Captivating and Magical, ‘The Phantom Tree’ Delivers An Alternate Look at Tudor History [REVIEW]

The Phantom Tree

Two women bound by a pact, two enemies separated by centuries. Lose yourself in the pages of Nicola Cornick’s The Phantom Tree. (Illustration courtesy Graydon House)

When a long-lost Tudor portrait suddenly surfaces in the midst of a modern-day English festival, one woman’s carefully constructed life is turned on its ear. The face in the painting is as familiar as her own. But can it be? Did the woman in the portrait live? And if so, what secrets does she hold? Find out in Nicola Cornick’s engrossing new novel, The Phantom Tree. 
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‘The Daisy Children’ Remind Us That We Can’t Outrun Our Past [REVIEW]

Smelling the daisies

Sometimes the untold stories are the ones we need to hear… (Photo by Amy the Nurse, Flickr)

With no job, no baby, a self-centered mother and a husband who is growing increasingly distant, a young woman doesn’t know what direction her life is going to take her. But when she receives news that she’s been named in her grandmother’s will, she makes a journey to the past and learns some important life lessons along the way in Sofia Grant’s The Daisy Children.
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Martha Conway’s ‘The Underground River’ [EXCERPT]

Loading food on the Ohio

Cruising in a steamboat along the Ohio River, an actress and her cousin travel the border between the free North and the slave-holding South. (Photo by suemon123, Flickr)

 

Having lived along the banks of the Ohio River for more than a decade, I frequently heard stories about the Underground Railroad and how it ran through the area in the midst of the Civil War. Visitors to Cincinnati can learn much about this history by visiting the Harriet Beecher Stowe House (she’s the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center downtown (a visit here will change your life!). But until you can make the trek to one of these venues, you can lose yourself in the pages of an incredible new book by Martha Conway, The Underground River. To whet your appetite, here’s an exclusive excerpt from chapter one. Enjoy! —Jathan Read more of this post

Spirited Widow Courageously Pursues Dream to Paint ‘Midnight Blue’ [REVIEW]

Delftware in a window

A young woman with a dream. A past she has to escape. A talent that can’t be denied. Lose yourself in Simone van der Vlugt’s Midnight Blue. (Photo by Thomas, Flickr)

When her husband meets an untimely end, a young widow leaves the small village she’s lived in her entire life to reinvent herself in the big city. But try as she may, she can’t seem to outrun whispered rumors about why she really left. Will she ever escape the past and make her dreams of becoming a skilled artist a reality? Find out in Dutch author Simone van der Vlugt’s enchanting new novel, Midnight Blue.  Read more of this post

Susan Spann Finds Her Muse High Atop Mount Koyasan [GUEST POST]

Konpon Daito Pagoda

Structures like the impressive two-storied Konpon Daito Pagoda elicit quiet contemplation and meditation from even the most experienced traveler. (Photo by Susan Spann)

Most of the time, the plot of each new novel drives my research, but in the case of Trial on Mount Koya, a sacred mountain turned that process upside-down. Each Hiro Hattori novel features a crime in a different setting, and a victim from a different social class or niche, allowing me to keep the series fresh and interesting. Read more of this post