Friday, November 28, 2014

The Sharp Hook of Love Blog Tour: Why I Love...the 12th Century by Sherry Jones

If you are a follower of Historical Tapestry then you probably saw my book release post for the Sharp Hook of Love (see HERE) as well as my review of the book  (see HERE). Hint: I loved it! Well now I am honored to have the author of The Sharp Hook of Love, Sherry Jones, on the blog with a wonderful guest post about why she loves the 12th Century. So please enjoy the post and continue below for more information about this wonderful book, its author and the rest of the book blog tour!

 

The First Renaissance, Abelard, and Heloise: Why I Love the 12th Century
 
 
 
 
 
Love, not gravity, makes the world go ‘round, goes the song. What if that were true? If the dawning of day and the fall of night, if the changing of the seasons, if the planet’s very spinning depended on love, we’d all be performing acts of kindness for one another all the time. We’d be loving it up.
 
I love love. At its best, it ennobles us, inspires us to be our very best selves, to give of ourselves to others. At its worst, it blinds us to others’ failings—but that only harms us if we’ve forgotten that, to love another well, we must love ourselves first.
 
Love is patient, as the Scriptures say; love is kind. Yes. But love is also messy, bewildering, frustrating, exalting, exciting, frightening, and capricious. Love holds a mirror to those in its thrall, showing us not only the other but our naked selves. And the best writing about love holds a mirror up to this complex emotion, revealing it to us in all its multi-faceted glory and inspiring us to think about love, to feel it, and, perhaps most important, to enact it in our lives.
 
Self-love wasn’t something they talked about in the early-to-high Middle Ages, or, if they did, they called it “vanity,” or “pride”: one of the Church’s so-called deadly sins. That’s the world in which the 12th-century Parisian scholar Heloise lived, one which cherished community over individuality, sacrifice over personal gain, giving over receiving.
 
Fortunately, for Heloise and for me, the author telling her tale in my book THE SHARP HOOK OF LOVE, another dynamic had begun to shape the culture, as well: the awakening of an awareness of the self, making this era one of the most exciting times to be alive in western Europe.
 
 
 
 
The dawn of a new era
 
The 12th century heralded the true beginning of the Renaissance Era, or at least as a prelude that set the stage for the rebirth of arts, culture and knowledge so prevalent before the fall of the Roman Empire. A new awareness of the individual as opposed to the collective began to emerge, as well, including questioning of Church doctrines at the highest level.
 
A number of events, beginning around 1070, led to this reawakening. The marriage of the Frankish King Philip to Bertrade de Montfort, both already married to others, captured the public’s imagination. Their passionate love for each other caused them to defy the Church’s condemnations and excommunications—and transformed marriage from a mere business arrangement, easily broken, to an everlasting affair of the heart.
 
This scandalous, exciting union—Philip’s repudiated queen, Bertha, left in shame for the convent—stimulated at least one copycat marriage. Around 1115, the already-married Count William of Poitiers, also the Duke of Aquitaine, “abducted” the wife of one of his vassals, a viscountess named Dangerose, and brought her to Poitou to live in the luxury tower he’d built there. They, too, suffered the censure of the Church, but neither seemed to care.
 
William, a famously seductive ladies’ man of great intellect and wit, wrote bawdy romantic songs, as well, starting the troubadour era from which springs the long tradition of courtly love.
 
 
 
 
Forbidden love: Heloise and Abelard
 
From this heady ferment of scholarly debate, rebellion, and passion sprang the love affair of the 21-year-old Heloise with her teacher, Pierre Abelard, the famously brilliant, and arrogant, philosopher and poet whose beautiful love songs made women swoon.
 
Their society forbade their love. Abelard, as headmaster of the Notre Dame Cloister school and a Church canon, was supposed to be chaste, and Heloise was a single young woman living under the protection of her uncle, a Notre Dame subdeacon. Yet the couple defied these strictures, risking everything to be together, and ultimately losing all except the love itself.
 
Caught by Heloise’s uncle and torn asunder by his cruel act of revenge, these lovers live on today in our books, movies, art, poems, plays, and songs. We love the story not only because of the shocking nature of Uncle Fulbert’s revenge, but also because their courage and daring for the sake of love inspire us all. In today’s throwaway society, it’s important to be reminded that love, even when beset by so many obstacles and sorrows, can indeed last a lifetime.
 
Which tale to tell?
 
In writing about the 12th century, I felt excited and privileged to portray this exciting era. My next book will be much more contemporary, but I know I will return again and again to the 12th Century Renaissance, a time as thrilling as our own.
 
William of Aquitaine, his granddaughter, Eleanor; Philip and Bertrade; the troubadours; Blanche de Castille; the Crusades: If only time travel had been invented, I’d go to 12th-century France in a heartbeat. Instead, I get to write about it, which may be even better. The question for me is, which story should I tell next?
 
 
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Gallery Books
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 352

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
 
The first retelling of the passionate, twelfth-century love story since the discovery of 113 lost love letters between Heloise d’Argenteuil and Pierre Abelard—the original Romeo and Juliet.

“While I sleep you never leave me, and after I wake I see you, as soon as I open my eyes, even before the light of day itself.” —Abelard to Heloise

Among the young women of twelfth-century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.

But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Notre-Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.
 

 

Praise for The Sharp Hook of Love

 

“Heloise is the sort of heroine you cannot help rooting for: brilliant and na├»ve, vulnerable and tough. The Sharp Hook of Love will have you up all night holding your breath as you turn each page.” (Rebecca Kanner author of Sinners and the Sea)

“Jones weaves history and passion in a tale full of emotional heft that questions what it means to truly love someone…” (Kirkus Reviews)

“A sensual journey into twelfth century Paris. With a sharp eye for historical detail, Jones weaves an unforgettable, compelling tale about enduring love.” (Lynn Cullen nationally bestselling author of Mrs. Poe)

“Passion and treachery mingle in Sherry Jones’s explosive novel The Sharp Hook of Love. Wrenching and erotic, this is a grand romance in every sense of the word.” (Mary Sharratt author of Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen)
 

 

Buy the Book

 
 
 

About the Author

 


Sherry Jones is the author of five biographical fiction books: The Sharp Hook of Love, about the famed 12th-century lovers Abelard and Heloise; The Jewel of Medina and The Sword of Medina, international — and controversial — best sellers about the life of A’isha, who married the Muslim prophet Muhammad at age nine and went on to become the most famous and influential woman in Islam; Four Sisters, All Queens, a tale of four sisters in 13th century Provence who became queens of France, England, Germany, and Italy, and White Heart, an e-novella about the famous French “White Queen” Blanche de Castille.

For more information please visit Sherry Jones’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Goodreads.





 

The Sharp Hook of Love Blog Tour Schedule



Monday, November 24

Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Tuesday, November 25

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, November 26

Review at Book Babe
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Friday, November 28

Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Sunday, November 29

Spotlight & Excerpt at The Lusty Literate

Monday, December 1

Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, December 3

Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 4

Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, December 5

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Feature at Romantic Historical Lovers
Interview at To Read or Not to Read
 
 




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Why I Wrote About Ancient Hookers: Guest Post by Stephanie Dray, Co-Author of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii Plus Giveaway!

Oh do I have a treat for you today! I am so excited that A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii has released as it is a compilation of six short stories by some of the best authors in historical fiction writing today. Below you'll find not only an exciting guest post by one of those wonderful authors, Stephanie Dray, but also more information about the book, the authors, the blog tour and even information about a giveaway of a GORGEOUS Roman-style necklace and earrings set (yay!!).

Why I Wrote About Ancient Hookers

By Stephanie Dray
When we think of ancient Rome, we tend to think about the magnificent architecture. The roads, the innovative warfare, and the spectacular contributions the Romans made in art and governmental theory. But underneath all of that, of course, was the seedier side of the ancient world--the details of which were preserved for us forever on that day in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city of Pompeii in ash, trapping a whole city in time for us to discover thousands of years later.
And what was first discovered, of course, was how deeply sex and sexuality ran through the culture. Early archaeologists were so scandalized, in fact, by the myriad phalluses, sensual artwork, and clear references to sex work that they reburied what they found.
In writing A Day of Fire with my fabulous co-authors, we wanted to be true of the Vegas-like nature of a Roman resort town like Pompeii, which is why none of us shied away from the predominance of brothels or sexual themes. But I very specifically wanted to write about the lives of two ancient sex-workers--not just as background color, but as protagonists in my story.
There were a few reasons for this. While sex work was entirely normalized and legal in the Roman world, the people involved in the trade were classified as infamia and treated shabbily. They enjoyed fewer rights and were subject to systematic abuse. In the ancient world--as in current times--women who traded sex for money were essentially dehumanized.
I wanted to put a human face on this. I wanted to show people whose culture defined them by their profession, but who had their own hopes and dreams, loves and losses, strengths and frailties. And a certain bit of graffiti in Pompeii caught my eye, describing two tavern whores--Capella and Prima--of very different physical types.
I began to wonder who these women were, beyond what was written about their price and unique skill sets upon the wall. Who were they to each other, I asked myself, and did they survive the eruption in Pompeii?
And their story really started to take shape in my mind once we started collaborating. My heroines appear briefly in the fast-paced soldier-and-gladiator tale Ben Kane wrote at the book’s center. Then I realized that Vicky Alvear Shecter’s hero-with-growing-pains would be in love with Prima, my hooker-with-a-heart-of-mud. Prima then appears again to cause trouble for the charming senator in Kate Quinn’s story. Meanwhile, her sister Capella serves as a friend in Sophie Perinot’s tale and a visionary in E. Knight’s. And I fell more deeply for them with each story.
Their plight became even more interesting while I was researching. I wanted to know what prostitutes wore. (Brightly colored clothing, often togas to delineate themselves from other women.) What they were called. (They had different names for different sorts of specialties and types of prostitutes.) Where they worked. (They could rent beds at the brothels, use cubicles off the street, or even ply their trade in the necropolis.)
The details were fascinating. But none more than a note about Emperor Vespasian’s ruling on prostitution in Thomas A. J. McGinn’s work on Prostitution, Sexuality and the Law in Ancient Rome. Allegedly, slaves sold with the express condition that they not be used in prostitution would be freed if they were so used. What might that law mean for two girls who had been used illegally in prostitution? And how would their struggle impact everyone around them?
Ultimately, I think I wrote the least salacious story about prostitutes in the history of stories about prostitutes and I’m so very proud of it. The characters moved me and will stay with me for a long time--I’m very honored to have been able to shine a light on a part of Roman life that is often overlooked. And I’m even more honored to have had to chance to creatively collaborate with such fantastic authors to produce something so special for readers.
 
Thank you so much for this insightful post, Stephanie! Knowing that the various characters find themselves hopping over into other stories makes me even more excited to read the book!
 

Please join historical novelists Vicky Alvear Shecter, Sophie Perinot, Ben Kane, Kate Quinn, E. Knight, and Stephanie Dray as they tour the blogosphere for A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, from October 27-December 5 with HF Virtual Book Tours!

In honor of the Blog Tour the authors have included a very special giveaway of a beautiful one-of-a-kind Roman style Necklace (18″) and Earring set inspired by jewelry from the ancient world.  Handcrafted of real carnelian, the most popular semi-precious gemstone of the ancient world, it was designed to commemorate the release of “A Day of Fire.”  Wear it yourself and imagine you are in Pompeii (not on the day of disaster of course), or, with the holidays approaching, it would make a great gift for a fan of ancient roman historical fiction.


 
 
 
Publication Date: November 4, 2014 Knight Media, LLC
eBook; 315p
ASIN: B00NI5CBXI
 
Genre: Historical Fiction
 
 
Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . . and these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.
An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.
An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.
A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.
A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.
A priestess and a whore seek resurrection and redemption as the town is buried.

Six authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?


Order the Book


Amazon US
Amazon UK


About the Authors




STEPHANIE DRAY is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical Nile series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Learn more at www.StephanieDray.com.



BEN KANE worked as a veterinarian for sixteen years, but his love of ancient history and historical fiction drew him to write fast-paced novels about Roman soldiers, generals and gladiators. Irish by nationality but UK-based, he is the author of seven books, the last five of which have been
Sunday Times top ten bestsellers. Ben’s books have been translated into ten languages. In 2013, Ben walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall with two other authors, for charity; he did so in full Roman military kit, including hobnailed boots. He repeated the madness in 2014, over 130 miles in Italy. Over $50,000 has been raised with these two efforts. Learn more at http://www.benkane.net.




E. KNIGHT is an award-winning, indie national best-selling author of historical fiction. Under the name, Eliza Knight she writes historical romance and time-travel. Her debut historical fiction novel, MY LADY VIPER, has received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Historical Novel Society 2015 Annual Indie Award. She regularly presents on writing panels and was named Romance Writer’s of America’s 2013 PRO Mentor of the Year. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and a very naughty puppy. For more information, visit Eliza at www.elizaknight.com.




SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of the acclaimed debut, The Sister Queens, which weaves the story of medieval sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became queens of France and England respectively. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences, serving as a panelist at the most recent. When she is not visiting corners of the past, Sophie lives in Great Falls, VA. Learn more at www.SophiePerinot.com.




KATE QUINN is the national bestselling author of the Empress of Rome novels, which have been variously translated into thirteen different languages. She first got hooked on Roman history while watching “I, Claudius” at the age of seven, and wrote her first book during her freshman year in college, retreating from a Boston winter into ancient Rome. She and her husband now live in Maryland with an imperious black dog named Caesar. Learn more at http://www.katequinnauthor.com.




VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the award-winning author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. Shehttp://www.vickyalvearshecter.com/main.
is also the author of two biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. The LA Times called Cleopatra’s Moon–set in Rome and Egypt–“magical” and “impressive.” Publisher’s Weekly said it was “fascinating” and “highly memorable.” Her young adult novel of Pompeii, Curses and Smoke (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), released in June 2014. She has two other upcoming books for younger readers, Anubis Speaks! and Hades Speaks! Vicky is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. Learn more at


Giveaway








To enter to win this beautiful one-of-a-kind Roman style Necklace (18″) and Earring set, hand-crafted with real carnelion, and inspired by jewelry of the ancient world, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form HERE.


Giveaway is open internationally.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on December 5th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on December 6th and notified via email.

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


A Day of Fire Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, October 27

Review at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, October 29
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, October 30
Review at leeanna.me

Monday, November 3
Review at Bibliophilia, Please

Wednesday, November 5
Review at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, November 10
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, November 12
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Thursday, November 13
Review at Book Lovers Paradise

Tuesday, November 18
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 19
Review at Book Babe

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Reading the Past

Wednesday, November 26
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Friday, November 28
Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, December 1
Guest Post at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, December 4
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, December 5
Review at Let Them Read Books



 




 
 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

Publication Date: October 21, 2014
St. Martin’s Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Series: Spymaster Chronicles
Genre: Historical Mystery

Synopsis


Winter, 1558: Elizabeth I has ascended the throne but the first days of her reign are already fraught with turmoil, the kingdom weakened by strife and her ability to rule uncertain.

Summoned from exile abroad at the new queen’s behest, Brendan Prescott arrives in London to face his shattered past. He soon finds himself pitted in deadly rivalry with his life-long foe, Robert Dudley, but when a poison attempt overshadows the queen’s coronation, Elizabeth privately dispatches Brendan on a far more dangerous assignation: to find her favored lady-in-waiting, Lady Parry, who has vanished in Yorkshire.

Upon his arrival at the crumbling sea-side manor that may hold the key to Lady Parry’s disappearance, he encounters a strange, impoverished family beset by grief, as well as mounting evidence that they hide a secret from him. The mystery surrounding Lady Parry deepens as Brendan begins to realize there is far more going on at the manor than meets the eye, but the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he becomes the quarry of an elusive stranger with a vendetta— one that could expose both his own buried identity and a long-hidden revelation that will bring about Elizabeth’s doom.

From the intrigue-laden passages of Whitehall to a foreboding Catholic manor and the prisons of the Tower, Brendan must risk everything to unravel a vendetta that strikes at the very core of his world, including his loyalty to his queen.

The Tudor Vendetta is the third book in Gortner’s Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy.

So What Did I Think About The Story?


There is just something about a thrilling, twisting Tudor suspense that lures me in every time and very few authors I have found do it quite as well as C.W. Gortner! While this final book in his Elizabeth I Spymaster Trilogy can easily be read on its own any reader who tries to do so will be doing themselves a disservice. This is a series to read from start to finish so you can fully appreciate and absorb Brendan Prescott's backstory and the revelations, actions and loses that lead him to what happens in The Tudor Vendetta. It wasn't until I immersed myself in this book that I remembered all that had come before and how much I had missed his adventures as well as the characters lost already.

From page one the intrigues and constant subterfuge are already in full swing and there isn't a slow moment until you turn the final page. One of the things I love most about this series is the chance to get a behind-the-scenes view of how Tudor spies were trained and worked and exactly what dangers and precautions they had to learn to handle if they were to stay alive in that ever shifting game of power.  Even as the masters in the spy game - Walsingham and Cecil - work to protect Brendan and train him to best serve them the reader is never quite sure whether they can be trusted and exactly what the end game they are going for will be. And this skepticism doesn't end with these men....everyone seems suspect and I couldn't help myself from feeling that delicious sense of suspicion as I fought to figure out who was really foe and kept turning the pages so I could get to the next twist in the road. I am happy to say that, while I had a little inkling of some of what would end up being revealed, many of the secrets came as a complete surprise and I was left gasping along with Brendan when it all became perfectly clear. 

Something else I love about this series is the fact that, while the dangerous world of the court and all that Elizabeth had to overcome and survive to become Queen are a big part, the real meat of the story is Brendan's struggles reconciling the way he was raised against how he should have been treated given his discovery of who he really is and his continual struggle between his duties to Elizabeth and his love for Kate Stafford, one of her ladies-in-waiting. You can really feel his internal battles and his desolation at trying to do the right thing and make the right choices and often, in his opinion, coming up wanting. He is a strong, caring and loyal character and I really will miss him now that his story is over.

With all the above being said the absolute delight of The Tudor Vendetta is the mystery surrounding Lady Parry's disappearance and what those at Vaughan Hall (the crumbling sea-side manor mentioned in the synopsis) are hiding. This aspect of the story had a very old fashioned murder mystery feel to it and I so enjoyed the immersion in this dilapidated manor and the sinister feeling overhanging all that happened there as Brendan fought to figure out exactly what was going on before more people disappeared or worse. The reader is kept guessing at all the mysteries and, for me, this really elevated and changed up what could have otherwise been a more typical Tudor historical.

Without giving too much away the ending was just perfect to me and I could not help tearing up a little as I turned that final page. While I am very sad to see the series end it wraps up wonderfully and the reader is left fully satisfied with the journey they have been on with Brendan and the other characters. Anyone who loves a story with strong characters and lots of twists and turns will eat this up. Anyone who also loves a novel set in Tudor times needs to pick these books up now!

So What Did I Think About The Cover?


 It's okay. While it gives you that sense of isolation and mystery that permeates the novel I would have preferred more color or action given how exhilarating the story is. Maybe a dark shadow hanging over Brendan as he searches to uncover what happened to Lady Parry around the disintegrating world of the manor.


My Rating: 5.0/5.0 


 
Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of The Tudor Vendetta in exchange for an honest review! Make sure to continue below for more information about the book, the author and how to enter the tour-wide giveaway of a complete set of the trilogy !
 
 
 

Praise for The Tudor Vendetta

 
“Fast paced and exciting, with a most engaging hero . . . So vivid, you feel are there!” – Diana Gabaldon, bestselling author of the Outlander series

“C.W. Gortner has done it again! Full of breathtaking action, dark twists and unexpected revelations, this is an unputdownable read.” – Michelle Moran, bestselling author of Madame Tussaud

“Suspense, intrigue, betrayal and deadly rivalry: What more can you ask for? A swashbuckling, perilous adventure.” – M.J. Rose, bestselling author of The Reincarnationist



Buy the Book


Amazon
Barnes & Noble
IndieBound


About the Author


C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.

After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer,
freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information please visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube.


Giveaway Details 


To win a complete set of CW Gortner’s Spymaster Chronicles Trilogy please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form HERE .

Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on November 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on November 29th and notified via email.

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

 

The Tudor Vendetta Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, October 20

Review at The Maiden’s Court
Guest Post at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, October 21

Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 22

Review at Back Porchervations
Review at Always With a Books

Thursday, October 23

Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Friday, October 24

Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Interview at Back Porchervations

Monday, October 27

Review at JulzReads
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, October 28

Review at Beth’s Book Reviews
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Wednesday, October 29

Review at Making My Mark
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Bookish

Thursday, October 30

Review & Guest Post at Drey’s Library
Review & Interview at The Copperfield Review & From Meredith Allard
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Friday, October 31

Review at Book by Book

Monday, November 3

Review at Mari Reads
Review & Gues Post at JM Ledwell Writes

Tuesday, November 4

Review at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, November 5

Review at One Book at a Time
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 6

Review at Booktalk & More

Friday, November 7

Review at Build a Bookshelf

Monday, November 10

Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, November 11

Review at A Book Geek
Review at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, November 12

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, November 13

Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Friday, November 14

Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Paranormal Book Club

Monday, November 17

Review at Broken Teepee
Review at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, November 18

Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Guest Post at What is That Book About

Wednesday, November 19

Review at Kate Forsyth’s Blog

Thursday, November 20

Review & Interview at The Tudor Enthusiast

Friday, November 21

Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks

Monday, November 24

Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The True Book Addict

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Historical Tapestry
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, November 26
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, November 28
Review at Books in the Burbs
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Guest Post: Naomi Jacob - Author of The Founder of the House

The author Naomi Jacob led a life that was every bit as interesting and eventful as those of her characters. In fact it was her own family background which influenced her most popular and well-known work - the seven volume historical family series The Gollantz Saga.
 
Jacob's paternal grandfather was a Jewish tailor who had escaped the pogroms of Western Prussia to settle in England, while her mother's father was a Yorkshireman who was twice the mayor of Ripon. The experience of this mixed heritage shaped her saga of the Gollantz family, whose founding father moves from eighteenth-century continental Europe to start a business and family in London. The author's own emigration was from England to Italy. After suffering with tuberculosis for many years, she moved to Sirmione on Lake Garda to benefit from the milder climate.
 
The Gollantzes' story begins with The Founder of the House, which introduces us to Emmanuel Gollantz. His father, Hermann, is an antiques dealer who lives according to the principles of loyalty, honesty and honour instilled in him as a child. But his wife's calculating family exploit this idealism, threatening Hermann's professional and personal positions. Set mostly in nineteenth century Paris and Vienna, The Founder of the House makes reference throughout to the real-life famous people of the day, including Napoleon, Prince Metternich and Strauss. Naomi Jacob was no stranger to the celebrated people of her own time. Not only was she a bestselling author, she also had success as a character actor. She worked and socialised with household names such as John Geilgud (starring opposite him in the West End), the Du Mauriers, Henry Irving, Marie Lloyd and Sarah Bernhardt. Jacob also established a life-long friendship with the novelist Radclyffe Hall, after appearing for the defence in the obscenity trial of The Well of Loneliness.
 
In Vienna, the Gollantz family are well-regarded but are barred from high society because they are Jewish. Emmanuel, therefore, takes a great risk when he embarks upon a love affair with a member of the inner circle of the Viennese Court. Although she was raised in the Church of England, and then converted to Roman Catholicism, Jacob was proud of her Jewish heritage, and fought against anti-Semitism in her life and work. In 1935 she returned an award for one of her novels when she learned that another recipient was Adolf Hitler. At the end of the Second World War, she helped the many Jewish refugees in her home town of Sirmione.
 
The Founder of the House is an insightful and entertaining tale about family ties and rivalries, love and ambition. It is told with the candour and wit which were the author's trademarks. The Gollantz Saga is being reissued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the author's death, so this is a fitting time for readers to rediscover her engaging chronicle of family life.
 
You can read more about Naomi Jacob at www.naomijacob.com.
 
 
 
Publication Date: August 23, 2014Corazon Books
eBook; 320p
ASIN: B00MZZDHMQ
 
Genre: Historical Fiction
 
 
Set in nineteenth century Paris, Vienna and London, this is a novel about family ties and rivalries, love and ambition.

The Founder of the House introduces us to Emmanuel Gollantz, the son of a Jewish antique dealer, Hermann Gollantz.

Hermann lives his life according to the principles of loyalty, honesty and honour instilled in him as a child. But these ideals are ruthlessly exploited by his wife’s family, threatening everything that is important to him. Protecting his beloved wife, Rachel, from the truth carries a great cost.

As a young man, Emmanuel, becomes involved with the inner circle of the Viennese Court, where his passion for the married baroness, Caroline Lukoes, has far-reaching consequences both for himself and the House of Gollantz.

The Founder of the House is the first book in the bestselling Gollantz Saga – an historical family saga tracing the lives and loves of the Gollantz family over several generations. This seven-novel series explores how one family’s destiny is shaped by the politics and attitudes of the time, as well as by the choices and actions of its own members.

The Gollantz Saga Titles


 Book One: Founder of the House
Book Two: That Wild Lie
Book Three: Young Emmanuel
Book Four: Four Generations
Book Five: Private Gollantz
Book Six: Gollantz: London, Paris, Milan
Book Seven: Gollantz & Partners

Praise for the Gollantz Saga


“Recommended. Ms Jacob writes skilfully and with that fine professional assurance we have come to expect of her.” The Times

“Impressive.” London Evening Standard

“A good family chronicle.” Kirkus Reviews

“Besides the interest of the plot, Miss Jacob’s book has much to recommend it. The style of the novel is unimpeachable, marked by sincerity, dignity and a sense of the dramatic. I can safely recommend

“The Founder of the House.” Western Mail (Perth)

Buy the eBook


Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author

 
 

Naomi Jacob (1884-1964) was a prolific author, biographer and broadcaster. She is perhaps best known for her bestselling seven-novel series, The Gollantz Saga, which traces several generations of the Gollantz family in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Jacob had a mixed heritage, which influenced her life and work. Her paternal grandfather was a Jewish tailor who had escaped the pogroms of Western Prussia and settled in England, while her mother’s family had strong Yorkshire roots. Her maternal grandfather was the two-time mayor of Ripon in Yorkshire. He also owned a hotel in the town. Her father was headmaster of the local school.

Jacob loved the theatre and became a character actress on stage and in film, notably opposite John Geilgud in The Ringer (1936). She also associated with the Du Mauriers, Henry Irving, Marie Lloyd and Sarah Bernhardt.

She published her first novel, “Jacob Usher” in 1925. It became a bestseller.

In 1928 she appeared for the defence of Radclyffe Hall’s “The Well of Loneliness”, and developed a friendship with Hall and her companion Una Troubridge.

After suffering with tuberculosis, in 1930 she left England for Italy, where she lived for most of the rest of her life. She lived in a villa in Sirmione on Lake Garda, which she called “Casa Mickie” (she was known to friends and family as “Mickie”).

In 1935 she was awarded the Eichelberger International Humane Award, for outstanding achievement in the field of humane endeavour, for her novel “Honour Come Back”. She rejected the award when she discovered that another recipient of the award had been Adolf Hitler, for “Mein Kampf”.

Jacob was involved in politics – she stood as a Labour PPC (Prospective Parliamentary Candidate) and was a suffragette.

In 1940, she was evacuated back to England when Italy entered the Second World War. She joined the Entertainments National Service Association, becoming famous for her flamboyant appearance— crew cut hair, and wearing a monocle and First World War Women’s Legion uniform.

She returned to Sirmione before the end of the war, helping Jewish refugees in the town. Over the years, she frequently returned to the UK, and in the 1950s and early 1960s was regularly to be heard on the BBC radio programme “Woman’s Hour”.

She wrote the seven-novel Gollantz saga about several generations of a Jewish family, tracing their path from Vienna in the early nineteenth century to establishing a life and antique business in England in the twentieth century. It is a saga about family loyalty, honour and love, while also reflecting on the politics and ideals of the era.

 

The Founder of the House Blog Tour Schedule

 
 
Monday, November 10

Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, November 11

Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, November 12

Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book
Spotlight at Literary Chanteuse

Thursday, November 13

Guest Post at Madame Gilflurt

Friday, November 14

Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Sunday, November 16

Review at Unshelfish

Monday, November 17

Excerpt at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, November 18
Spotlight at Mel’s Shelves

Wednesday, November 19
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Thursday, November 20
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Sunday, November 23
Review & Interview at A Bibliophile’s Reverie

Monday, November 24
Review at Just One More Chapter

Tuesday, November 25
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book

Wednesday, November 26
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Thursday, November 27
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, November 28
Review & Excerpt at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Tiger Queens Blog Tour: Review and Giveaway

Publication Date: November 4, 2014
NAL Trade
Formats: eBook, Paperback

Genre: Historical Fiction

Synopsis


In the late twelfth century on the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, following a violent feud between blood brothers, the victor Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself Genghis Khan. But behind one powerful man stand many strong women…

After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, darkness looms over Borte’s life. She becomes an outcast among her clan and after seeking comfort in the arms of an aristocratic traveler, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man she was betrothed to years ago but who abandoned her long before they could marry. And he will only leave her behind again.

Temujin will make Borte his khatun, his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new empire. Their daughter, a fierce girl named Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, seeks revenge against the Mongol barbarians who destroyed her city and murdered her family, but in the end will sacrifice everything to protect the Golden Family. Demure widow to Genghis’ son, Sorkhokhtani positions her sons to inherit the Empire when it begins to fracture from within.

As Genghis Khan sets out to expand his conquests and the steppes run red with blood, Borte and the women of the clan will fight, love, scheme, and sacrifice, all for the good of their family and the greatness of the People of the Felt Walls…

So What Did I Think About The Story?


Stephanie Thornton has become an author known for bringing to life the nearly forgotten stories of exceptional and courageous women from ancient history and, in the process, has become one of my all time favorite authors. I always know when she comes out with a new book that I need to set aside as much time as possible to dive deep into the world within the pages because once I plunge in I won't want to come out! Her newest novel, The Tiger Queens, is no exception and I am still reeling from the story now that I am through reading it.

While the most well known historical figure within the Tiger Queens is Genghis Khan, known to many armchair history buffs like me as a brutal conqueror who united many nomadic tribes into one unified empire and used vicious tactics and brute force to spread the boundaries of that empire to staggering proportions, the focus of The Tiger Queens is the women surrounding him who not only helped build that empire but keep it intact during his life and after his death. Ms. Thornton tells her story from the perspectives of four of these women: Borte, Genghis Khan's first wife and queen; Alaqai, their daughter; Fatima, a Persian woman captured when her city was destroyed by the Mongols; and Sorkhokhtani, wife of Genghis Khan's youngest son and the woman who would see the Empire continued when many others within this Golden Family would have caused its destruction. Using these four women as the storytellers not only gives a unique perspective to the life and conquests of this complicated historical man but advances the story across the years and lands of his rule in a delightful and unexpected way.  They also make this terrifying man more human, showing him as a tender and understanding husband and a benevolent (if distant) father and father figure to his people. He is still the brutal warrior we all know but has a softer side I did not expect.

While all four of these women are remarkable there are a number of admirable secondary female (and a few male) characters that could have easily shared their stories and demonstrated their influences on the Mongolian Empire (such as my all time favorite character, Toregene, a noblewoman who married the Khan's son Ogodei and was as detrimental to the story as any other). The bravery, sacrifices and spirit of each and every one of these characters served to highlight their power and ability in the face of so many hardships.

Ms. Thornton's writing style is perfectly fitting for this world and the characters within it and her use of language and description are simply breathtaking. The reader is instantly on the steppes with the characters during the ferocious winters and searing summers and getting their hands dirty during the animal slaughters and on the battlefields. There is no shying away from the brutality of this world and this makes the reader feel that much more invested in the lives, decisions and actions of these women. I came away from the reading completely awed by their determination and endurance against a harsh and savage world.

Within the grimness of their lives, however, is a bonding and camaraderie between the women that most people can relate to and which served to, again, humanize a world most of us would not be able to imagine. These women are real and flawed, showing ambition and jealousy but also love, forgiveness and an understanding of obligation above their own selfish needs. Remarkable is too small a word for these people and I am grateful to Ms. Thornton for bringing their stories into the light and refusing to let them be forgotten by history while also making their stories accessible to everyone.

The Tiger Queens, like all of the author's novels, is a must read in my opinion. Combining historically accurate information about little known women (supported by the helpful author's note and cast of characters at the back of the book) with stellar storytelling to tie up the loose ends no longer known, we are once again able to witness the lives of people who set the foundation for what our world has become.          


So What Did I Think About The Cover?


I absolutely adore it! The woman could be any of the strong and proud women found in the story and seems to encompass all of the characteristics I imagined they would have (except maybe Fatima). Getting to see the beautiful clothes, breathtaking yet dangerous landscape and the tents they lived in really helped solidify what was already quite clear from the marvelous descriptions given within the story. And I love the wild horses running through the background, not only because they are a huge part of the story but because they could represent the wild spirits of these brave women.

Rating: 5.0/5.0

 
 
Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of The Tiger Queens in exchange for an honest review! Make sure to continue below for more information about the book, the author and how to enter to win a copy of your very own!
 
 

Praise for The Tiger Queens

 
“A gripping epic of sacrifice, revenge, and conquest…kept me riveted from beginning to end!” –Michelle Moran, bestselling author of The Second Empress
 
“From under the felted ger tents of Genghis Kahn emerge four powerful women. It is a testament to Thornton’s writing prowess that she can so intricately whittle heroines that are both compassionate and ruthless from the bones of our ancestors…a stunning achievement!” — Barbara Wood, New York Times bestselling author of The Serpent and the Staff and Rainbows on the Moon
 
“A vivid depiction of warrior women tough as the harsh, windswept steppes which nurtured them and who, as the warring Mongol clans battle for supremacy, survive… to ensure their men emerge the victors. Gripping stuff!” –Alex Rutherford, author of the Empire of the Moghul series
 
“A sprawling historical saga centering on the wives and daughters of Genghis Khan. These bold, courageous women make tremendous sacrifices in the face of danger, revenge and high-stakes survival, all in the name of family love and loyalty. Be prepared to be swept away by Thornton’s richly drawn epic of an empire and its generational shifts of power.” –Renee Rosen, author of Dollface and What the Lady Wants
 
“They were the Golden Family of Genghis Khan. Yet their lives were anything but golden as they struggled to hold together the very center of the largest empire the world has ever known. An empire that was built in one lifetime, and would have been destroyed in the next had it not been for the wives and daughters of the Great Khan. This is historical fiction at its finest.” — Gary Corby, author of The Marathon Conspiracy
“Three generations of strong women live, love, suffer, and triumph in a fresh and gritty setting—Genghis Khan’s forging of an empire in thirteenth century Mongolia. Marginalized in most histories, these Mongol mothers and daughters, empresses and slaves, claim their voices again in Stephanie Thornton’s The Tiger Queens. Unusual and imaginative!” –Elizabeth Loupas, author of The Second Duchess and The Red Lily Crown
 
“Stunning. The Tiger Queens sweeps the reader into the ruthless world of Genghis Khan’s wives and daughters with a gritty realism as intense as the eternal blue sky and blood-soaked steppes. Vivid characterization and top-notch writing. This story of strong women, their enduring friendships and passions give a rare glimpse into a shadowy period of history. A worthy successor to Taylor Caldwell’s The Earth is the Lord’s.” –Judith E. French, author of The Conqueror, The Barbarian, and The Warrior
 
 

Buy The Book

 



About the Author


Stephanie Thornton is a writer and history teacher who has been obsessed with infamous women from ancient history since she was twelve. She lives with her husband and daughter in Alaska, where
she is at work on her next novel.

“The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora” and “Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt” are available from NAL/Penguin. “The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan” will hit the shelves November 4, 2014, followed by “The Conqueror’s Wife: A Novel of Alexander the Great” in November 2015.

For more information please visit Stephanie Thornton’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.



 

Giveaway Time!!

 
For a chance to win a paperback copy of The Tiger Queens (U.S. only!) leave a comment below telling me what woman or women from history you would love to see the heroine of her/their own novel.  Be sure to leave your email address (no email address/no entry!). For extra entries share this review/giveaway online and leave a separate comment with a link to where you shared. That's it! I'll pick a winner on November 25th and the winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I have to pick another winner. Good luck everyone!
 
 
 

The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan Blog Tour Schedule

 
 
Saturday, November 1
Interview & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 2
Review at Let Them Read Books

Monday, November 3
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, November 4
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, November 5
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Thursday, November 6

Review at The Mad Reviewer
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
 Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, November 7

Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Scandalous Women

Monday, November 10

Review at Reading the Past
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, November 11

Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Review & Giveaway at Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, November 12

Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, November 13

Guest Post & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Friday, November 14

Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Monday, November 17

Review at Turning the Pages

Tuesday, November 18
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, November 19
Review & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch
Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Thursday, November 20
Review at Layered Pages

Friday, November 21
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, November 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Tuesday, November 25
Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, November 26
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

Friday, November 28
Review at Book Babe