Historical Fiction Matters

me-iiIt is no surprise I love historical fiction. I am a history enthusiast and there is nothing like escaping to the past and exploring how people lived long ago. We often find ourselves not so different from them. Or how history repeats itself in more ways than one. Historical Fiction Writers today brings those voices to life so we might share a bond with them or better yet, learn from them. There is so much we have inherited from them. Not only our cultures, religions, social norms and wanting acceptance but a deep feeling of survival and planting more roots for the future.

We must know history to understand and to grow. Knowledge is power. We must also study history so we may not to repeat past mistakes of our forbearers. Which we tend to do regardless. The human condition is extraordinary and an enigma.

Historical Fiction does matter.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Listening Instead Of Reading

I can’t believe I am saying this but I haven’t done a whole lot of reading in the last week or so. Instead I have been listening to audio books. It’s not my usual norm. You see, I don’t often listen to them. I prefer reading to listening. Anyhow, I have found two interesting audio books. I am curious as to how I will review them when the time comes.

what-she-knewWhat She Knew by Gilly Macmillan

In her enthralling debut, Gilly Macmillan explores a mother’s search for her missing son, weaving a taut psychological thriller as gripping and skillful as The Girl on the Train and The Guilty One.

In a heartbeat, everything changes…

Rachel Jenner is walking in a Bristol park with her eight-year-old son, Ben, when he asks if he can run ahead. It’s an ordinary request on an ordinary Sunday afternoon, and Rachel has no reason to worry—until Ben vanishes.

Police are called, search parties go out, and Rachel, already insecure after her recent divorce, feels herself coming undone. As hours and then days pass without a sign of Ben, everyone who knew him is called into question, from Rachel’s newly married ex-husband to her mother-of-the-year sister. Inevitably, media attention focuses on Rachel too, and the public’s attitude toward her begins to shift from sympathy to suspicion.

As she desperately pieces together the threadbare clues, Rachel realizes that nothing is quite as she imagined it to be, not even her own judgment. And the greatest dangers may lie not in the anonymous strangers of every parent’s nightmares, but behind the familiar smiles of those she trusts the most.

the-drapers-daughterThe Draper’s Daughter by Ellin Carsta

A thrilling historical novel by the author of The Secret Healer.

Cologne, 1351: Elisabeth and Stephen Hardenstein are twins, but they could not be more different. While Elisabeth is inspired by the family business, absorbing everything her father shows her about the cloth trade, Stephen enjoys a leisurely life and pays little attention to their father’s teachings. Elisabeth recognizes her true vocation as a tradeswoman, and though the odds are stacked against her, she pursues her passion.

When the twins’ father suffers a tragic stroke, the tables turn. Suddenly Stephen is interested in running the draper’s shop his father left behind, and he takes the lead in managing the family business. But Elisabeth can’t sit idly by and watch as he makes bad decisions and accumulates debts. Stephen pushes her to marry as soon as possible, even proposing a suitor, but Elisabeth has her own ideas about matters of the heart. Are her talents in the art of negotiation enough to win her both the job of her dreams and the man she truly loves?

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The Evening Star: A 1929 Series Prequel Novella (The 1929 Series Book 0) by M. L. Gardner

Are you familiar with M.L. Gardner? She is the best-selling author of the 1929 series. If you love stories from this era, you should check them out. They are popular. I have a few of them on my Kindle and I just downloaded this one. The Evening Star is currently 99 cents on the Amazon US Kindle. The cover is stunning!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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About the Book:

The Evening Star is a 1929 Series Prequel Novella. See how it all started for one couple in this dynamic series and begin your journey into the world of 1929.

Caleb Jenkins wasn’t looking for the love of his life. After selling his grandfather’s farm in Massachusetts, he was only searching for a place to start over and forget his past. In his travels through Georgia, he meets Arianna Bellamy, a woman with modern ideas, struggling beneath the confines of old-fashioned values and strict parents.

She begins to buckle under the weight of the responsibility that’s been placed on her. Caleb sees a kindred spirit in her yearning to be free and has to fight to get beneath the iron exterior that Arianna has built for her own protection. As he starts to unravel her complicated nature, he shows her a life she knew existed but had always been denied. Caleb suggests that they run off together to New York. With the firm hold her family has on her, Arianna must make a choice between love and obligation.

Cover Crush: The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

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I am not a cover designer but I can agree that cover layouts play an important role in the overall presentation of books and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

the-silver-witch-iiThe Silver Witch: A Novel 

Pub Date: February 2, 2016

A year after her husband’s sudden death, ceramic artist Tilda Fordwells finally moves into the secluded Welsh cottage that was to be their new home. She hopes that the tranquil surroundings will help ease her grief, and lessen her disturbing visions of Mat’s death. Instead, the lake in the valley below her cottage seems to spark something dormant in her – a sensitivity, and a power of some sort. Animals are drawn to her, electricity shorts out when she’s near, and strangest of all, she sees a new vision; a boatful of ancient people approaching her across the water.

On this same lake in Celtic times lived Seren, a witch and shaman. She was respected but feared, kept separate from the community for her strange looks. When a vision came to her of the Prince amid a nest of vipers she warned of betrayal from one of his own. Prince Brynach both loved and revered her, but could not believe someone close to him wished him harm, even as the danger grew.

In her own time, Tilda’s grief begins to fade beside her newfound powers and a fresh love. When she explores the lake’s ancient magic and her own she discovers Seren, the woman in her vision of the boat. Their two lives strangely mirror each other’s, suggesting a strong connection between the women. As Tilda comes under threat from a dark power, one reminiscent of Seren’s prophecy, she must rely on Seren and ancient magic if death and disaster are not to shatter her life once more. Paula Brackston does it once again with The Silver Witch crafting an enchanting tale as timeless as it is engrossing.

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This cover is so pleasing to the eye. I love the colors, and the simplicity of it. The premise of the story sounds fascinating and look forward to checking it out sometime!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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More Great Cover Crushes!

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary.

Other great book bloggers who cover crush:

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

More cover crushes over at indieBRAG!

Become an indieBRAG Reader!

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If you are an avid bookworm, we invite you to become part of the indieBRAG B.R.A.G. Medallion global reader team. In this program, you’ll tell us a bit about yourself and the genres you enjoy reading. We’ll then provide you with digital versions of self-published books (ebooks), using the gifting process at amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, and ask for your honest evaluation.

Genres We Read:

Paranormal/Historical Fiction/Romance/Thrillers/Mystery/Science Fiction/Fantasy/Non-Fiction/Young Adult/Middle Grade/Horror/Children’s/Literary Fiction

Sign up here: HERE

Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War by Tony Horwitz

This is one of the books I am currently reading and its fantastic so far! I am an American Civil War Researcher and enthusiast of its history. Hardcore reenactors really fascinate me. From what I have read thus far, this story shows a bit of that and much more. I will wait to give you more of my thoughts when I finish the book.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

confederates-in-the-attic-dispatches-from-the-unfinished-civil-warAbout the book:

When prize-winning war correspondent Tony Horwitz leaves the battlefields of Bosnia and the Middle East for a peaceful corner of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he thinks he’s put war zones behind him. But awakened one morning by the crackle of musket fire, Horwitz starts filing front-line dispatches again this time from a war close to home, and to his own heart.

Propelled by his boyhood passion for the Civil War, Horwitz embarks on a search for places and people still held in thrall by America’s greatest conflict. The result is an adventure into the soul of the unvanquished South, where the ghosts of the Lost Cause are resurrected through ritual and remembrance.

In Virginia, Horwitz joins a band of ‘hardcore’ reenactors who crash-diet to achieve the hollow-eyed look of starved Confederates; in Kentucky, he witnesses Klan rallies and calls for race war sparked by the killing of a white man who brandishes a rebel flag; at Andersonville, he finds that the prison’s commander, executed as a war criminal, is now exalted as a martyr and hero; and in the book’s climax, Horwitz takes a marathon trek from Antietam to Gettysburg to Appomattox in the company of Robert Lee Hodge, an eccentric pilgrim who dubs their odyssey the ‘Civil Wargasm.’

Written with Horwitz’s signature blend of humor, history, and hard-nosed journalism, Confederates in the Attic brings alive old battlefields and new ones ‘classrooms, courts, country bars’ where the past and the present collide, often in explosive ways. Poignant and picaresque, haunting and hilarious, it speaks to anyone who has ever felt drawn to the mythic South and to the dark romance of the Civil War.

Bookish Delights and The Norm

The last week or so has been a bit crazy so my blogging has been off-if you will. I usually post Manic Mondays but posted a book review yesterday instead. Reality has gotten in the way of late and has created a pesky environment for me. Alas, I am doing everything I can to get back to the norm. Listing three books I acquired on NetGalley recently seemed like a good idea. One always enjoys discovering upcoming reads. Check these out. I hope to get them reviewed in time!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

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the-wolf-of-dalriadaThe Wolf of Dalriada by Elizabeth Gates

Pub Date 28 Nov 2016

It is 1793… As Europe watches the French Revolution’s bloody progress, uneasy Scottish landowners struggle to secure their wealth and power. And, in Dalriada – the ancient Kingdom of Scotland – fractured truths, torn loyalties and bloody atrocities are rife. Can anyone ride the maelstrom of these dangerous times? Only, it seems, Malcolm Craig Lowrie – the legendary Wolf of Dalriada.

In remote Argyll, people cry out to the young laird for protection against the evil of the Clearances. And there is also a beautiful Frenchwoman – staked as a child on the turn of a card – now living in thrall to her debauched captor, Sir William Robinson. But can the Wolf of Dalriada safeguard his people? Can the Wolf defeat enemies who, like the spirit of Argyll’s Corryvrecken Whirlpool, threaten to engulf them all?

Written with a blend of mysticism and intrigue, the psychological realism of the characters is exhibited in their reaction to tremendous cultural change. The Wolf of Dalriada is a truly fascinating historical novel that will be enjoyed by fans of Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel.

convictionConviction by Julia Dahl

Pub Date 28 Mar 2017

In the summer of 1992, a year after riots exploded between black and Jewish neighbors in Crown Heights, a black family is brutally murdered in their Brooklyn home. A teenager is quickly convicted, and the justice system moves on.

Twenty-two years later, journalist Rebekah Roberts gets a letter: I didn’t do it. Frustrated with her work at the city’s sleaziest tabloid, Rebekah starts to dig. But witnesses are missing, memories faded, and almost no one wants to talk about that grim, violent time in New York City—not even Saul Katz, a former cop and her source in Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic community.

So she goes it alone. And as she gets closer to the truth of that night, Rebekah finds herself in the path of a killer with two decades of secrets to protect.

From the author of the Edgar-nominated Invisible City comes another timely thriller that illuminates society’s darkest corners. Told in part through the eyes of a jittery eyewitness and the massacre’s sole survivor, Julia Dahl’s Conviction examines the power—and cost—of community, loyalty, and denial.

the-devil-and-websterThe Devil and Webster by Jean Hanff Korelitz

Pub Date 21 Mar 2017

From the bestselling author of You Should Have Known and Admission, a twisty new novel about a college president and a student protest that mirrors today’s campus unrest.

Naomi Roth is the first female president of Webster College, a once conservative school now known for producing fired-up, progressive graduates. A former student radical herself, Naomi isn’t alarmed when Webster students, including her own daughter, begin an outdoor encampment to protest a popular professor’s denial of tenure, but when Omar Khayal, a charismatic Palestinian student with a devastating personal history, emerges as the group’s leader, shocking acts of vandalism begin to destabilize the campus. As the crisis slips beyond her control, Naomi struggles to protect her friends, colleagues, and family from an unknowable adversary. A riveting novel about who we think we are, and what we think we believe.

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