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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

RRR presents... Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell - SPOTLIGHT + EXCERPT!

Hi there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.


Today, we're joining Rachel's Random Resources for a spotlight on title celebrating its BOOK BIRTHDAY this very day!  (*throws confetti*)  It's a work of Historical Fiction with a bewitching cover that makes you wonder just what secrets the house pictured might be hiding.  Curious?  Well then, let's satisfy that curiosity, shall we?  Ladies and gents, feast your eyes on today's title in the spotlight...


by
Allie Cresswell

About the book...
Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time - abandonment or demolition.

Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater - the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard - little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up - until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder.

Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself.

A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.
One woman, one house, one hundred years.



AMAZON  US  |  UK



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~~~ EXCERPT ~~~

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These are the opening words of Tall Chimneys. The first few paragraphs are vitally important to the success of any book. They must engage the reader’s interest and at the same time they must set out the questions that the book will go on to answer. As the house is to be an important narrative force in Tall Chimneys and its main setting, I needed to make sure the reader had a clear idea of its situation. I wanted, also, to establish the close bond that exists between the narrator and Tall Chimneys, which will be at the core of the ensuring events. Alongside that, I wanted to suggest that the relationship is not always a healthy one - we know in the opening sentence, for example, that the narrator feels more at home in the Gatehouse than she did in the house. Why? By the end of the Prologue we know that it will come to a choice between the narrator and her house; only one of them can survive. How this comes about is the subject of the rest of the story.



Prologue.
I have called Tall Chimneys home for as long as I can remember. But in fact this odd little gatehouse, standing sentinel at the top of the forested drive, feels more like home to me than Tall Chimneys ever did.
Tall Chimneys is a Jacobean house, added-to over the years, a wing thrown out here, stables, a gun room and an estate office built at the back, bathrooms squeezed in when proper plumbing became a priority. It stands amid a series of concentric circles. First, of gardens; the gravel walkways, lawns and tended shrubbery in front, the vegetable beds, soft fruit bushes, glasshouses and orchards behind. Then a middle girdle of coniferous and broad-leafed plantation thrown around the whole and rising up the sides of a bowl-like crater, like a lifted skirt. All this is rimmed by the escarpment of a natural depression in the broad-stretched moor.  
The house’s sunken situation was never a happy one. The air within the crater tends to stagnancy; the brisk moor air skims over the bowl without entering it. There is a strong propensity for damp; the lawn is often soggy, the cellar sometimes floods. The chimneys failed to draw for years until some ancestor had the idea of building them higher, making them reach like cathedral pillars into the vault of the sky, out of all proportion to the house.
In one respect only is the house well-placed; it is secluded. Our family annals suggest nocturnal visits of questionable political intriguers, secret stays by Catholic priests, even a visit by the Jacobite pretender, although history disputes this possibility. Its isolation in my lifetime has been both a blessing and a curse.
There is a kinship between Tall Chimneys and me; we are twin souls. I have placed my hands on its masonry in the midst of a storm and the tremors in its architecture have shaken my own foundations.  I have felt the glow of warmth ooze from its ancient stones and seep like sustaining honey into my bones. I have burrowed into the darkest recess of its shelter and teetered perilously on its highest parapet without fear that it would let me fall. I have known love here, and abject sorrow, happiness, and dreadful despair. Tall Chimneys has soaked up my life, and poured out its own, leaving us both derelict.
We belong to a time which has passed, both designed for a life which is obsolete in these modern days, and although we have done our best to accommodate and adapt, our efforts have been outstripped by progress. We are calcifying, here, in this peculiar cauldron scooped from the prehistoric bog of ancient moor; we are petrified relics of an era long gone.  And any little dramas we have enacted in our secret amphitheatre have been private and contained, and have caused no echo in the world at large.
I have tried to save Tall Chimneys, and if my feeble aid could have sustained its ailing stonework, I would have left nothing wanting.  Almost nothing. But our ways seem destined to part, now. If one of us is to survive, the other must be allowed to fall.




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About the author...


Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.  She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.  She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.  She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.

Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.


SITE  |  TWITTER  |  FACEBOOK



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Special thanks to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for the chance to bring this tour to you.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, THIS TOUR, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title is available now, so click on over to Amazon to snag your copy now!  Be sure to check out the other sites on the tour for more bookish fun!



Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!




Friday, December 8, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS: The Trick by Emanuel Bergmann - REVIEW + GIVEAWAY!

HI there!
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

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So, as I type this post, I'm freezing my little fingers off.  Yes, my friends, Winter has arrived in all its blustery glory and all at once.  It went from 80's to 40's (or lower) in the course of 24 hours.  No warning.  No time to adjust.  Oh, and did I mention it's RAINING?  Yeah, raining.  So we're talking WET and COLD...aka miserable!  I mean, I love the cold...it's about time...but the wet, I could do without.  Anywho, you didn't drop in to get a weather update, so I'll get back to the original plan for the day...

Today, we welcome TLC Book Tours for a stop along their latest blogosphere endeavor featuring a work of Fiction via Atria Books.  It's the author's first novel, but it's already toting the "international bestseller" moniker (way to go!) and you're about to see why.  Ready or not, here comes today's book of choice...


by
Emanuel Bergmann
9781501155826
Atria Books



About the book...
A deeply moving, humorous story of a boy who believes in everything and an old man who believes in nothing.

In 1934, a rabbi’s son in Prague joins a traveling circus, becomes a magician, and rises to fame under the stage name the Great Zabbatini just as Europe descends into World War II. When Zabbatini is discovered to be a Jew, his battered trunk full of magic tricks becomes his only hope of surviving the concentration camp where he is sent.

Seven decades later in Los Angeles, ten-year-old Max finds a scratched-up LP that captured Zabbatini performing his greatest tricks. But the track in which Zabbatini performs his love spell—the spell Max believes will keep his disintegrating family together—is damaged beyond repair. Desperate for a solution, Max seeks out the now elderly, cynical magician and begs him to perform his magic on his parents. As the two develop an unlikely friendship, Moshe discovers that Max and his family have a surprising connection to the dark, dark days the Great Zabbatini experienced during the war.

Recalling the melancholy humor of Isaac Bashevis Singer and the heartbreaking pathos of the film Life is Beautiful—this outstanding first novel is at once an irreverent yet deeply moving story about a young boy who believes in magic and a disillusioned old man who believes in nothing, as well as a gripping and heartfelt tale about the circle of life.







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This is a story about love...lost, found, personal, and for our fellow man...with a certain amount of "character" to spare.  Surprised?  Don't be.  It's often the most unsuspecting of journeys we embark upon that lead us to those true hidden gems.

Here we have the story of two men, many many moons apart, and yet their lives are going to intersect in ways they can't even fathom.  From the moment young Max beats down the door of the (formerly) great Zabbatini's current home sweet home in a desperate plea for a way to stop his family from dissolving into nothingness to the moment Zabbatini is once again worthy of the "great" title he once wore with pride, I was hooked.  I meandered from page to page with eyes wide open and a heart bursting with joy, sadness, melancholy, magic, awe, and so many other feels that you'd never imagine having for a story dominated by a pleasure obsessed elder and a young man refusing to accept what's in front of him.  Neither of these characters are the same as they once were and the steps and missteps taken or missed along the way, just add that much more to the tale.

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We get to know Moshe as a youth and his humble beginnings.  Son of a rabbi (sorta) with a disinterest in learning the ins and outs of his faith, yet a desire to see the world...or at least the portion of it dominated by a "princess of Persia".  Yeah, I'll give you two guesses and one of them are gone as to whether she was truly royalty...but times being what they were (world on the brink of war anyone?), allusions were commonly accepted as truth (which brings me back to the rabbi and his wife conversing about the war front and "the miracle"...that line totally killed me!).  He endeavors to find his own path through life, and yet shall not remain unscathed by the world burning down around him.  Flash over to Max and we find a boy simply wanting his family to stay together, yet wishes are still not horses, so he is unable to ride it into the sunset of his dreams.  His journey is so innocent, so pure in its intent, that is plays a nice balance to the old man's curmudgeonly ways.  When they are woven together to a VERY surprising end, we see the true magic of life right before our eyes. 

All in all, I was enamored with BOTH of their stories from start to finish. Max and the former great magician have more in common than they know, but by book's end, their journeys past, present, and potential future, are revealed in all their many colors, and you'll come to realize that everyone has a story; some just hide the aftereffects better than others.  A tale that is both charming and crass, but with a heart of gold at its core, fit for older teen through adult readers of both Historical and General Fiction genres.







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About the author...


Emanuel Bergmann was born in Germany and is a journalist and translator. He has been living in Los Angeles since 1990. His first novel, The Trick, is an international bestseller




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Special thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for the chance to bring this tour to you and to Atria Books for the ARC for review.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title, the author, the publisher, THIS TOUR, or those on the horizon, feel free to click through the links provided above.  This title released September 2017, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.

BEFORE YOU GO....
DON'T MISS YOUR CHANCE TO WIN!



ONE COPY OF THIS VERY TITLE IS UP FOR GRABS!
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS FILL OUT THE RAFFLECOPTER FORM BELOW AND YOU'RE IN IT TO WIN IT.

Open to US/CANADA residents only; no PO Boxes please.
Entries accepted through midnight 12/15/17.  Winner will be contacted via email and have 48 hours to respond with their full name and mailing information to be sent to the contest sponsor.  If the requested info is not received in the time frame, a new winner will be chosen.  SFIR is not responsible for lost prizes.


Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!


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