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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Friday, September 29, 2017

Cover Crush: The Light Keeper’s Daughter

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.

the light keepers daughter

The rainbow of colors here just arrests my eye!  As I look at it I can truly see how they might be real in the proper conditions.  The script style of the title font evokes the concept of a letter or diary, which I think I remember from the cover blurb.  But really for me, it’s all about the colors here.

What are your thoughts on this cover?

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

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Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Review: Pleasing Mr. Pepys by Deborah Swift

02_Pleasing Mr. Pepys_Cover
Pleasing Mr. Pepys
by Deborah Swift
e-Book, 407 pages
Accent Press
September 28, 2017
goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction

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

From acclaimed historical novelist Deborah Swift, Pleasing Mr Pepys is the story of Deb Willet, Samuel Pepys’s servant, told from a fresh perspective.  Well-educated but, due to circumstances beyond her control, not quite respectable, Deb Willet is desperate to escape her domineering aunt and takes a position as companion to Elisabeth Pepys, Samuel’s wife. Deb believes it will give her the respectability it craves – but it proves far more complicated than she could ever have imagined. London during the 1660s is a time of turmoil. Although Charles II has been restored to the throne, there is the prospect of war with the Dutch – the world’s great power of the era. In the midst of this tumult strides Samuel Pepys – diarist and man of note. Pepys’ influence in Restoration London means that the Dutch are keen to get their hands on his secrets – even if that means murder, espionage and blackmail to get them… Deb is soon caught up in the middle of a dangerous game – while at the same time trying to counter Mr Pepys’s lust for her…

There are so many different elements to talk about with Pleasing Mr. Pepys that I’m not totally sure which to begin with…so I will just begin at the…beginning!

I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started Pleasing Mr. Pepys. I knew that I had enjoyed Deborah Swift’s prior novels, so regardless the subject, I knew I would probably enjoy the writing, so I dove right in with not a preconceived notion in sight! The first chapter will suck you right in immediately; there is drama and intensity…before you even know who these characters are! I was hooked!

Swift’s narrative is told from several different perspectives that put you into the different aspects that surround Samuel Pepys: from the servant, to his wife, to a disgraced mistress of a colleague, to a local cleric. I liked that each had their own perspective of the man complete with his flaws. I wasn’t his biggest fan to be honest, he seemed to like to play the victim a lot and I never warmed to him. Deb Willet is a sympathetic heroine, but I didn’t find her to necessarily be my favorite character; she took awhile to get her feet under her but she found who she really is by the end and I did come around to liking her.  However, I found Abigail to be much more complex and fascinating. 

Most exciting, and this shouldn’t be unexpected because I have commented on this in all my other reviews of her works, was how London was a living world. This novel is set relatively recently after the fire of London, so there is a lot of devastation, poverty, displaced persons, and a general dreariness that engulfs the city. For me this is one of few novels that I have read set in this time period that don’t take place solely within Charles’ court, which is an entirely different world to visit. Swift also engulfs the reader into the political drama of the time that existed between the English and the Dutch as well as the problems socially being faced by the people who are struggling to just get by in the ravaged city and the sailors who are awaiting to be paid. I creates a very complex world that Deb has to move her way through.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Chapters

Also by Deborah Swift:

the lady's slipper
The Lady’s Slipper

gilded lily
The Gilded Lily

[My Review]

a divided inheritance
A Divided Inheritance
[My Review]

shadow on the highway
Shadow on the Highway
(Highway Trilogy #1)
[My Review]

spirit of the highway
Spirit of the Highway
(Highway Trilogy #2)
[My Review]

lady of the highway
Lady of the Highway
(Highway Trilogy #3)

Find Deborah Swift:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Blog |

Tour Wide Giveaway

During the blog tour there is a giveaway open tour wide and entries can be made at any participating blog. Up for grabs is a signed copy of Pleasing Mr. Pepys to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below. Any questions should be directed at the tour coordinator.  Good luck!

Giveaway Rules –

  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 20th.
  • You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
  • 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.

 Pleasing Mr. Pepys

Follow the Tour!

04_Pleasing Mr. Pepys_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

At HFVBT Website

On Twitter: #PleasingMrPepysBlogTour #DeborahSwift

Thursday, September 28
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Guest Post at Books of All Kinds

Friday, September 29
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Monday, October 2
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, October 3
Review at The Lit Bitch
Feature at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Wednesday, October 4
Feature at A Holland Reads

Thursday, October 5
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, October 6
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, October 9
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, October 10
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, October 11
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, October 13
Review at Poppy Coburn

Monday, October 16
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Tuesday, October 17
Review at Laura’s Interests
Interview at Suzy Approved Books

Wednesday, October 18
Review at Jo’s Book Blog

Thursday, October 19
Feature at T’s Stuff

Friday, October 20
Review at A Literary Vacation
Guest Post at The Writing Desk

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Interview with Suzy Henderson

Good morning everyone!  Today I have the opportunity to welcome Suzy Henderson, author of The Beauty Shop, back to The Maiden’s Court!  Before she was a recipient of the BRAG Medallion I grabbed up this book based on comment from friends who loved it, and so did I! You can find my review here.  I love the subject matter for this novel and hope you will pick it up too!


Heather: Hi Suzy! Welcome to The Maiden’s Court.  Can we get started today by first telling me how you discovered indieBRAG?

Suzy Henderson: Hi, Heather. Thank you so much for the lovely welcome – it’s a pleasure to be here. I recall googling indieBRAG after reading about it on an author’s website, and I remember thinking how fantastic it was to have such an award specifically for indie authors.

H: I am pleased to have had the chance to read your book, The Beauty Shop, and I loved it!! The title, The Beauty Shop, is extremely relevant to the events that transpire within its pages, but it might give off the wrong vibe. For those that have not read your book yet, because they definitely should, could you give our readers an idea of what your book is about and give context to the title?

SH: Of course. When I first came across the real story of plastic surgeon, Archibald McIndoe and the Guinea Pig Club, I was compelled to write about it. Archie, as he was known, was a pioneer and innovator of plastic surgery. WW2 was very different to WW1 because it was a bomber’s war. Aerial warfare had progressed tremendously, and the injuries the airmen presented with had never been encountered before. Surgeons had a difficult job ahead of them, and very few were skilled enough to deal with the most severe cases. Archie was one of a few who was, and the truth is he was one of the leading plastic surgeons of the day. However, what drew me to him was not his surgical expertise, but his model of care. He believed in holistic care, and in the value of life.

What he saw unfolding before him was hordes of young men lying in ruins, robbed of their youth, and quite possibly of any future. He reared up against it all and fought battles with the Air Ministry for fair rights for those who were to be pensioned off. He fought the Royal College of Surgeons as he battled to have outdated and unsafe treatments banished once and for all. He did whatever he had to for his ‘boys’ as he often called them. He was determined they were to have futures with work, spouses, children – all the trimmings. It was his vision, and he achieved this with the aid of his team at the hospital in East Grinstead and with the support of the entire town. Then there was the club which became a charity, attracting many donations. The funds helped some members over the years, and the men themselves bonded to form a dedicated support group. The club and everything the men achieved, became Archibald McIndoe’s legacy.

The Beauty Shop unfolds via three perspectives and begins late 1942. First, we have the real person, Archibald McIndoe, a maverick New Zealand plastic surgeon on a mission. He’s in charge of the burns unit at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, England, and cares for airmen and pilots with severe burns and injuries. Some of his patients are so badly burned they are unrecognizable. They fear that life is over, but Archie has some very interesting and unorthodox methods to help ease them back into living. Archie considers their social and psychological health as he recognizes he must heal souls as well as bodies. The war presents many challenges, and he faces battles of a different kind, but help is far closer than he initially realizes.

Next, we have Mac, an American B-17 pilot serving with the 8th Air Force. He struggles with the morals of war and is torn between his duty and his conscience. He meets Stella, an English WAAF at a dance and falls in love. However, just as nothing is certain in war, nor is it in love and his life is about to take a major turn.

Stella is the stereotypical young English woman. When she meets Mac she falls in love, but there is a problem – she already has a boyfriend. After a brief time, Stella does what she believes to be morally right and decides not to see Mac anymore. But when he survives a serious crash, she rushes to see him in hospital, quickly realizing her own battle has only just begun.

The title was a source of contention for months until I came across a real account in one of the biographies. It was some time in 1942 when a fighter pilot who had lain unconscious for a short while came around and asked the first man he saw where he was. The airman, an Australian replied, “This is the beauty shop, mate. The place where they make you up again.” Well, that was it – a lightning bolt moment.

The title encapsulates the entire story for me and beauty is a recurring theme in the book. When faced with losing their entire faces, those men feared they had lost their identity; they feared that their lives were over. It was through the work and support of McIndoe and his team that 649 airmen lived on and thrived after the war. Archie insisted on beautiful nurses for his ward. He had the ward re-decorated to make it appear more homey. There were fresh flowers daily. Volunteers were often pretty girls, drafted in to take the men out to a dance or the pub. There were handsome pilots, airmen, GI’s, dances, love, and not forgetting the motto of beauty itself which was used as propaganda to an extent with posters and write-ups in the press and magazines. ‘Beauty is your duty’ became a well-known slogan. Beauty surrounded all of the men in one form or another. Learning to accept and love yourself is difficult for some, but it’s even more so once you’re dealing with disfigurement. This issue is as relevant today as it was then and just as it was during the war, the attitudes of others are critical. Almost 78 years have passed since the beginning of WW2 and yet there is still so much discrimination and prejudice simmering within communities, sometimes escalating into hate crimes. Beauty really is more than skin deep.

H:  I agree that the title is SO perfect for the events that unfold, thanks for sharing that deeper meaning with us!

Did you do a lot of research before writing The Beauty Shop?  Could you share any excellent resources that we might enjoy checking out for further reading?

SH: Oh, mountains of research! My desk at times had towers of books leaning precariously close to the edge, looking like they’d topple at any moment, but I needed them all. There were medical books, medical articles, biographies, history books, personal accounts of veterans, fiction, movies and youtube clips. Youtube is an excellent resource, and it’s also where I found the only clip of Archibald McIndoe where he speaks – it’s very short, but it was an amazing discovery and helped me so much.

I can recommend all the biographies on McIndoe and the Guinea Pig Club, but for me, the best by far was Faces From The Fire by Leonard Mosely. It was an invaluable resource and a far more personal account than any of the others. For other books check out:

The Last Enemy by fighter pilot Richard Hillary

The Reconstruction of Warriors by E. R. Mayhew

McIndoe’s Army by Edward Bishop

The Blond McIndoe Research Foundation is excellent and has much information about Archie’s work and the Guinea Pig Club.

H: That is incredible about the YouTube video of McIndoe!  Thank you for the additional resources, I will have to check them out!

One of the parts of the book that I found the most compelling were the dog fighting flight scenes. These scenes were super realistic. How did you craft those scenes?

SH: Well, these were difficult to get right, and at the time of publication, I confess I still wasn’t fully certain that they were good enough, but so many readers have graciously told me how much they enjoyed them and how graphic they were, so perhaps I did okay. In the beginning, I wrote the scenes out simply, so I had a very rough draft. Initial research had given me what I needed at that stage, but the finer detail, the imagery was missing.

Then it was back to the research stage before I could paint the scenes. I read many graphic personal accounts from bomber & fighter pilots and aircrew and watched movies such as the Memphis Belle, Twelve O'Clock High and even the trailer for the new Mighty Eighth series. The tv adaptation of fighter pilot, Geoffrey Wellum’s book First Light was also a great resource. I studied how aircraft fly, whether alone or in formation. I studied the positions of the crew and how they did their job while on a mission. I also found old film reels from WW2 of aerial combat where I could see the gunners firing at German fighters, see how the line of tracer fire shoots across the sky, see how it looks when a bomber explodes mid-air, men baling out etc. Having a visual representation along with personal accounts of aerial warfare helped me to craft those scenes, and I can’t stress enough just how important and relevant movies are to the craft of writing. I was quite literally studying graphic scenes and attempting to repaint in words.

H: That research was well worth it in my opinion – those scenes were so realistic to me.

Plastic surgery was only in its infancy during WWI, how did you come across such a topic originally.

SH: I was researching another story when I came across a clip about fighter pilot Geoffrey Page who was a member of the Guinea Pig Club, and it was one of those classic cases of a writer going off on a tangent during research (perhaps procrastinating when I ought to have been writing). However, it turned out to be a fabulous discovery because that led me to Archie McIndoe and the entire real story. I knew that no matter what it took, I simply had to write the book and try to spread the word about this amazing piece of history.

H:  I love how little things that weren’t even on the radar before take over and become the thing you HAVE to write about. 

There is always something fun that you spend time researching but for whatever reason doesn’t make the cut into the book. Do you have such an example you would like to share with us?

SH: It seems so long ago since I researched this book that I can barely remember. There was a funny story of a tall, strong Scot who went out one evening with some of the men, became very drunk and returned to the ward in the early hours, singing at the top of his voice. Of course, he woke everyone up and the nurse gave him a sharp dressing down and ordered him to bed. Within minutes she heard him yell out and found him in the bathroom. He’d tripped over something and ended up sitting in a bucket of Lysol, which resulted in a first-degree burn on his buttock! He was a lieutenant with the Highland Light Infantry and his reason for being one of Archie’s patients was because he’d broken his jaw while out in the blackout in Glasgow. So he ended up suffering a burn anyway!

H:  That is ironic right?!

Can you tell us what led to the choice to independently publish? Have you found anything challenging or surprising easy in terms of independent publishing? Any tips for aspiring authors?

SH: The truth is, when my manuscript was finally complete and ready for the professional edit in mid-2016, I suddenly discovered that it was also the 75th anniversary of the Guinea Pig Club and there were to be certain events in honor of this. I realized that the time was right to publish and I didn’t have time to find an agent, publisher or both, and that’s how I entered the indie publishing world.

Having gone through the process of physically publishing an e-book and a paperback I can say that it’s straightforward. Unfortunately, I was rather hopeless at formatting my manuscript, so I had assistance with that. Being an indie author is challenging work because the only person you can rely on is yourself. You must do everything including marketing your book and all while writing the next story, so time management is crucial.

There are many positives, such as being able to write what I love, as opposed to what the publisher would like, keeping all royalties and setting your own deadlines.

For new authors who are considering self-publishing, I’d say do your research and once you’re clear about the work involved and providing you feel it’s right for you, then go for it. You can always go agent hunting later with the next book. It seems that more traditionally published authors are self-publishing today – termed hybrid authors as they publish via both routes.

H: Thank you for that insight.  That makes sense considering the time line of how long it can take to publish a book and then it wouldn’t have had the timeliness appeal of the anniversary.

When you are not reading for research, what type of books or what authors do you enjoy reading?

SH: I’m a fan of Hillary Mantel and love her writing so much. Then there’s Pat Barker who has written many books, but I love the Regeneration Trilogy, set during WW1. The third book in the trilogy, Ghost Road, won the Booker Prize in 1995 and it’s incredible. Daphne du Maurier is another whose writing I greatly admire, and I also happen to be a Jane Austen fan.

One book that left a lasting impression was Sunset Song written by Lewis Grassic Gibbon in 1932. It’s a fascinating story and regarded to be one of the most important Scottish novels of the 20th century.

There are too many to mention, but these five are among my favorites. And, as you can probably guess, I devour anything WW2 related. Right now, I’m reading my first Maggie Hope MysteryThe Paris Spy by Susan Elia Macneal.

H:  I’ve had by eye on the Maggie Hope Mystery series, but haven’t had the chance to read any of them yet.  I hope you enjoy it!

What type of things do you like to do for leisure?

SH: Living on the edge of the Lake District is amazing as I’m very close to the Scottish borders, so I love exploring Hadrian’s Wall and the old Roman Forts as well as hiking in the lakes. There are also a few literary connections to my home region which makes exploring even more interesting – Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter for example.

Being a writer means sitting a lot which is great for the muse but not the physique! So, I recently took up yoga which I enjoy. Aside from that, I walk my dogs daily, sometimes go cycling, but I love nothing more than curling up with an enjoyable book, especially in winter.

H: That sounds beautiful! I would love to see Hadrian’s Wall!  Thank you so much for stopping by today Suzy!

suzy henderson

Suzy Henderson lives with her husband and two sons in Cumbria, England, on the edge of the Lake District, a beautiful and inspiring landscape of mountains, fells, and lakes. She never set out to be a writer, although she has always loved reading and experiencing the joy of being swept away to different times and places.

In a previous life she was a Midwife but now works from home as a freelance writer and novelist. While researching her family history, Suzy became fascinated with both World War periods and developed an obsession with military and aviation history. Following the completion of her Open University Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, she began to write and write until one day she had a novel.

Other interests include music, old movies, and photography – especially if WW2 aircraft are on the radar. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society. Her debut novel, The Beauty Shop, was released in November 2016 and Suzy is now busy writing her second book which she hopes to release later in 2017.

Find Suzy Henderson: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Book Blurb:

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realizes her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, "The Beauty Shop" is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

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

A Message from IndieBRAG:

We are delighted that Heather has chosen to interview Suzy Henderson. who is the author of, The Beauty Shop, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, The Beauty Shop, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

brag interview team

Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, September 25, 2017

New Book Alert: September from Entangled Publishing


I am excited to help Entangled Publishing celebrate the September release of four brand new, scintillating historical romances! Read on for all of the details and a little sneak peek teaser from titles by Liana De la Rosa, Tamara Gill, Robyn DeHart, and Lily Maxton!


   goodreads button

Book 1 in the Once Upon a Scandal series

Driven into exile years earlier, due to family scandal, Declan Sinclair is called home, devastated to discover his brother has been murdered and he’s the new Duke of Darington. When clues point to the man he blames for both his exile and his brother’s death, Declan resolves to ruin the culprit. If only the daughter of the man’s business partner, lovely Lady Alethea Swinton, didn’t tempt his resolve. Lady Alethea Swinton has cultivated her pristine reputation in the hopes of winning her father’s praise. When her childhood friend returns, Alethea finds she’s willing to court scandal and defy her father to help the handsome Declan uncover the truth behind his brother’s death. Until she realizes Declan’s redemption will mean her

Buy the Book: Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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TO CONQUER A SCOT by Tamara Gill
Book 1 of the Time-Traveler’s Highland Love series


Time-traveling isn’t what Abigail Cross had in mind for her Scottish vacation, nor was a potential marriage to the Laird Aedan Macleod. The fact that the obnoxious, yet hot, and definitely sexy Highlander sees the world very differently than she does, is beside the point. Aedan Macleod knows what he wants in a wife, and Abigail certainly doesn’t meet his Highland standard, even though he must rein in his desire, because beautiful, opinionated Abigail would never suit as a laird’s wife. Tempers flare yet passion is undeniable, as Abby navigates her way in seventeenth century Scotland—without toilet paper. When two rival clans threaten the maddening twenty-first century minx who’s captured Laird Aedan’s heart, the mighty Highlander is willing to sacrifice everything to keep Abigail safe.

Buy the Book: Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



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Book 1 in the Lords of Vice series

Iris Bennington is furious when she discovers her younger brother is following the instructions found in the acclaimed advice columns on How to be a Gentleman. The so-called “advice” is more likely to turn her brother into a scoundrel than a true gentleman. Iris decides to locate the author of the columns and confront him. Merritt Steel, the Earl of Ashby, cannot help but be amused by the slip of a woman who comes calling. Unwilling to let such a delightful potential conquest go, he proposes a wager: bring him anyone off the street and he can pass them off as a gentleman. It’s a bargain she readily accepts—but with a twist. Their bargain proves to be a greater challenge than either anticipated. Merritt finds it near impossible to keep his hands off Iris, and she begins to see the undeniable appeal of ungentlemanly behavior…

Buy the Book: Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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by Lily Maxton
Book 2 of The Townsend series

Wallflower Eleanor Townsend is not like most women. She has no interest in marriage, the ton, or fashion. Instead, her heart lies with science. And when the opportunity to present a paper arises, she takes it, even though it means dressing as a man. But her disguise doesn’t quite work. Someone notices—and the brute intends to blackmail her! Former prizefighter James MacGregor wants to be a gentleman, like the men he trains in his boxing saloon. His first step is gaining a beautiful, wealthy wife. Eleanor Townsend is not that woman, but a chance encounter gives him the leverage he needs. She’ll gain him entry to high society and help him with his atrocious manners, and in return, he won’t reveal her secret. It’s the perfect arrangement. At least until the sparks between them become more than just their personalities clashing. But there’s too much at stake for James to give in to his growing attraction.

Buy the Book: Entangled | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Book Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn


The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
E-Book, 528 pages
William Morrow
June 6, 2017

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth ...no matter where it leads.

I have been a HUGE fan of Kate Quinn’s throughout her writing career having read almost all of her works (still trying to find time to finish Empress of the Seven Hills and start The Lion and the Rose). Her heroines always have this spunk and sass to them, that comes through when you meet the author as well, that instantly draws me to them. I’ve been a bigger fan of her novels set in the ancient world and had hesitantly taken interest in The Alice Network only because it is SO far removed from the era that I think Quinn excels in. The time period between and surrounding the World Wars hasn’t traditionally been my thing and I haven’t openly embraced it despite the shift in interest of the publishing houses to this arena lately. However, after hearing from successive bookish friends and bloggers just how much they loved The Alice Network, and finding myself with a big gaping hole in my reviewing schedule, I jumped at the opportunity to pick up a copy and get to it!

Each chapter alternates between the WWI period told from the perspective of Eve and the immediate post WWII period told from that of Charlie. There are parallels that can be drawn here between these ladies who are similarly aged but seemingly so different for so much of the book, however deep down, they are more alike than they realize. For awhile I was much more into the Charlie chapters. While I loved the behind-the-lines, spy storyline of Eve’s, I felt that Charlie’s internal narrative was more of a personal struggle and I loved watching her grow over the story. I also loved that Charlie’s narrative is where the pieces start to come together and resolve.

The characters were all fabulous. Eve is so unusual a heroine, but that would be why she was so effective a spy: she was easy to overlook, but she had so much going on under the hood and she was passionate and daring. She gave up so much of herself for something so much bigger than herself. Charlie is a girl in trouble, but also a girl on a mission. She is trying to redeem herself and escape from the shadow of her parents expectations and money. This makes her and Eve such a hilarious foil of each other. And throw Finn into the mix and they are one interesting road trippin’ trio. Really, I found Finn to be one of the only truly likable male characters, despite his background, and I LOVED his character development throughout the story and how he effected the other two ladies. And his relationship with his car is something else! This trio was phenomenal to read.

Kate’s writing is always fun to read and she throws in some humorous scenes throughout, even little moments that just take the edge off some of the deeper, more tension fraught scenes.

I very rarely read a book a second time (has only happened twice) or own a book in multiple formats, but simply based off my enjoyment of the book and the sample of the audio I have listened to, I am very interested in going through this one again as an audiobook (I also might need to get it in print because…deckle edge!!)

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

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

Also by Kate Quinn:

Mistress of Rome
(Empress of Rome Book 1)
[My Review]

Daughters of Rome
(Empress of Rome Book 2)
[My Review]

Empress of the Seven Hills
(Empress of Rome Book 3)

The Three Fates
(Empress of Rome Book 3.5)

Lady of the Eternal City
(Empress of Rome Book 4)
[My Review]

The Serpent and the Pearl (The Borgias #1)
[My Review]

The Lion and the Rose
(The Borgias #2)

A Song of War
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]

A Day of Fire
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]

A Year of Ravens
(Short Story Collaboration)
[My Review]

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Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cover Crush: The Carnelian Crow

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.

the carnealian crow

I will admit that this might not be a top 5 cover, but it certainly makes me stop and do a double take and spend time considering it.  I mean, how many covers really feature any bird, in such vivid detail, on its cover?  The woman really isn’t anything more than a vehicle to present the bird.  It definitely makes me think.

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; Flashlight Commentary; 2 Kids and Tired Books; A Bookaholic Swede; Of Quills and Vellum; Layered Pages.    

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Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court