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Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review: Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg


Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg
Unabridged, 31 hr. 8 min.
Simon & Schuster Audio
Lloyd James (Narrator)
September 10, 2013

Genre: Biography, Non-Fiction

Source: Received from the publisher for review

Few American icons provoke more enduring fascination than Charles Lindbergh - renowned for his one-man transatlantic flight in 1927, remembered for the sorrow surrounding the kidnapping and death of his firstborn son in 1932, and reviled by many for his opposition to America's entry into World War II.

Lindbergh's is "a dramatic and disturbing American story," says the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and this biography - the first to be written with unrestricted access to the Lindbergh archives and extensive interviews of his friends, colleagues, and close family members - is "the definitive account."

Lindbergh is one of those people who has always fascinated me – however after reading this book I realized just how little I actually knew about him. I pretty much started out just knowing the headlines – his trans-Atlantic flight and the kidnapping/murder of his first child. I learned that he was a prolific writer, very political, and had an interesting family dynamic. And he lived an oh-so-fascinating life of travel! He made so many contributions to different areas of society – from medicine, to the development of the airline industry, and more.

Berg does a great job of bringing Lindbergh the untouchable hero down to the accessible man. We see the things that shaped who he was and what drove him. We are given an in-depth look into his relationship with his wife, kids, and other various family members. Berg isn’t afraid to delve into the not-perfect person that Lindbergh was. He shows the good as well as the bad. And this book is not just about Charles – but is just as much about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the aviator’s wife. She is certainly not just a periphery character here and we learn a lot about her emotions, passions in life, and how she handled being Mrs. Lindbergh.

While that iconic flight and the kidnapping are of course featured events, they are neither the focus nor the bulk of this book. As in life, they are just stops along the way.

There was only one point in the book where it felt slow to me and that was toward the beginning. In establishing the familial roots for Charles Lindbergh, Berg spent possibly a little too much time in getting his ancestors to the US from Sweden. Once young Lindy came into the picture it took off from there (pun intended).

It is obvious that this book was written prior to the revelation in 2003 that Lindbergh had fathered 7 children out of wedlock because there is no mention of this.



The audio narration here was great. While non-fiction can be difficult to put emotion or emphasis into, the narrator kept the story moving forward and not dry in his tone. My interest never waned because of the narration.

Author A. Scott Berg also has written Kate Remembered, Wilson, Goldwyn, and Max Perkins. You can visit Berg’s website for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

My reviews of other books by this author:

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).


Other posts as part of Charles Lindbergh Week:


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New Book Alert Book Blast: Blackwell’s Paradise by V.E. Ulett


Blackwell’s Paradise by V.E. Ulett
Paperback and E-Book, 300 pages
Old Salt Press LLC
ISBN-10: 0988236052
Publication Date: January 8, 2014
Series: Blackwell’s Adventures, Volume II
Genre: Historical Adventure/Naval Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:

“Relive the pleasure of falling into the past with the author of Captain Blackwell’s Prize, in Volume II of Blackwell’s Adventures.

The repercussions of a court martial and the ill-will of powerful men at the Admiralty pursue Royal Navy captain James Blackwell into the Pacific, where danger lurks around every coral reef. Even if Captain Blackwell and Mercedes survive the venture into the world of early nineteenth century exploration, can they emerge unchanged with their love intact. The mission to the Great South Sea will test their loyalties and strength, and define the characters of Captain Blackwell and his lady in Blackwell’s Paradise.”

About the Author:

VE Ulett

A long time resident of California, V.E. Ulett is an avid reader as well as writer of historical fiction.

Proud to be an Old Salt Press author, V.E. is also a member of the National Books Critics Circle and an active member and reviewer for the Historical Novel Society.

As the long war in Europe comes to its conclusion, so does Captain Blackwell’s career in the Royal Navy in Blackwell’s Homecoming, a story of the dangers and rewards of desire.

You can find the author at the following sites: Website, Goodreads, Old Salt Press.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Blackwell's Paradise by V.E. Ulett

Blackwell's Paradise

by V.E. Ulett

Giveaway ends April 30, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, Book Depository, iTunes.

Praise for Blackwell’s Paradise

“Not for the faint hearted – Captain Blackwell pulls no punches! Prepare for a right roaring romp in the company of two of the most captivating characters in historical fiction.” – Alaric Bond, author of Turn A Blind Eye, and the Fighting Sail Series

Blackwell's Paradise Tour Banner


To enter to win a copy of Blackwell's Paradise please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on April 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 1st and notified via email.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blast Schedule:

April 1 Historical Tapestry
April 2 Broken Teepee
April 3 Confessions of an Avid Reader
April 4 The True Book Addict
April 5 Passages the Past
April 7 Layered Pages
April 8 The Maiden’s CourtHere!!
April 10 Just One More Chapter
April 11 Closed the Cover
April 12 Words and Peace
April 14 Luxury Reading
April 15 To Read or Not to Read
April 16 Peeking Between the Pages
April 18 So Many Books, So Little Time
April 21 Flashlight Commentary
April 22 Curling Up With a Good Book
April 23 HF Book Muse-News
April 24 A Bookish Affair
April 25 Oh, For the Hook of a Book
April 27 Kincavel Korner
April 28 CelticLady’s Reviews
April 29 Historical Fiction Connection
April 30 Reading the Ages



Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, April 7, 2014

In Progress Book Review: The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hall Chatlien


The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hall Chatlien
Kindle eBook, 485 pages
Amika Press
December 1, 2013

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received for review as part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

“As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy.

Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage.”

Disclaimer: This review is based on what I have read so far of the book – a full review will be posted at a later date. I try not to do this often, but life happens.

So far I have really enjoyed this novel.  Betsy is one of those characters that I instantly liked and it is fun to follow her perspective.  She is headstrong and determined to achieve what she perceives as her destiny.  Her emotions feel very real and almost as if the reader is experiencing them too.  Her early relationship with Jerome is quite interesting and I go back and forth between liking him and being unsure of him.  

The author’s writing style is very easy to read and enjoyable.  Events flow together seamlessly and I am very interested to see what comes next.

I have enjoyed that the novel has been set in historical Baltimore.  As you know I love American set HF, and this is not a setting which I have read before.

TAMB_Tour Banner

You can follow along with the rest of the blog tour by visiting the HFVBT website or on Twitter with the following hashtag: #MadameBonaparteTour.

You can watch the following trailer for a further taste of the book.


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Speeches Made by Charles Lindbergh

Following his successful arrival in Paris after crossing the Atlantic, Charles Lindbergh was much sought after by all types of groups to give speeches. He started out with speeches about his flight and the future of flying. As World War II began and then came to the USA, Lindbergh gave speeches about maintaining neutrality and America First. You can read transcripts of many of these speeches, but I think that listening to them has more of an impact. Check out some of these below:

President Calvin Coolidge honoring Lindbergh home following his crossing of the Atlantic, presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross, and Lindbergh addressing the crowd on June 11, 1927:

Charles Lindbergh speaking on attempting to prevent the horrors befalling Europe and WWII on October 13, 1939:

Lindbergh speaking at an America’s First meeting on September 11, 1941 encouraging neutrality:

I can tell you, he doesn’t sound anything like I imagined he would but he is an interesting speaker.


Other posts as part of Charles Lindbergh Week:


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Lindberghs in Print

I knew a little about the Lindbergh’s prior to reading Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg; however, I had no idea that either Charles or Anne had written anything. Apparently they were quite prolific!!! Charles wrote on a wide variety of subjects – his iconic flight, of course, but also everything from science to the war. Anne actually wrote more on their flight experiences than Charles did, and wrote more works. So I wanted to share their writing endeavors – because I am interested in reading some of them!

Charles’ Books:

  • We – The first of Charles’ books, written shortly after his iconic flight – he discusses his life, flight, and future of aviation
  • The Spirit of St. Louis – A description of his trans-Atlantic flight – written in an adventure style
  • The Culture of Organs (coauthored with Dr. Alexis Carrel) – writing about their work devising a pump to keep organs alive and sterile while outside the body during surgery – their work on the “Lindbergh pump”.
  • Of Flight and Life – his reminiscences on flight and life
  • The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh – the name pretty much describes it – it is journal entries
  • Boyhood on the Upper Mississippi – here Charles looks back on his childhood and times prior to WWI
  • Autobiography of Values – published following his death, a collection of Lindbergh’s writings

Anne’s Books:

  • North to the Orient – Anne’s account of the duo’s flight to Asia
  • Listen! The Wind – Anne’s account of their flight from Africa to South America
  • The Wave of the Future: A Confession of Faith – written prior to the outbreak of WWII, this is Anne’s foreboding of what could happen if a war breaks out – a lot of harsh criticism came out about this book
  • The Steep Ascent - A fictional account (novel) of an actual incident which occurred over the Alps during a flight to India.
  • Gift from the Sea – this is a series of vignettes, based on shells, where Anne muses on the lives of women
  • The Unicorn and other Poems – the only collection of poems that Anne compiled
  • Dearly Beloved – Another novel by Anne about a June wedding
  • Earth Shine – A meditation of Earth and man’s trip to the moon
  • Bring Me a Unicorn: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1922–1928 – Anne’s diaries of the years indicated
  • Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries And Letters Of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1929–1932 - Anne’s diaries of the years indicated
  • Locked Rooms and Open Doors: Diaries And Letters Of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1933–1935 - Anne’s diaries of the years indicated
  • The Flower and the Nettle: Diaries And Letters Of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1936–1939 - Anne’s diaries of the years indicated
  • War Without and Within: Diaries And Letters Of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1939–1944 - Anne’s diaries of the years indicated

I am most interested in reading We and The Spirit of St. Louis by Charles Lindbergh and North to the Orient and Listen! The Wind by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I am interested in hearing in their own words about their expeditions.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?


Other posts as part of Charles Lindbergh Week:


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, March 31, 2014

Lindbergh in Song

Many events in history inspire songs – and Charles Lindbergh’s historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean is no exception.  Within 2 days of his landing in Paris several songs were already on the market – the first being “Lucky Lindy” by L. Wolfe Gilbert and Abel Baer.  Within a short period of time, over 300 songs came out of Tin Pan Alley commemorating Lindbergh’s flight. 

Other events in Lindbergh’s life inspired songs too – such as his marriage to Anne Morrow in 1929.  Among these were: “Anne and Lindy” and “We Know You’ll Take Good Care of Lindy”.  The kidnapping and loss of his child, Charles Lindbergh Jr. also inspired the songs “Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr” and “There’s A New Star Up in Heaven (Baby Lindy is Up There” by Bob Miller – recorded just one day following the discovery of the deceased baby.

Below I have included a playlist with a few of the songs I could find in their early recording. 

Have you heard any of these, or others about Lindbergh?  What do you think?


Other posts as part of Charles Lindbergh Week:


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Announcing this Week: Charles Lindbergh Week

I haven’t had a theme week in a very long time and upon reading Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg I had so many avenues that I wanted to explore that I knew this was the perfect time for another theme week.  So I give you, the Charles Lindbergh week!

This week, I will have a series of posts about a variety of subjects – written works, music, speeches, etc – and, of course, rounding out the week with a review of Berg’s book.

You will know it is a Lindbergh week post when you see this banner (custom made by my fiancé):


I hope you stop by and check out some of the posts and learn a little something more about the Lindberghs. 


Here are the links to the posts from this week:

Other posts as part of Charles Lindbergh Week:


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, March 28, 2014

Virtual Tour of Marble House–Newport, Rhode Island

marble house
Marble House front façade
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Our next Newport mansion virtual tour will take us to Marble House, the home (briefly) of William and Alva Vanderbilt. Now, if Vanderbilt sounds familiar, William’s brother, Cornelius, was the owner of The Breakers, which we took a look at earlier. Marble House is among my favorites – the interior is just absolutely breath-taking – it’s all in…you guessed it – marble!

Left: William Vanderbilt                         Right: Alva Vanderbilt
Photo Credits: Wikipedia

Marble House is located at 596 Bellevue Avenue, just down the street from Rosecliff. Here’s a little social history first. Like the other mansions in Newport, this was used only as a summer cottage by the couple for 3 years from its completion in 1892 and 1895. The Vanderbilt’s divorced in 1895 and it pretty much sat relatively empty (as Alva had ownership of the home and she moved in with her new husband), except to be used as a glorified closet for the Belcourt Castle. Around 1908, when Alva’s new husband, Oliver Hazard Perry Belmont, passed away. Alva then began to use the home to host rallies for women’s suffrage. If you tour the home today you can see many of the “Votes for Women” memorabilia and even buy replicas of the china pattern.

Votes for Women China Pattern – You can buy your own!
Photo Credit: Newport Style

Like many of the other great “cottages”, Marble House was inspired by one of the great European architectural beauties – the Petit Trianon at Versailles. The house was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt, who became the architect for The Breakers subsequently. In contemporary dollars, the house cost approximately $11 million – in today’s money that would be approximately $260 million!!! And as you might expect, over three quarters of the budget went to the purchase of marble.

Marble House is comprised of 50 rooms, making it certainly a very large mansion. These rooms are spread out over four stories; however the building gives the appearance of only two. The kitchen and service areas are in the basement and the servant’s quarters are on the top level. On the first floor is the reception rooms (entrance, grand staircase, grand salon-ballroom-reception room, the Gothic Room, library, and dining room. The second floor was for the bedrooms and guest rooms. As you may imagine, many of these rooms reflect a French flavor – my favorite is probably the bedroom of Alva Vanderbilt – it is a gorgeous lilac color!

lilac room
Alva Vanderbilt’s Bedroom
Photo Credit: Newport Preservation Society

You can’t visit Marble House without noticing the one object that clashes with all of that Gilded Age splendor – the Chinese Tea House located toward the back of the property along the cliff. The Tea House is designed to reflect a 12th century traditional Chinese tea house and was when Alva hosted many of her suffrage rallies.

The Chinese Tea House at Marble House
Photo Credit:

In 1919, when Alva moved to the European continent, the house was closed and stood vacant until 1932 when it was sold to the Frederick H. Prince family. They maintained ownership of the house until 1963 when it was given over to the Newport Preservation Society and subsequently opened for tours. Interestingly, the Society was able to purchase the house thanks to funding from Harold Stirling Vanderbilt, the youngest child of William and Alva Vanderbilt.

If you visit Marble House today you can purchase a one house ticket or as part of the 5 property Gilded Age package. You can tour the grounds by yourself and the house via a self-guided audio tour. If you would like refreshment, you can grab lunch at the Tea House on the property. Marble House is one of the three properties that is open through the winter season and is beautifully dressed up.

Again, for some reason, I cannot find the photos I have taken of Marble House, but how about a look at this video? It was filmed during the holiday season but you can get a good idea of how the mansion would have looked in general (since Christmas would never have been held there as they didn’t live in Newport in the winter).

You can find out more about Marble House by visiting the Newport Preservation Society.

Have you ever visited Marble House? What do you think of it?  How about the lilac room?


Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court