, triumph.

1765. Alexander Hamilton arrives in St. Croix with his family to begin a new life. He longs for the chance to go to school and fit in, but secrets from his mother’s past threaten to tear his family apart. When he sees a young African slave being tortured, Alexander vows to act. He urges his uncle to buy Ajax and promises to set him free. But tragedy strikes when his father abandons the family and his mother dies of yellow fever. Orphaned and alone, Alex is forced to survive by his wits and resourcefulness. By day he works in a counting house learning the secrets of foreign trade. By night he studies Plutarch and dreams of fame and glory. When Ajax is sold to a brutal planter, Alex vows to save him, even at the risk of his own life. With the aid of a reluctant slave-catcher, he concocts a plan to rescue Ajax, but when the price for helping a slave run away is torture or death, no one is safe.

In this gripping tale, Sophie Schiller re-creates the boyhood of the young man who would grow up to become a Founding Father and one of America's foremost men.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Praise

"The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton is a wonderful read... The musical "Hamilton" has brought the impact of this man in the founding of America sharply into our consciousness. But what author Sophie Schiller has skillfully done here is to take what little is known about Alexander's early life and fashion a fictional story around his upbringing that fleshes out the boy that would become the man. I can highly recommend this read." - Grant Leishman for Reader's Favorite (5 star review)

"The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton is the kind of story that helps to restore faith in mankind. It helps to illustrate that, while there are those who are evil, who care not for their fellow man, there are also those willing to put their lives on the line for others. Author Sophie Schiller's story of Alexander Hamilton shows him to be such a man. In these days when it seems that so little history is taught, and when the veracity of much of what is taught is questionable, this is the kind of story that those both young and old would do well to read." Patricia Reding for Reader's Favorite (5 star review)

About the Author


Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies. She is a novelist and a poet. She loves stories that carry the reader back in time to exotic and far-flung locations. Kirkus Reviews has called her "an accomplished thriller and historical adventure writer." Her novel, ISLAND ON FIRE was published by Kindle Scout in 2018 and was called, "A memorable romantic thriller" by Publishers Weekly. Her latest novel, THE LOST DIARY OF ALEXANDER HAMILTON, is out now. She graduated from American University, Washington, DC and lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 7
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, September 8
Review at Momfluenster

Wednesday, September 9
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, September 10
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, September 11
Review at YA, It's Lit

Saturday, September 12
Review at A Darn Good Read

Monday, September 14
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, September 15
Excerpt at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Wednesday, September 16
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 17
Interview at Passages to the Past

Saturday, September 19
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton + a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Lost Diary of Alexander Hamilton


Review & Giveaway: Shame the Devil by Donna Scott


Shame the Devil by Donna Scott

Publication Date: May 11, 2020
William Morrow
Paperback & eBook; 420 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


England, 1643. The Civil War has created a great divide between those who support King Charles and those who would rather see his head on the block. Young Scot Colin Blackburne finds himself caught in the middle when he witnesses Parliamentarians murder his mother because of his father’s allegiance to the king. As further punishment, the family is sent to Yorkshire as indentured servants.

Mistreated by his master and tormented by a Parliamentarian soldier, Colin vows to take up arms for the king and seek vengeance against the men who killed his mother. The only bright spot in his life is his unexpected, and forbidden, friendship with his master’s daughter, Emma Hardcastle.

With her father constantly away on campaign and her mother plagued by madness, Emma is drawn to Colin and his brother, Roddy. She introduces them to her troubled neighbor Alston Egerton, who has a clandestine relationship with Stephen Kitts, the soldier out for Colin’s blood.

As they all become entangled in a twisted web of love, jealousy, desire, and betrayal, the war rages on around them. Resentful at being forced into servitude and forbidden from being with the woman he loves, Colin puts his plan for vengeance into motion, though it will have disastrous consequences for all of them.

Secrets are revealed and relationships are torn apart. With the country teetering on the brink of ruin, Emma fights to survive, Alston is forced to confront his demons, and Colin must decide whether his burning desire to fight for justice is worth sacrificing a future with the woman he loves.

Available on Amazon

Praise for Shame the Devil

"Scott's writing is magnificent...The intricately woven secrets and lies against the backdrop of an unprecedented dethroning of the monarchy make Shame the Devil a page-turning experience. Historical fiction and romance fans should not miss out on this book. Highly recommended." -Chanticleer International Book Reviews

"The references to the situation happening in England during the time of the Civil War are interesting to read about...The struggle between the Parliamentarians and Royalists is fascinating to follow and thought-provoking...and you will follow some lovely characters throughout the book." -Reedsy Reviews

“Scott’s...gentle manipulation of the material [is] appealing and easy to follow, even for those unfamiliar with the details of the English Civil War...I appreciate how Scott used the history to frame the dramatic events of her story...I enjoyed Colin, Roddy, and Emma well-enough, but I was genuinely attached to Alston...I was captivated by his arc and thought his story the most dynamically compelling. Stephen, repugnant though he is, also deserves a shout out as a fabulously layered antagonist.” –Historical Fiction Reader

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

You know when you finish a book so amazing that you cannot find the adequate words to express just how much you loved it?! Yep, that's what happened to me with Shame the Devil by Donna Scott! I mean, it just took my expectations and absolutely exceeded them. I know Shame the Devil will be in the top 5, if not the Top 3, books I read this year, and one of THE best historical fiction novels I have read to date.

The action kicks off right away when English soldiers rush upon Colin's family home, kill his mother, and take him, his brother, and his father off to England to serve as stablehands at an English manor called Appleton Hall. It's a time of civil unrest in the country - one side is for King Charles I and the other is against. Colin's father fought to keep the King on the throne and is being punished for it.

Emma Hardcastle is the Viscount's daughter at Appleton Hall. Unlike her cold, calculating father and unstable mother, Emma is sweet and charming and smart. Colin and his family are scheduled to serve at Appleton Hall for seven years and during that time, Colin and Emma become close friends and eventually fall in love. But his heart has also been set on leaving England and fighting against the men that killed his mother.

In addition to Emma and Colin's storyline, I was also entranced by Alston and Stephen Kitts' story, as well as Roddy's. I sure hope to see Roddy in the next book :)

Donna is currently working on the sequel and despite all attempts, she is staying mum on what we can expect. She's such a tease :) All I know is that it's going to be brilliant and I absolutely am counting down the days until it's released!

Shame the Devil is exceptional reading! It brings all the feelings and will have you enthralled throughout! I seriously inhaled the last 80% in one sitting and growled at anyone that dare interrupt me :)

If I could give it a million stars I would! Kudos to Donna Scott - I am now your official fan-girl!

About the Author


Donna Scott is an award-winning author of 17th and 18th century historical fiction. Before embarking on a writing career, she spent her time in the world of academia. She earned her BA in English from the University of Miami and her MS and EdD (ABD) from Florida International University. She has two sons and lives in sunny South Florida with her husband. Her first novel, Shame the Devil, received the first place Chaucer Award for historical fiction and a Best Book designation from Chanticleer International Book Reviews. Her newest novel, The London Monster, will be released in January 2021.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 14
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 15
Interview at Novels Alive
Review at Rajiv's Reviews
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Wednesday, September 16
Guest Post at Book Bustle

Thursday, September 17
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, September 18
Guest Post at Coffee and Ink

Monday, September 21
Review at Books and Zebras
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, September 22
Interview at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 3 paperback copies of Shame the Devil by Donna Scott! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Shame the Devil


Book Blast & Giveaway: A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen


A Venomous Love by Chris Karlsen

Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 340 pages

Series: Bloodstone, Book 3
Genre: Historical/Suspense/Victorian


A veteran, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone has fought a brutal battle and witnessed war horrors that haunt his nightmares. Now one of those horrors has followed him home from Africa.

A vicious predator, the Cape cobra, can kill a man in thirty minutes. A suspect using the snake as a weapon in robberies is terrorizing London.

When the crimes escalate into murder, a victim’s daughter, Honoria Underhill, becomes the focus of the killer. After several attempts on her life, Scotland Yard threatens to take over the high profile case. With few leads to follow, Bloodstone and his partner must now fight department politics and catch the killer before Underhill becomes another murder victim.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo

About the Author

Chris was born and raised in Chicago. Her father was a history professor and her mother was, and is, a voracious reader. She grew up with a love of history and books. Her parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto her. She wanted to see the places she read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated her. She’s had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa. She is also a retired police detective who spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. Her desire to write came in her early teens. After she retired, she decided to pursue that dream. She writes two different series. Her paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. Her romantic thriller series is, Dangerous Waters. She currently live in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, four rescue dogs and a rescue horse.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, September 8
Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 10
Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, September 11
Pursuing Stacie

Saturday, September 12
Novels Alive

Monday, September 14
Bookworlder

Tuesday, September 15
A Darn Good Read
Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, September 18
Gwendalyn's Books

Monday, September 21
Tangents and Tissues

Tuesday, September 22
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, September 23
A Book and a Latte

Thursday, September 24
I'm Into Books

Monday, September 28
Coffee and Ink
Donna's Book Blog

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two eBooks of A Venomous Love + a $20 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

A Venomous Love


Review & Giveaway: The Golden Van Dorens by Nicole Strycharz


The Golden Van Dorens by Nicole Strycharz

Publication Date: September 1, 2020
eBook a& Paperback; 355 Pages

Genre: Historical Thriller


Malcom Van Doren made his fortune in the California Gold Rush of 1849.

By 1853, he spent it all, drowning in debt, and returned to his mine out of desperation.

Steadily, over the years, he went mad.

Known for his lunacy, when Malcom claimed to have discovered gold a second time, no one believed him… not even his family. Too paranoid about his creditors to prove his finding, Malcom Van Doren told everyone he hid his fortune away.

Now, in the year 1880, twenty-seven years after his second discovery, his daughters are each as desperate as he once was for wealth. All of them, for different reasons; revenge, love, or greed.

Three sisters battle to discover their dead father’s gold, but only one will win this race as their own little gold rush ensues.

God help the man that stands between a Golden Van Doren and all that glitters.

Available on Amazon


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A father gone mad. Hidden gold. Three sisters at each other's throats and on the hunt for buried treasure.

Sibling rivalry takes center stage in The Golden Van Dorens! I gotta say, in the past I've felt cheated out of being an only child, but after reading this I'm sure glad I am!

Tabitha is the oldest, married rich, and the bitchier of the three. She had to endure the insanity of her father far longer than her sisters so as you are reading the book you can see why she is the way she is.

Morgan is the middle child and is married to a man she loves and is carrying his child. She works at a newspaper with her husband and is a reporter in a time when it was not the norm for a woman. Their happiness at becoming parents soon is tainted when her husband is arrested for the rape and murder of a woman.

Verity is the youngest and a gold digger. She is working as a governess to young children and trying to seduce her wealthy, widowed employer and dreaming of a day where she is taken care of. Though she's not the nicest I did feel for her. I can't imagine losing a mother and two sisters and then being sent away to work as a maid at 9 years old.

When the sisters get word that their estranged father has passed they are summoned home for the reading of the will. Rumors of the buried gold that their father mentioned is brought up and each of them want to try to find it for themselves.

These sisters are stubborn, proud, and tough as nails, and I loved getting to know them. All three sisters are nuanced and complex and each unique, but my favorite definitely has to be Morgan.

I absolutely loved The Golden Van Dorens! It was so much fun to read and kept me rapt throughout! I cannot wait to read more by Nicole Strycharz!

About the Author

Nicole is a multi-genre author of over a dozen books.

"The Divorce" was nominated in the 2016 Indie Book Awards and won second place in the 2016 Best Cover Design in 'Urban Literature Magazine.'

She was featured on the cover of Words + Magazine for her book "The Affair."

She’s known for delving into sensitive and real topics such as in her title “The Love That Hurts” which explored domestic violence with the hopes of giving victims a voice while exposing the red flags of an abusive relationship. Most of her lead female characters are depicted as survivors or evolving overcomers of trauma. Sending a message to readers that every moment and every day they fight for is a victory.

Being of mixed ethnicity, she keeps her cast of characters diverse and tries to highlight the different cultures around the world.

Nicole lives in Virginia with her partner, three children, three stepsons, their amazing Grandparents, and one pretty Pocket-Pittie. She is always reading or working on the next book between mommyhood adventures.

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 1
Review at YA, It's Lit

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 3
Review at Book Bustle
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, September 4
Feature at Gwendalyn's Books

Saturday, September 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, September 7
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, September 8
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, September 9
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a 12" by 8" canvas painting of The Van Doren Sisters! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Golden Van Dorens


2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: September Reviews


Welcome to the September link page for the 2020 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. I hope everyone is staying home safe and reading some yummy books!

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!



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Review & Giveaway: Gilded Dreams by Donna Russo Morin


Gilded Dreams by Donna Russo Morin

Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Magnum Opus
Paperback & eBook; 495 pages

Series: Newport's Gilded Age, Book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction


From the bestselling author of GILDED SUMMERS comes a powerful novel of the last eight years of the American Women’s fight for suffrage.

The battle for the vote is on fire in America. The powerful and rich women of Newport, Rhode Island, are not only some of the most involved suffragettes, their wealth - especially that of the indomitable Alva Vanderbilt Belmont - nearly single-handedly funded the major suffrage parties. Yet they have been left out of history, tossed aside as mere socialites. In GILDED DREAMS, they reclaim their rightful place in history.

Pearl and Ginevra (GILDED SUMMERS) are two of its most ardent warriors. College graduates, professional women, wives, and mothers, these progressive women have fought their way through some of life’s harshest challenges, yet they survived, yet they thrive. Now they set their sights on the vote, the epitome of all they have struggled for, the embodiment of their dreams.

From the sinking of the Titanic, through World War 1, Pearl and Ginevra are once more put to the test as they fight against politics, outdated beliefs, and the most cutting opponent of all... other women. Yet they will not rest until their voices are heard, until they - and all the women of America - are allowed to cast their vote. But to gain it, they must overcome yet more obstacles, some that put their very lives in danger.

An emotional and empowering journey, GILDED DREAMS is a historical, action-packed love letter to the women who fought so hard for all women who stand on the shoulders of their triumph.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Set in Newport in 1912, Gilded Dreams features best friends Ginerva and Pearl who first were introduced in the first book in the series, Gilded Summers. I haven't read the first book yet but the author recaps things well and it really made me want to go back and read it.

Gilded Dreams begins with the horrific news that Pearl's parents and her brother and sister-in-law are all lost in the sinking of the Titanic and that Pearl must go and ID them. Make sure you have tissues at the ready for these scenes - it was heartbreaking! Due to the lack of women's rights at that time, Pearl is told that she is unable to inherit her family's estate and that everything would go to her husband. Infuriated at this she and Ginerva take up Alva Vanderbilt's (yep...that Vanderbilt) invitation to attend a suffrage meeting and they soon take to the movement and begin recruiting other women. And then WWI kicks off and the life of both women are thrown into their new roles.

As we just celebrated the 90th anniversary of the passing of the 19th amendment, Gilded Dreams could not be more timely. It's a fascinating look at the women who fought before us and for us. I know that I think of them every time I step into the voting booth and when I vote this year I will definitely be thinking of Ginerva and Pearl and all of the brave women that sacrificed so much for our freedoms.

Morin's writing is as stellar as ever! She really knows how to pull at your heartstrings and there is never a dull moment in her books. I can't wait to pick up Gilded Summers soon and get back into Ginerva and Pearl's world. Thanks to Donna for the great read!

About the Author


Donna Russo Morin is an award-winning historical fiction author. Donna has dabbled as a model and actor, working on Showtime's Brotherhood and Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Branching out with her storytelling skills, Donna is now a screenwriter. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Donna lives on the south shore of Rhode Island close to the ocean she loves so very much. She is the proud mother of two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 10
Review at Books, Cooks, and Looks

Wednesday, August 12
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Friday, August 14
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Saturday, August 15
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, August 17
Review at Amy's Booket List

Wednesday, August 19
Review at Book Bustle

Friday, August 21
Guest Post at The Intrepid Reader

Monday, August 24
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, August 25
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 26
Review at The Love of Books

Friday, August 28
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 31
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 2
Excerpt at Bookworlder

Friday, September 4
Review at A Darn Good Read

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of the book + a painting of a scene from the book painted by the author! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway is open to US residents only and on September 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Gilded Dreams


Review & Giveaway: The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan


The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan

Publication Date: August 18, 2020
Thomas Nelson
Paperback, eBook, & Audiobook

Genre: Historical Fiction


From author Rachel McMillan comes a richly researched historical romance that takes place in post-World War II London and features a strong female lead.

Determined to save their marriage and the city they love, two people divided by World War II’s secrets rebuild their lives, their love, and their world.

London, Fall 1945. Architectural historian Diana Somerville’s experience as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park and her knowledge of London’s churches intersect in MI6’s pursuit of a Russian agent named Eternity. Diana wants nothing more than to begin again with her husband Brent after their separation during the war, but her signing of the Official Secrets Act keeps him at a distance.

Brent Somerville, professor of theology at King’s College, hopes aiding his wife with her church consultations will help him better understand why she disappeared when he needed her most. But he must find a way to reconcile his traumatic experiences as a stretcher bearer on the European front with her obvious lies about her wartime activities and whereabouts.

Featuring a timeless love story bolstered by flashbacks and the excavation of a priceless Roman artifact, The London Restoration is a richly atmospheric look at post-war London as two people changed by war rebuild amidst the city’s reconstruction.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

I've been wanting to read a Rachel McMillan book for a while so I was super excited to pick up The London Restoration! That cover has been slaying me for months! Isn't it gorgeous!?

Another reviewer said that The London Restoration is McMillan's "love letter to London and it's churches", and I can't think of a better way to describe it than that!

Set in 1945 the book starts with Diana Somerville being in Vienna after the war. Destruction has ravaged the once beautiful city. Diana is there doing work as a code-breaker and decoding ciphers for MI6 with fellow agent Simon Barre. The war is over but they are on the hunt for a Soviet agent named "Eternity" who is rumored to have a file that could start a new war.

Diana returns to London and to her husband Brent, who she hasn't seen since they married right before the start of the war. All of that time apart has made for an awkward reunion. She keeps her war-time job a secret from him and he doesn't share what he went through during the war. They do have a shared love of Architecture, particularly of churches. I looooved the parts where they spoke about the architecture - it was fascinating!

Now that Diana is back in London she is tasked with monitoring the churches in the city to try and find the Soviet agent "Eternity" who may be meeting with someone at one of the locations. Tired of lying to her husband she decides to bring him into the mission.

The book goes back in time to when Diana and Brent meet and what they both experienced during the war. The scenes at Bletchley Park with Simon and Sophie Villers were my favorite!
Rachel also includes some fabulous historical notes at the beginning of the novel that I greatly enjoyed.

The London Restoration is a stellar historical fiction novel that I practically inhaled! I loved Diana and Brent and hated when I got to the end! I cannot wait for her next release, The Mozart Code! Highly recommended.

About the Author



Rachel McMillan is the author of The Herringford and Watts mysteries, The Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries and The Three Quarter Time series of contemporary Viennese romances. Her next work of historical fiction, The London Restoration, releases in Summer 2020 and takes readers deep into the heart of London's most beautiful churches. Dream, Plan, Go (May, 2020) is her first work of non-fiction. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada and is always planning her next adventure.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, August 18
Review at Nursebookie
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, August 19
Review at Austenprose
Review at Amy's Booket List

Thursday, August 20
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

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Review at Foals, Fiction, and Filligree

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Review at Donna's Book Blog

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Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
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Tuesday, August 25
Review at The Green Mockingbird

Wednesday, August 26
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Interview on Jorie Loves A Story

Thursday, August 27
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, August 28
Review at Read Review Rejoice

Saturday, August 29
Review at Books and Backroads
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, August 31
Review at Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 copies of The London Restoration! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The London Restoration


Review & Giveaway: Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan


Into the Unbounded Night by Mitchell James Kaplan

Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Regal House Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 231 Pages

Genre: Literary/Historical


When her village in Albion is sacked by the Roman general Vespasian, young Aislin is left without home and family. Determined to exact revenge, she travels to Rome, a sprawling city of wealth, decadence, and power. A “barbarian” in a “civilized” world, Aislin struggles to comprehend Roman ways. From a precarious hand-to-mouth existence on the streets, she becomes the mistress of a wealthy senator, but their child Faolan is born with a disability that renders him unworthy of life in the eyes of his father and other Romans.

Imprisoned for her efforts to topple the Roman regime, Aislin learns of an alternate philosophy from her cellmate, the Judean known today as the Apostle St. Paul. As the capital burns in the Great Fire of 64 AD, he bequeaths to her a mission that will take her to Jerusalem. There, Yohanan, son of Zakkai, has been striving to preserve the tradition of Hillel against the Zealots who advocate for a war of independence. Responding to the Judeans’ revolt, the Romans—again under the leadership of Vespasian—besiege Jerusalem, destroying the Second Temple and with it, the brand of Judean monotheism it represents. Yohanan takes on the mission of preserving what can be preserved, and of re-inventing what must be reinvented.

Throughout Into the Unbounded Night, Aislin’s, Faolan’s, Vespasian’s, and Yohanan’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways that shed light on colonization and its discontents, the relative values of dominant and tyrannized cultures, and the holiness of life itself—even the weakest of lives.

Regal House Publishing | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound


Praise for Into the Unbounded Night

“In Into the Unbounded Night, Mitchell Kaplan offers a rich rendering of war and humanity in first century Rome — of tradition and loss, and the transformative power of healing and collective memory to find one’s way home.” – Nichole Bernier, Boston Globe Bestselling author of The Unfinished Work Of Elizabeth D

“Mitchell James Kaplan is the gloriously talented writer of this dramatic, intense story of conflicting emperors, slaves, priests and exiles in a first century world whose roots and traditions are increasingly torn apart by the brutal rule of Rome. Men and women search for belief and reason, out of which will emerge a new Judaism after the destruction of Jerusalem’s Temple as well as the early beginnings of Christianity. A writer of enormous scope, compassion and poetry, Kaplan has written several of the most compelling characters you will meet in the pages of a book. Into the Unbounded Night sweeps over you like a succession of huge waves. It is truly a major novel.” – Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award recipient, author of Claude And Camille: A Novel Of Monet

“Kaplan’s prose is so rich and agile I felt I was breathing the air of these ancient places, and his evocation of character is no less palpable. Fully embodied and driven by ambition, grief, the clear-eyed desire for truth, and fierce maternal love, these characters plunge, march, and stumble toward their fascinating and entangled destinies.” – Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling novelist of I’ll Be Your Blue Sky and award-winning poet

“I’m a big fan of historical fiction when it’s as good as Mitchell Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night. Vividly imagined, Into the Unbounded Night pulls the reader along with beautiful prose, strong characters and a wonderfully realized story.” – Heidi W. Durrow, New York Times best-selling author of The Girl Who Fell From The Sky, winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize

“A beautiful, informative book. It was gripping throughout, the research never overwhelms the story, but is always part of it. [The] writing is lyrical and evocative of time and place. All the characters are real and interesting. Loved it!” – Martin Fletcher, National Jewish Book Award winner, author of Promised Land

“From the mystical lore of Albion to the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem, Kaplan’s meticulous research and evocative writing meld seamlessly to create a vivid, textured, and richly imagined story.” —Beth Hoffman, New York Times and International bestselling author of Saving Ceecee Honeycutt and Looking for Me

“Set in Rome and Judea after the crucifixion of Jesus, Mitchell James Kaplan’s finely crafted and intense second novel delves into the minds and hearts of truly captivating characters. An excellent read.” – Eva Stachniak, winner of the Canadian First Novel Award, author of The Chosen Maiden

“Sensually provocative, verbally sharp and critically witted, Mitchell James Kaplan’s Into the Unbounded Night brings to life the tumultuous birth of Judeo-Christian monotheism in this intimately woven narrative brimming with righteous and riotous characters striving for survival and transcendence across the ravished landscapes of Judea, the Roman Empire, and Britannia.”
– Jessica Maria Tuccelli, an Okra Pick winner of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance for her debut novel, Glow

“Kaplan weaves an intricate literary tapestry to create a poetic exploration of early Judeo-Christian and Roman history. He builds a diverse yet connected cast of characters whose encounters inspire timeless self-examination and advance the course of history. An engrossing work not easily forgotten.” – Therese Walsh, critically acclaimed author of The Last Will Of Moira Leahy and The Moon Sisters, founder of the literary blog, Writer Unboxed

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Into the Unbounded Night is set around 64 A.D. and tells the story of Aislin and her life after her village is destroyed by the Roman General, Vespasian. She is taken hostage and held by Vespasian, where he treats her horribly. She escapes one day and runs into Septimus. What follows is Aislin's journey to Rome and then Jerusalem, and all of the adventure, danger, and people she meets along the way, including the apostle St. Paul.

"Remember, Aislin, love grows not in the pure soil of forgiveness but from the mud of revenge."

The book focuses mostly on Aislin, Yohanan, Septimus, and Vespasian. Each POV was equally compelling, though I found Vespasian's scenes the most engrossing. I guess I like villains :)

I especially was fascinated with Muirgheal, Aislin's Aunt who was considered the most favored warrior in the land. She needs a book of her own!

Despite the fact that I'm not a very religious person I found Into the Unbounded Night to be an eye-opening read. Kaplan's writing is top-notch and there was a bit of magical realism that I loved.

Highly recommended!

About the Author


Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with honors from Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize for Best Long-Form Senior Essay submitted to the English Department. His first mentor was the author William Styron.

After college, Kaplan lived in Paris, France, where he worked as a translator, then in Southern California, where he worked as a screenwriter and in film production.
He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his family and two cats.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 31
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Books and Zebras

Friday, September 4
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Saturday, September 5
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Monday, September 7
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Tuesday, September 8
Interview at Novels Alive
Feature at I'm Into Books

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Review at YA, It's Lit

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Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Friday, September 11
Feature at Pursuing Stacie

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Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, September 16
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

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Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Friday, September 18
Guest Post at Book Bustle

Monday, September 21
Interview at Books & Benches

Tuesday, September 22
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, September 23
Guest Post at The Intrepid Reader

Thursday, September 24
Review at Bookworlder

Friday, September 25
Review at A Book Geek

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 copies of Into the Unbounded Night! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 25th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Unbounded Night


Book Blast & Giveaway: The Quality of Mercy by Malia Zaidi


The Quality of Mercy by Malia Zaidi

Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Book Baby
Paperback & eBook; 416 pages

Series: The Lady Evelyn Mysteries, Book 5
Genre: Historical Mystery


After years spent away, Lady Evelyn is at long last back in her home city of London and she has returned with a rather controversial plan. The Carlisle Detective Agency is born, and it does not take long for the bodies… ahem, cases, to start piling up. With her friend and assistant Hugh, Evelyn embarks on the quest to solve the crimes. Yet the London she encounters is not the London of her coddled youth, and she is forced to learn that there is more to discover than the identity of a murderer. It isn't only her city which reveals it is not what she always believed it to be, but the people she encounters as well. Secrets are revealed that have her thinking twice about everything she thought she knew about the society in which she grew up.

Evelyn's love for her hard-won independence confronts her with yet another mystery, whether she is ready or willing to give up any of it for marriage. And then there is the arrival of rather a familiar face in London, one Daniel is none to pleased to see. Evelyn must find not one but two murderers, as well as make a decision that could determine her future. From the mansions of Mayfair to the dark alleys of Whitechapel, can Evelyn catch the killers before another life is taken?

Available on Amazon

About the Author


Malia Zaidi is the author of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Blast Schedule

Thursday, August 20
Reading is My Remedy
Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, August 21
Donna's Book Blog

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Robin Loves Reading

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Jorie Loves A Story

Monday, August 24
Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, August 25
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 26
Bookworlder

Thursday, August 27
100 Pages a Day

Friday, August 28
Books, Cooks, Looks

Saturday, August 29
A Darn Good Read

Sunday, August 30
Passages to the Past

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a set of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries series! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Quality of Mercy


Interview & Giveaway: Gilded Dreams by Donna Russo Morin

Happy Friday, dear readers! Today on the blog I am super excited to be hosting Author Donna Russo Morin! She is currently on Blog Tour for Gilded Dreams and she's here with us today to talk more about the new release! I hope you enjoy it! We have a great giveaway as well, so be sure to enter!



Hello Donna and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Gilded Dreams!

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

Thank you for having me. It's always a pleasure to be back with you and your readers!

I'm a mix of an artistic, intellectual, spirited, curious, girly-girl, tom-boy, rocker. I'm the granddaughter of Italian immigrants and very proud of it. I believe in living life to its fullest despite all the traumas that I've had to overcome. As I've just turned 62, that's a whole lot of living but I still have so much more I want to experience. Writing is not only my profession but my passion. Ironically, when I was assailed by a debilitating illness, I finally found the space in my life to write my first book and it was off to the races. Writing feeds my mind and my soul.


Gilded Dreams is the second book in your Newport Gilded Age series. What inspired you to write the series?

I love the story of how these books came to be.

GILDED SUMMERS is a book I wanted to write/publish for years. As a born and raised Rhode Islander, having played in Newport for most of my adult life, having worked there for over five years, it is a magical place so dear to my heart, in large part because of the depth of its historical significance to our country, dating back to the Revolution with visitors the likes of such Iconic Forefathers as Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington. For a historical fiction author, that's some hefty fertile ground.

I actually pitched GS to a former editor the year before Downton Abbey came out. Her response was, 'Oh, no one is interested in that time period.' So I turned back to Renaissance Italy, signing a three book deal. Then boom...Downton Abbey comes out and the popularity of the time period soars.

As soon as my trilogy was written and on its way to publication, I turned back to Newport and GILDED SUMMERS was born!

I never had any intention of writing a sequel. But so many readers (as well as my publisher after GILDED SUMMERS hit the International Bestseller's ranking on Amazon) were crying out for it, I began to consider it. I had to find an historical event that not only spoke to me but made sense for Pearl and Ginevra, our heroines. When I discovered that August 18, 2020 was the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, that which granted American women the right to vote, my muse found the magic.

What research did you undertake when writing Gilded Dreams?

I thought, as a feminist who grew up watching the women's rights movement of the 1960s, that I knew a lot about the suffrage movement. I did not. Nor did I know the role Rhode Island women played in the movement. That's where I centered my research...learning all I could about the country-wide, seventy-two year suffrage journey and honing in on the part Rhode Island women played in it, which was so much greater than I ever expected. Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, one of the historical leading ladies of Newport, almost individually funded the major suffrage party of the United States as well as those in New York and Newport. And yet, historically, she is simply dismissed as a 'socialite'. After learning so much about her contributions to the movement, I longed to give her her day in the sun.

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont
What would you like readers to take away from reading Gilded Dreams?

There are other books and movies about the suffrage movement, but most of them are about the United Kingdom suffragettes. They were more aggressive and violent than their American counter-parts. Yet my research uncovered just how hard the American suffragettes fought, how much they endured (imprisonment, torture leading to death, and so much more). It baffles me that what these women went through is not part of the American History curriculum in schools, especially high schools. Young women about to embark on their journey as adult women, need to know on whose shoulders they stand. They--and all American women--need to know the truth of the fight that gave them the right to vote so that they'll not squander theirs.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Oh my goodness, there are a few...one when Pearl and Ginevra bicker like the sisters they've become, when they take part in a feminist play and prim and proper Pearl gets into a 'fisticuffs' scuffle, when Ginevra lets her Italian temper get the best of her, when Ginevra comforts Pearl at her most difficult time, and a scene in which these women participate in a march for the vote as other women were doing across the country...it was such a triumphant moment.

Knowing these characters as well as I did coming into it, I was really able to render them and their activities to the fullest. Bringing them from the fifteen-year-olds that they began as in GS to empowered adult women in GD was truly a privilege.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

I don't want to give anything away but loss is a part of life and so it must be for our characters if we are to write them authentically. Whenever we, as authors, must write loss, it forces us to tap into our own. It's never easy, but it's essential.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

In the words of one of my favorite singers...baby, I was born that way. I started writing in grade school and had a wonderful teacher in sixth grade who fostered and supported my creativity. But life, as it does, got in the way and it took me until much later in years and becoming sidelined with Lyme disease before I wrote my first book, landed an agent, and then a publisher. It's the second main purpose of my life (the first has been and always will be the raising of my two sons, now men, an opera singer and a chef).

What does your daily writing routine look like?

As dictated by our publishers, authors must be very active on social media, so I wake my brain up with that activity. Once all sparks are fired, I dig in and I don't let myself out of my desk chair until I've met my daily quota...typically two to three thousand words. Some days, that can happen in just a few hours, and I let myself go out and play. Other days (ugh) it can take till well into the night. But having published ten books in eleven years while raising those two sons I mentioned on my own, it's a routine that works for me. Writing is a solitary endeavor and while we may have publishers and deadlines, the crux of the matter is that we must have the self-discipline to stay in that chair and get the job done.

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

You mean other than an abusive marriage and seven and a half years in divorce court (eye roll)? It's an interesting question and I'm going to dare to answer it with an honesty that many people may not know about. My greatest challenge has been not having enough money to publicize and promote my books to the extent that is necessary. I was once told by a very bestselling author that the only difference between my success and theirs is my lack of finances to promote my work. I had no spouse to support me and my work. Publishing companies just don't do as much marketing as they used to. As a single mom, and a struggling one, putting money into publicity rather than feeding my children was not an option. Period.

I've done my best to seek out as many effective, low-cost promotional venues as possible, including as many free ones as I could find. I rely on the kindness of my readers to spread the word about my books. And I take every opportunity to get out there and meet as many readers as I can (BC, of course).

Who are your writing inspirations?

In terms of authors, I'd have to say Diana Gabaldon (oh what a fangirl moment it was when I met her for the first time in 2013), Stephen King whose works taught me so much about good, simple storytelling, and J.K. Rowling, another woman who rose above difficult circumstances to find enormous success. May I follow in her path.

Others include James Michener, John Jakes, Rosalind Laker, and Leon Uris.

As for my muse's inspiration, it is all the women throughout time who have had to--and still do--fight against the restrictions imposed upon us merely by our gender. That so many obstacles still exist for women, tells me we still have work to do and I, many more books to write.

What was the first historical novel you read?

Gone with the Wind, though I had no idea at the time (I was twelve) that I was reading historical fiction. I do know that after reading it that first time, I sought out more books like it, still without knowing 'genres' existed and that, in doing so, I was being pulled towards the genre in which I would write.

What is the last historical novel you read?

Jackie and Maria by Gill Paul (which released this month). As a Jackie Kennedy Onassis devotee who almost dated her son, JFK Jr., and as a mother of an opera singer, it was not only a read tapping into so many of my interests, it was revelatory, which came as a wonderful surprise.

What are three things people may not know about you?

Only three (lol). I adore playing video games, my favorite being The Legend of Zelda series (my first tattoo actually came from a symbol in the game).

I'm a fanatical football fan...a New England Patriots devotee, even when they had losing seasons for decades. Tom Brady may not be with the team anymore but he'll always be in my second book.

And for the third, many people may not know that I'm also a painter. Truth is that I didn't know it myself until a little less than two years ago. I was to have my first exhibit this past June, but...well, we all know how life has changed. I know I will exhibit someday.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

It astounds me as to how much about human existence, in general, can be learned from studying history. And as a histfic author, I get the privilege of telling tales of humanity throughout history and making it personal for the reader to identify with. My books range from the 15th century to the 20th century and there's still a whole lot of stories in me longing to get on the page, there are still so many lessons to be learned.

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

While it's lost its popularity somewhat, I still love tales from the Renaissance, of which I've written many times, especially the Italian Renaissance. It was such a powerful vortex in time, a time of great advances not only in art, music, and architecture but in humanity itself.

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

Anything at, in, or on the ocean. Luckily I live just two miles from it (and why my self-discipline is so important). One of the most cherished moments of my life was last summer when, with my two sons and daughter-in-law, we took my mother kayaking. At then 85, she had never been on one ever. Her shining eyes and delighted smiles will warm me forever.


Lastly, what are you working on next?

I'm working on what I consider to be, by far, the greatest writing challenge of my career. This work is taking my research to a level I had never imagined I'd go. It's centered around the life of one of the most well-known artists of all times but I'm not only telling it in a way in which it has never been presented before, but I am also writing to new theories about the truths of this artist's life and death that have never been explored in fiction. It's risky...and I love it!

Well, that sounds exciting! I can't wait to hear more! Thanks for stopping by today, Donna!


Gilded Dreams by Donna Russo Morin

Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Magnum Opus
Paperback & eBook; 495 pages

Series: Newport's Gilded Age, Book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction


From the bestselling author of GILDED SUMMERS comes a powerful novel of the last eight years of the American Women’s fight for suffrage.

The battle for the vote is on fire in America. The powerful and rich women of Newport, Rhode Island, are not only some of the most involved suffragettes, their wealth - especially that of the indomitable Alva Vanderbilt Belmont - nearly single-handedly funded the major suffrage parties. Yet they have been left out of history, tossed aside as mere socialites. In GILDED DREAMS, they reclaim their rightful place in history.

Pearl and Ginevra (GILDED SUMMERS) are two of its most ardent warriors. College graduates, professional women, wives, and mothers, these progressive women have fought their way through some of life’s harshest challenges, yet they survived, yet they thrive. Now they set their sights on the vote, the epitome of all they have struggled for, the embodiment of their dreams.

From the sinking of the Titanic, through World War 1, Pearl and Ginevra are once more put to the test as they fight against politics, outdated beliefs, and the most cutting opponent of all... other women. Yet they will not rest until their voices are heard, until they - and all the women of America - are allowed to cast their vote. But to gain it, they must overcome yet more obstacles, some that put their very lives in danger.

An emotional and empowering journey, GILDED DREAMS is a historical, action-packed love letter to the women who fought so hard for all women who stand on the shoulders of their triumph.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author


Donna Russo Morin is an award-winning historical fiction author. Donna has dabbled as a model and actor, working on Showtime's Brotherhood and Martin Scorsese's The Departed. Branching out with her storytelling skills, Donna is now a screenwriter. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Donna lives on the south shore of Rhode Island close to the ocean she loves so very much. She is the proud mother of two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 10
Review at Books, Cooks, and Looks

Wednesday, August 12
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Friday, August 14
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Saturday, August 15
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, August 17
Review at Amy's Booket List

Wednesday, August 19
Review at Book Bustle

Friday, August 21
Guest Post at The Intrepid Reader

Monday, August 24
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, August 25
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 26
Review at The Love of Books

Friday, August 28
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 31
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 2
Excerpt at Bookworlder

Friday, September 4
Review at A Darn Good Read

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of the book + a painting of a scene from the book painted by the author! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway is open to US residents only and on September 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Gilded Dreams





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