Review: Shakespeare's Witch by Samantha Grosser


Shakespeare's Witch by Samantha Grosser

Publication Date: March 20, 2019
Sam Grosser Books
eBook & Paperback; 358 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.

A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.

Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations.

The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide?

Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Madness, the supernatural, magic, and passion combine in this dark and chilling novel, Shakespeare's Witch, the latest from author Samantha Grosser.

Wow, I have a massive book hangover today and it's all due to Shakespeare's Witch! For the past few days I have been immersed in Grosser's captivating novel set around Shakespeare's play, Macbeth.

Set in the early 1600s, Will Shakespeare is about to start his new play, Macbeth, and asks Sarah to consult the spirits and see into the future. What she sees frigtens her and she begs Will to not put on the play. He doesn't listen, and the performance goes forward.

'The play has conjured evil spirits,' she said. 'These are what haunt your dreams. Your words have opened doors to them.'

Sarah and her half-brother Tom work with Shakespeare at his theater despite their Puritan father's disapproval. Their mother taught them magic and they both dabble in the occult, which leads them to trouble. Witchcraft is highly illegal at the time and the punishment is hanging.

Despite my initial misgivings on a particular ascpect of the novel (sorry for being vague, I don't want to give too much away), once I finished the book I could see that's what made the book work so well. I feel it captured the macabre atmosphere of Macbeth play perfectly.

I am a huge fan of unique reads, so I definitely enjoyed Shakespeare's Witch! Grosser's writing talent is stellar and I stayed engrossed the entire time. Only when I reached the end did I realize I was holding my breath. It's one of those books that when you finish, you just sit back and have to finish digesting it all. The power of the book really hits you at the end.

For those that enjoy their reads on the darker side and don't mind some sexy scenes, this is the book for you!

Disclaimer: This book contains graphic sex, incest, and the occult.

About the Author

Historical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.

Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.

Samantha has an Honours Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair, and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, March 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, March 21
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Friday, March 22
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, March 23
Feature at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 25
Review at Amy's Booket List

Tuesday, March 26
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, March 29
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, March 31
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 1
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, April 4
Interview at Hisdoryan

Monday, April 8
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, April 9
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Wednesday, April 10
Review at Macsbooks

Friday, April 12
Review at A Book Geek

Monday, April 15
Review at Donna's Book Blog
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, April 16
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of Shakespeare's Witch! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & UK only.
– Only one entry per household.
– No sweepstakes accounts please.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Shakespeare's Witch


New Release: Josephine's Daughter by A.B. Michaels

One of my most highly anticipated reads this year was just released! I love this series and can't wait to read this one!


Josephine's Daughter by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: March 10, 2019
Red Trumpet Press
eBook; 395 Pages


What's worse than a mother like Josephine? Turning out to be just like her.

In the late nineteenth century, wealthy and headstrong Kit Firestone chafes under the strictures of the Golden City’s high society, especially the interference of her charming but overbearing mother, Josephine. Kit’s secret rebellion leads to potentially catastrophic results and keeps her from finding true happiness.

When her brother nearly dies from a dangerous infection, Kit defies convention and becomes a working nurse. Through her troubled romance with a young doctor and a series of dramatic events, including a natural disaster and her mother’s own critical illness, Kit begins to understand who her mother truly is and what their relationship is all about. She may not get the chance to appreciate their bond, however, because, through no fault of her own, a madman has Kit in his crosshairs.

"...the novel's fast-paced narrative and engaging dialogue will draw readers in from the start. It's full of intriguing details about San Francisco near the turn of the last century,... A solidly entertaining, feminist tale that's also well-suited for medical-history buffs." Kirkus Reviews

Now Available on Amazon


About the Author

A native of northern California, A.B. Michaels earned masters' degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in public relations and marketing. Now that she's an empty nester, she has time to write the kinds of stories she loves to read. Her historical series, "The Golden City," follows characters who make their way in turn of the twentieth century San Francisco. "I love creating flawed characters I can relate to, who have to make difficult choices, and who long for happiness like the rest of us. So much was happening in the early 1900's that help shape my novels. Once I tear myself away from the underlying research, they are fascinating stories to write."

Currently, Ms. Michaels lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry creatures who are unclear on the concept that they are just dogs. In addition to writing, she loves to read and travel. A dabbler in fabric art, she also plays bocce in a summer league.

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Book Blast Schedule

Pre-Order Blast Hosts

Wednesday, March 6
Clarissa Reads it All
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Thursday, March 7
For the Sake of Good Taste

Friday, March 8
Pursuing Stacie

Saturday, March 9
Passages to the Past

New Release Blast Hosts

Sunday, March 10
Donna's Book Blog

Monday, March 11
The Book Junkie Reads

Wednesday, March 13
Broken Teepee

Thursday, March 14
Coffee and Ink

Friday, March 15
What Is That Book About
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Sunday, March 17
Passages to the Past

Monday, March 18
To Read, Or Not to Read
Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Book Trailer Blast The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr

I am so excited to share the exclusive book trailer for Kris Waldherr's The Lost History of Dreams! We also have a fantastic prize pack to win, so be sure to enter!


The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr

Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 320 Pages

Genre: Historical/Gothic/Mystery


A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future, in this captivating debut novel in the gothic tradition of Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale.

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is discovered dead of a heart attack in his bath one morning, his cousin Robert Highstead, a historian turned post-mortem photographer, is charged with a simple task: transport Hugh’s remains for burial in a chapel. This chapel, a stained glass folly set on the moors of Shropshire, was built by de Bonne sixteen years earlier to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. Since then, the chapel has been locked and abandoned, a pilgrimage site for the rabid fans of de Bonne’s last book, The Lost History of Dreams.

However, Ada’s grief-stricken niece refuses to open the glass chapel for Robert unless he agrees to her bargain: before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record Isabelle’s story of Ada and Hugh’s ill-fated marriage over the course of five nights.

As the mystery of Ada and Hugh’s relationship unfolds, so does the secret behind Robert’s own marriage—including that of his fragile wife, Sida, who has not been the same since the tragic accident three years ago, and the origins of his own morbid profession that has him seeing things he shouldn’t—things from beyond the grave.

Kris Waldherr effortlessly spins a sweeping and atmospheric gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death.

Here is the exclusive Book Trailer...

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Praise for The Lost History of Dreams

“Scheherazade-like . . . haunting. . . Waldherr avoids clichĂ© in her rich descriptions and hints of supernatural presence that never cross into melodrama. Additionally, while most gothic tales offer only darkness and tragedy, a surprising amount of light and joy imbues the ending here. Fitting, perhaps, for a novel that uses stained glass as a symbol for heavenly possibility, even in the face of death. Waldherr writes that “love stories are ghost stories in disguise.” This one, happily, succeeds as both.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Wuthering Heights meets Penny Dreadful in Kris Waldherr's The Lost History of Dreams, a dark Victorian epic of obsessive love, thwarted genius, and ghostly visitations….Eerily atmospheric and gorgeously written, The Lost History of Dreams is a Gothic fairy-tale to savor." --Kate Quinn, author of The Alice Network and The Huntress 

"The Lost History of Dreams refuses to be categorized as anything other than excellent. Within the framework of a gothic, Kris Waldherr confronts our ideas about love, grief, poetry, and the nature of storytelling. With skillfully nested stories, Waldherr has done the remarkable, rendering the ephemeral into something real and tangible. Brooding, romantic, and thoughtful, The Lost History of Dreams is a rare bird in that it shines throughout with wit. I loved every page of it." --Erika Swyler, bestselling author of The Book of Speculation

"Reminiscent of du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel, The Lost History of Dreams is a complex, haunting and deeply absorbing historical novel that is sure to delight fans of classic Gothic fiction. With luminous prose, stunning poetry and a fascinating cast of characters, Waldherr weaves a wonderfully atmospheric tale. Not to be missed!" --Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home and The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter

“In The Lost History of Dreams, Kris Waldherr delivers a novel of haunting mystery and passion reminiscent of Wuthering Heights and Byatt's Possession. Layered within the pages of this gorgeous gothic tale is a story of several loves, each masterfully wrought in dazzling, poetic detail that will leave the reader longing for more." --Crystal King, author of Feast of Sorrow and The Chef's Secret 

"In this accomplished debut, Kris Waldherr transports the reader to the fascinating world of Victorian England and its tradition of post-mortem photography with a deft hand. An atmospheric tale of lost love, family secrets, and an inquiry into how our own histories define us, I relished every poetic page. Mesmerizing, lyrical, and deliciously brooding, THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS is a terrific contribution to Gothic literature." --Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Last Christmas in Paris

"The Lost History of Dreams plunges the reader into a sumptuous feast for all the senses. Through the perspective of a very Victorian yet empathetic male protagonist, Waldherr cleverly depicts the confining roles women of the era were forced to play. This creepily delicious tale will rob readers of their sleep as it asks and answers its own question: "'How can there be so much beauty in this world amid so much sorrow?' The only solution was to create more beauty." With this novel, Waldherr has done exactly that." --Clarissa Harwood, author of Impossible Saints and Bear No Malice

"Kris Waldherr's The Lost History of Dreams is very aptly titled, as reading this novel feels indeed like entering into a dream, one from which I have yet to fully awaken. With beautiful prose and poetry, Waldherr weaves a darkly seductive Gothic tale of love, art, death, and obsession. You'll want to keep reading this one late into the night." --Alyssa Palombo, author of The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

About the Author

Kris Waldherr is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, and her fiction has been awarded with fellowships by the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts and a reading grant by Poets & Writers.

Kris Waldherr works and lives in Brooklyn in a Victorian-era house with her husband, the anthropologist-curator Thomas Ross Miller, and their young daughter.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub


Trailer Blast Schedule


Giveaway


Kris is hosting a The Lost History of Dreams giveaway worth $220! The gift package includes a Campo Marzio pen gift box with calligraphy nibs and ink, a handcrafted Lover's Eye pendant, bookmark and bookplate, and a signed copy of The Lost History of Dreams.

Learn more at http://www.losthistorybook.com/sweepstake.html.


Review: Finding Lord Farlise by Cassandra Dean


Finding Lord Farlisle by Cassandra Dean

Publication Date: November 27, 2018
eBook; 86 Pages
ASIN: B07JLWSFJG

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency



The girl he finally remembers

Eleven years ago, a shipwreck robbed Lord Maxim Farlisle of his memory. Recovering himself, he journeys to his childhood home to find Waithe Hall shut and deserted. Unwilling to face what remains of his family, Maxim makes his home in the abandoned hall…only to have a determined ghost hunter invade his uneasy peace.

The boy she never forgot

Fascinated by spirits, Lady Alexandra Torrence cannot disregard the opportunity to investigate the estate she knew so well. She arrives at the shuttered hall to discover a ghost of a different kind—the boy she thought to never see again. Maxim had been the boy next door, her best friend, her soul mate…and then he’d vanished.

As the two rediscover their connection, the promise of young love burns into an overwhelming passion. But the time apart has scarred them both—will they discover a love that will draw them together or will the past tear them apart forever?

"Finding Lord Farlisle is a lovely story: sweet, witty, flirtatious, emotional, touching. A truly delightful way to spend a couple of hours." Anna Campbell, author of the bestselling Dashing Widows series

"Sweet, fun, and delightful! If you love friends to lovers, you'll adore Finding Lord Farlisle." -Tamara Gill, author of the Lords of London series

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

"The ghosts of Waithe Hall beckoned..."

Short, sweet, and sexy! Finding Lord Farlise was a delicious morsel of a book that I had a blast reading!

Lady Alexandra Torrence steals away to Waithe Hall after hearing reports of strange happenings at the abandoned manor. She is reluctant to be there since it was the home of her childhood friend who vanished 11 years ago, but she is on a quest to begin her new career as a ghost hunter. However, what she finds at the manor was not what she expected at all! What follows...well, you'll just have to read it and see.

Clocking in around 80 pages, Finding Lord Farlisle was a fabulous Historical Romance novella. I loved the banter between Maxim & Alexandra, and their romance was believable and sweet. Let's just take a moment to admire that name....Maxim...a most swoon-worthy name, I must say!

I am very excited for the next books in the series - Rescuing Lord Roxwaithe and Stealing Lord Stephen. Highly recommended!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes and Noble | iTunes

About the Author

Cassandra Dean is an award-winning, best-selling author of historical and fantasy romance. She is a 2018 recipient of the coveted Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Award.

Her next novel will be FINDING LORD FARLISLE, kicking off a new series, LOST LORDS.

Cassandra is proud to call South Australia her home, where she regularly cheers on her AFL football team and creates her next tale.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, February 28
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, March 1
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, March 2
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Monday, March 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, March 5
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, March 6
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, March 7
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, March 8
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, March 11
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 12
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, March 13
Excerpt at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, March 14
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, March 15
Feature at T's Stuff

Saturday, March 16
Interview & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– 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.

Finding Lord Farlisle


Review: The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney


The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney

Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Artelan Press
eBook & Paperback; 532 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: The Miramonde Series, Book 1


A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…

The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.

1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?

2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One of my favorite things in life is a good book series. A series that you can immerse yourself in, with characters that fascinate you, and a plot that keeps you rushing through the pages. I am thrilled to report that I have found such a new obsession with Maroney's Miramonde series!

The Girl from Oto is told in a dual timeline format, alternating between the late 1400s and present time. And as with most dual timelines, I enjoyed the past a little better than the present. However, the way Maroney weaves them together, revealing hints as you go, was absolutely brilliant.

In the present timeline, Zari is an art historical tracking down paintings worldwide from a 16th century female painter, and in the past, we are taken back to medieval Spain and Miramonde who was born to a Baron and Baroness but secretly taken to an Abbey to be raised in safety.

There was so many interesting aspects to this story! The details in themselves are impressive and it's apparent that the author did her research. The art history, the wool trade, the insight into life in an Abbey, the Pyrenees, painting...I devoured it all!

The Girl from Oto is perfect for fans of historical fiction and art history. I inhaled it in one sitting and am desperate to get to the second book in the series! Highly recommended!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Girl from Oto

"I loved the lush descriptions and the hard-nosed female characters who find a way to get what they want in a man's world. An exquisite novel." -Martha Conway, winner of the North American Book Award for Thieving Forest

"An absorbing debut novel. I couldn't put it down." -Deborah Swift, author of The Gilded Lily

"A rich and intriguing evocation of the fifteenth century is interwoven with an emotionally satisfying mystery in the present day." -Emma Darwin, author of A Secret Alchemy

"A powerful story and an intriguing mystery. A Red Ribbon winner and highly recommended." -The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, U.K.

"From the very beginning, I was enthralled with Mira, Zari, and their entwined journeys through history and the world of art. As a curator and art historian, it's a rare treat for me to find a novel that so lovingly reflects our joys and challenges. The Girl from Oto delivers--and I can't wait to spend more time with Mira." -Jennifer Dasal, host of the ArtCurious podcast

About the Author

Amy Maroney lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She studied English literature at Boston University and public policy at Portland State University, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, painting, drawing, dancing and reading. The Girl from Oto and Mira's Way are books 1 & 2 in The Miramonde Series.

For a free prelude to The Girl from Oto, for the full scoop on the research behind the book, and for news about the sequel, please visit www.amymaroney.com.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 11
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 12
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Thursday, March 14
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, March 15
Feature at What Is That Book About
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, March 16
Feature at Broken Teepee

Sunday, March 17
Interview at T's Stuff

Monday, March 18
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, March 19
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, March 20
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, March 21
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, March 22
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away 10 eBooks of The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Girl from Oto


Interview & Giveaway: Finding Lord Farlisle by Cassandra Dean

It's a fun day here on the blog1 I was lucky enough to get to ask author Cassandra Dean some questions about her fun new novel, Finding Lord Farlisle! I hope you enjoy the interview. We have a giveaway for a $10 Amazon gift card, so be sure to enter below.

My review will be up later today!


Hello Cassandra and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Finding Lord Farlisle!

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I’m Cassandra Dean, and I write romance of the historical and fantasy varieties. I’ve presented at conferences both in Australia and overseas, and I was fortunate to win the Romance Writers of Australia’s Ruby Award in 2018.

My books are heartfelt, emotional, humorous, and compelling. My heroines and heroes support and champion each other, making themselves more completely themselves through their relationship. And, of course, they fall in the forever kind of love.

What inspired you to write Finding Lord Farlisle?

When I was developing the idea of Finding Lord Farlisle, I was reading a lot of Anna Campbell’s novellas work and I credit her with helping me see the forest for the trees. Sometimes I can get lost in the minutia of writing and need to remind myself of the mechanics. Reading Anna’s work helped me remember the nuts and bolts of story, and the first draft of Finding Lord Farlisle came relatively quickly. Then there was the edit… 

Finding Lord Farlisle is the first book in your Lost Lords series. What can we expect from the other books in the series?

The series revolves around the three Farlisle brothers – Oliver, Stephen and Maxim. Oliver, the eldest, is the Earl of Roxwaithe, and Maxim, the youngest, was lost at sea and presumed dead, while Stephen is the classic middle child – mostly forgotten about. All three brothers are lost in some way, and their heroines help them find themselves.

RESCUING LORD ROXWAITHE is the tale of Oliver and this pesky girl he’s known since she was born…Alexandra’s sister, Lydia. There’s an age gap between them and Oliver can’t quite wrap his head around the fact Lydia is grown, but she is quite determined to bash it in to him 😊

STEALING LORD STEPHEN will wrap up the series and feature Stephen and his heroine. I don’t want to say too much about this one at this stage (top secret stuff, peeps!), but make sure you check my website regularly for updates.

What was your favorite scene to write?

The culmination. I loved writing Maxim’s confusion and Alexandra’s matter-of-factness and, of course, their declarations.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The first chapter. A lot of elements go into setting up a story well and that scene had to be written and rewritten and editing numerous times to get it just right.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Even since I first learnt what writing was. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t creating stories.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I usually have noise on in the background – music or a tv show or something that becomes white noise once I start writing. Then, I’ll start to write. Sometimes I’ll stare at the screen, trying to work through a scene in my head. That’s about the extent of my routine!

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

Finding the time. I have a full time day job and it’s a little tricky fitting everything in. Prioritizing and organizing is key and luckily I’m quite good at both!

Who are your writing inspirations?

I love, love, love Loretta Chase. She is an amazing and concise writer, able to use language precisely to convey emotions and situations in ways I wish I could. I admire what she edits, to ensure only the necessary language is employed.

Charlotte Stein is a lyrical writer with an extremely distinct style. Her books have an amazingly deep point of view, and I’m in awe of her talent.

Kelley Armstrong is a master at pacing and keeping a reader turning the page.

What was the first historical novel you read?

Oh wow, I’m actually not sure. That knowledge has definitely been lost in the mists of time. I can tell you my favourite historical romance, though. To the surprise of no one, it’s Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase. This is an almost, if not, perfect romance and definitely inspires me to try to reach its lofty heights.

What is the last historical novel you read?

The Hollow of Fear by Sherry Thomas, part of her fabulous Lady Sherlock series. I can’t wait for the next in the series, The Art of Theft, to be released later this year.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I’m based in Adelaide, Australia. We’re in the middle down the bottom, about an hour and half flight from Sydney.

I’m a pretty keen Australian Rules Football supporter and barrack for Port Adelaide Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). The season is almost upon us, so I’m getting ready for the first game. As an aside, I’d love to write a sports romance featuring AFL players.

I have a ton of useless knowledge, applicable only at Quiz Nights and for weird conversation tangents.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love the rules. There’s world building and structure in Historical Romance, as much as there is in a fantasy or paranormal. Regency romance readers agree that certain things occur in the genre, and I love working within those rules to effect something surprising. There’s a melding of what readers believe the time period to be and what it actually was. Sometimes, when you mesh the two, the most amazing things happen.

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

I tend to read a lot of contemporary romances and am really enjoying Rock Stars and Sports genres. I think the contemporaries appeal to me as they are different from what I write so it gives my brain a rest.

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

I really enjoy cooking and am currently attempting to perfect my Hot Cross Bun recipe in time for Easter. I think I may have finally cracked it…

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m working on the next in the Lost Lords series, Rescuing Lord Roxwaithe, as well as the serial for my newsletter subscribers, the third in my Western series, EMERALD SEA. There are a few other things in the pipeline, but those two are the main ones.

Exciting times! You are one busy writer :) Thank you for spending time with us today!


Finding Lord Farlisle by Cassandra Dean

Publication Date: November 27, 2018
eBook; 86 Pages
ASIN: B07JLWSFJG

Genre: Historical Romance/Regency



The girl he finally remembers

Eleven years ago, a shipwreck robbed Lord Maxim Farlisle of his memory. Recovering himself, he journeys to his childhood home to find Waithe Hall shut and deserted. Unwilling to face what remains of his family, Maxim makes his home in the abandoned hall…only to have a determined ghost hunter invade his uneasy peace.

The boy she never forgot

Fascinated by spirits, Lady Alexandra Torrence cannot disregard the opportunity to investigate the estate she knew so well. She arrives at the shuttered hall to discover a ghost of a different kind—the boy she thought to never see again. Maxim had been the boy next door, her best friend, her soul mate…and then he’d vanished.

As the two rediscover their connection, the promise of young love burns into an overwhelming passion. But the time apart has scarred them both—will they discover a love that will draw them together or will the past tear them apart forever?

"Finding Lord Farlisle is a lovely story: sweet, witty, flirtatious, emotional, touching. A truly delightful way to spend a couple of hours." Anna Campbell, author of the bestselling Dashing Widows series

"Sweet, fun, and delightful! If you love friends to lovers, you'll adore Finding Lord Farlisle." -Tamara Gill, author of the Lords of London series

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes and Noble | iTunes

About the Author

Cassandra Dean is an award-winning, best-selling author of historical and fantasy romance. She is a 2018 recipient of the coveted Romance Writers of Australia Ruby Award.

Her next novel will be FINDING LORD FARLISLE, kicking off a new series, LOST LORDS.

Cassandra is proud to call South Australia her home, where she regularly cheers on her AFL football team and creates her next tale.

Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, February 28
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, March 1
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Saturday, March 2
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Monday, March 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, March 5
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, March 6
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, March 7
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, March 8
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, March 11
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 12
Review at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, March 13
Excerpt at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, March 14
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, March 15
Feature at T's Stuff

Saturday, March 16
Interview & Excerpt at Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $10 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– 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.

Finding Lord Farlisle


Interview with Amy Maroney, author of The Girl from Oto! With giveaway!

Happy Monday, dear readers! Today is a busy day at Passages to the Past! First up, I am very excited to share my interview with Amy Maroney! Amy's blog tour for The Girl from Oto, the first book in her Miramonde series, kicks off today. I will be posting my review later. It is an exceptional read. I inhaled it in one sitting!

I hope you enjoy getting to know Amy as much as I did....


Hello Amy and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Girl from Oto!

Hello there! Thanks so much for hosting me and my book on the blog! I’m excited to be here.

To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?

I was a nonfiction writer and editor right out of the gate after college (and, not surprisingly, I majored in English literature). It wasn’t until I reached my 40s and a health crisis turned my life upside down that I realized it was now or never if I wanted to write fiction. What inspired you to write The Girl from Oto?

What research did you undertake when writing The Girl from Oto?

I was lucky enough to spend most of a year traveling through Europe with my family when our two daughters were 9 and 12. During that time I became obsessed with the lost stories of women who have been ignored or erased from history. So I started researching Renaissance-era female artists and writing the Miramonde Series. The Girl from Oto was originally going to be a standalone novel, but my story just exploded and I soon understood that it would have to be a trilogy (Mira’s Way is Book 2, and I’m working on Book 3 now). I did a lot of research in museums and libraries in Europe, plus most of my settings were inspired by places we visited. After returning to the United States, I kept researching online. I did graduate work in public policy so I knew how to navigate academic databases and I just went to town! I absolutely love doing research but now I limit my research time so I can get more writing done.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Girl from Oto?

My goal with this series is to write thrilling historical mysteries that shine a light on real women who have fallen through the cracks of history. Although my character Mira is fictional, she is based on actual women artists of the Renaissance era whose stories were forgotten or silenced. I wove in a contemporary thread with my heroine Zari to show how modern-day technology allows us to look beneath layers of paint and uncover clues about who really made these works of art.

What was your favorite scene to write?

There’s a scene where Mira has to flee for her life through the rain-soaked woods of the Pyrenees mountains, pursued by men and hounds. I listened to thunderstorms on my headphones and got so immersed in her story that I could hear the snarling dogs behind me, feel the damp chill of the mountain air in my bones, see the golden leaves filtering down through the trees ahead of me. At that point in the book Mira had already been through so much that I was confident she’d make it out alive, but still, I was worried!

What was the most difficult scene to write?

There’s not just one. The contemporary scenes with Zari were the most difficult because they’re very research-intensive and they bounce off (or react to) the historical narrative. I have to use the left side of my brain a lot to weave in the contemporary thread, which is a wonderful challenge but also hard to pull off.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was one of those kids who was always reading and daydreaming. I haunted our local library and was happiest when I was lost in a fictional world. I started writing stories when I was very young. But I never thought I would be able to make a living as a fiction writer so I didn’t pursue that at first.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I write in the mornings. I usually start by editing whatever I wrote the day before and then dive into whatever I’m working on today. I typically write between 1,000-2,000 words per day, sometimes less, sometimes more. Then in the afternoon I do publishing and marketing tasks.

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

Because I was first a nonfiction writer, it was hard for me to give myself permission to make things up. I always examine the historical record to see if there’s an example of something I want to create. But at the same time I recognize that history is full of holes. So even as I feel the looming presence of the “historical fiction police” over my shoulder, checking for accuracy, I also feel a bit defiant since I’ve learned about many erroneous, fabricated, or missing stories in our history.

Who are your writing inspirations?

There are so many! Geraldine Brooks’ novel People of the Book was a big inspiration for The Girl from Oto. For many years, I’ve been inspired by the work of Wallace Stegner, Barbara Kingsolver, Amy Tan, Isabel Allende, Paulette Giles, Henning Mankell, and Anthony Doerr. I love sweeping historical sagas like Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I also read Mary Oliver’s poetry for inspiration.

What was the first historical novel you read?

I was a ravenous consumer of historical romances starting as a middle-schooler and I’ve forgotten most of the titles. I loved Philippa Gregory and any European royal/noble stories featuring mystery and intrigue.

What is the last historical novel you read? 

The Women of The Castle by Jessica Shattuck.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I speak French and have a certificate to teach English as a foreign language. I take a drawing or painting class once a year or so. I love swimming in lakes.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love historical fiction when it transports us into a different world and teaches us something new at the same time. Throw in a mystery and I’m hooked!

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

I enjoy medieval and Renaissance-era settings. I’ve gone through major WWII phases and Jane Austen-era phases, plus I occasionally dabble in Viking or early Anglo-Saxon stories. Honestly, if the story hooks me I’ll read any time period or setting.

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

Read, hike, dance, spend time with friends and family.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I just sent the third book in the Miramonde Series to the editor. I’ll spend the next few months revising it and writing a suite of short stories about various characters in the Miramonde Series world. Once those are all published, I’ll be working on a new historical mystery series.

So exciting! I can't wait to read more of the series. It's phenomenal! Thanks for spening time with us today!


The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney

Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Artelan Press
eBook & Paperback; 532 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: The Miramonde Series, Book 1


A Renaissance-era woman artist and an American scholar. Linked by a 500-year-old mystery…

The secrets of the past are irresistible—and dangerous.

1500: Born during a time wracked by war and plague, Renaissance-era artist Mira grows up in a Pyrenees convent believing she is an orphan. When tragedy strikes, Mira learns the devastating truth about her own origins. But does she have the strength to face those who would destroy her?

2015: Centuries later, art scholar Zari unearths traces of a mysterious young woman named Mira in two 16th-century portraits. Obsessed, Zari tracks Mira through the great cities of Europe to the pilgrim’s route of Camino de Santiago—and is stunned by what she finds. Will her discovery be enough to bring Mira’s story to life?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Praise for The Girl from Oto

"I loved the lush descriptions and the hard-nosed female characters who find a way to get what they want in a man's world. An exquisite novel." -Martha Conway, winner of the North American Book Award for Thieving Forest

"An absorbing debut novel. I couldn't put it down." -Deborah Swift, author of The Gilded Lily

"A rich and intriguing evocation of the fifteenth century is interwoven with an emotionally satisfying mystery in the present day." -Emma Darwin, author of A Secret Alchemy

"A powerful story and an intriguing mystery. A Red Ribbon winner and highly recommended." -The Wishing Shelf Book Awards, U.K.

"From the very beginning, I was enthralled with Mira, Zari, and their entwined journeys through history and the world of art. As a curator and art historian, it's a rare treat for me to find a novel that so lovingly reflects our joys and challenges. The Girl from Oto delivers--and I can't wait to spend more time with Mira." -Jennifer Dasal, host of the ArtCurious podcast

About the Author

Amy Maroney lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. She studied English literature at Boston University and public policy at Portland State University, and spent many years as a writer and editor of nonfiction. When she’s not diving down research rabbit holes, she enjoys hiking, painting, drawing, dancing and reading. The Girl from Oto and Mira's Way are books 1 & 2 in The Miramonde Series.

For a free prelude to The Girl from Oto, for the full scoop on the research behind the book, and for news about the sequel, please visit www.amymaroney.com.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Instagram

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, March 11
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 12
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Thursday, March 14
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, March 15
Feature at What Is That Book About
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Saturday, March 16
Feature at Broken Teepee

Sunday, March 17
Interview at T's Stuff

Monday, March 18
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, March 19
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, March 20
Review at History From a Woman's Perspective

Thursday, March 21
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, March 22
Review at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away 10 eBooks of The Girl from Oto by Amy Maroney! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

The Girl from Oto


Happy Book Birthday to Josephine's Daughter by A.B. Michaels

Happy Pub Day to A.B. Michaels! The latest book in her fabulous series, Josephine's Daughter, is out today in eBook! And you can pick it up for only $.99! Today is the last day, so be sure to grab it while the sale lasts!


Josephine's Daughter by A.B. Michaels

Publication Date: March 10, 2019
Red Trumpet Press
eBook; 395 Pages


What's worse than a mother like Josephine? Turning out to be just like her.

In the late nineteenth century, wealthy and headstrong Kit Firestone chafes under the strictures of the Golden City’s high society, especially the interference of her charming but overbearing mother, Josephine. Kit’s secret rebellion leads to potentially catastrophic results and keeps her from finding true happiness.

When her brother nearly dies from a dangerous infection, Kit defies convention and becomes a working nurse. Through her troubled romance with a young doctor and a series of dramatic events, including a natural disaster and her mother’s own critical illness, Kit begins to understand who her mother truly is and what their relationship is all about. She may not get the chance to appreciate their bond, however, because, through no fault of her own, a madman has Kit in his crosshairs.

"...the novel's fast-paced narrative and engaging dialogue will draw readers in from the start. It's full of intriguing details about San Francisco near the turn of the last century,... A solidly entertaining, feminist tale that's also well-suited for medical-history buffs." Kirkus Reviews

Available on Amazon

About the Author

A native of northern California, A.B. Michaels earned masters' degrees in history and broadcasting, and worked for many years in public relations and marketing. Now that she's an empty nester, she has time to write the kinds of stories she loves to read. Her historical series, "The Golden City," follows characters who make their way in turn of the twentieth century San Francisco. "I love creating flawed characters I can relate to, who have to make difficult choices, and who long for happiness like the rest of us. So much was happening in the early 1900's that help shape my novels. Once I tear myself away from the underlying research, they are fascinating stories to write."

Currently, Ms. Michaels lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and two furry creatures who are unclear on the concept that they are just dogs. In addition to writing, she loves to read and travel. A dabbler in fabric art, she also plays bocce in a summer league.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads


2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: March Reviews


Hey there, March! You sure crept up on me! February was a busy month of reading for me. I hope you read some good ones too!

Welcome to the March link page for the 2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. This is the page where you will enter the links to your reviews during the month of March 2019.

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 at some of the other links that are present. You never know when you will discover new blogs or books!

There's still time to sign up for the 2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge! Sign Up Here.


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Cover Reveal: Shakespeare's Witch by Samantha Grosser

Hey everyone! I am so excited to share with you the gorgeous cover for Samatha Grosser's Shakespeare's Witch! Isn't it stunning?!

Shakrespeare's Witch releases on March 20th.


Shakespeare's Witch by Samantha Grosser

Publication Date: March 20, 2019
Sam Grosser Books

Genre: Historical Fiction


Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.

A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.

Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations.

The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide?

Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon US and Amazon UK

About the Author

Historical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.

Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.

Samantha has an Honours Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair, and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | BookBub | Pinterest | Instagram

Cover Reveal Schedule

Monday, March 4
Passages to the Past
CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, March 5
Amy's Booket List
Donna's Book Blog
For the Sake of Good Taste

Wednesday, March 6
A Book Geek
Coffee and Ink
Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, March 7
Hisdoryan
Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, March 8
Pursuing Stacie
Just One More Chapter
To Read, Or Not to Read

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