Shakespeare’s Witch by Samantha Grosser #BlogTour #HFVBT

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Love, Witchcraft, Sorcery, Madness.
A fortune told …
When Sarah Stone foresees Will Shakespeare’s latest play has opened doors to evil, she begs the playwright to abandon it. But Will refuses, aware the play is one of his best. And so rehearsals for Macbeth begin.
Forbidden desires …
After her vision, Sarah fears for her life – she has never known the shewstone to lie, and she turns to her brother Tom for comfort. A strange darkness seems to haunt the playhouse, and when Tom sets out to seduce John Upton, the boy actor who plays Lady Macbeth, the boy sees the hand of witchcraft in his own forbidden desires for men. Then Sarah weaves a spell to win the love of the new lead actor, and John, terrified for the safety of his soul, begins to make his accusations.
The Spirits have spoken …
As rehearsals continue, Sarah and Tom must struggle to convince John he is mistaken and that his sins are his own – their lives and the fortune of the play are at stake. But the Spirits have spoken – will the fate that Sarah foresaw come to pass or is their destiny their own to decide?
Set against the first production of Macbeth in 1606, Shakespeare’s Witch is a seductive tale of the origins of the curse of the Scottish Play.

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From the time that I first performed in a high school production of Macbeth, I have known of the rumors regarding the curse associated with the play. In fact, the curse has become as well known as the play itself.  Set against the backdrop of the original Macbeth production in the 1600s, coupled with sorcery and fate, Grosser has created a tale that is suspenseful, seductive and captivating.

Shakespeare’s Witch is, by far, one of the most intriguing and unique historical novels I’ve ever read. When Will Shakespeare’s new play is about to open, he calls on his friend, Sarah who is known to dabble in the occult, and asks her to see if his play will be a success or not. What Sarah sees badly frightens her and she begs Will not to go forward with the play. Of course, as we know, he does not listen and the play is forever cursed.

Grosser has done an amazing job creating believable characters that wind around one of the most well-known figures in history, Shakespeare, and brings him to life in a way I’ve never read before. They all are young, living in a time that is dark, forbidding, harsh and brimming with both religion and the occult. It is a confusing time on the brink of a new age, but still hidden in the shadows of so much darkness and ignorance. The way that Crosser illustrates this is sheer brilliance.

I admit that there are portions of the story that made me uncomfortable, and they should. The book does include incest, but that is a part of this era that cannot be overlooked. Only now are we able to look back on this time in history and take off our puritanical/Victorian glasses and see this era as it was, not what it would become. It’s important to remember when the story takes place and that England had very different ideas about a lot of things at that time. For me, this heightened the story, not detract from it, which is why I highly recommend it to you if you like historical fiction from this era. The magical realism works perfectly with the historical aspects from this time.

You can find the book on sale now. I am very appreciative to Amy @HFVBT @SamanthaGrosser and #SamanthaGrooserBooks for my copy of #Shakespeare’sWitch

About the Author:

untitledHistorical fiction author Samantha Grosser originally hails from England, but now lives on the sunny Northern Beaches of Sydney with her husband, son and a very small dog called Livvy.
Combining a lifelong love of history with a compulsion to write that dates from childhood, Samantha is now bringing her passion for telling compelling stories to the world.
Samantha has an Honors Degree in English Literature and taught English for many years in Asia and Australia. She is the author of wartime dramas Another Time and Place and The Officer’s Affair and The King James Men, set during the turbulent early years of 17th Century.

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Blog Tour Schedule:

Wednesday, March 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Thursday, March 21
Review at Book Reviews from Canada

Friday, March 22
Interview at Jathan & Heather

Saturday, March 23
Feature at Broken Teepee

Monday, March 25
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Tuesday, March 26
Feature at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, March 27
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, March 29
Interview at Passages to the Past

Sunday, March 31
Review & Excerpt at Clarissa Reads it All

Monday, April 1
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste

Tuesday, April 2
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, April 4
Interview at Hisdoryan

Monday, April 8
Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Tuesday, April 9
Review at Bibliophile Reviews

Wednesday, April 10
Review at Macsbooks

Friday, April 12
Review at A Book Geek

Monday, April 15
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Tuesday, April 16
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 17
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Coffee and Ink

 

 

 

 

The Missing Years #LexieElliott

MY FATHER IS….

Missing…  Ailsa Calder’s father is missing and has been for several years. Rumor floating among the little village where he lived is that he ran off with jewels that he stole from his employer. Perhaps he ran away to start a new life or fell to his death into the sea or was murdered and hidden and the jewels stolen. Ailsa has come up with many theories throughout her lifetime but now she has to find out the truth. Her mother is dead and she has inherited one half of a manse. The other half is owned by her missing father. She cannot do anything with it until she either finds her father or proves he is dead.

52681134_642264552856741_4538588784605790208_nI really enjoyed reading Lexie Elliott’s first novel, The French Girl, last year but I will tell you now that The Missing Years eclipses her first and has landed its way onto my favorite’s list! The Missing Years crosses genres from suspense, mystery, a touch of romance to a fair amount of magical realism and she marries these together seamlessly. It has an essence of a ghost story while keeping the reader firmly planted in the here and now and much of what one suspects as supernatural turns out to be ominously too close to reality for comfort.

While both The French Girl and The Missing Years comprise a large ensemble cast of characters, with this one Elliott does a better job of fleshing out her characters so that they are more manageable to distinguish from one another and also easier to relate to, feel compassion for and, ultimately invest in their story. As someone with roots in Scotland, I found the history that was included particularly intriguing and learned more about my own past than I was expecting. Trust me, the history is subtle, never boring for a moment.

The Missing Years is an eclectic, atmospheric and suspenseful tale that I highly recommend. While some readers have questioned the addition of magical realism in this book, I found that it was absolutely marvelous and hope this is a continued direction for Elliott’s future work.

I am very grateful to Elisha @berkleypub and #elliott_lexie for my advanced copy #TheMissingYears.

More Than Bones @CraigDSinger

More Than Bones will take you on a roller coaster ride that you won’t soon forget! It was not at all what I was expecting but far exceeded all of preconceived silly ideas! A tale of self-exploration with a steep learning curve, it is a perfect read to start your new year!

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Dr. Emily Norton has relocated to Baltimore to begin her residency program at a Catholic hospital in order to be closer to her fiancé. She has rented a room – the attic space – in a gorgeous older home owned by a rather odd, effusive gentleman also named Norton – his first name, not last – and immediately is charmed by the elderly next door neighbor, Frank, who insists on gifting her a large, rather chunky, but quite expensive amulet that is hanging around his cat’s neck. It’s all rather strange, I know, but told in a such an amazing manner that you get wrapped up in the story from the very first line. Trust me! The amulet comes with a warning never to take it off – ever! Of course, Emily’s only faith is in science and facts and she promptly hangs the necklace on her skeleton – a gift from her new landlord. She has lived her life having religion crammed down her throat and the only thing she believes in is the here and now – thank you very much. Aaaahhh, but soon Emily finds herself without a fiancé, friendless, in the middle of a city-wide scandal, jobless and the “bad luck” is increasing by the day. Finally, she puts the amulet on and, voila, her luck begins to change. Or does it?

While on the surface this appears to be a story of magical realism, a story about a magic amulet that has brought good fortune to its owners throughout history, it is more the tale of a person being the master of their own fate, of coming to terms with their own beliefs, either with or without religion, either with or without science, and what consequences those beliefs might lead to in our lives. It the coming of age story of a young woman who has been raised without a mother by a somewhat tyrannical father who has to find her own way as an adult. It a story of which I am quite familiar and many of the questions that Emily was asking herself were ones I have grappled with over my own lifetime.

The characters in More Than Bones are hilarious, quirky, humorous, hateful, vibrant and I loved them all – even Norton’s mother! Singer does an amazing job creating people that I feel like I have known my entire life. In fact, I think I have known someone just like them. There are so many areas covered from science to religion, suicide to health care, the LGBTQ community to breast cancer and yet each one of these topics is handled with a deft hand. I was raised on southern literature with eccentric characters from Flannery O’Connor and Fannie Flagg to Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. More Than Bones reminded me of all of the good qualities of that genre – the humorous, somewhat over-the-top characters mixed with hell-fire and brimstone religion pulling against the modern world of science and religion – all combined to make a thoroughly marvelous, enjoyable, thoughtful book, one that I highly recommend!

Thank you to #Netgalley, #TwinRabbitBooks and #CraigDavidSinger for allowing me to read this amazing book!

 

How To Stop Time

TBR Thursdays

I don’t know about you, but my To-Be-Read list is getting out of control! I am setting aside one day a week to read and review a book that has been sitting on that shelf. Recently I cleared out half of the list by removing books that I knew I never would read. If I had downloaded it but didn’t start it, started it but never finished, or simply had changed my tastes – it got removed. This helped me a lot in my desire to actually read what was left on the list. It no longer seemed like such a daunting chore and reading never should be a chore.

“Whenever I see someone reading a book, especially if it is someone I don’t expect, I feel civilisation has become a little safer.”   ― Matt Haig, How to Stop Time

First up:

iuI absolutely adore Matt Haig and his quirky view of the world. His writing is eclectic, to say the least, but also fun and, in a intriguing way, very philosophical.

How To Stop Time is the rather peculiar story of Tom Hazard who, through a genetic anomaly, ages at a snail’s pace. He now is 400 years old but appears to be a rather youngish man in his 40s. He is immune to disease and so has avoided all of the nasty issues like the bubonic plague, rather lucky for him. Tom now finds himself in the present, teaching history (of course) in London. One would assume that since most people never have enough to time to do things we want to do once we find them, (sorry – I had a Jim Croce/Time in a Bottle Moment that clearly shows my age) that having all of this time would be marvelous! Not so! All of the people Tom has come to know and love have died. He has had to stay on the run, one step ahead of witch hunters, the church, scientists, who do not understand him or want to understand him more – and not in a good way. For Tom, the saddest part of all is losing the one you love – which is why there is a rule: Never Fall In Love. Hello Tom!? Yeah…. you know where that goes, right?

The book is written in past and present time, back and forth from Tom’s present to memories of his past. I found the past chapters my favorite. It was like a time-travel book but without the magic of time-travel! Most importantly this is a book on reflection, civilization and a philosophical look at where we are today.

“A problem with living in the twenty-first century….. we are made to feel poor on thirty thousand pounds a year. To feel poorly travelled if we have only been to ten other countries. To feel old if we have a wrinkle. To feel ugly if we aren’t photo shopped and filtered.”

Yes, Tom, I agree. First world problems are utterly ridiculous and overblown. I agreed with a lot in this book and I loved Haig’s out-of-the-box method of causing us to think about these issues. How to Stop Time is not without its problems, but overall, it is a book that I highly recommend.

My thanks to Matt Haig, Viking Books and #Edelweiss for this copy to review. Obviously, I am FAR behind with my review, sadly, but catching up once more!