Review: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry


The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Publication Date: May 2, 2019
Canongate Publishing

Genre: Historical Mystery

A vivid and gripping historical crime novel set in 19th century Edinburgh, from husband-and-wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman

Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson's patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.

With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh's underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Nothing pleases me more than a good Victorian mystery and I am happy to say that I had the best time these past few days while immersed in Ambrose Parry's The Way of All Flesh! Seriously, I was obsessed with this book and anyone that interrupted me while reading was subjected to the look at death :)

Will Raven (which IMO is the coolest name EVER!) is beginning his new apprenticeship to Dr. Simpson, who specializes in midwifery, when he finds a female acquaintance dead. She is a whore and she isn't the last one to turn up dead.

Sarah is Dr. Simpson's housemaid, but she longs for more than the normal life of a woman - to be a wife and mother - and her curiosity for medicine often gets her into trouble. Thankfully Dr. Simpson is a humble man and endulges her by allowing her to help in his home clinic.

Raven and Sarah soon develop a friendship and team up to find out the cause of why these women are dying so horrendously.

What I loved most about this book was the writing and the dialogue. It's clever and witty and I loved the repartee between Raven and Sarah. They didn't get along at first but slowly become friends. I like that there was attraction there but not a fast romance and that it stuck with the mystery and didn't add in an unnecessary romance.

Another aspect that fascinated me was how the book talked about the medical practices in Victorian times, when doctors were desperately trying to find a safe anesthetic. All I have to say is that I'm glad I gave birth in the 21st century!

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the seedy underbelly of Victorian Edinburgh and cannot wait for more from Ambrose Parry. There will be a new book in the series that features Raven and Sarah and I am there for it! Will definitely be picking that up as soon as it releases! The Way of All Flesh is a brilliantly written novel that I will be shouting about for weeks! And the author is a husband and wife team, how cool is that?!

Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to host the tour!

About the Author

Ambrose Parry is a pseudonym for a collaboration between Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. The couple are married and live in Scotland. Chris Brookmyre is the international bestselling and multi-award-winning author of over twenty novels, including Black Widow, winner of both the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Dr Marisa Haetzman is a consultant anaesthetist of twenty years’ experience, whose research for her Master’s degree in the History of Medicine uncovered the material upon which this novel was based. The Way of All Flesh is the first book in the series.


Friday Reads: The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Happy Friday everyone! What are you reading today? I am currently obsessed with The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry. I will be hosting the blog tour on April 29th so be sure to come back to read my review! And how gorgeous is this cover? I love it! I'm reading it on my Kindle right now but I think I am going to pick it up in hardcover because I can't get enough of it!


The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

A vivid and gripping historical crime novel set in 19th century Edinburgh, from husband-and-wife writing team Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman

Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson's patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.

With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh's underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.

Interview & Giveaway: The Time Collector by Gwendolyn Womack

Happy Friday-eve! Today on the blog I am very excited to be hosting an interview with Gwendolyn Womack, author of The Time Collector! I absolutely loved The Time Collector and you can read my review here.

I hope you enjoy learning more about Gwen and her books. Be sure to enter our giveaway for a copy of the book!



Hello Gwen and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Time Collector!

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

Hi Amy, thanks so much for having me! I live in LA with my husband, son, and our dog, Jolly. She runs the household. The Time Collector is my third novel. I write romantic thrillers that delve into metaphysical themes. My first book, The Memory Painter explores reincarnation and travels back to ancient Egypt and the Great Pyramid, The Fortune Teller revolves around the world’s first tarot cards, and The Time Collector explores psychometry and the mystery of out-of-place artifacts. My books are very cross-genre with a mix of romance, mystery, history and paranormal fantasy. All three books travel time, but each in different ways.

What inspired you to write The Time Collector?

The inspiration for The Time Collector happened when I was finishing up revisions on The Memory Painter in 2014. I was working on a scene in The Memory Painter that is one of my favorites where Bryan (the memory painter) is sitting in his car holding an antique clock that his mother found at the flea market. What his mother didn’t know is that the clock had belonged to him in a previous lifetime. And Bryan sits there holding it, filled with so much longing and melancholy because he knows this clock intimately and yet it is no longer his. There was something very elusive and poignant about that moment that stayed with me. And I thought to myself what if I had a character who could touch antiques and know all the memories that are stored within them and it has nothing to do with reincarnation or it being his past life? It is his special ability, this power to peer into the past within the objects. Suddenly in a flash I saw Roan in an antique store taking off his gloves to touch something. I was so excited with this new character that had just fallen into my mind that I almost made The Time Collector my second book instead of my third. But I was already researching The Fortune Teller pretty extensively and had the story mapped out, so I thought to myself I would make The Time Collector my third book and it would give me time to slowly stockpile all the research I needed.

What research did you undertake when writing The Time Collector?

That actually flows perfectly into this next question. I did so much research! I have a bibliography page on my website with all of it listed... books, DVDs, YouTube videos, and articles. I break the list into sections for research on time, out-of-place artifacts (“ooparts”), psychometry, and the memories of the lifetimes within the objects. I also researched rock climbing and bouldering, which is Roan’s physical outlet. I did a lot of reading on mudras, which is like yoga for the hands—Roan does that too to help him control his ability. There was a lot of material but I really enjoyed investigating all the different aspects of the story. I also took a trip out to New Orleans, where Roan is from, to do location scouting for the book. There’s a blog post on my website where I talk about the trip and share pictures.

What was your favorite scene to write?

That’s a hard question, but if I had to pick one I’d say when Roan shows Melicent his “time room,” which is a gallery of all of the clocks and timekeeping devices he has been collecting all of his life. He has set up a beautiful gallery with the most ancient of clocks to the newest, tiniest atomic clock. That scene was fun to write and felt like an anchor for the story.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

The most difficult scene to write would have definitely been the historical passage for the Korean War. It was very hard. I did a lot of research, reading first-hand accounts that were heart wrenching.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer in college. Before that I had always been writing and I’d also dreamed of writing a book as a kid, but I didn’t consider it as something to do as a career until much later. I was always the young girl sitting in a corner with her journal and pen writing poetry and diaries... When I was ten, I started collecting quotes that I thought were beautiful and became obsessed with words. When I was in college I wrote a theater play and my best friend ended up doing a stage reading for it and it was just magic seeing actors bring my dialogue to life. I was completely hooked, changed my major from environmental science to theater, and I started writing all the time. Later on, after I finished my graduate degree in directing theater and film, I decided that I was going to put my all focus into writing. I started writing feature screenplays and finally attempted writing a novel in 2009. That was The Memory Painter and suddenly everything fell into place.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I don’t have a daily writing routine. It really depends on what stage of the story I am on. If I’m researching, then I’ll only be reading for stretches of time and brainstorming story ideas. If I’m trying to break the story and come up with the first draft I really need to hermit. I’ll try and carve out four hours a day to write at my desk. And if it’s revising, I usually like to print out pages to do edits on paper and I can take those everywhere with me. And I love to write late at night 10-midnight after the house has wound down. So I’m really all over the place with my schedule.

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

My greatest challenge is it takes me many, many drafts to get something into decent shape. I have to rewrite and rewrite to get the words to start coming together. I really wish I could work faster.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Writing inspirations would be Diana Gabaldon, Alice Hoffman, Deborah Harkness, Madeline Miller, and J.K. Rowling. [Insert heart emojis.]

What was the first historical novel you read?

The first historical novel I read was by Victoria Holt. I was really young around 10. My mom had bought an antique bookshelf that had come with the entire Victoria Holt collection as a display. I really don’t know how that happened. Perhaps it was fate! Because my mom decided to put the shelf in my room to hold my doll collection and kept all the books displayed on the top two shelves. So of course I started to read them. I fell in love with all of her books and read them all more than once.

What is the last historical novel you read?

The last historical novel is the one I’m still currently reading, The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo, a beautiful and fascinating read. I also highly recommend The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau too. I devoured her book over a weekend.

What are three things people may not know about you?

Three things people might not know about me is I love to cook Japanese food, I sing karaoke (only in private!), and I have a very hard time remembering names. There is a name for having that affliction but I can’t remember that either. ;)

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

When I am not writing, I’m reading. I also break to watch Project Runway or Top Chef, or binge watch a show. My husband and I really enjoy standup comedy and we try to keep up with everything on Netflix or cable. Painting is my hobby, and I collect kaleidoscopes and enjoy taking pictures of them. But my favorite thing is hanging out with my son before he grows up on me.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m working on two different stories that I’m so excited about but not ready to talk about just yet, but hopefully soon. Thanks so much for the visit!

Thank you for this great interview, Gwen! 


The Time Collector by Gwendolyn Womack

Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Picador USA
eBook & Paperback; 368 Pages

Genre: Historical/Romantic Suspense


Travel through time with the touch of a hand.

Roan West was born with an extraordinary gift: he can perceive the past of any object he touches. A highly skilled pyschometrist, he uses his talents to find and sell valuable antiques, but his quiet life in New Orleans is about to change. Stuart, a fellow pyschometrist and Roan’s close friend, has used his own abilities to unearth several out-of-place-artifacts or “ooparts”—like a ring that once belonged to the seventeenth-century mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, but was found buried in prehistoric bedrock.

The relics challenge recorded history, but soon after the discovery, Stuart disappears, making him one of several psychometrists who have recently died or vanished without a trace. When Roan comes across a viral video of a young woman who has discovered a priceless pocket watch just by “sensing” it, he knows he has to warn her—but will Melicent Tilpin listen? And can Roan find Stuart before it’s too late?

The quest for answers will lead Roan and Melicent around the world—before it brings them closer to each other and a startling truth—in the latest romantic thriller from Gwendolyn Womack, the bestselling, PRISM Award-winning author of The Memory Painter and The Fortune Teller.

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

Praise for The Time Collector

"A wonderfully intriguing tale, filled with the mystery of objects that tell a story. The Time Collector's fast pace and fascinating premise will delight history and romance lovers."―Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghost Bride

"A compelling exploration of time, history, and our primal need to connect with the past, The Time Collector is also a rollicking adventure through ancient mysteries and the moving story of two stunningly drawn characters, chasing the answer to the question of what it means to be human."―Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale and The Lost Book of the Grail

"Gwendolyn Womack weaves a suspenseful tale that tackles the question of 'time'―how it’s measured, its impact on nature and human consciousness―and I could hardly put it down! The Time Collector is a treasure trove of ancient artifacts, mysticism, and intrigue, sprinkled with a dash of romance―my very favorite things. What a book!”―Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Meet Me in Monaco

"The Time Collector is a fascinating tale of psychometrists, people who touch an object and sense the stories embedded within them. Pick up this book and you too will be transported across the globe and the centuries into exhilarating worlds filled with history and mystery, magic and mysticism, romance and danger. Its pages make the past come alive. Once you hold this object in your hands, you won’t be able to put it down."―Amy Weiss, author of Crescendo

About the Author

Originally from Houston, Texas, GWENDOLYN WOMACK studied theater at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and holds an MFA in Directing Theatre, Video, and Cinema from California Institute of the Arts. She is the USA Today bestselling author of The Fortune Teller and the RWA Prism Award-winning reincarnation thriller, The Memory Painter. She resides in Los Angeles with her family.

For more information please visit Gwendolyn Womack's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, April 17
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, April 18
Feature at What Is That Book About
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, April 19
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, April 22
Review at My Reading Chronicles
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, April 23
Feature at Cover To Cover Cafe
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, April 24
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, April 25
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 26
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, April 30
Excerpt at Kimber Li

Wednesday, May 1
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, May 2
Review & Excerpt at Broken Teepee

Friday, May 3
Review at Tar Heel Reader

Saturday, May 4
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, May 5
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, May 6
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, May 8
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, May 9
Review at Henry & Benny's Book Nook

Friday, May 10
Review at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a signed copy of The Time Collector! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 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 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 new winner is chosen.

Time Collector


Review & Giveaway: The Time Collector by Gwendolyn Womack


The Time Collector by Gwendolyn Womack

Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Picador USA
eBook & Paperback; 368 Pages

Genre: Historical/Romantic Suspense


Travel through time with the touch of a hand.

Roan West was born with an extraordinary gift: he can perceive the past of any object he touches. A highly skilled pyschometrist, he uses his talents to find and sell valuable antiques, but his quiet life in New Orleans is about to change. Stuart, a fellow pyschometrist and Roan’s close friend, has used his own abilities to unearth several out-of-place-artifacts or “ooparts”—like a ring that once belonged to the seventeenth-century mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, but was found buried in prehistoric bedrock.

The relics challenge recorded history, but soon after the discovery, Stuart disappears, making him one of several psychometrists who have recently died or vanished without a trace. When Roan comes across a viral video of a young woman who has discovered a priceless pocket watch just by “sensing” it, he knows he has to warn her—but will Melicent Tilpin listen? And can Roan find Stuart before it’s too late?

The quest for answers will lead Roan and Melicent around the world—before it brings them closer to each other and a startling truth—in the latest romantic thriller from Gwendolyn Womack, the bestselling, PRISM Award-winning author of The Memory Painter and The Fortune Teller.

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

Praise for The Time Collector

"A wonderfully intriguing tale, filled with the mystery of objects that tell a story. The Time Collector's fast pace and fascinating premise will delight history and romance lovers."―Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghost Bride

"A compelling exploration of time, history, and our primal need to connect with the past, The Time Collector is also a rollicking adventure through ancient mysteries and the moving story of two stunningly drawn characters, chasing the answer to the question of what it means to be human."―Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale and The Lost Book of the Grail

"Gwendolyn Womack weaves a suspenseful tale that tackles the question of 'time'―how it’s measured, its impact on nature and human consciousness―and I could hardly put it down! The Time Collector is a treasure trove of ancient artifacts, mysticism, and intrigue, sprinkled with a dash of romance―my very favorite things. What a book!”―Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Meet Me in Monaco

"The Time Collector is a fascinating tale of psychometrists, people who touch an object and sense the stories embedded within them. Pick up this book and you too will be transported across the globe and the centuries into exhilarating worlds filled with history and mystery, magic and mysticism, romance and danger. Its pages make the past come alive. Once you hold this object in your hands, you won’t be able to put it down."―Amy Weiss, author of Crescendo

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Have you ever finished a book with your heart racing and thought "woah, now that was a fun read!"? That just happened to me with The Time Collector by Gwendolyn Womack!

The Time Collector is genre-bending at it's best. Mystery, romance, historical, and the paranormal combine for an exciting and un-put-down-able adventure!

"Roan's eyes took in every bauble, knowing each one held a story. They were all doorways to the past, to histories tucked away. No item was immune, no matter how small. Even the copper spoon collection for ten dollars contained the moments of every hand that had ever held them."

I have never heard of pshychometrists - people who can see the past just by touching an object - before reading this book and I am fascinated now. I know I will never look at Antique stores the same again :) The scenes were they are reading an object were especially engrossing.

If you're looking for an exciting adventure that will keep you turning the pages, look no further than The Time Collector!

About the Author

Originally from Houston, Texas, GWENDOLYN WOMACK studied theater at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and holds an MFA in Directing Theatre, Video, and Cinema from California Institute of the Arts. She is the USA Today bestselling author of The Fortune Teller and the RWA Prism Award-winning reincarnation thriller, The Memory Painter. She resides in Los Angeles with her family.

For more information please visit Gwendolyn Womack's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 16
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, April 17
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, April 18
Feature at What Is That Book About
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, April 19
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, April 22
Review at My Reading Chronicles
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, April 23
Feature at Cover To Cover Cafe
Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, April 24
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, April 25
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 26
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, April 30
Excerpt at Kimber Li

Wednesday, May 1
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, May 2
Review & Excerpt at Broken Teepee

Friday, May 3
Review at Tar Heel Reader

Saturday, May 4
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, May 5
Review at Carole's Ramblings

Monday, May 6
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, May 8
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, May 9
Review at Henry & Benny's Book Nook

Friday, May 10
Review at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a signed copy of The Time Collector! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 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 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 new winner is chosen.

Time Collector


Guest Post by Debra Denker, author of Weather Menders

Happy Friday Eve, dear readers! Today on the blog I am excited to be hosting a great guest post from Debra Denker, author of the cli-fi novel, Weather Menders! Climate change is an important topic of our day so her book is timely and poignant.

Weather Menders: A Cli-fi Novel for the Hopeful

I autograph a lot of copies of Weather Menders with the words, “In hopes of changing the dream, in time.” That’s because Weather Menders, rather than being a dystopian novel about the horrors of climate change that seem imminent, ultimately is about changing the dream we are living in from a nightmarish scenario to a vision of hope, regeneration, and healing of both climate and social systems.

Cli-fi—climate change fiction—is a relatively new genre, a creative literary response to the unprecedentedly rapid alteration of climatic patterns, the defining planet-wide crisis of our times. How do humans cope when the cycle of seasons of our childhoods—even the childhoods of those now in their teens and 20s—is completely disrupted by the extremes increasing year by year, season by season?

Cli-fi can be about the distant future, a probable near future, or, increasingly, the present. The term was coined by journalist and teacher Dan Bloom after he read the 2006 IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report. The term began to gain prominence in 2013 after NPR ran a story on it, interviewing authors but neglecting to mention the name of the person who first came up with it.

I didn’t realize I was writing cli-fi until on a late night perambulation through the internet I came upon the term by accident or synchronicity. I had finished a draft of Weather Menders and considered it either soft sci-fi, because of the time travel element, or magical realism. When I read the NPR story and Bloom’s Cli-Fi Report, I realized that my novel also fit into this cutting-edge new genre—still so new that most indie booksellers I have approached have not yet heard of it.

A lot of cli-fi novels are dystopian, and that approach, like horror films and thrillers, appeals to lots of people. But not to me. Reading the news is bad enough.

I remembered the 1975 novel Ecotopia, by Ernest Callenbach. The book is a fictional journalist’s account set in 1999 about a new country living in harmony with Mother Earth after Washington, Oregon, and northern California seceded from the U.S. Isn’t it better to envision a different, better world’s alternate reality than to dwell on the negative and stoke the fear of how really bad things can get? That’s when I began to imagine time travel as a fictional solution, a story that could entertain readers while waking them up to both the dangers of climate change and potential solutions.

Although Weather Menders starts out in a dystopian, vastly warmer, post-plague 2050 Britain, where palm trees tower over Stonehenge, time travel allows for changing the dream—but you’ll have to read the book to find out how, and if they succeed.

Weather Menders bucks the dystopian trend in cli-fi. It was my friend Guy Dauncey, author of the visionary Journey to the Future: A Better World is Possible, who said that Weather Menders, like his novel, is “ecotopian rather than dystopian.”

My training as an energy healer and my participation in double-blind controlled scientific studies into consciousness and Distant Healing led me to believe that we do have the collective power to “change the dream.” Buddhism, Hinduism, and the mystic aspects of all spiritual traditions see the world as a dream, an illusion. If we are living in an agreed-upon reality, then it is possible to change that reality through focused intentionality—prayer, visualization, meditation. All the better if a large group, organized or spontaneous, shares the same intention.

We have the power to change the future from a dystopian nightmare to an ecotopian dream of an altered probable future—both in literature and reality.

The story of Weather Menders began to come to me in the spring of 2013, in bits and pieces. A character here, a plot point there. The story began to fill in when I visited England and Scotland in the brutally hot summer of 2013. As I joined a small group in ceremonial prayers for the Earth at dawn inside the circle of Stonehenge on the Mayan Day Out of Time, I felt that I heard the voices of ancestors and the voices of the future. Stonehenge, I sensed, was more than a calendar—it was truly a portal into other times and dimensions.

I wondered what time period we would have to go back to in order to prevent climate change. I studied and researched, and used my intuition as well, to come up with the two crucial time periods that feature in the novel (you’ll have to read it to find out what those are).

I started thinking that if I and friends close to my age were still alive in 2050, an oft-quoted watershed year for climate change, how old would we be? Most of us would be in our 90’s by then. How would we feel if climate change had continued unabated? The character of 96-year-old Tara, sitting with her back against the cool black stones of Avebury on a steamy September day, came alive for me.

And then her cat started talking to her, right on page 1. As an Animal Communicator, I “mindtalk” to animals, especially cats, dogs, and horses, on an almost daily basis. So the idea of a wise telepathic talking cat is not at all far-fetched to me.

And as if reading my mind, on Christmas Eve, 2016, a short-haired gray cat mysteriously appeared outside my door in the snow, in a rural area outside Santa Fe that is home to numerous coyotes and bobcats. Part of me wondered if he really was Georgie the time-traveling cat from 2050. Within three weeks he had wrapped me around his little gray paw. The deal was clinched when Sammy (short for Samadhi Timewalker) jumped on a client who had come for an energy healing session and put his paws right on her heart.

I knew then that Weather Menders had to reach out to the world, that there was some sort of magic and synchronicity involved. Whether or not you believe time travel is real, there is considerable evidence that our thoughts, individual and collective, can change the present and future. Enough of dwelling on fear of the future. Let’s change it instead.

Recently I’ve been inspired by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish high school student who started the first “school strike” for climate action and has urged students worldwide to join the movement. Thunberg has become a passionate spokesperson for climate healing, overcoming Asperger’s and selective mutism to speak at venues like the UN Climate Change Conference in Poland and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, journeying by train and camping out in the cold. She knows that it is her generation that will face the catastrophic consequences of climate change if we don’t take immediate, focused, worldwide positive action. She has not given up hope. Neither have I. And, I pray, neither will you. Change the dream. Together. Now.

Weather Menders by Debra Denker

Publication Date: November 10, 2017
Catalyst Artistic Productions
Paperback & eBook; 298 Pages

Genre: Sci Fi/Climate Change Fiction/Time Travel


What if Time Travel were real? What if Time Travelers from 300 years in the future told you that there was a chance that you could prevent catastrophic climate change, plagues, and wars by going back in time to key Pivot Points and ethically altering the outcome of rigged elections? What if failure would result in the destruction of the biosphere? Would you go?

In post-plague 2050 Britain, palm trees tower over the rice paddies of Stonehenge. Tara MacFarlane, a weary 96-year-old anthropologist originally from Taos, New Mexico, longs only to finish out her life in peaceful Buddhist meditation, and rejoin the great love of her later years, the humanitarian Scottish-Afghan doctor Xander, in a future incarnation. Suddenly one stifling autumn day Tara, her great-granddaughter Leona, and Leona’s boyfriend Janus are faced with a trio of Time Travelers from a future alternate Timeline where humanity and the eco-system survived and thrived.

The fate of Earth’s biosphere falls squarely on the shoulders of Tara, Leona, Janus, and Tara’s small gray cat, Georgie, who shows a surprising aptitude for telepathy. Time is short to reverse catastrophe that will bleed through into the alternate Timeline, and the Time Travelers must first determine the ideal Pivot Points by reading Time Code vibrations off the great standing stones of Avebury. Unexpectedly joined by the brave and wise cat Georgie, the six plunge into the Time Circle of Stonehenge on their mission. Where and when will they go, and will they succeed in restoring the Earth and humanity to balance?

"Weather Menders is a pioneering cli-fi novel that combines science fiction with time travel and spiritual fantasy in a unique and captivating way. The message is clear: we must act soon and be woke. Oh, and there's a telepathic time-travelling cat!" -- Dan Bloom, editor, The Cli-Fi Report

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

About the Author

Debra Denker has been writing stories since she learned to read. Although novels and poetry were her first loves, she turned her talent to journalism in the ‘70s and ‘80s, writing about Afghanistan and the refugee situation in Pakistan for National Geographic and many leading newspapers. She has specialized in social documentation utilizing journalism, photography, and film to convey the experiences of people in war torn areas, with the intention of stimulating the empathy necessary for humans to stop violence against people and planet.

Denker is the author of two published books, the non-fiction literary memoir Sisters on the Bridge of Fire: One Woman’s Journeys in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, and the novel War in the Land of Cain—a story of love, war, and moral choices set during the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980’s.

Denker now writes for the award-winning conservation media website, Voices for Biodiversity, raising consciousness to help ward off the Sixth Great Extinction.

She currently lives in Santa Fe with her family of cats, Dorjee Purr-ba, Yeshe Gyalpo, and Samadhi Timewalker, but travels frequently in earthly space, and hopes to travel in time and galactic space.
The novel’s website is www.weathermenders.com.

Her personal blog www.mysticresistance.com explores a range of spiritual, social, and political issues and their intersection with sacred activism.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Review: Song of Songs by Marc Graham


Song of Songs: A Novel of the Queen of Sheba
by Marc Graham

Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Blank Slate Press
Paperback; 400 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


Lift the veil of legend for the untold story of Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and Bathsheba, wife and mother of Israel’s first kings.

When Makeda, the slave-born daughter of the chieftain of Saba, comes of age, she wins her freedom and inherits her father's titles along with a crumbling earthwork dam that threatens her people's survival. When she learns of a great stone temple being built in a land far to the north, Makeda leads a caravan to the capital of Yisrael to learn how to build a permanent dam and secure her people's prosperity.

On her arrival, Makeda discovers that her half-sister Bilkis (also known as Bathsheba) who was thought to have died in a long-ago flash flood, not only survived, but has become Queen of Yisrael. Not content with her own wealth, Bilkis intends to claim the riches of Saba for herself by forcing Makeda to marry her son. But Bilkis’s designs are threatened by the growing attraction between Makeda and Yetzer abi-Huram, master builder of Urusalim’s famed temple. Will Bilkis’s plan succeed or will Makeda and Yetzer outsmart her and find happiness far from her plots and intrigue?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Song of Songs by Marc Graham is a captivating historical novel set in Ancient Egypt that tells the story of the Queen of Sheba, her sister Bathsheba, and the man that came between them.

Ancient Egypt is one of my most favorite settings to read. I remember as a child I would ask my mom to buy me books on the Pharaohs and antiquities and I would pour over them for hours! Song of Songs reminded me of why I love it so much!

The book is told alternatively between Sheba, Bathsheba, and Yetzer, as we witness the events that take place after a great flood hits Sheba and Bathsheba's lands, separating the sisters and setting them along their new paths.

All three characters were great, though I would have liked to have spent more time with Sheba (or Makeda as she is called in the novel). Each woman was powerful and strong in her own way. Bathsheba was the tougher of the two, and her rise to the top was intriguing to read.

All three story lines combine at the end of the novel to bring it full circle, and ends in a most satisfying way.

Evocative and fascinating, Song of Songs was a gripping read that I highly enjoyed. You should definitely pick this up if you want to be transported back in time!

About the Author

Marc Graham studied mechanical engineering at Rice University in Texas, but has been writing since his first attempt at science fiction penned when he was ten. From there, he graduated to knock-off political thrillers, all safely locked away to protect the public, before settling on historical fiction. His first novel, Of Ashes and Dust, was published in March 2017.

He has won numerous writing contests including, the National Writers Assocation Manuscript Contest (Of Ashes and Dust), the Paul Gillette Memorial Writing Contest - Historical (Of Ashes and Dust, Song of Songs), and the Colorado Gold Writing Contest - Mainstream (Prince of the West, coming from Blank Slate Press in Fall 2019).

He lives in Colorado on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, and in addition to writing, he is an actor, narrator, speaker, story coach, shamanic practitioner, and whisky afficianado (Macallan 18, one ice cube). When not on stage or studio, in a pub, or bound to his computer, he can be found hiking with his wife and their Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schdule

Tuesday, April 16
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Thursday, April 18
Review at Bookfever
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Friday, April 19
Feature at What Is That Book About
Guest Post & Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Saturday, April 20
Excerpt at Spellbound by History

Monday, April 22
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, April 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, April 24
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, April 25
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, April 26
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Tuesday, April 30
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Wednesday, May 1
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, May 3
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Monday, May 6
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, May 7
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, May 9
Excerpt at Kimber Li

Friday, May 10
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, May 13
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Amy's Booket List

Wednesday, May 15
Feature at Donna's Book Blog

Friday, May 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away two paperback copies of Song of Songs! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & Canada 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 new winner is chosen.

Song of Songs


Interview & Giveaway: Song of Songs by Marc Graham

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! Today on the blog I am so excited to be hosting Marc Graham, author of Song of Songs. His blog tour with HF Virtual Book Tours kicks off today and I will be hosting an interview this morning and then posting my review later of this fabulous novel!

Please enjoy my interview with Marc and don't forget to enter our giveaway to win a paperback copy!



Hello Marc and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about Song of Songs!

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

I’ve been a storyteller most of my life, beginning with really awful science fiction when I was a kid, but began seriously writing and honing my craft about 15 years ago. My first novel, Of Ashes and Dust, came out in 2017, and my third novel, Son of the Sea, Daughter of the Sun, will be released this coming Fall. While my focus is on historical fiction, I have a few contemporary story ideas I’m kicking around, as well as a handful of nonfiction books.

What inspired you to write Song of Songs?

I’ve known about the Queen of Sheba story most of my life, then became involved in Freemasonry (whose founding myth is centered on the building of King Solomon’s Temple) in my mid-20s. Shortly after joining, I discovered a story that told of a love triangle between King Solomon, the Queen of Sheba, and the builder of the Temple. That started my creative wheels spinning, and soon I had a story I had to pursue.

What research did you undertake when writing Song of Songs?

Marie Kondo would be horrified at the number of books I added to my library. From history to archaeology, philosophy and religious history and ancient initiation rites. Before I put a word to paper, I spent about six months getting settled into the world of Palestine, Southern Arabia, and Egypt around 1000 BCE. Part of the challenge was that the most popular written accounts (the Bible, Koran, and Kebra Negast) were written hundreds or thousands of years after the events surrounding the story (assuming they ever happened at all), and carry very specific religious or cultural biases that twisted the story to suit those ends. So I had to look backward through those lenses and reverse-engineer the stories to arrive at a likely account of what “really” happened.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Probably my temple-builder Yetzer’s initiation ritual. I put the poor guy through the wringer, but it was a lot of fun to consider how my own Masonic initiation might have been inspired by his experiences. (Don’t worry, I don’t give away any secrets protected by my oaths. Promise.)

What was the most difficult scene to write?

Without giving too much away, there is a scene involving a sexual assault that was very challenging. Based on popular legends, the scene had to be there to fully address the story. But writing from the victim’s perspective, and getting deep enough into the heads of the perpetrators to make their actions perfectly justifiable to themselves--those dark places can be pretty disturbing.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Like I said, I’ve been at least trying to write most of my life. I first got the idea for Of Ashes and Dust, my first novel, in 1998. It took me quite a while to complete it, but by the time I was done and I had several other stories starting to line up to be told, I knew this was going to become a lifelong passion.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I generally get up 2-3 hours before I need to leave for my day-job. On weekends, I usually get to sleep until our Greater Swiss Mountain Dog wakes me up. I meditate for an hour or so, then get in my writing time. I write by hand, and find that early morning gives me the best connection to my source of creativity. Editing and the other business aspects of writing I usually reserve for evenings and weekends.

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

Justified procrastination. For a long time I bought into my own lie that I needed a significant block of time (at least an hour, maybe 2 or more) to really get into the zone and have productive writing time. The result, of course, was that my writing was sporadic and undisciplined, because it’s very difficult to find that much uninterrupted time while also working a full-time job. Then I discovered Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s Resistance, where author Rosanne Bane talks about habits and micro-commitments. She stresses the importance of forging very small but non-negotiable commitments as a means of overcoming resistance and procrastination. So I commit to getting in 15 minutes of writing every day, no matter what. If I manage more, great, but that short period of time is a must-do. Since making that commitment, my word-count has shot up dramatically and the Muse--seeing that I’m serious about actually showing up--keeps those ideas flowing.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Bernard Cornwell is my literary hero, in terms of storytelling, commitment, and sheer volume of output. JK Rowling set a great example for persistence and refusing to give up. And, really, every author who makes just one more submission than they receive rejections is a true inspiration.

What was the first historical novel you read?

The Three Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas.

What is the last historical novel you read?

War of the Wolf, by (surprise!) Bernard Cornwell is the latest new release I’ve read, though I’ve just reread his Warlord (King Arthur) series and am restarting his Grail Quest series.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I almost always spell grey with an ‘e’. I’m not a huge dessert guy. I once had a pet Petoskey Stone (named Pete, of course).

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I’ve always been fascinated by history. My grandfather was an avid reader and storyteller, and he could make personal family history or some obscurity of the distant past really come alive. In historical fiction, we have the opportunity to explore events of the past and connect them to our present experience. I find that old nugget, “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” really rings true, as well as “History is written by the victors.” By digging into these ancient stories, by getting into the minds of the characters, peering behind the official history, and trying to get to the real story behind it, we can learn a lot about how the mind works and how we can course-correct to avoid the missteps of the past.

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

I’m really all over the board. I wouldn’t say there’s a particular time period that appeals to me more than any other. It’s more about the theme of the story. Give me an exciting story of personal honor, courage, and sacrifice in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and I’m on board.

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

If I’m not trying to get a book out, I’ll generally be working on a musical theatre production. And I’ve just gotten into drone piloting and aerial photography.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

I’m wrapping up edits on my next novel, Son of the Sea, Daughter of the Sun, due out Fall 2019 from Blank Slate Press. And I’m developing a set of creativity tools for storytellers, along with a companion book, that I hope to have out in the next few months.



Song of Songs: A Novel of the Queen of Sheba
by Marc Graham

Publication Date: April 16, 2019
Blank Slate Press
Paperback; 400 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


Lift the veil of legend for the untold story of Makeda, the Queen of Sheba, and Bathsheba, wife and mother of Israel’s first kings.

When Makeda, the slave-born daughter of the chieftain of Saba, comes of age, she wins her freedom and inherits her father's titles along with a crumbling earthwork dam that threatens her people's survival. When she learns of a great stone temple being built in a land far to the north, Makeda leads a caravan to the capital of Yisrael to learn how to build a permanent dam and secure her people's prosperity.

On her arrival, Makeda discovers that her half-sister Bilkis (also known as Bathsheba) who was thought to have died in a long-ago flash flood, not only survived, but has become Queen of Yisrael. Not content with her own wealth, Bilkis intends to claim the riches of Saba for herself by forcing Makeda to marry her son. But Bilkis’s designs are threatened by the growing attraction between Makeda and Yetzer abi-Huram, master builder of Urusalim’s famed temple. Will Bilkis’s plan succeed or will Makeda and Yetzer outsmart her and find happiness far from her plots and intrigue?

Amazon | Barnes and Noble


About the Author

Marc Graham studied mechanical engineering at Rice University in Texas, but has been writing since his first attempt at science fiction penned when he was ten. From there, he graduated to knock-off political thrillers, all safely locked away to protect the public, before settling on historical fiction. His first novel, Of Ashes and Dust, was published in March 2017.

He has won numerous writing contests including, the National Writers Assocation Manuscript Contest (Of Ashes and Dust), the Paul Gillette Memorial Writing Contest - Historical (Of Ashes and Dust, Song of Songs), and the Colorado Gold Writing Contest - Mainstream (Prince of the West, coming from Blank Slate Press in Fall 2019).

He lives in Colorado on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, and in addition to writing, he is an actor, narrator, speaker, story coach, shamanic practitioner, and whisky afficianado (Macallan 18, one ice cube). When not on stage or studio, in a pub, or bound to his computer, he can be found hiking with his wife and their Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schdule

Tuesday, April 16
Review & Interview at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

Thursday, April 18
Review at Bookfever
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Friday, April 19
Feature at What Is That Book About
Guest Post & Excerpt at To Read, Or Not to Read

Saturday, April 20
Excerpt at Spellbound by History

Monday, April 22
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, April 23
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Wednesday, April 24
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, April 25
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, April 26
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Tuesday, April 30
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Wednesday, May 1
Review at Library of Clean Reads

Friday, May 3
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Monday, May 6
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, May 7
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Thursday, May 9
Excerpt at Kimber Li

Friday, May 10
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Monday, May 13
Review at Curling up by the Fire

Tuesday, May 14
Review at Amy's Booket List

Wednesday, May 15
Feature at Donna's Book Blog

Friday, May 17
Review at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away two paperback copies of Song of Songs! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & Canada 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 new winner is chosen.

Song of Songs


2019 Release: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Fans of The Night Circus rejoice! Erin Morgenstern is releasing a new book in the Fall and it sounds amazing! And check out that stunning cover!


The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Doubleday

Genre: Fantasy/Historical/LGBTQ

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Night Circus, a timeless love story set in a secret underground world--a place of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a starless sea.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues--a bee, a key, and a sword--that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library hidden far below the surface of the earth. What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians--it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also of those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose--in both the mysterious book and in his own life.


Review: When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton


When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Berkley

In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life--and heart--to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel from the author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick.

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly.

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez--her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro's inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost.

As the Cold War swells like a hurricane over the shores of the Florida Strait, Beatriz is caught between the clash of Cuban American politics and the perils of a forbidden affair with a powerful man driven by ambitions of his own. When the ever-changing tides of history threaten everything she has fought for, she must make a choice between her past and future--but the wrong move could cost Beatriz everything--not just the island she loves, but also the man who has stolen her heart...

Learn more about When We Left Cuba including downloading the book club guide and more at: http://www.chanelcleeton.com/when-we-left-cuba

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

"You're a dangerous woman, Beatriz Perez."

Gosh, how to even begin this review. Why is it so hard to write a review for a book you love without sounding like a complete fan-girl nerd :) I'm not sure, but I will try my best!

When I finished reading Next Year in Havana last year I immediately wrote to Chanel telling her how much I loved the read and how much I adored Elisa's aunt Beatriz. So you can imagine my excitement when she told me that a Beatriz book was in the works! I've been impatiently awaiting this release for a while. And it was just as amazing as I thought it would be. Beatriz will win your heart, just you wait and see!

Once again, it's the passion for the people and land of Cuba that shines through when you read the book. Since reading these books I have added Cuba to my travel wishlist. It must be a gorgeous country. You can see why Beatriz longs to be home again. I can't imagine being forced from the only home that you know and never knowing when you can go back again, or if you ever will. I like to think that I would have the courage to be like Beatriz and to try and fight for my country.

Political intrigue, spying, danger, and forbidden love all combine masterfully in When We Left Cuba! Cleeton has fast become one of my favorite historical writers. I will automatically pick up anything she releases because I know I'm going to learn a lot and be entertained at the same time.

Beatriz is a heroine after my own heart - formidable, stubborn, passionate, and brave. I highly recommend When We Left Cuba if you're looking for a gripping and exciting read!

Praise for When We Left Cuba

A thrilling story about love, loss, and what we will do to go home again. Utterly un-put-down-able.
—PopSugar

A beautiful and utterly transporting novel.
—Publisher’s Weekly

Bold, unconventional Beatriz makes a heroine for the ages…A thrilling, thought-provoking read!
—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network

A gorgeously atmospheric homage to a country and a past that vibrates with emotion on every page. Historic events, espionage, and a Kennedy-esque romance make this novel a rich read, but the addition of a formidable heroine truly makes it unputdownable. This is not just historical fiction, but also an unrequited love story for a country and a way of life, as well as a journey of self-discovery for a woman torn between love and the two countries she calls home.
—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author

Cleeton once again delivers a masterful tale of political intrigue tinged with personal heartbreak. Her ferocity and fearlessness can be found on every page, and Beatriz’s story—one of vengeance, betrayal, and bravery—astonishes and thrills.
—Fiona Davis, national bestselling author of The Masterpiece

Atmospheric and evocative, When We Left Cuba captivates with its compelling portrayals of the glamorous Cuban exile community and powerful forbidden love set against the dangerous intrigue of the Cold War. Unforgettable and unputdownable!
—Laura Kamoie, New York Times bestselling coauthor of My Dear Hamilton

By turns a captivating historical novel, a sweeping love story, and a daring tale of espionage—I absolutely adored this gem of a novel.
—Jillian Cantor, author of The Lost Letter and In Another Time

Oozing with atmosphere and intrigue, When We Left Cuba is an evocative, powerful and beautifully written historical novel which had me completely captivated from the first page to the last. Take a bow, Chanel Cleeton!
—Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

With a sure hand for historical detail, an impeccable eye for setting, and a heroine who grasps hold of your heart and never lets go, Chanel Cleeton has created another dazzlingly atmospheric and absorbing story of Cuba and its exiles. A beautiful and profoundly affecting novel from a writer whose work belongs on the shelves of every lover of historical fiction.
—Jennifer Robson, USA Today bestselling author of The Gown

Powerful, emotional and oh so real. One woman's fight to reclaim her own country, against all odds and no matter what the cost is intertwined with the real history of our lifetime and creates an unforgettable story.
—Rhys Bowen, New York Times and #1 Kindle bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and the Royal Spyness mysteries.

Scintillating…. An intriguing dive into the turbulent Cuban-American history of the 1960s, and the unorthodox choices made by a strong historical woman.
—Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room

Rich in historic detail, When We Left Cuba has it all—the excitement of a page-turning thriller, the sizzle of a steamy romance and the elegant prose of a master storyteller.
—Renée Rosen, author of Park Avenue Summer

Cleeton draws you into the glamour, intrigue, and uncertainty of the Cuban exile community just after Castro's coup through a heroine who could give Mata Hari a run for her money…. You'll be rooting for Beatriz to change the course of history—and find her own hard-won happily ever after.
—Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The English Wife

With a richly imagined setting and a heroine worth rooting for from the start, When We Left Cuba is thrilling and romantic, and timely to boot.
—Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Met Jack

A compelling unputdownable story of love—for a man, for a country, for a past ripped away, and a future’s tenuous promise. When We Left Cuba swept me away.
—Shelley Noble, New York Times bestselling author of Lighthouse Beach.

Electric and fierce. Beatriz Perez’s romance with a handsome, important senator will sweep you away, but it’s her profound loyalty to Cuba and her formidable determination to be her own woman despite life-and-death odds that will really hold you in thrall.
—Kerri Maher, author of The Kennedy Debutante

In a tale as tempestuous as Cuba itself, When We Left Cuba is the revolutionary story of one woman’s bold courage and her many sacrifices for her beloved country. An absolutely spectacular read!
—Stephanie Marie Thornton, author of American Princess

Beatriz Perez’s brand of vintage-Havana glamour dazzles with equal parts intrigue, rebellion, and romance to make for an unforgettable story.
—Elise Hooper, author of The Other Alcott



About the Author

Chanel Cleeton is the USA Today bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick Next Year in Havana. Originally from Florida, Chanel grew up on stories of her family's exodus from Cuba following the events of the Cuban Revolution. Her passion for politics and history continued during her years spent studying in England where she earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master's degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics & Political Science. Chanel also received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She loves to travel and has lived in the Caribbean, Europe, and Asia.

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