I originally created this blog to keep track of the books that I read throughout the year, but it has definitely become so much more for me! The title may say Historical Fiction Obsession, but I do read & review ALL genres of books. I am a lover of historical fiction & just reading in general!
GREEN’ A HUMOROUS JAUNT INTO D.C. POLICITCS, ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
Review on Huffington Post calls Annabel Hertz’s new book:
energetic, witty and timely
WASHINGTON, D.C. –
Drawing on clever social commentary and her own experience in the political
realm, author Annabel Hertz will get readers “Seeing Green” in no time.
new book “Seeing Green” (April 15, 2014) steps into the world of cutthroat
politics and environmental policy as seen through the eyes of a young
multicultural woman whose personal life seems to parallel her professional life
as an activist on the frontlines of Washington D.C. in the ’90s. Never afraid
to articulate her personal convictions, Hertz’s modern day heroine is strong
and profound, yet humorous and relatable.
Green” is Hertz’s first endeavor in historical fiction, reviewed on The
Huffington Post as “timely, energetic
Much like the protagonist she introduces in “Seeing
Green,” Hertz has delved into the world of politics with organizations involved
in international relations and sustainable development. More recently, she
served as a policy consultant, adjunct professor at the Geneva School of Diplomacy
and International Relations and Global Governance Fellow at the World Economic
“Seeing Green” is Hertz’s debut novel. She holds master’s
degrees from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and San Francisco
State University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from the University of
California where she studied politics. Hertz is currently pursuing a doctorate
in international relations at American University in Washington D.C.
Guest Post by Annabel Hertz
A Year of Great Expectancy—Annabel Hertz
prospective book agent once asked me if I would consider changing the historical
setting of Seeing Green. She suggested
the story could take place in the current day—or be rewritten as “timeless.”
It was awkward
request, I thought, in regards to a novel about a young woman’s political
coming of age in 1992—during a simultaneous coming of age phase in American and
international politics: surely, a protagonist and her era could not be
separated! (Not to mention the sense of dislocation this would cause the other characters…)
a time of great expectancy. The Cold War was finally over. One could
practically hear the planet exhaling in relief. Still, it was not clear what was
next in the world of international politics: the Gulf War hinted at a new era
of coercive action, while the Earth Summit signaled quite a different agenda
that sparked many an imagination for years to come. In the US, Bill Clinton’s
presidential campaign re engaged Americans in electoral politics—both embodying
and generating possibility, instead of apprehension. And we ended the year with
an unprecedented six women serving in the Senate.
It was a
heady period—and a heady moment for any 25 year-old protagonist to be leaving
home in order to chase that aura of possibility. Many of the problems we have
resigned to live with now still seemed solvable then, despite the limitations
of twentieth century tools—such as fax machines and voicemail—for global
So it was
not that I was inflexible, I told the agent. Rather, it just seemed clear that—even
though some of the events that took place in Seeing Green would repeat themselves a decade later—the story could
not have happened at any other time. A protagonist and her context are not so
with Annabel Hertz
Arcani Kirsch, the
heroine in “Seeing Green,” is a multicultural woman with a Native American and
Jewish background. What role does her ethnicity play in the book?
Arcani’s mixed heritage plays
several roles in the book. First, it’s a fundamental source of her identity
predicament in that she is trying, throughout the book, to relate to both sides
of her lineage and draw upon and unify these heritages for inspiration—and for
connections to her own life.
At the same time, she sometimes
feels a bit in limbo because of this mixture, and even experiences tension
around it—not to mention the friction she encounters, as a minority, within
society as a whole, which causes her to wrestle with her identity as an
Her multiculturalism is also
symbolic of all the other ways that she is divided in the story—between
striking out on her own and staying close to her aunt, sticking up for herself
and not making waves, getting ahead without sacrificing values, being a
Washington inside and an
outsider….carefree versus committed, east coast-west coast. And the list goes
So, as a result, like many of
us, Arcani spends a fair amount of time trying to both assert and reconcile
competing tendencies in—or parts of— herself.
Finally, her mixed heritage is—I
think and hope—a source of humor in book.
What do you think
makes Arcani such a relatable character?
The aforementioned internal
struggles makes her relatable, including to men, which indicates some level of
universality in her character. She is imperfect—as are her immediate work
environs and personal life, so most people have had some experience with that,
and can empathize with her and things not going according to plan, see her
vulnerabilities and forgive her self-righteousness, such that they welcome
growth that occurs during her various mini crises, and want her to succeed.
Are you anything
On one hand, almost everything
that happens to Arcani has never happened to me. She really took on a life of
her own—which I am sure is a typical for many writers. On the other hand, I
channeled some of my views through her, and reinterpreted some specific moments
or emotions I have experienced in scenes with her, and added my heritage to
hers halfway into writing the book specifically to personalize the story (as
well as to complicate things). So, I am sure there are some similarities
between us— though some folks who are not overly fond of her are still friends
with me! But I also put pieces of myself—so to speak—in the other lead female
characters, and even in the male and secondary characters. Each character is
partly a composite of various people—and partly a product of imagination.
“Seeing Green” is
a work of historical fiction. What parts of the book are based on real events?
campaign events like the Democratic National Convention, the scene in Bryant
Park, the Inaugural parade—those all occurred, as did of course the Rio
Conference on Environment and Development, although the Earth Treaty is a gross
over simplification of that conference’s outcomes.
The one-year follow up to Rio, the Ministerial conference in Paris,
never existed. Some events are mixed—for example, the environmental inaugural
ball occurred but its locale and the events in it were fictionalized, as was
the politics on Capitol Hill and the hearing, though I drew from real hearings
that were occurring at that time. References to international events—the
aftermath of the Cold War, the Iraq war, Chernobyl, the Bosnian conflict—are
all of course real. By establishing this broader context, I tried to capture
the political zeitgeist of the early 90s. I also ended up showing how
history—and particularly public and political debates—are cyclical. To me, the
similarities and parallels were notable.
Do you have to
know a lot about politics or environmental policy to enjoy “Seeing Green?”
Not at all.
In fact, one of my goals was to personalize the politics and policy to the
point that it was intrinsic to the stories about the characters and their
motivations, personalities, and growth trajectories. I wanted to make politics
more accessible. Some of what’s currently popular on television about
Washington already does this, but I think Seeing Green takes accessibility to a
new level because of the depth and multidimensionality of the protagonist and
her struggles (which doesn’t normally exist in political fiction), and because
of its focus on underlings and underdogs who may have linkages to power but are
relatively powerless, and have their own dynamics.
How did you get
interested in politics and international relations?
When I was 14, I saw a documentary at
school called ‘The Last Epidemic’ about nuclear war and based on a conference
held by Physicians for Social Responsibility. That was a life changing moment,
much the way the cold war influenced the character Ginger in the 2012 film
“Ginger and Rosa,” only in my case there was a delayed reaction—it wasn’t until
college that I became active in the anti nuclear testing movement and
interested in international disarmament. That was a formative and exciting
time. I was inspired by Helen Caldicott, the Australian anti-nuclear activist,
the Western Shoshone People, who were leading the charge in the US, and by
Gorbachev and the momentum of Perestroika in Russia. Soon
after, the Berlin wall was dismantled.
How did your
experience in politics and policy shape your book?
experiences provided a very healthy reservoir to draw upon when coming up with
the narrative and sub plots. Although the book really arose from the sheer
desire to create and entertain, the content seemed value added and an
appropriate fit—and the perspective seemed unique to what’s already out there.
“Seeing Green” is
humorous and entertaining, yet it serves as a commentary on some serious
issues. What do you want readers to take away from your book?
foremost, I want them to have fun and be entertained—but ideally in a way that
also feels nourishing and is perhaps thought provoking and maybe even moving.
Some of my favorite films and novels combine these elements, and I worked hard
to make the book read lightly, while still containing grit and ballast. In
terms of take aways, the idea of being true to oneself both emanates and
resonates. I thought that idea might inspire young women in particular—since
Arcani is 25—but it’s a classic message that’s always had broader appeal. Also
there is the green message—a de-emphasis on materialism—but this is conveyed
through the plot and protagonist’s values, and is not intended to be preachy or
overbearing, and I don’t think it comes across as such.
knowingly. “I knew your name, Re, both your first and your last. How could I not.”
pretend you didn’t know me?”
casually. “Would you rather me have told those ladies that we slept together?”
From Faye Hall's 'She's a Lot Like You', released
Faye Hall, an
Australian author, will have her second eBook, ‘She’s A lot Like You’ released
with Red Sage Publishing April this year.
Like her other passion
driven, mystery filled books, her new release is set in a small township of
North Queensland, Australia during the late 1800's.
setting for ‘She’s A lot Like You’, is a township in Queensland most commonly
known for its history in gold mining. However,
for her story, Faye has chosen to show a more glamorous and risqué side of this
once very prosperous town. There are
beautiful gowns, gala dances and the hidden beauty of a country estate, all
things Ravenswood had and more before the gradual decline of the town. As with all her stories, Faye has included
something singularly Australian to entice her readers into the hypnotic allure
of the Australian culture in the late Victorian period.
Faye has chosen
this period to set her stories in precisely because she feels it has not been
explored enough, nor has the beauty of Northern Australia during that period
been represented to its fullest extent.
Other townships Faye explores through her writings include the Burdekin
Shire, Sarina, Proserpine and Bowen (the township made famous by Baz Luhrmann’s
With every book,
Faye has strived to give her readers not only the passionate connection between
the hero and heroine, but also the ever present
threat of deceit, scandal, theft and sometimes even murder.
third book has recently been contracted with Red Sage, but as yet a release
date is unavailable.
Faye’s books can be purchased direct from Red Sage
When and why did you
begin writing? I always loved stories as a kid and it fascinated me how
they were written. I would even try to
write different endings to some of my fairy tales. By the time I started high school I was
writing my own original poems and short stories. Several of my poems were published in local
and international journals.
Why/how did you start
writing romance?I was about 15 or 16 when I wrote my first romance
story. It was barely more than a couple
of pages written in the back of one of my school books. I loved how I could write about two peoples
life struggles but always give them a happy ending. I instantly thought “This is for me!”
What inspires you?
Movies, music, other authors, etc?I find a lot of inspiration in music…all
types of music too…my collection ranges from 1960’s rock to opera to more
modern heavy rock. In more recent years
though I have been able to find just as much inspiration from certain TV series
What are you working
on at the moment?At the moment I’m waiting for edits for a third script
titled “Mistress of Purity”. So while I
wait for that I’ve started writing a new script called “Passions in the
Dust”. It’s about a man who lives on a
cattle station in Bowen, Queensland, Australia who buys a mail order bride from
England. When she arrives though he
discovers her to have been one of his mistresses back in England. There are cattle rustlers and many disasters
happening on his station too. So that is
managing to keep me very busy.
Who is your favorite character
from one of your stories and why? Favorite character? Is it bad of me to say I love them all
lol. But if I had to choose only one I
guess it would have to be Rush Mullens, the heroine from my debut eBook ‘My Gift
To You’. She’s a gutsy little thing who
just doesn’t give much of a damn about the restrictions of society.
If you get writer’s
block when you’re writing, how do you get around it?My husband is
wonderful for getting me through writers block!
He starts asking me about whichever story I’m working on at that
particular time and asking me ‘why is this there?’ or ‘what happens
next?’. He gets me talking about things
until the story just starts to flow again.
What’s your biggest
writing achievement? Why? I see all my published works as a fantastic
achievement. I’ve been writing and
submitting works for about 15 years now, so I know quite well how hard it is to
get into the very competitive market of romance. I still literally jump for joy with every
acceptance letter I get for a script.
Willow stood with her back to Re, never able to see
his approach. She didn’t even see the look of horror on his face...nor
did he see the gleam of tears on her cheeks. All he saw was her being
held in Chris’s arms, her body only a breath away from his. It was a
closeness he knew was far from accepted in polite society.
It was a closeness he shared with her...had thought to only share with
Looking to his friend, Re silently pleaded with
him. He needed to hear him say it was all just a misunderstanding.
He needed him to put at ease the quickly growing doubt in his heart.
But he didn’t hear any of this. All he saw
was the obvious lust gleaming in the young man’s eyes.
Chris cocked his brow, as if it was obvious their
reason for being together. When Re looked at him, begging to know the
truth, Chris’s smile turned into an obvious sneer.
Slowly, he shrugged his shoulders.
“How could I refuse?” he muttered, his words almost
Hearing this short statement through her distress, Willow knew someone
had found them. Raising her tear-covered face from Chris’s shoulder she
tried to free herself from his unrelenting grasp. Realising her struggles
were useless, she turned in his arms to see who had approached them. Only
too late did she realise just how suggestive her position would look.
Her eyes’ meeting the hurt and pain in Re’s eyes,
Willow knew instantly what he was concluding of what he was seeing.
“Re,” she whispered, almost desperate.
His dark stare turned hateful.
“Damn you both to hell!” he spat at them,
immediately turning back to make a quick return to the estate house.
“Re,’ she again called after him, struggling
against Chris’s tight hold.
When Chris didn’t let her go despite her struggles,
she turned slightly and pushed him away with all her might.
“You son of a bitch,’ she spat at him, suddenly
realising this man’s intentions.
“I may be, madam,” he replied casually. “Yet
even you can’t deny what you wanted when you lured me out here.”
Her dark eyes narrowed with hate.
“I hope you rot in hell, you bastard!”
Turning quickly, Willow ran after Re’s retreating
figure. She knew what he must be thinking, but he had to know she played
no willing part in it. He had to know the truth.
“Willow,” Chris called after her, slight anger in
his tone. “Damn it, you know you want this as much as I do.”
But she never turned back to him. She only
kept chasing the retreating figure of the man she loved.
Faye Hall's passion driven, mystery filled
books are set in small townships of North Queensland, Australia during the late
Each of her novels bring something symbolically Australian to her readers, from
Aboriginal herbal remedies, to certain gemstones naturally only found in this
part of the world.
Each of her books tell of a passionate connection between the hero and heroine,
surrounded and threatened by deceit, scandal, theft
and sometimes even murder.
These romances swerve from the traditional romances
as Faye aims to give her readers so much more intrigue, whilst also revealing
the hidden histories of rural townships of North Queensland.
Faye finds her inspiration from the histories of
not only the township she grew up in, but the many surrounding it. She also
bases most of her characters on people she has met in her life.
Faye was able to live her own passion driven
romance, marrying the love of her life after a whirlwind romance in 2013.
Together they are raising their 9 children in a remote country town in northern
Blurb for "She's A Lot Like You":
Jameson knew nothing of her family’s past or their connection to the Morgan
family when she first met Re Morgan. All she seen was his ruggedly
handsome appearance, his gentle words luring her into his strong embrace.
What she found was a passion beyond compare.
She couldn’t have foreseen the lies and family betrayal that would inevitably
rob her of the man she loved and forever change her life.
TEN YEARS LATER
Willow returned to the town life she loved so much, no longer ignorant to those
who had separated her from the man she’d loved. She was back now to make
those responsible pay for all they’d taken from her. In her search what
she found was the hardened man Re Morgan had become…
…a man whose mere glance reignited a passion she had thought long since
Re Morgan had left a horde of jilted lovers in his trail. When he seen
Willow again across the crowded dancehall, he wanted nothing more than to add
her to this list. Re wanted little more than a short, heated affair.
What he became involved in was far more scandalous than he could have ever
Characters are a lot like children by Mike Hartner
this mistake the first time I tried to write. I had this idea for a fiction in
the 1970s and 80s. The main characters were to be twentysomethings, and the
first outline said that 22-year-old boy meets 22-year-old girl, and the two go
do some important things. Simple, right? Create the boy and his
family. Make the path to the big city where the novel was set a straight
line... let him meet the girl there, and voila! Everything early is
solved. And the two protagonists can go solve the mysteries of the world
(*SIGH*) And then, I sat down to write the novel. The male was born
in Hawaii... so getting him to the big city was not a direct path. The
female was born in Chicago... she was also going to the big city, but needed a
reason. After all Chicago was big enough. And rather than take the
direct path, and go do what I expected, both of them went off on their own
direct line to the Big City...New York City, in this case...was anything BUT
straight or direct. And the adventures in other parts added to their many
Understand…I created these characters. They are something I’d been
thinking about in my own mind for some time. And then I set their births
H! broke loose. I didn’t plan on the male adventures with base jumping, or
surfing. I didn’t plan on the female being exposed to the EVIL forces, or
criminal elements or a neighbour whose parents insisted their daughter learn
about ALL of the world’s religions in increments of one or two years. These are
things I NEVER would have considered for either of them. And yet, they were
things that the protagonists themselves told me about their upbringing.
time I wrote a scene, and let it sit for a few days, the protagonists would tap
me on the arm and say, “Well, that’s not quite how it happened...” And I
would need to go back and set the record straight. One such event in the
male’s life dragged out for three or four weeks until it was ‘accurate’
according to the protagonist’s memory. And my mental response was ‘Why
didn’t you just say this in the first place?’ And the smart-ass response
was, ‘You never asked.’
I know I sound schizophrenic because I believe my characters are real. But, if
you are an author, or close to one, you probably also understand that
scenario. And I freely admit to listening to my characters as I’m writing
their story down. They are REAL…to me anyway.
characters, like children, hate being told what to do. And they like
carving their own path into your heart and your story.
you authors out there, feel free to plot and scheme (read: outline and
plan). But, don’t be surprised if your characters decide to go a different
way, and make the story more rich and enjoyable. Have fun doing it.
Oh, and the
story? Never got published. But not for the reasons you’re
thinking. No, the simple reason this story got put aside is because it was
meant to be part of a series. And it comes towards the end of that
series. So, obviously you need to write the beginning first. And the
beginning is I, Walter.
I, Walter is the first in a series of books in a saga which will span
continents and time to arrive in present day North America.
Each in the series will be connected, though that connection may not be
obvious for several more books.
It's almost like looking at a menorah (sic). Many lines, seemingly
individual, connect to center at different points.
Walter Crofter was born into
In a country and a time where
favor and politics were both deadly, can an honest boy stay true to himself?
Especially given his family
About the Author
Mike Hartner was born in Miami in 1965. He’s traveled much
of the continental United States. He has several years post secondary
education, and experience teaching and tutoring young adults. Hartner has owned
and run a computer firm for more than twenty-five years. He now lives in
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with his wife and child. They share the
neighborhood and their son with his maternal grandparents.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: Young Adult
Available from: Amazon.com
Walter is a grand tale of adventure that reminds me of the Patrick
O'Brien's Aubrey/Maturin adventure series but with a noble innocence and, a
most refreshing, charming slant. Romance, adventure, mystery, rescues,
deception, and vivid descriptions make I, Walter a most enjoyable and
inspirational read of chivalry. This CBR reviewer looks forward to reading more
of the Crofter saga from Mike Hartner" Chanticleer Book Reviews
“This book truly is
New York Best-seller material!" Charity Langley, Author
Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor's betrothed, she's the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can't resist stealing a kiss . . .
AN ADVENTUROUS LADY
Lady Amelia's duty is to marry well, but that hasn't stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she's beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she's furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he's ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Paula Quinn lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven. She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.
Give me a book that involves romance and Scottish
Highlanders, and I’m a happy woman! “The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell” by
Paula Quinn definitely hits the mark with this great historical romance. The
characters are great, and both Amelia and Edmund are people who you can relate
to and root for. I love Amelia’s passionate nature and her rebellious side. You
can’t help but like her. Edmund is the typical rogue at first, until he falls
hard for Amelia. The writing style is great, and there is the perfect mixture
of romance and action going on. I hate romance novels that are like one giant
orgy, this one has some steamy sex scenes, but evens it out with an actual
story line that is easy to follow. The sexual tension between Amelia and Edmund
is thick, and as a reader you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for and
wanting something to happen between them. The wait is worth it though, because
when they do finally hook up, it is a steamy scene. I like that the writer also
followed Amelia’s servant Sarah’s life in this novel. It wasn’t all about Amelia
and Edmund, it also brought other characters stories into this novel.
I would definitely recommend this novel to all lovers of
historical romance novels. Paula Quinn definitely has a knack when it comes to
writing well-balanced romance novels. If you get a little hot thinking about
Scottish Highlanders in their sexy kilts, than this novel is definitely for
I give “The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell” a FIVE out of
Literary Writer Renders Controversial Life of
“John L’Heureux has built a gripping
story of love, genius and betrayal.”
Nobel Prize for Literature, Booker Prize Winner
“Deeply enjoyable, The Medici Boy soars
like an operatic aria, before breaking our hearts.”
Hwang, playwright, M. Butterfly, Chinglish
“L’Heureux’s is certainly one of
America’s greatest living writers. I’d put him in the top ten...And now he’s
come out with his first new novel in ten years, The Medici Boy, and it’s a
masterpiece, the most ambitious, beautiful, and complex novel I’ve read this
Financial Times of London
+ Blue Editions is proud to release perhaps the most passionate work of master
storyteller, John L’Heureux, in The Medici Boy [ISBN:
978-1-938231-50-6 (Hard Cover); ISBN: 978-1-938231-48-3 (E-book); US
$25.95; Historical / Literary Fiction; 346 Pages, April, 2014]. Described as “one of America’s greatest
living writers” by the Financial Times of London, L’Heureux returns with a
long-awaited new historical fiction novel; the result of years of research—backed
by a Guggenheim Grant—on location in Europe.
In this well-conceived, historically accurate
rendering, the Renaissance
worlds of art, politics and passion collide. With his distinct style and rich, sinewy
narrative, L’Heureux ingeniously transports the reader to Donatello’s
Renaissance Italy—directly into his bottega,
(workshop), as witnessed through the eyes of Luca Mattei, a devoted assistant.
creating his famous bronze of David and
Goliath, Donatello’s passion for his enormously beautiful model and part
time rent boy, Agnolo, ignites a dangerous jealousy that ultimately leads to
murder. Luca, the complex and conflicted assistant, will sacrifice all to save
Donatello, even his master’s friend—the great patron of art, Cosimo de’ Medici.
L’Heureux’s long-awaited hardcover delivers both a monumental and intimate
narrative of the creative genius, Donatello, at the height of his powers. With
incisive detail, L’Heureux artfully renders the master sculptor’s forbidden
homosexual passions, and the artistry that enthralled the leading—and
competing—powerbrokers of Renaissance Florence: the Medici and Albizzi
families. The finished work is a sumptuously detailed narrative that entertains
while it delves deeply into both the sacred and the profane within one of the
Italian Renaissance’s most consequential cities, fifteenth century Florence.
poet, novelist, and short story writer, John L’Heureux has taught at Georgetown
University, Tufts, Harvard, and (for more than 35 years) in the English
Department of Stanford University where he was Lane Professor of
Humanities. There he received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and
earned it again in 1998.
prolific writer, L’Heureux has written more than twenty books of fiction, short
fiction and poetry. His works have
appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Harper’s, The New Yorker, and
have been included in dozens of anthologies including Best American Stories and Prize
Stories: the O. Henry Awards.
L’Heureux has twice received writing fellowships from the National Endowment
for the Arts and in 2006 he was awarded a Guggenheim Grant to do research for The
Medici Boy, his new novel.
is retired and lives in Palo Alto with his wife Joan.
“The Medici Boy” by John L'Heureux was a great read. I love that it was written in first person, it
definitely helped me to really get to know the main character, and to understand what was going on throughout the novel. I
like that the narrator is a flawed character who is lead by his passions. It really helps the reader to relate to him, and to like him. I can't stand novels where I don't like the main character, so liking the main character was definitely a plus for me! The author does a great job of
really taking the reader into the story. You really see how much devastation
was caused by the black plague, and what the people went through because of it.
I definitely felt like I was right there with the narrator. It was also
interesting to see what went on behind the scenes when Donatello was creating a
work of art. The author did a great job of describing everything so well that
you can really picture his work. It's easy, as a reader, to imagine that things really worked like it's described in Donatello's studio.
The book did slow down a little at times, and there were
times when a lot of names, that were hard to pronounce, were mentioned so it got confusing. It got a little bogged
down at times also, like a lot was happening, but it wasn’t really going anywhere.
However, this didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the novel.
This is a great novel for lovers of historical fiction. I
really felt like I learned a lot about the time period, and about different
character’s in history. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in this time period or in historical fiction in general.
Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and author Carol M. Cram are excited to announce The Towers of Tuscany Book Blast! Join us from April 7-13 as The Towers of Tuscany is featured around the blogosphere, along with a chance to win one of three copies of this amazing new novel! Called "a beautifully crafted masterpiece of historical fiction", "lush", and "page-turning" Cram's debut novel will appeal to readers who enjoy a strong female lead who, against great odds, dares to follow a dream. The Towers of Tuscany includes a Reader's Guide making it a perfect Book Club pick! In honor of the Book Blast we are giving away three copies to three lucky readers, see below to enter.
Publication Date: January 23, 2014
New Arcadia Publishing
Formats: Paperback, Ebook
Genre: Historical Fiction
Set amid the twisting streets and sunlit piazzas of medieval Italy, the Towers of Tuscany tells the story of a woman who dares to follow her own path in the all-male domain of the painter’s workshop. Sofia Barducci is born into a world where a woman is only as good as the man who cares for her, but she still claims the right to make her own mistakes. Her first mistake is convincing her father to let her marry Giorgio Carelli, a wealthy saffron merchant in San Gimignano, the Tuscan city of towers. Trained in secret by her father to create the beautifully-crafted panels and altarpieces acclaimed today as masterpieces of late medieval art, Sofia’s desire for freedom from her father’s workshop leads her to betray her passion and sink into a life of loveless drudgery with a husband who comes to despise her when she does not produce a son.
In an attack motivated by vendetta, Sofia’s father is crushed by his own fresco, compelling Sofia to act or risk the death of her soul. The choice she makes takes her on a journey from misery to the heights of passion—both as a painter and as a woman. Sofia escapes to Siena where, disguised as a boy, she paints again. When her work attracts the notice of a nobleman who discovers the woman under the dirty smock, Sofia is faced with a choice that nearly destroys her.
The Towers of Tuscany unites a strong heroine with meticulously researched settings and compelling characters drawn from the rich tapestry of medieval Italy during one of Europe's most turbulent centuries. The stylishly written plot is packed with enough twists and turns to keep readers up long past their bedtimes.
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Praise for The Towers of Tuscany
“The Towers of Tuscany is a delightful escape to the Siena we all love. Carol Cram has crafted a delicious story about a strong woman torn between her secret past, her love of painting and the forbidden charms of her rich patron. Hard to resist and highly recommended!” - Anne Fortier, Author of The Lost Sisterhood and the New York Times bestseller, Juliet
“Carol Cram's lush descriptions and intriguing characters bring this dramatic tale of medieval Tuscany to life. If you love Italian art, a feisty heroine, and a page-turning plot, you will adore this novel.” – Deborah Swift, Author of A Divided Inheritance
"The Towers of Tuscany has all the elements of a wonderful historical novel?a talented, frustrated heroine, a treacherous, feckless husband, and a promise to a dying, much loved father who orders the heroine on a dangerous mission. Carol is a first rate storyteller. The research is well done. Every chapter displays a fine knowledge of painting technique of the 14th century, and customs and mores of the age. The details of dress, fabric, food, are flawless. The clever dialogue and fast pace make the novel zing along." - Roberta Rich, Author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife
“Sofia will set your heart racing as she attempts to find what we all, in our own ways, strive to seek: love, resolution, and artistic freedom. The legacy of this story will leave you yearning for more.” – Cathleen With, award-winning author of Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison
Carol M. Cram has enjoyed a great career as an educator, teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver for over twenty years and authoring forty-plus bestselling textbooks on business communications and software applications. She holds an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto and an MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. Carol is currently focusing as much of her attention as she can spare between walks in the woods on writing historical novels with an arts twist.
She and her husband, painter Gregg Simpson, share a life on beautiful Bowen Island near Vancouver, Canada.
To enter to win one of 3 copies of The Towers of Tuscany please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below.
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Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 13th.
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