Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Release: Just Listen by D. Breeze + Facebook Giveaway!!

Depression is just a word. It means less to me than it does to you and I’m the one who’s living it.

I live. I love. I laugh.
And you’ll believe all my lies.
Because she does too.

The world is a stranger.
But everyone thinks they know me.

My body has all the answers.
But my mind can’t understand them.

I’m drowning everyday.
But I never go near water.
The air in my lungs is toxic.
But I’m breathing all the time.
You’ll think you understand.
But how can you?
Even with her, I'm alone.

Buy the Book

* Get your copy now for the special release day price of 99p/$1.29 before it goes back to full price tomorrow *

About the Author

D Breeze is a British contemporary romance author who lives for the angst and lives of her characters. A filthy-minded dreamer. A fantasist, with a penchant for writing stories to push your

She loves losing herself in books, revelling in sarcasm, and making people blush.

If she’s not at the bar, handing out shots to unsuspecting victims, you can usually find D hunched over her laptop at four in the morning, still trying to piece together the lines of fantasy vs reality.

Failing that, she’ll be curled up in a corner, rocking back and forth and cursing over the characters arguing in her mind!

Connect with D on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.

It's Giveaway Time!!

Head on over to D's facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDBreeze/ to be in with a chance of winning a $10 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook of Just Listen. All you have to do is like her page and comment on the pinned post. Good luck!

Spotlight on The French Orphan Series by Michael Stolle


Publication Date: June 12, 2012
388 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1640, and Louis XIII is on the French throne. However, as far as you’re concerned, this is all pretty meaningless. After all, as a teenage orphan living in a monastery school in Reims, all you have to worry about is dodging the unpleasant advances of a few unsavoury monks and looking forward to a life of penniless and celibate servitude in a religious order.

After a childhood and adolescence plagued by a constant longing to know who he really is, orphan Pierre has not the slightest idea that his questions are about to be answered. But you know what they say – be careful what you wish for…

Suddenly finding out who you are can bring with it not only happiness and fortune, but danger, friendship and the sort of swift education that the monastery could never have provided! The discovery of who Pierre really is affects not only Pierre and his friends, but has ramifications for the French nobility, the English crown, and most dangerous of all, the machinations of Cardinal Richelieu and his fierce ambition for the Church and for himself.

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Publication Date: November 12, 2012
298 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

The Secrets of Montrésor is the eagerly awaited sequel to The French Orphan, and continues the story of young Pierre de Beauvoir…

Coming into a fortune at any age brings huge responsibility, but when you’re an inexperienced teenager, it seems that surprises are waiting for you around every corner.

Pierre, former orphan and now Marquis de Beauvoir, may have claimed his inheritance, but life is never that simple. For a start, he needs to learn pretty quickly exactly who to trust and who to keep at arm’s length. For example, how do you work out (and survive….) the changing motives of the most powerful man in seventeenth-century France, Cardinal Richelieu? And then what do you do when the people you should be able to trust try to deliver you into the hands of your worst enemy? And then there’s the small matter of a sacred quest to Italy…

Fortunately for Pierre he has his best friend Armand to support him as he gets to know his chateau at Montrésor, its people and… its secrets. (Armand, of course, has his own agendas to pursue, usually involving a pretty face and a willing smile.)

Far from being certain, Pierre’s future has yet to be settled and Pierre will have to draw on his own innate talents as well as those of the people around him to ensure he survives, as his enemies are just waiting to seize their opportunity.

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Publication Date: December 15, 2013
302 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

The third in the French Orphan series follows the exploits of Pierre, former penniless orphan who discovers he is heir to the de Beauvoir inheritance.

So far, Pierre has found friends in unexpected places, been surprised by love, learned the true meaning of friendship, discovered the extent of human cunning and depravity and dodged numerous attempts by his closest family member to despatch him to the next world.

In Under the Spell of the Serenissima Pierre’s search for the third Templar ring continues, but as ever, his path is not a smooth one. Pierre and Armand, along with Jean and Edoardo, are making for Venice, unaware that others too are racing towards the beautiful city, some intending to help, others with far more sinister motives.

As the various characters are drawn inexorably towards Venice, a conclusion will be played out that must decide Pierre’s fate, one way or another…

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Publication Date: March 31, 2016
300 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1643. The scheming Cardinal Mazarin is now Prime Minister of France, but on the other side of the Channel, unrest in England grows daily, as civil war is erupting. As the political situation in England deteriorates, the royal court flees London for Oxford, and King Charles is desperate to secure both funding and troops to come to his aid.

Mazarin, every bit as devious as his predecessor, Richelieu, engages the services of François de Toucy to save the Queen of England, a former royal princess of France. François and his friends will set sail for England, in a quest to ensure the safety of the queen.

Whilst François is walking a diplomatic tightrope across the political cauldron of the royal court, his friend Armand falls desperately in love with the Queen’s Maid of Honour, a lady as beautiful as she is cunning.

Soon the friends find themselves deeply entangled in a deadly combination of cut-throat politics, disasters on the battlefield and bitter machinations at court over love and war and the struggle between Protestants and Catholics that threaten to spell only death and disaster.

Buy the Book

About the Author

Born and educated in Europe, Michael has always been intrigued by the historical setting and the fact that what makes us human was as true in the 17th century as it is now.

He has been reading and writing about history for longer than he cares to recall…

It's Giveaway Time!!

To win a paperback copy of The French Orphan (Book One) by Michael Stolle, please enter via the Gleam form HERE. Three copies are up for grabs!


Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 11th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Giveaway is open to residents in the US, UK, and CANADA only.

Only one entry per household.

All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

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

Good Luck!!

The French Orphan Series Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 23

Blog Tour Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 24

Review at Books, Dreams, Life (The French Orphan)

Wednesday, January 25

Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (The French Orphan)

Thursday, January 26

Review at Book Nerd (The Queen’s Maid of Honour)

Friday, January 27

Spotlight at What Is That Book About
Review at Clarissa Reads It All (The French Orphan)

Monday, January 30

Review at Books, Dreams, Life (The Secrets of Montrésor)
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (The Secrets of Montrésor)

Tuesday, January 31

Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Review at Clarissa Reads It All (The Secrets of Montrésor)

Wednesday, February 1

Review at 100 Pages a Day (The French Orphan)

Thursday, February 2

Spotlight at Broken Teepee
Review at Turning The Pages (The French Orphan)

Friday, February 3

Spotlight at A Bookaholic Swede
Review at Turning The Pages (The Secrets of Montrésor)

Sunday, February 5

Review at Books, Dreams, Life (Under the Spell of The Serenissima)
Review at Clarissa Reads It All (Under the Spell of The Serenissima)
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (Under the Spell of The Serenissima)

Monday, February 6

Review at 100 Pages a Day (The Secrets of Montrésor)

Tuesday, February 7

Spotlight at Kinx’s Book Nook

Wednesday, February 8

Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Clarissa Reads It All (The Queen’s Maid of Honour)

Thursday, February 9

Review at Turning The Pages (Under the Spell of The Serenissima)

Friday, February 10

Review at Turning The Pages (The Queen’s Maid of Honour)
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession (The French Orphan)
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views (The Queen’s Maid of Honour)

Saturday, February 11

Review at Yelena Casale’s Blog (The French Orphan)
Review at Books, Dreams, Life (The Queen’s Maid of Honour)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Plague and I by Betty MacDonald (Narrated by Heather Henderson )

Publisher: Post Hypnotic Press
Pub. Date: April 8th, 2016

Author: Betty MacDonald
Narrator: Heather Henderson

Length: 8 hours 48 minutes

Genre: Humor, Memoir

Book Series: Betty MacDonald Memoirs #2


The Plague and I recounts MacDonald's experiences in a Seattle sanitarium, where the author spent almost a year (1938-39) battling tuberculosis. The White Plague was no laughing matter, but MacDonald nonetheless makes a sprightly tale of her brush with something deadly.

What Did I Think About the Book?

I have to admit that I had never heard of Betty MacDonald before listening to The Plague and I, her memoir regarding her experiences in a tuberculosis sanitarium and her sometimes serious/sometimes comical adventures in health and illness. I'm so glad I decided to listen to this audiobook as the author's world, told through this wonderful story and by a remarkable narrator, was really interesting and gave me a view into an experience and setting I never would have been able to experience otherwise.

The story begins with MacDonald's recap of the opposing attempts at health education and application between her father and grandmother as she and her siblings grew up. Her father was quite strict regarding exercise and diet while her grandmother sort of made up her own rules regarding health and illness and classified the children's illnesses into set diseases regardless of their symptoms. Ironically, in the end her most serious illness, tuberculosis, was inflicted on her by no fault or lack of discipline of her own.

The bulk of the story takes place in the sanitarium and it was fascinating learning the odd yet strangely effective treatments and rules employed to hopefully cure the many patients at The Pines. I was amazed at the humor MacDonald was able to demonstrate given her situation and what she was expected to do - or not do - in the name of a cure. They were made to spend the vast bulk of their time lying in a cold bed without speaking or coughing and without making any relationships that could hinder their progress. I'm so glad that MacDonald played a little loose with the rules and we were invited along for the ride.

My favorite part of the narrative would have to be the many quirky and therefore humorous characters MacDonald met at the sanitarium. Her roommates, especially the soft spoken Kimmy with the biting wit, made her time in bed as fun as possible. The other patients were a myriad of the absurd - from hypochondriacs to Negative Nancy's to unusually optimistics - and it was so fun watching them on their own journeys through this memoirist's eyes. The nurses and doctors were not very friendly (with the exception of a few) and their strict rules became almost comical as they seemed to think they were working with robots instead of social creatures like humans. This insulated world and its strange cast of characters were unlike anything I'd seen before.

The narrator (Heather Henderson) was excellent. My favorite qualities of a good narrator are their ability to alter their voice based on the various characters and to express the emotions appropriately that the author meant to express with their words. Henderson did an excellent job of changing her voice up based on who was speaking, which is amazing because there is quite an extensive cast of characters. I never had to guess at who was speaking and I really appreciate that when listening to an audiobook. Henderson also easily expressed the humor intrinsic in each line of the story and it kept the mood light and breezy when it could have easily taken on a darker tone.

The Plague and I was the perfect story for an audiobook. It's interesting, informative, and oh so funny. I'm curious to learn more about the author and am definitely planning on listening to more audiobooks by this narrator. All in all a very pleasant listening experience.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

Sadly the cover does nothing for me. It very plain and, other than having the picture of the author in the bottom corner, doesn't really offer anything of interest to look at. I'm not even a very big fan of the color scheme. So much more could have been done to make it appealing.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Thank you to Audiobookworm Promotions for a free audiobook copy of The Plague and I in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own. Please see below for more information about the author, narrator, and the rest of the blog tour.

About the Author: Betty Macdonald

Betty Bard MacDonald (1907–1958), the best-selling author of The Egg and I and the classic Mrs.
Piggle-Wiggle children’s books, burst onto the literary scene shortly after the end of World War II. Readers embraced her memoir of her years as a young bride operating a chicken ranch on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, andThe Egg and I sold its first million copies in less than a year. The public was drawn to MacDonald’s vivacity, her offbeat humor, and her irreverent take on life. In 1947, the book was made into a movie starring Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert, and spawned a series of films featuring MacDonald's Ma and Pa Kettle characters.

MacDonald followed up the success of The Egg and I with the creation of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, a magical woman who cures children of their bad habits, and with three additional memoirs: The Plague and I (chronicling her time in a tuberculosis sanitarium just outside Seattle), Anybody Can Do Anything (recounting her madcap attempts to find work during the Great Depression), and Onions in the Stew (about her life raising two teenage daughters on Vashon Island).

Author Paula Becker was granted full access to Betty MacDonald’s archives, including materials never before seen by any researcher. Looking for Betty MacDonald, the first official biography of this endearing Northwest storyteller, reveals the story behind the memoirs and the difference between the real Betty MacDonald and her literary persona.

About the Narrator: Heather Henderson

Heather Henderson is a voice actress and audiobook narrator with a 20-year career in literary and performing arts. Her narrations include the NYT bestseller (now also a feature film) Brain on Fire; and Sharon Creech's The Boy on the Porch, which won her an Earphones award and was named one of the Best Children's Audiobooks for 2013 by Audiofile Magazine. She earned her Doctor of Fine Arts degree at the Yale School of Drama, and is co-curator of AudioEloquence.com, a pronunciation research site for the audiobook industry. In 2015, Heather was a finalist for a Voice Arts Award (Outstanding Narration, Audiobook Classics), for her narration of Betty MacDonald's The Egg and I.

The Plague and I Blog Tour Schedule

Jan. 11: A Page To Turn (Giveaway, Spotlight, & Audio Excerpt)
Jan. 12: Dab of Darkness (Review & Giveaway)
Jan. 13: The Pursuit of Bookishness (Review, Giveaway, Spotlight, & Audio Excerpt)
Jan. 14: terriluvsbooks (Spotlight)
Jan. 15: Kristine Hallways (Review, Giveaway, & Audio Excerpt)
Jan. 16: Blogger Nicole (Spotlight)
Jan. 17: Jorie Loves A Story (Review)
Jan. 18: Ali the Dragon Slayer (Review)
Jan. 19: The Bookworm Lodge (Spotlight)
Jan. 24: Never 2 Many 2 Read (Review & Giveaway)
Jan. 25: Country Girl Bookaholic (Giveaway, Spotlight, & Audio Excerpt)
Jan. 26: He Said Books Or Me (Review)
Jan. 27: Bound4Escape (Review)
Jan. 28: Working Mommy (Review & Giveaway)
Jan. 29: Avid Book Collector (Review, Giveaway, Spotlight, & Audio Excerpt)
Jan. 30: A Literary Vacation (Review)
Jan. 31: January Gray Reviews (Review)

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Tip of My Wish List - Covers with Water

If you're anything like me you've got a book wish list so long there is no way you will ever be able to read through it all. And, on top of that, it's never ending because you just can't stop adding more books to it! To try and organize myself I'm sharing 5 books from my wish list that I'm most excited to get to, usually with a common theme, on the last Friday of each month. I know a number of excellent bloggers who do similar posts and I'll be sure to link to their posts as well so you can see all the goodies we're excited about and, hopefully, add a few new books to your own wish list. I'll also link the titles to Goodreads where you can read reviews and find the various ways to purchase a copy of the books if they sound like your style. I really hope you enjoy and let me know if you've read any of these or have others you would add to the list.

When going through my wish list I noticed that a good number of covers have water incorporated in the image. Sometimes this seems to denote some sort of mystery or can be symbolic of a changeability or flow to the narrative. Or, you know, the story might literally have to do with water. Regardless it seems to be a part of many novels, and here are the top 5 novels with water on the cover that I'm excited to read as soon as I can!


The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.

From the million-copy bestselling author of The Girl in the Ice and The Night Stalker, comes the third heart-stopping book in the Detective Erika Foster series.

Nine-year-old Louis Drax is a problem child: bright, precocious, deceitful – and dangerously, disturbingly, disaster-prone. When he falls off a cliff into a ravine, the accident seems almost predestined. Louis miraculously survives – but the family has been shattered.

Louis’ father has vanished, his mother is paralysed by shock, and Louis lies in a deep coma from which he may never emerge. In a clinic in Provence, Dr Pascal Dannachet tries to coax Louis back to consciousness. But the boy defies medical logic, startling Dannachet out of his safe preconceptions, and drawing him inexorably into the dark heart of Louis’ buried world.

Only Louis holds the key to the mystery surrounding his fall – and he can’t communicate. Or can he?

Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong.

On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted: friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.

But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact - and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.

From the bestselling author of Schindler’s List and The Daughters of Mars, a new historical novel set on the remote island of Saint Helena about the remarkable friendship between a young woman and one of history’s most intriguing figures, Napoleon Bonaparte, during the final years of his life in exile.

In October 1815, after losing the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was banished to the island of Saint Helena. There, in one of the most remote places on earth, he lived out the final six years of his life. On this lonely island with no chance of escape, he found an unexpected ally: a spirited British girl named Betsy Balcombe who lived on the island with her family. While Napoleon waited for his own accommodations to be built, the Balcombe family played host to the infamous exile, a decision that would have devastating consequences for them all.

In Napoleon’s Last Island, “master of character development and period detail” (Kirkus Reviews) Thomas Keneally recreates Betsy’s powerful and complex friendship with the man dubbed The Great Ogre, her enmities and alliances with his remaining courtiers, and her dramatic coming-of-age. Bringing a shadowy period of history to life with a brilliant attention to detail, Keneally tells the untold story of one of Europe’s most enigmatic, charismatic, and important figures, and the ordinary British family who dared to forge a connection with him.


Check out these lovely blogs for more books to add to your wish list: 

Magdalena at Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cover Crush: The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

Hello, my name is Colleen and I am a cover slut. I know, I know....you aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover. I just can't help myself!  A beautiful cover draws my eye every single time and I can't help but pick up the book it's dressing and see if the inside seems as intriguing as the outside. Sometimes it does, and sometimes a pretty cover is just a pretty cover. Either way, I love getting an eyeful! 

One of my favorite bloggers, Erin at Flashlight Commentary, created a weekly blog post called Cover Crush and she and some other blogger friends are sharing their favorite covers each Thursday. I've decided to join in this year and will link to their posts down below.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....

M.J. Rose's covers are always gorgeous so it was no surprise to me that the cover for her next installment in The Daughters of La Lune would be jaw dropping. I love how each cover has similarities to the others in the series, but also changes certain aspects, such as the landscape at the bottom, the woman looming above, and the overall color scheme. The shading of this one seems a little darker, and I'm curious to see if that is due to a darker nature within the story or just to utilize a different color palette.  Either way I'm in!

Here's the synopsis:

In this riveting and richly drawn novel from “one of the master storytellers of historical fiction” (New York Times bestseller Beatriz Williams), a talented young artist flees New York for Paris after one of her scandalous drawings reveals a dark secret—and triggers a terrible tragedy.

In the wake of a dark and brutal World War, the glitz and glamour of 1925 Manhattan shine like a beacon for the high society set, which is desperate to keep their gaze firmly fixed to the future. But Delphine Duplessi sees more than most. At a time in her career when she could easily be unknown and penniless, like so many of her classmates from L’École de Beaux Arts, in America she has gained notoriety for her stunning “shadow portraits” that frequently expose her subjects’ most scandalous secrets—for better or for worse. Most nights Delphine doesn’t mind that her gift has become mere entertainment—a party trick—for the fashionable crowd. Though her ancestor La Lune, the legendary sixteenth-century courtesan and—like Delphine—a witch, might have thought differently.

Then, on a snowy night in February, in a penthouse high above Fifth Avenue, Delphine’s mystical talent leads to a tragedy between two brothers. Horrified, she renounces her gift.

Devastated and disconsolate, Delphine returns to her old life in the south of France where Picasso, Matisse, and the Fitzgeralds are summering. There, Delphine is thrust into recapturing the past. First by her charismatic twin brother and business manager Sebastian in his attempts to cajole her back to work and into co-dependence, then by the world famous opera singer Emma Calvé, who is obsessed with the centuries-old Book of Abraham, written by the fourteenth-century alchemist Nicolas Flamel. And finally by her ex-lover Mathieu, who is determined to lure her back into his arms, unaware of the danger that had led Delphine to flee Paris for New York five years before.

Trapped in an ancient chateau where hidden knowledge lurks in the shadows, Delphine questions and in many ways rejects what and who she loves the most—her art, her magick, her family, her brother, and Mathieu—as she tries to finally accept them as the gifts they are and to shed her fear of loving and living with her eyes wide open.

Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Excerpt of Beyond Derrynane by Kevin O'Connell

In February, 1760, sixteen year-old Eileen O’Connell is preparing to depart her home at Derrynane, in remote County, Kerry, Ireland, to enter into a marriage arranged primarily to advance her family’s commercial interests. Having just learned that a small party is arriving to escort the girl to her new home, her mother, Maire, speaks with her one final time:

“My darling, you are packed and as ready to depart as possible. . . .” Her voice trailed off and she drew her chair closer to her daughter. “We have spoken much these weeks, but I must say some things to you, my darling girl. You must listen carefully. I shall say what I must only once, so you must keep it all in your heart and mind.” She paused and looked into Eileen’s deep blue eyes.

The girl nodded.

“You must never forget who it is you are: the daughter of Donal Mór Ó Conaill . . .”

“. . . and of Maire ní Dhuibh, of the ‘Fighting O’Donoughues of Glenflesk,’ proud denizens of Robbers Glen,” Eileen, her husky voice strong, certain, nodded in her mother’s direction, her expression warm.

Maire smiled back and very gently nodded. “Very well, then, two strong bloodlines you have.” Pausing, she continued. “But ’tis the O’Connells from whom you come, to whom we both belong and of whom we both are—and ’tis the O’Connells who will protect you, as they have protected me these many years, daughter.

“Should you find yourself in peril, we shall protect you – and if by God’s will ’tis ever necessary, so too shall we avenge you – in both, even to the taking of life.”

Eileen’s eyes grew wide, and her full lips parted ever so slightly.

Maire paused, then asked, “Do you understand, Eileen?”

Her eyes still wide and her lips parted, the girl nodded ever so slightly.

Reaching beneath her chair, Maire retrieved a leather bag that had been hidden by her skirts. Sitting back up, she said, “I have waited until the moment of your departure to give you this, my beloved child.” She passed the satchel to Eileen, who, receiving it gently, sat back in her chair as Maire said in barely a whisper, “Open it, girl.”

Holding the soft glove-leather bag on her lap, Eileen slid open the gleaming brass catch and removed a deep blue velvet sack. Maire gestured, and from the velvet Eileen withdrew what was neither a small nor a large pistol but one quite sufficient to kill a man, and placed it in her left hand, looking at it.

“’Tis beautiful, is it not?” her mother asked.

Without looking up or immediately answering, Eileen studied the weapon. The barrel was a deep, dull gunmetal grey, delicately filigreed, as were the sideplate and the hammer itself, the gleaming walnut stock strikingly gold inlaid. Eileen’s long, elegantly thin fingers rubbed it slowly, almost reverently. She turned it in her hand and rested it in her lap.

“’Tis beautiful indeed.” 

“This,” Maire gestured, “is in the event that we are unable to reach you in any peril, so as to permit you to protect yourself.”

Eileen silently nodded.

“This is why you and all the girls have been taught how to use a pistol – and a rifle.” Eileen nodded again. “In these sad and troubled times,” her mother added. Maire passed an ample sack of ammunition and powder from her lap to Eileen’s . . .

. . . She reached over and covered her daughter’s hands, Eileen still holding the pistol in her own.“May you never have to use this, my darling, but if you do, shoot to kill.”

Eileen suddenly nodded her head in the affirmative, tossing her hair softly. In a suddenly steely voice, and a tone Maire had never heard used by her daughter, and looking directly at her mother, she said firmly, “My darling Mama, please rest assured as you rise each morning and retire each night that I know precisely who I am. You and Papa have taught me well from an early age. I know what I must do and, perhaps even more importantly, what I may have to do.”

She patted the weapon. “And, yes, I believe I do possess the wisdom to know when to use this and, if ever necessary, the courage to kill with it . . . so, should the time come, kill I shall . . . of that you may be assured as well.” She sighed deeply and tears welled up in her eyes yet again did not fall. “I am indeed as ready as I can be to go, so let them arrive and let me be gone with them . . . .”


Publication Date: July 7, 2016
Gortcullinane Press
eBook & Paperback; 348 Pages

Series: The Derrynane Saga, Volume 1
Genre: Historical Fiction

Wed in an arranged marriage to a man nearly fifty years her senior, sixteen-year-old Eileen O’Connell goes from being one of five unmarried sisters to become the mistress of Ballyhar, the great estate of John O’Connor, one of the wealthiest and most influential men in Ireland.

When O’Connor dies suddenly seven months into their marriage, Eileen must decide whether she will fulfill her brother’s strategic goals for her family by marrying her late husband’s son.

Headstrong and outspoken, Eileen frustrates her brother’s wishes, as, through the auspices of her uncle, General Moritz O’Connell of the Imperial Austrian Army, she, along with her ebullient elder sister, Abigail, spend the ensuing richly-dramatic and eventful years at the court of the Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna.The sisters learn to navigate the complex and frequently contradictory ways of the court–making a place for themselves in a world far different from remote Derrynane. Together with the general, they experience a complex life at the pinnacle of the Hapsburg Empire.

Beyond Derrynane – and the three books to follow in The Derrynane Saga – will present a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant change, dramatising the roles, which have never before been treated in fiction, played by a small number of expatriate Irish Catholics of the fallen “Gaelic Aristocracy” (of which the O’Connells were counted as being amongst its few basically still-intact families) at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in Protestant Ascendancy-ruled Ireland.

In addition to Eileen’s, the books trace the largely-fictional lives of several other O’Connells of Derrynane, it is the tantalisingly few facts that are historically documented about them which provide the basic threads around which the tale itself is woven, into which strategic additions of numerous historical and fictional personalities and events intertwine seamlessly.

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About the Author

Kevin O’Connell is a native of New York City and a descendant of a young officer of what had—
from 1690 to 1792—been the Irish Brigade of the French army, believed to have arrived in French Canada following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October of 1793. At least one grandson subsequently returned to Ireland and Mr. O’Connell’s own grandparents came to New York in the early twentieth century. He holds both Irish and American citizenship.

He is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre.

For more than four decades, O’Connell has practiced international business transactional law, primarily involving direct-investment matters, throughout Asia (principally China), Europe, and the Middle East.

Mr. O’Connell has been a serious student of selected (especially the Eighteenth Century) periods of the history of Ireland for virtually all of his life; one significant aspect of this has been a continuing scholarly as well as personal interest in the extended O’Connell family at Derrynane, many even distant and long-ago members of which, especially the characters about whom he writes, he has “known” intimately since childhood.

The father of five children and grandfather of ten, he and his wife, Laurette, live with their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland.

Beyond Derrynane Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 16

Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 17

Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, January 18

Review at Luxury Reading
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, January 19

Review at Books, Dreams, Life

Friday, January 20

Review at The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, January 22

Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, January 23

Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Tuesday, January 24

Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Wednesday, January 25

Review at A Bookaholic Swede
Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 27

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, January 30

Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, January 31

Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TLC Book Tours: Release Day Review of The Fifth Petal by Brunonia Barry + Giveaway!!

Publisher: Crown
Pub. Date: January 24th, 2017
Pages: 448


“Do you think, inside, every one of us is a killer?”

This is the question that haunts the people of Salem, Massachusetts, in Brunonia Barry’s spellbinding, masterful new thriller, THE FIFTH PETAL, a tale of otherworldly powers, ancient myths, and a gruesome triple homicide. Ten years after her New York Times bestselling debut novel THE LACE READER became an international sensation, Barry revisits contemporary Salem, where the dark history of the paranormal continues to reverberate in the lives of the Whitney family and their neighbors. With its release, THE LACE READER became an overnight success, winning numerous awards and rave reviews from the New York Times, Washington Post, Time, New York, People, and being named an Amazon Best Book of the Month. Barry, born and raised in Salem, now returns with a complex brew of suspense, seduction, and murder in her highly anticipated novel THE FIFTH PETAL.

When a teenage boy dies suspiciously on Halloween night, Salem’s chief of police, John Rafferty, now married to gifted lace reader Towner Whitney, wonders if there is a connection between his death and Salem’s most notorious cold case, “The Goddess Murders,” in which three young women, all descended from accused Salem witches, were slashed on Halloween night in 1989. Now Rafferty must uncover who, or what, is killing the descendants of Salem’s accused witches, while keeping the town’s paranoia—all too similar to the hysteria that lead to the infamous witch trials—at bay.

As Rafferty begins to uncover a dark chapter of Salem’s past, he finds unexpected help from Callie Cahill, the daughter of one of the Goddess victims, who has recently returned to town. Discovered at the scene of the crime when she was five years old, Callie survived the mysterious massacre with only scratches on her arms and a perfect stigmata of a five-petal rose in the palm of her bloodied hand. Now Callie, who has always been gifted with premonitions, begins to struggle with visions she doesn’t quite understand and an attraction to a man who has unknown connections to her mother’s murder. Neither Rafferty nor Callie believes the main suspect, Rose Whelan, respected local historian and honorary aunt to Callie, is guilty of murder or witchcraft. But clearing Rose’s name might mean crossing paths with a dangerous force. Were the women victims of an all-too-human vengeance, or was the devil raised in Salem that night? And if Rafferty and Callie can’t discover what happened that night, will evil rise again?

Grounded in Salem’s true, dark history, Brunonia Barry paints a complex, eerie portrait of a modern New England town living in the past. With magical realism that will appeal to readers of Erin Morgenstern and gothic suspense echoing Deborah Harkness, THE FIFTH PETAL brings the world of Salem to life with Barry’s signature rich and twisting prose. Suspenseful, sinister, and masterfully composed, THE FIFTH PETAL is a haunting novel that will grip audiences long after the final page.


What Did I Think About the Story?

I read Brunonia Barry's debut  novel, The Lace Reader, a number of years ago and remember really enjoying it (this was before the days when I wrote reviews regularly, so I can't remember the specifics unfortunately). When I saw she was releasing a new book I jumped at the chance to review it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that some of the same characters populated this newest novel, The Fifth Petal, and was excited to see how their stories might have evolved and meshed with the new characters and this new murder mystery happening in their mystical town. Those who haven't read The Lace Reader need not worry as this story stands on its own very well, although the crossover characters do seem to want to steal the story away from its main focus (more to come on that below).

The mysteries at the heart of the story - who killed "The Goddesses" back in 1989? Was Rose Whelan somehow involved? - were really well presented and I loved how each new discovery seemed to open up more questions and secrets about the residents of Salem, both in the modern time and during its dark past. The fact that many of the characters are eccentric and touched by the mystical makes it difficult to figure out if what we are being told (and not told) is the truth, a fantasy, or some amalgamation of the two. I love when a story can keep me guessing like this! It was also helpful having John Rafferty be such a steady voice of reason and scientific evidence, following the clues and not just the speculation, so that the final answers to the mysteries felt justifiable and fact based even when laced with magic.

Something else I found very well done was the connections made to the hysteria and vengefulness surrounding the initial Salem Witch Trials and what the town of Salem was experiencing in this much more modern world. It was amazing to see just how fast the people of Salem became vicious and began not only pointing fingers at Rose - a woman who was homeless and defiant and, admittedly, a little weird - but attacking the Goddesses - the victims of a heinous attack - for being seductresses and possible witches just because they were promiscuous young women when they were alive. Adding on the reach and scope of internet trolls and reporters blasting their unfounded opinions on this criminal case really drove home the fact that we, as a society, haven't come that far from the superstitious and unaccepting beliefs of our ancestors.

Where the story lost some of my appreciation was in the secondary storylines that laced within the main mystery and didn't seem to have anything to do with it at all. A good amount of time was given to dealing with relationship issues between John Rafferty, his wife, Towner, and Towner's mother, as well as the work both Towner and her  mother do for abused women in the area. While these were interesting components and would make good discussion in their own story, it felt like it pulled away from what should have been a taut and dark mystery. There was also a long chapter dealing with Callie living outside the country with another character (I don't want to give anything away) and this felt completely unnecessary to the rest of the story. The book is over 400 pages and could have done with some editing out of these extraneous elements and storylines.

The Fifth Petal presented a really interesting mystery that weaved its fingers in and out of the past and present beautifully. Without the extraneous storylines and characters pulling me away from the main focus this would have been a real page turner for me. Even with these added elements I still enjoyed my time with these characters and in their unique town. I'm interested to see what Ms. Barry writes next and hope she returns to these characters again (maybe giving them their own stories!).

What Did I Think About the Cover?

It's beautiful!! In person the rose petals look real and the cover is slightly glossy so I couldn't help but keep flipping back to the front to look at it. The five petals and the thickly rooted tree are very important to the story as well, which is a wonderful addition. This might be my favorite cover so far this  year!

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Crown Publishing for providing me with a free copy of The Fifth Petal in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. Please continue below for more information about the book, the author, and the blog tour!

Praise for The Fifth Petal

“In contemporary Salem, a murder has taken place, with roots that reach back to the seventeenth-century witch trials. Filled with twists and turns, as well as ancient tradition and modern mystery, Barry’s story has deft pacing, a marvelous sense of place, and a quirky cast of characters. The Fifth Petal is another haunting tale by the author of The Lace Reader where past and present collide.”
DEBORAH HARKNESS, New York Times bestselling author of the All Souls trilogy

“Brunonia Barry’s Salem is alive with rich history, and with a unique and colorful cast of characters: witches and healers, lace readers, the well-to-do and the down-and-out. And everyone’s got secrets. The Fifth Petal is a mesmerizing take on the ways the past affects and influences the present. “Time isn’t linear,” says one of the characters, and the way Barry artfully weaves together a modern-day crime, a twenty-five-year-old murder case, and the Salem witch trials, you’ll close the book believing that she’s absolutely right.” — JENNIFER MCMAHON, New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People and The Night Sister

“There is true magic in The Fifth Petal, where Salem’s dark history of murder threatens to destroy yet one more young woman, a descendant of one of the accused witches. As in The Lace Reader, Brunonia Barry weaves together ancient myths, modern mysteries and the power and wisdom of a cabal of fearless women who’ve been touched by the invisible world.” — KATHLEEN KENT, author of The Heretic’s Daughter

“Brunonia Barry has done it again. If you liked The Lace Reader, you’re going to love her new novel, The Fifth Petal. A real page-turner about murder and prejudice and love and what’s possible and what isn’t. Enjoy.”— B.A. SHAPIRO, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger and The Muralist

“A seductive combination of suspense, history, myth – with a sprinkling of the supernatural – The Fifth Petal is an enormously satisfying mystery novel. Brunonia Barry has created a world that is at once inviting and menacing, populated by characters both warmly familiar and surprising.” — ANDREW PYPER, author of The Damned and The Demonologist

“There are many writers who write wonderful books… then there are those rare writers who make magic. Brunonia Barry proves once again she is a sorcerer. Transported to Salem, I was lost in a Gothic tale that only the author of The Lace Reader could have conjured.”— M.J. ROSE, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Language of Stones

“Written with pens dipped in magic and chills, THE FIFTH PETAL uncovers hidden corners where myth, malevolence, and fervor converge in Salem, Massachusetts. Tendrils from the past and present wrap the complicated characters—and the reader’s attention—until the stunning final sentence. Brunonia Barry weaves miracles.”— RANDY SUSAN MEYERS, bestselling author of The Murderer’s Daughters

“The Fifth Petal is a brilliant and suspenseful tale that prods at embers still live in a buried past. By weaving together the lost evidence of two Salem tragedies, Brunonia Barry’s novel prompts profound consideration of the respect for history, the importance of resolution, and the power of voice. Highly recommended.”— THERESE WALSH, author of The Moon Sisters

“Spellbinding! Clear your schedule–this beautifully written and seamlessly researched tale is a thriller, a romance, and a deeply felt investigation of the witch frenzy that haunts us to this day–and it’s the book everyone will be buzzing about. Surprising, compelling and profound–even revelatory–it will stay with you long after the last page.” — HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, Agatha, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark award winning author

“Barry fans will welcome the return of beloved characters and the introduction of new ones into a contemporary Salem appropriately fraught with remnants and reminders of its dark and twisted history. This spooky, multilayered medley of mysteries is sure to be a bestseller.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Banshees, lost memories, and secret pasts each play a significant role in this novel; enthusiasts of the author’s earlier work and readers interested in the history of witchcraft and the occult will enjoy this return visit to Salem.”—Library Journal

“[An] entertaining occult murder mystery.”—Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Brunonia Barry is the New York Times and international best selling author of The Lace Reader and
© Scott Booth Photography
The Map of True Places. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first American author to win the International Women’s Fiction Festival’s Baccante Award and was a past recipient of Ragdale Artists’ Colony’s Strnad Fellowship as well as the winner of New England Book Festival’s award for Best Fiction and Amazon’s Best of the Month. Her reviews and articles on writing have appeared in The London Times and The Washington Post. Brunonia co-chairs the Salem Athenaeum’s Writers’ Committee. She lives in Salem with her husband Gary Ward and their dog, Angel. Her new novel, The Fifth Petal will be released in January 2017.

Learn more about Brunonia Barry on her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter

It's Giveaway Time!!!

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to offer up one copy of The Fifth Petal for giveaway (US only)! All you have to do is enter your name and email address on the giveaway form HERE. Please be sure to leave both your name and your email on the form so I can contact you if you are my winner (no email address, no entry!). For extra entries you can follow the blog in various ways (links are on the right hand sidebar) and leave the name/email you follow with on the form. That's it!

I'll use a random number generator to pick a winner on January 31st, 2017 and will announce the winner here as well as email the winner. The winner will then have 48 hours to respond to my email with their full mailing address. If I don't hear back I'll pick a new winner. If you have already won this giveaway on another site please let me know so I can pick a new winner and give someone else a chance to win a copy of this great book.

Good Luck!!

TLC Book Tour Schedule

Monday, January 23rd: Books Without Any Pictures
Tuesday, January 24th: A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, January 25th: Reading Reality
Thursday, January 26th: Wall to Wall Books
Friday, January 27th: 100 Pages a Day
Monday, January 30th: Write Read Life
Tuesday, January 31st: WV Stitcher
Wednesday, February 1st: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, February 2nd: Art @ Home
Monday, February 6th: I Brought a Book
Wednesday, February 8th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Thursday, February 9th: The Paperback Pilgrim
Monday, February 13th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, February 15th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, February 16th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, February 20th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, February 22nd: Thoughts on This ‘n That

Friday, January 20, 2017

How To Write Historical Fiction: Guest Post by Suzy Henderson, Author of The Beauty Shop

I write historical fiction because firstly I have a particular obsession with the World War Two period, and secondly, I have always found this genre to be so enlightening. It’s my passion and it's exhilarating to discover little-known stories and people who did great things and yet have since been forgotten. It’s amazing to slip back and immerse yourself in a bygone era with stories that enable you to enjoy a multi-sensory experience, living and breathing the past while indulging in the luxury of escapism.

If you’re new to writing or simply new to writing historical fiction, then you may be wondering where to begin. Writing is such a personal, individualized craft and writers must find their own way through the maze and, more importantly, their voice. However, until that day arrives, there are many useful online resources you can turn to with helpful tips and advice to assist you on your journey.

While deciding what to write, we are often advised to “write what we know.” The problem with this is that history is riddled with gaps. As a historian, you need to see things from multiple perspectives and inevitably find yourself wearing multiple hats as you sift through the archives searching for information, forming opinions.

So, “write what you know” may seem like safe advice on the one hand, but is this enough? Without interest in your subject, you may promptly fail. Write what you love is more in tune with my craft. If you love your subject, then you are more likely to see it through to completion, and your passion will illuminate the writing.

When I set out to write my novel, I wondered if it was possible to be 100% accurate with historical facts and still craft a compelling story. I came to realize it was not. The problem is that you’re not writing a history book, you’re writing fiction, interwoven with real facts. The other problem is as mentioned above – history is largely the unknown. For instance, if you’re writing about a real person who lived in 1910, you’re going to have to invent a chunk of narrative and dialogue. The archives mainly contain the bare facts, not the finer detail, so the writer must create this. Fiction allows us this leeway.

So, before you begin writing, do some initial research to give yourself enough detail to proceed, but be conscious of where you choose to do your digging. The internet is both friend and foe. While it is an incredibly useful resource, beware of sites such as Wikipedia. Try to use primary sources where you can and remember to double-check all facts you collect for accuracy. Biographies, reference books, old newsreels, radio clips, films, newspaper archives and even novels published in the particular historical period can be useful sources. Reading is the lifelong learning aid of any writer and so spend time reading critically, analyzing historical fiction so that you can see how other authors craft stories.

Another useful tip is to read about your subject until it becomes ingrained in your memory. In this way, you’ll be able to write more fluidly without having to keep checking your research or adding too much detail.

Before you begin to write, plan each chapter. The key is to have a formal structure, so you know where to start and where you’re heading. It’s recommended to begin with a plan as often there is a lot of research and it’s easy to become lost and make mistakes. In the beginning, it can be difficult to visualize everything you will need to know to be able to write your story accurately, and this is another advantage of planning effectively.

Consider language. If you’re slipping back to the 1940s, it’s not too different to the present day aside from the odd word or phrase. However, if you’re writing a story set in Tudor England, the language of the day was rather archaic, and some phrases and words are simply too difficult or impossible to decipher now. As a writer, you must also consider your reader. Many authors choose to use ordinary language with the odd period word added throughout for a dash of authentic flavour which seems to work well.

From your research, you should be able to depict the setting as it would be, such as the modes of transport used, food, the clothing of the period along with every detail relevant to everyday life.

Consider the society at that time along with any political and cultural views. For example, before WW1, Britain was very much a patriarchal society, and a woman’s place was stereotypically in the home. As a writer, you need to be mindful of such things so as not to judge by present day standards. Your reader may feel certain things are discriminatory by today’s standards, but they will accept that was the way of things at that time, and as a writer, you don't need to explain.

This leads me on to using real people in your stories. Obviously, if it’s King Henry VIII then it’s not too much of a concern, but, if like me, you choose to use someone who died less than sixty years ago, be mindful of the fact they will probably have family living today. Be aware of how you portray your characters and of casting judgments.

As you write the story, try not to worry too much about historical accuracy. Don’t break to do more research as it’s time-consuming and you’re also at risk of going off on a tangent. Remember, first drafts are always rough, but you can add the finer detail and accurate facts during the re-writing phase before the final polish.

Once you have the first draft, it’s time to revise, and this is where you begin to build, layer by layer with the necessary finer detail. It’s vital that you don’t use historical facts as an information dump. So often you become caught in the trap of thinking that you must use all of the fabulous research you’ve discovered. Wrong! Readers recognise info dumps and often find them tedious as they slow the pace. Only use what is relevant and what will advance the story.

Remember the five senses as you write, something that will help your characters engage with the story. “Show” don’t “tell.” Let’s have them smell the burning buildings, the acrid smoke lining their throats and nostrils. Let them listen to the whistle of bombs plummeting to the ground. Have them feel the vibration of the explosion, the ground shaking beneath their feet, knocking them off balance and let them taste the coppery tang of blood in their mouths. Like any artist, your aim is to paint a picture with your story, so remember to paint yours using the historical facts as you go.

While it may all seem daunting in the beginning, don’t be deterred. Research, plan your story and write it without a care for how rough the first draft seems. You’ll be surprised at how much easier and clearer it becomes afterwards. And re-writing can be a joy as you transform a rough around the edges story into a sparkling diamond.

One last note: There are many resources available on how to write historical fiction, but if there is one single book I can recommend, it’s this: Get Started In Writing Historical Fiction by author Emma Darwin. It's an invaluable resource and a fantastic guide, and yes, if you’re wondering, I do have a copy. And on that note, happy writing!

Publisher: Avis Press
Pub. Date: November 28th, 2016
Pages: 313

England, 1942. After three years of war, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.
Dr. Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible, Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.
Based on a true story, The Beauty Shop is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

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About the Author

Suzy Henderson was born in the North of England, but a career in healthcare would eventually take her away to rural Somerset. Years later, she decided to embark upon a degree in English Literature with The Open University.

That was the beginning of a new life journey, rekindling her love of writing and passion for history. With an obsession for military and aviation history, she began to write.

It was an old black and white photograph of her grandmother that caught Suzy’s imagination many years ago. Her grandmother died in 1980 taking her tales of war with her, having never spoken of those times. When she decided to research her grandmother’s war service in the WAAF, things spiralled from there. Little-known stories and tragedies came to light and it is such discoveries that inform her writing.

Having relocated to the wilds of North Cumbria, she has the Pennines and the Scottish border in sight and finally feels at home. Suzy is a member of the Historical Novel Society and her debut novel, The Beauty Shop, was released in November 2016.

Discover more about Suzy on her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.