#LadyMargaretsEscape #VictoriaSportelli #HFVBTBlogTours

Lady Margaret’s Escape
by Victoria Sportelli

Publication Date: September 24, 2020
Creazzo Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 376 pages

Series: Henry’s Spare Queen, Book One
Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

A Desperate Midwife Bargains with a King

After suffering the loss of her first pregnancy, a son and heir to the English throne, Queen Matilda is once again with child. Overjoyed but cautious of another loss, King Henry seeks a skilled midwife to assist his wife throughout her pregnancy and labor. His search leads him to Margaret.

Margaret, once a woman of rank and leisure, has been betrayed by her father and made a common slave. The king’s dire need for a midwife provides her with an enticing opportunity to escape a life of servitude and return to her previous station, but first she must prove her worth and make a bargain with the devil.

King Henry is reluctant to haggle with the midwife, but when Margaret reveals her suspicions of foul play being the cause of the queen’s previous loss, his mind is made up. Not only will Margaret attend the queen, her fate with be tied to the queen’s – and that of their unborn babe. Deliver a healthy heir and King Henry will reward Margaret with the return of her rank, social status and wealth. Fail, and her life will be forfeit.

The two women are sent to a secret forest retreat to wait out Queen Matilda’s confinement away from the conspiracies and dangers of court life. Meanwhile, Henry’s brother Robert invades England to seize Henry’s crown and Margaret begins to fear she has allied herself with the wrong ruler.

Will Margaret earn her freedom…or a severed head?

Pick up Lady Margaret’s Escape today and experience the perils of living in medieval England.

Note: This novel includes the death of an infant which may be a trigger for some readers.

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excerpt

           Lady Margaret’s Escape

Chapter 9 Excerpt

Copyright 2020                                   Victoria Sportelli                                        750 Words

http://www.victoriasportelli.com

           After a time, the king’s head appeared in the stairwell. He was looking at and bending toward one behind him. Margaret made a deep curtsey and remained there with her eyes on the floor even as she burned to look up.

            “My Queen, I present the Lady Margaret.”

            “Your Royal Highness, if you will but permit me to serve you, I—”

            “Rise, Lady Margaret. What are those smells?”

            “Mutton stew and fresh bread, Your Royal Highness.”

            Margaret stood and looked at the woman she was trying to save. Shaken by the queen’s hard stare, Margaret looked down and then up only as far as the queen’s chin. Margaret saw rich green and creme fabrics beneath a sable-trimmed mantle, which was held together at her shoulder with a many-jeweled brooch that looked like a circle of stones in a stained-glass window. The queen’s necklace was three gold chains of differing lengths, each heavily braided. She is measuring me.  I am not good enough. I know it.

            “May Dena take your mantle?”

            The queen undid the brooch, removed the garment and held it from her, all without looking away from Margaret. Dena sidled to the group, silently took it and disappeared.

            “If you please, I have mugs of cool, watered wine.”

            “We will take them in the chairs,” said the king.

            Margaret waited for the royals to seat themselves before she turned for the tray Dena was already holding for her. At the king’s wave, she approached the royals and curtseyed exactly halfway between each of them.

            “Well done,” the queen sneered.

            Margaret’s spine curved down as she shrink at the insult. She waited for the couple to pick up their drinks then lowered the tray to her side. Margaret backed well down the hall and out of the royals’ lines of sight before she turned and silently stepped to the fireplace to hand Dena the tray. While the couple sipped, they held an unspoken conversation, eyes glancing, tiny shrugs, slight waves of a hand. A file of Saxons stepped out of the stairwell and set down pieces of a bed frame, ropes, chests, chairs, rolled tapestries, and five chests. Two waited by the pile as the rest disappeared. At the queen’s hand wave, Margaret approached and curtsied.

            The queen sighed. “Once a day will do unless it is a formal occasion or guests are present.”

            Margaret stood and stared at her clasped hands.

            “Only this room?”

            “No, Your Royal Highness. May I show you a sleeping space behind the fireplace?”

            The queen rose and arched her back to release journey-stiffened muscles. Margaret motioned to the archway. The queen walked toward it. “Your Royal Highness, may I?” asked Margaret as she gestured toward the mantle and the lit candle she had left for just this purpose. At the king’s nod, she stood tiptoe and reached for the holder. Before she could move away, the king touched her free hand. Margaret froze.

            “Remember my command. If you must choose, save my son. For now, you had best step softly. She is not happy.”

            Margaret nodded at him. When she looked up, she saw the queen watching them. She ducked her head, hid her free hand behind her and stepped away from the king’s chair. The queen pointed to the hole in the floor.

            “The well is in the donjon below, Your Royal Highness.”

            At the queen’s curt gesture, Margaret stepped through the archway and raised the candle high. The queen brushed past her. Even though she only looked at the floor, Margaret felt the queen’s hard stare. 

            We may never be alone again. Say it now. Be honest.

            “The king said you are not happy.”

            “What else did he say?”

            “He told me to step softly.”

            “How long have you known His Royal Highness?”

            Margaret thought for a moment as she counted the days. She saw the queen noticed how she counted on her fingers. “Eleven or twelve days, Your Royal Highness. He came to Sir Charles’ estate, Royal Oaks, looking for my mother to aid you. When he learned she had trained me before her death, he asked me to come in her stead.”

            Margaret waited for a response but got none. What does she think of me? Of this place? I have no more authority here. I am but a servant again, a servant still. He said he needed me, but she is in charge.

About the Author

Ms. Sportelli, who loves to share her knowledge of English history, has concluded that Henry I was an under-rated king who struggled to keep his throne amid conflicts between Normans and Saxons. She writes of the era in novels featuring Lady Margaret, King Henry and Queen Matilda.

A life-long Anglophile, Ms. Sportelli loves British manners, folklore, customs, history, and humor; she watches every British film, television, show and documentary she can find.

Ms Sportelli has both children and grandchildren. She has taken seven trips to eight western European countries and loves England and Italy the most.

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Blog Tour Schedule

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Review at 100 Pages a Day
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Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, November 11
Feature at I’m Into Books

Thursday, November 12
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

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Monday, November 16
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Review at Passages to the Past

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Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

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Giveaway

Enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

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#FlirtationandFolly #ElizabethRasche #HFVBTBlogTours

Flirtation and Folly
by Elizabeth Rasche

Publication Date: November 10, 2020
Quills and Quartos Publishing

Series: A Season in London, Book One
Genre: Historical Romance

 

 

Marianne Mowbrey is a responsible country rector’s daughter who longs for the novelty and excitement she reads about in novels. When her crusty Aunt Harriet agrees to give her a Season in London, Marianne vows to dazzle the world, win a husband, and never go home again. But the Londoners who determine social success are inclined to pass over plain Marianne in favor of her beautiful, reckless younger sister.

In a world of ambition, fashion, flattery, and deceit, how can Marianne stay true to her real self—when she is not even sure what that real self is?

Available on Amazon

EXCERPT

As if the wayward Fates had declared themselves as much in favour of Marianne’s situation at table as they had been against it before, she found herself seated between two young men at Aunt Cartwright’s dinner. As one of those men was Captain Pulteney, Marianne’s bliss knew no bounds. The other young man was Frederick Lowes, an anaemic-looking gentleman with nut-brown hair stiff with pomade, a trim, clocked waistcoat, and a careless manner. Although the dinner table had been forced to expand for three guests more than the previous visit there seemed to be just as many eatables spread out along the table, as well as the occasional candelabra or well-stocked épergne. There were even small folded bits of coloured paper fashioned into flowers, fans, and jewel shapes delicately arranged among the dishes.

“Shall I congratulate you on your position at table, Miss Mowbrey? Or would that be self-congratulation?” Captain Pulteney said. The gold trim of his regimentals caught the light in a way that made Marianne’s heart giddy. As handsome as he was when she first saw him, he looked even better in regimentals.

“I am always pleased to dine at my aunt’s,” Marianne said, proud of herself for avoiding too particular a reply. As the captain invoked the usual topics of conversation, she felt delightfully at ease, and much more the gracious lady of elegance she wanted to be. Captain Pulteney’s admiration made her feel beautiful and charming.

Glancing down the table, she saw Mr Hearn not far from them, chewing on roast chicken with a solemn air, and Miss Emily further on. As loud as Miss Emily could be with her family, she was decorum itself at dinner in society. Her voice never rose above a murmur, and Marianne could make out nothing of what she said to Mr Hearn. Every once in a while, Miss Emily threw a hard look in Marianne’s direction, but Marianne thought it likely simple envy, not anything personal. Miss Emily seemed eager to please the captain when she could, and Frederick Lowes seemed no small catch himself.

At least, he was no small catch from a worldly perspective. From a more personal view, Marianne could not say that she liked him. Mr Lowes’s demeanour had a studied indifference that she suspected was anything but genuine. His slight body looked too weak to impress anyone, but he held himself with confidence. In her judgment, his confidence was more the false bravado of a child, rather than the genuine self-assurance of an adult. Mr Lowes’s expression seemed to show little interest in others, but he scrupulously attended to his table manners in a way that suggested he was anxious to avoid reproach. Stranger still, Mr Lowes had the oddest way of throwing remarks across the table in a pointed way, as if trying to communicate something to Mr Hearn without addressing him directly.

“I hear you are from the country, Miss Mowbrey,” Mr Lowes said. He had accompanied his claim that she was from the country with a sneer, and then pasted a smile on his face as he spoke her name.

“Yes, my father is a rector—ˮ

“Oh, a clergyman. I cannot say I envy him for that. But a country estate—ˮ He leaned over his plate, and Marianne could not help but think he was trying to attract Mr Hearn’s attention with his raised voice. “I adore country estates. The prettiest of them are in Ireland, I would say. Have you ever been to Ireland?”

“I regret I have not.” Marianne tried to focus on Mr Lowes, but she, too, found herself staring at Mr Hearn, who listened to the conversation with a grimace. She did not understand what sort of allusion Mr Lowes was trying to make. Was he twitting his friend for being half-Irish? She could not see why Mr Hearn would choose a friend prejudiced against the Irish, but whatever the allusion, clearly Mr Hearn was angry. He was digging into his chicken with a ferocity that ill became a fashionable dinner party.

Mr Lowes continued, seemingly unaware of Mr Hearn. “I have several places in Ireland. I pick them up here and there, from people without the sense to hang onto them. There is always a risk associated with them, of course, but I never mind that. Are you afraid of risk, Miss Mowbrey?”

“I suppose I am, a little.” She gave him a puzzled look, and then looked across the table at Mr Hearn, only to see a scowl on his face.

“Now, I adore risk. Life is nothing but a gamble.” Mr Lowes roared with laughter at this, and Marianne began to wonder if he had had too much to drink. There had not been much wine served, but perhaps the gentleman was delicate. It was with relief she realised Captain Pulteney was trying to attract her attention again, and she turned to her other side.

About the Author

After acquiring a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth Rasche taught philosophy in the U.S. and co-taught English in Japan. Now she and her husband live in northwest Arkansas, the ‘garden of America.’ (At least, she has only ever heard Arkansas called so.) She dreams of visiting Surrey (if only to look for Mrs. Elton’s Maple Grove), Bath, and of course, London. When she has a Jane Austen novel in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and a cat on her lap, her day is pretty much perfect.

Elizabeth Rasche is the author of The Birthday Parties of Dragons and her poetry has appeared in Scifaikuest. Flirtation & Folly is her first historical fiction novel.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, November 10
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, November 11
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, November 12
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Review at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Friday, November 13
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Monday, November 16
Feature at I’m Into Books
Review at Probably at the Library

Tuesday, November 17
Review at Bookworlder

Wednesday, November 18
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Friday, November 20
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Saturday, November 21
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

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Review at Robin Loves Reading

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Review at Jessica Belmont

Tuesday, November 24
Review at Novels Alive
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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of Flirtation and Folly by Elizabeth Rasche! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 24th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

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#TheTobacconistsWife #AnneMarieBrear #HFVBTBlogTours

The Tobacconist’s Wife
by AnneMarie Brear

Publication Date: November 12, 2020
Lume Books
Paperback & eBook; 244 pages

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

 

 

From the bestselling author of The Slum Angel.

Having lost her father, Thea Goodson is alone in the world.

It is true she has a husband, but Ernie is a brutal man, more inclined to use his fists to keep Thea in line than to build on their marriage. And besides, Ernie Goodson has secrets – secrets that even his wife cannot share.

But in Victorian Yorkshire, appearances must be kept up, so Thea goes on powdering her bruises and forcing a smile as she toils in Ernie’s home and tobacco shop. There seems to be no other option.

That is, until a handsome and well-bred stranger arrives to set up shop next door…

Can Thea escape her misery and break from the conventions of society? Or will the clutches of her abusive husband confine her forever?

The Tobacconist’s Wife is the latest book from AnneMarie Brear, the highly acclaimed author of bestselling The Slum Angel. Perfect for fans of Catherine Cookson, Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.

Available on Amazon

Guest Post

Primary sources, I feel, are a writer’s best friend, especially for a historical writer as I am.

When researching it is not always possible to visit your chosen setting, but if you can visit, make sure you don’t simply go to the main attractions, like a castle, etc, but find the time to visit the graveyard of the local church, sit in a pew and study the stain glass windows, lay by the river and absorb the surroundings, listen to the birds sing, the insects buzz and imagine what it would be like in your period. What would you hear then? Walk the back streets of the village or town, find the oldest parts and touch the walls of the buildings and think of nothing but how your characters would have lived. Would their footsteps have walked where yours have?

 If you are writing about the area where you live, join your local historical society, where as a member, you can study maps, paintings and photos are that district. Also, the local councils and libraries will have documents and maps going back years.

The photo is taken from a map of York, England 1852.

Reference books and especially the internet have great antique photos and paintings, some even for sale.

 Also, if you use Google maps that is an excellent way to get a bird’s eye view of the layout of the land and going into street view you ‘virtually’ walk down the old streets where your characters walked.

 If you write in the Victorian or Edwardian era, you may even have photos of your own family and this is another source you have to look at their clothes, hairstyles, etc.

 I collect Victorian diaries and journals, written mainly by women who have arrived in Australia after leaving England, but also by women born in colonial Australia. These diaries are brilliant when I’m writing a story set in colonial Australia and they give me an insight to how they lived and what was happening in the world around them at that time. From their personal entries, we can learn what was important to them, their daily routine, their views and opinions. They can also lift some of those myths we in the modern world tend to think as true.

Diaries aren’t the only primary source available to us. We have so many museums and art galleries. I love studying paintings of the different eras and visiting museums that have wonderful displays of every era.

We should be visiting our local or state libraries for books, letters, newspapers and articles written in the eras we write. Naturally, this is difficult for those writing in the ancient periods, but those of us who write about the last few hundred years have sources available and we need to use them.

 Sketches and paintings give us the artist’s view of those times and from studying it we can see a little of what life was like then.

 I find it fascinating that we have so many choices to help us become better writers. I guess that is why research is never a chore for me.

About the Author

Amazon UK bestseller and award-winning Australian author, AnneMarie Brear has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, historical research for her novels, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate – not always in that order!

For more information please visit AnneMarie Brear’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, November 12
Guest Post at Coffee and Ink
Review at Probably at the Library

Friday, November 13
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Saturday, November 14
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Sunday, November 15
Review & Excerpt at Bookworlder

Monday, November 16
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Tuesday, November 17
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Wednesday, November 18
Review at Novels Alive
Interview at Books & Benches

Thursday, November 19
Review at A Darn Good Read
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 2 eBooks of The Tobacconist’s Wife! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

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#RhapsodyCoverReveal #MitchellJamesKaplan #Gershwin #CoverReveal #HFVBTBlogTours

Rhapsody
By Mitchell James Kaplan

Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Gallery Books
Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook; 352 pages

Genre: Biographical/Literary/Historical

 

 

One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of wealthy banker James Warburg and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.

Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and swagger. Their ten-year love affair, complicated by her conflicted loyalty to her husband and the twists and turns of her own musical career, ends only with George’s death from a brain tumor at the age of thirty-eight.

Set in Jazz Age New York City, this stunning work of fiction, for fans of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank, explores the timeless bond between two brilliant, strong-willed artists. George Gershwin left behind not just a body of work unmatched in popular musical history, but a woman who loved him with all her heart, knowing all the while that he belonged not to her, but to the world.

Available for Pre-Order

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Praise

“Mitchell James Kaplan pens a lilting, jazzy ballad as catchy as a Gershwin tune, bringing to vibrant life the complicated relationship between classically trained composer Kay Swift and free-wheeling star George Gershwin. Their musical bond is as powerful as their passion, and jazz-soaked gin-drenched Broadway is their playground through the tumultuous years of the Great War and Prohibition. Rhapsody will have you humming, toe-tapping, and singing along with every turn of the page.” –Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS

“We all know Gershwin, but how many know he was ‘the man behind the woman,” the conflicted, extraordinary Katherine ‘Kay’ Swift? Mitchell James Kaplan illuminates her in Rhapsody, bringing his impressive knowledge of history, composition, and the heart’s whims to bear on this shining rendition of Swift and Gershwin’s star-crossed love.” –Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z and A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD

“In Rhapsody, Mitchell James Kaplan brings to lyrical life the romance between Kay Swift and George Gershwin. A gifted musician in her own right, Kay was no mere accompanist to Gershwin’s genius; she was a true partner, unfortunately little remembered today. Kaplan’s vivid prose and empathetic characterization shines a spotlight on this remarkable woman who contributed so much to American music.” –Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and Mistress of the Ritz

“Mitchell James Kaplan’s Rhapsody shines a blazing light on the celebrated George Gershwin, uncovering the man behind the legend through the story of the woman he loved, Kay Swift, a brilliant musician caught in the swiftly moving mores of New York’s Jazz Age. Rich with history and packed with intricate detail, Rhapsody soars.” –Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of THE WIDOW OF WALL STREET and WAISTED

“Mitchell James Kaplan has captured a whole world in his luminous journey through the jazz age in fast-paced New York City with this love story of composer Kay Swift and the brilliant but elusive George Gershwin. Kay first heard him playing his Rhapsody in Blue, but she was married to a wealthy man and Gershwin could be faithful only to his own genius. Through Broadway theaters and concerts, he was rising so fast that neither the Great Depression, nor the darkening rise of Hitler across the sea, nor the impossible difficulties of writing the first black folk-opera Porgy and Bess could stop him. Through their love affair, Gershwin and Kay gave fire to each other’s music until nothing could derail his meteoric success but time.” –Stephanie Cowell, American Book Award-winning author of CLAUDE AND CAMILLE and THE PHYSICIAN OF LONDON

About the Author

Mitchell James Kaplan graduated with honors from Yale University, where he won the Paine Memorial Prize for Best Long-Form Senior Essay submitted to the English Department. His first mentor was the author William Styron.

After college, Kaplan lived in Paris, France, where he worked as a translator, then in Southern California, where he worked as a screenwriter and in film production.

He lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his family and two cats.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Monday, November 2
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Wednesday, November 4
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Thursday, November 5
Crystal’s Library

Friday, November 6
Jessica Belmont

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Older & Smarter

Monday, November 9
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Reading is My Remedy

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A Darn Good Read
Tangents and Tissues

#TheBachelorsBride #HollyBush #historicalromance #victorian #bookblast #HFVBTBlogTours #giveaway

The Bachelor’s Bride
by Holly Bush

Publication Date: November 17, 2020
Holly Bush Books
eBook; 244 pages

Genre: Romance/America/Victorian
Series: The Thompsons of Locust Street, Book One

 

 

Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…

1868 Elspeth Thompson is the middle daughter in a family with tightly held secrets. While she loves her family, she longs to break out from their overprotective hold, to find herself, to be noticed for who she is rather than as chaperone to her beautiful younger sister, Kirsty, or underling to her elder sister, Muireall. A chance meeting under scandalous circumstances offers her the opportunity to be seen for herself, but the repercussions could lead to the downfall of her family.

Confirmed bachelor Alexander Pendergast enjoys his position as the right-hand man of one of the most influential and powerful politicians in Philadelphia. Heir to the largest textile mill on the east coast, Alexander is handsome, charming, and the ultimate catch on high society’s matrimonial market. But he has no interest in settling down with a pampered debutante. He doubts the perfect woman for him actually exists…until he meets Elspeth Thompson.

But the Thompsons and Pendergasts move in different circles, and Elspeth has no desire to be judged and found wanting by Philadelphia’s first families. Though she tries to resist Alexander’s charms, when he comes to her family’s rescue, she knows there’s more to him than she’d first thought. But Alexander realizes that his ambitions may have placed Elspeth and her family in grave danger. With an unseen enemy determined to uncover the Thompson family’s secrets, Alexander grapples with secrets of his own, secrets that could cost him the only woman he’s ever truly cared about.

When Elspeth finds herself in terrible danger, can she muster the inner strength of her ancestors to save herself and her family and find the courage to meet love head on?

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon & Barnes and Noble

About the Author

“Love always has something to say. Sometimes it shouts from the highest hill, and sometimes it whispers so softly one must listen closely to hear. Do not turn away. It is a rare and precious commodity. Treasure it.” The Gentrys of Paradise

Holly Bush’s historical romances are set during the turbulent and transformative years of the late 1800’s. The first two books in her newest series, The Gentrys of Paradise, released in the spring of 2017 and began with the novella Into the Evermore where readers meet Virginia horse breeders, Eleanor and Beauregard Gentry. The following books feature their children, Adam, Matthew, and Olivia. For the Brave is Matthew’s story and is the first full length book of the series. Olivia’s book, For This Moment, released in the spring of 2018. The final book, For Her Honor, is now available.

The Crawford Family Series following the fortunes of the three Boston born Crawford sisters and includes Train Station Bride, Contract to Wed, Her Safe Harbor, and companion novella, The Maid’s Quarters. Cross the Ocean and Charming the Duke are both British set Victorian romances. Fan favorites stand-alone historical romance novels include Romancing Olive and Reconstructing Jackson. Holly’s books are described as ‘emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance.’

She also writes General Fiction under the name of Hollis Bush.

Holly makes her home with her husband, one happy Labrador Retriever and a clever Jack Russell rescued from the pound, and two difficult cats in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at www.hollybushbooks.com, on Twitter @hollybushbooks, and on Facebook at Holly Bush. Follow Holly on her Amazon author page to receive new release updates and on BookBub to check out her reviews and get sale information.

Book Blast Schedule

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Probably at the Library

Wednesday, October 28
Books & Benches
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Novels Alive
Carole’s Ramblings

Friday, October 30
Books, Cooks, Looks

Saturday, October 31
Passages to the Past

Monday, November 2
Coffee and Ink
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Tuesday, November 3
Rajiv’s Reviews

Wednesday, November 4
History from a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, November 5
What Is That Book About

Friday, November 6
CelticLady’s Reviews

Saturday, November 7
Nursebookie

Monday, November 9
Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, November 10
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Wednesday, November 11
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Thursday, November 12
A Darn Good Read

Friday, November 13
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Sunday, November 15
WTF Are You Reading?

Monday, November 16
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Jorie Loves a Story

Giveaway

Enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Bachelor’s Bride
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s bri

#TheBoyKing #JanetWertman #HFVBTBlogTours

The Boy King
by Janet Wertman

Publication Date: September 30, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 374 pages

Series: The Seymour Saga, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction/Biographical

The Unsuspecting Reign of Edward Tudor

Motherless since birth and newly bereft of his father, Henry VIII, nine-year-old Edward Tudor ascends to the throne of England and quickly learns that he cannot trust anyone, even himself.

Edward is at first relieved that his uncle, the new Duke of Somerset, will act on his behalf as Lord Protector, but this consolation evaporates as jealousy spreads through the court. Challengers arise on all sides to wrest control of the child king, and through him, England.

While Edward can bring frustratingly little direction to the Council’s policies, he refuses to abandon his one firm conviction: that Catholicism has no place in England. When Edward falls ill, this steadfast belief threatens England’s best hope for a smooth succession: the transfer of the throne to Edward’s very Catholic half-sister, Mary Tudor, whose heart’s desire is to return the realm to the way it worshipped in her mother’s day.

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EXCERPT FROM THE BOY KING

January 16, 1549

Quiet clinking on the other side of the bedchamber’s back door slowly penetrated Edward’s consciousness. The hair on his neck twitched, and he opened his eyes into the near dark. Only the one candle remained at the far end of the room, and it trembled low in its sconce, casting ghostly shadows around it. Wind whined at the windows. Danger hovered over the room. Had he returned from a nightmare? One he couldn’t remember?

Edward stirred and felt Argos laying over his leg. The movement woke the dog, who crawled up to lick Edward’s cheek. The giggle dissipated Edward’s lingering tension.

“Stop, stop.”

With some pushing, Argos receded back down to Edward’s stomach. Edward nestled around the dog’s curled-up body and relaxed back into the fluff of his pillows. He pulled the soft blanket closer around his chin against the lingering chill.

He worried the nightmare would return even though he could not remember it. He tried to remember happy times from the day before, particular translations he had come up with, something to refocus his mind.

The hair on his neck stood again when he heard the slow, metallic scrape of the lock cylinder turning. Why would anyone be coming into his room in the middle of the night? More important, why would anyone be sneaking into his room in the middle of the night?

Argos tensed. The scraping stopped.

The wind outside picked up again, wailing now. Edward held his breath. The heavy air in the room suffocated all sounds except his heart beating in his ears.

The loud silence dragged on, long enough for Edward to take twenty-three breaths. Nothing further. It must have been his imagination.

Edward settled back into his bed, but every muscle tensed at the quiet creak of the hinge. His door was opening. Should he call out? This could not be danger. He was the King. He had guards. This had to be one of his men.

Suddenly Argos started yapping loudly and launched himself off the bed. He scrambled toward the back door and was through it before the intruder could close it. A muffled curse and scuffling added to the commotion, then the sound of a sword being drawn. The barking stopped mid-snarl and a deathly quiet descended.

About the Author

Janet Ambrosi Wertman grew up within walking distance of three bookstores and a library on Manhattan’s Upper West Side – and she visited all of them regularly. Her grandfather was an antiquarian bookdealer who taught her that there would always be a market for quirky, interesting books. He was the one who persuaded Janet’s parents to send her to the French school where she was taught to aspire to long (grammatically correct) sentences as the hallmark of a skillful writer. She lived that lesson until she got to Barnard College. Short sentences were the rule there. She complied. She reached a happy medium when she got to law school – complicated sentences alternating with short ones in a happy mix.

Janet spent fifteen years as a corporate lawyer in New York, she even got to do a little writing on the side (she co-authored The Executive Compensation Answer Book, which was published by Panel Publishers back in 1991). But when her first and second children were born, she decided to change her lifestyle. She and her husband transformed their lives in 1997, moving to Los Angeles and changing careers. Janet became a grantwriter (and will tell anyone who will listen that the grants she’s written have resulted in more than $30 million for the amazing non-profits she is proud to represent) and took up writing fiction.

There was never any question about the topic of the fiction: Janet has harbored a passion for the Tudor Kings and Queens since her parents let her stay up late to watch the televised Masterpiece Theatre series (both The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Elizabeth R) when she was *cough* eight years old. One of the highlights of Janet’s youth was being allowed to visit the Pierpont Morgan Library on a day when it was closed to the public and examine (though not touch!) books from Queen Elizabeth’s personal library and actual letters that the young Princess Elizabeth (technically Lady Elizabeth…) had written.

The Boy King is third book in the Seymour Saga, the story of the unlikely dynasty that shaped the Tudor era. The first book, Jane the Quene, tells the story of Jane Seymour’s marriage to Henry VIII; and The Path to Somerset, chronicles Edward Seymour’s rise after Jane’s death to become Lord Protector of England and Duke of Somerset (taking us right through Henry’s crazy years). Janet is currently working on a new trilogy about Elizabeth, and preparing to publish her translation of a nineteenth century biography of Henry. And because you can never have too much Tudors in your life, Janet also attends book club meetings and participates in panels and discussions through History Talks!, a group of historical novelists from Southern California who work with libraries around the state.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 19
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at I’m All About Books
Review at WTF Are You Reading?

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Review at Amy’s Booket List

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Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
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Review at Donna’s Book Blog

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Review at Books and Zebras
Feature at What Is That Book About

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Excerpt at The Caffeinated Bibliophile

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Excerpt at Passages to the Past

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Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

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Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

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Review at Impressions In Ink

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Review at A Books and a Latte

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Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of The Boy King by Janet Wertman! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on October 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Boy King
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#TheBachelorDuke #CeciliaRene #historicalromance #bookblast #HFVBTBlogTours #giveaway

 

The Bachelor Duke by Cecilia Rene

Publication Date: July 25, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 296 pages
Series: The Bachelor Series, Book 1
Genre: Historical Romance

The Bachelor Duke meets a beautiful, curvaceous lady.

Remington Warren, The Duke of Karrington, lives his life by the name society has thrust upon him. Having witnessed cruelty against the fairer sex with his own eyes, he vows never to marry to prevent himself from becoming like the monster who raised him. After ten years of being The Bachelor Duke, his life is irrevocably changed when he sees Lady Olivia St. John across the ballroom floor.

Having lived a sheltered, pampered life, surrounded by her loving family, Lady Olivia St. John longs to know passion and love. She is beautiful, bold, and has a rather large dowry. According to society, she would be a diamond in the first water of this season if it wasn’t for her one flaw.

Will she find all she longs for and more in the arms of The Bachelor Duke, or will heartbreak be her demise?

Available on Amazon

About the Author

 

Cecilia Rene is a creative, happy, and outgoing Detroit native who majored in Broadcast Communication at Grambling State University. Immediately following her graduation, she started her new life in New York City. As a self-proclaimed New Yorker, her stimulating and diverse career in advertising sparked a drive for hard work and dedication. Her love and passion for writing followed her from childhood through adulthood, where she wrote short stories, poems, and screenplays. Always an avid reader, she stumbled across a book that ignited a deeper need for more and joined a fandom of like-minded individuals. Cecilia and her family made a huge move five years ago to the great state of Texas, where she currently lives with her loving husband, wonderful son, and spoiled fur baby, Sadie. Cecilia Rene loves romance, humor, and all things spicy. For this reason, she will always give you a Happily Ever After.

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Passages to the Past

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What Is That Book About

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The Book Junkie Reads

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Donna’s Book Blog

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Friday, November 6
Jorie Loves A Story

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Bachelor Duke Blast

#HisCastilianHawk #AnnaBelfrage #HFVBTBlogTours

His Castilian Hawk
by Anna Belfrage

Publication Date: September 28, 2020
Troubador Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

For bastard-born Robert FitzStephan, being given Eleanor d’Outremer in marriage is an honour. For Eleanor, this forced wedding is anything but a fairy tale.

Robert FitzStephan has served Edward Longshanks loyally since the age of twelve. Now he is riding with his king to once and for all bring Wales under English control.

Eleanor d’Outremer—Noor to family—lost her Castilian mother as a child and is left entirely alone when her father and brother are killed. When ordered to wed the unknown Robert FitzStephan, she has no choice but to comply.

Two strangers in a marriage bed is not easy. Things are further complicated by Noor’s blood-ties to the Welsh princes and by covetous Edith who has warmed Robert’s bed for years.

Robert’s new wife may be young and innocent, but he is soon to discover that not only is she spirited and proud, she is also brave. Because when Wales lies gasping and Edward I exacts terrible justice on the last prince and his children, Noor is determined to save at least one member of the House of Aberffraw from the English king.

Will years of ingrained service have Robert standing with his king or will he follow his heart and protect his wife, his beautiful and fierce Castilian hawk?

Available on Amazon

Excerpt His Castilian Hawk – in which Robert and Eleanor wed, like five minutes after meeting for the first time

She was soft and round and so short she had to crane her head back to look at him. Someone had adorned her head with a coronet of herbs, threaded through with pink roses. Big dark eyes in a face that still retained the softness of childhood, a plump lower lip that bore the indents of her teeth—she must have been biting it just seconds before. A child, he reflected, trying to recall just how old this bride of his was. Fifteen? She didn’t look fifteen, but when his gaze dipped lower, it encountered a promising swell over her chest, so maybe she wasn’t quite as immature as he had first thought. He smiled. She blushed, a dusky red spreading over her olive skin, but she did not avert her eyes, studying him as intently as he was studying her.

Idly, he wondered what she might think of him. Of somewhat more than average height, with hair as dark as hers, he was hard where she was soft, all the way from the beak of a nose his father had bequeathed him to his broad chest and lean legs. She stared at him. He shifted on his feet, the soft soles of his boots sliding over the well-worn stone steps.  Aye, he knew he was no Lancelot, what with his scars and weather-beaten skin, but neither was she a Guinevere, all short and plump. Fat, almost. Well, maybe not fat, but all the same, who was she to look at him as if she were disappointed? He frowned. She blushed again, but this time she ducked her head, her eyes disappearing behind thick, dark lashes.

Robert held out his hand. Hesitantly, she placed hers in his, a tightly knotted little fist he easily enclosed. He could feel her trembling, slid a finger over her wrist and found her pulse, a rapid beat that had him thinking of a captured bird. An unfortunate comparison, seeing as his little bride was just that: a prize, given to him in recognition of his loyal service to his king. With her came lands and several manors—far more land than he had ever hoped for. He squeezed her hand. She exhaled softly, and her fingers uncurled enough that he could grip them instead.

He liked her voice. Such a small, round thing, and her voice was rich and melodious, even if she stumbled over her vows. The priest did his bit, and already the assembled people were converging on them—she standing very still as she was surrounded by his friends, her retainers. No family for either of them. Sir Stephan de Lamont may have fathered him, even contributed to his upbringing, but Robert had seen him too rarely to have formed any emotional ties to the man, and he’d never known his mother. Her family—he couldn’t quite stop himself from glancing at the cart, now moved to stand in the shade of the stables. He’d killed them both, her father and her brother, but that was not something he intended to tell her, not today. He felt a twinge of pity. Here she stood, Eleanor d’Outremer, all alone in the world.

Well, not entirely alone: she was his now, and soon enough there’d be babes to distract her from the grief she must be experiencing. He tightened his hold on her hand, sweeping his thumb in a soft caress. She looked up at him, and they shared a little smile.

About the Author

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.

More recently, Anna has published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. While she loved stepping out of her comfort zone (and will likely do so again ) she is delighted to be back in medieval times in her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love.

Find out more about Anna on her website or on her Amazon page. You can also follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

Blog Tour Schedule

Saturday, October 24
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Monday, October 26
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Tuesday, October 27
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

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Guest Post at Novels Alive

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Interview at Reader_ceygo

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Review at YA, It’s Lit

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Excerpt at What Is That Book About

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Review at Passages to the Past

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Excerpt at I’m Into Books

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Review at A Chick Who Reads

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Excerpt at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

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Review at Reader_ceygo
Review at Just One More Chapter

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Review at Books and Zebras

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Review at Novels Alive

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Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

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Feature at The Lit Bitch
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Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two paperback copies of His Castilian Hawk! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open internationally and ends on November 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Castilian Hawk
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#WhereButterflies #DebraDoxer #HFVBTBlogTours

Where Butterflies Go
by Debra Doxer

Publication Date: October 7, 2020
Paperback & eBook; 270 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

Meira Sokolow had the misfortune of being born to Jewish parents in Warsaw, Poland, in 1912. Before she took her first breath, her fate had been sealed.

Residing in the Jewish Quarter of the city, Meira’s early life was typical. She fell in love with a local boy, got married, and had a daughter. Then the German army marched into Warsaw and everything changed. Forced into the ghetto with her family, she found survival to be a daily struggle. Hunger, disease, and unimaginable cruelty were her stark realities. When the ghetto was purged and she was sent to a concentration camp, Meira still had her family, and that was all that mattered. Then the camp was liquidated, and only a handful of survivors remained out of thousands. Meira Sokolow was one of them.

No longer a wife or mother, Meira emigrated to New York City. After World War II, the world wanted to move on and start a new chapter, but Meira couldn’t turn the page so easily. She walked through her days alone, like a ghost with nothing to tether her to the earth. Then she met Max, a handsome American, who first mistook her for one of the boring socialites he encountered every day. He soon learned she was unlike anyone he had met before, seeing her strength and resilience, even when she couldn’t. Max knew he could breathe life into her again, if only she would let him.

Tragic and heartfelt, Where Butterflies Go is based on the harrowing true story of one woman’s survival during the Nazi occupation of Poland, and her struggle to find meaning in the aftermath.

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EXCERPT FROM WHERE BUTTERFLIES GO

Tovah took the bent, rusty nail she’d found on the street and scraped it against the damp wooden floor of the flat. I tried to take the nail from her, afraid she’d cut herself, but then she showed me she only wanted it to draw with, and I couldn’t bring myself to take it away. She used the nail to carve designs into the wood for hours each day, and one morning I realized there was a shape to her scrapings.

“Butterflies,” I said, tracing my hand over the carvings. “You’re drawing butterflies.”

She nodded. At nine years old, the last two years of her life were filled with horrors I wished I could erase, yet she drew butterflies. The tenderness that filled my heart made me want to cry.

Tovah nodded. “I saw one.”

“Really? Where?”

“On my sleeve, when I was coming back from getting our rations with Papa. It landed on me, and when I tried to touch it, it flew away.”

I ran my hand over her hair, gathering the unruly locks that had fallen into her eyes. “What color was it?”

“Yellow, and it was black on the tips of its wings. I thought maybe it was Zayde saying hello. I don’t know why I thought that. Probably because I never saw a butterfly here before, and I haven’t seen once since.”

Zayde was what she called my father. It was the term for grandfather in Yiddish. Bubbie was the Yiddish word for grandmother.

My throat tightened. “Maybe it was Zayde giving you a little butterfly kiss.”

“Maybe there are lots of butterflies where Zayde went. If I die, Mama, I’ll come back and give you a butterfly kiss too.”

“Oh, baby.” I squelched the sob that rose in my throat. “Don’t talk that way. It won’t always be like this. Wars don’t last forever. We just have to hang on. It will end someday.” I said those words to myself as much as to Tovah. Although if it hadn’t been for Tovah, I don’t know if I could have hung on myself.

“Why don’t we just say we’re sorry?” Tovah asked.

“What do you mean?”

“If we did something to them, why don’t we just say sorry, and maybe they won’t hate us anymore.”

If only it were that easy. “We didn’t do anything to them.”

“Then why do they hate us?”

“I don’t know. Sometimes hate has no reason. Sometimes people who hate are sad in their own lives and want to blame others for it.”

“Is that why they hate us? They’re sad themselves?”

“They must be very sad and unhappy to hurt so many people.”

I’d lived with anti-Semitism for so long, I didn’t even ask why anymore. It just was. Because it always had been. But it had never been like this.

 

©DebraDoxer

About the Author

Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When not writing, she’s walking her Havanese puppy and forcing her daughter to listen to new wave 80s music.”

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 12
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 13
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Wednesday, October 14
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Monday, October 19
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink

Tuesday, October 20
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, October 22
Review at Books, Writings, and More
Feature at Books In Their Natural Habitat

Saturday, October 24
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, October 26
Feature at I’m All About Books

Wednesday, October 28
Review at Robin Loves Reading
Review at Tangents and Tissues

Friday, October 30
Interview at Novels Alive

Sunday, November 1
Review at YA, it’s Lit

Wednesday, November 4
Interview at Books & Benches

Thursday, November 5
Review at Girl Who Reads

Friday, November 6
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Monday, November 9
Review at History from a Woman’s Perspective

Tuesday, November 10
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, November 12
Review at Novels Alive

Friday, November 13
Review at Bookramblings

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away three $25 Amazon Gift Cards! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on November 13th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Where Butterflies Go
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