Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sweta Srivastava Vikram's #SarisAndASingleMalt - Review

My thoughts
For someone who has a mother who is so very dear to me, and who is also my best friend, this slim volume of poetry was a difficult read. I can't imagine suddenly hearing that my mother had fallen critically ill and not being able to get to her in time. It is unfathomable.

Sweta Vikram has beautifully expressed her time as she rushed to get to her mother before she passed, and the unfortunate time after her passing. She poignantly gives glimpses of what her mother meant to her. Each poem gives us insight into how she is coping with, and working through, her grief.

As you can probably imagine, I had tears in my eyes while reading these poems. There were a couple that really hit home.


Why Didn't You Wait For Me?

Such un-clarity on such a bright day,
such darkness in my verses.

I ask for a sign;
something, anything.

Can you hear me?

Did you know I needed
to give you a hug,
cook some Persian Kalam Pulao
when I saw you next?

A detour in your journey,
did you know fate?
Before leaving for Kashmir
did you gather
memories for me?

Why didn't you wait for me?
I ask the same question, over and over again, Ma.

I ask for a sign;
something, anything.
Can you hear me?

I wonder, as I stare at your body wrapped
in blue in the morgue. You look peaceful.
But I want to hear your hot, teasing words:

Chota kapdaa pehnee phir se?

I ask for a sign;
something, anything.
I weep silently,
thanking the thunder
for expressing my pain through the noise.

Why didn't you wait for me, Ma?

and this...

Time Changes Us

I hear you hum, "Time changes us all."
You always complained that I didn't write about you, Ma.
In thirty-six hours, I bled
a book of poems about you.

Writing is what helps me
keep you alive.
Writing is what tells me
don't lose faith.

I stand inside the sound of my words,
like a stranger lost in a dark forest.
I hear you hum, "Time changes us all."


Vikram shares this cathartic experience with us and it is very powerful. It also shows us that losing someone changes us forever and we must move on, incorporating this change into our new life. I leave you with this quote from the beginning of the book which I will remember well in years to come. I find comfort in it.

"The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not 'get over' the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to." ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

About the Book

Saris and A Single Malt
Published by Modern History Press in August 2016
Kindle and Paperback; 46 pages
ISBN: 9781615992942

Saris and a Single Malt is a moving collection of poems written by a daughter for and about her mother. The book spans the time from when the poet receives a phone call in New York City that her mother is in a hospital in New Delhi, to the time she carries out her mother’s last rites. The poems chronicle the author’s physical and emotional journey as she flies to India, tries to fight the inevitable, and succumbs to the grief of living in a motherless world. Divided into three sections, (Flight, Fire, and Grief), this collection will move you, astound you, and make you hug your loved ones.

About the Poet
Sweta Srivastava Vikram, featured by Asian Fusion as “one of the most influential Asians of our time,” is an award-winning writer, five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Amazon bestselling author of 11 books, writing coach, columnist, marketing consultant, and wellness practitioner who currently lives in New York City. A graduate of Columbia University, she also teaches the power of yoga, Ayurveda, & mindful living to female trauma survivors, creative types, entrepreneurs, and business professionals. Sweta is also the CEO-Founder of NimmiLife, which helps you attain your goals by elevating your creativity & productivity while paying attention to your wellness.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Susan Spann's The Ninja's Daughter - Review & #Giveaway #SusanSpann #Mystery

My thoughts
Susan Spann brings 16th century Japan to life beautifully. Not only that, she weaves a damn good mystery. I was happy to revisit Hiro Hattori and Father Mateo once again. As in previous books in the series, the two men have an endearing rapport that makes me smile. It's a remarkable thing when two men from very different cultures, thrown together due to orders that Hiro protect Mateo, become good friends. It goes beyond duty and honor, and I think it's the core of this series. It certainly keeps me coming back.

All that being said, Spann's skill with spinning a mystery cannot be denied. Her stories always keep me guessing. Then, just like reading a good Agatha Christie, my heart starts pounding as the truth is revealed in the end. Only a true talent for mystery can do that to a reader. Well done.

If you have not had the opportunity to read any of the books from this series, I suggest that you do. You will not be disappointed. I still have to go back and read some of the earlier novels, and I look forward to the next installment.

The Ninja’s Daughter: A Hiro Hattori Novel by Susan Spann
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Seventh Street Books
eBook & Paperback; 230 Pages
Series: Hiro Hattori Novels/Shinobi Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.

As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

“In The Ninja’s Daughter, Susan Spann’s poetic voice brilliantly captures the societal disparities, political intrigues, and martial conflicts of sixteenth-century Japan through the persevering efforts of ninja detective Hiro Hattori to solve a murder authorities consider of no consequence.” -JEFFREY SIGER, International Bestselling Author
Susan Spann is the author of three previous novels in the Shinobi Mystery series: Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, and Flask of the Drunken Master. She has a degree in Asian Studies and a lifelong love of Japanese history and culture. . When not writing, she works as a transactional attorney focusing on publishing and business law, and raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium.

For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

One copy - print or eBook, winner's choice. Open to US/Canada only. Leave a comment below and include your email address so I can contact the winner (entries without an email address will not be considered).

Rules– Must be 18 or older to enter.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.


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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cat Thursday - The girls

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Some recent shots of Alice and Arya. I took the one of Alice on Black Cat Appreciation day. Black cats can be so hard to photograph...and she will never keep her eyes open. Arya looks posed in a heart shape. Sweeties. =^o^=

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bout of Books 17 - Goals and Updates #Readathon #boutofbooks


Reading done on 8/22:

Not a stellar start...

5 pages - The Mountain Story
5 chapters, 27 pages - The Ninja's Daughter

Mini-Challenge - Book to Movie @ Writing My Own Fairy Tale

My favorite book to movie (I actually liked the movie better in this case. Shock!) =

My least favorite (they massacred my favorite book of all time!) =

Reading done on 8/23:

Bleh. Move along. Nothing good to report here. :(

Reading done on 8/24:

100 pages, The Ninja's Daughter
Reading is not going as all. :(

Reading done on 8/25, 8/26:

Didn't get a chance to update, but did finish The Ninja's Daughter on Friday.

Reading done on 8/27:

No update.

Final Update:

5 pages - The Mountain Story, Lori Lansens
The Ninja's Daughter, Susan Spann (247 pages)
Hexagram, Duncan P. Bradshaw (324 pages)

Thanks to Amanda and Kelly for the read-a-thon! 

Bout of Books

Do I dare? I really have a TON of reading to get done before the end of the month so I'm really hoping to knuckle down with this read-a-thon.

Here's Bout of Books:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Here's what I'll be reading:

The Mountain Story, Lori Lansens - Finish
A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley 
13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, Jane Smiley
The Ninja's Daughter, Susan Spann
Hexagram, Duncan P. Bradshaw

Wish me luck!


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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cat Thursday - Olympics! #cats #catthursday

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I've been really enjoying watching the Olympics. How about you? Do you watch? My favorites are gymnastics, diving, and swimming...I hope I haven't missed synchronized swimming. I love it! What is/are your favorite events? 

And now for some Olympic kitty fun!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose - Review #TSLOSBlogTour #Historical

My thoughts
I love reading books by M.J. Rose. She writes with such atmosphere, and not only is there connection with the characters, there is also connection with the material world. It's like being immersed in a lovely cocoon as you read her books. Even more so with this series, The Daughters of La Lune.

The psychic phenomena experienced by Opaline, the book's main character, is portrayed as a gift and a curse at the same time. Opaline is having difficulty coming to terms with her powers, and until she encounters someone she feels a deep connection with through her powers, she is almost ready to shut the door on them forever. This says much about the character of Opaline. She is so much of an individual that she wants to break free from the legacy of her mother, and her ancestor, La be that individual. Yet, she recognizes the importance of this connection she has made. Opaline has depth and I love her (plus, my birthstone is opal...I loved learning about the ancient beliefs about the power of the opal). That's the true beauty of an M.J. Rose novel. You will fall in love with the characters.

Another aspect of this book I enjoyed was the incorporation of history. The horrors of WWI were heartbreakingly described by those who were experiencing it on the homefront in France. We're shone that war is tragic for all involved...those fighting and those keeping things together at home. Also, the inclusion of the subject of the assassination of the Romanov family was an interesting element, as that is a story that endlessly fascinates me.

I'm always excited when a M.J. Rose releases as new book. Truthfully, The Witch of Painted Sorrows (book one of the La Lune series), and this book can very easily be read as stand alone novels. However, to me it is so much the better for us readers that we can continue to experience these stories via the series. I can't recommend this book enough. You need to read it!

About the book
The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose
Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Atria Books
Hardcover & eBook; 320 Pages
Series: The Daughters of La Lune, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy

As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.

Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

“A spellbinding ghost story that communicates the power of love and redemption through Rose's extraordinary, magical lens.” (Alyson Richman, internationally bestselling author of The Lost Wife)

About the Author
M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother’s favorite books before she was allowed.

She is the author of more than a dozen novels, the co-president and founding board member of International Thriller Writers and the founder of the first marketing company for authors: She lives in Greenwich, Connecticut. Visit her online at

Connect with M.J. Rose on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Sign up for M.J. Rose’s newsletter and get information about new releases, free book downloads, contests, excerpts and more.


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Friday, August 12, 2016

Spotlight on Peter Curtis' The Dragontail Buttonhole

Publication Date: March 16, 2016
Sordelet Ink
eBook & Paperback; 316 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction

Prague, 1939. Willy and Sophie Kohut own a prosperous business specializing in selling British fabrics for tailoring suits. When the Nazis occupy Czechoslovakia, Willy is arrested and accused of spying for Britain. After Sophie engineers his release, they decide to flee the country for the sake of their toddler, Pavel. Paying a small-time smuggler and using counterfeit Hungarian passports, they journey through Hungary and Germany itself, on an exodus full of unexpected twists that test their courage, and their love.
“The Dragontail Buttonhole is a realistic, artful story of a family’s flight to safety. Courageously precise in its psychological analysis of friend and foe, the novel restores the reader’s confidence in an ordinary family’s fortitude, compassion and humanity.” – Peter Demetz, Author of Prague in Black and Gold and Prague in Danger.

“The Dragontail Buttonhole is a fascinating, well-written read. The Kohut family takes life for granted….until the day the Nazis occupy Prague and Willy Kohut and his family become the target of the Gestapo. The book is an adventure story and a family story that will make you bite your nails and cry, and sometimes smile.” – Helen M. Szablya, Honorary Consul General of Hungary. Author of My Only Choice; 1942-1956 Hungary, The Fall of the Red Star; Hungary Remembered.

“The Dragontail Buttonhole is at once a moving portrait of a marriage, a brilliant evocation of a frightening period of history and a spell-binding tale of survival.” – David Laskin, author of The Long Way Home, The Children’s Blizzard, Partisans and the 2014 Washington State Memoir Award: Family: A Journey into the Heart of the 20th Century

About the Author
Peter Curtis was born in Kosiče in Eastern Slovakia. Later, as a child in England, he was enthralled by books like ‘Treasure Island’, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’, and ‘The 39 Steps’. He dreamed of writing tales of adventure.

As a young man, he trained at Guy’s Hospital, London, specializing in joint and back problems. But when he found that people’s lives were more interesting than inflammation, he turned to family doctoring in the English countryside and began writing about dramatic or amusing incidents in his practice. Some of his short stories were published. The years passed and he moved with his family to the University of North Carolina.

As his family elders and parents passed on, he inherited their photographs and documents and started piecing together the family’s Slovak history. They had been the enthusiastic citizens of a dynamic democratic country, Czechoslovakia, until it was swallowed by Germany during the great and tragic dislocation of WWII. What they went through moved Peter to finally write an adventure story close to his heart.

You can connect with Peter Curtis on Facebook and LinkedIn.


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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Cat Thursday - Authors and Cats (56)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author with their cat(s), or pictured with a cat(s).

Diana Wynne Jones would have celebrated her birthday on August 16 were she still alive. 

In a career spanning four decades, award-winning author Diana Wynne Jones wrote more than forty books of fantasy for young readers. Characterized by magic, multiple universes, witches and wizards—and a charismatic nine-lived enchanter—her books were filled with unlimited imagination, dazzling plots, and an effervescent sense of humor that earned her legendary status in the world of fantasy. From the very beginning, Diana Wynne Jones’s books garnered literary accolades: her novel Dogsbody was a runner-up for the 1975 Carnegie Medal, and Charmed Life won the esteemed Guardian children’s fiction prize in 1977. Since then, in addition to being translated into more than twenty languages, her books have earned a wide array of honors—including two Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honors—and appeared on countless best-of-the-year lists. Her work also found commercial success: in 1992 the BBC adapted her novel Archer’s Goon into a six-part miniseries, and her best-selling Howl’s Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki in 2004. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2006, and became one of the most financially successful Japanese films in history. The author herself has also been honored with many prestigious awards for the body of her work. She was given the British Fantasy Society’s Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999 for having made a significant impact on fantasy, received a D.Lit from Bristol University in 2006, and won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in 2007. 

Born just outside London in 1934, Diana Wynne Jones had a childhood that was “very vivid and often very distressing”—one that became the fertile ground where her tremendous imagination took root. When the raids of World War II reached London in 1939, the five-year-old girl and her two younger sisters were torn from their suburban life and sent to Wales to live with their grandparents. This was to be the first of many migrations, one of which brought her family to Lane Head, a large manor in the author-populated Lake District and former residence of John Ruskin’s secretary, W.G. Collingwood. This time marked an important moment in Diana Wynne Jones’s life, where her writing ambitions were magnified by, in her own words, “early marginal contacts with the Great.” She confesses to having “offending Arthur Ransome by making a noise on the shore beside his houseboat,” erasing a stack of drawings by the late Ruskin himself in order to reuse the paper, and causing Beatrix Potter (who also lived nearby) to complain about her and her sister’s behavior. “It struck me,” Jones said, “that the Great were remarkably touchy and unpleasant, and I thought I would like to be the same, without the unpleasantness.” Prompted by her penny-pinching father’s refusal to buy the children any books, Diana Wynne Jones wrote her first novel at age twelve and entertained her sisters with readings of her stories. Those early stories—and much of her future work—were inspired by a limited but crucial foundation of classics: Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, The Arabian Nights, and Epics and Romances of the Middle Ages. Fantasy was Jones’s passion from the start, despite receiving little support from her often neglectful parents. This passion was fueled further during her tenure at St. Anne’s College in Oxford, where lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis increased her fascination with myth and legend. She married Medievalist John Burrow in 1956; the couple have three sons and six grandchildren.

After a decade of rejections, Diana Wynne Jones’s first novel, Changeover, was published in 1970. In 1973, she joined forces with her lifelong literary agent, Laura Cecil, and in the four decades to follow, Diana Wynne Jones wrote prodigiously, sometimes completing three titles in a single year. Along the way she gained a fiercely loyal following; many of her admirers became successful authors themselves, including Newbery Award winners Robin McKinley and Neil Gaiman, and Newbery Honor Book author Megan Whalen Turner. A conference dedicated solely to her work was held at the University of West England, Bristol, in 2009. Diana Wynne Jones continued to write during her battle with lung cancer, which ultimately took her life in March 2011. Her last book, Earwig and the Witch, will be published by Greenwillow Books in 2012.

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Friday, August 5, 2016

Celebrating 7 Years of True Book Addict!

Time sure does fly! Today marks SEVEN YEARS of my little niche in the blogosphere. Writing this blog has been such a blessing in my life. I honestly can't imagine my life without it. I have made so many friends in our book blogging community. That makes it even more worthwhile.

My very first post was the bookish meme 32 Questions Asked and Answered. Since then, I've written 1605 posts (this will be 1606), have had 3,116,519 page views, and I have over 600 friend connect followers, over 1200 Google+ followers, almost 400 Bloglovin' and over 100 email subscribers. I'm so glad that people enjoy reading my blog. I certainly enjoy writing it.

I've also been lucky enough to carve an even larger niche with a sister (horror) blog, Castle Macabre, hosting reading communities on Goodreads (TuesBookTalk and Lit Collective), hosting seasonal read-a-thons with my Seasons of Reading blog and community on Facebook, and hosting a myriad of perpetual reading challenges. (Note: I have a new community in the works that will encompass all of my perpetual reading challenges AND I'm rolling out a new challenge. Stay tuned!)

To commemorate the day, I'm giving away a $7.00 Amazon digital gift. This is only open to followers so be sure to leave a comment with how you follow to enter. I'll leave the giveaway open for a week...maybe two. (Be sure to leave an email address so I can contact the winner)

So, thank you so much for seven wonderful years. I'm looking forward to many, many more.


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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Cat Thursday - One week hiatus

I'm on vacation again this week and I didn't have time to put together a post before I left. I have limited wifi until I get to Michigan Thursday evening. 

I'll be back next week for author and cat Thursday. Have a great weekend!


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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

My Guest Today - Cat Gardiner, author of A Moment Forever {Giveaway} #AMF

An Attic = Someone’s Story

Hello! I’m absolutely delighted to visit True Book Addict and make new friends today. Thank you so much, Michelle for your warm welcome. There are many themes in my new WWII historical fiction novel, A Moment Forever, that I could expand on, but one singular event put wheels in motion in Chapter One. I think that’s the best theme to explore today since TBA is my first Poetic Book Tours’ stop.

One of my two heroines is bequeathed a house in 1992, and its contents, particularly in the attic, send her on quite a journey to discover her ancestry – the roots, events, and people deliberately hidden from her knowledge.

In the armoire

Growing up, my childhood home didn’t have an attic, but we did have a basement. Half was my mother’s cheery art studio (where I loved to visit) and the other half my father’s dreary workshop (which gave me the willies.) But in dad’s man cave there stood a monolithic orange-colored armoire that, at my young age, I concluded contained all the secrets of the universe. It wasn’t until my 24th year that he opened the mysterious cabinet and shared with me old New York City newspapers (some of the Titanic sinking,) photographic glass negatives, vintage cameras, signed photographs of silent film stars, and various other memorabilia and ephemera. In a way, these were the secrets of a microcosmic universe: my family. Within the illuminating discoveries I learned that my grandfather worked as an apprentice photographer for Edison Studios and that as a boy, he collected newspapers reporting on events that he thought would be historical. Without the armoire “attic” those pieces of a family might not have survived to tell a story.

Within the armoire was an embroidered silk 19th Century glove box – another attic of sorts. A mighty discovery on my part because upon closer inspection I was able to construct some pieces of the grandmother I never knew: She was a suffragette and she loved to crochet using the bone hooks and implements in the treasure box. “Carrie” as she was called, was sentimental, keeping a dance card, letters, and cabinet cards of people I’d never heard of. I analyzed these “directionals” on the roadmap to discovering the lives once lived, gathering information as if compiling an FBI case. I framed the images of my namesake grandmother with my grandfather. Also in the box was my great-grandfather’s United States Naturalization certificate, an incredible piece of history and perhaps it is in the fiber of my instilled patriotism. My connection to the past formed and these abstract people became detailed portraits of historical significance to me. The armoire began my genealogical search into census records and ship manifests. It became imperative for me to remember – without actually knowing them – the lives they once led.

Frank C. #27967 (both images)

Have you ever heard of the Willard suitcases? It was sort of an obscure archeological find in 1995 but, to history lovers like me, it wasn’t obscure at all. Like the above personal narrative, it was the discovery of the most important keepsakes of 400 lives. The suitcases, found in an attic, were attics themselves, and thank goodness they were discovered! You see, Willard State Hospital, an asylum for the “insane”, located in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, closed in 1995, and in one of the abandoned buildings, workers discovered an anti-room in the attic. Rows of wooden racks were lined with the still-packed suitcases of the committed patients. They were alphabetized by patient name and organized by date between 1910 and 1950. Forgotten, like their owners, and covered by bird droppings and grime, the suitcases remained untouched for decades – since the first day of the owner/patients’ arrival. Frozen in time, the personal contents bare witness that these men and women LIVED as sure as you and I do. They once dreamed, struggled; they worked, had hobbies, prayed; they grieved and loved. They had families and cherished memories. Yet almost 6,000 were buried in the asylum’s cemetery with only a four-inch circular stone and a number to attest to their existence. That’s right – a number – not a name. But the contents of their “attic” paints beautiful, colorful canvases of their humanity.

Mr. Dmytro #32643

Examining the photographs of the opened suitcases, I thought of that old question: “If there was a fire, what would you take?” And it was evident by what had been packed that the personal effects were what they valued most in life. Further, I thoughtfully pondered the lives they once lived (evident by the contents) vs. the lives that were shut away for an average length of 30 years! My heart squeezed and my eyes hurt reading some of the heartbreaking biographies of those who suffered with mental or physical illness and those who became ill through horrible life events. Never mind those whose “disorders” were actual life events: the death of a loved one, a nun’s disenfranchisement, post-partum depression, displacement, and poverty. No doubt, there were even a few committed for the secrets they held: much like an attic themselves. And even today, due to legalities and patient privacy, their full names cannot be memorialized, just their first name and their patient number.

After state museum historians thoroughly researched the owners of the 400 attics, the Willard suitcases – scratch that – the men and women of the Willard State Hospital had been honored through a ten-year traveling exhibition in remembrance of who they were, their stories told, their relics shared. They have now found a permanent home at the Museum of disABILITY in Buffalo, New York.

What items would you grab in a fire? Think about your “attic,” your family, your ancestors. What stories do they hold? Don’t let them fade away into oblivion with nary a thought or mention. Write them down. Who were they and how did their lives influence who you became? Share with me and Michelle your thoughts and two commenters will be entered into a giveaway – one for an e-book – one for a paperback of A Moment Forever. Thank you so much for stopping by!

About the book
A Moment Forever (Liberty Victory Series #1)
Published by Vanity & Pride Press in May 2016
Kindle and Paperback; 600 pages

ISBN: 9780997313000

In the summer of 1992, a young writer is bequeathed the abandoned home of a great-uncle she never knew. The house has a romantic history and is unlike any home she has ever seen. Juliana Martel felt as though she stepped into a time capsule—a snapshot of 1942. The epic romance—and heartache—of the former occupant unfold through reading his wartime letters found in the attic, compelling her on a quest to construct the man. His life, as well as his sweetheart’s, during the Second World War were as mysterious as his disappearance in 1950.

Carrying her own pain inflicted by the abandonment of her mother and unexpected death of her father, Juliana embarks on a journalist’s dream to find her great-uncle and the woman he once loved. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a man whose family is closely related to the secrets, she uncovers the carefully hidden events of her great-uncle’s and others’ lives – and will ultimately change her own with their discovery.

This story of undying love, born amidst the darkest era in modern history, unfolded on the breathtaking Gold Coast of Long Island in 1942. A Jewish, Army Air Forces pilot and an enchanting society debutante—young lovers—deception—and a moment in time that lasted forever.

A Moment Forever is an evocative journey that will resonate with you long after you close the book. Romance, heartache, and the power of love, atonement, and forgiveness transform lives long after the horrors and scars of the Second World War have ended.

About the author
Born and bred in New York City, Cat Gardiner is a girl in love with the romance of an era once known as the Silent Generation, now referred to as the Greatest Generation. A member of the National League of American Pen Women, Romance Writers of America, and Tampa Area Romance Authors, she and her husband adore exploring the 1940s Home Front experience as living historians, wishing for a time machine to transport them back seventy years.

She loves to pull out her vintage frocks and attend U.S.O dances, swing clubs, and re-enactment camps as part of her research, believing that everyone should have an understanding of The 1940s Experience™. Inspired by those everyday young adults who changed the fate of the world, she writes about them, taking the reader on a romantic journey. Cat’s WWII-era novels always begin in her beloved Big Apple and surround you with the sights and sounds of a generation.

She is also the author of four Jane Austen-inspired contemporary novels, however, her greatest love is writing 20th Century Historical Fiction, WWII-era Romance. A Moment Forever is her debut novel in that genre.

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