Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Join The Coffee Pot Book Club in conversation with #HistoricalFiction author, Vicky Adin @vickyadinauthor

 


ELINOR
Book 2 in The Art of Secrets series
By Vicky Adin


Published: 8th May 2022
Publisher: AM Publishing NZ
Page Length: 376 Pages
Genre: A dual-timeline women‘s historical family saga

A distraught friend, a mysterious stalker, and generations of secrets. 

Emma’s job is to find the link, but tracing a family tree suddenly becomes a dangerous occupation.

Emma delights in uncovering her clients’ family secrets and writing their histories. When Jess begs her to untangle her skeletons and find the woman called Elinor, Emma soon learns someone doesn’t want the past brought to light. A series of threats puts her in danger, and Emma suspects there is more to her friend’s frazzled plea.

Elinor only wants one thing from life – a home and hearth where she can dispense love and laughter. Undeterred by the hardships of life between the two world wars, Elinor raises a large family and survives everything fate throws her way. Neither deprivation nor heartache prevents her from protecting those she loves. But is what she yearns for a step too far?

Intrigued by Elinor’s story, Emma is determined to find out who is causing trouble, and why, before it’s too late. 


Trigger warnings.
Deals with family life adversities and tragedies

Before we begin, please introduce yourself.

Hi everyone, I’m Vicky, a Welsh born Cornish raised Kiwi. I’m a genealogist, antique lover, wife, mother, grandmother and all round nosy parker. I love Mediterranean food and red wine. Fortunately I love to cook and, if you sign up to my newsletter, apart from some book news you will also get snippets of entertaining gossip about our two vintage cars, our caravan travels around New Zealand, as well as our orchids, the odd recipe, and loads of history and interesting ‘new’ (meaning old and forgotten) words. I love words, but my favourite past-time is delving into the past, looking at old photos, reading old newspapers and discovering those who shaped our world. 



What inspired you to write your latest book, Elinor?

Genealogical research. It’s such a mouthful, I wish there was a simpler word for it – but I find by digging into the social structure of the past I understand more of how New Zealand developed as a nation. Elinor is not one person, she is a compilation of many women; women who survived whatever life threw at them. In this instance, Elinor lived through the post war years of the 1920s and on through the Great Depression of the 1930s. These women bore many children, loved and lost, struggled to make ends meet and yet survived under difficult circumstances. They saw great changes with the advent or modern appliances and technology. The period between the wars presented opportunities and optimism as well as desperation. 






How did you come up with your setting, and your characters?

I write about the women of the time, who to me were (and are) the backbone of the family. I’ll leave the war stories to others. I choose periods of great historical change or base my stories around strong women who chose to change their circumstances seeking a better life. My stories reflect the everyday, ordinary immigrants to our beautiful country. Except there was nothing ordinary about how those women survived; women who would never appear in the annals of history but who oversaw the birth of a nation and helped shape many lives.  

I have six books in The New Zealand Immigrant Collection - family sagas about overcoming the odds - ranging in settings from the 1860s to the1890s and into the early 1900s. Some are entirely historical, some are dual-timeline and contemporary novels about searching for the past. Elinor is Book Two in a new series The Art of Secrets about finding your roots.


What is it about the period of history that you write about that you find so fascinating?

New Zealand is a young country by world standards. Guided by the stars, the oceans and the winds, the Māori arrived here around a thousand years ago, creating traditions and legends that make New Zealand unique. Their footprint was established long before the first ship-load of Pākehā (European) settlers arrived after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. From then on, immigrants continued to arrive in their thousands to an untamed land with little infrastructure to create a new way of life. These are the people who inspire me. 


What are you currently working on?

Book 3 in The Art of Secrets dual-timeline series. Her name is Lucy and she was one of over 30,000 women who signed the suffrage petition that eventually gave New Zealand women the right to vote in 1893 – the first in the world to have universal suffrage. The history of that time is fascinating and I can’t wait to tell her story. But first, Emma, our modern day protagonist, genealogist, researcher and biographer has to do a lot of digging. 



26 January 1919 

Elinor Somers closed her eyes and took a deep breath, hoping to reset her rising temper. Her children filled the space with noise as they squabbled, laughed and chased each other around the house. Every sound swirled, magnified and rang inside her head – the knife against the bowl as she chopped the butter, the pot lid she lifted to stir the soup. The dog barking outside was more than her nerves could stand. She rubbed her flour-coated wrist across her forehead to ease the tension. “Stop it!” she snapped. Stillness followed while the children waited. “Get outside. I can’t stand your clatter any longer.”

The heavy clumping of feet on wooden boards echoed in Elinor’s head as her eldest daughter Ella ushered the three younger ones out. All except thirteen-month-old Dot, who looked up at her mother from the rug. The child’s large, round eyes pooled with tears at her mother’s sharp tone and dribble ran down her chin, wetting her bodice. Elinor quickly swept Dot into her arms before the girl could let out the wail building in the tiny body. Her head couldn’t stand another din.

She had given her daughter a spoon dipped in honey to suck, moments before she heard the door opening. She turned, ready to scold the children again, only to see Joe. She glanced at the clock – mid-morning, with so much of the hot summer’s day yet to come. Joe never came in at this time. Her body thrummed with fear.

“What’s wrong?” She watched her husband of ten years as he pulled his boots off on the home-made wooden jack and came inside.

“Nothing. The youngsters came down to the shed and said you were upset.”

Elinor stood straighter and glared at Joe. Her most striking feature was her height, closely followed by her piercing green eyes, which she now used to full advantage. She might be exhausted, she might want to fly off the handle at the slightest incident and run to the seclusion of her bedroom, but no one, not even Joe, was going to accuse her of weakness. “There’s nothing wrong here, either. They were making such a racket I told them to get outside, that’s all. They shouldn’t have gone running to you. Now, scoot. Get about your work and leave me to get on.”

“You don’t have to pretend with me, Nellie.”

“Get away with you. I’ve got work to do, even if you haven’t.”

Joe took Dot from her arms. “Now I’m here, how about you make me a cup of tea and I’ll have this one awhile.” 

Elinor hurried to the coal range, moving the big kettle across to the heat while she threw tea leaves into the pot. She reached for the freshly baked bread, sliced off a couple of pieces, buttered them and handed them to Joe.

“How’s the packing going?” he asked, jiggling the now-smiling infant on his knee.

Elinor frowned. “As well as I can with four youngsters underfoot and a baby to feed. Our Ella is doing her best to keep the little ones quiet, I know. And I shouldn’t have lost my temper, but I’m nowhere near ready. How will we manage, what with all the furniture and the animals?”

“Your brothers will bring your father’s truck. They’ll help load the dray and take the animals.” 

“Are you sure we’re doing the right thing, Joe?” She handed him a mug of hot tea, took Dot from him and put her on the floor to play.

With his mouth full, Joe didn’t answer immediately. She could see the doubt in his eyes but wasn’t surprised when he said, “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?”

They would walk off this place as they had walked off the last one, and the one before that, owning nothing. They never seemed able to get ahead, never got a break, despite their best efforts. All she wanted from life was security. A home she could call her own, a place overflowing with love and laughter and certainty for her family. She suspected it would be many years before her dream came true, but she lived in hope. “I’m not letting anyone defeat us, Joe. I’m not.” She’d find a way. 

The goal of owning a farm of their own had been her father’s driving ambition, and now it drove her husband. Moving had been a part of her life from an early age. Shifting from house to house, from town to town, as one place failed, the season ended or they’d heard of a better job, a better way of living. The nomadic lifestyle took its toll, and what for, she asked herself … what for? 

She knew, of course. Land. The need to own a piece of dirt. A source of pride and a mark of success. But, like chasing rainbows, the pot was always a little out of reach. They’d moved so often, she began to plan for it as much as she planned for her next pregnancy. 

She straightened her shoulders again.

“Take it easy, Nellie. We won’t be beat, not in the long run, but right now we have no option. This land is no good.” 

She had tried to convince herself they could stay. That this time they’d find a way, but deep down, she’d known they wouldn’t be able to make the farm pay. Joe was so easy-going and accepting, it often frustrated her. Sometimes she wished he would fight against their misfortunes, but that wasn’t the nature of the man she loved. 

Joe’s old labouring job at the flax mill had been intermittent and low paid; farming seemed a good option and they’d leased a property. They’d tried milking cows, but the land wasn’t right, according to her father, her brothers, his brothers. Everyone said they were crazy to try, but at least they had tried. 

Another shiver of determination ran down her spine. She would not give up.




Vicky Adin is a genealogist in love with history and words. She has combined her skills to write heart-warming novels about early immigrants to New Zealand, weaving family and history together in a way that brings the past to life. Her passion is for multi-generational sagas linked by journals, letters and heirlooms. 

As a Welsh-born, Cornish raised immigrant to New Zealand herself, Vicky is fascinated by those women who undertook such hazardous journeys to find a better life; women who endured and thrived.

She invites you to journey alongside those women as they created a new life, or follow their descendants as they uncover the long lost secrets of bygone days while searching for their roots.

Become engrossed in The New Zealand Immigrant Collection, suspenseful family saga fiction uncovering the mysteries, the lies and the challenges of the past. And delve into the secrets of the past in The Art of Secrets series.

Vicky Adin holds a MA(Hons) in English and Education. She is an avid reader of historical novels, family sagas and contemporary women’s stories, and loves to travel. She especially enjoys caravanning around New Zealand with her husband and biggest fan; and spending time with her family.

Social Media Links:

Website • Twitter • Facebook • LinkedIn • Instagram • Pinterest • BookBub • Amazon Author Page • Goodreads






Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Blog Tour: The Mallory Saga Books 1-5 by Paul Bennett #HistoricalFiction #AmericanHistoricalFiction #BlogTour @hooverbkreview




Join The Coffee Pot Book Club on tour with…
The Mallory Saga Books 1-5
By Paul Bennett



Publication Date: 25th November 2016
Publisher: Hoover Books
Page Length: 224 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Follow the Mallory family as they attempt to live a peaceful life on the PA frontier in 1756. They face tragedy and loss as they become embroiled in The French and Indian War - Clash of Empires. In Paths to Freedom, the colonies are heading to open revolt against King George III, and the Mallory's are once again facing the spectre of war. Crucible of Rebellion continues the Mallory story through the early years of The Revolutionary War. Book 4, A Nation is Born completes the Revolution and The Mallory's have played their part in the victory. In book 5, A Turbulent Beginning, the nascent nation finds it hard going to establish a peaceful existence. The Natives of this land resist the westward expansion of white settlers.


Amazon

This series is available to read for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription.


Paul Bennett 



Paul was born in Detroit when the Big Three ruled the automobile industry, and The Korean Conflict was in full swing. A lifelong interest in history and a love of reading eventually led him to Wayne State University where he majored in Ancient History, with a minor in Physical Anthropology. However, to make ends meet, those studies were left to the realm of dreams, and Paul found himself accidentally embarking on a 50 year career in computers. A career that he has recently retired from in order to spend more time with those dreams….7 grandchildren will help fill the time as well. 

He now resides in the quaint New England town of Salem, Massachusetts with his wife Daryl, just a few minutes’ walk from the North River, and the site where the Revolution almost began. 

The Mallory Saga is the culmination of Paul’s love of history, and his creative drive to write stories. With Nightwish and Bruce Cockburn coming through his headphones, and many cups of excellent coffee, Paul hopes to carry the Saga into the late 19th century, bringing American History to life through the eyes and actions of the Mallory family.

Social Media Links:

Website •  Twitter • Facebook • LinkedIn • Instagram • BookBub • Amazon Author Page • Goodreads 



Tour Schedule


July 25th
The Writing Desk
The Historical Fiction Company
Paul Walker’s Official Blog
The Whispering Bookworm

July 26th
Judith Arnopp’s Official Blog
Let Your Words Shine…
Let Us Talk Of Many Things
Elizabeth St.John’s Official Blog

July 27th
The Historical Fiction Blog
Viviana MacKade’s Official Blog
Linnea Tanner’s Official Blog
Shadows of the Past

July 28th
Brook’s Journal 
Pam Lecky’s Official Blog
I got lost in a book
The Book Bandit’s Library 

July 29th
A Darn Good Read
CelticLady’s Reviews
MJ Porter’s Official Blog
Stuart Rudge’s Official Blog











Join The Coffee Pot Book Club in conversation with #CrimeFiction author, Lea O'Harra. There is also a chance to check out Lea's fabulous novel - Imperfect Strangers @leaoharra @SharpeBooks

 



Imperfect Strangers
An Inspector Inoue Thriller 
(Inspector Inoue Thrillers Book 1)
By Lea O'Harra 



Publication Date: 31st March 2022
Publisher: Sharpe Books
Page Length: 299 Pages
Genre: Crime Fiction


Japan 2012

It’s a bright hot morning and Professor Nomura, the president of Fujikawa University, has high hopes for the day.

He has put in motion a plan for sweeping changes in the university and expects finally to wrest control from colleagues.

But the academic, hated and feared in equal measure, has his throat slit in his office.

For Chief Inspector Inoue, head of the local police force, the challenge is to find the murderer of a man with far more enemies than friends.

Inoue is shocked by the murder in his alma mater.
As the investigation proceeds, he uncovers a web of lies and deceit. He finds Nomura was suspected of lechery and corruption.

When another murder occurs, Inoue is in a race against time to fine the killer before he murders again. The suspects are multiplying, including Nomura’s own brother.

Under pressure from his superiors and university authorities, Inoue must uncover how all the events are connected and bring the perpetrators to justice – or face professional ruin.


Congratulations on your recently published novel, Imperfect Strangers: An Inspector Inoue Thriller (Inspector Inoue Thrillers Book 1). Could you tell us a little about your new book and what inspired you to write it?

I arrived in Japan in the spring of 1984 to take up a full-time teaching post at a newly established university on the island of Shikoku. I lived in a rural area with few Westerners; I was the first non-Japanese most of my students had ever met. I had to get used to facing intense scrutiny and curiosity in my daily life, especially after marrying a Japanese farmer. I began writing creative non-fiction pieces describing my life as an American academic who was also a wife and mother of three biracial sons. It was a form of catharsis. But eventually I tired of autobiographical writing and thought I’d try my hand at something quite different: crime fiction. The protagonist of my so-called “Inspector Inoue” mystery series, comprising three novels, with one more in the planning stages, is Kenji Inoue, a chief inspector in the small police station in the town of Fujikawa. In his forties, he is muscular, bullet-headed, and taciturn. It was thrilling to adopt a perspective quite different from my own – a relief even. Of course, it was a great challenge. But after such a long residence in Japan, I felt I could inhabit the Japanese psyche and produce realistic Japanese characters. I think my Inoue books represent not only murder mysteries but also an analysis of Japanese custom and thought while examining some of the challenges the country currently faces.


How did you go about writing Imperfect Strangers? Did you write from an outline, or did you let the story develop as you wrote?

I had got the idea for Imperfect Strangers from my long years of teaching at a Japanese university. I wanted to convey the atmosphere and interpersonal dynamics observable at such institutions. It has been said that university politics are so bitterly contested precisely because there’s so little at stake. I wanted to give my readers a sense of the febrile atmosphere of a university campus, where backbiting, envy and jostling for position can be rife. The story unfolded as I wrote it. The characters seemed to develop lives of their own and to guide me through the composition process. I was sometimes surprised by the twists and turns of the plot. 


Does one of the main characters hold a special place in your heart? If so, why?

I especially like my protagonist, Inspector Inoue. Kenji Inoue has obediently and diligently followed the career trajectory mapped out for him. He is not only a capable and efficient police officer but also a devoted son. In other words, he’s a typical Japanese individual in the twenty-first century: conformist and conscientious, self-disciplined and scrupulously honest. But he has one quirk. Ten years before the action of the first novel in the series, he fell in love with an American woman and loves her passionately. This might be the chink in his armour. Equally, it is the trait that makes him human and vulnerable and loveable.  


If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I would tell my younger writing self to be brave, to dare to be adventurous. Before embarking on my crime fiction novels, in addition to creative non-fiction pieces, I had published widely on English and Japanese literature: critical monographs, articles, essays, and book reviews. Perhaps everyone who studies and writes about literature is an author manqué. I waited many years before trying my hand at writing a novel. I wish I’d started earlier.


What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

I have three pieces of advice. Don’t be afraid to fail. Write for the love of writing rather than for fame or fortune. As Shakespeare said, ‘To thine own self be true.’




As he stood waiting for his boss to deign to notice him, Andrew was surprised to feel a twinge of pity for the figure in the swivel leather office chair. He must be desperately tired to be sleeping like that, he thought. So heavily. Nomura was sprawled over his desk. His head, with its fluffy aureole of white hair, was cushioned on some papers. Squinting, Andrew saw his arms flung out in a protective gesture over files and documents, and there was an object by his left hand that Andrew’s near-sightedness reduced to a white blob. Perhaps one of those big white electric kettles people kept in their offices for a ready supply of hot water for a cup of green tea.


As he paused at the office door, he was gripped by foreboding. His noisy rapping should have woken the deepest sleeper.


On that bright morning, his irritation at being kept waiting was replaced by an odd sense of trepidation as he approached Nomura’s desk. With each tiptoe towards the desk, he expected the head to lift and growl at him.


Only a step from the desk, Andrew saw that Nomura’s left cheek was cradled on a stack of papers as if pillowing his slumbers. But his boss’s position looked unnatural, his head tilted up towards the ceiling.


His eyes are open! There’s blood!


Andrew’s mind shut down. He needed time. He sought refuge in trifles. He saw it wasn’t an electric thermos near the clutter of paper on the desk. It was a doll. He had seen such a doll on visits to traditional Japanese farmhouses. In each place there had been a doll like that housed in an ornamental glass box sitting on top of a shoe cupboard in the genkan.


This doll was not in a box, glass or otherwise. It was inches away from Professor Nomura’s head. It was about a foot tall, a pale, plump, porcelain figure clad in a white kimono with a red decorative border. There was an elaborate topknot on itshead. There were slivers of eyebrows over crescent eyes, complete with tiny nose and mouth – a clear representative of the Japanese ideal of feminine beauty. There was a benevolent expression on its face, its thin red lips curled in a smile. But the doll’s white cheeks were speckled with crimson dots as if she had been weeping blood from those crescent eyes. There was a curious scrawl, a word lightly pencilled in Japanese on the glowing ceramic forehead, and blotches of red disfigured the gleaming purity of the robe.


A huge buzzing bluebottle made lazy circles over Nomura’s head. Its loud humming as it swooped around made Andrew wonder if it had cast a spell on his boss.


He peered at Nomura’s face. A trickle of blood oozed from his mouth into his pointed beard. He leaned closer and recoiled. Nomura’s thin lips, usually pursed in righteous anger, were mimicked by a second, larger and more voluptuous mouth below them. It was a deep cut across Nomura’s throat: open, red and hungry.


Andrew managed to stand upright but was caught in a kind of paralysis. He could look but couldn’t budge. Silent, he observed everything. The stack of paper below Nomura’s left cheek. The neat rows of Chinese characters on white sheets obliterated by a widening crimson pool that stained the documents and oozed in a thick red line across the desk, dripping onto the silky grey fabric covering Nomura’s thighs and forming a smaller pool on the floor beneath his chair. The bluebottle, still buzzing overhead, looked fat and satiated. The wheezing of the air conditioner sounding now like cries of outrage and horror.


Although part of the left side of Nomura’s face was hidden, cushioned on the papers, the left eye was just visible. Both eyes glared up unblinkingly at Andrew standing over the body. Death could not erase their haughty look.


As a teacher at this small, private university, Andrew often felt he was boring his students to death. Seeing them slumped over their desks in the sultry heat of summer, the air conditioner sputtering out a feeble stream of cool air and occasionally pausing to make a sound like a death rattle, Andrew imagined it exuded poison gas accounting for the lifeless bodies of his students sprawled in their seats.


His way of fantasising about his students’ apathy was worlds away from the reality of the trickling blood beside his right foot.


How can a body contain so much blood?



This novel is FREE to read with #KindleUnlimited subscription



Photo courtesy of Wendy Jones Nakanishi


Lea O’Harra has published three crime fiction novels set in rural contemporary Japan: Imperfect Strangers (2015); Progeny (2016); and Lady First (2017). These form the so-called ‘Inspector Inoue Murder Mystery’ series, published by Endeavour Press, UK. The three novels have been reissued in 2022 by Sharpe Books. Lea O’Harra plans to begin a fourth and final book in this series shortly.

Lea O’Harra also had a story included in Best Asian Crime Fiction published by Kitaab Press (Singapore) in 2020. 


Connect with Lea:

Website • TwitterFacebook  








Monday, 27 June 2022

Have a sneak peek between the covers of Renee Yancy's fabulous novel — More Precious Than Gold (The Hearts of Gold Trilogy, Book 2) #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance @YancyRenee




More Precious Than Gold
(The Hearts of Gold Trilogy, Book 2)
By Renee Yancy


Publication Date: 28th June 2022
Publisher: Vinspire
Page Length: 345 Pages
Genre: Historical Romance

A young woman refuses to become a pawn in her grandmother’s revenge scheme and forgoes a life of wealth and royalty to pursue a nursing career as America enters WWI and the Pandemic Flu of 1918 wreaks havoc in New York City.




The summer sky twilight had deepened to rose and gold, and a sweet breeze laden with the scent of Mama’s roses rustled the lace curtains at the parlor windows. Mama’s eyes were puffy, but she bravely pasted a tremulous smile on her face as Papa walked into the parlor, tall, straight-backed, and clean-shaven in his Army uniform, his officer’s cap on his head with its patent leather brim, and a wide leather belt around his waist. A cross at each shoulder and on his cap attested to his office of chaplain. He saluted them smartly. 

“Major John Winthrop, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, reporting for duty.” 

“Oh, Jack.” Mama went into his arms. “How will I bear it? I can’t, I can’t.” She buried her face in his neck, her slender shoulders shaking. 

“You must, darling.” He looked over her head at Kitty. “We all must.” 

“And why must you leave tonight?” Kitty asked. “Why can’t we accompany you?” 

“It’s being kept quiet at the moment. I don’t know why. But it’s better here in the comfort of our own home. It would be a madhouse on the wharf, and I’ve no wish for you to see that.” 

“A madhouse, Papa? Why?” 

Her father gave her a grave look. “Much weeping and gnashing of teeth, sweetheart, to use a Bible phrase.” 

Kitty frowned. “At the Red Cross ball, everyone cheered when the declaration of war was announced. The boys, especially. Some of them left immediately to sign up. They were excited to do so.” 

“The innocence of youth.” Her father smiled sadly. “I’m afraid they don’t know what awaits them in France.” 

“Glory and advancement, according to them,” Kitty said.

Her mother turned, frowning. “Kitty, surely you understand that some of them won’t be coming back?”

Kitty sat down abruptly. “Won’t be coming back? I…I hadn’t actually thought about it. Oma has kept me so busy with the social calendar that I…” She closed her mouth, hearing the shallowness of her own words.

Her mother walked to the parlor table and picked up the newspaper lying there. Wordlessly, she handed it to her. Kitty took the paper and unfolded the front page. The headline jumped out at her. 

41 Killed, 121 Injured In Air-Raid of Eastern London Big Attack In Clouds Follows

The story continued, in smaller print below the headline.

60 Children Among Victims of German Raiders

“People are dying, Kitty,” her father said softly. He gave a sideways glance at Mama. 

Kitty stood, frozen to the spot, as a cold shiver trickled down her spine. How could she have been so blind and stupid? No wonder Mama had been crying. She couldn’t know if she’d ever see Papa again. Kitty choked and took a step toward him.

Right here, right now, she would say goodbye to her beloved father, not knowing if he would return.








Renee Yancy is a history and archaeology nut who works as an RN when she isn’t writing historical fiction or traveling the world to see the exotic places her characters have lived.


A voracious reader as a young girl, she now writes the kind of books she loves to read—stories filled with historical and archaeological detail interwoven with strong characters facing big conflicts. Her goal is to take you on a journey into the past so fascinating that you can’t put the story down. 


When she isn’t writing, Renee can be found in the wilds of Kentucky with her husband and a rescue mutt named Ellie. She loves flea markets and collecting pottery and glass and most anything mid-century modern.


Social Media Links:

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Pinterest • BookBub • Amazon Author Page • Goodreads






Have a sneak peek between the covers of Rachel R. Heil's award-winning novel — Leningrad: The People’s War #HistoricalFiction #WorldWarII @HeilRachelR


Leningrad: The People’s War 
(Leningrad, Book 1)
By Rachel R. Heil


Publication Date: 5th February 2021
Publisher: Independently Published
Page Length: 326 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance 

Leningrad, 1941. 

As Europe crumbles under the German war machine, the people of the Soviet Union watch. There are whispers of war but not loud enough for the civilians of Leningrad to notice. Instead, they keep their heads down and try to avoid the ever-watching eyes of their own oppressive government.

University student Tatiana Ivankova tries to look ahead to the future after a family tragedy that characterizes life under the brutal regime. But, when the rumors that have been circulating the country become a terrifying reality, Tatiana realizes that the greatest fear may not be the enemy but what her fellow citizens are prepared to do to each other to survive. 

As his men plow through the Russian countryside, Heinrich Nottebohm is told to follow orders and ask no questions, even if such commands go against his own principles. His superiors hold over him a past event that continues to destroy him with every day that passes. But, when given the opportunity to take an act of defiance, Heinrich will jump at the chance, ignoring what the end results could be. 

Leningrad: The People’s War tells the harrowing beginning of a war that forever changed the landscape of a city, told through the eyes of both sides in a tale of courage, love, and sacrifice. 


“Never been.” Tatiana’s eyes scanned the red and gold decorated lobby until she noticed an unwelcome visitor approaching with outstretched arms.

“Tatiana Ivankova, what a pleasant surprise!”

Josef Krasnoff had dark skin with a hint of a mustache shadow. His brown eyes were protected by his thin, wired glasses that rested on his ears. Strands of his short, brown hair stuck out underneath his cap.

“Josef.” Tatiana forced a pleasant greeting while Vera and Alina exchanged knowing looks, hiding laughs. Tatiana wanted to smack both of them.

Still grinning from ear to ear, Josef stood before Tatiana, who stood up. “What are you doing here?”

“We’re attending the dance.” Tatiana pointed over her shoulder to the ballroom.

“Ah.” Josef looked her over. Whenever something fun was brought up, he looked as though he had become ill.

Looking to remove attention from her, Tatiana motioned to her cousins. “You remember Vera and Alina, don’t you?”

Josef looked at them and nodded politely. “Yes, of course. How are you?”

“Well, thank you.” Vera forced out the words. Like Tatiana, she was no fan of Josef’s.

Seemingly understanding this, Josef refocused on Tatiana. “I hope you aren’t staying out too late.”

“No, not at all.”

Why did she care what he thought? He wasn’t her father or brother.

“I didn’t think you would be in Leningrad,” Vera stepped in. “Aren’t all the Lenigradskaya Pravda writers out at Fox’s Bridge?”

Josef was a reporter working for the biggest newspaper in the city. It had apparently been a dream of his since he was little—to be a writer—though why someone would want to
write propaganda all day long made no sense to Tatiana.

“They needed a reporter to stay behind in case anything happened over the weekend,” Josef replied before shrugging. “I volunteered.”

Volunteered or forced since no one can stand you?

“That was kind of you,” Alina commented when it became clear Vera couldn’t respond without repeating Tatiana’s sentiments.

Oblivious, Josef lifted his head high. “It was something I had no issue with. We live in challenging times.”

“How so?” Tatiana asked.

Josef seemed surprised by her question, but as he always responded to what he probably viewed as stupid questions, he explained, “With the war going on. The Germans have taken
Greece and Crete, and Africa is being crushed.”

“Sounds more like terrifying times than challenging ones,” Vera noted.

Josef’s eye twitched. “One could make that argument, I suppose but have no worries, my ladies. Comrade Stalin will protect us.”

That didn’t give Tatiana and her cousins any comfort.

“Well, we should be going.” Tatiana cleared her throat and forced a soft expression onto her face. “It was good seeing you, Josef.”

“You as well, Tatiana. Let’s not go this long again before we see each other once more.”

Now it was Tatiana’s turn for her eye to twitch. “Yes, of course.” 


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Rachel R. Heil is a historical fiction writer who always dreamed of being an author. After years of dreaming, she finally decided to turn this dream into a reality with her first novel, and series, Behind the Darkened Glass. Rachel is an avid history fan, primarily focused on twentieth century history and particularly World War Two-era events. In addition to her love for history, Rachel loves following the British Royal Family and traveling the world, which only opens the door to learning more about a country's history. Rachel resides in Wisconsin.


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