Thursday, February 13, 2014


 by Marci Jefferson


Just in time for Valentines' Day, THE GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN is perfect! Based on 17thc. history in the heart of  both the French and English courts (involving two of my all-time favourite kings- Louis XIV and the most charming of them all, Charles ll!!)- it doesn't get any better than this. But back to our heroine- Frances Stuart- she is splendid- actually the most beautiful woman of those times. Of royalty herself (except for a glitch somewhere along her royal line), she is Charles ll's distant cousin as well as Madame (Henriette), his youngest sister's very close childhood friend.  

Sent off with her family to France, in Madame's personal entourage- Frances is all the rave.  Meanwhile, her dear cousin, Henriette is madly in love with King Louis and would do anything to be with him (rather than  suffer at the hands of her effeminate and unloving husband- Louis' brother)...Louis reciprocates somewhat, but as his eyes were accustomed to wandering, he wastes no time at setting them on the most beautiful lady at court, Frances herself.

Caught in an awkward moment as Frances denies the King his wanting, Henriette witnesses a heart-breaking moment.  Frances is devastated for hurting her cousin although nothing happened.  Too late, Henriette wants nothing to do with Frances anymore.  As for the King, his pursuit of her is fruitless; Frances does not succumb.  So, off she's sent 'on duty'- more like a spy- to King Charles ll's court, where she is to seduce him while having Louis informed...What happens there is a most enticing story of sorts!

Blame it on her beauty or the fact that she did everything right, Charles really does fall in love with her...But how does that actually play out?  Well, if you don't know this part of history (I didn't!), you truly will be surprised! THE GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN delivers splendidly by keeping history in pace with the story without missing a beat.

The writing and prose is outstanding- no one would ever guess this is Marci Jefferson's first novel.  Events are timely and developed with care and well researched historical points- plus, the story is so entertaining!.  There's no dragging here to get to the essence of what's going to happen- the story moves flawlessly and keeps you hooked until the very end.  I was actually touched by several parts in this book and particularly enjoyed the fresh take on characters of some of the other well-known historical figures.  As this is my first read ever on Frances Stuart, I am forever grateful to Marci Jefferson for having introduced me to her.  

Loved this book!!


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Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Today I have the great pleasure of bringing to you 
Marci Jefferson
 The Breathtakingly Gorgeous and So VERY Talented, Author of 

 The Book goes on Sale Today- so absolutely perfect for this Valentine Week!

First, I want to thank Lucy for having me today. It is a delight to finally be a guest after enjoying Enchanted by Josephine for so many years!

1- What prompted you to write this beautiful story?

I first learned about the Royal Stuarts during a stay in London over a decade ago. Someone happened to point out the Banqueting House, stating that’s where Charles I was beheaded. Since, up to that point, I thought kings ordered all the beheadings, I felt compelled to study the Royal Stuarts independently, to understand their fascinating rule. Frances Stuart initially stood out as a woman who embraced her personal liberty in defiance of kings.

A few years later I read THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL and became obsessed with the desire to do for the Stuarts what Philippa Gregory had done for the Tudors. I picked up my independent studies again and soon realized Frances Stuart’s independent streak matched the collective spirit of the Restoration age. Since she also happened to be the model for Britannia, I realized there was no better subject for a novel of Restoration England.

2- We would love to know about the research you did and the places you've traveled to for your writing and research.

Not long after that trip to London, I had my first child. It’s a good thing I soaked up as much history as possible while I was there, because becoming a mother also turned me into a bit of a homebody. Instead of traveling overseas, now I drag my family all over the US, focusing especially on sites of Colonial interest like Virginia. Places like the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, designed in the early 1700’s, exhibit perfect examples of furniture and art that characters in my novel would recognize. Perhaps the most inspirational home in Virginia with a connection to the Royal Stuarts is The Inn at Warner Hall, which Charles I himself granted to Augustine Warner in the seventeenth century. Places like this make history come alive in my imagination and help me write what it might have felt like to live in those times.

In addition, I studied historical maps, read dozens of books on architecture, fashion, food, and enough diaries, journals, and biographies to make your eyes pop. The amazing librarians at the Allen County Public Library know me by name. I’m surprised and grateful they don’t run away screaming when they see me approaching. And thank goodness for the internet! I was actually able to obtain transcripts of historical documents by contacting archivists at the UK National Archives and the Lancashire Record Office. They helped me access records that I may not have discovered alone.

3- What is your main character's strongest quality and weakness?

They are one and the same. Frances Stuart is so loyal to those she loves, she puts their interests above her own.

4- How would you say she relates to today's woman?

Frances Stuart’s struggle to assert her independence and find her voice is one that many women still face. I know I did.

5- Lastly, , can you please share a little about other projects you may be working on now- or in the future. 

Of course! Right now I’m writing a novel about Marie Mancini who, based on the alignment of the stars at her birth, was destined to disgrace her family an a most spectacular fashion, but ended up shaping the world’s most powerful monarch – Louis XIV.

Marci Jefferson
February 2014 from Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin's Press

Thank you Marci for this terrific Interview.  And- I can't wait to read about Marie Mancini- I adore her!

Please be sure to COME BACK TOMORROW for my Review as the GIVEAWAY Continues:) 

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Praise for Marci Jefferson’s GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN

A novel as rich and golden as the coin she graced. Frances Stuart’s face was truly her fortune and left its mark on history, a rare achievement.”
Margaret George, New York Times bestselling author of Elizabeth I: A Novel

In her first work of historical fiction, debut novelist, Marci Jefferson, tackles Frances Stuart, whose influence over England’s Charles II and rejection of three of the seventeenth century’s most illustrious kings became the talk of a nation. Jefferson instills a fierce spirit and spine in the beautiful Frances Stuart, proving she was much more than a royal mistress. What Philippa Gregory did for the Tudors, Jefferson will do for the Stuarts, with the elegant and addictive,GIRL ON THE GOLDEN COIN (Thomas Dunne Books; February 11, 2014; ISBN: 978-1-250-03722-0; $25.99).
In 1660, the Restoration of Stuart Monarchy in England returns Frances Stuart and her family to favor. Frances discards threadbare gowns and goes to gilded Fontainebleau Palace, where she soon catches the Sun King’s eye. But Frances is no ordinary court beauty—she has Stuart secrets to keep and her family to protect. King Louis XIV turns vengeful when she rejects his offer to become his Official Mistress. He sends her to England with orders to seduce King Charles II and help him form an alliance with England. The Queen Mother likewise orders Frances to become her son's mistress, in the interest of luring him away from the Protestant mistress he currently keeps.

Armed in pearls and silk, Frances maneuvers the political turbulence of Whitehall Palace, but still can’t afford to stir a scandal, determined to keep her family from shame. Her tactic to inspire King Charles to greatness captivates him and the two embark on a tenuous relationship. Frances survives the Great Fire, the Great Plague, and the debauchery of the Restoration Court, yet loses her heart to the very king she must control. A startling discovery will leave her with no other choice but to break his heart, while the fate of England hangs in the balance.
MARCI JEFFERSON grew up in an Air Force family and so lived numerous places, including North Carolina, Georgia, and the Philippines. Her passion for history sparked while living in Yorktown, Virginia, where locals still share Revolutionary War tales. She lives in Indiana with her husband and children. This is her first novel.

Monday, February 10, 2014

WINNER of Castles, Customs and Kings is....

LINDA you are the WINNER!!!!

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

REVIEW: Norah, by Cynthia Neale

Norah McCabe is a young Irish woman in New York in the 1850’s.  Having left Ireland and famine behind, work and survival in America was hardly attained through glamour.  Hard work and struggles- and the fact that Irish immigrants at the time were not liked at all- Norah’s life in the slum parts of New York revealed the vileness of this time in history.

Norah does what she must to move away from this neighborhood.  She lands a job as a reporter for the Irish American and becomes a true social activist.  Her adventures lead to catastrophic situations where her life is in serious danger (imagine being drugged in a bordello…).  Admittedly, much of the trouble she gets herself into could have been avoided- and, I honestly thought throughout the book, when is this girl going to get it? But this is what keeps the reader going! 

I very much enjoyed learning about the history, though painstakingly crude and horrible for the most part.  Neale stops at nothing to reveal New York as it was and I believe this is what rng truthful to the portrayal of what immigrant life was really like back then.  For me, Norah’s path was a rollercoaster ride that kept me on the edge of my chair- but her decisions often broke my nerves!  What Iliked most was the history surrounding Norah’s life.

An enjoyable read.