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.

Book Blog, Book Suggestions, Books, Features, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Uncategorized

Book Blast: The Memory House by Jenetta James

Publication Date: August 10, 2020
Quills and Quartos Publishing
Genre: Historical Romance

About The Memory House

A house in one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods is home to secrets, mysteries, and two love stories spanning two centuries.

In 1859, independent-minded Kitty Cathcart dreams of escaping Veronica Gardens but her father’s determination to marry her off to a rich man of his choosing forces her to seek happiness and find her own voice by other means. And then the handsome but poor Alex Faraday walks through the front doors.

In 2019, Oxford-educated Josie Minton never dreamt of living in a house as grand as Veronica Gardens, but the nanny’s quarters are a perfect fit for a young woman in need of a job. Wealthy financier James Cavendish and his twin girls quickly find her indispensable to their happiness, but Josie is still searching for her future.

Then the great house reveals the first of its secrets, and the tragedy and romance of one era are brought into sharp relief with another.


About the Author

Jenetta James is a lawyer, writer, mother and taker-on of too much. She grew up in Cambridge and read history at Oxford University where she was a scholar and president of the Oxford University History Society. After graduating, she took to the law and now practises full time as a barrister. Over the years she has lived in France, Hungary and Trinidad as well as her native England. Jenetta currently lives in London with her husband and children where she enjoys reading, laughing and playing with Lego.

She is the author of “Suddenly Mrs Darcy”, “The Elizabeth Papers” and “Lover’s Knot” as well as a contributor to The Quill Ink series of anthologies, “The Darcy Monologues”, “Dangerous to know”, “Rational Creatures” and “Elizabeth: Obstinate Headstrong Girl”.


Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 22
Robin Loves Reading
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, June 23
Jorie Loves A Story

Wednesday, June 24
Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, June 25
A Darn Good Read
Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, June 26
Donna’s Book Blog

Saturday, June 27
Reading is My Remedy

Sunday, June 28
Books, Cooks, Looks

Monday, June 29
Passages to the Past

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Excerpts, Book Suggestions, Harper Collins, historical fiction, MIRA Books, Uncategorized

Blog Tour – Read an Excerpt! The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robard

ISBN: 9780778309338
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: MIRA

About The Black Swan of Paris

For fans of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a thrilling standalone by New York Times bestselling author Karen Robards about a celebrated singer in WWII occupied France who joins the Resistance to save her estranged family from being killed in a German prison.

In Occupied France, the Resistance trembles on the brink of destruction. Its operatives, its secrets, its plans, all will be revealed. One of its leaders, wealthy aristocrat Baron Paul de Rocheford, has been killed in a raid and the surviving members of his cell, including his wife the elegant Baronness Lillian de Rocheford, have been arrested and transported to Germany for interrogation and, inevitably, execution.

Captain Max Ryan, British SOE, is given the job of penetrating the impregnable German prison where the Baroness and the remnants of the cell are being held and tortured. If they can’t be rescued he must kill them before they can give up their secrets.

Max is in Paris, currently living under a cover identity as a show business impresario whose star attraction is Genevieve Dumont. Young, beautiful Genevieve is the toast of Europe, an icon of the glittering entertainment world that the Nazis celebrate so that the arts can be seen to be thriving in the occupied territories under their rule.

What no one knows about Genevieve is that she is Lillian and Paul de Rocheford’s younger daughter. Her feelings toward her family are bitter since they were estranged twelve years ago. But when she finds out from Max just what his new assignment entails, old, long-buried feelings are rekindled and she knows that no matter what she can’t allow her mother to be killed, not by the Nazis and not by Max. She secretly establishes contact with those in the Resistance who can help her. Through them she is able to contact her sister Emmy, and the sisters put aside their estrangement to work together to rescue their mother. It all hinges on a command performance that Genevieve is to give for a Gestapo General in the Bavarian town where her mother and the others are imprisoned. While Genevieve sings and the show goes on, a daring rescue is underway that involves terrible danger, heartbreaking choices, and the realization that some ties, like the love between a mother and her daughters and between sisters, are forever.

About the Author

Karen Robards is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than fifty novels and one novella. She is the winner of six Silver Pen awards and numerous other awards.


Author Website:
TWITTER: @TheKarenRobards
FB: @AuthorKarenRobards

Where to Buy

Barnes & Noble

Read an Excerpt


May 15, 1944

When the worst thing that could ever happen to you had al­ready happened, nothing that came after really mattered. The resultant state of apathy was almost pleasant, as long as she didn’t allow herself to think about it—any of it—too much.

She was Genevieve Dumont, a singer, a star. Her latest sold-out performance at one of Paris’s great theaters had ended in a five-minute standing ovation less than an hour before. She was acclaimed, admired, celebrated wherever she went. The Nazis loved her.

She was not quite twenty-five years old. Beautiful when, like now, she was dolled up in all her after-show finery. Not in want, not unhappy.

In this time of fear and mass starvation, of worldwide deaths on a scale never seen before in the whole course of human his­tory, that made her lucky. She knew it.

Whom she had been before, what had almost destroyed her—that life belonged to someone else. Most of the time, she didn’t even remember it herself.

She refused to remember it.

A siren screamed to life just meters behind the car she was traveling in. Startled, she sat upright in the back seat, heart lurch­ing as she looked around.

Do they know? Are they after us?

A small knot of fans had been waiting outside the stage door as she’d left. One of them had thrust a program at her, request­ing an autograph for Francoise. She’d signed—May your heart always sing, Genevieve Dumont—as previously instructed. What it meant she didn’t know. What she did know was that it meant something: it was a prearranged encounter, and the coded mes­sage she’d scribbled down was intended for the Resistance.

And now, mere minutes later, here were the Milice, the de­spised French police who had long since thrown in their lot with the Nazis, on their tail.

Even as icy jets of fear spurted through her, a pair of police cars followed by a military truck flew by. Running without lights, they appeared as no more than hulking black shapes whose pas­sage rattled the big Citroën that up until then had been alone on the road. A split second later, her driver—his name was Otto Cordier; he worked for Max, her manager—slammed on the brakes. The car jerked to a stop.

“Sacre bleu!” Flying forward, she barely stopped herself from smacking into the back of the front seat by throwing her arms out in front of her. “What’s happening?”

“A raid, I think.” Peering out through the windshield, Otto clutched the steering wheel with both hands. He was an old man, short and wiry with white hair. She could read tension in every line of his body. In front of the car, washed by the pale moonlight that painted the scene in ghostly shades of gray, the cavalcade that had passed them was now blocking the road. A screech of brakes and the throwing of a shadow across the near­est building had her casting a quick look over her shoulder. An­other military truck shuddered to a halt, filling the road behind them, stopping it up like a cork in a bottle. Men—German soldiers along with officers of the Milice—spilled out of the stopped vehicles. The ones behind swarmed past the Citroën, and all rushed toward what Genevieve tentatively identified as an apartment building. Six stories tall, it squatted, dark and si­lent, in its own walled garden.

“Oh, no,” she said. Her fear for herself and Otto subsided, but sympathy for the targets of the raid made her chest feel tight. People who were taken away by the Nazis in the middle of the night seldom came back.

The officers banged on the front door. “Open up! Police!”

It was just after 10:00 p.m. Until the siren had ripped it apart, the silence blanketing the city had been close to absolute. Thanks to the strictly enforced blackout, the streets were as dark and mysterious as the nearby Seine. It had rained earlier in the day, and before the siren the big Citroën had been the noisiest thing around, splashing through puddles as they headed back to the Ritz, where she was staying for the duration of her Paris run.

“If they keep arresting people, soon there will be no one left.” Genevieve’s gaze locked on a contingent of soldiers spreading out around the building, apparently looking for another way in—or for exits they could block. One rattled a gate of tall iron spikes that led into the brick-walled garden. It didn’t open, and he moved on, disappearing around the side of the building. She was able to follow the soldiers’ movements by the torches they carried. Fitted with slotted covers intended to direct their light downward so as to make them invisible to the Allied air-raid pilots whose increasingly frequent forays over Paris aroused both joy and dread in the city’s war-weary citizens, the torches’ bobbing looked like the erratic flitting of fireflies in the dark.

“They’re afraid, and that makes them all the more danger­ous.” Otto rolled down his window a crack, the better to hear what was happening as they followed the soldiers’ movements. The earthy scent of the rain mixed with the faint smell of ciga­rette smoke, which, thanks to Max’s never-ending Gauloises, was a permanent feature of the car. The yellow card that was the pass they needed to be on the streets after curfew, promi­nently displayed on the windshield, blocked her view of the far side of the building, but she thought soldiers were running that way, too. “They know the Allies are coming. The bombings of the Luftwaffe installations right here in France, the Allied vic­tories on the eastern front—they’re being backed into a corner. They’ll do whatever they must to survive.”

“Open the door, or we will break it down!”

The policeman hammered on the door with his nightstick. The staccato beat echoed through the night. Genevieve shiv­ered, imagining the terror of the people inside.

Thin lines of light appeared in the cracks around some of the thick curtains covering the windows up and down the build­ing as, at a guess, tenants dared to peek out. A woman, old and stooped—there was enough light in the hall behind her to allow Genevieve to see that much—opened the front door.

“Out of the way!”

She was shoved roughly back inside the building as the po­lice and the soldiers stormed in. Her frightened cry changed to a shrill scream that was quickly cut off.

Genevieve’s mouth went dry. She clasped her suddenly cold hands in her lap.

There’s nothing to be done. It was the mantra of her life.

“Can we drive on?” She had learned in a hard school that there was no point in agonizing over what couldn’t be cured. To stay and watch what she knew was coming—the arrest of partisans, who would face immediate execution upon arrival at wherever they would be taken, or, perhaps and arguably worse, civilians, in some combination of women, children, old people, clutching what few belongings they’d managed to grab, marched at gunpoint out of the building and loaded into the trucks for deportation—would tear at her heart for days without helping them at all.

“We’re blocked in.” Otto looked around at her. She didn’t know what he saw in her face, but whatever it was made him grimace and reach for the door handle. “I’ll go see if I can get one of them to move.”

When he exited the car, she let her head drop back to rest against the rolled top of the Citroën’s leather seat, stared at the ceiling and tried not to think about what might be happening to the people in the building. Taking deep breaths, she did her best to block out the muffled shouts and thuds that reached her ears and focused on the physical, which, as a performer, she had experience doing. She was so tired she was limp with it. Her temples throbbed. Her legs ached. Her feet hurt. Her throat—that golden throat that had allowed her to survive—felt tight. Deliberately she relaxed her muscles and tugged the scarf tucked into the neckline of her coat higher to warm herself.

A flash of light in the darkness caught her eye. Her head turned as she sought the source. Looking through the iron bars of the garden gate, she discovered a side door in the building that was slowly, stealthily opening.

“Is anyone else in there? Come out or I’ll shoot.” The vol­ume of the soldiers’ shouts increased exponentially with this new gap in the walls. That guttural threat rang out above others less distinct, and she gathered from what she heard that they were searching the building.

The side door opened wider. Light from inside spilled past a figure slipping out: a girl, tall and thin with dark curly hair, wearing what appeared to be an unbuttoned coat thrown on over nightclothes. In her arms she carried a small child with the same dark, curly hair.

The light went out. The door had closed. Genevieve discov­ered that she was sitting with her nose all but pressed against the window as she tried to find the girl in the darkness. It took her a second, but then she spotted the now shadowy figure as it fled through the garden toward the gate, trying to escape.

They’ll shoot her if they catch her. The child, too.

The Germans had no mercy for those for whom they came.

The girl reached the gate, paused. A pale hand grabbed a bar. From the metallic rattle that reached her ears, Genevieve thought she must be shoving at the gate, shaking it. She assumed it was locked. In any event, it didn’t open. Then that same hand reached through the bars, along with a too-thin arm, stretch­ing and straining.

Toward what? It was too dark to tell.

With the Citroën stopped in the middle of the narrow street and the garden set back only a meter or so from the front facade of the building, the girl was close enough so that Genevieve could read the desperation in her body language, see the way she kept looking back at the now closed door. The child, who appeared to be around ten months old, seemed to be asleep. The small curly head rested trustingly on the girl’s shoulder.

It wasn’t a conscious decision to leave the car. Genevieve just did it, then realized the risk she was taking when her pumps clickety-clacked on the cobblestones. The sound seemed to tear through the night and sent a lightning bolt of panic through her.

Get back in the car. Her sense of self-preservation screamed it at her, but she didn’t. Shivering at the latent menace of the big military trucks looming so close on either side of the Citroën, the police car parked askew in the street, the light spilling from the still open front door and the sounds of the raid going on in­side the building, she kept going, taking care to be quiet now as she darted toward the trapped girl.

You’re putting yourself in danger. You’re putting Otto, Max, every­one in danger. The whole network—

Heart thudding, she reached the gate. Even as she and the girl locked eyes through it, the girl jerked her arm back inside and drew herself up.

The sweet scent of flowers from the garden felt obscene in contrast with the fear and despair she sensed in the girl.

“It’s all right. I’m here to help,” Genevieve whispered. She grasped the gate, pulling, pushing as she spoke. The iron bars were solid and cold and slippery with the moisture that still hung in the air. The gate didn’t budge for her, either. The clanking sound it made as she joggled it against its moorings made her break out in a cold sweat. Darkness enfolded her, but it was leav­ened by moonlight and she didn’t trust it to keep her safe. After all, she’d seen the girl from the car. All it would take was one sharp-eyed soldier, one policeman to come around a corner, or step out of the building and look her way—and she could be seen, too. Caught. Helping a fugitive escape.

The consequences would be dire. Imprisonment, deporta­tion, even death.

Her pulse raced.

She thought of Max, what he would say.

On the other side of the gate, moonlight touched on wide dark eyes set in a face so thin the bones seemed about to push through the skin. The girl appeared to be about her own age, and she thought she must be the child’s mother. The sleeping child—Genevieve couldn’t tell if it was a girl or a boy—was wearing footed pajamas.

Her heart turned over.

“Oh, thank God. Thank you.” Whispering, too, the girl reached through the bars to touch Genevieve’s arm in gratitude. “There’s a key. In the fountainhead. In the mouth. It unlocks the gate.” She cast another of those lightning glances over her shoulder. Shifting from foot to foot, she could hardly stand still in her agitation. Fear rolled off her in waves. “Hurry. Please.”

Genevieve looked in the direction the girl had been reaching, saw the oval stone of the fountainhead set into the brick near the gate, saw the carved lion’s head in its center with its open mouth from which, presumably, water was meant to pour out. Reaching inside, she probed the cavity, ran her fingers over the worn-smooth stone, then did it again.

“There’s no key,” she said. “It’s not here.”

“It has to be. It has to be!” The girl’s voice rose, trembled. The child’s head moved. The girl made a soothing sound, rocked back and forth, patted the small back, and the child settled down again with a sigh. Watching, a pit yawned in Genevieve’s stom­ach. Glancing hastily down, she crouched to check the ground beneath the fountainhead, in case the key might have fallen out. It was too dark; she couldn’t see. She ran her hand over the cobblestones. Nothing.

“It’s not—” she began, standing up, only to break off with a swiftly indrawn breath as the door through which the girl had exited flew open. This time, in the rectangle of light, a soldier stood.

“My God.” The girl’s whisper as she turned her head to look was scarcely louder than a breath, but it was so loaded with ter­ror that it made the hair stand up on the back of Genevieve’s neck. “What do I do?”

“Who is out there?” the soldier roared. Pistol ready in his hand, he pointed his torch toward the garden. The light played over a tattered cluster of pink peonies, over overgrown green shrubs, over red tulips thrusting their heads through weeds, as it came their way. “Don’t think to hide from me.”

“Take the baby. Please.” Voice hoarse with dread, the girl thrust the child toward her. Genevieve felt a flutter of panic: if this girl only knew, she would be the last person she would ever trust with her child. But there was no one else, and thus no choice to be made. As a little leg and arm came through the gate, Genevieve reached out to help, taking part and then all of the baby’s weight as between them she and the girl maneuvered the little one through the bars. As their hands touched, she could feel the cold clamminess of the girl’s skin, feel her trembling. With the child no longer clutched in her arms, the dark shape of a six-pointed yellow star on her coat became visible. The true horror of what was happening struck Genevieve like a blow.

The girl whispered, “Her name’s Anna. Anna Katz. Leave word of where I’m to come for her in the fountainhead—”

The light flashed toward them.

“You there, by the gate,” the soldier shouted.

With a gasp, the girl whirled away.

“Halt! Stay where you are!”

Heart in her throat, blood turning to ice, Genevieve whirled away, too, in the opposite direction. Cloaked by night, she ran as lightly as she could for the car, careful to keep her heels from striking the cobblestones, holding the child close to her chest, one hand splayed against short, silky curls. The soft baby smell, the feel of the firm little body against her, triggered such an explosion of emotion that she went briefly light-headed. The panicky flutter in her stomach solidified into a knot—and then the child’s wriggling and soft sounds of discontent brought the present sharply back into focus.

If she cried…

Terror tasted sharp and bitter in Genevieve’s mouth.

“Shh. Shh, Anna,” she crooned desperately. “Shh.”

“I said halt!” The soldier’s roar came as Genevieve reached the car, grabbed the door handle, wrenched the door open—

Bang. The bark of a pistol.

A woman’s piercing cry. The girl’s piercing cry.

No. Genevieve screamed it, but only in her mind. The guilt of running away, of leaving the girl behind, crashed into her like a speeding car.

Blowing his whistle furiously, the soldier ran down the steps. More soldiers burst through the door, following the first one down the steps and out of sight.

Had the girl been shot? Was she dead?

My God, my God. Genevieve’s heart slammed in her chest.

She threw herself and the child into the back seat and—softly, carefully—closed the door. Because she didn’t dare do anything else.


The baby started to cry.

Staring out the window in petrified expectation of seeing the soldiers come charging after her at any second, she found her­self panting with fear even as she did her best to quiet the now wailing child.

Could anyone hear? Did the soldiers know the girl had been carrying a baby?

If she was caught with the child…

What else could I have done?

Max would say she should have stayed out of it, stayed in the car. That the common good was more important than the plight of any single individual.

Even a terrified girl. Even a baby.

“It’s all right, Anna. I’ve got you safe. Shh.” Settling back in the seat to position the child more comfortably in her arms, she murmured and patted and rocked. Instinctive actions, long for­gotten, reemerged in this moment of crisis.

Through the gate she could see the soldiers clustering around something on the ground. The girl, she had little doubt, al­though the darkness and the garden’s riotous blooms blocked her view. With Anna, quiet now, sprawled against her chest, a delayed reaction set in and she started to shake.

Otto got back into the car.

“They’re going to be moving the truck in front as soon as it’s loaded up.” His voice was gritty with emotion. Anger? Bit­terness? “Someone tipped them off that Jews were hiding in the building, and they’re arresting everybody. Once they’re—”

Otto broke off as the child made a sound.

“Shh.” Genevieve patted, rocked. “Shh, shh.”

His face a study in incredulity, Otto leaned around in the seat to look. “Holy hell, is that a baby?”

“Her mother was trapped in the garden. She couldn’t get out.”

Otto shot an alarmed look at the building, where soldiers now marched a line of people, young and old, including a couple of small children clutching adults’ hands, out the front door.

“My God,” he said, sounding appalled. “We’ve got to get—”

Appearing out of seemingly nowhere, a soldier rapped on the driver’s window. With his knuckles, hard.

Oh, no. Please no.

Genevieve’s heart pounded. Her stomach dropped like a rock as she stared at the shadowy figure on the other side of the glass.

We’re going to be arrested. Or shot.

Whipping the scarf out of her neckline, she draped the brightly printed square across her shoulder and over the child.

Otto cranked the window down.

“Papers,” the soldier barked.

Fear formed a hard knot under Genevieve’s breastbone. De­spite the night’s chilly temperature, she could feel sweat pop­ping out on her forehead and upper lip. On penalty of arrest, everyone in Occupied France, from the oldest to the youngest, was required to have identity documents readily available at all times. Hers were in her handbag, beside her on the seat.

But Anna had none.

Otto passed his cards to the soldier, who turned his torch on them.

As she picked up her handbag, Genevieve felt Anna stir.

Please, God, don’t let her cry.

“Here.” Quickly she thrust her handbag over the top of the seat to Otto. Anna was squirming now. Genevieve had to grab and secure the scarf from underneath to make sure the baby’s movements didn’t knock it askew.

If the soldier saw her…

Anna whimpered. Muffled by the scarf, the sound wasn’t loud, but its effect on Genevieve was electric. She caught her breath as her heart shot into her throat—and reacted instinctively, as, once upon a time, it had been second nature to do.

She slid the tip of her little finger between Anna’s lips.

The baby responded as babies typically did: she latched on and sucked.

Genevieve felt the world start to slide out of focus. The famil­iarity of it, the bittersweet memories it evoked, made her dizzy. She had to force herself to stay in the present, to concentrate on this child and this moment to the exclusion of all else.

Otto had handed her identity cards over. The soldier exam­ined them with his torch, then bent closer to the window and looked into the back seat.

She almost expired on the spot.

“Mademoiselle Dumont. It is a pleasure. I have enjoyed your singing very much.”

Anna’s hungry little mouth tugged vigorously at her finger.

“Thank you,” Genevieve said, and smiled.

The soldier smiled back. Then he straightened, handed the papers back and, with a thump on the roof, stepped away from the car. Otto cranked the window up.

The tension inside the car was so thick she could almost physi­cally feel the weight of it.

“Let them through,” the soldier called to someone near the first truck. Now loaded with the unfortunate new prisoners, it was just starting to pull out.

With a wave for the soldier, Otto followed, although far too slowly for Genevieve’s peace of mind. As the car crawled after the truck, she cast a last, quick glance at the garden: she could see nothing, not even soldiers.

Was the girl—Anna’s mother—still there on the ground? Or had she already been taken away?

Was she dead?

Genevieve felt sick to her stomach. But once again, there was nothing to be done.

Acutely aware of the truck’s large side and rear mirrors and what might be able to be seen through them, Genevieve man­aged to stay upright and keep the baby hidden until the Citroën turned a corner and went its own way.

Then, feeling as though her bones had turned to jelly, she slumped against the door.

Anna gave up on the finger and started to cry, shrill, dis­tressed wails that filled the car. With what felt like the last bit of her strength, Genevieve pushed the scarf away and gathered her up and rocked and patted and crooned to her. Just like she had long ago done with—

Do not think about it.

“Shh, Anna. Shh.”

“That was almost a disaster.” Otto’s voice, tight with reac­tion, was nonetheless soft for fear of disturbing the quieting child. “What do we do now? You can’t take a baby back to the hotel. Think questions won’t be asked? What do you bet that soldier won’t talk about having met Genevieve Dumont? All it takes is one person to make the connection between the raid and you showing up with a baby and it will ruin us all. It will ruin everything.”

“I know.” Genevieve was limp. “Find Max. He’ll know what to do.” Excerpted from The Black Swan of Paris by Karen Robards, Copyright © 2020 by Karen Robards. Published by MIRA Books.

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, four star review, historical fiction, MIRA Books, netgalley, world war II

Blog Tour & Review: Red Sky Over Hawaii by Sara Ackerman

On Sale Date: June 9, 2020
9780778309673, 0778309673
Trade Paperback
$17.99 USD, $22.99 CAD
Fiction / Historical / World War II 
352 pages
MIRA Books

About Red Sky Over Hawaii

For fans of Chanel Cleeton and Beatriz Williams, RED SKY OVER HAWAII is historical women’s fiction set in the islands during WWII. It’s the story of a woman who has to put her safety and her heart on the line when she becomes the unexpected guardian of a misfit group and decides to hide with them in a secret home in the forest on Kilauea Volcano.

The attack on Pearl Harbor changes everything for Lana Hitchcock. Arriving home on the Big Island too late to reconcile with her estranged father, all she can do is untangle the clues of his legacy, which lead to a secret property in the forest on Kilauea Volcano. America has been drawn into WWII, and amid rumors of impending invasion, the army places the islands under martial law. When they start taking away neighbors as possible sympathizers, Lana finds herself suddenly guardian to two girls, as well as accomplice to an old family friend who is Japanese, along with his son. In a heartbeat, she makes the decision to go into hiding with them all.

The hideaway house is not what Lana expected, revealing its secrets slowly, and things become even more complicated by the interest of Major Grant Bailey, a soldier from the nearby internment camp. Lana is drawn to him, too, but needs to protect her little group. With a little help from the magic on the volcano, Lana finds she can open her bruised heart to the children–and maybe to Grant.

A lush and evocative novel about doing what is right against the odds, following your heart, and what makes a family.

My Thoughts

Red Sky Over Hawaii is a beautifully woven story. Lana’s life starts off in turmoil as she is separated from her husband and her estranged father passes away shortly before she can see him. As she tries to wrap her head around his death, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and she flees to a hideout with a motley crew. Will she be able to safely care for everyone and get through this treacherous war?

Red Sky Over Hawaii throws the reader into the perils of Hawaii during WWII. The story is incredibly heartfelt and explores the extent people will go to to take care of those they love and the vulnerable. Lana’s continued internal battles to protect those in her care is incredibly selfless and she puts herself at continued risk to follow her personal convictions.

If you’re fan of WWII stories that involve escape, a hideout and rebuilding lives, be sure to add it to your TBR and follow the links below to get your copy!

Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour. I have voluntarily read this book and the review expresses my own personal opinion.

About the Author: Sara Ackerman

Sara Ackerman is the USA Today bestselling author of The Lieutenant’s Nurse and Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. When she’s not writing or teaching, you’ll find her in the mountains or in the ocean. She currently lives on the Big Island with her boyfriend and a houseful of bossy animals. Find out more about Sara and her books at and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.

Author Website
Facebook: @ackermanbooks
Twitter: @AckermanBooks
Instagram: @saraackermanbooks

Get Red Sky Over Hawaii

Barnes & Noble

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Excerpts, book series, Book Suggestions, giveaway, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Uncategorized

Blog Tour – Read an Excerpt: The Highlander’s English Bride by Vanessa Kelly

Publication Date: May 26, 2020
Zebra Books
Series: Clan Kendrick, Book #3
Genre: Historical Romance/Scottish

About The Highlander’s English Bride

In this dazzling new novel from bestselling author Vanessa Kelly, the wildest member of Clan Kendrick has found his purpose as a government agent. Now he must also meet his match…

Lady Sabrina Bell has never been so embarrassed in her life. Not only did her new suitor fail to appear for their morning rendezvous in Hyde Park, but a thief pushed her into the Serpentine. Being rescued by a burly Highlander just adds to her humiliation. Nor is he content with rescuing her just once. Even when Sabrina travels to Edinburgh as part of King George’s entourage, Graeme Kendrick is there, interfering, exasperating, and so very tempting…

Once notorious for being the most unruly Kendrick brother, Graeme now runs dangerous missions for the King’s spymaster. Yet nothing has prepared him for Sabrina. The only child of a wealthy earl, and the pampered goddaughter of the king himself, she is stubborn, impetuous, and far too good for him. He doesn’t deserve her, but he can protect her and then send her safely back home. But the bonny Sassenach has her own ideas—and a plan for seduction that no red-blooded Highlander could resist…


Read an Excerpt

Graeme Kendrick, agent for the British Crown, and his young assistant, Tommy, are tracking a notorious thief through Hyde Park. But there’s another person who encounters the thief—Lady Sabrina Bell. When the villain tries to lift Sabrina’s purse, she resists, and is promptly pushed into the Serpentine River…

Graeme leapt in, sending a huge splash over the woman, all but submerging her. By the time he reached her, she was sputtering some surprisingly salty oaths.

“I’ve got ye,” he said, grabbing her shoulders.

She blindly swatted at him, the brim of her soaked bonnet now almost down to her chin. Still, she managed a good clout to his ear.

“Get away, you bounder,” she gasped.

“You need help, guv?” Tommy called from the shore as Graeme struggled to keep himself and the woman from going under. She was a slender thing, but no weakling.

“I’ve got this,” Graeme barked as he clamped his hands around the woman’s ribcage and pulled her against his chest. “Get after the bastard, but do not get too close. Just follow and report back. I’ll paddle your arse if ye do otherwise.”

The lad nodded and took off. Probably a lost cause, but if anyone could catch up, Tommy could. Hopefully, he’d obey orders and keep his distance. This mission was now officially a cock-up, but Tommy was a bright one, and Graeme had to trust him to be smart now.

Right now, Graeme had to focus on keeping the woman in his arms from drowning them both, which she seemed determined to do.

“Stop strugglin’, ye barmy lass.” He managed to drag her toward the embankment. “I’m not tryin’ to rob ye. That idiot’s long gone, no thanks to ye.”

The woman finally stopped swatting long enough to yank her bonnet away from her face. Graeme encountered a gorgeous—and furious—peacock-blue glare. That fury in no way detracted from the rest of her attractive face. Stunning, in fact, if one ignored the tangle of hair plastered to her forehead or the glob of mud across her perfectly straight nose and sharply
delicate cheekbone.

“Release me, sir. Right now.”

She gave him a surprisingly strong shove, which unfortunately caused her to lose her balance and go under again.

Sighing, Graeme hauled her back to the surface. “If you would hold still for a minute and let me get this bonnet off, you would see that I am not your assailant.”

She stopped flopping about. He yanked the blasted hat back so it dangled from her neck instead of covering her face.

“I’m trying to rescue you,” he added.

She glared at him. “You’re making a hash of it, then. And I’m perfectly capable of rescuing myself.”

“I don’t think the man who attacked you would agree.” Graeme pulled her to the edge of the greensward that surrounded the water.

“I was doing quite well on my own, thank you very much.”

“Yes, I noticed that when you were tumbled into the water.”

“Which only happened after you rushed up at us.”

Graeme stared at her in disbelief. “He was attacking you, lass. What in God’s name was I supposed to do? Stroll on by and let you two thrash it out?”

For a moment, it seemed she would continue her fiery tirade. Then she reached up and rubbed her nose, as if trying to prevent a sneeze. When she dropped her hand, Graeme saw her mouth curve up in a rueful smile. She had beautiful lips as plump and pink as a budding rose.

Which, of course, had nothing to do with anything.

“I sound awfully ungrateful, don’t I?” she said. “It was very kind of you to jump in after me, although quite unnecessary. I’m a very good swimmer.”

“Not bogged down by that rig. That cloak must weigh twenty pounds by now.”

“Perhaps you haven’t noticed that we’re both standing on the bottom. The Serpentine’s not very deep at this end of the park.”

Graeme looked down. He was only submerged to his waist, while the water reached her chest.

“It’s deeper further out, but I only went under because he pushed me so hard,” she said. “I was quite safe at all times.”

Graeme couldn’t help feeling annoyed. “To me, it looked like you were drowning. Anyone would have assumed that you were drowning.”

“I was just surprised, that’s all. But of course there was no way for you to know that,” she hastily added.

He was beginning to get the sense that she thought him rather dim-witted. “It’s not as if genteel ladies make a habit of paddling around in the Serpentine.”

She nodded. “Correct. Having said that, do you think we could get on with the rescue?”

Apparently, he was a dimwit. “My apologies.”

The lass shoved the wreck of her coiffure out of her eyes. “I’d like to get out of here before anyone sees us.”

“Little chance of being seen with this weather.”

A quick glance around the park confirmed it remained deserted. Even the men of the Royal Humane Society had failed to put in an appearance, despite all the watery flailing about. The small building on the opposite side of the Serpentine was staffed at all hours in the event a hapless Londoner needed rescuing. In this case, it probably hadn’t occurred to the staff that
anyone would be larking about on so dismal and rainy a morning.

Why this particular woman was larking about was the question. Because of her, Graeme had lost his thief. Again. And that was incredibly annoying.

“Thank goodness,” she said. “Naturally, I’m grateful for your help, but it might have been better if you hadn’t come along at all.”


He planted one hand on the embankment, keeping hold on her with the other. “How awkward of me. Thoughtless, really.”

She crinkled her nose. “I just sounded rude again, didn’t I?”

“Oh, not a bit.”

“I will need your help climbing out of the water,” she replied in an encouraging tone. “I’m positively waterlogged, and my fingers are rather chilled. Who knew the water would be this cold in the summer?”

It felt more like bath water to him, but he was a Highlander. He was used to mountain streams and lochs that could freeze the balls off a bull in August.

“Then let’s get you out. Are you sure you’ve got your footing?”

She shoved her sodden cloak back over her shoulders. “Since I am now standing barely chest- deep, I believe I can manage to stay upright.”

The mention of her chest naturally brought his gaze to that part of her anatomy. Her pale yellow dress was a sagging mess that exposed the tops of her stays. It also clung to what appeared to be a grand set of breasts—perfectly round and full. And she obviously was chilly, because even through the various layers of fabric, he could see the jutting of her pert nip—


Graeme jerked his head up to once again meet an irate peacock stare.

“Right,” he said briskly. “Let’s get to it.””

About the Author

Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated in a number of contests, and she has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her books have been published in nine languages.

Vanessa’s first Clan Kendrick book, The Highlander Who Protected Me, was a USA Today, Barnes & Noble, and BookScan bestseller. The Highlander’s Christmas Bride, her latest book, hit the top 50 on both the Barnes & Noble mass-market bestseller list and on BookScan. The Renegade Royals Series was a national bestseller, as was The Improper Princesses Series. My Fair Princess was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month and is a USA Today and BookScan bestseller.

When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

You can find Vanessa at or at For all of Vanessa’s latest news and contests–and to receive a free story–please sign up for her newsletter on her website.


Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, May 26
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Wednesday, May 27
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Feature at What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 28
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Feature at I’m All About Books
Review & Interview at The Romance Dish
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, May 29
Review at Bookish Bellee
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, June 1
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Rose is Reading

Tuesday, June 2
Review at Historical Romance Lover

Wednesday, June 3
Feature at Books, Cooks, Looks
Review at The Nerdy Bookworm

Thursday, June 4
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, June 5
Review at Books and Zebras
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Saturday, June 6
Review & Interview at Jorie Loves A Story

Monday, June 8
Review at Jessica Belmont
Review & Excerpt at Robin Loves Reading

Tuesday, June 9
Review at A Bookish Affair


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Highlander Who Protected Me & The Highlander’s Christmas Bride & a $20 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback 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

Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, four star review, historical fiction, Lake Union Publishing, Mental Health, Trigger Warning, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Lines We Leave Behind by Eliza Graham

About The Lines We Leave Behind

From Goodreads:

“England, 1947: A young woman finds herself under close observation in an insane asylum, charged with a violent crime she has no memory of committing. As she tries to make sense of her recent past, she recalls very little.

But she still remembers wartime in Yugoslavia. There she and her lover risked everything to carry out dangerous work resisting the Germans—a heroic campaign in which many brave comrades were lost. After that, the trail disappears into confusion. How did she come to be trapped in a living nightmare?

As she struggles to piece together the missing years of her life, she will have to confront the harrowing experiences of her special-operations work and peacetime marriage. Only then can she hope to regain the vital memories that will uncover the truth: is she really a violent criminal…or was she betrayed?”

My Thoughts

Maud is in an institution – for what, she doesn’t remember. Her doctor is helping her work through her experiences as a secret agent during WWII and the events that led to her being institutionalized after starting life as a civilian. As Maud peels away the layers of her mind, what will the truth uncover?

It has taken me a few days to calm down after finishing this book. While the first quarter of the book dragged to the point I almost gave up, it picked up rapidly and became one that messes with your head by the end. There were points of confusion – you’ll notice that sometimes she’s referred to as Maud and sometimes as Amber, and it took a while to get that clear delineation that they’re both the same person and when each name was used.

Without spoiling the book too much, the depth of trauma and betrayal uncovered toward the end of the book will hit readers hard. It’s a lot to take in, especially if you’ve experienced highly skilled manipulators and abuse.

If you’re looking for a WWII-era book that explores the mental health of someone who has experienced traumas and is institutionalized, give this book a read!

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, books of wordpress, four star review, HF Virtual Book Tours, Historical Romance, Uncategorized

Blog Tour – Book Review & Giveaway: The Baroness of New York by Anya Silverthorne

Publication Date: May 1, 2020
Platen Press
Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

About The Baroness of New York

Baroness Adele von Mueller learns the sweetest love is forbidden….

Baroness Adele von Mueller

It’s 1903 and free-spirited 18-year-old Baroness Adele von Mueller has just arrived to live with her spinster aunt in New York City. After a previous impropriety tarnishes her reputation with the German nobility, her father sends her overseas to give her one last chance to marry into money and save the family’s name. Instead, Adele finds herself falling for charming and wickedly handsome Nick Mason, the foreman of a paper factory, who is as gorgeous as he is poor. As family secrets are revealed, Adele learns there’s much more riding on her marrying wealthy than just keeping the family’s name…

Nick Mason

Nick Mason has a habit of falling in love with every girl he sees. An orphan, former newspaper seller and now a foreman at a paper mill, he’s nursing a bruised heart after being dumped by a laundry girl. But when he meets Baroness Adele disguised on a night out as a maid in her family’s house, he knows right away there’s something different about her. Once she reveals her true identity, he’s even more intrigued. Nick has fallen for white women before, but never one so wealthy, and never one he knew he couldn’t live without. With most people firmly against their love, he must visit her in secrecy to make their romance blossom.

Nick and Adele must stand up to a society and a family that won’t accept their love for what it is: true and enduring. Can they withstand the storm, or will they be forced apart by a deck that’s stacked against them in this steamy Victorian romance?

This historical interracial romance/Victorian romance novel marks Anya Silverthorne’s debut.


My Review

Adele hasn’t been the most well-behaved young lady and finds herself shipped off to New York by her father to live with her aunt. Perhaps it will be a new start for her, away from everything that got her in trouble in the first place! Immediately, Adele’s dazzling personality attracts new people into her life. But maybe everything isn’t what she thought.

This story follow’s Adele’s journey and growth in New York, the lengths she will go to for the people she loves, and her path to finding a husband. You’ll have to read the book to see if any of this fits the bill of what her family has in mind!

Adele is an absolute gem and free spirit that you can’t help but fall in love with! Within the first few pages, I was invested in her future. She’s really an incredible young lady with a big heart. And because she has such a warm personality and just couldn’t help but to get in trouble (even with the best intentions), the book hooked me!

If you’re looking for a fun book with a strong-willed young lady looking for love, often in places her family doesn’t approve of, check this book out! Meanwhile, I will be eagerly awaiting book 2!

A big thank you to the author and HFVBT for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour. The review expresses my own personal opinions.

About the Author

Anya Silverthorne makes her debut with The Baroness of New York. She enjoys writing fiction about the late Victorian and early Edwardian era. In “real life,” she is a historian of a completely different time period.

Follow her on social media to stay connected, and up-to-date with new releases, giveaways, and more.

Instagram: @anyasilverthorne
Twitter: @anyasilverthorn
Facebook: @anyasilverthorne

Want news delivered straight to your inbox? Join her mailing list.

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, May 1
Review at Passages to the Past

Sunday, May 3
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Monday, May 4
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, May 5
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Excerpt at I’m All About Books

Wednesday, May 6
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 7
Review at Mommy In Color

Friday, May 8
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Sunday, May 10
Guest Post at A Darn Good Read

Monday, May 11
Review at YA, It’s Lit

Tuesday, May 12
Excerpt at Donna’s Book Blog

Wednesday, May 13
Review at Books and Zebras

Thursday, May 14
Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read

Friday, May 15
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, May 18
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 21
Review at Books in their Natural Habitat


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of The Baroness of New York! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 21st. 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 Suggestions, Features, HF Virtual Book Tours, historical fiction, Uncategorized

Blog Tour Featuring Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree by Lillah Lawson

Publication Date: September 20, 2019
Regal House Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 384 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Southern

About Monarchs Under the Sassafras Treet

-Thank you to HFVBT and the author for the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour!-

It’s an unusually warm autumn, 1929, and O.T. Lawrence is about as content as a cotton farmer can be in Five Forks, Georgia. Nothing—not poverty, drought, or even the boll weevi—can spoil the idyllic life he shares with his doting wife and children and his beloved twin brother Walt. Until illness and Black Tuesday take everything O.T. ever held dear in one fell swoop. Grieving, drinking, and careening toward homelessness, O.T. is on the brink of ending it all when he receives an odd letter from a teenage acquaintance, the enigmatic Sivvy Hargrove, who is locked away in Milledgeville’s asylum for the insane. Traveling through desperate antebellum towns, O.T. and his daughter Ginny are determined to find Sivvy and discover her story. Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a love story to Georgia and the spirit of its people—a story of family, unconditional love, poverty, injustice, and finding the strength inside to keep on going when all is lost.



“Lillah Lawson spins a yarn that’s wonderful in its knottiness. Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a historical Southern fable about butterflies, biscuits and the healing power of family, both biological and chosen. The images are evocative, the dialogue rough and realistic, the emotions achingly real. A must-read.” —Lauren Emily Whalen, author of Satellite

“A hauntingly beautiful story, full of twists and tragedy, rich in detail and told with gorgeous lyrical flair… A deeply moving, unforgettable read.” —Alice Hayes, author of The Thread that Binds

“An exquisite read, with the tender yet gritty undertones of Steinback, Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a solemn walk through the deep south during one of the most difficult eras in American history: the early twentieth century. Lawson captures the southern gothic through the often fragile, yet always hopeful hearts of her characters as they try to cope with the hard knocks of life. This book will touch your heart in the beautifully tragic way that only southern gothic can, slowly at first, and then all at once.” —Melanie Cossey, author of A Peculiar Curiosity

About the Author

Lillah Lawson has been writing since she was 8 years old, when she won a short story contest at her elementary school. The story was about a Princess who gets tired of waiting for the Prince to show up and saves herself. Once she saw her words printed in the local newspaper, she knew she wanted to be a writer.

Having written professionally as well as dabbling in poetry, children’s books and blogging, Lillah finally completed her first novel, Aroha, as part of a NaNoWriMo challenge in 2012.

She lives in Georgia, in the United States, with her partner and son and three rambunctious animals. She is currently working on another novel.



Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 18
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, May 19
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
Feature at Books in their Natural Habitat

Wednesday, May 20
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Thursday, May 21
Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder

Friday, May 22
Review at Nursebookie
Feature at View from the Birdhouse


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 22nd. 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.

Direct Link:

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Suggestions, HF Virtual Book Tours, historical fiction, Uncategorized

Blog Tour Featuring A Girl Called Foote by A.E. Walnofer

Publication Date: May 13, 2015
eBook & Paperback; 390 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

About A Girl Called Foote

Young Jonathan Clyde causes mischief for everyone at Whitehall, the stately home of his privileged ancestors. As he matures, however, he comes to despise the vanity and conceit surrounding him.

Misfortune requires Lydia Smythe, an exceptionally clever farmer’s daughter, to seek employment at Whitehall. As a parlor maid, she feels stifled and harried by those over her. Still, she refuses to relinquish her independent mind and spirit.

From the moment Jonathan catches Lydia reading the books she is supposed to be dusting, he is intrigued by this unusual servant. Thus begins a clandestine relationship that is simultaneously amusing, confusing and enlightening. Just as it is evolving into something neither of them expected, an unforeseen truth comes to light, and the two wonder if their unconventional bond will be forever lost.

Set in England in the mid-eighteen hundreds, A Girl Called Foote is the coming-of-age story of two similarly impressive people leading very different lives.


About the Author

A.E. Walnofer spends weekdays mobilizing the soft tissue and synovial joints of patients, and weekends typing out stories that are incessantly brewing inside her head. There are lots of these tales and she hopes to share many more of them with you in the future.


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 4
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Review at Probably at the Library

Tuesday, May 5
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Nursebookie
Feature at What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 7
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, May 8
Review at Momfluenster
Review at Passages to the Past


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two eBooks of A Girl Called Foote! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 8th. 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.

Direct Link:

Blog Tours, Book Blog, Book Excerpts, book series, Book Suggestions, Books, HF Virtual Book Tours, historical fiction, Uncategorized

Blog Tour – Read an Excerpt! – Man of War by T.J. London

Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 681 Pages
Series: The Rebels and Redcoats Saga, Book #4
Genre: Historical Fiction

About Man of War

The man who wants everything gets nothing…

July 1755

War is brewing between England and France. Impressed into the Royal Navy, Lieutenant Merrick, against all odds, advanced through the ranks to become an officer—but he is not a gentleman. A man with a tainted past from a traitorous family, cast down by King George—a stain no man can remove.

Merrick’s thrust into the role of captain, when the HMS Boudica is attacked by pirates off the coast of Nova Scotia. On a captured enemy vessel he discovers a King’s ransom in treasure and a woman chained in the hold from passenger ship that mysteriously disappeared at sea.

Beautiful, defiant, and hell bent on revenge, India makes a deal with Merrick to uncover the pirates’ scheme, promising him everything he desires: fortune, glory, and the chance to bring honor back to the McKesson name.

Now, they race against time to uncover a plot that links those in the highest ranks of the British aristocracy, to a failed rebellion that is once again trying to topple the monarchy and place an old pretender on the throne. But all that glitters is not gold as passions stir and an impossible love blooms, threatening to undermine all Merrick and India have done to protect their King and a country on the brink of war.

Available on Amazon

Read an Excerpt

“Captain, quick! There’s a woman trapped down here! She’s chained to the wall. We need something to get her out. Look for keys or something to break a lock.”

Merrick took a deep breath and thrust a shaking hand through his hair. They were fast running out of time. Turning in a circle to the right, he searched the deck; all around him there were six-pounders lashed to the walls, rammers, worming irons, linstocks, but nothing he could use to pick a lock. Damn.

“Hang on!” he yelled.

The galley. Merrick rushed around the companionway and through the archway into the kitchen, and then he got down on his knees and dug through the mess of utensils lying on the floor. He managed to find a butter knife and a large, cast-iron poker. It would have to do.

The Culloden creaked, the wood protesting the weight of water straining the hull, threatening to render the ship in two. He grabbed a rammer from the deck head above and made for the hatch that led down to the hold.

“Sykes!” Against the larboard hull, he could see the flicker of a lantern, the loud grating of metal rubbing against metal reverberating back at him. The woman’s head was all that was visible above the water, her chin thrust up, trying to keep from submerging completely. When he reached the bottom of the stairs, the water was already above his hips, the skirts of his tunic feeling heavy as they saturated and clung to his legs.

“Captain, help me.”

The woman’s wrists were in irons and chained to the hull above her head. Sykes was using the hilt end of his cutlass to pound the metal fastener, leaving behind little nicks but doing nothing substantial.

“Here, let me.” Merrick took the blunt end of the rammer to the iron ring several times, using every bit of strength he possessed. The woman squeezed her eyes shut, but she didn’t yell or scream; it was as if she had unyielding faith they would free her, though Merrick wasn’t so sure.

He pounded away at the lock—once, twice, three times—but she kept her eyes closed, never once looking up, only flinching with each blow of the rammer against the metal.

“I’ll get you free. Just hang on.” Merrick said that more for his benefit than hers.

As he went for the lock again, he stopped with his hands in mid-thrust, arrested by the most exquisite aquamarine eyes he’d ever seen. Their color was so brilliant and blue that even in candlelight they rivaled Caribbean waters after a summer storm. She was cloaked in darkness, but he could tell the woman had fair, porcelain skin and delicate, high cheekbones, though the left side of her face was smeared with a thick layer of sludge and dirt that stretched from the corner of her eye to her lips like a half mask.

His heart took off in a sprint, an instant connection forged between himself and the mysterious, unfortunate woman at his mercy. He felt rather like a romantic hero, or a knight on a white horse come to the rescue, and she the damsel in distress. If he could get the damned shackles to open, he could see their fairy tale to completion. “These irons are a pain in my arse.”

Not the most gallant first words to his lady fair, but there was no time for propriety. “Just hold on, miss. Don’t be afraid.”

Not much better.

She nodded then closed her eyes, water rushing up, submerging her chin and filling her mouth.

“Mr. Sykes, hold on to her.”

When she came up in the lieutenant’s arms, she coughed, gagging on water and thick, putrid bilge sludge. When Merrick looked into her beautiful eyes again, the fear he saw gave him the strength of ten men drawing up the Boudica’s anchor through mud with an old, moldy capstan.

Pulling back, he rammed the shackles several times, expelling his pent-up angst into the metal until it finally succumbed to his will and bent. “I think I’ve got it!” Mustering up a groan from deep in his gut, he thrust the rammer into the irons again; only that time, the ring gave way. The woman let out a gasp a split second before she slipped through Sykes’s arms and submerged into the darkness, her shackled arms weighing her down.

“Captain, she disappeared!”

“I’ll find her.”

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.


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 27
Guest Post at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, April 28
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Wednesday, April 29
Excerpt at Donna’s Book Blog

Thursday, April 30
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Friday, May 1
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Saturday, May 2
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Monday, May 4
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Tuesday, May 5
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, May 6
Feature at I’m All About Books

Thursday, May 7
Guest Post at Curling up by the Fire

Friday, May 8
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Saturday, May 9
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, May 11
Review at andreajanel_reads

Wednesday, May 13
Feature at What Is That Book About

Thursday, May 14
Excerpt at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, May 15
Review at Passages to the Past


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