Romance Novel Giveaways - Freebies and Giveaways of All Things Romance Romance Novel Giveaways: The Girl from the Lighthouse by Willard Thompson πŸ’• Behind the Scenes, Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Historical Literary Romance)

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Girl from the Lighthouse by Willard Thompson πŸ’• Behind the Scenes, Book Tour & Gift Card Giveaway πŸ’• (Historical Literary Romance)



The Girl From the Lighthouse tells the compelling story of Emma Dobbins.

Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she was raised by her father, a lighthouse keeper at Point Conception in California, where early on she discovers her artistic talent. At the age of 17, Emma travels to Paris with a chaperone, to attend art school but is separated from the chaperone when the woman becomes ill. Emma arrives alone in Paris with no money, no language skills, and no friends. A chance meeting with a young working girl in the train station becomes her first Parisian friend.

The setting is Paris in the 1860s-70s, the start of the Belle Èpoque. France soon is involved in the Franco/Prussian War and the Commune Uprising; difficult times for Emma and all Frenchmen. Initially rejected by art schools, her determination keeps her moving toward her goal in the art world, where the Impressionists are starting to change the world. Frenchmen fall in love with her beautiful face and lustrous dark hair. Some wanted to paint her, others to court her, but either way, she does not abide by the rules they try to impose on her because she never learned them. She grows into an accomplished artist but never gives up her own principles... even when someone steals something precious to her and she fights to get it back.

The story is told in the first person, present tense, allowing the reader to enter the story and feel a part of it as it unfolds, sharing with Emma her highs and lows, loves and rejections, all focused in the art world of Paris. The novel is filled with vivid characters, both fictional and real people, and the story unfolds gracefully from the 1870s until 1912, just prior to the start of WWI.




Writing THE GIRL FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE was an unusual and enjoyable experience for me. To begin, I was in the Santa Barbara Art Museum with my wife, standing in front of a painting by Berthe Morisot, who became one of the characters in THE GIRL FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE. The painting was titled View of Paris from the Trocadero. In it, two women stand with a small girl looking off into the city of Paris far in the distance. The women are blocked from moving forward into the city by a wooden fence that cuts diagonally across the painting. It isn't a strong barrier, more symbolic in nature. I was struck by how the painting represented the restricted status of Victorian era women. From that painting I got the idea to write about a woman of that time who was strong and independent, and in no way indoctrinated about proper women's roles. That woman became Emma Dobbins, my protagonist.
Some of the background for the story goes back even further. Three or four years ago I was researching some family genealogical history. I was specifically interested in my Canadian grandmother, Emma Thompson. She had a very unusual upbringing, and I thought I might write some kind of homage to her. I want to be clear though that the Emma in THE GIRL FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE is in no way representative of my late grandmother.
It was a short time after that I was involved in the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum's project to secure the Point Conception lighthouse lens from the U.S. Coast Guard for exhibit in the museum when the lighthouse was decommissioned. While doing the research on the lighthouse, the idea came to me that we should have a commemorative book about the history of the lighthouse, and the lives of the lighthouse keepers, available for guests to purchase on the opening night of the exhibition. In just seven months the book was researched, written and printed. Finished copies were delivered to the museum just one day before the opening ceremony. The process gave me a thorough knowledge of the Point Conception lighthouse to use in THE GIRL FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE.
By the way, I learned that the magnificent lens, made of 640 pieces of special glass was manufactured in Paris in the 1850s, so France was also on my mind.
Writing for me is always an exploration. I try to learn as much as I can about a subject as I write. While writing THE GIRL FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE, I learned about the treatment of women in Paris during the Victorian era. For example, young women were disrespected if they went about alone in public. When Emma tried to climb to the upper level of an omnibus, she was prevented by the driver from doing so because it was thought improper for a woman's legs to be seen climbing the stairs. Courtship between young men and women was highly formal. There were many other restrictions on women we almost laugh at today, that I uncovered that added to the sense of reality of the novel. I even had to learn about the use of contraceptives in the 1870s.
But I think the biggest surprise came when I had finished the manuscript. On reading it and discussing it with my wife, who is also a good editor, we decided the story did not work well ßin a third person format. So for the next six months, I literally became Emma, rewriting the story in the first person, present tense. I know that this may sound strange to some readers, but I have always created strong female characters, and I listened carefully to what Emma was telling me as I wrote. I believe her story came out beautifully on paper.


"It's been several months," I tell Berthe Morisot, "and I still copy with pad and pencil and sometimes watercolors. I think I have learned a great deal, but I'm still not ready for oils."

"You should try," she encourages me. "Jacque-Louis David is a good artist for you to copy. His portraits are beautifully executed, especially the one of Madame Recamier you are working on. Portraits like that are the kind of commissions you are likely to get when you are ready."

"How so?"

"There is always demand for portraits of wives and children that are best done by women artists."

I study the wine in my glass, using the pause to consider Berthe's recommendation. "I hope to paint landscapes one day," I tell her.

"Difficult for a woman," she replies. "Traveling alone to paint a landscape is often..." She pauses, "How do I say, looked down upon? There are not many buyers for the work of a woman landscape artist.

"I want to be free to paint whatever I want."

She cuts a slice of cheese from the wedge on her plate and adds it to a piece of baguette before taking a sip from her glass. She looks at me with her doleful dark eyes the whole time. "That can be difficult," she says at last. "Consider your decision carefully. It is easier for us to paint in a boudoir than side-by-side in a world with men." She pauses again and picks at a piece of ham.

Feeling frustrated, and looking for a response that won't offend my friend, I stab my fork at a mushroom. "It seems to me women in Paris have only limited freedom. Do you find it that way, Berthe?"

"I have never thought much about it, but yes, I do. It's just the way life is for women.”

  


Willard Thompson is an award-winning historical fiction and romance writer living in Montecito, California with his wife Jo. His newest historical romance, THE GIRL FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE was published in early 2019. His previously published three novels of historical fiction DREAM HELPER DELFINA'S GOLD, and THEIR GOLDEN DREAMS are part of his CHRONICLES OF CALIFORNIA trilogy. The Independent Publishers 2009 Book Awards selected DREAM HELPER for a gold medal as the best fiction in the Western/Pacific Region.

Thompson is a past president of the board of directors of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. He is a native of Manhasset, New York and a graduate of Colgate University in Hamilton, New York



   


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40 comments :

  1. Thanks so much for both the book description and giveaway as well. I enjoy hearing about another good book.

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  2. Thanks for hosting my new book. Hope one of you is the lucky winner! Please follow me on Goodreads or BookBub.

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    1. A pleasure having you! And thank you for the "behind the scenes" glimpse into the story!

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  3. This sounds like my kind of book. I am interested in checking it out.

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  4. Thanks for your coment, Ruth. Hope you enjoy the book. Please follow me on Goodreads and Bookbub. Cheers, Willard

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  5. Awesome excerpt, I'll definitely be reading this one :)

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    1. Thanks, Victoria! I hope you enjoy my new novel. Please follow me on Goodreads and Bookbub.

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  6. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.Sounds good.

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  7. Hope you like the entire novel, too. Please follow me on Goodreads and Bookbub. Cheers, Willard

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  8. This sounds amazing!! I collect lighthouses..love historical romance..and am in love with art! This book sounds perfect!

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  9. Wow Mya! Sounds like a great fit. Hope you read my novel and learn about the lighthouse, the art, Paris in the 1870s and my protagonist Enna Dobbins who grew up at the Point Cenception Lighthouse. Cheers, Willard

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  10. Replies
    1. Hi Rita. Thanks for taking the time to look at my new novel. I hope you will read it and if you do please post a favorable review on Amazon or Goodreads. Please follow me on Goodreads or Bookbub. Cheers, Willard

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  11. Replies
    1. Hi Maria. It is an intriguing story as you say. Emma's story in one every woman can relate to. Hope you read it and if you do please post a review on Goodreads or Amazon. Also, please follow me on Goodreads and Boobbub. Cheers, Willard

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  12. Lovely scene on the cover. Sounds good too.

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  13. Hi Katiescarlet. If you're into time travel you'll enjoy my novel. Imaging going back to Paris in the Belle Epoque--the beautiful time. Hope you read and like my new novel, and if you do please post a good review on Goodreads and Amazon. Also, please follow me on Goodreads and Boobbub--I need followers. Cheers, Willard

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  14. Sounds good can't wait to read this.

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    1. Hi Jenn! Here is a quote I just got from a reader, "I really enjoyed the book and think it would be a wonderful movie. Great descriptive scenes which will stay with me and a history refresher on Paris at time of communards and Impressionism. " I hope you enjoy it as much. If you do please post a positive review on Goodreads and Amazon, and please follow me on Goodreads and Boobbub. Cheers, Willard

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  15. How many books have you written over the course of your career? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

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  16. Hi Joseph! It's been a pretty short fiction writing career. So far 5 books. Cheers, Willard

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  17. This sounds awesome! The cover is just gorgeous.

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  18. Hi Shannon, glad you like the cover. It was designed by a UK designer.I hope you will like the contents just as much. If you do please leave a positive review on Goodreads and Amazon. I'd like to have you follow me on Goodreads and Bookbub, too. Cheers, Willard

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    1. Thanks for the compliment, Judy. It was designed by a UK cover designer and I think he captured the mood of a young woman arriving in Paris just perfectly. Hope you enjoy reading the contents as well as the cover. If you do please give us a positive review on good reads and Amazon. Please follow me on good reads and book bub. Cheers, Willard

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    1. Hi Dale. Hope you read and like my new novel. Thanks for for commenting. If you do please post a position review on Amazon or Goodreads. And follow me on Goodreads and Book bub. Cheers, Willard

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  21. Hi Call. The excerpt is just a sample of my novel. Hope you read and like the rest. Thanks for for commenting. If you do read The Girl from the Lighthouse please post a position review on Amazon or Goodreads. And follow me on Goodreads and Book bub. Cheers, Willard

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  22. Replies
    1. Hi Gwendolyn. The cover was designed in the UK by Bespoke Book Covers. I hope you like what's inside the covers just as much. If you do please give me a positive review on Amazon and Goodreads. Cheers, Willard

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  23. Are there any sublots that you wished you could have added or explored more in your book? Bernie Wallace BWallace1980(at)hotmail(d0t)com

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    1. Sure, you can always think of more after the fact, but I find The Girl from the Lighthouse fully satisfying as it is;

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  24. Lovely cover...once again Paris inspires...author looks distinguished :) Good luck!

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    1. Wow Chelle, thanks for all the compliments! cover was designed by Bespoke Book Covers in the UK. Hope you like what's between the covers just as well. Cheers, Willard

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  25. Beautiful cover, this sounds really good

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  26. I would love to read this book, great cover

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