Sunday, July 20, 2014

Julie's Books of a Lifetime

I joined the Historical Tapestry team exactly 2 years ago today, so I thought it was about time that I shared my books of a lifetime with you all.

I have always loved reading; to loose myself within the confines of a book, so that when I finish reading it feels like I have lost a good friend. As I sat to write this post I pondered on the many thousands of books I have read over the years. The list is enormous and I wonder if I had to choose a few really special books what would I choose?

So I am going to share the books that have left a lasting impression with me. The books that I can recall the plot months and in some cases years after I read it. Or perhaps the books that I re-read with complete regularity. There maybe a few surprises and if you are regular reader of the Anglers Rest blog you may be familiar with several of the books mentioned.

I don't know how old I was when I was introduced to books. I do recall sitting on my Grandmother's knee whilst she read to me the many Enid Blyton books that I loved. Starting with Noddy and Big Ears in the years before political correctness when completely mad! I still have my childhood set of Noddy books.

I then moved on to the Mr Twiddle series before racing on through the Famous Five, Malory Towers, St Clare's series. For those who would like a trip down memory lane there is an Enid Blyton Society. I also enjoyed the Nancy Drew series and they were frequently borrowed (and re-borrowed) from the library and the library of yesteryear when the tickets were a heavy card and the books exchanged for a round disc or your library ticket.

Those books and wonderful times with my Grandmother undoubtedly shaped my reading habit and enthusiasm. I recall many an evening with my Mum and Grandmother, all with our heads buried in our respective books.

Into senior school and reading was typically history texts or literature books that had been set. Hamlet, Mice and Men are just a few. A real favourite during this period was Animal Farm by George Orwell, that was strategically read whilst undertaking Russian history and Revolution.

The Quilter’s ApprenticeOnce into adulthood I have read a real variety of books. I love to read books that form part of a series and I like to read them in order. Two favourites are those set in Elm Creek by Jennifer Chiaverini. Another series, but completely different to the Elm Creek series is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I am slightly obsessive about reading in order and often will gather a complete set before reading commences. Then once I have finished reading the series it takes a few weeks before I can move on to another book.

I also like several of the cozy mystery series, especially those that feature coffeeshops, teashops, knitting and various crafts.

I also like anything with a genealogical theme; that way I can get my two obsessions nicely bound together, two fixes for the prices of one if you will!

Town Like Alice by Nevil ShuteThe final book I am going to mention is A Town like Alice by Neville Shute. I bought a tatty looking second hand copy about 30 years ago. That copy is still going strong and the book is read at least once every year. I have thought about replacing the tatty copy but somehow, that those new editions are just not the same. Here is a picture of my very well read copy.

Thank you for accompanying me as I shared my books of a lifetime. Why not share your books too?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why I Love: The Advertisements in Old Newspapers and Magazines (With Give-away)

I have always done a great deal of research for my novels, mostly because immersing myself in other people’s books and articles is a hell of a lot more fun than actually forcing myself to put my own words on paper, but with Love & Treasure, the project of research took on a whole new level of importance.

 Love & Treasure is an historical novel, set in two different time periods (and in the present), and in two different cities. The first section of the novel takes place in Salzburg in 1945 and 1946, in and around the Displaced Persons camps. When I made the decision to set part of the novel there, I had never been to Salzburg. I had no idea what the city looks like in the present, let alone what it looked like in the wake of World War 2. I had to build up a base of knowledge from absolute zero, which was actually not really that uncomfortable. I almost prefer to start a project knowing nothing, because then I can skip what is otherwise a necessary part of research: correcting my misapprehensions.

The final section of the novel takes place in Budapest, in the year before World War I. I’d been to Budapest, and was full of ideas of what the city must have been like back in 1913, so my work was a little harder when it came to that part of my research. I had a lot of mistakes to sweep away before I could get busy figuring out the truth of my story.

Though I did plenty of traditional research - reading articles and books, sifting through photo archives, interviewing witnesses (in the case of World War 2) - what I found most miraculously helpful in understanding the time periods and creating a believable world were ancient copies - on microfilm, in hard copy and (all too rarely) on the web - of magazines and newspapers. And while it’s true that the articles in those journals were often interesting, what I found most helpful, most fascinating, and frankly most astonishing, were the ads.

The women’s newspapers of Budapest were full of ads for clothing of the period, furnishings, and hats (so many hats!). All the typical kinds of ads we still find nowadays (on the rare occasions when we pick up a paper magazine). But what blew my mind was that in a socially restricted society where it was frowned upon for a young girl of good family to appear in public unchaperoned, the magazines were full of ads for abortifacients (“a ladies safe remedy” for the cure of “women’s special problems”) and even condoms! There were personal ads and pleas to attend meetings of societies devoted to eradicating sexual slavery and trafficking. (Either 1913 Budapest was truly an international hub of sex trafficking or the population had some intense, collective, erotic imaginations).

In Salzburg, I made similar use of the newspapers published by the Displaced Persons in the camps. Those ads were heartbreaking. In addition to pleas for information about lost relatives, they included notifications of, for example, the distribution of children’s shoes at a given hour at a given place. The bits and pieces for sale told a story of deprivation and tragedy. But there were also ads for movies and lectures, notifications of youth group meetings, and offers of employment.

I drove my research assistants crazy insisting that they translate all those advertisements word for word, but it was well worth the effort. So many of the details that make that make Love & Treasure (I hope) feel real and true come not from articles or photographs, or from other research, but from those ancient advertisements.

Ayelet Waldman is the author of Love and Treasure (Knopf, April 2014), Red Hook Road and The New York Times bestseller Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities and Occasional Moments of Grace. Her novel Love and Other Impossible Pursuits was adapted into a film called “The Other Woman” starring Natalie Portman. Her books are published throughout the world, in countries as disparate as England and Thailand, the Netherlands and China, Russia and Israel, South Korea and Italy.


There is a give-away associated with this post. Yay!! It is U.S. only, but if you comment on this post you will be entered in a give-away to win a copy of Love and Treasure. The give-away ends July 23rd.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge: July Reviews

We are half way through this year's challenge and I am so pleased to see how many people are doing so well with their reading. Last month we again had more than 70 reviews added to the challeng. I look forward to seeing how well everyone does for the second half of the year too.

If you haven't already signed up, it's not too late! The sign up post is here.

Just to recap what participants need to know. At the beginning of each month we will put up a post which will have a Mr Linky embedded into it for you to add your link.

Please remember...

  • Add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review). A direct link to your Goodreads review is also acceptable 
  • any kind of historical fiction is accepted (fantasy, young adult, graphic novels...) 
  • if you have time, have a look some of the other links that are present. You never know when you will discover new blogs or books! 
Please leave your links for your July reviews in Mr. Linky below or if you don't have a blog, in the comments below

*Note: if you missed posting your links last month, please always post "late" links in the current month's Mr. Linky. For example, if you forgot to post a link in May, please post it on this Mr. Linky in this post.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Book Blast: Murder by Misrule by Anna Castle

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours proudly presents Anna Castle's Blog Tour & Book Blast for Murder by Misrule, the first book in her Francis Bacon Mystery Series. 

Please join her as she tours the blogosphere from June 2 - July 4.

Publication Date: June 8, 2014
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

A Kirkus Indie Books of the Month Selection for July.

Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray’s Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon’s powerful uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man’s legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.


The Francis Bacon Mystery Series

This series of historical mysteries features the philosopher-statesman Francis Bacon as a sleuth and spymaster. Since Francis prefers the comfort of his own chambers, like his spiritual descendent Nero Wolfe, he sends his pupil, the handsome young Thomas Clarady, out to gather information. Tom loves the work, not least because he meets so many interesting people, like Lord Burghley, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Christopher Marlowe. Murder by Misrule is the first book in the series.


Praise for Murder by Misrule

“Though the plot keeps the pages turning, the characters, major and minor, and the well-wrought historical details will make readers want to linger in the 16th century. A laugh-out-loud mystery that will delight fans of the genre.” – Kirkus Starred Review

“Murder by Misrule is a delightful debut with characters that leap off the page, especially the brilliant if unwilling detective Francis Bacon and his street smart man Tom Clarady. Elizabeth Tudor rules, but Anna Castle triumphs.” – Karen Harper, author of Mistress Shakespeare

“Well-researched… Murder by Misrule is also enormously entertaining; a mystery shot through with a series of misadventures, misunderstandings,
and mendacity worthy of a Shakespearean comedy.” – M. Louisa Locke, author of Bloody Lessons

“Historical mystery readers take note: Murder by Misrule is a wonderful example of Elizabethan times brought to life.” — D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer, Midwest Book Review.


Buy the Book

Barnes & Noble


About the Author

Anna Castle has been a waitress, software engineer, documentary linguist, college professor, and digital archivist. Historical fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas, and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.

For more information please visit Anna Castle’s website and blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.



Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, June 2 Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Mari Reads

Tuesday, June 3 Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, June 4 Book Blast at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Thursday, June 5 Book Blast at Our Wolves Den

Friday, June 6 Review at Book Nerd
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer
Book Blast at A Dream Within a Dream

Saturday, June 7 Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner

Sunday, June 8 Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, June 9 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, June 10 Book Blast at West Metro Mommy

Wednesday, June 11 Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Thursday, June 12 Review at Curling Up By the Fire

Friday, June 13 Book Blast at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, June 16 Book Blast at Closed the Cover
Book Blast at To Read or Not to Read

Tuesday, June 17 Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day
Book Blast at A Book Geek

Wednesday, June 18 Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, June 19 Review at Bibliotica
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession

Friday, June 20 Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview at All Things Girl

Saturday, June 21 Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, June 23 Review, Guest Post, and Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time

Tuesday, June 24 Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, June 25 Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing

Thursday, June 26 Review at A Bookish Girl
Review at Layered Pages
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook

Friday, June 27 Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes

Monday, June 30 Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Tuesday, July 1 Interview at Starting Fresh

Wednesday, July 2 Review at Kincavel Korner

Thursday, July 3 Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Guest Post & Giveaway at Bibliophilia, Please

Friday, July 4 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Blast: Successio by Alison Morton

Follow Alison Morton’s Book Blast for Successio, the third book in her Roma Nova Series, from June 16-27 for a chance to win your own autographed copy and bookmark!

Publication Date: June 4, 2014
SilverWood Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Alternative Historical Thriller

Roma Nova – the last remnant of the Roman Empire that has survived into the 21st century – is at peace. Carina Mitela, the heir of a leading family, but choosing the life of an officer in the Praetorian Guard Special Forces, is not so sure.

She senses danger crawling towards her when she encounters a strangely self-possessed member of the unit hosting their exchange exercise in Britain. When a blackmailing letter arrives from a woman claiming to be her husband Conrad’s lost daughter and Conrad tries to shut Carina out, she knows the threat is real.

Trying to resolve a young man’s indiscretion twenty-five years before turns into a nightmare that not only threatens to destroy all the Mitelae but also attacks the core of the imperial family itself. With her enemy holding a gun at the head of the heir to the imperial throne, Carina has to make the hardest decision of her life…


Praise for Successio

“If there is a world where fiction becomes more believable than reality, then Alison Morton’s ingenious thrillers must be the portal through which to travel. Following in Caesar’s footsteps, she came with INCEPTIO, saw with PERFIDITAS – and has well and truly conquered with SUCCESSIO!” – Helen Hollick, author and Managing Editor Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews

“Alison Morton has done it again. SUCCESSIO is the latest in her series of powerful tales of family betrayals and shifting allegiances in Roma Nova. Once again, I was gripped from start to finish.” – Sue Cook, writer and broadcaster


Watch the Book Trailer


Roma Nova Series

Book One: Inceptio
Book Two: Perfiditas
Book Three: Successio


Buy the Book

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository


About the Author

Alison Morton writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with strong heroines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in French, German and Economics, a masters’ in history and lives in France with her husband.
A ‘Roman nut’ since age 11, she has visited sites throughout Europe including the alma mater, Rome. But it was the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) that started her wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by women…
INCEPTIO, the first in the Roma Nova series, was shortlisted for the 2013 International Rubery Book Award and awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion® in September 2013. The next in series, PERFIDITAS, published October 2013, has also just been honoured with the B.R.A.G. Medallion®. Alison is currently working on the fourth book.


Connect with Alison Morton

Amazon UK Author Page
Amazon US Author Page
INCEPTIO Facebook Page
PERFIDITAS Facebook Page

Follow the Successio Book Blast

June 16: Flashlight Commentary & Princess of Eboli
June 17: Kincavel Korner, Mina’s Bookshelf, & Literary Chanteuse
June 18: Kinx’s Book Nook & Svetlana’s Reads and Views
June 19: So Many Books, So Little Time, The Lit Bitch, & West Metro Mommy
June 20: Historical Fiction Obsession
June 21: A Bookish Affair & Broken Teepee
June 22: Just One More Chapter
June 23: The Little Reader Library & The True Book Addict
June 24: A Bibliotaph’s Reviews & Historical Fiction Connection
June 25: Historical Tapestry & The Maiden’s Court
June 26: Book Nerd & Passages to the Past
June 27: CelticLady’s Reviews



To win an Autographed copy of SUCCESSIO & Bookmark please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form found HERE. Giveaway is International!

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 28th and notified via email.

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fact Fiction Friday ~ Anne Frank

Continuing our new and regular feature here at Historical Fiction.  

Each Friday we will publish an historical fact based upon the date. Each fact will be accompanied by a book(s) title and perhaps a review or other snippet.

20th June 1943. Today marks the anniversary of the German round up of the Jewish population in Amsterdam.

The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive…I visited Amsterdam in my early teens. That visit included amongst others a visit to Anne Frank's house. I was incredibly moved by the account of the war years in The Netherlands, the legacy she left behind.

So it will not be a surprise that I am going to suggest The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
The Hidden Life of Otto Frank by Carol Ann…

I am also going to suggest this book. The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, who was Anne's father who survived the war.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book Blast: The Cook's Temptation by Joyce Wayne

HF Virtual Book Tours invites you to join Joyce Wayne as she tours the blogosphere for The Cook’s Temptation! Find the information below to enter a giveaway to win an eBook of The Cook’s Temptation or a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Publication Date: February 1, 2014
Mosaic Press
Formats: Ebook, Paperback

Joyce Wayne brings to life the complexities of Victorian life, first in County Devon and then in London’s East End. The ‘big picture’ is about one woman’s life, class conflict, religious intolerance, suspicion and betrayal. The central figure is Cordelia, a strong-minded Jewish woman who is caught between her desire to be true to herself and her need to be accepted by English society. Cordelia Tilley is the daughter of a Jewish mother and an Anglican father. Her mother has groomed her for a life in English society while her father, a tough publican, has shown no tolerance for his wife’s social climbing or the conceits of their perspicacious daughter. Cordelia’s mother dies from typhoid fever, she tries to run the family ‘s establishment, she falls prey to a local industrialist, she gives birth to a son, she is tormented by her husband and his family. Finally, she is rescued by suffragette friends and sets off to start a new life in London. The Cook’s Temptation is about a woman who is unpredictable, both strong and weak willed, both kind and heinous, victim and criminal. It is a genuine Victorian saga, full of detail, twists and turns, memorable scenes, full of drama and pathos.


Praise for The Cook’s Temptation

“Joyce Wayne’s debut novel, The Cook’s Temptation, has the stately bearing of a nineteenth century novel – the mercilessness of Thomas Hardy, the black allegory of Nathaniel Hawthorne, the tense marriages of George Eliot. It is a story of how people become what you blame them for being.” – Ian Williams, poet and fiction writer, short listed for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize


Buy the Book

Amazon CAN
Amazon UK
Amazon US (Kindle)
Amazon US (Paperback)
Barnes & Noble
Book Depository
Mosaic Press


About the Author

Joyce Wayne has an MA in English literature, has taught journalism at Sheridan College, Oakville, Ontario, for twenty-five years, and lives in Toronto, Ontario. She was a winner of the Diaspora Dialogues contest for fiction and the Fiona Mee Award for literary journalism. She is the co writer of the documentary film So Far From Home (2010), a film about refugee journalists persecuted for their political views, and various of her other works have been published in Parchment, Golden Horseshoe Anthology, Canadian Voices, and TOK6.

For more information please visit Joyce Wayne’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. She is happy to participate in Books Clubs by phone and Skype.


Virtual Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, June 9
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, June 10 Book Blast at Bab’s Book Bistro
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, June 11 Book Blast at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, June 12 Book Blast at WTF Are You Reading?
Book Blast at I’d So Rather be Reading

Friday, June 13 Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse

Saturday, June 14 Book Blast at A Bookish Affair
Book Blast at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Book Blast at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, June 15 Book Blast at Historical Fiction Obsession

Monday, June 16 Review at Book Nerd

Tuesday, June 17 Review at Seaside Book Corner
Book Blast at Lily Pond Reads

Wednesday, June 18 Interview at From the TBR Pile
Book Blast at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, June 19 Review at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at Kelsey’s Book Corner

Friday, June 20 Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Book Blast at The Mad Reviewer

Saturday, June 21 Book Blast at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Sunday, June 22 Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise
 Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection

Monday, June 23 Book Blast at History Undressed
Book Blast at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, June 24 Book Blast at Mina’s Bookshelf
Book Blast at Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, June 25 Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Book Blast at Broken Teepee

Thursday, June 26 Review at Caroline Wilson Writes

Friday, June 27 Review at Historical Novel Review
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book



Up for grabs are 3 eBooks of The Cook’s Temptation and 3 $10 Amazon Gift Cards! To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway HERE. Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on June 27th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on June 28th and notified via email.

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