Friday, April 18, 2014

Guest Post & Giveaway (international): The Towers of Tuscany by Carol M. Cram

Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son.
In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion—both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.
The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe’s most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.

Publication Date: January 23, 2014
New Arcadia Publishing
Formats: Paperback, Ebook 

Thank you Carol Cram for stopping by today and telling how The Towers of Tuscany can to be. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for a chance to win a copy of this book.

The spark that ignited The Towers of Tuscany was my musing one day about the Tuscan town of San Gimignano. I have visited Tuscany’s lovely city of towers many times over the past two decades and was always captivated by its medieval towers and commanding views over the stunning Tuscan landscape. About fifteen of these towers remain, but in its heyday in the fourteenth century, over 70 towers pierced the blue Tuscan sky. 

So I wondered: What had San Gimignano looked like with 70 towers? This thought led naturally to another thought: Had anyone painted a view of San Gimignano with its dozens of towers? My attempts to answer these questions led me on a long journey that resulted, four years later, in The Towers of Tuscany.
In the course of my research, I learned that landscape painting was in its infancy in the fourteenth century and highly stylized. Almost all paintings depicted religious subjects, the rare exceptions being the secular works of painters such as Ambrogio Lorenzetti and Simone Martini, both of whom were active in Siena during the time of The Towers of Tuscany. I decided to invent a painter who also veered from religious iconography to paint a view of the towers of San Gimignano. My painter is a woman because I was also intrigued by the idea of a woman painting during a period when painting was very much in the male domain.
And then I got a sign that my novel was destined to be written. 

While surfing the Web for sites on Tuscany, I stumbled upon the website for San Gimignano 1300, a museum in San Gimignano that includes a large scale model of the city how it appeared in the year 1300, complete with all seventy of its towers. On my research trip to Italy, the morning I spent at San Gimignano 1300 was one of the most productive of my writing career to date. 

The Towers of Tuscany is appealing to people who are fascinated by fourteenth century Italy, by the glorious art of the period, and by the workings of a medieval painter’s workshop. Most of all, people are enjoying Sofia Carelli, my spirited, talented, kick ass heroine who never gives up her passion for painting or her search for love, even in the face of almost insurmountable limitations.

The Towers of Tuscany is my first historical novel with an “arts twist.” My goal is to combine my love of the arts with my love of history to produce novels that celebrate an individual’s journey with his or her art during a particular era. My next novel (working title “Nocturnes”) tells the story of a concert pianist in Vienna in the late 1820s, shortly after the death of Beethoven and during the last year of Schubert’s life. I plan to release that novel in the fall of 2014. 

http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thetowersoftuscanytour/
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

What happened to the girl you left behind?

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything - her family, reputation and life - in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.

Nearly a century later and Sophie's portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting's dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened...

In The Girl You Left Behind two young women, separated by a century, are united in their determination to fight for the thing they love most - whatever the cost.



Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by Pamela Dorman Books

“Sometimes life is a series of obstacles, a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, she realizes suddenly, it is simply a matter of blind faith.”  

Beginning in German occupied France during WWI we are introduced to Sophie and her sister Helene.  Sophie's story takes up the first part of this book before jumping to present day London where we meet Liv.  Then it weaves back and forth.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it showed the real and raw effects of war and the repercussions through the years. It showed (and I felt) the heartache and sorrow on this little town that at one time I pictured to be quaint and friendly, now its full of gossip, judgement and scandal.

What connects Sophie and Liv is a painting that Sophie's husband Edouard created entitled 'The Girl You Left Behind'.  As the history of the painting unfold Liv's life takes a drastic turn.

I didn't rush through this book, I knew right away I was in for a treat.  When my kindle informed me that only 2 hours were left in this book I thought rather than rush the ending I waited for a couple hours when I was home alone, the dog was walked and a beverage was within reach.  I had no idea how the author was going to resolve the conflicts in a manner that would satisfy this reader.  Also provide an ending that wasn't far fetched or corny.

Well she did it!!!

Definitely an author I will be reading more of.

Thank you netgalley for providing me with a copy for review.

Waiting on Wednesday: Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly



Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Disney Press
 
The first in a series of four epic tales set in the depths of the ocean, where six mermaids seek to protect and save their hidden world.

Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

What are you looking forward to?

Monday, April 14, 2014

The King's Daughter by Barbara Kyle


Upon the death of her father, Henry VIII, Queen Mary assumes the throne after a long exile. Her first order of business is to wed the devout Prince Philip of Spain, creating a powerful alliance that will transform Mary's fanatical dream of ridding England of Protestantism into terrifying reality. And so begins the reign of Bloody Mary...

Even as she plans for her own nuptials, Isabel Thornleigh is helping to lay the groundwork to overthrow Mary and bring Elizabeth to power. But none of the secrets Isabel has discovered compares to the truths hidden in her own family. With her beloved father imprisoned by Queen Mary, only Carlos Valverde— a Spanish soldier of fortune—can help Isabel. Now with England's future at stake, Isabel risks all to change the course of history..


Paperback, 481 pages
  (first published July 1st 1995)
 19 hrs and 40 mins
****
Beginning 20 years after The Queen's Lady this is the 2nd book in the Thornleigh Series.
It got off to a slow start but a couple chapters in the pace picked up and I was hooked.

Henry VIII's daughter Mary has begun her reign.  Never having heard anything about Bloody Mary I was interested in her reign and the effect it had on the country.  The news of her betrothal to Prince Philip of Spain is received with mixed emotion by the people of England. Resulting in the planning of the Wyatt rebellion.
 
Though the characters of the Thornleigh's and Carlos Valverde (visualize Antonio Banderas here) are fictional they are put in an authentic time period surrounded by actual historical events.  
Isabel, the daughter of Honor and Richard Thornleigh, is transformed throughout this book.  As a 20 year old I found her rather naive and immature, she was forced to grow-up at a fast pace.  She had no choice given the climate of the country, so many changes happening quickly.
 
Again this was an audio version for me (purchased from Audible) and read by Barbara Kyle herself.
 
The Queen's Captive is the third book in this series as the reign of Bloody Mary continues.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan


The passionate and turbulent story of Robert Louis Stevenson and his tempestuous American wife, Fanny.

At the age of thirty-five, Fanny van de Grift Osbourne leaves her philandering husband in San Francisco and sets sail for Belgium to study art, with her three children and a nanny in tow. Not long after her arrival, however, tragedy strikes, and Fanny and her brood repair to a quiet artists' colony in France where she can recuperate. There she meets Robert Louis Stevenson, ten years her junior, who is instantly smitten with the earthy, independent and opinionated belle Americaine.

A woman ahead of her time, Fanny does not immediately take to the young lawyer who longs to devote his life to literature, and who would eventually write such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In time, though, she succumbs to Stevenson's charms. The two begin a fierce love affair, marked by intense joy and harrowing darkness, which spans decades as they travel the world for the sake of his health. Eventually they settled in Samoa, where Robert Louis Stevenson is buried underneath the epitaph:
 

Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

(Requiem, Robert Louis Stevenson)

Hardcover, 496 pages

Published January 21st 2014 by Ballantine Books (first published 2013) 
my copy provided by Edelweiss for my honest review
*** 1/2

Treasure Island is the only book that I have read by Stevenson, but I am intrigued now to rectify that. Now that I feel I know him a little better I am interested to read more of his works.

Though a little slow at times I did enjoy this book.  Told from the point of view of Franny there is a smattering of times we hear from Stevenson himself, I think it would have been nice to hear from his point of view a little more often, just to round out some of the situations.

There is a lot going on in this book.  Journeys from country to country, many a conflict and heartache. There are so many relationships and with that comes struggles, Franny and first husband (to divorce in 1875 was rare), Franny and her daughter Belle, her sons and family.  Stevenson, his family and friends also.  Along with Franny and Stevenson who were not immune to strife.

As much as I liked this book I wasn't able to feel much emotion or connection with Fanny or Stevenson like I wanted to. But I am glad that I read this book, it has given me a glimpse into the life of a talented author.
"Writers should find out where joy resides and give it a voice. Every bright word or picture is a piece of pleasure set afloat. The reader catches it, and he goes on his way rejoicing. It's the business of art to send him that way as often as possible.”

Friday, April 11, 2014

Little Lies by Heather Gudenkauf

 
In this riveting prequel to her novel Little Mercies, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf explores how even the smallest lies can have far-reaching consequences.

When the body of a woman is discovered in a local park—with her bewildered four-year-old son sitting beside her—veteran social worker Ellen Moore is called in to assist in the police investigation. Positioned beneath a statue of Leto, the goddess of motherhood, the crime is weighted with meaning and, Ellen discovers, remarkably similar to one from a decade past.

Ellen's professional duty is to protect the child, but she's not equipped to contend with a killer. As she races to connect the dots, she knows her time is running out. And the stakes are high: if she fails, another mother is sure to make the ultimate sacrifice.




ebook, 45 pages
Published March 14th 2014 by Harlequin 
my copy provided by netgalley for review

 Before I was bitten with the historical fiction bug, murder mysteries were my thing, Patterson, Grisham, Brown, Davidson etc graced my shelves.  These days it is sometimes nice after spending time in the 1400-1500's  to squeeze in a modern day mystery.  I discovered Heather Gudenkauf a couple years ago with These Things Hidden and One Breath Away (I thoroughly enjoyed it too).  I fell in love with her writing style, her original and unique plots that had me guessing right to the end.

Little Lies is Heather's prequel to Little Mercies, which will be released June 24th.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18722887-little-mercies

Not long, only 45 pages in length but an enticing self-contained mystery.  Well written, mysterious, emotional and a great introduction to Ellen Moore.  There is closure in this book but also loose ends. Looking for to reading Little Mercies

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Blast: Blackwell's Paradise by V.E. Ulett

Blackwell's Paradise by V.E. Ulett
Relive the pleasure of falling into the past with the author of Captain Blackwell’s Prize, in Volume II of Blackwell’s Adventures.
The repercussions of a court martial and the ill-will of powerful men at the Admiralty pursue Royal Navy captain James Blackwell into the Pacific, where danger lurks around every coral reef. Even if Captain Blackwell and Mercedes survive the venture into the world of early nineteenth century exploration, can they emerge unchanged with their love intact. The mission to the Great South Sea will test their loyalties and strength, and define the characters of Captain Blackwell and his lady in Blackwell’s Paradise.

Publication Date: January 8, 2014
Old Salt Press LLC
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Series: Blackwell’s Adventures, Volume II
Genre: Historical Adventure/Naval HF

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway

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Blackwell’s Paradise

by V.E. Ulett

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.
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Praise for Blackwell’s Paradise

“Not for the faint hearted – Captain Blackwell pulls no punches! Prepare for a right roaring romp in the company of two of the most captivating characters in historical fiction.” – Alaric Bond, author of Turn A Blind Eye, and the Fighting Sail Series


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VE Ulett

A long time resident of California, V.E. Ulett is an avid reader as well as writer of historical fiction.
Proud to be an Old Salt Press author, V.E. is also a member of the National Books Critics Circle and an active member and reviewer for the Historical Novel Society.
As the long war in Europe comes to its conclusion, so does Captain Blackwell’s career in the Royal Navy in BLACKWELLS’ HOMECOMING, a story of the dangers and rewards of desire.

Website
Goodreads
Old Salt Press
 photo f1993411-1587-4a89-80f7-8fbb4482fd57.png

Book Blast Schedule

April 1 Historical Tapestry
April 2 Broken Teepee
April 3 Confessions of an Avid Reader
April 4 The True Book Addict
April 5 Passages the Past
April 7 Layered Pages
April 8 The Maiden’s Court
April 10 Just One More Chapter
April 11 Closed the Cover
April 12 Words and Peace
April 14 Luxury Reading
April 15 To Read or Not to Read
April 16 Peeking Between the Pages
April 18 So Many Books, So Little Time
April 21 Flashlight Commentary
April 22 Curling Up With a Good Book
April 23 HF Book Muse-News
April 24 A Bookish Affair
April 25 Oh, For the Hook of a Book
April 27 Kincavel Korner
April 28 CelticLady’s Reviews
April 29 Historical Fiction Connection
April 30 Reading the Ages

Giveaway

To enter to win a copy of Blackwell’s Paradise please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 1st and notified via email.
Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
 

   This week I am waiting for: The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick

I absolutely adored The Summer Queen and this is book 2 in the series.



Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: September 11th 2014 by Sphere 
 
It is the winter of 1154 and Eleanor, Queen of England, is biding her time. While her husband King Henry II battles for land across the channel, Eleanor fulfills her duty as acting ruler and bearer of royal children. But she wants to be more than this - if only Henry would let her.

Instead, Henry belittles and excludes her, falling for a young mistress and leaving Eleanor side-lined and angry. And as her sons become young men, frustrated at Henry's hoarding of power, Eleanor is forced into a rebellion of devastating consequences. She knows how much Henry needs her, but does Henry know himself?

Overflowing with scandal, politics, sex, triumphs and tragedies, The Winter Crown is the much-awaited new novel in this trilogy and a rich, compelling story in its own right.

What are you waiting for?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Review & Giveaway: To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis by Andra Watkins


Is remembrance immortality? Nobody wants to be forgotten, least of all the famous.
Meriwether Lewis lived a memorable life. He and William Clark were the first white men to reach the Pacific in their failed attempt to discover a Northwest Passage. Much celebrated upon their return, Lewis was appointed governor of the vast Upper Louisiana Territory and began preparing his eagerly-anticipated journals for publication. But his re-entry into society proved as challenging as his journey. Battling financial and psychological demons and faced with mounting pressure from Washington, Lewis set out on a pivotal trip to the nation’s capital in September 1809. His mission: to publish his journals and salvage his political career. He never made it. He died in a roadside inn on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee from one gunshot to the head and another to the abdomen.
Was it suicide or murder? His mysterious death tainted his legacy and his fame quickly faded. Merry’s own memory of his death is fuzzy at best. All he knows is he’s fallen into Nowhere, where his only shot at redemption lies in the fate of rescuing another. An ill-suited “guardian angel,” Merry comes to in the same New Orleans bar after twelve straight failures. Now, with one drink and a two-dollar bill he is sent on his last assignment, his final shot at escape from the purgatory in which he’s been dwelling for almost 200 years. Merry still believes he can reverse his forgotten fortunes.
Nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney is the daughter of French Quarter madam and a Dixieland bass player. When her mother wins custody in a bitter divorce, Emmaline carves out her childhood among the ladies of Bourbon Street. Bounced between innocence and immorality, she struggles to find her safe haven, even while her mother makes her open her dress and serve tea to grown men.
It isn’t until Emmaline finds the strange cards hidden in her mother’s desk that she realizes why these men are visiting: her mother has offered to sell her to the highest bidder. To escape a life of prostitution, she slips away during a police raid on her mother’s bordello, desperate to find her father in Nashville.
Merry’s fateful two-dollar bill leads him to Emmaline as she is being chased by the winner of her mother’s sick card game: The Judge. A dangerous Nowhere Man convinced that Emmaline is the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Judge Wilkinson is determined to possess her, to tease out his wife’s spirit and marry her when she is ready. That Emmaline is now guarded by Meriwether Lewis, his bitter rival in life, further stokes his obsessive rage.
To elude the Judge, Em and Merry navigate the Mississippi River to Natchez. They set off on an adventure along the storied Natchez Trace, where they meet Cajun bird watchers, Elvis-crooning Siamese twins, War of 1812 re-enactors, Spanish wild boar hunters and ancient mound dwellers. Are these people their allies? Or pawns of the perverted, powerful Judge?
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
World Hermit Press
Formats: Ebook, Paperback  
****
Read an Excerpt HERE.

What an original, unique and slightly bizarre plot (and I mean that in a really good way).  I was fascinated with this story right from the beginning. With the narrative alternating between Emmaline, Merry and the Judge it was interesting to hear their thoughts and feeling about the what and why's of what was taking place. 

The author portrayed each of the 3, Emmaline, Merry and the Judge in such a way that I got to know each of them, their motives and what is driving them on this journey.  Emmaline is this 9 year old, still a child, but forced to grow up before her time.   Merry shows his emotional side in how her cares and protects Emmaline. And well the Judge remembers a love from long ago.

This story was believable in it's supernatural way. It is fast paced and full of tense action, very hard to put down.


http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/toliveforevertour/

click on the icon for more stops on this tour

Buy the Book

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Hey. I’m Andra Watkins. I’m a native of Tennessee, but I’m lucky to call Charleston, South Carolina, home for 23 years. I’m the author of ‘To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis’, coming March 1, 2014. It’s a mishmash of historical fiction, paranormal fiction and suspense that follows Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) after his mysterious death on the Natchez Trace in 1809.

I like:
hiking
eating (A lot; Italian food is my favorite.)
traveling (I never met a destination I didn’t like.)
reading (My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.)
coffee (the caffeinated version) and COFFEE (sex)
performing (theater, singing, public speaking, playing piano)
Sirius XM Chill
yoga (No, I can’t stand on my head.)
writing in bed
candlelight
time with my friends
I don’t like:
getting up in the morning
cilantro (It is the devil weed.)
surprises (For me or for anyone else.)
house cleaning
cooking

Author Links

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
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Pinterest

Natchez Trace Walk

The Natchez Trace is a 10,000-year-old road that runs from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Thousands of years ago, animals used its natural ridge line as a migratory route from points in the Ohio River Valley to the salt licks in Mississippi. It was logical for the first Native Americans to settle along the Trace to follow part of their migrating food supply. When the Kaintucks settled west of the Appalachians, they had to sell their goods at ports in New Orleans or Natchez, but before steam power, they had to walk home. The Trace became one of the busiest roads in North America.
trace-map

To launch To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis, I will be the first person of either sex to walk the 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did since the rise of steam power in the 1820′s. March 1, 2014 to April 3, 2014. Fifteen miles a day. Six days a week. One rest day per week. I will spend each night in the modern-day equivalent of stands, places much like Grinder’s Stand, where Meriwether Lewis died from two gunshot wounds on October 11, 1809.
I will take readers into the world of the book. You’ll see the places that inspired scenes and hear the backstories of different characters, with running commentary by my father, who’s tagging along with me.
I’ll also have a daily YouTube segment where I answer reader questions about the book, my walk, my arguments—I mean—interactions with my dad, and whatever readers want to know. Ask me anything at
mystories(at)andrawatkins(dot)com.
You might see yourself on this site during my tour.


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Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Eagle and the Swan by Carol Strickland (Book Tour)


For 1,500 years she has been cruelly maligned by history. Labelled as corrupt, immoral and sexually depraved by the sixth-century historian Procopius in his notorious Secret History, the Byzantine Empress Theodora was condemned to be judged a degenerate harlot by posterity. Until now.

Due to a conviction that its contents would only be understood by generations of the distant future, a manuscript that has remained unopened for a millennium and a half is about to set the record straight. It will unravel the deepest secrets of a captivating and charismatic courtesan, her unlikely romance with an Emperor, and her rise to power and influence that would outshine even Cleopatra. 

This historical novel traces the love affairs, travails, machinations, scandals and triumphs of a cast of real characters who inhabit an Empire at its glorious and fragile peak. It’s the tale of a dazzling civilization in its Golden Age; one which, despite plague, earthquakes and marauding Huns, would lay the foundation for modern Europe as we know it.

Publication Date: November 7, 2013
Erudition Digital
eBook
ASIN: B00GIR54MI 


"My life" she said, "is not something that happens to me.  It's what I cause to happen."


Like so many others that have reviewed this book, I also was introduced to Theodora with Stephanie Thornton's book, The Secret History (I loved it).  Was I nervous about reading this book and comparing the two?  No, not at all. I find it interesting to read the same subject matter by different authors, it adds a unique and individual prospective.

This book did not disappoint, right from the beginning I was drawn in. The writing style reflected the time period and made for a very enjoyable read.  The narrative had me visualizing sights and smells in my head.  This book was drafted by a monk and childhood friend named Fabianus. As Theodora tells her story there were times when Fabianus went back in time to their childhood recalling events and filling in the gaps. Theodora had quite the life, beginning in the circus with a bear training father, turning actress, prostitute and mate to Justinian.

The book centers also on Justinian and his story, how he became Emperor, though a lowly man, the son of a pig farmer.

This book is rich in detail, the author has shown that a vast amount of research and time went into writing this novel. This is my first book by Carol Strickland, I will be looking at what else she has written, I like her style.

There were no Author Notes and that I missed.


Praise for The Eagle and the Swan

“It’s a book rife with detail and passion. If you like historical fiction this book hits on all cylinders. The level of detail in terms of prose and historical relevance is engaging. And THEN the plot is what’s moving. The love and lust combined with a compelling story, taking on universal themes from a cross section of history, makes for a gripping work.”
 
“Carol Strickland has written a masterful epic. It is beautifully crafted and impossible to put down.”
 
“Beautiful storytelling. Fascinating and well-developed characters. What an interesting time in history! This book was thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. The Eagle and the Swan is a must-read!”


Buy the eBook

Amazon

Carol Strickland is an art and architecture critic, prize-winning screenwriter, and journalist who’s contributed to The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and Art in America magazine. A Ph.D. in literature and former writing professor, she’s author of The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in the History of Art from Prehistoric to Post-Modern (which has sold more than 400,000 copies in multiple editions and translations), The Annotated Arch: A Crash Course in the History of Architecture, The Illustrated Timeline of Art History, The Illustrated Timeline of Western Literature, and monographs on individual artists.
While writing on masterpieces of Byzantine art (glorious mosaics in Ravenna, Italy featuring Theodora and Justinian and the monumental Hagia Sophia basilica in Istanbul built by Justinian), Strickland became fascinated by the woman who began life as a swan dancer and her husband, an ex-swineherd.
Knowing how maligned they were by the official historian of their era Procopius, who wrote a slanderous “Secret History” vilifying them, Strickland decided to let the audacious Theodora tell her story. She emerges not just as the bear-keeper’s daughter and a former prostitute who ensnared the man who became emperor, but as a courageous crusader against the abuse of women, children, and free-thinkers.

Author Links

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Thursday, March 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, March 17
Review at Reading the Ages

Wednesday, March 19
Review at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, March 20
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Monday, March 24
Interview & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, March 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, March 26
Guest Post at Kelsey’s Book Corner

Monday, March 31
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, April 2
Review at Book Drunkard

Friday, April 4
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, April 7
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Thursday, April 10
Review & Giveaway at Curling Up By the Fire

Friday, April 11
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, April 14
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, April 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, April 16
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Thursday, April 17
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection