Printers Row Lit Fest 2014

Printers Row 1


Catching up on many things, here is finally something about a very exciting time I spent in Chicago last June!

Printer’s Row, also known as Printing House Row, is a neighborhood located south of the Chicago downtown area known as the Loop. The annual Printers Row Lit Fest is held in early June along Dearborn Street. This year it was the 30th Fest, and finally my first time there!

It was really neat to see these long rows of booths full of books, authors, and readers, with the famous Chicago architecture landmarks in the background.

PR4 Dearborne

I did walk miles and miles, going up and down I don’t know how many times. Hiking + books, do you know about a better combo? I don’t.

 PR7 (2) PR5

Readers were very focused, as they should be, right? alert to find any good bargain.


And then, ta-dah! I spotted Amika Press, (see also their Facebook page) and suddenly remembered that with France Book Tours, we had organized a virtual book tours for Ruth Hull Chatlien and her great historical novel published by that press on The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte. This is about Betsy Patterson, who grew up in Baltimore, and ended up marrying Napoleon’s older brother!
So I went to the booth, presented myself, and asked if by any chance Ruth would be there. And yes, she was on her way! So it was really fun to meet face to face.

with Ruth Hull Chatlien

If you have not yet heard about The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, I highly recommend you come and visit the tour page, read a few of the reviews, and go have a look at the author’s web page. She is also on Twitter and Facebook.
Here was my verdict for her book:

I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy historical fiction, strong women, and/or reading about the Bonapartes. On a very detailed and informative background, Chatlien manages to draw the lively portrait of a strong woman, victim of history and of her milieu. You will want to accompany Betsy all along and discover what fate has in store for her and those she loves.

As extra cherries on the cake, I discovered two new to me local authors :

with Dan Burns

Dan Burns even offered me his collection of short stories: No Turning Back. I just read them and will present them very soon on this blog. I will tell you more about him with my review, but I would like to mention here that he just won for Best Screen Play at the Naperville Independent Film Festival with A Fine Line!

I also met an author of very interesting historical mysteries featuring Emily Cabot, published by Allium Press:

with Frances McNamara

I just read Death at The Fair, by Frances McNamara: it is about a murder during the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Fascinating! She also has a volume on Chinatown. I will present Death at the Fair very shortly here as well.

Conclusion: if there are literary events around you, don’t miss them, they are fun and great opportunities to meet with authors you know, connect with new ones, and discover small presses.
And don’t wait for 5 months to talk to us about it as I did!

Book review and giveaway: The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte. I love France #85

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The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

Ambitious Madame Bonaparte

In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this book for free in exchange
for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post
as a reviewer,
and the thoughts are my own.
The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte
Ruth Hull Chatlien
Publisher: Amika Press, Chicago
Pub. Date: December 2, 2013
ISBN: 978-1937484163

Historical fiction

Source: Received
from the author through
Historical Fiction virtual book tour


Buy Links:

Available from
Amika Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble,
and iTunes.

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

   books-on-france-14 2014 historical fiction New author challenge


new eiffel 42014 started very well on Words And Peace and France Book Tours with Josephine Bonaparte. I am delighted today to present another Bonaparte, a bit less known I believe, but thanks to Ruth Hull Chatlien, all historical novel lovers can now meet Betsy Bonaparte.

Elizabeth Patterson was born at the end of the 18th century. She grew up in Baltimore. She was very beautiful, was very smart, and had an amazing memory. And her heart was full of dreams, of living abroad in Europe and marrying some dashing rich noble. One day, she meets just the one: Jerome Bonaparte, none other than Napoleon’s brother. And they do marry, and I won’t tell you more about how her life turned out.

I will only say, probably not at all the way you might imagine . But keep in mind the spirit of the time, when women had to respect their father’s mind and will – and Betsy’s father has definitely a mind of his own.
And things get much more complicated as Napoleon‘s mind was quite formidable as well. The book will show you how he tried to dominate as a tyrant not only over France but also over every member of his own family.

The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is very well done. It gives you an excellent background of the socio-economic and political context of the time, in France, Europe (with Napoleon’s doing and undoing), and in the United States.

The description of culture and literary life in Paris is excellent as well.

It certainly depicts very strong and determined characters, sometimes to the point of obsession, especially if you consider Betsy’s life long fight for herself and then for Bo, projecting on him all she could not attain for herself – I will let you meet Bo yourself. It seems her desires were so strong that they blinded her many a times to what was certainly going to happen.

Betsy was for me a very dreamy and tragic figure, never totally at ease in the world that was hers, never totally feeling at home for long in any country she tried to settle, always fighting for her place in a world of culture and respect of all.

Fittingly, the book ends with a vivid scene produced by Betsy’s powerful imagination.

VERDICT: I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy historical fiction, strong women, and/or reading about the Bonapartes. On a very detailed and informative background, Chatlien manages to draw the lively portrait of a strong woman, victim of history and of her milieu. You will want to accompany Betsy all along and discover what fate has in store for her and those she loves.


As a clever girl in stodgy, mercantile Baltimore, Betsy Patterson dreams of a marriage that will transport her to cultured Europe. When she falls in love with and marries Jerome Bonaparte, she believes her dream has come true—until Jerome’s older brother Napoleon becomes an implacable enemy. Based on a true story, The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte is a historical novel that portrays this woman’s tumultuous life. Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, known to history as Betsy Bonaparte, scandalized Washington with her daring French fashions; visited Niagara Falls when it was an unsettled wilderness; survived a shipwreck and run-ins with British and French warships; dined with presidents and danced with dukes; and lived through the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Yet through it all, Betsy never lost sight of her primary goal—to win recognition of her marriage. [provided by the author]


Ruth Hull ChatlienRuth Hull Chatlien has been a writer and editor of educational materials for twenty-five years. Her specialty is U.S. and world history. She is the author of Modern American Indian Leaders and has published several short stories and poems in literary magazines. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte (2013) is her first published novel.

She lives in northeastern Illinois with her husband, Michael, and a very pampered dog named Smokey. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found gardening, knitting, drawing, painting, or watching football.

Website | Twitter | Facebook 



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2014: February wrap-up

February has just been another dreadfully cold and snowy month, giving me lots of opportunities to just get cozy with a good book.

Here is what I read in February:

8 books, with 1976 pages, that is,  70 pages/day.

Among those, 1 was an audiobook: 5:56 hours, that is, an average of 12 mn/day.

4 fiction:

  1. I See London, I See France, by Paulita Kincer –ebook
  2. Paris, Rue des Martyrs, by Adria J. Cimino – ebook. Book review scheduled for March 7. See here to win this great book!
  3. Inch’Allah Dimanche, by Yamina Benguigui – in French. Review coming tomorrow!
  4. My Wish List, by Grégoire Delacourt –review scheduled for March 25

2 historical fiction:

  1. The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte, by Ruth Hull Chatlien – review scheduled for March 3. See here to win this great book!
  2. Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter, by Anne Clinard Barnhill – review scheduled for March 10

2 mystery:

  1. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan – ebook
  2. Mrs Pollifax Pursued, by Dorothy Gilman – audio

My favorites this month:

Mr Penumbra's 24-hour bookstoreParis Rue des Martyrs - cover final


Reading Challenges recap

Audiobook: 2/12
Books on France: 10/24
Ebook challenge: 4/25
Historical fiction: 5/25
Japanese literature: 0/2 – starts in June
New authors challenge: 14/50
My Kind of Mysteries: 3/20
TBR challenge: 0/12
What’s in a Name: 3/5
Where Are You Reading?: 12/50 – to be finished in 2014
Australian Literature Month: 0/1

Total of books read in 2014 = 16

Number of books added to my TBR in February = 49


Blog recap

  1. 5 of the 8 books read this month were received for review

  2. 21 readers signed up for my Books on France Challenge, will you join too?

  3. I organized 3 giveaways this month. For all the giveaways for Words And Peace, I now use Rafllecopter. As you can see the name of the winner in the rafflecopter widget itself, I’m not going to bother posting the name of the winner on a separate post. When I ask rafflecopter to choose the winner, it sends a post on twitter and Facebook, so if you follow me, you have lots of ways of knowing who won, if not you. I notify the winners through email.
  4. France Book Tours completed 28 book tours, and there are  10  scheduled. If you are interested in reviewing books on your blog for France Book Tours, just fill in this short questionnaire. You can find all kinds of genre: historical fiction, romance, mystery, LGBT, nonfiction, etc.

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