Cover Crush: Oil and Marble (A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo) by Stephanie Storey

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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 stories and I must admit, often times I first judge a book by its cover.

Oil and Marble A Novel of Leonardo and MichelangeloOil and Marble: A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo by Stephanie Storey

Hardcover, 320 pages

Published March 1st 2016 by Arcade Publishing

Legendary geniuses clash in both art and life in this “tremendously entertaining” novel of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo (The New York Times).

For a few years at the very beginning of the sixteenth century, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti both lived and worked in Florence. Leonardo was a charming, handsome fifty-year-old at the peak of his career. Michelangelo was a temperamental sculptor in his mid-twenties, desperate to make a name for himself.

Michelangelo is a virtual unknown when he wins the commission to carve what will become one of the most famous sculptures of all time: David. Even though his impoverished family shuns him for being an artist, he is desperate to support them. Living at the foot of his misshapen block of marble, Michelangelo struggles until the stone finally begins to speak. Working against an impossible deadline, he begins his feverish carving.

Meanwhile, Leonardo’s life is falling apart: he loses the hoped-for David commission; he can’t seem to finish any project; he is obsessed with his ungainly flying machine; he almost dies in war; his engineering designs disastrously fail; and he is haunted by a woman he has seen in the market—a merchant’s wife, whom he is finally commissioned to paint. Her name is Lisa, and she becomes his muse.

Leonardo despises Michelangelo for his youth and lack of sophistication. Michelangelo both loathes and worships Leonardo’s genius. Both will become immortal through their art.

Oil and Marble is the story of their nearly forgotten rivalry and “a rewarding read for art aficionados and fans of historical fiction” (Booklist). Here, Stephanie Storey brings early 16th-century Florence alive, bringing to life the minds and souls of two Renaissance masters with extraordinary empathy.

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My thoughts on the cover, title and premise:

I came across this book on Amazon and as an art history lover, I became intrigue with its cover. I recognized the style and hue immediately. How in the world have I not come across this book already, I ask myself? I love everything about the cover, title and premise. I look forward to reading the story to find out if it is as good as it looks.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. Her latest cover crush HERE

Other great book bloggers who cover crush:

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede-Coming soon

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books-Coming soon

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation-Coming soon

Meghan @ Of Quills & Vellum-Coming soon

Stay calm and support book bloggers

 

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Wish-List 5: Alexander Pushkin to the Romanovs

Me IIRecently one of my friends and fellow book blogger shared The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam on Facebook and it recaptured my interest in stories set in Russia during the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th Century. My fascination in those periods lingered for a few years when I was in my late teens and early twenties and then I moved to other periods of history in other countries. Of late I am drawn-again- to Russian history and hope to spare what little free time I have to read these books below.  

Stephanie M. Hopkins

The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer LaamThe Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam

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.

The Secret Daughter of the Tsar A Novel of The Romanovs by Jennifer LaamThe Secret Daughter of the Tsar: A Novel of The Romanovs by Jennifer Laam

A compelling alternate history of the Romanov family in which a secret fifth daughter―smuggled out of Russia before the revolution―continues the royal lineage to dramatic consequences

In her riveting debut novel, The Secret Daughter of the Tsar, Jennifer Laam seamlessly braids together the stories of three women: Veronica, Lena, and Charlotte. Veronica is an aspiring historian living in present-day Los Angeles when she meets a mysterious man who may be heir to the Russian throne. As she sets about investigating the legitimacy of his claim through a winding path of romance and deception, the ghosts of her own past begin to haunt her. Lena, a servant in the imperial Russian court of 1902, is approached by the desperate Empress Alexandra. After conceiving four daughters, the Empress is determined to sire a son and believes Lena can help her. Once elevated to the Romanov’s treacherous inner circle, Lena finds herself under the watchful eye of the meddling Dowager Empress Marie. Charlotte, a former ballerina living in World War II occupied Paris, receives a surprise visit from a German officer. Determined to protect her son from the Nazis, Charlotte escapes the city, but not before learning that the officer’s interest in her stems from his longstanding obsession with the fate of the Russian monarchy. Then as Veronica’s passion intensifies, and her search for the true heir to the throne takes a dangerous turn, the reader learns just how these three vastly different women are connected. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar is thrilling from its first intense moments until its final, unexpected conclusion.

The Tsarina's Legacy A Novel by Jennifer LaamThe Tsarina’s Legacy: A Novel by Jennifer Laam

Then…Grigory “Grisha” Potemkin has had a successful long association with the powerful Empress Catherine of Russia. But Catherine and Grisha are older now and face new threats, both from powers outside of Russia and from those close to them. Haunted by the horrors of his campaign against the Muslim Turks, Grisha hopes to construct a mosque in the heart of the empire. Unfortunately, Catherine’s much younger new lover, the ambitious Platon Zubov, stands in his way. Grisha determines that to preserve Catherine’s legacy he must save her from Zubov’s dangerous influence and win back her heart.

Now…When she learns she is the lost heiress to the Romanov throne, Veronica Herrera’s life turns upside down. Dmitry Potemkin, one of Grisha’s descendants, invites Veronica to Russia to accept a ceremonial position as Russia’s new tsarina. Seeking purpose, Veronica agrees to act as an advocate to free a Russian artist sentenced to prison for displaying paintings critical of the church and government. Veronica is both celebrated and chastised. As her political role comes under fire, Veronica is forced to decide between the glamorous perks of European royalty and staying true to herself.

In Jennifer Laam’s The Tsarina’s Legacy, unexpected connections between Grisha and Veronica are revealed as they struggle to make peace with the ghosts of their past and help secure a better future for themselves and the country they both love.

The Lost Crown by Sarah MillerThe Lost Crown by Sarah Miller

A heart-wrenching, suspenseful look at the downfall of the Russian empire as told through the eyes of the four Romanov sisters.

Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. Like the fingers on a hand—first headstrong Olga, then Tatiana the tallest, Maria most hopeful for a ring, and Anastasia the smallest. These are the daughters of Tsar Nicholas II, grand duchesses living a life steeped in tradition and privilege. They are young women each on the brink of starting her own life. The summer of 1914 is that precious last wink of time when they can still be sisters together—who link arms and laugh, sisters who share their dreams and worries, and who flirt with the officers of their imperial yacht.

But in a gunshot the future changes—for these sisters and for Russia.

As World War I ignites across Europe, political unrest sweeps Russia. First dissent, then disorder, mutiny—and revolution. For Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia, the end of their girlhood collides with the end of more than they ever imagined.

At the same time hopeful and hopeless, naïve and wise, the voices of these sisters become a chorus singing the final song of this great empire. Impeccably researched and utterly fascinating, acclaimed author Sarah Miller recounts the final days of Imperial Russia.

The Romanovs 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag MontefioreThe Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Romanovs were the most successful dynasty of modern times, ruling a sixth of the world’s surface for three centuries. How did one family turn a war-ruined principality into the world’s greatest empire? And how did they lose it all?

This is the intimate story of twenty tsars and tsarinas, some touched by genius, some by madness, but all inspired by holy autocracy and imperial ambition. Simon Sebag Montefiore’s gripping chronicle reveals their secret world of unlimited power and ruthless empire-building, overshadowed by palace conspiracy, family rivalries, sexual decadence and wild extravagance, with a global cast of adventurers, courtesans, revolutionaries and poets, from Ivan the Terrible to Tolstoy and Pushkin, to Bismarck, Lincoln, Queen Victoria and Lenin.

To rule Russia was both imperial-sacred mission and poisoned chalice: six of the last twelve tsars were murdered. Peter the Great tortured his own son to death while making Russia an empire, and dominated his court with a dining club notable for compulsory drunkenness, naked dwarfs and fancy dress. Catherine the Great overthrew her own husband (who was murdered soon afterward), enjoyed affairs with a series of young male favorites, conquered Ukraine and fascinated Europe. Paul I was strangled by courtiers backed by his own son, Alexander I, who in turn faced Napoleon’s invasion and the burning of Moscow, then went on to take Paris. Alexander II liberated the serfs, survived five assassination attempts and wrote perhaps the most explicit love letters ever composed by a ruler. The Romanovs climaxes with a fresh, unforgettable portrayal of Nicholas II and Alexandra, the rise and murder of Rasputin, war and revolution—and the harrowing massacre of the entire family.

Dazzlingly entertaining and beautifully written from start to finish, The Romanovs brings these monarchs—male and female, great and flawed, their families and courts—blazingly to life. Drawing on new archival research, Montefiore delivers an enthralling epic of triumph and tragedy, love and murder, encompassing the seminal years 1812, 1914 and 1917, that is both a universal study of power and a portrait of empire that helps define Russia today.

Be sure to check out my wish-list from last month HERE

Here are the wish lists from a few of my friends this month:

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired

Stay calm and support book bloggers

 

Anthropologist & Historical Fiction Writers: How are they linked?

me-iiAs a child I was inquisitive and longed for adventure. When I was ten years old or a little younger, I dreamed of being an archaeologist. I remember my friends and I at lunch recess digging in the sand for fossils. As I got older, I still wanted to know more about the past, thus began my deep love for history and anthropology.

There are different types of scientific fields.  Scientists from various fields many times work together to find answers and to uncover the past. They use hypothesis, evidence, technology for solving problems, and ask questions on what they observe to help them come to some sort of conclusion. We know that not everything we question has answers which leads us to different avenues to explore.

When scientists investigate and come to conclusions they usually write a scientific paper of their findings; then they publish their work. When scientists publish their work, not everyone will agree with their findings resulting in more questions and discussions. I would say it takes as much courage to be a scientist as it does an historical fiction writer because they will be both judged on the accuracy of written history.

How are the two linked? The definition of anthropology is the “study of human societies and cultures and their development.” Anthropologists study different aspects of humans from the past; how they lived, worked, cultivated the land, and so on. Anthropologists provide vital information on human existence.

Truths and or hypothesizes are revealed when we look to the past. The past speaks to us in many ways. The history of cultures and the human condition reveal these realities. A good historical fiction writer gives us tangible material to bring the past to life. In their research they must look to the past and study the civilizations and cultures-very much like anthropology.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

 

Wish-List 5: Early American Literature

me-iiAmerican History and Literature is of great importance to me. Right now I’m in the middle of studying extensively the War Between the States but often times in my research I need to go back further than that. Doing so gives me a greater understanding of the creation of our great nation, how our government works, how they evolved and what was in the minds of our early settlers and founders. In today’s society, there are so many Americans who do not know their history and do not know what it means to be an American. For many reasons- I won’t go into today-but I will say much of the blame goes to the public school system and our government. We have become a nation of political correctness and we are erasing our history. In my opinion that shows weakness and cowardliness on our part and should be stopped. On Facebook I shared a quote that says, “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know where it is today.” The rest of the quote-by Woodrow Wilson-say’s, “…nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”

Today’s wish-list is one I am actually putting at the top of my reading pile soon. Some of these works I am familiar with and have read a bit of. Alas, it has been years and I would like to refresh my mind with these readings.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

The Works of Anne BradstreetThe Works of Anne Bradstreet (John Harvard Library) by Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet, the first true poet in the American colonies, wrote at a time and in a place where any literary creation was rare and difficult and that of a woman more unusual still. Born in England and brought up in the household of the Earl of Lincoln where her father, Thomas Dudley, was steward, Anne Bradstreet sailed to Massachusetts Bay in 1630, shortly after her marriage at sixteen to Simon Bradstreet. For the next forty years she lived in the New England wilderness, raising a family of eight, combating sickness and hardship, and writing the verse that made her, as the poet Adrienne Rich says in her Foreword to this edition, “the first non-didactic American poet, the first to give an embodiment to American nature, the first in whom personal intention appears to precede Puritan dogma as an impulse to verse.”

All Anne Bradstreet’s extant poetry and prose is published here with modernized spelling and punctuation. This volume reproduces the second edition of “Several Poems,” brought out in Boston in 1678, as well as the contents of a manuscript first printed in 1857. Adrienne Rich’s Foreword offers a sensitive and illuminating critique of Anne Bradstreet both as a person and as a writer, and the Introduction, scholarly notes, and appendices by Jeannine Hensley make this an authoritative edition.

Adrienne Rich observes, “Intellectual intensity among women gave cause for uneasiness” at this period–a fact borne out by the lines in the Prologue to the early poems: “I am obnoxious to each carping tongue/ Who says my hand a needle better fits.” The broad scope of Anne Bradstreet’s own learning and reading is most evident in the literary and historical allusions of “The Tenth Muse,” the first edition of her poems, published in London in 1650. Her later verse and her prose meditations strike a more personal note, however, and reveal both a passionate religious sense and a depth of feeling for her husband, her children, the fears and disappointments she constantly faced, and the consoling power of nature. Imbued with a Puritan striving to turn all events to the glory of God, these writings bear the mark of a woman of strong spirit, charm, delicacy, and wit: in their intimate and meditative quality Anne Bradstreet is established as a poet of sensibility and permanent stature.

American Colonial WritingAmerican Colonial Writing (Essays) by Mary Rowlandson, William Bradford, John Smith, Anne Bradstreet, Thomas Morton, Elena Ortells

This anthology features a selection of works written during the first century of English settlement in the colonies of North America. These texts illustrate the extraordinary depth of colonial writing (chronicles, poetry, captivity narratives, etc.) and help us understand the origins and the future of America and Americans.

The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Leadership and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Native America by Samson Occom

The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah EquianoThe Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself by Olaudah Equiano, Robert J. Allison (Editor)

Widely admired for its vivid accounts of the slave trade, Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography — the first slave narrative to attract a significant readership — reveals many aspects of the eighteenth-century Western world through the experiences of one individual. The second edition reproduces the original London printing, supervised by Equiano in 1789. Robert J. Allison’s introduction, which places Equiano’s narrative in the context of the Atlantic slave trade, has been revised and updated to reflect the heated controversy surrounding Equiano’s birthplace, as well as the latest scholarship on Atlantic history and the history of slavery. Improved pedagogical features include contemporary illustrations with expanded captions and a map showing Equiano’s travels in greater detail. Helpful footnotes provide guidance throughout the eighteenth-century text, and a chronology and an up-to-date bibliography aid students in their study of this thought-provoking narrative.

Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary RowlandsonNarrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson by Mary Rowlandson

In February 1676, during King Philip’s War, the frontier village of Lancaster, Massachusetts, was attacked by a party of Nipmuck Indians and completely destroyed. As relief from Concord approached, the attackers withdrew, taking with them 24 captives, including Mrs. Mary Rowlandson and her three children.

For almost three months the little family was forced to live with their captors and endure exposure to a New England winter.The youngest child, who had been injured during the attack, failed to survive. Eventually ransom was paid and the family released.

Mrs. Rowlandson’s account of her experience was published in 1682. It became a”best-seller” of its day and created a new literary genre, the captivity narrative. Such accounts were in part responsible for the mistrust and hatred of the Indians that plagued the country for centuries. It is also the first publication in English by a woman in the New World.

The Puritan DilemmaThe Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop (Library of American Biography) by Edmund S. Morgan

Caught between the ideals of God s Law and the practical needs of the people, John Winthrop walked a line few could tread. In every aspect of our society today we see the workings of the tension between individual freedom and the demands of authority. Here is the story of the people that brought this idea to our shores: The Puritans. Edmund Morgan relates the hardships and triumphs of the Puritan movement through this vivid account of its most influential leader, John Winthrop. The titles in the Library of American Biography Series make ideal supplements for American History Survey courses or other courses in American history where figures in history are explored. Paperback, brief, and inexpensive, each interpretive biography in this series focuses on a figure whose actions and ideas significantly influenced the course of American history and national life. In addition, each biography relates the life of its subject to the broader themes and developments of the times.”

Here are the wish lists from a few of my friends this month:

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Heather @ The Maiden’s Court

Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired-coming soon

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The Life of Theseus

amalia-carosella-iiI’d like to welcome Amalia Carosella to layered Pages today to talk with me about Theseus. Amalia graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelors degree in Classical Studies and English. An avid reader and former bookseller, she writes about old heroes and older gods. She lives with her husband in upstate New York and dreams of the day she will own goats (and maybe even a horse, too).

 Who is Theseus?

By the time we meet Theseus in HELEN OF SPARTA, he’s a well-established king and hero of Attica and Athens, a champion of Athena. His days of adventuring and raiding are behind him, and he is focused on maintaining the prosperity of his people, which in the past, he had put at risk – for example, when he made Antiope his wife and brought war with the Amazons to Athens. Naturally when he meets Helen, and she asks him for help, it puts him in conflict with his desire to keep the peace he’s worked so hard and long to build for Athens and Attica, but so does the war Helen warns him is coming if he does not help her…

What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Theseus believes in Justice and Honor – he’s known for it. And this is a strength and a weakness for him, because any appeals to him on that front are likely to force his hand. He cannot ignore a call for help, if that person has been wronged. He also loves fiercely. His friends, his children, his wives, his people. All of which can be turned into leverage to manipulate him – though because he is a hero and a king, his power to protect those that he loves prevents all but the strongest threats from becoming problematic. Mostly, this results in a very healthy respect for the gods, who have used his love for his family to humble him repeatedly. But he can be caged by his own sense of honor, too, and manipulated by it – even by his closest friends.

What are his habits?

As a youth, he loved to raid – this was a well-respected and expected hobby for a young man of his stature, along with training in the arts of sword, spear, chariot-driving, and war in general. But perhaps because of his power and position in his later years, his greatest habit is restraint. Theseus knows when to make use of blunt force, and when diplomacy is the stronger tool. He knows, too, when to resort to deception, and who to call upon for help when a task is beyond his personal ability to accomplish. He is a man who knows when to delegate and isn’t afraid of dissenting voices. He’s also generally always happy to help his friends and makes it a point of honor to repay them for their help and service in his own times of need.

theseus
Theseus 

What are the emotional triggers of Theseus and how does he act on them?

As stated above, Theseus loves fiercely. He is most sensitive to matters of betrayal and disloyalty, particularly in his romantic relationships during his later years, after the death of his son, Hippolytus and his wife, Phaedra. As a result of those losses, he is that much more protective of his remaining sons, and because of the role the gods played in the whole affair, he’s also deeply pious, in the hopes that he might prevent the loss of the children and loved ones he has left. He feels, to some degree, that he has been cursed in love – that the gods themselves do not love him, and that this makes him a danger to those he loves.

What do you find most fascinating about him?

Everything. Theseus is a bundle of contradictions – not our standard Bronze Age Hero at all. He protects the weak, including slaves, seems to honor women even as he womanizes, is credited for bringing democracy to Athens as a king, and ultimately causes his own self-destruction by helping his best friend to attempt to steal a goddess for a wife. He makes mistakes, and he repeatedly loses everything – from his father, to his wives, to his son, to his entire kingdom, but he picks himself back up and makes lemonade out of lemons over and over again – until he can’t any longer, anyway. One of the thing I love most though, might be his bromance with Pirithous. Pirithous is SUCH a pirate, he’s a typical Bronze Age raider and so irreverent. In some ways, it makes him a perfect best friend/blood brother to Theseus. Kind of an opposites attract situation. And writing them both together in HELEN OF SPARTA and in TAMER OF HORSES was so much fun!

For more information, visit her blog at www.amaliacarosella.com. She also writes fantasy and paranormal romance as Amalia Dillin.

Amalia on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter here and here.

Theseus: Source- Wikimedia Commons/Wonders of sculpture HERE

Bookish Happenings & Social Media Mishaps

me-iiIt’s that time again for bookish happenings! Today, I am sharing a few things that have been going on in the world of blogging and at indieBRAG. We are completely drawn into the world of stories and the people who write them. Our passion is to share our love of reading, good reads and our hunt for them. Daily we are exploring social media and various book sites for the next great read.

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This week I was not able to post this post, yesterday. The reason is, I had a marvelous interview with author C.S. Harris on Thursday and so my Cover Crush was posted on Friday. Alas, no time like the present to publish bookish happenings! I few bookish things have been going on this week. I’ve added a few new books to my reading pile and have taken on a few more books to review. Which I need to slow down on that so I can catch up!

 Also, I have been interacting in a few conversations about content on social media. It has been enlightening to say the least. Ha!

For example:

Author Clare Mackintosh asked her followers on Facebook what we like to see authors post about/talk about on social media. My answer. “I am a book blogger and I work in the book industry. I follow and work with a lot of authors. I love it when an author draws themes from their story and post about that. I love the writing quotes and when they support book bloggers. Also, I love the interaction between the author and reader. What I don’t like is when authors post none stop about politics. I’ve seen it get ugly time and time again. One must be careful of that when promoting one’s brand. You can lose a lot of readers that way…”

Now, before you get in a tizzy about authors being citizens and all. I totally get that authors are citizens and have a voice and have the right to express themselves like everyone else. That is great and all, but just know you seriously run the risk of demolishing your “brand” by alienating potential readers and fans-if you’re insulting people for believing differently than you or posting none stop political posts. I don’t recommend doing that. Having said that, I do actually like some political posts-when they are intelligent, insightful and respectful.

Matter of fact, a couple of authors and I on Facebook were discussing talking about the parallels of historical and modern day politics from stories written. Now that was interesting!

I’d like to further add that talking about negative reviews on social media platforms is a bad idea. I don’t recommend it. Here’s why: While some-authors- mention about negative reviews are totally legit. (Meaning, some of the things people say in reviews that have no standing on the story is ridiculous and embarrassing!  I understand why the author would want to vent about it on Facebook to their “friends.”) Just consider you are even then taking a risk in doing so. Now, often times, I do see authors complaining about negative reviews (reviews that make sense) on social media, and it turns into a bully fest and then it carries over into bashing book bloggers/book reviewers in general. NOT cool at all. Here is my advice: Just don’t do it. Period. It does not complement you what-so-ever. On top of that, you run the risk of losing readers or potential book bloggers support and you need us. Just like we need your stories!

Just my two cents.

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Today I want to highlight my interview with C.S. Harris. She has written a story that I feel is the most important works of historical fiction I have read this year thus far. Check out the interview HERE.

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Here is a few of my fellow book blogger’s book highlights for the week! Be sure to check them out. These bloggers are dedicated to their craft of sharing stories and a big support to the book world. I highly recommend you follow their blogs.

in-a-dark-dark-woodColleen over at A Literary Vacation reviews, In A Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware HERE.

Magdalena over at, A Bookaholic Swede has a fun cover crush of, The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr HERE

Holly over at 2 Kids and Tired Books has a wonderful post called, Пятница Ponderings: He was an example to me HERE.

Heather over at The Maidens Court shares with us her Top 5: Non-Fiction Books Read HERE.

the-alice-networkErin over at Flashlight Commentary reviews a book I’m dying to get my hands on called, The Alice Network by Kate Quinn HERE.

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Thank you for visiting Layered Pages today and enjoy your weekend! Happy reading!

Stephanie M. Hopkins

stay-calm-and-support-book-bloggers

A War So Terrible and The Reconstruction of the South

me-iiOne of the writing projects I am working on is an historical thriller that takes place in the present and the past in Atlanta and Madison, Georgia. The story of the past centers around the town of Madison and two families shortly after the civil war, continuing through the new century. This era is known as the Reconstruction of the South. The present story is of a young woman who lives in Atlanta and is connected to those two families of the past in more ways than she could have ever imagined.

My research has not only taken me to the Reconstruction era but many years prior to the civil war. The deeper I go the more I am discovering about how this war is so much more complex than many have ever explored.

Though my story is a work of fiction, I will have many themes and content in the story that are factual. Often times those themes will be uncomfortable but one I am hoping will bring to light to the many attitudes of that period that people today do not want to face or talk about. My research is to understand and my writing is to explore the motivations and the human condition during the hardships from all of the people. 

The books below are the current research books I will be diving into this week.

the-woman-of-the-south-in-war-times-by-matthew-page-andreasWomen of the South in War Times by Matthew Page Andrews

It may truly be said of the Southern women of 1861-1865 that the simple narrative of their life and work unfolds a record of achievement, endurance, and self-sacrificing devotion that should be revealed and recognized as a splendid inspiration to men and women everywhere. The stories contained in this volume depict the life of the Southern people, particularly the women, within the lines of the Confederacy during the four years of its turbulent existence.

when-i-was-a-slave-memoirs-form-the-slave-narrative-collection-edited-by-norman-r-yetmanWhen I was a slave (Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection) Edited by Norman R. Yetman

In an effort to provide unemployed writers with work during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the United States Government, through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), funded the Federal Writers’ Project. One of the group’s most noteworthy and enduring achievements was the Slave Narrative Collection, consisting of more than 2,000 transcripts of interviews with former slaves, who, in blunt, simple words, provided often-startling first-person accounts of their lives in bondage. This book reprints some of the most detailed and engrossing life histories in the collection. Each narrative is complete.
Thirty-four gripping testimonies are included, with all slave occupations represented — from field hand and cook to French tutor and seamstress. Personal treatment reported by these individuals also encompassed a wide range — from the harshest and exploitative to living and working conditions that were intimate and benevolent.
An illuminating and unique source of information about life in the South before, during, and after the Civil War, these memoirs, most importantly, preserve the opinions and perspective of those who were enslaved. Invaluable to students, teachers, and specialists in Southern history, this compelling book will intrigue anyone interested in the African-American experience.

on-the-threshold-of-freedom-by-clarence-l-mohrOn the threshold of Freedom by Clarence L. Mohr

In this enlightening study, Clarence L. Mohr follows the demise of chattel slavery in one state of the Confederate South. Like the slavery regime itself, Mohr’s story is biracial in character, embracing the perspectives of both blacks and whites as they struggled to comprehend the approach of black freedom within a framework of attitudes and assumptions shaped by decades of mutual exposure to Georgia’s peculiar institution. By exploring in detail the changing patterns of black-white interaction that preceded legal emancipation in 1865, On the Threshold of Freedom defines central tendencies within Georgia slavery and suggests important links between antebellum life and the events of early Reconstruction.