Tuesday, 14 November 2017

on April 14, 2016  
As a fan of historical novels, I found this book held my attention from start to finish. It's a long book, about 500 pages, so value for money and I like a book of substance. The plot is winding, fast paced and crammed with great characterisation. Historically, it is pretty accurate and very well researched. I've read a lot about this era, and of Lewis Powell, and the author captures him perfectly. What little is known of him she's taken and woven into a highly believable troubled, strong, courageous young man who simply went off the rails due to misguided idealism and personal damage from the Civil War. The romance between him and the main character, Leigh Boswell, is very well done, and builds nicely in both passion and sexual tension.

Characterisation is good, and you actually finish the book yearning for more. There's a twist ending that I genuinely didn't see coming. I'd highly recommend this book if you like a realistic, gritty yet humorous and passionate read, with a touch of the supernatural for added spice. There's also a karmic spiritual element in this novel that warms the heart and again, it's not overdone but very subtle. I really can't fault it. A great read.

on July 18, 2016
Do NOT get this book unless you have a 7 hour stretch of time to read it! It's near impossible to put down! It's very rare I give a book 5 stars but this one deserves it. The author must have been in love with Lewis in another life. Her love of all the characters comes through. One of the best books I've read all year. Google Lewis Payne and check out some of the photos online of him. One of them is used in the cover. A very handsome man of his time. He'd be easy to fall in love with, regardless.

on January 2, 2017
If you are a fan of historical novels , you wont be able to put this book down. Its a big book with 500 plus pages, so its value for money.I had to research a bit to understand the plot well, as this was completely new to me.The Author has done a great job in capturing all the characters.
Its an excellent read and would recommend to those who loves romantic historical fiction.

on August 14, 2017
This is an exceptionally beautiful story. I wouldn't classify it as a story to time travel but a story of unrequited love. A romantic yet mysterious story that in my case I found hard to put down. I loved the way the author wove a contemporary issue of emotional and physical abuse into a historical step back in time. It's unique, thought-provoking and modern...yet set in the past. Brava for an excellent book. I highly recommend this exciting novel.

After the death of our beloved dog, Nico, we spent a year trying to get over it, swearing we'd never put ourselves through that kind of devastating loss again.   But, only a dog lover can truly understand the emptiness this leaves...not just in your heart but in the home.   So, last January, we fell in love all over again with Loki, named for the Norse God of Mischief.  And a ball of mischief he certainly is.  We were first introduced when he was four weeks old.   Choosing the right dog for us from a litter of nine was no easy task, so I asked for a sign.

Hoping for something angelic pretty much summed up what we were about to get.   My sign ended up being Loki peeing down my arm.   That pretty much set the tone, and he's been a bundle of high jinks ever since.   He's ten months old now, but still running round the bedroom at ungodly hours with stolen pieces of underwear!

Friday, 19 February 2016

Edit, edit, edit.   Ugh!

I'm so painfully aware that my editing is an ongoing chore  that lets errant comma's and rogue words scamper across my pages like elusive little beasts.   After reading 455 pages one's eyes no longer seem to see the mistakes.

I have the greatest respect for professional editors.   How do they do it?
When you publish a book, this creative baby that takes up so much of your time, heart and soul, it's always a  bit daunting reading the reviews.   So far, my reviews for The Open Doorway have all been positive with some great constructive criticism that I've taken on board.     One issue raised was my use of British English, as opposed to American English, an editorial matter I'd pondered in the making of the book.  I was like, should I or shouldn't I?    But I'm British, and my voice is British, so I decided to stick with that even though I realised that my American readers might find that distracting.

I've been asked continually why I chose American history as my subject.  My answer is why not?   My daughter wants me to write a dark horror story involving vampires.   I'm considering this.  Based around the dark satanic mills of Northern England?  Why not?

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Reviews for The Open Doorway.

By J. Anderson on 7 April 2015
Format: Paperback
This poignant love story is set against the dramatic backdrop of the American Civil War and the Lincoln Assassination. Madeleine Mitchell very skilfully connects historical facts with fiction and created a fascinating story that really grabbed me. I found that all the historical facts were exceptionally well researched and brilliantly linked with the story of a young woman that visits the battle fields of the American Civil War in her present life and because of an electric storm is taken back to the year 1863 where she is found by the confederate soldier Lewis Powell. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and can only highly recommend it.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Bennett on 19 May 2015
Format: Paperback
A thoroughly good read on so many levels. destiny seems to draw the heroine into the heart of the American civil war. The author gives a vivid account of the horrors of the battlefield hospital, nursing troops on both sides where she meets the enigmatic Lewis Powell. This novel brings the historical characters involved in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the conflict between the north and south to life. I not only enjoyed the fast paced and exciting tale, I was fascinated by the history and circumstances surrounding the assassination.

Format: Paperback
Wonderfully researched with detailed historical research and accuracy. Ms. Mitchell gives us well defined characterizations who live on long after the novel is done. This is history with a punch! Very well written!

on March 26, 2015
Great story, I couldn't quit reading it once I started. Hope to read more by this author and as another reviewer stated, I hope there is a sequel!

on February 20, 2015
Such a wonderful love story! I hope there is a sequel!!!!

on June 5, 2015
A good read as a story, great character development although some characters should have been fleshed out more to maximize on her great talent and to maximize an already wonderfully crafted tale. This story is enjoyable on many levels from depth through characters to the tale itself. I do love a 'what if' story that looks behind the headlines. :-)

Excerpt from my new book due to be published in summer 2016. More time travel and historical drama. This time set in 1897 in Mingo County, West Viginia.

 THE fatality happened, as car crashes often do, swiftly and savagely with no hope of reprieve. One moment Marianne was pulling down the sun visor to check her lipstick in the vanity mirror and the next she was crawling free of the wreckage, knowing Sean was dead because her husband’s open eyes had pupils as wide and black as the Kewpie doll’s tied to the dash.

The spinning tyre of the front offside nearly scraped her own eye out as she blundered past it. Marianne spat blood from her bitten tongue and winced at the pain in her right knee, then stared stupidly at her fingers which shook and jittered like palsied claws. The stink of gasoline reached her and she scrabbled across the dirt track, smelling the heat of the engine, her guts clenched with fear. What just happened here? Sean never even cried out, nor shouted a warning. She saw the Cherokee had hit a Maple, and trees were deadly when it came to who was boss twixt wood and metal. The car’s front end was smashed into a Rottweiler snarl, the innards of the engine pushed up against the splintered windscreen smothered with her husband’s blood. With the illogical way of miracles, Marianne had escaped with barely a scratch. She started to hyperventilate, so tried to calm her breathing, but even as her head swam and her stomach rejected her breakfast, she thought crazily…where’s my handbag?

 ‘Sean?’ She got to her feet slowly as an arthritic pensioner. ‘Sean!’

 He didn’t respond, of course, because the impact had broken his neck and crushed his lungs. Marianne trotted to the driver’s side and tried to open the door. It was frozen shut. Through the window, she reached in to touch him, her heart out of synch with her logic. His arm was warm and muscular, just as it always was and he felt asleep, not dead, and she was sure, so sure, she could feel a pulse at his wrist.

Running to the passenger side, she rooted wildly for her bag, but the body of it was squashed beneath the caved footwell, and only the strap poked out. She twisted and pulled until she was able to free it, then frantically dialled 911 on her cell. There was no signal. ‘Goddamn West Virginia,’ she yelled, shaking the phone, the tears starting. ‘Fucking redneck backwoods!’ Marianne held the mobile over her head but it was useless. She stared around at the soaring wilderness of Mingo County and cursed her husband’s Irish ancestry right down to the failed potato crop that precipitated thrice Great Grandpa Delaney’s migration to these parts. ‘Bringing me out here,’she sobbed. ‘And for what? Been driving for days and it all looks the same and we could be home in England but for you and your stupid ancestral goose chase!’ Marianne clutched the cell phone to her breasts and cried even harder. Snot ran from her nose and her mascara, which was supposed to be waterproof and cost forty dollars in Williamson, hung in clumps from her eyelashes. Slowly, she rallied. She knew they were somewhere between Matewan and Red Jacket but Sean had insisted on what he’d called the ‘scenic route’, the almost deserted road that ran north of their destination, the famous Hatfield Trail. Not content with that, he’d driven off the tarmac onto a winding dirt track that had led them God knows where. She’d been too busy pratting around with her make up to take any notice other than a perfunctory ‘get a flat and you’re on your own’ to Sean as he pulled off the main road. She stared at the trail then back up at the timbered rise in front of her. She didn’t know how many miles she’d have to limp to reach a house, but the climb through the trees seemed a more feasible option and she’d surely get a signal up there. Another rummage in the Cherokee produced a full water bottle and the small first aid kit she knew held painkillers. She quaffed down a couple of paracetamol, then stuffed both items into her bag. It was exactly twelve noon as she set off beneath a blazing sun and azure sky, and the shade of the trees felt blessed even though the terrain was rougher than she’d first thought and halfway up the rise she realised the summit was further than it looked. Forty minutes later she stood atop the ridge and took out her phone. No signal.

 ‘You piece of unmitigating shit!’

 She shook it, checked the battery, made sure the settings were sound but still the signal failed. In disgust she tucked it into her bra and descended back towards the trail. Halfway down she folded into a heap of tears, calling out her husband’s name over and over until it became nonsensical to her. Gasping and hiccupping she suddenly became aware of a crippling headache, and the atmosphere around her felt thick with moisture and airless as a vacuum. He’s gone, she thought wildly. Killed himself and me too. I’m dead and in hell, I know it! Her jeans were ripped at the knee and for the first time she saw a flap of skin had been torn from her kneecap revealing the bone beneath. Marianne pulled out the first aid kit and broke open a bandage. She doused her knee with antibacterial gel, hissing as the fluid bit. Then she folded the flap of skin back and bandaged it as tightly as she could. How still it was up here. Not a sound or even bird song. She was sitting in the lee of a rock cleft, and the odour emanating from it was damp and rank. It felt unnatural, and creepy…and the air? The air seemed to shimmer and undulate as though it were moving or shifting. It was a horrible sensation, akin to motion sickness.

 Marianne closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Shock? When she opened them again, the view into the valley was back to normal. Down and down she went, a stumbling weeping mess. As the ground levelled out, she gazed around her, shaking her head and muttering beneath her breath. ‘The fuck is this?’ She’d fetched up on a trail, but not the same one she’d left. It was narrower, and more overgrown and no sign of the Cherokee. But she’d gone straight up and down that rise. She’d even backtracked through the crushed undergrowth made by her own feet!

 Desperately, Marianne cast about. ‘Sean!’ she wailed. Then louder, ‘SEAN!’ Her voice echoed around the valley, and something rustled behind her. She swung round, clutching her stomach, sure it was a bear or cougar. They roamed free here, didn’t they? For the first time in her life she wished she owned a gun. There was nothing for it but to follow the meandering trail and hope she found help before the sun sank. With agonising slowness she limped forwards, swallowing two more painkillers and trying to ignore the ache in her tongue, knee and heart.