Book Spotlight for The Fire of Winter by D. K. Marley

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Publisher and Publication Date: The White Rabbit Publishing. June 1, 2019.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 355.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the author, but was not required to leave a positive review/spotlight.
Audience: Readers who love Scotland history, medieval era, and the story of Macbeth.

This is not a review but a spotlight.

Amazon link. Free ebook if you have Kindle Unlimited.

The book tour runs July 22 to August 19, 2019 @ Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Direct link for the giveaway: https://gleam.io/competitions/2IeSS-the-fire-of-winter

Summary:
She is known as Lady Macbeth.
What leads her down the path of murder?
What secrets fire her destiny?
Gruah, granddaughter of King Cìnéad III of the Royal Clan Alpin, marries two men in less than six months, one she loves and one she hates; one in secret, the other arranged by the High King of Scotland. At the age of eighteen, she lays her palm upon the ancient stone of Scone and sees her destiny as Queen of Scotland, and she vows to do whatever necessary to see her true love, Macbeth macFindlaech, beside her on the throne.
Amid the fiery times and heated onslaughts from Denmark and England, as the rule of Scotland hangs in the balance, Gruah seeks to win the throne and bring revenge upon the monsters of her childhood, no matter the cost or amount of blood tainting her own hands; yet, an unexpected meeting with the King called the Confessor causes her to question her bloody path and doubt her once blazing pagan faith. Will she find redemption or has the blood of her past fire-branded her soul?
The story weaves the play by William Shakespeare with the actual history of Macbeth and his Queen in 11th-century Scotland.
“…a woman’s story at a winter’s fire…”
(Macbeth, Act III, Scene IV)

Praise:
“This beautifully written reworking of the Macbeth tale told from Lady Macbeth’s point-of-view flows from the page and you quickly become immersed in the politics and intrigues of feudal Scotland as she fights for her rightful place and her true love! A mesmerizing read that grips from start to finish and Gruah is now one of my all-time favorite literary crushes.” – Iain Leonard, ARC Reviewer
“Brilliantly conceived and beautifully written, The Fire of Winter is a tale not to be missed by lovers of Shakespeare, lovers of history, or lovers of the written word.” – Riana Everly, Author of Teaching Eliza and Through a Different Lens

Author:
D. K. Marley is a historical fiction writer specializing in Shakespearean themes. Her grandmother, an English Literature teacher, gave her a volume of Shakespeare’s plays when she was eleven, inspiring DK to delve further into the rich Elizabethan language. Eleven years ago she began the research leading to the publication of her first novel “Blood and Ink,” an epic tale of lost dreams, spurned love, jealousy and deception in Tudor England as the two men, William Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe, fight for one name and the famous works now known as the Shakespeare Folio. She is an avid Shakespearean / Marlowan, a member of the Marlowe Society, the Shakespeare Fellowship and a signer of the Declaration of Intent for the Shakespeare Authorship Debate. She has traveled to England three times for intensive research and debate workshops and is a graduate of the intense training workshop “The Writer’s Retreat Workshop” founded by Gary Provost and hosted by Jason Sitzes. She lives in Georgia with her husband and a Scottish Terriers named Maggie and Buster.
Links to the author: Goodreads. Twitter. Facebook. Pinterest.
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(Review) The Lost Queen, Book One by Signe Pike

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Publisher and Publication Date: Touchstone. September 4, 2018.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 544.
Source: I received a complimentary advanced reader paperback copy from Touchstone, but was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Recommend. Good.
Audience: Historical fiction readers. Readers who love Scottish history. Readers who love medieval history.

Amazon

Website for Signe Pike

Link for news about a television show based on this book: Deadline news.

signe pike

Her memoir Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World, was a “Best of 2010” Pick from Kirkus Reviews and received glowing reviews from Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Adventure Magazine, and renowned spiritual leader Marianne Williamson among others. Pike has been featured on WPR’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge” in an episode on enchantment along with Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, and A.S. Byatt.

She was born in Ithaca, New York and currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina.

Summary:
AD 550. Land of the Britons. Strathclyde, Scotland.
Languoreth, and her twin brother, Lailoken, are the children of a king. Their mother died. Their nursemaid is Crowan. Languoreth is strong-willed and independent. She wants to become a Wisdom Healer like her mother had been. Instead, she will someday marry a man of her father’s choosing and become a queen. Lailoken has a gift of reading signs from the gods. Languoreth can read Lailoken’s thoughts. They are handsome children. They have a close bond. When the story begins, Languoreth, and Lailoken are children destined for greatness.
The timeline of the story is AD 550 to 572.

My Thoughts:
Medieval history is one of my favorite periods to read about. I love historical fiction. These two combined loves led me to read this book.
I have several thoughts:
The Lost Queen has been compared to the Outlander series and Camelot. I disagree. Outlander is a different period in Scottish history and time travel is involved. Camelot is a larger than life story. It’s a famous story. A story with a bit of magic, and a lot of romance. I’ve not read The Mists of Avalon series (so I cannot compare.)
•Languoreth is the narrator or voice in the story. Her brother is a strong character, but it is her thoughts and words that is prominent.
•For most of The Lost Queen, it felt more like a young adult novel. Until the last quarter of the story, the main characters are young people who are headstrong and valiant. Plus, the story lacked a maturity (probably because of the ages of the twins.)
•Languoreth is in love with a young man whom she’s spent only a brief time with. For me, chemistry and lust is something you feel immediate. Love takes time to grow. Also, love over the years takes dips and turns, it develops roots, and it may or may not look anything like the love that was there at the start.
The Lost Queen showed the practice and culture of people living in this time period. I enjoyed reading about the medicinal arts and mysticism.
•Despite how Languoreth feels, and despite her strong-willed nature, she obeys her father in marrying another man. I love characters who do the right thing despite how they “feel.” Feelings often lead people astray. Of course, I’m in my mid 50’s and I’m reflecting back on those feelings that led me astray. Doing the right thing requires courage, humility, and sacrifice. This gave Languoreth a maturity in the story. This was a sign she had blossomed and developed.
•The romantic element is strong but brief. Brief in that most of the romance is in her mind and heart. She remembered their stolen moments and wonders how he truly feels? She wondered if it was something of lasting value?
The Lost Queen covers at least half the life of Languoreth. I can’t imagine what a second novel will reveal? Possibly it will be the story of Lailoken. He is the basis for Myrddin or Merlin.
•I was not swept away in The Lost Queen; however, I was entertained. I recommend this novel and I’m enticed enough to read its sequel.

 

 

(Review) The Second Blast of the Trumpet, Book Two in the Knox Trilogy by Marie Macpherson

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Publisher and Publication Date: Knox Publishing. August 15, 2017.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: Ebook. 305 pages.
Source: Complimentary ebook copy from Marie Macpherson. I was not required to leave a positive review.
Rating: Very good.

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About the author:
Hailing from the historic honest Town of Musselburgh, six miles from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, Marie Macpherson (née Gilroy) developed a love for literature and languages from an early age. Brought up on the site of the Battle of Pinkie and within sight of Fa’side Castle, she was haunted by tales and legends from the past. Though she has travelled widely, teaching languages and literature across Europe from Madrid to Moscow, she has never lost her passion for the rich history and culture of her native Scotland.​
For more information please visit Marie’s website. You can also connect with her on FacebookGoodreads, and Twitter.

Amazon

Summary:
“The Second Blast of the Trumpet” is the second book in the life of John Knox. John Knox was a zealous crusader for Reformation in Scotland. The time period is mid 1500s.
“The Second Blast of the Trumpet” is not a religious book. It is not spiritual in nature. It is not pro Protestant. It is a historical fiction piece about the man himself, John Knox.

My Thoughts:
•My favorite aspect of this story is I have a better understanding of Knox’s character. He had the gift of speech. He had a way of explaining the Bible in simple language for the common folk. He was a natural orator. He was passionate, strong-willed, pious, bold, dynamic, and vibrant. I also saw his weaknesses. I feel Knox has been portrayed as dimensional and real.
•I enjoyed reading about the complexity of the Bowes family. The relationship between Marjory Bowes and her mother was close. Marjory became the wife of Knox. One of my favorite lines from the book is, “Better to be an old man’s darling than a young man’s slave.”
•The committed love and passion between Knox and Marjory remained steadfast through the story. I loved their chemistry.
•Knox holds his own and has interesting conversations with people who do not share his views.
•”The Second Blast of the Trumpet” showed me the sights, sounds, and smells of this era. It is a descriptive story.
•The historical facts and people of this time were brought to life: King Edward of England, Lady Jane Grey, Mary Tudor, Bishop Gardner, John Calvin, and Mary of Guise.