eBook Giveaway: Steering to Freedom by Patrick Gabridge

Today concludes Patrick Gabridge's Blog Tour for Steering to Freedom and I have one last chance for one of you to win a copy for your eReader!


Steering to Freedom by Patrick Gabridge

Publication Date: May 11, 2015
Publisher: Penmore Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 352

Genre: Historical Fiction

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A troubled country, a courageous heart, and the struggle for freedom. In May 1862, Robert Smalls, a slave and ship's pilot in Charleston, South Carolina, crafts a daring plan to steal the steamship Planter and deliver it, along with, the crew and their families to the Union blockade. After risking his life to escape slavery, Robert faces an even more difficult challenge: convincing Abraham Lincoln to enlist black troops. Based on a true story, Steering to Freedom tells the powerful and inspirational story of a young man who becomes the first black captain of a US military ship, while struggling to navigate a path to freedom for himself, his family, and his people.


"Steering to Freedom sweeps back the curtain on an extraordinary story of heroism and sacrifice. Escape is only the beginning. Robert Smalls doesn't just save himself: he brings out his family, his friends and his mates — and then he goes back, fighting not just the navies of the South but the deep-rooted prejudices and ignorance of the North. With a sure touch for historical detail and a mastery of the human condition, Patrick Gabridge brilliantly evokes the spirit of a time, a country in struggle, and the heart of a man at its center".— Mike Cooper, author of Clawback and Full Ratchet.

"In Patrick Gabridge’s meticulously crafted new novel Steering to Freedom, we’re treated to the gripping true tale of Captain Robert Smalls, a South Carolina slave who, after seizing his freedom, risked his life in a series of nautical adventures to win freedom for all of his enchained brothers and sisters. This powerful and inspirational story is skillfully and dramatically rendered by a writer who not only knows how to steer a good story, but who does so without losing sight of the heart-breaking humanity of his players." — Mark Dunn, author of Ella Minnow Pea and Under the Harrow.

"Engaging characters and captivating storytelling make this inspiring historical adventure a must-read. For readers who enjoy seeing history through the lens of imagination. " — Sophie Littlefield, author A Bad Day for Sorry and A Garden for Stones.

"Steering to Freedom brings to life the extraordinary true story of Captain Robert Smalls, an important figure in American Civil War history who should not be overlooked. This is an inspiring story of a hero: a slave who steals a steamship and navigates treacherous waters to lead his crew and their families to freedom. Yet in the hands of novelist Patrick Gabridge, Robert Smalls is entirely human, real, and relatable. Gabridge shows us a man whose highest ambitions are fueled by the important personal relationships in his life, especially his wife and children. With its cinematic scope, action-packed adventure, historical detail and emotional heft, Steering to Freedom will appeal to many audiences. " — Diana Renn author of Blue Voyage, and Latitude Zero.

"Patrick Gabridge's Steering to Freedom is a swashbuckling, page-turning epic set against the immaculately detailed backdrop of Charleston Harbor during the Civil War. Robert Smalls, a brilliant, resourceful slave, makes a daring and audacious bid for freedom. The story, based on actual events, reads with the freshness of fiction and the authenticity of truth. The characters from every walk of life earn your respect and then your admiration and finally your love. Patrick Gabridge has given us a whole new lens on the Civil War by bringing a previously unknown chapter to vivid, deeply moving, unforgettable life. — Laura Harrington, award winning author of Alice Bliss and selected for Barnes & Noble’s “Discover Great New Writers” program, and as an Entertainment Weekly "Best Reads of the Summer," and a Publishers Weekly First Fiction title.

In Steering to Freedom, Patrick Gabridge has intertwined history with a meticulous and moving narrative of Robert Smalls—Confederate steamboat pilot, family man, and slave—whose daring vision to claim freedom against all odds will grab the reader from the first page. —Jessica Maria Tuccelli, author of Glow.

03_Patrick GabridgeAbout the Author

Patrick Gabridge is an award-winning playwright, novelist, and screenwriter. His full-length plays include Flight, Distant Neighbors, Lab Rats, Constant State of Panic, and Blinders, and have been staged by theaters across the country. His passion for history extends to the stage, and his historical plays include work about the creation of the English Bible (Fire on Earth), the astronomers Kepler and Tycho (Reading the Mind of God), a volcanic eruption on Martinique (The Prisoner of St. Pierre), 19th century Boston publisher Daniel Sharp Ford (None But the Best), and the 1770 Boston Massacre (Blood on the Snow).

Patrick has been a Playwriting Fellow with the Huntington Theatre Company and with New Repertory. Recent commissions include plays and musicals for In Good Company, The Bostonian Society, Central Square Theatre, and Tumblehome Learning. His short plays are published by Playscripts, Brooklyn Publishers, Heuer, Smith & Kraus, and YouthPlays, and have received more than a thousand productions from theatres and schools around the world.

His other novels include Tornado Siren and Moving [a life in boxes]. His work for radio has been broadcast by NPR, Shoestring Radio Theatre, Playing on Air, and Icebox Radio Theatre.

Patrick has a habit of starting things: he helped start Boston’s Rhombus writers’ group, the Chameleon Stage theatre company in Denver, the Bare Bones Theatre company in New York, the publication Market InSight... for Playwrights, and the on-line Playwrights’ Submission Binge. He’s also a member of the Dramatists Guild, StageSource, and a board member of the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund. He is currently the co-founder and coordinator of the New England New Play Alliance and is actively involved with the Boston theater scene.

Patrick has received numerous awards for work, including fellowships from the Colorado Council on the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Commission. For more information visit Patrick Gabridge's website, or on his blog, The Writing Life x3.

You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 5
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 6
Spotlight at Carpe Librum
Spotlight & Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Wednesday, October 7
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Broken Teepee

Thursday, October 8
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, October 9
Spotlight & Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Saturday, October 10
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Tuesday, October 13
Excerpt & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Thursday, October 15
Spotlight at Genre Queen

Friday, October 16
Review at Beth's Book Nook Blog

Wednesday, October 21
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, October 22
Excerpt & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Sunday, October 25
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, October 26
Review at Worth Getting in Bed For

Tuesday, October 27
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Friday, October 30
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past


To win an eBook of Steering to Freedom please leave a comment below with your email address.


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 10th. 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.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Spirit of the Highway by Deborah Swift

Today kicks off Deborah Swift's Blog Tour for her latest release, the second book in her Highway Trilogy, Spirit of the Highway, and today I have a fascinating guest post from Deborah & a chance to win a signed copy!

Pallbearers, Grave Plots and Corpse Lights by Deborah Swift

My most recent novel, Spirit of the Highway, is narrated by a ghost, and as we are coming up to All Hallows Eve I thought it would be appropriate to share some information on seventeenth century funerals.

By the late seventeenth century the English were said to be famous for cheap weddings but extremely lavish funerals. It was not unusual for burials to be in the evening after the working day. Flambeaux-lit processions were de rigueur and mourners were supplied with black gloves, mourning rings, crepe hatbands and other trappings to denote their respect for the deceased. It must have been quite a sight to see this weaving its way through the village.

Funerals were an excuse to get together as a community, and before and after setting out it was customary to drink goblets of red wine laced with sugar and cinnamon, or spiced ale. This could be why the funerals took so long! And in fact they began to take so much time that an attempt was made to regulate them, and it was made law in 1689 that no funeral should last more than two hours. Those who did not obey this rule were fined and the proceeds given to the poor.

On the day of the funeral, the body was draped in a pall or ‘mort cloth’. The mort cloth was often velvet, sometimes with a rich lining, embellished with symbolic embroidery, and laden with gold thread and heavy fringes. Fortunately these could be hired, with simpler palls for the less well-off. Pall-bearers were often furnished with white silk scarves. Other mourners carried nosegays or sprigs of rosemary. Rosemary, with its pungent, slightly antiseptic smell no doubt hid bodily odours and was associated with remembrance. The sprigs were scattered into the grave as the body was covered in earth. Coffins were not universal, but became a cheaper alternative to hiring a mort-cloth, and soon gained in popularity.

Whether you died a Catholic or a Protestant, the clergy were notorious for demanding outrageous fees; In 1641 Katherine Childley complained that to have a child buried in London would ‘cost the poorest parent seven or eight shillings,’ and even for the unfortunate inmates of Bedlam charges of more than a shilling were common. Average middling class earnings were about £5 a year, so Katherine Childley would have been paying out a substantial part of the family income to bury her child. Sometimes clergymen refused to bury the corpse unless paid in advance! In 1605 in one poor parish, Agnes Betson refused to pay the 15 pence demanded for the burial of her child.

Often relatives were more closely united in death in the family plot than they ever had been in life. Some wealthy men requested burial alongside the paternal line, rather than with their spouse, which indicates a strong adherence to the class systems of the day over and above the intimacy of married life. Wealthy families liked to be interred in the actual church, supposedly closer to God, but this was more expensive as it involved taking up flagstones. It could only be sanctioned for the most wealthy and high status families.

Richard Browne complained of this practice of ‘making churches charnel houses being of ill and irreverent example, and prejudicial to the health of the living, besides the continual disturbance of the pavement and seats, the ground sinking as the carcases consume, and several other indecencies.’

A rich variety of folklore and custom was associated with death and burial. Common superstitions surrounding death were a belief that the spirit of the deceased escaped through the mouth. The mouth was therefore often stopped with herbs or coins once the spirit had departed. Bells were tolled to prevent the ghost’s return and to frighten away evil spirits. Nine bells for a man, six for a woman and three for a child.

The feet of the corpse had to be kept pointing away from the family home on its journey to the church, to prevent the deceased wanting to walk back home. Also the route often went over bridges or stepping stones across running water which it was believed spirits would not be able to cross. The corpse light, the supposed soul of the dead, was supposed to linger on these roads, and there were many accounts of people seeing them, for ghosts and spirits were widely accepted as part of everyday life right up until the 20th century.

Markate Manor
 The ghosts of my characters Lady Katherine Fanshawe and Highwayman Ralph Chaplin still haunt Markyate Manor where my novel is set.

About the Book

01_Spirit of the Highway

Spirit of the Highway (Highway Trilogy, Book II) by Deborah Swift

Publication Date: September 30, 2015
Endeavor Press
eBook & Paperback; 292 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult

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England 1651.

England has been engaged in a bitter Civil War for nearly ten years. Ralph Chaplin, a farmer’s son, has fallen for beautiful copper-haired Kate. There is only one problem – he is a Roundhead soldier and she is a Royalist lady.

Tired of bloodshed, Ralph volunteers to fight, sensing that the Battle at Worcester will be a chance to finish the fighting for good. He longs for peace, so he can forge a secure future and find a different, more equal way of life for himself and Kate.

But war is not what he imagined, and soon he has made a deadly enemy; one who will pursue Ralph and those he loves, and wreak vengeance. What’s more, Ralph finds he has just as many enemies at home, as on the battlefield.

Told by Ralph’s ghost, Spirit of the Highway is the stand-alone second part of the Highway Trilogy based on the real life and legend of Lady Katherine Fanshawe, highwaywoman and heiress.

Praise for Deborah Swift

"The past comes alive through impeccable research, layers of intriguing plot line, an understanding of the complexities of 17th century politics and the sheer power of descriptive prose." -Lancashire Evening Post

"characters you can really get interested in" -The Mum website

Praise for Shadow on the Highway (Book One, Highway Trilogy)

"Shadow on the Highway is an awesome work of YA historical fiction. It is definitely my new favorite Deborah Swift book!" -So Many Books So Little Time Blog

"Swift brings layers of historical and imaginative detail to her stories and I highly recommend as a light read for any adult and for teenagers interested into foraying into historical fiction." -Hook of a Book Blog

"Shadow on the Highway is an exciting peek into the English Civil War from both sides of the fighting... I very much look forward to the next two books in this trilogy!" -Historical Tapestry

02_Deborah SwiftAbout the Author

Deborah Swift is the author of three previous historical novels for adults, The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance, all published by Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, as well as the Highway Trilogy for teens (and anyone young at heart!). Her first novel was shortlisted for the Impress prize for new novelists.

She lives on the edge of the beautiful and literary English Lake District - a place made famous by the poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 26
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight & Excerpt at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 28
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, October 29
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, November 2
Review at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, November 3
Spotlight & Excerpt at Brooke Blogs

Thursday, November 5
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Friday, November 6
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Just One More Chapter
Guest Post at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf


To win a signed paperback of Spirit of the Highway please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Three copies up for grabs!


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 6th. 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.

Spirit of the Highway

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2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: October Reviews

Welcome to the October link page for the 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This is the page where you will enter the links to your reviews during the month of October 2015.

Visit the link pages for past months:

January 2015
February 2015
March 2015
April 2015
May 2015
June 2015
July 2015
August 2015
September 2015

If you haven't already signed up for the challenge, it's not too late! The sign up post is here.

HF 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!

Please leave your links for your October reviews in Mr. Linky below or if you don't have a blog, in the comments below.

If you have any questions or need assistance please email Amy at passagestothepast.com.

Mister Linky's Magical Widgets -- Easy-Linky widget will appear right here!
This preview will disappear when the widget is displayed on your site.
If this widget does not appear, click here to display it.

Kate Morton on Blog Tour for The Lake House!

The uber-amazing Kate Morton is currently on Blog Tour with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Lake House! Check out the schedule below to see where you can catch reviews of her latest novel.

02_The Lake House 

The Lake House by Kate Morton

Publication Date: October 20, 2015
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 512 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

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From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heart-stopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is an enthralling, thoroughly satisfying read.


03_Kate MortonAbout the Author

Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specializing in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary Gothic novels.

Kate Morton has sold over 7.5 million copies in 26 languages, across 38 countries. Her novels include The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, and The Secret Keeper.

You can find more information about Kate Morton and her books at www.katemorton.com or www.facebook.com/KateMortonAuthor

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 5
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, October 6
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 15
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Monday, October 19
Review at The Baking Bookworm

Tuesday, October 20
Review at Unshelfish
Review at Luxury Reading

Wednesday, October 21
Review at Book Drunkard
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, October 26
Review at Beth's Book Nook

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, October 28
Review at The Maiden's Court

Thursday, October 29
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, October 30
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Sunday, November 1
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Monday, November 2
Review at A Book Geek
Review at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, November 3
Review at Bookish
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, November 4
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Words and Peace

Thursday, November 5
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Kinx's Book Nook

Friday, November 6
Review at A Literary Vacation
Review at Curling Up By the Fire

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Guest Post by Christina E. Pilz, author of Oliver & Jack At Lodgings in Lyme

Author Christina E. Pilz is on Blog Tour with HF Virtual Book Tours for Oliver & Jack At Lodgings in Lyme, the sequel to Fagin's Boy, and I have a fascinating guest post that I'm so exited to share with you!

I have a giveaway going on as well, so be sure to enter here!

Boys Kissing Boys In 1846 And The Trouble They Could Get Into

Thank you to Passages to the Past for allowing me to be a guest blogger today. It was suggested to me that I write about the issues and dangers facing gay couples in Victorian London in the year 1846, which is the location and era about which I write. I’m currently working on a series of books that collectively are a sequel to Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, staring Oliver Twist and his good buddy, Jack Dawkins (aka The Artful Dodger).

I’m not an expert on gay history, or on criminal justice in Victorian England, but I do pretend to be one when I write my books about Oliver and Jack. That is, I know enough (I think) about that era and use that knowledge to add enough realism to make the story vivid, while not at the same time bogging the reader down with too many facts. For as many a writer of historical fiction knows, doing the research is almost more fun than anything else and can sometimes take over the actual story.

So here’s what I know, or believe I have pinned down, about what my characters are risking by being in love with each other, and by celebrating that love with carnal relations.

The first problem is not just that Oliver and Jack are having intimate and passionate sexy-fun-times, it is that, in addition, they both have shady activities in their respective resumes.

To start with, Jack Dawkins (aka The Artful Dodger) is a pickpocket, which could earn him (and did) a one-way ticket to Australia as a transported convict. Moreover, he associates with thieves and doesn’t really have a job, for which he could be labeled a rogue and a vagabond, and be interred anywhere from three months to a year of hard labor. Also, for larceny and pickpocketing, corporal punishment would have been his reward. So, poor Jack, no matter which way he turned, he would be in trouble. In Victorian England, it can’t get much worse for Jack.

As for Oliver Twist, he is an orphan, to be sure, but he is the son of a rich gentleman, Edwin Leeford, and a lady, Agnes Fleming. He stands to inherit 3,000 pounds upon reaching the age of twenty-one. But that is years away, and so Oliver must either get a job, or hit the streets with Jack. Early on in the series, he messed up the job he had, and is supported by odd jobs and Jack’s talent at picking pockets.

Since he doesn’t have a fixed address or any notable and continuous employment, he too, could be arrested for being a rogue and a vagabond, for which he could be held for several month’s hard labor. For Oliver, it could also get much worse, if the law ever able to connect him to a particular breaking and entering job for a certain townhome on Doughty Lane, or perhaps his old boss takes it on to press full charges on Oliver for assault and battery.

That is not to say, as much as it might sound, that Oliver and Jack have been going around willy-nilly breaking the law and laughing off the consequences. Hopefully in my books I’ve established that these acts do have consequences, even if my boys don’t go to jail for them. (Well, Oliver went to Newgate, but the charges, luckily, were dismissed.) But in spite of their luck at avoiding arrest and prosecution for various and sundry crimes of no one would approve, the most dangerously illegal thing that Oliver and Jack get up to is loving each other.

Criminal courts for young offenders
To clarify, according to www.oldbaileyonline.org (and other sources), up until the year 1861, “penetrative homosexual acts committed by men were punishable by death.” The act of sodomy had to be proven by two witnesses who could state that both penetration and ejaculation had occurred. Except that it was hard to prove, so the courts did what they could to punish those sodomites brought before them.

Hanging at Newgate Prison
Eventually, based on the difficulty of proving sodomy had occurred, the crime of sodomitical intent was invented. Sodomitical intent meant that someone could be charged with attempted intercourse where it was considered undesirable, and certainly, sex between two men would top that list.

Sodimitical Intent

According to The Old Bailey records, sodomitical intent was considered a misdemeanor, which could be punishable by a fine (in lieu of branding), whipping (by this time private, within the walls of the prison, rather than public), the pillory (abolished in 1837), or imprisonment (could take a number of forms and last a variety of months or years). The courts did take care to get evidence, because they discovered that accusations of sodimitical intent could be used for coercion and blackmail.

Corporal Punishment
Perhaps even worse than the legal complications that could arise, should Oliver and Jack ever do the shimmy-shimmy in bed with or without two enemies to witness the deed, would be the social ramifications that they would suffer. Nice people didn’t have sex out of wedlock, let alone with someone of their own gender. Basically, in 1846, sex was considered unnatural and detestable, reprehensible and disgusting, and nobody was having any.

Though, if you were to look up the growth in birth rates at this time, you would see that in 1801, there were 8.9 million people in England, which grew to 15.9 million in 1841, which was an increase of 44%, so SOMEONE was having sex. As well, if you count the number of prostitutes in London at the time, they grew from 6,731 in 1839 to 9,404 in 1841, which is an increase of 33% in just two years, so it’s easy to see that the whole notion of chastity in Victorian times was one big sham.

In addition to the legal ramifications if Oliver and Jack were caught kissing, there was the social and religious stigma attached to homosexuality.

From the Behavior and Not a Person site, I found a marvelous background on how homosexuality was defined as a moral sin. And, because of King Henry VIII and The Buggery Act of 1533, (which defined buggery as “unnatural sexual act against the will of God and man”) if you got caught doing it “per anum,” you got the death penalty. In spite of the fact that The Buggery Act was repealed and modified a number of times, it still retained a mental permanency on the culture as being a Bad Thing. So as you can imagine, not only could dear Oliver and Jack have all kinds of legal trouble if caught kissing, they would also face the wrath of God, and the wrath of any friends or relatives that might be super church-going.

Having been brought up in a den of thieves, Jack probably couldn’t give a rat’s rooty-toot about anything anybody might say about him being together with Oliver. Which makes Jack a much more easy-going soul about the whole thing, and a pleasure to write about.

As for Oliver, the social stigma of what he and Jack are to each other, and the kind of love that they share, is probably almost too much for him to bear. Or at least you would think so, based on the fact that he was raised on a baby farm for nine years and spent six to nine months (depending on how you count the timeline in Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens) at a workhouse—and all of that time under the tutelage and care of people who were supposed to be Good Christians.

However, I always remember the fact that, upon being asked by the Board of Directors of the workhouse where he is about to be admitted, if he says his prayers every night, Oliver replies yes, even though he has no idea what the board is talking about because nobody has ever taught him how to pray.

Nowhere in the book Oliver Twist does Oliver ever go to church, except perhaps there might be some reference to it at the end of the book, when he’s 12. At that point, I think Oliver would have enjoyed the peace and quiet of a country church, but I do not believe that he would have absorbed much of Christian doctrine, except perhaps enough to look and act pious when it was expected of him.

To put it another way, he would have acted pious because it was the fashion to do so. Otherwise I cannot explain him falling in to Jack’s arms in 1846 with hardly a protestation! Because that is what he does. Jack is patient and kind and he feeds Oliver, which Oliver is a sucker for, and after much flirting, it is Oliver who makes the first move. Every now and then, I feel as though I should have had Oliver react in horror at what Jack suggests they do together, but somehow it never felt right. Which results in a character who sometimes wonders if he should be more aghast at how he feels about his beloved Jack. And that makes Oliver a very interesting and complex to write about.

About the Book

02_Oliver & Jack_Cover

Oliver & Jack At Lodgings in Lyme (Fagin's Boy, Book 2) by Christina E. Pilz

Publication Date: June 14, 2015
Blue Rain Press
eBook & Paperback; 450 Pages
Genre: Historical/LGBT/M/M Romance

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An ex-apprentice and his street thief companion flee the dangers of Victorian London and the threat of the hangman’s noose in search of family and the promise of a better life.

After Oliver Twist commits murder to protect Jack Dawkins (The Artful Dodger), both must flee London’s familiar but dangerous environs for safety elsewhere. Together they travel to Lyme Regis in the hopes of finding Oliver’s family. Along the way, Jack becomes gravely ill and Oliver is forced to perform manual labor to pay for the doctor’s bills.

While Oliver struggles to balance his need for respectability with his growing love for Jack, Jack becomes disenchanted with the staid nature of village life and his inability to practice his trade. But in spite of their personal struggles, and in the face of dire circumstances, they discover the depth of their love for each other.

03_Christina E. PilzAbout the Author

Christina was born in Waco, Texas in 1962. After living on a variety of air force bases, in 1972 her Dad retired and the family moved to Boulder, Colorado. There amidst the clear, dry air of the high plains, as the moss started to grow beneath her feet, her love for historical fiction began with a classroom reading of Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

She attended a variety of community colleges (Tacoma Community College) and state universities (UNC-Greeley, CU-Boulder, CU-Denver), and finally found her career in technical writing, which, between layoffs, she has been doing for 18 years. During that time, her love for historical fiction and old-fashioned objects, ideas, and eras has never waned.

In addition to writing, her interests include road trips around the U.S. and frequent flights to England, where she eats fish and chips, drinks hard cider, and listens to the voices in the pub around her. She also loves coffee shops, mountain sunsets, prairie storms, and the smell of lavender. She is a staunch supporter of the Oxford comma.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 28
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 29
Review at Bibliotica
Spotlight at I Heart Reading

Wednesday, September 30
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, October 1
Spotlight at Book Nerd

Monday, October 5
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, October 6
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, October 9
Spotlight at History Undressed

Tuesday, October 13
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, October 14
Review at Broken Teepee

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