Be Still My Heart: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Early on in the month I was approved of an (ARC) The Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
from St. Martin Press through NetGalley. My first thoughts were, “How glorious the title was, the premise, Jane Austen, the cover, debut novel, new author I haven’t read, memorable characters, new beginnings, and strong literature. Maybe not all in that order but Jane Austen fans get me. I began my journey back into Jane Austen’s world last night and much to my surprise, even at the early stages of the story, I’m completely and madly in love with the what I’ve read, and a few characters thus far. How can this unknown writer- to me- capture my heart so quickly? These days, it is extremely hard to hold my interest in stories.

I can tell that Jenner knows her stuff, as my Grandmother would to say. It’s as if Jenner knows Jane Austen’s mind and heart. As if she has had an engrossing conversation with Austen about her characters motives and emotions. I felt a kinship to the story and two of the characters in the first scene.

Now my evenings can’t come fast enough to lose myself in the world of Jane Austen and the people who live in the town of Austen’s final home and connection the Great House and over a hundred years later after her death. May this story continue to capture my undivided attention. Right now, I have no doubt. -Stephanie

The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
St. Martin’s Press
General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction
Pub Date 26 May 2020

Description

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

 

Cover Crush: Veiled in Smoke (The Windy City Saga #1) by Jocelyn Green

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

The Cover first caught my attention and as I read the book description, I became even more interested in the over all presentation of the book. This story is written in the era I’m highly interested in our American History. Of course, when there is a bookshop mentioned, there is no question that I want to read the story ASAP!

The cover really speaks for itself and clearly shows that there is a fire sweeping a city with the imagery of smoke. Not only that but the title speaks volumes on that score. The ladies dress is absolutely stunning and her facing the smoke filled city is quite atmosphereic! I’m rating this book cover five stars! -Stephanie

Veiled in smokeVeiled in Smoke

(The Windy City Saga #1)

by Jocelyn Green

Paperback, 416 pages

Published February 4th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers

Meg and Sylvie Townsend manage the family bookshop and care for their father, Stephen, a veteran still suffering in mind and spirit from his time as a POW during the Civil War. But when the Great Fire sweeps through Chicago’s business district, they lose much more than just their store.

The sisters become separated from their father, and after Meg burns her hands in an attempt to save a family heirloom, they make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of Chicago Tribune reporter Nate Pierce. Once the smoke clears away, they reunite with Stephen, only to learn soon after that their family friend not only died during the fire–he was murdered. Even more shocking, Stephen is charged with the crime and committed to the Cook County Insane Asylum.

Though homeless, injured, and suddenly unemployed, Meg must not only gather the pieces of her shattered life, but prove her father’s innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

Available for request on NetGalley

Last week’s Cover Crush

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

Cover Crush banner

 

Advance Readers Copy Approved!

I’m seeing quite a few of particular hues in book covers this year. I love it and St. Martin Press and NetGalley approved me for an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of The Jane Austen Society!! I am thrilled to no need! I will be starting with this one right after I finish Finding Dora Maar.

I’ve also acquired an ARC of The Indigo Ghosts by Alys Clare by NetGalley and Severn House Publishers. The premise sounds fantastic! Check it out below and let me know what you think. I adore both covers!

I have been in a reading/reviewing slump for a while and these new ARC’s will really help, I think. I am so thankful for the publishers’ for not giving up on me! I hope you all are having a wonderful week and happy reading! -Stephanie

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The Jane Austen SocietyThe Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
St. Martin’s Press
General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction
Pub Date 26 May 2020
Description

“Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society… A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

The Indigo GhostsThe Indigo Ghosts

by Alys Clare

Severn House Publishers

Historical Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 02 Jun 2020

Description

In this gripping forensic mystery set in Stuart England, Gabriel Taverner uncovers a series of shocking secrets when he’s summoned by his former naval captain to investigate strange goings-on aboard his ship.

October, 1604. Former ship’s surgeon turned country physician Gabriel Taverner is surprised to receive an urgent summons from his old naval captain. Now docked in Plymouth harbour, having recently returned from the Caribbean, Captain Colt believes his ship is haunted by an evil spirit, and has asked Gabriel to investigate.

Dismissive of the crew’s wild talk of mysterious blue-skinned ghosts, Gabriel is convinced there must be a rational explanation behind the mass hallucinations. But matters take a disturbing turn when he and the captain discover a body hidden behind one of the bulkheads. Calling on the help of his old friend, Coroner Theophilus Davey, piece by piece Gabriel uncovers a terrifying tale of treachery, dark magic, unimaginable cruelty – and cold-blooded murder.

 

What Lies Between The Pages

Stories affect the reader in so many ways. What lies between the pages will determined the outcome of our thoughts, emotions and our sense of connection to the characters and their lives. We can learn much from these stories and experience human conditions that we might not otherwise experience for ourselves.

Today I am sharing two books that are available on NetGalley and I will be keeping my eye on how these books influence readers. Both titles and covers are dramatic and stunning.

Both books focus is World War II and present people’s lives surrounding the war and the tribulations they face. There are many layers to these stories and one can tell profound imagery of horrors of the war. -Stephanie

The Blameless Dead IThe Blameless Dead

by Gary Haynes

Endeavour Media

Endeavour Quill

Literary Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers

Pub Date 18 Mar 2019

Description

In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them.

As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.

Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past — even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.

The Blameless Dead is an epic edge-of-the-seat drama that sweeps across centuries and continents, taking in some of the most important events of modern history and exposing them in honest and unflinching terms.

It Happened in TuscanyIt Happened in Tuscany

by Gail Mencini

Capriole Group

Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ Titles

Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Pub Date 18 Feb 2020

Description

If you could only choose one, which would it be — honor or duty?

On February 18, 1945, Will Mills and his fellow soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division scaled Italy’s treacherous mountains at night to break through the nearly impenetrable German line. Severely wounded, Will was rescued by Italian partisans, and one, a beautiful girl, tended his injuries until he could rejoin the U.S. troops. Will’s wartime decisions and actions have haunted him for seventy-five years and molded him into a bitter, angry man. Will finagles his thirty-two-year-old neighbor, Sophie Sparke, into traveling with him to find the partisan who saved his life and to confront the demons that torment him. Their quest through Tuscan hill towns exposes their darkest secrets and alters the course of their lives.

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(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

Cover Crush: Olive the Lionheart by Brad Ricca

My thoughts on the cover and my overall impression about my first glimpse of the story description: 

Although the cover reminds me a bit of a movie poster (maybe it’s the positioning of the fonts?), I still love it and the colors used. If you read the book description below, even the main character is a, “Redhead.” That one got a smile out of me. Now, it would have been hilarious if the character’s name was, “Auburn.”  As in, “Auburn the Lionheart.” Ha! I’m getting a kick out of this week’s cover crush write up! On a sober note, is there not enough contrast in the layout? Hmm…Or maybe the ladies color of dress and travel trunk does the trick? Or is it her looking off to the distance of a new world unknown to her? See how her upper body is slightly turned with her left arm behind her back? Its as if she is unsure she should continue on, knowing the dangers she obviously will be facing. Regardless, the cover definitely has a dramatic effect going on.

I’m curious as to how the author portrays Olive-since this is based on a true story- and if she will be another predictable heroine I often see in stories or how will the author portray the different cultures mentioned. However, the story does draw on Olive’s own letters and secret diaries so there is that. Will this story truly be real life like or will it be sugar coated so not to offend anyone? If you know the history of Africa during that time or of anytime, you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Also, I’m invested in keeping an eye on how this story influences readers. Having said all this, St. Martin Press is one of my favorite publishers because they tend to publish quality stories. The gist of what I’ve read from the description below is that Olive the Lionheart entails jungles, swamps, cities, deserts, letters, secret diaries, cobras, crocodiles, wise native chiefs, a murderous leopard cult, a haunted forest, and even two adorable lion cubs. Whew, that is a lot to digest. Sign me up! -Stephanie

Olive the LionheartOlive the Lionheart

Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman’s Journey to the Heart of Africa

by Brad Ricca

St. Martin’s Press

Biographies & Memoirs

Pub Date 11 Aug 2020

Description

In 1910, Olive MacLeod, a thirty-year-old, redheaded Scottish aristocrat, received word that her fiancé, the famous naturalist Boyd Alexander, was missing in Africa.

So she went to find him.

Olive the Lionheart is the thrilling true story of her astonishing journey. In jungles, swamps, cities, and deserts, Olive and her two companions, the Talbots, come face-to-face with cobras and crocodiles, wise native chiefs, a murderous leopard cult, a haunted forest, and even two adorable lion cubs that she adopts as her own. Making her way in a pair of ill-fitting boots, Olive awakens to the many forces around her, from shadowy colonial powers to an invisible Islamic warlord who may hold the key to Boyd’s disappearance. As these secrets begin to unravel, all of Olive’s assumptions prove wrong and she is forced to confront the darkest, most shocking secret of all: why she really came to Africa in the first place.

Drawing on Olive’s own letters and secret diaries, Olive the Lionheart is a love story that defies all boundaries, set against the backdrop of a beautiful, unconquerable Africa.

This book is avaible for request at NetGalley.

Last week’s Cover Crush

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated by Erin at Historical Fiction Reader 

Other book bloggers who participated in the great cover crushes series. 

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden’s Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

Cover Crush banner

 

If I Were You: A Novel by Lynn Austin

IF I were youIf I Were You: A Novel

by Lynn Austin

Tyndale House Publishers

Tyndale Fiction

Christian,Historical Fiction

Pub Date 02 Jun 2020

#IfIWereYouANovel #NetGalley #layeredpages #novel #historicalfiction

 

I am totally adding this book to my wish-list! I’m in love with the premise and the cover! -Stephanie

Description

From bestselling and eight-time Christy Award–winning author Lynn Austin comes a remarkable novel of sisterhood and self-discovery set against the backdrop of WWII.

1950. In the wake of the war, Audrey Clarkson leaves her manor house in England for a fresh start in America with her young son. As a widowed war bride, Audrey needs the support of her American in-laws, whom she has never met. But she arrives to find that her longtime friend Eve Dawson has been impersonating her for the past four years. Unraveling this deception will force Audrey and Eve’s secrets—and the complicated history of their friendship—to the surface.

1940. Eve and Audrey have been as different as two friends can be since the day they met at Wellingford Hall, where Eve’s mother served as a lady’s maid for Audrey’s mother. As young women, those differences become a polarizing force . . . until a greater threat—Nazi invasion—reunites them. With London facing relentless bombardment, Audrey and Eve join the fight as ambulance drivers, battling constant danger together. An American stationed in England brings dreams of a brighter future for Audrey, and the collapse of the class system gives Eve hope for a future with Audrey’s brother. But in the wake of devastating loss, both women must make life-altering decisions that will set in motion a web of lies and push them both to the breaking point long after the last bomb has fallen.

This sweeping story transports readers to one of the most challenging eras of history to explore the deep, abiding power of faith and friendship to overcome more than we ever thought possible.

 

Thoughtful Thursday

Finding Dora MaarLast week I did a Cover Crush of a book I am very interested in and decided to request it on NetGalley and I got it! A big thank you to the Publishers and NetGalley for giving me a galley copy which I will be diving into soon! I can’t wait!

Here is the link to my short video on paper crafting  at my Layered Pages Facebook Page that I mentioned I would be filming yesterday morning.  I hope you check it out. Last night I was having so much trouble shooting the video with my phone and it kept cutting off but there is enough footage for you to see what I have been creating…my phone is old. I’m going to try to use my daughter’s nice camera next and hopefully I can use a tripod. How is it that kids always have the nicer stuff? Ha! Anyhow, there was so much I wanted to say but didn’t get a chance or show an example project of what I made out of a couple of my master boards. Below is an image of the tag I made and I still had scraps left over! So much fun!

Tag 2