October 11, 2018

The Game of Hope Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway


The Game of Hope
Author: Sandra Gulland
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Viking Books for Young Readers
Hardcover & eBook; 384 Pages


For Napoleon's stepdaughter, nothing is simple -- especially love. Paris, 1798. Hortense de Beauharnais is engrossed in her studies at a boarding school for aristocratic girls, most of whom suffered tragic losses during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution. She loves to play and compose music, read and paint, and daydream about Christophe, her brother's dashing fellow officer. But Hortense is not an ordinary girl. Her beautiful, charming mother Josephine has married Napoleon Bonaparte, soon to become the most powerful man in France, but viewed by Hortense as a coarse, unworthy successor to her elegant father, who was guillotined during the Terror. Where will Hortense's future lie? Inspired by Hortense's real-life autobiography with charming glimpses of teen life long ago, this is the story of a girl chosen by fate to play a role she didn't choose.

Praise for The Game of Hope:

"Gulland, who’s clearly done her research, includes plenty of documented moments and people from Hortense’s life, which cultivates a rich sense of atmosphere...Teen fans of historical fiction fascinated by the period will find plenty to appreciate here." — Booklist 

"Gulland has built a career writing historical fiction for adults...Her pitch-perfect balance of lush period details and character-driven narrative shines again in The Game of Hope. — Quill & Quire 

“[The Game of Hope] captures the essence of the period. It is not just a story about a girl; it is about the time; it is about the people whose lives she touched and about the changes spurned from the revolution. That is what makes it so grand and captivating.” — Cyn’s Workshop Review 

“Sandra Gulland’s writing is enchanting and beautiful.” — Krimsuun Pages

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The Dream

I saw a man approaching. Cloaked and hooded, he moved with grace in the flickering candlelight.

My heart soared. Father!

He put out one hand, gloved in white leather. Hope was aglow all around him.

But then—as always—his hood fell back, and there was only a bloody stump where his head should have been.

I screamed, gasping for air, my heart pounding.

Mouse and Ém tried to calm me, but I only wept all the harder.

What did my father want?

Why was he haunting me?

Maîtresse rushed into our room in rumpled nightclothes, a shawl thrown haphazardly over her shoulders. “Such screaming, angel! You’ll terrify the Little Geniuses,” she said, putting down her candle. The shadows made her face look like that of a ghoul.

“I’m sorry,” I sobbed, slipping the miniature enamel portrait of my father from under my pillow. Father: so handsome, so elegant, to have died like that, the crowd cheering as his head fell into a basket of wood shavings.

“It’s that same night-fright she always has,” Mouse told her aunt, her voice tremulous.

“That scary dream of her father,” my cousin Ém said.

I looked into Maîtresse’s eyes. She was mistress of our boarding school, quite strict and demanding, yet we all loved her. “With his—” I winced, making a slashing motion across my neck.

“Come here, my sweets,” Maîtresse said, opening her arms.

Dragging their blankets, Ém and Mouse huddled in close. I could feel Mouse trembling. We called ourselves the Fearsome Threesome, but in the dead of night, Fearful Threesome might have been more apt.

“Repeat after me,” Maîtresse said, pulling the blankets snugly around us. She smelled deliciously of vanilla. “We are safe now.”

“We are safe now,” we whispered in unison.

Safe now, safe now, safe now.

But were we? It had been four years since the tyrant Robespierre had been executed, bringing an end to the Terror—but what if it were to happen again? Practically every girl in our school was of the nobility. What was to keep us from being hunted down, having our heads cut off?

I bit my lip, recalling the stench of the dead, heaped like garbage in the square.

Maîtresse clasped my shoulder. The strength of her grip brought me back. “You grew up in a violent time,” she said, her voice soft. “You witnessed things no child should ever have to see. But memories are like words on a wax tablet: they can be erased. You are smart, and creative, and talented. You can become whatever you wish, but first, you must learn to direct your thoughts—even your dreams.” She tucked a stray strand of my hair back up under my nightcap. “Remember: you are safe now.”

Safe now.

I woke before dawn, my thoughts in disarray, my heart aching.

Father, must you frighten me so?

Was I the cause of your death?

I whispered my morning devotions curled up under my blankets, praying that I would never have that dream again.

Praying for the safety of my big brother Eugène, who was a soldier now, fighting with our stepfather’s army in far-away Egypt.

Praying that my stepfather, General Bonaparte, would somehow disappear from my life, lost to the sands of that barbaric country.

Praying that I would become a better person and not have such evil thoughts.

Praying that my mother would stop trying to find a husband for me.

Praying for a horse of my own.

Praying for one of Maîtresse’s delicious chocolate madeleines.

And then, especially heartfelt, praying—sinfully, I know—for the safety of A Certain Someone who was also with the General’s army in Egypt.

Sandra Gulland is an American-born Canadian novelist specializing in historical fiction. She is the author of the internationally bestselling trilogy of adult books based on the life of Josephine de Beauharnais Bonaparte, as well as two novels set at the court of Louis XIV, the Sun King. Her books have been published in sixteen countries, translated into thirteen languages, and sold more than a million copies worldwide. Sandra Gulland's novels include The Josephine B. Trilogy, The Shadow Queen, Mistress of the Sun, and The Game of Hope.

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Blog Tour Schedule:

Monday, October 8: Interview at Passages to the Past 
Tuesday, October 9: Review at A Bookish Affair 
Wednesday, October 10: Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit 
Thursday, October 11: Excerpt at A Dream within a Dream 
Friday, October 12: Review at Faery Tales Are Real
Monday, October 15: Review at History From a Woman's Perspective 
Tuesday, October 16: Review at Creating Herstory 
Wednesday, October 17: Review at Reading the Past 
Thursday, October 18: Interview at Creating Herstory; Review at Tar Heel Reader 
Friday, October 19: Review at The Lit Bitch; Feature at View from the Birdhouse Saturday, October 20: Review at Introvert Booklover 
Sunday, October 21: Review at 100 Pages a Day 
Monday, October 22: Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a copy of The Game of Hope to one lucky reader! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.  

Giveaway Rules:
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter. 
– Giveaway is open to US Only. 
– Only one entry per household. 
 – All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion. 
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen. 

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