I’d like to welcome Clare Flynn to the blog today on her blog tour for “Sisters At War”, a heart-tugging tale of the sisterly bond between Judith and Hannah amidst the chaos of war.
BLOG TOURBOOK REVIEW
This book is proof that you can take the simple relationship of two ordinary young women, two sisters, and turn a spotlight on them in the midst of the incredible chaos around them, and the result? Simply great story-telling.
This family living together at the Laurels, a modest home in Liverpool, during WWII is simple and stunning in the way you are a fly-on-the-wall into their lives. Every conversation is filled with emotion, despair, survival, disappointment, fear, and ultimately, love. I was particularly moved by the next door neighbor who at one point loses his cat, and his grief morphs into other losses in his life. I can relate to this in so many ways and I think anyone else who reads this will get the sense of why characters like this are vital in books. A character on the fringes of these two sisters lives, but so very necessary.
This book also deals with the racial cruelties during the war, and not just those thrust upon the Jewish community by the Germans. I was quite taken back in reading of the treatment of British citizens of Italian descent when Mussolini joined Hitler in the fight. And then I was thrilled with the sudden journey to Australia, a land which must have felt like a peaceful haven while the rest of the world was on fire, even for those prisoners who were sent there.
I definitely hope there is another book to come along. I want to know more about these two sisters and where life takes them after the war.
I give this book five-stars and I received this book through Netgalley.
Book Title: Sisters at War
Author: Clare Flynn
Publication Date: 1st May 2021
Publisher: Cranbrook Press
Page Length: 314 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Sisters at War
By Clare Flynn
1940 Liverpool. The pressures of war threaten to tear apart two sisters traumatised by their father’s murder of their mother.
With her new husband, Will, a merchant seaman, deployed on dangerous Atlantic convoy missions, Hannah needs her younger sister Judith more than ever. But when Mussolini declares war on Britain, Judith’s Italian sweetheart, Paolo is imprisoned as an enemy alien, and Judith’s loyalties are divided.
Each sister wants only to be with the man she loves but, as the war progresses, tensions between them boil over, and they face an impossible decision.
A heart-wrenching page-turner about the everyday bravery of ordinary people during wartime. From heavily blitzed Liverpool to the terrors of the North Atlantic and the scorched plains of Australia, Sisters at War will bring tears to your eyes and joy to your heart.
Clare Flynn is the author of thirteen historical novels and a collection of short stories. A former International Marketing Director and strategic management consultant, she is now a full-time writer.
Having lived and worked in London, Paris, Brussels, Milan and Sydney, home is now on the coast, in Sussex, England, where she can watch the sea from her windows. An avid traveler, her books are often set in exotic locations.
Clare is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of The Society of Authors, ALLi, and the Romantic Novelists Association. When not writing, she loves to read, quilt, paint and play the piano.
In conjunction with the Author Takeover at The Historical Fiction Club, I’d like to welcome to the blog today, Elizabeth St. John, the author of the fabulous Lydiard Chronicles.
If you would like to join the author takeover on May 10th, please visit The Historical Fiction Club, join the group and the discussion!! Also, you might get the chance to win some prizes!!
Elizabeth St. John spends her time between California, England, and the past. An acclaimed author, historian, and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Lydiard Park and Nottingham Castle to Richmond Palace and the Tower of London to inspire her novels. Although the family sold a few country homes along the way (it’s hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth’s family still occupy them– in the form of portraits, memoirs, and gardens that carry their legacy. And the occasional ghost. But that’s a different story.
Having spent a significant part of her life with her seventeenth-century family while writing The Lydiard Chronicles trilogy and Counterpoint series, Elizabeth St. John is now discovering new family stories with her fifteenth-century namesake Elysabeth St.John Scrope, and her half-sister, Margaret Beaufort.
In conjunction with the author takeover on my group, The Historical Fiction Club, I am welcoming to the blog and podcast, Mark McLaughlin, the author of “The Throne of Darius” and “Princess of Persia”.
If you would like to listen to his author interview on the Hist Fic Chickie podcast, click on the link below:
If you would like to join Mark for his author takeover of the group on April 12, 2021, please click HERE to join the group (answer all the questions) and you will have the opportunity to read his posts, ask him questions, and enter possible giveaways!!
“Someday, you make a game for me, Daddy?” is what little Ryan McLaughlin asked her father, Mark, many years ago. He designed not one but two games for his daughter, and then wrote a novel based on the later of those: Princess Ryan’s Star Marines. Now he has written another novel – a work of historical fiction: Throne of Darius. It is the first in a series about characters (real and imagined) who fought against Alexander the Great.
A free-lance journalist, Mark is the author of two novels and two books on military history and is the designer of 24 published games – most recent of which is Ancient Civilizations of the Inner Sea by GMT games. Mark also writes for many clients and publications. Although his principal work as a journalist over the last 40 years has been in foreign affairs, he also writes on everything from travel and entertainment to serious position papers.
Ancient Thebes, 335BC. Alexander savagely crushes the Theban revolt against his rule. Swearing revenge for their once glorious city, Dimitrios, a captain of the Theban army, physician Klemes, and soldier Ari, join General Memnon in Asia Minor to fight against Alexander as he sets off to conquer the Persian Empire.
An irreverent portrait of Alexander the Great
Throne of Darius is a story of high adventure, romance and war – especially war, told with heart and a sense of humor. Mark McLaughlin paints a unique and irreverent portrait of Alexander the Great, who certainly was not “great” to everyone. Unlike the majority of historical and literary works, this novel does not glorify the Macedonian king but instead tells the tale of the young conqueror from the point of view of those who fought against him.
What readers say about Throne of Darius
“The description of the Battle of the Granicos River is among the clearest I have ever read. The author knows his history and presents it in a facile style that explains the essentials of the strategy of the campaign and the tactics in skirmishes and battles.” – Christopher Vorder Bruegge
“Military historical fiction is often all about male warriors, complex strategies and vicious battles. There is all of that in this book, but there are also strong female characters in Throne of Darius, like the noble princess Barsine and the brave horsegirl, Halime. Narrating the story from the point of view of Alexander’s opponents is a refreshing take that brings a new understanding of Alexander’s campaign without diminishing historical accuracy. There is humor, fierce battle scenes but also deeply emotional moments – everything to make Throne of Darius an enthralling read that will keep you hooked”. – Krystallia Papadimitriou, editor
“PRINCESS OF PERSIA”
Alexander the Great would have been furious at the disrespect shown to him in this novel. His mother, Olympias, would have surely cursed the author for depicting her son as a blood-thirsty glory-hound with delusions of godhood. On the other hand, Darius, the king whose throne Alexander lusted for, and Memnon, the general who was for a time the young Macedonian’s greatest foe, are likely smiling in their graves, relieved that someone west of the Bosphorus has finally told their side of the story. Princess of Persia is the second book in the series which began with Throne of Darius: A Captain of Thebes. It continues the story of the Greek and Persian men and women – and one woman in particular – to whom Alexander was anything but “great,” and tells the tale of the young world conqueror from the perspective not of those who worshipped him – but of those who fought against him.
Princess of Persia is the second in the series which began with Throne of Darius: A Captain of Thebes. It continues the story of the Greek and Persian men and women – and one woman in particular – to whom Alexander was anything but “great,” and tells the tale of the young world conqueror from the perspective not of those who worshipped him – but of those who fought against him.
Thank you to Mark for being a part of The Hist Fic Chickie blog and podcast today, I truly appreciate it!
I’d like to welcome Naomi Miller to the blog today for a guest post.
Dr. Naomi Miller is a professor of English and the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College. An award-winning author of books on Renaissance women and gender, she teaches courses on Shakespeare and his female contemporaries, as well as on modern women’s adaptations and reinventions of Shakespeare. Her debut novel, Imperfect Alchemist (Allison & Busby, November 2020), focuses on Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke: https://naomimillerbooks.com/.
After thirty years as a scholar of early modern women’s studies, she realized that her work wasn’t close to being complete as long as the wider public had no awareness of the extraordinary women authors who were published and read in the time of Shakespeare. Imperfect Alchemist is the first in a projected series of novels centered on these authors, called Shakespeare’s Sisters – celebrating Renaissance women not simply for their relation to men (like the wives of Henry VIII), but for their own voices.
She was interviewed by the Folger Shakespeare Library’s podcast “Shakespeare Unlimited” – a great interview if you wish to listen here:
Many popular novels about Renaissance women picture them in relation to powerful men. One need look no further than the steady stream of novels about the wives of Henry VIII, perpetuating a phenomenon that I have named the “Noah’s ark approach,” which positions women in dependent relation to famous men. Contemporary readers of historical fiction have missed out on an extraordinary array of women’s voices that were heard in their own period – both acclaimed and reviled – but then silenced over time and excluded from the canon of accepted classics.
My own projected series, Shakespeare’s Sisters, comprises six interrelated historical novels that imagine the stories of early modern women authors from their own perspectives. These novels offer fictional engagements with an array of early modern figures, from queens to commoners. Historical women, including Mary Sidney Herbert, the protagonist of Imperfect Alchemist, are at the center of the narratives, bringing their voices and experiences to life for modern audiences.
Shakespeare’s Sisters centers on women whose lives and voices both shape and are shaped by women, many of whom appear in each other’s stories. Spanning generations and social classes, the series paints a multi-hued portrait of Renaissance England, seen through the lives of courtiers, commoners, poets, playwrights and, above all, indomitable women who broke the rules of their time while juggling many of the responsibilities and obstacles faced by women worldwide today.
Imperfect Alchemist, the opening novel in the series, is an imaginative reinvention of the remarkable life of Mary Sidney Herbert, Countess of Pembroke – friend of Queen Elizabeth, visionary scientist, advocate for women writers and scandalous lover of a much younger man. One of the earliest women authors in Renaissance England to publish under her own name, the Countess successfully forged a place for herself in a man’s world.
A member of one of England’s leading families, she carved out space for herself as a daring and often controversial figure in a royal court riven by jealousies and intrigues. Her pioneering literary and scientific experiments challenged many of Renaissance England’s established conventions – one of the things that most strongly drew me to her.
As an influential literary patron as well as author, she convened a literary salon of writers whose membership included Edmund Spenser, John Donne, Ben Jonson and other authors interested in testing the limits of literary forms. Her own play about Antony and Cleopatra is believed to have influenced Shakespeare.
Responding to the Countess’s role as mentor to a cohort of women writers – including Mary Wroth, Aemilia Lanyer, Elizabeth Cary and Anne Clifford, all of whom will play lead roles in the Shakespeare’s Sisters series – I have imagined these women into her circle, their interaction with the male authors inspiring visions of new possibilities.
In Imperfect Alchemist, the fictional Mary Sidney Herbert is mediated through my knowledge of her real-life circumstances and her writings. She was also a scientist, practicing alchemy in her private laboratory to prepare chemical and herbal remedies. Although the Countess was a well regarded alchemist, no manuscript records of her alchemical recipes or experiments survive. I have drawn on historical accounts documenting the detailed practices of other female alchemists of the period present an authentic, if conjectural, account of her scientific work.
As the acclaimed historical novelist Sarah Dunant observes, fashioning historical verisimilitude, “like a pointillist painting,” lies in the details. Indeed, Dunant describes historical details as “gold dust,” giving her readers confidence that they’re encountering worlds that actually existed, thus grounding the novel’s inventions in a “multicolored” world.
To lend a broader perspective than Mary’s point of view alone, I introduce an invented character, Rose Commin, her lady’s maid – a country girl who brings an entirely different outlook to their intersecting lives. Trained to serve and observe, Rose proves to be both a keen judge of character and a skilled artist whose drawings give new dimension to Mary’s own life and writings.
Most of the characters in the book are fictional renditions of real historical figures whose roles combine elements of their actual lives with my own inventions. The “supporting cast,” both real and invented, adds three-dimensionality to the fictional storyline.
Once I embarked on the first draft of the novel, I had to guard against my tendency, as a scholar, to plunge down historical or literary “rabbit-holes,” enticed by fascinating details that would interrupt the writing process and might obscure rather than illuminate the story – dust rather than gold dust. The most valuable advice I received came from a novelist friend who reminded me that “as a novelist, your responsibility is to the story, not to history. Just tell the story that matters!”
So what is the story that matters in Imperfect Alchemist? Most of the novel is written from two alternating points of view: Mary’s, in the third person, and Rose’s, in the first person. As I was writing, the story that came to matter the most was about both of these women, driven by sometimes conflicting imperatives of creative expression and desire – one a quiet artist, the other an outspoken author – who come to connect across class lines, learning truths from each other that they never expected to discover about themselves and their world.
The celebrated novelist Hilary Mantel maintains that “you become a novelist so you can tell the truth,” and observes that “most historical fiction is … in dialogue with the past.” My driving aim is to “tell the truth” that becomes visible in these historical women’s writings, and to put my own fiction into dialogue with theirs.
My goal has been to tell a story that imagines the perspectives of historical women in a world that encompasses both known facts and imagined possibilities, illuminating the historical record without being limited by it. I like to think that the real Mary Sidney Herbert, alchemist and author, would appreciate my transmutation of her story.
Congratulations to Bruce Bishop for his debut novel, Unconventional Daughters! Bruce W. Bishop is a veteran travel and lifestyle journalist who is based in Nova Scotia, Canada.
It’s 1922 in a coastal town in Nova Scotia, Canada. A naïve Eva Carroll marries her stepfather with her controlling mother’s consent. The community is shocked, and when her aunts arrive from Sweden, a dangerous mix of family secrets and lies reaches a crescendo. If you love family sagas, historic locales, and surprising plot twists, you’ll become immersed in Unconventional Daughters.
One recent review (from the U.K.):
“***** FANTASTIC!!! If you love Historical Fiction full of drama, betrayal, feminism and true life events, this is for you.
Following three sisters from a very young age, you get to see how they grow up after being adopted when their parents died. They get separated from their brother, who they get to finally meet again years later. You have so much drama going on with the sisters and then when you get introduced to Eva, you’re hit with more. I don’t want to give too much away, but this is one incredible book, I felt emotional, angry, annoyed and I was so invested in the stories. I’m excited to read the spin off book that’s soon to follow.” – E.J. Palmer, England, 07 March 2021
Welcome to The Hist Fic Chickie! Today I am featuring the artistic and dignified stylings of Christian Historical Fiction author, Rebecca Duvall Scott.
Rebecca is an accomplished author and the recipient of numerous awards. Her first published work and best-selling memoir, Sensational Kids, Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences, chronicles the research, interventions, and mindset shifts that successfully brought her family through her son’s SPD diagnosis. While she values her special needs initiative, her heart has always been with Christian historical fiction. Her best-selling and #2 Amazon Hot New Release novel, When Dignity Came to Harlan, is based on her great-grandmother’s childhood. Rebecca lives with her husband and their two children in Kentucky and plans to write more in both the Dignity and Sensational Kids series.
Skillfully written and sure to draw you in to its pages, When Dignity Came to Harlan is set in the early 1900s and follows twelve-year-old Anna Beth Atwood as she leaves Missouri with her family dreaming of a better life in the coal-rich mountains of Harlan County, Kentucky. Anna Beth’s parents lose everything on the trip, however, and upon asking strangers to take their girls in until they get on their feet, Anna Beth and her baby sister are dropped into the home of Jack and Grace Grainger – who have plenty of problems of their own. Anna Beth suffers several hardships during her time in Harlan, and if it wasn’t for her humble and wise old friend who peddles his wisdom along with his wares, all would be lost. Based on a true family history, this is a story of heartbreak and hope, challenges and perseverance, good and evil, justice and merciful redemption. It exemplifies the human experience in all its many facets and shows what it means to have real grit. Take the journey with us and see how, with the unseen hand of God, one girl changed the heart and soul of an entire town.
“A reminder of our forebears’ sacrifices and strength, this exquisitely-told story proves that no amount of poverty or pain are a match for fierce faith.” Lizbeth Meredith, award-winning author of Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters
Author of Sensational Kids, Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences & When Dignity Came to Harlan
I’d like to thank Rebecca for her amazing author takeover at The Historical Fiction Club last Monday, and if you haven’t had the chance to check out her postings, they are still there and you can read more about her book and her life at the Club. Join here: The Historical Fiction Club
The Hist Fic Chic is proud to welcome Thomas J. Berry, author of “Fire and Ash: Gift of the Gods, Book 3”, to the blog today! As a part of her blog tour, his book is in the Featured Spotlight (The Author’s Roost) and you have a chance to read an excerpt from his amazing story below.
Thomas Berry received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from St. Bonaventure University. He takes pleasure in extensively researching both historical fiction and non-fiction stories. In his spare time, he enjoys long distance running and has completed several marathons. He currently lives with his wife and children in New Jersey. You can learn more about Thomas and his historical novels at his website, www.thomas-berry.com.
Five men and women in Ancient Greece are set on a dangerous journey of self-discovery during the bitter conflict of the Peloponnesian War.
While mighty Athens struggles to rebuild after a devastating campaign abroad, the feared warriors of Sparta prepare to deliver the final blow in a decades long war. No one is safe anymore as the conflict shifts across the Aegean to the shores of wealthy Persia. Old colonies, once loyal to Athens, are eager to rebel and the Great King is willing to pay anything to regain his control over them. These coastal plains set the stage for massive battles and heartbreaking defeats. This time there will be only one true victor.
The news coming out of Sicily ripples across the cities of Ancient Greece like a thunderbolt and it is left to the poor and desperate to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. One young mother is suddenly faced with a horrible tragedy and struggles against all odds to make a new life for her family. An eager boy looking for adventure enlists in the new Athenian ranks but finds life on campaign a lot more than he bargained for. A Spartan officer in the twilight of his years struggles to adapt to a young man’s army and an exiled Athenian strives to earn his way back into the graces of his beloved city. The harem girls in a Persian court meet a handsome foreigner and one risks everything for a chance at love.
As the conflict between Athens and Sparta builds to a final showdown, five men and women struggle to come to terms with their changing world. What will they find in the ashes when peace finally comes?
Cries erupted around her, one overlapping the other in a ceaseless frenzy. The soldiers had the leader they most desired and, in that moment, sought a course of action that would satisfy their bloodlust. “Kill the bastards! Democracy reigns!” “Take the battle to the oligarchs!” “Free our families!”
This time Thrasybulus could not contain them, and she realized now there was only one man who could. She looked up at the dais and her heart skipped a beat as Alcibiades smiled, held up his arms, and spoke in short, commanding sentences. After a few minutes, the people calmed down to a reasonable degree, yet there was still a tension in the air. Anger bubbled to the surface like spouts of lava, exploding in small outbursts throughout the Assembly. She was surprised how quickly it had spread among the populace.
“The Council of 400 has control of Athens for now!” the new supreme commander announced, “but they will not hold sway for long. I understand your feelings and I share them! I would like nothing more than to walk up to the walls of the city and take back what was once ours! However, my first duty is to prosecute this war we find ourselves in! Furthermore, it would a very grave mistake to attack the capital right now. Look who sits at Miletus and watches our every move!”
The crowd began to murmur among themselves, trying to piece together what seemed so obvious to the General. He paused for a moment and she saw him glance down at her from his perch above. She returned his smile but could do little to aid him now. Alcibiades had created a monster of his own making and now he had to ride it out until only one of them was left.
“I could tell you to launch every trireme in the harbor tomorrow morning and we’ll undoubtedly bring the new government to its knees! But we have more pressing enemies here on these very shores! The moment we are gone, the Spartan fleet will sail in and take everything we have! They would control every colony, conscript every able man into their ranks, and steal every daric coin from our meager coffers! That is exactly what I would do in their stead! Worse, they will take that tremendous armada and sail north for the Hellespont! Those single-minded ravens will blockade the narrow passage from the Black Sea and stop all the grain shipments sailing for Athens! We will regain political control, yes, but our families would be strangled and weakened by a merciless adversary! Death by starvation would be our only future! That is not something I could ever permit! You have honored me today and I will lead you to victory! Have patience and give me a little more time. That is all I require!”
The mood of the soldiers seemed to calm down as they digested this sobering observation. A few still called for an immediate attack but they were quelled by others agreeing with their new commander. Timandra realized she was holding her breath and let it out slowly, feeling nervous tension flow out with it. Alcibiades had handled the immediate problems, but she knew he would soon be faced with larger, far more serious ones, albeit of his own making.
He informed the assembled men it was necessary he return to Sardis immediately and confer with Tissaphernes. “There is much preparation to contend with, but the satrap will be forever in your debt when I enter his gilded hall as supreme commander of Athens’ mighty fleet! When I am satisfied that all is ready, I shall return and together we will put an end to Sparta’s plans!”
With that, he gave the dais back to Thrasybulus and stepped off the platform to a rousing ovation. Timandra clapped as well but her mind was reeling at the recent turn of events. The people wanted a savior and they had chosen someone who cavorted with not one but two enemies of the state! They wanted a beacon for democracy, and they placed their trust in a man who had single-handedly destroyed it. They sought a great leader who will steer them on a righteous path yet ordained a felon wanted for Sacrilege and sentenced to death if he ever returned home. He was an ambitious general who brought Athens shame and death abroad yet had risen to the supreme command of their fleet once more.
Alcibiades had told her several times over the last year that he would one day return to Athens. While she always considered it a pipe dream, she had to admit that he had somehow pulled off the impossible. There were challenges ahead and she had no idea how he would meet them. Timandra allowed herself a moment to relax and take it one day at a time. For now, he was the man in charge, and she was at his side absorbing all the accolades with him. It was a surreal feeling!
The Hist Fic Chic is proud to welcome Sherry A. Burton, author of Discovery (The Orphan Train Saga – Book One), to the blog today! As a part of her blog tour, her book is in the Featured Spotlight (The Author’s Roost) and you have a chance to read an excerpt from her amazing story below.
Born in Kentucky, Sherry got her start in writing by pledging to write a happy ending to a good friend who was going through some really tough times. The story surprised her by taking over and practically writing itself. What started off as a way to make her friend smile started her on a journey that would forever change her life. Sherry readily admits to hearing voices and is convinced that being married to her best friend for thirty-eight plus years goes a long way in helping her write happily-ever-afters. Sherry is the author of The Orphan Train Saga novels, a planned eighteen book historical fiction saga that revolves around the historic orphan trains. Books in the saga include Discovery, Shameless, Treachery and Guardian. Loyal, the fifth in the saga, expected to release summer of 2021. Sherry resides in Michigan and spends most of her time writing from her home office, traveling to book signing events and giving lectures on the Orphan Trains.
While most use their summer breaks for pleasure, third grade teacher Cindy Moore is using her summer vacation to tie up some loose ends concerning her grandmother’s estate. When Cindy enters the storage unit that holds her grandmother’s belongings, she is merely looking for items she can sell to recoup some of the rental fees she’s spent paying for the unit.
Instead, what she finds are secrets her grandmother has taken to the grave with her. The more Cindy uncovers, the more she wants to know. Why was her grandmother abandoned by her own mother? Why hadn’t she told Cindy she’d lived in an orphanage? And how come her grandmother never mentioned she’d made history as one of the children who rode the Orphan Trains?
Join Cindy as she uncovers her grandmother’s hidden past and discovers the life that stole her grandmother’s love.
JOIN HER BLOG TOUR for REVIEWS, READINGS, CONTESTS, & MORE!
The year was nineteen-twenty-one, it was January, and I had nearly reached my eighth year, when my mother took me to the orphanage. I still remember her face clearly and can still see the dark curls that fell loose around her shoulders. I think she was tall, but maybe that was just a child’s perspective. She was thin; that I do recall. Then again, so was everyone who lived in our tenement. Maybe it was because we were always hungry.
It was raining the last time I saw my mother. I was cold and wet, and my mother told me to go inside where I would be warm. I asked her if she was coming inside and she said no, she didn’t want to spoil the floors with her wet shoes. I didn’t have to worry about that. I wasn’t wearing any shoes. Mother was dripping wet, the rain had stripped her of her curls, and her deep black hair lay plastered against the side of her head like a hat. I asked her why she was crying. She told me it was just the rain on her face, but I could hear her sobs and knew she was lying. Before I could respond, Mother opened the door, pushed me inside, and the door closed behind me. The doors nearly reached the ceiling. A deep rich brown, they were the largest doors I had ever seen. An elephant could have walked through without issue. I have never forgotten the sound it made when it slammed shut. A solid thud that vibrated like rolling thunder. The sound has woke me from my dreams more often than I can count. Maybe that is because my mother never bothered to kiss me goodbye.
I was still staring at the door, when an older girl wearing a blue gingham dress and a crisp white apron came and asked me what I was doing. I told her my mother brought me. She shrugged and told me I must have done something very bad for my mother to have left me. I couldn’t recall doing anything bad, but the girl must have been right, as I never saw my mother again.
The girl took my hand and led me down the long hall, which was empty except for a few paintings on the wall and large red crocks evenly spaced along the floor near the wall. I didn’t want to leave the entrance. The building was so big, and I was afraid my momma would not be able to find me. The girl was bigger than me and looked mean, so I went with her. She took me to a room with tall windows and dark walls, where a lady wearing a black dress was sitting behind a large wooden desk. The girl told the lady she’d found me in the hall. The woman picked up a clipboard and asked me if I spoke English. I remember smiling and shaking my head yes. Not everyone in our tenement spoke English. My momma did, but not very well. Momma and Papa and I came over the ocean on a big ship from Poland. While I remember my papa, I do not remember what his face looked like. He died before the ship reached America. They said he was sick. Two men carried him outside in the rain and threw him over the side.
Oh, how I loathe the rain.
Momma said my Ojczulek – that’s the Polish word for Papa – taught me how to speak English so people would like me better. I wish I could remember my papa better. The woman asked my name. I told her my name was Mileta. She asked me what my last name was. I told her that was the only name I had. The lady didn’t seem happy about that. She asked what my mother’s name was. I was going to tell her it was Mamusia – which is the Polish word for momma, but then I remembered what my papa told me and I said her name was Momma. The lady smiled and wrote something on the clipboard. It was the first time the lady smiled. Papa must have been right. My clothes were wet; I was barefoot and so cold I was shaking. The woman must not have liked that I was dripping water on the floor because she told the girl, who she called Clara, to take me to the washroom for a bath and delouse. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but from the look on the girl’s face, I was sure I wasn’t going to like it.
THANK YOU, Sherry, for stopping by the blog today on your blog tour!! I wish you well on your amazing book.
D. K. MARLEY
Author of “Blood and Ink”, “The Fire of Winter”, “The Prince of Denmark”, and “Child of Love & Water”
For those following the tour, click here for the next stop:
In conjunction with The Historical Fiction Club’s Author Takeover, I am welcoming Trisha Faye to my blog today as a featured spotlight author. If you wish to join her takeover on the club on NOVEMBER 14TH, please follow this link and join: