SMITHY by Indie Author AMANDA DESIREE is a triumph. This exceptional book is one of the best “horror” titles I have read in years and is truly unique – DESTINED TO BE THE SLEEPER HIT OF 2021

Title: SMITHY

Author: AMANDA DESIREE 

Genre: FICTION, HORROR, MYSTERY, THRILLER

Length: 500 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 13, 2021

ISBN: 9781950301218 (Paperback)

Price: $18.99 USD (Paperback)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Photo By: Erik Müller

DESCRIPTION:

In 1972, renowned researcher Dr. Piers Preis-Herald brought together a group of collegiate researchers to study the inner lives of man’s closest relative—primates. His team would undertake their study by raising a young chimpanzee and teaching him American Sign Language.

The primate selected was born chimpanzee #710642 at the Kohlberg Center for Primate Research. He would eventually be known to the world as Smithy.

Photo By: Francesco Ungaro

Nearly fifty years after the Smithy Project ended in tragedy at Trevor Hall, the question remains: Was Smithy a hoax? A clever mimic? A Rorschach projection of humanity’s greatest hopes and fears? Or was he indeed what devotees of metaphysics have claimed for so long: a link between our world and the next?

Written in epistolary format, this novel powerfully evokes time and place, recalling not only the controversial psychology of the early ‘70s, carried out in projects like the CIA’s MKUltra and the Stanford Prison Experiment, but also the budding of the horror genre itself. Steeped in a decade that gave us Amityville and The Exorcist, Smithy blends the mundane and the supernatural to earn its place beside such classics.

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MY REVIEW:

One of the most unique and we’ll executed horror novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Set in the early to mid 1970s, the story follows a study in which a chimpanzee is taught sign language. The chimp is nicknamed “Smithy” based on the fact that he is a wordsmith.

The setting is an aging mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.

The Gatehouse

The author tells the story through excerpts of letters, diary entries and descriptions of research video clips. This format was the perfect choice for this tale and readers will be pulled into the story.

Photo By: @felipepelaquim

At 500 pages, this is a lengthy book, but the action is so consistent and the story so engrossing that readers will feel it is all too short and will yearn for more.

This is an Indie Author who has an extremely bright future ahead of her. I will be adding her to my list of favorite authors.

Although this book is considered “horror” I feel that it is important to let potential readers know that it is NOT a blood and gore slasher book, nor is it anything like other horror titles. In my opinion, “SMITHY” could just as easily fit into the Mystery, or Thriller genres. If you are not usually a fan of horror, you should give this book a chance. It would be a terrible shame to overlook this incredibly fascinating story just based on its supposed genre.

I believe this book is going to be the sleeper hit of 2021.

SMITHY would make an incredible movie and would likely be a Blockbuster Hit.

I rate SMITHY as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be spreading the word about this book as far and wide as possible because I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and was loathe to stop reading it, even to go to sleep.

In short, READ THIS BOOK. You will not be disappointed.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

Another one of the magnificent mansions in Newport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Amanda has had a lifelong fascination for real ghost stories and once aspired to be a parapsychologist but settled for being a psychology major in college.

She currently lives in the Los Angeles area.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

GOOGLE BOOKS 

BOOKSHOP.ORG 

FANTASTIC FICTION

AMAZON   

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Recently called “the future of publishing” by The Wall Street Journal, Inkshares is a book publisher that uses reader engagement instead of agents and acquisitions editors to decide what to publish.

Their community of readers can read sample chapters, share, and pre-order a book project on Inkshares.com to help determine what gets published, Inkshares brings the book to life by providing editorial services, design, production, national distribution, and marketing.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK  

TUMBLR

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

Newport, Rhode Island

Coming February 2nd – THE FOUR WINDS by Bestselling Author KRISTIN HANNAH – Her Best Book Yet plus a sneak peek at the the new Netflix series based on one of her books

Title: THE FOUR WINDS   

Author: KRISTIN HANNAH

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 464 PAGES

Publisher: ST. MARTIN’S PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEB. 2, 2021

ISBN: 9781250178602

Price: $28.99 USD 37.00 CDN

Rating: 10 OUT OF 5 STARS  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

One of “27 of 2021’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away” Oprah Magazine

One of “The 57 Most Anticipated Books Of 2021” – Elle

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“Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind.” — Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library/National Records and Archives Administration
The dust storms filled the air, making it hard to breathe, and destroyed what few crops existed. These dust storms turned the area into a “Dust Bowl.” Picture from the FDR Library, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

“My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

MY REVIEW:

Kristin Hannah’s books have all been fantastic and they regularly top Best Seller lists around the world. Her new book THE FOUR WINDS is her best book yet. It is being released in only a few days (on Feb. 3rd) and if it is pre-ordered on Chapters, you get it for 30% off. (I do not get a commission, I just wanted to share the savings I discovered.)

Set during the Great Depression, this book will transport you to that time and to the Dust Bowl of the farmlands hit by the multi-year drought.

The protagonist, Elsa is a woman who just wants to survive and to perhaps have a small slice of happiness along the way. Despite not believing there is anything special about her, readers will not be able to stop from investing
themselves in her life and hoping that something good will happen for her.

This may be a fictional tale, but Elsa and many real women like her did experience the very same events during the Great Depression. She represents all those bold and courageous women who did anything and everything they could to ensure the survival of their children.

There was a great deal of research done to ensure the events and occurences Elsa and her family go through are based in historical fact.

Kristin Hannah is an artist, her medium is not paint, but words. She has the ability to manipulate her reader’s emotions and to build a relationship between characters and readers. It is exceptionally rare that a book will make me cry, yet THE FOUR WINDS does exactly that.

If you are only going to read one book this year, I cannot stress enough that you must read this book.

At 464 pages, you might assume that there would be times where the narrative became dull, but this is just not so. Every page holds the reader rapt with attention. THE FOUR WINDS is UN-PUT-DOWNABLE.

The normal book review rating scale is based on a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 being the very best. Well, a 1 to 5 scale is just not sufficient for Kristin Hannah’s new book. I am choosing to rate “The Four Winds” as 10 out of 5 Stars which I have never done before. That is how highly I recommend this book. People will be talking about this book for a very long time.

There are lessons to be learned from this book. Lessons that can easily be related to the current pandemic facing North Americans today.

In closing, I say: BUY THIS BOOK.

TO attend Kristin Hannah’s Virtual Book Launch Tour by clicking HERE to find dates, locations and times.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo Credit: Kevin Lynch

Kristin Hannah is an award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, Winter Garden, Night Road, and Firefly Lane.

Her novel, The Nightingale, has been published in 43 languages and is currently in movie production at TriStar Pictures, which also optioned her novel, The Great Alone. Her novel, Home Front has been optioned for film by 1492 Films (produced the Oscar-nominated The Help) with Chris Columbus attached to direct.

Kristin is a former-lawyer-turned writer who lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband. Her novel, Firefly Lane, became a runaway bestseller in 2009, a touchstone novel that brought women together, and The Nightingale, in 2015 was voted a best book of the year by Amazon, Buzzfeed, iTunes, Library Journal, Paste, The Wall Street Journal and The Week.  Additionally, the novel won the coveted Goodreads and People’s Choice Awards. The audiobook of The Nightingale won the Audiobook of the Year Award in the fiction category.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://kristinhannah.com

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

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IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE – A Novel of THE BLACK WIDOW OF LA PORTE by Norwegian Author CAMILLA BRUCE sheds light on one of the most prolific female serial killers … Are you up for the task of finding out about this macabre and sinister woman? If so, read on…

Title: IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE

Subtitle: A NOVEL OF THE BLACK WIDOW OF La PORTE

Author: CAMILLA BRUCE 
https://camillabruce.com

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, BASED ON A TRUE STORY

Length: 480 PAGES

Publisher: BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JANUARY 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-5931-0256-5

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

An audacious novel of feminine rage about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history–and the men who drove her to it.

They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams–their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte.

The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she’d given up, what was taken from her, how she’d suffered, surely they’d understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That’s all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.

MY REVIEW:

This book will grab you and although the tension builds slowly, you will be unable to put this book down.

Currently, true crime is big business. Serial killers have fascinated people before there was even a term to describe this type of heinous multiple murderer/murderess.

Based on a terrifying true story, Camilla Bruce has crafted a superb tale of one woman who set her sites on potential suitors (and others) and methodically slaughtered them.

With quotes such as the following one, readers cannot help but be hooked by the antics of the “Black Widow of LaPorte.”

“Halfway through the meal, Moira had to excuse herself, as she was feeling ill. I wished her a speedy recovery as she made her way upstairs. Soon after, I cut her throat and let her bleed out in a bucket.”

IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE is not for the faint of heart. This is however the perfect book for anyone who likes a bit of history alongside their true crime fix.

Belle proves that women can be just as deadly as men. The saying ‘the fairer sex’ does not apply to Belle Gunness. She had a heart as black as night and took what she wanted.

I am a fan of the true crime genre, yet until reading this book, I was unaware of the existence of this serial killer. Author Camilla Bruce grew up hearing the story. I am glad that she chose to bring Belle’s story to the attention of readers everywhere.

I enjoyed this book and at a length of 480 pages, readers get their money’s worth. This is well worth buying and would be a fabulous selection for your local book club. There is much to discuss and debate.

I rate IN THE GARDEN OF SPITE as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and highly recommend purchasing a copy or two.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Camilla Bruce is a Norwegian writer of dark speculative and historical fiction.

Her debut novel, You Let Me In, is out now from Bantam Press (UK) and Tor (US).

Her dark historical, In the Garden of Spite, will be published by Berkley (US) and Michael Joseph (UK) in January 2021.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://camillabruce.com

GOODREADS   

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AUDIBLE  

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

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To learn more about real-life serial killer visit the following links:

BIOGRAPHY.COM

MURDERPEDIA


Belle Gunness lured lonely men to her murder farm
Female serial killer Belle Gunness placed newspaper ads in Midwestern newspapers seeking male suitors.

Some say there were as many as 40 victims of her crimes.

https://uw-media.barnstablepatriot.com/embed/video/81108372?placement=snow-embed

THE SAVAGE INSTINCT by M.M. DeLUCA is Historical Fiction at it’s Best. See why here…

Title: THE SAVAGE INSTINCT  

Author: MARJORIE DeLUCA

Genre: FICTIONAL, HISTORICAL FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, CANADIAN AUTHOR

Length: 300 PAGES

Publisher: INKSHARES

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MARCH 16, 2021

ISBN: 9781947848672

Price: $18.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Learn more about Mary Ann Cotton on the Murderpedia site.

DESCRIPTION:

In the lineage of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, The Savage Instinct is the chilling story of one woman’s struggle for her sanity, set against the backdrop of the arrest and trial of Mary Ann Cotton, England’s first female serial killer.

England, 1873.

Clara Blackstone has just been released after one year in a private asylum for the insane. Clara has two goals: to reunite with her husband, Henry, and to never—ever—return to the asylum. As she enters Durham, Clara finds her carriage surrounded by a mob gathered to witness the imprisonment of Mary Ann Cotton—England’s first female serial killer—accused of poisoning nearly twenty people, including her husbands and children.

Clara soon finds the oppressive confinement of her marriage no less terrifying than the white-tiled walls of Hoxton. And as she grows increasingly suspicious of Henry’s intentions, her fascination with Cotton grows. Soon, Cotton is not just a notorious figure from the headlines, but an unlikely confidante, mentor—and perhaps accomplice—in Clara’s struggle to protect her money, her freedom and her life.

MY REVIEW:

“I became acquainted with madness at the age of twenty-six. During that same year, I met the accused murderer Mary Ann Cotton and learned that the evil ones amongst us are not confined to the filthy alleyways of the poor. They mingle freely in the polished parlours of the middle classes and the gilded ballrooms of the wealthy.”

If that first paragraph did not grab your attention, well, maybe you are just a bit mad yourself. 

Set in England in the year 1873, readers learn that Clara Blackstone has spent the past year in one of the many insane asylums that operated in England during those years.

My baby was limp. I’d strained to pull myself up from the fog of ether to hear its cry above the doctor’s mumbling. Silence… They told me it was a stillbirth, but I barely heard them beneath the sound of my own screams.”

Clara’s mental illness? Well, today we know it as postpartum depression exacerbated by the fact that her baby was stillborn, but in 1873, she was simply labeled as “insane.” 

During her year of torturous treatment in the asylum, her husband moved them from London to the city of Durham. It was on her way from the asylum to their new home that their carriage was caught up in a crowd.

The crowd was trying to lay eyes on a woman being led from the courthouse to her transport to the jail. A chant arose:

Mary Ann Cotton, Mary Ann Cotton.
The rope will break yer neck.
And yer’ll be dead and buried and   rotten.”

Clara and her husband eventually arrive at their new home and Clara vows to herself that she will never do anything that could result in her being returned to the hell of the asylum.

That day should have been the start of a new life for Clara, but as readers learn, there are things about her husband that arouse Clara’s suspicions.

When Clara begins doing charity work at the woman’s prison, she is set on a trajectory she could never have seen coming. Readers will not want to put this book down and will find themselves rooting for Clara and possibly even beginning to view multiple murderess Mary Ann Cotton with a dose of sympathy and maybe even a hint of respect.

Along with this wonderful work of historical fiction is a look at the barbaric treatment of “patients” in asylums during that period in history. The author has clearly done her research and exposes many of the horrific “treatments” women were forced to endure. She also includes the fact that many women were shipped off to insane asylums based solely on the testimony of their husbands. So, if a man wanted to take up with a younger woman, all he had to do was say that his wife was hysterical and off the wife went to a life filled with torture and despair. Unfortunately, it is now well known that this happened far too frequently. 

THE SAVAGE INSTINCT is a superb work of historical fiction intertwined with historic facts. Author, Marjorie DeLuca seamlessly weaves her story around the enigmatic figure of the all too real, female serial killer Mary Ann Cotton. I thoroughly enjoyed her take on this historic figure.

Also, the story’s protagonist is 100% believable. Clara Blackstone could easily have been a real person. Her imprisonment in two separate insane asylums proved lifealtering (and not in a positive way.) How her husband treats her once she is released shows the attitudes of the time. Mental illness was seen as a personal failing and not an “illness” at all. Unfortunately, many people still view mental health issues that way today.

At a couple places in the story, I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen next. Both times I discovered (to my delight) that I was wrong. I love it when a plot does not become predictable.

I rate THE SAVAGE INSTINCT as a solid 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and I will be keeping an eye on this author’s future endeavors.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of #TheSavageInstinct ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Marjorie DeLuca spent her childhood in the ancient cathedral city of Durham in North-Eastern England.

She attended the University of London, became a teacher, and then immigrated to Canada where she lives with her husband, two children and a crazy dog named Bella. There she also studied writing under her mentor, Pulitzer Prize winning author, Carol Shields.

Though she loves writing sci-fi for teens, she’s also just completed two historical novels due out in the next few months.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

BLOG

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

Recently called “the future of publishing” by The Wall Street Journal, Inkshares is a book publisher that uses a crowdfunding model instead of agents and acquisitions editors to decide what to publish.

Their community of readers can pre-order a book project on Inkshares.com, and if the project hits its funding limit, Inkshares brings the book to life by providing editorial services, design, production, national distribution, and marketing.

To learn more about this Publisher visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.inkshares.com

GOODREADS

TWITTER

FACEBOOK

TUMBLR

INSTAGRAM

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MORE BOOKS BY M.M. DeLUCA:

MARY ANN COTTON
Another newspaper photo of Serial Poisoner Mary Ann Cotton

UNCLE TOM’S CABIN by HARRIET BEECHER STOWE is a book every civilized adult needs to read

Title: UNCLE TOM’S CABIN

Alternative Titles: “Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly”

Author: HARRIET BEECHER STOWE

Publication Date: 1852

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DESCRIPTION:

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in full Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe, published in serialized form in the United States in 1851–52 and in book form in 1852.

An abolitionist novel, it achieved wide popularity, particularly among white readers in the North, by vividly dramatizing the experience of slavery.

© Photos.com/Thinkstock
Uncle Tom’s Cabin tells the story of Uncle Tom, depicted as a saintly, dignified slave. While being transported by boat to auction in New Orleans, Tom saves the life of Little Eva, whose grateful father then purchases Tom. Eva and Tom soon become great friends. Always frail, Eva’s health begins to decline rapidly, and on her deathbed she asks her father to free all his slaves. He makes plans to do so but is then killed, and the brutal Simon Legree, Tom’s new owner, has Tom whipped to death after he refuses to divulge the whereabouts of certain runaway slaves. Tom maintains a steadfastly Christian attitude toward his own suffering, and Stowe imbues Tom’s death with echoes of Christ’s.

Some 300,000 copies of Uncle Tom’s Cabin were sold in the United States during the year after its publication, and it also sold well in England. It was adapted for theatre multiple times beginning in 1852; because the novel made use of the themes and techniques of theatrical melodrama popular at the time, its transition to the stage was easy. These adaptations played to capacity audiences in the United States and contributed to the already significant popularity of Stowe’s novel in the North and the animosity toward it in the South. They became a staple of touring companies through the rest of the 19th century and into the 20th.

Stowe’s depiction of slavery in her novel was informed by her Christianity and by her immersion in abolitionist writings. She also drew on her personal experience during the 1830s and ’40s while living in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was a destination for those escaping slavery in Kentucky and other Southern states. In Uncle Tom’s Cabin she made her case against slavery by cataloging the suffering experienced by enslaved people and by showing that their owners were morally broken. Stowe also published a collection of documents and testimony, A Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1853), that she used to prove the truth of her novel’s representation of slavery.

The role of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a cause of the American Civil War is rooted in a statement—typically rendered as “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!”—that is spuriously attributed to President Abraham Lincoln. According to scholar Daniel R. Vollaro , this comment, supposedly made by Lincoln to Stowe in December 1862, originated in Stowe family tradition and did not appear in print until 1896 (albeit as “Is this the little woman who made the great war?” ). That Lincoln almost certainly did not say these words, however, has not prevented them from being cited repeatedly as Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s legacy.

The novel’s reputation became problematic during the 20th century. In a 1952 introduction to the novel, Langston Hughes referred to Uncle Tom’s Cabin as “a moral battle cry,” but his introduction’s effort to redeem the novel came after Richard Wright and James Baldwin, among other black writers, had attacked it during the 1930s and ’40s. The term Uncle Tom also became an insult used to describe a black person who shows subservience to whites or is otherwise considered complicit with oppression by whites. This sense can be traced to at least the early 20th century, and early public use of it (c. 1920) has been attributed variously to Marcus Garvey and George Alexander McGuire. Today Uncle Tom’s Cabin’s depiction of its black characters is seen as racist and patronizing.

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MY REVIEW:

In 1852 when Uncle Tom’s Cabin was originally published, it was highly controversial. In fact, it was banned in many places in the Southern United States due to it’s abolitionist rhetoric.

Although society has come a long way since Harriet Beecher Stowe first put pen to paper and wrote about the horrific reality of slavery, however, discrimination still occurs. It is for that reason that I believe every civilized adult in North America and beyond should be required to read this book, regardless of the color of their skin.

There is a saying that states:

“Those who fail to remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

I truly and very firmly believe that knowledge is power. Yes, slavery was abolished with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. However, what our society is seeing now is a hidden sex slave trade which is unfortunately alive and well all over the world. Reading books such as UNCLE TOM’S CABIN is important. It reminds us of how terrible human beings can act and (hopefully) stirs outrage in the reader’s heart.

I am aware that some people think of this book as racist, but I am trying to overlook the way the slaves are depicted as a consequence of the time in which the book was written.

I have no proof, but putting forward the idea to those of color that this book is racist, is/was a great way to stop people from reading it – similar to reverse psychology, but, that is just a theory.

Despite the way the characters are portrayed, I still believe this book was the catalyst that brought many white people (especially women) to join the abolitionist movement and to assist the Underground Railroad in any way they could. I believe this book opened the eyes of many of its readers.

I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I encourage everyone to read this book. If you haven’t read it yet, now is the time. If you’ve read it, but it was a long time ago, I encourage you to read it again and to allow it’s message to penetrate your hearts and minds.

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Picture Obtained From Britannica

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MLA – Michals, Debra. “Harriet Beecher Stowe.” National Women’s History Museum, 2017. Date accessed.

10 Amazing Facts About Harriet Beecher Stowe

Over 41 issues, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published as a serial in the abolitionist newspaper The National Era, the first installment on June 5, 1851. It was first followed by a only small group but its audience steadily grew as the story unfolded.

“Wherever I went among the friends of the Era, I found Uncle Tom’s Cabin a theme for admiring remark,” journalist and social critic Grace Greenwood wrote in a travelogue published in the Era. “[E]verywhere I went, I saw it read with pleasant smiles and irrepressible tears.’” The story was discussed in other abolitionist publications, such as Frederick Douglass’s Paper, and helped sell $2 annual subscriptions to the Era.

The popularity of Uncle Tom’s Cabin exploded once it was made available in a more accessible format.

Some publishers claim the book edition is the second best-selling title of the 19th century, after the Bible.

1. HARRIET BEECHER STOWE’S FATHER AND ALL SEVEN OF HER BROTHERS WERE MINISTERS.

Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born on June 14, 1811, in Litchfield, Connecticut. Her mother, Roxana Beecher, died five years later. Over the course of two marriages, her father, Calvinist preacher Lyman Beecher, fathered 13 children, 11 of whom survived into adulthood. He preached loudly against slavery. All seven of his sons followed him into the ministry. Henry Ward Beecher carried on his father’s abolitionist mission and according to legend sent rifles to anti-slavery settlers in Kansas and Nebraska in crates marked “Bibles.”

The women of the Beecher family were also encouraged to rise to positions of influence and rally against injustice. Eldest child Catharine Beecher co-founded the Hartford Female Seminary and Isabella Beecher Hooker was a prominent suffragist.

2. THE FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT—AND A SURPRISE $100 GIFT—INSPIRED UNCLE TOM’S CABIN.

In 1832, Harriet Beecher moved to Cincinnati with her father, who assumed the presidency of Lane Theological Seminary. According to Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life by Joan D. Hedrick, the Ohio city introduced her to former slaves and African-American freemen and there she first practiced writing, in a literary group called the Semi-Colon Club.

She married Calvin Ellis Stowe, a professor at Lane, and eventually relocated to Brunswick, Maine, when he went to work at Bowdoin College. By then, Stowe had published two books, Primary Geography for Children and the short story collection New England Sketches. She was also a contributor to newspapers supporting temperance and abolitionism, writing “sketches,” brief descriptive stories meant to illustrate a political point.

Following a positive response to her The Freeman’s Dream: A Parable, Gamaliel Bailey, editor of the anti-slavery paper The National Era, sent her $100 to encourage her to continue supplying the paper with material. The 1850 passage of the Fugitive Slave Act, obligating authorities in free states to re-enslave refugees, took the slavery fight northward. It also encouraged Stowe to step up her game.

“I am at present occupied upon a story which will be a much longer one than any I have ever written,” Beecher Stowe wrote in a letter to Bailey, “embracing a series of sketches which give the lights and shadows of the ‘patriarchal institution’ [of slavery], written either from observation, incidents which have occurred in the sphere of my personal knowledge, or in the knowledge of my friends.” For material, she scoured the written accounts belayed by escaped slaves.

3. UNCLE TOM’S CABIN MADE HER RICH AND FAMOUS.

According to Henry Louis Gate Jr.’s introduction to the annotated edition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The National Era paid Stowe $300 for 43 chapters. Before the serial’s completion, Stowe signed a contract with John P. Jewett and Co. to publish a two-volume bound book edition, and that’s when it really took off. Released on March 20, 1852, the book sold 10,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week and 300,000 in the first year. In the U.K., 1.5 million copies flew off the shelves in the first year. Stowe was paid 10 cents for each one sold.

According to a London Times article published six months after the book’s release, she had already amassed $10,000 in royalties. “We believe [that this is] the largest sum of money ever received by any author, either American or European, from the sales of a single work in so short a period of time,” the Times stated.

4. SHE WENT TO COURT TO STOP AN UNAUTHORIZED TRANSLATION OF UNCLE TOM’S CABIN … AND LOST.

Immediately after Uncle Tom’s Cabin became a literary sensation, a Philadelphia-based German-language paper, Die Freie Presse, began publishing an unauthorized translation. Stowe took the publisher, F.W. Thomas,to court. American copyright laws were notoriously weak at the time, irking British writers whose work was widely pirated. As someone who overnight became America’s favorite author, Stowe had much at stake testing them.

The case put her in the Philadelphia courtroom of Justice Robert Grier, a notorious enforcer of the Fugitive Slave Act. “By the publication of Mrs. Stowe’s book, the creations of the genius and imagination of the author have become as much public property as those of Homer or Cervantes,” Grier ruled. The precedent set by Stowe vs. Thomas meant that authors had the right to prevent others from printing their exact words, but almost nothing else. “All her conceptions and inventions may be used and abused by imitators, play-rights and poet-asters,” ruled Grier.

5. BEECHER STOWE VISITED ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Though Stowe had criticized what she saw as his slowness in emancipation and willingness to seek compromise to prevent succession, Stowe visited President Abraham Lincoln at the White House in 1862, during the early days of the Civil War. Reportedly, Lincoln greeted her with, “So this is the little woman who brought on this big Civil War,” but scholars have dismissed the quote as Stowe family legend spread after her death.

Details of their conversation are limited to vague entries in their respective diaries. Lincoln may have bantered with her over his love of open fires (“I always had one to home,” he reportedly said), while Stowe got down to business and quizzed him: “Mr. Lincoln, I want to ask you about your views on emancipation.”

6. BEECHER STOWE WROTE A LOT OF THINGS THAT WEREN’T UNCLE TOM’S CABIN.

Stowe wrote more than 30 books, both fiction and nonfiction, plus essays, poems, articles, and hymns.

7. THE STOWES WINTERED IN THE FORMER SLAVE STATE OF FLORIDA.

The influx of wealth from Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the end of the Civil War allowed the Stowes to purchase a winter home in Mandarin, Florida, in 1867. It may have seemed strange—and perilous—for a famous anti-slavery crusader to buy 30 acres in a former slave state so soon after the war, yet six years after the purchase, she wrote to a local newspaper, “In all this time I have not received even an incivility from any native Floridian.”

8. BEECHER STOWE AND MARK TWAIN WERE NEIGHBORS.

The Stowes’ primary residence, beginning in 1864, was a villa in the Nook Farm section of Hartford, Connecticut, a neighborhood populated by prominent citizens, including Mark Twain. The homes of Nook Farm had few fences, and doors stayed open in sunny weather, creating an air of gentility. That did not prevent Twain from writing a somewhat unflattering portrait of Stowe, as she gave way to what was probably Alzheimer’s disease, in his autobiography:

Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe who was a near neighbor of ours in Hartford, with no fence between. In those days she made as much use of our grounds as of her own in pleasant weather. Her mind had decayed, and she was a pathetic figure. She wandered about all the day long in the care of a muscular Irishwoman, assigned to her as a guardian.”

9. BEECHER STOWE OUTLIVED FOUR OF HER SEVEN CHILDREN.

While continuing a lucrative and prolific writing career, Stowe birthed and cared forseven children. When she passed away in 85 in 1896, she had outlived four of them, as bad fortune seemed to follow their offspring.

Their third, Henry, drowned in a swimming accident in 1857. The fourth, Frederick, mysteriously disappeared en route to California in 1870. The fifth, Georgiana, died from septicemia, probably related to morphine in 1890. (She was an addict.) The sixth, Samuel, died from cholera in infancy in 1849. These losses informed several of Stowe’s works.

10. THERE ARE SEVERAL HARRIET BEECHER STOWE HOUSES YOU CAN VISIT.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House of Cincinnati is where she lived after following her father to Lane. The Harriet Beecher Stowe House on the campus of Bowdoin in Brunswick, Maine, is where she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It became a restaurant from 1946 to 1998 and is now a faculty office building, but one room is open to the public and dedicated to Stowe. The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center preserves her home in Hartford. Her home in Florida is gone but is marked by a plaque.

Poster for a theatrical production of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, 1881.

THE WINTER SISTERS by Tim Westover is a book that will stay with you long after the final page

Title: THE WINTER SISTERS

Author: TIM WESTOVER

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 322 PAGES

Publisher: QW PUBLISHERS

The Winter Sisters: A Novel

Received From: NETGALLEY
https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/172559

Release Date: AUGUST 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9849748-9-4

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

Folklore, medicine, witches, and superstition in the Georgia mountains.

Dr. Waycross knows bleeding and blistering, the best scientific medicine of 1822. He arrives in the Georgia mountains to bring his modern methods to the superstitious masses. But the local healers, the Winter sisters, claim to treat yellow fever, consumption, and the hell-roarin’ trots just as well as he can. Some folks call the sisters “Herb Women;” some call them “Witches.” Waycross calls them “Quacks.”

But when the threat of rabies—incurable and fatal—comes to town, Dr. Waycross and the Winter sisters must combine their science and superstition in a desperate search for a remedy.

Can they find a miracle cure, or has the age of miracles passed?

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ALL AUTHOR PROCEEDS FROM THIS NOVEL ARE BEING DONATED TO CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE OF ATLANTA – CHILD LIFE DEPARTMENT
Over $10,000 donated since August 9, 2019!
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MY REVIEW:

1811 in the mountains of northern Georgia, three sisters stand upon a bare mountain plateau. These women are the Winter sisters. They are using wax to try to determine their futures.

Ten years later, the Winter sisters are no longer living in the village. The new Preacher has succeeded in turning some of the townspeople against them, successfully running them out of town.

The Winter sisters are sometimes called healers and sometimes called witches, it depends on the person who is speaking, and also who might be listening.

Art by SUSAN FARRELL

The sisters might be young, but they know herbal remedies for most ailments and have ministered to the residents of their small frontier town for years.

Art by Susan Farrell

When the town recruits a doctor from the city, he arrives ready to educate these backwater hicks as to how science and the latest techniques of medicine will cure all their ills.

However, when he arrives and keeps hearing about the Winter sisters and their supposed cures, he sets out to discredit them.

What happens next surprises the doctor, the Winter sisters and everyone reading this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that you are unable to predict what will happen at any given moment in this story. It kept me guessing, which is rare.

National Park Service Photo

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THE WINTER SISTERS is a fabulous book with terrific characters and a story that will stay with you long after the final page.

The descriptions both of people’s lives and of the sceney and setting are so vivid that readers can picture tem so clearly it is almost as if you create a movie in your head as to how everything and everyone looks.

Photo by John Rice Irwin, Sept. 1979

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I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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***Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***
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QUOTE:

“I never treat hopeless cases. The age of miracles is past.”
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TO ORDER SIGNED COPIES OF THIS TERRIFIC BOOK, CLICK HERE.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tim Westover, a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Georgia, lives in suburban Atlanta. Born in the north, educated in England, and frequent visitor to Russia, he found his home in the North Georgia mountains.

Russell Farm Historic Site –
Mountain Rest, SC

The foundations of a nameless old house on the backstreets of Lawrenceville

In addition to writing, Westover enjoys programming, playing the clawhammer banjo, and raising his three-year-old daughter to be a modern American eccentric.

Tim playing the PANjo

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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https://www.timwestover.com/

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THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE by KRISTIN HARMEL is Historic Fiction at it’s very Best

Title: THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE

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Author: KRISTIN HARMEL
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Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

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Length: 400 PAGES

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Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER
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Received From: SIMON AND SCHUSTER

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Release Date: AUGUST 13, 2019

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ISBN: 978-1-9821-1229-5

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Price: $28.00 USD / $37.00 CDN

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

At the dawn of the Second World War, Inès is the young wife of Michel, owner of the House of Chauveau, a small champagne winery nestled among rolling vineyards near Reims, France. Marrying into a storied champagne empire was supposed to be a dream come true, but Inès feels increasingly isolated, purposely left out of the business by her husband; his chef de cave, Theo; and Theo’s wife, Sarah.

But these disappointments pale in comparison to the increasing danger from German forces pouring across the border. At first, it’s merely the Nazi weinführer coming to demand the choicest champagne for Hitler’s cronies, but soon, there are rumors of Jewish townspeople being rounded up and sent east to an unspeakable fate. The war is on their doorstep, and no one in Inès’s life is safe—least of all Sarah, whose father is Jewish, or Michel, who has recklessly begun hiding munitions for the Résistance in the champagne caves. Inès realizes she has to do something to help.

Sarah feels as lost as Inès does, but she doesn’t have much else in common with Michel’s young wife. Inès seems to have it made, not least of all because as a Catholic, she’s “safe.” Sarah, on the other hand, is terrified about the fate of her parents—and about her own future as the Germans begin to rid the Champagne region of Jews. When Sarah makes a dangerous decision to follow her heart in a desperate bid to find some meaning in the ruin, it endangers the lives of all those she cares about—and the champagne house they’ve all worked so hard to save.

In the present, Liv Kent has just lost her job—and her marriage. Her wealthy but aloof Grandma Edith, sensing that Liv needs a change of scenery before she hits rock bottom, insists that Liv accompany her on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and some difficult but important information to share with her granddaughter. As Liv begins to uncover long-buried family secrets, she finds herself slowly coming back to life. When past and present intertwine at last, she may finally find a way forward, along a difficult road that leads straight to the winding caves beneath the House of Chauveau.

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MY REVIEW:

THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE is a work of historical fiction. Set in Italy during World War II, the author has done extensive research into the history of World War II in the wine and champagne making regions.

Until receiving an ARC (Advance Review Copy) of this book, I had never thought about how WWII impacted the winemaking economies and how the greedy German army looted and pillaged from the great winemaking houses.

Although this book is fictitious, the historic facts are highly researched and based on true historic data.

The characters are relatable and the fear they experience in the story equals that of what was faced by those who lived through those terrible and terrifying years of war and deprivation.

This book is both a dramatic tale of life during war as well as a beautiful love story. There is romance, drama, action and adventure. In fact, there is something for every reader to enjoy while reading this tale.

For anyone who enjoys historic fiction, this book will be a welcome addition to their collection.

The story follows two timelines; one in the past and one in the present and how the lives of those in each timeline are inextricably linked together.

This is a fascinating read with in depth looks at how the past has influenced the present and how events and decisions made by one’s ancestors can (and does) have far-reaching consequences.

I rate THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

***Thank you to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photograph by Phil Art Studio,
Reims, France

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie and The Sweetness of Forgetting, and several other novels.

Her work has been featured in People, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets.

She lives in Orlando, Florida.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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THE DOLL FACTORY by Elizabeth MacNeal is a historical and psychological thriller that is worthy of 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Available to purchase on August 13th

Title: THE DOLL FACTORY

Author: ELIZABETH MACNEAL

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION, THRILLER

Length: 336 PAGES

Publisher: SIMON AND SCHUSTER

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: AUGUST 13, 2019

ISBN: 9781982111939

Price: $24.99 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

The Doll Factory is a sweeping tale of curiosity, love, and possession set among all the sordidness and soaring ambition of 1850s London.

The greatest spectacle London has ever seen is being erected in Hyde Park and, among the crowd watching, two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist of unique beauty, it is the encounter of a moment—forgotten seconds later—but for Silas, a curiosity collector enchanted by the strange and beautiful, the meeting marks a new beginning.

When Iris is asked to model for Pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint, and suddenly her world expands beyond anything she ever dreamed of. But she has no idea that evil stalks her.

Silas, it seems, has thought of only one thing since that chance meeting, and his obsession is darkening by the day…
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ETAILS REGARDING RELEASE:

The Doll Factory is out now in the UK, will be published in the US on 13th August, and will be translated into 28 languages.

It won the Caledonia Novel Award 2018 and film and TV rights have sold to Buccaneer Media. It is a Sunday Times Top Ten Bestseller, a Radio 2 Book Club pick, and Radio 4 Book at Bedtime.

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MY REVIEW:

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THE DOLL FACTORY by ELIZABETH MACNEAL is a historical fiction / psychological thriller and I was unable to put it down.

The author has obviously done an incredible amount of historical research as her descriptions of time, place and even in the minutiae of what daily life was like, she comes across as convincing and authentic.

The details of art at the time the story takes place is extensive and utterly fascinating.

Iris and Rose are twins, but though their appearance is similar, they are nothing alike. Other characters include a street urchin with only a single tooth who dreams of somehow making enough money to buy a set of new teeth and as a result of reading this book I learned many things about where “false” teeth came from and let me tell you, you will never be able to u-know this information which is both riveting and odious at the same time.

Silas is sometimes the villian of the tale, but at times he comes across as pitiable – a person who has been bullied and badly treated his whole life. This discrimination, beginning with a sense of loathing from his own mother who made it clear to him that he was naught but a hindrance to her and even blamed him for her reduced station in life. Silas was always seen, growing up, as an odd child and his ostracism by other children his age will have readers feeling pity for the poor waif he once was. However, there is another side to Silas; one that he keeps tightly locked inside. It is that dark side that Iris never wants to see.

Author ELIZABETH MACNEAL has done a terrific job of describing what can happen when a person is shunned and taunted for a lifetime, And, Iris, the book’s protagonist is someone who would never disrespect or taunt another human being and ultimately it is her decency and her deformity that brings her to the brink of destruction. The only question is which way fate will tip her; toward a future filled with life and love, or will it tip to her ultimate demise?

With a plot that twists and turns so many times, readers will not want to put this book down. It is for that reason, and the other reasons I have listed above that I rate this historical/psychological thriller as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Elizabeth MacNeal has gained a fan in me and I will be eagerly awaiting her next book.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photography by Mat Smith

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THE GLOVEMAKER by Ann Weisgarber RELEASES TODAY!!!

Title: THE GLOVEMAKER

Author: ANN WEISGARBER

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 336 PAGES

Publisher: SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 19, 2019

ISBN: 9781510737839

Price: $24.99 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS⭐⭐⭐⭐

TODAY IS RELEASE DAY FOR THIS HISTORICAL FICTION TALE.

TO READ MY FULL REVIEW, CLICK HERE.

After you finish reading this book, please come back here to let me know your thoughts on it.

THE GLOVEMAKER by Historical Fiction Author Ann Weisgarber is coming soon – Mark your calendars

Title: THE GLOVEMAKER

Author: ANN WEISGARBER

Genre: FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

Length: 336 PAGES

Publisher: SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: FEBRUARY 19, 2019

ISBN: 9781510737839

Price: $24.99 USD (Hardcover)

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

In the inhospitable lands of the Utah Territory, during the winter of 1888, thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler waits for her husband, Samuel, to return home from his travels as a wheelwright. It is now the depths of winter, Samuel is weeks overdue, and Deborah is getting worried.

Deborah lives in Junction, a tiny town of seven Mormon families scattered along the floor of a canyon, and she earns her living by tending orchards and making work gloves. Isolated by the red-rock cliffs that surround the town, she and her neighbors live apart from the outside world, even regarded with suspicion by the Mormon faithful who question the depth of their belief.

When a desperate stranger who is pursued by a Federal Marshal shows up on her doorstep seeking refuge, it sets in motion a chain of events that will turn her life upside down. The man, a devout Mormon, is on the run from the US government, which has ruled the practice of polygamy to be a felony. Although Deborah is not devout and doesn’t subscribe to polygamy, she is distrustful of non-Mormons with their long tradition of persecuting believers of her wider faith.

But all is not what it seems, and when the Marshal is critically injured, Deborah and her husband’s best friend, Nels Anderson, are faced with life and death decisions that question their faith, humanity, and both of their futures.

MY REVIEW:

THE GLOVEMAKER is a story that takes place in the winter of 1888 deep in a remote valley in Utah. This valley is home to a tiny town known as “Junction.” It’s residents are all Saints (as in the Latter Day variety).

This town is home to only seven families, all of them having drifted away from the strict rules of the church, and most of them did not agree with the practice of polygamy.

This book is based on a real life village and real life families, so it is history mixed with a giant dose of fiction and imagined characters. It is human nature to wonder about the lives of those who came before us. In THE GLOVEMAKER, author Ann Weisgarber has richly imagined an entire town, with backstories for all the characters readers encounter as the story moves along.

I read this book in a single day and found myself wrapped up in the life of the main character; thirty-seven-year-old Deborah Tyler. She is my type of woman. She is a tough as nails (but with a squishy heart) take-no-prisoners kind of woman.

In 1888 a woman living alone for months on end while her husband travelled the territory fixing and making wagon wheels had to be tough. She had to be resilient and she had to be hard working.

I found the fact that the villagers were all Latter Day Saints to be an interesting twist. And including some actual history of how the government saw the people who practiced that religion might be eye-opening for many readers.

I enjoyed the story and I give Ann Weisgarber kudos for the historical research that went into the writing of this book. I rate THE GLOVEMAKER as 4 out of 5 Stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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**** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.****

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Ann Weisgarber was born and raised in Kettering, Ohio. She has lived in Boston, Massachusetts, and Des Moines, Iowa, but now splits her time between Sugar Land, Texas, and Galveston, Texas.

Her first novel The Personal History of Rachel DuPree was longlisted for the Orange Prize and shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Writers.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://annweisgarber.com

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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER:

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