Ribbons of Scarlet by Stephanie Dray, Heather Webb, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn, Eliza Knight, & Laura Kamoie

Available October 1, 2019
Pre-order a copy signed by all six authors! https://www.strandbooks.com/event/ribbons-of-scarlet
Historical figures and places are featured at the end of this post. Links are included for your further reading enjoyment!

The Authors in Order of Chapters Presented in Ribbons of Scarlet


The Philosopher by Stephanie Dray Blue-blooded Sophie de Grouchy


The Revolutionary by Heather Webb – The fruit-seller Louise Audu


The Princess by Sophie Perinot-Princess Elisabeth, sister to King Louis XVI


The Politician by Kate Quinn -Political wife Manon Roland


The Assassin by Eliza Knight- Pauline Leon and Charlotte Corday


The Beauty by Laura Kamoie-The most beautiful woman in Paris, Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

Mesdames & Messieurs, The French Revolution. King Louis XVI. Marie Antoinette. And six amazingly strong and courageous women-all from complex and diverse backgrounds. The authors have each written the story of one woman or family so that the reader gets a completely different perspective on the French Revolution from each chapter. I was completely enthralled by the history and details and how skillfully & seamlessly each chapter flowed into the next; exquisite writing and details from each author. I felt the angst of Sophie not wanting to marry but delighted in her eventual discovery of true love and admired how she showed compassion for those less fortunate by opening a school. From Louise, Pauline, and Charlotte, the reader comes face to face with hunger & poverty and their effects on an entire population. Then there’s the royalty and “beauties” – Elisabeth and Emelie. The revolution from their perspective was equally eye-opening-to be a part of the family of the king and queen and to feel their anguish and fright, was a different view, for sure. The plight of women in Paris in the spring of 1786, the French aristocrat, Lafayette, and Robespierre, all have a voice in Ribbons of Scarlet. You’ll find yourself in parades, marches, salons, the Bastille, Tuileries,Versailles, jolted about in carriages, and holding your nose at the stench of the jail cells; but the Grateful Reader can guarantee that you’ll be proud and emboldened by the women that have gone before us as you read and become enthralled with The Ribbons of Scarlet. Guaranteed *****

“The wind kicked up, pulling the shawl free of my shoulders, and I met Sophie’s tear-filled gaze as it sailed on the breeze toward her, a ribbon of scarlet upon the wind.”

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined.

Marie Antoinette was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an Archduchess of Austria and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor. 

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was a French lawyer and politician, as well as one of the best known and most influential figures associated with the French Revolution.

Bastille Day is a holiday celebrating the storming of the Bastille—a military fortress and prison—on July 14, 1789, in a violent uprising that helped usher in the French Revolution. Besides holding gunpowder and other supplies valuable to revolutionaries, the Bastille also symbolized the callous tyranny of the French monarchy, especially King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette. https://www.history.com/topics/france/bastille-day#section_1

The Tuileries Palace was a royal and imperial palace in Paris which stood on the right bank of the River Seine. It was the usual Parisian residence of most French monarchs, from Henry IV to Napoleon III, until it was burned by the Paris Commune in 1871.  https://en.parisinfo.com/paris-museum-monument/71304/Jardin-des-Tuileries

The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris. http://en.chateauversailles.fr/

The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton

“Meg Waite Clayton  is a New York Timesbestselling author of the forthcoming THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON (HarperCollins, Sept 10, 2019), the #1 Amazon fiction bestseller BEAUTIFUL EXILES, the Langum-Prize honored national bestseller THE RACE FOR PARIS — recommended reading by Glamour Magazine and the BBC, and an Indie Next Booksellers’ pick — and THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS, one of Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Essential Best Friend Novels” of all time. Her THE LANGUAGE OF LIGHT was a finalist for the Bellwether Prize (now PEN/Bellwether Prize), and she’s written essays for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Runner’s World, Writer’s Digest and lots of other swanky publications she never imagined she might! “

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

The Last Train to London is the story of how one Dutch woman changed the lives of thousands of children in 1938-1939. Geertruida Wijsmuller-Tante Truus, to the children of Vienna, made it her life work to rescue Jewish children, with an effort known as Vienna Kindertransport.

This is an emotional tale of a woman’s love for children, her pain at the loss of several of her own and her unending love and dedication to her husband Joop and of course, to the thousands of children she rescued. Tante Truus’ story is told through the lives of Stephan Neumann, son of a wealthy chocolatier, and Sofie-Helene, the child prodigy and daughter of a newspaper journalist, Kathe Perger. Stephan’s little brother, Walter and his rabbit, Peter, along with JoJo, Sofie-Helene’s 3 year old sister will also pull at your heartstrings. Will Stephan, Sofie-Helene, and siblings make the cut for the first 600 to leave Vienna? Will all of them escape and be joined with new families as they make attempts to obtain visas and leave Vienna? What becomes of the parents left behind? What becomes of all those children?

The journey of the children, their unbelievable endurance of the pain and suffering involved in being sent away to “safety,” and the unimaginable courage on the part of the parents; will not soon leave the mind or heart of the readers of The Last Train to London.

Sofie-Helene is my absolute favorite character! She is a math genius with extraordinary skills and abilities to make herself “figure” right into the plans of Tante Truus. She sleuthed her way into Stephan’s heart and you’ll discover she’s got a formula that equals love for all of us.

Here are some images and links to some of the real life characters mentioned in the book that will help the reader:

Kindertransport (Children’s Transport) was the informal name of a series of rescue efforts which brought thousands of refugee Jewish children to Great Britain from Nazi Germany between 1938 and 1940.Kindertransport, 1938–40 | The Holocaust Encyclopedia

” Resistance worker GeertruidaWijsmuller fought courageously to save thousands of Jews from certain deathat the hands of the Nazis. Geertruida, or Truus, as her friends called her, wasborn into a prosperous well-connected family and lived in Amsterdam. In December1938, Truus went to meet Adolph Eichmann in Vienna to request permission for600 Jewish children to leave Austria for England. She was given permission totake 600 Jewish children to England under the provision that they leave withinfive days.  “http://db.yadvashem.org/righteous/family.html?language=en&itemId=4018228

“Otto Adolf Eichmann wasa German-Austrian Nazi SS-Obersturmbannführer and one of the major organizersof the Holocaust. “https://www.britannica.com/biography/Adolf-Eichmann

Stefan Zweig was anAustrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of hisliterary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most popular writersin the world.” https://www.britannica.com/biography/Stefan-Zweig

The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan

Available NOW! Trailer for The Spies of Shilling Lane: https://youtu.be/All1nGJxkQw

Jennifer grew up in the British countryside with a penchant for climbing trees and a wonderful grandmother who told her hilarious stories about the Second World War.

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

A rollicking adventure set in England, 1941. The plucky Mrs. Braithwaite has been dethroned from her position as head of the local WVS-Women’s Voluntary Service. As she considers her lack of standing in the community of Ashcombe Village, her “point to ponder” is “How do you measure the success of your life?” She writes the answer in her trusty notebook: “Social Standing. Reputation. How the world sees you.”

The despondent but determined Mrs. Braithwaite takes us with her on a grand mission to find her 21 year old daughter, Betty, recently moved to London, and from whom she’s only received 5 letters. This is NOT a good sign at all. As Mrs. Braithwaite barges her way into London, by way of Victoria Station, she encounters Mr. Norris, Betty’s landlord, along with Flossie and Cassandra -the other quite questionable renters. From here the adventures begin; including encounters with shady and sometimes not shady characters: Nazi sympathizers, the injured B. Braithwaite, Anthony Metcalf, and various jaunts into the pubs, markets, warehouses, and even the British Museum.

The Spies of Shilling lane is a historical mystery that will keep you guessing and also hoping that as Mrs. Braithwaite searches for Betty she also finds the real answer to her question, “How do you measure the success of your life?”

Favorite quotes:

“Little did I know that in searching for my daughter, I’d finally find myself.” Mrs. Braithwaite

“It was if his heart had been cracked open……..waiting for the right setting, the right evening, the right company.” Mr. Norris

“When your mother dies, it feels as if the earth you stand on collapses beneath you.” Blanche Braithwaite.

This is a lighthearted mystery wrapped in the arms of love between mother & daughter, soul searching and self reflection, along with delicious humor. ***** from the GR

Music Mentions:

In the Mood https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CI-0E_jses

Singin’ in the Rain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w40ushYAaYA

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ybM51Q-

Water Lily Dance by Michelle Muriel

Available August 20, 2019-

For a synopsis and platforms to order: https://www.michellemuriel.com/

“From the #1 bestselling author of Essie’s Roses, a heartbreaking, heart-mending new historical novel. The lives and secrets of three women, centuries apart, intersect at the artist Claude Monet’s garden in this emotional, imaginative portrait of loss, love, and second chances.

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

This is the story of women searching for relief from the pain of grieving, grappling for the freedom of independence from parents’ expectations, and seeking love and forgiveness after living a life of heartbreak and lies. All these emotions are blended into the breathtaking tapestry of Michelle Muriel’s descriptions of Sofie, Camille Doncieux, Paris, Giverny, and a myriad of Impressionist painters; with Claude Monet in the foreground. I nestled right into the descriptions of colors, flowers, grasses, anything in nature that Michelle so intricately details so the reader truly “sees” what the characters are seeing and painting, including Claude Monet’s water lily garden. The dual timeline dances between present day U.S and the 1860’s in France. Michelle paints her characters with such real emotions and dialogue; I felt each step toward truth and forgiveness deep in my heart as this story came to life with her beguiling brushstrokes on the pages of Water Lily Dance. Read it and then “stand back” as you do for a painting, and become entranced with Camille Doncieux, Claude Monet and the Impressionists. FIVE STARS from the GR

Paintings by Claude Monet from Water Lily Dance; Camille Doncieux

The gardens in Giverny, France: http://giverny.org/gardens/fcm/visitgb.htm

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of The Room on Rue Amélie and The Sweetness of Forgetting, along with several other novels. Her work has been featured in PeopleWoman’s Day, Men’s Health, and Ladies’ Home Journal, among many other media outlets. She lives in Orlando, Florida.

The Grateful Reader Review: By Dorothy Schwab

This is a novel for those that love France, Champagne, and stories of love, regret, and forgiveness. The lives of Ines, Celine, and Liv intersect across the years of World War ll and present day. The reader will learn of Nazi collaborators, members of the Resistance, and Liv’s “impossibly spry” grandmother and her connection to Paris and Champagne Chauveau. The descriptions of hidden caves, secrets of “riddling” the Champagne, along with the winding roads to Reims and Epernay, keep the reader anxious to get to the “bottom of the bottle” to discover the true outcome of the lies and secrets held for so long. The Grateful Reader “sipped and savored” every page of this ‘gold medal’ read. 5*

Reims is a city in northeastern France’s Grand Est region. It’s the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine-growing region, and many of the champagne houses headquartered there offer tastings and cellar tours. For more than 1,000 years, French kings were crowned at its Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims. This grand cathedral is known for its stained-glass windows and Gothic carved portals, including the Smiling Angel.

Views of the vineyards in the Champagne wine-growing region of France.

Map showing Reims, France
Place Drouet-d’Erion https://www.reims-tourism.com/

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

Fiona Davis is the nationally bestselling author of THE MASTERPIECE, THE DOLLHOUSE and THE ADDRESS. She began her career in New York City as an actress, where she worked on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theater. After getting a master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she fell in love with writing, leapfrogging from editor to freelance journalist before finally settling down as an author of historical fiction. Visit her at http://www.fionadavis.net, facebook.com/FionaDavisAuthor/ and on Instagram and Twitter @fionajdavis.

Coming July 2019

The Grateful Reader Review by Dorothy Schwab

A USO Tour in Naples, Italy, 1945, brings entertainers Hazel Ripley and Maxine Mead to the same stage. For Hazel, this was an opportunity to be on stage while supporting her country and also honor her brother’s memory. Maxine, an aspiring Hollywood actress is in Italy hoping to live in the “real world” for a change. The girls become close friends, even though quite the opposites- “Hayseed Hazel” and a rising Hollywood star? This incongruous relationship continues after the war as the friends are rejoined when Maxine leaves Los Angeles to find Hazel at the Chelsea Hotel in New York City. Hazel-the playwright in residence, has been gathered into the loving bosom of the collective at the Chelsea- the left-wing organizers, the refugee families, and the creative artists; actors, musicians, designers, photographers. and especially Lavinia Smarts. Lavinia has used her influence to put Hazel in touch with a producer and director, who think she is the next Lillian Hellman. Hazel’s play, Wartime Sonata, inspired by her experiences as a USO tour performer, is being cast and will be performed on Broadway at the Biltmore Theater.

The United States was recovering from World War ll, but 1950 was the beginning of a period in the United States in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion. Due to these fears many believed that spies had infiltrated the United States federal government, universities, film industry, and elsewhere. Fiona Davis puts this era right on center stage and the house lights shine brightly in the garrish faces of those involved in the House Un-American Activities Committee, HUAC. The Chelsea Girls brings a tumultuous time in our history to the forefront for younger readers who haven’t heard or read about the Hollywood Ten and “McCarthyism.” In between the accusations, subpoenas, and questioning, there’s a story of love and friendship, that will have your heart and mind switching sides several times.

The reader learns that on Broadway the reviewers dash out of a play to get their copy into the late edition of the newspapers. The producer waits for the papers and scans quickly in search for the theater section. The reviews are read and if he enters the after-party holding the issues above his head, then the champagne corks begin popping. If he tosses the papers into the trash and joins the party empty-handed then the party turns into a wake. The Grateful Reader would enter the party for The Chelsea Girls with “newspapers aloft!” Pour the champagne! Cheers to The Chelsea Girls!

Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) was an American politician who served as a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin from 1947 until his death in 1957. Beginning in 1950, McCarthy became the most visible public face of a period in the United States in which Cold War tensions fueled fears of widespread Communist subversion.[1] He is known for alleging that numerous Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers had infiltrated the United States federal government, universities, film industry, and elsewhere. Ultimately, the smear tactics that he used led him to be censured by the U.S. Senate. The term “McCarthyism”, coined in 1950 in reference to McCarthy’s practices, was soon applied to similar anti-communist activities.