Set against two distinct epochs in the history of Pasadena, California, Chip Jacobs writes in ARROYO the parallel stories of a young inventor and his clairvoyant dog in 1913 and 1993. In both lives, they are drawn to the landmark Colorado Street Bridge, which suffered a lethal collapse during construction but still opened to fanfare in the early twentieth century automobile age. When the refurbished structure commemorates its 80th birthday, one of the planet’s best-known small towns is virtually unrecognizable from its romanticized, and somewhat invented, past. While unearthing the truth about the Colorado Street Bridge, in all its eye-catching grandeur and unavoidable darkness, the characters of ARROYO paint a vivid picture of how the home of the Rose Bowl got its dramatic start.
This excerpt has been adapted from Arroyo, 2019 by Chip Jacobs. Published by Rare Bird Books.
Say what you will
about his morning pep and cowlick, his galling diet and corny pride. No one
ever rode Mrs. Grover Cleveland, the animal, quite like Nick Chance. Already
the speediest one in the yard, she shifted into another gear whenever Nick sank
down on her fluffy mane and whispered encouragement. Promised a treat. Today,
as she folded her black wings into her white chest to blow ahead of the
competition, you might’ve expected smoke coiling off her hooves. They didn’t
call her the “feather cannonball” unwarranted.
breathed her dust, but on this four-mile pleasure dash anything was possible.
Adept a rider as their front-running chum was, he often grandstanded in the
lead, and crashed because of it. So, they pressed their boots into their own
steeds, whooping to themselves this wasn’t over. The three good-timers raced
under the trees atop their six-foot-tall birds, whose feathers were guaranteed
retail gold. Moving at a blurry clip, in a canyon being auctioned off by the
day, the group rooted up dust onto a pathway accented by imported shrubs and
plants. Gauzy light laced through the veiny branches. Everyone, human and
beaked, wished the jaunt could stretch into dusk.
Their valley trail was
pristine, so far as trails go, and empty, with no snobs around to bewail what
they couldn’t comprehend: two-legged animals being ridden saddle-less, low to
the ground, where hands served as reins. The steeds, cobra-necked creatures
more prehistoric roosters than horses, high-stepped in this amber light, their
clawed feet pahrumping on the terrain. Mrs. Cleveland was particularly
delighted to be away from her monotonous day job being sheared for the textile
business. She cranked her pimpled mouth to telegraph this. Awk-awwwwwwww.
Awkawwww. The ostrich’s shriek of joy carried a wild edge.
The posse next burst
into a shamrock-green meadow, clopping past mossy ponds filled with ducks and
swans, then grasslands, and then chubby sheep too busy grazing to observe this
unusual bunch. Nick, a dark-haired free spirit in a white, collarless shirt,
was also ready to whoop. Rotating his torso back, eyes electric, he shouted at
his pursuers: “If either one of you idiots says life can get better than this,
I’m stealing your wages. I swear it.” The best part for him still lay around
the bend, up north, though he didn’t advertise what others might call
Waldo Northcutt and R. G. Crum nodded in agreement, snapping
mental photographs of their lunchtime joyride away from Cawston “World Famous”
Ostrich Farm where they all worked. Someday, they might be retelling escapades
about how they mimicked cowboys, if only for a few hours a week, on the backs
of quicksilver beasts native to South Africa. The burning competitors in them
tried closing the gap, even if was merely for show.
About the Author
Chip Jacobs grew up in northeast Pasadena. In 1985, he graduated from the University of Southern California with BAs in journalism and international relations. He lives in Southern California with his wife, a USC public relations professor, and their two children. Chip’s previous non-fiction books include Strange As It Seems: The Impossible Life of Gordon Zahler, The People’s Republic of Chemicals and the international bestselling Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles. His reporting has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Daily News, CNN, The New York Times,Bloomberg, L.A Weekly, the Pasadena Weekly, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, among others.
Thank you to Chip Jacobs and Angela Melamud for the opportunity to share this excerpt of Arroyo with you all!
Publication Date: July 15, 2019 JGKS Press eBook & Paperback; 476 Pages Series: The American Madams, Book 2 Genre: Historical Fiction
About Madam in Silk
San Francisco,1849. Despite her objections, twenty-year-old Ah Toy and her servant Chen voyage from China to San Francisco with her husband who dies on board ship. With little cash and bound feet, how is she to find employment in the Gold Rush town? Since she is the only Chinese woman there, she opens a “Lookee Shop,” catering to miners who pay in gold dust to see her exotic beauty. As her notoriety grows, so does her attraction to the devoted policeman, John Clark. Yet should she put her faith in one man? Will their love survive despite her frightening encounter with Sydney Ducks, threats from rival madam Li Fan, and a tempting offer from Henry Conrad who promises her wealth and security? Armed with her mystical beliefs of the inner dragon and Goddess Mazu, Ah Toy faces much more than the journey from the ancient ways in China to the new world in America. In fact, she must find the true source of courage in a life or death struggle for her own fate, justice, and dignity. Based on page-turning accounts about the life of Ah Toy, one of San Francisco’s most legendary madams.
“Readers were effusive in their praise of Gini Grossenbacher’s dynamic debut novel Madam of My Heart, based on the life of the infamous brothel owner Belle Cora. This, the prequel to her American Madams Series, is inspired by the life of a beautiful young Chinese woman of high birth brought to California against her will. She was able–and willing–to do whatever it took to find security and fortune in Gold Rush San Francisco. Madam in Silk is this year’s exciting addition to historical fiction.” -Cheryl Anne Stapp, Author of Disaster & Triumph: Sacramento Women, Gold Rush Through the Civil War
This book starts off with a bang as Ah Toy immediately faces death, a change of plans and the risk of everything she crossed the ocean for being pulled out from under her by no choice of her own. Right off the bat, I was inspired by Ah’s tenacity and what she refers to as her inner dragon. The hits just keep coming in the years to come and yet Ah doesn’t give up. She seeks strength and advice from people she respects and trusts. Such an important message!
The book is really well paced and I appreciated that there was a push and pull to Ah’s story much like real life. Ah also knows her worth despite being beat down and continually told that she’s basically worthless or knows nothing because she’s female and because of her country of origin and its traditions. Just because other people don’t agree or respect her doesn’t mean she isn’t capable of taking care of herself.
If you’re looking for a flowing story about a strong female underdog who has an inner flame that cannot be extinguished and will find a way to survive and thrive, you’ve come to the right place. For me, this is a four star read and a new-to-me author that I can’t wait to read more from!
Thank you so much to the author and HFVBT for the opportunity to read and review Madam in Silk. I have voluntarily read this book and the review expresses my own personal opinions.
About the Author
California author Gini Grossenbacher was a successful high school English teacher until she abandoned grades and term papers, choosing to write historical novels instead. Now she leads small writing groups and coaches other writers. She loves researching the history behind her novels, and enjoys traveling to the setting where they take place. Her hobbies include needlepoint, nature walks, and Scrabble. She lives in the Sacramento Valley where she grew up, east of San Francisco.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Madam in Silk! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 11th. 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. ENTER HERE:Madam in Silk
Cilka’s beauty is what ultimately saved her from the same fate as many of her Auschwitz companions. Despite the end of World War II, Cilka is now paying the price.
Now Cilka is in a prison camp in Siberia. Its similar yet different from the concentration camps. She’ll need to navigate new politics, adjust to living with a new set of women, and juggle attention from the guards again. Will she survive?
Cilka’s Journey is a book that has a burning intensity that will hit you hard in the gut. The author did an amazing job of really bringing out the depth of the characters; there were times that I could feel the pain in the soul of some of those women. There’s something to be said about pain and another about the instinctive want to survive that comes out in some.
It was really interesting Cilka’s inner battle of trying to keep her head low and unnoticed versus working in a role that could potentially differentiate her from the pack. She struggles with wanting to fit in and it takes some intuitive people to push her out of the small box of a headspace she had cornered herself in (and rightfully so). It was amazing to see her blossoming as she tried things outside her comfort zone working with the doctors and nurses and ending up flourishing and helping others despite the circumstances.
I also really appreciated that Cilka’s Journey could be read as a standalone novel or as the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I personally think you should read both of them because they are really intense and well-written but options are good too. Overall, I’m awarding Cilka’s Journey four stars for its character depth and exploration of human ethics and compassion in dire circumstances.
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Cilka’s Journey. I have voluntarily read this book and the review expresses my own personal opinions.
In a world of growing nationalism, a quiet few are determined to resist. This gripping historical mystery explores the darkest days of the early 20th century.
Munich, 1920. Detective Willi Geismeier has a problem: how do you uphold the law when the law goes bad? The First World War has been lost and Germany is in turmoil. The new government in Berlin is weak. The police and courts are corrupt. Fascists and Communists are fighting in the streets. People want a savior, someone who can make Germany great again. To many, Adolf Hitler seems perfect for the job. When the offices of a Munich newspaper are bombed, Willi Geismeier investigates, but as it gets political, he is taken off the case. Willi continues to ask questions, but when his pursuit of the truth itself becomes a crime, his career – and his life – are in grave danger.
The Good Cop is one of those reads that will make you question your own ethics and linger with you when you’re done reading. The author was able to capture the inner turmoil people faced between the two world wars in Germany. Their own government is unstable and there are new regimes rising. Which side do you take? Do you follow your moral compass that’s telling you what is right or do you support a potentially dangerous group in order to protect yourself and your family?
Without getting too political, I found this book incredibly interesting because in my personal opinion, there are some similarities between 1920s Germany and the current world leadership situation. There is a level of instability in leadership in multiple areas of the world currently that is higher than in the past. The instability is driven in part by the growing divide in decisions country leaders are making. Whether or not you agree with them, you’re on a side driven by your ethics or by self-preservation. The same goes for the growth of Adolf Hitler; he was a polarizing person and you’ll see that throughout this book. And despite serving some jail time for what would normally have had a harsher punishment, he continued to grow in popularity. Sadly, it’s a feeling of de ja vu; there are moments in the book that have the potential to repeat themselves historically in the upcoming years in real life.
Overall, I’m awarding this book a four-star rating. It was very thought-provoking and the mystery, tension and ethical questions kept my attention.
Thank you so much to Wunderkind PR, Severn House and author Peter Steiner for giving me the opportunity to read The Good Cop. I have voluntarily read this book and the opinions expressed are my own.
Peter was born and grew up in Cincinnati, the eldest child of immigrants from Austria. After graduation from the University of Miami, he served two years in the Army in Germany. After that, he got an M.A. and a Ph.D. in German Literature from the University of Pittsburgh. Peter taught German language and literature at Dickinson College for eight years.
Peter left teaching to become a painter, but he started cartooning at the same time in order to earn a living. He moved to Georgia and sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker in 1979. He has had about 400 cartoons published there. One of these cartoons, “On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog,” is the most reprinted cartoon in the history of the magazine.
Peter also did a daily cartoon for The Washington Times for about 20 years starting in 1985 and a weekly cartoon for The Weekly Standard for about the same length of time. He estimates that he drew about 15,000 drawings over the course of his cartoon career and still creates occasional cartoons on his blog. In 2017 he published An Atheist in Heaven, a graphic novel—a story told in words and pictures—as a fine art limited edition. Peter has continued to paint, and has had many one-person exhibitions in the United States and abroad.
Peter started writing novels in the nineteen-eighties. He is well known for his critically acclaimed Louis Morgon series, with the most recent novel, The Capitalist, published in 2016.
Grace Hardie has grown up in a sweeping estate on the outskirts of Oxford. But her life has been a far cry from a fairytale. Ailing and asthmatic as a child, she never really found her place – not with her brothers, not with any friends – always on the outside.
And when tragedy strikes twice in the same day, Grace’s world, and her place in it, is turned upside down. Ungainly and lonely at sixteen, could the bloom of first love be the guiding light she needs? Or is the history of The House of Hardie bound to repeat itself?
As class once again threatens to tear the family apart, so too does the Great War: sweeping away this budding romance before it’s had a chance to begin. Through heartbreak and betrayal, longing and loss, Grace Hardie must adapt to this changing world and struggle to find her own way.
This poignant and moving saga is the second in the Hardie Family Series.
The Daughter of Hardie was first published as Grace Hardie in 1988.
This book picks years after the first book entitled The House of Hardie which you can read about here. I have to say, I always enjoy dropping back in on characters I’ve grown to adore and I love meet new ones along the way!
I found myself in a whirlwind while reading this book; it was a complete roller coaster of emotions. Grace and her family experience losses early on and you see through incredible character development how those losses impact their decisions growing up and even as adults. It really shapes much of the story and yet the story is not at all predictable.
Another thing that I really enjoyed was the author’s exploration of the expectations of women during that time period. I’m curious if there really were young children, teens and adults who so deeply questioned why women had strict life parameters the way they did in this book. Granted, that would be hard to do since none of us were alive then but it piques my interest! It’s also a somewhat subtle exploration. For example, a young Grace asked about why her aunt couldn’t be married if she was the head of the school. It seems like something a child would ask very innocently but ultimately it has a big impact.
All in all, The Daughter of Hardie will strike a chord in your heart on many different levels. You’re sure to find yourself thinking about the people in the story even after you finish. Make sure you have a box of Kleenex with you! I’m awarding it a four-star rating. Be sure you head over to Goodreads to add it to your TBR or Amazon to pick up a copy!
Thank you to Agora Books for providing me with the opportunity to read this lovely book. I have voluntarily read it and the thoughts expressed in the review are my own.
A heartbroken Maggie travels to Paris to visit the grave of her great-grandmother’s French pen pal Cécile and uncovers 100-year-old secrets that give her courage to rebuild her own life.
NOW Maggie Ruth Mitchell’s failed attempt at reconciliation with her unfaithful husband has left her more confused than ever—and with a consequence that will change her life forever. Heartbroken, Maggie travels to Paris to visit the grave of Cécile, the French pen pal of her great-grandmother Ruth. Reading Cécile’s letters and learning about Ruth’s past gives Maggie not only an understanding of the strength and courage of the women in her family—all sharing the name Ruth—but also allows Maggie to find her way forward.
THEN In the year 1919 following World War 1, two young girls, Ruth and Cécile, find each other through a Pen Pal program between American and French students. In their letters they share their dreams and bare their heartaches. A tragic death of a loved one has torn Ruth’s family apart, leaving her with a dark secret to hide. Cécile, having survived the bombs that devastated Paris, is battling against consumption. Ruth draws courage from her pen pal’s inspiring letters, each signed With Kisses from Cécile, to face what fate brings.
The mad rush to the airport
distracted Maggie from Cole’s multiple texts, each pleading for them to meet.
She reached the limit of her patience while waiting in the security line and
blocked his number. She would not let him continue to intrude on this trip.
Once settled into their first-class
seats, Maggie half-seriously wondered if having an estranged father intent on
buying her affection was too awful. Obviously, he had spared no expense to make
sure she and Grams would enjoy themselves.
Once in the air, Maggie’s tension
melted a bit. They were on their way. She leaned back her window seat, grateful
Grams preferred the aisle. The couple across from them, young and obviously in
love, reminded Maggie of how she thought her first trip to Paris would be with
Cole. She looked out the window to hide her welling tears from her grandmother.
No matter how emphatically she told herself she was done crying about the end
of her marriage, she obviously wasn’t. Damn.
“Maggie, dear. You’re deep in
Maggie forced control of her
emotions before facing Grams. “Deep in thought about Paris. I can’t believe
we’ll soon be there.”
Grams reached into the canvas travel
bag stored under the seat in front of her. She’d insisted on carrying it on.
She pulled out a decorative wooden box with words in French engraved on its
“Now that we’re on our way, it’s
time I introduce you to Cécile.” She patted the top of the box. “The first
letter Cécile posted to Ruth was on June 28, 1919, the date of the signing of
the Treaty of Versailles, ending the war.”
She handed the box to Maggie, adding
softly, “The Great War, they called it. They believed it to be the war to end
all wars. Unfortunately, many wars have followed, claiming too many lives.”
Maggie realized Grams must be thinking
of her own husband’s death. She’d never remarried, raising her daughter alone
on a secretary’s salary and military death benefits. Maggie’s throat burned.
Everything prompted her to cry now, even the death of the grandfather she’d
She pulled down her seat tray and
placed the box onto it. Tracing the engraved words with her fingers, she read
them out loud in her halting high school French. “Il n’ya que les montagnes qui
ne se rencontrent pas.” Maggie looked questioningly at Grams.
“Cécile wrote that in one of her
letters to my mother. Can you translate it?”
Maggie studied the words once more,
translating slowly. “Something about mountains. It is only mountains that never
meet?” She furrowed her brow in confusion.
“You translated it literally, but
what it means is ‘There are none so distant that fate cannot bring them
together.’ It’s an old French proverb.”
The saying opened for Maggie the
wound of her failed marriage. Nothing could bridge the distance between her and
Grams added, “Our trip is in tribute
to Ruth and Cécile. All the miles between them, along with what fate had in
store for each, kept them from meeting. We are thwarting that fate by our trip,
though. Their friendship lives on through me, through you. Through your children,
That sixth sense of yours, Grams,
Maggie thought. She brushed her fingertips across the engraving again. She
opened the box. “I can’t wait to begin reading the letters.”
The scent from the box’s interior
reminded her of old books, combined with something tangier. Maggie held one of
the envelopes to her nose. “It smells faintly of tobacco.”
“My mother kept the letters in an
old cigar box of her father’s until she received this box, a wedding gift from
my father — your great-grandfather Clinton. He knew she would enjoy its touch
of secrecy.” She put her finger on an unnoticeable button on the inside of the
box, and a bottom drawer came ajar.
“Oh, look at that!” Maggie pointed.
“A secret compartment.”
“Yes. That’s where my mother kept
this lovely necklace my father gave her.” Grams dangled the chain with a
coin-like medallion hanging from it. Pressed into the medallion were the
“It’s charming,” Maggie said.
“Yes. How coincidental that the two
most special people in my mother’s life shared the same initials: Clinton
Carlock and Cécile Cosquéric.” Grams returned the
necklace to the drawer. “The story behind this gift will keep for now. It’s all
part of a larger one I will share with you.”
“It’s one I can’t wait to hear,
Grams.” Maggie studied the envelope she still held. The teacher in her admired
the perfect cursive swirls. If only her students could write that legibly! Her
mother had been right. Ideas whirled in Maggie’s mind about how to integrate
Cécile’s letters into her World War One lesson plans. She couldn’t believe
Grams had kept these treasures from her this long!
She read the envelope’s address out
loud. “Colorado Springs? Hasn’t our family always lived in the Oakland
“Not always. My mother’s family
actually lived in Colorado Springs on a farm when she was a child. She moved to
Oakland right after she and Cécile exchanged their first letters.” Grams rested
her head against her seatback and stared past Maggie, into the darkening sky.
“The move was difficult and for difficult reasons.”
Maggie’s eyes widened. “My curiosity
is brimming after what Mom said last night. I’m guessing you’ve been hiding
deep, dark family secrets from me?”
“As a matter of fact, yes.” Grams’s
serious reply heightened Maggie’s curiosity.
“Oh, my,” Maggie said. “I had no
The idea of family secrets and
skeletons in the closet was both intriguing and surprising. Yet she withheld
her own secret. How much longer could she keep quiet about her news?
She carefully flipped through the
bundle of letters, recognizing different handwriting on a couple of the
envelopes. The last envelope, addressed in that different handwriting, showed
the postmark of January 1921. What had happened to end the two girls’
Maggie angled her body into the
corner of the spacious window seat, giving silent thanks once more for
traveling first-class. “We have a long flight,” she said. “I’m your captive
“This is the first
letter Ruth received?” Maggie took the envelope her grandmother handed her.
“It is. Now,
you’ll meet Cécile, as Ruth did long ago.” Grams’s glowing face conveyed
delight at the introduction.
Maggie pulled the
thin paper from the envelope, along with a postcard and a strip of paper with
neatly printed English words. She read the letter out loud before examining the
bis Avenue d ‘Italie
the 28 of June 1919
I put my letter in the
Letterbox the day
of the peace.
Dear Miss Ruth,
I have known today your address. Since a
long while I was looking for an American friend to correspond with me in French
or in English. If you want to correspond with me I shall be very glad. I’m 16
years old, My name is Cécile Cosquéric, I live in Paris with my parents. I have
a brother, Lucien. We call him Lulu. He is soon twenty years old. His birthday
is 21st of September.
I was not born in Paris, I was born in
Bretagne, at Quimper, a small town near the Atlantic Ocean. I have come in
Paris at eight years old. Last month I have passed my brevet elementaire and I
have been received, then I have leaved school and now I’m learning stenography
and dactilograph. There are many American soldiers in Paris. Near my house
bombs are dropped in a house which have been demolished, many persons have been
My hair is dark, and I have a white
complexion. By your name I see you are of English race. I am 1 metre,
58 high, 4 ft 8 in your manner to
count. As I am thin I seem tall.
speak French? I do, naturally. I write English sentences, just like I speak
French. Some of my
school fellows say always,
“English is too difficult.” As I am very fond of English conversations and
reading, I was the first in English and my teacher was interest with me. I send
you my first lesson of English. You can see how I was well up. During the war
sometimes there was no school so I would practice with
English at home.
Do you know other countries than Colorado?
Is it a large town? Are there many inhabitants in your town? At cinema I have
seen many views of the mountains of Colorado. Have you seen the films “Hands
Up” with Miss Ruth Roland? The French people admire your Hollywood stars
Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks. Have you seen the
President Wilson? I have seen him, with his wife, his daughter, and the General
Pershing. Is there many Indians in your country? Are they pretty?
With hopes for our friendship, I send you
a postcard of pretty flower Edelweiss which grows on the alps. Do you know the
flower, Edelweiss? It smells very good. The postcard says Bonne Année, which
means Good Year. We shall have a good year, writing, will we not? I kiss the
Edelweiss picture I enclose.
Kiss it too and like that, we
shall kiss the both. Do you understand?
waiting news from you, I kiss you and say au revoir.
Maggie studied Cécile’s English lessons
and the Bonne Année postcard. Impulsively, she placed it against her lips. “I
kiss it too.” With that, Cécile became her own pen pal.
“It’s clear why
your mother loved these letters,” she commented. “Cécile transports you to
Paris. Imagine having seen President Wilson and General Pershing. The history
teacher in me is quite impressed.”
folded the letter. She inserted it and the other contents back into the
envelope. “This letter marked ‘the beginning of a beautiful friendship,’ to
“Oh, I adore that
movie too, sweetie.” Grams stroke an oratory pose, one hand reached out. “We’ll
always have Paris.”
we will, Grams.” Maggie gave a playful grin.
About the Authors
JAN AGNELLO comes from several generations of hobbiest antiquers. Her love of stories behind the antiques inspired her in 2013 to form Storyology Design, now Storyology Design and Publication. The necklaces Jan crafts from antique coin purses have generated a loyal customer following and garnered attention from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, jewelry network executives, and TV and film costume designers. Her love of books, romance, history, and unique jewelry design led her to collaborate with author Anne Armistead to offer a series of historical novels, each paired with heirloom quality jewelry named for the female protagonist. The first in the series, WITH KISSES FROM CÉCILE, is a story of love and redemption drawn from Jan’s family history. It is paired with THE CÉCILE JEWELRY COLLECTION. Visit storyologydesign.com to learn more about Jan and Storyology.
ANNE ARMISTEAD is a writer of historical romance. She earned her English literature degree from the University of Georgia and her MFA in creative writing from Spalding University. Her background includes project management with AT&T and teaching English at the middle, high, and college levels. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Georgia Writers of Romance. WITH KISSES FROM CÉCILE is her second romance, following the publication of DANGEROUS CONJURINGS (Soul Mate Publishing, April 2018). Anne writes for and serves as an editor for Storyology Design and Publication. Visit annearmisteadauthor.com to learn more about Anne and her novels.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of With Kisses From Cecile! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on September 17th. 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. ENTER HERE:With Kisses From Cecile
Angelina led a life which required her to fib. When Angelina, the black sheep of the Pagano family, meets the mysterious Mr. Russell, she has no idea that she has seen him before…in another country. And so begins Farewell My Life, a novel in three parts, which spins an operatic tale of dangerous love and loss.
The Lost Mother, the first part of this novel, slices back and forth between time and space, opening in the charming village of Georgetown, Washington D.C. while reflecting a family’s troubled past in the lovely village of Marostica in the Italian Veneto.
An Unsuitable Suitor, the second part of the novel, is a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s Berlin.
Farewell My Life, the last part of the novel, set again in Berlin, Germany, during the dark 1930s as the Nazis gain power, takes comfortable lives, assumptions and civilizations and crumbles them into ash.
“A unique, deftly scripted, and extraordinary novel by an author with a distinctive narrative storytelling style that will hold the readers dedicated attention from beginning to end, “Farewell My Life: Buona Notte Vita Mia” is an impressive and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Contemporary Literary Fiction collections. One of those rare novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after the book itself has been finished.”–Mid-West Book Review
“The author knows her characters very, very well; this shows in the consistent and very individual way they act. This is not a plot-driven story; it’s character-driven. In this book, the characters are the jam which holds everything together. The best example of this is Grace, the talented violinist, who, simply, jumps off the page. I loved her.”–Wishing Shelf
“This is not your typical mystery; it’s for fans of thrilling action and historically-inspired events…Contra to the status quo of the genre, the men are the romantics – though in a deranged manner – and the women showcased are the core strength of the novel.”–BookLife Prize.
“The author…adeptly summons the era in all its manners and details with her descriptive prose…Her omniscient, third-person narrator effectively flits through the heads of various characters, offering momentary glimpses of their inner lives.”–Kirkus Reviews
“I loved the elaborate descriptions of all the places in this book. This is the kind of book that shows instead of just telling. The characters are very well-developed and interesting to read about. Angelina is a fascinating character, as is Grace. Along the duration of the book, Grace learns a lot about herself. I was amazed by her quiet yet vibrant personality, and her brilliant talent.”–Pavani Mathur (The Voracious Bibliophile)
About the Author
Cynthia graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, Cambridge MA, in June 2015.
Her first novel, Thwarted Queen, a frustrating tale (hence the title) of Lady Cecylee Neville (1415-1495) who was nearly crowned Queen of England, was shortlisted for many awards, including the 2012 Eric Hoffer New Horizon Award for debut authors. To date, sales have surpassed 38,000 copies.
Her forthcoming novel, Farewell My Life, is a Cinderella-ish tale with not-so-charming princes who inhabit the edgy setting of 1920s Berlin.
When she’s not annoying everyone by insisting her fictional characters are more real than they are, Cynthia likes to go for long walks, knit something glamorous, cook in her wonderful kitchen, and play the piano. You can visit her at www.spunstories.com. You can also find Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two eBooks of FAREWELL MY LIFE! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules – Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on October 9th. 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. ENTER HERE: Farewell My Life