Tuesday, December 13, 2016

HFVBT Presents C.W. Gortner's - Marlene A Novel of Marlene Dietrich - Book Blast - December 13- 20


A Novel of Marlene Dietrich 

by C.W. Gortner

Book Blast and Giveaway  

Paperback Release Date: December 13, 2016

William Morrow, Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780062406071; 432 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary Women/Biographical

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Marlene Dietrich’s femme fatale persona defined her, but behind the glitz of 1930s Hollywood was a remarkably modern woman, determined to live by her own terms.

A rebellious girl, Marlene’s genteel family expectations curtail her until Germany’s defeat in the Great War gives rise to the decadence of Weimar Berlin. Here, Marlene finds her niche as a cabaret actress. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, and androgynous tuxedo, she performs to packed houses and has a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention until she finds overnight success in the scandalous movie The Blue Angel. As Hitler seizes power, Marlene sets sail for America to become one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies, starring opposite Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. When Hitler tries to entice her back to Germany, Marlene defiantly declares her stance, risking her life to perform for Allied troops. And upon the war’s savage end, she finally returns to Germany to discover a heartbreaking secret amidst the war’s devastation.

MARLENE is out in paperback on December 13 and features exclusive extra content. A perfect gift for lovers of old Hollywood and strong dames! To find out more, please visit: www.cwgortner.com/Marlene.html.


From the gender-bending cabarets of Weimar Berlin to the tyrannical movie studios of Los Angeles, this sweeping story of passion, glamour, art, and war is a lush, dramatic novel of one of the most alluring legends of Hollywood’s golden age: Marlene Dietrich.

Raised in genteel poverty after the First World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When her budding career as a violinist is cut short, she vows to become an actress, trading her family’s proper, middle-class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Berlin’s cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses and conducts a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention until she finds overnight success in the scandalous movie The Blue Angel
For Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler rises to power, she sets sail for America to become a rival to MGM’s queen, Greta Garbo. As one of Hollywood’s top leading ladies, she stars with such legends as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Defiant in her stance against the Nazis, Marlene chooses instead to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, she tours with the USO, performing for Allied troops in Europe and Africa. But one day, she must return to Germany, where she will discover a heartbreaking secret amidst the war’s devastation that transformed her homeland and the family she loved.

An enthralling account of this extraordinary legend, MARLENE reveals the inner life of a woman of grit and ambition who defied convention, seduced the world, and forged her own path.

“Skillfully evokes the cross-dressing, sexually fluid atmosphere of the seedy nightclubs that helped Marlene define her unique appeal.
Well-detailed and truly moving; an ambitious account of the German-American star. ” —Kirkus Reviews

“Full of the sizzle and decadence of Weimar Berlin, and the scandal and soirees of Hollywood’s golden era, this is a gloriously entertaining read.
CW Gortner’s Marlene is utterly beguiling, the kind of woman who only comes along once in a century. Reader, you can’t take your eyes off her!” —Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author

“From the ribald cabarets of Weimer-era Berlin to the glamour of golden-era Hollywood, beguilingly androgynous and fiercely passionate Marlene Dietrich . . . fairly leaps off every page.” —Booklist, starred review

About the Author

C.W. GORTNER holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies from the New College of California, as well as an AA from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco.
After an eleven year-long career in fashion, during which he worked as a vintage retail buyer, freelance publicist, and fashion show coordinator, C.W. devoted the next twelve years to the public health sector. In 2012, he became a full-time writer following the international success of his novels.

In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard at Hampton Court, learned about organic gardening at Chenoceaux, and spent a chilly night in a ruined Spanish castle. His books have garnered widespread acclaim and been translated into twenty-one languages to date, with over 400,000 copies sold. A sought-after public speaker. C.W. has given keynote addresses at writer conferences in the US and abroad. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights, in particular companion animal rescue to reduce shelter overcrowding.

Half-Spanish by birth and raised in southern Spain, C.W. now lives in Northern California with his partner and two very spoiled rescue cats.

For more information visit C.W. Gortner’s website and blog. You can also find him on Facebook, Twittter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and YouTube. Sign up for C.W. Gortner’s Newsletter for updates.

Book Blast Schedule

Friday, December 16
Broken Teepee
Books, Dreams, Life

Monday, December 19
Book Nerd
A Literary Vacation


To win a paperback copy of Marlene: A Novel of Marlene Dietrich by C.W. Gortner, please enter via the Gleam form below. Two copies are up for grabs!


– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 20th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

– Giveaway is open to US residents only.

– Only one entry per household.

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– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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Vielka Helen - Princess Eboli

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Apocalypse Tapestry

Apocalypse Tapestry

Jean Bondol and Nicholas Bataille



Musée de la Tapisserie, Château d'Angers, Angers

The Apocalypse Tapestry is a large medieval French set of tapestries commissioned by Louis I, the Duke of Anjou, and produced between 1377 and 1382. It depicts the story of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation by Saint John the Divine in colourful images, spread over a number of sections that originally totalled 90 scenes. Despite being lost and mistreated in the late 18th century, the tapestry was recovered and restored in the 19th century and is now on display at the Chateau d'Angers. It is the oldest French medieval tapestry to have survived, and historian Jean Mesqui considers it "one of the great artistic interpretations of the revelation of Saint John, and one of the masterpieces of French cultural heritage".

The Apocalypse Tapestry was commissioned by Louis I, the Duke of Anjou in the late 1370s. Louis instructed Jean Bondol, a Flemish artist, to draw the sketches that would form the model for the tapestry, which was then woven in Paris between 1377 and 1380 by Nicholas Bataille. The tapestry was probably finally complete by 1382. It was unusual for a tapestry to be commissioned by a buyer to a specific design in this way. It is uncertain how Louis used the tapestry; it was probably intended to be displayed outside, supported by six wooden structures, possibly arranged so as to position the viewer near to the centre of the display, imitating a jousting field. The tapestry and its theme would have also helped to bolster the status of Louis's Valois dynasty, then involved in the Hundred Years' War with England.
The tapestry shows the story of the Apocalypse from the Book of Revelation by Saint John the Divine. In the 14th century, the Apocalypse was a popular story, focusing on the heroic aspects of the last confrontation between good and evil and featuring battle scenes between angels and beasts. Although many of the scenes in the story included destruction and death, the account ended with the triumphant success of good, forming an uplifting story. Various versions of the Apocalypse story, or cycle, were circulating in Europe at the time and Louis chose to use an Anglo-French Gothic style of the cycle, partially derived from a manuscript he borrowed from his brother, Charles V of France, in 1373. This version of the Apocalypse had first been recorded in Metz and then later adapted by English artists; Charles' manuscript had been produced in England around 1250. Louis may also have been influenced by a particularly grand tapestry given to Charles by the magistrates of Lille in 1367.

After a century in the ownership of the dukes of Anjou, René of Anjou bequeathed the tapestry to Angers Cathedral in 1480 where it remained for many years. During the French Revolution the Apocalypse Tapestry was looted and cut up into pieces. The pieces of the tapestry were used for various purposes: as floor mats, to protect local orange trees from frost, to shore up holes in buildings, and to insulate horse stables. During the Revolution many medieval tapestries were destroyed, both through neglect and through being melted down to recover the gold and silver used in their designs. The surviving fragments were rediscovered in 1848 and preserved, being returned to the cathedral in 1870.

The cathedral was not ideal for displaying and preserving the tapestry. The neighbouring Chateau d'Angers had been used as a French military base for many years, but transferred to civilian use after the Second World War. In 1954 the tapestry was moved there, to be displayed in a new gallery designed by French architect Bernard Vitry. Between 1990 and 2000 the castle gallery was itself improved, with additional light and ventilation controls installed to protect the tapestry.

Detail of the tapestry (reverse side), showing an important figure seated under a ceremonial shade

Description and style

The tapestry was made in six sections, each 78-foot (24 m) wide by 20-foot (6.1 m) high, comprising 90 different scenes. Each scene had a red or blue background, alternating between the sections. They would have taken considerable effort to produce, with between 50 and 84 man-years of effort required by the weaving teams. Only 71 of the original 90 scenes survive today. The tapestry is dominated by blue, red and ivory coloured threads, supported by orange and green colours, with gilt and silver woven into the wool and silk. These colours are now considerably faded on the front of the tapestry but were originally similar to the deep and vibrant hues seen on the back of the tapestry panels.

Jean Bondol's weaving follows the Franco-Flemish school of tapestry design, with rich, realist, fluid images placed into a simple, clear structure through the course of the tapestry. As a result, the angels and monsters are depicted with considerable energy and colour, the impact reinforced by the sheer size of the tapestry, which allows them to be portrayed slightly larger than life-size. Various approaches are taken in the tapestry to interpreting the allegorical language used by St John in his original text; in particular, the tapestry takes an unusual approach to portraying the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, Death. The depiction of Death in this tapestry follows the style then becoming popular in England: he is represented as a decaying corpse, rather than the more common 14th century portrayal of Death as a conventional, living person.

Conquest the First Horseman

Famine the Second Horseman

Death the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse - represented as a decaying corpse

The eagle of Doom

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