*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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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Cover Crush: Hearts of Resistance

Cover Crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

hearts of resistance

Love my war covers!  I feel like this cover says a lot – the red of her shirt pulls in the symbolism of the word “hearts” in the title, the airplanes are obviously a subtle nod to the war, and the look on her face has “dare me” written all over it.  Plus, it’s the color palate that I love.  I want to get my hands on this one.

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: A Literary Vacation; A Bookaholic Swede; Of Quills and Vellum; Layered Pages; 2 Kids and Tired Books.   

keep-calm-and-support-book-bloggers_




Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Guest Post by K.A. Servian

Today I have the wonderful opportunity to host K.A. Servian, author of The Moral Compass book 1 of the Shaking the Tree series about a Victorian woman who moves to New Zealand after losing it all in Victorian England.  Today she is here to tell you about this longest journey from England to New Zealand.


The Moral Compass: An Immigrant Story
A Guest Post by K.A. Servian, Author of
The Moral Compass

The voyage from England to New Zealand was known as the ‘longest emigrant journey in the world’ with good reason. Some vessels did the 25,000km trip in as little as 83 days while others took as long as six months. Some called in at various ports along the way, but many did not stop with those on board not sighting land for several weeks at a time. The expedition to New Zealand saw the travelers sail south past the coast of Africa, turning east around the Cape of Good Hope then ride the ‘Roaring Forties’ to approach New Zealand from the South. This route brought a variety of conditions such as equatorial heat, the calm of the Doldrums and raging icy storms in the Southern Ocean. It was not a trip for the faint-hearted yet many thousands undertook it in the hope of making a better life for themselves and their families.

People from all walks of life were encouraged to emigrate in the hope of creating a new ‘little England’ in the South Pacific. There were two distinct classes of passenger onboard most ships: Cabin and steerage. The cabin passengers generally enjoyed comfortable accommodation and decent food. The steerage passengers were usually crammed together in bunkrooms in the bowels of the ship with very little light and fresh air. Despite this distinction between the classes, the fact that everyone was enduring the hardships of ship life together was a great leveler and a forerunner to the flatter social structure they would experience in colonial New Zealand.

Photo Credit: K.A. Servian

Having endured such a long journey, the new arrivals were faced a multitude of hardships in their new home forcing them to be resilient and resourceful. Disease, natural disasters, fire and conflict with the indigenous population resulted in numerous injuries and deaths amongst the colonists.
After reading many first-hand accounts written by colonial women, my aim was to convey the sense of a new world with its many dangers and possibilities in my novel, The Moral Compass. The heroine, Florence Thackeray, is forced to endure a long and arduous voyage only to find that everything is not as she expected upon her arrival. She realizes that the status she enjoyed back in England does not apply in New Zealand and she must struggle for survival along with everybody else. This reality faced many new arrivals who found that there was often no house waiting for them and the land they had purchased required years of backbreaking work to become productive.

Photo Credit: K.A. Servian

While it is a historical novel, the main theme of The Moral Compass is still relevant. The desire for a better life that drove many to leave Europe for the colonies in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds spilled over into the twentieth century. I am an immigrant, as are my husband’s family. Our parents saw possibilities in a new place that did not exist for them in their home countries. And millions of people today still make the decision to uproot their families and risk everything to travel vast distances in search of something more.


As a life-long creative, Kathy gained qualifications in fashion design, applied design to fabric and jewelry making and enjoyed a twenty-year-plus career in the fashion and applied arts industries as a pattern maker, designer and owner of her own clothing and jewelry labels.

She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.

Creative writing started as a self-dare to see if she had the chops to write a manuscript. Writing quickly became an obsession and Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, which was developed from the original manuscript, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016.

Kathy now squeezes full-time study for an advanced diploma in creative writing in around working on her novels, knocking out the occasional short story, teaching part-time and being a wife and mother.

Find K.A. Servian: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads






Book Blurb:
Florence lives like a Princess attending dinner parties and balls away from the gritty reality, filth and poverty of Victorian London.
However, her world comes crashing around her when her father suffers a spectacular fall from grace. She must abandon her life of luxury, leave behind the man she loves and sail to the far side of the world where compromise and suffering beyond anything she can imagine await her.
When she is offered the opportunity to regain some of what she has lost, she takes it, but soon discovers that not everything is as it seems. The choice she has made has a high price attached and she must live with the heart-breaking consequences of her decision.
This novel is part one in the ‘Shaking the Tree’ series.


Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Tour-Wide Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away an eBook of Throwing Light by K.A. Servian! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.  Any questions please contact HF Virtual Book Tours.  Good Luck!

Giveaway Rules
  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only.
  • Only one entry per household.
  • All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
  • Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.




Follow the Tour


On the HFVBT Webpage or on Twitter: #themoralcompassblogtour

Monday, January 22
Feature at The Lit Bitch
Interview at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 23
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, January 24
Guest Post at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, January 25
Review at Linda’s Book Obsession

Friday, January 26
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Monday, January 29
Guest Post at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, January 31
Review at Broken Teepee



Copyright © 2018  The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

New Book Alert: The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg


The Secret Life of Mrs. London
by Rebecca Rosenberg
e-Book & Paperback; 348 pages
Lake Union Publishing
January 30, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Blurb:
San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.
As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Praise for The Secret Life of Mrs. London:
“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren’t enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion, and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.” —Victoria Kelly, author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel

“One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner.” —John Cox, Wild about Harry

About the Author


A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

Find Rebecca Rosenberg: Website | Facebook | Book’s Facebook Page | Blog | Goodreads

Follow the Tour!
On the HFVBT Website or on Twitter: #TheSecretLifeofMrsLondonBookBlast

Tuesday, January 2
Passages to the Past

Friday, January 5
Creating Herstory (Fierce Femme Friday)

Monday, January 8
Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, January 9
The Lit Bitch
Just One More Chapter
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, January 11
Suzy Approved Book Reviews

Friday, January 12
Bibliotica

Monday, January 15
Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, January 16
A Literary Vacation

Friday, January 19
I Heart Reading

Monday, January 22
Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, January 23
The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, January 25
Pursuing Stacie

Monday, January 29What Cathy Read Next




Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, January 22, 2018

Wish List 5: Presidential Biographies

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Once a month I am planning on sharing with you all 5 of my biggest wish list books broken up by theme.  I know that you all need more on your TBR!!!  I had a goal to read a non-fiction book on each President and First Lady (where they exist).  Each year more and more come out and go on my list (even for those I have already read books on).  Sadly, I’ve been REALLY slacking on my reading in this category.  Hopefully this will change that.

The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century by Scott Miller

the president and the assassinA SWEEPING TALE OF TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY AMERICA AND THE IRRESISTIBLE FORCES THAT BROUGHT TWO MEN TOGETHER ONE FATEFUL DAY

In 1901, as America tallied its gains from a period of unprecedented imperial expansion, an assassin’s bullet shattered the nation’s confidence. The shocking murder of President William McKinley threw into stark relief the emerging new world order of what would come to be known as the American Century. The President and the Assassin is the story of the momentous years leading up to that event, and of the very different paths that brought together two of the most compelling figures of the era: President William McKinley and Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who murdered him.

The two men seemed to live in eerily parallel Americas. McKinley was to his contemporaries an enigma, a president whose conflicted feelings about imperialism reflected the country’s own. Under its popular Republican commander-in-chief, the United States was undergoing an uneasy transition from a simple agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse spreading its influence overseas by force of arms. Czolgosz was on the losing end of the economic changes taking place—a first-generation Polish immigrant and factory worker sickened by a government that seemed focused solely on making the rich richer. With a deft narrative hand, journalist Scott Miller chronicles how these two men, each pursuing what he considered the right and honorable path, collided in violence at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

Along the way, readers meet a veritable who’s who of turn-of-the-century America: John Hay, McKinley’s visionary secretary of state, whose diplomatic efforts paved the way for a half century of Western exploitation of China; Emma Goldman, the radical anarchist whose incendiary rhetoric inspired Czolgosz to dare the unthinkable; and Theodore Roosevelt, the vainglorious vice president whose 1898 charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba is but one of many thrilling military adventures recounted here.

Rich with relevance to our own era, The President and the Assassin holds a mirror up to a fascinating period of upheaval when the titans of industry grew fat, speculators sought fortune abroad, and desperate souls turned to terrorism in a vain attempt to thwart the juggernaut of change.


Grant by Ron Chernow

grantPulitzer Prize-winner and biographer of Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, and John D. Rockefeller, Ron Chernow returns with a sweeping and dramatic portrait of one of our most complicated generals and presidents, Ulysses S. Grant.

Ulysses S. Grant's life has typically been misunderstood. All too often he is caricatured as a chronic loser and inept businessman, fond of drinking to excess; or as the triumphant but brutal Union general of the Civil War; or as a credulous and hapless president whose tenure came to symbolize the worst excesses of the Gilded Age. These stereotypes don't come close to capturing adequately his spirit and the sheer magnitude of his monumental accomplishments. A biographer at the height of his powers, Chernow has produced a portrait of Grant that is a masterpiece, the first to provide a complete understanding of the general and president whose fortunes rose and fell with dizzying speed and frequency.

Before the Civil War, Grant was flailing. His business ventures had been dismal, and despite distinguished service in the Mexican War, he ended up resigning from the army in disgrace amid recurring accusations of drunkenness. But in the Civil War, Grant began to realize his remarkable potential, soaring through the ranks of the Union army, prevailing at the Battle of Shiloh and in the Vicksburg campaign and ultimately defeating the legendary Confederate general Robert E. Lee after a series of unbelievably bloody battles in Virginia. Along the way Grant endeared himself to President Lincoln and became his most trusted general and the strategic genius of the war effort. His military fame translated into a two-term presidency, but one plagued by corruption scandals involving his closest staff. All the while Grant himself remained more or less above reproach. But, more importantly, he never failed to seek freedom and justice for black Americans, working to crush the Ku Klux Klan and earning the admiration of Frederick Douglass, who called him 'the vigilant, firm, impartial, and wise protector of my race." After his presidency, he was again brought low by a trusted colleague, this time a dashing young swindler on Wall Street, but he resuscitated his image by working with Mark Twain to publish his memoirs, which are recognized as a masterpiece of the genre.

With his famous lucidity, breadth, and meticulousness, Chernow finds the threads that bind these disparate stories together, shedding new light on the man whom Walt Whitman described as "nothing heroic... and yet the greatest hero." His probing portrait of Grant's lifelong struggle with alcoholism transforms our understanding of the man at the deepest level. This is America's greatest biographer, bringing movingly to life one of our finest but most underappreciated presidents. The definitive biography, Grant is a grand synthesis of painstaking research and literary brilliance that makes sense of all sides of Grant's life, explaining how this simple Midwesterner could at once be so ordinary and so extraordinary.


The Lost Founding Father: John Quincy Adams and the Transformation of American Politics by William J. Cooper Jr.

the lost founding fatherWhy has John Quincy Adams been largely written out of American history when he is, in fact, our lost Founding Father?

Overshadowed by both his brilliant father and the brash and bold Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams has long been dismissed as hyper-intellectual. Viciously assailed by Jackson and his populist mobs for being both slippery and effete, Adams nevertheless recovered from the malodorous 1828 presidential election to lead the nation as a lonely Massachusetts congressman in the fight against slavery. Now, award-winning historian William J. Cooper insightfully demonstrates that Adams should be considered our lost Founding Father, his moral and political vision the final link to the great visionaries who created our nation. With his heroic arguments in the Amistad trial forever memorialized, a fearless Adams stood strong against the Jacksonian tide, the Gag Rule, and the expansion of slavery that would send the nation hurtling into war. This game-changing biography reveals Adams to be one of the most battered but courageous and inspirational politicians in American history.

Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America's Destiny by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager

Andrew JacksonWhen the British fought the young United States during the War of 1812, they knew that taking the mouth of the Mississippi River was the key to crippling their former colony. Capturing the city of New Orleans and stopping trade up the river sounded like a simple task--New Orleans was far away from Washington, out of sight and out of mind for the politicians.

What the British didn't count on was the power of General Andrew Jackson. A formidable military leader with a grudge against the British and a heart for the common man, he rallied the divided inhabitants of New Orleans, bringing together Frenchmen, Native Americans, freed slaves, pirates, and Kentucky woodsmen.
In their now trademark fashion, Kilmeade and Yaeger will trace the development of Jackson's character and bring the reader to the scenes of one of the most pivotal--and surprising--battles in American history.


President McKinley: Architect of the American Century by Robert W. Merry

president mckinleyIn this great American story, acclaimed historian Robert Merry resurrects the presidential reputation of William McKinley, which loses out to the brilliant and flamboyant Theodore Roosevelt who succeeded him after his assassination. He portrays McKinley as a chief executive of consequence whose low place in the presidential rankings does not reflect his enduring accomplishments and the stamp he put on the country’s future role in the world.

Republican President William McKinley in his two terms as president (1897 – 1901) transformed America. He established the US as an imperial power. Although he does not register large in either public memory or in historians’ rankings, in this revealing account, Robert W. Merry unfolds the mystery of how this bland man managed so much powerful change.

McKinley settled decades of monetary controversy by taking the country to a strict gold standard; in the Spanish-American war he kicked Spain out of the Caribbean and liberated Cuba from Spain; in the Pacific he acquired Hawaii and the Philippines through war and diplomacy; he developed the doctrine of “fair trade”; forced the “Open Door” to China; forged our “special relationship” with Great Britain. In short, he established the non-colonial imperialism that took America into global preeminence. He expanded executive power and managed public opinion through his quiet manipulation of the press. McKinley paved the way for the bold and flamboyant leadership of his famous successor, Teddy Roosevelt, who built on his accomplishments (and got credit for them).

Merry writes movingly about McKinley’s admirable personal life, from his simple Midwestern upbringing to his Civil War heroism to his brave comportment just moments before his death by assassination (it was only six months into his second term when he was shot). Lively, definitive, and eye-opening, President McKinley resurrects this overlooked president and places him squarely on the list of one of the most important.


Are you interested in other Presidential biographies?

Wish List 5
Becoming George                 Lincoln                     Wilson              
Washington                 ★★★½☆☆                 ★★★★☆      
★★★★☆                                                                          


If you are looking to add more books to your list, here are some of the wishlists from a few of my friends this month: (to be updated as they go live)

keep calm and support book bloggers



Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Cover Crush: A Dinner to Die For

Cover Crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

a dinner to die for

Not only is this a big building (and it obviously is the home of someone in society) but the colors are what grabbed my eye.  I can’t tell if that is traces of snow on the ground and building or just wear and tear on an old, somewhat shabby building.  I love it though!  And it definitely gives off the vibe of a mystery novel.  Also, you should check out the covers of this entire series if, like me, you love covers with big, beautiful buildings on them!

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: A Literary Vacation; A Bookaholic Swede; Layered Pages; 2 Kids and Tired Books.  

keep calm and support book bloggers




Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Series Highlight: Maggie Hope Mysteries by Susan Elia MacNeal

-the Maggie Hope Mystery series-

About the Maggie Hope Mystery Series

Maggie Hope: An American-born math whiz living in London works as a codebreaker and spy during WWII, aiding Britain in the war against the Nazis.

Titles in the Maggie Hope Mystery Series

mr churchills secretary
Book 1: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
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May 1940. As England stands alone against imminent Nazi invasion, betrayal and treachery threaten to bring her down from within.

Maggie Hope, a young American in London, finds work as a secretary to the newly appointed Prime Minister Winston Churchill. When the P.M. is threatened by assassination, Maggie is thrown into the worlds of spies, secret agents, code-breaking and betrayal. As she searches for her missing father, she finds herself in the center of a conspiracy to murder the Prime Minister and destroy England.

Racing from the damp streets of London to the hallowed halls of Trinity College to the code-breakers’ huts of Bletchley Park, Maggie struggles with the brute realities of a world at war. She penetrates the heart of an undercover spy ring and, despite revelations of the most horrific kind, carries out one of the war’s most deadly missions.

princess elizabeth's spy
Book 2: Princess Elizabeth’s Spy
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The saga of Maggie Hope continues when MI-5 sends her undercover as a tutor to Windsor Castle, to protect the young Princess Elizabeth, England’s future queen.

When Princess Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting is murdered, Maggie realizes the threat must come from someone inside the castle walls and does everything in her power to protect the (often willful) princess, while searching for clues, mastering royal etiquette, and navigating the upstairs-downstairs nature of a tutor’s role in the castle hierarchy.

his majesty's hope
Book 3: His Majesty’s Hope
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Maggie embarks on a clandestine mission behind enemy lines where no one can be trusted, and even the smallest indiscretion can be deadly.

World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive — a black ops organization designed to aid the British effort abroad — and her first assignment sends her straight into Nazi-controlled Berlin, the very heart of the German war machine. Relying on her quick wit and keen instincts, Maggie infiltrates the highest level of Berlin society, gathering information to pass on to London headquarters. But the secrets she unveils will expose a darker, more dangerous side of the war — and of her own past. 

the prime ministers secret agent
Book 4: The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent
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World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland. Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp, and to heal from scars on both her body and heart. Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue. When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow—including one of Maggie’s dearest friends—Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms. What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake. But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war—and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.

mrs roosevelt's confidante
Book 5: Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante
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December 1941. Soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill arrives in Washington, D.C., along with special agent Maggie Hope. Posing as his typist, she is accompanying the prime minister as he meets with President Roosevelt to negotiate the United States’ entry into World War II. When one of the First Lady’s aides is mysteriously murdered, Maggie is quickly drawn into Mrs. Roosevelt’s inner circle — as ER herself is implicated in the crime. Maggie knows she must keep the investigation quiet, so she employs her unparalleled skills at code breaking and espionage to figure out who would target Mrs. Roosevelt, and why. What Maggie uncovers is a shocking conspiracy that could jeopardize American support for the war and leave the fate of the world hanging dangerously in the balance.

the queens accomplice
Book 6: The Queen’s Accomplice
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England, 1942. The Nazis’s relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.

the paris spy
Book 7: The Paris Spy
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Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners. Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.

But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her — that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown. Maggie must risk her life to penetrate powerful circles and employ all her talents for deception and spycraft to root out a traitor, find her sister, and locate the reports crucial to planning D-Day in a deadly game of wits with the Nazi intelligence elite.

About the Author

susan elia macneal

Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of The New York Times, Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today-bestselling Maggie Hope mystery series, starting with the Edgar Award-nominated and Barry Award-winning Mr. Churchill’s Secretary, which is now in its 22nd printing. She is currently at work on The Prisoner in the Castle, the eighth novel in the series.

Her books include Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, His Majesty’s Hope, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante, The Queen’s Accomplice, and The Paris Spy. The Maggie Hope novels have been nominated for the Edgar, the Macavity, the ITW Thriller, the Barry, the Dilys, the Sue Federer Historical Fiction, and the Bruce Alexander Historical Fiction awards. The Maggie Hope series is sold worldwide in English and has been translated into Czech, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Turkish. It is also available in large print and audio. Actress Daisy Ridley (Star Wars, Murder on the Orient Express) has bought the film and television rights to the series.

Susan graduated from Nardin Academy in Buffalo New York, and also cum laude and with honors in English from Wellesley College. She cross-registered for courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University. Her first job was as the assistant to novelist John Irving in Vermont. She then worked as an editorial assistant at Random House, assistant editor at Viking Penguin, and associate editor and staff writer at Dance Magazine in New York City. As a freelance writer, she wrote two non-fiction books and for the publications of New York City Ballet.

Susan is married and lives with her husband, Noel MacNeal, a television performer, writer, and director, and their son in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Find Susan Elia MacNeal: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook




Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review:The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam

02_The Lost Season of Love and Snow
The Lost Season of Love and Snow
by Jennifer Laam
e-Book, 352 pages
St. Martin’s Press
January 2, 2018
★★★★☆
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Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from publisher for review tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. But while she finds joy in French translations and a history of Russian poetry, her family is more concerned with her marriage prospects. It is only fitting that during the Christmas of 1828 at her first public ball in her hometown of Moscow she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin.

Enchanted at first sight, Natalya is already a devoted reader of Alexander’s serialized novel in verse, Evgeny Onegin. The most recently published chapter ends in a duel, and she is dying to learn what happens next. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya hopes to see him again as soon as possible.

What follows is a courtship and later marriage full of equal parts passion and domestic bliss but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads to Alexander dying from injuries earned defending his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, Natalya finds herself reviled for her alleged role in his death. With beautiful writing and understanding, Jennifer Laam, and her compelling new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, help Natalya tell her side of the story—the story of her greatest love and her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court.

I always find novels set in Russia to be refreshing – a bit of history that I am least familiar with and it always presents a new time period or historical figure to me that I know nothing about. The fact that a historical novel is set in Russia will give me an immediate interest in picking it up to learn more. More than simply bringing me a new historical figure, Laam brings a literary figure who I know nothing but the name coming into the reading experience – Alexander Pushkin, and by extension his wife. I also love novels that look at an event from a distinctly female perspective, especially when it is one that tends to be male-driven.

In some ways, this book reminds me a bit of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner. A female character, this time one that isn’t that well known, who is reviled for her actions and she is trying to sort of set the record straight with her side of the story. Natalya has her own set of circumstances that she is up against from the beginning, her goals don’t exactly align with those of her mother or sisters, and she has to push back to get what she wants or what she thinks she wants. I found her enjoyment of the literary things in life to be something that I could particularly connect with and I was able to quickly understand who she was. Even throughout the novel, as things became more difficult in her life, I could still find myself identifying with her. She may have been a little na├»ve at times, but from Laam’s presentation at least, she doesn’t seem to have been responsible for a lot of what happened – but we know women take a lot of blame throughout history.

Jennifer Laam’s writing is beautiful. It flows naturally from one thought or scene into the next effortlessly. I felt I was on a constant wave throughout my time spent with the book, being continually pushed forward. You can easily get caught up in the whirlwind of it all as there is drama aplenty in the Pushkin world. The Russia of that time brilliantly came to life right from the pages and enveloped me in that world.

I have Laam’s other two novels and I am sliding them higher up the TBR pile based on my experience with The Lost Season of Love and Snow.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia


Also by Jennifer Laam:

the secret daughter of the tsar
The Secret Daughter of the Tsar

the tsarinas legacy
The Tsarina’s Legacy

Find Jennifer Laam: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads


Tour Wide Giveaway

As part of the tour I have the opportunity to share the Tour Wide Giveaway.  Up for grabs are 2 paperback copies of The Lost Season of Love and Snow! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.  If you have any questions please contact the HFVBT tour coordinator. Good luck!

Giveaway Rules

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


Lost Season of Love and Snow


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Monday, January 8
Review at Let Them Read Books

Tuesday, January 9
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, January 10
Review at Creating Herstory

Thursday, January 11
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, January 12
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, January 15
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, January 16
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, January 17
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, January 18
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Review at Just One More Chapter




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