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Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Cover Reveal: My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

 

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

We’re celebrating Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s Birthday today and you get the gift! Don’t miss the beautiful cover below and a special giveaway, and don’t forget to pre-order your copy today!

 

 

About My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton (Coming 4.3.2018):

 

Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest to Form a More Perfect Union

From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.

A general’s daughter…

Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.

A founding father’s wife…

But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.

The last surviving light of the Revolution…

When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…

 

 

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To celebrate Eliza Schuyler Hamilton’s Birthday today, we have a surprise for you! Share the cover of MY DEAR HAMILTON and click on the Rafflecopter below to receive an Exclusive Excerpt!

 

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– ABOUT THE AUTHORS –

 

 

STEPHANIE DRAY

 

New York Times bestselling author, Stephanie Dray is an award-winning, bestselling and two-time RITA award nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her critically acclaimed series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into eight different languages and won NJRW’s Golden Leaf. As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of genre fiction and American-set historical women’s fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.

 

– CONNECT WITH STEPHANIE –

 

Stephanie’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

 

 

LAURA KAMOIE

 

New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author, Laura Kaye. Her New York Times bestselling debut historical novel, America’s First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

 

– CONNECT WITH LAURA –

 

Laura’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter Sign-Up

 

 

Cover Reveal and Pre-Order: His Hand-Me-Down Countess by Sorcha Mowbray

 

Today we are sharing the cover and pre-order links for HIS HAND-ME-DOWN COUNTESS, the first book in the Lustful Lords series by Sorcha Mowbray. This book is a historical romance title from Jack’s House Publishing, and it will be releasing on September 20th. Check out the pre-order links for the book below.

 

 

His Hand-Me-Down Countess (Lustful Lords, #1) by Sorcha Mowbray

Coming September 20

PRE-ORDER IT NOW!

Kindle US | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | Google

Kindle CA | Kindle UK | Kindle AU

PURCHASE IN PRINT FROM AMAZON

 


– SYNOPSIS –

 

His brother’s untimely death leaves him with an Earldom and a fiancée. Too bad he wants neither of them…

Theodora Lawton has no need of a husband. As an independent woman, she wants to own property, make investments and be the master of her destiny. Unfortunately, her father signed her life away in a marriage contract to the future Earl of Stonemere. But then the cad upped and died, leaving her fate in the hands of his brother, one of the renowned Lustful Lords.

Achilles Denton, the Earl of Stonemere, is far more prepared to be a soldier than a peer. Deeply scarred by his last tour of duty, he knows he will never be a proper, upstanding pillar of the empire. Balanced on the edge of madness, he finds respite by keeping a tight rein on his life, both in and out of the bedroom. His brother’s death has left him with responsibilities he never wanted and isn’t prepared to handle in the respectable manner expected of a peer.

Further complicating his new life is an unwanted fiancée who comes with his equally unwanted title. Saddled with a hand-me-down countess, he soon discovers the woman is a force unto herself. As he grapples with the burden of his new responsibilities, he discovers someone wants him dead. The question is, can he stay alive long enough to figure out who’s trying to kill him while he tries to tame his headstrong wife?

 

 


 

 

– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –

 

Sorcha Mowbray is a mild mannered office worker by day…okay, so she is actually a mouthy, opinionated, take charge kind of gal who bosses everyone around; but she definitely works in an office. At night she writes romance so hot she sets the sheets on fire! Just ask her slightly singed husband.

She is a longtime lover of historical romance, having grown up reading Johanna Lindsey and Judith McNaught. Then she discovered Thea Devine and Susan Johnson. Holy cow! Heroes and heroines could do THAT? From there, things devolved into trying her hand at writing a little smexy. Needless to say, she liked it and she hopes you do too!

For more information about Sorcha, please visit her website, “Like” Sorcha on Facebook and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads. Join Sorcha’s newsletter to be the first to hear about upcoming releases. She loves hearing from her readers. Email her directly at sorcha@sorchamowbray.com. 

 

– AUTHOR LINKS –

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads

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Release Day: Laura Kaye’s Hearts & Ink Coloring Book!

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Laura Kaye’s HEARTS & INK, the adult coloring book inspired by her award-winning and bestselling novels releases today! Thirty exciting and original designs will inspire, relax, and entertain fans old and new! Grab your pencils and crayons and get ready to read – and color – hard!

A NOTE FROM LAURA —

Friends! I am so excited to share that I’ve worked with the awesome Jessica Hildreth at Creative Book Concepts to design my first adult coloring book based on my bestselling books! HEARTS & INK features 30 original designs with quotes from the books, iconic images, and fun backgrounds that I hope will excite long-time fans and intrigue new-to-me readers! I drew the title from my two bestselling series: the HEARTS in Darkness Duet and the Hard INK books! But you’ll also find pages from my new Raven Riders and Blasphemy series, my older paranormal series (the Hearts of the Anemoi based on Greek mythology, my Vampire Warrior Kings series, and my stand-alone novel, Forever Freed). Plus an absolutely gorgeous page from my historical fiction, America’s First Daughter (written as Laura Kamoie). So there’s a lot here to explore and color!

 

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COLOR/POST/WIN GIVEAWAY CONTEST! For your chance to win one of 5 $10 Amazon or B&N gift cards, simply COLOR a page from my coloring book, POST it to Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #HeartsandInk by November 30 at midnight EST, and look for my posts on December 1 to see if you won!

 

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About the Hearts & Ink Adult Coloring Book:

New York Times Bestselling Author Laura Kaye invites you to immerse yourself within her fictional worlds with this adult coloring book inspired by her award-winning and bestselling novels. Thirty exciting and original designs will inspire, relax, and entertain fans old and new! Featuring book quotes and a variety of simple and intricate designs with lots of colorable space, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So grab your pencils and crayons and get ready to read – and color – hard!

 

AVAILABLE ON  AMAZON

 

NOTE FROM VAGABONDA READS —

 

HOW COOL IS THIS COLORING BOOK?!?!?

 

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– ABOUT LAURA KAYE –

laurakaye-34-crop-2Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

– CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR –

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | NEWSLETTER SIGN UP

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Review and Excerpt: The Secret Language of Stones by M. J. Rose

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THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES is a stunning historical gothic romantic suspense published by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, releasing on July 19th. Written to be a total and complete standalone novel, THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES is the second title in M.J. Rose’s The Daughters of La Lune Series. Sexy, compelling, and seductive, be sure to grab your copy today!

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“The most powerful book I’ve read this year! Seductive, compelling, and beautifully written.” ~New York Times bestseller Melissa Foster

 

– SYNOPSIS –

 

 As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

The Secret Language of StonesNestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

 

– EXCERPT –

 

My mother was disappointed I wasn’t following in her footsteps and studying painting but agreed jewelry design offered a fine alternative. I knew my choice appealed to the rebel in her. The field hadn’t yet welcomed women, and my mother, who had broken down quite a few barriers as a female artist and eschewed convention as much as plain white handkerchiefs, was pleased that, like her, I would be challenging the status quo.

When I’d graduated lycée, I convinced my parents to let me apprentice with a local jeweler, and Timur often stopped by Roucher’s shop at the end of the day to collect me and walk me home.

Given our ages, his twenty to my seventeen, it wasn’t surprising our closeness turned physical, and we spent many hours hiding in the shadows of the rocks on the beach as twilight deepened, kissing and exploring each other’s bodies. The heady intimacy was exciting. The passion, transforming. My sense of taste became exaggerated. My sense of smell became more attenuated. The stones I worked with in the shop began to shimmer with a deeper intensity, and my ability to hear their music became fine-tuned.

The changes were as frightening as they were exhilarating. As the passions increased my powers, I worried I was becoming like my mother. And yet my fear didn’t make me turn from Timur. The pleasure was too great. My attraction was fueled by curiosity rather than love. Not so for him. And even though I knew Timur was a romantic, I never guessed at the depths of what he felt.

 

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Early reviews for The Secret Language of Stones by M. J. Rose —

“A dazzling mix of history, mystery and mystical arts . . . Rose’s paranormal historical bewitches from start to finish. Her amazing ability to make her story line believable and her extraordinary protagonist relatable result in an unforgettable psychic thriller.” (Library Journal (Starred review))

“An exciting mix of adventure, intrigue, and romance in this thrilling historical tale.” (Booklist)

“Haunting, spellbinding, captivating; Rose’s story of the power of love and redemption is masterful. More than a romance or ghost story, this is a tale of a young woman learning to embrace her unique qualities…So carefully crafted and beautifully written, readers will believe in the magical possibilities of love transcending time.”  (RT Magazine (Top Pick))

“Rose follows up The Witch of Painted Sorrows (2015) with Sandrine’s daughter’s story, set against the tragic yet exquisite canvases of Paris, the Great War, and the Russian Revolution, and offers fascinating historical tidbits in the midst of bright, imaginative storytelling and complex, supernatural worldbuilding. A compelling, heart-wrenching, creative, and intricate read.”  (Kirkus Reviews)

 

– REVIEW –

 

“ . . . A grand love, you wrote. Did you have a love that grand?” I asked him.

No. I never did. Did you?

“No, and I wouldn’t want to. It would be too painful if it failed.”

But to experience it once—even if it is painful—don’t you think it would be worth it? Wouldn’t you want to know what that kind of intensity is like? Wouldn’t you want to feel that deeply?

Opaline Duplessi to Jean Luc Forèt 

Kindle Loc. 2474 of 4432

Set in Paris during the last year of World War I, M. J. Rose’s The Secret Language of Stones is an enchanting and utterly absorbing story of the romance between the young woman, Opaline Duplessi, and her spectral lover, Jean Luc Forèt.

As a Daughter of La Lune, Opaline descends from a legendary family of witches, each female in the line gifted with specific powers or talents. It is while working as an apprentice jeweler in Paris that Opaline’s gift of lithomancy (the ability to connect with other realms through stones) comes into full fruition.

Using her talent to fashion talismans of remembrance for the grieving families of lost soldiers, Opaline discovers that the crystal talismans are speaking to her, sending her messages from those who have passed.  As quiet word goes out in Paris about the young psychic jeweler and her talismans, Opaline finds herself sought out by the mourners seeking one last contact from their departed loved ones.

One day a grief-stricken mother enters the jewelry shop, seeking Opaline. Denise Alouette has received notice that her son, Jean Luc, has been lost in battle. She commissions Opaline to create a remembrance talisman, giving Opaline a lock of Jean Luc’s hair and the dates of his birth and death. As Opaline starts to assemble the pendant, Jean Luc begins to speak to her through the stones.

Opaline begins to doubt her sanity — Jean Luc’s spirit is far stronger that any she’s encountered in the past. His persistence in seeking her out convinces Opaline that Jean Luc has a significant purpose in her own life. Keeping the finished talisman for herself, a guilty Opaline gives his mother a substitute pendant.

Following his direction, Opaline sets out to learn the facts of Jean Luc’s life, his passions, his dreams. During the course of their connection, Jean Luc’s spirit becomes increasing stronger and a heated romance grows between Opaline and her spirit lover — to the point of physical consummation. (And this reader leaves it to you to discover how the author brilliantly accomplishes this stunningly sensual feat.)

The Secret Language of Stones will captivate your imagination while it grabs your heart. The second novel the M. J. Rose’s The Daughters of La Lune series, it is a stand alone novel and does not required the reader to have read Rose’s The Witch of Painted Sorrows. The romance between Opaline and Jean Luc, centered amid the vestiges of a Belle Époque Paris suffering under German bombardment, combines the mystique of the paranormal with the grim reality of the cost of war.

Beautifully written, author Rose weaves her plot lines with golden threads — the secondary plots, strong and fascinating, could easily stand as their own story. The characters are carefully crafted and, given the story’s premise, completely believable. The rich attention to detail will leave you feeling as if you are taking a walking tour of Paris, whether it be through the halls of the Louvre, or amid the shadows cast by the tombs in the Père Lachaise. Rose generously gives her readers a little bit of everything — intrigue, sorcery, history — not to mention a breathtaking love story that will have the reader devouring every page, down to the very last word.

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2

 

*ARC received from Atria Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

 

 

– BUY THE BOOK –

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

 iBooks | IndieBound

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And Don’t Miss the First Book in The Daughters of La Lune Series, THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS!

 

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Amazon   Barnes and Noble

   iBooks    IndieBound

 

Daughter of La Lune Pendant
 Giveaway!

We’re celebrating the release of THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES by giving away a beautiful Daughter of La Lune pendant. Designed by Cadsawan Jewelry, the silver pendant contains a labradorite, a magical stone excellent for awakening one’s own awareness of inner spirit, intuition, and psychic abilities.

RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

 

– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –

 

M. J. ROSE

 

MJ Rose - HeadshotNew York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Rose’s work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com

The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and currently serves, with Lee Child, as the organization’s co-president.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

 

– AUTHOR LINKS –

 

Website TwitterFacebook 

 Author Goodreads Novel GoodreadsNewsletterPinterest

 

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Chapter Reveal: The Secret Language of Stones by M. J. Rose

MJ TSLOS Collage with magic quote

 

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES is a stunning historical gothic romantic suspense published by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, being released on July 19th. This is the second title in M.J. Rose’s The Daughters of La Lune Series and absolutely not to be missed! Check out the first chapter below then pre-order your copy today!

 

 

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF STONES

by

M. J. ROSE

 

 

As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

 

– SYNOPSIS –

 

The Secret Language of StonesNestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

 

– PRE-ORDER NOW –

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | IndieBound

 

– EXCERPT –

 

Chapter 1

July 19, 1918

“Are you Opaline?” the woman asked before she even stepped all the way into the workshop. From the anxious and distraught tone of her voice, I guessed she hadn’t come to talk about commissioning a bracelet for her aunt or having her daughter’s pearls restrung.

Though not a soldier, this woman was one of the Great War’s wounded, here to engage in the dark arts in the hopes of finding solace. Was it her son or her brother, husband, or lover’s fate that drove her to seek me out?

France had lost more than one million men, and there were battles yet to be fought. We’d suffered the second largest loss of any country in any war in history. No one in Paris remained untouched by tragedy.

What a terrible four years we’d endured. The Germans had placed La Grosse Bertha, a huge cannon, on the border between Picardy and Champagne. More powerful than any weapon ever built, she proved able to send shells 120 kilometers and reach us in Paris.

Since the war began, Bertha had shot more than 325 shells into our city. By the summer of 1918, two hundred civilians had died, and almost a thousand more were hurt. We lived in a state of anticipation and readiness. We were on the front too, as much at risk as our soldiers.

The last four months had been devastating. On March 11, the Vincennes Cemetery in the eastern inner suburbs was hit and hundreds of families lost their dead all over again when marble tombs and granite gravestones shattered. Bombs continued falling into the night. Buildings all over the city were demolished; craters appeared in the streets.

Three weeks later, more devastation. The worst Paris had suffered yet. On Good Friday, during a mass at the Saint-Gervais and Saint-Protais Church, a shell hit and the whole roof collapsed on the congregation. Eighty-eight people were killed; another sixtyeight were wounded. And all over Paris many, many more suffered psychological damage. We became more worried, ever more afraid. What was next? When would it happen? We couldn’t know. All we could do was wait.

In April there were more shellings. And again in May. One hit a hotel in the 13th arrondissement, and because Bertha’s visits were silent, without warning, sleeping guests were killed in their beds.

By the middle of July, there was still no end in sight.

That warm afternoon, while the rain drizzled down, I steeled myself for the expression of grief to match what I’d heard in the customer’s voice. I shut off my soldering machine and put my work aside before I looked up.

Turning soldiers’ wristwatches into trench watches is how I have been contributing to the war effort since arriving in Paris three years ago. History repeats itself, they say, and in my case it’s true. In 1894, my mother ran away from her first husband in New York City and came to Paris. And twenty-one years later, I ran away from my mother in Cannes and came to Paris.

In trying to protect me from the encroaching war and to distract me from the malaise I’d been suffering since my closest friend had been killed, my parents decided to send me to America. No amount of protest, tantrums, bargaining, or begging would change their minds. They were shipping me off to live with family in Boston and to study at Radcliffe, where my uncle taught history.

At ten AM on Wednesday, February 11, 1915 my parents and I arrived at the dock in Cherbourg. French ocean liners had all been acquisitioned for the war, so I was booked on the USMS New York to travel across the sea. A frenetic scene greeted me. Most of the travelers were leaving France out of fear, and the atmosphere was thick with sadness and worry. Faces were drawn, eyes red with crying, as we prepared to board the big hulking ship waiting to transport us away from the terrible war that claimed more and more lives every day.

While my father arranged for a porter to carry my trunk, my mother handed me a last-minute gift, a book from the feel of it, then took me in her arms to kiss me good-bye. I breathed in her familiar scent, knowing it might be a long time until I smelled that particular mixture of L’Etoile’sRouge perfume and the Roger et Gallet poudre de riz she always used to dust her face and décolletage. As she held me and pressed her crimson-stained lips to my cheek, I reached up behind her and carefully unhooked one of the half dozen ropes of cabochon ruby beads slung around her neck.

I let the necklace slip inside my glove, the stones warm as they slid down and settled into my cupped palm.

My mother often told me the story about how, in Paris in 1894, soon after she’d arrived and they’d met, my father helped her secretly pawn some of her grandmother’s treasures to buy art supplies so she could attend École des Beaux-Arts.

Knowing I too might need extra money, I decided to avail myself of some insurance. My mother owned so many strands of those blood-red beads, certainly my transgression would go unnoticed for a long time.

Disentangling herself, my mother dabbed at her eyes with a black handkerchief trimmed in red lace. Like the rubies she always wore, her handkerchiefs were one of her trademarks. Her many eccentricities exacerbated the legends swirling around “La Belle Lune,” as the press called her.

Mon chou, I will miss you. Write often and don’t get into trouble. It’s one thing to break my rules, but listen to your aunt Laura. All right?”

When my father’s turn came, he took me in his arms and exacted another kind of promise. “You will stay safe, yes?” He let go, but only for a moment before pulling me back to plant another kiss on the top of my head and add a coda to his good-bye. “Stay safe,” he repeated, “and please, forgive yourself for what happened with Timur. You couldn’t know what the future would bring. Enjoy your adventure, chérie.”

I nodded as tears tickled my eyes. Always sensitive to me, my father knew how much my guilt weighed on me. My charming and handsome papa always found just the right words to say to me to make me feel special. I didn’t care that I was about to deceive my mother, but I hated that I was going to disappoint my father.

During the winters of 1913 and 1914, my parents’ friends’ son TimurOrloff lived with us in Cannes. He ran a small boutique inside the Carlton Hotel, where, in high season, the hotel rented out space to a select few high-end retailers in order to cater to the celebrities, royalty, and nobility who flocked to the Riviera.

Our families first met when Anna Orloff bought one of my mother’s paintings, and Monsieur Orloff hired my father to design his jewelry store in Paris. A friendship developed that eventually led to my parents offering to house Timur. We quickly became the best of friends, sharing a passion for art and a love of design.

Creating jewelry had been my obsession ever since I’d found my first piece of emerald sea glass at the beach and tried to use string and glue to fashion it into a ring. My father declared jewelry design the perfect profession for the child of a painter and an architect—an ideal way to marry the sense of color and light I’d inherited from my mother and the ability to visualize and design in three dimensions that I’d inherited from him.

My mother was disappointed I wasn’t following in her footsteps and studying painting but agreed jewelry design offered a fine alternative. I knew my choice appealed to the rebel in her. The field hadn’t yet welcomed women, and my mother, who had broken down quite a few barriers as a female artist and eschewed convention as much as plain white handkerchiefs, was pleased that, like her, I would be challenging the status quo.

When I’d graduated lycée, I convinced my parents to let me apprentice with a local jeweler, and Timur often stopped by Roucher’s shop at the end of the day to collect me and walk me home.

Given our ages, his twenty to my seventeen, it wasn’t surprising our closeness turned physical, and we spent many hours hiding in the shadows of the rocks on the beach as twilight deepened, kissing and exploring each other’s body. The heady intimacy was exciting. The passion, transforming. My sense of taste became exaggerated. My sense of smell became more attenuated. The stones I worked with in the shop began to shimmer with a deeper intensity, and my ability to hear their music became fine-tuned.

The changes were as frightening as they were exhilarating. As the passions increased my powers, I worried I was becoming like my mother. And yet my fear didn’t make me turn from Timur. The pleasure was too great. My attraction was fueled by curiosity rather than love. Not so for him. And even though I knew Timur was a romantic, I never guessed at the depths of what he felt.

War broke out during the summer of 1914, and in October, Timur wrote he was leaving for the front to fight for France. Just two weeks after he’d left, I received a poetic letter filled with longing.

Dearest Opaline,

We never talked about what we mean to each other before I left and I find myself in this miserable place, with so little comfort and so much uncertainty. Not the least of which is how you feel about me. I close my eyes and you are there. I think of the past two years and all my important memories include you. I imagine tomorrow’s memories and want to share those with you as well. Here where it’s bleak and barren, thoughts of you keep my heart warm. Do you love me the way I love you? No, I don’t think so, not yet . . . but might you? All I ask is please, don’t fall in love with anyone else while I am gone. Tell me you will wait for me, at least just to give me a chance?

I’d been made uncomfortable by his admission. Handsome and talented, he’d treated me as if I were one of the fine gems he sold. I’d enjoyed his attention and affection, but I didn’t think I was in love. Not the way I imagined love.

And so I wrote a flippant response. Teasing him the way I always did, I accused him of allowing the war to turn him into even more of a romantic. I shouldn’t have. Instead, I should have given him the promise he asked for. Once he came back, I could have set him straight. Then at least, while he remained away, he would have had hope.

Instead, he’d died with only my mockery ringing in his head.

My father was right: I couldn’t have known the future. But I still couldn’t excuse myself for my thoughtless past.

The USMS New York’s sonorous horn blasted three times, and all around us people said their last good-byes. Reluctantly, my father let go of me.

“I’d like you to leave once I’m on board,” I told my parents. “Otherwise, I’ll stand there watching you and I’ll start to cry.”

“Agreed,” my father said. “It would be too hard for us as well.”

Once I’d walked up the gangplank and joined the other passengers at the railing, I searched the crowd, found my parents, and waved.

My mother fluttered her handkerchief. My father blew me a kiss. Then, as promised, they turned and began to walk away. The moment their backs were to me, I ran from the railing, found a porter, pressed some francs into his hand, and asked him to take my luggage from the hold and see me to a taxi.

I would not be sailing to America. I was traveling on a train to Paris. Once ensconced in the cab, I told the driver to transport me to the station. After maneuvering out of the parking space, he joined the crush of cars leaving the port. Moving at a snail’s pace, we drove right past my parents, who were strolling back to the hotel where we’d stayed the night before.

Sliding down in my seat, I hoped they wouldn’t see me, but I’d underestimated my mother’s keen eye.

“Opaline? Opaline?”

Hearing her shout, I rose and peeked out the window. For a moment, they just stood frozen, shocked expressions on their faces. Then my father broke into a run.

“Hurry!” I called out to the driver. “Please.”

At first I thought my father might catch up to the car, but the traffic cleared and my driver accelerated. As we sped away, I saw my father come to a stop and just stand in the road, cars zigzagging all around him as he tried to catch his breath and make sense of what he’d just seen.

Just as we turned the corner, my mother reached his side. He took her arm. I saw an expression of resignation settle on his face. Anger animated hers. I think she knew exactly where I was going. Not because she was clairvoyant, which she was, of course, but because we were alike in so many ways, and if history was about to repeat itself, she wanted me to learn about my powers from her.

I’d been ambivalent about exploring my ability to receive messages that were inaudible and invisible to others—messages that came to me through stones—but I knew if the day came that I was ready, I’d need someone other than her to guide me.

Years ago, when she was closer to my age, my mother’s journey to Paris had begun with her meeting La Lune, a spirit who’d kept herself alive for almost three centuries while waiting for a descendant strong enough to host her. My mother embraced La Lune’s spirit and allowed the witch to take over. But because Sandrine was my mother, I hadn’t been given an option. I’d been born with the witch’s powers running through my veins.

Once my mother made her choice to let La Lune in, she never questioned how she used her abilities. She justified her actions as long as they were for good. Or what she believed was good. But I’d seen her make decisions I thought were morally wrong. So when I was ready to learn about my own talents, I knew it had to be without my mother’s influence. My journey needed to be my own.

“I’m sorry, but I plan to stay in Paris and work for the war effort,” I told my mother when I telephoned home the following day to tell my parents I’d arrived at my great-grandmother’s house.

When my mother first moved to Paris, my great-grandmother tried but failed to hide the La Lune heritage from her. Once my mother discovered it, Grand-mère tried to convince my mother that learning the dark arts would be her undoing. My mother rejected her advice. When Grand-mère’s horror at Sandrine’s possession by La Lune was mistaken for madness, she was put in a sanatorium. Eventually my mother used magick to help restore Grand-mère to health. Part of her healing spell slowed down my great-grandmother’s aging process so in 1918, more than two decades later, she looked and acted like a woman in her sixties, not one approaching ninety.

Grand-mère was one of Paris’s great courtesans. A leftover from the Belle Époque, she remained ensconced in her splendid mansion, still entertaining, still running her salon. Only now she employed women younger than herself to provide the services she once had performed.

“But I don’t want you in Paris,” my mother argued. “Of all places, Opaline, Paris is the most dangerous for you to be on your own and . . .”

The rest of her sentence was swallowed by a burst of crackling. In 1905, we’d been one of the first families to have a telephone. A decade later almost all businesses and half the households in France had one, but transmission could still be spotty.

“What did you say?” I asked.

“It’s too dangerous for you in Paris.”

I didn’t ask what she meant, assuming she referred to how often the Germans were bombarding Paris. But now I know she wasn’t thinking of the war at all but rather of my untrained talents and the temptations and dangers awaiting me in the city where she’d faced her own demons.

I didn’t listen to her entreaties. No, out of a combination of guilt over Timur’s death and patriotism, my mind was set. I was committed to living in Paris and working for the war effort. Only cowards went to America.

I’d known I couldn’t drive ambulances like other girls; I was disastrous behind the wheel. And from having three younger siblings, I knew nursing wasn’t a possibility—I couldn’t abide the sight of blood whenever Delphine, Sebastian, or Jadine got a cut.

Two months after Timur died, his mother, Anna Orloff, who had been like an aunt to me since I’d turned thirteen, wrote to say that, like so many French businesses, her husband’s jewelry shop had lost most of its jewelers to the army. With her stepson, Grigori, and her youngest son, Leo, fighting for France, she and Monsieur needed help in the shop.

Later, Anna told me she’d sensed I needed to be with her in Paris. She had always known things about me no one else had. Like my mother, Anna was involved in the occult, one reason she had been attracted to my mother’s artwork in the first place. For that alone, I should have eschewed her interest in me. After all, my mother’s use of magick to cure or cause ills, attract or repel people, as well as read minds and sometimes change them, still disturbed me. Too often I’d seen her blur the line between dark and light, pure and corrupt, with ease and without regret. That her choices disturbed me angered her.

Between her paintings, which took her away from my brother and sisters and me, and her involvement with the dark arts, I’d developed two minds about living in the occult world my mother inhabited with such ease.

Yet I was drawn to Anna for her warmth and sensitive nature— so different from my mother’s elaborate and eccentric one. Because I’d seen Anna be so patient with her sons’ and my siblings’ fears, I thought she’d be just as patient with mine. I imagined she could be the lamp to shine a light on the darkness I’d inherited and teach me control so I wouldn’t accidentally traverse the lines my mother crossed so boldly.

Undaunted, I’d fled from the dock in Cherbourg to Paris, and for more than three years I’d been ensconced in Orloff’s gem of a store, learning from a master jeweler.

To teach me his craft, Monsieur had me work on a variety of pieces, but my main job involved soldering thin bars of gold or silver to create cages that would guard the glass on soldiers’ watch faces.

To some, what I did might have seemed a paltry effort, but in the field, at the front, men didn’t have the luxury of stopping to pull out a pocket watch, open it, and study the hour or the minute. They needed immediate information and had to wear watches on their wrists. And war isn’t kind to wristwatches. A sliver of shrapnel can crack the crystal. A whack on a rock as you crawl through a dugout can shatter the face. Soldiers required timepieces they could count on to be efficient and sturdy enough to withstand the rigors of combat.

Monsieur Orloff taught me how to execute the open crosshatched grates that fit over the watch crystal through which the soldiers could read the hour and the minute. While I worked, I liked to think I projected time for them. But the thought did little to lift my spirits. It was their lives that needed protecting. France had lost so many, and still the war dragged on. So as I fused the cages, I attempted to imbue the metal with an armor of protective magick. Something helpful to do with my inheritance. Something I should have known how to do. After all, I am one of the Daughters of La Lune.

But as I discovered, the magick seemed to only make its way into the lockets I designed for the wives and mothers, sisters and lovers of soldiers already killed in battle. The very word “locket” contains everything one needs to know about my pieces. It stems from old French “loquet,” which means “miniature lock.” Since the 1670s, “locket” has been used to describe a keepsake charm or brooch with a personal memento, such as a portrait or a curl of hair, sealed inside, sometimes concealed by a false front.

My lockets always contained secrets. They were made of crystal, engraved with phrases and numbers, and filled with objects that had once belonged to the deceased soldiers. Encased in gold, these talismans hung on chains or leather. Of all the work I did, I found that it wasn’t the watches but the solace my lockets gave that proved to be my greatest gift to the war effort.

 

old letters, french post cards and empty open book. nostalgic vintage background

 

Early reviews of The Secret Magic of Stones

A dazzling mix of history, mystery and mystical arts . . . Rose’s paranormal historical bewitches from start to finish. Her amazing ability to make her story line believable and her extraordinary protagonist relatable result in an unforgettable psychic thriller.” (Library Journal (Starred review))

“An exciting mix of adventure, intrigue, and romance in this thrilling historical tale.” (Booklist)

“Haunting, spellbinding, captivating; Rose’s story of the power of love and redemption is masterful. More than a romance or ghost story, this is a tale of a young woman learning to embrace her unique qualities…So carefully crafted and beautifully written, readers will believe in the magical possibilities of love transcending time.”  (RT Magazine (Top Pick))

“Rose follows up The Witch of Painted Sorrows (2015) with Sandrine’s daughter’s story, set against the tragic yet exquisite canvases of Paris, the Great War, and the Russian Revolution, and offers fascinating historical tidbits in the midst of bright, imaginative storytelling and complex, supernatural worldbuilding. A compelling, heart-wrenching, creative, and intricate read.”  (Kirkus Reviews)

 

– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –

 

M. J. ROSE

 

MJ Rose - HeadshotNew York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice… books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it.

Rose’s work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com

The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and currently serves, with Lee Child, as the organization’s co-president.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

 

– AUTHOR LINKS –

 

Website TwitterFacebook 

 Author Goodreads Novel GoodreadsNewsletterPinterest

 

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Release Week Blitz and Review: America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

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We are absolutely thrilled to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER, a historical fiction novel is published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, and releasing March 1, 2016! AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER is a compelling, richly researched novel by bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. Drawing from thousands of letters and original sources, the authors reveal the fascinating, untold story of Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph, Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter.  Patsy was one of the most influential women in American history: not only the progeny of a founding father – and the woman who held his secrets close to her heart – but a key player in the shaping of our nation’s legacy.  And her story is one seldom told, until now.  Make sure you grab your copy today!

 

 

 

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE 

 iBOOKS | KOBO 

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– ABOUT –

In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

Americas First Daughter - coverFrom her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

 

– EXCERPT –

 

It was my haste that made me stumble halfway down the stairs. Only a wild, wrenching grasp at the carved wooden rail saved me from a broken neck. Alas, the heavy fall of my feet echoed up the staircase and drew my father from his rooms.

“Patsy?” he called, peering over the bannister.

I froze, breathless, my belly roiling with shock and anger and revulsion. I ought to have pretended that I didn’t hear him say my name. I ought to have hurried on, leaving him with only the sight of my back. I ought never to have looked up at him over my shoulder.

But I did look up.

There on the landing my father loomed tall, a tendril of his ginger hair having come loose from its ribbon, his shirt worn without its neck cloth, the stark white linen setting off more vividly the red flush that crept up his throat. Was it shame for his behavior with Sally or . . . ardor?

On the heels of giving witness to his behavior, the thought was so excruciatingly horrifying that heat swept over me, leaving me to wish I’d burn away to dust.

“Are you hurt?” Papa asked, hoarsely.

I couldn’t reply, my mouth too filled with the bitter taste of bile. Finally, I forced a shake of my head.

He glanced back to the door, then back at me, his hand half-covering his mouth. “Were—were you at my door just now?”

“No,” I whispered, as much as I could manage under my suffocating breathlessness. And how dare he ask if I’d been at his door when neither of us could bear the honest answer? Even if Papa didn’t know what I’d seen, he knew what he’d done.

He ought to have been downstairs with us, reacquainting himself with the little daughter who still didn’t remember him. He ought to have been sipping cider with the young man who fancied me, giving his permission to court. He ought to have been doing a hundred other things. Instead, he was preying upon my dead mother’s enslaved half-sister—and the wrongness of it filled my voice with a defiant rage.

“No, I wasn’t at your door.” I held his gaze, letting him see what he would.

My father paused on the precipice, clearing his throat, absently smearing the corner of his lips with one thumb. “Well—well. . .did you need something?” As if my needs were at the forefront of his thoughts.

My fingers curled into fists as a lie came to me suddenly, and sullenly. “I was coming up to fetch my prayer book.” Surely he knew it was a lie, but I didn’t care. If he challenged me, I’d lie again, without even the decency of dropping my eyes. I’d lie because between a father and a daughter, what I’d witnessed was unspeakable. And I’d learned from the man who responded with silence to my letters about politics or adultery or the liberation of slaves. . . .

Papa never spoke on any subject he didn’t want to.

Neither would I.

“Are you certain you weren’t hurt,” Papa finally murmured, “ . . . on the stairs?”

Rage burned inside me so hotly I thought it possible that my handprint might be seared upon the railing. I bobbed my head, grasped my skirt, and took two steps down before my father called to me again.

“Patsy?”

I couldn’t face him, so I merely stopped, my chest heaving with the effort to restrain myself from taking flight. “What?

A heavy silence descended. One filled with pregnant emotion. I feared he might be so unwise as to attempt to explain himself, to justify or confess his villainous lapse in judgment, but when he finally spoke, it was only to ask, “What of your prayer book?”

Swallowing hard, I forced words out despite the pain. “I’ve reconsidered my need of it. I’m not as apt as some people to forget what it says.”

 

 

– REVIEW –

 

“ . . .  my whole life has been, in some sense, a song that could never be sung without you. There is almost nothing I’ve ever been that I could’ve been without my dear and beloved daughter, the cherished companion of my early life, and nurse of my old age.”

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Indeed, the above sentiment of an aged and dying Thomas Jefferson to his daughter, Pasty (Martha) Jefferson Randolph is the driving force behind Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie’s debut historical novel, America’s First Daughter.

Historical fiction, when done well, is to this reader, like an exquisite meal — layered chapters in lieu of courses, but both leaving the participant nurtured, entertained, and perhaps, wanting for a bit more. Authors Dray and Kamoie do not disappoint.

After Jefferson’s death, his daughter, Patsy undertakes the cataloging of her father’s papers. As she encounters certain letters, Patsy’s reflections take the reader back to that time, recounting her life as the daughter of one of America’s founding fathers.

Authors Dray and Kamoie, skillfully utilize the letters as devices, carefully constructing Patsy’s character as she lives her life, each chapter revealing more detail of this extraordinary woman.

Divided into three parts, Patsy takes us back to her childhood in Part One — Dutiful Daughter. One vivid memory is that of fleeing the British, who are determined to capture the then Governor of Virginia, her father. Patsy recalls a hasty retreat from Monticello with her mother — a weakened and ill Martha  — along with her younger sister, Polly. It’s a riveting passage that reminds one how very fragile is the nature of both country and life.

Upon the death of her mother, Martha, is it upon the young Patsy to bear witness to the depth of her father’s grief, and it can be said with a bit of certainty that, without Patsy’s stalwart presence in the years after her mother’s death, Thomas Jefferson would not have survived. Even as acting Minister to France, be it in the ballrooms or salons of Paris, or back home in his beloved Monticello, it is Patsy that Jefferson looks upon as his anchor.

Part Two – Founding Mother, recounts Patsy’s years as the wife of Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.

A handsome and dashing Virginia plantation owner, Randolph sweeps Patsy off her feet — a feat, if you will, considering Patsy’s heart lies elsewhere. Her first and true love, Jefferson’s assistant William Short, is sent on assignment after her father determines Short isn’t suitor material for his beloved daughter.  However, Jefferson does approve of Randolph and agreeably gives Patsy to him in marriage.

After reading Dray and Kamoie’s account of the Jefferson-Randolph marriage, one wonders why Patsy married at all.  Suffice to say, Patsy was a dutiful and caring wife who gave Randolph twelve children, raising eleven (losing one daughter in infancy). Patsy’s thoughts continually duel between her duty as wife to Tom, and her place beside her father — so much so that many years later, Tom (rightfully) charges Patsy —

“Your father is your true worry.  No one can ever shine so brightly in your eyes. He’s always your first concern.”

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Part Three — Mistress of Monticello, details Patsy’s life upon her return to Monticello with Tom (now a drunkard and financial failure) and their children. Also chronicled are the final years of her father’s life. Patsy comes to terms with her failed marriage, her father’s love for Sally Hemmings, Jefferson’s death and its implications, and, ultimately, herself.

Throughout America’s First Daughter, one is struck with the absolute sense of place and duty that permeates Patsy’s being.  She is acutely aware that she has the power to shape history, not only through her influence on her father, but with the weight of power she has inherited simply by being the daughter of Thomas Jefferson.  In a society that regards women as property, Patsy deftly maneuvers herself into a male-only society that welcomes her regard.

The crafting of Patsy’s character is subtle and on point — she is neither shallow nor a martyr, nor is she imperious. Rather, Patsy is a study in reserve. By any measure, Patsy is the Amazon/Angel that William Short christened her to be. Case in point  — it is only upon the death of her father that Patsy allows herself to feel the full measure of grief over the death of her mother, Martha — forty-four years earlier.

Authors Dray and Kamoie succeed in embroidering Patsy’s narrative in rich but not overwhelming detail. Thomas Jefferson is given his full measure as the brilliant co-founder of a nation, but truthfully characterized as a man with feet of clay. The secondary characters all have their purpose — no one is extraneous, and their behaviors fit the mindset of the times. This reader found passages to be gripping at times, heartbreaking and infuriating at others. Dray and Kamoie rightfully expose slavery as the sin of this nation. Sally Hemmings is written with a grace and strength of character equal only to Patsy’s. The decline of Thomas Randolph is documented in such a way that the reader recognizes the unavoidable tragedy but is still compelled to witness his descent. William Short, the man of Patsy’s heart, appears and disappears throughout the story and seems to be written as the voice of her conscience. This reader found the story of their romance to be simply another example of Patsy’s sacrifices for the good of her father and country.

Ultimately, it is the character of Patsy, not her father, that lingers curiously in the mind. Credit Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie in crafting an excellent story based upon a fascinating woman. America’s First Daughter will leave the reader with a sense of insight into the mind, heart and life of the most remarkable Patsy Jefferson Randolph.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*An ARC of this story was received by William Morrow in exchange for an honest review.*

 

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Advanced praise for AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER —

“America’s First Daughter brings a turbulent era to vivid life. All the conflicts and complexities of the Early Republic are mirrored in Patsy’s story. It’s breathlessly exciting and heartbreaking by turns-a personal and political page-turner.” (Donna Thorland, author of The Turncoat)

“Painstakingly researched, beautifully hewn, compulsively readable — this enlightening literary journey takes us from Monticello to revolutionary Paris to the Jefferson White House, revealing remarkable historical details, dark family secrets, and bringing to life the colorful cast of characters who conceived of our new nation. A must read.” (Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress)

 

 

 

– ABOUT THE AUTHORS –

 

About Stephanie Dray:

DrayAuthorPhotoSTEPHANIE DRAY is an award-winning, bestselling and two-time RITA award nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her critically acclaimed series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into eight different languages and won NJRW’s Golden Leaf. As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of genre fiction and American-set historical women’s fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.

 

 

 

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 AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER Website

 

 

About Laura Kamoie:

IMG_3248LAURA KAMOIE has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty books, Laura Kaye. Her debut historical novel, America’s First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

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 AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER Website

 

 

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– RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY –

 

 

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER —

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AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER

by

STEPHANIE DRAY and LAURA KAMOIE

 

About AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER —

IMG_3246In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

 

– PURCHASE LINKS  –

 

AMAZON  BARNES and NOBLE  iBOOKS  KOBO

 

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– ABOUT THE AUTHORS –

 

About Stephanie Dray:

DrayAuthorPhotoSTEPHANIE DRAY is an award-winning, bestselling and two-time RITA award nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her critically acclaimed series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into eight different languages and won NJRW’s Golden Leaf. As Stephanie Draven, she is a national bestselling author of genre fiction and American-set historical women’s fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.

 

 

Website | Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter 

 AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER Website

 

About Laura Kamoie:

IMG_3248LAURA KAMOIE has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty books, Laura Kaye. Her debut historical novel, America’s First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.

 

Website | Newsletter | Facebook |Twitter 

 AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER Website

InkSlinger Blogger Final

 

Release Blitz: My Wounded Soldier

MWS Release Banner

My Wounded Soldier – Book Two: Fight for Love

by Diane Munier

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 – Synopsis –

Tom Tanner has taken on a family. He lived through the war, but becoming a lover and pa to two small children may be the role that breaks him. This is the story of a man’s slow rise from black sheep to patriarch. 1866 is a time of learning to carry on in the aftermath of civil war. Tom is ready to heal, ready to take over Addie’s farm and make it a grand place. He has money from reupping in the war and reward money for bringing a few notorious outlaws. Can Addie’s love help him settle and become an outstanding man like his pa? It’s the only fight worth making– a fight for love.

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Publication Date: August 8, 2015

Genre: Historical Western Romance

Cover Designer: Bookstylings

 – Purchase Links –

Amazon

US – http://tiny.cc/ibtz0x

UK – http://tiny.cc/actz0x

CA – http://tiny.cc/3ctz0x

 – Excerpt –

She told me of her mother then.  Greta.  She took in washing. And brought men home. And my wife, a slight girl scrubbing on the board.  That’s what I felt in her hands.  So sweetly shaped, so brined to the work.  A lady almost, but not in her marrow.  There, the laundry girl, the dirty laundry girl.  And the men.  Her learning to stand, given a knife by the neighbor woman. “Protect yourself,” the woman said. “No one else will.” And so she did, too young, too scared, too soon.

Like Johnny.  He got took to the dark and it stabbed the tender in him and the dark came in.

I sat up and held her to me, stroking her hair while she told me.  I felt so many things with her, the fear, yes, the joy, teaser 1yes.  The old wounds, yes.  The new wonder of it, yes.  The mother, and back more.  The girl, yes.  The little broken one, yes.  No man to ever rise up, and if he did, she met him with just herself and her brave eyes.

“Lass,” I said, but only once.  I did not wish to let the pump run dry, for her words gifted me an understanding I had lacked.

I would be the pa to her sometimes.  I knew that now.  She wouldn’t want it much, but sometimes she would, almost like Johnny, me going back in her, me angry for her, saying what she knew and didn’t get a chance to rail about.  Letting her know I was here now.  I was here.

It was a part of it for us.  There was this little one in there still holding that knife, sometimes at me, yes that’s what I saw.  That knife she used and left in a man who tried to take her in an alley. That’s when she met him—her husband. She went in his store after the attack. He was kind. But God…he was weak.

But that’s how he got in.  He wiped her face, but he was no hero.  She made him feel, and then he couldn’t find it in himself to love her.  She was something he hadn’t seen…too alive…too much of everything.

“I am not him,” I told her, and oh I was not.  The dark had its hands around my throat time and time, but it did not finish me.  I was just a man, but I stood tall.  Like it or don’t, I did the hard thing.

“I am Tom Tanner, your man,” I said, “the good of him, the ugly, too.  But I am not Richard Varn.  I have my own sins, but I do not carry the sins of another.  Nor will I,” I said, not sure what I meant by this speech, but I said it with force.

 – Other Books in the Series –

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My Wounded Soldier – Book One: Fight For Glory

by Diane Munier

 – Synopsis –

Wounded Soldier, Book One: Fight for Glory, is my newest offering on Amazon. This is the saga of Tom Tanner and his reluctant love for Addie Varner.

After he mustered out of the Twenty-Seventh, Tom never expected to follow the boys home to Illinois. Having failed to protect his older brother Garrett, Tom planned to take his wounds out west where a man could get lost under the endless sky. But his father prevailed on him to come home and comfort his grieving mother.

Tom had nearly filled his obligation when the neighbor boy came running and calling his name as he worked in the field. Johnny was the boy that looked like his mother, Mrs. Varn. Tom had seen the woman at meeting. She rattled him some for he’d not had a woman, just that one time and he’d been liquored up and taking a dare and were he to have one, she was not hardship to look at. But Johnny was calling for him. Tom knew the sounds of war. The country was rife with veterans, some looking for trouble instead of home. What Tom finds at the Varner’s farm offers him a new kind of battle, a new kind of glory trail.

I have been writing this story for fifteen years. In its various forms it has garnered attention in literary contests and with a number of writerly folks. But stuck in ‘bridesmaid,’ mode it has never really walked the aisle. Until now. I hope you give it a spin and maybe fall in love.

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Publication Date: July 4, 2015

Genre: Historical Western Romance

 – Purchase Links –

Amazon

(FREE Kindle Unlimited)

US – http://tiny.cc/kmuz0x

UK – http://tiny.cc/2muz0x

CA – http://tiny.cc/inuz0x

– Meet Diane Munier –

Living comfortably in the heart of America with the people I love. I live an extroverted life, but I’m a genuine introvert. An urban kid, I spent much of my youth running in various 61cY5VyD7NL._UX250_neighborhood establishments. There I met many colorful characters and I learned to love them and be fascinated by them. My love of story comes from them. I learned to sit on a bar stool or a kitchen chair or in a pew and hear story. Hear the voices telling story. See the mouths move and the hands clutching glasses or cigarettes. See and hear the laughter. There is no greater honor than to hear someone’s story. If you feel that way about the tales I tell…what more could I ask.

 – Stalker Links – 

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

 – Giveaway –

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: My Wounded Soldier: Book One: Fight for Glory

My Wounded Soldier: Book One: Fight for Glory

by

Diane Munier

People read books for many reasons — to learn, to be entertained, to find comfort, to find one’s self, to escape.  It is rare that one comes across a book that satisfies so many aspects of reading, but when that book is found, it is to be treasured, to be cherished.  Such is the case with master storyteller Diane Munier’s epic work, My Wounded Solder: Part One: Fight for Glory. 

The first IMG_1828in a two part series, My Wounded Soldier: Part One: Fight for Glory is set in the American Midwest, just after the end of the Civi War.  A bloodied nation begins to mend, its citizens — soldiers and civilians alike — weary, wounded, if not by bullets then by sorrow.  It is against this backdrop that we meet Tom Tanner – an ex-soldier, back to working his family’s farm, wounded in spirit, haunted by his actions on the battlefield, a hero to all but himself.  One morning, he hears the panicked call for help by a young boy at a neighboring farm.  And upon answering that call, Tom finds another bloodied battlefield, the only survivors the young boy and his now-widowed mother, Addie Varn. And it is here that Tom begins his journey of love, self-discovery, confession and redemption.

Written in a prose that is at times breathtaking, Diane Munier takes us into the heart and mind of Tom, struggling with his inner demons as he heads out to reclaim his life, spurred on by his steadfast love for Addie.  In a time when adventure could be found around the next bend, and all a man required was a good horse and a steady aim, Munier keeps the action at an even, but rapid pace, reminiscent of a Larry McMurtry novel. Tanner’s voice is authentic, clear, purposeful  — never wavering as he awakens from the numbness of his soul:

“I realized something, and it was a hard thing, but true all the same. It’s going against my own code made me sick. More than anything I went through in the war, or even today. It’s going against my own code made me sickest of all. I was here to lead and protect, I’d always known it. And when I could not…well I wasn’t God, was I? I had to let myself by. I had to let myself live.”

My Wounded Soldier: Part One: Fight for Glory, page 195 (ARC)

Her settings, ancillary characters, are all believable. And through the words and actions of all of these characters, Munier, once again, reveals to her readers the paths to redemption, the necessity of surrender and the power of love.

The only issue this reader found with this book was its seemingly abrupt ending. It’s not a cliffhanger — there is resolution and one could say that it stands on its own — after all, Tom Tanner is not the sort of character who would shake a handful of clay to the heavens, vowing never to be hungry again.  You decide.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*I was gifted this ARC by the author for an honest review.*

Diane Munier’s My Wounded Soldier: Book One: Fight for Glory

My Wounded Soldier_Diane Munier banner

1866
All across the country men are drifting home from the war. But when Tom Tanner musters out, he doesn’t plan to go home. He has been working in the brickyard in Springfield trying to save enough money to buy a rig and head west. He’s not expecting his father to show up and plead with him to return to the farm. After the horrible loss of his older brother, Tom doesn’t feel worthy of the family’s company. But his guilt won’t allow him to cause them more pain and so he goes home for one last visit. It’s hard to find normal around the folks. The work of harvest provides the perfect distraction. Once the crops are in he’ll go so far away they’ll never have to look at him again. But his plans are challenged one day. Tom is working in the field when the neighbor boy, Johnny, comes running for help. What Tom finds at the neighbor’s home is a scene right out of the war. But it’s not just about killing. The Missus Addie Varn, is ready to birth. Tom wants to run, and he will come fall, but now he must roll up his sleeves and play midwife.

To celebrate the release of MWS Book 1, those who have given a “Yes” RSVP to Diane’s Facebook event page by midnight of July 3rd will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of ‘My Wounded Soldier Book Two: Fight for Love’ which will be available for Pre-order July 4th. There will be 5 winners.

So on July 4th, celebrate with family and fireworks, start reading My Wounded Soldier Book 1, and stop by this event page to see if you’re a winner and to hear a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! Exciting stuff is happening!

Additionally, there will be a Facebook Release Party on June 9th, hosted by Jedigirlsc and Frannie Flower. Please add the three of us as friends on Facebook to keep up with all the news.

My Wounded Soldier Buy Links

Amazon

My Wounded Soldier Bio

Diane profile picLiving comfortably in the heart of America with the people I love. I live an extroverted life, but I’m a genuine introvert. An urban kid, I spent much of my youth running in various neighborhood establishments. There I met many colorful characters and I learned to love them and be fascinated by them. My love of story comes from them. I learned to sit on a bar stool or a kitchen chair or in a pew and hear story. Hear the voices telling story. See the mouths move and the hands clutching glasses or cigarettes. See and hear the laughter. There is no greater honor than to hear someone’s story. If you feel that way about the tales I tell…what more could I ask.

My Wounded Soldier Connect

Website: www.dianemunier.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dianemunierauthor
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/dianemunier
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dianemunier

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