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Review & Giveaway of Marlene: A Novel by C.W. Gortner

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About Marlene

Raised in genteel poverty after the first World War, Maria Magdalena Dietrich dreams of a life on the stage. When a budding career as a violinist is cut short, the willful teenager vows to become a singer, trading her family’s proper, middle class society for the free-spirited, louche world of Weimar Berlin’s cabarets and drag balls. With her sultry beauty, smoky voice, seductive silk cocktail dresses, and androgynous tailored suits, Marlene performs to packed houses, and becomes entangled in a series of stormy love affairs that push the boundaries of social convention.

For the beautiful, desirous Lili Marlene, neither fame nor marriage and motherhood can cure her wanderlust. As Hitler and the Nazis rise to power, she sets sail for America. Rivaling the success of another European import, Greta Garbo, Marlene quickly becomes one of Hollywood’s leading ladies, starring with legends such as Gary Cooper, John Wayne, and Cary Grant. Desperate for her return, Hitler tries to lure her with dazzling promises. Marlene instead chooses to become an American citizen, and after her new nation is forced into World War II, tours with the USO, performing for thousands of Allied troops in Europe and Africa.

But one day she will return to Germany. Escorted by General George Patton himself, Marlene is heartbroken by the war’s devastation and the evil legacy of the Third Reich that has transformed her homeland and the family she loved.

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

My Review

Gortner gives readers the undeniable enigmatic Marlene Dietrich in all her glory reading more nonfiction than fiction. With certitude Gortner is a talented writer with a creative eye possessing a knack celebrating iconic women.

Marlene’s story is detailed and alluring. Nothing new brought to light for those familiar with the mysterious lady, although his emphasis on Dietrich’s aiding the allies during wartime by entertaining military personnel on the home front and abroad might be a revelation to readers. Her love affairs with both men and women were plenty. A public figure yet achingly private. Her childhood somewhat of a challenge, her relationship with her mother turbulent.

Marlene was a nonconformist, she lived her life her way without apology, excuses or regret, Marlene did not bend for the world despite societal expectations. A progressive woman in thought, choices and actions clearly ahead of her time.

I wasn’t a fan of the clunky sex scenes, awkwardly descriptive. I did appreciate the vivid atmospheric taste of Germany, its people and concerns of Hitler and pre/post WWII. Kudos for the thorough research, as always Gortner crafts a story of a woman of strength, independence holding on to her individuality. A man who understands women exploiting them in their individual exuberance.

About C.W. Gortner169656

Bestselling author C.W. Gortner holds an MFA in Writing, with an emphasis in Renaissance Studies. Raised in Spain and half Spanish by birth, he currently lives in Northern California. His books have been translated in over 20 languages to date.

He welcomes readers and is always available for reader group chats. Please visit his website for more information.

Giveaway

Enter to win my ARC of Marlene. US residents only. Ends 5/11/16
ENTRY-FORM

Expected publication: May 24th 2016 by William Morrow

Review: The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. Gortner

02_The Vatican Princess

About The Vatican Princess

Infamy is no accident. It is a poison in our blood. It is the price of being a Borgia.

Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized 15th-century Renaissance Italy. Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—assume an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, he’s obliged to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice—a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

My Review

The name Borgia is renown, it stops you in your tracks. I was thrilled the story focused heavily on Lucrezia Borgia.

Following Lucrezia from innocent girlhood to savvy young adult was stirring. Her family certainly created plenty of excitement and sadness as she served as a bargaining chip to ensure the Borgia position. Quickly Lucrezia catches on to her power, role, voice and accepts what comes her way with grace and smarts.

The narrative contained all the proper ingredients you would expect, power, politics, sex, wealth, infidelity, incest, status, loyalty, love. The pace is extremely fast, no doubt the last page will be reached quickly. The end was satisfying.

I was let down Lucrezia lacked emotion, yes she possessed strength but for all she suffered and endured she felt wooden, desensitized. Perhaps this was Gortner’s intent and a mistake on my part to expect a feeling character exhibiting crumbs of emotion. In addition, the narrative was a bit slow and redundant at times other times rushed.

Historical fictions fans, lovers of powerful family’s will want to add this to your shelf. Gortner delivers another entertaining story with a captivating female protagonist.

About the Author03_CW Gortner

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.

Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

04_The Vatican Princess_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

 

Book Blast & Giveaway: The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. Gortner

02_The Vatican Princess

Infamy is no accident. It is a poison in our blood. It is the price of being a Borgia.

Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized 15th-century Renaissance Italy. Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty’s ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival?

With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, the new pope’s illegitimate children—his rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia—assume an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family’s fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: Alliances shift at a moment’s notice as Italy’s ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia’s father faces challenges from all sides, he’s obliged to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood.

Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, The Vatican Princess is the first novel to describe Lucrezia’s coming-of-age in her own voice—a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

About the Author03_CW Gortner

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.

Giveaway

To win a Borgia-Inspired Velvet Bag & Beaded Bracelet from C.W. Gortner please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below.

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 23rd. 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.

GLEAM ENTRY-FORM for The Vatican Princess Book Blast

Be sure to click on the HFVBT banner to check out the entire tour schedule.

04_The Vatican Princess_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner w/ Giveaway

Mademoiselle ChanelMademoiselle Chanel

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (March 17, 2015)

She revolutionized fashion and built an international empire . . . all on her own terms

An enthralling novel about an entirely self-made woman, Mademoiselle Chanel tells the true story of Coco Chanel’s extraordinary ambition, passion, and artistic vision.

Gortner sketches a well rounded read on the legendary Coco Chanel. He covers her heartbreaking childhood, romantic involvements, business ventures to her questionable involvement as a Nazi collaborator. Chanel was as mysterious in life as she remains after her passing. Gortner doles out information causing the reader to ask poignant questions as well as reach their own conclusions, assumptions. A wonderful gateway encouraging further examination of this enigmatic reticent fashion icon, and woman.

Read an excerpt of Mademoiselle Chanel.

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Purchase Links

Amazon†|†IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

CW GortnerAbout C. W. Gortner

A former fashion executive, C. W. Gortner is a lifelong admirer of Coco Chanel. His passion for writing led him to give up fashion, and his many historical novels have been bestsellers, published in more than twenty countries. He lives in San Francisco.

Find out more about C.W. Gortner at his website and connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

GIVEAWAY
To enter to win a copy of Mademoiselle Chanel please complete the giveaway form below. Open to US residents only. Ends 4/7/15
ENTRY-FORM

Thrilled to be participating in the tour for C.W. Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel, be sure to check out the entire tour schedule here, it runs through 3 April. Thank you TLC!

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Book Blast: Mademoiselle Chanel by C.W. Gortner w/ Giveaway

Please join author C.W. Gortner as his latest release, Mademoiselle Chanel, is featured around the blogosphere from March 17-April 3, and enter to win one of three fabulously chic, Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets!

02_Mademoiselle Chanel CoverPublication Date: March 17, 2015
William Morrow/HarperCollins
Formats: Hardover, eBook, Audio Book

Genre: Historical Fiction

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DRAMA, PASSION, TRAGEDY, AND BEAUTY: C.W.ís new novel stunningly imagines the life of Coco Chanelóthe iconic fashion designer whose staggering creativity built an empire and made her one of the 20th centuryís most influential, and controversial, figures.

Born into rural poverty, Gabrielle Chanel and her sisters are sent to a convent orphanage after their motherís death. Here, the nuns nurture Gabrielleís exceptional sewing skills, a talent that will propel her into a life far removed from the drudgery of her childhood.

Transforming herself into Cocoóa seamstress and sometime torch singeróthe petite brunette burns with ambition, an incandescence that draws a wealthy gentleman who will become the love of her life. She immerses herself in his world of money and luxury, discovering a freedom that sparks her creativity. But it is only when her lover takes her to Paris that Coco discovers her destiny.

Rejecting the frilly, corseted silhouette of the past, her sleek minimalist styles reflect the youthful ease and confidence of the 1920s modern woman. As Cocoís reputation spreads, her couturier business explodes, taking her into rarefied society circles and bohemian salons. Her little black dress, her signature perfume No. 5; her dramatic friendships, affairs, and rivalries with luminaries of her era increase her wealth and fame. But as the years pass, success cannot save her from heartbreak. And when Paris falls to the Nazis during World War II, Coco finds herself at a dangerous crossroads, forced to make choices that will forever change her.

An enthralling portrayal of an extraordinary woman who created the life she desired, Mademoiselle Chanel is Cocoís intimate story.

Release Graphic

Praise for Mademoiselle Chanel

ìIn this deliciously satisfying novel, C.W. Gortner tells the epic, rags-to-riches story of how this brilliant, mercurial, self-created woman became a legend.î (Christina Baker Kline, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train)

ìIn a novel as brilliant and complicated as Coco Chanel herself, C. W. Gortnerís prose is so electric and luminous it could be a film, and not just any film, but one of the grandest biopics of our time. Divine!î (Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl)

ìA richly imagined, deftly researched novel, in which the ever fascinating Coco Chanel comes to life in all her woe and splendor, her story unfolding as elegantly as a Chanel gown.î (Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls)

ìFrom her heart-wrenching early years through her decades of struggle and glory, Gabrielle Chanel was fascinatingóas is C.W. Gortnerís Mademoiselle Chanel. Coco lives again in this rich tale of brilliance, determination, and fierce self-creation.î (Ania Szado, author of Studio Saint-Ex)

ìGortner brings to life a woman who was as alluring and captivating as her signature scent. î (Historical Novels Review)

ìGortner brings history to life in a fascinating study of one womanís unstoppable ambition.î (Booklist)

ìWell-written and historically accurate . . . An homage to a couture icon whose influence is still powerful today.î (Kirkus Reviews)

Buy Mademoiselle Chanel

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Books-a-Million
iTunes
IndieBound

About the Author03_CW Gortner

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.

C.W. recently completed his fourth novel for Ballantine Books, about Lucrezia Borgia; the third novel in his Tudor Spymaster series for St Martin’s Press; and a new novel about the dramatic, glamorous life of Coco Chanel, scheduled for lead title publication by William Morrow, Harper Collins, in the spring of 2015.

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.

Mademoiselle Chanel Book Blast Schedule

Tuesday, March 17
Mina’s Bookshelf
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
So Many Books, So Little Time

Wednesday, March 18
Forever Ashley
History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, March 19
The Lit Bitch
100 Pages a Day

Friday, March 20
A Literary Vacation
Beth’s Book Nook Blog
What Is That Book About

Saturday, March 21
Genre Queen

Sunday, March 22
A Bookish Girl

Monday, March 23
Let them Read Books

Tuesday, March 24
Unshelfish
The True Book Addict

Wednesday, March 25
Historical Fiction Connection
The Never-Ending Book

Thursday, March 26
Broken Teepee

Friday, March 27
The Maiden’s Court

Saturday, March 28
Caroline Wilson Writes
Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Sunday, March 29
Passages to the Past

Monday, March 30
Flashlight Commentary
To Read, Or Not to Read
I’d So Rather Be Reading

Tuesday, March 31
Book Lovers Paradise

Wednesday, April 1
Booktalk & More

Thursday, April 2
CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, April 3
Book Nerd
Luxury Reading

Giveaway!

Three Chanel-style black and white beaded bracelets will up for grabs during this blast, follow along for chances to win!

Coco-bracelets

ñ Giveaway starts on March 17th at 12:01am and ends on April 3rd at 11:59pm EST.
ñ Must be 18 or older to enter.
ñ Giveaway is open to US residents only.
ñ Only one entry per household.
ñ 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.
– Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim prize, or new winner is chosen.

Mademoiselle Chanel Book Blast Giveaway

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