Wednesday, April 25, 2018

HFVBT Review: Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pub. Date: April 10, 2018
Pages: 400

Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary



Synopsis



In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era.

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage.

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion?

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.


What Did I Think About the Story?



Ecstasy is my first experience with Mary Sharratt's novels, although I have a few others on my shelves, and I was blown away by the beauty and depth of the writing. I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that I wasn't familiar with Alma Mahler before picking up this book so had no preconceptions of how her story would unfold. What I found within the pages was a brilliant and passionate woman who, for years, put her own happiness on hold for a selfish husband until she was finally able to burst free to become the accomplished woman she was always meant to be.

My favorite aspect of the story would have to be the beauty with which it was written. It flows like music and Sharratt brings Alma's world to life with vivid color and dimension, painting this unique and colorful world with detailed strokes. This can be both good and bad as I really came to appreciate Alma's talents and became somewhat frustrated with what she put up with at the hands of her husband, Gustav Mahler, and the lack of support she received from her mother and stepfather.

It's been a while since I've read a work of historical fiction and yearned for the history to be different so a real life character would have a different life, but here we are. Sharratt  made me care for Alma in a way that made me feel like I wanted her, and other characters, to make different choices. For example, her parents raised her within this progressive artistic community but then forbade her from finding her own foothold within it, and then supported the notion of her giving up her own ambitions for a man who thought his own genius was more important than his wife's happiness and fulfillment. And Gustav...I apologize to any fans of his talent but, as a man, I found him to be just awful. The way he treated Alma was simply uncaring and cruel and, by the time he seemed to realize that he needed to support her, I personally thought it was too little too late. It made it worse for me that Alma even felt he was being selfish and hurtful but still supported it as a "dutiful wife" because his brilliance was so great. It was just so aggravating to me!

All this being said I was very happy to see that, with all the pain and loss she endured during her marriage to Mahler, she was able to eventually share her own talents with the world. The author includes a wonderful author's note at the end that fills the reader in on Alma's life after this story ends and I have to admit that I would love to read a novel about that part of her life (maybe a sequel? Hmm???). Either way I'll be on the hunt for more about Alma Mahler as Ecstasy has stirred me to need to learn more and I'm very excited to read more by Mary Sharratt!    


What Did I Think About the Cover?



This just so  happens to be one of my all-time favorite covers (I even picked it for a Cover Crush post)! Everything about it is simply stunning, take your pick!


My Rating: 4.5/5.0


Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with a free copy of Ecstasy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine alone. Continue below for more information about the book and the HFVBT!
 
 

Praise for Ecstasy

 
 
“In ECSTASY, Mary Sharratt plunges the reader into the tumultuous and glamorous fin de siècle era, bringing to life its brilliant and beguiling leading lady. Finally, Alma Mahler takes center stage, surging to life as so much more than simply the female companion to the brilliant and famous men who loved her. Sharratt’s portrait is poignant and nuanced, her novel brimming with rich historic detail and lush, evocative language.” – Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress

“A tender, intimate exploration of a complicated woman, Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY renders in exquisitely researched detail and fiercely imagined scenes the life of Alma Mahler — daughter, wife, mother, lover, and composer — and the early 20th Century Vienna and New York in which she came of age. I loved this inspiring story of an early feminist standing up for her art.” – Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Race for Paris

“Evocative and passionate, ECSTASY illuminates through its tempestuous and talented heroine a conundrum that resonates across the centuries: how a woman can fulfill her destiny by being both a lover and an artist.” – Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

“Mary Sharratt makes a triumphant return to the page with this masterful portrait of Alma Mahler, the wife of the famous composer Gustav Mahler. Set in a time and place when a woman could only hope to be the power behind the throne, Sharratt brings a meticulously researched and richly illuminated account of a young woman who was a brilliant composer in her own right. Alma may have had to suppress her own talents to support Mahler; however, ECSTASY reveals that she was a woman who “contained multitudes.” ECSTASY is an important work of historical fiction, as well as a timely and topical addition to the canon of knowledge that needs to better represent important women and their contributions.” – Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books

“Alma Mahler’s unexpected, often heartbreaking journey from muse to independence comes to vivid, dramatic life in Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY. Sharratt skillfully evokes turn-of-the-century Vienna and the musical genius of the era, returning Alma to her rightful place in history as both the inspiration to the men in her life and a gifted artist in her own right.” – C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel

“Mary Sharratt has more than done justice to one of the most interesting, shocking, and passionate women of the 20th century. Overflowing with life and lust, ECSTASY explores this flawed but fascinating woman who was not only muse but a genius in her own right.” – New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose

“A deeply affecting portrait of the woman rumored to be the most notorious femme fatale of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY is as heartbreaking and seductive as Alma Mahler herself.” —Kris Waldherr, author of Doomed Queens and Bad Princess


Buy the Book

 
 
 
 

Buy the Audiobook

 
 

About the Author



MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.

Her novels include Summit Avenue, The Real Minera, The Vanishing Point, The Daughters of Witching Hill, Illuminations, and The Dark Lady’s Mask.

For more information, please visit Mary Sharratt’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

 

It's Giveaway Time!!



During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Ecstasy! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents 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!!
 
 

HFVBT Schedule

 

Tuesday, April 10

Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, April 11

Feature at Passages to the Past

Thursday, April 12

Review at Bookfever
Review at Unabridged Chick

Friday, April 13

Interview at Unabridged Chick
Review at View From the Birdhouse

Saturday, April 14

Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 16

Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, April 17

Review at Based on a True Story

Wednesday, April 18

Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, April 19

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, April 20

Review at Linda’s Book Obsession

Sunday, April 22

Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Monday, April 23

Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, April 24

Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, April 25

Review at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, April 26

Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Friday, April 27

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Monday, April 30

Review at Caryn, the Book Whisperer

Tuesday, May 1

Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, May 3

Interview at The Writing Desk

Monday, May 7

Review at What Cathy Read Next

Wednesday, May 9

Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, May 10

Review at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, May 11

Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Monday, May 14

Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, May 16

Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, May 17

Review at Nicole Evelina

Friday, May 18

Interview at Nicole Evelina



 
 
 

Friday, April 20, 2018

New Release Review: The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

Pub. Date: April 10th, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 349

Genres: Thriller / Suspense / Mystery / Contemporary Fiction


Synopsis



What if your perfect home turned out to be the scene of the perfect crime?


Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.


And now the police are watching them...


What Did I Think About the Story?



I actually finished reading The New Neighbors a few weeks ago but have been struggling somewhat with writing this review. I've been reading so many mystery/thrillers lately that I think I'm starting to develop a pretty high expectation for new ones I pick up. With the synopsis above I thought this was going to be a heart-stopping, fast-paced sort of thriller but I didn't find that to be the case. That isn't to say it wasn't enjoyable, it was. It just wasn't quite what I was expecting. Let me explain...

The beginning starts with the police outside Jack and Syd's new house and goes back in time to have them both, separately, tell the reader what happened from their own viewpoint. It's written almost as a confessional or diary, being somewhat informal and even funny at times. I loved this way of letting things unfold! However, as I neared the 50% mark and both characters were still being incredibly vague about absolutely everything, I began to get a little fed up and just wanted pieces to begin falling into place. And when those pieces did in fact fall I found the revelations to be somewhat anti-climatic and not that surprising. I just didn't find it all that "thrilling".

Something else I did enjoy, and which I wasn't expecting, was the more domestic drama aspect of the story. Both of these characters had incredibly hard childhoods, especially Syd, and seeing how those childhood traumas reached their ugly fingers into the characters' adult lives, influencing the kind of people they became and the actions they would take, was interesting. I think I might have enjoyed the story more if I went into the reading thinking this was more family drama then psychological thriller.

The New Neighbors, while definitely not what I would consider a "page turner", was still a quick and enjoyable read. There are still a few twists to satisfy a mystery reader, although I can't say they were all that hard to see coming. I love the way the author first presented the story, with the back and forth confessional style between Jack and Syd, and I would very much like to read other stories in this format as I think it could prove an excellent way to throw shocks and twists into a reading experience. While not a homerun for me I am still interested to see what else the author might have coming out next.


What Did I Think About the Cover?



This is a GREAT cover for a suspense/mystery novel! It's dark and hazy and you don't really know if the person in the window is trying to get out of that house or is possibly spying on someone on the outside. Are they friend or foe...who knows! I also enjoy the large title that let's you know what the story will be about (and gives you a hint about the person in the window). Really like this cover!


My Rating:3.0/5.0



I received a digital ARC copy of The New Neighbors from Netgalley and Berkley, Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine alone. For more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase your own copy, see Goodreads HERE.
 
 
 


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cover Crush: A Brush with Shadows by Anna Lee Huber

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. You'll find my Cover Crush selection below and I'll link to everyone else's at the end of the post.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....
 
 
 
 
I love the feeling of movement in this cover, with the jacket and skirt whipping around in the wind. I also love the shadows - which make me think of danger and mystery - mixed with the brightness of the upcoming sun - which makes me think of safety and/or peace just on the horizon. All of the colors flow well together and I especially like how the letters seem to glow against the background. A really pleasing, beautiful cover!
 
What might this glorious cover be telling us about the story inside? Let's see....
 
 
Sebastian Gage returns home to battle the ghosts of his past and prevent them from destroying his future with Kiera in the latest exciting installment in this national bestselling series.

July 1831. It's been fifteen years since Sebastian Gage has set foot in Langstone Manor. Though he has shared little with his wife, Lady Kiera Darby, about his past, she knows that he planned never to return to the place of so many unhappy childhood memories. But when an urgent letter from his grandfather reaches them in Dublin, Ireland, and begs Gage to visit, Kiera convinces him to go.

All is not well at Langstone Manor. Gage's grandfather, the Viscount Tavistock, is gravely ill, and Gage's cousin Alfred has suddenly vanished. He wandered out into the moors and never returned. The Viscount is convinced someone or something other than the natural hazards of the moors is to blame for Alfred's disappearance. And when Alfred's brother Rory goes missing, Kiera and Gage must concede he may be right. Now, they must face the ghosts of Gage's past, discover the truth behind the local superstitions, and see beyond the tricks being played by their very own eyes to expose what has happened to Gage's family before the moors claim yet another victim...
 

Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):


Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired



Created by Magdalena of A Bookaholic Swede
 
 
 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Novel Expressions Blog Tours: What My Stories Mean To Me ~ Guest Post by Alfred Woollacott III, Author of The Immigrant


After retirement, I dabbled in my genealogy and family history. Soon, researching the vital dates and locations needed for my family tree branches grew tedious; whereas snippets of ancestors’ lives were intriguing, compelling me to romanticized further to put leaves on my branches. Babbling became an obsession.

John Law, the protagonist in “The Immigrant”, is my seven-greats grandfather. He was captured at the Battle of Dunbar, endured a ‘death march’ to Durham Cathedral, and survived a horrific, life-altering, trans-Atlantic crossing to arrive at Boston. Still in his teens, he began life anew as a Scottish POW in a Puritan Theocracy. I wondered about such a life. The Immigrant in many respects symbolizes the lives of a few hundred Scottish POWs in Puritan times.

Naamah Carter, the protagonist in “The Believers in the Crucible Nauvoo”, is my two-greats grand aunt. Like many, she was inspired by Joseph Smith’s testimonies and traveled to Nauvoo to join the faithful. With the western exodus imminent, she married Brigham Young. I was aware of these two historic figures, researched them further, and was awestruck by events in Nauvoo and their effect on the believers. To many, plural marriage is an anathema; to others, an enigma. But Naamah’s story is unique, more than what my initial reaction provided.
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
Publisher: Myfourleggedstoolpublishers
Pub. Date: January 1st, 2015
Pages: 416
 
 
A historical saga that covers a winter of 1650/1651 journey of John Law, a young Scotsman captured by the English Lord Cromwell’s forces in seventeenth century Scotland during “The Battle of Dunbar”. He survives a death march to Durham, England and is eventually sent to Massachusetts Bay Colony as an indentured servant, arriving aboard the ship “Unity” that was carrying around 150 prisoners of war from different Scottish clans. Now an outcast, and in the sanctuary of the new colony, John starts over as an immigrant in a Puritan theocracy. He is first indentured to the Saugus Iron Works and then to Concord as a public shepherd in West Concord (now Acton). The young man faces obstacles often beyond his control, and his only ally is his faith. After his indenture is served he struggles a near lifetime to obtain title to his promised land. From start to finish “The Immigrant” is an intoxicating journey that follows the travails of John, his faith in God, his good wife and growing family.
 
 

Buy the Book 

 
 
 

About the Author

 
 
 

Alfred Woollacott, III retired from KPMG after a career spanning 34 years, choosing to reside full time at his summer residence on Martha’s Vineyard. Being “45 minutes from America” and with a 50 – 60 hour per week void to fill, he began dabbling into his family history. His dabbling grew into an obsession, and he published several genealogical summaries of his ancestors. But certain ones absorbed him such that he could not leave them. So he researched their lives and times further while evolving his writing skills from “just the facts ma’am” to a fascinating narrative style. Thus with imagination, anchored in fact and tempered with plausibility, a remote ancestor can achieve a robust life as envisioned by a writer with a few drops of his ancestor’s blood in his veins.

When not writing, Al serves on several Boards, and keeps physically active with golf, tennis, and hockey. He and his wife of 44 years, Jill, have four children and ten grandchildren.
 
Learn more about Al on his website and connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.
 
 

Novel Expressions Blog Tours Schedule



April 16th

Book Review – Locks, Hooks and Book

April 17th

Book Review- before the second sleep
Book Excerpt – A Bookaholic Swede

April 18th 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

HFVBT Feature ~ Courage Between Love and Death by Joseph Pillitteri + Tour-Wide Giveaway!!

Pub. Date: March 29, 2018
Publisher: Fireship Press
Pages: 302

Genre: Historical / Romance / Medical / Political



Elspeth has recently landed a nursing position at the 1901 Pan American Exposition Hospital in Buffalo, New York. This is a big boon for her, but things are not going as expected. She has to navigate mischievous patients, egotistical doctors, rival nurses and prejudices. For an Irish girl with a temper, this is no easy feat. Now President McKinley is coming to visit the Expo and everyone is in an uproar. On the home front, her life is no less hectic as she struggles to put food on the table and look out for her younger siblings.

When the unthinkable happens, it is a turning point, not only for the medical industry and our country’s security, but also for Elspeth personally. With her career and reputation on the line, will she have the courage to overcome the challenges she faces to clear her name and continue to be there for the ones she loves?


Praise for Courage Between Love and Death



“…Pilliterri deftly weaves together the state of medicine, the social class spectrum and a light love story…the chaos of the surgery on the President and the anxious days till his death provide palpable tension…” —Dr. Jean Richardson, Associate Professor, Emeritus, SUNY Buffalo State College

“…Joseph Pillitteri’s writing is flawless and delightful. The tension builds up very fast and doesn’t slow down until the satisfying conclusion. Courage Between Love and Death is focused, deft, and balanced, and the reader will follow the protagonist through her emotional and psychological turmoil until the very last page. A gripping story with great historical references, it’s an edge of the seat read. Courage Between Love and Death by Joseph Pillitteri is a historical novel that is well-researched and written to great satisfaction.” —Christian Sia, Readers’ Favorite

“Courage Between Love and Death is a well-researched and masterfully crafted historical novel with strong characters and a mesmerizing plot. Apart from developing a very strong conflict, Joseph Pillitteri does a brilliant job in weaving powerful dialogues and intrigue into the story. The reader is transported into an atmospheric world with medical personnel, strong personalities, and a historic event that will remain engraved in the minds of many. There is so much to enjoy in this novel — the drama, the emotional and psychological intensity of the story, the excellent prose and the compelling characters. I was sucked into the narrative from the very first page.” —Romuald Dzemo, Readers’ Favorite
 
 

Buy the Book

 
 

About the Author

 

While working at Roswell Park Memorial Hospital in Buffalo, NY, Joseph Pillitteri became intrigued by the role Dr. Park played in the surgery of President McKinley at the 1901 Pan American Exposition. It was a pleasure to shape facts and fiction together to tell the story.

Previous works by Pillitteri include When the Giraffe Runs Down (Dial Press), Two Hours on Sunday (Dial Press), The Abortion (Penguin Books), and Life Pulse (Penguin Books).


It's Giveaway Time!!

 
 


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents 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!!

 

HFVBT Schedule

 

Thursday, March 29

Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, March 30

Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Saturday, March 31

Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, April 2

Review at Back Porchervations
Feature at Clarissa Reads it All

Tuesday, April 3

Feature at T’s Stuff

Wednesday, April 4

Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, April 6

Review at Cup of Sensibility

Sunday, April 8

Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Tuesday, April 10

Feature at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, April 12

Feature at Donna’s Book Blog
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, April 18

Tour Recap at Passages to the Past


 
 
 




Thursday, April 12, 2018

Cover Crush: The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan

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. You'll find my Cover Crush selection below and I'll link to everyone else's at the end of the post.

So, without further ado, my Cover Crush this week is.....
 
 
 
 
Oh for the love of mermaids this is a gorgeous cover! I love the cyclical pattern of the two mermaids and how their hair seems to flow like waves in the water. There is such a swirling movement that makes me think of deep ocean and hidden magical secrets. Beautiful!!
 
Let's read what the story is all about....
 
 
Mara’s island is one of stories and magic. She knows she’ll eventually end her days atop the cliff, turned to stone and gazing out at the horizon like all the villagers that went before her, drawn by the otherworldly call of the sea. Her whole family will be there too, even her brother Bee and her sister Islay.

But the island and the sea do what they want, and when they claim a price from her family, Mara’s world changes forever.

As years pass and Mara grows into herself and her scars, a chance meeting with the magnetic Pearl brings magic to life once more in ways that Mara never thought possible, in a story that she never would have dreamed for herself before.

The enchanting spiritual prequel to The Gracekeepers, Kirsty Logan’s The Gloaming is a present-day fable that brims over with dazzling imagination and captivating language.
 

Don't forget to check out what covers my blogger buddies are drooling over this week (updated as they become available):



Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired



Created by Magdalena of
A Bookaholic Swede
 
 
 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spotlight on Lady Helena Investigates

Publisher: Aspidistra Press
Pub. Date: March 14th, 2018
Pages: 359


Series: Scott-De Quincy Mysteries , Book One
Genre: Historical Mystery



A reluctant lady sleuth finds she’s investigating her own family.

Step into Lady Helena Whitcombe’s world with the first novel in a series that will blend family saga and mystery-driven action with a slow-burn romance in seven unputdownable investigations.

1881, Sussex. Lady Helena Scott-De Quincy’s marriage to Sir Justin Whitcombe, three years before, gave new purpose to a life almost destroyed by the death of Lady Helena’s first love. After all, shouldn’t the preoccupations of a wife and hostess be sufficient to fulfill any aristocratic female’s dreams? Such a shame their union wasn’t blessed by children . . . but Lady Helena is content with her quiet country life until Sir Justin is found dead in the river overlooked by their grand baroque mansion.

The intrusion of attractive, mysterious French physician Armand Fortier, with his meddling theory of murder, into Lady Helena’s first weeks of mourning is bad enough. But with her initial ineffective efforts at investigation and her attempts to revive her long-abandoned interest in herbalism comes the realization that she may have been mistaken about her own family’s past. Every family has its secrets—but as this absorbing series will reveal, the Scott-De Quincy family has more than most.

Can Lady Helena survive bereavement the second time around? Can she stand up to her six siblings’ assumption of the right to control her new life as a widow? And what role will Fortier—who, as a physician, is a most unsuitable companion for an earl’s daughter—play in her investigations?


Praise for The House of Closed Doors Series



"I cannot praise Jane Steen enough for her ability to build a world that captures every essence of an era. She was able to take the singularly focused plot of an unwed teen and wrap her journey with the social, political and cultural values of the day. Within this framework the reader is given an eyewitness experience into the daily realities of homemaking, transportation, fashion, society’s value of women and those less fortunate as well historical events such as commerce, war and the Chicago fire.”

“I loved this book. It was well written and well edited. The story captured me on the first few pages and held my interest to the last page. I forced myself to close the book at midnight! Moves nicely along from scene to scene. Some of the heroine’s choices were not what I expected and when I thought I had unraveled the whole mystery, I hadn’t. Just an overall satisfying reading experience! Loved it.”

“Engrossing historical fiction that really stays with the characters (who are well-crafted) and doesn’t go for the obvious cliches. I loved Nell, the protagonist, and so many others…Martin and Tess especially. I admit I kind of wanted it to end a certain way, but the ending the author chose was a braver one for Nell, and more true to who she’d been throughout the novel. The historical backdrop was interesting, but it was the character work that really drew me in, and the mystery.”

“Extremely well written story! I couldn’t put it down, and pulled an all-nighter reading it. I was mesmerized by this story, and captivated by the depth of characterization.”

 

Buy the Book



AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE

About the Author

 
 
Jane Steen was born in England and, despite having spent more years out of the British Isles than in, still has a British accent according to just about every American she meets.

Her long and undistinguished career has included a three-year stint as the English version of a Belgian aerospace magazine, an interesting interlude as an editor in a very large law firm, and several hectic years in real estate marketing at the height of the property boom. This tendency to switch directions every few years did nothing for her resume but gave her ample opportunity to sharpen her writing skills and develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

Around the edges of her professional occupations and raising children, she stuck her nose in a book at every available opportunity and at one time seemed on course to become the proverbial eternal student. Common sense prevailed, though, and eventually she had the bright idea of putting her passion for books together with her love of business and writing to become a self-published author.

Jane has lived in three countries and is currently to be found in the Chicago suburbs with her long-suffering husband and two adult daughters.

For more information, please visit Jane Steen’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
 
 

It's Giveaway Time!!

 

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two eBooks of Lady Helena Investigates by Jane Steen! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form HERE.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents 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!!
 
 

HFVBT Schedule

 
 
Monday, March 12


Feature at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, March 13


Feature at To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, March 14


Review at Pursuing Stacie

Thursday, March 15


Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, March 16


Interview at Let Them Read Books
Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, March 20


Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Wednesday, March 21


Review at Rachael’s Ramblings
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Tuesday, March 27


Review at View from the Birdhouse

Wednesday, March 28


Feature at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, March 30


Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, April 3


Review at Based on a True Story

Wednesday, April 4


Review at SilverWood Sketches

Thursday, April 5


Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, April 11


Review at What Cathy Read Next
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Thursday, April 12


Feature at Teaser Addicts Book Blog

Friday, April 13


Tour Wrap Up at Passages to the Past