Virtual Book Tour for THE TURNING OF ANNE MERRICK begins tomorrow!

HF Virtual Book Tours has another fabulous tour to announce!  Please join author Christine Blevins as she tours for the release of her novel, THE TURNING OF ANNE MERRICK, her second book of the American Revolution, from January 31st through March 19th. 

In addition to reviews, the tour will consist of guest posts, interviews and really cool giveaways, so be sure to see the tour schedule below to follow the fun!  You won't want to miss out on this exciting tour!

About The Turning of Anne Merrick

Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Berkley Trade Publishing
448p

SYNOPSIS

A tale of love and espionage from the author of Midwife of the Blue Ridge... 

She spies for General Washington, betrays the Redcoats and battles for America's independence... 

It's 1777, and a fledgling country wages an almost hopeless struggle against the might of the British Empire. Brought together by a fateful kiss, Anne Merrick and Jack Hampton are devoted to each other and to their Patriot cause. As part of Washington's daring network of spies, they are ready and willing to pay even the ultimate price for freedom. 

From battlefields raging along the Hudson, to the desperate winter encampment at Valley Forge and through the dangerous intrigue of British-occupied Philadelphia, Anne and Jack brave the trials of separation, the ravages of war and an unyielding enemy growing ever more ruthless. 

For love and for country, all is put at risk-and together the pair must call upon their every ounce of courage and cunning in order to survive. 

About Christine Blevins

Author Christine Blevins writes what she loves to read – historical adventure stories. The Turning of Anne Merrick is Christine's third novel, and the second in a three-book series set during the American Revolution and War of Independence. A native Chicagoan, Christine lives in Elmhurst, Illinois along with her best friend and husband Brian, and The Dude, their very silly golden-doodle. She is at work finishing her next book inspired by a lifelong fascination with the foundations of American history and the revolutionary spirit.

For more information on Christine Blevins and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE.
Follow Christine Blevins on Twitter: @Author_CBlevins
Follow Christine Blevins on Facebook

The Turning of Anne Merrick Virtual Book Tour Schedule 

Tuesday, January 31st
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, February 1st

Thursday, February 2nd

Friday, February 3rd

Monday, February 6th
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, February 7th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at The Owl Bookmark Blog
Review & Author Interview at A Bookish Libraria

Wednesday, February 8th

Thursday, February 9th

Friday, February 10th
Author Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Monday, February 13th
Review at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, February 14th

Wednesday, February 15th
Review & Giveaway at The Broke and the Bookish

Thursday, February 16th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Just One More Paragraph

Friday, February 17th
Author Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Monday, February 20th

Tuesday, February 21st

Wednesday, February 22nd
Author Interview at Just One More Paragraph

Thursday, February 23rd
Author Guest Post at Books, Belles and Beaux

Friday, February 24th
Review at Unabridged Chick

Monday, February 27th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Reading the Past

Tuesday, February 28th

Wednesday, February 29th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, March 1st

Friday, March 2nd
Author Interview & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Monday, March 5th
Review & Giveaway at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, March 6th

Wednesday, March 7th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, March 8th
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, March 9th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Monday, March 12th

Tuesday, March 13th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, March 14th
Review at Reviews by Molly

Thursday, March 15th

Friday, March 16th
Author Interview & Giveaway at Reviews by Molly

Monday, March 19th
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Tanzanite's Castle Full of Books

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Virtual Book Tour for BY THE KING'S DESIGN by Christine Trent starts tomorrow!

HF Virtual Book Tours is thrilled to announce that author Christine Trent will be touring the blogosphere for the release of her novel, By the King's Design, from January 30th to March 1st!  We have some really fabulous blogs on the tour and I hope you will follow along in the fun.  In addition to reviews, there will also be several giveaway opportunities!  Take a peek at the schedule posted below to see where the tour will be stopping.

About By the King's Design

Publication Date: Jan 31, 2012
Kensington Publishing
384p

SYNOPSIS

Strong-willed Annabelle Stirling is more than capable of running the family draper shop after the untimely death of her parents. Under her father's tutelage, she became a talented cloth merchant, while her brother Wesley, the true heir, was busy philandering about Yorkshire. Knowing she must change with the times to survive, Belle installs new machinery that finishes twice the fabric in half the time it takes by hand. But not everyone is so enthusiastic. 

Soon, riled up by Belle's competitors, the outmoded workers seek violent revenge. Her shop destroyed, Belle travels to London to seek redress from Parliament. While there, the Prince Regent, future King George IV, commissions her to provide fabrics for his Royal Pavilion. As Belle's renown spreads, she meets handsome cabinetmaker Putnam Boyce, but worries that marriage will mean sacrificing her now flourishing shop. And after Wesley plots to kidnap the newly-crowned King--whose indiscretions are surfacing--she finds herself entangled in a duplicitous world of shifting allegiances. 

Painting a vivid portrait of life in the British Regency, Christine Trent spins a harrowing tale of ambition, vengeance, love, and complex loyalties against the dynamic backdrop of the early Industrial Revolution. 

Read an excerpt HERE.

About Christine Trent

Christine Trent writes historical fiction from her two-story home library.  She lives with her wonderful bookshelf-building husband, four precocious cats, a large doll collection, entirely too many fountain pens, and over 4,000 fully cataloged books.  She and her husband are active travelers and journey regularly to England to conduct book research at historic sites. 

Christine Trent's novels include The Queen's Dollmaker and A Royal Likeness. She is currently working on her 4th novel, Lady of Ashes, which will be released in 2013.  

For more information, please visit Christine Trent's WEBSITE.
Follow Christine Trent on Facebook.

By the King's Design Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, January 30th
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, January 31st
Review at Le Canape 
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Monday, February 6th

Tuesday, February 7th
Friday, February 10th
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book

Sunday, February 12th
Giveaway at Risky Regencies

Monday, February 13th
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Wednesday, February 15th

Friday, February 17th
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, February 20th

Tuesday, February 21st
Review & Giveaway at The Owl Bookmark Blog

Wednesday, February 22nd

Monday, February 27th
Review & Giveaway at Always with a Book

Tuesday, February 28th
Review at Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, February 29th
Review at SOS Aloha

Thursday, March 1st
Review at Tea at Trianon

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2012 Release: Winter of the World: Book Two of the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett

by Ken Follett

Release Date:  September 18, 2012
Dutton Adult
1,008p

No official synopsis yet but here is a blurb from Ken Follett's website:

Winter of the World, the second book in the 'Century' series, will feature the children of the characters in Fall of Giants as they live through the Depression and the Second World War.

HURRY UP SEPTEMBER!!



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Cover of Juliet Grey's DAYS OF SPLENDOR, DAYS OF SORROW: A NOVEL OF MARIE ANTOINETTE is unveiled!


Hello, all of you lovely followers! I am so very thrilled to unveil to you the cover of Juliet Grey's upcoming release, DAYS OF SPLENDOR, DAYS OF SORROW: A NOVEL OF MARIE ANTOINETTE, the second novel in her Marie Antoinette trilogy!

Last year I reviewed the first book, BECOMING MARIE ANTOINETTE, and absolutely loved it!  You can read my review HERE. I am super excited to continue Marie and Louis' story and will be counting down the days until the release!  

Passages to the Past will be hosting another live chat with Juliet Grey on May 16th, which happens to be the 242nd wedding anniversary of Marie and Louis and we will be celebrating with some fabulous giveaways!  Don't worry, I will be posting reminders as the event date draws near so you won't miss out on all the fun!

About DAYS OF SPLENDOR, DAYS OF SORROW: A NOVEL OF MARIE ANTOINETTE...

Release Date:  May 15, 2012
Random House
432p

SYNOPSIS

A captivating novel of rich spectacle and royal scandal, Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow spans fifteen years in the fateful reign of Marie Antoinette, France’s most legendary and notorious queen.

Paris, 1774. At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty.

From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attach√© Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles—one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever.


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Guest Post by Anne Clinard Barnhill, author of AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN

As part of the virtual book tour for AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN, Passages to the Past is pleased to bring you a guest post by author Anne Clinard Barnhill on Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry VIII who has captivated scores of people for centuries and who is the subject of her first historical fiction novel.

Take it away, Anne...

Anne Boleyn must have been, and remains, one the world's most fascinating women. What is it about her that appeals to readers and fans of history? Why is she, among the six wives of Henry VIII, the one about whom more books have been written and more controversies have been stirred? Though the Court, under Henry's direction, no doubt, did its best to remove all traces of this woman of mystery after her execution, she is still the object of discussion, either adored or vilified by thousands of people across the globe. 

She must have been attractive, though not in the conventional sense. At the time, blond, fair, buxom women were thought to be the most alluring; Anne was none of those things. Instead, she was dark, with large, expressive eyes and waist-long black hair. She had a bosom "not much raised" and was thin. What she had was an attractive, unusual look coupled with the exquisite manners and grace of the French Court, where she had spent much of her youth. She was witty, flirty, and had that mysterious, enigmatic thing called sex appeal. And men flocked to her as a result. 

First, there was Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland. Thomas Wyatt, the poet, fell under her spell. Francis Weston and Henry Norris both came to her apartments to be near her. And everyone talked about her style, her √©lan, her je n'sais quoi. 

Besides those superficial factors, Anne was intelligent, well-educated, musical, a graceful dancer and open to the new ideas circulating around Europe at the time--the New Learning. She most likely was conversant on any of the subjects in which the men at Court had interest: religion, Martin Luther, banned books, the fallibility of the Roman Catholic Church, the role of citizens in tumultuous times. Of course, Anne would have found a way to discuss these issues in a way that did not put off the more conservative Henry! I imagine her surrounded by the most eligible young men at Court, animatedly discussing the gossip of the day, laughing and smiling as she exulted in her feminine power. She must have been quite an amazing women, one in whom the King of England found his match. Yet, she was also a concerned, involved mother and a religious reformer, one of the evangelists forbidden by law. 

Anne Boleyn remains a cipher, for little personal information about her survives. Only a small portrait ring which her daughter, the great Elizabeth, wore throughout her reign.

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

Anne Clinard Barnhill is on tour with HF Virtual Book Tours and if you would like to follow the tour, you can find the schedule of stops HERE.

Passages to the Past is also hosting a giveaway of AT THE MERCY OF THE QUEEN and if you care to enter, you can click HERE.
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Interview with Nancy Bilyeau, author of THE CROWN + Giveaway

HF Virtual Book Tours has another exciting virtual tour for you!  Author Nancy Bilyeau will be touring the blogosphere for the release of her novel, THE CROWN, from January 5th through March 19th and to start the festivities Passages to the Past is happy to bring you an interview with the lovely Nancy Bilyeau and a giveaway of THE CROWN!

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THE CROWN will be released on January 10th from Touchstone Publishing.

To follow THE CROWN Virtual Book Tour, please check out the tour schedule HERE.  There are some fabulous blogs on the tour, you won't want to miss the fun!

And now, I bring you an interview with Nancy Bilyeau...

Q: Have you always wanted to be a writer?  And did you always want to write historical fiction?

A: I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. My third grade teacher liked a report I did after a field trip and wrote a little sign saying, “Have you heard of Nancy Bilyeau, the World Famous Writer?” and hung it on the wall. Teachers make such a huge difference.

I always liked reading historical fiction, and when I decided to try to write a novel I thought I would attempt a book that was part historical fiction and part mystery/thriller.

Q: Can you please tell us a bit about The Crown and the inspiration behind writing it?

A: I wanted to tell an exciting story revolving around a female main character of that time but I didn’t want to write about a royal or a lady-in-waiting. I’ve always been intrigued by nuns. I thought of telling the story of a novice in a priory just when the monasteries were being toppled as Henry VIII tore the country away from Rome.

Q: What type of research did you undertake for the writing of The Crown?

 
A: I’d been reading nonfiction about the 16th century my whole life so I had a foundation to build on. I read a great many books about the Reformation and the Dissolution of the Monasteries and religious life—my bibliography has more than forty books. I contacted experts to help me, such as the curators of the Dartford Borough Museum, experts on the Tower of London and Malmesbury Abbey. I’ve been to Dartford and seen the remains of the stone wall of the priory, which was of course demolished during the Dissolution. It wasn’t easy to “create” the priory—to decide where the various buildings and gardens would be. I worked hard on that, and ended up with a rough model on my kitchen table, moving the characters around!

Q: What is your favorite part of the writing process?  What do you find the most difficult?

A: I love it when the momentum is strong and I’m at my computer, the words flying from my fingers. At those moments, the characters are telling ME what they will do and say. Of course it’s not always like that—in fact, it’s often not like that. Writing is most difficult when you are sitting there knowing what you want a chapter to do but every sentence comes hard. I’ve learned at those times not to be too hard on myself but to get a first pass down and know that I can revise.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

A: Workshop your writing, take classes. Listen to other people; you don’t have to change things but do listen. Show, don’t tell. Be sure the story contains surprises. And work hard on your query letter to agents.

Q: What are you working on next?

A: I just finished the sequel to “The Crown.” It’s called “The Chalice,” and it follows Joanna and most of the primary characters from the first book but I add a LOT of new ones. Joanna “encounters” Thomas Cromwell in “The Chalice.” She has a new quest, one more dangerous than that of the first book.

Q: If you could read any book again for the first time, what would it be and why?
A: Daphne du Maurier’s “Rebecca.” I just think it’s a masterpiece of psychological suspense. The twist near the end—why Rebecca sought death—is in a class all by itself. And every time I read it, I am more impressed by du Maurier’s use of first person perspective.

Q: What authors have inspired you?

A: Besides Daphne de Maurier, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, A.S. Byatt, Edith Wharton, Henry James, Norah Lofts, P.D. James, Mary Renault, Kate Mosse, Katherine Neville, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Jackson, and George RR Martin.

About The Crown...

SYNOPSIS

An aristocratic young nun must find a legendary crown in order to save her father—and preserve the Catholic faith from Cromwell’s ruthless terror.  The year is 1537... 

Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the sacred rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London. 

The ruthless Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, takes terrifying steps to force Joanna to agree to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may hold the ability to end the Reformation. Accompanied by two monks, Joanna returns home to Dartford Priory and searches in secret for this long-lost piece of history worn by the Saxon King Athelstan in 937 during the historic battle that first united Britain. 

But Dartford Priory has become a dangerous place, and when more than one dead body is uncovered, Joanna departs with a sensitive young monk, Brother Edmund, to search elsewhere for the legendary crown. From royal castles with tapestry-filled rooms to Stonehenge to Malmesbury Abbey, the final resting place of King Athelstan, Joanna and Brother Edmund must hurry to find the crown if they want to keep Joanna’s father alive. At Malmesbury, secrets of the crown are revealed that bring to light the fates of the Black Prince, Richard the Lionhearted, and Katherine of Aragon’s first husband, Arthur. The crown’s intensity and strength are beyond the earthly realm and it must not fall into the wrong hands. 

With Cromwell’s troops threatening to shutter her priory, bright and bold Joanna must now decide who she can trust with the secret of the crown so that she may save herself, her family, and her sacred way of life. This provocative story melds heart-stopping suspense with historical detail and brings to life the poignant dramas of women and men at a fascinating and critical moment in England’s past. 

About Nancy Bilyeau

Nancy Bilyeau has worked on the staffs of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. Most recently, she served as deputy editor at InStyle magazine. 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. Her screenplay "Loving Marys" reached the finalist stage with Page International Screenwriting Awards and Scriptapalooza. A native of the Midwest, she earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. The Crown is her first novel.

Some earlier milestones: In 1661, Nancy's ancestor, Pierre Billiou, emigrated from France to what was then New Amsterdam when he and his family sailed on the St. Jean de Baptiste to escape persecution for their Protestant beliefs. Pierre built the first stone house on Staten Island and is considered the borough's founder. His little white house is on the national register of historic homes and is still standing to this day.

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

For more information, please visit Nancy Bilyeau's WEBSITE.

Giveaway Information

- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).
- Giveaway is open to US ONLY.
- For +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries. 
- For +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page.
- For +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook.  You can use the SHARE buttons below.
- Giveaway ends on January 15th.

Good luck to you all and enjoy the tour!

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Kick-off day for At the Mercy of the Queen Virtual Book Tour w/Giveaway!

Welcome to the kick-off day for Anne Clinard Barnhill's Virtual Book Tour for her novel, At the Mercy of the Queen, which is being released today in stores!  Please join me in saying Happy Release Day to Anne!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting a giveaway of Anne's wonderful novel and one lucky reader will be winning a copy of At the Mercy of the Queen: A Novel of Anne Boleyn!

To follow the tour fun on the blogosphere, the tour schedule can be found HERE!

About At the Mercy of the Queen

SYNOPSIS

A sweeping tale of sexual seduction and intrigue at the court of Henry VIII, At the Mercy of the Queen is a rich and dramatic debut historical about Madge Shelton, cousin and lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn.

At the innocent age of fifteen, Lady Margaret Shelton arrives at the court of Henry VIII and quickly becomes the confidante of her cousin, Queen Anne Boleyn. But she soon finds herself drawn into the perilous web of Anne’s ambition.

Desperate to hold onto the king’s waning affection, Anne schemes to have him take her guileless young cousin as mistress, ensuring her husband’s new paramour will owe her loyalty to the queen. But Margaret has fallen deeply in love with a handsome young courtier. She is faced with a terrible dilemma: give herself to the king and betray the love of her life or refuse to become his mistress and jeopardize the life of the her cousin, Queen Anne.

About Anne Clinard Barnhill

Anne Cli­nard Barn­hill has been writ­ing or dream­ing of writ­ing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has pub­lished arti­cles, book and the­ater reviews, poetry, and short sto­ries. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like grow­ing up with an autis­tic sis­ter. Her work has won var­i­ous awards and grants. Barn­hill holds an M.F.A. in Cre­ative Writ­ing from the Uni­ver­sity of North Car­olina at Wilm­ing­ton. Besides writ­ing, Barn­hill also enjoys teach­ing, con­duct­ing writ­ing work­shops, and facil­i­tat­ing sem­i­nars to enhance cre­ativ­ity. She loves spend­ing time with her three grown sons and their fam­i­lies. For fun, she and her hus­band of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.

For more information, please visit Anne Clinard Barnhill's WEBSITE.

Giveaway Information

- To enter, please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).
- Giveaway is open to US ONLY.
- For +5 additional entries become a follower of Passages to the Past. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries. 
- For +3 additional entries join the Passages to the Past FB Page.
- For +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook.  You can use the SHARE buttons below.
- Giveaway ends on January 13th.

Good luck to you all and enjoy the tour!
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