Monday, April 30, 2018

Review and Giveaway: "Madam of My Heart" by Gini Grossenbacher

Synopsis: Baltimore, 1849. During a scandalous crisis, the young Irish Brianna Baird flees her home at Fells Point. With little cash and only a seamstress’s trade, she braves the hypnotic streets of New Orleans. The tantalizing Madam DeSalle lures her to her brothel, then sells her to the dashing but questionable gambler, Edward Spina, who falls in love with her. In a tawdry alliance with these two profiteers, Brianna embarks on a journey through the French Quarter’s debauched and glittering Voodoo world. Facing the horrors of slavery, she triumphs by gaining freedom papers for her maid Emma’s enslaved husband and son. Brianna and Edward escape with them to San Francisco. There she becomes one of the most sought after madams in the gold rush parlor house trade. But will her fame and pluck be enough to save Edward from the Vigilante noose? This is the first book in the American Madams series.

My Thoughts: I don't think I've read a book like this before.  The premise was fascinating; it was really interesting to see a story that told the truth about what kinds of options (if you would call them that) that women had if they stepped outside the acceptable path.  It was definitely a page-turner!

Brianna was such a vivacious character.  She came from a complicated family but still had a head full of dreams and big plans for her future.  I loved seeing her goals of being a successful seamstress even though it wasn't common for women to be business owners in those days.  It was awful to see how her family treated her and forced her to leave home but somehow she managed to find her way to success (after a lot of really hard struggles).  It was eye-opening to see the kind of life available to women on their own and how difficult it was to not have the protection of one's family.

I liked seeing Brianna be able to overcome the hand she was dealt and end up a successful madam, however, at times her path there was a little unrealistic.  Her relationship with Edward was very sweet but I'm sure most prostitutes of the time were not 'bought' by a wealthy man to keep them safe from the brothel's clientele.  I also had some issues with the parts where Edward and Brianna buy the freedom of Emma and her family.  It felt a little white savior-ish to me.

Despite those small things, overall, I did really enjoy this book.  The ending left me wanting to know more and I am eager to read the next book in the series.  3 1/2 stars.

I received this book from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:

California author Gini Grossenbacher was a successful high school English teacher until she abandoned grades and term papers, choosing to write historical novels instead. Now she leads small writing groups and coaches other writers. She loves researching the history behind her novels, and enjoys traveling to the setting where they take place. Her hobbies include needlepoint, nature walks, and Scrabble. She lives in the Sacramento Valley where she grew up, east of San Francisco.
For more information, please visit Gini’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two copies of Madam of My Heart! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on April 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– 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.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Mailbox Monday (80)

Good morning y'all! Today I'm linking up with Mailbox Monday for the first time in ages. 

I've neglected this blog a lot in recent months mainly because life has just kind of exploded.  We went on an amazing trip to Germany in November and as soon as we got back, I found out I was pregnant.  I was so sick for the first few months! It was all new to me because I felt so good when I was pregnant with Julia.  During that same time, the hubs started having a lot of stomach issues and ended up having surgery in February.  So there has been  A LOT going on lately. 

I'm finally feeling better and trying to read more.  I set a really low goal for the year (52 books) and so far I'm on track so that's nice.  I have still been bringing new book babies into my house but I think that's going to slow down here really quick.  I've been taking advantage of the kindle sales and need to read what I have for a while.

Here is some of what I got this week:

For Review (from author):

Purchased for Kindle:

What books did you get this week?
Imagination Designs