Books I Love! Kristen Harmel’s The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a Richly Researched, Inspiring Novel

Book Description

The New York Times bestselling author of the “heart-stopping tale of survival and heroism” (People) The Book of Lost Names returns with an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis—until a secret from her past threatens everything.

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Inspired by incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with the journey-from-the-wilderness elements that made Where the Crawdads Sing a worldwide phenomenon, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author whose writing has been hailed as “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author), “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), and “gripping” (Tampa Bay Times).

My Take

What a remarkable read! I was swept away from the start, into the heart of the forest, richly written with vivid details, and into the heart of Yona, our brave but innocent heroine. This is a World War II novel unlike any I’ve read, and was woven with the results of the author’s deep research, which only made the book more gripping.

Yona is kidnapped by a mysterious gypsy-like woman at age two and spends the next 20 years with her captor living deep in the forest, avoiding humanity, hunting and gathering their food, and venturing into nearby villages in the dark of night to take what they need. However, Yona’s captor, Jerusza, is a brilliant and worldly woman who teaches her everything she knows about the forest, the world, and survival. Far from the safety of their forest, war is raging across Europe and the Holocaust is in full throttle.

When Jerusza dies, Yona is left alone, but soon encounters a band of Jewish refugees, innocents in the wilderness, whom she realizes need her help, which she is driven to provide regardless of the danger to herself. With them she discovers, love, betrayal, and loss.

This is my first novel from this author; I will be reading more.

Highly recommended for readers who enjoy historical fiction with strong heroines, suspense, lush landscapes, and an inspiring ending.

About the Author

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling, USA Today bestselling, and #1 international bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names, The Winemaker’s Wife, The Room on Rue Amelie, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into 28 languages and sold all over the world.

A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s. After stints covering health and lifestyle for American Baby, Men’s Health, and Woman’s Day, she became a reporter for PEOPLE magazine while still in college and spent more than a decade working for the publication, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews. Her favorite stories at PEOPLE, however, were the “Heroes Among Us” features–tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

In addition to a long magazine writing career (which also included articles published in Travel + Leisure, Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and more), Kristin was also a frequent contributor to the national television morning show The Daily Buzz and has appeared on Good Morning America and numerous local television morning shows.

Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts and spent her childhood there, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her husband and young son. She is the co-founder and co-host of the popular web series and podcast FRIENDS & FICTION.

Connect with Kristin Harmel

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Books I Love! Harmels’ The Book of Lost Names is Swoonworthy

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis in this unforgettable historical novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the “epic and heart-wrenching World War II tale” (Alyson Noel, #1 New York Times bestselling author) The Winemaker’s Wife.

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

An engaging and evocative novel reminiscent of The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice NetworkThe Book of Lost Names is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the power of bravery and love in the face of evil.

My Take

I am newly in love with this author, Kristin Harmel. The Book of Lost Names is a World War II novel told from the resistance movement in France that is engrossing and full of the “feels,” a love story, a war story, and so much more. Definitely swoonworthy.

Eva is a young college student interested in not much more than books, a good Jewish girl who strives to please her parents. But when the Nazis tear them apart she is thrust into a new world that puts her and her mother in danger for their lives and introduces her to a priest and a young forger, Remy, furiously working to save as many Jews as they can. Together they work at their own peril to create the “papers” that will allow these people – including children – to escape to Switzerland and safety.

The story is told in two parts: Eva looking back as an old woman and the story’s unfolding in real time during the war. We learn of Eva and Remy’s slow growing deep love for each other, and Eva’s mother’s refusal to accept what is really happening to them, and the fate of her husband, who was sent east to Auschwitz, and her bitterness at her daughter’s dedication to the resistance. Through it all we see Eva’s efforts to remain true to her Jewish faith and her parents’ expectations for her, resulting in her losing the love of her life.

This is a gripping read that I will remember for a long time. I’m especially thrilled that this author has an undiscovered backlist for me to enjoy this summer. Highly recommended for those who like World War II dramas based on actual circumstances and rich research.

About the Author

Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling, USA Today bestselling, and #1 international bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names, The Winemaker’s Wife, The Room on Rue Amelie, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into 28 languages and sold all over the world.

A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major League Baseball and NHL hockey for a local magazine in Tampa Bay, Florida in the late 1990s. After stints covering health and lifestyle for American Baby, Men’s Health, and Woman’s Day, she became a reporter for PEOPLE magazine while still in college and spent more than a decade working for the publication, covering everything from the Super Bowl to high-profile murders to celebrity interviews. Her favorite stories at PEOPLE, however, were the “Heroes Among Us” features–tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

In addition to a long magazine writing career (which also included articles published in Travel + Leisure, Glamour, Ladies’ Home Journal, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and more), Kristin was also a frequent contributor to the national television morning show The Daily Buzz and has appeared on Good Morning America and numerous local television morning shows.

Kristin was born just outside Boston, Massachusetts and spent her childhood there, as well as in Columbus, Ohio, and St. Petersburg, Florida. After graduating with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida, she spent time living in Paris and Los Angeles and now lives in Orlando, with her husband and young son. She is the co-founder and co-host of the popular web series and podcast FRIENDS & FICTION.

Connect with Kristin Harmel

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New Release Spotlight! Lisa Scottoline’s Eternal, a Sweeping Historical Novel Set in 1930’s Rome

#1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline offers a sweeping and shattering epic of historical fiction fueled by shocking true events, the tale of a love triangle that unfolds in the heart of Rome…in the creeping shadow of fascism.

What war destroys, only love can heal.

Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta’s heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy’s Fascists with Hitler’s Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear–their families, their homes, and their connection to one another–is tested in ways they never could have imagined.

As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city’s Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.

Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war–all set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers.

Start reading Eternal now!

About the Author

Lisa’s writing career began with her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went, published in 1994 by HarperCollins Publishers. The novel became a bestseller and was nominated for the Edgar Award, the most prestigious award given in crime fiction, awarded by the Mystery Writers of America. Lisa’s second novel, Final Appeal, was also nominated for and received an Edgar Award. Since then she has written 32 novels, all of which have appeared on bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Publisher’s Weekly.

Lisa and her daughter Francesca also write a Sunday humor column, Chick Wit, for the Philadelphia Inquirer. These stories have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of books including the most recent, I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses. Scottoline presently has 30 million copies in print in the United States, not including audio, e-book and various large print editions. Internationally, Lisa is published in 35 countries.

Connect with Lisa Scottoline

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New Release Spotlight! Surviving Savannah, a Mesmerizing Tale of a Forgotten Shipwreck

One of my favorite authors has released a new book! Patti Callahan Henry (The Bookshop on Water’s End, The Favorite Daughter) has finally released Surviving Savannah.

About the Book

It was called “The Titanic of the South.” The luxury steamship sank in 1838 with Savannah’s elite on board; through time, their fates were forgotten–until the wreck was found, and now their story is finally being told in this breathtaking novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

Follow the virtual book tour here.

Start reading now!

About the Author

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction),  BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (writing as Patti Callahan).

In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019.

In March of 2021, a new historical fiction novel — SURVIVING SAVANNAH based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released.

The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original “Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series” launched, October 2019.  The podcast audiobook collection including bonus material was released in January 2020, and available now. The new expanded BECOMING MRS. LEWIS paperback edition was released on March 24, 2020, and available now.

Patti Callahan is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly Friends and Fiction Facebook Live Show and podcast, featuring the five bestselling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Kristin Harmel, and Mary Alice Monroe with endless stories, special guests, and a way to connect readers and writers.

THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER (writing as Patti Callahan Henry—Southern Contemporary Fiction) was launched in June 2019, and THE PERFECT LOVE SONG—A Christmas Holiday novella released October 2019, and available now.

A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

Connect with Patti Callahan Henry

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Note: I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

New Release Spotlight! Georgia Bride, Historical Romance from Danielle Thorne

He wants to desert.

She intends to win no matter the cost.

Georgia 1864

Ruth Ann Talley works at the Sweetwater mill that’s now a Confederate factory. Her pa and brother are dead, food is scarce, and the Yankees are closing in on Atlanta. She’ll probably never live to have a family of her own, but she won’t give up on the Cause.

Lieutenant Jonah Baker is tempted to abscond from his new assignment until he crosses paths with Ruth Ann. His departed best friend’s sister has grown into a fearless, beautiful woman, but she’s as patriotic and independent as he is disillusioned. No matter how often Jonah warns her the factory is not worth fighting for, Ruth Ann can’t be convinced to take her mother and siblings and run away.

When Ruth Ann finds herself face to face with the Yankee Army, she realizes she should have never fought for a cause she didn’t understand, while Jonah must decide between what is honorable and true, and what to do about the woman who stole his heart.

Can love be found in a country torn by war?

Start reading Georgia Bride now!

About the Author

Danielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, cats, dogs, and long naps. She doesn’t like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea. Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. Her next historical romance is coming soon.

Connect with Danielle Thorne

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The Balanced Writer

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a small commission from book sales.

New Release Spotlight! Uncharted Freedom, Book 9 in Keely Brooke Keith’s Uncharted Series

The latest in one of my favorite series: The Uncharted. Escape to a land unknown.

Book Description

Naomi McIntosh is running from her family’s oppressive expectations and the loathsome man her father has demanded she marry. Renaming herself to live incognito, she takes a housekeeping job at the Inn at Falls Creek and promises God this false identity will be her last.

When shepherd James Roberts goes home to the Inn at Falls Creek for his sister’s wedding, he doesn’t expect the woman who once broke his heart to be working there. No matter how much he wants to be with Naomi again, he can’t go along with her charade, especially since he is trying to persuade his father to make him the inn’s heir.

Though Naomi yearns for a future with James, if she confesses her deception to everyone, her estranged fiancé will find her. And the longer James goes without telling his family the truth about Naomi—and their growing relationship—the further he jeopardizes the inheritance. But just when their relationship looks promising, the inn proves to be a poor hiding place from Naomi’s past.

Meanwhile, in Good Springs…
Connor Bradshaw wrestles with the overseers’ decision to preserve the Land’s pacifist ways. His desire to build a defense system for the Land keeps him up at night, secretly scanning for radio transmissions from the warring outside world. His training to be a village overseer will require him to lay down his weapons, but a voice over the radio waves ignites his worst fears.

Start reading now!

The Uncharted series:
#1 The Land Uncharted
#2 Uncharted Redemption
#3 Uncharted Inheritance
#4 Christmas with the Colburns
#5 Uncharted Hope
#6 Uncharted Journey
#7 Uncharted Destiny
#8 Uncharted Promises
#9 Uncharted Freedom

The Uncharted Beginnings series:
#1 Aboard Providence
#2 Above Rubies
#3 All Things Beautiful

About the Author

Keely Brooke Keith writes inspirational frontier-style fiction with a futuristic twist, including The Land Uncharted (Shelf Unbound Notable Romance 2015) and Aboard Providence (2017 INSPY Awards Longlist).

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Keely was a tree-climbing, baseball-loving 80s kid. She grew up in a family who moved often, which fueled her dreams of faraway lands. When she isn’t writing, Keely enjoys teaching home school lessons and playing bass guitar. Keely, her husband, and their daughter live on a hilltop south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

New Release Spotlight! The Ones We Leave Behind, Engaging Historical Women’s Fiction by Deanna Lynn Sletten

New Release Spotlight The Ones We Leave Behind

Diane picked up her mother’s ringing phone. “How do you feel about your mother being let out of prison today after sixty-five years?” the reporter asked. Diane stared at her mother. “My grandmother is alive?” That one phone call hurled shock waves throughout the entire family.

1955 – Anna Bergman Craine’s life changes in an instant when she commits a crime of passion and is sentenced to life in prison. Leaving behind two young children, she is left alone in the world, never to hear from family or friends again. Decades later, she is set free and finds she has a family that has chosen to forget her. What caused this beautiful, intelligent, young woman to commit such a drastic deed that would pull her away from everyone she loved?

2020 – Diane Martin is shocked to learn that not only is her maternal grandmother alive, but she’s just been released after decades in prison. Against her aging mother’s wishes, she visits the older woman and soon hears a tale of the events that led up to that tragic day in 1955. Diane realizes that her own life has mirrored that of her grandmother’s and, had circumstances gone differently that fateful day, she might have experienced the same fate.

The Onesd We leave Behind

A heart-wrenching story of a family torn apart because of a moment in time and trying to put the pieces back together after being separated for decades.

Start reading now!

About the Author

A1OAA3JnD8L._US230_Deanna Lynn Sletten is the author of THE WOMEN OF GREAT HERON LAKE, MISS ETTA, MAGGIE’S TURN, FINDING LIBBIE, THE LAKE HARRIET SERIES and several other titles. She writes heartwarming women’s fiction and romance novels with unforgettable characters. She has also written one middle-grade novel that takes you on the adventure of a lifetime. Deanna believes in fate, destiny, love at first sight, soul mates, second chances, and happily ever after, and her novels reflect that.

Deanna is married and has two grown children. When not writing, she enjoys walking the wooded trails around her home with her beautiful Australian Shepherd, traveling, and relaxing on the lake.

Deanna loves hearing from her readers. Connect with her at:

Website
Blog
Facebook
Twitter

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

New Release Spotlight! Find Post-WWII Intrigue in Rachel MacMillan’s Latest, The London Restoration

The London Restorati

 

The secrets that might save a nation could shatter a marriage.

Madly in love, Diana Foyle and Brent Somerville married in London as the bombs of World War II dropped on their beloved city. Without time for a honeymoon, the couple spent the next four years apart. Diana, an architectural historian, took a top-secret intelligence post at Bletchley Park. Brent, a professor of theology at King’s College, believed his wife was working for the Foreign Office as a translator when he was injured in an attack on the European front.

Now that the war is over, the Somervilles’ long-anticipated reunion is strained by everything they cannot speak of. Diana’s extensive knowledge of London’s churches could help bring down a Russian agent named Eternity. She’s eager to help MI6 thwart Communist efforts to start a new war, but because of the Official Secrets Act, Diana can’t tell Brent the truth about her work.

Determined to save their marriage and rebuild the city they call home, Diana and Brent’s love is put to the ultimate test as they navigate the rubble of war and the ruins of broken trust.

About the Author

Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration Rachel McMillan is the author of the Herringford and Watts mysteries, the Three Quarter Time series of contemporary romances set in opulent Vienna, and the Van Buren and DeLuca mysteries praised for bringing an authentic 1930’s Boston world to life while normalizing the fictional conversation surrounding mental illness. She is also the author of Dream, Plan and Go: A Romantic’s Guide to Independent Travel and A Very Merry Holiday Movie Guide, which explores her love of made-for-TV Christmas movies. Her upcoming historical romances The London Restoration and The Mozart Code (Harper Collins) take readers deep into an atmospheric look at post-war London, Vienna and Prague. Rachel lives in Toronto, Canada.

Connect with Rachel McMillan

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Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.

 

 

New Release Spotlight! A Buccaneer’s Deal, the Latest in Danielle Thorne’s Gentlemen of the Coast Series

A Buccaneer's Deal

A pirate is haunting the coast of New Spain…

 

Emma Montego is sure she’s safe within Pensacola’s protected harbor even if she feels trapped in her role as a nobleman’s daughter. Her stern papa, Don Marcos, insists that she keeps a companion and stays in the courtyard. When a forbidden midnight walk along the shore goes awry, Emma must choose between respecting everything her birth father has done for her or making a deal with a devil in disguise.

Phillip Oakley has slipped in and out of Pensacola unnoticed for years until the alluring American-born daughter of Don Marcos crosses his path. If she recognizes him, his swashbuckling days as the infamous Captain Redbird are over, so only a deal will do. Phillip will do anything to protect his friends in the bayou and his crew aboard the Revenge, but Emma needs a way to escape being sent overseas to her father’s homeland.

Can Phillip make a deal with Emma that she’ll keep? Or will the little señorita ruin everything when she turns the tables with a new proposal that costs him everything—including his heart?

This novel is a stand-alone historical romance with echoes of North American history, the American Revolution, West Indies piracy, and Regency era charm.

 

Start reading now!

About the Author

Danielle Thorne, authorDanielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, cats, dogs, and long naps. She doesn’t like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea. Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. Her next historical romance is coming soon.

Connect with Danielle Thorne

Website

Twitter

The Balanced Writer

Read all of the Gentlemen of the Coast Books
1. A Smuggler’s Heart
2. A Captain’s Bride
3. A Buccaneer’s Deal

Or classic Jane Austen-inspired romances:
Proper Attire
A Pirate at Pembroke
Josette
The Privateer of San Madrid

Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may earn a small commission from book sales.

 

 

New Release Spotlight! Cover Reveal for Patti Callahan’s Upcoming Historical Novel, Surviving Savannah

New Release Spotlight Driftwood Dreams (4)

New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan delivers a breathtaking novel based on true events.

It was called “The Titanic of the South”—the luxury steamship that sank in 1838 with Savannah’s elite on board. Through time, their fates were forgotten—until the wreck was found.

Now their story is finally being told.

When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.

Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who, along with her child, was never found. The women were part of Savannah society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.

Perfect for fans of Before We Were Yours, Sold on a Monday, and Orphan Train, Callahan’s highly anticipated novel tells the story of a little known chapter of history that has long deserved a spotlight. This transformative tale told from alternating past and present perspectives will sweep readers away and move them to their core.

Designed Graphic_ Surviving Savannah

Pre-order Surviving Savannah Now! 

Win an advanced digital review copy of the book! Enter here.

(NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. US Residents, 18+. Ends August 17, 2020.
See official rules at official website.)

 

Q&A with Patti Callahan

What inspired you to write Surviving Savannah?

Originally I was inspired by the Pulaski tales of survival, how the city of Savannah was part of this story, and how the Lowcountry was affected by this tragedy. I was also inspired and curious about the transformation of each passenger and the ways that each survivor not only lived through the explosion, but also how they chose to live their lives after the sinking.

How, I wondered, do some come to live better lives and others turn toward bitterness and cruelty? Who do we become after such great loss?

AND then!, everything shifted because after a hundred and eighty years, along came a shipwreck hunting crew who found the remains of the Pulaski a hundred feet beneath the waves, thirty miles off the coast of Wilmington, North Carolina. While the team went deep to bring up the artifacts and treasure of this beautiful ship, I dug deep to bring up the stories.

My exhilarating hunt for the forgotten story began.

What kind of research was required to write the novel? Did anything surprise you?

The research was as fascinating as it was extensive – from the archives at the Georgia Historical Center in Savannah and the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum to books, newspaper archives, personal accounts and letters, I read everything that I could get my hands on. I devoured books on steamships and Savannah in the 1800’s. I read about the rich history of the colonization of Savannah with General Oglethorpe. I walked the streets of Savannah and visited museums and artifact collections. I interviewed shipwreck experts and became enchanted with the world of wreck salvaging and treasure hunting.

During this journey, I was surprised over and over, but one surprise that opens the novel is the true narrative about a fifteen-year-old passenger named Charles who survived the sinking to become a slave trader with a horrific reputation. As he grew into a man, he earned the nickname “the Red Devil”. How had this young boy survived to become so cruel? I wanted to know.

Finally, after years of research, I put together a complete story of that calamitous night, and one family in particular.

Your story follows three women – Lily and Augusta on the ship in 1838, and Everly in present day. Which of the three women did you relate to the most and why?

While I was writing each section I always felt the most connected to the woman I was writing about at the moment. I don’t think I felt more for one woman than another but of course our modern-day character, Everly felt more relatable only because I know today’s Savannah and I know today’s southern norms and ideas. The historical narratives were almost two hundred years old, and yet I still felt as close to Lilly and Augusta because their plight and their desires and their inner lives feel familiar. As far as women have come in their roles in society, there is still the struggle for independence and agency. There remains the need to burst through familial and collective norms to build a life of one’s own.

All three women had their own tragedies, hardships and losses to navigate. All three needed to discover how they would make meaning and purpose out of their situation. All three found out what they were truly made of and if they wanted to merely survive or if they wanted to thrive and build new lives.

Add SURVIVING SAVANNAH to your shelf: 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54306882-surviving-savannah

Visit Patti online: https://www.patticallahanhenry.com/surviving-savannah

About the Author

PCH

Photo Credit: Bud Johnson Photography, Savannah, GA

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction),  BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (writing as Patti Callahan).

In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019.

In March of 2021, a new historical fiction novel — SURVIVING SAVANNAH based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released.

The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original “Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series” launched, October 2019.  The podcast audiobook collection including bonus material was released in January 2020, and available now. The new expanded BECOMING MRS. LEWIS paperback edition was released on March 24, 2020, and available now.

Patti Callahan is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly Friends and Fiction Facebook Live Show and podcast, featuring the five bestselling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Kristin Harmel, and Mary Alice Monroe with endless stories, special guests, and a way to connect readers and writers.

THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER (writing as Patti Callahan Henry—Southern Contemporary Fiction) was launched in June 2019, and THE PERFECT LOVE SONG—A Christmas Holiday novella released October 2019, and available now.

A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

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