Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Suggestions, Features, giveaway, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Thriller

Blog Tour: The Golden Van Dorens by Nicole Strycharz

Publication Date: September 1, 2020
eBook a& Paperback; 355 Pages
Genre: Historical Thriller

About The Golden Van Dorens

Malcom Van Doren made his fortune in the California Gold Rush of 1849.

By 1853, he spent it all, drowning in debt, and returned to his mine out of desperation.

Steadily, over the years, he went mad.

Known for his lunacy, when Malcom claimed to have discovered gold a second time, no one believed him… not even his family. Too paranoid about his creditors to prove his finding, Malcom Van Doren told everyone he hid his fortune away.

Now, in the year 1880, twenty-seven years after his second discovery, his daughters are each as desperate as he once was for wealth. All of them, for different reasons; revenge, love, or greed.

Three sisters battle to discover their dead father’s gold, but only one will win this race as their own little gold rush ensues.

God help the man that stands between a Golden Van Doren and all that glitters.


About the Author

Nicole is a multi-genre author of over a dozen books.

“The Divorce” was nominated in the 2016 Indie Book Awards and won second place in the 2016 Best Cover Design in ‘Urban Literature Magazine.’

She was featured on the cover of Words + Magazine for her book “The Affair.”

She’s known for delving into sensitive and real topics such as in her title “The Love That Hurts” which explored domestic violence with the hopes of giving victims a voice while exposing the red flags of an abusive relationship. Most of her lead female characters are depicted as survivors or evolving overcomers of trauma. Sending a message to readers that every moment and every day they fight for is a victory.

Being of mixed ethnicity, she keeps her cast of characters diverse and tries to highlight the different cultures around the world.

Nicole lives in Virginia with her partner, three children, three stepsons, their amazing Grandparents, and one pretty Pocket-Pittie. She is always reading or working on the next book between mommyhood adventures.


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, September 1
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, September 2
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, September 3
Review at Book Bustle
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, September 4
Feature at Gwendalyn’s Books

Saturday, September 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, September 7
Review at Books and Zebras

Tuesday, September 8
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Wednesday, September 9
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a 12″ by 8″ canvas painting of The Van Doren Sisters! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on September 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


Aria Fiction, Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, five star review, HF Virtual Book Tours, historical fiction, netgalley, world war II

Blog Tour – The Girl From Vichy by Andie Newton

Publication Date: August 13, 2020
Aria Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction

About The Girl From Vichy

1942, occupied France.

As the war in Europe rages on, Adèle Ambeh dreams of a France that is free from the clutches of the new regime. The date of her marriage to a ruthless man is drawing closer, and she only has one choice – she must run.

With the help of her mother, Adèle flees to Lyon, seeking refuge at the Sisters of Notre Dame de la Compassion. From the outside this is a simple nunnery, but the sisters are secretly aiding the French Resistance, hiding and supplying the fighters with weapons.

While it is not quite the escape Adèle imagined, she is drawn to the nuns and quickly finds herself part of the resistance. But her new role means she must return to Vichy, and those she left behind, no matter the cost.

Each day is filled with a different danger and as she begins to fall for another man, Adèle’s entire world could come crashing down around her.

Adèle must fight for her family, her own destiny, as well as her country.


My Thoughts

I am so happy to be featuring another one of Ms. Newton’s books! After reading The Girl I Left Behind, I knew I had to put her on my short list of authors to always read… and she did not disappoint with The Girl From Vichy!

Adele is a bit of a dream, a free spirit. Her father has helped her secure a marriage to a local man, a man whose regard for others is dwindling as the war progresses. Adele knows she won’t be able to go through with the marriage and, with the help of her mother, escapes to a nunnery. Little does she know, the people she meets there will change her path significantly as she finds herself in the resistance and fighting for a future she believes in.

I cried at the end of this book. What an emotional journey Adele and her family goes on! We can all relate to Adele’s entire family; everyone is making decisions that they feel is best to secure their future and to take care of those they love. Sadly, this drives a wedge between them. There are moments of love, heartbreak, deep loss, and selflessness.

If you are looking for a book that is World War II-Era with familial turmoil, resistance and love, you’ve got to add The Girl From Vichy to your must-read list!

Thank you to HFVBT and the author for an opportunity to read this book. The review expresses my own personal opinions.

About the Author

Andie is an American writer living in Washington State with her husband and two boys. She is the author of The Girl I Left Behind (Aria 2019) and The Girl from Vichy (Aria 2020). She has a Bachelor’s degree in History from Washington State University and a Master in Teaching. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit. Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, trail running, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Andie would love to be a guest at your next book club! You can find discussion questions for her novels on her website You can also find Andie on FacebookTwitterInstagramBookBub, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, August 13
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, August 14
Review at Passages to the Past

Saturday, August 15
Feature at Lost in a Book Reviewer

Sunday, August 16
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Tuesday, August 18
Review at The Lit Bitch
Excerpt at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, August 19
Feature at I’m All About Books

Thursday, August 20
Review at Girl Who Reads
Feature at What Is That Book About

Saturday, August 22
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, August 24
Review at Bookworlder

Tuesday, August 25
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, August 28
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a signed copy of The Girl from Vichy! To enter, please use the Gleam form below. The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, Books, Fall Books, Kensington Books, Mystery & Thrillers, netgalley

Fall Reads – What Not to Wear to a Graveyard by Debra Sennefelder

Publication Date: September 8, 2020
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Mystery/Thrillers
ISBN: 9781516110858

About What Not to Wear to a Graveyard

After trading her Manhattan digs for her upstate hometown, fashionista Kelly Quinn has big plans for her grandmother’s consignment shop. But this All Hallow’s Eve someone is already dressed to kill . . .

A socialite’s missing dog has made front page news in Lucky Cove—complete with a hefty reward. But between renovating the consignment shop, planning her costume for a 1970s themed Halloween party, and scouting a location for a fashion shoot, Kelly doesn’t have time to search. Yet a visit to the local colonial-era cemetery—ideal for the moody atmosphere she’s after—soon turns up the precious pooch. Kelly’s looking forward to collecting the check—until she makes a gruesome discovery in an abandoned farmhouse: The dog’s owner, stabbed through the heart.

Kelly can’t help wondering why Constance Lane was traipsing around the farmhouse in stilettos. But as Kelly gets decked out in a vintage disco caftan, that isn’t the only fashion misstatement spooking her. Hidden in the dead woman’s past is a secret that could be the motive for the murder. And as the Halloween party gets started, even a menacing clown and a threatening bearded lady can’t keep Kelly from trick or treating for the truth—even if it means her last dance . . .

My Thoughts

I don’t know about you, but I like to get into the spirit of seasons… decorations, scents, baking, seasonal books, you name it! Seeing how it’s almost fall (how?!!), I’ve been starting to dive into some seasonal reads that I’m excited to share with you!

First up in my fall reads is What Not to Wear to a Graveyard. The cover alone is super cute, and I knew I was in for a good time before I even opened the book. This book is part of a series, which I’ve never read, but had no issues reading it as a standalone.

Kelly is a bit of a thrifting fashionista with a re-sale clothing store and has a tendency to put her nose where she probably shouldn’t. There’s a dog missing in town which she stumbles upon in a cemetery. She accidentally comes across its dead owner later on when she is asked to look at clothes in a home for her store! Never a dull moment for her. But the thing is, she has to know what happened!

This is a really fun, genuinely enjoyable, quick read. A cozy mystery if you will. Perfect for the fall and has nothing too mentally taxing. It’s along the lines of a shortened Aurora Teagarden book, so if you enjoyed that series, definitely give this one a read!

A quick “thanks” to the publisher, Kensington Books, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. Please know that this review expresses my own personal opinions.

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Suggestions, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Mystery & Thrillers, Uncategorized

Book Blast: The Quality of Mercy by Malia Zaidi

Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Book Baby
Paperback & eBook; 416 pages
Series: The Lady Evelyn Mysteries, Book 5
Genre: Historical Mystery

About The Quality of Mercy

After years spent away, Lady Evelyn is at long last back in her home city of London and she has returned with a rather controversial plan. The Carlisle Detective Agency is born, and it does not take long for the bodies… ahem, cases, to start piling up. With her friend and assistant Hugh, Evelyn embarks on the quest to solve the crimes. Yet the London she encounters is not the London of her coddled youth, and she is forced to learn that there is more to discover than the identity of a murderer. It isn’t only her city which reveals it is not what she always believed it to be, but the people she encounters as well. Secrets are revealed that have her thinking twice about everything she thought she knew about the society in which she grew up.

Evelyn’s love for her hard-won independence confronts her with yet another mystery, whether she is ready or willing to give up any of it for marriage. And then there is the arrival of rather a familiar face in London, one Daniel is none to pleased to see. Evelyn must find not one but two murderers, as well as make a decision that could determine her future. From the mansions of Mayfair to the dark alleys of Whitechapel, can Evelyn catch the killers before another life is taken?


About the Author

Version 2

Malia Zaidi is the author of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.


Book Blast Schedule

Thursday, August 20
Reading is My Remedy
Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, August 21
Donna’s Book Blog

Saturday, August 22
Robin Loves Reading

Sunday, August 23
Jorie Loves A Story

Monday, August 24
Gwendalyn’s Books

Tuesday, August 25
What Is That Book About

Wednesday, August 26

Thursday, August 27
100 Pages a Day

Friday, August 28
Books, Cooks, Looks

Saturday, August 29
A Darn Good Read

Sunday, August 30
Passages to the Past


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a set of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries series! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on August 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Excerpts, Book Suggestions, historical fiction, Mystery & Thrillers, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: The Day Lincoln Lost by Charles Rosenberg

On Sale Date: August 4, 2020
9781335145222, 1335145222
$27.99 USD, $34.99 CAD
Fiction / Alternative History / Thrillers / Historical
432 pages

About The Day Lincoln Lost

An inventive historical thriller that reimagines the tumultuous presidential election of 1860, capturing the people desperately trying to hold the nation together – and those trying to crack it apart.

Abby Kelley Foster arrived in Springfield, Illinois with the fate of the nation on her mind. Her fame as an abolitionist speaker had spread west and she knew that her first speech in the city would make headlines. One of the residents reading those headlines would be none other than the likely next President of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln, lawyer and presidential candidate, knew his chances of winning were good. All he had to do was stay above the fray of the slavery debate and appear the voice of compromise until the people cast their votes. The last thing he needed was a fiery abolitionist appearing in town. When her speech sparks violence, leading to her arrest and a high-profile trial, he suspects that his political rivals have conspired against him.

President James Buchanan is one such rival. As his term ends and his political power crumbles, he gathers his advisors at the White House to make one last move that might derail Lincoln’s campaign, steal the election, and throw America into chaos. A fascinating historical novel and fast-paced political thriller of a nation on the cusp of civil war, The Day Lincoln Lost offers an unexpected window into one of the most consequential elections in our country’s history.

Read an Excerpt

Early August, 1860

Lucy Battelle’s birthday was tomorrow. She would be twelve. Or at least that was what her mother told her. Lucy knew the date might not be exact, because Riverview Plantation didn’t keep close track of when slaves were born. Or when they died, for that matter. They came, they worked and they went to their heavenly reward. Unless, of course, they were sold off to somewhere else.

There had been a lot of selling-off of late. The Old Master, her mother told her, had at least known how to run a plantation. And while their food may have been wretched at times, there had always been enough. But the Old Master had died years before Lucy was born. His eldest son, Ezekiel Goshorn, had inherited Riverview.

Ezekiel was cruel, and he had an eye for young black women, although he stayed away from those who had not yet developed. Lucy has seen him looking at her of late, though. She was thin, and very tall for her age—someone had told her she looked like a young tree—and when she looked at herself naked, she could tell that her breasts were beginning to come. “You are pretty,” her mother said, which sent a chill through her.

Whatever his sexual practices, Goshorn had no head for either tobacco farming or business, and Riverview was visibly suffering for it, and not only for a shortage of food. Lucy could see that the big house was in bad need of painting and other repairs, and the dock on the river, which allowed their crop to be sent to market, looked worse and worse every year. By now it was half-falling-down. Slaves could supply the labor to repair things, of course, but apparently Goshorn couldn’t afford the materials.

Last year, a blight had damaged almost half the tobacco crop. Goshorn had begun to sell his slaves south to make ends meet.

In the slave quarter, not a lot was really known about being sold south, except that it was much hotter there, the crop was harder-to-work cotton instead of tobacco and those who went didn’t come back. Ever.

Several months earlier, two of Lucy’s slightly older friends had been sold, and she had watched them manacled and put in the back of a wagon, along with six others. Her friends were sobbing as the wagon moved away. Lucy was dry-eyed because then and there she had decided to escape.

Others had tried to escape before her, of course, but most had been caught and brought back. When they arrived back, usually dragged along in chains by slave catchers, Goshorn—or one of his five sons—had whipped each of them near to death. A few had actually died, but most had been nursed back to at least some semblance of health by the other slaves.

Lucy began to volunteer to help tend to them—to feed them, put grease on their wounds, hold their hands while they moaned and carry away the waste from their bodies. Most of all, though, she had listened to their stories—especially to what had worked and what had failed.

One thing she had learned was that they used hounds to pursue you, and that the hounds smelled any clothes you left behind to track you. One man told her that another man who had buried his one pair of extra pants in the woods before he left—not hard to do because slaves had so little—had not been found by the dogs.

Still another man said a runaway needed to take a blanket because as you went north, it got colder, especially at night, even in the summer. And you needed to find a pair of boots that would fit you. Lucy had tried on her mother’s boots—the ones she used in the winter—and they fit. Her mother would find another pair, she was sure.

The hard thing was the Underground Railroad. They had all heard about it. They had even heard the masters damning it. Lucy had long understood that it wasn’t actually underground and wasn’t even a railroad. It was just people, white and black, who helped you escape—who fed you, hid you in safe houses and moved you, sometimes by night, sometimes under a load of hay or whatever they had that would cover you.

The problem was you couldn’t always tell which ones were real railroaders and which ones were slave catchers posing as railroaders. The slaves who came back weren’t much help about how to tell the difference because most had guessed wrong. Lucy wasn’t too worried about it. She had not only the optimism of youth, but a secret that she thought would surely help her.

Tonight was the night. Over the past few days she had dug a deep hole in the woods where she could bury her tiny stash of things that might carry her smell. For weeks before that, she had foraged and dug for mushrooms in the woods, and so no one seemed to pay much mind to her foraging and digging earlier that day. As she left, she planned to take the now-too-small shift she had secretly saved from last year’s allotment—her only extra piece of clothing—along with her shoes and bury them in the hole. That way the dogs could not take her smell from anything left behind. She would take the blanket she slept in with her.

She had also saved up small pieces of smoked meat so that she had enough—she hoped—to sustain her for a few days until she could locate the Railroad. She dropped the meat into a small cloth bag and hung it from a string tied around her waist, hidden under her shift.

Her mother had long ago fallen asleep, and the moon had set. Even better, it was cloudy and there was no starlight. Lucy put on her mother’s boots, stepped outside the cabin and looked toward the woods.

As she started to move, Ezekiel Goshorn appeared in front of her, seemingly out of nowhere, along with two of his sons and said, “Going somewhere, Lucy?”

“I’m just standing here.”

“Hold out your arms.”


“Hold out your arms!”

She hesitated but finally did as he asked, and one of his sons, the one called Amasa, clamped a pair of manacles around her wrists. “We’ve been watching you dig in the woods,” he said. “Planning a trip perhaps?”

Lucy didn’t answer.

“Well, we have a little trip to St. Louis planned for you instead.” As Ezekiel pushed her along, she turned to see if her mother had been awakened by the noise. If she had, she hadn’t come out of the cabin. Probably afraid. Lucy had been only four the first time she’d seen Ezekiel Goshorn flog her mother, and that was not the last time she’d been forced to stand there and hear her scream.

About the Author

Charles Rosenberg is the author of the legal thriller Death on a High Floor and its sequels. The credited legal consultant to the TV shows LA Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, and The Paper Chase, he was also one of two on-air legal analysts for E! Television’s coverage of the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials. He teaches as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School and has also taught at UCLA, Pepperdine and Southwestern law schools. He practices law in the Los Angeles area.

Social Links:

Author website:

Buy The Day Lincoln Lost


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Book Reviews, book series, Book Suggestions, five star review, historical fiction, Historical Romance, Redway Acres, Trigger Warning, Uncategorized

Book Review: Redway Acres – Harriet by Trish Butler

About Redway Acres – Harriet

Harriet, is the last surviving Wyndham in her family and has inherited the enormous Wyndham estate, on the outskirts of Bath, in Somerset. Having dealt with some troubling times over recent years, she feels she is finally ready to make a life for herself in her own home.

She travels to Bath, leaving behind the only family she has known for the past fifteen years, at Eastease in Lincolnshire. Travelling with her is her guardian, Nathaniel Ackley, and his family, who live at Redway Acres.

Harriet takes over running Wyndham House and presides over all who work there, making friends with Bertram Horncastle and Baroness Freyley, and learning about her mother’s estranged family, the Marshams.

Her passion of music comes to the fore, until the day she finally has to make a choice between fulfilling that passion and the man with whom she is in love.

My Thoughts

There are few series that I’ve enjoyed as much as this one, and none of the others are historical fiction! And before I get into things, I just want to add that now is a great time to dive into this series – book 6 just came out! If you’d like to check out any of the other books in the series I’ve reviewed, just click the “Redway Acres” category in blue.

This fourth book is told from the perspective of Harriet and, for those of you unfamiliar with these books, could possibly be read on its own.

Harriet is entering adulthood and has recently inherited an estate. This is a huge change for her as she’s always lived with her guardians in some manner but it’s time for her to step up… and she’s more than capable.

After arriving on site, Harriet begins to make changes and demonstrates a graceful ability to treat others with respect and navigate conflicting personalities.

Little by little, things begin to fall into place for Harriet but they may instead fall apart as she pieces together another side of her family she barely knew and begins to fall in love.

This book has it all – deep unrelenting love, respect for humans and animals, tense moments, and finding how to stand on your own two feet. Highly recommended!

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, four star review, historical fiction, St Martin's Press, Uncategorized, World History, world war II

Blog Tour: Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

About Paris Never Leaves You

“Masterful. Magnificent. A passionate story of survival and a real page turner. This story will stay with me for a long time.”—Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey

Living through World War II working in a Paris bookstore with her young daughter, Vivi, and fighting for her life, Charlotte is no victim, she is a survivor. But can she survive the next chapter of her life?

Alternating between wartime Paris and 1950s New York publishing, Ellen Feldman’s Paris Never Leaves You is an extraordinary story of resilience, love, and impossible choices, exploring how survival never comes without a cost.

The war is over, but the past is never past.

My Review

Thank you to the publisher for an opportunity to read this book. This review expresses my own personal opinions.

Paris Never Leaves you is a compelling book of the lengths people will go to for the ones they love. Charlotte is working in a bookstore during the height of WWII and is doing everything she can to take care of her daughter Vivi. She hates what is happening to her city and the people who running things, but perhaps one of them might have some redeeming qualities that could save them. Then again, Charlotte may let her pride get the best of her instead.

As the book alternates between Charlotte’s present and past, the truth about Charlotte and Vivi comes out. Will it completely turn their world upside down or will they survive this too?

I really enjoyed this book – first, for the obvious reason that I too love books and bookstores. Secondly, the inner battles Charlotte has with herself constantly really felt true to the time period; does one do what they have to to survive, or do they stick to their ethics and take whatever comes?

If you are a WWII historical fiction buff like me, like alternating timelines and tense moments, this is a book you’ll want to grab a copy of. Buy links are below!

About the Author

ELLEN FELDMAN, a 2009 Guggenheim fellow, is the author of Terrible VirtueThe UnwittingNext to LoveScottsboro (shortlisted for the Orange Prize), The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank (translated into nine languages), and Lucy. Her novel Terrible Virtue was optioned by Black Bicycle for a feature film.

Buy Paris Never Leaves You








Praise for Paris Never Leaves You

“A memorable, thought-provoking moral conflict, and dialogue [that] crackles like a duel… Paris Never Leaves You succeeds as a meaty moral tale.” —Historical Novel Society

“Fans of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale may want to pick this up.” —Booklist

“Nothing is quite what it seems… Wartime Paris is described in vivid, sometimes harrowing, detail… [An] engrossing page-turner.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The best works of historical fiction have a way of illuminating the present, allowing readers to better understand themselves through well-defined characters reflected in the prism of time…. Feldman does this beautifully in a multi-layered, tender story that explores the emotionally charged, often parallel terrains of truth, deception, love and heartbreak.” —Shelf Awareness

“A nuanced WWII story of love and survival in Occupied Paris… With its appealing heroine and historically detailed settings… a dangerous secret gives Feldman’s story a gasp-worthy spin.” —Publisher’s Weekly

“Things are seldom as they seem in this engrossing tale of identity, survival, loyalty, and love…Recommend with enthusiasm.” —Library Journal

“Ellen Feldman’s writing is riveting in this beautiful novel that tells the bittersweet story of a young mother’s strength and survival during WWII. From a tiny bookstore in Nazi-occupied Paris to a post-war New York publishing house, Feldman effortlessly captures the terror, immediacy, and inextinguishable human spirit.” —Noelle Salazar, author of The Flight Girls

“Completely compelling. I tore through it. This novel pivots on how we manage to survive surviving… Charlotte’s visceral story will stay with me.” —Naomi Wood, New York Times best-selling author of Mrs. Hemingway and The Hiding Game

“Feldman’s powerful exploration of some of the most profound questions about love and loyalty resonates strongly today: What would you do to save your child? What is morality in wartime? How do we make peace with the past?” —Christina Lynch, author of The Italian Party

“This is an exquisite novel – one that gives us what we’re hungry for: an intelligent, complex female character who challenges our ideas of right and wrong, morality and immorality. We’re reminded, too, of the dangers of drawing easy, swift conclusions. Feldman achieves all of this with wholly admirable precision and wit; she takes aim and does not miss.” —Elizabeth J. Church, author of The Atomic Weight of Love and All the Beautiful Girls

“A fluid, rich, and nuanced novel, expertly crafted, guaranteed to follow you around long after you’ve turned the last page. I gulped it down.” —Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra, Vera, The Witches, and A Great Improvisation

“Feldman’s characters—in the Paris bookstore that harbors many secrets or the Manhattan publishing house with its marvelous cast of misfits—are both terrifying and utterly engaging. With more twists and turns than the back streets of Paris, the story is as propulsively readable as a spy novel, and as rich and psychologically rewarding as only the finest literature can be.” —Liza Gyllenhaal, author of Local Knowledge and Bleeding Heart

“…a vivid and precise portrait of that city under German occupation during the Second World War, but it is also an exploration of the courage and cowardice of those bitter years, as well as offering a slyly persuasive love story. The swift, engrossing narrative conceals, in the best way, the fact that Feldman is also giving us a wise and troubling lesson about the great moral crisis of the last century.” —Richard Snow, author of Iron Dawn

“A thrilling achievement…I was thoroughly drawn into a deep, rich, vivid world of engrossing characters and emotional and moral crises…a great piece of writing in every way.” —Fred Allen, Leadership Editor, Forbes

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Excerpts, Book Suggestions, HF Virtual Book Tours, historical fiction, Historical Romance

Blog Tour – Read an Excerpt – Storms Gather Between Us by Clare Flynn

Publication Date: June 17, 2019
Canelo Saga
Paperback & eBook; 384 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

About Storms Gather Between Us

Life can change in a single moment…

Living under the watchful eye of her controlling and abusive father, Hannah Dawson’s hopes for freedom and happiness seem a distant dream. Her mother, passive and ashamed of her self-preservation, refuses to challenge her husband. It is the mysterious circumstances of her long-lost Aunt Lizzie’s disappearance in the 1920s that inspires Hannah to seek a better life.

Since escaping his family’s notoriety in Australia Will Kidd has spent a decade sailing the seas, never looking back. Content to live the life of a wanderer, everything changes in a single moment when he comes face to face with a ghost from his past on a cloudy beach in Liverpool.

Hannah and Will are thrown together by fate and bonded by secrets from long ago. Now, they discover a love like no other. But with Hannah’s father determined to see her wed to a man of his choosing they must fight against a tyrant who has ruined many lives. Even if they succeed, can they escape the chains of their histories? And will their plans for a future be possible when the whole world is changing forever…?

A compelling tale of family secrets and undeniable love against the odds, perfect for fans of Susanne Goldring and Fiona Valpy.


Read an Excerpt

“Just before a quarter to five, she tidied her desk and was putting on her coat when there was a knock on the door and before she could react, it opened. Hannah gasped as the man who had called her Elizabeth stepped inside.

‘Are you alone, Miss Dawson? Can we talk now? Please.’

He looked desperate for her to agree.

Her heart pounding, she said, ‘Not here. We can’t talk here. And not now. My father—’

‘Wouldn’t like it, I know. Your colleague told me. Can we go somewhere else?’


‘We could get a cup of tea. There’s a café round the corner.’

‘No.’ Hannah knew if her father should pass by and see her inside a café there’d be ructions. ‘I have to go home.’ She was about to suggest he walk her home, but decided it wasn’t a good idea for him to find out where she lived. She couldn’t risk him turning up on the doorstep as he had done just now. ‘Perhaps tomorrow morning. We could go for a walk on the beach. It’s too dark now.’

‘My ship sails tomorrow morning. I have to be back on board tonight. Please.’

Curiosity about what he wanted to tell her, and a strong desire to spend time with him, fought against her sense of self-preservation. His expression was so sincere. But if her father were to catch them… He seemed to take her hesitation as a signal, as he said, ‘Please let me walk you home. Where do you live?’

Hannah battled with herself again then said, ‘Close by. Just north of here. In Bootle. You can walk with me part of the way.’

He held the door open for her and followed her outside. Hannah remembered Mr Busby’s instructions about locking up and hiding the key. She locked the door, made a rapid character judgement, and put the key under the fire bucket without trying to conceal what she was doing from him. Will Kidd showed no reaction. Anyway, what was there worth stealing in there? Mr Busby’s pencil sharpener?

They walked in silence for a few minutes. Hannah hoped he couldn’t hear her thumping heart. Conscious of the mounting tension between them, she started to speak, only for him to speak in the same moment. Hannah conceded, then immediately wished she hadn’t.

‘Why did you have your face covered up when I saw you the other day?’ he asked, his eyes full of concern.

‘It was cold.’ She knew she sounded unconvincing.

‘You’ve not been at work. I came several times. When I was in port. That man said you were ill with the flu. But it wasn’t the flu, was it?’

‘Why would I lie? I told you, my face was covered because I was cold.’

Will said nothing.

‘Look, Mr Kidd, I thought you wanted to talk about my aunt.’

‘I’d rather talk about you.’

She pulled up.

‘I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. What would you like to know about Lizbeth?’

‘Why do you call her that?’

He gave a little laugh. ‘I always called her Lizbeth. My special name for her. It was something between just the two of us.’

‘My mother called her Lizzie.’

‘Lizzie? Really?’

Hannah couldn’t see his face clearly in the twilight, but she sensed he was smiling.

‘Tell me about her.’ she said. ‘What was she like? I was only small when she left, but I remember crying for days when she disappeared.’

‘I loved her.’ He quickly added, ‘I mean she was a wonderful woman. I was so happy that she was part of our family. She and I would talk for hours. About everything – the names of the stars, how she loved music – and I taught her the names of our Aussie birds.’ He became animated as he spoke about Elizabeth, and Hannah suppressed an unexpected twinge of what she realised must be jealousy. She longed for someone to speak about her in that way – no, more than that – she wished Will Kidd were speaking about her.”

About the Author

Historical novelist Clare Flynn is a former global marketing director and business owner. She now lives in Eastbourne on the south coast of England and most of her time these days is spent writing her novels – when she’s not gazing out of her windows at the sea.

Clare is the author of eleven novels and a short story collection. Her books deal with displacement – her characters are wrenched away from their comfortable existences and forced to face new challenges – often in outposts of an empire which largely disappeared after WW2.

Fluent in Italian, she loves spending time in Italy. In her spare time she likes to quilt, paint and travel as often and as widely as possible. She is an active member of the Historical Novel Society, the Romantic Novelists Association, The Society of Authors, NINC and the Alliance of Independent Authors.


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 13
Review at Passages to the Past
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, July 14
Review at A Darn Good Read

Wednesday, July 15
Feature at What Is That Book About
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Thursday, July 16
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Feature at Lost in a Book Reviewer

Friday, July 17
Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Saturday, July 18
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Sunday, July 19
Excerpt at Bookworlder

Monday, July 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at Reading is My Remedy


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 eBooks of Storms Gather Between Us by Clare Flynn! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback 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.


Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, historical fiction, MIRA Books

Blog Tour & Review – The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull

ISBN: 9780778361022
Publication Date: July 21, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books

Purchase Links

Barnes & Noble

About The Woman Before Wallis

An irresistible historical debut, THE WOMAN BEFORE WALLIS (MIRA Trade Paperback; July 21, 2020) is set in the glamorous world of British and American royalty in the 1920s, based on the true story of the woman who owned Prince Edward’s heart before introducing him to her dear friend Wallis. Perfect for fans of Netflix’s The Crown and Jennifer Robson’s The Gown.

Before Edward, Prince of Wales famously abdicated his throne for American divorcee Wallis Simpson, he loved another American woman: Thelma Morgan Furness, sister to the first Gloria Vanderbilt. This is her story.

The daughters of an American diplomat, Thelma and Gloria Morgan were stars of New York social scene in the early 1920s, dubbed “the magnificent Morgans.” Both would marry into wealth and privilege beyond their imaginations, Gloria to Reggie Vanderbilt, and Thelma to a viscount. Thelma begins an affair with Edward, the dashing Prince of Wales, that will last nearly five years.

Then, in 1934, Thelma’s life is upended by her sister Gloria’s custody trial — a headline-grabbing drama known as The Matter of Vanderbilt, which dominates global news for months and raises the bar for tabloid sensationalism. Back in New York, sued by members of her late husband’s family on charges of negligence, unfit parenting and homosexuality, Gloria needs her twin’s support more than ever. But as her sister gains international notoriety, Thelma fears that her own fall from grace might not be far behind.

My Thoughts

The Woman Before Wallis was a very unexpected book for me. It started off with a bit of a pretentious vibe which felt true to Thelma and Gloria’s lives. Gloria seemingly is the more stable of the two with her wealthy husband, child and nanny in tow. Thelma is more of a dreamer and experiences traveling, marriages, affairs and more. Unfortunately, things aren’t always what they seem and secrets begin to spill out as their lives slowly become unraveled.

It’s a different perspective (for me) to read about the lives of the truly wealthy. This book packs a lot of love, heartbreak, avoidance of the truth and a hard dose of reality into one book. If you like to read about the lifestyles of the rich and well-known figures of world history, this is definitely a book you’ll want to read!

Thank you to the publisher for an opportunity to take part in this blog tour! I have voluntarily read this book and the review expresses my own personal opinion.

About Author Bryn Turnbull

Bryn Turnbull is a writer of historical fiction with a penchant for fountain pens and antique furniture. Equipped with a Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of St. Andrews, a Master of Professional Communication from Ryerson University, and a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from McGill University, Bryn focuses on finding the stories of women found within the cracks of the historical record. When she’s not writing, Bryn can be found exploring new coffee shops, spending time with her family in cottage country, or traveling. She lives in Toronto, and can generally be found with a book in hand.

Social Links

Author Website
Twitter: @BrynTurnbull
Instagram: @brynturnbullwrites
Facebook: @brynturnbullwrites

Book Blog, Book Reviews, four star review, historical fiction, Lake Union Publishing

Book Review: Across the Winding River by Aimie K. Runyan

About Across the Winding River

  • Releases August 1st, 2020

A woman unlocks the mystery of her father’s wartime past in a moving novel about secrets, sacrifice, and the power of love by the bestselling author of Daughters of the Night Sky.

Beth Cohen wants to make the most of the months she has left with her elderly father, Max. His only request of his daughter is to go through the long-forgotten box of memorabilia from his days as a medic on the western front. Then, among his wartime souvenirs, Beth finds a photograph of her father with an adoring and beautiful stranger—a photograph worth a thousand questions.

It was 1944 when Max was drawn into the underground resistance by the fearless German wife of a Nazi officer. Together, she and Max were willing to risk everything for what they believed was right. Ahead of them lay a dangerous romance, a dream of escape, and a destiny over which neither had control.

But Max isn’t alone in his haunting remembrances of war. In a nearby private care home is a fragile German-born woman with her own past to share. Only when the two women meet does Beth realize how much more to her father there is to know, all the ways in which his heart still breaks, and the closure he needs to heal it.

My Thoughts

Across the Winding River is a beautifully woven story of Beth, her father Max, and the stories our parents don’t always tell us. Beth’s father Max is aging and has asked her to go through his box from the past. To Beth’s surprise, there is a photograph of a young woman and her father… a young woman that Beth doesn’t recognize. While she doesn’t want to bring it up, she also wants to know who this woman is. What path this question may take her down, she doesn’t know.

This story is told from both Beth’s and Max’s perspectives to give a then-and-now story line. The past and present are smoothly woven together in a a touching and emotional way. I found myself completely caught up in their journeys. I was so emotionally invested in these characters by the end, that I found myself at the point of tears as everything came together… and fell apart. And as my parents and grandparents age, I found myself understanding Beth to her core.

If you are looking for a beautifully emotional book that has skillfully interwoven the past and present with deep characters, I highly recommend giving Across the Winding River a read!

Thank you to the author, Aimie K. Runyan, for providing a copy of this beautiful book. I have voluntarily read the book and the opinions expressed are my own.