Lone Star Book Blog Tour: Wickwythe Hall by Judithe Little

Why yes, it’s another book blog tour, and one my little historical-fiction-loving heart is a pitter-patter over: Wickwythe Hall, by Judithe Little.  Set primarily in 1940 England as Hitler invades France, it presents a view of the war from the perspective of the moneyed – one I’m not as familiar with – as well as a bit of English military history that I was both unfamiliar with and left speechless by.

Does that pique your interest? Read on for more (and check out the giveaway!)

wickwythe hall
WICKWYTHE HALL
by
Judithe Little
Genre: Historical Fiction / WWII
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Date of Publication: September 30, 2017
Number of Pages: 324

*Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist*
*2018 Reader Views Readers’ Choice Award for Historical Fiction*
*Winner of the Tyler R. Tichelaar Award for Best Historical Fiction*

 

*Official selection of the Pulpwood Queens Book Club*
  
Scroll down for the giveaway!

wickwythe hall
May 1940. The Germans invade France and the course of three lives is upended. Annelle LeMaire is a French refugee desperate to contact her Legionnaire brothers. Mabry Springs, American wife of a wealthy Brit, is struggling to come to terms with a troubled marriage and imminent German invasion. And Reid Carr, American representative of French champagne house Pol Roger, brings more than champagne to Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Their paths entwine when Churchill and his entourage take refuge at Wickwythe Hall, the Springs’ country estate hidden from the full moon and German bombers beneath a shroud of trees. There, as secrets and unexpected liaisons unfold, Annelle, Mabry, and Reid are forever bound by the tragedy they share.
Part Downton Abbey, part Darkest Hour, Wickwythe Hall was inspired by an actual confrontation between the British and French navies in July 1940 and is a story of love, loyalty, and heartrending choices.

PRAISE FOR WICKWYTHE HALL:

“…a riveting and enlightening mix of history and fiction that puts a human face on the costs of war…engaging…”  — Foreword Reviews

“Little’s characterization of Churchill is so well done. She makes his personality and presence so real. Mabry was a character to be admired for her decisions and actions. A good read with a satisfying ending.”   — Historical Novels Review

“Judithe Little tackles war and masterfully boils it down to personal moral dilemmas. Beautifully written and rich with atmosphere…Wickwythe Hall is a stellar achievement.”  — Ann Weisgarber, author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree and The Promise

“…an emotional and touching story about the lives of three people during World War II, at the time of Hitler’s invasion of France in 1940. Inspired by real people, places and events in history, this whirlwind novel will no doubt leave an imprint on your heart long after you finish reading.”  — Reader Views

“If you love history, beautifully rendered characters, and stories that will tug at your heart, add Wickwythe Hall to your list.”  — Book Perfume
CLICK TO ORDER ON:
  Amazon  ┃  Barnes & Noble  

I confess, I’ve been reading more and more historical fiction lately and I’m particularly interested in World War II history with female protagonists. Much of what I’ve been reading (and loving) has been from the perspective of children, evacuees, and women struggling to survive.

Wickwythe Hall presents a view of the war from the side of privilege and yet keeps it grounded, relatable and engaging.  While the struggles they come against are not comparable to the relative masses, their emotions and fears and anxieties are altogether real  and palpable.

The story is told from a 3rd person perspective from three people: Mabry, a resourceful American heiress married to a moneyed British man with ties to Winston Churchill, whose country estate becomes a place of safety for a variety of British upper-crust and children evacuated from London; Annellle, a French refugee who was trying to get to Algeria to find her brothers fighting with the French Foreign Legion (but instead she was evacuated to London after disaster strikes), and Reid Carr, an American whose work for a French champagne company provides him an excellent cover to work as a liaison between President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, whose idiosyncrasies are colorfully documented in the story.

Author Judithe Little does a wonderful job of weaving together their three storylines. My favorite character however, was Mabry. She was complicated, resourceful, layered, and my heart broke for her more than once. She shares a complicated history with Reid Carr and was blindsided by his arrival at her estate. The losses she has suffered slowly come to light and illuminate the cause of the turmoil within her marriage.

Was she angry with him? There he was, intact, while she was carved out, the parts still there useless. Was it guilt? Was it the idea, though he’d never come close to saying so, that she’d let him down?…She’d always been so certain of herself, always so physically strong. So well-made on the outside, to discover she was’t what she thought on the inside seemed like a dirty trick.

Mabry could have been a fluttering dilettante, dabbling in the war effort, but she turned out to be a roll up her sleeves and get things done woman. She called in every favor when needed,  and I don’t have an issue with someone making use of their connections when it benefits the greater good.  She felt connected to Annelle in their mutual losses, and used her own history and pain to stand up for Annelle and protect her when it was needed. She was, in every sense, a spunky heroine, and while the writing styles differed, Mabry reminded me of another favorite WW2 era heroine, Maisie Dobbs.

Wickwythe Hall was an engaging page-turner.  In the latter part of the story, tension builds as Churchill’s plans for Operation Catapult are revealed, the horror of the plan balanced with the British needs to ensure survival. It’s a dreadful plan, shocking in concept.

But it wasn’t this first part of Operation Catapult that had Reid slumped in his chair. It was the last, farther down the page. Churchill threatened to wield a stick of his own:  If you refuse these fair offers, we will destroy your ships by our own action.
The unthinkable was right there in print. The British fleet would confront the French fleet, their allies, at Mers el-Kébir. If the French ships didn’t cooperate, the Royal Navy would blow them to bits. And it wasn’t as if the French sailors on board would excuse themselves before the torpedoes went off. They were naval men. They were French. They would defend their ships to the last man. French men would be killed by fire from British guns.
We have the privilege of looking back over history, and so my head and my heart struggled with this piece –  it hadn’t happened, one wonders how the war might have turned out quite differently, but the horror of it is still there.

What I appreciated, however, is how carefully Little wove this piece of history into the storyline instead of it being the story. (That is a different book for a different author, and one that I would read as a non-fiction tale.)

Author Little has also drawn up the expected cast of supporting characters: a stiff-upper-lipped, dependable butler Federling; Aunt Freddy, a manipulative, over-bearing and over-involved wealthy aunt; Mrs. Smithson, a ruddy-faced, unimaginative cook; Lila, a spunky four-year-old evacuee staying at Mabry’s estate; and Dorothy Santiago, an old friend of Mabry’s from boarding school who is now a war correspondent, and one privy to Mabry’s full story.  Each provides the story with details of the time and place marvelously without becoming caricatures, adding atmosphere, balance and detail.

All-in-all, Judithe Little has an engaging voice and has created a wonderfully visual world for the reader.  This book was definitely difficult to put down! If you are a fan of historical novels, Wickwythe Hall is a must-add to your reading list!

wickwythe hall
Judithe Little grew up in Virginia and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. After studying at the Institute of European Studies and the Institut Catholique in Paris, France, and interning at the U.S. Department of State, she earned a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law where she was on the Editorial Board of the Journal of International Law and a Dillard Fellow. She lives with her husband, three teenagers, and three dogs in Houston, Texas, where she’s at work on her next historical novel set in France.  
 

Website ║ Facebook ║  Instagram  Pinterest  Goodreads 

————————————-

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS
1ST: Signed Copy of Wickwythe Hall + $50 Amazon Gift Card
2ND: Signed Copy of Wickwythe Hall + $25 Amazon Gift Card
3RD: Signed Copy of Wickwythe Hall  + $15 Amazon Gift Card
MARCH 27-APRIL 5, 2018

VISIT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:

3/27/18
Guest Post 1
3/27/18
Bonus Post
3/28/18
Review
3/29/18
Excerpt
3/30/18
Guest Post 2
3/31/18
Review
4/1/18
Notable Quotable
4/2/18
Guest Post 3
4/3/18
Review
4/4/18
Guest Post 4
4/5/18
Review
   blog tour services provided by
  

SaveSave

SaveSave

join the conversation

*

CommentLuv badge