2011 Release: A Race to Splendor by Ciji Ware

by Ciji Ware

Release Date:  April 30, 2011

SYNOPSIS:  Inspired by female architect Julia Morgan, this is the riveting tale of a race against time to rebuild two luxury hotels after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake destroyed 400 city blocks and left 250,000 homeless. Morgan's fictional protegee Amelia Bradshaw and client J.D. Thayer will sacrifice anything to see the city they love rise from the ashes; in the process, they can't help but lose their hearts.


Check out my Royal Hauntings post at Linus's Blanket!

Phew, October has been the month of guest posts for me! 

First I was featured on Historical Tapestry's Books of a Lifetime post, then earlier this week I was at Kittling: Books to share with you my Scene of the Blog and today I have a SPOOKTACULAR guest post at Linus's Blanket featuring ROYAL HAUNTINGS!!  

Hop on over and check out where the ghosts of your favorite royals are said to still be walking the earth!  Bwwwahahahahaa.....

Please check out the fabulous Harrowing Historicals event from Allie @ HistFicChick and Nicole @ Linus's Blanket where you'll get guest posts, book reviews and more, all fabulously spooky.  What a great event ladies! And thank you for having me!



The India Edghill Biblical Women Collection GIVEAWAY!!

 Hey everyone! Have I got a giveaway for you! The very generous India Edghill has graciously allocated 2 hardcover sets of her books Delilah, Queenmaker and Wisdom's Daughter and 2 individual copies of Delilah to the readers of Passages to the Past!  All together now...thank you India!!

Delilah comes out in paperback on November 24, 2010!
SYNOPSIS: Given to the temple of Atargatis as a child, Delilah is raised to be a priestess to the Five Cities that rule Canaan. She grows up under the watchful eyes of high priestess Derceto, who sees her as a valuable pawn in her political agenda. Meanwhile, in the hills of Canaan, the Israelites choose Samson to lead their fight against the Five Cities. When he catches a glimpse of Delilah, he risks his freedom to marry her, and Derceto seizes the chance to have Samson at her mercy. Caught between the two, Delilah is forced to question her own heart.

An inventive retelling of an ancient story, Delilah is a tale of political turmoil, betrayal, passionate friendship, and forbidden love.

SYNOPSIS: The only woman in the Bible who is noted to have loved a man, Queen Michal was King David's childhood sweetheart, his first wife, and daughter of his great friend and greater enemy, King Saul. Married to and then abandoned by David at age 14, Michal is forced to marry him again and become his first queen ten years later. Thrown into transition and turmoil, Queen Michal resists the ambition and greed that have become integral to David's personality and kingship. Acting nobly as his queen, but refusing to compromise her soul, Michal is drawn in friendship to the women in the king's court. Among his concubines and mistresses is Bathsheba, who becomes the mother of David's son, Solomon. In Queenmaker, Michal emerges as a wise and loving woman whose female family sustains her and establishes the spiritual foundation of the entire kingdom. Queenmaker depicts in unforgettable detail the characters of one of the greatest periods in Biblical history-their public deed and private thoughts-and gives readers the court of the kings as only a woman could see it.

SYNOPSIS: This is the tale of Bilqis, the Queen of Sheba, who rules the spice lands and bows before the will of the Goddess.

This is the tale of Solomon, the King of Israel and Judea, who built the golden temple to Yahweh in Jerusalem. Once he prayed that he might rule wisely.

This is the tale of Solomon's wives, of his concubines ... and of his daughter Baalit, more beloved than any son. Here are their voices, their mysteries, and their deepest secrets. Here they sing their songs and weave their tapestries.

As the queen's search for a true heir to her throne takes her to the court of the wisest man in the world, both she and the king learn how to value truth, love, and duty...and the king's daughter learns that not all the world is ruled by men. Wisdom's Daughter is a vivid and richly textured rendition of the biblical tale of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Told in a tapestry of voices that ring with authenticity, Wisdom's Daughter profoundly reveals the deep ties among women in a patriarchal world.

For more information, please visit India Edghill's WEBSITE.


- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address.
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- Giveaway ends on November 8th.



books that make you go hmmm...

by Jehanne Wake

Release Date:  April 5, 2011

SYNOPSIS:  Sisters of Fortune is the exuberant, illustrated history of the Caton sisters, four aristrocrats in republican America who captivated nineteenth-century European society with their charm, wit, and beauty.

Like a true romantic tale from Jane Austen, Sisters of Fortune follows the fabulous Caton sisters, the first American heiresses to take Europe by storm, as they travel from their well-appointed Maryland home, across the Atlantic, and into the hearts of the British aristocracy.

Based on intimate and previously unpublished letters written by the Caton sisters, filled with gossipy details about life in nineteenth-century ballrooms and boudoirs, this meticulously researched book introduces readers to Marianne, Bess, Louisa, and Emily—arguably the first American princesses. Descended from one of our nation’s founding fathers and raised to be educated, independent, and opinionated young women, when the Caton sisters traveled to Europe in 1816, they were a force to be reckoned with. Despite prejudice against Americans, the sisters won coveted places at the highest levels of Regency society by virtue of their charm, intelligence, and great beauty. Marianne found a loving soulmate in the Duke of Wellington. Emily married a fur-trader and ran the family estate. Bess was a wizard at the stock market, becoming a successful lady speculator. And Louisa became the first American duchess and a member of Queen Victoria’s court.

An unusual true story of money, love, and life at the top, Sisters of Fortune offers readers a romantic family history and an insider look at the adventures of America’s original blue-blooded girls.


After graduating from Oxford, Jehanne Wake worked as a trainee at Solomon Brothers in New York City. Returning to London, she worked as a researcher at Burke's Peerage and in the House of Commons. Her first book was a biography, Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's Unconventional Daughter, followed by a history of Kleinworh Benson, one of London's leading merchant banks. She lives in London.


Check out my Scene of the Blog guest post at Kittling: Books!

The lovely Cathy at Kittling: Books is hosting me today for her fantastic feature, Scene of the Blog.

Hop on over and check out where the PTTP Blogging magic happens :)

And thanks to Cathy for asking me to participate, it was a lot of fun!  And I hope you all enjoy!


New Jean Plaidy re-issue out in 2011!

Woo Hoo, I found another yummy 2011 release and it's a Jean Plaidy re-issue!!!
Courting Her Highness: The Story of Queen Anne. It looks to me like this is a re-issue that was originally published as The Queens' Favourites and is the last book in Plaidy's Stuart Saga. 

SYNOPSIS:  William was dying and Anne, soon to be Queen, was dominated by Sarah Churchill, who believed that she, with her husband Marlborough, could rule the Queen - and England too.

Sarah was flamboyant, frank, impetuous and determined to have her way; her beauty and vitality had enslaved Marlborough and the Queen, and she believed herself to be invincible - as she was until she introduced the plain and meek Abigail Hill into the royal bedchamber as a humble chambermaid.

These two women were the Queen's favorites and between them they had a great influence on the rise and the fall of governments.

The scene is set at the beginning of the eighteenth century - one of the most brilliant in English history when, at home, men of literary stature - Swift, Defoe, Addison, Steel, Congreve - frequented the coffee houses and taverns and sold their talents to Whig and Tory; and, abroad, Marlborough was winning the Battles of Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

The important question of the day was the Succession.  The Queen was childless; she was the victim of gout, dropsy and her conscience; and while some looked to St. Germains others turned to Hanover.

Intrigue flourished and the conflict circled round the favorites: Sarah, battering her way through life, quarreling with everyone, including her own family, rushing into disaster; and Abigail, working in the shadows, secretly admitting Robert Harley to the Queen's intimate green closet, frustrated by the emotions aroused by the man to whom she first brought power and then helped to ruin.  And shining through the dark intrigue is the love of Marlborough for Sarah, and hers for him - bold, passionate and indestructible.


we have a date for the future Karleen Koen release!!!

I am SUPER stoked to see that Amazon has the release date for the future Karleen Koen novel, titled Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV, slated for release on June 28, 2011. I can't wait to see what the cover will look like...her others are all so wonderful!

If you haven't read a Karleen Koen book yet then you are really missing out.  She is an exceptional writer and her books are unputdownable!  I will be waiting for this oh so impatiently :)

Here is what Karleen says about the novel on her website:

This fourth novel, Before Versailles, is one I've been trying to write for a long time. But the story was too large, and I gave up, breaking a piece of the tale away to use in Dark Angels. Then I realized I had to break the whole story into smaller pieces. Before Versailles is one of the pieces, the largest one.

So here it is, a young and handsome Louis XIV, who was the rock star/politician of the 17th century. But there was a before. In 1661, when he was 22, his prime minister and mentor died. Louis discovered that he might be king of France, but he wasn't the most powerful man in the kingdom. Someone else was. And an unexpected love affair brought him to the brink of a scandal that threatened the fragile peace within his court. All of the above is true and interesting to me.

So I threw in a boy in the iron mask and played with some secrets historians are still guessing about. The Tamworths aren't in this one, but a thread of this story––yet another piece–– will be in the next book, and so will Alice and Richard. 

So, are you doing the happy dance like me?


Review: Wicked Company by Ciji Ware

by Ciji Ware

Publication Date:  October 1, 2010
Sourcebooks Publishing

SYNOPSIS:  In 18th century London the glamorous Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres were all the rage, beckoning every young actor, actress, playwright, and performer with the lure of the stage lights. But competition and back-biting between theatre owners, patrons, actors, and writers left aspiring playwrights with their work stolen, profits withheld, and reputations on the line. For a female, things were harder still, as the chances of a "petticoat playwright" getting past the government censor was slim.

In this exciting and cutthroat world, a young woman with a skill for writing and an ambition to see her work performed could rise to glory, or could lose all in the blink of an eye...

In Ciji Ware's signature style, real-life characters of the day create a backdrop for a portrait of a glittering era, a love story, and a compelling glimpse into what life was like for a strong and independent-minded woman in an emphatically man's world.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

REVIEW: Author Ciji Ware earned a lifelong fan in me ever since reading Island of the Swans(READ MY REVIEW) last year and was reinforced when A Cottage by the Sea (READ MY REVIEW) was re-issued by Sourcebooks earlier this year. So, when I got an email about reviewing the latest Ware re-issue, Wicked Company, I jumped on it quick!

In her author notes Ciji Ware states that the inspiration for writing Wicked Company came up unexpectedly while conducting research for Island of the Swans. The main character of Island of the Swans, Jane Maxwell, had a sister who had written and produced several plays. Ciji then researched further and found that there were about 98 women who wrote plays and had them run in London’s most famous play houses between the years 1660-1800. And even though they were among the most popular writers of the day most of us know little about these extraordinary women.

In Wicked Company, Ware brings 18th century London and the struggles of a woman playwright to life. Sophie McCann is the daughter of a Scottish printer from Edinburgh who eventually comes to London and finds herself immersed in the theatrical world of Drury Lane and Covent Gardens. Ciji has a great talent for creating awesome and unforgettable characters and while Sophie’s naivetĂ© got on my nerves a smidge I still really enjoyed her. Her tenacity and ambitiousness was inspiring and you really rally for her. My only issue with this book was that after a while it seemed that everything and anything bad happened to Sophie, but I think the author was just trying to show the various obstacles that playwrights had to deal with at the time and for that I think she did a bang up job.Wicked Company is a great read and I very much recommend it!

For more information, please visit Ciji Ware's WEBSITE.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for review from the gracious people at Sourcebooks.


Mailbox Monday

Another Monday, Another Mailbox!! This is a feature where we all share with each other the yummy books that showed up at our doors! WARNING: Mailbox Mondays can lead to extreme envy and GINORMOUS wishlists!!

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page, but for the month of October MM is on tour and hosted by Avis at She Reads and Reads.

Hello dear readers and welcome to my fave meme of the week!  I received two books this past week, both for review and both look really yummy.

The Orchid Affair (Pink Carnation #7)
by Lauren Willig

Release Date:  January 20, 2011

SYNOPSIS:  Laura Grey, a veteran governess, joins the Selwick Spy School expecting to find elaborate disguises and thrilling exploits in service to the spy known as the Pink Carnation. She hardly expects her first assignment to be serving as governess for the children of Andre Jaouen, right-hand man to Bonaparte’s minister of police. Jaouen and his arch rival, Gaston Delaroche, are investigating a suspected Royalist plot to unseat Bonaparte, and Laura’s mission is to report any suspicious findings. At first the job is as lively as Latin textbooks and knitting, but Laura begins to notice strange behavior from Jaouen—secret meetings and odd comings and goings. As Laura edges herself closer to her employer, she makes a shocking discovery and is surprised to learn that she has far more in common with Jaouen than she originally thought. . . . As their plots begin to unravel, Laura and Jaouen are forced on the run with the children, and with the help of the Pink Carnation they escape to the countryside, traveling as husband and wife. But Delaroche will stop at nothing to take down his nemesis. With his men hot on their trail, can Laura and Jaouen seal the fate of Europe before it’s too late?

by Kate Morton

Release Date:  November 9, 2010

SYNOPSIS:  A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. 

Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.

Morton once again enthralls readers with an atmospheric story featuring unforgettable characters beset by love and circumstance and haunted by memory, that reminds us of the rich power of storytelling.

That's my mailbox...how about yours?

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