Tag Archives: mid-17th century England

Like Chaff in the Wind Continues Romantic Historical Time Travel Saga by Anna Belfrage

Like Chaff in the WindFirst of all, isn’t this cover completely gorgeous??

I was hooked on Like Chaff in the Wind by Anna Belfrage from the moment I opened its pages! Usually it takes me some time to warm up to a new book, but this one caught me from the start and had me hooked. It wasn’t due to action-packed suspense scenes though, as most people might generalize with that type of statement. It did move smoothly, and there was action, but more so it was her style of writing that kept me reading. It was quick and emotional, with characters as quick-witted as the movement of her words, and was detailed in just the right measure!

For instance, one of my favorite characters was the housekeeper, Mrs. Gordon, who partners with Alex on her adventure across the sea to find her husband Matthew. She was hilarious, just like a 1600-era Mrs. Doubtfire! Who doesn’t love jovial, tell-it-like-it-is English housekeepers, right? Belfrage had some really well-developed characters. 

Alex, her protagonist of the series, had the determination of the strong women characters I’ve grown to admire. To give up something most dear in order to take to such a perilous journey is commendable.  Sailing across the sea to the New World in the 17th century was not an easy task to endure, but she did it for love. What a romantic undertaking! It made my heart sing.

I was surprised when the element of time shifting appeared at the beginning, but I also got very excited as I love books with this element. I had to go read more on A Rip in the Veil (I hadn’t read the first book in the series) and I was then throughly hooked. I realized as I read on that Belfrage was juxtapositioning between present day characters in Alex’s life and her current saga with Matthew. It led to an air of mystery as the parallel world continued to move alongside the past.

In this book there was just the right amount of turmoil, without dwelling on it; challenges, without weighing the book down. There were struggles, but each time she pulled it back around to focus the characters in their journey in a calm manner that really set the book’s tone and made me want to enjoy more of the book. Times were hard, and as a history lover, I know that. But the book certainly presented it in way that was also enjoyable for me to read.

I love the sweeping romance in this epic travel series so far, with Alex time shifting to meet her soul mate, then traveling across the seas to find him again in Like Chaff in the Wind, all while continually finding her true self along the way too. Belfrage’s cast of characters is delightful!

This is the second novel in her The Graham Saga series, the first novel being A Rip in the Veil.  I didn’t have the chance to read A Rip in the Veil and I am sure there is more great background to the characters I didn’t know. The book started out quickly, probably due to there being a previous book, but I wasn’t missing anything except for another great read!!  It just made me want to go back and read the first novel due to my love of the characters in Like Chaff in the Wind, especially when I find out that Alex actually appeared in 1658 after landing back in time from her real time in 2002. I love time travel back through history!

If you haven’t read A Rip in the Veil, I urge you to also buy and read that book too for the full story. Here is some info on A Rip in the Veil: http://www.annabelfrage.com/My-Books-The-Graham-Saga/A-Rip-in-the-Veil/

I do like this section on Belfrage’s website that explains overall The Graham Saga:  http://www.annabelfrage.com/My-Books-The-Graham-Saga/.  She says there will be several more books in the future, all with GORGEOUS covers I see, that continue the tale of Alex and Matthew. I can’t wait to read them all!

Stop back by tomorrow for a wonderful guest post by Anna Belfrage on Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

 Like Chaff in the Wind Synopsis~

Like Chaff in the WindMatthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother’s nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the Colony of Virginia, there to be sold as indentured labour – a death sentence more or less.

Matthew arrives in Virginia in May of 1661, and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his tale of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything Matthew’s insistence that he is an innocent man leads to him being singled out for the heaviest tasks.

Insufficient food, grueling days and the humid heat combine to wear Matthew down. With a sinking feeling he realises no one has ever survived the seven years of service – not on the plantation Suffolk Rose, not under the tender care of the overseer Dominic Jones.

Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife, a God’s gift who has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die, and so Alex Graham sets off on a perilous journey to bring her husband home.

Alex is plagued by nightmares in which her Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. She sits in the prow of the ship and prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side, to let her hold him and heal him before it’s too late. God, however, has other things to do and what should have been a two month crossing becomes a yearlong adventure from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

Will she find him in time? And if she does, will she be capable of paying the price required to buy him free?

Publication Date:  December 17, 2012
Troubador Publishing
Paperback; 392p
ISBN: 1780884702

Giveaway~

You can have a chance to win one (1) print copy of Like Chaff in the Wind, which is open internationally!! Please just comment below, on my Facebook link, or send me an email to hookofabook@hotmail.com. No strings attached, I just need your email to contact you!

You may received an extra entry for following my blog, just let me know you did. If you already do, you can follow me on Twitter at @ErinAlMehairi.

Please enter by 11:59 p.m. EST on April 3, 2013!

Anna Belfrage, Biography~

Anna BelfrageI was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction.

I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred.

I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream.

Find more about Belfrage and about the series at:  www.annabelfrage.com.

For more Like Chaff in the Wind reviews, interviews and guest posts, click on the tour schedule here:  http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/likechaffinthewindvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #ChaffInTheWindVirtualTour

Like Chaff in the Wind Tour Banner FINAL

 

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The Midwife’s Tale an Outstanding Historical Mystery Debut by Sam Thomas!

The Midwife's Tale

The Midwife’s Tale was an exciting new mystery by first time novelist and historian, Sam Thomas.  The book, set during the mid-17th century during the time of unrest known as the English Civil Wars, takes us on a rousing adventure of a midwife turned detective.  Stephen Cooper, a man with political enemies, is killed and his wife is found guilty without a proper trial.  It’s up to her friend to save her or she’ll burn at the stake.

A woman with admirable girth, protagonist Bridget Hodgson is a midwife and widow of respectable status which allows her to move around the city and speak to men as most women of time are not. It also allows her to be privy to a wide range of gossip of news.  With her newly acquired maidservant, Martha, who has her own story to tell, Bridget sets out meeting around town and begins to make enemies of her own.

Based on a true midwife from the era who lived in York, Thomas does a remarkable job of spinning a tale utilizing her profession as a foundation for a fiction novel.  He is outstanding at casting suspicion on all the book’s supporting characters so we can’t quite figure out who might have poisoned Cooper or if his wife is innocent.  The only delay that Hodgson can bring to the wife’s death sentence is to point out that she is pregnant.  But is she really? Who is telling the truth and who is spinning lies?  How far would someone go to protect their secrets?

With all the political intrigue in the novel, rebels fighting against the King and everyone playing both sides to be in favor with whomever wins, it certainly is any man’s murder. But I bet you’ll be surprised who actually commits the crime.

Filled with life that’s brimming with horrible class distinction in the various area of York, Thomas’ historical knowledge of this time period adds to set all the scenes with great detail and visual. I could totally see this as a BBC show with a midwife detective. And might I add, that this man knows a lot about birthing a baby. The scenes portraying Bridget’s work as midwife–even through to the emotional upheaval that the career brought with it–were phenomenal. Though I love history, I honestly say I do not want to time travel back to this era and proceed in becoming pregnant. Life was hard for women of any class, but especially for servants and in the poorer of any city’s areas.

I can’t wait to read more mysteries from Thomas and hope he writes more!! I enjoyed my time reading it in no time flat.  If you’re a fan of history, sleuthing, and strong female protagonists, The Midwife’s Tale is certainly a must-have read.  The style of writing reminded me of C.W. Gortner’s The Tudor Secret; however, Thomas winds a tale to us from the deepest part of the society up giving us a glimpse into a character that can move about between both poor, common, and aristocrat with same level of humanity and accountability for all.

GIVEAWAY~

Thomas is giving away one regular book copy to a winner in US or Canada!! You don’t want to miss leaving a comment to enter this giveaway either on the blog or on my FB link of this post. In the comment, please leave an email (or email it to me at hookofabook@hotmail.com) so I can contact you if you win regarding your mailing address. No PO boxes please. 

Extra entry will be earned by following my blog: Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Please let me know you did so for the extra entry.

Giveway will run until February 6, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

About the Book~

Publication Date: January 8, 2013 | Minotaur Books | 320p

In the tradition of Arianna Franklin and C. J. Sansom comes Samuel Thomas’s remarkable debut, The Midwife’s Tale.

It is 1644, and Parliament’s armies have risen against the King and laid siege to the city of York. Even as the city suffers at the rebels’ hands, midwife Bridget Hodgson becomes embroiled in a different sort of rebellion. One of Bridget’s friends, Esther Cooper, has been convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to be burnt alive. Convinced that her friend is innocent, Bridget sets out to find the real killer.

Bridget joins forces with Martha Hawkins, a servant who’s far more skilled with a knife than any respectable woman ought to be. To save Esther from the stake, they must dodge rebel artillery, confront a murderous figure from Martha’s past, and capture a brutal killer who will stop at nothing to cover his tracks. The investigation takes Bridget and Martha from the homes of the city’s most powerful families to the alleyways of its poorest neighborhoods. As they delve into the life of Esther’s murdered husband, they discover that his ostentatious Puritanism hid a deeply sinister secret life, and that far too often tyranny and treason go hand in hand.

Sam Thomas, Biography~

Sam ThomasSam Thomas is an assistant professor of history at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He has received research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Newberry Library, and the British Academy. He has published articles on topics ranging from early modern Britain to colonial Africa. Thomas just recently moved to Ohio from Alabama.  He has a wife and two children.

 

Find out more on Sam Thomas, as well as the real life Bridget Hodgson and midwives of this era at:  http://samthomasbooks.com/

 

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Book signings/Readings/Events~

For those of us who live in Ohio, so does the newly relocated Thomas, and we have an opportunity to see him at the following locations and times:

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Fireside Bookshop, 29 N. Franklin St., Chagrin Falls.

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When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, part of the “Dead of Winter, A Celebration of Mystery Writing” event.

Where: Loganberry Books, 13015 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland.

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When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Where: Bertram Woods Library, 20600 Fayette Road, Shaker Heights.

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Check out the Tour Schedule where you’ll find more reviews, interviews, giveaways, and guest posts at: http://www.hfvirtualbooktours.com/2012/11/sam-thomas-on-tour-for-midwifes-tale.html

Twitter Hashtag: #MidwifesTaleVirtualTour

The Midwife's Tale Tour Banner FINAL

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