*UPDATE*

I have updated my review and giveaway policies page (now just titled Policies above). If you are entering a giveaway, please read and abide by the applicable policy.

Attention Authors! If you arrived here looking for information on the Two Sides to Every Story guest post series, see the tab at the top of the page for more info!


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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Review: The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien

The-Ambitious-Madame-Bonaparte

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.”

This was one of those books that I really enjoyed reading but one that took me forever to finish.  I just never had enough time to really get into it at each reading.  Once I found sufficient time to sit down and really read, I couldn't get enough of the novel.  

I had no idea that any of the Bonapartes had visited nor resided in America - so it was an interesting side of French/American history to explore.  It was the first time I had explored the reign of Napoleon from the American side of the Atlantic Ocean within the context of events here.  I enjoyed that the novel was set in historical Baltimore.  As you know I love American set historical fiction, and this is not a setting which I have read before.  Quite frankly, Baltimore was not all that interesting of a location - a seaside merchant city.  

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.  However, occasionally this persistence started to feel a little bit like overkill and toward the end I began to be frustrated by her.  Jerome Bonaparte I actually enjoyed in the beginning, even though I knew he was going to be not the best character.

The author’s writing style is very easy to read and enjoyable.  Events flowed together seamlessly and I was always interested to see what came next.  This was a story that was more of an emotional journey/personal exploration for the Betsy, rather than an action filled narrative.  I do look forward to seeing what this author decides to explore next.

This is author Ruth Hall Chatlien's debut novel. You can visit her 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?

Or how about this book trailer?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

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

TAMB_Tour Banner

You can follow along with the rest of the blog tour (which already ended) by visiting the HFVBT website.

 

Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mailbox Monday #169

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Up until yesterday, I didn’t have any of the below items in my mailbox.  One book did come in the mail, but the others were thanks to Amy (from Passages to the Past) pointing out that there were some great HF books on Kindle Daily Deal – so I picked up 3 of those plus one other!

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So I will start with the one book that I received from review this week – a non-fiction piece:

  • The Borgia Chronicles: 1414-1572 by Mary Hollingsworth (UK Publisher).  I have recently become interested in the Borgia’s – I was not one of those who was on board when the Borgia craze began a year or so ago.  Probably because I don’t know much about the actual historical events.  So when I saw this I had to get it because I need to know more to enjoy the HF.

Below are the 3 I snagged from the Kindle Daily Deal (Thanks Amy!) and my other Kindle purchase:

  • The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin – I have read some rave reviews about this one and had to grab it.  Set in the American west and the story sounds compelling.
  • The Agincourt Bride by Joann Hickson – I have had my eye on this one for awhile.  I love Agincourt and I am interested in reading about Catherine of Valois.
  • The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean – for me there is just something about WWII Russia that makes for a compelling read.
  • The Eagle and the Swan by Carol Strickland – I hosted an interview with this author a couple weeks ago and had to snag it when I saw it was at a reduced price.

So, I am pretty excited about the books I picked up this week – what about you?

Mailbox Monday has returned to its home base blog. You can visit the site to see what everyone received this week!

 

Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Interview with G.K. Holloway & Giveaway

Good morning everyone! I am excited today to introduce you to author G.K. Holloway.  One of my favorite time periods to read about is the Norman Conquest of England and the years surrounding that event.  Holloway’s new book, 1066, is a new novel about this time period that I am excited to read.  There is a tour wide giveaway at the end of this post too.

1066 What Fates Impose

The events of the year 1066 and the Norman Conquest of England are a fascinating time period that I love to read about, however not a lot of fiction is set here. What was it about the time period that encouraged you to write about it?

Early to mid-eleventh century England is bursting with drama and full of promise. It’s a wealthy, cultured and civilized country where the seeds of democracy are beginning to grow. The only real threat appears to be from the Vikings. We see a young England, full of characters and vitality that is cut down in the first bloom of youth. The story of 1066 is English history, and not just the history of a French aristocracy grafted onto English society. I don’t deny the Normans and Plantagenets are interesting; it’s just that for me, they are one or two steps removed from the rest of us. Then there is the question, what could have been if Harold had won? With the exception of, ‘what if Hitler had won the Second World War?’ this is the biggest ‘What if?’ in English history. And, naturally, as England in the past had such an influence in the world, how might other countries be different today? I find the whole period fascinating.

The Norman Conquest is one of those iconic events in history that everyone seems to choose a side and have quite passionate opinions. What stance does your novel take and what is your perception of these events? Why write from the Saxon perspective as opposed to the Norman perspective.

I imagined myself a fly on the wall observing all the actors in the great drama. I did this to show every participants point of view and as an attempt at impartiality. As a completely unbiased Englishman, I believe that William had absolutely no claim to the English throne but he saw an irresistible opportunity to acquire wealth and power and made his move at the only time it had ever been feasible for Normandy to succeed; with the most amazing luck, he was victorious. I think at first William deluded himself into believing his own propaganda, but later had doubts until eventually he reflected back on his life when he was in his deathbed and the truth reared itself before him.

I wrote from the Saxon perspective because as an Englishman that seemed to be the natural thing to do. Writing from the Norman perspective would have been difficult for me because I would have had to find a way of drawing sympathy from the reader for a gang of villains. I suppose I could have done this through the use of an unreliable narrator who could tell the story and then I could reveal his story as a pack of lies on the final page. But really, I was happy just to stick to the Saxon perspective

During the research for this novel, what sources of information did you find to be the most helpful? How do you dig through all of the propaganda put out by the Normans following their victory?

I used mainly secondary sources by some very able academics and drew on their arguments. The problem was they didn’t always agree. Some of the books were very dry, others not so. David Bates, David Douglas Frank Barlow and Ian Walker produced the main books I studied and the core of my novel was drawn from their studies. A lot of time was spent on the Bayeux Tapestry and the Domesday Book both unique sources of material.

Apart from books, my research involved visiting battlefields and locations covered in the novel. Visiting the Holy Trinity church in Bosham, where King Harold worshipped and, I believe, is buried there next to King Knut’s daughter; seeing the Bayeux Tapestry and Falaise Castle, where William spent so much of his early years, gave me a real connection to the past. The family, who I dragged along with me, enjoyed it too. So they tell me.

What was the writing experience like for you with this novel? Has this been a livelong goal or something that developed more recently?

Writing 1066 was a really thrilling experience, in fact it was a labour of love. I tried to be as unbiased as I could so I spent a lot of time looking into legalities. It was like preparing a court case or a police investigation:-

Was someone really robbed and murdered for the money they were carrying or did he die because he was he the only witness to an assassination?

Was the crown really promised to William and if so by whom?

What was King Edward’s relationship with Earl Tostig?

Did Earl Godwin really murder Edward’s brother, Alfred?

Answering these questions was all very well, but I needed to fix events in their time and place, so more investigations were required. What was the eleventh century cure for an infected bite from a bird of prey? How did they make swords in the 1040’s? How were wedding ceremonies performed? How did Harold accomplish the march north in such a short time?

Finally, I mixed small details with the important events plus I added inventions of my own to take the reader back to Anglo Saxon England. I was extremely flattered when an Anglo Saxon re-enactor told me, that after reading my book, he had a greater insight into what the Battle of Hastings was all about and that he really couldn’t tell the history from the parts I’d made up.

Do you have any future writing plans? Anything that you can share?

At the moment I’m 55,000 words into the sequel of 1066. Some of the characters in the first novel appear once more and the reader has the opportunity to discover what became of Harold’s family, the surviving English aristocracy, the clergy and the ordinary people caught up in these events.

GK Holloway

About the author: I have been interested in history since I was a boy, which I suppose explains why, when I came across a degree course in History and Politics at Coventry University that looked tailor made for me, I applied right away.

In my first year at Coventry I lived in the halls of residence within a stone’s throw of the Leofric Hotel. In the opposite direction, just a short walk from my halls, is the bell tower that houses a clock, which when its bell chimes the hour, produces a half size model of naked Lady Godiva riding a horse for the titillation of tourists. Above her, Peeping Tom leans out of a window for a better view. In all of the three years I was there, it never once occurred to me that I would one day write a book featuring Earl Leofric and his famous wife, as key players.

After graduating I spent a year in Canada before I returned to England to train as a Careers Officer in Bristol. Later, I lived and worked in Gloucestershire as a Careers Officer and then in Adult Education as an Education Guidance worker.

After I met my wife, I moved back to Bristol to live and I worked at Bath Spa University as a Student Welfare Officer for a number of years. It was about this time I read a biography about King Harold II which fascinated me so much I read more and more about the man and the times. I found the whole pre-conquest period of England so interesting I couldn’t understand why no one had written a novel about it. So, I decided to write one myself. Now, after many years of study and time spent over a hot keyboard, I have finally produced thatnovel.

1066: What Fates Impose is the result of all that study and hard work and is the first book I’ve written. I am now working on a sequel.

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, Book Depository, Troubador Publishing.

1066_Tour Banner _FINAL

You can follow along with the rest of the blog tour by visiting the HFVBT website or on Twitter with the following hashtag: #1066TourandBookBlast.

I also have a tour wide giveaway to offer to you.  To win a copy of 1066: What Fates Impose please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on May 2nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.  Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on May 3rd and notified via email.  Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mailbox Monday #168

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This mailbox is the culmination of a few weeks worth of collections – so here it goes.

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Half of the books that I received were purchased by me, the other half are for review.

What I purchased:

For review:

What did you get this week?

Mailbox Monday has returned to its home base blog. You can visit the site to see what everyone received this week!

 

Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Few Giveaway Winners

Good morning everyone – I hope you had a good Easter if you celebrate the holiday.  It’s been crazy with wedding stuff – exactly 2 months to go!  Sorry for the lack of posting last week – basically took the week off from online life.  So, I’m going to try to ease back in this week.

But first, some major overdue giveaway winners-

congrats

There are 2 winners of the eBook The Eagle and the Swan by Carol Strickland – these winners are:

  • Shannon G.
  • Patricia B.

The winner of the giveaway for The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland is:

  • Katherine I.

The winner of the giveaway for Never Be At Peace by M.J. Neary is:

  • Denise D.

 

Thank you to everyone that entered the giveaways.  Emails have been sent to all of the winners and they have 5 days to respond or a new winner will be selected.

 

Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review: Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg

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Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg
Unabridged, 31 hr. 8 min.
Simon & Schuster Audio
Lloyd James (Narrator)
September 10, 2013
★★★★½☆

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.

audiobookimpressions

★★★★☆

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).

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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

Blackwells-Paradise

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

Giveaway!!!

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 Hull Chatlien

The-Ambitious-Madame-Bonaparte

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull 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.

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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?

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Other posts as part of Charles Lindbergh Week:

 

Copyright © 2014 by The Maiden’s Court