Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Holidays from Let Them Read Books!


Let Them Read Books is on hiatus through the holidays!

Thank you so much for your support throughout the year, a year that's reminded us of the importance of books to transport us in time and place!

Wishing you and yours a very merry season!

I'll see you in 2021!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Blog Tour Q&A with Mimi Matthews, Author of Gentleman Jim

Please join me in welcoming bestselling author Mimi Matthews to Let Them Read Books! Mimi is touring the blogosphere with her new release, Gentleman Jim, and I recently had the chance to ask her some questions about writing this tale of romance and revenge!

She Couldn't Forget...

Wealthy squire's daughter Margaret Honeywell was always meant to marry her neighbor, Frederick Burton-Smythe, but it's bastard-born Nicholas Seaton who has her heart. Raised alongside her on her father's estate, Nick is the rumored son of notorious highwayman Gentleman Jim. When Fred frames him for theft, Nick escapes into the night, vowing to find his legendary sire. But Nick never returns. A decade later, he's long been presumed dead.

He Wouldn't Forgive...

After years spent on the continent, John Beresford, Viscount St. Clare has finally come home to England. Tall, blond, and dangerous, he's on a mission to restore his family's honor. If he can mete out a bit of revenge along the way, so much the better. But he hasn't reckoned for Maggie Honeywell. She's bold and beautiful--and entirely convinced he's someone else.

As danger closes in, St. Clare is torn between love and vengeance. Will he sacrifice one to gain other? Or, with a little daring, will he find a way to have them both?


Advance Praise:

"Tartly elegant. . . A vigorous, sparkling, and entertaining love story with plenty of Austen-ite wit."— Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Matthews ups the ante with a wildly suspenseful romance..."— Library Journal, starred review

"Equally passionate and powerful...Mimi Matthews proves once again that she is a master of historical fiction in Gentleman Jim."— Readers' Favorite

"Rollicking and romantic, passionate and intriguing...Regency romance does not get any better than Gentleman Jim."— Relz Reviewz


Hi Mimi! Thanks so much for visiting Let Them Read Books!

What inspired you to write Gentleman Jim?

I’m a huge fan of Alexandre Dumas’s 1844 novel The Count of Monte Cristo, and of Henry Fielding’s 1749 novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling. I love the idea of hidden identities, and of justice deferred—but not denied.

Did your characters pop into your head fully formed or did they take shape as you wrote?

Maggie and Nicholas were pretty well formed in my mind when I started the story. Of course, they developed and changed as I wrote. Their growth from passionate reckless teens into (slightly) less reckless adults was part of their journey.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this story?

I wrote the first few chapters of Gentleman Jim several years ago. I’ve grown as a writer since then, so it was a challenge to revise those early chapters and then write the remaining 70% of the story from scratch without losing the spark of inspiration I’d had in the beginning.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Book Blast: Betrayal by the Historical Fictioneers

Betrayal
by the Historical Fictioneers

Published: November 17, 2020
Formats: eBook; 436 pages
Genre: Historical short stories


"Loyalty breaks as easily as a silken thread."

Misplaced trust, power hunger, emotional blackmail, and greed haunt twelve characters from post-Roman Britain to the present day. And betrayal by family, lover, comrade can be even more devastating.

Read twelve tales by twelve accomplished writers who explore these historical yet timeless challenges from post Roman Britain to the present day.

AD455—Roman leader Ambrosius is caught in a whirlpool of shifting allegiances
AD940—Alyeva and cleric Dunstan navigate the dangers of the Anglo Saxon court
1185—Knight Stephan fights for comradeship, duty, and honour. But what about love?
1330—The powerful Edmund of Kent enters a tangled web of intrigue
1403—Thomas Percy must decide whether to betray his sovereign or his family
1457—Estelle is invited to the King of Cyprus’s court, but deception awaits
1483—Has Elysabeth made the right decision to bring Prince Edward to London?
1484—Margaret Beaufort contemplates the path to treason
1577—Francis Drake contends with disloyalty at sea
1650—Can James Hart, Royalist highwayman, stop a nemesis destroying his friend?
1718—Pirate Annie Bonny, her lover Calico Jack, and a pirate hunter. Who will win?
1849/present—Carina must discover her ancestor’s betrayer in Italy or face ruin.

“I read this anthology from start to finish in a matter of days…. Each story is gripping.”– Discovering Diamonds Reviews

About the Historical Fictioneers:

Hailing from two continents and five countries, the Historical Fictioneers include Judith Arnopp, Cryssa Bazos, Anna Belfrage, Derek Birks, Helen Hollick, Amy Maroney, Alison Morton, Charlene Newcomb, Tony Riches, Mercedes Rochelle, Elizabeth St John, and Annie Whitehead. 

The Historical Fictioneers can be reached via their Facebook Group at http://bit.ly/HistoricalFictioneers

Betrayal is offered as a FREE download from Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books and Barnes & Noble. Claim your eBook today: https://books2read.com/BetrayalAnthology

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Guest Post: The Girl with the Silver Star by Rachel Zolotov

Please join me in welcoming Rachel Zolotov to Let Them Read Books! Rachel is celebrating the release of her debut historical novel, The Girl with the Silver Star, and I'm thrilled to have her here today with a guest post about the inspiration for the novel: her own family's harrowing history. Read on and grab the Kindle copy for only $2.99!

For the readers of The Nightingale and Lilac Girls, inspired by the true story of the author’s great-grandmother’s journey during World War II, The Girl with the Silver Star is the extraordinary story of a mother’s love and will to survive during one of history’s darkest time periods.

As a hailstorm of bombs begins to shatter the city of Minsk in Belarus, Raisa and her family run through the darkness of night to take cover. When Raisa, Abraham, and their daughters, Luba and Sofia, emerge from the bomb shelter, they find an unfamiliar city before them; chaos and terror burn in every direction. Fearing for their lives, they must leave at once to find the rest of their family. But before they are able to escape, Abraham is conscripted into the Russian Army and the family is forced to part ways. Raisa’s love and strength are put to the ultimate test as she finds herself on her own with her two young daughters in tow. How will she manage alone without her soulmate by her side?

Relying on hope, resourcefulness and courage, they walk, hitch hike and take trains heading for Uzbekistan, over 2,500 miles from home. Along the way they run from bombs, endure starvation, and face death.

Raisa finds solace in the women around her. Her mother, sisters, old friends and new help carry her through the difficult war years, but Raisa’s longing to reunite with Abraham still rages inside her heart. Will they ever see each other again? Will Raisa and her family find their way back to their homeland?

The Girl with the Silver Star is a captivating journey through war-torn Soviet Union as it illuminates a unique part of WWII history, the female heroes. Raisa’s journey is a tribute to the nameless women, their determination, bravery, grief and unwavering love during impossible times. Their stories shouldn’t be forgotten.  



It was early winter of 2016 and I had just finished reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. As I turned the last page and closed the book, I started to think back to the stories my parents had told me about by family during WWII, and I suddenly realized that I didn’t really know much about what they went through. My family is Jewish, and they lived in Minsk, Belarus – I knew there had to be more to their story than just the few details I had overheard as a child. 

As a young girl, I could be often found evading bedtime by reading historical novels and memoirs from WWII under the covers with a flashlight. This fascination didn’t stop in adulthood, so how was it that I barely knew anything about my own family’s past?

I picked up the phone and called my mother, on a mission to find out more. I had my notebook ready to scrawl down all the details. A few minutes later, I had a page of notes, but barely any more information than I had already known. My mother explained that they didn’t talk about those times much. For obvious reasons, it was too painful of a memory to relive. There was, however, one detail that I didn’t already know. My great-grandmother Raisa and her two girls, Luba (my grandmother) and Sofia, evacuated to Uzbekistan during the war.

I was having a hard time imagining how many countless miles it took to get from Minsk to Tashkent. After a quick search, I discovered how incredibly far they had to travel; over 4,000 km. That’s about the same distance as New York to San Diego. They walked some of the way, and took trains for the rest. As a mother of two girls myself, I thought about taking that journey with them under those circumstances, and couldn’t fathom how they survived such a journey. I was instantly drawn to find as many of the puzzle pieces as I could.

That was all it took. One conversation and a few hours of research later, I was inspired. I needed to know more, and thus it began, The Girl with the Silver Star.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Blog Tour Excerpt: Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. She soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. 

She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio Don. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness. 

Prospects of a Woman is a fresh, authentic retelling of the West that explores women’s contributions in California and shatters the stereotypes of the typical hard-boiled novel of the West that has captured the American imagination for over a century.


Praise: 

"Prospects of a Woman is a fascinating, complex, dark, and beautiful novel of women and sexuality on the frontier of the California gold strike days." 
— Douglas Glover, two-time Governor General's award-winning author of Elle

"I loved this surprisingly feminist story of Gold Rush-era California! Elizabeth Parker is a heroine to fall in love with--plucky, sensuous, courageous and clear-eyed. It is a rare and unusual pleasure to—finally—have a narrative of the Gold Rush told from a woman’s point of view."
—Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

"Prospects of a Woman is thoughtful and thrilling. The landscape of California - the rough-scrabble mining towns, the wildness of the river and woods -- sings on every page."
—Alex Myers, author of the novels Revolutionary and Divide

"Prospects of a Woman is a riveting read about a woman who comes to California during the Gold Rush determined to escape societal constraints, find love and strike it rich. As a woman in a man’s world, she faces innumerable challenges but manages to rise above them. This is a bold, rollicking and satisfying tale, one that is hard to put down."
—Frances Dinkelspiel, award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling books, Tangled Vines and Towers of Gold

Excerpt:

“God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please; you can never have both.” 

Hiking out of the steep gorge was goddamn difficult, going barefoot over all those sharp rocks and prickly pine needles. She couldn’t very well wear Henry’s man boots with her only fancy dress on her first visit to Coyoteville, so she wore nothing on her feet. Done feeling sorry for herself, she was fixing to find some fun of her own. That Yellow Dog loped up too close underfoot, and she tripped on a rock sticking up on the trail, falling hard on her knees and tearing her emerald-green silk dress nearly to the waist, showing her dingy drawers underneath. Yellow Dog lay down on the trail beside her while she cursed and cursed, holding her toe, ripped open and bleeding. When he whined and licked her bloody toe, she pushed his muzzle away irritated, and stood up. She pressed on, stepping slower and careful now, walking and walking up the hill, reaching the top just as dark fell. 

She limped over to a huge open-air tent lit with lanterns and lurked just outside, mesmerized. Wild with abandon, men culled from every race and nation mixed up crazy, dancing a twisted waltz with each other to a comic tune played out of time on a banjo, a fiddle, and two harmonicas. A bare-chested Nisenan accompanied the band with rattles tied ’round his ankles, strutting and gyrating and puffing like a grouse. Half the men wore pants patched front and back across their man parts with flour sacking that read Self-Rising Haxhall. Others wore sacks bearing the name of a Mexican hot chile. Having no women didn’t hinder the men, with some overcoming the difficulty by taking on the feminine role. Transfixed, Elisabeth studied the men and figured the ones wearing the patches were acting as women, prancing coy and light, following the lead of their men. Those not dancing cradled the arms of their partners, cheering and clapping ladylike, while the real men hooted and stomped furious to the bawdy music.