About YH

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Once upon a time, not so very long ago, I practiced as a psychologist. I enjoyed my career but now it’s  time to do something else with my life. I’ll be using this place to organize and share all the things I love doing now. Among the topics I like to study and write about are folklore, medieval life and times, American history up to the end of the Civil War, Connecticut and New England, travel, animals, plants and gardening. I also will be posting reviews of books I’ve enjoyed. On a personal note, I’m married, have a son and a daughter, both doing well on their own now, and 2 adorable little grand-daughters, three cats and two grand-dogs. I work part time at two local historic house museums, and love to read, knit, and travel, especially to France, England, and Italy. And I spend a lot of time on-line. A lot.

64 thoughts on “About YH

  1. Hi History, I would like to get my book in front of you for a review. I have read your reviews and I love how honest they are. I am an unknown author doing my damdest to break into the literary world with a memior that I feel is noteworthy. If I can spark your interest my book is STAND by Debbie Williamson it is on Amazon and if you google it comes up in several places. Thank you so much let me know if there is an interest.

  2. Hi,

    After looking through your blog, Your’re History, I thought that you would be interested hearing about our new book, National Geographic Exploration Experience, by Beau Riffenburgh.

    I really feel that the viewers of your website would enjoy this book and would find it very informative. If you would like to receive a review copy of the book and learn more, please contact me at 202-857-7659 or jmcfeely@ngs.org

    John McFeely
    Communications Coordinator, Communications
    National Geographic Society
    1145 17th Street NW
    Washington, DC 20036
    T: 202-857-7659

  3. bob says:

    Hi there, i love your site. I myself am a bit of a history buff. I am thinking of writing a book on the Ct witch trials of the 1600’s. Any advice on how to start? thanks in advance.

  4. Haven’t had a chance to look around yet, but this site seems right up my alley according to your About section.

    I (will, 2 more months!) have a degree in Humanistic Studies, which focuses on history, literature, and how we (as a Western society) became who we are today. I wrote my senior thesis on the Middle Ages, so that’s my particularly favorite area of interest.

    Looking forward to following your site.

  5. katknit says:

    I’d start by reading the books written in the last 10 years about witch trials in CT. Check out the bibliographies, choose your focus, then I’m afraid you’ll have to dig and delve into town records and other primary sources.
    Best of luck!

  6. katknit says:

    I’m so glad you’ve found this site of interest, and hope you’ll visit often. You and I have a lot of interests in common!

  7. I really enjoy your blog and wanted to introduce mine. I aim to make a documentary that retraces the two-year long voyage through the Americas of the 1850’s of my Swiss Great-Great-Grandfather, Henri de Buren, a naturalist, artist
    and explorer.

    Regards, Jean-François

  8. You have a Great blog! Check my history blog out about the county I live in. Ellis County Texas. Created out of Navarro County on December 20, 1849. Places In The Heart was filmed here and the story line was created based on actual events in Ellis County.

  9. Nice blog – hey are you on Facebook? If you are that way you could announce your posts and I could keep up with them. I have yet to figure any other way of keeping up with blogs. I’m a historian working at a history museum in TN. Found your site while looking for an image of an “ancient spindle”. LOL. Check out my blog – totally unrelated.

  10. Dennis P. O'Brien says:

    Hello … I have discovered some interesting characters from my family’s genealogy, circa 1850s Massachusetts (Connecticut River valley area and the western hill towns) and wondered if you might direct me to any reading (fiction or not) that could give me a sense of life as it existed in those places and times?


  11. Hey there,

    love your blog, especially the history bent. since you liked my first mystery, thought you might be interested in my next, coming out in a week: Haunt Me Still, the further adventures of Kate Stanley. It’s a mystery set in Europe (if you count the U.K., are not a stickler for the continent)… so it might even fall within your 2010 challenge!

    If you’d like to know more, take a look at my web site: http://www.jenniferleecarrell.com

    In any case, happy reading: you’ve got a great list!


  12. blackwatertown says:

    Hello – Just found your blog. I particularly enjoy the book reviews. It’s clear from your reading list that you’re a voracious reader. It’s very impressive.

  13. Thanks for the excellent reviews. They are concise, smart and informative. I’d love to have you visit my blog at http://www.brendamarshallauthor.com/blog to post a comment under Books That Matter. While you’re there, please look at my new novel, DAKOTA, OR WHAT’S A HEAVEN FOR, literary historical fiction set in 19th century Dakota Territory. There’s a trailer on the home page, and some readings of excerpts (photos and videos) on the DAKOTA page. Let me know what you think! I’d love to make a copy available for review.

  14. The Medieval World: An Illustrated Atlas, by John M. Thompson will tickle the fancy of any medievalist. With more than 60 maps and hundreds of glossy color images that sumptuously portray the vivid parade of a thousand years of human history, this book gracefully unveils an era often shrouded in lore and mystery, from the fall of Rome to the age of discovery.

    Unprecedented in scope, The Medieval World profiles world-class cities from London and Paris to Barcelona, Florence, and Damascus and uses each great urban center to discuss characteristics of a particular century. Detailed timelines connect the many dramatic events that distinguished these volatile years. Quotes from famous medieval figures, close-ups of intriguing artifacts, and rich landscape photography of the places where battles were fought and monarchs were crowned help shed more light than ever before on the “Dark Ages.”

    The Medieval World is an engaging lyrical adventure that sweeps readers through time and across continents. Vibrant text captures the intrigue of the era and the complexity of its people. Discover the origins of medieval wars, migrations, occupations, religious beliefs, and inventions. Learn more about the greatest manuscripts of the day, from the Magna Carta to the Domesday Book, and come face to face with the real people behind the famous legends of King Arthur, Joan of Arc, Charlemagne, Saladin and Richard the Lionhearted.

    Penelope Dackis

  15. Hello there,

    I am working on a clickable banner of Connecticut’s Book Bloggers. Would you mind e-mailing me so that I could get an avatar from you for your page?

  16. Kathleen Hubert says:


    I was wondering if you accept guest post for your blog. If you do, I would like to submit a few. I’m a recent college graduate, with an English major, looking to build out my portfolio. I can write on a wide variety of topics and am sure you would be happy with the quality. Please email me back if you are interested. Thank you for your time.

    – Kathleen Hubert

  17. Ken Sonenclar says:

    Hi Linda — I feel like you’ve heard this before. But could I send you a request to review my new novel? It’s a contemporary thriller set in London and Istanbul. Can you send your email address?

  18. Ken Sonenclar says:

    Hi Linda,

    Here’s the summary I’m using on Amazon:

    “A suicide attack on U.S. sailors in Istanbul leaves hundreds dead, triggering a global manhunt.

    Meanwhile, Zander Blake, chief of the LAPD’s Art Theft squad, is flying to London to address a landmark UN assembly on saving the world’s most endangered treasures. He lands only in time to learn that the conference keynote speaker, a celebrated Harvard archaeologist, has just been coldly executed.

    While the CIA struggles to track down the Istanbul terrorists and Scotland Yard conducts its rambling investigation, Penny Theobald, the Harvard professor’s beautiful graduate assistant, presses Blake into probing the murder with her. The pair follow a trail marred by secrets, betrayal, and violence that leads them to Turkey and the professor’s surprising connection to the terrorist attack, quickly pulling them into a diplomatic intrigue that threatens to ignite a new holy war—should the professor’s fatal mission come to light.

    Eavesdropping FBI agents, an ambitious American curator, a cunning Oxford don, an antiquities dealer struggling with his own greed, a stunning assassin, intelligence operatives and bureaucrats intent on keeping Blake and Theobald at bay—all stand between the pair and their ultimately frantic search for the truth.”


  19. Hi Linda,

    I was reading some of your Amazon reviews and Goodreads selections, and smiled to see you liked Phil Rickman’s books. He’s one of my favorite authors – I’ve reread the whole Merrily Watkins series countless times. He does indeed paint a colorful but gritty picture of Welsh-border life that isn’t as pretty as the landscape…

    I notice also that you liked Still Life With Crows, my all-time favorite Preston/Child Pendergast novel, but aren’t a fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, because of his sociopathic concept of justice.

    I am very much hoping that you would consider reviewing my mystery thriller novel, New Year Island. Michael Carr, editor of numerous NY Times and international bestsellers, including Brad Meltzer’s #3 NY Times Bestseller The Zero Game, has called New Year Island “…the most exciting, most promising work of fiction to cross my desk in the past year.” It’s a gritty modern homage to Agatha Christie’s classic And Then There Were None and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

    Ten strangers, recruited from their daily lives by an edgy new reality show, are marooned on an abandoned island near the California coast. One dies in a horrible accident, and the remaining nine realize they are all past survivors, alive only because they once before beat the odds in a life-or-death situation. Worse still, one of them is not who he or she claims. Now they must solve the mystery of who lured them there and why, as they fight to survive and escape New Year Island.

    More details at : http://www.amazon.com/New-Year-Island-ebook/dp/B00E69E91M/

    If this sounds like something you might enjoy, I would be delighted to send you a free review copy.

    Looking forward to hearing from you either way, and it’s a pleasure to meet you.



  20. Hi Linda,

    Apologies. I’m yet another author come to clutter up your comments box with a review request for a novel…

    The book in question is ‘Leofric: Sword of the Angles’, an adventure story set in Denmark in AD 520, which, based on other books you’ve reviewed on Amazon, is something I think you’ll enjoy.

    Currently it’s only available through Amazon as an ebook. You can find it using this link: http://geni.us/1nqd or go to Amazon direct.

    ‘Leofric: Sword of the Angles’ will be free to download from 1st July to 3rd July, but if you miss this promotion I’d be happy to email you a copy.

    (Amazon free book promotions run from midnight to midnight on Pacific Standard Time, which is 8 hours behind GMT.)

    I hope you’ll take up this offer. In such a crowded market it can be difficult for a new book to stand out and reader reviews can make all the difference.

    If you’d like to find out more about me and my books, please visit my author site http://www.sjarnott.com or drop me a line.

    Thanking you in advance.

    Best wishes,


    • No need to apologize, Stephen, I’m glad you like my reviews. I will check out Leofric tomorrow on Amz, and your author site today.

  21. Tori says:


    My name is Tori Vollmer and I am handling online public relations for “Single Handed,” (Penguin/Berkley, 2015) the true story of Teddy Rubin, the only Holocaust survivor to have received our country’s highest military distinction, the Medal of Honor.

    I met Teddy while the book was being written. I found him the most remarkable man I’d ever met. Because of your interest and background I think you’ll find that his story is an indispensable story of a selfless hero who survived a concentration camp during WWII and a Chinese prison camp in Korea. And while Teddy received his medal in 2005, this is the first and only account of his entire life as an immigrant, war hero and true humanitarian. One more thing; while Teddy currently faces challenges to his health, he still lives with an extended family in Southern California.

    I would love to speak with you about a book review post. My goal is to increase awareness of this one of a kind hero and the vivid account of his exploits in writer Dan Cohen’s new book.

    Best Regards,
    Tori Vollmer

    Website: http://www.danielmcohenauthor.com/

  22. Erik Von Norden says:

    Dear “Katnit”:

    Apologies for posting publicly, but I did not see an e-mail or a contact form. I enjoyed your blog, You’re History. Did you ever wonder why so many things – past and present – make so little sense? Find out. You are invited to read and review, Theory of Irony: How Jesus Led to Moon Golf, now available in print and Kindle formats at Amazon.com. I can send you a PDF, an EPUB or you may click on the following link (or paste it into your search field): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=theory+of+irony.

    It is always funny, sometimes scholarly, with no sacred cows – and, was awarded “five stars” by Readers’ Favorite. Also, feel free to read the blog, bio or a sample chapter at theoryofirony.com.


    Erik Von Norden

  23. Dear Katknit,

    I saw on your profile that you have an interest in American history. Would you be interested in receiving a review ebook edition of The Yanks Are Starving: A Novel of the Bonus Army?

    In 1932, a charismatic hobo led 20,000 jobless American WWI veterans into Washington, D.C., only to be driven out of the city with tanks and gas. The novel unfolds the events that led to this confrontation through the experiences of eight Americans who survived the fighting in France in 1918 and came together again during the Great Depression to decide the fate of the nation on the brink of upheaval.

    The Historical Novel Society has praised the book as “a wonderful source of historical fact wrapped in a compelling novel.” The Military Writers Society of America called it “vivid” and “admirable.” U.S. Marine veteran Nate Mercer said it is “one of the best and most memorable books that I have ever read.” Author Alliance reviewer Joseph Spuckler, also a Marine veteran, called it “an outstanding social and military historical novel.” Foreword Reviews magazine named it a Book-of-the-Year Award Finalist and it was honored as an indieBRAG Medallion winner and a Chaucer Award Finalist. The book was also recently featured in The Huffington Post.


    Thanks, Glen

  24. charmingonoccasion says:


    So, looking at your blog I have to say it’s really engaging. I get that you’re a book person, but I’m just curious as to if you have any feelings on the new musical, Hamilton. You say that you are into your American History up to the Civil War, so I’m just curious as to what you think?

    The Idiot in Tin Foil

    • Not having seen Hamilton, I can’t comment about the musical’s quality. But, in general, I’m in favor of things that stimulate interest in our history among young people. This play is certainly accomplishing that! I look forward to seeing it when tickets are available.

  25. Dear Linda,
    I love your blog and would love to get some new releases from Pegasus Books to you. Do you have an email I could contact you at regarding ARCs?
    Thank you,

  26. Hi Linda,

    Having been impressed by your thoughtful reviews I hope you’ll be interested in my father’s remarkable story, THE LOST ARTIST: LOVE PASSION WAR (PART 1). I understand if you’re too busy or it’s not your thing, but attached is he Amazon site to help you decide.

    “A page-turner! Revealing important insight into little-known history of pre-state Palestine and World War II, this fascinating journey of a remarkable man is a rip-roaring story from beginning to end. I recommend it to everyone.”
    Rabbi Mark S. Golub, JBS TV, jbstv.org

    1934: a 13-year-old Jewish boy escapes Nazi Germany to become the highest decorated WWII Palestinian/Israeli soldier in the British Army.
    2010: a top Israeli computer scientist searches for the favorite artist of her youth.
    From the rise of the Nazi Party through the formation of the State of Israel, across a sea of time to present day, their worlds collide in

    Also, at the end of the THE LOST ARTIST, I’ve added a chapter on my father’s stolen Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM), the only one earned by a Palestinian soldier in the British Army making it the most important WW2 medal to Israel. The stolen medal is now in the possession of Lord Michael Ashcroft. Though Lord Ashcroft has been given unequivocal proof that he was ripped off by The London Medal Company, who fraudulently sold him the entire group of my father’s medals while we have all of his other medals, Lord Ashcroft apparently prefers to keep a stolen medal with spurious medals rather than to simply get his money back from the corrupt dealer who sold them to him.

    If successful we will donate the entire group of my father’s medals to an orphanage in Israel, which takes in refugee children and saved my father’s life when he escaped Nazi Germany in 1934. All other proceeds from the book will go to getting any other medals stolen from within the British Ministry of Defense with their rightful owners.

    As public awareness is crucial, any help from you in getting the word out could make a big difference. Below is my TV interview on L’CHAYIM, an 11-minute excerpt focusing on the stolen medal, and the Amazon site. Please let me know if you’d like me to send the book or ebook.


    Eric Hausman-Houston


    • Eric, I’m not up for reading and reviewing at the moment, but your story intrigues me, and I’m wondering if you’d like to do a guest post with links. If not something new, I’d be happy to post this account, which is very persuasive. What do you think?
      Thanks for reading YH and contacting me. Hope to hear from you sooner than you heard from me!
      All best,

  27. Hello Linda,

    Love your blog and although it looks like you are not up to reviewing, could you take a look at our upcoming publication? Here is a brief synopsis of “The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865” by Janet Elizabeth Croon:

    LeRoy Wiley Gresham was born in 1847 to an affluent slaveholding family in Macon, Georgia. As a young child he suffered a horrific leg injury that left him an invalid. Educated, inquisitive, perceptive, and exceptionally witty, the 12-year-old
    began keeping a diary in 1860 just as secession and Civil War began tearing the country and his world apart. He continued to write even as his health deteriorated until both the war and his life ended in 1865. His unique manuscript of the demise
    of the Old South—lauded by the Library of Congress as one of its premier holdings—is published here for the first time in “The War Outside My Window: The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865”.

    The Washington Post featured it in a wonderful article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/museums/invalid-boys-diary-focus-of-library-of-congress-civil-war-exhibit/2012/11/08/c55c7758-21db-11e2-8448-81b1ce7d6978_story.html?utm_term=.16795fa0dda6

    Please let me know if you are interested in a future review copy or author interview.

    Many thanks for your support.

  28. Hello You’re History!

    My name is Glenn and I am a first-time author from the UK [I live half an hour outside London]. My debut novel comes out later in 2018 from Amsterdam Publishers. It is set in Germany and the 1950s, and is about a set of parents coming to terms with what happened to them during the Second World War. Their only child, an adopted son Jozef, wants to know about his real past – but they are reluctant to reveal it.

    The backdrop to the story is a little known footnote of the Holocaust and how some 5,000 – 25,000 German disabled children were secretly murdered by the Nazi state with their parents’ ‘consent’, acquired deceitfully. My novel is called A Quiet Genocide.

    I am contacting you to see if you would be interested in reviewing A Quiet Genocide for You’re History! I appreciate I am not with a large publishing house, but Amsterdam Publishers are brilliant and really believe in A Quiet Genocide and the story it tells today.

    If you very kindly are interested in reviewing A Quiet Genocide we can get a review copy to you in whatever format is best. It is currently going through a final edit, but that will be complete very soon. Thanks for listening. It’s appreciated. Good luck with You’re History!

    Very best,
    Glenn Bryant
    [e] gm.bryant@yahoo.co.uk

  29. My books are a combination of history and psychology. I believe that we think in images. My premise is that at any moment, we are creating in our minds an image-pattern which is selected from the information of our entire life-experience from birth to that moment. This gives me a 50,000 word image-pattern as a novel. I would like to send you a copy of Bethune: The Only Person Alive in the World (Rocks Mills Press), which is based on the life of Dr. Norman Bethune. I keep a planning notebook and a journal for each novel, and will add some excerpts from those books. Hope you find this interesting. — John Passfield / http://www.johnpassfield.ca

    Bethune Novel: Bethune: The Only Person Alive in the World

    The porch light is yellow. It shines on an anguished face. He pulls the door open and a man flinches as if he expects to be met with anger. He holds his hand up – with a wrinkled dollar – in front of his chest. “My wife is going into labour. I didn’t know where to take her. She’s in a boxcar with two of our kids. Someone said you might help.” He takes the dollar out of the man’s hand, folds it and stuffs it in the pocket of the man’s shirt. “Put your dollar away. Your money’s no good here. How far along is she now?” He steps aside and holds the door open. “Come in. It’s cold out there. Come in while I get my things. She’s in a boxcar? That means there’s no heat. No running water either. If there’s time, we’ll take her to the hospital in my car. At any rate, we’ll do the best we can.”

    How can I look a patient in the eye and ask for money? It goes against the Hippocratic oath. Family of five. Holes in the shoes. Patches on the pants. Faded dresses. Children shy. Clutching the skirts of the mother and holding the father’s hand. Is the dime on the table theirs or is it mine? They need food; they need shelter; some crumbs on the plate and some coals in the stove. I need paintings, fine wines and a roadster. Each of us eyeing the table and wondering who gets the dime.

    The doctor leans over his patient. The body of a child. Stretched out on the operating table. Rescued from the ruins of a bombed-out building. How beautiful the body; how perfect its parts; with what precision it moves. This boy must be five or six. Was it a house or was it a store? Was anyone brought in with him? How obedient, proud and strong. Wonder if his parents are still alive. People get buried in the ruins. You can hear their cries, sometimes, but they can’t be reached. How terrible when torn; the little flame of life sinks lower, flickering quietly and gently. Check the anaesthetic, another scalpel, we’ll need more blood in a minute. He’s not lost yet. It makes its protest against extinction, a candle clinging to the last of life, and then goes out. Between air-raids the other day, I saw a mother buying a tricycle in a shop.

    They are lying on scraps of straw on a cold, stone floor. Crawling with lice; bloodied uniforms; covered in dirt. Washed-out bandages of faded rags. One blanket to cover three. Boiled millet once a day while they wait to die. The family is kind, but they are almost starving themselves. A lantern in the darkness. One of them stirs and opens his eyes. A man is stooping and bathing my wounds. The warm water on my legs is almost heavenly. “A doctor from Canada”, someone says. There are so many of us to care for. Hundreds of wounded lie sick in this village. Only miles from the Japanese. What good can a doctor from Canada possibly do?

    They meet in a room in a cave, and they talk for most of the night. He tells the leader of his plans to build a model hospital for the training of medical personnel. Of his wish to develop a mobile operating-unit which could follow the shifting front and operate on the wounded as the battle rages, saving hundreds and thousands of lives to fight for the cause. At every sentence of translation, the leader nods. They talk far into the night. They both have practical plans. Each forgets, as their ideas ebb and flow, to take an occasional sip at his cup of rice tea.

    Riding on a litter, somewhere in the hills. Blotting out the pain by tightly squeezing my eyes. Dreaming of coffee, of rare roast beef, of apple pie and ice cream. Of mirages of heavenly food. Dreaming that books are still being written; dreaming that music is still being played. Dreaming of dancing, drinking beer and looking at pictures. Dreaming of clean white sheets in soft beds. Dreaming of women who love and are willing, in turn, to be loved.

    Bethune notebook – Planning the Only Person Alive in the World

    Back porch. Perfect weather. Reading about Bethune. – Canada – Outer-frames – 5 sharp scenes of extreme action. Realistic but almost hallucinatory. Bethune in action. – Montreal. St Lawrence Boulevard. Caught in demonstration. Police attack demonstrators. Bethune helping the wounded. – Sanatarium. Trudeau Hospital. Bethune draws air from own lung. 3 more. No explanation for these. Simply the scene & the action. En medias res. 5 sharp scenes & off to Spain. Same for all 16 chapters of outer-frames. – Operating on a child. Removing a lung. Is this history or fiction? Would I be plagiarizing? As I mentioned before, the 5 Canada-chapter outer-frames will be the hardest to plan, but once I get that right, I’ll be okay. – Outer-frames – a dramatic, intense experience in the life of Bethune – Inner-thoughts – all of the experience of that time in Bethune’s life (in this case, the Canadian experience). No hurry on this one. It will develop on its own.

    5:00 AM. Can’t sleep. My parents’ wedding anniversary (1940). Is the painting of the mural an outer-frame? Perhaps for Chapter 1? Or is it a Backbone, or perhaps a Coda? We will see. Perhaps it’s a case of intensive cross-referencing as in Pompeii & Ospringe. Outer-frames – painting mural – collapsing lung – demonstration & repression – operating on a little girl – Frances ? (probably not as an outer-frame) – inventing the rib-shears ? (probably not) – the children doing art-work in his apartment (what world are we creating for them?) I’ll get it eventually. Five, sharp, clean action outer-frames. A progression, but not stated explicitly. The idea-arc / idea-plot can be carried by the inner-imagery.

    A piece of literature is an idea-pattern which indicates the complexity of the world in which we, as humans, find ourselves living, and the complexity of our responses to that world. A serious piece of literature is always more complex than the conscious thoughts of any reader. The challenge which that novel or poem or play presents to the reader is to raise his or her idea-response to the highest possible level of complexity. Presumably, in challenging us to respond to literature with more complex thoughts [than we have heretofore responded to life], we are being challenged to respond to life itself with a more complex, and therefore more accurate / realistic understanding of whatever we are responding to and [we are being challenged to consider] what our most valid response should be.

    The Canadian major cycle will be the hardest to write, perhaps, but I feel confident in thinking that it will draw heavily on my Job-novel (The nightmare experience of everyday life. Five stark, everyday, surreal, Job Raskolnikov is-this-actually-happening experiences.). The same for Spain & China (from the sources).
    The overcoming of the 3-novella threat will be the challenge & the enjoyment. I have a good idea of how to integrate the 3 major cycles. It is a matter of finding the imagery which will enable me to do so: – Canada, Spain, China = the barrel staves / – Single-Life / Single-Problem Imagery = the metal hoops around the barrel. All of this planning will allow me to read the sources, positively & actively, rather than passively.

    It just occurred to me that the novel will be about ebb & flow. The life of society on this earth during the time that Bethune is alive. Order & chaos. Peace & war. It could be said that he grew up in peaceful Canada. [However,] He was born in 1890. In the teens (1910-1920), the world was at war while he was in his 20s. In the 1920s, (1920-1930), his 30s, the world was at peace & prosperous. In the 1930s, his 40s, the world was plunged into Depression & war in Spain, China and many other places. The analogous & non-analogous imagery will be. – the ebb & flow of the seasons – the shifting of tectonic plates – the cycle of the years, the day, the seasons. The battle of the images will be between: – chaos, war, depression, poverty, inequality, tyranny, oppression and – peace, progress, equality, prosperity, good governance, hope. Between hope & futility. Why combat these evils if “the poor will always be with you”? Will poverty, inequality, dictatorship, displacement, oppression, torture, poverty “always be with you”?

    I think this unifies the paradox: – Bethune A: a tremendous egotist – he quits when he can’t dominate his circumstances & other people (“I am the only person alive in the world.”) – Bethune B: one of the great servants of society – gave up a chance to be a rich, respected member of his profession to live in primitive conditions & to minister to the wounded in order to build a better society for the many. This is unified in the above note. Some of the Bethune books purport to analyse his psychology, but I don’t know what they say. It will be interesting to read them. They might see a simple switch from – selfish to – unselfish (epiphany, change of heart etc.), but I see all tendencies in Bethune operating at all times. The artworks, money & prestige were all images to Bethune when he wanted them. They were not desirable in themselves, but as images of something in himself that didn’t change or disappear, but simply found itself another set of images.
    Bethune Journal – The Making of the Only Person Alive in the World

    I want to write a novel which is a thematic unit. This means that the novel will be about one thing. It will be a 50,000 word thought – a 50,000 word idea-pattern in the mind of the main character which is taking place at one split-second during the living of his life. This thought will have a problem-solving purpose for the main character. The quest-question will be two-fold: what to do about the problem of the moment?, and what kind of person has my whole life – to this point – led me to become? In order to achieve unity-of-thought, I wish to plan the novel as having a unity-of-design. This is why I think of a novel as being structured as a series of envelopes, each one holding a number of sub-envelopes. If I define an envelope as a device which draws together a number of items underneath its cover, then I can say that a novel of mine is composed of a series of idea-envelopes, from a single unifying idea-envelope to a number of supporting idea-envelopes, each one fitting into a unified pattern.

    The main character will be a combination of the historical Dr Norman Bethune – as I understand him to have been – and myself as a thinking and acting human being. The result will not be a biographical rendering of the historical Dr. Norman Bethune, but of a fictional character, “Dr. Norman Bethune”, who will be an embodiment of a sensitive human being who encounters the world as he perceives it to be and responds to that perceived reality in a way that makes sense to him. The novel will seek to capture a double-perspective: that of a fictional character – who is engaged in the challenge of living his life, while attempting to organize the imagery of that life – as he perceives it to be – in order to seek an understanding of the life which he is living and of himself as a human being.

    I have decided that I want fifteen action-filled outer-frames for these chapters, as Bethune strikes me as a man of thought (such as compassion for the down-trodden), but more as a man of thought-as-action rather than as a contemplative theoretician. Accordingly, he will plunge into life in each chapter in order to try to right the wrongs of society as he sees them.
    I want these outer-frame present-moments to be almost nightmare-like in intensity, as if Bethune is up to his nose – and at times to his eyebrows – in the element that he seeks to subdue. In all cases the main character will be thinking in imagery, so prose commentary on the reasons for the moves (from Canada to Spain to China) and the successes and failures in each locale will not be given by the main character. Of course, the novel will be without a narrator, so imagery will be the only activator of thought in the reader.

    The line – I am the only person alive in the world – which was written, as I mentioned, by the historical Dr. Norman Bethune, I saw, when I read it, as a key to an understanding of the myth of Dr. Bethune that I wished to write. The questioner seems to be as intrigued by this image as I am. I was struck, as I worked on this story, that the historical character had his best success among people whose language he didn’t speak. I have him recalling, later in the novel, that he taught his assistant to cook his morning egg the way he liked it by using mime. And yet, the man is hardly a recluse. He is a very sociable man, who is able to charm other people, women in particular, and is a man who dominates a room in all the phases of his successive careers. All of the words of the novel are the images which the main character has chosen to arrange into a pattern. Presumably the main character is just as intrigued as I am by the seeming paradox of the solitary man and the social man which the imagery of his story seems to present.

    If one takes an x-ray of the letter in which Bethune claims to have failed to communicate his ideas, one will find that the multiplicity of imagery – a mixed-metaphor complex– is actually quite coherent, in that it keeps a constant and laser-like focus on the topic of the letter, which concerns the difficulty of turning one’s deepest perceptions and comprehensions into the imagery of an artistic form which will allow communication with others. The historical Bethune’s life of action – off to Spain / off to China – prevented him from developing his writing and his painting talents, but his mind was certainly one which worked in imagery, and his ability to strike a balance between his absorption in the surface minutiae of life (ordering bandages etc.) and his ability to penetrate to the issues and concepts below that surface – to thematic bedrock – was certainly one of his admirable qualities.

    Some commentators have said that it was just as well that the historical Bethune was forced to leave Spain when he did, as he was a creature of impulse with no staying power: that he was an instigator and an originator, but did not have a mind for organization which would have allowed him to run the blood-transfusion mission on a daily basis, once it was up and running. I had voices echo those sentiments in the Comment minor cycle, but I disagree with this conception of the historical Norman Bethune vehemently. If one examines the Bethune trajectory of organization – the conception of an idea, the anticipation of advantages and disadvantages, the structuring of an enterprise, the organizing of a procedure, the gathering of a competent staff, the recruiting of money, the organizing of the various aspects of an enterprise (collecting blood, stabilizing blood, delivering blood), the focussing on the end-product, and the fine-tuning of such an operation for maximum impact – it becomes apparent that he was good at all aspects of organizing an enterprise.
    Conceptually, with his work towards socialized medicine in Canada, and in practice, with the implementation of the blood-transfusion unit in Spain, and with the designing and setting-up of model hospital and the mobile hospital in China, Dr. Norman Bethune was amazing in his ability to balance the minutia of the momentary need (teaching the peasants how to sew bedsheets into bandages) with the ability to conceive of a means to create a health system for a whole army. His penchant for fine-tuning indicates that he would have made an excellent administrator of an established health system in China if he had lived longer. That he had no talent for organization, or fine-tuning, and no staying-power beyond his first enthusiasms is a very incorrect conclusion to draw about the historical Dr. Norman Bethune, as a reading of his personal letters and reports will show abundantly.

  30. The Book Review directory indicates that you like to review mystery novels. I am Tom Burns, the author of the Natalie McMasters mysteries, and I wonder if you’d like to review my latest book, Revenge! You can find it on my website at https://www.3mdetectiveagency.com/. Please respond to me and let me know if you’re interested. Thanks and best regards, Tom

  31. HI Linda,

    The reviews you have posted have been incredibly helpful in choosing some new books to read.

    I was just wondering if you would be interested in reviewing my historical/present day psychological thriller.

    I happened to come across your blog when researching bloggers open to reviewing novels, I am inquiring when you might be open for reviewing? If you are interested, there is no rush for the review.

    INITIATED TO KILL tells the story of an infamous historical serial killer, connecting to present-day events in Seville, Spain. Annabella Cordova quickly becomes embroiled in the conspiracy involving the university she studies at. Her life is turned into chaos when her friend disappears, seven days later a gruesome package is delivered to Andres Valero; the troubled detective, returning from forced leave, only to be faced with horrific crimes that brings his memories to the surface.

    Annabella’s past collides with her present, a traumatic childhood event leaving her deaf and without both of her parents. Her ability to read facial and body language in people leads her to discover parallels from an earlier century.

    Annabella and Andres must use their skills to track a brilliant killer; a psychopath exploring the mind and actions of an infamous serial killer, and how his crimes are linked to a controversial conspiracy, only he can unravel.

    The novel continuously takes the reader back in time to the 19th century; creating a psychological profile of the serial killer that wanders the London streets, his paintings depicting crimes only seen by a killer’s eyes.

    Annabella and Andres combined must stop this person at any cost, and reveal a conspiracy hidden for centuries.

    If you are interested, I can send you my e-book in pdf, epub or .mobi. I am also open to participate in an interview, giveaway, blog tour, or guest blog post.

    Thank you for your time

  32. Thank you for the compliment, Sharlene. I’d be glad to read and review Initiated to Kill. Whichever format works on a Kindle would be my preference.How should I contact you?

  33. Hello Linda, I love your site! My name is Vali Benson and I have just had my first novel published. It is historical fiction and called “Blood and Silver”. It was released April 3, 2020. Blood and Silver is about a twelve year old girl in 1880’s Tombstone, AZ who runs into all kinds of trouble trying to save her mother’s life.
    I would love the opportunity for you to review my work. If you are not currently reviewing, I would also be very interested in a guest post or a spotlight feature. There is no time frame requirement.Thank you very much for your consideration.
    Sincerely, VB


  34. Ruth Mohrman says:

    Hi Linda
    I see that you are interested in all things medieval and wonder if you would be willing to review my novel, based on the remarkable life of a twelfth-century English woman. It is called Gold of Pleasure: A Novel of Christina of Markyate. Christina escaped an arranged marriage and was hidden for years by hermits, finally becoming a Prioress and adviser to the Abbot of St Albans. I came across the medieval account of her life when I was completing my postgraduate studies and thought it would make a great novel. Have finally written and published it!

  35. edscriptor says:

    Very entertaining blog. Given your interests in history and Italy, we wondered if you’d like to review our book, Ghosts of the Belle Époque, the history of Palermo’s Hotel delle Palme. Details and contacts on our site.

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