Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (audio)

The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

 Published 1943 by Harper & Brothers
audio -  16 hrs and 17 mins

“From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.”  

It's no secret that I love audio books.   There have been many a time when I've started an audio only to realize that I would enjoy the book better reading it myself.  There has also been times when the reader just destroyed the experience. The reader can make or break a really good book.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was an audio book for me, purchased from audible. Carrington MacDuffie is the reader and she did an absolutely fantastic job. It had the right pace, the right speed with the perfect amount of emotion.

The reader could only performer like that with an outstanding book.  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was that kind of book.  I finished that book mourning the lose of a family that I grew to love.

 I love Francie! She took delight with so much in life and given her surroundings it was really interesting to read, and at times it was rather poetic.  She had dreams, she planned and worked hard to achieve them, even when life was so difficult. Given the time period there was much disappointment and heartache,

But the book just isn't about her but the whole family, it's about relationships, commitment and dedication to each other and self.  This is a wonderful coming of age book that I encourage everyone to read, definitely could see myself rereading this one.

There were so many wonderful quotes in this book, I had to limit myself.

“Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have too much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.” 

“People always think that happiness is a faraway thing," thought Francie, "something complicated and hard to get. Yet, what little things can make it up; a place of shelter when it rains - a cup of strong hot coffee when you're blue; for a man, a cigarette for contentment; a book to read when you're alone - just to be with someone you love. Those things make happiness.”

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Excerpt & Giveaway: Serpent in the Garden

 This is one of my favorite series and today I am thrilled to share this excerpt that Anna Belfrage so graciously provided.  

After reading be sure to enter to win a copy of this book.

It had to be said: Philip Burley had a certain flair to him, in everything from how he carried himself to how he was dressed, impeccable linen contrasting nicely with the deep blue of his dashing coat. That didn’t endear him one whit to Alex, and, in particular, not when he popped up most unexpectedly just as she was leaving the apothecary, her daughters trailing after her.
“Mrs Graham,” Philip said, bowing. Alex controlled the urge to turn on her heel and run. Never, ever show him how much he scares you, she admonished herself, just stare him in the eyes. Except that she didn’t want to, unnerved by the penetrating, assessing look in them – as if he was putting a value to her, estimating how much she might be worth should he sell her.
“Mr Burley, how unfortunate to find you still so very much alive.”
He laughed, shaking his head so his signatory lock of black hair fell over his left eye.
“Why, Mrs Graham, one could think you don’t like me much.”
“Like you? I hate your guts, Philip Burley, and to my dying day, I’ll regret not serving you toadstools the first time we met.”
His eyes lightened into impenetrable ice. “Well, you didn’t, did you? And so, here I am.” He glanced over her shoulder, studying her girls with interest. “See?” he said, directing himself to the Philip lookalike that had appeared beside him. “Quite pretty, aren’t they?”
Walter Burley grunted, his eyes stuck on Sarah.
“We’re partial to fair girls,” Philip said. “In particular to young, fair girls.”
“You ...” Alex swung at him, Philip ducked, and came up grinning, eyes like flint.
“Don’t,” he warned, and, at a snap of his fingers, yet another Burley brother materialised, this one so badly scarred Alex knew he had to be Stephen. She threw a look over her shoulder, relaxing somewhat at finding the street busy. Should they try anything, she’d scream – or stab them with her new knitting needles. Still, they were far too close, with Walter more or less drooling over Sarah. When he made as if to touch her daughter, Alex flew at him, slapping him hard over his wrist.
“Don’t you lay a finger on her. Do that, and I’ll—”
“... do what, Mrs Graham?” Philip purred.
“Kill him,” she replied, staring into those eyes as firmly as she could. It only made him laugh.
A hand at her waist, and Alex’s shoulders dropped an inch or two, safe now that her husband stood beside her.
Philip regarded Matthew, a jeering light in his eyes. “Not as afraid now as when we met last?” He chuckled at the responding wave of angry red that suffused Matthew’s face. “You should be afraid, because someday we’ll make you pay for Will.”
“You can try,” Matthew said.
“Oh, we can do more than try.” Philip looked Alex up and down a couple of times. “You have a comely wife. What a pity she’ll soon be a widow.” He smirked. “And, once she is, then who is to stop us from taking what we want?” He nodded in the direction of Sarah.
Rage rose red before Alex’s eyes. She didn’t stop to think. She set down her basket, hitched up her skirts, and kicked Philip, swiping his legs from under him. Philip’s smirk became a surprised squawk, converting into a grunt when he crashed to the ground. Walter rushed forward, shoving Alex so hard she fell. Matthew’s fist drove into Walter’s gut. Walter wheezed like a punctured accordion and doubled up. Stephen cursed and went for Matthew. By now, Philip had regained his feet, and in his hand was a knife.
Alex regained her feet. She raised her arms and crouched to achieve balance, immensely grateful of the time she had spent on upholding her martial arts skills – even if one man and one woman against three determined Burleys didn’t feel like good odds. Why was no one interceding? Why were the people of Providence content to watch, instead of putting a stop to this? And where were her girls? She wheeled, tried to smile reassuringly at her girls, standing very close together. Sarah squeaked, pointing, and Alex turned just in time to see Philip lunge at Matthew.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Serpents in the Garden by Anna Belfrage (Book Tour)

After years of hard work, Matthew and Alex Graham have created a thriving home in the Colony of Maryland. About time, in Alex’s opinion, after far too many adventures she is really looking forward to some well-deserved peace and quiet.
A futile hope, as it turns out. Things start to heat up when Jacob, the third Graham son, absconds from his apprenticeship to see the world – especially as Jacob leaves behind a girl whom he has wed in a most irregular fashion.

Then there’s the infected matter of the fellow time traveller Alex feels obliged to help – no matter the risk. Worst of all, one day Philip Burley and his brothers resurface after years of absence. As determined as ever to make Matthew pay for every perceived wrong – starting with the death of their youngest brother – the Burleys play out a complicated cat and mouse game, and Alex is thrown back into an existence where her heart is constantly in her mouth, convinced as she is that one day the Burleys will achieve their purpose.

Will the Burleys succeed? And if they do, will the Graham family survive the exacted price?
Serpents in the Garden is the fifth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveler Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Publication Date: March 1, 2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: Ebook, Paperback 

This is book 5 in the Graham Saga.  Having gotten to know the family in books 3 and 4 sitting down with Serpent in the Garden was like getting together with old friends and catching up on their lives.  Even though I began this series with book 3 my enjoyment of this series was not hampered at all (books 1 & 2 are patiently waiting for me).

In the past I have read series that seem to just go on and on with the material stretched and situations getting unbelievable and yea even ridiculous. It's a heavy burden for authors that write series, to keep the story from getting boring and outlandish. Which is totally not the case here.  Anna Belfrage has written a book that had me captivated from the start, the story lines were original, fitting the time period and environment accurately. The author has made me full in love with Alex, Matthew and their family, they are real and genuine.

I loved the fact that there were no wasted words or fullers in this book.  You know the words that just seem to take up space with no real relevance to the flow of the book and at times you might even skim over.  None of that in this book, everything flowed together perfectly and at the right speed, right to the end.

Oh and that very last paragraph, yea I can't wait till Retribution comes in August. 

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution (coming August 2014)
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest


Buy the Book

Amazon CA
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Kobo Books

About the Author

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.
I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.
I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website.  You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, March 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, March 25
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, March 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Thursday, March 27
Excerpt & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter
Friday, March 28
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, March 31
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Spotlight & Excerpt at bookworm2bookworm’s Blog
Tuesday, April 1
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, April 2
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, April 3
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Friday, April 4
Review at Dianne Ascroft
Guest Post at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, April 7
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Tuesday, April 8
Review & Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Interview at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, April 9
Review & Giveaway at A Chick Who Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at MK McClintock Blog
Thursday, April 10
Review & Guest Post at Kincavel Korner
Friday, April 11
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vienna's Last Jihad by C. Wayne Dawson (Book Tour)

Brash and brilliant, twenty year old Mathis Zieglar, Professor of Languages, faces an agonizing choice: should he fight the Turks who take his family hostage and move to destroy Vienna? Or should he betray his army to save his kin? 

Vienna’s Last Jihad is a historical novel set against the 1683 siege of Vienna.

Europe is balanced on a knife’s edge while Mathis, the man who holds its fate in his hands, struggles against powerful enemies: Father Sistini, a Jesuit who brands him a heretic and drags Mathis’ fiancĂ©e off to the Inquisition; a xenophobic city mob, who wants him dead for protecting a Hungarian soldier; but most dangerous of all, Captain Tyrek, a Muslim chieftain who will kill Mathis’ family unless he spies against his own army. One by one, Tyrek’s agents murder Mathis’ closest associates in an attempt to isolate him. As 138,000 Turks grind down Vienna’s 11,000 defenders with no relief in sight, Mathis’ only chance to save family and country is to use his wits, the ability to speak Tartar and the knack he learned as a child to leap, whirl, and strike.

Publication Date: October 20, 2013
Katy Crossing Press
Paperback; 334p

Again another part of history that I know (knew) nothing about.  The author has written a book that was a real eye opener for me as to what happened in Vienna during the 1683 siege.  Between the Inquisition, the Muslim's, protecting his family and the love of his life, Mathis was on the go constantly here.  There were times that didn't connect like I was hoping to, but was totally able to grasp the motives behind the actions.  There was definitely a lot of action in this book and cleanly it was very well researched.  Yes there was violence, but then again this book is about a fierce battle, though I am not complaining, but might not appeal to the faint of heart.

I liked the authors writing style, it was easy to get lost in this book.  I learned a great deal from this book, which is one of the reasons historical fiction is my favorite genre.  This is C. Wayne Dawson's debut and I look forward to what is in store for the future.  One of my favorite things to read when I finish HF is the author notes at the end, this book was lacking that and I missed it.

This book will appeal to those that like historical fiction that is off the beaten track (by that I mean away from England, Rome and France).

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)      Amazon (Paperback)      Barnes & Noble       Book Depository


About the Author

C. Wayne Dawson writes for The Williamson County Sun, and has written for History Magazine, Focus On Georgetown, The Georgetown Advocate, and SAFVIC Law Enforcement Newsletter. In 2012, he founded Central Texas Authors, an author’s marketing collective.
He was an Adjunct Professor of History for ten years at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, where he created the Chautauqua program. There, he enlisted scholars, government officials and activists to discuss and debate social policy before the student body and the media.
In 2009, the students of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society honored him with the Glaux Mentor Teacher Award for bringing the Chautauqua program to Mt. SAC.
He currently lives in Georgetown, TX with his wife and two dogs.

For more information please visit C. Wayne Dawson’s website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, February 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at History & Women

Wednesday, February 26
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Monday, March 3
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, March 4
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, March 6
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, March 11
Interview at Layered Pages

Wednesday, March 12
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, March 13
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Friday, March 14
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book

Thursday, March 20
Review at Just One More Chapter

Friday, March 21
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Sundance by David Fuller

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:  Sundance by David Fuller

Why you ask?  Because it looks really interesting.

A gripping historical novel of love and vengeance starring Harry Longbaugh, better known as the Sundance Kid.

Legend has it that bank robber Harry Longbaugh and his partner Robert Parker were killed in a shootout in Bolivia. That was the supposed end of the Sundance Kid and Butch Cassidy.

Sundance tells a different story. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Longbaugh is very much alive, though serving in a Wyoming prison under an alias.

When he is released in 1913, Longbaugh reenters a changed world. Horses are being replaced by automobiles. Gas lamps are giving way to electric lights. Workers fight for safety, and women for the vote. What hasn’t changed are Longbaugh’s ingenuity, his deadly aim, and his love for his wife, Etta Place.

It’s been two years since Etta stopped visiting him, and, determined to find her, Longbaugh follows her trail to New York City. Confounded by the city’s immensity, energy, chaos, and crowds, he learns that his wife was very different from the woman he thought he knew. Longbaugh finds himself in a tense game of cat and mouse, racing against time before the legend of the Sundance Kid catches up to destroy him.

By turns suspenseful, rollicking, and poignant, Sundance is the story of a man dogged by his own past, seeking his true place in this new world.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: May 29th 2014 by Riverhead Hardcover 
What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Giveaway & Book Blast: Deborah Swift

HF Virtual Book Tours is delighted to introduce you to historical novelist Deborah Swift!  Deborah’s acclaimed novels are set in turbulent seventeenth century England and have been described as “brilliant” and “a must for all readers looking for something out of the ordinary but grippingly alive”.  Her previous life as a scenographer and costume designer shine through as the settings are beautifully evoked, immersing the reader in the sights and smells of the time.

Deborah’s multi-layered and engrossing historical adventures will make perfect picks for reading groups. Reading Group Guides can be conveniently found in the back of each book and on her website.

Find more information on Deborah's novels below and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (£15 UK)!

The Lady's Slipper

The Lady's SlipperPublication Date: June 3, 2011
Pan MacMillan
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
England, 1660.

The King is back, but memories of the English Civil War still rankle. In rural Westmorland, artist Alice Ibbetson has become captivated by the rare Lady’s Slipper orchid. She is determined to capture it’s unique beauty for posterity, even if it means stealing the flower from the land of the recently converted Quaker, Richard Wheeler. Fired by his newfound faith, the former soldier Wheeler feels bound to track down the missing orchid. Meanwhile, others are eager to lay hands on the flower, and have their own powerful motives.
 Margaret Poulter, a local medicine woman, is seduced by the orchid’s mysterious herbal powers, while Geoffrey Fisk, Alice’s patron and former comrade-in-arms of Wheeler, sees the valuable plant as a way to repair his ailing fortunes and cure his own agonizing illness. Fearing that Wheeler and his friends are planning revolution, Fisk sends his son Stephen to spy on the Quakers, only for the young man to find his loyalties divided as he befriends the group he has been sent to investigate.
Then, when Alice Ibbetson is implicated in a brutal murder, she is imprisoned along with the suspected anti-royalist Wheeler. As Fisk’s sanity grows ever more precarious, and Wheeler and Alice plot their escape, a storm begins to brew, from which no party will escape unscathed. Vivid, gripping and intensely atmospheric, The Lady’s Slipper is a novel about beauty, faith and loyalty.

Praise for The Lady's Slipper

"The novel grips from the opening lines and carries the interest throughout. The several plot-lines are seamlessly blended and come together in a wholly satisfying conclusion. Her characters are so real that they linger in the mind long after the book is back on the shelf. Highly recommended." - Historical Novels Review Magazine

"Recommended for fans of Philippa Gregory and Rose Tremain, as well as students of the English Civil War." - Library Journal

“The intertwined stories of the orchid’s fate, the mounting problems between the Quakers and the King’s men, and Alice’s murder trial and its aftermath make for a riveting narrative.” - For the Love of Books Blog

The Gilded Lily

The Gilded Lily UK CoverPublication Date: September 13, 2012
Pan MacMillan
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Westmorland, 1660.

Sadie Appleby has lived all her life in her small village. One night she is rudely awoken by her older and bolder sister, Ella, who has robbed her employer and is on the run. The girls flee their rural home of Westmorland to head for London, hoping to lose themselves in the teeming city. But the dead man’s relatives are in hot pursuit, and soon a game of cat and mouse begins.

Ella becomes obsessed with the glitter and glamour of city life and sets her sights on the flamboyant man-about-town, Jay Whitgift. But nothing is what it seems – even Jay Whitgift.

Can Sadie survive a fugitive’s life in the big city? But even more pressing, can she survive life with her older sister Ella?

Set in London’s atmospheric coffee houses, the rich mansions of Whitehall, and the pawnshops, slums and rookeries hidden from rich men’s view, The Gilded Lily is about beauty and desire, about the stories we tell ourselves, and about how sisterhood can be both a burden and a saving grace.

Praise for The Gilded Lily

"There is no greater compliment than ‘Give me more!’ A delight." - Susanna Gregory

"The Gilded Lily is impeccably written historical fiction. The detail is superb and life in London is so vividly depicted that the city seems to take on its own persona and become a lurking character in the story." - Let Them Read Books

"A heart-rending story of two sisters on the run, searching for a better life. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, the novel drew me straight into the teeming streets of Restoration London. An addictive, page-turning read." - Mary Sharratt

"Superb dialogue, steeped in contemporary language, adds credibility and atmosphere to this compelling tale which examines the ties that bind together siblings, the consequences of greed and ambition, the fickleness of fate and women’s constant battle to survive in a man’s world. The Gilded Lily is also a fast-paced adventure peopled with ruthless villains and feisty heroines whose exploits grab the imagination and add suspense and excitement to a historical gem." - Lancashire Evening Post

The Gilded Lily Book Trailer

A Divided Inheritance

A Divided InheritanceUK Publication Date: October 24, 2013
Pan MacMillan
Formats: Ebook, Paperback
London, 1609.

Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her simple dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace. Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relation but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary – determined to claim the inheritance that is rightfully hers.

In the searing heat of Seville, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery and finally unlocking the true meaning of family.

Praise for A Divided Inheritance

"a true gem. It has a pacy storyline, the characters are complex, intriguing and often unexpected – and it is packed with fascinating historical fact" - Gabrielle Kimm, author of His Last Duchess

"Elegantly written, A Divided Inheritance brings the uncertainty of the seventeenth century gloriously to life in an engaging tale of determination, tenacity and family loyalty." - Flashlight Commentary Blog

"a multifaceted tale about the consequences of religious intolerance, the expiation of guilt, the importance of family, and the appearance of unexpected love. And swordplay! The action sequences are as sharp and dazzling as Zachary’s hand-forged blade." - Sarah Johnson, Reading the Past

Buy the Books

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Deborah Swift 

About the Author

Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park. She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.

The Riddle of Writing Blog
Royalty Free Fiction Blog
English History Authors Blog

Book Blast Schedule

Sunday, March 16
Lily Pond Reads
Kincavel Korner
Bibliophilia, Please
Passages to the Past
The True Book Addict

Monday, March 17
Mari Reads
Turning the Pages
A Chick Who Reads
Historical Fiction Connection
History from a Woman's Perspective

Tuesday, March 18
Just One More Chapter
Susan Heim on Writing
Caroline Wilson Writes
Historical Fiction Obsession
Historical Readings & Reviews

Wednesday, March 19
Book Nerd
Broken Teepee
Literary Chanteuse
Historical Tapestry

Thursday, March 20
Book Drunkard
Mina's Bookshelf
Curling Up By the Fire
To Read or Not to Read
Svetlana's Reads and Views

Friday, March 21
Closed the Cover
CelticLady's Reviews
The Little Reader Library
Books by the Willow Tree



To enter to win a $20 (£15 UK) Amazon Gift Card please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form.

Giveaway will run from March 16-21. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on March 22 and notifiied via email.

Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo 6e4664de-723a-438d-b148-5ff27dc0f3b7.png

Monday, March 17, 2014

Giveaway & Book Blast: One Thousand Porches by Julie Dewey

HF Virtual Book Tours is thrilled to introduce you to author Julie Dewey's historical novel One Thousand Porches!

A heart warming story about family, love, and perseverance, One Thousand Porches chronicles the lives of tuberculosis sufferers and their family members at a sanatarium in Sarnac Lake, NY. A beautiful story that is meant to inspire and uplift readers through the cast of characters that are genuinely kind human beings, readers have called One Thousand Porches "illuminating" and "historically significant". Download the Kindle Ebook for FREE on March 20th!

In celebration of the release of One Thousand Porches we are giving away 2 paperback copies and a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

One Thousand Porches

One Thousand Porches
by Julie Dewey

Publication Date: November 1, 2013
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Set in the majestic yet untamed Adirondack Mountains of New York more than a century ago, an extraordinary story unfolds about a little known town called Saranac Lake.

The town is home to a man with a disease known as consumption, white plague, or as some called it, the red death. It is here that Doctor Edward Livingston Trudeau finds a hopeful cure for tuberculosis in the form of open air. Trudeau’s patients vary in age, gender, class, and race, but they have one thing in common. They must all choose to embrace life, even in the face of death, if they wish to heal at the Sanitarium.

Christine, a woman at the helm of her family, has already lost two children to the dreaded plague. But when her daughter, Collette, contracts the disease, she is determined to keep her alive. Venturing into unknown territory, Christine risks her own health and that of her unborn child, as well as her marriage, to help her daughter seek a cure that to many is absurd. Christine embarks upon a life-changing journey as she moves from caregiver to patient. In the face of adversity she must find the courage to sustain herself. When Lena, a factory worker and mother of three, begins coughing up blood she is faced with a decision no mother wants to make. She either stays with her family and risks her own death, or leaves her loved ones behind while she goes off in hope of a cure at the Sans. Big Joe, once a strong man for a traveling circus, seeks a quiet place to live out his final days in hiding. When he is sent to the Sanitarium, he is terrified to learn he will be housed with fellow circus performers for he is a hunted man. Gaunt and thin, he can only hope no one from his past recognizes him in his current state. Little Amy, a six year old child, must care for her entire family of seven, all whom are afflicted with different forms of plague. When she is diagnosed with a very rare form herself, she is sent to the Sanitarium and put under the care of Dr. Trudeau. Alone and afraid, Amy faces her fears and allows herself to dream of a future.

With a cast of characters so vivid, One Thousand Porches is a heart warming and engaging story that will instill hope and faith in even the most pessimistic reader.

Read an excerpt

Chapter 1 Pittsford, NY 1885

The sputum most likely crossed the hearth of our large country estate in Pittsford, New York on the scalloped hem of my favorite green velvet dress.  The flattering ensemble with the well fitted bodice and bustle below my waist in the back.  I was told this by my husband, James Lyndon, who made me watch while he set the garment to burn in our grate, the embers coursed thru the fabric destroying the residue left from a lungers hacking.

Consumption was a poor man’s disease, it was inconceivable that it gained entry into our pristine home miles outside the village by any other means. James had no one else to hold responsible for his son’s suffering so the burden of blame was mine in his eyes.  I had ventured into town for groceries and fabric, as well as lunch with the ladies several times over the course of the month.  I dare not remind my husband, but he ventured far more places than I did.

My husband could not bear witness as his sons flesh was consumed, his lungs gurgling and dissolving as he gasped and choked for air.   All Henry’s strength and will were sapped from his body as he withered away in isolation.  His soul leaving us for heaven mere weeks before his 18th birthday celebration this October.  I was given no choice but to accept the guilt that Henry would never attend college, or marry and have children.  James placed the blame squarely upon my shoulders and defiantly closed me out from our bedroom and from his affections, punishing me for the death of our first born son.

Typically solid and stoic to a fault, James became maniacal for a short time immediately following Henry’s death.  Frenzied, he set off on a tirade where he emptied gown after gown from my closet along with dress coats, shoes, scarves and gloves, immersing them all in the raging blaze to be destroyed. James wasted no time, and stormed through the house ripping sheets and pillowcases off beds, kitchen aprons from hooks and even the old fraying rags under our sink that we stored for cleaning, were all set to burn.

“James, I beg of you, you cannot burn our entire wardrobes, we will have nothing left!”  I screamed in a panic, trying to get through to him, but knew I could not be heard for his empty eyes did not meet mine but instead flickered across the house, leaping from object to object  in search of anything else he missed, telling me in short, he was momentarily insane.

Amidst my pain and suffering I took great measures to prevent the bacteria from infecting the rest of us, beginning with scouring the house daily to an immaculate state until my fingers cracked and bled.  In the evenings my gentle daughters slathered my hands, one finger at a time, with petroleum jelly and wrapped them in strips of cotton in order to heal.   All of my remaining  dressing gowns, the ones set aside to be tailored that James missed as he ransacked the place, as well as Collette’s and Emma Darlings were hemmed to mid-calf so as not to risk contact with the ground. Lucas and Daniel, our two remaining boys wore trousers that did not drag but I feared the disease  and their fathers instability so intensely now that I made them take off their shoes on the porch and wipe the soles with rags dipped in boiling water the moment they got home from school. Then the rags were burned in our outdoor fire pit.

We were told the disease could lay dormant for months or years even, causing even more panic, and so the fires raged and our old shifts were ripped to make rags to use for boiling and cleaning purposes.

The disease known as consumption, white plague, the red death, or tuberculosis was especially harmful to anyone with an already compromised immune system, such as our Collette with her weakling lungs.  It was spreading like wildfire across the nation and was being touted as the most fatal disease known to man, far surpassing typhoid and scarlet fever in its death toll.  Taking nearly one in every seven Americans or four hundred souls daily.  It took no prejudice in who it afflicted either.  The elderly as well as children, men and women, black and white, poor and wealthy were disposed of but most often it was young adult males in the prime of their life, like our Henry, falling prey.

Doctors were perplexed by the spread of the disease, some believed it was developed based on the patient’s constitution, either physiologically or psychologically and therefore didn’t believe it could be spread.  Along the same lines other scientists and researchers believed it to be hereditary and therefore took no precautions against it.  Still others thought it was airborne spread from spitting, coughing, laughing, sneezing, and even talking.  It was thought it could also be transferred from bodily fluids such as pus and bowel discharge.  Doctors encouraged everything from wearing beards for the men to prevent the germ from entering their orifices, to eating nothing but diets rich in meat and dairy.

“I tell you Christine, this disease is contagious.  We must be vigilant over our hand washing, and we shall each bathe nightly in separate water.” James spoke to me through his fog of grief.

Praise for One Thousand Porches

"I greatly enjoyed the time I spent reading this book. Historically significant as well as heartwarming, One Thousand Porches is an engaging tale of family, friendship, hope and perseverance in the shadow of uncertainty." - Erin, Flashlight Commentary Blog

"This novel was fascinating. Of course I know of TB but to hear the history behind what Dr. Trudeau did for so many is remarkable. I think anyone interested in history and especially the history of TB and the development of the first sanitariums should enjoy this novel. I’ve read one other of Julie’s books and I find her writing to be very frank and real. I look forward to seeing what subject Julie tackles next!" - Dar, Peeking Between the Pages Blog

"One Thousand Porches is such a treasure. I learned so much about tuberculosis through the intertwined lives of Christine, Joe, Collete, Will, Amy, Daniel, and, of course, Edward Trudeau. Such inspiring lives these characters show us. As we advance in the 21st century, we can learn so much from those who lived, learned and loved over a hundred years ago. Thank you, Julie, for another illuminating look back in history." - Cindy Gorham-Crevelling

"Julie Dewey loves history...that is clear!!! And, as in her first book about the orphan trains of old, she has again chosen to write about a time in our past that few remember. She writes about tuberculosis, and shows us that TB did not discriminate! She introduces us to a cast of characters from all walks of life, from the very wealthy, the poor and indigent, to everything in between. This is a warm story about people making the best of their circumstances after they are torn away from their homes and families!! Because I live in New York state, I was particularly intrigued. I feel a visit to Saranac Lake and surrounding areas need to be on my "bucket list"! I also love that Julie Dewey wove her own personal history into the story, with the introduction of LENA!!! As per her dedication, Lena was her great Grandmother!!!" - Dr Michael A. Radz

Buy the Book

Amazon (eBook)
Amazon (Paperback)
Amazon UK (ebook)
Amazon UK (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository

Julie Dewey About the Author

Julie Dewey is a novelist who resides with her family in Central New York. Her daughter is a singer/songwriter, and her son is a boxer. Her husband is an all-around hard working, fantastic guy with gorgeous blue eyes that had her falling for him the moment they met.

In addition to researching and writing she is an avid reader. She is also passionate about jewelry design and gemstones. She loves anything creative, whether it be knitting, stamping, scrapping, decoupaging, working with metal, or decorating.

Visit her at to get your reading guide for this book and to read an excerpt from Forgetting Tabitha, the Story of an Orphan Train Rider.

Author Links

Join Julie Dewey's Fan Club.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 17

Historical Tapestry
Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, March 18
Layered Pages
Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, March 19
West Metro Mommy
Turning the Pages

Thursday, March 20
Reading the Ages
Passages to the Past

Friday, March 21
Pages of Comfort
To Read or Not to Read

Saturday, March 22
Book Nerd
Reviews by Molly

Sunday, March 23
Carpe Librum
Books in the Burbs

Monday, March 24

A Bookish Affair
Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Tuesday, March 25
Peeking Between the Pages
Historical Fiction Obsession

Wednesday, March 26
CelticLady's Reviews
So Many Books, So Little Time

Thursday, March 27
Closed the Cover
HF Book Muse-News

Friday, March 28
Broken Teepee
A Bookish Libraria


To enter to win one of the following prizes, please complete the Rafflecopter form below.
2 – Paperback copies of One Thousand Porches
1 – $25 Amazon Gift Card

Giveaway will run from March 17-28. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on March 29 and notifiied via email.

Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 photo 5fc177a3-abf7-41a8-9d7b-f7a273e1e306.png

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Review: A Rose for the Crown by Anne Easter Smith

In A Rose for the Crown, we meet one of history's alleged villains through the eyes of a captivating new heroine -- the woman who was the mother of his illegitimate children, a woman who loved him for who he really was, no matter what the cost to herself. 

As Kate Haute moves from her peasant roots to the luxurious palaces of England, her path is inextricably intertwined with that of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, later King Richard III. Although they could never marry, their young passion grows into a love that sustains them through war, personal tragedy, and the dangerous heights of political triumph. 

Anne Easter Smith's impeccable research provides the backbone of an engrossing and vibrant debut from a major new historical novelist.

Author's Note: We know Richard had a mistress -- perhaps more than one -- because two of his bastard children are mentioned in records from the period. No one has discovered her identity, which has allowed me to invent her. This is her story -- as plausible as a thorough research into the period and lives of the non-fictional characters allowed .

Paperback, 672 pages
Published March 14th 2006 by Touchstone 
Audio length: 25 hrs and 21 mins

*sign* why has it taken me so long to read this book, or anything by Anne Easter Smith?  I can't think of a good excuse, it's not the size because I love a good thick book.  It's not the presentation because the cover is gorgeous. It's not because I've heard negative things about this book, on the contrary I have heard nothing but good things (and others she has written).  So last week I decided enough already and purchased the audio from audible, loaded up my iPod and went for a walk. Then I walked some more, then I cleaned the house, took the dog for another walk (he thanks you Anne), folded laundry. I did whatever I could so to continue with this story. I was captivated right from the get go.

Kate is only a young girl when introduced, she is spunky and lively but also mature for her age, though I must remind myself that girls grew up faster in the 1400's, there wasn't a lot of time to just be kids.
This book comes in at 672 pages in an over-sized softcover, it is a romance but not done in a harlequin kind of way.   It's historical and the author really knows her stuff and wove this story around actual events which made the story very plausible.

As this author states in her notes, there isn't a lot of information about Kate Haute and this book fills in the gaps that not only humanized her but Richard III as well, it was nice to view him in this light for a change.

Rosalyn Landor is the reader and she is one of my very favorites, her voice matches the time period perfectly and it always a pleasure to listen to.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCamillo.

 It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart. 

From #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo comes a laugh-out-loud story filled with eccentric, endearing characters and featuring an exciting new format—a novel interspersed with comic-style graphic sequences and full-page illustrations, all rendered in black-and-white by up-and-coming artist K.G. Campbell.

Hardcover, 233 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Candlewick Press

Winner of the 2014 John Newbery Medal.

Within the first couple pages of this book, I knew I was in for a real treat.  What a wonderful book, it felt rather whimsical and a pleasure to read.  I think I was smiling the whole way through this book.

There were a number of subplots here and they came together triumphantly in the end.  What an adventure it was, you take a reborn squirrel, a girl named Flora (who is a self-professed cynic), a romance writing mother, the boy next door, a weird lamp (and much more), put them all together to create a phenomenal tale. 

The illustrations were enjoyable and added to the story, not too many but just the right amount.

This is definitely a book that I will be purchasing for the grandkids, what a wonderful time for parents and kids to cuddle and read together.

This book is part of my personal library.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Visitors by Sally Beauman

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 Visitors by Sally Beauman

Every since seeing the pyramids with my own eyes, I love reading about them.

"Once you start reading a Beauman novel, you cannot put it down." -The Guardian
Based on a true story of discovery, The Visitors is New York Times bestselling author Sally Beauman's brilliant recreation of the hunt for Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings-a dazzling blend of fact and fiction that brings to life a lost world of exploration, adventure, and danger, and the audacious men willing to sacrifice everything to find a lost treasure

In 1922, when eleven year-old Lucy is sent to Egypt to recuperate from typhoid, she meets Frances, the daughter of an American archaeologist. The friendship draws the impressionable young girl into the thrilling world of Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter, who are searching for the tomb of boy pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings.

A haunting tale of love and loss, The Visitors retells the legendary story of Carter and Carnarvon's hunt and their historical discovery, witnessed through the eyes of a vulnerable child whose fate becomes entangled in their dramatic quest. As events unfold, Lucy will discover the lengths some people will go to fulfill their deepest desires-and the lies that become the foundation of their lives.

Intensely atmospheric, The Visitors recalls the decadence of Egypt's aristocratic colonial society, and illuminates the obsessive, daring men willing to risk everything-even their sanity-to claim a piece of the ancient past. As fascinating today as it was nearly a century ago, the search for King Tut's tomb is made vivid and immediate in Sally Beauman's skilled hands. A dazzling feat of imagination, The Visitors is a majestic work of historical fiction.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Expected publication: August 5th 2014 by Harper
What are you waiting for?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Review & Guest Post: Pilgrim Footprints on the Sands of Time by Sylvia Nilsen (Book Tour)

A few months after Richard FitzUrse and his fellow knights murder Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, Lord Robert and Lady FitzUrse are instructed by King Henry to make a penitential pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James the Greater in Spain in order to earn redemption for his disgraced family.

William Beaumont has made a promise to his dead mother and younger sister to go on a pilgrimage to save their souls. William is secretly in love with Alicia Bearham, niece of Lord Robert. He is overjoyed when he is asked to accompany the family and their servants on their three-month pilgrimage.

They face many adversities, dangers, and an attempted murder on the long and hazardous journey across England, France and Spain. Who is trying to kill Sir Robert and Alicia? What does the gypsy woman they meet in Paris mean when she predicts that Alicia and William are destined to be soul mates, but only when the eleventh flaming star returns to the skies and the water carrier rises over the horizon? One fateful night, a shocking event changes their lives forever.

Publication Date: December 2, 2013
LightEye Editions
Paperback; 396p
ISBN-10: 2917183349
 click on banner for more stops on this tour

This was an interesting book for me.  The storyline was original and the pilgrimage was written in such a way that had me tired and wondering if they would ever arrive at their destination.  It was evident that the author knows her subject matter, especially the actual pilgrimage (having walked the area herself).  There is mystery in this book as well as romance.

I struggled at different spots in this book, mostly because of editing issues.  Once I got past that the story did pick up.  I was intrigued with not just the love story, but the mysterious group trailing their pilgrimage, wondering how this was all going to play out.  Some of it was predictable, but still some twists.

It would have been nice to have an author's note at the end , just to heard her thoughts, what's fact or fiction.

I am very happy to have Sylvia Nilsen pop in today and talk about a small, pewter brooch...

Exhibit No 54 in the medieval gallery of the Museum of London is a small, pewter brooch.  It is in the shape of a scallop shell and has a pilgrim figure embossed in the middle.  The brooch (along with similar medieval pilgrim souvenirs) was discovered during routine dredging of the riverbanks along the Thames in London.

The scallop shell is the most well-known pilgrimage badge and one can purchase a metal replica of this brooch in England.  When I first saw it in 2002 I wondered how such a precious object, bought 1,250 miles away in the Spanish cathedral city of Santiago de Compostela, had ended up in the River Thames.  The pilgrim who bought it had made the long and arduous pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James (Sant Iago) and back home again.  This little brooch would have been proof and a precious reminder of that journey.

The curator of the Medieval gallery suggested that the pilgrim’s descendants might have thrown out what they thought was a worthless souvenir, or it could have been discarded during the Reformation, when owning pilgrimage symbols was dangerous in the new, Anglican England.

As I stood in front of the original brooch, I wondered who the pilgrim was, why he or she had made the long journey to Spain and why the brooch had ended in the river.   Having done 800 km of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage two years earlier, with the replica pinned to my hat, I reckoned that I could write a story about this evocative little brooch and its owner far more exciting than it being thrown out as junk or being discarded by frightened puritans.  And so the idea for ‘Pilgrim Footprints on the Sands of Time’ was born.

My pilgrims would be born in England and would walk to Santiago rather than go by ship as many pilgrims did.  They would walk from their village in the South of England to the coast, cross the channel to France and would congregate in Paris before making the long and dangerous trek to Spain.  A year of laborious research followed but it wasn’t all books, papers and medieval history!  A wonderful resource is a book called the ‘Liber Sancti Jacobi” (the book of Saint James) part of a Codex written by a French priest in 1137 which gives details of the route from Paris to the Pyrenees and all the way to Santiago de Compostela.

In 2004 I flew to Paris and after visiting the Tour St Jacques, the Louvre and other pilgrim churches, I set off on the road to Spain, following the path my pilgrims would have used in the 12th century.  I crossed Roman bridges, stood in front of Romanesque churches, ancient monasteries and cathedrals described in the book, and stayed in pilgrim shelters similar to those my medieval pilgrims would have stayed in.  It wasn’t difficult to imagine that I was joining a thong of ghostly pilgrims from the past!

“The Route of St James of Compostela has preserved the most complete material record in the form of ecclesiastical and secular buildings, settlements both large and small, and civil engineering structures. This Route played a fundamental role in facilitating the two-way interchange of cultural developments between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages.”

Buy the Book

Amazon UK Amazon US (eBook) Amazon US (Paperback) Book Depository Fishpond Waterstones

Sylvia Nilsen, well known in the Camino world for her ‘amaWalker blog’ is a South African freelance writer who has been published in numerous local and international publications.
She has worked as a research agent and editor for a UK-based travel guide publisher and produced several African city and country guides.

Sylvia has walked over 5,000 km of pilgrimage trails in Europe including Paris to Spain, the Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port and Roncesvalles to Santiago, from Lourdes to Pamplona, el Ferrol to Santiago, Santiago to Finisterre and from Switzerland to Rome on the Via Francigena. She also walked from Durban to Cape Town as part of the ‘Breaking Free’ team in aid of abused women and children. Sylvia has served as a volunteer hospitalero in Spain and is a Spanish accredited hospitalero trainer having trained over 40 people to serve as volunteers in Spain. She was the Regional Co-ordinator for the Confraternity of St James in South Africa from 2003 to 2010.

In 2009 she started amaWalkers Camino (Pty) Ltd and takes small groups of pilgrims on three weeks walks of the Camino Frances in Spain.

For more information on Sylvia Nilsen please visit her website.  You can also find her on Facebook.