Tag Archives: Paris

‘What’s Not Said’ and ‘What’s Not True’ by Valerie Taylor (2 Book Spotlight)

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2021 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Women’s Fiction
2020 Canadian Book Club Awards Finalist in Fiction
Chosen as an August 2021 Pulpwood Queens Book Club selection
Featured by the international NoMo Book Club in May 2021
 
 

What’s Not Said is a story about Kassie O’Callaghan, a middle-aged woman on a mission to divorce her emotionally abusive husband and start a new life with a younger man she met while on a solo vacation in Venice. When she learns her husband has chronic kidney disease, her plans collapse until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.

Then again, Kassie is no angel. The separate lives they lead collide head-on into a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. As she helps her husband find an organ donor, Kassie uncovers a secret, forcing her to decide whose life to save: her husband’s or her own.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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With her court date set for her divorce and her plans with the younger man in the rearview mirror, Kassie O’Callaghan shifts attention to reviving her stalled career. But things get complicated when she unexpectedly rendezvous with her former lover in Paris. After a chance meeting there with a colleague and a stroll along Pont Neuf, Kassie receives two compelling proposals. Can she accept them both?

But Kassie’s decision process screeches to a halt when her soon-to-be ex-husband has a heart attack, forcing her to fly home to Boston. There, she confronts his conniving and deceitful fiancée—a woman who wants not just a ring on her finger but everything that belongs to Kassie. In the ensuing battle to protect what’s legally and rightfully hers, Kassie discovers that sometimes it’s what’s not true that can set you free.

 

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Meet the Author:
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Valerie Taylor was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She earned a B.S. Marketing degree and an MBA from Sacred Heart University, as well as a graduate certificate in health care administration from Simmons University (formerly Simmons College). She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer. Valerie is a published book reviewer with BookTrib.com; and a member of Westport Writers’ Workshop, Independent Book Publishers Association, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator.

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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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Parisian Amour (A Fairy Tale Romance) by Beth Barany (Novella Review)

Sarah Redman, a bank project manager up to her neck with work, wants some adventure in her life. A career opportunity in Paris seems like a dream come true, but once she gets there nothing goes as planned. The job interview she thought she wanted falls through and her dreams about a crying dragon trouble her. To top it off, she gets lost in the tunnels of Paris with a man who attracts her more than she wants to admit.

Trainer extraordinaire, Josh Kleine, needs to pull off a successful presentation at the Paris Transportation Conference to land more clients and save his company. But strange events in the tunnels under Paris drive him to distraction and into a strange, profound sadness. In search of answers under the city, he gets trapped below ground with a gorgeous woman who he desires like none before. But will the sadness tear him apart before he can convince himself and her that love does not only exist in fairy tales?

Together they may hold the key to the strange disasters striking the City of Lights. Can Sarah unravel the secrets of the city and of her heart in time to save them all?

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

I love mythical creatures and folklore. Dragons are such imposing and awe-inspiring creatures. You think of them as fierce beasts and not ones that are weighed down by sorrow. Parisian Amour is a magical short read that shines a light on a love so strong time has no meaning. A love that defies logic.

Josh and Sarah were fated to meet. They shared a spark that has the potential to be an everlasting love.

They may not live HEA, but they sure are HFN – which I thought was a perfect ending.

On a side note: With chestnuts being a prominent word in the story, Beth created an earworm. 😀

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

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Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible.

All the Books in the Touchstone Series:
All books are stand-alone, yet are connected.

Touchstone of Love (A Time Travel Romance) (Touchstone, #1)
A Christmas Fling (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #2)
Parisian Amour (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #3)
A Labyrinth of Love and Roses (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #4)
A Cupcake Christmas (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #5)

Buy All Five At Once!

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