Giveaway: Thread of Gold Beads by Nike Campbell-Fatoki

As part of Nike Campbell-Fatoki's virtual tour for Thread of Gold Beads, Passages to the Past is pleased to bring you a giveaway!

Nike is on tour from September 23 - October 5, so be sure to check out the full schedule of stops below.

Thread of Gold BeadsPublication Date: November 16, 2012
Three Magi Publishing
Paperback; 412p
ISBN-10: 0988193205

Amelia, daughter of the last independent King of Danhomè, King Gbèhanzin, is the apple of her father’s eye, loved beyond measure by her mother, and overprotected by her siblings. She searches for her place within the palace amidst conspirators and traitors to the Kingdom. Just when Amelia begins to feel at home in her role as a Princess, a well-kept secret shatters the perfect life she knows. Someone else within the palace also knows and does everything to bring the secret to light. A struggle between good and evil ensues causing Amelia to leave all that she knows and loves. She must flee Danhomè with her brother, to south-western Nigeria. In a faraway land, she finds the love of a new family and God. The well-kept secret thought to have been dead and buried, resurrects with the flash of a thread of gold beads. Amelia must fight for her life and what is left of her soul. 

Set during the French-Danhomè war of the late 1890s in Benin Republic and early 1900s in Abeokuta and Lagos, South-Western Nigeria, Thread of Gold Beads is a delicate love story, and coming of age of a young girl. It clearly depicts the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversities. 

Praise for Thread of Gold Beads

"A highly competent contribution to the growing genre of popular historical fiction in Africa" - Sefi Atta, author of A Bit of A Difference, Swallow, Everything Good Will Come. Winner of Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa

"At the heart of Thread of Gold Beads stands Princess Amelia, an intelligent, courageous young woman who loses everything when the 1892 French invasion of Dahomey forces her to seek refuge in South-Western Nigeria. Following a series of unexpected twists, Amelia's journey mirrors that of her Nigerian-born mother as secrets and betrayals threaten her hard-fought peace of mind. Through a cast of distinct characters, Campbell-Fatoki presents an intriguing coming of age story that captures the majesty of a 19th century African kingdom."-Yejide Kilanko, author of Daughters Who Walk This Path 

Book Trailer

Buy Links

Author Website  
Amazon UK
About the Author

Nike Campbell-FatokiNike Campbell-Fatoki was born in Lvov, Ukraine to Nigerian parents. She spent her formative years in Lagos, Nigeria, listening to stories and folktales told by her maternal Grandparents. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Howard University and a Master of Arts degree in International Development from American University, Washington, DC. Presently, she is a Budget and Finance Manager in the municipal government in the Washington DC area. She is an avid reader. She loves traveling, watching movies and listening to music. She is also the Founder of Eclectic Goodies, a party favors and gifts packaging company. She lives in the Washington DC area with her husband and three sons.

For more information please visit Nike's website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ or follow the Facebook page for the book. 

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, September 23
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, September 24
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, September 25
Giveaway at From Left to Write

Thursday, September 26
Guest Post & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Monday, September 30
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 1
Review at Turning the Pages

Wednesday, October 2
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Friday, October 4
Review at Unabridged Chick

Saturday, October 5
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick


Passages to the Past has one copy of Thread of Gold Beads up for grabs. Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only and ends on October 10. To enter, please complete form below. Good Luck! 

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Guest Post by M.K. Tod and Int'l Giveaway of Unravelled

Dear readers, please help me welcome M.K. Tod, author of the newly released novel, Unravelled, to Passages to the Past. M.K. is here today to talk about our favorite subject, historical fiction, and she is also generously offering up one copy of her novel as a giveaway!

Take it away, M.K.....

Ingredients of favorite historical fiction ~ by M.K. Tod

The 2012 survey I conducted showed that the top three reasons people read historical fiction are to bring the past to life, to enjoy a great story and to understand and learn. But what is the magic formula that makes the very best historical fiction stand out?

In his book Hit Lit: Cracking the Code of the Twentieth Century’s Biggest Bestsellers, James W. Hall sets out twelve ingredients that drive bestsellers to the top of the charts. Hall examined blockbuster novels like Gone With the Wind, Jaws, The Da Vinci Code, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and The Godfather before concluding that best sellers incorporate the following: (1) an offer you can’t refuse (the fundamentals of good story telling), (2) controversy of the day, (3) colossal characters doing magnificent things on a sweeping stage, (4) America as paradise, (5) an abundance of facts and information, (6) inner workings of a secret society, (7) bumpkins versus city slickers, (8) God sells, (9) re-enactment of American national myths, (10) rebels, loners, misfits and mavericks, (11) fractured families, and (12) sex.

As I read Hall’s book, the question in my mind was whether the same ingredients apply to historical fiction. Over the past year of reading books written by top historical fiction authors as well as book reviews concerning their work and interviewing some of these authors on my blog, I’ve developed ten ingredients for success.

1. Superb writing. Similar to Hall’s first feature – an offer you can’t refuse – this ingredient covers prose, pacing, emotional resonance, plot twists and entertainment value. Table stakes for high quality fiction of any genre.
2. Dramatic arc of historical events. In essence, successful authors are masters at finding and selecting what Hilary Mantel calls ‘the dramatic shape in real events’.
3. Characters both heroic and human. Readers want to experience famous figures as believable characters complete with doubts and flaws. Readers also seek stories showing every day people accomplishing heroic tasks in times so different from today.
4. Immersed in time and place. Activating all senses, authors like Sharon Kay Penman, Bernard Cornwell, Margaret George and others transport readers to another era from the very first paragraphs of their novels.
5. Corridors of power. Whether ancient Rome, Tudor England or the American Civil War, best selling novels expose the structure, corruption and machinations of monarchy, military, religion, law, nobility, and upper-class society.
6. Authentic and educational. Readers love to learn. The hallmark of a top historical fiction author is meticulous research followed by carefully chosen information to create a seamless blend of history and story.
7. Ageless themes. Instead of Hall’s 'controversy of the day', favorite historical fiction dramatizes thought-provoking themes that are as important today as they were long ago.
8. High stakes. Life, kingdoms, epic battles, fortunes, marriage, family. In historical fiction, characters risk on a grand scale.
9. Love and sex. Men and women from long ago rarely chose their partners. Love was often thwarted. Women were pawns. Favorite authors incorporate this type of conflict. In addition, sex is frequently depicted as a turning point in the lives of heroes and heroines.
10. Dysfunctional families. Kings beheading their queens, brothers killing brothers, daughters betrothed at the age of six, incest, rivalry between father and son, wives banished or locked away – merely a few examples of dysfunctional family life that are the subjects of successful historical fiction.

So ... that's my take at the top ten ingredients of best selling historical fiction. I would truly appreciate hearing your thoughts!

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One Marriage. is available in paperback and e-book formats from Amazon and other e-retailers. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter or Goodreads

About the Book

Publication Date: August 15, 2013
Tod Publishing
Paperback; 440p
ISBN-10: 0991967011

In October 1935, Edward Jamieson's memories of war and a passionate love affair resurface when an invitation to a WWI memorial ceremony arrives. Though reluctant to visit the scenes of horror he has spent years trying to forget, Edward succumbs to the unlikely possibility of discovering what happened to Helene Noisette, the woman he once pledged to marry. Travelling through the French countryside with his wife Ann, Edward sees nothing but reminders of war. After a chance encounter with Helene at the dedication ceremony, Edward's past puts his present life in jeopardy.

When WWII erupts a few years later, Edward is quickly caught up in the world of training espionage agents, while Ann counsels grieving women and copes with the daily threats facing those she loves. And once again, secrets and war threaten the bonds of marriage.

With events unfolding in Canada, France and England, UNRAVELLED is a compelling novel of love, duty and sacrifice set amongst the turmoil of two world wars.


Passages to the Past has one copy of Unravelled up for grabs.  The giveaway is open internationally and ends on October 7.  To enter, please complete the form below.
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Guest Post & Giveaway: Castles, Customs and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors

Passages to the Past is very excited to bring you a guest post by author M.M. Bennetts and a giveaway of Castles, Customs and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors, which is a a selection of essays from the English Historical Fiction Authors blog

Take it away, M.M.....

I'm genuinely excited about this book. No, I truly am! I think there's so much intriguing information here, and I love great big books--they're so friendly, don't you think? Like a tub of Ben & Jerry's for the mind and with no sharing...

Wait a hold-it. That's not what I meant to say. What I meant to say is how much I've loved and enjoyed being an editor for this new collection of history essays--a compilation of the best--from the English Historical Fiction Authors called Castles, Customs, and Kings...

You see, over the past decades, historical fiction has changed a great deal.

It's not just the printed equivalent of movies about Vikings or Robin Hood made during the 1950s anymore--remember those? Now--and I'm not the only one I've been delighted to discover--novelists invest huge amounts of time and energy rootling out not just the names and dates, but the details of daily life so that they can write convincingly and accurately about whatever period they're exploring. There's none of this, "there was a battle here on this date..."

Now, novelists are searching out the weather conditions, the state of the roads, what wigs were made of, how were fields plowed during the middle ages, the methods of washing clothes circa 1800 and things like that. And they're doing it so that they can bring it all alive when they go to write it. It's absolutely fascinating what they're uncovering! It's nothing short of the essential fabric of daily life, whether at the court of Eleanor of Acquitane or in a Georgian thieves' kitchen...

And the English Historical Fiction Authors blog is the fruit of all that research. Because the reality is that for 10,000 words one reads of research (in my case that's more like one million words...) that probably works out as two sentences in a novel. Or something like that.

So it's an opportunity for all of these novelists--all of them treating different periods of English history--to write some of this stuff up, all these fascinating little tidbits they've discovered, and share them...And this wonderful book, Castles, Customs and Kings is the celebration of the first year of these blogs by some 55 different authors.

You know, I may have the reputation for being a walking encyclopaedia, but there was so much in this compendium that I didn't know, so much that engaged my imagination and informed my understanding, that I can't speak highly enough about it and the authors who contributed.

So I'm excited about it. It's one book about which I feel with all my heart, "What's not to love?" If you love history, or just love a good historical romance, this book will delight, intrigue, engage and fascinate you. It's that good...and that much fun. And so full of "I never knew that" moments that it is, well, as I say, that tub of Ben and Jerry's for the mind but with no sharing.

About the Book

Castles, Customs and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors
Edited by Debra Brown and M.M. Bennetts

Publication Date: September 23, 2013
Madison Street Publishing
Paperback; 546p
ISBN: 0983671966

A compilation of essays from the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, this book provides a wealth of historical information from Roman Britain to early twentieth century England. Over fifty different authors share hundreds of real life stories and tantalizing tidbits discovered while doing research for their own historical novels.

From Queen Boadicea’s revolt to Tudor ladies-in-waiting, from Regency dining and dress to Victorian crime and technology, immerse yourself in the lore of Great Britain. Read the history behind the fiction and discover the true tales surrounding England’s castles, customs, and kings.

Passages to the Past has one copy up for grabs. To enter, please completed form below. Giveaway is open to US, Canada and UK residents and ends on October 5th.

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2014 Release: Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson

Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Howard Books
Paperback; 320p
ISBN-10: 1476746117

A courageous young noblewoman risks her life to hide French resistance fighters; seventy years later, her granddaughter visits the family’s abandoned chateau and uncovers shocking secrets from the past.

Gisèle Duchant guards a secret that could cost her life. Tunnels snake through the hill under her family’s medieval chateau in Normandy. Now, with Hitler’s army bearing down, her brother and several friends are hiding in the tunnels, resisting the German occupation of France.

But when German soldiers take over the family’s château, Gisèle is forced to host them as well—while harboring the resistance fighters right below their feet. Taking in a Jewish friend’s baby, she convinces the Nazis that it is her child, ultimately risking everything for the future of the child. When the German officers begin to suspect her deception, an unlikely hero rescues both her and the child.

A present day story weaves through the past one as Chloe Salvare, Gisèle’s granddaughter, arrives in Normandy. After calling off her engagement with a political candidate, Chloe pays a visit to the chateau to escape publicity and work with a documentary filmmaker, Riley, who has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler’s army. Riley wants to research Chloe’s family history and the lives that were saved in the tunnels under their house in Normandy. Chloe is floored—her family isn’t Jewish, for one thing, and she doesn’t know anything about tunnels or the history of the house. But as she begins to explore the dark and winding passageways beneath the chateau, nothing can prepare her for the shock of what she and Riley discover…

With emotion and intrigue, Melanie Dobson brings World War II France to life in this beautiful novel about war, family, sacrifice, and the secrets of the past.

Blog Tour Giveaway: The Study of Murder by Susan McDuffie

As part of Susan McDuffie's virtual book tour, Passages to the Past is pleased to bring you a giveaway of her latest release, The Study of Murder (Book Three, Muirteach MacPhee Mystery Series).

Susan will on tour through September 25, scroll down to see the full schedule.

The Study of MurderPublication Date: September 18, 2013
Five Star Publishing
Hardcover; 264p
ISBN-10: 1432827200

The Study of Murder pits Scottish sleuth Muirteach MacPhee against a mysterious adversary in the medieval town of Oxford in 1374.At the command of the Lord of the Isles, Muirteach and his wife Mariota accompany Donald, the lord's surly thirteen-year-old son, to Oxford where Donald is to enroll in university. Shortly after their arrival a winsome tavern maid disappears. At his charge's insistence, Muirteach attempts to help Undersheriff Grymbaud with the investigation, as well as keep Donald at his studies and out of the taverns. He has little success with either venture, although the discovery of some bizarre and suggestive drawings on old parchments piques the curiosity of Donald and his peers. Meanwhile, Mariota thirsts to attend medical lectures at the schools, which are closed to women, and seeks a way to gain admittance to them. When an Oxford master is found brutally bludgeoned to death, Grymbaud asks Muirteach to investigate the slaying. The eventual arrest of an aged servant at the college stirs the ever-simmering discord between townsfolk and university students. The unrest culminates in riots and another senseless killing occurs, endangering Mariota. Gleaning clues from a cryptic manuscript and desperate to save his wife, a determined Muirteach tracks a wily killer through a dark and twisted labyrinth of deceit.

Praise for The Study of Murder

"THE STUDY OF MURDER is a worthy addition to Susan McDuffie's 14th century Hebridean mystery series. Muirteach and Mariota may be in an alien world, when they accompany the son of the Lord of the Isles to Oxford, but neither town nor gown can match their clever wits in solving crime. This book is a treat for those of us eager for a fresh era, well-integrated history, and a host of interesting characters." - Priscilla Royal, author of the Prioress Eleanor/Brother Thomas Mysteries

Buy Links

Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

About the Author
Susan McDuffie has been a fan of historical fiction since childhood. As a child, Susan spent such vast amounts of time reading historical fiction that she wondered if she was mistakenly born in the wrong century. As an adult her discovery that Clorox was not marketed prior to 1922 reconciled her to life in this era. Susan’s first published works were two Regency short stories in Regency Press anthologies.

Susan’s childhood interest in Scotland was fueled by stories of the McDuffie clan’s ancestral lands on Colonsay and their traditional role as “Keeper of the Records” for the Lord of the Isles. On her first visit to Scotland she hitchhiked her way through the Hebrides and the seeds for the medieval Muirteach MacPhee mysteries were planted.

The Muirteach mysteries include A MASS FOR THE DEAD (2006), THE FAERIE HILLS (2011), and THE STUDY OF MURDER (September 2013). The New Mexico Book Awards named THE FAERIE HILLS “Best Historical Novel” of 2011. Currently plotting Muirteach’s next adventure, Susan shares her life with a Native American artist and four unruly cats, and enjoys taking flamenco dance classes in her spare time. She loves to hear from readers and her website is

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, September 16
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, September 17
Guest Post at HF Connection

Wednesday, September 18
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, September 19
Review at Reading the Ages

Friday, September 20
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Saturday, September 21
Review at Unabridged Chick

Sunday, September 22
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Monday, September 23
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, September 25
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick


Passages to the Past has one copy of The Study of Murder up for grabs. Giveaway is open internationally and ends on September 30. To enter, please complete form below. 

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HFVBT Blog Tour Giveaway: Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey (US only)

Today kicks off the virtual book tour for Juliet Grey's Confessions of Marie Antoinette, the third and final book in her Marie Antoinette trilogy, and I am very excited to be hosting a giveaway here at Passages to the Past.

Juliet will be on tour through October 16th, which happens to be the anniversary of Marie Antoinette's execution. To see the full schedule of stops please see below.

Confessions of Marie AntoinettePublication Date: September 24, 2013
Ballantine Books
Paperback; 464p
ISBN: 0345523903

Confessions of Marie Antoinette, the riveting and sweeping final novel in Juliet Grey’s trilogy on the life of the legendary French queen, blends rich historical detail with searing drama, bringing to life the early years of the French Revolution and the doomed royal family’s final days.

Versailles, 1789. As the burgeoning rebellion reaches the palace gates, Marie Antoinette finds her privileged and peaceful life swiftly upended by violence. Once her loyal subjects, the people of France now seek to overthrow the crown, placing the heirs of the Bourbon dynasty in mortal peril.

Displaced to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, the royal family is propelled into the heart of the Revolution. There, despite a few staunch allies, they are surrounded by cunning spies and vicious enemies. Yet despite the political and personal threats against her, Marie Antoinette remains above all a devoted wife and mother, standing steadfastly by her husband, Louis XVI, and protecting their young son and daughter. And though the queen and her family try to flee, and she secretly attempts to arrange their rescue from the clutches of the Revolution, they cannot outrun the dangers encircling them, or escape their shocking fate.

Juliet Grey Author Pic About the Author

Juliet Grey is the author of Becoming Marie Antoinette and Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow. She has extensively researched European royalty and is a particular devotee of Marie Antoinette, as well as a classically trained professional actress with numerous portrayals of virgins, vixens, and villainesses to her credit. She and her husband divide their time between New York City and southern Vermont. For more information please visit

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, September 18
Review at A Bookish Libraria
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Thursday, September 19
Review at Unabridged Chick

Friday, September 20
Review at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Monday, September 23
Review at Reading Treasure

Tuesday, September 24
Review at Diary of a Book Addict
Interview at Reading Treasure

Wednesday, September 25
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Interview at Diary of a Book Addict

Thursday, September 26
Guest Post & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, September 27
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Review & Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Monday, September 30
Review at The True Book Addict
Review at The Broke and the Bookish

Tuesday, October 1
Review & Giveaway at Bippity Boppity Book
Guest Post & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, October 2
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Author Live Chat at Scandalous Women

Thursday, October 3
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, October 4
Review & Interview at A Chick Who Reads

Monday, October 7
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Devourer of Books

Tuesday, October 8
Review at Medieval Bookworm
Interview at Layered Pages

Wednesday, October 9
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, October 10
Review at Between the Pages
Review at The Most Happy Reader

Friday, October 11
Review at A Writer's Life: Working with the Muse
Interview at Between the Pages

Monday, October 14
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, October 15
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden's Court

Wednesday, October 16
Review at Enchanted by Josephine


Passages to the Past has one copy of Confessions of Marie Antoinette up for grabs. Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 27th. To enter, please complete form below. Good luck!

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2014 Release: A King's Ransom by Sharon Kay Penman

I don't know about you, but I am counting down the days until the release of A King's Ransom, sequel to Lionheart, from Sharon Kay Penman!

Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Putnam Publishing
Hardcover; 448p
ISBN-10: 0399159223

From the New York Times-bestselling author of Lionheart comes the dramatic sequel, telling of the last dangerous years of Richard, Couer de Lion’s life.

This long-anticipated sequel to the national bestseller Lionheart is a vivid and heart-wrenching story of the last event-filled years in the life of Richard, Coeur de Lion. Taken captive by the Holy Roman Emperor while en route home—in violation of the papal decree protecting all crusaders—he was to spend fifteen months imprisoned, much of it in the notorious fortress at Trefils, from which few men ever left alive, while Eleanor of Aquitaine moved heaven and earth to raise the exorbitant ransom.

For the five years remaining to him, betrayals, intrigues, wars, and illness were ever present. So were his infidelities, perhaps a pattern set by his father’s faithlessness to Eleanor. But the courage, compassion, and intelligence of this warrior king became the stuff of legend, and A King’s Ransom brings the man and his world fully and powerfully alive.

2014 Release: The Island of Doves by Kelly O'Connor McNees

Having really enjoyed The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees, I am very much looking forward to this next release from her!

Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Berkley Trade
Paperback; 368p
ISBN-10: 0425264580

Vivid and enthralling, The Island of Doves tells the story of a courageous woman who is desperate for freedom and of those who will risk everything to help her…

Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her monstrous husband makes the home a terrible prison. When a local nun offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamship headed for Mackinac Island and a chance at freedom.

Magdelaine Fonteneau has seen her share of tragedy—a husband murdered before her eyes, two sisters lost—and she sees offering Susannah refuge in her island home as atonement for her many regrets. This act of kindness changes Susannah in ways she never could have imagined as she finds solace in the company of others who carry their own secrets and scars. Only together can they untangle their pasts—and find a future bright with the promise of new life…

About the Author

Kelly O'Connor McNees is the author of two novels, "The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott" and "In Need of a Good Wife." Born and raised in Michigan, Kelly found that books made good friends. Mary Lennox, Winnie Foster, Kit Tyler, Will Stanton, and a dozen other characters were as real to her as any of the kids on her block, and she decided that the best way to keep them around and provide them with some company was to become a writer herself. Kelly received her first rejection letter in tenth grade, from the fiction editor at "Seventeen," and has been writing her way back ever since. In the meantime, she has worked as a teacher and editor, and lives with her husband and daughter in Chicago. 

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