Review of Becoming Bonnie & Interview with Jenni L. Walsh

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! Today on the blog is an exciting day! I have a review of Becoming Bonnie and an interview with Author Jenni L. Walsh! Becoming Bonnie is out today in paperback, so be sure to grab a copy. It's exceptional!

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh

Paperback Release Date: May 22, 2018
Forge Books
Paperback & eBook; 320 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

From debut historical novelist Jenni L. Walsh, Becoming Bonnie is the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker became half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo!

The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She's a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her, and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc's.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school, and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, he embraces it--perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling--she tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. But her life--like her country--is headed for a crash.

Bonnie Parker is about to meet Clyde Barrow.

My Review

5 Stars.

I was a little late to the Becoming Bonnie love fest. After seeing my social media feeds filled with rave reviews I knew I had to pick it up. And I am so happy that I did!

I've long been fascinated with Bonnie and Clyde. Two young people in love and united against the world and societal norms. I always wondered what made them turn to a life of crime and thankfully, Becoming Bonnie came along and author Jenni L. Walsh gifts us with their back story.

I can't say enough good things about Becoming Bonnie! It was such a fun and fascinating read. I loved how Walsh incorporated the slang from the 1920s. You can tell that she did her research and that she had a lot of fun writing the book. And I sure had a lot of fun reading it!

If you're looking for a fascinating, suck-you-in-and-won't-let-you-go story, Becoming Bonnie is it! I will be reading the companion novel, SIDE BY SIDE (releases on June 5th from Forge Books), soon and I cannot wait to be back with Bonnie and Clyde!

Becoming Bonnie is the cat's pajamas đŸ˜»

Hello Jenni and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Becoming Bonnie!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and Becoming Bonnie.

While I admittedly spent my youth disinterested in history, it’s a topic I now actively seek out. As my husband is a history buff, he’s had a hand in that. We enjoy talking, watching, reading about past events and people together. Once, Bonnie and Clyde came up in our discussions. My barometer for who they were was based on the 1967 film, which I hadn’t seen in years and years – and which turned out to be unbeknownst to me rather inaccurate. After realizing that the duo had been depicted in film and nonfiction, but never in a novel, I saw the opportunity to tell their story. From there, I chose to tell it through Bonnie’s eyes as women’s fiction. Becoming Bonnie brings to life her adolescent years prior to and during her meeting of Clyde Barrow, showing how she transformed from a doll to gangster’s moll.

What type of research did you do for Becoming Bonnie?

I would’ve loved to travel the heart of America like Bonnie and Clyde had or visited Dallas where they lived and are now buried, however, it wasn’t in the cards. That’s to say, I still had a plethora of information and first-hand accounts to pull from, be it from diaries, memoirs, nonfiction books, newspaper articles, testimonials, court documents, FBI documents, photographs, poems, artifacts, documentaries, experts, and historians. Still, with all of this information, there were limited details about Bonnie’s life prior to Clyde. I took what information I could find and then filled in the rest to align with my time period of the 1920s, which included things like speakeasies, dance marathons, and the stock market crash. For Side by Side, which is releasing June 5th as the follow up to Becoming Bonnie and dives head first into Bonnie and Clyde’s infamous crime spree, I was able to heavily implement my research to accurately depict their movements and shenanigans.

Did you find anything in your research that surprised you or that you found particularly fascinating?

Who Bonnie and Clyde were as human beings surprised me. Part of my original interest and motivation was understanding who they were and what made them tick. Portrayals of the duo often describe them as ruthless and driven by fame. And while there is no condoning their actions or crimes, I wasn’t expecting to learn that the duo was fiercely devoted to their families and that they possessed a bit of a moral compass. Many believe that when Clyde fired a gun it wasn’t premeditated, but reactionary (granted, it was in reaction to him stealing or committing a crime and someone trying to stop him). Also, it’s commonly believed that Bonnie never killed a soul. Bonnie and Clyde wanted more for themselves than a life of crime, and that’s an element I honed in on in Becoming Bonnie and Side by Side.

What was your favorite scene to write?

In Becoming Bonnie, I decided to play with history and begin the story with Bonnie as “Bonnelyn,” a wholesome, churching-going, choir-singing young woman. Even before I wrote a single word, the scene was running through my head where Clyde’s the one to begin referring to her as Bonnie. I really enjoyed writing that scene.

What was the hardest scene to write?

Ah, the ending. Of each book. Becoming Bonnie and Side by Side can be read independently of each other or one after the other. But, of course, I hope you read both! We all know how the story of Bonnie and Clyde ends. Despite all their wrong doings, I wanted to give them a happy ending at both conclusions. Let’s just say, those happy endings are a bit complicated.

Your second book, Side by Side, also featuring Bonnie and Clyde will be out on June 5th. What is in store next for the duo?

Side by Side is their twenty-seven month crime spree story! If you think you know their story from the 1967 film, then I think you’re in for a few surprises. The film was expertly done, but couldn’t go into the depth of a novel. There was a lot left out from the film that I was able to bring to life in my books.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always been a writer in one form or another. As a child I wrote poems and short stories. Then after college, I became a copywriter at an advertising agency. I felt the pull to be a novelist about eight years ago and threw myself into the craft, resulting in a few manuscripts that’ll never see the light of day, haha. Becoming Bonnie is my first published novel and I’m so proud of Bonn’s stories.

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

Honestly, it’s finding new readers, which is why I’m so thankful for you, Amy! There are so many wonderful books to choose from and I’m so humbled when someone decides to pick up mine.

Who are your writing inspirations?

There are a few historical ladies who are an insta-buy for me. I’m looking at you, Greer Macallister, Ariel Lawhon, and Fiona Davis.

What was the first historical novel you read?

Oh man, I got to go into the vault for this one. I would think it was maybe the Little House on the Prairie books? While I wasn’t a big “history buff” as a child, I’ve always been a huge reader and always enjoyed being transported to different worlds and settings.

What is the last historical novel you read?

I’ve always been intrigued by the Romanov conspiracy, so I was so excited to get my hands on an early copy of The Romanov Empress, releasing in July. The book was everything I had hoped it to be, telling the Romanov’s epic saga through the eyes of Empress Marie, who was the last tsar’s mother.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

This is such a cliché answer but I simply like to revisit the past and be transported to that time and place.

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

I tend to pick up books based on real-life people or events, no matter the era.

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

I have a two-year-old and four-year-old. Need I say more?

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m not at liberty to say too much, but I’ll hopefully be taking readers to the California gold rush!

HA! As a mother of a four-year-old and five-year-old, I can totally relate to that answer! I cannot wait to hear more about your future project and I am so excited to read SIDE BY SIDE!

Historical Fiction & History eBook Deals: May 16th

Here are today's eBook Deals for History & HistFic books....

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Cover Reveal: The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

Happy Wednesday, dear readers! Today I have an exciting Cover Reveal for you! Here is the cover for Author Nancy Bilyeau's upcoming historical, THE BLUE! Isn't it fabulously gorgeous?! I just love it! The Blue will be released from Enedeavour Quill in the Fall, so stay tuned for more details and pre-order information!

The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication: Fall 2018
Endeavour Quill

Genre: Historical Fiction

What would you do to possess the most coveted color in the world? The year is 1758, and a headstrong woman artist, 24-year-old Genevieve Planche, is caught up in a high-stakes race to discover the ultimate color, one that threatens to become as deadly as it is lucrative. When Genevieve's mission is complicated by her falling in love with the chemist behind the formula, she discovers the world of blue is filled with ruthless men and women and how high the stakes really are. The story sweeps readers from the worlds of the silk-weaving refugees of London’s Spitalfields and the luxury-obsessed drawing rooms of Grosvenor Square to the porcelain factory of Derby and, finally, magnificent Sevres Porcelain in the shadow of Versailles. And running through it all: the dangerous allure of the color blue.

"Bilyeau’s sumptuous tale of mystery and intrigue transports the reader into the heart of the 18th century porcelain trade—where the price of beauty was death"’ E.M. Powell, author of the Stanton & Barling medieval mystery series.

Praise for Nancy Bilyeau's Fiction

"Bilyeau deftly weaves extensive historical detail throughout, but the real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal." —Review of The Crown published in Oprah, which made the book a pick of the month.

"English history buffs and mystery fans alike will revel in Nancy Bilyeau's richly detailed sequel to The Crown." —Parade magazine review of The Chalice

"The story in The Tapestry is fiction, but it is a sheer joy to have Henry’s court recreated with an eye to the reality of its venality, rather than the trendy Wolf Hall airbrushing of its violence and rapacity. The tone is always modern and light, but with none of the clumsy thigh-slapping faux period language. Bilyeau’s writing is effortless, vivid, gripping and poignant, bringing Tudor England to life with sparkling zest. If you want to see the Reformation from the side of the English people rather than the self-serving court, it is tough to do better than this trilogy." —Review of The Tapestry by Dominic Selwood, published in The Catholic Herald

"As always, Bilyeau has done her historical homework, bringing the drama, and details of Henry VIII’s court to life. You’re basically watching the rise and fall of Catherine Howard, Thomas Cromwell, Walter Hungerford and Thomas Culpepper through Joanna’s eyes. Her private moments with the king were among my favorites in this book. This a true historical thriller. It’s a Tudor novel full of suspense, intrigue, brutality, and death. It’s a well researched page turner. If you’re looking for an exciting historical read, this will be on your list." —Review of The Tapestry by Sandra Alvarez for

“Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books and transports us back to the dangerous world of Tudor England. Vivid characters and gripping plots are at the heart of this wonderful trilogy. Warmly recommended!” —Alison Weir, author of The Marriage Game: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth I and many bestsellers

"Nancy Bilyeau's polished, inventive debut has all the ingredients of the best historical fiction: a broad cast of characters, well-imagined settings, and vivid story-telling... In Joanna Stafford, Bilyeau has given us a memorable character who is prepared to risk her life to save what she most values, while Stafford's desperate search for a lost religious relic will satisfy even the most ardent mystery fans." —Deborah Harkness, author of A Discovery of Witches

About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of InStyle, DuJour, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. She is currently a regular contributor to Town & Country and the editor of the digital magazine The Big Thrill. Her screenplays have placed in several prominent industry competitions. Two scripts reached the semi-finalist round of the Nicholl Fellowships of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. THE CROWN, her first novel and an Oprah pick, was published in 2012; the sequel, THE CHALICE, followed in 2013. The third in the trilogy, THE TAPESTRY, was published by Touchstone in 2015. The books have also been published by Orion in the UK and seven other countries.

Nancy lives in New York City with her husband and two children.

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

Cover Reveal Schedule

Wednesday, May 16
Passages to the Past
Clarissa Reads it All
Just One More Chapter
To Read, or Not to Read
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, May 17
Bri's Book Nook
CelticLady's Reviews
Kris Waldherr Books
What Is That Book About

Friday, May 18
A Book Geek
The Lit Bitch
Broken Teepee

Saturday, May 19
Books and Glamour
Writing the Renaissance
So Many Books, So Little Time

Sunday, May 20
Cup of Sensibility
Kate Rock Lit Chick
Teaser Addicts Book Blog

Monday, May 21
The Maiden's Court
View from the Birdhouse

Tuesday, May 22
100 Pages a Day
Bibliophile Reviews
History From a Woman's Perspective

Wednesday, May 23
Pursuing Stacie
Creating Herstory
Donna's Book Blog

2018 Release: The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

The Rain Watcher by Tatiana de Rosnay

Publication Date: October 23, 2018
St. Martin's Press
Hardcover & eBook;

Genre: Historical Fiction

The first new novel in four years from the beloved superstar author of Sarah's Key, a heartbreaking and uplifting story of family secrets and devastating disaster, in the tradition of THE NEST.

"Hypnotic, passionate, ominous and tender—unforgettable.” —Jenna Blum, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Those Who Save Us

The Rain Watcher is a powerful family drama set in Paris as the Malegarde family gathers to celebrate the father's 70th birthday. Their hidden fears and secrets are slowly unraveled as the City of Light undergoes a stunning natural disaster. Seen through the eyes of charismatic photographer Linden Malegarde, the youngest son, all members of the family will have to fight to keep their unity against tragic circumstances.

In this profound and intense novel of love and redemption, De Rosnay demonstrates all of her writer's skills both as an incredible storyteller but also as a soul seeker.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

Historical Fiction & History eBook Deals: May 8th

Happy Hump Day, all! Here are the eBook deals for today....

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Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich ~ Blog Tour & Giveaway

Happy Monday, dear readers! Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich is getting some serious love from bloggers! Check out the reviews below and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift card!

Pursuing Stacie says: "Welcome to Port of No Return. This book is unbelievably good. Y’all, I was hooked on this story. I’m not one for feeling feelings, but I couldn’t help it. I was invested in Contessa and Ettore’s journeys, and could. not. for. the. life. of. me. put this thing down. I was emotionally wrapped up in this family, enabled all the more by the fantastic writing skills of Michelle Saftich. She fleshed out the characters wonderfully and brought the settings to life, dragging me (willingly, I might add) from sorrow, to happiness, to tension, to worry, to bliss. Such a beautiful and authentic look at war, humanity and the strength of family."

From The Caffeinated Bibliophile: "Michelle did an amazing job bringing a war-stricken Italy to life. This book is a perfect reminder that faith and hope is everything. Have faith that things will turn out better in the end. "

Books and Glamour: "Michelle Saftich weaves a story about family and love in Port of No Return. I was incredibly interested in the history of this book and thoroughly appreciated Saftich’s research! She did an incredible job bringing these different families to life and exposing what people went through in order to flee Italy. If you enjoy WW2 novels about family, love, and sacrifice then look no further! I finished this book quickly, finding myself whipping away a few tears along the way."

Read Michelle Saftich's guest post on what inspired her to become a writer at Dressed to Read.

Port of No Return by Michelle Saftich

Publication Date: July 31, 2015
Odyssey Books
eBook & Paperback; 244 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Contessa and Ettore Saforo awake to a normal day in war-stricken, occupied Italy. By the end of the day, their house is in ruins and they must seek shelter and protection wherever they can. But the turbulent politics of 1944 refuses to let them be.

As Tito and his Yugoslav Army threaten their German-held town of Fiume, Ettore finds himself running for his life, knowing that neither side is forgiving of those who have assisted the enemy. His wife and children must also flee the meagre life their town can offer, searching for a better life as displaced persons.

Ettore and Contessa’s battle to find each other, and the struggle of their family and friends to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a devastating war, provide a rich and varied account of Italian migration to Australia after World War II.

What can you do when you have nowhere left to call home? Port of No Return considers this question and more in a novel that is full of action, pain and laughter — a journey you will want to see through to the very end.

Port of No Return is the first novel in a series of two.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Michelle Saftich is a first time author who resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children. She holds a Bachelor of Business/Communications Degree, majoring in journalism, from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). For the past twenty years, she has worked in communications, including print journalism, sub-editing, communications management and media relations. In 1999, she was named National Winner for Best News Story in the ASNA (Australian Suburban Newspaper Awards). Born and raised in Brisbane, she spent ten years living in Sydney; and two years in Osaka, Japan, where she taught English.

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

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 9
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, April 10
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 11
Feature at The Writing Desk

Friday, April 13
Interview at Maiden of the Pages

Tuesday, April 17
Feature at Being Anne

Thursday, April 19
Feature at Time 2 Read

Friday, April 20
Guest Post at Dressed to Read

Monday, April 23
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Tuesday, April 24
Review at Books and Glamour

Monday, April 30
Review at Teaser Addicts Book Blog

Friday, May 4
Review at Books of a Shy Girl

Monday, May 7
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, May 11
Review at Dressed to Read
Review at The Bletchley Circle Watchers


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Port of No Return

October Release: The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

October can't come fast enough because Hazel Gaynor is coming out with a new book!

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

Publication Date: October 9, 2018
William Morrow
Paperback & eBook; 416 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

From The New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home comes a historical novel inspired by true events, and the extraordinary female lighthouse keepers of the past two hundred years.

“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

Historical Fiction eBook Deals: May 3rd

Happy Hump Day, all! Here are the eBook deals for today....

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Hist Fic & History eBook Deals: May 2

Happy Hump Day, all! Here are the eBook deals for today....

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2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: May Reviews

Happy May, everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful month of reading! I look forward to seeing all of your reviews!

Welcome to the May link page for the 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This is the page where you will enter the links to your reviews during the month of May.

Links to Previous Months...


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 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge! Sign Up Here.

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