Monday, April 24, 2017

[Timeless Tour]
Review: The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer


Hi again fellow historical fiction fans! I'm back today with my final post for Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

During the course of this tour, I've been a part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

I've been having a great time with this tour, and I hope you've been having a great time following along! 

Today for my final post of the Timeless Tour, I'm sharing my review for Melodie Winawer's THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!


Here's a bit about the book:

THE SCRIBE OF SIENA

Author: Melodie Winawer
Publisher: Touchstone
Source: Received an ARC from S&S Canada to participate in the
Timeless Tour and give an honest review.
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 464 (Hardcover)



Accomplished neurosurgeon Beatrice Trovato knows that her deep empathy for her patients is starting to impede her work. So when her beloved brother passes away, she welcomes the unexpected trip to the Tuscan city of Siena to resolve his estate, even as she wrestles with grief. But as she delves deeper into her brother’s affairs, she discovers intrigue she never imagined—a 700-year-old conspiracy to decimate the city.

After uncovering the journal and paintings of Gabriele Accorsi, the fourteenth-century artist at the heart of the plot, Beatrice finds a startling image of her own face and is suddenly transported to the year 1347. She awakens in a Siena unfamiliar to her, one that will soon be hit by the Plague.

Yet when Beatrice meets Accorsi, something unexpected happens: she falls in love—not only with Gabriele, but also with the beauty and cadence of medieval life. As the Plague and the ruthless hands behind its trajectory threaten not only her survival but also Siena’s very existence, Beatrice must decide in which century she belongs.

The Scribe of Siena is the captivating story of a brilliant woman’s passionate affair with a time and a place that captures her in an impossibly romantic and dangerous trap—testing the strength of fate and the bonds of love.

Links: Indigo | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

MY REVIEW

As soon as I read the description for THE SCRIBE OF SIENA, I was intrigued. A heroine who happens to be a neurosurgeon who accidentally time travels to Siena when it's on the cusp of the Great Plague outbreak? I was sure that it was going to be the kind of book that I didn't want to put down, and I was right! 

Most of the historical fiction that I've read have taken place in either England or Scotland, so the Italian aspect of THE SCRIBE OF SIENA were new to me, and I loved that! One of my favourite parts about historical fiction is that you learn about history and places while reading, and that was something that Melodie Winawer did an amazing job with. The setting and Beatrice's life in 14th century Siena felt extremely real and everything was described very vividly!

It took me a little bit to get into THE SCRIBE OF SIENA, but once I was around the 100-page mark, I couldn't put it down. I really enjoyed getting the story through Beatrice's POV, and I loved the story even more once we got to Gabriele's POV, too. I loved seeing their world through the two of them, and I also loved seeing how they saw each other. There were a few other POVs in the story that were smaller, and I have to admit that I didn't enjoy them as much. I did like seeing the young priest's POV, but for the others, especially Iacopo, I would've preferred the sections to be shorter, or in a brief omniscient perspective. His parts of the story dragged for me, and I was always eager to get back to Beatrice and Gabriele's parts. 

The story itself was riveting!! The time travel was a bit of a mystery, and it was unsurprisingly (as the description hints at it) a fairly small part of the story. I really, really loved seeing all of Beatrice's various jobs though! Her work as a neurosurgeon was intense and fascinating, and I loved seeing how her "empathy," as she called it, played into what she was doing. Then when she got to Siena, I thought that her work as a historian when she was striving to finish her brother's research was also very interesting! I especially loved her passion, and finally, when she got to 14th century Siena, I loved seeing her work as a scribe!! It was described perfectly, and I think being a scribe would definitely be my 14th century Italian dream job, too. ;) 

Along with Beatrice's vast skill-set, I loved how Gabriele's painting was described! His process was amazing, and the way his finished artwork was described was phenomenal. I wish he had been a real painter so that I could've looked up his real life's work! ;) The final aspect of the story that had me glued to the page was the conspiracy! Beatrice's brother, Ben, had been working on research as to why Siena was hit harder by the plague than other places, and the explanation that was given in the story was intense and really well thought out! I loved seeing how everything fit together, and by the time I got to the final pages, I was definitely satisfied! 

Overall, I really enjoyed THE SCRIBE OF SIENA! While I could've done without a couple of the smaller POVs, I absolutely loved Beatrice and Gabriele, and I really enjoyed the historical aspects of the story. The time travel, historian, scribe, fresco painting, and conspiracy aspects had me hooked to the story! I'd recommend this one to fans of historical fiction who like intrigue, a little mystery, fantastic descriptions, and slow burn romances!


About the Author:

Melodie Winawer is a physician-scientist and Associate Professor of Neurology at Columbia University. A graduate of Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University with degrees in biological psychology, medicine, and epidemiology, she has published forty-seven nonfiction articles and book chapters.

Dr. Winawer lives with her spouse and their three young children in Brooklyn, New York. The Scribe of Siena is her first novel.


Follow the rest of the TIMELESS TOUR:




Are you a fan of historical fiction?

Does THE SCRIBE OF SIENA sound like a book you'd enjoy?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Release Blitz + Excerpt Reveal: THE HOT SHOT (Game On #4) by Kristen Callihan


I'm sure you all know by now, but I'm a HUGE fan of sports romances, so when I saw that Kristen Callihan's next book in her Game On series, The Hot Shot, was releasing soon, I jumped at the chnce to share an excerpt!! It released earlier this week on the 17th, and if you keep scrolling, you can read a little snippet of the book below! ;)

Here what's the book is about...and a bigger version of the sexy cover for your viewing pleasure, too. ;)

THE HOT SHOT
(GAME ON #4)

Author: Kristen Callihan
Release Day: April 17th


First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.

No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?
BUY THE BOOK: AMAZON | iBooks | 
B&N | KOBO | 
Paperback


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.

E X C E R P T

CHESS


     Grumbling, I toss on some black lounge pants and my oversized Tulane t-shirt and head to the drugstore.

     My head throbs by the time I get there, and my insides are writhing. I rest my hand against my lower stomach and grab a basket before calling James to complain.

     “I swear,” I tell him as I grab a bottle of painkillers. “It’s like this entire day has been cursed.”

     He snickers. “Curse. Get it? Curse?”

     I roll my eyes, even though he can’t see me. “Laugh it up. Meanwhile, it feels as if someone is playing Battleship in my uterus.”

     “Poor Chessie bear. At least we know why you were in such a foul mood.”

     A flush washes over my cheeks. “Yeah.” Lie. Lie. Lie. A tub of salted caramel gelato makes its way into the basket.

     “Tell me you’re getting some gelato,” James says.

     I smile. “Just grabbed it.”

     “Salted caramel?”

     “You know it.”

     I find the feminine products aisle and search for my brand. “I’m going to go home, take a long bath with my gelato, and forget this fucking day.” Forget Finn. “And then I’m going to go on Amazon and buying a freaking year’s supply of tampons so I don’t have to make these kinds of emergency runs anymore.”

     A low, deep chuckle rumbles from behind me, and all the tiny hairs lift on my arms.

     “But you’ll still need your gelato,” a familiar—fuck me, seriously?—voice points out.
My insides swoop even as my cheeks burn.

     “Who is that?” James asks in my ear.

     I slowly turn on one heel. “The plague,” I say, glaring up at Finn Mannus’s smiling face.

     “From asshat to plague.” Finn scrunches up his brow. “I’m not sure if that’s a step down or a tie.”

     “Who is that?” James nearly yells now.

     I don’t take my eyes off Finn. “I’ll call you back.”

     James’s squawks of protest cut off as I hit the end button.

     “Are you stalking me, Mannus?”

     Finn a rests his hands low on his lean hips. “Having a healthy amount of conceit myself, I have to admire yours, but no, buttercup. My buddy Woodson lives a few blocks away. It’s poker night. I’m stocking up on beer.”

     It’s only then I notice a twelve pack tucked under his other arm.

     “And tampons?” I ask, with a pointed look around the aisle we’re standing in.

      “Not tonight,” he says easily. “Though we used to keep a pack of them back in college. Light flows were perfect for stopping up bloody noses.”

     A snort escapes me. “Now there’s a visual.” Somehow, I’ve taken a step closer to him. He’s freshly showered, the golden brown strands of his hair still damp at his temples. And I wonder if he’s just come from the gym or practice. “So back in college you went and bought these tampons?”

     “Nah,” he says with a cheeky smile. “I’d ask one of the girls hanging around to get me some.”

     “Of course you did.” My nose wrinkles with annoyance.

     “Give me a little credit, Chess. I’d buy them now if I had to.”

     “Hmm…” I eye him, trying not to return his smile. If only because it’s more fun when he teases. “So why are you in this aisle now, if not for potential nosebleed needs?”
     “That’s easy.” He steps closer, a warm wall of muscle and clean scent. “I heard your voice.”

     For a second I just blink. “You recognized my voice?”

     His gaze darts over my face as if he’s trying to get a read on why I’m gaping at him. “Not to be…ah…rude, but you’re loud when you talk on the phone.”

     “Yeah, but… You recognized it.” We’d only just met. It occurs to me that I’d recognized his both times he’d snuck up on me. Then again, his voice is distinctive, flowing like hot honey when he’s relaxed or hammering down like iron to rock when he’s taking command of a situation.

     A soft flush of pink tints the tips of his ears. If I wasn’t staring at him, I might have missed it. He shifts his weight. “Was I not supposed to?”

     “No. Yes.” I shake my head and laugh. “I don’t know.”

     He grins then. “You’re cute when you’re flustered.”

     “I’m not flustered.” I am.



So what'd you think of that excerpt?

Does The Hot Shot sound like a romance you'd like to read?

Are sports romances anyone else's weakness...or just mine? ;) 

Monday, April 17, 2017

[Timeless Tour] Discussion Questions


Happy Monday!

I've got another post for you today for Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

As I introduced a couple of weeks ago, I'm part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

I hope you've all been enjoying the tour so far!

Today, my post is a little different! Instead of being centred around one of the books, I have some discussion questions instead!



  1. What was your favourite historical time period among the Timeless Tour reads? Did you know anything about this period before you began reading the book?
    I enjoyed all of the time periods in the books, but I really liked learning about the Acadians in Canada in Promises to Keep the most. While I did learn about Canadian history in school, I don't ever actually remember learning about the Acadians, so it was all really new to me. I've always been a fan of historical fiction, but I didn't realize just how little there is on Canadian history until Genevieve Graham's previous book, Tides of Honour, released. When I first heard she was going to be writing about the Expulsion of the Acadians, I was immediately on board. While I didn't know much about the Acadian Expulsion prior to Promises to Keep, I felt like Genevieve did a great job at bringing the reader up to speed with the events surrounding the characters, and I really appreciated getting to see a side of Canada's history that I wasn't familiar with.

  2. How did the historical events in each book influence the character’s choices and personalities?
    I think that all characters are influenced by their surroundings in books, so I have to admit that I don't really think that these characters were any different that way. In Promises to Keep, Amélie is forced to make decisions that she thinks will aid in her family's survival, and I think her personality was actually shaped more by her family in the story rather than the historical events. She was raised to speak her mind, and so she had a very strong personality and she was determined to perverse. I think Beatrice from The Scribe of Siena was the same. She was raised by her brother, Ben, and he taught her to be an academic. She ended up being a neurosurgeon, so it's not very surprising that she was a rather rational and clinical thinker. I think the historical events surrounding these characters definitely influenced their choices because they have to react to what's happening around them, but I think ultimately, that their personalities are separate from the historical events.

  3. If you could invite one of the Timeless Tour leading ladies (Beatrice, Jeanne, or Amelie) to dinner, who would you choose and why?
    I'd want to have Amélie for dinner. I absolutely loved Promises to Keep, and I thought that she was such a strong character that I really would love to get to know. I'd love to hear her talk about what it was like living in Grand Pré, and I think it'd be fascinating to hear about her every day life...especially since she was living in Canada before it had actually become Canada yet.


  4. The Scribe of Siena starts in the present before Beatrice is transported back in time to 1347, whereas Promises to Keep and Enemies of Versailles are firmly rooted in one timeline. How did this change your reading experience?
    I thought that the time travel in The Scribe of Siena added a pretty different feel to the story. While Promises to Keep and The Enemies of Versailles are strongly grounded in their historical time periods, The Scribe of Siena isn't limited to just the historical. Beatrice is shaped by the present time, so I think that adds a very different feel to the character and there's that sense of unease and confusion whenever unexpected time travel happens...even if you go into the book knowing that it's going to happen eventually. It kind of reminded me of Outlander in a way because the time travel really isn't the biggest part of the story, it's really just the plot point to get Beatrice to where...and when...she needs to be.

  5. In the past, powerful women have been written out of textbooks. How do the protagonists of the Timeless Tour reads challenge the misconception that women in history were passive, submissive and dependent?
    Hmm, I don't think it's correct to say that women in history were passive, submissive and dependent. While women aren't as prevalent in history as men are, there were still a few very notable powerful figures, like Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, and Cleopatra. It is disappointing that you don't hear about many ordinary women in history though...in that way, every day women were largely passive, submissive, and dependent. I think a big part of that is the fact that women actually wouldn't have been able to have been in a position to be active, dominant and independent...unless they were nobility. I think the leading ladies in these three books challenge misconceptions about women in history because in a way, they're not confined in the same way that many common women in history would've been. They're all educated, and have certain freedoms to be independent that wouldn't necessarily be available to many women historically. In short...they're allowed to be protagonists in their own lives during times when women wouldn't necessarily be given that freedom.



Follow the rest of the TIMELESS TOUR:



Do you have any answers for the Timeless Tour Discussion Questions?

Or if you haven't read any of the tour books, what's your favourite historical fiction?And what makes it your favourite?

Monday, April 10, 2017

[Timeless Tour] Promises to Keep Deleted Scenes!


Happy Monday historical fiction fans! I've got another amazing post for you today for Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

As I introduced a couple of weeks ago, I'm part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

Today I have some AMAZING deleted scenes from Genevieve Graham's PROMISES TO KEEP



In case PROMISES TO KEEP is a new book for you,
here's a bit of an introduction to it:

PROMISES TO KEEP

Author: Genevieve Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Received an ARC from S&S Canada to participate in the
Timeless Tour and give an honest review.
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 336 (Paperback)



An enchanting and poignant story about the unfailing power of love in a world turned upside down by war—from the bestselling author of Tides of Honour.

Summer 1755, Acadia

Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes. Amélie’s entire family, alongside the other Acadians, is exiled to ports unknown aboard dilapidated ships.

Fortunately, Amélie has made a powerful ally. Having survived his own harrowing experience at the hands of the English, Corporal Connor MacDonnell is a reluctant participant in the British plan to expel the Acadians from their homeland. His sympathy for Amélie gradually evolves into a profound love, and he resolves to help her and her family in any way he can—even if it means treason. As the last warmth of summer fades, more ships arrive to ferry the Acadians away, and Connor is forced to make a decision that will alter the future forever.

Heart-wrenching and captivating, Promises to Keep is a gloriously romantic tale of a young couple forced to risk everything amidst the uncertainties of war.



Now that you know a bit about the book,
it's time for some deleted scenes from PROMISES TO KEEP:

DELETED SCENE #1

Amelie’s Family

     My papa, Charles Belliveau, was sixteen and still living with the Mi'kmaq when he met my maman. Sylvie Fontaine had grown up only a few houses from where he had been born. The story goes that he saw her walking into the church with her parents, but since he wasn't properly dressed to enter the house of God, he waited outside for the service to be over. Papa never told me much more about how they eventually met, except to say that she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Every time he said that, she blushed as if no time had passed at all. That alone was reason enough for us to ask him to tell the story again and again.

     For her he'd shed his buckskin, cut his hair, reverted to his mother tongue. When their engagement was announced, the entire community got together in the traditional way to build the newlyweds a house.

     Papa was good with the animals, and he put together a garden which my mother would always tend, but his hands were usually busier with chores brought to him by the sea. He was a fisherman for most of the year, and sometimes he helped with boat building. I remembered the first time I saw the long, tapered trunk of a white pine stretched out beside our barn, supported by thick wooden blocks. It would someday be the mast of a great ship, Papa told me.

     This wasn't the first or final mast I saw him build. I never tired of admiring his obvious skill. For weeks I watched him work, sweating through his shirt under the summer sun. Using his adze, he squared the wood then cut it down to sixteen sides in preparation for planing the edges into a round shape. My brothers and I helped him sand down the marks his tools had left until at last he declared himself proud of the finished product. When the other men came to carry it away, I pictured it adorned with sails, bravely cutting through the Atlantic swells; my father's mast would always guide the travelers safely home.

     After my parents’ wedding, we children weren't long in coming. I was the fourth child, following André, Henri, and Claire. Mathieu and Giselle were born after me. By the time I was born André was already five. When I  was five, he was ten, and I worshipped everything about him. He was like Papa with his quiet strength, like Maman with her wisdom. Though I am certain now that he would much rather I not follow him constantly, he never showed any annoyance with me.

     I wished I could say the same for myself when Giselle was born exactly five years after me. Sweet as she was, I had no patience for her constant chatter and butterfly dances. I fled whenever I could, and often I went up to the Mi'kmaq village. There we had another family. My Mi’kmaq sister Mali and I shared parents, meaning we each had two fathers, two mothers, and twice as much love as the other families who did not approve of the people of the forest.

     Like me, Henri preferred the Mi'kmaq way of life, and we shared a best friend in Mali. He learned to hunt and fight their way, and he knew every one of their legends better than he knew the Bible stories. In the summer, when his skin darkened under the sun, he could almost be mistaken for one of them. My dear Henri was the dark opposite of André: acting before thinking, speaking out of turn, but always able to do it with a grin. He was a bit of a rebel, but I adored him.

     When Maman married Papa, he brought with him a culture based on the idea of living by example. He taught her of the Mi'kmaq's belief that every living thing worked together, and she adopted that into her way of thinking. Maman was not only wise, she was kind. And lovely. Maman was the kind of person whose soul was as beautiful as her face, and that was beautiful indeed. I suppose she would have to have been, allowing a scrubby blond Mi'kmaq to woo her, but I imagine Papa was charming. And it was obvious to everyone she loved him with all her heart.

     I was not the quiet, dutiful daughter my parents had in my older sister, Claire. Nor was I the delightful, talented younger sister. That was Giselle. Giselle was twelve now, and I was seventeen. She acted young for her age, and we had little in common. Both my sisters were fair in colour, their long golden hair lit by sunshine, their bright blue eyes clear and wide. My hair was dark under my cap, and though my eyes were blue they were never lowered demurely, and every one of my emotions was plain to see through them.

     Claire and I loved each other, of course, and we had played well together up to a certain age. Then she discovered boys, and her attitude changed so much I had trouble interesting her in any of the games we'd played as children. She started to take extra care when she was dressing in the morning, and I teased her when I spotted her batting pale eyelashes at one of the boys.

     I was stubborn like Maman, inquisitive like Papa. Maman called me impatient, and I suppose that was fair. I did not like to waste time that could be better spent. I couldn't sit still long, but I was not driven to move in the way that Giselle needed to move. She was a rabbit, hopping from one thing to another without purpose. I was a hummingbird, direct and determined. I needed to see everything that was happening. If we were preparing bread in the kitchen, I needed to know why Henri was running so quickly outside the window. If I was at the weir, I longed to climb the hill and scout for my younger brother, Mathieu, who was constantly finding trouble. When my parents were busy, I needed to keep my eyes on both my younger siblings. Matthieu knew not to go near the aboiteaus, but Giselle was unpredictable. When I was her age, Papa had told me to keep my distance from the openings to the dikes or the sea eels might bite me. He had warned us all, and so far we had all been free of the nasty things, but perhaps after five children he had tired of reminding us. Had he ever mentioned the eels to Giselle? Just in case, I took it upon myself to constantly remind her, to make sure she showed respect in the dikes.




DELETED SCENE #2

 History of Acadians/Mi’kmaq

     When my people first came to this land over a hundred years ago, they brought with them the wisdom of their homeland. The founding fathers settled in a land on the edge of the ocean and decided the marshy grasses—which revealed themselves twice a day when the tide receded—would become our fields. They called our new home Grand Pré, or “Great Meadow.”

     When I was very small, Papa explained to me that silt and dirt left behind by millions of departing tides fed the grasses and made the land fertile. The difficulty, of course, was keeping the ocean from stealing our crops. But our ancestors had been smart. Using ferrées, pitchforks, axes, and their powerful backs, the early Acadians spent years building huge dikes to stand against the sea. Ditches were dug through the remaining marshes, and hollowed-out tree trunks reinforced with marsh mud were put in to serve as tunnels. The ends were gated by aboiteaus, little gates which moved with the tide, letting excess rainwater escape into the ocean but not letting the seawater in. Once these were in place, more dikes were built over top using marsh mud and sod. The dikes demanded a great deal of our time, but they were something we could not live without, so no one ever complained.

     The Acadians built homes and gardens where no one had been before—other than the Mi’kmaq, who had lived here since the creation of the world. I imagined our settlers would have been nervous at first, meeting these mysterious people, but they had nothing to fear. The Mi’kmaq were a sharing, generous people, and they would have been equally curious about these awkward white people who had stumbled into their home.

     The Mi’kmaq and my people have always been at peace. My ancestors did not wish to cut down the forests or fight them for their lands, so the Mi’kmaq watched them create fields from the sea. Even though they were not Christian at that time they must have seen that we were like them, wishing to live in harmony with the earth and its creatures. Once they realized we could work side by side, they taught my ancestors the true meaning of living off the land. Through them we learned to build fish weirs and eel traps, even to fish through ice during those frozen months of winter. After they mixed berries into our food, sickness came less often, and the herbs they shared with us eased our illnesses and pains. They traded with us, bringing warm, protective furs in exchange for our metal pots and axes. Through my ancestors the Mi’kmaq learned to worship the Lord, and some even accepted our ancestors’ invitation to join our Order of Good Cheer. We became good friends and neighbours. If it hadn’t been for the Mi’kmaq, we never would have lived to see today.

     The British eventually arrived, but as long as they did not cause any trouble there was plenty of land to go around. Declaring victory over the French forces at Fort Louisbourg had whet their appetite for this land, and they decided to stay. When the French won it back three years later the British reacted by founding Halifax—right in the Mi'kmaq moose hunting territory.

     Tumas' expression tightened every time he spoke of this, so I only asked once—but I heard the story many times over the fire. I imagine the subject burned so hotly within his heart that the flames brought it to the fore. His rage was a frightening thing to see, I must admit. I loved the man like a father, but the way he paced, the way his massive hands clenched while he spoke made me want to flee his furious gaze. He argued—against no one, for none of us would dare contradict him!—that Halifax could not exist. He said a treaty had existed for a hundred years, keeping the Mi'kmaq and British on friendly terms, but this Halifax had been established without any negotiations at all. He raged at the presumptuous British, at their disrespect for the land and its people. On some nights, when he simply could not sit quietly anymore, the rants changed form. His expression set, he went off into the forest with some of the other men. I knew they would be discussing the British, and not in pleasant terms. Sometimes he did not come back until the following morning. Then he was quiet, focused on his own private thoughts.

     It wasn't long before the Mi'kmaq declared war upon the British. From that moment on, the Mi'kmaq and the British had fought, since the British were not willing to hand back the land they had claimed. As the conflict grew even more heated, terrible, forbidden whispers about scalping on both sides were passed around Acadian hearths. Someone once told me that the British were paying for Mi'kmaq scalps, but I couldn't—wouldn't believe such a repugnant idea. Who could ever … ? No. It had to be a lie.

     As Acadians we were determined not to get involved but to live in peace with everyone around us. We still brought food to the soldiers as we always had, and we continued our close friendship with the Mi’kmaq, though our visits became less frequent and were sometimes strained. Mali had warned me things were getting worse. She said the Acadians would soon need to choose a side, but I hadn't wanted to talk of such things with her or with anyone else.

     I didn’t understand. As far as I could tell, nothing had changed. 





About GENEVIEVE GRAHAM:

Genevieve Graham graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in music in 1986 and began writing in 2007. She is passionate about breathing life back into history through tales of love and adventure, and loves the challenge of re-living Canadian history in particular. Her previous novel, Tides of Honour, was a Globe and Mail bestseller.

When Graham is not writing, she can be found relaxing with her husband and two grown daughters, teaching piano to children in the community, or tending the garden along with a friendly flock of heritage chickens. She lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia.




Follow the rest of the TIMELESS TOUR:



In case you missed it, you can find my review for PROMISES TO KEEP, here. I absolutely loved it, and I'm so excited to be able to share these deleted scenes with you all!

What did you think?
If you've read the book, did you enjoy these deleted scenes?
And if you haven't, do they make you curious about PROMISES TO KEEP?

Monday, April 3, 2017

[Timeless Tour]
Review: Promises to Keep by Genevieve Graham


Hi again to my fellow historical fiction fans! I'm back with another post for Simon & Schuster Canada's TIMELESS TOUR

During the course of this tour, I'll be a part of a group of bloggers sharing posts relating to three of S&S Canada's big historical romance books this season: PROMISES TO KEEP, THE ENEMIES OF VERSAILLES, and THE SCRIBE OF SIENA!

Today for the Timeless Tour, I'm sharing my review for Genevieve Graham's PROMISES TO KEEP!


Before I dive right into my review, here's a bit about the book:

PROMISES TO KEEP

Author: Genevieve Graham
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Received an ARC from S&S Canada to participate in the
Timeless Tour and give an honest review.
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Number of Pages: 336 (Paperback)



An enchanting and poignant story about the unfailing power of love in a world turned upside down by war—from the bestselling author of Tides of Honour.

Summer 1755, Acadia

Young, beautiful Amélie Belliveau lives with her family among the Acadians of Grande Pré, Nova Scotia, content with her life on their idyllic farm. Along with their friends, the neighbouring Mi’kmaq, the community believes they can remain on neutral political ground despite the rising tides of war. But peace can be fragile, and sometimes faith is not enough. When the Acadians refuse to pledge allegiance to the British in their war against the French, the army invades Grande Pré, claims the land, and rips the people from their homes. Amélie’s entire family, alongside the other Acadians, is exiled to ports unknown aboard dilapidated ships.

Fortunately, Amélie has made a powerful ally. Having survived his own harrowing experience at the hands of the English, Corporal Connor MacDonnell is a reluctant participant in the British plan to expel the Acadians from their homeland. His sympathy for Amélie gradually evolves into a profound love, and he resolves to help her and her family in any way he can—even if it means treason. As the last warmth of summer fades, more ships arrive to ferry the Acadians away, and Connor is forced to make a decision that will alter the future forever.

Heart-wrenching and captivating, Promises to Keep is a gloriously romantic tale of a young couple forced to risk everything amidst the uncertainties of war.


MY REVIEW

My immediate reaction after finishing PROMISES TO KEEP was WOW and that feeling hasn't left me yet. It's been my favourite of Genevieve Graham's books so far, and I think it's definitely her strongest book! Not only has she crafted a sweet romance between two honourable and strong characters, she's also woven a story of Canada's past in an engaging way, and I think she did a wonderful job with both!

The characters, the plot, the history, everything came together so well, and it left me eager to find out what would happen next! As I read each page, I became more and more invested in Amélie and Connor's story, and it had me hopeful when I knew there really wasn't much hope to be had. I have to admit that I really don't know much about the Acadians's history in Canada, so I was extremely interested in learning about them through PROMISES TO KEEP, and I loved the journey that Genevieve took me on!

Genevieve's vibrant and lush descriptions swept me away, and I could really imagine the idyllic life that the Acadians were living in Grand Pré. Their home was paradise, and it made it all the more tragic to experience what it must have felt like for them to be living there during the expulsion. What I loved most though (as is usual for me), were the characters. All of the characters were complex and well developed, and I absolutely adored the two main characters, Amélie and Connor! They were fantastic and I loved seeing their connection. Their budding romance was an excellent contrast to the conflict and turmoil surrounding them, and their perseverance was amazing!

While PROMISES TO KEEP isn't a happy story, mostly because the Acadian Expulsion was anything but happy, it was a wonderful journey to experience. Genevieve Graham has done an excellent job of pairing a sweet romance along with a dark time in Canada's history. She's brought awareness to something that not everyone knows about (myself included), and she's done it in a lively and engaging manner. If you're a fan of historical fiction, especially if you have an interest in Canadian history, and you also enjoy sweet romances, I think this is the perfect book for you!


About the Author:

GENEVIEVE GRAHAM graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in music in 1986 and began writing in 2007. She is passionate about breathing life back into history through tales of love and adventure, and loves the challenge of re-living Canadian history in particular. Her previous novel, Tides of Honour, was a Globe and Mail bestseller.

When Graham is not writing, she can be found relaxing with her husband and two grown daughters, teaching piano to children in the community, or tending the garden along with a friendly flock of heritage chickens. She lives near Halifax, Nova Scotia.


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As you can tell, I absolutely LOVED Promises to Keep!

What about you?
Are you a fan of historical fiction?
Have you read any of Genevieve Graham's books?
And are you planning to read Promises to Keep?