Friday 10 May 2019

Have you heard? Kathleen Shoop is giving away a copy of her fabulous book — The Strongman and the Mermaid — as well as a $50 Amazon Gift Card! #Giveaway @kathieshoop @hfvbt

Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour Presents...

The Strongman
 and the Mermaid
By Kathleen Shoop

Myscowa, Poland—1910

Once upon a time in tiny, rural Myscowa, Lukasz Musial competes in feats of strength against his lifelong nemesis to win passage to America. He leaves behind grinding poverty and despair, to seek the clear blue skies, and better life he sees on a postcard. Settled in Donora’s Polish community, Lukasz secures a coveted job in the wire mill, and is matched to marry Donora’s very own Polish princess. Life is set on course. The American Dream is nearly his.

Donora, Pennsylvania—1910

Mary Lancos is no princess. A tall, athletic girl who loves the water, she spends her days keeping house for families in town, digging coal out of a backyard seam and rowing her father across the Monongahela River for work. Mary is dependable, tenacious, and always ready to help when someone needs her. She dreams of a gas-heated home, a bedroom for each of her future children, and good meals on the table each night. To help make that happen Mary attends local dances, waiting for the few men who are taller than her to ask her to dance, hoping one of them is right for her.

An unexpected Christmas Eve visitor brings bad luck, and Lukasz’s world crumbles. Meanwhile, tension grows at the Lancos home when money is short and Mary’s dreams clash with her parents’ old world expectations. Just when Mary and Lukasz are at their lowest, they find themselves under an odd pink moonlit sky and Lukasz rescues Mary from a fall into frigid river water. The attraction between them is sudden and consuming, turning the pair onto an unexpected path. With mounting disapproval from Mary’s parents, and increased pressure on Lukasz, they must decide if love is enough to risk losing everything else that matters.

“Kathleen Shoop has bejeweled this book with her magnificent imagination and impeccable writing. The Strongman and the Mermaid by Kathleen Shoop is a romance that goes beyond looks and settles deep into the souls of readers. Every so often, a love story comes that your heart can’t let go. One of those love stories, for me, has been Mr. Darcy and Lizzy in Pride and Prejudice. Now Mary and Lukasz in The Strongman and the Mermaid will stay with me for a long time to come.”

Ankita Shukla for Readers’ Favorite

“The Strongman and the Mermaid by Kathleen Shoop is a gorgeous story, a gripping romance with a strong setting. The plot structure is unusual and it has beautiful twists. I love stories with great characters and a well-developed conflict and I always want to see characters evolve through the conflict. It is something that this author does impeccably well. The narrative is emotionally rich…The writing is cinematic, punctuated by exciting dialogue. The Strongman and the Mermaid will keep you awake through the night.”

Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite


Poland 1910

Movement caught Lukasz’s eye and he squinted toward the space between the house and burned barn. There they were. He wiggled his toes and clenched his jaw. The figures marched toward him like an army regiment. The sun outlined Lukasz’s rivals, obscuring faces. Lukasz widened his stance and crossed his arms, warming his hands in his armpits.

Though he couldn’t see their faces, he knew every last one of the men lumbering toward him. Each of Lukasz’s friends had matured into mighty oaks. Their strength measured far beyond their intake of food, as though nutrition wasn’t needed to grow scraggly Polish boys into hulking men.

They knew each other like brothers, and because of that, Lukasz had already inventoried each man’s talents and shortcomings as they pertained to this particular task. Only one person had a chance to beat him: Lukasz’s lifelong nemesis, Waldemar Kowslawski. The prince, as Lukasz thought of him.

The group neared and Waldemar cast his shadow over Lukasz, standing in front of him, punching his fist against his palm.

Damn Waldemar. Always eclipsing, always menacing. Lukasz pushed his chest out and clenched his jaw, keeping every shred of nervousness below the surface, planning to use the energy when the time came. Lukasz shook out his hands, holding Waldemar’s gaze.

Waldemar smirked. The tension between the two men coursed through Lukasz like waves on the Wisloka River. He rubbed his sore shoulder, then straightened to his full height, masking his discomfort from sleeping on a hard floor. This was it. Only one ticket to America left to win. With it came transport to Hamburg and lodging until it was time to embark on the ship, meals on the USS President Grant, then lodging with a sponsor family in America.

Freedom. Opportunity. Hope.

Lukasz’s stomach growled as he thought of the pamphlet and postcard they’d read at the tavern the other night proclaiming the riches to be found in America, Donora specifically. The postcard, sent by the Kowalk family, showed a lavish brick home with a large porch, white picket fence, and a tree-lined lane that swept through gentle green hills and led to other homes nearby.

It was the kind of house that a wealthy nobleman would own, but Lukasz and his friends had been told that any man willing to work hard could earn enough to purchase such a thing. A castle for the common man. Lukasz thought again of the barn floor he’d slept on the night before. His own castle was unimaginable, yet something told him it was attainable. He could feel the contest’s promise deep in his bones.

The men pointed, murmuring to one another about the contest, practicing their technique for getting hay bales into the barn through the loft doors. The man to move the most in the allotted time would win. Lukasz kept to himself and shook out his legs, trying to work the icy chill out of his limbs. Once he got to America, it would be easy. All that his dream life required was hard work in a mill or a mine. Backbreaking work was all a Pole knew. But in America, determination bore a job, a home, a wife, and a full belly.

A brisk wind rose up, stinging Lukasz’s cheeks. He shielded his eyes from the sun with his hand and stared again at the barn. The group of competitors splintered as the task drew near. Another burst of wind whistled over the land, obscuring what little murmuring was left between the men.

The loft doors heaved, burst open, and slammed into the sides of the barn, sending out a boom. Otto Bosko, farmer and owner of the final ticket to America, stood in the opening, his work pants and shirt dirty from earlier chores.

Otto had no desire to move from his home to America, and he opted instead to use his luck at having acquired the ticket to entice the village men to compete for it. By doing so, they would finish the work he had due without him paying a single one of them. Half of his remaining hay had survived the fire, and he needed it moved to the new barn before it grew wet with the next thaw and storm.

A wagon drove up to the barn, laden with hay bales. Lukasz’s stomach flipped. He jumped and shook out his arms again, pacing, puffing out his air. It was nearly time.

Otto lifted his arms to the heavens. “This way, men!”

Feet crunching over snow and the occasional call of a crow too stubborn to have left for the winter were all that broke the hush of the day that would begin a new year and someone’s new life. Lukasz inhaled deeply, the frozen air sparking his lungs with every breath. The scent of stale whiskey emanating from several competitors made Lukasz even more certain Waldemar was his only competition.

“Had a dream last night,” Adam Dunajki said. “I won.” He smacked his hands together. “I’m gonna win.”

“Only in your dreams,” Lukasz said.

“Samanta prayed six rosaries for me.” Igor Raszminski crossed himself. “Gave me a magic kiss this morning too.”

Lukasz snickered. “Strength is needed. Not magic kisses.”

God-given strength,” Igor said.

“Pfft,” Lukasz said.

“Believe a little more, Lukasz,” Igor said. “Say a rosary, dream a good dream, summon Janosik or the firebird’s brother or something. Maybe then your life will change.”

Lukasz had heard these myths and had gone to church his whole life. None of it brought anything dependable. “Each of you”—he pointed at them—“believes in something different. Yet our lives are all the same. I believe in myself.”

Adam shook his finger. “All the same? You’ve no woman anymore.”

Lukasz pushed his friend’s hand away, thinking of the mermaid he’d been dreaming of for months. If only a real woman came to him as often. “You either.”


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away a copy of The Strongman and the Mermaid and a $50 Amazon Gift Card! You can enter HERE!

Giveaway Rules

• Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
• Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
• Only one entry per household.
• All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
• The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Pick up your copy of
The Strongman and the Mermaid

Kathleen Shoop

Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. She lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for hosting The Strongman and the Mermaid blog tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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