Wednesday, July 18, 2018

FLASHLIGHT COMMENTARY HAS MOVED


Hello fellow book lovers! Flashlight Commentary has moved and rebranded itself as 


Please join me at my new site for more book reviews and author interviews. 

Happy Reading!


Monday, April 30, 2018

#CoverCliche: In Secret Kept, In Silence Sealed

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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Willow Madison and her friends Copper and Audrey taught school in neighboring Texas towns until the Yankees rode in and burned them out. In the midst of fear and chaos, survivors banded together to fight for what remained of their homes. Then word reached the people that the terrible war was over.

Now penniless but still hopeful, Willow vows she will take care of her friends, and her ailing uncle, in Thunder Ridge, Texas, even if it means having to marry wealthy Silas Sterling, a man thirty years her senior. But standing in her way is sawmill owner Tucker Gray, with his enticing eyes and infuriating headstrong manner—the man Willow cannot get out of her head . . . or her heart. Even though her friends beg her not to give up her dream of happiness, Willow is determined to do the right thing for those who are dearest to her. But which path does God want Willow to take: a life of duty and commitment . . . or a life of everlasting love?

He placed a notice in a Chicago paper, an advertisement for "a reliable wife." She responded, saying that she was "a simple, honest woman." She was, of course, anything but honest, and the only simple thing about her was her single-minded determination to marry this man and then kill him, slowly and carefully, leaving her a wealthy widow, able to take care of the one she truly loved.

What Catherine Land did not realize was that the enigmatic and lonely Ralph Truitt had a plan of his own. And what neither anticipated was that they would fall so completely in love.

Filled with unforgettable characters, and shimmering with color and atmosphere, A Reliable Wife is an enthralling tale of love and madness, of longing and murder. 

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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Monday, April 23, 2018

#CoverCliche: Celtic Queen

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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On the night of Guinevere’s birth, a wise woman declares a prophecy of doom for the child: She will be gwenhwyfar, the white shadow, destined to betray her king, and be herself betrayed. Years pass, and Guinevere becomes a great beauty, riding free across Northern Wales on her beloved horse. She is entranced by the tales of the valorous Arthur, a courageous warrior who seems to Guinevere no mere man, but a legend. Then she finds herself betrothed to that same famous king, a hero who commands her willing devotion. Just as his knights and all his subjects, she falls under Arthur’s spell.

At the side of King Arthur, Guinevere reigns strong and true. Yet she soon learns how the dark prophecy will reveal itself. She is unable to conceive. Arthur’s only true heir is Mordred, offspring of a cursed encounter with the witch Morgause. Now Guinevere must make a fateful choice: She decides to raise Mordred, teaching him to be a ruler and to honor Camelot. She will love him like a mother. Mordred will be her greatest joy–and the key to her ultimate downfall.

Return to a time of legend–the days of Guinevere and Arthur and the glory that was to become Camelot.


Forced to flee Ireland, Gracelin O’Malley boards a coffin ship bound for America, taking her young daughter with her on the arduous transatlantic voyage. In New York, Gracelin struggles to adapt to a strange new world and to the harsh realities of immigrant life in a city teeming with crime, corruption, and anti-Irish prejudice. As she tries to make a life for herself and her daughter, she reunites with her brother, Sean . . . and a man she thought she’d never see again. When her friendship with a runaway slave sweeps her into the volatile abolitionist movement, Gracelin gains entrée to the drawing rooms of the wealthy and powerful. Still, the injustice all around her threatens the future of those she loves, and once again, she must do the unthinkable.





The captivating story of Cot Daley, kidnapped in Galway and shipped to Barbados and sold as a slave. The survivor of a failed rebellion, in which black and Irish slaves have conspired to overthrow their masters, Cot Daley is called in for questioning. She agrees to give her account only as part of her life story, wanting to set the record straight for posterity. The tale of her amazing life unfolds: the journey to Barbados, the harrowing years of fieldwork on the sugarcane plantations, and her marriage to an African slave and rebel leader. Kate McCafferty brilliantly re-creates this little-known part of seventeenth-century history, when more than fifty thousand Irish were sold to the plantation owners of the Caribbean.



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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Friday, April 20, 2018

#Wishlist: April 2018

Like many readers, my TBR grows faster than it shrinks. I find a subject that interests me and titles start piling up one right after the other. With so many bookmarked, I thought it'd be fun to sort through and feature five titles a month here at Flashlight Commentary. 

So in addition to being a book addict, I am also really into podcasts and one of the podcasts I listen to on a regular basis is BookRiot's All the Books. Shocking right? A book junkie, who listens to a podcast about books? Who'd have guessed. 

The podcast has two episodes a week. The first features the week's new release and the second is dedicated to books that are not new, the latter of which, is which is where I drew inspiration for this month's wishlist. 

It's not unusual for me to feature backlist titles, but this month's selections were deliberately selected from the backlists of authors I absolutely love. Enjoy!

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A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick

Sometimes Keeping Your Honor Means Breaking Your Word

The early twelfth century is a time for ambitious men to prosper. John FitzGilbert is a man of honor and loyalty, sworn to royal service. When the old king dies, his successor rewards the handsome and ambitious John with castles and lands. But King Stephen has a tenuous hold on both his reign and his barons, and when jealous rivals at court seek to destroy John, he backs a woman's claim to the crown, sacrifices his marriage, and eventually is forced to make a gamble that is perhaps one step too far.

Rich with detail, masterful in its storytelling, "A Place Beyond Courage" is a tale of impossible gambles and the real meaning of honor.

"Picking up an Elizabeth Chadwick novel is like having a Bentley draw up at your door: you know you are in for a sumptouous ride."-"Daily Telegraph"

"The best writer of medieval fiction currently around."-Richard Lee, founder and publisher, "Historical Novel Society"

"A star back in Britain, Elizabeth Chadwick is finally getting the attention she deserves here."-"USA Today"
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Interregnum by S.J.A. Turney

The Empire has fallen. The Empire must rise
A historical fantasy tale of valour, honour, and determination against all odds

For twenty years civil war has torn the Empire apart; the Imperial line extinguished after the mad Emperor Quintus was burned in his palace, betrayed by his greatest general and oldest friend, Kiva Caerdin.

Against a background of war, decay and violence, men who once served in the proud Imperial army now fight as hands for hire, little but fodder for greedy lords fighting over the remnants of more glorious times.

Kiva’s memories of the Empire are reignited when fighting alongside a fearsome mercenary unit, the Grey Company. Forced to face a dark and shameful past, he struggles to put his life back together. To achieve redemption, he and his men must defeat an ancient, cunning and bitter rival. Only then can the Empire be unified and become reborn…

Set in a hugely imaginative and atmospheric world inspired by Roman history, Interregnum is the first novel in S.J.A. Turney’s epic Tales of the Empire series, and is perfect for readers of Conn Iggulden, Bernard Cornwell and Simon Scarrow.
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The Serpent and the Pearl by Kate Quinn

One powerful family holds a city, a faith, and a woman in its grasp—from the national bestselling author of Daughters of Rome and Mistress of Rome.

Rome, 1492. The Holy City is drenched with blood and teeming with secrets. A pope lies dying and the throne of God is left vacant, a prize awarded only to the most virtuous—or the most ruthless. The Borgia family begins its legendary rise, chronicled by an innocent girl who finds herself drawn into their dangerous web…

Vivacious Giulia Farnese has floor-length golden hair and the world at her feet: beauty, wealth, and a handsome young husband. But she is stunned to discover that her glittering marriage is a sham, and she is to be given as a concubine to the ruthless, charismatic Cardinal Borgia: Spaniard, sensualist, candidate for Pope—and passionately in love with her.

Two trusted companions will follow her into the Pope's shadowy harem: Leonello, a cynical bodyguard bent on bloody revenge against a mysterious killer, and Carmelina, a fiery cook with a past full of secrets. But as corruption thickens in the Vatican and the enemies begin to circle, Giulia and her friends will need all their wits to survive in the world of the Borgias.
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Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield 

The Ancient Roman public's hunger for gladiatorial combat has never been greater. The Emperor Domitian's passion for novelty and variety in the arena has given rise to a very different kind of warrior: the Gladiatrix.

Sole survivor of a shipwreck off the coast of Asia Minor, Lysandra finds herself the property of Lucius Balbus, owner of the foremost Ludus for female gladiators in the Eastern Empire. Lysandra, a member of an ancient Spartan sect of warrior priestesses, refuses to accept her new status as a slave. Forced to fight for survival, her deadly combat skills win the adoration of the crowds, the respect of Balbus.

But Lysandra's Spartan pride also earns her powerful enemies: Sorina, Gladiatrix Prima and leader of the Barbarian faction, and the sadistic Numidian trainer, Nastasen. When plans are laid for the ultimate combat spectacle to honor the visit of the emperor's powerful new emissary, Lysandra must face her greatest and deadliest trial.

This is a thrilling first novel that combines fascinating historical detail with blistering action.
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The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930—Justice Joseph Crater's infamous disappearance—as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best.

They say behind every great man, there's a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge's wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge's bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband's recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city's most notorious gangster, Owney "The Killer" Madden.

On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge's involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?

After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge's favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks—one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale—of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on.

With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages.

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INTERESTED IN MORE WISHLISTS?
CHECK OUT WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE BOOKMARKED:

Magdalena at A Bookaholic Swede
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired
Stephanie at Layered Pages

Monday, April 16, 2018

#CoverCliche: Stolen Kisses

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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The first retelling of the passionate, twelfth-century love story since the discovery of 113 lost love letters between Heloise d’Argenteuil and Pierre Abelard—the original Romeo and Juliet.

"While I sleep you never leave me, and after I wake I see you, as soon as I open my eyes, even before the light of day itself." —Abelard to Heloise

Among the young women of twelfth-century Paris, Heloise d’Argenteuil stands apart. Extraordinarily educated and quick-witted, she is being groomed by her uncle to become an abbess in the service of God.

But with one encounter, her destiny changes forever. Pierre Abelard, headmaster at the Notre-Dame Cloister School, is acclaimed as one of the greatest philosophers in France. His controversial reputation only adds to his allure, yet despite the legions of women swooning over his poetry and dashing looks, he is captivated by the brilliant Heloise alone. As their relationship blossoms from a meeting of the minds to a forbidden love affair, both Heloise and Abelard must choose between love, duty, and ambition.

Sherry Jones weaves the lovers’ own words into an evocative account of desire and sacrifice. As intimate as it is erotic, as devastating as it is beautiful, The Sharp Hook of Love is a poignant, tender tribute to one of history’s greatest romances, and to love’s power to transform and endure.

Martine Leavitt offers a spellbinding story, interweaving elements of classic fantasy and high romance in this National Book Award Finalist. Keturah follows a legendary hart into the king's forest, where she becomes hopelessly lost. Her strength diminishes until, finally, she realizes that death is near. Little does she know that he is a young, handsome lord, melancholy and stern. Renowned for her storytelling, Keturah is able to charm Lord Death with a story and thereby gain a reprieve but only for twenty-four hours. She must find her one true love within that time or all is lost. Keturah searches desperately while the village prepares for an unexpected visit from the king, and Keturah is thrus into a prominent role as mysterious happenings alarm her friends and neighbors. Lord Death's presence hovers over this all until Keturah confronts him one last time in the harrowing climax.

Love is for women who have choices. She has none.

In eleventh-century France on the eve of the First Crusade, Isabel de Vermandois becomes the wife of a man old enough to be her father. He is Robert de Beaumont, Comte de Meulan. A hero of the Norman victory at Hastings and loyal counselor to successive English kings, Robert is not all Isabel had expected. Cruel and kind by contrast, he draws her into the decadent court of King Henry I. As Robert's secrets are unraveled, Isabel finds her heart divided. Her duties as a wife and mother compel her, but an undeniable attraction to the young William de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, tempts her. In a kingdom where love holds no sway over marital relations, Isabel must choose where her loyalties and her heart lie.

Based on the life of a remarkable medieval woman forgotten by time, The Burning Candle is a story of duty and honor, love and betrayal.

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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Monday, April 9, 2018

#CoverCliche: Lost in Thought

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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Will the dam hold?

Julie Wallace has always wanted to write. Trying to escape the Great Depression, Julie’s father buys The Alderton Sentinel, a small-town newspaper in flood-prone Alderton, Pennsylvania, and moves his family there. As flash floods ominously increase, Julie’s investigative reporting uncovers secrets that could endanger the entire community.

Julie, the newspaper, and her family are thrown into a perilous standoff with the owners of the steel mills as they investigate the conditions of the steelworkers. Battle lines are drawn between the steel mill owners and their immigrant laborers. As The Sentinel and Julie take on a more aggressive role in reforming these conditions in their community, seething tensions come to a head.

When a devastating tragedy follows a shocking revelation, Julie’s courage and strength are tested. Will truth and justice win, or will Julie lose everything she holds dear?

"This collection... escorts readers through historic Europe’s romantic settings in search of the perfect love story." --DESERET NEWS, Melissa DeMoux

In WAR OF HEARTS, Annette Lyon’s exciting novella, Anna, a journalist, is desperate to escape the magazine where Pete, her now-former boyfriend, also works. Heartbroken and still in love with him, Anna snags an assignment to cover the Winter War in Finland. She arrives at a snowy Finnish battlefront only to discover that Pete is already there—as her photographer. She’s determined to be professional about the situation until a battle breaks out in camp, putting her and Pete in harm’s way and putting their love to the test.

In bestselling regency romance author G.G. Vandagriff’s enchanting novella, THE EARL OF OAKSEY TAKES A WIFE, Melissa Burroughs is the new Countess of Oaksey. Her whirlwind romance and subsequent elopement was worth every divine moment, even if her parents did disapprove. When Melissa learns about her new husband’s apparently empty pockets, she wonders if the intimacy they’ve shared is only the ruse of a fortune-hunter. Melissa is devastated and determines to live a separate life from her new husband. But the Earl has other plans, which do not include staying away from his wife.

In Michele Paige Holmes’ charming story, GIFT OF LOVE, Ethan Mooreleigh knows he’ll never love another woman after the loss of his beloved wife. Yet he needs a male heir to inherit his vast fortune. Ethan’s best friend, Stuart, has an idea and retrieves his sister, Amelia, who has been living in a convent since the tragic death of her parents. Amelia only agrees to enter into the contract marriage because there’s a child involved, Ethan’s neglected three-year-old daughter. When Amelia meets Ethan for the first time at the altar, she realizes that the last thing she wants her marriage to be is loveless. But winning a man whose heart is still broken may be impossible.

A LESSON IN LOVE, a delightful novella by bestselling regency romance author Sarah M. Eden, captures the uncertainties of newlywed life. Lucy Stanthorpe arrives for the London Season, planning to attend every ball and musicale with her new husband, Reed, only to discover he has no intention of taking part in the social whirl. Spurred on by their family and friends, Lucy and Reed each formulate increasingly outlandish plans to teach the other a lesson in appreciation. Their battle of wills threatens to pull the young couple apart unless they can both soften their stubborn hearts.

In AN OCEAN AWAY, Heather B. Moore’s captivating story, Gina Graydon knows the last thing she’ll attract on her holiday in France is an eligible bachelor. Tall, outspoken, and with a weakness for laughing at the wrong moment, not to mention being much too occupied with reading gothic romances, Gina decides she’d rather live in her fictional world. Besides, the only man who pays attention to her at the resort hotel happens to be her father’s worst enemy. And that is far from romantic. Reading in a secluded garden, and dreaming about the perfect kiss, all keep Gina much too busy to consider Mr. Edmund Donaldson any sort of hero.

Nancy Campbell Allen’s entrancing regency romance novella, WHAT HAPPENS IN VENICE, follows Evangeline Stuart as she determines to enjoy her vacation in Venice—her first and likely her last since she lives under the strict confines of her step-father’s control. When she meets the mysterious and romantic Conte Bellini, who happens to be Italy’s most eligible bachelor, she decides he is all part of the dream of visiting Venice. It’s impossible for her to believe that his interest in her is anything more than kindness to a foreign visitor. But when he discovers the true betrayal of her step-father, Evangeline learns the Conte may be the one person with the power to restore her happiness.

Return to a Jazz Age tale of grand adventure by New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn

On the verge of a stilted life as an aristocrat’s wife, Poppy Hammond does the only sensible thing—she flees the chapel in her wedding gown. Assisted by the handsome curate who calls himself Sebastian Cantrip, she spirits away to her estranged father’s quiet country village, pursued by the family she left in uproar. But when the dust of her broken engagement settles and Sebastian disappears under mysterious circumstances, Poppy discovers there is more to her hero than it seems.

With only her feisty lady’s maid for company, Poppy secures employment and travels incognita—east across the seas, chasing a hunch and the whisper of clues. Danger abounds beneath the canopies of the silken city, and Poppy finds herself in the perilous sights of those who will stop at nothing to recover a fabled ancient treasure. Torn between allegiance to her kindly employer and a dashing, shadowy figure, Poppy will risk it all as she attempts to unravel a much larger plan—one that stretches to the very heart of the British government, and one that could endanger everything, and everyone, that she holds dear.

“Raybourn skillfully balances humor and earnest, deadly drama, creating well-drawn characters and a rich setting.” —Publishers Weekly on Dark Road to Darjeeling

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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Monday, April 2, 2018

#CoverCliche: Across the Lonesome Prairie

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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Follow the paths of Sarah and Will (or Sam) as they tell their stories of trust, secrets, and betrayal on the frontier in the old West. Their pioneer spirit helped to fuel the expansion into the Western territories of the United States. The two are historically on their separate journeys, yet they remain intimately connected.

In 1878, Will is on the run after killing a man in a barroom gunfight. He escapes the Texas Rangers by joining a cattle drive as a cook headed to Dodge City. He struggles with the dilemma of saving his life or attempting to return to his pregnant wife and five children. Just when he thinks he might be able to return home, he is confronted by a bounty hunter who captures him and plans to return him to Fort Worth, Texas to be hanged.

Although Will changes his name to Sam, he remains an irresponsible, lonely and untrustworthy man on the dodge from the law who abandons the women he loves. He ultimately seeks redemption and marries Sarah.

In 1911, Sarah, a pioneer woman, and a widow with five children, struggles to find the inner strength to overcome betrayal, loneliness, fears, and self-doubt. Her husband, Sam, thirty years her senior, died with a mysterious and defiant declaration, "I won't answer!." Despite poverty and a crippling illness, she draws on her pioneer spirit to hold her family together and return to Nebraska to be near her parents and siblings.

When Sarah returns to Nebraska she receives staggering news which complicates her efforts to support her children. She is shocked, angry and emotionally devastated. Since she is attempting to establish herself in the community as a teacher, she believes she must keep her secret even from her own family. Will Sarah find forgiveness in her heart and the resolve to accept her new life alone?




One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd and a colorful assembly of pioneer women who, under the auspices of the U.S. government, travel to the western prairies in 1875 to intermarry among the Cheyenne Indians. The covert and controversial "Brides for Indians" program, launched by the administration of Ulysses S. Grant, is intended to help assimilate the Indians into the white man's world. Toward that end May and her friends embark upon the adventure of their lifetime. Jim Fergus has so vividly depicted the American West that it is as if these diaries are a capsule in time.




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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Monday, March 26, 2018

#CoverCliche: Cautious by Nature

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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At the heart of truth lies madness...

Two months before Hitler's rise to power, a beautiful young woman is found naked and near death in the woods outside Berlin. When she finally wakes from her coma, she can remember nothing, not even her name. The only clue to her identity is a handbill found nearby, advertising a public lecture by Albert Einstein: 'On the Present State of Quantum Theory'.

Psychiatrist Martin Kirsch takes the case, little suspecting that this will be his last. As he searches for the truth about 'the Einstien Girl', professional fascination turns to reckless love. His investigations lead him to a remote corner of Siberia via a psychiatric hospital in Zurich. There the inheritor of Einstein's genius - his youngest son, Eduard - is writing a book that will destroy his illustrious father and, in the process, change the world.

A beautiful American spy flees into the night. On her own, she must live by her wits to evade capture and make it to the safety of the Allied forces.

Lily Saint James grew up traveling the European continent, learning languages as she went. In 1938, her mother’s abrupt death brings her back home to Washington, D.C., and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Lily comes to the attention of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Her knowledge of German, French, and Italian makes her the perfect OSS Agent, and her quick thinking places her as a nanny in the household of an important German Army Colonel, where she is able to gather intelligence for the Allies. After her marketplace contact goes missing, she makes a late-night trip to her secondary contact only to find him under interrogation by the SS. When he commits suicide, she flees into the frigid winter night carrying false identification papers that are now dangerous and a mini film cartridge with vital strategic information. In order to survive, Lily must make it out of Germany, into the hands of Allied-controlled France, through a path fraught with peril. 






In the midst of the Second World War, and charged with taking vital equipment via the 9:45 train, Ena Dudley makes regular trips to Bletchley Park, until on one occasion she is robbed. When those she cares about are accused of being involved, she investigates, not knowing whom she can trust. While trying to clear her name, Ena falls in love.






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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

#Wishlist: March 2018

Like many readers, my TBR grows faster than it shrinks. I find a subject that interests me and titles start piling up one right after the other. With so many bookmarked, I thought it'd be fun to sort through and feature five titles a month here at Flashlight Commentary. 

Ever wonder how a supporting character experienced a story? If so, this list is for you. Inspired by classics, these five authors have reimagined the perspective and experienced of those who didn't headline when introduced by their original creators. Enjoy!

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The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow by Alyssa Palombo

When Ichabod Crane arrives in the spooky little village of Sleepy Hollow as the new schoolmaster, Katrina Van Tassel is instantly drawn to him. Through their shared love of books and music, they form a friendship that quickly develops into romance. Ichabod knows that as an itinerant schoolteacher of little social standing, he has nothing to offer the wealthy Katrina - unlike her childhood friend-turned-enemy, Brom Van Brunt, who is the suitor Katrina's father favors.

But when romance gives way to passion, Ichabod and Katrina embark on a secret love affair, sneaking away into the woods after dark to be together - all while praying they do not catch sight of Sleepy Hollow's legendary Headless Horseman. That is, until All Hallows's Eve, when Ichabod suddenly disappears, leaving Katrina alone and in a perilous position.

Enlisting the help of her friend - and rumored witch - Charlotte Jansen, Katrina seeks the truth of Ichabod Crane's disappearance, investigating the forest around Sleepy Hollow using unconventional - often magical - means. What they find forces Katrina to question everything she once knew, and to wonder if the Headless Horseman is perhaps more than just a story after all. In Alyssa Palombo's The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel nothing is as it seems, and love is a thing even death won't erase. 
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Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy

A bold, heartfelt tale of life at Green Gables . . . before Anne: A marvelously entertaining and moving historical novel, set in rural Prince Edward Island in the nineteenth century, that imagines the young life of spinster Marilla Cuthbert, and the choices that will open her life to the possibility of heartbreak—and unimaginable greatness

Plucky and ambitious, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen years old when her world is turned upside down. Her beloved mother has dies in childbirth, and Marilla suddenly must bear the responsibilities of a farm wife: cooking, sewing, keeping house, and overseeing the day-to-day life of Green Gables with her brother, Matthew and father, Hugh.

In Avonlea—a small, tight-knit farming town on a remote island—life holds few options for farm girls. Her one connection to the wider world is Aunt Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson, her mother’s sister, who managed to escape from Avonlea to the bustling city of St. Catharines. An opinionated spinster, Aunt Izzy’s talent as a seamstress has allowed her to build a thriving business and make her own way in the world.

Emboldened by her aunt, Marilla dares to venture beyond the safety of Green Gables and discovers new friends and new opportunities. Joining the Ladies Aid Society, she raises funds for an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in nearby Nova Scotia that secretly serves as a way station for runaway slaves from America. Her budding romance with John Blythe, the charming son of a neighbor, offers her a possibility of future happiness—Marilla is in no rush to trade one farm life for another. She soon finds herself caught up in the dangerous work of politics, and abolition—jeopardizing all she cherishes, including her bond with her dearest John Blythe. Now Marilla must face a reckoning between her dreams of making a difference in the wider world and the small-town reality of life at Green Gables. 
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March by Geraldine Brooks

Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize For Fiction. From the author of the acclaimed YEAR OF WONDERS, an historical novel and love story set during a time of catastrophe, on the front lines of the American Civil War. Acclaimed author Geraldine Brooks gives us the story of the absent father from Louisa May Alcott's Little Women - and conjures a world of brutality, stubborn courage and transcendent love. An idealistic abolitionist, March has gone as chaplain to serve the Union cause. But the war tests his faith not only in the Union - which is also capable of barbarism and racism - but in himself. As he recovers from a near-fatal illness, March must reassemble and reconnect with his family, who have no idea of what he has endured. A love story set in a time of catastrophe, March explores the passions between a man and a woman, the tenderness of parent and child, and the life-changing power of an ardently held belief.
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The Fall by Bethany Griffin

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.
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A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

Inspired by Victor Hugo's classic, Les Miserables, A Little in Love beautifully conveys the heartbreaking story of street girl Eponine.

Paris, 1832

A girl lies alone in the darkness, clutching a letter to her heart.

Eponine remembers being a child: her swing and the peach tree, and the baby brother she loved. But mostly she remembers being miserable. Taught to lie and cheat, and to hate the one girl, Cosette, who might have been her friend.

Now, at sixteen, the two girls meet again, and Eponine has one more chance. But what is the price of friendship--the love of a boy?

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Monday, March 19, 2018

#CoverCliche: Dark Elegance

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem is a dazzling novel of mothers and daughters, stories told and untold, and the binds that tie four generations of women.

Gabriela's mother Luna is the most beautiful woman in all of Jerusalem, though her famed beauty and charm seem to be reserved for everyone but her daughter. Ever since Gabriela can remember, she and Luna have struggled to connect. But when tragedy strikes, Gabriela senses there's more to her mother than painted nails and lips.

Desperate to understand their relationship, Gabriela pieces together the stories of her family's previous generations—from Great-Grandmother Mercada the renowned healer, to Grandma Rosa who cleaned houses for the English, to Luna who had the nicest legs in Jerusalem. But as she uncovers shocking secrets, forbidden romances, and the family curse that links the women together, Gabriela must face a past and present far more complex than she ever imagined.

Set against the Golden Age of Hollywood, the dark days of World War II, and the swingin' '70s, The Beauty Queen of Jerusalem follows generations of unforgettable women as they forge their own paths through times of dramatic change. With great humor and heart, Sarit Yishai-Levi has given us a powerful story of love and forgiveness—and the unexpected and enchanting places we find each.

Based on the author's discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic, rural village near the Swiss border.

When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family--their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters--out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler's cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village.

But life in Blumental isn't as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he's assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest "package" is two Polish girls who've lost the rest of their family, and against her better judgment, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt's cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Fuhrer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts.

Based on the author's discoveries about her great-grandfather, this extraordinary debut, full of love, tragedy, and suspense, is a sensitive portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what's right for their country, and especially for those they love.

English Title: The Good at Heart

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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Monday, March 12, 2018

#CoverCliche: Girl Talk

Sometimes, while browsing the virtual shelves on Amazon and Goodreads, I see jacket art that gives me a disconcerting sense of deja vu. I know I've not read the book, but I am equally certain I've seen its image somewhere before.

This phenomenon is what inspired Cover Clichés. Image recycling is fairly common as cover artists are often forced to work from a limited pool of stock images and copyright free material. The details vary cover to cover, but each boasts a certain similarity and I find comparing the finished designs quite interesting. 

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In January 1943, 230 women of the French Resistance were sent to the death camps by the Nazis who had invaded and occupied their country. This is their story, told in full for the first time—a searing and unforgettable chronicle of terror, courage, defiance, survival, and the power of friendship. Caroline Moorehead, a distinguished biographer, human rights journalist, and the author of Dancing to the Precipice and Human Cargo, brings to life an extraordinary story that readers of Mitchell Zuckoff’s Lost in Shangri-La, Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts, and Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken will find an essential addition to our retelling of the history of World War II—a riveting, rediscovered story of courageous women who sacrificed everything to combat the march of evil across the world.


Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten. 

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Which cover strikes your fancy and why? What colors draw your eye? Do you think the image appropriate next to the jacket description? Leave your comments below!

Have you seen this image elsewhere? Shoot me an email or leave a comment and let me know. 


Friday, March 2, 2018

#AuthorInterview: Linda Stratmann, author of An Unquiet Ghost

Author interviews are one of my favorite things to post which is why I am super excited to welcome author Linda Stratmann to Flashlight Commentary to discuss the third installment of the Mina Scarletti Series, An Unquiet Ghost.

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Release Date: March 1, 2018   |   Sapere Books   |   Historical Fiction/Paranormal Mystery
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Welcome to Flashlight Commentary Linda. It’s a pleasure to have you with us. To start things off, please tell us about An Unquiet Ghost.
The setting is 1871 Brighton. Séances were extremely popular, and without independent investigation, there was something of a free-for-all for charlatans. Mina Scarletti has successfully exposed fraudulent mediums who callously extorted money from the vulnerable bereaved, but now she has a new problem. A young couple, second cousins, wish to marry, but twenty years ago an aged relative, Henry Fernwood, was poisoned, and the killer can only have been a blood relation. If they marry will they pass on a dreadful taint to their children? Only one person knows the identity of the killer - the murdered man - and the couple want Mina to find a genuine medium who can contact his unquiet ghost. They visit two mediums, one who receives messages chalked on slates, and an emaciated young woman who has visions of both the living and the dead. Are they truthful, false or simply deluded? And who killed Henry Fernwood? When Mina finds the answer it is worse than she could possibly have imagined. 

An Unquiet Ghost is the third installment of the Mina Scarletti Mystery series. At risk of sounding impertinent, where did the idea for these books come from? Did it strike like lightening out nowhere or was is something that came to you over time? 
Oddly enough it did strike like lightning!  I was walking along my street approaching a corner, when the idea just popped into my head, and by the time I had turned the corner I knew I had something I wanted to write. Of course it must also have been the culmination of all the reading and researching I had been doing. I find that when the time is right, ideas that have been floating about randomly in my head just come together and click. 

Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about Mina Scarletti’s character and personality?
Mina is 25 and is 4ft 8” tall with a twisted spine. When she was sixteen she was told she should never marry and have children. Physically frail, she has great strength of character, and decided that if the traditional role of a woman was denied her, this gave her the chance to do anything else she wanted. She has great imagination as a storyteller, but at the same time feels she knows the difference between what is real and what is invention. She particularly dislikes people who try to extort money from those who are grieving for loved ones. With few weapons at her disposal, she takes a mischievous pleasure in stirring up others in order to achieve what she wants. 

Mina is a writer by trade, but is becoming well-known for unmasking fraudulent psychics by this point in the series. How did Mina fall into this secondary profession? 
In the first book, Mr Scarletti’s Ghost, Mina’s mother and friends are excited by the seances of a visiting spirit medium, Miss Eustace. Mina is not seriously concerned until she reads about the renowned medium D D Home, (1833-1886) who attempted to separate a 75 year old widow from her fortune. Appalled by this, Mina determines to make sure that her mother and friends are not in the thrall of an extortionist. 

Though she is not a believer in ghosts, Mina is intrigued when George Fernwood and Mary Clifton request her help in tracking down a genuine spiritual medium. What about this request strikes her interest? 
She feels sympathy for the couple who wish to marry, and is interested in the mystery that lies behind their request. Also, as a writer constantly looking for inspiration from her surroundings, their offer to give her the full story behind the 1851 murder is too tempting to resist! 

Do you have a favorite scene in An Unquiet Ghost? 
Not exactly a scene, but there are letters passing between Mina and her older brother Edward, and Mina and her mother which were huge fun for me to write as we get different views of the same situation, and sometimes we have to read between the lines to see the real picture. 

Authors are often forced to make sacrifices when composing their stories. Is there a character or concept you wish you could have spent more time on while writing An Unquiet Ghost?
I didn’t feel that, but I have laid groundwork for the future. We know very little as yet about Edward’s fiancée, and what will happen when Mina’s sister’s husband, Mr Inskip who is currently abroad, finally re-appears?  

If you could sit down and talk with one of the characters in An Unquiet Ghost, maybe meet and discuss things over drinks, who would you invite and why? 
It would be great to chat with Nellie, as she has had a fascinating career as a conjuror’s assistant, and knows a few tricks of her own. I’m sure she would have some colourful stories to tell. 

If you could pick a fantasy cast to play the leads in a screen adaptation of An Unquiet Ghost, who would you hire? 
I would love to see Lisa Hammond (Donna in Eastenders) as Mina. She radiates drive, determination and inner strength.  And while we’re about it, what about Nitin Ganatra (Masood) as dishy Dr Hamid? Lily James would make a sparkling Nellie. Leo Suter (Edward Drummond in Victoria) would be great as Mina’s dashing scallywag of a brother, Richard.  Joanna Lumley would be ‘Ab Fab’ to play Mina’s difficult mother. 

A character who appears in The Royal Ghost, (book 2) and is destined to appear again, is the devilishly charismatic war hero and explorer Arthur Wallace Hope and I can’t help thinking about Aidan Turner to play that part!  

What do you hope readers take from their experience of An Unquiet Ghost? 
Admiration for Mina who has overcome difficulties that would crush another person in order to be her true, spirited self, a wish to understand more about the nature of hallucinations and a burning desire to read the other books in the series!

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I was born in the City of Leicester. My parents were in the tailoring trade, and belonged to the Orthodox Jewish community. They wanted me to be educated, have a career, and marry a nice Jewish doctor. I managed two out of the three. All four of my grandparents had immigrated from Poland early in the 20th century, and my parents were born in London. During the second world war, my parents moved to Leicester, though they maintained close ties with the family in London. I have always felt that if there was any place I really belonged, it was London. Much as I enjoy rural pleasures I am a city person at heart, and nowadays would find it hard to live more than a tube ride from the British Library!

My love affair with the printed word probably started when I was two, when I eagerly absorbed the alphabet as taught to me by my mother. I have had my nose in a book ever since. The scribbling of poems and stories certainly dates back as early as six, and my first efforts at a novel from the age of eleven. I attended Medway Street Infants and Junior School, in the days of the eleven plus, and from there I went to Wyggeston Girls Grammar School. My earliest ambition was to be an astronomer, and I both read and wrote a great deal of science fiction. I also read biology, zoology and medicine, and seriously considered a medical career. By my teens, however, I had developed my absorbing and life-long interest in true crime, probably taking after my mother who loved to read about famous trials.

After taking my O levels, I left school, and trained to be a chemist’s dispenser with Boots. I was first married at the age of 18 and my son was born when I was 20. Whatever I was destined to be it was not a housewife, and I took my A levels and went to Newcastle University in 1971, graduating with first class honours in psychology three years later. I then joined the civil service, and trained to be an Inspector of Taxes.
From the early 70s I was very active in science fiction fandom, attending a great many conventions. I was living in Co. Durham , working in Newcastle, yet virtually everything I wanted to do, and most of my friends were in London. In 1987, unable to resist the pull of London I moved there, and my first husband and I were amicably divorced in 1992. I married my second husband, Gary in 1993. In the same year I began practising aikido, and obtained my black belt in 2000.

In 2001 I left the civil service, and in 2002 was commissioned to write my first published book on the history of chloroform.

I am delighted to be Artistic Patron of Talliston House and Gardens.

Website   |   Facebook   |   Goodreads   |   Twitter

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Thursday, March 1, 2018

#AuthorInterview: Clarissa Harwood, author of Impossible Saints

Author interviews are one of my favorite things to post which is why I am super excited to welcome author Clarissa Harwood to Flashlight Commentary to discuss her debut release, Impossible Saints.

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Release Date: January 2, 2018   |   Pegasus Books   |   Historical Fiction/Family Life
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Welcome to Flashlight Commentary Clarissa. It’s a pleasure to have you with us. To start things off, please tell us about Impossible Saints.
Thank you for having me here! Impossible Saints is set in 1907 England and is about the competing ambitions and growing love between a schoolteacher turned militant suffragette and an Anglican clergyman. Lilia, an agnostic, considers marriage to a clergyman a fate worse than death. Paul, a supporter of women’s suffrage but not of militancy, is well aware that his love for Lilia is incompatible with his ambition to become the next dean of the cathedral. Paul and Lilia must reach their breaking points before they can decide whether their love is worth fighting for.

At risk of sounding impertinent, where did you find this story? Did it strike like lightning out of nowhere or was is something that came to you over time? 
What first sparked the novel was a scene that popped into my head about twenty years ago: it was as vivid and detailed as a scene in a movie. I saw a confrontation in a meadow between a quiet, studious boy who didn’t know how to play, and a fiery girl pretending to be Jeanne d’Arc, leading her army of brothers.

When the idea first came to me, I had just started my PhD studies and didn’t have time to write the novel, but that scene haunted me for about ten years before I finally gave in and started writing Paul and Lilia’s story. The meadow scene was cut from the finished novel, but both Paul and Lilia refer to it and remember it as their first meeting. Their personalities as children were so clear in the meadow scene that it was easy to imagine what they’d be like as adults.

Without giving too much away, what can you tell us about heroine Lilia Brooke?
Lilia is a young woman with very modern ideals. She believes women should have the vote, and she’s willing to break the law to fight for it. She believes contraception should be legal. She believes in free unions, not marriage. She might seem extreme or too modern to contemporary readers, but the primary sources I found in the course of my research suggest otherwise: there were plenty of women like her in the early 20th century, though they weren’t accepted in most respectable middle-class circles.

The Women's Social and Political Union was a militant organization that campaigned for Women's suffrage in the United Kingdom. Why is Lilia drawn to this particular group? 
At the beginning of the novel, Lilia belongs to the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS), a non-militant suffrage group that was socially acceptable and pursued quieter, legal methods to get the vote. But she learns that the government doesn’t listen to these quieter methods, and after a tragedy involving a friend, she joins the militant WSPU founded by Emmeline Pankhurst, the only real person who makes an appearance in Impossible Saints. The WSPU was known for window-breaking, arson, and other property destruction, but what many people don’t realize is how brutally they were attacked by the police and bystanders even when they attempted to stage peaceful demonstrations and speeches. 

Belonging to the WSPU fits Lilia’s personality: she is strong, brave, and fearless when fighting for a cause she believes in, and there’s nothing she believes in more than women’s rights. But she’s not perfect: she lacks insight into her own heart!

Do you have a favorite scene in Impossible Saints? 
I have several favorites! Without giving too much away, one of them is possibly the worst marriage proposal in the history of marriage proposals. Another is a flirtatious scene in which Paul and Lilia argue about translating Horace’s Odes. One of my beta readers commented after reading that scene, “If I knew it could be this sexy, I would have paid more attention in Latin class!”

Authors are often forced to make sacrifices when composing their stories. Is there a character or concept you wish you could have spent more time on while writing Impossible Saints?
Paul has a nemesis named Thomas Cross who intrigued me, but I couldn’t allow him to take over the story. The way I solved this problem was by making Thomas Cross the protagonist of a new novel!

If you could sit down and talk with one of the characters in Impossible Saints, maybe meet and discuss things over drinks, who would you invite and why? 
I don’t think either of my protagonists would want to just sit and talk with me, though I’d love to do that with either of them. I don’t know if other writers have inferiority complexes about their characters, but I certainly do: I’m constantly plagued by doubts that my characters would want to be friends with me if they knew me in real life!

Paul is harder than Lilia to get to know and I could see myself becoming frustrated with his reserved nature. The two of us might just sit in opposite corners of a room reading books! Lilia would certainly talk to me, but she wouldn’t want to sit still for long, so she’d probably prefer that I follow her around, hearing her speeches and watching the effect she has on the people around her. Maybe she’d let me be her personal assistant!

If you could pick a fantasy cast to play the leads in a screen adaptation of Impossible Saints, who would you hire?
I would cast James Norton as Paul, which is a no-brainer for anyone who’s watched Grantchester. I’m not as sure about Lilia. Gal Gadot could do it, but in proper period dress, of course, not her Wonder Woman costume! One of my readers suggested Maggie Gyllenhaal, and I’d be happy with her, too.

What do you hope readers take from their experience of Impossible Saints? 
I’ve built a lot of layers into Impossible Saints, so I’d like to think it has something for everyone. Readers who like deep philosophical themes will be challenged to examine their beliefs about religion and feminism. Readers who love history will learn what women in England went through to get the vote. Readers who want romance will see that the novel is at its core a love story. I hope readers feel both satisfied and empowered after they turn the last page.

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Clarissa was born and raised on the Canadian prairies, where she spent her childhood forcing her younger relatives to play roles in her interminably long family Christmas plays. (She has since apologized to her Traumatized Cousins and Very Patient Elders, all innocent victims of her attempts to realize her artistic vision.) She now contents herself with trying to manipulate the characters in her novels, who regularly surprise her by being just as resistant to her interference as real people.

Clarissa writes historical fiction set mainly in Victorian and Edwardian England. She has been fascinated by all things Victorian since she was a child: the clothes, the elaborate social rituals, the gap between rich and poor, the dizzying pace of advancements in science and technology. When it was time to choose a major in university, she had trouble deciding between history and English literature because she really just wanted to study the Victorians. Ultimately, she chose English and earned a PhD specializing in nineteenth-century British literature.

Her novels pay homage to her favourite Victorian authors: the Brontë sisters, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy, and Frances Hodgson Burnett. Her favourite living authors include Diane Setterfield, Kate Morton, Jessica Brockmole, and Susanna Kearsley.

In addition to being a novelist and proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Clarissa is a part-time university instructor and full-time grammar nerd who loves to explain the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses.

Website   |   Facebook   |   Goodreads   |   Blog   |   Twitter

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