Tempation Rag #BlogTour brought to you by #HistoricalFictionVirtualBlogTours #ElizabethHutchisonBernard #Giveaway

I have been anxiously awaiting today so that I could share with you this incredible book, Temptation Rag. Of all of the historical fiction books that I recently have read, this one is right at the top of my favorites list! Of course, you already know by its title, that it is set in an era that I adore, but it revolves around my most beloved music in all of the world: Ragtime!

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When I was a little girl I was forced loved to play the piano, but dreaded really never came unto my own musically until my tutor decided, after she had lost all of her hair, to introduce me to Ragtime. At last!! There was something about the syncopated rhythm that found its way into my heart and suddenly, quite literally, overnight my fingers were flying all over the keyboard. Forget hymns, Bach, even Stravinsky, all I wanted was Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington and Tommy Turpin from morning until night. So, when I was given the opportunity to read a historical fictional account of “The Ragtime King of the World,” Mike Bernard, you better believe I jumped at the chance and squealed in delight at the prospect! Not only that, it is written by the wife of Bernard’s grandson. It’s like heaven right here in my ragtime era sitting room. Seriously, can you tell I’m excited yet?

Seventeen-year-old May Convery, unhappy with her privileged life in turn-of-the-century New York City, dreams of becoming a poet. When she meets the talented young Mike Bernard, an aspiring concert pianist, she immediately falls in love. But after their secret liaison is discovered, neither is prepared for the far-reaching consequences that will haunt them for decades. As Mike abandons serious music to ruthlessly defend his hard-won title, Ragtime King of the World, May struggles to find her voice as an artist and a woman. It is not until years after their youthful romance, when they cross paths again, that they must finally confront the truth about themselves and each other. But is it too late?

Temptation Rag is told from multiple viewpoints, including in May’s voice and from Mike’s second wife, Jessie. There are multiple timelines as well but the author deftly transitions from past to present, person to person in a way that makes it very clear and the reader never loses the flow of the story line throughout. What is fascinating about the story itself are the characters, many of whom are based on real-life people who were in the ragtime/vaudeville circuit with Bernard. The era is real, the music is real and the social conditions – racism, women’s rights, child labor – which are being discussed throughout, all are quite real. As I’ve mentioned before, this era was a time of great change, socialism was making a huge impact across America. People of both sexes, all races, young and old, were demanding fairness and equality and it was from this turmoil, growth and change from which all of this incredible art and music sprung forth. I’m not sure why we don’t have that now but it was a beautiful thing then. Within this context we have the on again/off again love story of May and Mike. Although the blurb makes it appear that the book is about May, I don’t think we get nearly enough of her story. I wish there had been more but that is my only, very tiny complaint. Despite that, it is a very well researched, incredibly well written, engaging and entertaining tale. I cannot recommend it highly enough regardless of which type of genre you enjoy.

Frederic Tulsky, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist says it best –

“Terrific historical research and deft writing provide a striking portrait of racial and gender inequality in the ragtime era. An unforgettable and deeply human story.”

And now,  since it’s Monday and I’m supposed to include MUSIC on MONDAYS I have a rare treat for you!! A very early recording from 1915, of Mike Bernard, The Ragtime King of the world playing the piano!!  No joke.

The Ragtime King of the World – Ragtime Two-Step

Pretty darn awesome, right?? You can purchase Temptation Rag at any of the fine retailers below:

AMAZON  BARNES AND NOBLE | CHAPTERS | INDIEBOUND

About the Author:

Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is the author of The Beauty Doctor, Finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award, 2017 AZ Literary Awards, and a Medallion Honoree of the Book Readers Appreciation Group.

Her novel The Beauty Doctor is a suspenseful tale that takes place in the early days of cosmetic surgery—when the world of medicine was a bit like the Wild West and beauty doctors were the newest breed of outlaw. Temptation Rag: A Novel immerses readers in the bawdy atmosphere of vaudeville and early twentieth-century African American musical theater in a story about the price of freedom, the longing for immortality, and the human need to find forgiveness.

Elizabeth currently lives in Arizona with her husband and their much-loved and very spoiled black Lab.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Please join us on the remainder of the BLOG TOUR:

Monday, February 18
Review at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, February 19
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, February 20
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Excerpt at What Is That Book About

Friday, February 22
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Saturday, February 23
Guest Post at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Reviews

Monday, February 25
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.

Tuesday, February 26
Excerpt at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, February 27
Interview at Passages to the Past

Friday, March 1
Review at View from the Birdhouse

Monday, March 4
YOU ARE HERE – > Review at Macsbooks

Wednesday, March 6
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 8
Excerpt at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, March 12
Review at Reader then Blogger

Friday, March 15
Review at Coffee and Ink

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away copies of Bernard’s other novel, The Beauty Doctor. One paperback and two eBooks are up for grabs. To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

HERE IS A DIRECT LINK TO ENTER

Whew! Thank you for reading ALL of this and thank you to Amy at #HFVBTBlogTours @HFVBT and @ EHBernardAuthor  for my copy of this amazing book!

 

A Guardian of Slaves #NaomiFinley #HFVBTPartner #BlogTour #Giveaway

04_A Guardian of Slaves_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL[731]I am so excited to be part of the fabulous blog tour for Naomi Finley’s A Guardian of Slaves.

We were first introduced to Willow Hendricks in book one of this saga, A Slave of the Shadows. Willow Hendricks is now the Lady of Livingston, a plantation she manages with her father and best friend Whitney Barry. The two women continue her parents’ secret abolitionist mission. They use the family’s ships and estates to transport escaped slaves along the channels to freedom. Willow’s love for Bowden Armstrong is as strong as ever, but she is not ready to marry and have a family because of her attention to these noble pursuits. Torn by her love for him, can their bond survive his reluctance to support her efforts with the Underground Railroad?
Meanwhile, whispers among the quarters sing praises of a mysterious man in the swamps helping slaves escape. He is called the Guardian. They believe he will save them from brutal slave catchers and deliver them to the promised land. Masked bandits roam the countryside, but the Guardian and the criminals evade capture. A series of accidents and mysterious disappearances raise alarm throughout the region. Who can Willow and Whitney trust? One false move or slip could endanger the lives of everyone they love and bring ruin to the Livingston Plantation.

A Guardian of Slaves is an interesting and entertaining historical fiction tale of an era when African Americans were treated at chattel. The slaves would do anything, including risking their lives, to escape from this human bondage and the physical and mental suffering that accompanied it. There were a few white people in the south, more in the north, who helped these slaves move through secret trails, houses, caves euphemistically called “the underground railroad.” In A Guardian of Slaves, Willow and her friend, Whitney, are helping to move the slaves using her family’s cargo ships at a peril to her own safety and the safety of business as well.

My university degree is in US history with an emphasis on the south so I tend to read these books differently than most people. A Guardian of Slaves is an enjoyable read, it’s very light on historical fact, heavy on the romantic ideas of the era and doesn’t lend a lot to anyone’s historical perspective about the time or place during this time period. That does not mean that it’s not a good book. If you like historical fiction that is more of a well written story set in a romanticized era rather than a historical novel that will give you a new perspective, then it will be perfect for you – and there are many people who do enjoy these types of books. It is a very nice, charming piece of fiction with a little lite romance thrown in as well.

A Guardian of Slaves is on sale now at AMAZON  BARNES AND NOBLE  and ITUNES

03_Naomi Finley[730]Naomi Finley lives in Alberta, Canada. Her love for travel means her suitcase always is on standby while she awaits her next plane ticket and adventure. Her love for history and the Deep South is driven by the several years she spent as a child living in a Tennessee plantation house. She comes from a family of six sisters. She married her high school sweetheart and has two teenage children and two dogs named Ginger and Snaps.
Creativity and passion are the focus of her life. Apart from writing fiction, her interests include interior design, cooking new recipes, throwing lavish dinner parties, movies, health, and fitness.

JOIN EACH STOP ON THE BLOG TOUR:

Friday, February 15
Review at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, February 19
Feature at Maiden of the Pages
Wednesday, February 20
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Feature at Christine’s Book Corner
Thursday, February 21
Feature at Just One More Chapter
Friday, February 22
Excerpt at Random Things Through My Letterbox
Monday, February 25
Review at Macsbooks
Tuesday, February 26
Excerpt at Among the Reads
Wednesday, February 27
Feature at Cover To Cover Cafe
Thursday, February 28
Feature at The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Monday, March 4
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Wednesday, March 6
Feature at Old Timey Books
Thursday, March 7
Feature at What Is That Book About
Friday, March 8
Review at Coffee and Ink

GIVEAWAY:

During the Blog Tour we will be giving a paperback copy of A Guardian of Slaves! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on March 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

ENTER HERE

Many thanks to Amy at @hfvbt and @FinleyAuthor for my copy of this delightful book.

The Familiars @Stacey_Halls

There are times when I get absolutely giddy over a book that I’ve just finished, so much so that I start babbling to my neighbors, call up family members, talk about it to strangers in stores despite their strange looks as though I’ve lost my mind. That is exactly what I have found myself doing with Stacey Halls new book, The Familiars.

39835415Are you familiar with familiars? Yes, I know. I’m part Scottish so these things are embedded into my DNA but for many, I now realize, they are not. A familiar is an animal that is close to a witch who does certain things for the witch. They can act as protectors, spies, a type of servant or, most often, a close companion. If you see one, you most often will see the other because they rarely are separated. 12187815_10153804022438755_392989809902135028_nYou know, kind of like this photo. 😉  Okay fine.

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is the 17 years old mistress at Gawthorpe Hall. The year is 1612, and she pregnant for the fourth time. The problem, however, is that she has yet to bring a child to term, something both she and her husband are concerned about, each for very different reasons. By chance, Fleetwood encounters a woman in the forest on her property. This woman, Alice Gray, claims to be a midwife and promises Fleetwood that she can help her give birth to a healthy child. They agree on terms and Alice is brought into Gawthorpe Hall where Fleetwood almost at once begins to feel better. There are problems, however. King James, as we all should know, is on a witch hunt and his minions who wish to stay in his favor will do whatever necessary to stay in the king’s good graces, including accusing innocent women of witchcraft. Fleetwood has the misfortune of living near Pendle Hill and one of her husband’s dearest friends and benefactor’s is just the sort of man to gather up innocents to appease the king – and that is exactly what he does – including Alice Gray.

I live in a town named Pendleton settled by men originally from Pendle Hill. We actually have a place called Pendle Hill in our tiny town so I have a strange, slightly bizarre fascination with the Pendle witches of Lancashire. When I first read about The Familiars, I was led to believe that it was a witch story and somewhat cutesy. That is far from the truth. This is a story of the women in the surrounding village who eventually were charged with murder and witchcraft at Pendle Hill, specifically, Alice Gray. It is the story of Alice’s friendship with Fleetwood and the extreme measures that Fleetwood took in order to save her friend. It is a beautifully told story of women, devotion, love, motherhood, history and so much more but it is very much rooted in historically accurate research. At the heart of the tale is Fleetwood and her desire to bring her child into the world safely and alive. In order to do so, she truly believes she must have Alice by her side. It isn’t about magic or witchcraft, it is about herbs and knowledge passed down from one generation of women to the next. As we learn, these women were being rounded up far too often because of men who merely wanted them gone for reasons of cheating, anger, because the women were more knowledgeable, not unlike what is happening today when intelligent women are mocked in the public arena. They were also being hanged because their religion no longer aligned with that of King James. Then, as now, religion was a source of war. Isn’t it amazing how absolutely nothing has changed after all of this time? How we have learned nothing from the past?

I absolutely loved the transformation of Fleetwood from silly, frivolous socialite to the mature woman willing to fight for her child and her friend. Women will do that when they have the right influences to guide them and it was beautiful to see how Alice, so quiet and unassuming, could give the much needed confidence to Fleetwood, not with magic but through friendship and care. In the end, this is a novel of historical fiction and it stays true to the story. Twelve women were charged with witchcraft, some were hanged, one landed in stocks for a fortnight and one is released. This is a wonderful imagining of their story, one that I highly recommend!

Thank you to #Netgalley, #Harlequin-Mira and #StacyHalls for my advanced copy of #TheFamiliars.

I’ve included this book toward the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge at Passages to the Past. Won’t you join us as we read our way through history?
2019 (1)

#PassagestothePast #HistoricalFictionChallenge

It’s been a few years since I’ve participated in a reading challenge but Passages to the Past has created a historical fiction challenge again for 2019. I’ll be joining and, if this is a genre that you enjoy, I invite you to join along as well.

Basically, you select a reading level, see below, for the challenge, post on Passages to the Past and link up your reviews throughout the year. Sounds simple enough, right? I’ll be doing this once a month and would love also to link up with you if you join us. The more the merrier!

The Levels
20th Century Reader – 2 books
Victorian Reader – 5 books
Renaissance Reader – 10 books
Medieval – 15 books
Ancient History – 25 books
Prehistoric – 50+ books

Since this is my first challenge in a while, I’ll be going for the Renaissance Reader but hope to, at least, read one a month so my personal goal is 12 books. If you play along, please let me know. 🙂