Thursday, November 28, 2019

1 Entertaining Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift @swiftstory @hfvbt

Entertaining Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift

Publication Date: September 12, 2019
Hachette Book Group
eBook. Paperback, Audiobook; 400 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

London 1666

Elizabeth 'Bird' Carpenter has a wonderful singing voice, and music is her chief passion. When her father persuades her to marry horse-dealer Christopher Knepp, she suspects she is marrying beneath her station, but nothing prepares her for the reality of life with Knepp. Her father has betrayed her trust, for Knepp cares only for his horses; he is a tyrant and a bully, and will allow Bird no life of her own.

When Knepp goes away, she grasps her chance and, encouraged by her maidservant Livvy, makes a secret visit to the theatre. Entranced by the music, the glitter and glamour of the surroundings, and the free and outspoken manner of the women on the stage, she falls in love with the theatre and is determined to forge a path of her own as an actress.

But life in the theatre was never going to be straightforward - for a jealous rival wants to spoil her plans, and worse, Knepp forbids it, and Bird must use all her wit and intelligence to change his mind.

Based on events depicted in the famous Diary of Samuel Pepys, Entertaining Mr Pepys brings London in the 17th Century to life. It includes the vibrant characters of the day such as the diarist himself and actress Nell Gwynne, and features a dazzling and gripping finale during the Great Fire Of London.

The third in Deborah Swift's atmospheric trilogy, bringing to life the women in Pepys' Diary. Each novel features a different character and can be read as a stand-alone book.

'A remarkably beguiling read. It transported me to the glitter and filth of seventeenth century London' - Martine Bailey, author of The Almanack

'The fusion of historical facts and fiction is so flawless that it is hard to know where reality ends and fiction begins' - Readers Favourite Review

Amazon | Book Depository

Praise for the Pepys Trilogy

'Swift is a consummate historical novelist, basing her books on immaculate research and then filling the gaps between real events and real people with eloquent storytelling, atmospheric scene setting and imaginative plot lines' - The Visitor

'A novel that transports readers with astonishing and engrossing detail' - Readers Favorite 5*

'Pepys and his world spring to vibrant life… Gripping, revealing and stunningly imagined' -Lancashire Evening Post

About the Author

Deborah Swift is the author of three previous historical novels for adults, The Lady’s Slipper, The Gilded Lily, and A Divided Inheritance, all published by Macmillan/St Martin’s Press, as well as the Highway Trilogy for teens (and anyone young at heart!). Her first novel was shortlisted for the Impress prize for new novelists.

She lives on the edge of the beautiful and literary English Lake District – a place made famous by the poets Wordsworth and Coleridge.

For more information, please visit Deborah Swift’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, November 21
Excerpt at The Lit Bitch
Review at Reading the Past

Friday, November 22
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Monday, November 25
Review & Excerpt at Book Reviews from Canada

Tuesday, November 26
Review at A Book Geek

Wednesday, November 27
Guest Post at Short Book and Scribes

Thursday, November 28

Friday, November 29

Monday, December 2

Tuesday, December 3
Excerpt at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, December 4
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 6
Excerpt at Donna's Book Blog

Monday, December 9

Tuesday, December 10
Excerpt at Words and Peace

Wednesday, December 11

Thursday, December 12
Feature at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a signed copy of Entertaining Mr. Pepys! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Entertaining Mr. Pepys

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

0 Distant Signs by Anne Richter Excerpt and Giveaway

Distant Signs by Anne Richter

Publication Date: November 7, 2019
Neem Tree Press
Hardcover; 240 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Saga

Distant Signs is an intimate portrait of two families spanning three generations amidst turbulent political change, behind and beyond the Berlin Wall. In 1960s East Germany, Margret, a professor's daughter from the city, meets and marries Hans, from a small village in Thuringia. The couple struggle to contend with their different backgrounds, and the emotional scars they bear from childhood in the aftermath of war. As East German history gradually unravels, with collision of the personal and political, their two families' hidden truths are quietly revealed. An exquisitely written novel with strongly etched characters that stay with you long after the book is finished and an authentic portrayal of family life behind the iron curtain based on personal experience of the author who is East German and was 16 years old at the fall of the Berlin Wall. Why do families repeat destructive patterns of behaviour across generations? Should the personal take precedence over the political? Can we rise above our histories and political identities to forge a new understanding of the past and to welcome change?

Available on Amazon


1. Margret – 1965 – Communist Cow (pp.12-13): meeting Hans

After work, I was now in the habit of taking an evening stroll through the surrounding area. My eyes quickly grew accustomed to the faint light, so that each time I recognised the contours of the land better, easily discerned the paths, trees, meadows and fences. Shrouded in my coat and woollen scarf I was at one with the winter air, the dormant plants, the sleeping animals, on some days with the snow, luminous against the dark.
One evening, at the edge of a meadow I spotted a man’s silhouette, static and slightly stooped, hands clasped behind his back. He turned to me as I approached.
“The evening air here,” he said by way of greeting, “reminds me of home.”
I recognised the young man’s face; he too worked on the farm.
“Where are you from?” I asked, and he named a village near my boarding school. I told him where I had gone to school and how fondly I remembered my time there. He mumbled in surprise that no one else here knew his village.
We were silent for a moment; then he said, “I learned some of the work when I was a child: harvesting crops and milking goats.”
I nodded, and was surprised to think that he had also noticed me on the farm.
“I’m here to deepen my knowledge before I start my studies,” he continued, and proceeded to tell me that while it was still light on his early autumn walks he had picked plants at the field perimeters and set up a herbarium. “I don’t mind the winter,” he said.
I rubbed my hands together, formed two small hollows and breathed into them. We were not far from the farmyard when he offered me his gloves. I hesitated. Then my hands slipped into the already warm wool.
In the meagre light of the murky farmyard lantern, I noticed he had a slight squint in his left eye and blushed under my gaze. Although he did not come across as very athletic and looked poorly suited to hard farm work, I felt at ease in his presence, precisely because there was nothing boisterous or uncouth about the way he talked and behaved. As we said goodnight he asked me my name.
“Margret,” I told him.
And he told me his – Hans – before adding, “The women in my village don’t have as nice-sounding names as yours.”

About the Author

Anne Richter was born in 1973 in Jena, in the former German Democratic Republic. Her degree in Romance languages and English included study periods in England, Italy and France. In 2011, Anne was nominated for the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize, a highly regarded German-language literary award. Her debut novel, Distant Signs, was published in Germany in 2013. Anne is currently writing her second novel.

Douglas Irving is Scottish. He studied German and Spanish at Aberdeen University. In 2014 he completed a Masters in Translation at Glasgow University. His first translation, Crossing: A Love Story by Anna Seghers was published in 2016 in the US to positive reviews. His translation of Anna Seghers’ last work published in her lifetime, Three Women from Haiti, is set to follow.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, November 7
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Comet Readings

Friday, November 8
Review at A Book Geek

Sunday, November 10
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, November 12

Wednesday, November 13

Thursday, November 14

Friday, November 15

Monday, November 18

Tuesday, November 19

Wednesday, November 20
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, November 21
Review at Peaceful Pastime

Friday, November 22

Saturday, November 23

Monday, November 25

Tuesday, November 26

Wednesday, November 27

Friday, November 29
Feature at Coffee and Ink


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of A Distant Signs by Anne Richter! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

- Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on November 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
- Paperback giveaway is open internationally.
- Only one entry per household.
- All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
- The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Distant Signs

Friday, November 1, 2019

0 Review: Marley by Jon Clinch

Marley by Jon Clinch
Narrated by: Matthew Lloyd Davies
Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
Published October 8th 2019 by Simon Schuster Audio

Young Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley are very different in temperament when they meet in the gloomy confines of Professor Drabb’s Academy for Boys, but they form a bond that will endure for the rest of their lives.

My Thoughts

Marley by Jon Clinch is a prequel to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Readers are not entirely sure what exactly Jacob Marley did in his life, but we know it's bad. We know that because when Scrooge is visited by Marley, he is weighed down by heavy chains of his own making. Chains he forged in life. Without knowing exactly who he is and what he's done, we can deduce from Scrooge's life that Marley wasn't a good character. However, there is a redemptive quality to Marley. After all, he does come to Scrooge to warn him that if he doesn't change his ways, he'll end up the same way.
"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?"

We know what happens to Scrooge, but what we don't know is how Scrooge got to be Scrooge in the first place, and we don't know exactly what part Marley played in it. Now thanks to Jon Clinch, we do. Clinch mastered the backstory of two classic but complex characters. This story is dark but compelling. Every step that Scrooge takes during this book, you can see him coming closer and closer to the miserly character he is at the beginning of Charles Dickens classic tale. I don't think I'll be able to read A Christmas Carol again without thinking of Marley.

We meet Scrooge and Marley as young lads. From early in their relationship, Marley has a hold over Scrooge. Scrooge is the man who's good with numbers, while Marley is the big picture man. Together they make a good team. If only they used their powers for good. They deal in slave trade and have shady business practices that would make your stomach churn. So many times I wanted to shout at the characters. Scrooge and Marley had a complicated relationship, sometimes friends, sometimes frienemies.

Marley by Jon Clinch is a fantastic prequel. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Matthew Lloyd Davies, which I enthusiastically recommend. Whether you listen to this book on audio or read the hardback, it's definitely one you'll want to add to your tbr. 

*I received a digital copy of this audiobook for review purposes only. It has in no way influenced my opinion.


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