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Preview: Enchanted by Josephine

Enchanted by Josephine - ART & HISTORY Salon

Come share a passion for history, historical fiction and art - Books, Book Reviews, Art and More...

Updated: 2018-03-16T05:12:32.363-07:00


Interview with Ruth Hull Chatlien: THE AMBITIOUS MADAME BONAPARTE


 Please welcome, Ruth Hull Chatlien! 1- Please tell us a bit about your research and what prompted you to write about Betsy?My husband and I were fans of the Horatio Hornblower television series in the late 1990s. Then in the 2000s, we discovered an additional four episodes that had been produced much later. The last of those featured Jerome and Betsy Bonaparte. I had never before heard that Napoleon’s brother married an American. When I looked up the facts on the Internet, I discovered that Betsy’s real life was far more interesting than the snippet shown (and distorted) in the television show. I researched the novel by reading several biographies as well as books about Napoleon, Dolley Madison, the War of 1812, Baltimore architecture, period clothing,and an early excursion to Niagara Falls. I also took a research trip to Baltimore to visit historic homes, Fort McHenry, and the Maryland Historical Society.2- Could you please share one fascinating or juicy thing about Betsy that is not necessarily in the book, but that us readers would love to know?Betsy had a Parisian porcelain bourdaloue, a portable chamber pot, that she carried with her on long carriage rides. After Betsy’s death, her grandson’s wife donated it to the Maryland Historical Society, and the curators there didn’t know what it was. Assuming it was a large sauce boat, they put it on display as part of a table setting in a period dining room—until a porcelain expert explained its real purpose.3- What major difference between Jerome and Napoleon would you say most struck you and why?Jerome greatly admired Napoleon and wanted to be just like him, but as the spoiled baby of the family, he never acquired the discipline or work ethic that was necessary to become a great military leader or ruler. So Jerome took the easy way out and settled for the trappings of unearned glory. In fairness to Jerome, there’s one other difference I should note. He was a kinder man than his brother.4- Please share with us any future projects you may be working on- Can we expect more on the Bonaparte family perhaps?I haven’t ruled out writing another book about the Bonaparte family, but I’m not going to do so right away. I want to avoid being too closely tied to any one period or country. Instead, I see my “brand” as writing about strong women caught up in times of conflict. I’m currently researching another true story, this one about an American woman who was taken captive during one of the most brutal Indian wars in U.S. history. After that, I expect to return to a topic that is connected to France.Author Ruth Hull Chatlienon TourMarch 3-12, 2014withThe Ambitious Madame Bonaparte[historical fiction] Release Date: December 2, 2013Publisher: Amika Press, ChicagoISBN: 978-1937484163484 pagesAuthor’s website  |  Goodreads***Available from Amika Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes.***SYNOPSISAs a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy.Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage.[provided by the author]***Ruth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for twenty-five years. Her specialty is U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders and has published several short stories and[...]

Giveaway WINNER of Mapmaker's Daughter Announced...


The Lucky Winner of THE MAPMAKER'S DAUGHTER, by Laurel Corona





THE MAPMAKER’S DAUGHTER by Laurel Corona (March 4, 2014)“A close look at the great costs and greater rewards of being true to who you really are. … A pivotal period of history and inspiration” —Margaret George, NYT bestselling author of Elizabeth I“Sentences of startling, hard-won wisdom leap from the page and command our memories not to forget them.” —Susan Vreeland, NYT bestselling author of Luncheon of the Boating Party  "Amalia is the perfect character through which readers will experience these turbulent times ... Vividly detailed and beautifully written, this is a pleasure to read, a thoughtful, deeply engaging story of the power of faith to navigate history's rough terrain." – Booklist"Well-researched, evocative, and a pleasure to read” —Mitchell James Kaplan, award-winning author of By Fire, By WaterABOUT THE BOOKA sweeping novel of 15th-century Spain explores the forgotten women of the Spanish InquisitionIn 1492, Amalia Riba sits in an empty room, waiting for soldiers to take her away. A converso forced to hide her religion from the outside world, She is the last in a long line of Jewish mapmakers, whose services to the court were so valuable that their religion had been tolerated by Muslims and Christians alike.But times have changed. When King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella conquer Granada, the last holdout of Muslim rule in Spain, they issue an order expelling all Jews who refused to convert to Christianity. As Amalia looks back on her eventful life, we witness history in the making—the bustling court of Henry the Navigator, great discoveries in science and art, the fall of Muslim Granada, the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. And we watch as Amalia decides whether to relinquish what’s left of her true self, or risk her life preserving it. Exploring an under-published period in history, The Mapmaker’s Daughteris a sweeping saga of faith, family and identity that shows how the past shapes our map of life.ABOUT THE AUTHORLaurel Corona is the author of three historical novels, including Finding Emilie (Gallery Books, 2011), which won the 2012 Theodore S. Geisel Award for Book of the Year, San Diego Book Awards. She has taught at San Diego State University, the University of California at San Diego, and San Diego City College, where she is a professor of English and Humanities. Corona is a member of the Brandeis National Committee, the National Council of Jewish Women, and Hadassah. She has written over a dozen nonfiction Young Adult books for school library programs, primarily on Jewish topics. She lives in San Diego. Website: www.laurelcorona.comGIVEAWAY of 1 Copy to one very lucky loyal follower of this blog!!To Enter please leave a comment along with your email address.  For more chances post on any other social site of your choice and come back to post your link,GOOD LUCK!!!  [...]

INTERVIEW- GIVEAWAY with Marci Jefferson!!


Today I have the great pleasure of bringing to you 
Marci Jefferson
 The Breathtakingly Gorgeous and So VERY Talented, Author of 

 The Book goes on Sale Today- so absolutely perfect for this Valentine Week!

TO ENTER the GIVEAWAY and read this fascinating INTERVIEW, please see:

France Book Tours Winner Announced





GIVEAWAY Continues with BECOMING JOSEPHINE Spotlight...


How exciting for me to have read  BECOMING JOSEPHINE- as it is quite obvious that I have a fascination with this icon (you think?).Today I am participating in FRANCE BOOK TOURS with a post of my own that includes some photos of when I visited Malmaison, and Petite Malmaison- where Josephine spent most of her time.  She so loved entertaining there and caring for her beautiful roses and other flowers.  The place is now being inhabited by a Count who was gracious enough to show me around the grounds and house.  He also gave me a brief lecture on Josephine's nursery...The long road from Malmaison, to Petite Malmaison (it's quite the walk- be prepared!)Here is a little passage to Josephine's private garden in Petite Malmaison (it's darling!!) Unfortunately the grounds were quite a disappointment... enough so that I believe Josephine would be quite triste to see what has become of Europe's most treasured and unique nursery.  As well, the insides are not what I expected - very run down.  In any case, I was told that they were working on scheduling many conferences and events, possibly weddings there.  I suppose that would help by bringing in business in order to upkeep the place.  In any case, here's an original of Napoleon that hangs sad and lonely in the place:Let me cheer us up with more photos...this time of the very much more elegant Malmaison!Lastly, I thought you might enjoy this little family tree postcard I picked up at Malmaison as well.  It's the Bonaparte family tree...quite the happy-looking bunch, wouldn't you say (not!)...Poor Josephine.I loved this FRANCE BOOK TOURS which highlighted Josephine's life with Heather Webb's amazing book, BECOMING JOSEPHINE!If you'd like to win a copy of the book- the GIVEAWAY CONTINUES!!!!Please enter with a comment along with your email address.  For extra chances post about this giveaway at as many social sites you'd like- just come back and post all links for extra chances.GOOD LUCK!! [...]

Becoming Josephine GIVEAWAY Continues with Author Interview: Heather Webb


As part of FRANCE BOOK TOURS, I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Author, Heather Webb.                1- What prompted you to write about Joséphine?The idea for this novel came to me in two parts. I taught a unit about the French Revolution in my high school French classes for several years, which sparked my interest in the time period. Yet despite my teaching, I knew little about Josephine and I “discovered” her later. Ultimately she was a minor player in a sea of France’s most famous and infamous people during the Revolution—at least until Robespierre fell and the Directoire took over the government. When I began to feel the pull to write a book, I had a dream about Josephine. Strange, but true. From the very first biography I read, I was hooked. Her vivid childhood home, her adaptable nature and courageous spirit had me enthralled. Her rich life story set to the backdrop of the chaotic Revolution and the opulent Napoleonic Empire cinched the deal.  2- From your research, what have you found most fascinating about Josephine that maybe not everyone is aware of?There are so many things I love about Josephine—she was a patron of the arts, an enthusiastic botanist, a fashion icon, but the most captivating things about her were her adaptable nature and courageous spirit, as I mentioned before, and her generosity to everyone she knew. I also enjoyed reading about her tumultuous love affairs! As for a few fun facts, Josephine had rotted teeth from chewing on sugarcane as a child. I didn’t reference it much in the novel because as modern readers, I think we would have a hard time viewing her as beautiful, charming woman with teeth like that. Also, Josephine had more jewels than any of France’s queens, as she possessed all of the royal jewels and a smorgasbord of jewelry garnered from the spoils of Napoleon’s wars. 3-Which modern woman of today's time would you most compare to Josephine?Wow, this is a tough question. I’m not sure I can think of one…maybe a hybrid of Michelle Obama and Madonna. Ha! Just the thought makes me laugh. Perhaps someone more like Angelina Jolie who is beautiful and adored and does a lot of good for people (yet she has a bit of a reputation as a sex kitten as well).4- Please describe the kind of research that you did for your novel.I researched for about eight months before I wrote a single word, and then I continued to research in dribs and drabs throughout the entire writing process. I tried to take a comprehensive approach—biographies of important characters, histories of the Revolution as well as those of Martinique, Napoleon’s reprinted letters, primary sources scanned in Google Books, documentaries. I studied art and literature movements from this period, china patterns, fashion, weapons. I could go on. Researchitis is a disease we historical fiction writers suffer from. 5- Do you have any advice for aspiring historical fiction novelists?One: If you want to be traditionally published, study the trends. Walk through a bookstore and see what’s selling. Sometimes the fact that’s it’s never been done before is a bad thing—it means it won’t sell. Beware of that. You may want to reevaluate your goals. For the record, I didn’t do this before I began Becoming Josephine, but I have since.Two: I read and research widely, which includes travel, but I am not a historian. I’m a novelist. I grow tired of the constant push and pull between “he/she’s accurate” or “he/she’s inaccurate”—all of the finger pointing historical novelists do to each other. My advice to aspiring writers is to enjoy researching and writing about your topic. Pay attention to detail, but remember that history is far more fluid than what the “experts” say and fiction even more so. What you want is to entertain readers, enflame their imaginat[...]

France Book Tours: BECOMING JOSEPHINE!! Review + GIVEAWAY!!


 I am crazy about this book! MY REVIEW You cannot imagine how excited I was to read this book- and when I finally received it...I could not put it down.  Let me begin by saying that it doesn't matter how many books you've already read on Josephine, BECOMING JOSEPHINE, will bring something new and of interest to you.Written in the first person, BECOMING JOSEPHINE, offers an emotional story of Josephine's life, delivered with clarity, brevity, to the point and so much insight- this book will show you yet another side of our beloved 18th c. icon- I loved it!I have to say that right from the beginning, Josephine is presented as not being the prettiest of the three sisters, and somewhat of a mischievous and curious young girl- making her so very real and not unlike a typical dreamy young teen.  Seeing her off to Paris to marry her first husband and all that he put her through...well that's just the beginning...we all know where the juiciest parts of the story really happen...All this to say, that no matter if you already know this story- BECOMING JOSEPHINE is a newer and refreshing take that will please not only seasoned readers who already know so much about her, but also a younger adult audience as well.  Webb manages to bring us a Josephine that is understandable and relatable.  The Josephine in BECOMING JOSEPHINE is real and not the passive, flighty dame that history often makes her out to be. In this book, you read about a business savvy Josephine who was actually very instrumental in designing her own destiny (Tarot cards aside!).A quick yet thorough read, BECOMING JOSEPHINE brings you accurate history delivered in an entertaining and fulfilling read- sure to please both historical fictionistas and new Jojo readers alike.  You will love this book- a 2014 MUST! GIVEAWAY! Please enter your comment and email to participate in order to win this book! Author Heather WEBBon TourJanuary 2-11, 2014with her historical novel:Becoming Josephine Release date: Dec 31, 2013from Plume/Penguin    320 pagesAuthor’s Website | Goodreads***SYNOPSISRose Tascher sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure. She arrives exultant to follow her dreams of attending Court with Alexandre, her elegant aristocrat and soldier husband. But Alexandre dashes her hopes and abandons her amid the tumult of the French Revolution. Through her savoir faire, Rose secures her footing in high society, reveling in handsome men and glitzy balls—until the heads of her friends begin to roll.After narrowly escaping death in the blood-drenched cells of Les Carmes prison, she reinvents herself as Josephine, a socialite of status and power. Yet her youth is fading, and Josephine must choose between a precarious independence and the love of an awkward suitor. Little does she know, he would become the most powerful man of his century- Napoleon Bonaparte.BECOMING JOSEPHINE is a novel of one woman’s journey to find eternal love and stability, and ultimately to find herself.(SEX & VIOLENCE: There is a little of each, though I didn’t go into great detail in either category) [provided by the author] ***ADVANCE PRAISE[AS FEATURED ON THE AUTHOR'S WEBSITE]“Webb adds new frisson to the often fictionalized travails of an unlikely empress…Although the book covers the same ground as many other treatments of Josephine’s life and times, Webb’s portrayal of the range of Josephine’s experience—narrow escapes from bloodshed and disease, dinner-table diplomacy, and her helpless love for Napoleon, her children and a small dog—is exceptionally concise and colorful. A worthy fictional primer on Empress Josephine.” KIRKUS Perfectly balancing history and story, character and setting, detail and pathos, Beco[...]



The WINNER of this AWESOME book,





   THE CONVERSATIONSYNOPSIS After pulling the French people back from the abyss of chaos and misrule, Napoleon Bonaparte is on the brink of declaring himself emperor. “An empire is a Republic that has been enthroned,” he says. And so history is made. As Napoleon stands at the precipice of his new empire, Jean d’Ormesson’s novel The Conversation: The Night Napoleon Changed the World captures a fictional conversation in which the thirty-year-old, struggling between revolutionary ideals and his overwhelming thirst for power, declares his secret intention to ascend the throne.  Second Consul Jean-Jacques Cambacérès, a brilliant law scholar and close ally, bears witness to the birth of this self-created legend: a man who left his mark upon time not through birth, but with ambition, and whose hubris is still invoked as a cautionary tale. Their imagined conversation brilliantly captures the tenuous moment when one man’s dream becomes reality. History, of course, records Napoleon’s dizzying triumphs and subsequent fall.MY REVIEW  I read this Napoleon novel as part of France Book Tours (they always offer me the most original treasures!).  I loved it from the get-go and at a little over 100 pages, it was a breeze to read.  And- As the saying goes with wonderful things coming in small packages- this one truly is a jewel!If you are a Napoleon lover, you will find that this glimpse into a slice of Bonaparte's life through a conversation with Cambaceres, the Second Consul (and the man who helped Napoleon write the Napoleonic Code), truly fantastic! This conversation, although relatively brief, is chock-full with the recounting of Bonaparte's life in a nutshell.  His conquests are relived, re-thought and contemplated upon.  But it's not all about battles and conquests...the man actually shares feelings and thoughts regarding family, Josephine and more.  Napoleon and Cambaceres, who besides their common goals regarding work (the ruling of France!), discussing, reminiscing and encouraging each other ( praising, chastising and recommending as well!) speak candidly as two ordinary men would.  THE CONVERSATION, brings a sense of humanity to Bonaparte through an exchange that could absolutely have taken place.  It brings us to a deeper level within the man, where other books have rather concentrated on his mind.It's not all filled with serious stuff and in  particular, because it is a conversation, so much more is brought to the reader- and that is what is most entertaining.  At one point Napoleon talks about 'the Shawl' episode in his life (pertaining to his sister and Josephine)- a gossipy banality- but a reality in Napoleon's life that actually caused family drama.  Napoleon shares how distressed such family conflicts affect him. I enjoyed reading these tid-bits that helped bring this larger- than- life persona to a credible and feeling 'regular guy' (if that's even possible with Napoleon!).Transported right into the room, beside these two men, I felt almost privileged in taking part of this great conversation.  History buffs, you need this one on your shelf! About the Author Jean d’Ormesson is the author of more than fifteen books, has a PhD in philosophy, graduated from the École Normale, and is a distinguished member of the Académie Française. He lives in Paris. About the Translator Timothy Benthas translated a number of books from French, including Brassaï’s Henry Miller: The Paris Years, Emmanuel Carrère’s I Am Alive and You Are Dead: A Journey into the Mind of Philip K. Dick, and Stéphane Audeguy’s novel, The Theory of Clouds. A former editor at Arcade Publishing, St. Martin’s Press, and Harcourt, he is currently Executive Editor, Trade, at Oxford University Pre[...]

Taking Root in Provence- INTERNATIONAL Paper Back GIVEAWAY!!!


As part of France Book Tours, I had the immense pleasure of reading and reviewing Taking Root in Provence, by Anne- Marie Simons.  What would it be like for you and your loved one to pick up and relocate to another country? How about Provence?!Anne-Marie Simons and husband, Oscar, did just that a few years ago when they moved from their home in the US, and have never looked back since.  Do you blame them? Aix-en-Provence, according to Anne-Marie's book, Taking Root in Provence, is one festive day after another.  There are saints' days, Corridas, season and harvest days- it's one holiday after another. Even on regular days it would seem the people of Provence are celebrating something!Being surrounded by friends, family and outrageously delicious food has to count for something..Taking Root in Provence fills you with the need to buy airfare and go!  There is a sense of people taking the time to savour life, not just while eating and celebrating- it's the day-to-day in Provence that adds colour and dimension to people's lives.  Even a trip to the butcher can entail conversation that has one walking out with more than just fresh meat.Extremely entertaining and well-written, Taking Root in Provence, whisked me away to open-air eating with a nice glass of wine one day- to a Corrida the next (historically, Provence has a strong Spanish influence and even their own dialect).  I loved reading about Simons' customary- after- lunch hikes (the French love hiking- no wonder they're so fit!). And in between lunch and hiking? Lying under a tree and taking a little 'sieste' is de rigueur.Do you need to get away, even if just mentally? Taking Root in Provence is an absolute- must- read!  With all this packed info on Provence, you can absolutely use it as a guide...but honestly, you will devour this gem for the essence and sheer pleasure it brings. Taking Root in Provencee immerses you into France, and begs you to embrace Provence's ways...who can refuse to taste a bit of this dreamy life?  Speaking of taste, at the back of the book, Oscar shares some delectable recipes.Join Anne-Marie Simons in her new dreamy life in Provence...You won't want this book to end!Excellent!!INTERNATIONAL GIVEAWAY!!!Leave your comment and email address to enterTo read more on this delicious book,The Tour is announced here: expatriates left Washington DC in search of the ideal place to retire where climate, culture, accessibility and natural beauty all had a role to play. Curious about the vaunted quality of life in the south of France, they traveled the length and width of Provence where, preferring the city to the countryside, they decided to settle in the ancient town of Aix-en-Provence. That was in 1998 and Taking Root in Provence is the story of their slow integration into the French mainstream — both easier and more difficult than expected but ultimately successful.In a series of vignettes Anne-Marie Simons gives us a warts-and-all picture of life among the French and with warmth and humor shares her lessons learned. Contrary to most publications about Provence, this book focuses on life in the city rather than the quiet countryside, and promises to be both informative and revealing to those who want to spend more than a passing holiday here. [from the author's website]ISBN 978-0-9802175-7-5212 pagesRelease Date: March 1, 2011 by Distinction Press Author Information:Anne-Marie Simons has worked as a translator, teacher, journalist, sportswriter (covering Formula 1 races), and director of corporate communications.Her Argentine husband, Oscar, left a career in internat[...]

See Elizabeth Chadwick's Guest Post and Giveway...


There is a Giveaway of THE OUTLAW KNIGHT, and a Guestpost by Author Elizabeth Chadwick, over at HF Book Muse- News- Check it out:)

HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT for Authors, Readers and Reviewers!!!


My Beloved Enchanted by Josephine site will go back to its original purpose: My writing and researching of all that is historical- with Josephine as my muse.

With time, it seems that Enchanted By Josephine, slowly got eaten up SOLELY by Book Reviews and Giveaways - so I thought I had better create a new place for all my Book Loving Stuff (which includes my reviews, interviews and Giveaways), and let Enchanted by Josephine thrive with my writing and research focused mainly on historical women, as originally planned.

So now where will all my bookish musings get posted??


I wanted to create a place where historical fiction book lovers could come read all that's bookish...And more-so, I wanted it to be a place where we can learn even more about who's behind the book:  

The Author, the Reader, the Reviewer.

HF Book Muse- News will not only focus on all book-related news (upcoming releases, new events, books-into-movies, Giveaways...and of course Reviews!).  In addition, a large part of this site will be dedicated to Author news, Reader and Reviewer news, Interviews (Lists, lists, lists!)- plus interesting insights and posts for all who love history and historical fiction. 

With time I've discovered my passion for learning more about the people behind the books (all of us HF lovers!) and I particularly love interviews and guest posts. These are wonderful channels for authors and readers to get better acquainted- so there will be a strong tendency towards these:) I'm open to suggestions and would love for you to contact me if you're interested!

To read more and for more info please hop on over to my new site to read more: HF BOOK MUSE- NEWS

AS FOR THIS SITE- Please keep following for my historical research articles and fun tid-bits- I'll still be writing here!

BUT- I don't want to lose you all, so if you want to keep reading my interviews, book reviews and enter my Giveaways, please go to HF BOOK MUSE- NEWS-  I'd really appreciate that:))

To celebrate there will be a Smashing Opening Giveaway I hope you'll be there!

France Book Tours- Review and GIVEAWAY of THE MANY LIVES OF MISS K.!!


Today as part of France Book ToursRead my Review of THE MANY LIVES OF MISS K.By Jean-Noel LiautAnd then enter the Giveaway!My Review: Miss K. stands for legendary icon and more, Catharina “Toto” Koopman.  Born in Indonesia in 1908- her father was Dutch and her mother was half Indonesian with Chinese ancestry.  And although at the time this was cause for much prejudice and segregation, Toto did not seem affected by this at all. In fact, she became to be the first- and very acclaimed bi-racial celebrity model.  Under the tutelage of Coco Chanel, Toto became famous in her own right, spearing ahead to become more than just a glamourous model.Not only was Toto gorgeous and exotic, she was also very strong-minded with exceptional optimism even at the harshest of times in her life.  Her beauty and wits- not to mention her flaunting independence- made Toto notorious as a woman who made her mark in 20thcentury Europe.  She spoke several languages, was well-versed in the arts (a muse for one of the most important galleries from the 40’s to the 70’s that launched famous artists), was a fashion enigma, a spy for the resistance during World War II – and she survived the Holocaust!This adventuress woman, whose quest for independence had no limits, lived an outrageously unconventional life- even her romances had no sexual boundaries or gender preference. Toto really was unique and outstanding in all that she lived- almost to the point of it sounding surreal were it not for the true historical accounting for it all.The Many Lives of Miss K., by Jean-Noel Liaut is a fascinating read.  There is nothing missing in terms of accuracy and delicious recounting of the history itself.  And although at times it reads quite factually, the book is chock-full of very personal, insightful, brow-raising, shocking, and extremely interesting information, that I just could not put this down.  The Many Lives of Miss K.:  A definite page-turner that unfolds the life of a spectacular individual whose life could not be more incredible if it were fiction!Check out the tour at FRANCE BOOK TOURS, to read more reviews and enter the other Giveaways: Scheduled HERE. And now... It's GIVEAWAY Time!To Enter:Please leave your comment with your email addressFor EXTRA Chances:  Spread the message on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedi...etc- Come back and leave the linksOpen to Canada and US-  GOOD LUCK!!![...]

Winner of Marching With Caesar...


Hey there, DENISE DUVALL...You win this Giveaway-  


Please email me your contact info:

MARCHING WITH CAESAR- Interview and Giveaway!!


Today as part of HFVBT I am pleased to present to you this fabulous interview with R. W. Peake, author of MARCHING WITH CAESAR- Antony and Cleopatra, Part II- Cleopatra 1-Throughout history Cleopatra was (and still is) often much maligned.  After your extensive research, what do you make of this grand ruler?I actually wrote about this in a separate post, but essentially, I think that Cleopatra represents the absolute best example of how history is written by the winner, throughout the ages. Considering that, with the lone exception of Caesar's account of his time in Alexandria, which wasn't even written by him, none of the accounts of Cleopatra were written by anyone who actually knew her. And all of these accounts were written after the events that made her so famous, or infamous, and I would argue that the picture of her, and of Mark Antony, was created through the lens provided by someone who, without a doubt, hated Cleopatra on a personal level, in Octavian. One thing I tried to keep in mind at all times was that, in terms of options, Cleopatra was seriously limited. Her army had been crushed by a motley collection of a couple of Cohorts of the 6th Legion, a green 28th, and a Legion made of Pompeian leftovers in the 37th. Granted these were led by Caesar, and although his defeat of her brother-husband Ptolemy and sister Arsinoe was to her advantage, it had to be instructive to her. Then, 16 years later at Actium, she saw what was supposed to be the strongest navy in the known world destroyed. Finally, her other major asset, her wealth, didn't interest Octavian because he knew the location of Egypt's treasury, which was one of the great secrets of the ancient world. In a world run and dominated by men, that really left her one option, and one only, and that was to use the same charms that ensnared Caesar first, then Mark Antony. Unfortunately for her, much of that charm was based in her power and wealth, but by the time she met with Octavian, her power was gone, and as I said, he knew where the money was. However, I don't think Cleopatra was a shrinking violet; she was just as ruthless as her male counterparts, for example. One only has to look at her treatment of her siblings, particularly Arsinoe, but considering the kind of environment she grew up in, I don't think it's particularly surprising. Still, of all the historical figures that we know about, particularly those we know by one name, I think Cleopatra has gotten the worst treatment by posterity. 2- In your opinion who was the grander leader, Caesar or Mark Anthony?Not even close; Caesar in a runaway. Consider that Caesar was never defeated in a campaign, although he did suffer two tactical setbacks, one at Gergovia and one at Dyrrhachium. Antony, on the other hand, had a mediocre record, and that is being kind. His Parthian campaign was an epic disaster, where the vast majority of his casualties weren't caused by a Parthian arrow or lance, but by his own ineptitude. That said, there are definitely similarities between the two generals, mainly in their inability to look at a situation or problem through anyone  else's eyes and viewpoint but their own. And both of them suffered for this failing. 3- Considering your military background, what fascinates you most about ancient military campaigns-  is there anything to be admired and learned from those times?The level of hardship that the men of the Legions endured. Consider that at the end of every day, almost without exception, they had to dig a ditch that was at a minimum of 9 feet deep and 12 feet wide; if they marched for Caesar, it was 12 feet by 15 feet. Then, the next day, before they conti[...]

Winner of THE BOOKMAN'S TALE Announced!



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Charles Lovett: GUESTPOST + GIVEAWAY!!!!


Please Welcome Charles Lovett!ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Lovett comes to novel-writing late in his career, having already established himself as an antiquarian bookseller and children’s playwright. He also lectures extensively on Lewis Carroll and has amassed a collection of artifacts related to the author. Author of THE BOOKMAN'S TALE!The Bookman’s Tale Hay-on-Wye, 1995. Peter Byerly isn't sure what drew him into this particular bookshop. Nine months earlier, the death of his beloved wife, Amanda, had left him shattered. The young antiquarian bookseller relocated from North Carolina to the English countryside, hoping to rediscover the joy he once took in collecting and restoring rare books. But upon opening an eighteenth-century study of Shakespeare forgeries, Peter is shocked when a portrait of Amanda tumbles out of its pages. Of course, it isn't really her. The watercolor is clearly Victorian. Yet the resemblance is uncanny, and Peter becomes obsessed with learning the picture's origins. As he follows the trail back first to the Victorian era and then to Shakespeare's time, Peter communes with Amanda's spirit, learns the truth about his own past, and discovers a book that might definitively prove Shakespeare was, indeed, the author of all his plays.                                                                 What is it About Shakespeare? I’ve had the good fortune to approach Shakespeare as an actor, an audience member, a playwright, and a novelist and in each case it has been a rewarding experience. I’ve played the lead (in Measure for Measure) and my favorite Shakespeare character (Feste in Twelfth Night); I’ve seen Shakespeare productions around the US and UK; I’ve written four plays for children based on or inspired by Shakespeare’s works; and William Shakespeare appears as a minor character in my new novel The Bookman’s Tale (in which a Shakespearean artifact plays a central role).So, what attracts me to Shakespeare? First, that his works remain relevant after all this time. He can still make me laugh uproariously at the comedies, make me shiver in my seat with plays like Macbeth and Cymbeline, and make me cry at the universal characters and themes in the tragedies. Henry V’s speech on St. Crispin’s day makes me want to get up and fight. Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream can have me falling out of my chair laughing. That Shakespeare can do that after having been dead for nearly 400 years is remarkable. I think it’s something every writer aspires to—to have our works live on after we are gone. With Shakespeare it’s an especially powerful kind of immortality, because we experience these reactions and emotions not alone in a room reading a book, but as a community, a group of people responding in real time to his writing as transmitted through actors, directors, and designers.Another thing I love about Shakespeare is that, inspite of the aforementioned setback of his having  been dead for nearly 400 years, he is still the most important collaborator in the supremely collaborative experience of playmaking. As a playwright I loved the collaboration with director, actors, designers, and others. One of the greatest moments as [...]



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Inteview + Giveaway with CHRISTY ENGLISh!!


I had the immense pleasure of interviewing Amazing Author Christy English and am delighted to share her insightful answers with you here today!  Christy has written a new historical romance novel that will be particularly exciting for readers of my blog, since the book is based on the Napoleonic era!LOVE ON A MISDSUMMER NIGHT This book for Giveaway by Sourcebooks to one of my lucky readers - Thank You! (Look for Entering details after the interivew:)Without further ado, Please welcome Christy English!        EBJ:  What made you interested in writing about the Napoleonic period? C. E: Unlike the characters in my novels, I have always been a huge fan of Napoleon. Ever since I first read DESIREE in high school, I have been a bit obsessed with the Empire and all Napoleon did, at home and abroad, to usher in the modern age. For example, Italy still uses the flag he gave them, and France still uses his system of public schooling today.             But before I go off on a Napoleonic tangent, I must say that I have always been caught up in the romance of the period. The world as it had been, the Old Regime, had been swept away. Anything could have happened. Napoleon is what ended up happening, both to France and to the world.            What I love best about tying my stories to Regency England is that their world was on the brink of change. Industry was taking hold and men of business and trade were beginning to be a force in Parliament. The earls of my novels still held sway, but for the first time their hold was slipping. My characters are blissfully unaware of this change, for the most part, but their days are numbered.  EBJ:      What do you love most about the two main characters in LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER  NIGHT?  C.E.: I love that Arabella and Pembroke never stop loving each other. Like Captain Wentworth and Anne in Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, they’re separated by others for ten years, but still, the flame of their love does not die. Though Pembroke is the biggest womanizer of all my heros, he is also the most faithful. He never gives his heart away to another, so when he and Arabella meet, they can begin again.I love to see my characters get a second chance at love. It so rarely happens in real life, I enjoy watching it happen on the page.      EBJ:  What other novels are in the works- and can you give us a brief peek into these?  C. E.: The next novel is the third in my Shakespeare in Love series, called MUCH ADO ABOUT JACK. This book is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, one of my favorite plays. The reluctant lovers Benedict and Beatrice keep the audience hanging on their banter, and I hope to do the same with my characters, Angelique and James.            The villain from LOVE ON A MIDSUMMER NIGHT returns in this one, and the Duke of Hawthorne does all he can to make Angelique Beauchamp’s life a misery. Meanwhile, she tries to salvage her best friend’s reputation while keeping her own shipping business afloat. Unlike many of the haute ton, Angelique gets all her money from trade. Just one more reason she is scandalous.While all that’s going on, she finds herself falling in love with a Scottish sea captain who recently of the Royal Navy. James Montgomery is just the tonic Angelique needs after yea[...]

WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR: The Tudor Conspiracy and The Secret History!!






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What an exquisite cover- for an exquisite book!  Have you read THE SECRET HISTORY?? You must! Stay tuned for my review that will be out in print and e-version at the HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY in August- and on my blog as well:)MEANWHILE...As part of Today, I am pleased to share with you this amazing Interview with Author Stephanie Thornton! 1- Stephanie you wrote an amazing novel based in Byzantium! Can you tell us about a few of the most fascinating things you discovered about this time and place, while researching?I’m so glad that you enjoyed the novel, and am thrilled to be here discussing it today! When I first set out to write Theodora’s story, I assumed 6th century Constantinople was like much of the ancient world, where women were dominated by men and mostly forgotten by history. Although I’m sure Procopius is rolling in his grave to hear it, when I first read his damning history of Theodora’s rule as empress I was almost squealing with glee. Not only was Theodora an incredibly strong woman who ruled equally with her husband, but her lifelong friend Antonina had also risen from the gutters to marry Belisarius, the empire’s rising star of a general. Procopius slanders both women terribly, but between the lines you can see that these women were determined not to let anyone—man or woman—dictate how they lived. (Unfortunately for Belisarius, that meant his wife would go on to publicly cuckold him with her godson.) In a strange twist, Procopius’ vitriolic accounts ensured that we would forever remember both Theodora and Antonina, whose colorful lives would have otherwise gone mostly unrecorded. That said, we also have to remember that Theodora and Antonina’s stories were uncommon for the time. I spent much of my time researching the lives of prostitutes in the Byzantine Empire, and the hardships they had to endure. There’s a line in my novel about how unwanted children could be disposed of in the drains of the public baths, which came from an archaeological article I read where a number of infant skeletons had been discovered in one such drain. Life in the ancient world was hard, and for a single woman, it was almost impossible. 2- Theodora has become my new favourite icon- What attracted you most to writing about her?Let me just say that I love Theodora. I see her as one of those polarizing kind of personalities—either you loved her (as Justinian did) or you loathed her (like Procopius). Looking back at her position in history, it’s hard not to love her. This woman was the daughter of a bear trainer (really, truly) who became an actress/prostitute to support herself and her family. Her story might have ended then and there, but something about her attracted not just one, but two of the empire’s most powerful men. Not only that, but she survived one of the world’s worst outbreaks of bubonic plague! (For the record, I love bubonic plague. Writing about it, not having it, of course.) Procopius also recorded that while Theodora couldn’t dance or play music, she was a great mime, which was a sort of stand-up comic of the day. I don’t know any writer who could resist writing so colorful a character. 3-  If you could compare Theodora to a woman of today's times, who would that be and why?That’s a toss-up between Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher. However, since Eleanor was born to privilege and Margaret’s dad owned grocery stores, I’ll go with Thatcher. (Fortunately, Margaret Thatcher never had [...]

Released Today: THE WHITE PRINCESS- My Review...


THE WHITE PRINCESS I never quite got around to reading The White Queen, by Gregory, that’s sitting comfy in my TBR pile.  Maybe that’s’ because I’ve already read a lot about Edward IV’s magnificent queen… However, I  knew very little about her firstborn daughter, Princess Elizabeth of York.  So I immediately was captivated by this story.The first part of the book was entertaining enough; I was curious to find out how this young and reluctant queen married to the killer of King Richard lll (her presumed lover) would fare within a court where the York name was almost a blasphemy.Cold and aloof, Elizabeth began by despising her ruthless and insensitive husband King Henry Vll.  It also didn't help that she was surmised by the mother-in-law from hell ( Margaret de Beaufort), who co-ruled with her son.  Once the lady-in-waiting of Elizabeth Woodville(!), pious Margaret now felt it her right to belittle, mistreat and dismiss the former regents.  There were no limits in how far she’d go to assure Henry’s throne and rid the court of all Yorks once and for all.As time went by, through absolute loyalty to her kingdom and for the fate of her children, Elizabeth would eventually learn how to enjoy her husband’s company and even begin to care for him.  But a (huge) factor would be a constant OCD for Henry…could one of the boys in the tower still be alive?  Throughout the novel this is the thorn in Henry’s life.  Henry could never rest- always paranoid about the ‘pretender’, ‘the boy’, seeking the right to his throne.  Needless to say, this became the obsession within this book.  And, frankly, there was just way too much of this (the whole middle part of the book!).  As for Elizabeth, I honestly don’t know how she could have realistically kept her cool to preserve an incredible detachment – especially when it came to her supposed younger brother...All in the name of her heirs and the right to their throne.  I would have liked to see more passion in this bland queen.Fortunately, there was one bright beam that kept me reading on- I loved that Elizabeth Woodville was a pivotal character in THE WHITE PRINCESS!   It was her strength, love of family and incredible non-stop determination that kept the plot alive.  This underlying sense that she was plotting all along, brought interest and engaged me enough to see this novel through.  As well, the rest of the York siblings and cousins brought much compassion, dread, helplessness and a true feel for what times may have been like for them under Henry Vll’s rule.  In the end, THE WHITE PRINCESS proved to be a passable read.[...]



THE TUDOR CONSPIRACYREVIEW Gortner’s second historical mystery of The Spymaster Chronicles, The Tudor Conspiracy, was a target-hit with me.  The plot moved along at a quick pace, leaving no time to even momentarily set this one aside-definitely a breeze to read.  Not only does it contain the right amount of suspense, historical intrigue and creativity of plot- the characters come to life making every fictional detail a definite historical possibility.  I caught myself numerous times going back to research a character or event and wishing it were true.  Admittedly, even though this is fiction…I still think our main actor, Brendan, spy master- extraordinaire, could possibly be the…but- I won’t spoil it for you!After thinking I’ve had enough of anything Tudor (and the only reason I gave this one a shot is because I love Gortner’s books so much…)-  I’m so glad I decided to read this! First of all, this novel is centered in Mary’s Court with Elizabeth playing pivotal character.  It made it that more interesting to read a novel that revolved solely around the two sisters (no Henry and no wives!).I loved reading about a younger Elizabeth, who already demonstrated a strong will and exceptional brilliance in all subterfuge matters of royal court life.  Mary was all-regal; accurately depicted as both vengeful and forgiving.  As for our hero…who shall he serve- Mary or Elizabeth?  And for those who need a little love and compassion in their historicals- there is just the right amount of both to help bring this story around.  Kate Strattford is Brendan’s love of his life- but can he remain true to her at all costs?  And there can be no deeper heartfelt moment than when you read about Brendan’s young squire, Peregrine…Lastly, the book concludes with the completely unexpected unmasking of an antagonist- wow!Deception, trust and loyalty are key in The Tudor Conspiracy.  I was not very well read on The Wyatt Revolt, and am pleased to have gotten more than just a historical lesson- I was plunged right into the plot.  Also, I haven’t read the first of this series, but I can tell you that it seemed to make no matter, as it is perfectly enthralling as a standalone.Short-spanned but intense in every hue- Gortner has covered it all.  This book will leave you totally satisfied but with a lingering need to read more.  I am eagerly awaiting the third book in this series- meanwhile I gotta get my hands on the first, The Tudor Secret!Loved it!About the AuthorC.W. Gortner is the author of The Last Queen, The Confessions of Catherine de Medici, The Queen’s Vow and The Tudor Secret. He holds an MFA in Writing, with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies. Raised in Spain and half Spanish by birth, he currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit him at for more information.If you’d like to read more about Gortner’s book, guestposts and Giveaways, please check out the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours site. GIVEAWAY TIME!!! To Enter to Win a Copy of this book:1- You must be a Follower of this blog2-  For Additional Chances, post on FB, Twitter, Linkedin, Blog and elsewhere! Just come back and post your link in comments.Open to US and CanadaGood Luck!!![...]



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