Tag Archives: historical fiction

Book Launch — The Silver Shadow

12 Apr

Welcome to the The Silver Shadow Epic Book Launch hosted by Celebrate Lit!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Book:  The Silver Shadow

Author: Liz Tolsma

Genre: Christian Historical/Suspense

Release date: May 2021

A Shadowy Figure Is Intent on Harming Denver’s Women

Book 11 in the True Colors series—Fiction Based on Strange-But True History

Denver of 1900 is still a dangerous place to be following the silver crash of 1893. And of out of the dark comes a shadow intent on harming women. Ambitious young Denver newspaper reporter Polly Blythe is searching for the big story that’s going to launch her career. On Friday evening, August 24, 1900, she gets her break when two women are cracked over the head within a two-minute walk of each other. But policeman Edwin Timmer thwarts Polly’s ideas of a serial criminal. . .until the shadowy figure strikes again. Will the reporter and the policeman team up to find the culprit before he strikes too close for comfort?

BOOK EXCERPT

If only Pa had let her further her education. But her family needed money. She’d had to get a job. Her brother Lyle got to finish college because Pa said education was wasted on women but not on men. She’d worked hard to move from cleaning the newspaper offices to writing for the Post.

All Mr. Ward could see was that cleaning girl.

“Please, sir, I’m so sorry. It will never happen again. I promise. From now on, you’ll have the most sensational stories ever. You won’t be disappointed in me. I’ll do my job, and I’ll do it well. Just don’t sack me.”

Mr. Ward stroked his prominent, clean-shaven chin. “By rights, I should let you go. Or at least reduce you to a cleaning position again.” He raked his gaze from her head to her feet and back. “Still, you’re a nice addition to the staff.”

She cringed. Had he hired her because he thought she was pretty? A piece to spruce up the office?

“I’ll give you another chance. One more. Take this as your warning. Another mistake like that, and you’ll find yourself on the street. Do you understand? Now, get out of here. It’s well after eight on a Friday night, and I just want to go home.”

He’d made his point crystal clear. She gave a single nod, turned on her heel, and returned to her little corner of the office. She stared at the sheet in the roller of her typewriter, the paper table proudly pronouncing it to be a Remington.

A sigh escaped her lips. Another Denver society piece. How many stories could she write about wealthy young women’s engagements to the most eligible bachelors in the city?

Purchase Link

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at http://www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.

Top 10 Tuesday — Books with Ocean (References) in The Title

6 Apr

Happy Tuesday! Today’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is listing books that I would throw in the ocean. Uh, even if I don’t like a book, I am not sure I could throw it into the ocean! So instead I am listing books with ocean (or ocean references) in their titles. They include historical fiction, contemporary romance, and suspense — something for everyone!

Have you ever wanted to throw a book in the ocean? (Or at least across the room? 😉 )

For more Top Tuesday posts, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Books with Ocean References in The Title

A Bridge Across The Ocean by Susan Meissner

A Christmas by The Sea by Melody Carlson

Far Side of The Sea by Kate Breslin

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge by Colleen Coble

The Killing Tide by Dani Pettrey

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

The Turning Tide by Melody Carlson

A Vast And Gracious Tide by Lisa Carter

Book Review And Giveaway: A Tapestry of Light

29 Mar
A Tapestry of Light

About The Book

Book:  A Tapestry of Light

Author: Kimberly Duffy

Genre: Christian Historical Romance

Release date: March 16, 2021

TapestryofLight-cover final

Calcutta, 1886.

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

Click here to get your copy!

My Impressions:

Wow! I was totally blown away by A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy. This book has EVERYTHING! This 5-star historical novel is a must-read — put it at the top of your TBR now!

So I loved A Tapestry of Light — let me count the ways. 😉 First, the characters are complex and very, very real. Although I have very little in common with main character Otillie, she is Ango-Indian and very much a bound by the conventions of her day, she is a character that struggled and grew in ways that I could definitely relate to. And relatable is probably the best word to describe all of the characters. Even one character in particular who was not very nice and very easy not to like AT ALL, I found to mirror some of my more unlikable character traits as well. Talk about uncomfortable. But Duffy writes her characters in such a way that they become friends and you can learn from each of them. Second, the setting of the first half of the book is amazing. India, and in particular, Calcutta of the late 1880s, becomes something of a character on its own. It plays such a big role in who Otillie is. Duffy engages all of the senses in her vivid descriptions. I also really liked that the setting for the second half of the book — England — mirrors Otillie’s emotional state. As winter turns to spring, Otillie begins to thaw and see new growth as well. Duffy explains her connection to Otillie in the Author’s Note. Otillie’s story is very personal — this reader felt that and it again makes real the strong spiritual threads in the book.

A Tapestry of Light gets a Very Highly Recommended rating from me. It will definitely be on my best of the best list for 2021.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

4

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn’t mind.

More from Kimberly

When I set out to write a new novel, I plan the entire thing from start to finish. I write down each scene on an index card and know exactly what’s going to happen when I sit down for the day’s work. I’m meticulous that way.

But I never plan my characters’ spiritual arcs. Because I want their faith journey to be organic to the story. I want it to feel authentic. It’s such an important part of each of my books and I recognize that some things just refuse plotting and need to develop in a more natural way.

My debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings, features a heroine steeped in science. Nora loves the natural world and so her faith was encouraged by studying the wings of a butterfly or examining an interesting plant. She’s not particularly sentimental or emotive so the faith element of that story had to be presented in a way that made sense for her. Nora’s faith arc is subtle.

Not so for A Tapestry of Light. I had no intention of writing a book that delved into my own struggle with doubt. But that’s what Ottilie required. And it wrung me dry.

Then built me back up.

My faith story is a twisted kind of one. Raised a Christian, I went into ministry, firmly attached myself to the faith of my childhood, and thought it would never waver.

I was wrong.

Oh, how it wavered. For whatever reason, when I hit about 30, it seemed everything I had always believed no longer made sense. It was devastating. Terrifying. And it broke me.

But brokenness is its own sort of beauty and when you recognize there is no way for you to pick up the pieces yourself, God can come in and fill those cracks and shattered places.

Those five years of doubt and questioning and facing the reality that even though I’d always loved Christ, I didn’t really know Him (and didn’t really know why I believed in Him), were some of the most painful I’ve experienced. But I believe with every bit of my being that God is in the business of redemption. Of restoration. Of filling up so that we can pour out.

And he took my own very personal struggle and helped me turn it into a story that, I hope and pray, might encourage others. I gave Ottilie my questions. I gave her my doubt. I gave her my fear and desperation and, in the end, I gave her my hope.

There’s a little piece of me in each of my books, but this one contains my heart.

Blog Stops

To celebrate her tour, Kimberly is giving away the grand prize $25 Amazon gift card along with a signed copy of either A Mosaic of Wings or A Tapestry of Light!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

First Line Friday — A Tapestry of Light

26 Mar

I have been reading A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy this week — what a great experience! The first half of the book is set in Calcutta in the late 1800s. Duffy wonderfully brought historic India to life for me. Now that main character Ottilie is in England, the stark contrast of that country with the vivid aliveness of India is not lost on her or the reader. This book will definitely be on the best of the best list for 2021. My review will be posted next week, but for now here is the first line:

Hardly anyone was buried at South Park Street Cemetery anymore, and yet Ottilie Russell had spent more time there during her twenty years than any other soul living in Calcutta.

Calcutta, 1886.

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home. 

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes readers back in time and across oceans. Her books feature ahead-of-their-time heroines, evocative settings, and real-life faith. Kimberly loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn’t mind.

You can find Kimberly at:

http://www.kimberlyduffy.com

What I’m Reading — Unfamiliar Settings

24 Mar

I have been reading a totally engrossing novel. While I love the story and the characters, the setting is what has fueled my imagination. A Tapestry of Light is Kimberly Duffy‘s sophomore novel. Her debut, A Mosaic of Wings, was partially set in India in the late 1880s. That book opened a new world for me, but it is with her second book that I can immerse myself in the sights, sounds, and even smells of historic India. The main character is Anglo-Indian or as termed in the past, Eurasian. Her viewpoint combined with the lushly detailed narrative has enchanted me. That brings me to my question for discussion:

Do you often read novels set in unfamiliar locations?

I am a big fan of learning something new while reading. That does not often translate into settings I would term unfamiliar — a place that is vastly different from what I encounter in day to day life with differing customs, foods, dress, etc. I have read a few books that would fit that description, but most were historical fiction. Here are a few:

Set in the Holy Land, the island of Nevis, and Australia, respectively, they featured a time and place I was unfamiliar with. I think that learning about the history of a place helps me understand its modern-day world. A Tapestry of Light is a great view into India under British rule and gives some insight into what it is today.

What do you like about an unfamiliar setting?

In researching this topic, I found most of the contemporary books I have read feature missions, which is good. But I think I would like some that feature more of the day to day life of those who are citizens of the locales. Here are a few contemporary books that have unfamiliar settings. Of the three I have featured, only Two Destinies does not have a missions connection.

Let me know what you think. And I’d love some book recommendations!

Top 10 Tuesday — Ruin A Book With One Letter (Or Two)

23 Mar

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday challenge is Funny Titles. I posted on that not too long ago, and frankly I don’t read many funny books, so the titles aren’t either. So I decided to share the ever popular Ruined Titles. Basically, you change one or two letters of one of the words in a book’s title so that a great read becomes, well, ruined. 😉 My apologies to the authors.

For more funny titles, make sure to visit That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Ruined Book Titles

All Manner of Strings by Susie Finkbeiner

small town sewing

Collision of Pies by Tom Threadgill

pastry train derailment

Daughters of Northern Snores by Joanne Bischof

sleeping in Scandinavia

Echoes Among The Scones by Jaime Jo Wright

past mystery in a pastry shop

Facing The Lawn by Cynthia Ruchti

grief and lawn care

The Mouse at The End of The Moor by Michelle Griep

Victorian city and country mice

On A Coastal Sneeze by Suzanne Woods Fisher

love and hay fever in Maine

The Traitor’s Prawn by Lisa Harris

Chinese spies and seafood

Under a Turquoise Sty by Lisa Carter

desert pig farming

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR List

16 Mar

Life is full of seasons, and I am finding Spring 2021 to be filled with fun, joy, and sorrow. Building a vacation home, my daughter’s wedding, and the passing of my sister a few weeks ago have filled my days. Not a lot of reading going on in my life right now, which under the circumstances is more than okay. But I do have some books on my Spring TBR List. I am hopeful to get many of them read and will be sharing my thoughts in the coming weeks. Posts may be sporadic for a few months, but I hope you will enjoy those I manage to schedule.

For more Spring TBR Lists, please check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Books on My Spring TBR List

 

At Lighthouse Point by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My Dear Miss Dupre by Grace Hitchcock

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl

 

Present Danger by Elizabeth Goddard

The Secret Place by Camille Eide

A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy

 

To Save A King by Rachel Hauck

Trial And Error by Robert Whitlow

Whispers in The Branches by Brandy Heineman

 

 

Book Spotlight: The Lady in Residence

4 Mar

About The Book

Book:  The Lady in Residence

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Christian Historical

Release date: February 2021

Can a Legacy of Sadness be Broken at the Menger Hotel?

Visit historic American landmarks through the Doors to the Past series. History and today collide in stories full of mystery, intrigue, faith, and romance.

Young widow Hedda Krause checks into the Menger Hotel in 1915 with a trunk full of dresses, a case full of jewels, and enough cash to pay for a two-month stay, which she hopes will be long enough to meet, charm, and attach herself to a new, rich husband. Her plans are derailed when a ghostly apparition lures her into a long, dark hallway, and Hedda returns to her room to find her precious jewelry has been stolen. She falls immediately under a cloud of suspicion with her haunting tale, but true ghost enthusiasts bring her expensive pieces of jewelry in an attempt to lure the ghost to appear again.

In 2017, Dini Blackstone is a fifth-generation magician, who performs at private parties, but she also gives ghost walk tours, narrating the more tragic historical events of San Antonio with familial affection. Above all, her favorite is the tale of Hedda Krause who, in Dini’s estimation, succeeded in perpetrating the world’s longest con, dying old and wealthy from her ghost story. But then Dini meets Quinn Carmichael, great-great-grandson of the detective who originally investigated Hedda’s case, who’s come to the Alamo City with a box full of clues that might lead to Hedda’s exoneration. Can Dini see another side of the story that is worthy of God’s grace?

 

Click here to get your copy!


 

My Impressions:

I have always been a fan of Allison Pittman’s books. Entertaining, insightful, well-researched — all of these superlatives can be attached to her latest novel, The Lady in Residence. In this split-time novel, the setting is key. The historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio is host to one of the characters while it serves as a reference point to the other. Pittman’s use of its history and storied past sets up a shivery ghost story that kept this reader turning the pages. The book is told in alternating narratives. The present day is 3rd person POV focusing on Dini Blackstone, a twenty-something magician intrigued or obsessed with one of the Menger’s past guests. Hedda Krause is the lady in residence referenced by the title. Her story is told using excerpts from her memoir — but can it be trusted? As the stories unfold, the reader becomes immersed in both Hedda and Dini’s stories. Seemingly vastly different, they both struggle with their place in the world. I liked both characters equally. Besides the ghost story that is woven throughout the novel, there is a romance as well. And I loved that in the end both women come to terms with who they are and their value to God.

For fans of a good mystery, an historical setting, and a sweet romance, The Lady in Residence cannot be beat! Recommended!

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

About The Author

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a four-time Christy finalist — twice for her Sister Wife series, once for All for A Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties and most recently for the critically acclaimed The Seamstress which takes a cameo character from the Dickens’ classic A Tale of Two Cities and flourishes her to life amidst the French Revolution. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike.

Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

 

More from Allison

From Haunting to Healing: How Stories Bring New Life to Old Ghosts

If you really think about it, every story is a ghost story. Not the floating spirits of the dearly departed kind, not bumps in the night or mysterious howling in the darkness — but the best stories come from examining a haunted heart. Memories that pursue the present.

A few years ago I took the walking tour of haunted San Antonio. It was a lark, a fun tourist-y thing to do with some visiting friends. I’m not a believer in ghosts, but I am a collector of stories. The tour opens at the Alamo — sacred ground of slain soldiers. The second stop is the Menger Hotel, listed as one of the most haunted hotels in the United States by those who measure and evaluate such things. And while the tour guide waxed on about the guests’ litany of haunted experiences (including Teddy Roosevelt raging through the lobby), my mind stuck with the story of Sallie White. Sallie White is the Menger Hotel’s most famous ghost — a chambermaid whose apparition is reported to be seen walking the halls, towels draped over her arm, or to be heard as an efficient two-rap knock on your door late at night. My mind, however, didn’t dwell on Sallie the ghost, but Sallie the woman — just a normal, hard-working, poor woman, murdered in the street by a man who claimed to love her. But for that, she would have passed into history unknown. Instead, her story is told every night as strangers gather on the very sidewalk where the crime took place.

Years after first hearing the story of Sallie white, I stayed in the Menger for a few days to gather details for The Lady in Residence. I booked what they call a “Petite” room — meaning it is a room that maintains its original structure. Read: tiny. Exposed pipes, creaky wooden floors, antique furniture — the only update, the bathroom fixtures. As it turned out, my room was directly above the place where Sallie White was murdered. One night I pressed my ear against the glass and listened to the ghost tour guide tell her story. The next morning, I stood in the exact spot with a fancy Starbucks drink, thinking about her. She lives on, not because people claim to see her walking and hear her knocking in the dead of night, but because she is a woman remembered.

So, is that beautiful? Is it ghoulish? Maybe it’s both, but when I was given the chance to write a story set in and around the Menger Hotel, I was determined to make Sallie White’s story a part of it. I didn’t want to write her story — that would have required embellishment beyond those few historic, factual tid-bits that such a woman left behind. Sallie White didn’t have correspondence to catalog or a journal to give us insight to her thoughts. Instead, I wanted to tell it to readers everywhere who might never make it to San Antonio to hear it for themselves. When you read The Lady in Residence, you are going to hear the true story of Sallie White, all of it taken from a newspaper account of the time. And then, I did what all historical writers do…I folded it into my own tale and folded that tale into another.

That’s really the joy of writing a split-time novel — being able to draw back and shoot a narrative-arrow straight through the hearts of two stories, threading them together, to bring a haunting to a place of healing.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, February 23

Artistic Nobody, February 23 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Fiction Aficionado, February 24

For the Love of Literature, February 24

Where Faith and Books Meet, February 24

Texas Book-aholic, February 25

Mia Reads Blog, February 25

Connie’s History Classroom, February 26

Inspiration Clothesline, February 26

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 27

Books I’ve Read, February 27

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 28

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 28

Remembrancy, March 1

Bigreadersite, March 1

For Him and My Family, March 2

Hallie Reads, March 2

deb’s Book Review, March 3

Blogging With Carol, March 3

By The Book, March 4

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 4

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 5

The Write Escape, March 5

Life of Literature, March 6

Inklings and notions, March 6

Godly Book Reviews, March 7

Vicky Sluiter, March 7

To Everything There is A Season, March 8

Pause for Tales, March 8

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of The Lady in Residence!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/1086e/the-lady-in-residence-celebration-tour-giveaway

Top 10 Tuesday — Characters And Their Jobs

2 Mar

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday features characters with jobs we would like to have. I worked as my husband’s bookkeeper for almost 25 years as I helped him grow his business. It was the right choice for us and helped us achieve our goals. But did I regret leaving upon my retirement a year and a half ago? Uh, no. 😉 While my first year of retirement was a bit different than I imagined, I am enjoying more flexibility and freedom. Not having to plan time off around biweekly payroll is great! So, no, I don’t envy any character’s job!

For a bit of a twist on today’s challenge, I am featuring characters whose jobs play an integral part in their story. They wouldn’t be where they are without the jobs they have. All are recent reads.

For more on character jobs, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

 

Top Character Jobs

 

Amara Alvarez — homicide detective

 

Josephine Bourdillon — fiction author

 

Caroline Bragg — corporate attorney

 

Evelyn Brand — international journalist

 

Margot De Wilde — codebreaker

 

Madison James — U.S. Marshall

 

Layla Karam — CIA analyst

 

Caitlyn Lindsey — research scientist

 

Alice Grace Ripley — librarian

 

Jeremy Winter — FBI agent

Cover Reveal! — The Lines Between Us

2 Mar

Woo hoo, it’s cover reveal time for The Lines Between Us another sensational historical novel by Amy Lynn Green. This book is set to release this summer, but you can pre-order HERE.

And now the cover:

 

 

Since the attack on Pearl Harbor, Gordon Hooper and his buddy Jack Armitage have done “work of national importance” in the West as conscientious objectors: volunteering as smokejumpers, and parachuting into and extinguishing raging wildfires. But the number of winter blazes they’re called to in early 1945 seems suspiciously high, and when an accident leaves Jack badly injured, Gordon realizes the facts don’t add up.

A member of the Women’s Army Corps, Dorie Armitage has long been ashamed of her brother’s pacificism, but she’s shocked by news of his accident. Determined to find out why he was harmed, she arrives at the national forest under the guise of conducting an army report . . . and finds herself forced to work with Gordon. He believes it’s wrong to lie; she’s willing to do whatever it takes for justice to be done. As they search for clues, Gordon and Dorie must wrestle with their convictions about war and peace and decide what to do with the troubling secrets they discover.

Amy Lynn Green is a lifelong lover of books, history, and library cards. She worked in publishing for six years before writing her first historical fiction novel, based on the WWII home front of Minnesota, the state where she lives, works, and survives long winters. Because of her day job in publicity, she has taught classes on marketing at writer’s conferences and regularly encourages established and aspiring authors in their publication journeys. In her novels (and her daily life), she loves exploring the intersection of faith and fiction and searches for answers to present-day questions by looking to the past.

If she had lived in the 1940s, you would have found her writing long letters to friends and family, listening to jazz music, daydreaming about creating an original radio drama, and drinking copious amounts of non-rationed tea. (Actually, these things are fairly accurate for her modern life as well.)

Be sure to interact with her on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for her newsletter to stay up-to-date on her latest releases.