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“Exquisite, expansive narrative.” Read the latest 5* #review for #histfic THE SOLDIER’S RETURN #RWISA #RRBC

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Exquisite, expansive narrative

“An expansive saga of early 17th Century Germany during the Catholic Counter-Reformation, The Thirty Years’ War, and the Witch Trials of Bamberg – one of the most destructive conflicts in human history. This exquisite narrative follows the travails of a kept farm maid, an alcoholic soldier on the run, and a sadistic Jesuit priest hellbent to rid the region from pestilence, famine and evil through tortuous and murderous forms of purification. Through the lives of these characters we experience the vermin-infested life on the farm replete with bedbugs, lice and fleas; the soldiers’ disease-ridden life on the march, and the zealot’s monastic life of prayer and inquisition. Written from the omniscient perspective of a credible researcher of history, the author pulls no punches in her vivid, sometimes purplish, depictions of plunder, torture, rape and murder, and she portrays the desperate plight of women and children trying to survive against the random vagaries of marauding armies, starving vagabonds, sweeping famine, incest, and the drunken forays of virtually every man in their cloistered lives. Glimpses of love, joy and hope are quickly trampled under the grind of survival, but like the sun, they rise again and again, as does the indomitable spirit and work ethic of the Germanic people. The primary characters’ lives have brutally collided in the past, and their trajectories propel them toward violent ruin. Who will survive? The history books will relate the choices of kings and pope, but if you want to know how their decisions were felt on the ground at the human level, read The Soldier’s Return.”

Review by author Douglas C. Gilbert

THE SOLDIER’S RETURN:

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The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?

Available in paperback and for kindle right here: mybook.to/SoldiersReturn

#Belthane blessings for this 2018 Walpurgisnacht #MayDay #Witches

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Laura Libricz, Authoress

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What comes to your mind when someone mentions the 8th century? Could it be the introduction of the triangle harp by the Picts in Scotland? Or maybe the reign of Charlemagne, King of the Franks. Or the popular epic poem Beowulf, which could be as old as the 8th Century? Or marauding Vikings invading the coasts of Europe? Or of the Bendedictine nun and English missionary to the Frankish Empire Walburga, later to be canonized on May 1, 870, one hundred years after her death?

St. Walburga was born in Devonshire in 710. She was raised in a Benedictine Abbey during the time her father and brothers travelled as pilgrims to far-away holy lands. After twenty-six years in the abbey, she joined her brother St. Boniface in Germany to help with his missionary work there.

The goal was to strip the Germanic tribes of any pagan tendencies that might still…

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Read LuAnn’s #review for #histfic novel THE SOLDIER’S RETURN @KentuckyGal @HFVBT

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Today I’d like to welcome LuAnn Braley and share her wonderful review of THE SOLDIER’S RETURN! Please take the time to visit her at Back Porchervations.

LuAnn’s Review:

The second book in Laura Libricz’s “Heaven’s Pond Trilogy”, The Soldier’s Return, pulls no punches when it comes to describing some of the more horrifying aspects of war in the early 1600s.  Granted, there were no air strikes or nukes, but plenty of damage was done to the countryside and the people living there nonetheless.

The whole Catholic vs Protestant issue was cooking on high heat and littlle bits of land would go back and forth from the control of one religion to the control of another.  And wo to the Catholic who found herself in a Protestant village, and vice versa.  It was as bad back then as it is these days between gangs in many areas.  And interactions could be just as deadly.

And Ralf, the Jesuit whom I grew to dislike intensely in the first book of the trilogy, The Master and the Maid, doubled down on his fanaticism when it came to ferreting out ‘witches’, which a rather disproportionate amount of the time were Protestant sympathizers.  If the suspect in question did not give an answer that Ralf wanted, he would apply various ‘methods of persuasion’ to ‘drive the devil out’ of said person.  I remember a vivid description of thumb screws…and he just got nasty from there.

Herr Tucher and Katarina (the titular master and maid of the first book) were still at Sichardtshof farm, trying to hold things together for the little group of people living and working there.  Not an easy job when army after army comes through.  In those times, the soldiers were not paid their promised wages very often, and scant if any rations were provided, so they took what they wanted from farmers and villagers – food, drink and women.  I am glad the author did not resort to the crass terminology that seems to be prevalent in some modern erotic romances, but the scenes are quite disturbing nonetheless.  That is not a criticixm, but an observation.

Pieter had gone back to Amsterdam shortly before his father passed away, ran into all kinds of trouble shortly after and after a stint in jail in the Spice Islands, returned but had to leave town fairly quickly again.  He wanted to go back to the farm (probably the closest thing to family he had left), and joined up with various military units on the way south to Sichardtshof.  He changed units as often as needed to suit his purposes.  Unfortunately, he did not resign or ask for re-assignment first…which tends to upset the commanders of said units.  Deserters faired no better, and probably much worse, than they do today.

Reading the book, which was difficult to stop, I felt like I was there – slogging through mud, feeling fear for the women and children on the farm when soldiers and ‘camp followers’ marauded through.

I do wonder about the title, a wee bit.  The story seemed to have as much or more to do with the goings on at Sichardtshof itself, than with Pieter’s return to the farm.  For me it’s one of those ‘it would be interesting to know someday’, but had no bearing on my enjoyment of the book.

The Soldier’s Return is not always an easy read.  Don’t get me wrong, the story is wonderful … but life for the people living in that area and at that time was not..  There was not a ‘HEA’ ending, but the core group of characters (Tucher, Katarina, Isobel, her father and Pieter) were still standing.  If you are a reader, The Soldier’s Return is a satisfying, filling read.

And now I’m really looking forward to the last installment of the trilogy, Ash and Rubble, to see how Isobel fulfills the White Witch’s predictions for her!

Join me on this stop of my @HFVBT #book tour for the latest review of #histfic The Soldier’s Return

Please join me today in welcoming Rachael from Rachael’s Ramblings for this wonderful review!

“One thing I felt Laura Libricz did superlatively was create a gritty sense of realism. This is war and religion at their least glorious; there are no great victories or dashing heroes to be found here. Throughout the novel she explores how very low mankind can sink in its darkest times and how brutal people can be with very little provocation, especially to people they consider ‘other’.”

Continue reading here:

Rachael's Ramblings

This was meant to be up much earlier in the week, but life got somewhat in the way! I was kindly sent this book by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

The Soldier’s Return by Laura Libricz

Publication Date: September 15, 2017
eBook & Paperback

Series: Heaven’s Pond Trilogy, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

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Svetlana reads and reviews THE SOLDIER’S RETURN #historicalfiction #review

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Thank you to Svetlana for her review of THE SOLDIER’S RETURN, Heaven’s Pond Trilogy Book 2. Read the review in its entirety here and visit Svetlana’s Reads and Views:

“Characters: Main characters include Katarina, Ralf, Pieter van Diermen. With some characters I couldn’t tell if they were main or secondary, but I think those three are main characters. Katarina is a maid as well as a lover to Sebald Tucher. She seems to be in charge of everything and is more of a mistress. She also wants to take all the burdens on herself at the cost of friendships and relationships. Katarina is intelligent, resourceful but she tends to keep her heart guarded up, especially towards her surrogate daughter Isabeau. Ralf is the villain of the book who seems to be delusional and who sees evil everywhere. He is also a Catholic priest who feels faith is more important than anything else. (He also literally sees women who use herbs as witches because they don’t trust in god!) Pieter van Diermen is a difficult character for me to describe aside from the fact he has little to no taste in warfare and just wants to leave the soldier’s life. Despite his personal feelings, he has already been damaged by the war and the things he had to see and participate in.

“Theme: There is no glamour and glory in war.

“Plot: The story is in third person narrative from multiple points of view; namely from Pieter van Diemen’s, Katarina’s, Isabeau’s and Ralf’s points of view. There is definitely a psychological aspect to the novel because its not desensitized and constant ugly things happen to characters. The author, I feel, seems to ask how much can the characters handle before they reach a breaking point? I know that reading and witnessing horror in the story that’s rarely unremitting but continuous can drive any reader to exhaustion and weariness.

“Opinion: First of all, reading the first book in the series is a must because the reader will get lost with what’s going on as well as the characters and how they all know one another. Second of all, the book doesn’t glamorize fighting or wars at all, but instead its richly detailed about the travails that war has on men, women and children in 17th century. There is some plot in the story, but most of it is day to day situation that survivors have to go through such as securing food, hiding from rowdy soldiers, and trying to move on from horrors seen and inflicted, which I actually enjoyed a lot. If you are looking for realistic fiction, I would highly recommend the book.”

“Rating: 4 out of 5 (0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)”

Please visit Svetlana’s Reads and Views for more historical fiction reviews!

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Spotlight on The Soldier’s Return: Visit us today on our @hfvbt #blogtour via @_quirkybookworm

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Clarissa Reads It All.

The Soldier’s Return
by Laura Libricz

Publication Date: September 15, 2017
eBook & Paperback

Series: Heaven’s Pond Trilogy, Book Two
Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies…

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Join us for THE SOLDIER’S RETURN @hfvbt #blogtour Jan 30-Feb 16! Enter the #historicalfiction #giveaway

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This week, THE SOLDIER’S RETURN is on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours! During the Blog Tour we are giving away a paperback set of The Master and the Maid and The Soldier’s Return to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form featured on this link: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/thesoldiersreturnblogtour/

The year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.

The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago. His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight against a senseless war out of control?

The Soldier’s Return is the second book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy.

 

Readers’ Favorite announces the review of the Fiction – Historical book “The Soldier’s Return” by Laura Libricz.

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Reviewed By Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite: After ten years, a young Dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, is returning to Amsterdam in chains, after being captured and imprisoned in the Spice Islands. But he can’t stay in Amsterdam. After his escape, the only place he hopes to find solace is Sichardtshof, a farm in Franconia, Germany. But after being away for ten years, will it still be the same and will he still find the hospitality and warmth of the patrician, Herr Tucher, and his maid, Katarina? Follow the protagonist during a period of turbulence, of conflict between Catholics and Protestants. It is against this backdrop that Pieter navigates through deadly traps and dangerous terrain to find refuge, but can he? The Soldier’s Return by Laura Libricz is a powerful historical novel with a strong setting and memorable characters.

The language is what first caught my attention: it is beautiful, at times poetic, and it unveils elements of the religious, historical, and cultural settings in intelligent and relevant ways. Apart from writing a gripping story, Laura Libricz has taken readers on a historic ride to relive the religious conflicts of the seventeen century, weaving into her narrative great social, religious, and political commentaries. I enjoyed the descriptive style of the narrative, the well-written dialogues, and the surprises and twists in the plot. The tone is unique and compelling, the conflict huge and masterfully handled. It is no wonder that The Soldier’s Return will appeal immensely to fans of historical novels with great settings and compelling characters.

You can learn more about Laura Libricz and “The Soldier’s Return” at https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/the-soldiers-return