Review: In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark


In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark

Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook

Genre: Historical Fiction


Based on a true story, this gorgeous new novel follows the fortunes of three Berliners caught up in an art scandal—involving newly discovered van Goghs—that rocks Germany amidst the Nazis’ rise to power.

Hedonistic and politically turbulent, Berlin in the 1920s is a city of seedy night clubs and sumptuous art galleries. It is home to millionaires and mobs storming bakeries for rationed bread. These disparate Berlins collide when Emmeline, a young art student; Julius, an art expert; and a mysterious dealer named Rachmann all find themselves caught up in the astonishing discovery of thirty-two previously unknown paintings by Vincent van Gogh.

In the Full Light of the Sun explores the trio’s complex relationships and motivations, their hopes, their vanities, and their self-delusions—for the paintings are fakes and they are in their own ways complicit. Theirs is a cautionary tale about of the aspirations of the new Germany and a generation determined to put the humiliations of the past behind them.

With her signature impeccable and evocative historical detail, Clare Clark has written a gripping novel about beauty and justice, and the truth that may be found when our most treasured beliefs are revealed as illusions.

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

As soon as I saw this cover I knew I had to read it! I know, you shouldn't judge a book by the cover but I'm an unapologetic cover nerd :) It's so gorgeous and the colors grab me every time I look at it. In this case, the cover is just as fabulous as the story.

Set in 1920's Berlin, In the Full Light of the Sun is a story about four people caught up in an art scandal involving fake Van Gogh paintings.

Based on a true story, it's told in three parts - Julius, an art dealer & authenticator, Emmeline, an art student and aspiring artist, and Frank, a lawyer. I like how the author did that, to give a complete story with three varying sides. My favorite part was Emmeline's story. I didn't like her at first but she really grew on me.

I was completely fascinated with this book and learned so much about the art world that I didn't know. Clark's writing is wonderful and easy to read, and I will definitely be picking up her other books. Highly recommended for those that love historical fiction and art!

Praise

“As compelling as it is expansive… In an age that has apparently lost faith in experts and verifiable sources of information, Clark’s fictionalization of the Wacker affair stands as a salutary tale for the post-truth era.” —The Guardian

“[Clark] excels at evoking the febrile tensions of the Weimar Republic… A gripping and ultimately moving story about art, artifice and authenticity.” —The Mail on Sunday

“With great skill and sympathy, Clark evokes a febrile society in which politics, love and art offer no certainties, and the ground always threatens to open beneath her characters’ feet.” —The Sunday Times

“Set over the decade of the Nazis’ rise to power, In the Full Light of the Sun loosely follows the real-life mystery of whether paintings apparently by Van Gogh that were exhibited in Berlin in the 1920s were forgeries…The most enjoyable mystery here is the matter of whether anyone is really their authentic self.” —The Times (UK)

“An engrossing read.” —Image Magazine Ireland

“Clark’s beautiful writing is as dense and layered as thick, Post-Impressionist oils.” —Tablet

“A completely fascinating novel about the early 20th century art world and its many dubious machinations. Expertly researched, compellingly narrated and full of potent resonance today.” —William Boyd, author of Sweet Caress

“Clare Clark casts her spell of time and place with casual elegance and no apparent tricks - yet caught me up in this juicy story of colossal art fraud, the passions and intrigues of her vivid and moving characters - and the truly terrifying rise of the Nazi party, with all its contemporary echoes. The atmosphere of this book lingers on.” —Laline Paull, author of The Bees

“I loved In the Full Light of the Sun, a novel about deception, self-deception, truth, love and lies that will enthrall anyone fascinated by Van Gogh, the art world and Berlin in the 1920s. Written with verve and assurance it is both engaging and humane.” —Amanda Craig, author of the Lie of the Land

“In her gripping new novel Clare Clark paints a picture of Weimar Berlin in which surface glitter hides sinister and bitter truths. Page by page she brings secret lives into the light; nothing: not love, not art, not politics, is what it seems, and few escape the brutal forces that emerge.” —Stella Tillyard, author of Aristocrats

“A wonderful novel: passionate, intelligent, humane, it held me from the first page to the last. Van Gogh's fleeting genius—achingly out of reach, the pull so strong—is wonderfully evoked; and the house of cards that was the Weimar Republic provides the perfectly rendered backdrop for a story about our willingness to deceive in the pursuit of beauty.” —Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in Winter

"Clark's mastery of historic and artistic details merges with skillful plotting and compelling characters in this accomplished novel. A suspenseful, atmospheric portrait of Berlin during Hitler's rise."—Kirkus

"Infused with Clark’s signature attention to historical detail...Evocative prose and excellent pacing make this fine historical a must-read for art history buffs."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author


CLARE CLARK is the author of four novels, including The Great Stink, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize and named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and Savage Lands, also long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her work has been translated into five languages. She lives in London.

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 22
Review at  Rebecca is Reading

Tuesday, July 23
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Thursday, July 25
Feature at Diana_bibliophile

Friday, July 26
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Monday, July 29
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 30
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, August 1
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Orange County Readers

Friday, August 2
Review at Mama's Reading Corner

Monday, August 5
Review at Amy's Booket List

Wednesday, August 7
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Friday, August 9
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away three copies of In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be 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.

In the Full Light of the Sun


Review & Giveaway: The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews


The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews

Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Perfectly Proper Press
Paperback & eBook

Genre: Historical Romance



An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland—a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the Duke's clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her—and her heart—in more danger than ever?

"In her sixth historical romance, Matthews (The Pug Who Bit Napoleon; A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty) weaves suspense and mystery within an absorbing love story. Readers will be hard put to set this one down before the end. Highly recommended to historical romance and/or mystery buffs and especially animal lovers." - Library Journal, Starred Review

Amazon | Apple | Barnes and Noble | Kobo


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mimi Matthews has done it again! With every new book of Mimi's that I read, I think to myself, clearly, she can't top this one...and yet, she does. Every dang time!

The Work of Art is actually one of Mimi's earliest books but was never released until now. It makes me so sad to think of this beautiful book sitting all alone, but now it's getting the love it deserves and I could not be more thrilled for that.

When Phyllida Satterthwaite's beloved grandfather and only guardian passes away, her Uncle moves her to London so that she might make her debut and find a husband. Her beauty and unique eyes grab the attention of the men in town, including the scandalous Duke of Moreland, who is known as a collector of rare and unique items. Now he wants Phyllida...and he is used to getting what he wants.

Captain Arthur Heywood was injured in the Peninsular War and can only walk with the assistance of a cane. While he prefers to stay at home in his country estate away from society, business brings him to London and the home of Phyllida's Uncle. Her beauty is not lost on Arthur and they soon become friends. When the dangerous Duke of Moreland sets his sights on Phyllida despite her not being interested, Arthur steps in with an offer to help.

I have to say that Phyllida and Arthur are my most favorite fictional couple ever! I'm not the easiest reader of romances. I've never been one for the lovey-dovey stuff but I swear Mimi is converting me! If any book can be called "swoon-worthy" it's The Work of Art!

Not only is this a book for romance fans, but also a book for animal lovers! Phyllida's love for her dogs and animals was my favorite thing about her. As someone that drove an hour away last week to save an injured chipmunk, I can totally relate to her :)

Mimi's books always bring a smile to my face and I was totally grinning ear to ear when I finished The Work of Art. I could not love it more and will be shouting about this book to anyone who will listen!

I do believe that The Work of Art is my favorite Mimi Matthews book....that is, until the next one releases :)

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Mimi Matthews (A Victorian Lady’s Guide to Fashion and Beauty, The Matrimonial Advertisement) writes both historical non-fiction and traditional historical romances set in Victorian England. Her articles on nineteenth century history have been published on various academic and history sites, including the Victorian Web and the Journal of Victorian Culture, and are also syndicated weekly at BUST Magazine. In her other life, Mimi is an attorney. She resides in California with her family, which includes an Andalusian dressage horse, two Shelties, and two Siamese cats.

For more information, please visit Mimi Matthews’ website and blog. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterBookBubPinterestGoogle+, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 23
Review at Bookish Rantings
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Wednesday, July 24
Review at Courtney Clark

Thursday, July 25
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Friday, July 26
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 29
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Tuesday, July 30
Excerpt at Faery Tales Are Real

Wednesday, July 31
Review at The Lit Bitch

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed copy of The Work of Art! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 31st. 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 will be 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 Work of Art


Review & Giveaway: Sign of the White Foal by Chris Thorndycroft


Sign of the White Foal by Chris Thorndycroft

Publication Date: July 1, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 327 Pages

Series: Arthur of the Cymry Trilogy (Book 1)
Genre: Historical Fiction


A generation after Hengest and Horsa carved out a kingdom in the east, a hero of the Britons rises in the west...

480 A.D. The sons of Cunedag have ruled Venedotia for fifty years but the chief of them – the Pendraig – is now dying. His sons Cadwallon and Owain must fight to retain their birthright from their envious cousins. As civil war consumes Venedotia, Arthur – a young warrior and bastard son of the Pendraig – is sent on a perilous quest that will determine the fate of the kingdom.

The Morgens; nine priestesses of the Mother Goddess have found the cauldron of rebirth – a symbol of otherworldly power – and have allied themselves with the enemy. Arthur and six companions are dispatched to the mysterious island of Ynys Mon to steal the cauldron and break the power of the Morgens. Along the way they run into the formidable Guenhuifar whose family have been stewards of Ynys Mon for generations. They need her help. The trouble is, Guenhuifar despises Arthur’s family and all they stand for…

Based on the earliest Arthurian legends, Sign of the White Foal is a rip-roaring adventure of Celtic myth and real history set in the ruins of post-Roman Britain.

Amazon | IndieBound

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Based on the earliest Arthurian legends, Sign of the White Foal is a fast-paced adventure that will keep you gripped from page one! Think of it as a Post-Roman Britain 'Game of Thrones' :)

When the King of Venedotia dies his son Cadwallon becomes the Pendraig, but his new reign is threatened with he is attacked and captured. He escapes and thus begins the dangerous expedition to get back his throne, with the help of his brother Owain, and half-brother Arthur. Yep, THAT Arthur!

Rival kingdoms, a mysterious order of Priestesses, black magic, battles, bloodthirsty warriors, and politics all leading the ultimate, final battle for the Kingdom and I enjoyed every minute!

There are a lot of characters in this book and the names are hard to pronounce but it didn't take anything away from me following the story. I would have to say that Guihir and the badass Guinhuifar (Guinevere) were my two faves.

Unique and intriguing, I highly recommend Sign of the White Foal to anyone who enjoys Arthurian legends, Game of Thrones, and non-stop action!

About the Author

Chris Thorndycroft is a British writer of historical fiction, horror and fantasy. His early short stories appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Dark Moon Digest and American Nightmare. His first novel under his own name was A Brother's Oath; the first book in the Hengest and Horsa Trilogy. He also writes under the pseudonym P. J. Thorndyke.

For more information, please visit Chris Thorndycroft's website. You can also find him on Twitter and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 22
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, July 23
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 24
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, July 25
Review at My Reading Chronicles

Friday, July 26
Guest Post at Gwendalyn's Books

Monday, July 29
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at Faery Tales Are Real

Tuesday, July 30
Interview at Gwendalyn's Books
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, July 31
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Friday, August 2
Review at Stephanie's Novel Fiction

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive an eBook of Sign of the White Foal by Chris Thorndycroft! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 2nd. 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 will be 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.

Sign of the White Foal


Spotlight on The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

Today I am super excited to be featuring the upcoming release from Rowan Coleman as part of her Blog Tour with Random Things Tours! I will be reviewing it soon so stay tuned for that! How gorgeous is that cover?

Have you read this yet or do you plan to?


The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

Publication: August 8, 2019
Ebury Press

A beautiful new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things

The Girl at the Window is a beautiful and captivating novel set at Ponden Hall, a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors and famously used as a setting for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Known as the place where Cathy’s ghost taps on the window, Emily Bronte used to visit often with her sisters and use the extensive library there. It’s a magical place full of stories.

In The Girl at the Window, Ponden Hall is where Trudy Heaton grew up, but also where she ran away from…

Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, Trudy returns home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead. While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present...

Praise for Rowan Coleman

'Rowan Coleman is one of those writers I will follow anywhere. I know however unlikely the story she will never lead me astray’ KATIE FFORDE ‘I’m so happy because she’s written other books and it’s so lovely to find a writer you love who has a backlist’ MARIAN KEYES ‘Coleman is such a beautiful writer’ ALEX MARWOOD

‘An emotional roller coaster that will floor you with its depth and believability’ FABULOUS MAGAZINE, THE SUN

‘Hugely inventive and evocative...achingly romantic’ HEAT MAGAZINE ‘An irresistible page-turner… the depiction of love seemed the most real’ STYLIST MAGAZINE

About the Author


Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family. Rowan’s last novel, The Summer of Impossible Things, was selected for Zoe Ball’s ITV Book Club. Rowan has an everlasting love for the Brontes, and is a regular visitor of Ponden Hall.



Review & Giveaway: No Woman's Land by Ellie Midwood


No Woman's Land by Ellie Midwood

Publication Date: May 31, 2019
eBook; 368 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


“It was very dangerous for him, and he knew it. But his love for me was stronger than fear.” - Ilse Stein

This novel is based on the inspiring and moving love story of Ilse Stein, a German Jew, and Willy Schultz, a Luftwaffe Captain in the Minsk ghetto, who risked his life to save the one he loved the most.

When the last of the Jews’ rights are stripped in 1941, Ilse’s family is deported to a Minsk ghetto. Confined to a Sonderghetto and unable to speak the locals’ language, Ilse struggles to support the surviving members of her family. Befriended by a local underground member Rivka, Ilse partakes in small acts of resistance and sabotage to help her fellow Jews escape to the partisans.

A few months later, after losing almost his entire brigade of workers to one of the bloodiest massacres conducted by the SS, a local administrative officer Willy Schultz summons the survivors to form a new brigade. Ilse’s good looks immediately catch his eye, and he makes her a leader of the new unit and later, an office worker. Soon, an unlikely romance blossoms amid death and gore, moving a Nazi officer to go to great risks to protect not only Ilse but as many others as possible and allowing a Jewish girl to open her heart to the former enemy. Knowing that the ghetto would soon be liquidated, Willy Schultz swears to save Ilse, even if the cost would be his own life.

“We live together, or we die together,” - an ultimate oath of love in the most harrowing setting.

Dark, haunting, but full of hope, “No Woman’s Land” is a testament to the love that is stronger than fear and death itself.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Kobo


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

"We live together, or we die together"

Oh, my heart! No Woman's Land was another stellar historical from Ellie Midwood, who is fast becoming my go-to for WWII and Holocaust novels. This lady brings the past to life like no other - the good, the bad, and everything in between!

What endeared me most to this novel is that it's based on a true story of a Luftwaffe Officer that fell in love with a German Jew amidst the violence and terror at a Minsk ghetto. How one can find love in such a horrifying place it's hard to fathom, but I think this quote from Ilse explains it perfectly:

"It can be my corpse that a black SS boot shoves into a new pit tomorrow and I want to die a woman who's known love at least for a few stolen moments."

Midwood is a wonder with words - I am so in love with her writing. You can feel the love between Ilse and Willy explode off the pages and as a reader you root for them to make it. I cried quite a few times while reading this, so have tissues at the ready! And her descriptions of life in the ghetto and the daily struggle to survive was real and visceral.

"...yet, he courted me instead as though it was not wartime, as though I didn't owe my very life to him, as though it wasn't me, who was the helpless side in all of this twisted equation."

No Woman's Land was a beautiful, chilling, terrifying, and hopeful. I loved every second I spent with this book and cannot wait for more from Ellie Midwood!

About the Author

Ellie Midwood is a best-selling, award-winning historical fiction writer. She's a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.

Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Readers' Favorite - winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) - "The Girl from Berlin: Standartenfuhrer's Wife"

Readers' Favorite - winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) - "The Austrian" (honorable mention)

New Apple - 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing - "The Austrian" (official selection)

For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, July 19
Review at Passages to the Past

Saturday, July 20
Review at Amy's Booket List

Monday, July 22
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, July 23
Feature at Words and Peace
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, July 24
Review at Impressions In Ink

Thursday, July 25
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Friday, July 26
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Saturday, July 27
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, July 29
Review at Red Headed Book Lady

Tuesday, July 30
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Wednesday, July 31
Feature at Broken Teepee
Review at Lost_in_a_book_reviewer

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one paperback copy of No Woman's Land! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 31st. 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 will be 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.

No Woman's Land


Review & Giveaway: Eleos by D.R. Bell


Eleos by D.R. Bell

Publication Date: October 23, 2018
eBook & Paperback; 460 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


The discovery of a valise of old letters written to his Armenian grandfather from an Auschwitz survivor starts Avi Arutiyan on an odyssey to uncover the mystery surrounding his grandfather’s unsolved death. From the killing fields of Anatolia to the trial of Adolf Eichmann, Avi’s quest opens a door into intersecting paths and dark secrets of three families, stretching back to 1915.

​How do these things happen time and again: the Holocaust was preceded by the Armenian Genocide, and followed by the killing fields of Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia. Who were the people behind them? Eleos is a story of saviors and murderers, of bystanders and of those that don't fall into an easy-to-classify category. Hopefully the book can serve as a reminder to protect our own humanity, because ultimately the battlefield is inside all of us.

"Bell masterfully combines his mystery story with an unflinching look at the 20th century's bleakest tragedies. A beautiful . . . challengingly complex tale of the ramifications of history." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Eleos offers no easy answers, no pat approaches. Perhaps this is the novel's greatest challenge to its readers, as well as its finest attribute. D. R. Bell crafts a set of circumstances that involve the protagonist in a sifting of blame, historical examination, and family attitudes, drawing in readers with a scenario that at first seems relatively black and white; then immersing them in decisions and outcomes that are satisfyingly complex. ... Holocausts can happen again, but as long as stories such as Eleos capture the progression of events with an eye to explaining how logic and action led to disaster, future generations at least have a road map to avoid the pitfalls that lead in these directions." -- Diane Donovan, Donovan's Literary Services; Editor, California Bookwatch

Available on Amazon


Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Let me just start this review off by confessing that there is no way it will do justice to the incredible book that is ELEOS by D.R. Bell. I will try to convey my feelings as best as possible and try not to overly-gush.

In no way was I prepared for how hard this book would hit me. I've read hundreds of WWII and Holocaust books and ELEOS is the one that truly opened my eyes to the horrors and the injustices that occurred during, and then continued after the camps were liberated and throughout the Nazi trials. I learned so much from this book. My husband sure got an earful too as I would read out loud multiple passages or facts from the book. I like to highlight in my eReader as I read - whether it be interesting facts or beautiful quotes, and I swear almost every page there is something highlighted or noted.

It's strange to say that a book about such awful atrocities can be beautiful but it's the writing the makes it so. Bell has an amazing talent for storytelling. When I read Historical Fiction I feel like we honor them by bearing witness to their story and their lives, and what happened to them, and ELEOS did that masterfully. I cannot imagine the amount of research that went into the writing of this book. Bell was able to convey all of that but without making it heavy-handed and presenting it in a fascinating way.

This is a book that once you read it you will never forget it. I could not love Bell's writing more and look forward to more historicals from him. Highly, highly recommended.

About the Author

I didn't plan to become a writer. A few years ago, a friend's death prompted me to ask what would be the one thing I regret not doing. I've always been an avid reader but have not had the courage to write. And I made a New Year resolution to write a book. That's how The Great Game came about. I try to write about serious topics but wrap them into an action-filled story. While all my books are entirely fictional, each of them carries a Commentary how the fiction is rooted in facts and realities of current events.

The first three books - The Metronome, The Great Game, and The Outer Circle - form a trilogy, where the lives the seemingly unconnected characters intersect against the backdrop of a turbulent power game between United States, China, and Russia. Unfortunately, some of the events described there are now happening in real life.

Marshland is a detective story set in modern Los Angeles, focused on the impact that internet and social media can have on our lives and their potential for unscrupulous abuse by those in power.

The latest project, Eleos, is a historic fiction set primarily during the time of the Eichmann's trial. In a way, it's a personal investigation into how events like the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide become possible.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 15
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Just a Girl and Her Books

Wednesday, July 17
Guest Post at Gwendalyn_Books_

Thursday, July 18
Review at my.boys.mom

Friday, July 19
Review at Cennin's Book Review

Monday, July 22
Feature at Comet Readings

Tuesday, July 23
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, July 24
Review at RW Bookclub Goodreads

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away one eBook and one paperback copy of ELEOS! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 24th. 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 will be 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.

Eleos


Interview & Giveaway: The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton

Hello, dear readers! Today on the blog I am super excited to be hosting author Nancy Blanton who is currently on Blog Tour for The Earl in Black Armor. Nancy was gracious enough to answer some questions for me and we also have a chance for you to win a copy of the book!

I absolutely loved this book and you can check out my review here.


Hello Nancy and welcome to Passages to the Past! Thanks so much for stopping by today to talk about The Earl in Black Armor!

Thank you! It is truly my pleasure.

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

As a former journalist, I like to learn the history behind things. I’ve always loved reading historical fiction, so I suppose it is only natural that I’d be drawn to write it. I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but didn’t have the confidence to try fiction until much later in life. My father was a huge influence on me. He was half Irish he took great pride in it, so I and my sisters sang the songs and acquired the same love for all things Irish. When I was 19 my father sent me on a summer study of Irish history in Dublin, and I think my fate was cemented.

What inspired you to write The Earl in Black Armor?

My first book, Sharavogue, began at the end of Cromwell’s march through Ireland in 1649. I followed that with a prequel about her father starting in 1634, but that left a gap of time between them that my sister insisted I must fill. I imagined that book would be a novella, but when I researched the period and discovered the story of Thomas Wentworth, the first Earl of Strafford, I realized it would be the most complex and exciting story I had yet written.

What research did you undertake when writing The Earl in Black Armor?

Well, the journalist likes to have three sources, right? I read and compared three biographies of Thomas Wentworth, plus a few nonfiction books about the time period, including military history and Wentworth’s financial assets. I also studied Lucy Hay, the Countess of Carlisle who was at one time Wentworth’s paramour, and did the same for some other characters such as John Pym and Lord Baltimore. This built on years of study I had also done on the 17th century in general. It is the magic of fiction when these strings of research come together to form a cohesive story.

What would you like readers to take away from reading The Earl in Black Armor?

There are so many potential takeaways. One, for me, is a then-and-now political parallel of the way a steadfast administrator and supporter can be used and then sacrificed when the balance of power shifts. Another is the idea of honor, something we may struggle to define, and may always strive for but perhaps fall short of, being the imperfect humans that we are.

What was your favorite scene to write?

Again, there are many, but two come to mind because the description was so delightful to me. In chapters 16 and 17 we visit Hampton Court where King Charles’s court has removed to escape the plague going on in London. My two conspirators working for Wentworth get to see the grandeur of the king’s audience chambers and the king himself for the first time. The second is in chapter 28, when Wentworth visits the beautiful and lush lands of Wicklow—a place the Irish had called Cosha—and a hunting lodge along the River Derry.

What was the most difficult scene to write?

That would be the scene of separation in chapter 64. It would be spoiler for me to describe it, but in historical fiction you know what is coming, it isn’t good, and there is a sense of dread. The writing is filled with both passion and sorrow, and it can be a struggle, but if I can express those feelings fully it is the power of the story and the relief to the author—though I still feel the heaviness when I look at it.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was about ten years old. My mother was an avid reader, and she took my sisters and me to the library frequently to pick out whatever we wanted. I read all sorts of things and started writing little stories about squirrels and such that my poor mother had to listen to. She liked historical romance and later would pass those books on to me. I liked epic books like Gone with the Wind, that really taught me something about a time in history.

What does your daily writing routine look like?

I do best in quiet solitude, so I get up at 5 am and write for about two hours before my husband gets up. Later in the day there are many duties and distractions, but I weave in my research throughout the day as time permits, often tucking it away or making notes for what I will need and when. Like most writers, I know I have to do it every day, and especially for a complex story like The Earl, because it is too easy to get distracted and off track, and then I would have to refresh my memory on the research, and start again. One of the best bits of advice I received from another writer is, when you stop working on a manuscript, make a note to yourself about what you are thinking and what comes next so you can dive right in the next morning.

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

Confidence, confidence, confidence. Some are born with it, and God bless them. Many of us are self-doubting introverts, and in my experience there is no easy path out of it except to recognize it for what it is and keep going anyway. I attended writers workshops to learn everything I could, studied the techniques of authors I admired, and wrote every day. I was willing and open to editing and constructive criticism. It’s like body building; it makes you sore but firms you up. And there are a lot of books to help authors, like The Inner Critic Advantage, that bring a little humor into dealing with your negative inner voice so that you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Most of the time, it is discovery of something fascinating that I never knew. For example, I found a book about a man in the 17th century who abducted an heiress in Ireland as a way to elevate his station in life. There was no law against it at the time, and once the heiress had been held overnight she was considered “damaged,” so the families would negotiate for the best financial settlement and the couple would be married. This story inspired my second novel, The Prince of Glencurragh, and turned into quite an adventure.

What was the first historical novel you read?

It was a Victorian romance called “The Wishing Star,” though I can’t remember the author’s name and have not been able to find it again. Oddly enough, it was about a beautiful, confident woman who gives a young girl a “magic” gem—the wishing star that she can wish on to become everything she dreams of being.

What is the last historical novel you read?

The Pulitzer Prize winner, The Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr.

What are three things people may not know about you?

I love to go trout fishing with my husband.

When I’m stuck, I find ripping weeds out of the flower beds great therapy.

I take a piece of Cadbury Royal Dark chocolate with my vitamins in the morning.

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

I love historical fiction because it allows me to learn about history in a way that is engaging and alive. Non-fiction history books are better than ever—I’m a huge fan of some of them—and I think if I had it to do over again I would be a historian, but I would still write historical fiction.

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

I’m all about the 17th century, a time of great, sweeping change. I used to read a lot about the Tudor period, but grew tired of the same stories retold.

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

I walk on the beach, relax with my husband and our Labrador retriever, watch documentaries and comedies, and do volunteer work for the Amelia Island Book Festival.

Lastly, what are you working on next?

It’s a secret, but it has a very strong female protagonist and takes place in Ireland during the Interregnum.

Ooohhhh...I'm intrigued and can't wait to hear more! I will definitely be reading that!


The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton

Publication Date: March 17, 2019
Ellys-Daughtrey Books
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction


Ireland, 1635.

When the clan leader sends Faolán Burke to Dublin to spy on Thomas Wentworth, the ruthless Lord Deputy of Ireland, the future of his centuries-old clan rests upon his shoulders. Wentworth is plotting to acquire clan lands of Connacht for an English Protestant plantation. To stop him, Faolán must discover misdeeds that could force King Charles to recall Wentworth to England.

Leaving his young daughter Elvy in the care of his best friend Aengus, Faolán works as a porter in Dublin Castle, and aligns with the alluring Denisa, Wentworth’s personal assistant. She, too, spies on Wentworth, but for very personal reasons.

While Faolán knows he should hate Wentworth, he admires his prosecution of pirates and corrupt nobles who prey on Irish merchants. Supremely arrogant and cruel to his enemies, Wentworth shows loyalty, warmth and compassion for family, friends and a few select others.

A common mission takes Faolán and Denisa from Dublin to London and Hampton Court; to York and Scotland; and to the highest levels of court intrigue and power. But secrets, fears, war and betrayal threaten their love—and even their lives. And as Wentworth’s power grows, so grow the deadly plans of his most treacherous and driven enemies.

"If you are looking for an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then look no further! Get ready for court intrigue, roguish behavior, and of course, that little bit of romance... Well, then you have a book that is hard to put down." -- Rebecca Hill, Net Galley Reviewer

About the Author

Nancy Blanton writes award-winning novels based in 17th century Irish history. Her latest, The Earl in Black Armor, tells a relentless story of loyalty, honor and betrayal in the Stuart era prior to the great Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Prince of Glencurragh, her second novel, occurs in 1634 during the English Plantation of Ireland. Her first novel, Sharavogue, is set in Ireland and the West Indies during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In non-fiction, Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps is also a medalist, providing a valuable personal branding guide for authors, artists, and business consultants. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, focuses on writing, books, historical fiction, research and travel. Ms. Blanton is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is proud to be an occasional guest author on the award-winning UK blog, Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, corporate communications leader and brand manager. Her books celebrate her love of history and her Irish and English heritage. She lives in Florida.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 1
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, July 2
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 5
Review at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, July 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 8
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, July 10
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, July 11
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 19
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Earl in Black Armor! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & UK 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.

Earl in Black Armor


Guest Post & Giveaway: The Turncoat by T.J. London


Welcome back to the Revolution, Rebels (and Redcoats—not to be forgotten)!


This is tour number two for The Rebels and Redcoats Saga with the Historical Virtual Blog Tour, and I’m thoroughly excited to be back with you all. This time, I bring with me the third installment in my saga about the rogue British spy, Captain John Carlisle, and his beloved half-Oneida innkeeper, Dellis McKesson.

I have to take a step back and be a bit candid with you Rebels (author confession incoming). I wrote The Rebels and Redcoats Saga as a grief counseling tool, to help me cope (To learn more about that, you have to read the acknowledgements in the books!). Why I chose the Revolutionary War is, sadly, a bit ridiculous (another shameless author confession). I loved the clothing and the look of the Revolution: long hair, waistcoats, and tricorn hats (cocked hats if we’re being historically accurate for 1776). That being said, as I researched the time period, I discovered a hidden gem amongst the well-known stories of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and yes, even Alexander Hamilton, who has so recently found his much-deserved place in the limelight. What I’m referring to is the Oneida tribe. They were truly our first allies, and their support of our new nation and our cause led to our success at Saratoga, and then, eventually, our victory over England. But rarely do we hear their names or the cost of their sacrifice mentioned in the annals of history when the Revolution is discussed: the loss of their land, the dissolution of the Iroquois Confederacy, and the decimation of their numbers. My goal with this saga was to not only tell an adventure and a love story, but to shine a light on the Oneida using a bit of drama, as only fiction can provide, to provoke readers to ask the question: Did this really happen?

And yes, sadly, it did. Only recently, when I visit Revolutionary War museums, have I started to see the Oneida represented, but why are they not in our history books? Why is their story still hidden for only the truly curious historian to find? That question isn’t mine to answer. I’ve done my best to highlight their story, and my only hope is that I’ve done them justice in the Rebels and Redcoats Saga.

With that in mind, The Turncoat is really where we see the Oneida shine, specifically in the Battle of Oriskany. The Oneida and their brave chief, Han Yerry, and his wife, Two Kettles Together, fight alongside American Militias in one of the bloodiest and most unknown battles of the Revolutionary War. And without the natives, we couldn’t have held our ground or sent General St. Leger and his Redcoats back to Canada. This book is also where we see the repercussions of the Oneida joining with the Colonists and what it meant for their people. The Turncoat, and the whole Rebels and Redcoats Saga, is action packed with history, love, and adventure, but it’s also a human story about the cost of war and the spoils. History is told by the victors, yet rarely do we see it through the eyes of those who lived it and lost. Yes, our nation was born with this great experiment, and we should be grateful for that, but we should also look at the Revolution in its entirety and learn a few lessons that are so poignantly needed in the current political climate.

Coming next is my prequel to the Rebels and Redcoats Saga: Man of War. A mystery/adventure that explains all the hidden facts of the saga, in the backdrop of the royal navy Man of War and New York City in 1755. After that, we return to the Revolution with The Rebels, but I’m not going to spoil anything here. You’re just gonna have to wait. I promise lots more history, love, and adventure with all the characters you know and love from the earlier part of the saga.

I hope this snapshot into my mercurial writer’s brain whets your appetite for the Revolution. And I promise, in The Turncoat, Captain John Carlisle is at his handsomest, naughtiest, and bravest with his beloved Dellis McKesson at his side. If you adore history, drama, action, love, and a little steam in your fiction, I suggest you check out the Rebels and Redcoats Saga.
Come… Rock the Revolution with Me!

The Turncoat by T.J. London

Publication Date: May 23, 2019
eBook & Paperback

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction


Spy. Redcoat. Traitor.

After Captain John Carlisle’s dance with death, he’s retreated to the serenity of the Oneida village with his beloved Dellis McKesson, trying to hide from the inevitable truth: war is coming. But when duty calls, and John’s expertise is needed to negotiate a treaty between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Crown, he’ll once again be faced with a decision: his King or his conscience.

Many truths that have yet to be revealed, and a deal with the Devil made in desperation, threatens to ruin Dellis and John’s hard-won love. As ghosts of the past resurface, and bitter family rivalry exposes betrayal from those closest to her, Dellis is dragged down a devastating path to the truth of her parents’ murders.

Now, the die is cast as war comes to the Mohawk River Valley in the Summer of 1777. St. Leger and his native allies siege Fort Stanwix. They're also plotting a secret attack that will force the Rebels and the Oneida to face off against the Crown and their allies, further dividing John’s loyalties, leaving him on the precipice of another decision: Rebel or Redcoat?

Available in eBook and Paperback

About the Author

T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 8
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 10
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 11
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, July 12
Excerpt at Words and Peace

Saturday, July 13
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Monday, July 15
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Gwendalyn_Books_

Wednesday, July 17
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Review & Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, July 18
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, July 19
Review at Broken Teepee
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away some fabulous prizes! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

1. A Signed copy of each of my Revolutionary books
2. A bag with my Revolutionary Author Logo
3. A Sterling Silver Tricorn hat charm, so you’re always in style
4. My favorite T-Shirt to wear when I write my Revolutionary tales, that says: The original New England Patriots, from 1630 in Boston
5. A stuffed founding father doll by Little Thinkers to inspire the Rebel in you
6. And a Founding Father book of quotes. Seditious banter from our brash Rebels!

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. 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 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 Turncoat


Review & Giveaway: The Turncoat by T.J. London

The Turncoat by T.J. London

Publication Date: May 23, 2019
eBook & Paperback

Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction


Spy. Redcoat. Traitor.

After Captain John Carlisle’s dance with death, he’s retreated to the serenity of the Oneida village with his beloved Dellis McKesson, trying to hide from the inevitable truth: war is coming. But when duty calls, and John’s expertise is needed to negotiate a treaty between the Six Nations of the Iroquois and the Crown, he’ll once again be faced with a decision: his King or his conscience.

Many truths that have yet to be revealed, and a deal with the Devil made in desperation, threatens to ruin Dellis and John’s hard-won love. As ghosts of the past resurface, and bitter family rivalry exposes betrayal from those closest to her, Dellis is dragged down a devastating path to the truth of her parents’ murders.

Now, the die is cast as war comes to the Mohawk River Valley in the Summer of 1777. St. Leger and his native allies siege Fort Stanwix. They're also plotting a secret attack that will force the Rebels and the Oneida to face off against the Crown and their allies, further dividing John’s loyalties, leaving him on the precipice of another decision: Rebel or Redcoat?

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Passion ✔
Danger ✔
Adventure ✔
Battles ✔
Revenge ✔
Family drama ✔
Missing Heiress ✔

The Turncoat has it all! Ahhh....how good it was to be back with John and Dellis! It's like being with old friends. Friends that bring all the drama :)

When we meet up with John and Dellis again they are preparing for their wedding and all seems to be looking up for the pair until the past catches up with them, threatening their happiness and future. John is called to help negotiate a treaty with the Six Nations and the British, and is torn between his duty to his country and his love with Dellis, and his new Oneida family. Meanwhile Dellis is dealing with issues of her own at home. Her love for John does not go over well with people in her Village and her home and business could be taken away. Add in some family drama...and I'm not talking normal family drama...I'm talking murderous brothers...and you've got one hell of a read!

What I love most about TJ London's books is how mixes the historical with the personal stories of her characters. In London's books her characters deal with some serious issues like pregnancy and the aftermath of sexual assault. It brings more authenticity to the books I think and having suffered multiple miscarriages myself I can relate to Dellis.

The Redcoats and Rebels series are perfect examples of Historical Fiction done right! London is a true lover of history and it shines through in her books, and if you ever get the pleasure to chat with her. She's one of the most enthusiastic historical writers I've ever met!

The Turncoat ends by setting the stage for the next book, which promises to be just as rockin' and I am there for it! You should definitely check out this series, it's amazing!

Available in eBook and Paperback

About the Author

T.J. London is a rebel, liberal, lover, fighter, diehard punk, and pharmacist-turned-author who loves history. As an author her goal is to fill in the gaps, writing stories about missing history, those little places that are so interesting yet sadly forgotten. Her favorite time periods to write in are first and foremost the American Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the French and Indian War, the Russian Revolution and the Victorian Era. Her passions are traveling, writing, reading, barre, and sharing a glass of wine with her friends, while she collects experiences in this drama called life. She is a native of Metropolitan Detroit (but secretly dreams of being a Londoner) and resides there with her husband Fred and her beloved cat and writing partner Mickey.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 8
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 10
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, July 11
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Friday, July 12
Excerpt at Words and Peace

Saturday, July 13
Feature at Coffee and Ink

Monday, July 15
Feature at CelticLady's Reviews

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Gwendalyn_Books_

Wednesday, July 17
Excerpt at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Review & Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, July 18
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, July 19
Review at Broken Teepee
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away some fabulous prizes! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

1. A Signed copy of each of my Revolutionary books
2. A bag with my Revolutionary Author Logo
3. A Sterling Silver Tricorn hat charm, so you’re always in style
4. My favorite T-Shirt to wear when I write my Revolutionary tales, that says: The original New England Patriots, from 1630 in Boston
5. A stuffed founding father doll by Little Thinkers to inspire the Rebel in you
6. And a Founding Father book of quotes. Seditious banter from our brash Rebels!

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. 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 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 Turncoat


Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton


The Earl in Black Armor by Nancy Blanton

Publication Date: March 17, 2019
Ellys-Daughtrey Books
eBook, Paperback, Hardcover

Genre: Historical Fiction


Ireland, 1635.

When the clan leader sends Faolán Burke to Dublin to spy on Thomas Wentworth, the ruthless Lord Deputy of Ireland, the future of his centuries-old clan rests upon his shoulders. Wentworth is plotting to acquire clan lands of Connacht for an English Protestant plantation. To stop him, Faolán must discover misdeeds that could force King Charles to recall Wentworth to England.

Leaving his young daughter Elvy in the care of his best friend Aengus, Faolán works as a porter in Dublin Castle, and aligns with the alluring Denisa, Wentworth’s personal assistant. She, too, spies on Wentworth, but for very personal reasons.

While Faolán knows he should hate Wentworth, he admires his prosecution of pirates and corrupt nobles who prey on Irish merchants. Supremely arrogant and cruel to his enemies, Wentworth shows loyalty, warmth and compassion for family, friends and a few select others.

A common mission takes Faolán and Denisa from Dublin to London and Hampton Court; to York and Scotland; and to the highest levels of court intrigue and power. But secrets, fears, war and betrayal threaten their love—and even their lives. And as Wentworth’s power grows, so grow the deadly plans of his most treacherous and driven enemies.

"If you are looking for an adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat, then look no further! Get ready for court intrigue, roguish behavior, and of course, that little bit of romance... Well, then you have a book that is hard to put down." -- Rebecca Hill, Net Galley Reviewer

Review

⭐⭐⭐⭐

It was another late night for me last night to stay up and finish this excellent historical. I sure love my sleep but nothing beats a good book!

The Earl in Black Armor is set in Ireland in the 1630s and tells the story of Faolán Burk, who is newly widowed and father to a young daughter. He is sent on a mission to infiltrate the court of Lord Deputy Wentworth, find out his plans and to bring back information that will help his people. Faolán is torn between his duty and need for money, and his love for his daughter. Faolán is soon teamed up with Denisa, an assistant to Wentworth who may not be who she at first seems to be. What a great pair they were!

Rich in history with two main characters that you will love and root for, The Earl in Black Armor is an exceptional look at the politics of the time. I was captivated by Faolán and Denisa's story and highly recommend The Earl in Black Armor! If you're looking for a unique read about a dark time in Ireland's history, look no further!

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound


Excerpt


Excerpt from
The Earl in Black Armor
by Nancy Blanton

In this novel, the story is woven around the life of Thomas Wentworth, the first Earl of Strafford,
in the 1630s. Here, he arrives at a hunting lodge in Ireland’s County Wicklow, just granted to him by King Charles I of England. The viewpoint is from Irishman Faolán Burke, Wentworth’s porter.

Cosha

The daintiliest and plentifullyest watered country I ever saw.”
~ Thomas Wentworth about Wicklow

The O’Byrnes had called it Cosha—a word to sound like a heart’s whisper, softly spoken on exhale. The very name conjured the vision of a beautiful woman, an adventuress with long, flowing hair and curving hips; a temptress with magical powers leading you to secret valleys of splendor. The vista opened to a great expanse without obstruction, the clouds falling behind them and the sky intensifying to brilliant sapphire, the hills becoming low and verdant, the valley beyond them bristling with purple winter heather and evergreen. That it was also called Byrne’s Country meant it had long been owned by the O’Byrne clan, a family descended from a king of Leinster and remembered for its legendary leader Feagh MacHugh, the chief rebel of Leinster during Queen Elizabeth’s reign.
The hunting lodge was visible in the distance and yet indistinct, as if it were captured by an artist’s paintbrush rather than solidly formed of wood and brick. Wentworth had changed the place name to Fairwood. Fairwood. Leave it to the English to take something lyrically Irish, and change it to something so stately and dull. Behind the lodge, a garden could be seen even from afar, as wide as the house with a walking lane projecting outward from the center, and at the end of it, the land sloping down to a silver stream, the River Derry, spotted through dense copses where the hunting game would abound.
Why Wentworth had lusted for such a place was never in question. What man in his position might not have moved mountains in order to own it? If you could present the king with a huge tract of land that produced income and wood for his ships and promised him a well-stocked and maintained hunting ground should he choose to visit, what little to ask of him for the gift of the small estates on the periphery that were of no use or value to him? Knowing in all likelihood the king never would visit, never would see the property, and never would want it the way Wentworth did.
What stirred within Faolán’s breast was not the lust for land or power as much as it was for all he had dreamt of and all he had lost at Skebreen. Here it was in shining glory before him: pacifying and yet exhilarating, challenging and yet sustaining. If only he could scrape it all up from the firmament of Wicklow and set it down where his own home lay untended and unloved back in County Cork.

About the Author

Nancy Blanton writes award-winning novels based in 17th century Irish history. Her latest, The Earl in Black Armor, tells a relentless story of loyalty, honor and betrayal in the Stuart era prior to the great Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Prince of Glencurragh, her second novel, occurs in 1634 during the English Plantation of Ireland. Her first novel, Sharavogue, is set in Ireland and the West Indies during the time of Oliver Cromwell. In non-fiction, Brand Yourself Royally in 8 Simple Steps is also a medalist, providing a valuable personal branding guide for authors, artists, and business consultants. Her blog, My Lady’s Closet, focuses on writing, books, historical fiction, research and travel. Ms. Blanton is a member of the Historical Novel Society and is proud to be an occasional guest author on the award-winning UK blog, Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, corporate communications leader and brand manager. Her books celebrate her love of history and her Irish and English heritage. She lives in Florida.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 1
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Tuesday, July 2
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 5
Review at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, July 6
Review at Passages to the Past

Monday, July 8
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, July 9
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Wednesday, July 10
Review at The Writing Desk

Thursday, July 11
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Friday, July 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, July 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 17
Feature at What Is That Book About

Friday, July 19
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, one winner will receive a signed hardcover copy of The Earl in Black Armor! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US & UK 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.

Earl in Black Armor


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