Friday, October 21, 2016

Guest Post: Cuyler Overholt: The Inspiration of Writing a Female Detective

     Today's guest writer is Cuyler Overholt. She is the author of A Deadly Affection, the first in a historical mystery series featuring female amateur sleuth, Dr. Genevieve Summerford.  I have always been interested in novels that star women detectives. There are not many novels that have these type of women detectives. In this guest, Mrs. Overholt discusses what drew her to write having a female detective as a protagonist. I hope this guest post gives you some insight into the novel. Thank you, Mrs. Overholt.

The Inspiration of Writing A Female Detective

     When I first started thinking about writing a mystery set in 1907 New York City, I didn’t intend to have a female psychiatrist as my amateur sleuth. In fact, if you’d asked me what the odds were of running into a female doctor back then, I would have guessed slim to none. I’d always assumed that women first entered the professions in any significant numbers as a result of the feminist movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. But as I was fascinated to discover when I started researching the era, I was wrong.

     To be sure, up through the 1880s women were almost completely excluded from mainstream medical schools. A handful had managed to gain admittance by then, usually with the help of a male mentor, and a few more had attended all-woman medical colleges. But these women, despite their fierce desire and determination, had no access to the postgraduate training programs that were so critical to professional competence, and were not welcomed by professional societies or hospital and clinic staffs. As Elizabeth Blackwell, the first American woman to obtain a medical degree, wrote to her sister Elizabeth around this time: “a blank wall of social and professional antagonism faces the woman physician that forms a situation of painful loneliness, leaving her without support, respect or professional counsel.”

     A number of reasons were generally put forward as to why women should not be allowed to practice medicine. It was believed, for one thing, that the sight of unveiled bodies and the blood and gore of the operating room was naturally repugnant to the modesty and delicacy of women. Females were also claimed to be intellectually inferior to men, and too prone to impulsivity and hysteria to exercise good judgement. Dr. Edward Clarke, a respected Harvard professor, declared in a widely disseminated treatise that “higher education for women produces monstrous brains, puny bodies, abnormally weak digestion and constipated bowels”, and should therefore be avoided at all costs. This thinking kept women out of mainstream medical schools right up to the last decade of the nineteenth century. But by 1893, change was in the air.

     That was the year the country went into a major depression, which made it impossible for Johns Hopkins University to find the funding it needed to finish its state-of-the-art new medical school. Sensing opportunity, four female donors stepped forward and offered to give the university $500,000 toward the school’s completion, if—and only if—it would accept women students. With no other alternative in sight, Johns Hopkins agreed. Other schools felt compelled to follow suit, and within five years women were filling more than 35% of the seats at some of the country’s most prestigious schools. They were also winning a large share of the academic honors. By 1900, over 7000 women had earned their medical degrees, and almost all of them went on to work in the field.

     Unfortunately, this influx caused more competition for patients and fees, and pretty soon the American Medical Association was grumbling that the profession was overcrowded to the point of starvation. Instead of solving the problem by making entry requirements more rigorous for everyone, and letting the cream rise to the top, the schools simply, and quietly, cut or reduced their admissions of women once more. By 1903, just ten years after Johns Hopkins opened its doors to women, overall female enrollment had dropped to 3%. It would stay in the single digits for the next seventy years, except for a slight uptick around World War II, until Title IX and other anti-gender bias legislation opened the doors again in the 1970s.

     Those pioneering women doctors from the turn of the twentieth century became the inspiration for my mystery’s protagonist, Dr. Genevieve Summerford, who has graduated third in her class from Johns Hopkins Medical School and has chosen to work in the brand new field of medical psychology. It was clear to me that a woman doctor at that time would have to be intelligent, resilient, open to new ideas, and more than a little stubborn—all excellent qualities for an amateur sleuth. 

     Occasionally, a reader will ask me, “was it really possible for a woman to pursue a career as a doctor back then?’ When that happens, I love to tell them that yes, over a hundred years ago a determined cadre of women doctors really did manage to claim their day in the sun.

A Deadly Affection:

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Pages: 445
Synopsis: In 1907 New York, a psychiatrist must prove her patient's innocence...or risk being implicated in a shocking murder

     As one of the first women practicing in an advanced new field of psychology, Dr. Genevieve Summerford is used to forging her own path. But when one of her patients is arrested for murder-a murder Genevieve fears she may have unwittingly provoked-she is forced to seek help from an old acquaintance.

     Desperate to clear her patient's name and relieve her own guilty conscience, Genevieve finds herself breaking all the rules she's tried so hard to live by. In her search for answers, Genevieve uncovers an astonishing secret that, should she reveal it, could spell disaster for those she cares about most. But if she lets her discovery remain hidden, she will almost certainly condemn her patient to the electric chair.

About the Author:

      After graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law, Cuyler Overholt practiced as a litigation associate for four years before leaving the law to start up a freelance writing business. Over the next decade she transformed technical jargon into entertaining prose for a New York-based public relations firm. She finally found her true calling when she started scribbling a novel during her young sons’ naptimes. A Deadly Affection, her award-winning debut, was reissued by Sourcebooks in September 2016 as the first installment in the Dr. Genevieve Summerford historical mystery series.

      Cuyler shares a keen interest in human motivation and behavior with her husband, a psychologist, who is still working on perfecting her. When she isn’t reading or writing she can usually be found on a bike, in the cobra pose, designing her next dream house or enjoying a good movie. For more information, visit her website.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Dido's Crown by Julie K. Rose: A Book Review

Dido's Crown
Author: Julie K. Rose
Publication Date: September 26, 2016
Pages: 340
Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Set in Tunisia and France in 1935, Dido's Crown is a taut literary-historical adventure influenced by Indiana Jones, The Thin Man, and John le Carré.

     Mary Wilson MacPherson has always been adept at putting the past behind her: her father's death, her sister's disappearance, and her complicated relationship with childhood friends Tom and Will. But that all changes when, traveling to North Africa on business for her husband, Mary meets a handsome French-Tunisian trader who holds a mysterious package her husband has purchased — a package which has drawn the interest not only of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, but the Nazis as well. 

     When Tom and Will arrive in Tunisia, Mary suddenly finds herself on a race across the mesmerizing and ever-changing landscapes of the country, to the shores of southern France, and all across the wide blue Mediterranean. Despite her best efforts at distancing herself from her husband's world, Mary has become embroiled in a mystery that could threaten not only Tunisian and British security in the dangerous political landscape of 1935, but Mary's beliefs about her past and the security of her own future.

     My Review: Mary MacPherson arrives at a party in Tunisia to retrieve a package for her husband. At the party, she is reunited with her two best friends, Will and Tom, who also want to know the package’s contents. Soon Mary, Tom, and Will find themselves amidst a dangerous conspiracy that could threaten both Britain and Tunisia. Mary and her three friends are determined to unravel the mystery of the package.
     I really did not like Mary as the protagonist. I felt the author tried too hard to make her a strong character. Instead, I found her to be a very annoying character. She came across to me as a smart-alec. I did not find that to be very endearing. I honestly did not see why she was very likeable to the other characters. If she was not being smart, then she would whine and complain a lot. Despite her flaws, she is very intelligent and inquisitive. She is determined to get answers. I did like Will and Tom. I found them to be very engaging, likeable, and complex characters. I liked them better than Mary.

     Overall, this book is full of political intrigue, action, adventure, mystery, and a dash of romance. I liked all the characters except for Mary, for they seem to be very complex. I also thought that this book was a very fast-paced and quick read. There were some slow moments in the book. I also did not like how it switched back and forth between 1935 and 1916, for I thought the time jumps to be confusing and distracting to the main plot. Nevertheless, the mystery and the adventure element kept me on the edge of my seat until the very end because I could not wait to find out what happens. I recommend this story for fans of Alone in Berlin, The Unlikely Spy, and A Chance to Kill.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Blog Tour: The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet by Natasha Farrant: A Book Review

Author: Natasha Farrant
Pub. Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: The Chicken House
Pages: 336
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads
Source: This book was given to me by Rockstar Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: A fresh, funny, and spirited reimagining of Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice, The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet brings the voice of the wildest Bennet sister to life.

     Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet girls. She's stubborn, never listens, and can't seem to keep her mouth shut -- not that she would want to anyway. She wishes her older sisters would pay her attention, or that something would happen in her boring country life.

     Luckily, that something is right around the corner, and it's the handsome Wickham, who arrives at Longbourn to sweep her off her feet. Lydia's not going to let him know THAT, of course, especially since he only seems to be interested in friendship. But when they both decide to summer in the fasionable seaside town of Brighton, their paths inevitably become entangled again.

     At the seaside, Lydia also finds exciting new ways of life and a pair of friends who offer her a future she would have never dreamed possible. Lydia finally understands what she really wants. But can she get it?
     My Review: Lydia is one of the most annoying and hated characters in Pride and Prejudice. When she marries George Wickham, we are happy that she is sent to live a life of unhappiness. Yet, in The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet, we are given a look from Lydia’s perspective during her romance with George Wickham. Thus, we the reader not only get to hear her side of the story, but we get a glimpse of Lydia’s character.

      Lydia is still childish and silly. However, she is still a teenager. She makes mistakes. She is very naive and idealistic. She is bored with her life in the country and wants to go to the city and experience the world. She dreams of marrying a handsome rich man. Yet, she falls for Mr. Wickham because he seems to understand her. Thus, Lydia is often misunderstood. She is a woman who does not want to live strictly within a society. She wants society to conform to her ideals. Because of this, Lydia is represented as a victim. However, because Lydia is very romantic and stubborn, she is determined to get her way.

      Overall, this book is about choices, responsibility, and love. I found the characters to be believable. I also thought that this book fits well with not only, Pride and Prejudice, but also as a Jane Austen novel. I did find the writing to be a little too modern, but I thought that it suited Lydia’s voice. After reading this book, I found that I like Lydia a bit better than I originally did. The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet is a light and fast-paced read. This novel is also perfect while eating dessert or sipping coffee. I recommend this story not only to fans of Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen, but those who want to see Lydia Bennet in a different light.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

About Martina: 

     I am one of those rarities, a Londoner born and bred.  And like most true Londoners, I’m not completely English, but three-quarters French with a little bit Dutch thrown in.  I can’t imagine living anywhere else, though I would like a horse, a big old house with a secret passage or two, a fig tree, a walnut tree, lots of dogs and a vista of rolling hills on one side and the sea on the other.  All of which are sadly incompatible with both life in the city and my income.

     I write partly because in my stories I can live the lives I’m not…

     I have two teenage daughters, Justine and Lily, who provide endless inspiration for my books.  I am pleased to say inspiration works both ways. One of them has dyed her hair pink, and the other has taken to hanging out on the roof in the middle of the night.

     The “person” I talk to most is my tortoiseshell cat, Amber.  This is because as a writer you spend a lot of time alone, which makes you go slightly mad.  Amber repays me for my conversation by trashing my house.  Soon we are going to buy a dachshund puppy called Blue, and presumably he will be equally destructive.

     I get very grumpy if I don’t have a good book to read, if I’m not writing, if I’m hungry, tired or don’t get enough exercise.  Otherwise I am a generally cheerful person.

     Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about my life as a writer.

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive finished copies of THE SECRET DIARY OF LYDIA BENNET, US Only.

Blog Tour: Avelynn: The Edge of Faith by Marissa Campbell: A Book Review

02_The Edge of Faith

Avelynn: The Edge of Faith by Marissa Campbell

Publication Date: September 26, 2016 eBook; 302 Pages ASIN: B01KUC6N9Y Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval Series: Avelynn (Book Two)

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Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Avelynn: The Edge of Faith, a stand-alone Viking Romance from author Marissa Campbell.

     It’s the year 871. Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as she flees England with Alrik. Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among Alrik’s friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.

     Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, but she is pitted against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn’s faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik’s past. Marared’s threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.

     When Avelynn and Alrik are betrayed, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wales’s bloodthirsty grasp.

     AVELYNN: THE EDGE OF FAITH is a stand-alone novel and #2 in the Avelynn series.

     My Review: Avelynn: The Edge of Faith picks up where Avelynn left off. Avelynn has run away with Alrik with a price on her head. The two of them are exiles with nowhere to go. They arrive in Wales, where Alrik is determined to regain his honor by aiding a Welsh king against Rhodri the Great. Things seem to go well until someone plots to tear them apart. Can Avelynn and Alrik defeat their enemy and find ways to be together again?

      While Avelynn is still a feisty heroine, there were moments where I found her to be weak. She was not as strong as she was in the first novel. I did not really see her to be a fighter as she was in the first novel. She is determined to not be ruled by men, yet thereare  moments where she seemed to be submissive. She is still spunky and has some moments where she shows her inner strength. I really found it hard to believe that she really loved Alrik. She claims she loves him, but whenever his back is turned, she cheats on him. She is also very judgmental, and her judgement makes her blind. Because of her blindness, it leads to consequences. She does learn from her consequences and tries to make things right, however.

      Overall, this book is about love, friendship, and choices. I have to admit that I was disappointed with Avelynn in this sequel. I also thought that this book’s title did not fit with the book. There are hardly any elements of faith in this novel. Avelynn hardly dabbles into her faith nor does she even bother to think about it or question it. Indeed, she seems to be a weaker character. A more fitting title that better suited the plot and the character is Avelynn in Exile. However, I did like that Alrik is more developed in this sequel. Alrik seems to be very honorable. I did think that there were times that the plot seemed slow at times and often childish. Still, Avelynn: The Edge of Faith has enough romance, mystery, and action to keep the reader interested. However, this novel mostly felt like a filler that is saved mostly for the next book. While Avelynn: The Edge of Faith did not nearly captivate me as much as Avelynn, it is still a worthy sequel, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series to see what is in store for Avelynn and Alrik.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Kobo

About the Author

     Marissa Campbell is a published freelance author, and co-author of the award-winning, spiritual self-help book Life: Living in Fulfillment Every Day. Her debut historical fiction AVELYNN, was published through St. Martin’s Press, September 2015. Look for the second book in the AVELYNN series, releasing Fall 2016. She is a proud member of the Historical Novel Society, Romance Writers of America, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, and local critique group B7. When she is not writing, she is busy looking after her wonderful children, spending time with her fantastic husband, hanging out with her awesome friends, teaching yoga, dancing, laughing, and having fun!

     For more information visit You can also follow Marissa Campbell on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram.


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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Blog Tour: Michelangelo's Ghost (A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery #4) by Gigi Pandian: A Book Review

Michelangelo's Ghost (A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery #4)
Author: Gigi Pandian
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Henery Press
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Source: This book was given to me by iRead Book tours in exchange for an honest review.
Book Description:

     A lost work of art linking India to the Italian Renaissance. A killer hiding behind a centuries-old ghost story. And a hidden treasure in Italy’s macabre sculpture garden known as the Park of Monsters… Can treasure-hunting historian Jaya Jones unmask a killer ghost? 

     Filled with the unexpected twists, vivid historical details, and cross-cultural connections Pandian is known for, Michelangelo’s Ghost is the most fast-paced and spellbinding Jaya Jones novel to date. 

     When Jaya’s old professor dies under eerie circumstances shortly after discovering manuscripts that point to a treasure in Italy’s Park of Monsters, Jaya and her brother pick up the trail. From San Francisco to the heart of Italy, Jaya is haunted by a ghost story inexorably linked to the masterpieces of a long-dead artist and the deeds of a modern-day murderer. Untrustworthy colleagues, disappearing boyfriends, and old enemies—who can Jaya trust when the ghost wails?

     My Review: Jaya Jones’s former professor has asked her for help. Her professor believes that Lazzaro Allegri, a missing protege of Michelangelo who went to India to work for royalty. When he came back to Italy, the Allegri had a studio and did many paintings. However, his paintings have been lost over the centuries in what is now the Park of Monsters. Her professor asks Jaya to find the missing treasure. Entranced by the idea of lost treasure, Jaya gets her brother and his new girlfriend to help. However, as soon as she gets to Italy, she realizes that she is not the only one who is looking for the lost art.

     Because this is the fourth book in the series, I found that there really was not much character development. I felt that the character had already been established. She is very smart. However, she is also very imaginative. She is also lovesick over her long-distance boyfriend. However, she is really focused on her job and is very determined to find the missing art. Thus, Jaya Jones was an engaging character and a lot of fun!

      Overall, this book is full of adventure, mystery, and romance. The characters are very fun and real. I felt like they would be cool friends to hang out with, and I liked getting to know them. While this book is set in present-day times, there are a lot of historical references. There is also connections to Michelangelo. I thought the novel was very fast-paced and it drew me right in. I also liked the mystery aspect, and I found it be very interesting that I could not wait to get to end for the reveal. Even though this is the fourth book in the series, this novel can be read as a stand-alone because I was not lost at all. After reading this, I’m eager to read Ms. Pandian’s other novels. I recommend this book for fans of Anne Fortier, Kitty Pilgrim, and Dan Brown.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Praise for Gigi Pandian's Jaya Jones Mysteries:

“Charming characters, a hint of romantic conflict, and just the right amount of danger will garner more fans for this cozy series.” – Publishers Weekly on Quicksand 

“Pandian’s sprightly prose celebrates the pleasures of Italian painting, food, and landscape. The light touch, swift pace, and verve maintained throughout the novel disguise the deeper thought and scholarship underpinning the story, which like the stage props of a conjurer, make the magic happen.”– Linda Lappin, Author of Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery 

Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes and Nobles

Author's Bio:

     USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian is the child of cultural anthropologists from New Mexico and the southern tip of India. She spent her childhood being dragged around the world, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, the Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s debut novel, Artifact, was awarded a Malice Domestic Grant and named a “Best of 2012” debut by Suspense Magazine. Her fiction has been awarded the Lefty Award and short-listed for Macavity and Agatha Awards. Sign up for her email newsletter at  Visit her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Blog Tour: Guest Post: Brenda Joyce Leahy: Detective Cameras and Early Photography

      Today's guest writer is Brenda Joyce Leahy. She is the debut author of The Art of Rebellion. It is a novel of a young girl who runs away to Paris to pursue her dreams. In this guest post, she writes about one her character's love of photography. I hope this guest post will give you some insights into her novel. Thank you, Mrs. Leahy.

Brenda Joyce Leahy

     One of the main characters from my young adult historical novel, The Art of Rebellion, is Philippe Lucien. He becomes obsessed with miniature “detective” cameras, which were all the rage at the turn of the twentieth century in Paris. 

     Researching 19th century photography was fun  – imagine cameras concealed in top hats, tie pins, revolvers and the heads of walking canes! Although detective cameras became a useful tool for a private detective such as Philippe, interest in the cameras and in the art of photography overtook his interest in investigating.

     One of Philippe’s favourite detective cameras was the top hat camera, which he uses on several occasions to photograph Gabrielle (main character) surreptitiously. Another hidden camera he uses is the photo-cravate, hidden behind his cravat (tie), with the aperture appearing as a tie pin. Philippe challenges Gabrielle to find his hidden camera while riding the Ferris wheel at the World Expo in Paris. This clever camera was invented by Edmond Bloch, a Parisian. Philippe claimed his favourite detective camera was one hidden in the base of an innocent-looking whiskey glass.

     As I learned more about detective cameras, I discovered that, as luck would have it, many of the innovators in photography were Frenchmen, such as Gaspard Tournachon, aka Nadar. He was a cartoonist, but reinvented himself to become one of Paris’ finest portrait photographers. He photographed mostly men in the elite and upper classes of French society. One woman he photographed was George Sand, journalist, novelist and Chopin’s mistress. 

     Nadar became famous throughout Europe after he took the first photograph from a balloon (in 1858). He also photographed the catacombs of Paris, pioneering the use of magnesium flares for light.

     A well known French explorer, Maxime du Camp was initially contemptuous of photography. However, in 1849 he toured the Middle East with Gustave Flaubert (famed French novelist). He was clearly busy photographing on that trip, because after he returned from the trip, a book containing a hundred and twenty-five of his photographs was published in Paris: Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie (1852).

     I’d like to think that Philippe would meet the Notmans when he explores Montreal in search of the best place to practice photography. Born in Britain in 1826, William Notman went to Canada and from the mid 1850s took photographs of the country. Notman also photographed famous personalities of the period, including Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull. His work forms a valuable record of Canada’s life, people and customs during the second half of the nineteenth century.

     The studio Notman founded, Wm. Notman & Son operated until 1993. By the turn of the century, Charles Notman was gaining praise for his portrait photographs, making Notman’s the leading stuido in Montreal by the end of the 19th century.

If you’re interested in pursuing resources on detective cameras, these will get you started:

*An Age of Cameras, by E. Holmes (1974)
*150 Classic Cameras, from 1839 to the present, by P. van Hasbroeck (1989)
*The Illustrated History of the Camera from 1839 to the Present, by M. Auer (1975)

About the Author:


     Brenda Joyce Leahy loves historical fiction and thinks she was born a century too late but can't imagine her life without computers or cell phones. So, perhaps, she arrived in the world at just the right moment to tell this story. She grew up on a farm near Taber, Alberta but now lives with her family near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta. After over 20 years practising law, she has returned to her first love of writing fiction. She is a member of several writing organizations, including the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) The Art of Rebellion is also profiled on the Humber School of Writers' website. Brenda is also a member of the Historical Novel Society and leads a YA/MG writers' critique group in Calgary.

Also check out my review of Brenda Joyce Leahy's novel:

Blog Tour: The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy: A Book Review

the-art-of-rebellionBrenda Joyce Leahy

on Tour October 17-21 with

The Art of Rebellion

(YA historical) Release date: June 15, 2016 at Rebelight Publishing ISBN: 978-0994839985 252 pages Website Goodreads  
Source: This book was given to me by France Book Tours in exchange for an honest review


Released June 15, 2016, by Rebelight Publishing, this beautifully written, lush piece drops you into tumultuous and breathtaking late 19th century Paris. Sixteen year old Gabrielle dreams of becoming an artist but her ambitious parents agree to an arranged marriage to an aging Baron. In protest, she runs away from her provincial home of Laval to Paris, the City of Light, intending to live with her grandmother and pursue her passion for art. Her bold plan disintegrates as she arrives in Paris to discover her grandmother has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Alone in the capital, Gabrielle wonders who to trust: her new artist friends or the handsome but irritating stranger she met on the train, who just might be stalking her. Gabrielle's pride, ambition and impulsive nature thrust her into Paris' underbelly of betrayal and abuse. Will she find the courage to begin a new life on her own terms?

     The Art of Rebellion was on the Calgary Bestselling Fiction list in August 2016

     My Review: Gabrielle is determined to make her dreams come true. She wants to be a successful artist. However, her parents have a different path for her in mind. They want her to marry a baron, who is thrice years older than her. Desperate to flee her wretched fate of unhappiness, Gabrielle makes a rash decision to flee to Paris to live with her grandmother and study art. However, when she arrives in Paris, she finds that her grandmother is no longer in her former residence. With this setback, Gabrielle is determined not to give up. Gabrielle must find other ways to become a successful artist in Paris.
     Gabrielle is a very complex character. She is very trusting, naive, and idealistic. She is very prideful, prone to lying, stubborn, rebellious, and selfish. However, she is very determined to fulfill her goals and dreams. She also must go through life lessons and learn from her mistakes. Thus, Gabrielle’s character does mature. She grows into a confidant and smarter young woman. Instead of running away from her problems as she did earlier in the novel, she learns to confront them. Thus, Gabrielle is an endearing character that readers can relate to because from the mistakes she has made she becomes a stronger character.

      Overall, this story is a coming-of-age tale and a journey of self-discovery. The message of this book is to pursue your dreams, but never lose sight of what's important in your life. Except for Gabrielle, I did not really see any depth in character development. I loved the setting of Belle Epoque Paris in this novel. I loved the historical details in this book like the suffrage movement and the Paris Exposition. Thus, I not only recommend this novel to those interested in art, historical fiction, and Paris, but also to fans of Belle Epoque, Marie, Dancing, and A Mad Wicked Folly.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



     Brenda Joyce Leahy loves historical fiction and thinks she was born a century too late but can't imagine her life without computers or cell phones. So, perhaps, she arrived in the world at just the right moment to tell this story. She grew up on a farm near Taber, Alberta but now lives with her family near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta. After over 20 years practising law, she has returned to her first love of writing fiction. She is a member of several writing organizations, including the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) The Art of Rebellion is also profiled on the Humber School of Writers' websiteBrenda is also a member of the Historical Novel Society and leads a YA/MG writers'critique group in Calgary. Visit Brenda's website Follow her on Facebook | on TwitterFollow Rebelight Publishing on Twitter.

Buy the book: Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble


You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

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Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open to Canada residents: 2 winners will receive a copy of this book