Tag Archives: historical fiction

Of All Faiths & None by Andrew Tweeddale (Book Spotlight)

In the autumn of 1910 the famous architect, Edwin Lutyens, receives a letter from Sir Julius Drewe for the commission of a castle on Dartmoor – Castle Drogo. The design for the castle focusses on both the past and the present and reflects Britain, which at that moment is in a state of flux. Lutyens’ daughter, Celia, becomes enamoured with the project dreaming of chivalry and heroism. The following year Lutyens and his family are invited to a stone laying ceremony at Castle Drogo. Celia meets Sir Julius’ children: Adrian, Christian and Basil. Adrian has an unbending sense of duty and honour and is seen as a hero by Celia when he rescues a farmer from a fire.

The novel moves to 1914, and the start of the Great War. Christian Drewe returns from Austria where he has been working as an artist. He has reservations about joining up, unconvinced that the war was either necessary or right. He meets a nurse, Rose Braithwaite, when he is stuck at a railway station by fog. They subsequently meet again when Rose invites Christian to a party she is having for her birthday. Despite them being of different classes, there is a mutual attraction and during the evening they kiss. However, Rose is engaged and a fight breaks out between Rose’s fiancé, who arrives much later, and Christian. Both Rose and Christian decide never to see each other again. Christian’s moral conflict about enlisting comes to a head when he is handed a white feather – the sign of a coward. Eighteen months later, during the war, Christian is injured and is treated by Rose at a hospital on the front line. Both realise their mistake of following their heads rather than their hearts. Christian is sent back to a rehabilitation hospital in England where Celia is now working.

Adrian, when on leave, visits Christian and again meets Celia. The relationship is now one of equals. Celia, a headstrong young woman, decides that she must try and develop the relationship or risk losing Adrian. Adrian is torn between his desire for Celia and his need to protect his family, who are now having financial problems. The story moves from the battlefields of Flanders to Castle Drogo, where the characters are reunited for brief periods. Faith and love are stretched to their limits as each character is affected by the relentless brutality of the war. Of All Faiths & None is the story of a lost generation. It is a novel that focuses on the relationships of the characters until those relationships are shattered. It is a coming-of-age tale and a social commentary on the tragedy of a needless war.

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Chapters1 to 3 (click on the Imprint Body link below for sample chapters)

Imprint Body

 

 

From the author… “Of All Faiths & None” 

1. Has received a 4 star review from Reedsy:
 Reviewed by Jacquelynn Kennedy

2. Has been entered for the Best Indie Book Award.

3. Has been nominated for the Outstanding Creator Awards – Category: Books.

4. Has been entered in the Paris Book Festival

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Meet the Author

Writer, lawyer and chef. Andrew has written books on law and engineering contracts. In 2004 he started writing his debut novel Of All Faiths & None, which took eighteen years to complete. It is the first book in a series about the Drewe and Lutyens families throughout the 20th century.

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Ponce: What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth by Jim Halverson (Book Review)

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Two Florida State geology students found the pages written by Ponce de Leon’s chronicler in a dry limestone cave in the northwest panhandle. The original Spanish papers, five hundred years old, were found in relatively good shape, protected from time and moisture in a heavy triple-walled leather case. They chronicle Ponce de Leon’s second expedition to Florida in search of the fountain of youth.
 
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 
In history, it is pretty well-known explorers took land from the Natives. Power was the name of the game. Explorers wanted wealth and notoriety, while Kings aimed to increase their wealth, power, and control of lands. 


Speaking of explorers, readers will recognize the ones mentioned in the story. Most children study them in middle school; my daughter did, so she knew who Ponce de Leon was and about the Fountain of Youth. 


Through lessons, we know that when explorers traveled to new lands, they brought with them diseases. Ponce: What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth by Jim Halverson did note this and how the Natives got revenge on foreigners by giving them an STD, which they brought back to their homelands. (If you haven’t spoken to your child about STDs yet, then this might be a good time to explain it.)

There were no graphic scenes or questionable topics (besides the STD passages), so middle school children could read this on their own. At less than 160 pages, it shouldn’t take them too long to read it. If your family homeschools, maybe have your child write a review on the story or complete a book report. I’m sure they’ll have plenty to talk about: snake bites, runaway rooster, greed-filled men, “magic water,” and much more. 


While Ponce: What Actually Happened at the Fountain of Youth did lag for me a bit, I did find it amusing how the white men underestimated the Natives, and how Ponce was on the constant verge of having an absolute hissy fit. 


The ending was superb too! 

 
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:

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​Jim Halverson grew up in the rural, gold-mining town of Mokelumne Hill, CA and received his MBA from Golden Gate University. He spent part of his life on a ranch and is an avid student of psychology. He recognizes the struggles of all men and women seeking equality and respect. Jim and his wife, Gail, spend their time traveling from their small farm in Forestville, CA.

 
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The Sand Pounder – Love and Drama on Horseback in WWII by M. J. Evans (Book Spotlight / Guest Post)

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“The Sand Pounder is one of those rare historical novels with a charm that appeals to both young and old readers.” – Vincent Dublado for Readers’ Favorite 
“M.J. Evans does an excellent job of winding the era’s history and the lesser-known job of the Sand Pounders into a realistic story of a mature teen’s determination to make a difference in her world.” – Diane Donovan for Midwest Book Review
“A gripping YA historical novel packed full of twists, turns and memorable characters. Highly recommended!” – The Wishing Shelf Book Review (UK)
 

 
 
Book Description:
Fearing an invasion by German and Japanese forces during World War II, the U.S. Coast Guard enlisted horsemen to patrol the beaches along the east and west coasts. The unit was called “The Sand Pounders” and they rode their horses up and down the beaches from 1942 to 1944.
In Tillamook, Oregon, a young equestrian decided to join them. There was only one problem…they were only accepting men. That didn’t slow her down.
 
​”The Sand Pounder” is a Young Adult historical fiction set during World War II. ​
 
 
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Meet the Author:
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Award-Winning, Best-Selling author, M.J. Evans grew up in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and graduated from Oregon State University. She spent five years teaching junior high and high school students before retiring to raise her five children. She is a life-long equestrian and enjoys competing in Dressage and riding in the beautiful Colorado Mountains.

 

 

 

 

Hi readers and writers. Whenever I do an author presentation on my books or writing in general, I am ALWAYS asked the question: “Where do you get your ideas for your books?”

That is becoming an increasingly hard question to answer now that I have written twenty-one books. My first books were non-fiction equestrian trail guidebooks for Colorado. I moved to Colorado from Oregon twenty-six years ago and wanted to find out where horse trails were. I went to the bookstore only to discover that there were lots of trail guidebooks…hiking, hiking with your family, hiking with your dog, and on and on. But there were no equestrian trail guidebooks. Equestrians have unique needs when it comes to finding a trail, starting with the parking lot to what kind of “horse hazards” you can expect to encounter. So, I decided to research and write my own. It was so successful, I have now written four of them.

All the rest of my books are fiction. That is where the craziness begins. “Mr. Figgletoes’ Toy Emporium” came to me when I was vacationing in Coeur D’Alene and saw a toy store named “Figpickles’ Toy Emporium.” The name was so fun it got my imagination running on high and the story started taking shape in my head.

My four-book series, “The Centaur Chronicles,” is another fantasy. The entire idea came to me while reading in the Bible. I read the verse in Ephesians that says: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” (Eph. 6:14) I started thinking about what powers the breastplate of righteousness might give me and I came up with Mercy, Courage, Integrity and Wisdom…the four stones of light that make up the four books of the series.

“The Sand Pounder – Love and Drama on Horseback in WWII” and “PINTO! Based Upon the True Story of the Longest Horseback Ride in History” are both obscure horse-based stories that I stumbled upon completely by accident while searching for famous horses on the internet. However, in both cases, once I learned about the events described in those books, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I started researching and soon the stories began to formulate in my mind.

 

My fiction books, whether fantasy, coming of age, or Historical Fiction, all require me to let my imagination have its way so to speak. But that is the fun that comes from being an author!

I hope you will read and enjoy “The Sand Pounder.” If you do, please post a review on Amazon and goodreads and tell a friend about it! Happy Reading!

 

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To Every Page a Turning: One Life’s Journey by Carl Buccellato (Book Spotlight)

 

In this novel, the journey begins in the innocence of America in the 1950s. Traveling through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth, the novel also recounts the travel of a generation as they move through time. As you read the pages of this book, you will discover a man perhaps not unlike yourself, seeking knowledge, peace, and faith. Perhaps you, like he, have traveled through the paradigm shift of the twentieth century both in awe and fear of what lies ahead.

 

 

 

 

Each man who journeys through life must travel through its season and ultimate lessons. For some, the journey is brief, and their life’s light is fleeting. They are like rockets that flare to the heavens, glowing brightly only to go black in the next instant. Still others travel what seem to be an abbreviated journey, missing some of life’s seasons, never knowing the agony or the ecstasy of what they have missed. But some live each season, taste each tear, relish each sunrise, and brace themselves against each burst of wind. They have traveled life’s highways and finally joined the many pieces of themselves into the whole person they were born to be.

When a man is clearing old files out from his garage, he comes across a folder containing an old manuscript he wrote twenty years previously as part of his recovery therapy. It had served as a catharsis for him to help transition old painful issues from his past. He was still a young man when he wrote the words, and as a senior in his seventies, he begins to reflect on his life s journey. As he reads the old papers, many memories come flooding back. He begins to find that our lives are like pages turning from one place in our lives to another, each unique, holding treasures and pains of its own, and each a window to growth, learning, and acceptance of who we are and who we were born to be.

 

 

 

For all things there is a season, a time to laugh and a time to cry, a time for planting and a time for harvesting, a time for making war and a time for peace, a time to live and a time to die. Ecclesiastes 3:1–8

Each man who journeys through life must travel through its seasons and ultimate lessons. For some, the journey is brief, their life’s light is fleeting. They are like rockets that flare to the heavens glowing brightly only to go black in the next instance. Still others travel what seems to be an abbreviated journey, missing some of life’s seasons, never knowing the agony or the ecstasy of what they have missed. But some, some live each season, taste each tear, relish in each sunrise, brace themselves against each burst of wind. They have traveled life’s highways and finally joined the many pieces of themselves into the whole person they were born to be.

Nietzsche has written, “That which does not destroy us makes us stronger.” This journey begins in the innocence of America in the 1950s, and travels through hope, a great cause, disenchantment, hopelessness, discovery, and rebirth. It is the travel of a generation.

And a man who was uniquely part of that generation.

Overcoming, survival, and success. It finally centers on the one day in 2019 when he must reflect upon his lifetime and must come to terms with who he is today. He must acknowledge he has kept himself apart from his surroundings and buried his feelings deep inside.

 


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Meet the Author:


Carl Buccellato was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1942, and is of Italian-American descent. Throughout his career and travels, Carl has met a broad array of different people. Some, down on their luck, some at the pinnacle of their careers and personal lives. Many of the people and their stories left a mark on Carl’s heart and mind. It is from some of these encounters that Carl has drawn inspiration for a few of the fictitious characters in this novel. Today, Carl resides in Coral Springs, Florida, with his wife Mary Ellen. She is an award-winning multimedia artist and speaker. Together, Carl and Mary Ellen love traveling the globe and looking for new inspiration for their gifts and talents given to them by their loving God.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook  ~ youtubegoodreads

 

 

 

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The Wisdom of the Flock: Franklin and Mesmer in Paris by Steve M. Gnatz (Book Spotlight / Guest Post)

Content Rating: PG-13. There is mild (romantic) sexual content and very mild profanity.

 
 
1776: Benjamin Franklin sails to Paris, carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence, freshly signed. His charge: gain the support of France for the unfolding American Revolution. Yet Paris is a city of distractions. Ben’s lover, Marianne Davies, will soon arrive, and he yearns to rekindle his affair with the beautiful musician.

Dr. Franz Mesmer has plans for Marianne too. He has taken Parisian nobility by storm with his discovery of magnétisme animale, a mysterious force claimed to heal the sick. Marianne’s ability to channel Mesmer’s phenomena is key to his success.

A skeptical King Louis XVI appoints Ben to head a commission investigating the astonishing magnétisme animale. By nature, Ben requires proof. Can he scientifically prove that it does not exist? Mesmer will stop at nothing to protect his profitable claim.

The Wisdom of The Flock explores the conflict between science and mysticism in a time rife with revolution, love, spies, and passion.

 
 

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Were Benjamin Franklin and Marianne Davies really lovers?

Benjamin Franklin was sent to France in 1776 at the outset of my book The Wisdom of the Flock to help secure the aid of the French in the American Revolution against the British.

But prior to the beginning of the book, Franklin had spent most of the past 20 years (1757-1775) in London, away from his wife Deborah. Ostensibly, this was because she had a strong aversion to sea travel and would not follow him across the Atlantic Ocean. Deborah, in fact, passed away in late 1774 at home in Philadelphia while Ben was still in London.

Franklin was, of course, famous as a ladies’ man. Historians have often wondered if he was up to any hanky-panky during those nearly 20 years in London.

In 1761, Franklin attended a concert in London. There Ben observed a lovely young musician named Marianne Davies performing on the musical glasses. Despite how beautifully she played, she appeared to be in constant pain from the activity. Franklin conceived of an instrument with glass bowls attached to a rod at their center and bathed in a tub of water. The rod was turned by a treadle mechanism, keeping the turning bowls moistened. The musician could then gently apply her finger to the appropriate bowl to produce the note she wanted – resulting in music without any pain. He named his invention a glass armonica and had the first one made for Marianne Davies. It has been suggested that this was an extravagant gift for the gentleman to give the lady.

In 1767, a young Philadelphia artist named Charles Willson Peale showed up unannounced at Franklin’s lodgings on Craven Street. While waiting to see the great man, Peale apparently observed (and sketched) Franklin with a paramour in the next room through an ajar door.

https://twonerdyhistorygirls.blogspot.com/2018/05/a-scandalous-sketch-of-benjamin.html

Some authors have suggested that the woman pictured might have been Franklin’s landlady Margaret Stevenson’s daughter Polly – but I believe this to be unlikely. While Polly would have been about the same age as Marianne Davies, and both women were much younger than Franklin, he generally considered Polly as a “surrogate daughter”. It seems unlikely that they would be openly engaged in such activity in her mother’s house.

There are very few, if any, established pictures of Marianne Davies – see my blog post on this issue here: https://stevegnatz.com/2020/10/why-are-there-no-pictures-of-marianne-davies/

There is not much help from the written historical record in terms of letters between Marianne Davies and Franklin. In The Wisdom of the Flock, I imagined that they had agreed to burn their private letters to each other – in order to solve this dilemma. It is historical fiction, after all! The only two letters known to exist in the real world are those that Marianne wrote in 1783 complaining that Franklin no longer seemed interested in protecting her “franchise” to play the glass armonica. Of course, in The Wisdom of the Flock, this is explained by Ben’s love interest having waned – and other actions on Marianne’s part that I will not reveal here so as not to spoil it for you.

I hope that you will enjoy the story of Benjamin Franklin and Marianne Davies love affair in The Wisdom of the Flock, even if it only represents the fictional part of historical fiction.

 

 

Meet the Author:

Steve Gnatz is a writer, physician, bicyclist, photographer, traveler, and aspiring ukulele player. The son of a history professor and a nurse, it seems that both medicine and history are in his blood. Writing historical fiction came naturally. An undergraduate degree in biology was complemented by a minor in classics. After completing medical school, he embarked on an academic medical career specializing in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. There was little time for writing during those years, other than research papers and a technical primer on electromyography. Now retired from the practice of medicine, he devotes himself to the craft of fiction. The history of science is of particular interest, but also the dynamics of human relationships. People want to be good scientists, but sometimes human nature gets in the way. That makes for interesting stories. When not writing or traveling, he enjoys restoring Italian racing bicycles at home in Chicago with his wife and daughters.

connect with the author:  website ~ facebook ~ goodreads

 

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