Tag Archives: England

Mistress of Lies by Holly West Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway!

HollyWestBanner1Welcome to the Mistress of Lies Blog Tour! I’m happy to be a part of this tour, as fortunetelling and historical fiction are two of my favorite things. While I don’t agree with all of the author’s ideas about fortunetelling (I’m a professional tarot reader, after all), I think she did a phenomenal job researching 17th Century fortunetelling and bringing the time period to life.

decorative-linesMOL_cover_finaldecorative-lines

cead0-addtogoodreads

MISTRESS OF LIES
Mistress of Fortune #2
Author: Holly West
Release Date: Sept, 29 2014
Publisher: Carina

London, 1679

Isabel, Lady Wilde, mistress of King Charles II, has made a good living disguised as fortune teller Mistress Ruby, counseling London’s elite. But after the murder of one of her customers, business has taken a downturn, and Isabel is on the verge of accepting the king’s offer to move into the palace.

Isabel’s plans are interrupted when a beggar girl named Susanna shows up at her home, claiming to be her niece. Isabel always believed that her older brother, Adam, died alone during the plague. When Susanna reveals that Adam was actually murdered, Isabel is compelled to take up an impossible task: discover the truth about her brother’s death, twelve years after it happened.

Isabel’s investigation leads her through the gamut of London society, from bear-baiting matches and brothels to the realm of wealthy bankers. But as she uncovers her brother’s dark secrets, Isabel begins to wonder whether the past is better left buried, especially when uncovering the truth could lead to her own funeral.

cc84d-am

df05a-bn

black-divider-no-background-hiGuest Post

Fortunetelling in the 17th Century

I’ve always been pretty up front about the fact that I don’t personally believe that anyone has the ability to predict the future. But I chose this profession for my heroine, Isabel Wilde, for a couple of reasons. First, I’ve always been fascinated by the cultural traditions of soothsayers and healers, particularly “wise women.” Medical science was in its infancy in the 17th century, and only the rich could afford physicians. Wise women took up the slack, especially in rural areas.

Second, I needed Isabel to be able to earn a living for herself outside of the occupations typically available to women in the 17th century. The roles of wife, mother, servant, or prostitute were not for her. I liked the idea of creating a strong female character that understood the constraints of her gender, working them to her advantage rather than letting them define her. She isn’t shy about the fact that she’s a charlatan—unless you happen to be one of her customers, of course—but at heart she wants to help people. Though Isabel isn’t exactly a wise woman, she does recommend various herbs and connections to her customers and offers sincere, practical advice when she can.

Her main role is that of a fortuneteller, however, and as such, part of my research included a visit to a fortuneteller. I’ll admit to being nervous, not because I feared she’d reveal something unexpected, but because I didn’t want her to know I was only there for research purposes. I made an effort to be myself as much as possible while paying attention to her words and methods. In the end, she wasn’t much help because her questions and answers were so vague—since I was writing a book I need to present more compelling encounters, so much of what appears in my novels is entirely made up.

The main method Isabel uses in her occupation is palm reading. Tarot cards existed at the time, but their original purpose was for playing games and while there’s evidence they were used for divination in the mid 16th century,  the cards themselves held no meaning. I used the Internet to research chiromancy and used its principles as a loose guide in determining what her counsel would be to her various customers.

London was full of astrologers in the 17th century. In a time when much of the population was illiterate, the signs above their shops featured crescent moons, stars, and suns to identify their businesses. In the series’ first book, Mistress of Fortune, Isabel pays a visit to her friend and mentor, Mary Bixby. Mary is an astrologer, and to write the scene I prepared an astrological chart for Isabel. I enjoyed getting into Mary’s head as she gives Isabel counsel and tried to be as authentic as possible in interpreting the chart.

While I can’t say my opinions about fortunetellers have changed as a result of my research, I do enjoy imagining Isabel’s adventures as a soothsayer. I guess you could say my love of writing the Mistress of Fortune series is “written in the stars.”
black-divider-no-background-hiAbout the Author

holly_headshot_0214Holly West is a crime fiction writer based in Los Angeles. Her short stories appear in several anthologies and her debut historical mystery, MISTRESS OF FORTUNE, will be published by Carina Press in 2014.

Website: hollywest.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writerhollywest
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hollywest
Instagram: http://instagram.com/hollywest

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4932670.Holly_West

 

black-divider-no-background-hi

Giveaway

HWest Giveaway

Must be 13+ To Enter | Ships in US ONLY

1 Winner will get a Kindle Fire HD 7 (8GB) Tablet in their choice of color.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Grabby Paws: Witchrise by Victoria Lamb & Winterspell by Claire Legrand

Grabby Paws

“Grabby Paws” is my version of the Waiting on Wednesday meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that I can’t wait to get my paws on. 🙂

Today I have grabby paws for…

add-to-goodreads-button3

Only one witch can rise above the coming storm …

When Tudor witch Meg Lytton receives an unexpected legacy – her mother’s magical wand, ring and spellbook – she has no idea her future happiness is in danger. For the witchfinder Marcus Dent is back in her dreams, and he will use any weapon to gain her newfound powers for himself.

Now Meg must discover the secret of Invictus, her mother’s magical ring. Summoned back to Hatfield, she knows a battle is coming. But Meg is no longer alone in her struggle against Dent. Surrounded by her friends, she faces her greatest challenge head-on: losing Alejandro, her beloved. For it seems the Spanish novice has been keeping secrets from them all.

Powers clash and hearts break in the spellbinding third book of The Tudor Witch Trilogy.

Why I have grabby paws…

So…two of my favorite things? The Tudor Era & witches. Now that the third book is out I can binge-read them all!

Releases September 30th

I also have grabby paws for…

9fc83-addtogoodreads

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

Why I have Grabby Paws…

All that need be said is this:

NUTCRACKER RETELLING!

But I’ll also add FAERIES and VICTORIAN!

Releases September 30th


Grabby Paws: The Ring & The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

Grabby Paws

“Grabby Paws” is my version of the Waiting on Wednesday meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that I can’t wait to get my paws on. 🙂

Today I have grabby paws for…

add-to-goodreads-button3

Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve? 

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen. 

But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard. 

Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.

Why I have grabby paws…

Alternate history. Magic. Royal intrigue. Arthurian elements. Forbidden love. Strong friendship. Basically a book written just for me. I need this now.

Releases April 1st


Grabby Paws: Witchfall by Victoria Lamb

Grabby Paws

“Grabby Paws” is my version of the Waiting on Wednesday meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that I can’t wait to get my paws on. 🙂

Today I have grabby paws for…

Her darkest dreams are coming true…

In Tudor England, 1555, Meg Lytton has learned how powerful her magick gift can be. But danger surrounds her and her mistress, the outcast Princess Elizabeth. Nowhere is safe in the court of Elizabeth’s fanatical sister, Queen Mary. And as the Spanish Inquisition’s merciless priests slowly tighten their grip on the court, Meg’s very dreams are disturbed by the ever-vengeful witchfinder Marcus Dent.

Even as Meg tries to use her powers to find guidance, something evil arises, impervious to Meg’s spells and hungry to control England’s fate. As Meg desperately tries to keep her secret betrothed, the Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, out of harm’s way, caution wars with their forbidden desire. And with her most powerful enemy poised to strike, Meg’s only chance is a heartbreaking sacrifice.

Why I have grabby paws…

I haven’t read the first one yet, but I feel like this series was written just for me. Witches, Tudor England AND forbidden romance? Count me in.

Releases March 25th