Thursday, January 14, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club - Beneath Black Clouds And White by Virginia Crow #HistoricalFiction #FrenchRevolution #CoffeePotBookClub @DaysDyingGlory @maryanneyarde


I am, once again, hosting a virtual blog tour alongside The Coffee Pot Book Club. I was given the opportunity to read and review Beneath Black Clouds And White and, of course, I said yes! Before we get to my review, let's take a look at the blurb.

Despite adoring his family and enjoying frequenting gaming tables, Captain Josiah Tenterchilt’s true love is the British Army and he is committed to his duty. As such, he does not hesitate to answer the army’s call when King Louis XVI of France is executed.

Accompanied by his wife to Flanders, Josiah finds his path crosses with a man who could not be more different from him: an apprentice surgeon named Henry Fotherby. As these two men pursue their own actions, fate and the careful connivance of a mysterious individual will push them together for the rest of their lives.

But it is a tumultuous time, and the French revolutionaries are not the only ones who pose a threat. The two gentlemen must find their place in a world where the constraints of social class are inescapable, and ‘slavery or abolition’ are the words on everyone’s lips.

Beneath Black Clouds and White is the prequel to Day's Dying Glory, which was published by Crowvus in April 2017.

My Review

I must admit, I do not know all that much about the French Revolution, or the English involvement in it, but when the chance arose to read Beneath Black Clouds And White, I was intrigued and it certainly didn’t disappoint. My lack of knowledge didn’t hinder my reading in the slightest and I found it incredibly difficult to put this book down to go to bed! I felt like I was in the story, alongside the characters, as I read, and I will certainly not forget this book anytime soon!

The detail put into this book is wonderful and I applaud the author for how drawn in I was by the story and the relationships between the characters. Fortherby, in particular, was portrayed in such a way that I felt incredibly emotional about all that he encounters.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book and I implore everyone to pick up this book and give it a read, for it deserves to be read by all.

Buy This Book

Virginia Crow

Virginia grew up in Orkney, using the breath-taking scenery to fuel her imagination and the writing fire within her. Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together such as her newly-published book "Caledon". She enjoys swashbuckling stories such as the Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and is still waiting for a screen adaption that lives up to the book! When she's not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music, and obtained her MLitt in "History of the Highlands and Islands" last year. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration. She also helps out with the John O'Groats Book Festival which is celebrating its 3rd year this April. She now lives in the far flung corner of Scotland, soaking in inspiration from the rugged cliffs and miles of sandy beaches. She loves cheese, music and films, but hates mushrooms.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club, A Rooster for Asklepios (A Slave's Story Trilogy, Book 1) by Christopher D. Stanley #BookReview #HistoricalFiction @aslavesstory @maryanneyarde


I have once again been introduced to another fabulous book by The Coffee Pot Book Club. Before we get to my review, let's check out the blurb of A Rooster of Asklepios by Christopher D. Stanley.

Marcus, a slave in the household of Lucius Coelius Felix, enjoys a better life than most slaves (and many free citizens) as the secretary and accountant of a wealthy aristocrat.  His master is rising in the civic life of the Roman colony of Antioch-near-Pisidia (central Turkey), and his responsibilities and income are growing as well. If this continues, he could soon earn enough to buy his freedom, set up a small business, and even marry.  

Then misfortune strikes, and his master falls into a deep depression that is exacerbated by a nagging illness that his physician is unable to cure.  The future looks bleak until the physician receives a dream from the healing god Asklepios calling Lucius to travel hundreds of miles across western Asia Minor to his sanctuary at Pergamon for treatment and, he hopes, a cure.

Accompanied by Marcus and his new wife Selena, Lucius embarks on a long and eventful journey in which both master and slave encounter people and ideas that challenge long-held beliefs about themselves, their society, and the world around them.  Values are questioned, loyalties tested, and identities transformed in a story that brings to life a corner of the Roman empire that has been neglected by previous storytellers.

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If you are a member of NetGalley you can pick up your review copy HERE!

After a lengthy and eventful stay at the sanctuary of
Asklepios in Pergamon, the time has come for Lucius and Marcus to return to Antioch.  Selena had been sent home earlier when Lucius learned that she was pregnant, and the impending arrival of the winter snows could soon make it impossible for them to reach their destination before the child is born.

To Marcus’s surprise, Lucius announces that he plans to stop for a while in Hierapolis to bask in the healing waters of the city’s renowned hot springs.  Here Marcus meets a young woman named Miriam who challenges him to embrace his long-hidden Jewish ancestry.  Marcus is torn between his budding love for Miriam and the cost of heeding her advice.

A tragic decision by Lucius seals their fate, as their full attention must now be devoted to preserving Lucius’s life.  They reach Antioch in time to learn that Lucius’s son Gaius has failed miserably in his management of the household while his father was away.  If Lucius should die, Marcus, Selena, and her unborn child will be at the mercy of this tyrant.  To fend off this danger, Lucius must tell Marcus the full truth about his past, a truth that will ensure Marcus's future at the cost of his master's honor.  Can he bring himself to act before his inevitable end?

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Praise for A Rooster for Asklepios and A Bull For Pluto

This compelling and enjoyable story offers the reader a superb 'insider' view of life in the first-century Greco-Roman world. I enjoyed traipsing around Anatolia with Lucius and Marcus!"
-Dr. Terence Donaldson, Academic Dean and Professor of New Testament, Wycliffe College, Canada

"The realism of this story reflects the author's deep first-hand knowledge of the landscape and culture where the narrative takes place."
-Dr. Mark Wilson, Director, Asia Minor Research Center, Antalya, Turkey

"This well-researched book really brings the Roman world to life!"
-Dr. Alanna Nobbs, Professor of Ancient History, Macquarie University, Australia

"The amount of research, imagination, and effort involved in crafting this story earned my admiration, and stirred my curiosity, too."
Dr. Mark Nanos, Lecturer, University of Kansas, USA

My Review

One word - WOW! This book is utterly mesmerising. Christopher D. Stanley really knows how to enthral his readers. This novel is so rich in historical detail that I felt immersed in the history of this period.

Marcus, the main character in this novel, is a devoted slave of Lucius Coelius Felix. Lucius has a mysterious stomach complaint, and this novel explores his bid to get to the bottom of the illness and find a cure. I thought it was fascinating how disease and illness were treated during this era, and Stanley has shone a light on the superstition and, dare I say the word, the charlatans who promised miracles, but instead took advantage of those in a vulnerable position.

I really enjoyed following Marcus' story. Despite him being a slave, he is an educated one and is given a great deal of responsibility. There also seemed to be a genuine affection between Marcus and his master.

I thought this book was really fascinating, and it will appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction set in the ancient world. 

Christopher D. Stanley 

CHRISTOPHER D. STANLEY is a professor at St. Bonaventure University who studies the social and religious history of the Greco-Roman world, with special attention to early Christianity and Judaism.  He has written or edited six books and dozens of professional articles on the subject and presents papers regularly at conferences around the world.  The trilogy A Slave’s Story, which grew out of his historical research on first-century Asia Minor, is his first work of fiction.  He is currently working on an academic book that explores healing practices in the Greco-Roman world, a subject that plays a vital role in this series. 

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Monday, January 11, 2021

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club, A Painter in Penang (Penang series Book 3) by Clare Flynn #HistoricalFiction #APainterinPenang #CoffeePotBookClub @clarefly @maryanneyarde


I am once again on tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club. Today it is the greatest of pleasure to introduce you to Historical Fiction author, Clare Flynn.

Sixteen-year-old Jasmine Barrington hates everything about living in Kenya and longs to return to the island of Penang in British colonial Malaya where she was born. Expulsion from her Nairobi convent school offers a welcome escape – the chance to stay with her parents’ friends, Mary and Reggie Hyde-Underwood on their Penang rubber estate.

But this is 1948 and communist insurgents are embarking on a reign of terror in what becomes the Malayan Emergency. Jasmine goes through testing experiences – confronting heartache, a shocking past secret and danger. Throughout it all, the one constant in her life is her passion for painting.

From the international best-selling and award-winning author of The Pearl of Penang, this is a dramatic coming of age story, set against the backdrop of a tropical paradise torn apart by civil war.

My Review 

The premise of this book sounded really enticing and I have never read a historical fiction book set in Penang before, nor do I know a great deal about the Malayan Emergency. I have to admit, I was a little nervous as I ventured into unknown waters, but I need not have worried, for the author seemed to be very mindful that her readers may not know that much about this period of history in this country, and because of this I never felt the need to do a quick Google search to try to “keep up” with the historical events in this story.

The story itself was exquisitely told, and the innocence of Jasmine compared to the darker side of events that occur in this novel was handled with a great deal of skill on the author’s part. I have to be careful because I don’t want to give away any spoilers but it is suffice to say that Jasmine has to make some very difficult decisions.

A Painter in Penang is certainly a book that can keep a reader up all night - that was certainly what happened with me.

Buy this Book


Clare Flynn

Clare Flynn is the author of twelve historical novels and a collection of short stories. A former International Marketing Director and strategic management consultant, she is now a full-time writer. 

Having lived and worked in London, Paris, Brussels, Milan and Sydney, home is now on the coast, in Sussex, England, where she can watch the sea from her windows. An avid traveller, her books are often set in exotic locations.

Clare is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of The Society of Authors, Novelists Inc (NINC), ALLi, the Historical Novel Society and the Romantic Novelists Association, where she serves on the committee as the Member Services Officer. When not writing, she loves to read, quilt, paint and play the piano. She continues to travel as widely and as far as possible all over the world.

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Sons of the Wolf by Paula Lofting #BookReview #HistoricalFiction @Paulalofting


It is 1054 and King Edward sits on the throne of England.

A forbidden love affair rekindles a dangerous ancient bloodfeud and when Lord Harold, Earl of Wessex, demands that Wulfhere, thegn of Horstede, wed his daughter to his sworn enemy, Wulfhere must find a way to save his daughter from a life of certain misery at the hands of the cruel and resentful Helghi without compromising his honour and loyalty to his lord, Harold.

A tale of Battles & Bloodfeud in the years leading up to the Norman Invasion.

My Review

Having read Book 2 of Sons of Wolf, I was delighted when I was offered a chance to read Book 1, Sons of the Wolf. With hindsight, I wish I had read this book first as I now have a clear understanding of who everyone is and what role they had to play in this story of kings, tested loyalties, love and war.

The attention to the historical detail is staggering. I really felt as if I had travelled through time and was witnessing the events first hand. It really is quite an extraordinary book. The battle scenes were exceptionally well written.

This novel is quite an emotional read, and I really did feel for Wulfhere, even though much of what has befallen him on the domestic front is of his own making. Men – they never learn!!

This novel is a wonderful retelling of the story leading up to The Battle of Hastings, and it has all the key players, such as the House of Godwin. I thought this was an excellent story from beginning to end.  

Buy this Book

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Paula Lofting

Paula Lofting is the author of 2 volumes in the Sons of the Wolf series of which she is working on her third instalment. She has been a prolific reader all her life, inspired by authors like Rosemary Sutcliffe, Mary Stewart, and Sharon Penman. She is a psychiatric nurse by day and writes in her spare time whenever she can. Mother of three grown up children and 2 grandchildren, she lives in Sussex and is also a re-enactor of the late Dark Age period. 

As a reenactor of the period I can actually say that I have fought and died at the Battle of Hastings at least three times.

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Friday, January 8, 2021

Meet the author, Beth M. Caruso #HistoricalFiction #AuthorInterview @oneofwindsor


I am so excited to be interviewing Beth M. Caruso today on The Whispering Bookworm! But before we get to the interview let's check out Beth's book:

Marie du Trieux, a tavern keeper with a salty tongue and a heart of gold, struggles as she navigates love and loss, Native wars, and possible banishment by authorities in the unruly trading port of New Amsterdam, an outpost of the Dutch West India Company.

In New England, John Tinker, merchant and assistant to a renowned alchemist and eventual leader of Connecticut Colony, must come to terms with a family tragedy of dark proportions, all the while supporting his mentor’s secret quest to find the Northwest Passage, a desired trading route purported to mystically unite the East with the West.

As the lives of Marie and John become intertwined through friendship and trade, a search for justice of a Dutch woman accused of witchcraft in Hartford puts them on a collision course affecting not only their own destinies but also the fate of colonial America.

What inspired you to start writing?
I began writing seriously after I pieced together the story of Alice Young, America’s first witch-hanging victim. As a child I compiled witches’ cookbooks and wrote puppet shows for fun. Occasionally, I thought about writing historical fiction concerning the founding of my native city Cincinnati, in Ohio, but I never truly embraced the idea of something so public until the discovery of Alice’s story. Writing about the plight of someone else and the need for people to know her heart-wrenching story is what spurred me on. The end result was my first historical novel, One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging.

What was the hardest part about writing this book? 

The most challenging part of writing The Salty Rose was keeping track of the many moving parts to the story and organizing the almost infinite historical details of the English colony of New England along with the very different but adjacent Dutch colony of New Netherland. I also had to choose different voices for the parallel stories in the novel so that when they joined together, it would result in one cohesive piece.

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why? 

Yes, indeed. The rowdy, outspoken character of Marie du Trieux is my favorite. She's kind, but not a pushover. She's independent, yet passionate for those she loves. And, she is based on the real-life great grandmother (ninth to tenth generation) of my boys and husband. She was one of the original settlers of New Amsterdam—early New York City. I came across her in doing genealogical research and knew that she had to come to life again through the character of Marie in this novel.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it? 

That’s a really hard question and I’m no casting director! What I would say though is that I envision Marie as someone sassy and confident with dark hair and lots of energy. John Tinker has to be someone with a heart-warming smile who is good-natured and puts one at ease despite being haunted by his own private ghosts. I could see John Winthrop Jr. being played by a younger Jeremy Irons. When I hear him talk in my head, it’s Jeremy’s voice that I hear.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book? 

There are many themes throughout this book but I think the biggest one is to acknowledge the extremely yet often invisible role of peacekeepers. Unfortunately, they are hardly ever acknowledged and remain obscured historically. We hear about wars and battles in history class but how many times, in comparison, do we ever really learn about the peacekeepers—the ones who helped us avoid destruction and loss of life? They are not as noticeable because the aftermath of the peacekeepers’ work is something more subtle but can bring prosperity, keep families together and allow for the full and meaningful development and expression of individuals, communities, and society as a whole.

Where to buy

Beth M. Caruso

Award-winning author, Beth M. Caruso, is passionate to discover and convey important and interesting stories of women from earlier times. She recently won the literary prize in Genre Fiction (2020) from IPNE (Independent Publishers of New England) for her most recent novel The Salty Rose: Alchemists, Witches & A Tapper In New Amsterdam (2019). The Salty Rose is Beth’s second historical novel and explores alchemy in early colonial times, an insider’s view of the takeover of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, and the Hartford Witch Panic with information she gathered from previous and ongoing research. Beth’s first historical novel is One of Windsor: The Untold Story of America’s First Witch Hanging (2015), a novel that tells the tale of Alice ‘Alse’ Young and the beginnings of the colonial witch trials. She based the story on original research she did by exploring early primary sources such as early Windsor land records, vital statistics, and other documents. She lives in Connecticut with her family. Beth kayaks and gardens to unwind.

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Thursday, January 7, 2021

On tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours - A Man of Honor, Or Horatio's Confessions by J.A. Nelson #AManofHonor #JANelson #HFVBTBlogTours @JANelsonAuthor @hfvbt


I am very excited to be working along side Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours to bring you more great books to add to your ever growing to-read list! 

How far would you go to keep a deathbed promise?

Surrounded by the bodies of slain monarchs, a dying prince extracts a promise from his friend, Horatio: “Tell my story.”

Rival kings of warring nations strive to lay claim to the throne, now vacant, but what will happen to the people who live there, at Helsingør’s Krogen Castle? How will Horatio preserve his honor and the prince’s legacy while surviving this murderous kingdom and the men who would rule it?

Despite the odds and threats against him, Horatio persists, weaving the story of his dear friend into the fabric of one of their oldest and most revered medieval texts.

But when a nefarious Spaniard thwarts his plans, Horatio must once again risk everything to fulfill his oath.

With the help of some unexpected allies in the form of Margrete, a courageous lady-in-waiting, and Lanier, a disgraced French nobleman, Horatio undertakes this perilous quest that will lead him on a journey none of them could have ever predicted, to a place none of them ever thought they would see.

And after their hard-fought journey will it all be for naught?

Will Hamlet’s glory be Horatio’s downfall?

What inspired you to start writing?

My earliest inspiration was love of reading—56 volumes of the Nancy Drew mysteries, Roald Dahl’s and Judy Blume’s children’s books, the entire Chronicles of Narnia, and more. At the same time, the school subject that I enjoyed most was English and composition. Creative writing was my therapeutic, creative outlet. More inspiration came from literature and authors that I studied. Detailed settings, complex characters, and themes about individuals taking responsibility to prove their integrity especially appealed to me. The works of Melville, Mark Twain, Faulkner, Ellison, and Morrison especially come to mind. I also read history books from an early age onward and learned from beloved teachers how to see history through literature and vice-versa. And so, my desire to write a fun and substantive debut historical novel based in literature felt as natural to me as breathing.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?

The hardest part was creating for the reader a clear and instinctive sense of my main character’s deepest risk. A Man of Honor, or Horatio’s Confessions is set in the early 1500s, when European Christian doctrine forced the belief that if a person’s honor failed, they would suffer excruciating physical and emotional torment for all eternity. Death was bad, but the decay of one’s honor and the consequence, damnation, was a visceral and real threat to people. Today, that belief generally is no longer prevalent, not in the western word in any case. One of my biggest challenges was to create and maintain that specific and genuine tension for the reader so that the characters’ fears and peril made sense.  

Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

That’s a tough question because Horatio, Margrete, and Lanier each hold a special place in my heart. I know them inside and out. l love each for their own merits and human failings, and how they struggle to assert or regain their honor. I would have to say, though, that I worried most for Lanier because if he cannot find hope, he is doomed. As tough a man as he is, he is most fragile. I remember…I once read aloud an in-progress draft to my mother, cover to cover, and while I read a certain section regarding Lanier, I wept.

If your book was to be made into a movie, who are the celebrities that would star in it?

Thank you; that’s a fun question! I imagine:

Horatio: Bradley Cooper or Eddie Redmayne

Margrete: Emily Blunt or Amy Adams

Lanier: Russel Crowe or Michael Fassbender

Hamlet: Johnny Flynn or Mark Warren

Cristiern: Benedict Cumberbatch or Joaquin Phoenix

Fortenbraas: Tom Hiddleston or Jake Gyllenhaal

Reynaldo: Javier Bardem or Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Poul: Mark Rylance or Jude Law

The Canon of Lund: Ian McKellen or Peter Capaldi

Gertrude: Emma Thompson or Laura Linney

Claudius: Kenneth Branagh or David Tennant 

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

Reading is an escape and an opportunity to learn, a precious luxury in our busy lives. So, first and foremost, I hope that my readers will enjoy the adventure. Readers don’t need to know Hamlet to enjoy the story, but I hope that if they do, they’ll find some nuggets and notions that intrigue them. I hope that my readers find, in A Man of Honor, or Horatio’s Confessions, examples of paths that we can take when faced with tough choices that test our integrity. 


Enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Click here to enter. Good luck!

Buy this Book


J. A. Nelson’s passion for exploring connections between history, literature, and evidence in written texts has shaped her life—from a BA (Occidental College) and MA (The George Washington University) in cultural studies to a two-decade career at the National Archives of the United States, working with historical documentary treasures and helping people access unique stories in those records. Ms. Nelson is a native of Culver City, CA, a Los Angeles suburb. She lives with her husband in Northern Virginia. A Man of Honor, or Horatio’s Confessions is her debut novel.


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club - Book Blast - She Sees Ghost by David Fitz-Gerald is #Free on #Kindle for a Limited Time @AuthorDAVIDFG @maryanneyarde


What better way to start the new year than with a free book?

 You have to check this out...!

A blazing fire killed her family and devoured her home. A vengeful demon haunted her. Ghosts of the Revolutionary War needed help that only she could provide. A young woman languished, desperate to survive, and teetered on the edge of sanity.

Mehitable grew up in a freshly tamed town, carved from the primeval forest. Family, friends, and working at the mercantile filled her days and warmed her heart. For Mehitable, life was simple and safe, until tragedy struck. When her family perished in their burning home, she retreated into a world of her own making.

As a young girl, she had seen glimmers, glimpses, and flickers of the spirit world. She closed her eyes. She turned her back. She ignored the apparitions that she never spoke of, desperately hoping they would leave her in peace. She was mistaken.

Grief-stricken, Mehitable withdrew from the human world. Ghosts were everywhere. They became bolder. She could no longer turn her back on the spirit world. Her friends feared for her survival. Nobody understood her. She would have to find her own way.

Fans of TV’s Ghost Whisperer and Long Island Medium will especially love She Sees Ghosts. This historical novel features memorable characters and delivers bone-tingling, spine chilling goosebumps. It stands on its own and it is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series by the award-winning author of Wanders Far―An Unlikely Hero’s Journey. David Fitz-Gerald delivers a historical novel with a bittersweet ending that you won’t see coming.

Would she save the spirits’ souls, or would they save her? Only time would tell.

This Book Trailer is just the best!!

I have grabbed my copy, thank you very much! Don't be left out, grab your copy today!

David Fitz-Gerald

David Fitz-Gerald writes fiction that is grounded in history and soars with the spirits. Dave enjoys getting lost in the settings he imagines and spending time with the characters he creates. Writing historical fiction is like making paintings of the past. He loves to weave fact and fiction together, stirring in action, adventure, romance, and a heavy dose of the supernatural with the hope of transporting the reader to another time and place. He is an Adirondack 46-er, which means that he has hiked all of the highest peaks in New York State, so it should not be surprising when Dave attempts to glorify hikers as swashbuckling superheroes in his writing. She Sees Ghosts―A Story of a Woman Who Rescues Lost Souls is the next installment in the Adirondack Spirit Series.

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On tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club - Beneath Black Clouds And White by Virginia Crow #HistoricalFiction #FrenchRevolution #CoffeePotBookClub @DaysDyingGlory @maryanneyarde

  I am, once again, hosting a virtual blog tour alongside The Coffee Pot Book Club. I was given the opportunity to read and review Beneath B...