Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie


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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Monique Roy On Art, Historical Fiction

You know we’re big historical fiction fans here, right? Kimber here. Mom and I, we love the creativity of a novel balanced with actual people, places, and events. We eat that stuff up like gourmet dog chow! So when we were asked to review a historical novel about Nazi looting of priceless art items from Jewish owners during World War II, we ate it up!

The book is A Savage Kultur. It’s by Monique Roy. Read our full review here.

We reached out to Monique and asked her to do a guest post, telling us a little more about herself and her book. Why historical fiction. Stuff like that. Monique agreed. Here’s her post. Take it away, Monique!

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Dark Secrets & Mysterious Menace Revealed in ‘A Savage Kultur’

A Savage Kultur

A Savage Kultur

By Monique Roy

Historical Fiction

The art world is filled with secrets and a dark past.

Mystery abounds as Oxford art student Ava Goldman tries to unravel the truth about her family’s past with the help of her ailing grandmother, Gisela. It begins with a “chance” encounter with a uniformed Nazi on the banks of the Thames River in 2013, followed by a posthumous letter from Ava’s art loving grandfather, Karl. Vowing to find a priceless van Gogh painting plundered by the Nazis from her grandparents, Ava steps into a world of shadow, mystery, and menace.

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Is This Historical Novel Destined to Become a Classic?

The Librarian of Boone’s Hollow (Waterbrook/Multnomah, September 2020)

By Kim Vogel Sawyer

Christian/Historical Fiction

 

Triumphant and transcendent, this delicious historical novel is easily one of the season’s best. Here’s why:

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Inspiration Across the Ages: John Mernone Talks His Personal Connection With His Debut Historical Novel, The World Turned Upside Down

Happy Wednesday Friends!

Author John Mernone joins us today to discuss his debut historical novel, The World Turned Upside Down. You’ll want to listen in.  Says John:

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John Mernone’s debut historical novel has a personal connection.

How many times have you heard someone say that history is boring?

If you only see it as a list of names and dates and facts to be memorized, it is boring. I was lucky enough to have a few truly amazing teachers who taught me to look at history through the lens of personalities and situations. Take George Washington. In school, we’re taught about this legendary hero who led the colonists to independence. And maybe we hear about his wooden teeth.

 

We don’t learn about his many mistakes on the way to victory. We don’t learn that he wasn’t always patient or a brilliant strategist. He had very real flaws. But he was driven by an unshakeable belief in the cause, and he possessed a level of humility and conscientiousness that inspired devotion and admiration in everyone around him. I’ve always believed that George Washington was the greatest man in history, flaws and all.

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‘Aloha’ and ‘Family’ Merge Into Delightful Read in New Novel

The Aloha Spirit: A Novel Kindle Edition

The Aloha Spirit (She Writes Press, August 2020)

Historical Fiction/Romance

By Linda Ulleseit

What is “family”? How do families behave? Relate? Stick together? Who is and isn’t “family” – and why?

Captivating & Compelling

These questions and more swirl through the pages of a captivating new historical novel by Linda Ulleseit. Set in Hawaii and California, The Aloha Spirit is the compelling story of Dolores and her lifelong search for “family” and the aloha spirit.

We first meet Dolores when her father drops her off at a friend’s house. He and Dolores’s older brother are heading to California to find work.

Bewildered and feeling abandoned, the scrappy seven year-old soon wearies of the never-ending, back-breaking work at Noelani’s. Dolores dreams of re-joining her family on the mainland. But when her father finally invites her to join him in California some four years later, Dolores isn’t exactly turning cartwheels at the prospect.

Several different settings and experiences later, Dolores eventually learns that family “just is.” You don’t “choose it or grow it.” Most of the time “you just deal with it” with love and patience. She also learns that “family” sometimes means loving a person without loving everything they do.

Fascinating Blend

A fascinating, clever blend of history, culture and customs, The Aloha Spirit is divided into three parts. It covers 28 years between 1922 and 1950. In Part 1 Dolores goes from one “odd person out” context of “family, but not really” to the next.

The story takes readers to the sugar-white sand beaches of Hawaii and Diamond Head, San Francisco and the World’s Fair, and a backyard shelter during the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. We eventually wind up in Sunnyvale and then San Jose, California.

Much More

Along Dolores’ journey of personal growth and self-discovery, The Aloha Spirit gently shows us how even a blood brother can be ‘ohana in name only. How friends can be closer than sisters. What keeping “aloha in your heart” really means. And why.

It also shows us how and why “Aloha” is much more than a greeting or a farewell. It also means giving kindness and appreciation to everyone, even family members who are hard to love. Aloha is “the joyous sharing of life’s energy,” as Dolores finds out in her teenage years. But to have aloha, you need to love yourself first. Dolores finds this out later, when her teen marriage to Manolo unravels. Then family ties are sorely tested when Dolores and her two children evacuate Hawaii for California and her brother’s place after Pearl Harbor is bombed.

Somewhere along the way, Dolores falls in love with Alberto. She’s still married to a jerk. But Dolores is Catholic. And Catholics don’t divorce. Especially when doing so means losing her family.

Caveats

Dialogue attributed to a grade schooler strains credulity at times in Part 1. Joining Dolores in the kitchen to chop veggies or stir stew also gets a little old. But The Aloha Spirit quickly rises above such mundanities and paints a vast, vibrant mosaic of time, culture, loss and disappointment, triumph and redemption.

Winsome

Poignant and captivating, The Aloha Spirit brims with gentle insights and fascinating cultural and historical vignettes. This book has a realistic, authentic feel to it that makes it a winsome read. Characters are dynamic and three-dimensional. Fortified with rich, lyrical prose, settings are lush and unique. You can almost feel the trade winds and smell the pikake blooms as Dolores slowly realizes the true meaning of familia es todo.

A delicious read. Aloha.

Our rating: 4.0

Diamond Head Image Credit


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‘Until June’ Warms Body & Soul

Until June, (Backlit PR, 2020)
By Barbara M. Britton
A severely injured WWI veteran and his female caregiver face an Alaskan winter alone in a remote hunting lodge as they wait out an influenza outbreak. That’s the premise for this delicious historical romance.
It’s 1918 in Juneau, Alaska. Mr. Chambers, wealthy owner of the town mine, is desperate to find a caregiver for his son Geoff, a severely injured veteran of Bellau Wood. Seventeen year-old seamstress Josephine “Jo” Nimetz has nursing experience and is desperate to support her ailing, recently widowed mother.

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‘An Agent for Dixie’: Snack-Worthy Historical Romance

An Agent for Dixie (The Pinkerton Matchmaker series Book 73)

An Agent for Dixie (The Pinkerton Matchmaker Series. BackLit PR, 2020.)
By Linda Carroll-Bradd

Shy and reserved Dixie Fontaine is a young seamstress. Her older sister Liana is daring and adventurous. When Dixie allows her sister to talk her into applying to be an agent with the Pinkerton detective agency in 1872 Denver, Dixie is sure she won’t make the grade. But she surprises herself – and everyone else – by landing the job.

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