Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Blast - Lilli de Jong by Janet Beton




Book Blast - Lilli de Jong

By Janet Benton


Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Nan A. Talese

Hardcover & eBook; 352 Pages

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Literary








A young woman finds the most powerful love of her life when she gives birth at an institution for unwed mothers in 1883 Philadelphia. She is told she must give up her daughter to avoid lifelong poverty and shame. But she chooses to keep her.

Pregnant, left behind by her lover, and banished from her Quaker home and teaching position, Lilli de Jong enters a home for wronged women to deliver her child. She is stunned at how much her infant needs her and at how quickly their bond overtakes her heart. Mothers in her position face disabling prejudice, which is why most give up their newborns. But Lilli can’t accept such an outcome. Instead, she braves moral condemnation and financial ruin in a quest to keep herself and her baby alive.

Confiding their story to her diary as it unfolds, Lilli takes readers from an impoverished charity to a wealthy family’s home to the streets of a burgeoning American city. Drawing on rich history, Lilli de Jong is both an intimate portrait of loves lost and found and a testament to the work of mothers. “So little is permissible for a woman,” writes Lilli, “yet on her back every human climbs to adulthood.”



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Praise for Lilli de Jong

“Lilli de Jong, discharged from her teaching job and banished from Quaker meetings because of her father’s selfish choice, finds comfort in the affections of her father’s apprentice, Johan. The night before he leaves to embark on a new life, she succumbs to his embrace with his promise that he will send for her. Soon thereafter, a pregnant Lilli finds herself shunned and alone, her only option a Philadelphia charity for wronged women. Knowing that she must relinquish her newborn, she is unprepared for the love that she feels for her daughter. Lilli quickly decides to fight to keep her, but in 1883 that means a life of hardship and deprivation. Telling Lilli’s story in diary form, debut author Benton has written a captivating, page-turning, and well-researched novel about the power of a mother’s love and the stark reality of the choices she must make. VERDICT A great choice for book clubs and readers of Geraldine Brooks.” – Library Journal, Starred Review

“A powerful, authentic voice for a generation of women whose struggles were erased from history—a heart-smashing debut that completely satisfies.” —Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

“Beautifully written, emotionally resonant, and psychologically astute, Lilli de Jong is the story of an unwed mother in late 19th-century Philadelphia who, facing peril at every turn, will do almost anything to keep her daughter alive. Benton turns a laser eye to her subject, exposing the sanctimony, hypocrisies, and pervasive sexism that kept women confined and unequal in the Victorian era—and that still bedevil many women today. A gripping read.” —Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train and A Piece of the World

“A stunning ode to motherhood. Lilli de Jong reminds us that there is no formula to being a good mother. Love is the essential ingredient, and only it gives everlasting life to our legacies. A debut of robust heart that will stay with me for a very long time.” —Sarah McCoy, author of The Mapmaker’s Children

“Janet Benton’s remarkable novel Lilli de Jong is historical fiction that transcends the genre and recalls a past world so thoroughly that it breathes upon the page. From the first sentence, Lilli’s sensitive, observant, determined voice casts an irresistible spell. Benton combines rich, carefully researched detail with an imaginative boldness that is a joy to behold—though reader, be warned: Lilli’s story may break your heart.” —Valerie Martin, author of The Ghost of the Mary Celeste

“[A] gorgeously written debut . . . Lilli’s fight to craft her own life and nurture her bond with her baby is both devastatingly relevant and achingly beautiful. A stunning read about the fierceness of love triumphing over a rigid society.” —Caroline Leavitt, author of Is This Tomorrow

“The trials Lilli undertakes to keep her baby are heart-rending, and it’s a testament to Benton’s skill as a writer that the reader cannot help but bear witness. In a style reminiscent of Geraldine Brooks, she seamlessly weaves accurate historical detail as well as disturbing societal norms into the protagonist’s struggles . . . An absorbing debut from a writer to watch.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A heartrending debut . . . Benton’s exacting research fuels Lilli’s passionate, authentic voice that is ‘as strong as a hand on a drum . . . that pounds its urgent messages across a distance’ . . . Lilli’s inspiring power and touching determination are timeless.” —Publishers Weekly

“A harrowing look at the strictures of nineteenth-century American society. . . . [Lilli] is a full-fledged heroine, persevering despite seemingly insurmountable odds. . . her voice is distinctive, her fierceness driven by a mother’s love.” —Booklist

“I loved this novel. Lilli de Jong is deeply moving and richly imagined, both tragic and joyous. Janet Benton has an exceptional ability to bring history to life . . . It’s not only a compelling, beautifully crafted historical novel, however: it’s also important . . . Lilli’s life-and-death struggle is shockingly common to women even today.” —Sandra Gulland, author of the internationally bestselling Josephine B. Trilogy

“Writing with a historical eye akin to Geraldine Brooks and incisive prose matching that of Anthony Doerr, debut novelist Janet Benton magically weaves a gripping narrative of hardship, redemption, and hope while illuminating a portrait of little-known history. The result is an unforgettable and important reflection on the maternal and, ultimately, the human bond. Stunning!” —Pam Jenoff, author of The Kommandant’s Girl

“A confident debut . . . Sentence by carefully-crafted sentence, Benton ensnares the reader.” —The Millions

About the Author


Janet Benton’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Glimmer Train, and many other publications. She has co-written and edited historical documentaries for television. She holds a B.A. in religious studies from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and for decades she has taught writing and helped individuals and organizations craft their stories. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Lilli de Jong is her first novel.


Visit Janet Benton’s website for more information and updates. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor


Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor



Archbishop Ruthard of Mainz and Henry V



Henry V (German: Heinrich V.; 11 August 1081/86[1] – 23 May 1125) was King of Germany (from 1099 to 1125) and Holy Roman Emperor (from 1111 to 1125), the fourth and last ruler of the Salian dynasty. Henry's reign coincided with the final phase of the great Investiture Controversy, which had pitted pope against emperor. By the settlement of the Concordat of Worms, he surrendered to the demands of the second generation of Gregorian reformers.

Assumption of power

Henry's parents were Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and Bertha of Savoy. On 6 January 1099, his father had him crowned King of Germany at Aachen in place of his older brother, the rebel Conrad. Henry took an oath to take no part in the business of the Empire during his father's lifetime, but he was induced by his father's enemies to revolt in 1104, securing a dispensation from the oath by Pope Paschal II, and some of the princes did homage to him at Mainz in January 1105. Despite the initial setbacks of the rebels, Henry IV was forced to abdicate and died soon after. Order was soon restored in Germany, the citizens of Cologne were punished with a fine, and an expedition against Robert II, Count of Flanders, brought this rebel to his knees.

In 1107, Henry undertook a campaign to restore Borivoi II in Bohemia, which was only partially successful. Henry summoned Svatopluk the Lion, who had captured Duke Borivoi. Borivoi was released at the emperor's command and made godfather to Svatopluk's new son. Nevertheless, on Svatopluk's return to Bohemia, he assumed the throne. In 1108, Henry went to war with Coloman of Hungary on behalf of Prince Álmos. An attack by Boleslaus III of Poland and Borivoi on Svatopluk forced Henry to give up his campaign. Instead, he invaded Poland to compel them to renew their accustomed tribute but was defeated at the Battle of Hundsfeld, although the existence of this battle is doubted by historians because it was first recorded about a century later. In 1110, he succeeded in securing the dukedom of Bohemia for Ladislaus I.

Return to Germany

Henry left Rome carrying the pope with him. Paschal's failure to obtain assistance drew from him a confirmation of the king's right of investiture and a promise to crown him emperor. The coronation ceremony accordingly took place on 13 April, after which the emperor returned to Germany, where he sought to strengthen his power by granting privileges to the inhabitants of the region of the upper Rhine.
In 1112, Lothair of Supplinburg, Duke of Saxony, rose in arms against Henry but was easily quelled. In 1113, however, a quarrel over the succession to the counties of Weimar and Orlamünde gave occasion for a fresh outbreak on the part of Lothair, whose troops were defeated at the Battle of Warnstadt,though the duke was later pardoned.
On 7 January 1114 at Mainz, Henry married Matilda, the daughter of Henry I of England.


War with Cologne

The emperor was confronted with a further uprising in 1114, initiated by the citizens of Cologne, who were soon joined by the Saxons and others. Initially, Henry took the fortified town of Deutz, which lay across the Rhine from Cologne. His control of Deutz allowed him to cut Cologne off from all river trade and transportation. At this point, the citizens of Cologne assembled a large force, including bowmen, and crossed the river, formed their ranks, and prepared to meet Henry's army. The Cologne bowmen were able to break the armor of Henry's soldiers; it was summer, the weather was sultry, and the soldiers had removed their armor to find relief from the heat. Henry subsequently withdrew, turned south, and sacked Bonn and Jülich. On his return to Deutz, he was met by Archbishop Frederick, Duke Gottfried of Lorraine, Henry of Zutphen, and Count Theodoric of Aar, Count Gerhard of Julich (William I), Lambert of Mulenarke, and Eberhard of Gandernol, who put up a stout resistance in which the latter was killed. Theodoric, Gerhard, and Lambert were taken prisoner.

When Frederick, Count of Westphali, arrived with his brother, also named Henry, and their substantial force, the emperor withdrew, barely escaping capture. Finally, in October 1114, the two armies met on the plain at Andernach. After an initial skirmish in which Duke Henry of Lorraine was forced to withdraw, the citizen army and the emperor's force of Swabians, Bavarians, and Franconians clashed. The young men of Cologne, including many journeymen and apprentices, created a fearful din of noise, slashing at all who came near them. Theodric threw his force into the fight, and the emperor's army was forced back. Eventually, complications in Italy compelled him to leave Germany to the care of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, Duke of Swabia, and his brother Conrad, afterwards the German king Conrad III.


Second Italian expedition

After Henry departed from Rome in 1111 a council had declared the privilege of lay investiture, which had been extorted from Paschal, to be invalid. Guido, Archbishop of Vienne, excommunicated the emperor, calling upon the pope to ratify this sentence. Paschal, however, refused to take so extreme a step. The quarrel entered a new stage in 1115 when Matilda of Tuscany died, leaving her vast estates to the papacy. Crossing the Alps in 1116, Henry won the support of the town and nobles by granting privileges to the one and giving presents to the other. But Jordan, Archbishop of Milan, excommunicated him at San Tecla. He took possession of Matilda's lands and was gladly received in Rome. By this time Paschal had withdrawn his consent to lay investiture, and the excommunication had been published in Rome, but the pope was compelled to flee from the city. Some of the cardinals withstood the emperor, but by means of bribes he broke down the opposition and was crowned a second time by Maurice Bourdin, Archbishop of Braga, who was to become Antipope Gregory VIII.

Meanwhile, the defeat at Welfesholz had given heart to Henry's enemies. Many of his supporters, especially among the bishops, fell away, the excommunication was published at Cologne, and the pope, with the assistance of the Normans, began to make war. In January 1118, Paschal died and was succeeded by Gelasius II. The emperor immediately returned from northern Italy to Rome. But as the new pope escaped from the city, Henry, despairing of making a treaty, secured the election of the Antipope Gregory VIII, who was left in possession of Rome when the emperor returned across the Alps that same year.

Concordat of Worms

After the second Italian expedition, the opposition in Germany was gradually crushed, and a general peace was declared at Tribur,[21] while the desire for a settlement of the investiture dispute was growing. Negotiations, begun at Würzburg, were continued at Worms, where the new pope, Callistus II, was represented by Cardinal Lambert, Bishop of Ostia.

In the Concordat of Worms, signed in September 1122, Henry renounced the right of investiture with ring and crozier, recognized the freedom of election of the clergy, and promised to restore all church property. The pope agreed to allow elections to take place in presence of the imperial envoys, and the investiture with the sceptre to be granted by the emperor as a symbol that the estates of the church were held under the crown. Henry, who had been solemnly excommunicated at Reims by Callistus in October 1119, was received again into the communion of the church, after he had abandoned his nominee, Gregory, to defeat and banishment.


Death

The emperor's concluding years were occupied with a campaign in Holland and with a quarrel over the succession to the margraviate of Meissen, two disputes in which his enemies were aided by Lothair of Saxony. In 1124, he led an expedition against Louis VI of France and turned his arms against the citizens of Worms. On 23 May 1125, Henry died of cancer in Utrecht[24] and was buried at Speyer; his heart and bowels are buried at the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht. Having no legitimate children, he left his possessions to his sororal nephew, Frederick II of Swabia, and on his death the line of Franconian, or Salian, emperors became extinct. The chronicler Hériman of Tournai mentions a child of Henry and Matilda who died soon after birth. Henry's illegitimate daughter Bertha married Ptolemy II of Tusculum, son of the first Ptolemy, in 1117.




Grave of Henry V in the cathedral of Speyer.






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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

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


Marlene

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.

Synopsis

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


Giveaway


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!

Rules

– 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.

– 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.








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