The weather has turned this week. It’s dark mornings, cosy nights and rain splattered windows abound in Cumbria. So A House of Ghosts was the perfect accompaniment to herald the arrival of Autumn.
Many thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the blog tour and to Zaffre books for my copy in exchange for an honest opinion.
It is Winter 1917 and the world has been turned upside down.
Thousands of young men have lost their lives, thousands more missing, presumed dead and equal numbers have returned home from The Great War bearing the burden of physical and mental injury. The country is cloaked in a collective grief and interest in spiritualism is on the rise.
Off the coast of England, in an old Monastery Lord and Lady Highmount have assembled an varied group of people together, hoping to contact their sons, recently killed in France.
The group includes not one but two celebrated mediums; Count Orlov, a displaced Russian, whose wife and child were killed as their boat to England fell prey to a U Boat, and Madame Feda. The gathering has also attracted the attention of intelligence officers, who have planted two agents in their midst. The mysterious ‘Donovan’, recently returned from serving in the trenches, a man not easily shaken, and Miss Kate Cartwright.
Kate too has lost her brother in the war and is attending the gathering with her parents, both desperate to contact their fallen son. Kate too is a gifted, if somewhat reluctant, spiritualist. She continually sees spirits all around her, and has inherited the FitzAubrey glass, a mirror which shows the dead and sometimes the future.
Add to the gathering a shell shocked solider, Simms, a cad of an ex-fiancé and a socialist Butler. Then top it off with a raging snow storm and the scene is set for a intriguing and dark tale. Secrets are closely guarded in all quarters and the host of the gathering appears to be enemy number one.
I have to start my reaction to this book by saying that this week has been ‘off the chart hectic’ away from all things blog and book related…
…and I still managed to devour A House of Ghosts in just over 2 nights. It is the kind of book that from the first page gets into your head, under your reading skin and just pushes you forward to the last page.
Very definitely a supernatural tale, there are spirits surrounding the narrative from the earliest chapters, this is also a murder mystery, a family saga and a story filled with intrigue.
As the story unfolds over just a short period of time the action and plot are pacy. There is a feeling of inevitability and tension right from the off. The background of the war years contributes to the feeling that people are behaving in unexpected and unconventional ways. These are unprecedented times which are challenging all members of society, whatever their background and beliefs.
Strong characters and strong emotions carry the story forward. It has a sense of purpose and place with a unique setting and a gripping storyline.
Kate is a strong female lead. Despite the challenges and grief in her life she exhibits a core of steel. She is Donavan’s intellectual equal and the novel is all the stronger for it.
This book is the perfect read for the encroaching storms and long awaited firesides of October. A truly atmospheric read.
And there is more…
To read other reviews of this fabulous book, check out the rest of the blog tour. Details below!
It’s a while since I reviewed or even read some non fiction, so I have been eagerly anticipating this fascinating Blog Tour Review of An Author on Trial by Luciano Iorio.
This is the story of Giuseppe Jorio, the father of our author. An Italian school teacher and writer , working post and pre World War Two, Jorio’s first novel La Morte di un Uomo (Death of a Man), published in 1939 was well received.
However the work he truly laboured over was an account of his passionate and extramarital affair, conducted and concluded before the birth of his son. Il Fuoco del Mondo (The Fire of the World) was the novel into which Jorio poured his heart and soul. The passionate affair that had been conducted with a younger woman called Tina, led to an unwanted pregnancy and a back street abortion. Stricken by these events Jorio changes his mind about wanting children, was reconciled with his wife and as a consequence his son Luciano was born.
Il Fuoco del Mondo, Jorio’s third novel, was rejected by his publisher. Finished and submitted after the war, the publisher recognised what it’s author didn’t; a growing conservatism and level of censorship from the Christian Democracy party, openly fuelled by the Vatican. When Jorio decided to self publish, he was arrested, his book seized and he faced charges of obscenity.
So began a six year battle to clear his name and defend his book. It was a battle which would encompass five trials, as the case was thrown backwards and forwards from the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court. Jorio was the first author to be convicted of obscenity in pre-war Italy and the only one to be handed a prison sentence.
The case hinges on whether this book could be classed as ‘a work of art’ and therefore exempt from the rules surrounding obscenity. It is clear through the personal papers, letters and diaries bequeathed to his son after Jorio’s death this novel was considered by the author as his masterpiece. To have it dismissed publicly as nothing more than obscenity was something Jorio never recovered from either professionally or privately.
Some years after the trials Jorio published his book in a ‘purged’ version, with all words consider obscene cut out. Accompanied by a pamphlet detailing his struggle Jorio called this work ‘Umana.’
As his son takes us through his father’s life a portrait emerges of a committed writer, but also a torment and difficult man.
Luciano himself admits that his relationship with his father was often difficult and towards the end of his life somewhat fractured. Luciano seems to struggle to come to terms with the fact that his existence is often seen by his father as a direct result of Tina’s abortion.
Luciano is honest about his father’s short comings and shows us a picture of a man who was a times self absorbed, without being self aware. Through his father’s writing Luciano is trying to find a place, a peace and understanding.
A short, but fascinating book highlighting how art can fall prey to circumstance and politics. And how much of one’s heart and soul a writer pours into there work.
Today I take my turn on the Blog Tour for an absolute gem of a book. Huge and heartfelt thanks to Kelly at Love Books Group Tours for inviting me on the tour and to Wild Pressed Books and Holly Bidgood for a copy of The Seagull’s Laughter in exchange for an honest review.
This is a book which spans both timeline, place and genre, bringing together different stories and different strands to create a beautiful telling of human resilience and self discovery.
At it’s beginning and indeed it’s heart it is the story of Malik, a young Greenlandic man, living and working a traditional and quite solitary life. Born in the years following the Second World War to a Greenlandic mother and an English Arctic explorer named Rasmus, Malik has always felt and treated as an outsider, a misfit. His unique colouring and his one black, one blue eye seem to symbolise his mixed heritage and his own uncertainty about his place in the world.
We meet Malik in 1973, when a strange man, bird like in appearance, visits Malik to tell him the father he has never met has died. Having lost his mother and, being estranged from his young daughter, Malik takes the stranger, the man we come to know as Birdie, up in his offer to return to England with him for the funeral.
So begins a strange odyssey, a journey Malik undertakes to explore his roots and attempt to find answers to his past and ultimately his place in the world. Accompanying him is a traditional Greenlandic spirit guide, Eqingaleq, seen and acknowledged only by Malik himself. A comforting steer through his life, Eqingaleq has a strange habit of disappearing just when you think that Malik might be most in need of him.
Malik finds himself in England, unsure of his purpose, without resources and unable to speak the language. It is the rather dutiful kindness of his father’s family, of the wife Rasmus betrayed all those years ago, that enable him to start to fashion a life for himself.
But this arrangement is doomed not to last. The bonds are too fragile and there is too much that Malik doesn’t understand to make this a permanent home. With the ongoing visits from the increasingly sinister Birdie and unwelcome discoveries Malik is once more forced out onto his lonely journey.
Fate brings him into contact with Martha and Neil. As a young unmarried mother, on the run from a violent partner and a gay man, trying to escape prejudice and hatred, they too are seeking a safe place in the world. Drawn to Malik they invite him to join them on their journey north, to the Island of Shetland.
This book is a journey of discovery. The narrative works across two time frames. The story of Rasmus, told in the third person breaks down the relationship between himself and Ketty, Malik’s mother, providing a level of context and understand vital to Malik’s story.
The narrative of the ‘present day’ is told in the first person, allowing us inside the struggles and experiences of first Malik and then Martha. It paints a vivid picture of a small group of misfits, all seeking to be true to their souls, all facing challenges and ultimately looking to find their place in the world.
Through their journeys we explore the age old questions of heritage and belonging. Bidgood explores the ideas surrounding what we gain from our parents, the choices we make about whether we choose to embrace or overcome our heritage. Watching Malik struggle to get to grips with the English language we come to realise that it is more than a collection of words; that a language is cloaked in and made up of unwritten rules about cultural norms and society. In the same way the Greenlandic folklore, so beautifulLu woven through the narrative, reflects the deep running veins of family heritage and tradition.
This is an accomplished and unique novel. Beautifully constructed and skilfully written, it is a rallying cry to all those on a journey of discovery, those looking for a time and place to call home.
And there is more…
For other views of this charming and unusual book check out the other #BlogTour stops, all listed below.
My local town Kirkby Lonsdale is without a doubt a fabulous place to live. It is home to a thriving community, excellent eateries, beautiful scenery and a small but perfectly formed high street, filled with unique and independent shops.
Just over a year ago Kirkby welcomed new addition, a fantastic book shop The Book Lounge.And #BookShopDay seems the perfect time to tell you all about it.
The Book Lounge was established by Valerie Laycock after she took voluntary redundancy from her job as a school librarian at a school in Lancaster.
Starting by selling second hand books, which arrived by the pallet load, each box a book-filled surprise, the shop has steadily grown over the past year of opening.
Valerie now stocks a small range of new books, many written by local authors, including authors from Casterton, Kirkby Lonsdale, Blackpool and Lancaster. There is also an impressive range of book related gifts, (I may have indulged!)…
…as well as a beautiful and impressive selection of Valerie’s own book related crafts and greetings cards, sold under the brand name Valerie Ann Crafts. I can’t wait to take delivery of my handmade Bookish Advent Calendar!!
Valerie’s passion for reading and her enthusiasm for spreading a love of books to younger generations shines through as we sit and chat. Above our heads is a very impressive collection of signed books that Valerie has collected after hosting many author events.
In her previous role Valerie was never happier than when she managed to set a young person off on their reading journey and foster a life long love of learning. She is very clear that the process of sharing books is a two way street. She recalls how pupils harangued her for months to read the Twilight Books, before she finally relented and found herself hooked.
One of Valerie’s obvious frustrations is how hard it is to get her hands on second hand young adult fiction; a genre very close to her heart. Providing a good quality reading experience for her younger customers is extremely important to Valerie and was a key driver in her stocking new fiction.
Her work to inspire and foster a love of reading continues in her new role. She is currently engaged in a series of local book school visits, working alongside local author Danny Rurlander. Danny’s recently published debut novel Spylark is the story of Tom, a boy recovering from a accident who uses his drone to escape his reality. But when the drone uncovers something sinister the adventure begins. Danny’s own website www.dannyrurlander.com provides more information on the places within the novel. Set in the Lake District it is truly a way of bringing books to life.
Everything about Valerie’s beautiful shop oozes a true love of reading. From the cozy seating areas, welcoming fire, to the funky counter made entirely of books which took Valerie 3 days to create!
And don’t miss the ‘ Book Stairs’, each a personal favourite of either Valerie or one of the many English Teachers she has worked with over the years.
The Book Lounge might be a new addition to the town but it is very important, and there are exciting plans afoot. As part of the town’s annual Christmas Market Weekend The Book Lounge intends to embrace the magical theme. They will be decorating the shop and it’s alley within the theme of Harry Potter and welcoming a magician to the shop.
So if you find yourself in our neck of the woods, make sure you find time for a bit of book love in the Book Lounge, where you will find a warm welcome and some cracking Coffee and Cake!
P.S You can find The Book Lounge on Twitter @The_Book_Lounge
This may not be the first blog tour I have taken part in; it is certainly not the first Blog Tour I have published on the blog but this one has a special place in my heart. The Ten Thousand Doors of January was one of the first tours I signed up for; thank you Tracy Fenton! It was also the first very first book I was lucky enough to receive in exchange for a review.
So this book was always going to be a little bit special, and that was before I had even got past the excitement of the truly gorgeous cover. The premise of this book was so intriguing. As a child I was never happier diving in to a book, especially a book that took me into strange, magical words. I read and reread Enid Blyton’s Enchanted Wood books until the covers fell off. The books were only saved from complete destruction by my discovery of C.S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia.
So the idea of The Ten Thousand Doors, to Ten Thousand World was a tale too good to miss…
This is the story of January Scaller. At the beginning of the 2oth Century she is living as the ward of the engimatic, mysterious and wealthy Cornelius Locke. Her father is employed by Mr Locke to travel the world collecting treasures and curios, strange and exotic. January is left, well cared for but lonely amongst a large and curious colletion of artefacts. With her dark skin and enquring mind January feels equally out of place. She accepts Locke’s kindness but is forever questioning her place in his house and the wider world.
Locke lives a strange life. As a member of a strange and secret society his obsession with the usual seems to extend to every area of his life. He holdS January close; her social circle is limited to the local grocers boy Sam, a rather dry governess, and later a loyal but quite terrifying dog.
Her childhood is one of disjointed discoveries about the world around her and herself, including the revelation that she can conjure other worlds through writing…
Hooked yet? It gets better…
Then,one day, out of the blue, Jane arrives. Powerful, unconventional she is a lifeline for January. She claims to have been sent by Jane’s father and there is an immediate connection. When her father disappears and January refuses to accept Mr Locke’s certainty that he is dead, her sheltered life at Locke Hall is comes to and abrupt end and her own adventures begin.
The discovery of a strange book and the power within its pages throws January on to a quest into the mysteries of the world around her and the hidden details of her past.
Just how many doors are there open in this world? Where do they lead and why are so many people associated with Mr Locke so keen to close them?
Here is a story which celebrates the power of words, the power of books and the power of the unknown, a power which can take us beyond ourselves. It is multilayered, a feast of stories within stories. It is a study of how the fear of the unknown has the power to destroy possiblities and how a mind that refuses to open will stifle and threaten change and beauty.
The doors within the book represent this kind of change and the drive to shut them is seen as way of maintaining stability and keeping power and knowledge in selective hands, often at the expense of what is right and true.
There is a focus on the complexity of relationships both within families, through the need to understand and embrace our heritage and through the realisation that those closest to us don’t always operate in our best interests.
This novel almost defies description and definition. It is so many things; it is an adventure, a fantasy, a beautiful love story but also, importantly, a social commentary. In a time when the world seems to be shutting doors, feeding fear and is intent on putting up walls, this novel is an antidote to small minds and insular thinking.
And there is more…
For more reaction and reviews to The Ten Thousand Doors Of January check out the rest of the tour…
Sometimes when you request a book from a publisher you really strike gold. And that is exactly what happened when I received The Caravaners from Handheld Press. I saw it on Bookish Twitter, was intrigued by the cover and it’s feminist roots and plucked up the courage to ask. I cannot thank the publishers enough for my gifted copy.
It was a joy from start to finish. I would have read it in one sitting if life and time allowed but to be honest I would have missed a treat had I done so. This intelligent and deeply humorous book is one to be savoured.
At it’s simplest level The Caravaners is the story of what occurs when Baron Otto Von Ottringel, an officer in the Prussian Army and his wife, Edelgard, join a caravanning tour of Kent in the early part of the last century. First published in 1909, it is a book that reflects the growing English/ German tension which will ultimately erupt in the First World War.
When reviewing books I find I often end with ‘the bit about the author’ but in this case I feel this information key to understanding the context and mood of the novel.
Elizabeth Von Arnim is the pen name of Mary Annette Beauchamp. Born in Australia to British parents, she was a cousin of Katherine Mansfield. Married to a Prussian, Count von Arnim, she was perfectly placed to observe the differences between the two cultures and comment on the growing feeling of German Nationalism, generated and fuelled by Kasier Wilhelm II, grandson of Queen Victoria.
At time of writing the political and cultural gulf between Britain and Germany was beginning to widen. As Germany began to build up her navy and the Kaiser appeared slowly more unpredictable and dangerous, von Arnim took further inspiration for her novel from her own experiences.
In 1907 Elizabeth von Arnim had hired two caravans and for the month of August set off to explore the Kentish countryside with a group including teenage daughters, ex tutors – E M Forster amongst the number – family and friends.
In the true spirit of the English summer it rained, quite a lot it would seem, with one of the party only recalling 3 days of sun throughout the trip. Add in the complications of horses, outdoor cooking and in this case illness and the holiday was not without it’s fair share of challenges.
But as a microcosm of rising German / English tension, the setting of a caravanning adventure is inspired. And no one could be a better guide than the pompous Baron von Ottringel.
It is the Baron who is our narrator throughout the ill fated trip. Through his eyes we see the events but his words provide an immediate and achingly funny juxtaposition with actual motivations and occurrences.
Significantly older than his long suffering wife of 5 years Edlegard, the Baron is continually bemused by the behaviour and ‘moral’ code of his English counterparts. His pomposity and nationalism is immediately representative of the Kaiser himself.
The Baron is always concerned with outward appearance. He is convinced that others are looking upon him as a great leader. Even his motivation for being persuaded to change his holiday plans are bound up in how he believes others will see him.
And then to travel through it in one of those conveyances was so distinctly original that we would be objects of the liveliest interest during the succeeding winter gaieties in Storchwerder. ‘The von Ottringels are certainly modern,’ we could already hear our friends saying to each other…We should be the centre of attention.
The Caravaners- Pg 15
Notice the us of ‘we’. This is of huge importance , for the Baron does not see his wife as anything more than an extension of himself. Edelgard is purely there for his convenience, to serve and to admire. It is her duty, her pleasure and her honour. Women in the Baron’s mind are simple creatures, subservient to men and at their best when silent and attentive.
Indeed, the perfect woman does not talk at all. Who wants to hear her? All that we ask of her is that she shall listen intelligently when we want anything. Surely this is not much to ask. Matches, ash-trays, and one’s wife should be, so to speak on every table; and I maintain that the perfect wife copies the conduct of the matches and the ash-trays, and combines being useful with being dumb.
The Caravaners- Pg 73
Indeed the whole idea of a holiday only came about due to the Baron’s anger at his first wife for dying. Any grief he might have felt for the poor woman was rapidly consumed by his realisation that he would not reach the socially defining mark of a Silver Wedding anniversary and it acquired social standing. Therefore this tour with his second wife is actually to celebrate 25 years of marriage to his first!
The Baron swings from being chauvinistic to down right cruel. His blunt and brief reference to the death of his children, is heartless…
I myself have never been a father…that is, strictly, I was one twice, but only for so few minutes each time that they can hardly be said to count.
The Caravaners- Pg 20
And the revelation he sold his present wife’s dog upon there marriage is a further indication of the character of the man.
‘She shed tears, I remember, in quantities more suited to fourteen than twenty-four..
The Caravaners- Pg 154
So where, you may ask is the humour in this book. Take in just Baron von Ottringel alone and it seems just a rather bleak character portrait of a nasty man.
Well the humour I can is everywhere. It may be be rather dark but the humour is in the clear mismatch between the actions and reactions of the other characters and the woefully misguided interpretation of the Baron.
From the very beginning of the trip the Baron is isolated and ignored. Other characters quite literally scuttle to the four corners of the camp at his appearance.
For the Baron is entirely at sea in this tight knit community. It is a group that crosses class and gender with a refreshing level of equality and freedom and it terrifies him. He can not bring himself to associate with Browne, the young trainee Clergy man and finds the free will and outspokenness of the women in the party unbearable.
As his wife begins to rebel, lifting her skirts by a few inches, refusing to perform simple task for him and choosing to walk and talk with others, he begins to lose his grip on his carefully ordered world. Yet at no point does he look to his own behaviour to explain the changes. He is a man with a sense of his own importance but no level of self awareness.
Instead he blames his wife’s own weakness. He believes that she has allowed herself to become infected by the English company and their loose ways of living.
Therefore I had little time for reflection on the new side of her nature the English atmosphere was bringing out…
The Caravaners- Pg105
The juxtaposition of the Baron’s pompous and self assured narrative, alongside the readers interpretation of the actions of other characters is a master stroke of satire. Baron von Ottringel is perpetually seen to be misunderstanding situations, misreading characters and making a fool of himself. I found myself laughing out loud, repeatedly cringing but crucially never once feeling a modicum of sympathy.
Because at his heart Baron von Ottringel is a dangerous and cold hearted man. A man who is motivated by pride and nationalism. And when those core values are undermined, when he is challenged then his sense of reason is unstable. Buried in the narrative is a chilling reminder that this holiday is a mere snap shot in the marriage of the Baron and Edelgard. When faced with her defiance, he begins to ponder and plan his course of action…
However, a reasonable man knows how to wait. He does not, not being a woman, hasten and perhaps spoil a crisis by rushing at it. And if no opportunity should present itself for weeks, would there not be years in our flat in Storchwerder consisting solely of opportunities?
The Caravaners- pg 109
Here is a warning to the reader. When this holiday is over, as it surely will be, then someone will pay the price. In the context of The Caravaners it is likely to be Edelgard, in the wider context of Europe we can now all look back with terrible hindsight, as we neatly return to the theme of German / English tensions.
Through brilliant satire and social commentary Elizabeth von Arnim wrote a powerful warning, focusing on the changing attitudes across Europe and suggesting that trouble was not far away. How right she was.
It is my absolute pleasure to be on the blog tour for Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt. This novel is one of four books written during the Second World War that have been reissued as part of the Imperial War Museum Wartime Classic series and released to commemorate the 70 year anniversary of the outbreak of war this September.
Plenty Under the Counter was written in 1943. Centred on and created against the backdrop of a capital city emerging from the ravages of the Blitz, the novel captures the mood and experiences of wartime London.
The hero of the novel is Flight – Lieutenant David Heron, and we find him on the final week of his convalescence leave. Having recently fallen in love, Heron is determined to make the most of his last week of freedom. But his plans to spend time with nurse Tess Carmichael are some what thwarted by the discovery of a body in the garden of his boarding house.
Intelligent, some what charming, an actor in the prewar years Heron is quickly drawn in to the intrigue surrounding the crime and consequently his last week is full of mystery, suspicion and not inconsiderable danger.
As the boarding house becomes the centre of the police investigation the spotlight is firmly on it’s residents, who all reveal themselves to be a complex and some what surprising collection of individuals.
Mrs Meake, or ‘Meakie’, is a long-standing friend of Heron’s. An ex- showgirl herself, she runs the boarding house with a skilled hand. Her nemesis is her rather mysterious and difficult daughter Thelma who’s associations and whereabouts are often difficult to pin down.
Terry Lipscott, is a merchant navy man. Often away from home, his appearance just after the murder is questionable, particularly when it comes to light he has been hiding a young woman in his room.
Miss Trindle, a rather naïve spinster, with a possible murky past moves out on the morning following the murder. Is her haste as she claims to distance herself from a house of ill repute or is there something more sinister behind it?
And what of the German Dr Hauptmann, quiet, unassuming but watchful? And Mr Cumberbatch, reclusive, always needing his coal replenished and seemingly obsessed with a dead wife? And don’t forget Annie the extraordinarily large new maid, desperate to confess to a murder she seems unlikely to have committed.
So begins, and I mean begins, for this list is by no means exhaustive, a cast of colourful characters all bound up in this web of intrigue. Hewitt repeatedly proves herself unrivalled in the ability to create engaging characters, principally through the use of dialogue. I would estimate that at least 60 percent of the novel is written in this form and it is the stronger for it. There is an immediate and vibrant sense of personality and colour that leaps off the page. So much so that it often feels that the reader is seated in the front row in a fast moving and beguiling play.
For the plot definitely zips along. The investigation is framed quite clearly by David Heron’s week of leave, meaning there isn’t time for any dilly dallying. And meaning we are treated to some expert plotting and beautiful character interactions. This isn’t a novel that gets bogged down in lengthy descriptions, it is character and action that drive it forward in the most convincing way.
It might be a timeless ‘who dunnit’ tale, entertaining and with a constant undertone of pathos and humour, but Hewitt has also clearly captured the essence of the time period.
The very title Plenty Under The Counter encapsulates the reality of the war. It is a time of shortage and making do. It is a time of great pulling together but also of some opportunistic activities and underhand dealing. There is the feeling that the war and the extreme of circumstances around it have brought people’s inherent characteristics to the fore, for good or evil.
Reading and reviewing this book has been an absolute pleasure. I enjoyed every word. However when Anne Cater extended her invitation to be involved it was a personal reason that made me accept.
My lovely Grandad passed away this year. He was 96 and had been a Tank Driver in WW2. Having served in Africa, he ended the war in Italy fighting in the battle of Monte Cassino. I was hoping we would get to commemorate this milestone Anniversary together but it was unfortunately not to be. So being involved in this book tour and the reissue of these period novels feels like my part in honouring my Grandad and those who served alongside him.
About the author …
Kathleen Hewitt was a prolific British author who wrote more than twenty novels during her lifetime. A parson’s daughter, she lived a varied and interesting life including fashion designing, modelling and film extra work. Following the break down of her marriage she travelled to South Africa where she lived on a farm. Her return to England saw her open a hat shop in Reading.
She wrote throughout her life but wasn’t published until the age of 39. Her main genre of work was mysteries and thrillers, but she also published her Autobiography The Only Paradise in 1945.
She died in 1980.
And there is more…
For more information, reviews and reactions to Plenty Under The Counter check out the rest of the book tour. Details below…