Blog Tour for Sara Ackerman’s: The Codebreaker’s Secret

I’m happy to take part today in the summer Historical Fiction Blog Tour for The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman. This was a compelling and suspenseful read, focusing on WWII codebreakers in Hawaii and a woman who goes missing twenty years later. Well-paced and well-written, the strings of the different plot lines all joined together in the end.

Here’s the overview:

THE CODEBREAKER’S SECRET

Author: Sara Ackerman

ISBN: 9780778386452

Publication Date: August 2, 2022

Publisher: MIRA Books

Buy Links: NOT affiliated with BBNB

BookShop.org

Harlequin

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Author Website: https://www.ackermanbooks.com/ 

Facebook: @ackermanbooks

Twitter: @AckermanBooks

Instagram: @saraackermanbooks

Book Summary:

Dual-timeline historical fiction for fans of Chanel Cleeton and Beatriz Williams, THE CODEBREAKER’S SECRET is a story of codebreaking, secrets, murder, romance and longing.

1943 HONOLULU

Cryptanalysist Isabel Cooper manuevers herself into a job at Station Hypo after the attack on Pearl Harbor, determined to make a difference in the war effort and defeat the Japanese Army by breaking their coded transmissions. When the only other female codebreaker at the station goes missing, Isabel suspects it has something to do with Operation Vengeance, which took out a major enemy target, but she can’t prove it. And with the pilot she thought she was falling for reassigned to a different front, Isabel walks away from it all.

1965 MAUNA KEA BEACH HOTEL

Rookie journalist Lucy Medeiras has her foot in the door for her dream job when she lands the assignment to cover the grand opening of Rockefeller’s new hotel–the most expensive ever built. The week of celebrations is attended by celebrities and politicians, but Lucy gets off on the wrong foot with a cranky experienced reporter from New York named Matteo Russi. When a high-profile guest goes missing, and the ensuing search uncovers a decades-old skeleton in the lava fields, the story gets interesting, and Lucy teams up with Matteo to look into it. Something in Matteo’s memory leads them on a hunt that involves a senatorial candidate, old codes from WWII, and Matteo’s old flame, a woman named Isabel.

Author Bio: 

Sara Ackerman is a USA TODAY bestselling author who writes books about love and life, and all of their messy and beautiful imperfections. She believes that the light is just as important as the dark, and that the world is in need of uplifting stories. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and later earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees no end to its untapped stories. Find out more about Sara and her books at http://www.ackermanbooks.com and follow her on Instagram @saraackermanbooks and on FB @ackermanbooks.

Thanks for my copy and for having me as part of the tour!

If you enjoy this genre, don’t miss this one!

Blog Tour for Christina Dodd’s POINT LAST SEEN

I’m happy to be taking part in this tour today for a suspenseful and engaging read: POINT LAST SEEN by Christina Dodd.

Here’s the scoop:

POINT LAST SEEN

Author: Christina Dodd

ISBN: 9781335623973

Publication Date: June 21, 2022

Publisher: HQN Books

Buy Links: Not affiliated with BBNB

BookShop.org

Harlequin

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @ChristinaDodd

Facebook: Christina Dodd

Instagram: @christinadoddbooks

Goodreads

Book Summary:

 From New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd comes a brand new, standalone suspense about a reclusive artist who retrieves a seemingly dead woman from the Pacific Ocean…only to have her come back to life with no memory of what happened to her. With a strong female protagonist, a chilling villain, and twisty secrets that will keep you turning the pages. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell, Karin Slaughter and Sandra Brown, POINT LAST SEEN, will have readers keeping the lights on all night.

LIFE LAST SEEN

When you’ve already died, there should be nothing left to fear… When Adam Ramsdell pulls Elle’s half-frozen body from the surf on a lonely California beach, she has no memory of what her full name is and how she got those bruises ringing her throat.

GIRL LAST SEEN

Elle finds refuge in Adam’s home on the edge of Gothic, a remote village located between the steep lonely mountains and the raging Pacific Ocean. As flashes of her memory return, Elle faces a terrible truth—buried in her mind lurks a secret so dark it could get her killed.

POINT LAST SEEN

Everyone in Gothic seems to hide a dark past. Even Adam knows more than he will admit. Until Elle can unravel the truth, she doesn’t know who to trust, when to run and who else might be hurt when the killer who stalks her nightmares appears to finish what he started…

This was one of those “I have to stay up all night reading” books! I love a good suspense story and I liked the characters in this novel, too. This was my first Christina Dodd book – but it won’t be my last! Thanks for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

Author Bio:

New York Times bestselling author Christina Dodd writes “edge-of-the-seat suspense” (Iris Johansen) with “brilliantly etched characters, polished writing, and unexpected flashes of sharp humor that are pure Dodd” (ALA Booklist). Her fifty-eight books have been called “scary, sexy, and smartly written” by Booklist and, much to her mother’s delight, Dodd was once a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Enter Christina’s worlds and join her mailing list at http://www.christinadodd.com.

Harper-Collins Blog Tour for Viola Shipman’s THE EDGE OF SUMMER

I’m happy today to tell you about the latest novel from Viola Shipman: The Edge of Summer. I love the historical elements of Shipman’s stories and how things always end up “right” in the end. This novel focused on a young woman who was trying to find out about her mother’s past and her family (whom she always believed to have been deceased). I will say that, compared to other novels by this author, I found this one paced a little slower, especially for the first third of the book. However, it was an interesting and engaging story, and I loved the sewing tie-ins.

Thank you for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

Here’s the scoop:

Book Summary: Bestselling author Viola Shipman delights with this captivating summertime escape set along the sparkling shores of Lake Michigan, where a woman searches for clues to her secretive mother’s past

Devastated by the sudden death of her mother—a quiet, loving and intensely private Southern seamstress called Miss Mabel, who overflowed with pearls of Ozarks wisdom but never spoke of her own family—Sutton Douglas makes the impulsive decision to pack up and head north to the Michigan resort town where she believes she’ll find answers to the lifelong questions she’s had about not only her mother’s past but also her own place in the world.

Recalling Miss Mabel’s sewing notions that were her childhood toys, Sutton buys a collection of buttons at an estate sale from Bonnie Lyons, the imposing matriarch of the lakeside community. Propelled by a handful of trinkets left behind by her mother and glimpses into the history of the magical lakeshore town, Sutton becomes tantalized by the possibility that Bonnie is the grandmother she never knew. But is she? As Sutton cautiously befriends Bonnie and is taken into her confidence, she begins to uncover the secrets about her family that Miss Mabel so carefully hid, and about the role that Sutton herself unwittingly played in it all.

The Edge of Summer

Author: Viola Shipman 

ISBN: 978-1525811425

Paperback Original 

Publication Date: July 12, 2022

Publisher: Graydon House

Buy Links: NOT affiliated with BBNB

BookShop.org

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Forever Books

Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website 

Twitter: @Viola_Shipman

Facebook: Author Viola Shipman

Instagram: @Viola_Shipman

Goodreads

Author Bio: VIOLA SHIPMAN is the pen name for internationally bestselling author Wade Rouse. Wade is the author of fourteen books, which have been translated into 21 languages and sold over a million copies around the world. Wade chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman as a pen name to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his fiction. The last Viola Shipman novel, The Secret of Snow (October 2021), was named a Best Book of Fall by Country Living Magazine and a Best Holiday Book by Good Housekeeping. 

Wade hosts the popular Facebook Live literary happy hour, “Wine & Words with Wade,” every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. EST on the Viola Shipman author page where he talks writing, inspiration and welcomes bestselling authors and publishing insiders.

Doesn’t he look like the nicest guy? I need to go to his “Wine and Words with Wade” some time!

Happy Reading!

Blog Tour for Tessa Arlen’s: A Dress of Violet Taffeta

I am so happy to be taking part in this wonderful story about a woman who refuses to submits to society’s social rules for single woman and instead becomes a fashion designer. I have always enjoyed Ms. Arlen’s writing, though I have read mostly her light mysteries. This story was true historical fiction and I loved the character of Lucy and was so surprised to realize that this book is based on a real person.

Here’s the scoop:

QUICK FACTS

  • Title:A Dress of Violet Taffeta: A Novel
  • Author:Tessa Arlen
  • Genre:Historical Fiction
  • Publisher: ‎Berkley (July 5, 2022)
  • Length: (352) pages
  • Format: Trade paperback, eBook, & audiobook 
  • ISBN: 978-0593436851

BOOK DESCRIPTION

A sumptuous novel based on the fascinating true story of La Belle Époque icon Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, who shattered the boundaries of fashion with her magnificently sensual and enchantingly unique designs.

Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, and texture in ways few people can begin to imagine. But is the male dominated world of haute couture, who would use her art for their own gain, ready for her?
 
When she is deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is left penniless with an aging mother and her five-year-old daughter to support. Desperate to survive, Lucy turns to her one true talent to make a living. As a little girl, the dresses she made for her dolls were the envy of her group of playmates. Now, she uses her creative designs and her remarkable eye for color to take her place in the fashion world—failure is not an option. 
 
Then, on a frigid night in 1912, Lucy’s life changes once more, when she becomes one of 706 people to survive the sinking of the Titanic. She could never have imagined the effects the disaster would have on her fashion label Lucile, her marriage to her second husband, and her legacy. But no matter what life throws at her, Lucy will live on as a trailblazing and innovative fashion icon, never letting go of what she worked so hard to earn.

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Fans of the 1991 BBC series The House of Eliott will find familiar comfort in Arlen’s descriptions of fabrics, colorworks, and evolving fashions.” —Library Journal

“Tessa Arlen’s novel is as elegant as a Lucille gown, full of movement, color and beauty…For anyone interested in fashion, in the Gilded Age, in stories about strong, visionary woman, Tessa Arlen’s novel is a must read!” —Jeanne Mackin, author of The Last Collection

“A sumptuous treat of elegant prose, evocative descriptions, and compelling emotions. Arlen’s writing absolutely shines.” —Anna Lee Huber, USA TODAY Bestselling author of A Perilous Perspective

“Tessa Arlen delivers a fascinating tale based on the real-life fashion icon, Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, who went up against a male dominated industry and revolutionized it…A must read for fashion fans everywhere.” —Renee Rosen, USA Today bestselling author of The Social Graces

“…written in a sumptuous, engaging style that appeals to all the senses and brings Lucy, her creations, and her world vividly alive.” —Alyssa Maxwell, author of The Gilded Newport Mysteries

PURCHASE LINKS – NOT affiliated with BBNB

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB

AUTHOR BIO

Tessa Arlen writes historical fiction when she is not toiling away in her garden. She is the author of the Edwardian mystery series: Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson; the Woman of World War II mystery series. Poppy Redfern. And two standalone historical novels: In Royal Service to the Queen, and A Dress of Violet Taffeta.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW

SOCIAL MEDIA

Thank you so much for my copy and for making me part of the tour!

Blog Tour for The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

So many great historical fiction choices this summer!!

I am thrilled to be part of the Harper-Collins blog tour for Kelly Rimmer’s latest novel: The German Wife. This was a truly captivating read, focusing on two women: a German mother and wife who has had to make huge sacrifices to protect her family, and a young woman who will do anything to protect her brother after her parents die. Based in historical fact, the story focuses on how the US brought German nuclear scientists over to work for our government after WWII. Sofie is the wife of one of the most respected rocket scientists, and she is trying to settle her young family into their new home and country, while Lizzie has left the family farm with her brother Henry, and is trying to make a new life in the city.

Here’s the scoop:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan returns with a gripping novel inspired by the true story of Operation Paperclip: a controversial secret US intelligence program that employed former Nazis in the US after WWII. 

Berlin, Germany, 1930—When the Nazis rise to power, Jürgen Rhodes is offered a high-level position in their burgeoning rocket program. Jürgen and his wife Sofie fiercely oppose Hitler’s radical views, and joining his ranks is unthinkable. Yet it soon becomes clear that if Jürgen does not accept the job, their income would be put on the line, and so would their lives. 

Huntsville, Alabama, 1950—Jürgen is one of many German scientists pardoned and granted a position in America’s space program. For Sofie, this is a chance to leave the horrors of her past behind. But when rumors about the Rhodes family’s affiliation with the Nazi party spreads, idle gossip turns to bitter rage, and the act of violence that results tears apart a family and leaves the community wondering if it’s an act of vengeance, or justice.

I have to be honest. I’ve never really had a lot of sympathy for those who supported Nazi Germany. (I do have sympathy for the women and young girls left on their own in Berlin when the Russians arrived and systematically terrorized everyone). But I have pondered how anyone could support the atrocities that happened during WWII, especially in the camps. This novel does such an incredible job in letting you take that point of view – a person who has no choices left if they are to survive or if they are to protect their family and thus must do things they don’t want to do.

Henry’s story in this novel is particularly touching as well, as he suffers significant mental duress and PTSD from his time as a soldier. It’s heart-breaking.

This book is well-written and I couldn’t put it down. Once again Kelly Rimmer has written a novel that I will not forget.

Thank you for my copy and for having me as part of the tour.

Here’s a bit on the author:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kelly Rimmer is the worldwide, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Before I Let You Go, The Things We Cannot Say, and Truths I Never Told You. She lives in rural Australia with her husband, two children and fantastically naughty dogs, Sully and Basil. Her novels have been translated into more than twenty languages. Please visit her at https://www.kellyrimmer.com/

SOCIAL LINKS:

Author website: https://www.kellyrimmer.com/

Facebook: @Kellymrimmer

Twitter: @KelRimmerWrites

Instagram: @kelrimmerwrites

BUY LINKS: Not affiliated with BBNB

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/the-german-wife-9781525899904/9781525899904 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781525811432 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-german-wife-kelly-rimmer/1139609914?ean=9781525811432  

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09FGT2V4F/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i4 

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-german-wife-a-novel/9781525804830-item.html?ikwidx=1&ikwsec=Books#algoliaQueryId=bcb8245f4a6a5bf65037b28607513004 

The Second Husband by Kate White

My friends at Wunderkind PR sent me a galley of Kate White’s latest novel: The Second Husband. This was a suspenseful read, focusing on a young woman who is just trying to live her best life and put her past behind her. But moving on with her new husband is challenging when questions from her past marriage keep popping up.

Here’s the scoop:

Recovering from the unsolved murder of her first husband, Derrick, thirtysomething Emma Hawke has built a new life with Tom, a handsome, successful, and loving widower who finally makes her feel safe again. Then one day a police detective shows up at their house on the Connecticut shore, asking questions about Derrick’s death. Emma was sure she’d been cleared in the days after the tragedy. So why is law enforcement taking another look now—and questioning the timing of her relationship with Tom? She hadn’t even met him until after Derrick’s death. 

With twists and turns all the way to the last page, this fast-paced, expertly plotted novel will have you asking that age-old question: how well do you really know the ones you love?

This was a great psychological thriller and one that was hard to put down. I really was hopeful that Emma would be able to put her past behind her and I liked the ending as it was not easy to predict.

Thank you for my ARC!

THE SECOND HUSBAND

By Kate White

HarperCollins 

June 28, 2022 /Harper Paperback; Paperback/ ISBN-13: 978-0062945457/ 368 pages$16.99

I Know You by Claire McGowan

I’m not sure how I missed this twisty thriller, but I loved it and read it through in a couple of days. I really liked the main character, Casey/Rachel, and appreciated how she was trying to put her past behind her. With lots of suspects and surprises, I liked how it all wrapped up and will definitely look for more by this author! I think this would make an awesome movie or mini series on Netflix or Hulu.

Thank you for my review galley!

Here’s the scoop:

Description

In this tense thriller from the bestselling author of What You Did and The Other Wife, a woman finds a dead body. Will she make the same mistake as last time?

When Rachel stumbles upon a body in the woods, she knows what she has to do: run. Get away. Do not be found at the scene. Last time, she didn’t know, and she ended up accused of murder. But when this victim is identified as her boyfriend’s estranged wife, Rachel realises she’s already the prime suspect.

With mounting evidence against her, Rachel’s only hope is to keep the truth about herself well hidden. Because twenty years ago she was someone else—Casey, a young nanny trying to make it as an actress in Los Angeles. When the family she worked for were brutally murdered, all the evidence pointed to her and she went to prison. Back then, she narrowly escaped the death penalty and managed to free herself on appeal. Now she’s fighting to save the life she’s spent years piecing back together.

But with her behaviour raising suspicion and the police closing in, Rachel can’t help wondering: Was her discovery in the woods really just an awful coincidence, or is someone framing her for murder? Someone who knows who she is, and wants revenge…


A Note From the Publisher

Claire McGowan was born in 1981 in a small Irish village where the most exciting thing that ever happened was some cows getting loose on the road. She is the author of The Fall, What You Did, The Other Wife, The Push and the acclaimed Paula Maguire crime series. She also writes women’s fiction under the name Eva Woods.

The Hemlock Cure by Joanne Burn

My friends at Pegasus Books sent me a galley of The Hemlock Cure and it was definitely a unique read. Oddly reminiscent of Hamnet, it tells the story of the village of Eyam during the 1600’s in England. It is beautifully written and memorable. To escape into this book is to escape into a different time.

It is 1665 and the women of Eyam village keep many secrets. Especially Isabel and Mae.

Isabel Frith, the village midwife, walks a dangerous line with her herbs and remedies. There are men in the village who speak of witchcraft, and Isabel has a past to hide. So, she tells nobody her fears about the pious, reclusive apothecary, on whom she is keeping a watchful eye.

Mae, the apothecary’s youngest daughter, dreads her father’s rage if he discovers what she keeps from him: her feelings for Rafe, Isabel’s ward, or the fact that she studies from her father’s books at night.

But others have secrets too. Secrets darker than any of them could have imagined.

When Mae makes a horrifying discovery, Isabel is the only person she can turn to. But helping Mae will place them both in unimaginable peril. Meanwhile another danger is on its way from London, one that threatens to engulf them all…

Based on the real history of an English village during the Great Plague, The Hemlock Cure is an utterly beguiling tale of fear and ambition, betrayal, self-sacrifice and the unbreakable bond between two women.

About the Author: Joanne Burn lives in the Peak District of England, where she is as a writing coach. Her first novel, Petals and Stones, was published in 2018 by Little Brown UK. The Hemlock Cure is her first novel to be published in America.

I did a little research on Eyam and found this interesting article:

https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofEngland/Why-Is-Eyam-Significant/

Thank you for my review copy!

Spotlight on: One April After the War by G. S. Boarman

I’m shining a spotlight today on an interesting book that I received in April and found very engaging: One April After the War. April 1870, when this story takes place, and April 2022 lined up and a calendar accompanied my ARC, complete with notations of what occurred in the novel on any given day.

This book is actually book one of a series.

Here’s the overview:

Louisville, KY – Experience what life was like almost 200 years ago in G. S Boarman’s new series. One April After the War (GS Boarman, April 2022) follows the eccentric Mary Warner and the secret agents assigned to ensure her protection during her journey to Washington. 

Fresh from concluding a counterfeiting sting in Cincinnati, Secret Service agents Merritt and Argent are tasked by President Ulysses S. Grant to convince Miss Warner to return with them to Washington, D.C. For the two Treasury agents, this simple assignment to escort the socially awkward and willful young woman on an 800-mile railroad journey from Louisville, Kentucky to the White House proves far more interesting and difficult than the men could have ever thought possible. And, in the face of danger, it may just turn out that Mary is more of an asset than a problem for the two agents.

For Mary Warner, the trip begins to take on a sinister meaning as she finds herself a virtual prisoner to Merritt and Argent. Madness, morality, and murder all swirl in a strange April storm at midnight turning this odd odyssey into something so much more than a mere trip between cities.

And here’s some info on the author, who is new to me:

G. S. Boarman: After the death of G. S. Boarman, a great niece cleaned out the old Kentucky family farmhouse and in the attic, amid the rusting coffee mill, the rickety outdated furniture that was still awaiting repairs, and the stacks of vermin-eaten Harper’s Weekly’s and Police Gazette’s, she found a curious box marked simply “M”.

On the kitchen floor, the metal hasps were flipped back and the top pried off. Lying on the top of a very neat and orderly collection of things was a scrapbook and lying loose inside the scrapbook was a note that said simply, “Please finish the story.” The scrapbook itself contained a rough outline of a narrative with sometimes undecipherable glosses and cryptic references to mysterious sources.

From letters and notebooks, ledgers and calendars, train schedules and stockholders’ reports, the story was slowly extracted and pieced together, and the small treasures, carefully wrapped and preserved in the box, took their place in the narrative.

Boarman’s will had already been read, probated, and executed, but the niece, as executrix, felt obligated to fulfill Boarman’s last wish — to breathe life into the long-ago story of a woman who held some importance to Boarman.

Ms. Boarman shared a Q&A session that I found really interesting.

  1. What sort of historical research did you do for One April After the War? What was your most helpful resource? 

The first book I picked up that really inspired me to start writing was Illegal Tender: Counterfeiting and the Secret Service in Nineteenth-Century America (by David R. Johnson). Once I started formulating a plot and characters, I read any book or online source that I could find: books on counterfeiting, railroads (especially the iconic B&O), trains (types of engines, cars, boilers, brakes, anything), Grant’s presidency, the Secret Service (not much there), Reconstruction. Any time a new subject presented itself, I read about it, sometimes putting my book aside for weeks and months. But the most constant source was newspapers.com, which gave me the really interesting little tidbits that I think make the story seem real.

  1. Why did you choose Kentucky as the setting for your book?

I am a native Kentuckian, so it is natural that I should write about my home state. But more than that, I think Kentucky has been overlooked in regards to the consequences of being a border state during the Civil War. I think Kentucky suffered a true identity crisis at that time, both internally as well as externally (how the rest of the nation viewed her). I think Kentucky’s dual identity — as both a Union and a rebel state — was an ideal background for Mary Warner, struggling with her own identity.

  1. How does your book bend the gender roles that existed at the time period?

First, Mary Warner did not set out to break gender rules; she simply did not want to live under someone else’s arbitrary (as she saw them) rules. In some ways, she was childish about gender roles — she simply did not want to be denied all the things she saw her brothers could have as well as other men that she, frankly, thought she could best and therefore was better deserving of these social perks. The most outward way she exercised her objections was to wear pants, or trousers. She was not willing to do so in public but she refused to wear dresses while on her own land. At the time of the story, a woman could be jailed for wearing male attire and there were a few women who openly challenged authority on that score. Dr. Mary Walker was famous for wearing men’s clothing out in public and she was routinely followed by angry crowds who threw food and other organic material at her.

  1. Why did you choose to set your story in the late 1800s? 

I wanted the story to happen in the early days of the Secret Service, which began in April 1865. The first chief of the SS was morally unappealing, as were many of his operatives, and I did not want to showcase that period. The second chief came in 1868 and there was a decided improvement in the ethics and professionalism of the Service. Then, I simply decided that my story would cover the entire decade 1870-1880. 1870 was far enough after the war that the nation was trying to move on, but not so far as to be a distant memory for the characters.

  1. What historical artifacts have you collected in order to help you ground your story? 

I have inherited, through my mother’s family, several old pieces of furniture and a box full of old late-19th century photographs (none of them with names on them) and a slew of old books. My most prized possession, however, is my paternal grandfather’s gold pocket watch, given to him for his years of service on the old L&N railroad. This watch is an important item in the books.

  1. How did you feel when you discovered the April connection and how do you hope readers incorporate that into their reading experience? 

All while I was writing and researching the book(s), I would periodically come across little tidbits of information that I took to be signs that I was meant to write this book. The first time this idea hit me came when I was looking at old maps of Martinsburg (central to Book III) and found that one of the streets was named Eulalia (Mary Warner’s middle name, the source of her pet family name Lally). The last time this feeling hit me came when I realized that April of 2022, when I planned to release the book, was the same as April of 1870; that is, they both start on Friday and Easter falls on April 17. The full moon falls a little earlier this year, but only by a day or two, not enough to affect Easter’s date. The Easter date was especially important because that meant that each chapter of Holy Week corresponded perfectly with Holy Week of this year. It just seemed a perfect and somehow ordained coincidence, so that readers can follow the story and the journey of the characters as it happened, so to speak, day by day (one chapter for each day of the month), this April, as if it were being re-lived this year.

If you like stories of the 1800’s with strong, interesting women characters, do yourself a favor and read One April After the War by G. S. Boarman, even though this April is past! The story is continued in Book 2. And I see there is Book 3, which takes place in June and follows our June 2022 exactly — so get reading!

Two for My Ears!

I’ve been very remiss in posting about audiobooks lately, so I wanted to highlight two recent ones that I’ve listened to during my commute: The Huntress by Kate Quinn and The Testaments by Margaret Atwood.

I loved Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network so I was excited to get The Huntress on audiobook via Audible. Here’s the overview of the story:

From the author of the New York Times and USA Today best-selling novel The Alice Network comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted….

Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina’s bravery and cunning will keep her alive.

Transformed by the horrors he witnessed from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Growing up in post-war Boston, 17-year-old Jordan McBride is determined to become a photographer. When her long-widowed father unexpectedly comes home with a new fiancée, Jordan is thrilled. But there is something disconcerting about the soft-spoken German widow. Certain that danger is lurking, Jordan begins to delve into her new stepmother’s past – only to discover that there are mysteries buried deep in her family…secrets that may threaten all Jordan holds dear.

In this immersive, heart-wrenching story, Kate Quinn illuminates the consequences of war on individual lives, and the price we pay to seek justice and truth. 

So – I loved this story and found it really intriguing and I really enjoyed the narrator (Saskia Maarleveld) who is awesome with accents; however, this is looooong. Over 19 hours long. Apparently the book is over 550 pages. It was great, but I listened to it over weeks in the car and I got confused due to the changes in time that were happening in the narrative, as well as the number of characters. The story was well-written and engaging, but next time, I would choose to read it and not try to listen to it over weeks while I’m driving.

Another lengthy listen that I enjoyed, though it was disturbing, was Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, a sequel to A Handmaid’s Tale, which I read when it first published many years ago. This dystopian novel follows the first one, but can be read as a stand alone.

Here’s the overview:

Number one New York Timesbest seller

Winner of the Booker Prize

The Testaments is a modern masterpiece, a powerful novel that can be enjoyed on its own or as a companion to Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale.

More than 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.

Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia. Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.

With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.

This was over 13 hours long, and at times depressing and disturbing, but it was true Margaret Atwood: well-written and makes you think. It had multiple narrators, with Ms. Atwood being one of them. Even if you haven’t read Handmaid’s Tale or watched it on Hulu, I would recommend this story.

My audiobooks today were purchased using my Audible monthly credits from my subscription.