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Review: The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig

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About The Forgotten Room

The Forgotten Room, set in alternating time periods, is a sumptuous feast of a novel brought to vivid life by three brilliant storytellers.

1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.

Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel’s portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate? And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother? In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known. But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room?

My Review

Very well done, no doubt the level of talent and expertise of these three creative authors unmistakably blended to create quite a story of three women during differing times with ease.

Each women’s story was compelling. Their individual stories meticulously described, the mystery element was woven in wonderfully. The sketches of the women portray them as strong, independent, fearless heroines in their own right. A few surprises stealing your breath.

I enjoyed all three women and their affecting tales, I will say I was drawn to Olive’s story the most, very pleased when all the details and clues were knitted together forming a pleasant conclusion.

Well crafted, I appreciated the leisurely pace, there was a distinct intimacy formed with the characters as their stories were methodically revealed. A sweeping story of joys and sorrows, a quasi epic three generation romance story beautifully penned. Impressive anthology.

The Forgotten Room Authors

Karen Whitekarenwhite-white

After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O’Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University. Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moon was published in August, 2000. Her books have since been nominated for numerous national contests including the SIBA (Southeastern Booksellers Alliance) Fiction Book of the Year, and has twice won the National Readers’ Choice Award.

Karen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—Southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Her nineteenth novel, The Sound of Glass, was published in May 2015 by New American Library, a division of PenguinRandomHouse Publishing Group.

Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, playing piano, and avoiding cooking. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and two spoiled Havanese dogs.

Beatriz-2Beatriz Williams

A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons.

She now lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

Lauren Williglauren_new

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of fifteen works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association’s annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her “Pink Carnation” series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

Expected publication: January 19th 2016 by NAL

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Book Blast & Giveaway: Owen Archer Series by Candace Robb

The summer is heating up with the re-issue of Candace Robb’s Owen Archer historical crime series! Nine of the ten books were just released in eBook format, with all new, beautiful covers, and is now available to download for your eReader! At only $2.99 per eBook, it’s a FAB deal on a great series!

The Apothecary Rose (Small)

THE APOTHECARY ROSE (BOOK ONE)

“Suspenseful, historically accurate, and blessed with a wonderful cast of characters, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is an absolute delight from start to finish…” ó Charles de Lint, author of the Newford Series

In the year of our Lord 1363, two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Maryís Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresbyís neíer-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton. In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to York to find the murderer.

Under the guise of a disillusioned soldier keen to make a fresh start, Owen insinuates himself into Wiltonís apothecary as an apprentice. But he finds Wilton bedridden, with the shop being run by his lovely, enigmatic young wife, Lucie. As Owen unravels a tangled history of scandal and tragedy, he discovers at its center a desperate, forbidden love twisted over time into obsession. And the woman he has come to love is his prime suspect.

Lovingly detailed, beautifully written, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is a captivating and suspenseful tale of life, love, and death in medieval England.

The Lady Chapel (Small) (2)

THE LADY CHAPEL (BOOK TWO)

ìA lovingly detailed background informs and animates the plot at every point.î óKIRKUS

Perfect for fans of both Ellis Peters and CJ Sansom, THE LADY CHAPEL is a vivid and immersive portrait of court intrigue and a testament to the power of the medieval guilds.

Summer in the year of our Lord 1365. On the night after the Corpus Christi procession, a man is brutally murdered on the steps of York Minster. The next morning his severed hand is found in a room at the York Tavernóa room hastily vacated by a fellow guild member who had quarreled with the victim.

Archbishop Thoresby calls on Owen Archer to investigate. As Owen tracks the fleeing merchant, he uncovers a conspiracy involving a powerful company of traders, but his only witness is a young boy who has gone into hiding, and his only suspect is a mysterious cloaked woman. When Owen discovers a link between the traders and a powerful coterie in the royal court, he brings his apothecary wife Lucie into the race to find the boy before he is silenced forever by the murderers.

The Nuns Tale (Small)

THE NUN’S TALE (BOOK THREE)

ì[An] engrossing taleÖimbued with the flavor of English medieval life, Robbís story melds true events with fiction to create a gripping historical mystery.îóPUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Based on an enigmatic entry in the records of Clementhorpe Nunnery, this authentic, gripping mystery conjures a 14th century ripe with forbidden passions and political intrigue.

When young nun Joanna Calverley dies of a fever in the town of Beverley in the summer of 1365 she is buried quickly for fear of the plague. But a year later, Archbishop Thoresby learns of a woman who has arrived in York claiming to be the resurrected nun, talking of relic-trading and miracles. And death seems to ride in her wake.

The archbishop sends Owen Archer to retrace the womanís journey, an investigation that leads him across the north from Leeds to Beverley to Scarborough. Along the way he encounters Geoffrey Chaucer, a spy for the king of England, who believes there is a connection between the nunís troubles, renegade mercenaries, and the powerful Percy family. Back in York, however, Owenís wife Lucie, pregnant with their first child, has won the confidence of the mysterious nun and realizes that there are secrets hidden in the womanís seemingly mad ramblings…

The Kings Bishop (Small)

THE KING’S BISHOP (BOOK FOUR)

ìRobb continues to adeptly blend politics with period detail and three-dimensioned characterizations in the Owen Archer tales.î óPUBLISHERS WEEKLY

From the marshy Thames to the misty Yorkshire moors, murder stalks Welsh soldier-sleuth Owen Archer and one of his oldest friends.

On a snowy morning in 1367, Sir William of Wyndesoreís page is found in the icy moat of Windsor Castle, and some whisper that the murderer was Ned Townleyóa former comrade-in-arms of Owen Archer. Burdened with a reputation as a notoriously jealous lover, Ned cannot hope to clear his name; even Mary, his ladylove, is unsure of the truth. Hoping to put Ned out of harmís way while solving the murder, Owen places his friend in charge of a mission to Rievaulx Abbey at the edge of the moors. But when the travelers receive news of Maryís drowning, Ned vanishes into the wild.

Riding out in search of his old friend, Owen does not know whether he will be Nedís savior or executioner. With his one good eye, Owen sees more than most, but now he must find a way to penetrate the curtains of power that surround the Church and Englandís royal court and discover the truth of Nedís innocence or guilt…

The Riddle of St (Small)

THE RIDDLE OF ST. LEONARD’S (BOOK FIVE)

ìGripping and believableÖyou can almost smell the streets of 14th-century York as you delve deeper into an engrossing plot.î óPRIMA

In the year of our Lord 1369 the much-loved Queen Philippa lies dying in Windsor Castle, the harvest has failed, and the pestilence has returned. In York, the atmosphere of fear and superstition is heightened by a series of thefts and violent deaths at St. Leonardís Hospital and rumors that these crimes are connected to the hospitalís dwindling funds. The Master of St. Leonardís, Sir Richard Ravenser, hurries north from the queenís deathbed to summon Owen Archer, soldier-spy, to investigate the scandal before it ruins him.

While Owenís wife Lucie faces the plague-panicked townsfolk at the apothecary, Owen encounters a seemingly random series of clues: a riddle posed by one of the victims at the hospital, a lay sister with a scandalous past, the kidnapping of a child from the hospital orphanage, and a case of arson. The answer to the riddle of St. Leonardís lies in the past, and as Owenís family is caught up in the sweep of the pestilence, he must abandon them to race across the countryside to save the next victim.

A Gift of Sanctuary (Small)

A GIFT OF SANCTUARY (BOOK SIX)

ìRobb deftly interweaves a complex story of love, passion and murder into the troubled and tangled fabric of Welsh history, fashioning a rich and satisfying novel.î óPUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Under the pretense of escorting his father-in-law and the archbishopís secretary on a pilgrimage to the sacred city of St. Davidís in Wales, Owen Archer and Geoffrey Chaucer are carrying out a mission for the Duke of Lancaster. England and France are at war, and the southern coast of Wales is vulnerable to invasionóOwen and Geoffrey are to recruit archers for the dukeís army and inspect his Welsh fortifications on the coast, while quietly investigating whether the dukeís steward at Cydweli Castle is involved in a French plot to incite rebellion in Wales.

But trouble precedes them in the cathedral city of St. Davidís. On Whitesands Beach beyond the city a young man is beaten and left for dead, then spirited away by a Welsh bard. Shortly afterward a corpse clothed in the livery of the Duke of Lancaster is left at the city gate, his shoes filled with white sand. And at Cydweli Castle a chain of events begun by the theft of money from the castleís exchequer ends in a violent death and the disappearance of the stewardís beautiful young wife. Owen and Geoffrey begin to see connections linking the troubles in city and castle, and see they must unravel the complex story of betrayed love and political ambition to prevent more deaths.

But in the course of his investigations in the land of his birth, Owen is haunted by doubts about his own loyalties…

A Spy for the Redeemer (Small)

A SPY FOR THE REDEEMER (BOOK SEVEN)

ìFascinatingÖcrisp, evocative writingÖ. The tapestry here is rich and varied.îóCLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

Late spring in the year of our Lord 1370, and Owen Archer is anxious to leave Wales for home. His mission for the Duke of Lancaster complete, he attempts to arrange safe passage on a ship sailing for England, but the hanging of a stonemason interrupts his plans. On the surface it appears the young man was driven to suicide by a broken heart, but to Owen the signs all point to murder. As his investigation stretches on, however, Owen finds himself drawn into the influence of the leader of a Welsh rebellion whose manifesto speaks to his heart, and a choice is offered to him: join or die.

At home in York, Owenís wife Lucie is troubled by rumors that her husbandís long absence is permanent, as well as threats by a customer who claims she was poisoned by a physic from the Wilton apothecary. Meanwhile, Lucie is tempted by the attentions of a friendís steward, even as she uncovers a shattering betrayal in her own household.

The Guilt of Innocents (Small)

THE GUILT OF INNOCENTS (BOOK NINE)

ìItísÖthe Machiavellian intrigue that makes this such an enjoyable read. When the iron curtain came down people said the spy-thriller genre was dead. They were wrong. This is as full of intrigue as a Deighton or a Le CarrÈ.î óTHE GUARDIAN

Winter in the year of our Lord 1372. A river pilot falls into the icy waters of the River Ouse during a skirmish between dockworkers and the boys of the minster school, which include Owen Archerís adopted son Jasper. But what began as a confrontation to return a boyís stolen scrip becomes a murder investigation as the rescuers find the pilot dying of wounds inflicted before his plunge into the river. When another body is fished from the river upstream and Owen discovers that the boy Jasper sought to help has disappeared, Owen Archer convinces the archbishop that he must go in search of the boy. His lost scrip seems to hold the key to the double tragedy, but his disappearance leaves troubling questions: did he flee in fear? Or was he abducted?

On the cusp of this new mystery, Owen accepts Jasperís offer to accompany him to the boyís home in the countryside, where they learn that a valuable cross has gone missing. A devastating fire and another drowning force Owen to make impossible choices, endangering not only himself, but the two innocents he fights to protect. The bond between fathers and sons proves strong, even between those not linked by blood.

A Vigil of Spies (Small)

A VIGIL OF SPIES (BOOK TEN)

ìAs always, Candace Robb writes a powerful story intertwined with genuine characters of the day.î óHISTORICAL NOVEL REVIEW

Archbishop Thoresby of York, the second most powerful cleric in England, lies dying in his bed. The end of his life is seen by the great families of the North as a chance to promote one of their own as his successor, and Thoresby himself announces he will leave the matter to the dean and chapter of York. On the eve of this decision, the dying archbishop agrees to a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales, wife of the Black Prince, heir to the throne of England, and Thoresbyís captain of the guard, Owen Archer, has no doubt that trouble will follow.

As soon as the company rides into the palace yard he is proved right: they arrive burdened with the body of one of their party, and Owen finds evidence that the manís death was no accident. Within days of this discover, a messenger carrying an urgent message for the Archbishop is found hanging in the woods. With guards surrounding the property, it is clear that the murderer walks among the palace guests. The powerful Percy and Neville families are well represented in the entourage, including a woman who remembers an afternoon tryst with Owen as much, much more. Even the princessí son is suspect. As Owen races to unmask the guilty and rid the palace of the royal party, his final wish for his lord is that he might die in peace.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR02_Candace Robb

Growing up, Candace Robb wanted to be a ballerina, tap dancer, folk singer, journalistóbut on the day that she walked into Liz Armstrongís undergraduate class on Chaucerís Troilus and Criseyde, that all changed. A gifted teacher, lively, witty, always laughing even when cringing at a lazy response, Dr. Armstrong launched into the opening stanzas, and within a few lines Candaceís ears adjusted to the middle Englishóand she was hooked. Chaucerís psychological study of the two lovers was a revelation to her. The next quarter was The Canterbury Tales. That clinched it. Candace went on to graduate work in medieval history and literature, and ever since sheís been engaged in bringing to life the rich culture of the period, from the arts to the politics. She is the internationally acclaimed author of thirteen crime novels featuring the sexy, brooding, clever Owen Archer, who solves crimes for John Thoresby, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England, and the young Margaret Kerr, searching for her missing husband and her role in a Scotland overrun by English soldiers. Candace is currently under contract with Pegasus Books for a new crime series set in 15th century York, the Kate Clifford mysteries, which will debut in 2016.

Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published two historical novels about the women of the English court in the 14th century, A Triple Knot and The Kingís Mistress.

Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Candace grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she loves for its combination of culture, natural beauty, and brooding weather so like Yorkshire, Wales, and Scotland, which she visits as often as possible. She has taught the art of writing the crime novel in the University of Washingtonís certificate program, and offers workshops in writing the historical novel and in creating and plotting the crime series. Candace (and Emma) blog about writing and medieval topics at A Writerís Retreat, ecampion.wordpress.com.

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GIVEAWAY

3 Sets of THE APOTHECARY ROSE, THE LADY CHAPEL, and THE NUN’S TALE in eBook are up for grabs! Enter using the Rafflecopter Widget below.
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Rules

• Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
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• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
• Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Unshelfish is proud to be included in the tour for Candace Robb’s Owen Archer Series. Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

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SPOTLIGHT: The Bitter Trade by Piers Alexander

Please join Piers Alexander as he tours the blogosphere with HF Virtual Book Tours for The Bitter Trade, from October 13 – November 14.

02_The Bitter Trade

Publication Date: April 7, 2014
Tenderfoot
Formats: eBook, Paperback; 448p

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Read an Excerpt. Listen to an Excerpt.

In 1688, torn by rebellions, England lives under the threat of a Dutch invasion. Redheaded Calumny Spinks is the lowliest man in an Essex backwater: half-French and still unapprenticed at seventeen, yet he dreams of wealth and title.

When his father’s violent past resurfaces, Calumny’s desperation leads him to flee to London and become a coffee racketeer. He has just three months to pay off a blackmailer and save his father’s life – but his ambition and talent for mimicry pull him into a conspiracy against the King himself. Cal’s journey takes him from the tough life of Huguenot silk weavers to the vicious intrigues at Court. As the illicit trader Benjamin de Corvis and his controlling daughter Emilia pull him into their plots, and his lover Violet Fintry is threatened by impending war, Cal is forced to choose between his conscience and his dream of becoming Mister Calumny Spinks.

The Bitter Trade won the PEN Factor at The Literary Consultancy’s Writing In A Digital Age Conference. Jury Chair Rebecca Swift (Author, Poetic Lives: Dickinson) said: “The Pen Factor jury selected The Bitter Trade based on the quality of writing, the engaging plot, and the rich and unusual historical context. Dazzling and playful!”

Praise for The Bitter Trade

“A fantastic debut novel” – Robert Elms, BBC Radio London

“The ambitious, cheeky Calumny Spinks is a great guide through the sensory overload of 17th century London, in an adventure that combines unexpected insights with just the right amount of rollicking ribaldry. I hope it’s the opener to a series.” – Christopher Fowler, author of the Bryant and May novels

“This debut novel is a gripping evocation of late seventeenth century London, rich in persuasive dialect and period detail and with a bold protagonist. An unusual thriller that just keeps you wanting to know more about the many facets of this story. You’ll never view your coffee in quite the same way again.” – Daniel Pembrey, bestselling author of The Candidate

“A very exciting and superbly researched novel” – Mel Ulm, The Reading Life

Buy the Book

Amazon UK (Paperback)

Amazon US (Kindle)

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

iTunes

Kobo

About the Author03_Piers Alexander

Piers Alexander is an author and serial entrepreneur. After a successful career as CEO of media and events companies he became a Co-Founder and Chairman of three start-up businesses. In 2013 he was awarded the PEN Factor Prize for The Bitter Trade. He is currently working on the sequel, Scatterwood, set in Jamaica in 1692.

For more information visit Piers Alexander’s website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

The Bitter Trade Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 13
Review at Back Porchervations
Spotlight at Literary Chanteuse

Tuesday, October 14
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, October 15
Interview at Back Porchervations
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry

Thursday, October 16
Spotlight & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, October 20
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, October 21
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, October 22
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, October 23
Guest Post at Historical Fiction Connection

Tuesday, October 28
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, October 29
Spotlight at Unshelfish

Thursday, October 30
Review at Broken Teepee

Saturday, November 1
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Monday, November 3
Review at Book by Book
Review & Interview at Dab of Darkness

Tuesday, November 4
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, November 5
Review at Turning the Pages
Guest Post at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, November 6
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, November 10
Review at A Book Geek

Tuesday, November 11
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, November 12
Spotlight at Layered Pages

Friday, November 14
Review at Anglers Rest
Review & Giveaway at Booklover Book Reviews

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