Fiction Books

Soul’s Prisoner Blog Tour with Giveaway

My Review:

Soul’s Prisoner is set in 1891 Chicago during the winter. An Historical fiction novel that includes suspense as well as romance.

Mental Illness is very common today but back in the 1890’s it wasn’t something people wanted everyone to know about. Families would have their loved ones put away for many reasons, such as a having a child out of wedlock, if they suffered from a mental illness, and many more reasons. In Chicago, the Dunning Asylum for the Insane was where families would commit their loved ones. This is the setting of Soul’s Prisoner. Even though its a fictional book, there are some things about the asylum that are true. Can you imagine spending winter without any heat and without hot water? That is how these people had to live.

This novel will send chills and will also have you feeling pain for what these people endured. I really enjoyed reading Soul’s Prisoner, Cara Luecht completed her research well upon writing this book. I highly recommend picking a copy of this book up today.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.”

About the Book

Book Title: Soul’s Prisoner

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical fiction with some suspense and romance

Release Date: December 15, 2015

Chicago, Winter, 1891

Rachel is in danger. She’s seen too much.

She creeps along the cement walls through the dank underbelly of the asylum. She’d never planned to leave her quiet farm life, never thought she’d find a place in the city, never imagined she’d be in the kind of danger that would have her cowering in Dunning’s cold, labyrinthine basement.

Jenny has finally found her place. After a childhood of abuse, she has friends, a real job, and her only wish is to give her adopted son the kind of life she never had.

A life of stability, without the risk and uncertainty of a father.

But when Jeremy, Rachel’s brother, stumbles into their warehouse, asking for help to find his missing sister, Jenny’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest Post from Cara Luecht

The Setting for Soul’s Prisoner: Dunning Asylum for the Insane

Dunning Asylum for the Insane was built in the 1850s and housed psychiatric patients until the early 1900s. It has since been demolished, and a small park currently stands as the only remaining testament to the people who lived and died on the grounds.

The original plot of land also included a poor farm and a cemetery. A railroad used to connect the grounds to Minneapolis, Chicago, and Milwaukee. It was nicknamed the “Crazy Train”—a phrase that still survives in our language today. Those buried in the cemetery include Civil War Veterans, victims of the Chicago fire of 1871, orphans, paupers, and the residents of the asylum for the insane. Most estimates agree that nearly forty thousand people were buried on the grounds.

There is no doubt that mental illness is hard on families, but in the 1800s, having a family member who struggled with mental illness was an embarrassment. With little understanding of mental health in general, and even less compassion for those who suffered, examples of this tragic response to the threat of mental illness can be seen in the numerous inmates who were there simply due to addiction or depression. There are even cases where women were committed because their families were humiliated by their giving birth outside the bonds of marriage. Often times, challenges with mental health were synonymous with the notion of moral failure or vice. Because of this, even many charities looked the other way when corruption or abuse was exposed. Reporters sometimes wrote about the horrors of the institutions, but once the sensational story was out, and the initial outrage worn away, few worried about the people who suffered on a daily basis. And because of the moral implication of mental illness, families commonly turned over their suffering members to the county, and later simply explained to friends that the person had died.

And that is exactly what the mentally ill would do in the institution. Live there until they died, forgotten.

And that’s how the story played out at Dunning, until late in the 1900s when developers began to dig the roads and foundations for a new neighborhood on the grounds of what was once the Asylum. At that time, Dunning, and the people who had resided there, were still within living memory, so when bones were unearthed, it was no mystery how they ended up on that patch of land. What had slipped from memory was the magnitude of the collective stories of suffering and hardship.

For this novel, the people and events are fictitious. However, when examining old news stories from an institution known for corruption, it is not hard to imagine situations like the ones in the novel. The details that are true are the nearly one thousand inmates, no hot water, little to no heat in the winter, bad food, and the general feeling of living ghosts, intentionally forgotten, and doomed to never leave the grounds.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, March 8

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, March 8

Multifarious, March 9

Remembrancy, March 9

Connie’s History Classroom, March 10

History, Mystery & Faith, March 11

Reading is My Superpower, March 11

amandainpa, March 12

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 12

Texas Book-aholic, March 13

Carpe Diem, March 14

Maureen’s Musings, March 15

Blogging With Carol, March 16

Two Points of Interest, March 16

proud to be an autism mom, March 17

A Greater Yes, March 17

Bibliophile Reviews, March 18

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 18

Janices book reviews, March 19

Jeanette’s Thoughts, March 19

Simple Harvest Reads, March 20 (Guest Post from Mindy)

Pursuing Stacie, March 20

For The Love of Books, March 21

Bigreadersite, March 21


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Soul’s Prisoner and sketching art supplies!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/cb74

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Fiction Books

Soul’s Cry Blog Tour/Giveaway


My Review:

Soul’s Cry is a beautifully written book by Cara Luecht. I enjoyed reading Ione’s and Miriam’s story. Story of happiness, abuse, love, happiness, and having everything you need. Soul’s Cry will leave you wanting to hear more of their story. This is a great book. One you will enjoy.

“I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.”

About the Book

Title: Soul’s Cry

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: June 15, 2017

Ione has everything she’d wanted with her busy shop filled to the brim with sumptuous fabrics, gossiping debutants, and a neatly increasing profit margin. Not to mention the unexpected attention of a man who doesn’t know her past.

And then the letter dropped from the mail slot onto to lush carpet. He was back. And the abuse, the shame, rushes in, reminding her of how unworthy she really is.

Miriam also has everything she’d wanted—and with a baby on the way, for the first time in her life, she has everything to lose. When she’d been alone, the future had held promise, but now with her life full, it also holds fear.

Unwilling to risk a vision of loss, Miriam stops painting what will be…right before Ione needs it most.

Click here to purchase your copy

About the Author

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest post from Cara Luecht

The moment you realize how subtle racism can be.

As someone of Northern European ancestry, I approach this topic with caution and with the knowledge that I can never fully understand racism in America from a personal perspective. That being said, part of me knows that unless white America owns up to the problems that still exist, they will never go away, or if they do, they will not go away because of what I have done. I don’t want to be on the right side of history as a spectator.

Writing Soul’s Cry was daunting, because the main character in this part of the trilogy is African American. I’ll tackle the challenges with that in another blog. For now, I want to talk about one simple example of ongoing racism.

A few months ago, my publisher contacted me looking for inspiration pictures for the cover. The picture I had pinned to my desktop for Ione was from the 1800s, and heaven-only-knows how I would find permission to use it. Besides, it was in black-and-white, and we needed something that would go well with the other covers in the trilogy.

I went to the popular sites that cover designers use to look for modern pictures of women, in Victorian Era clothes, who had the smart, determined expression I’d imagined for Ione.

I found a bunch of models–problem is, they were all white.

I then typed in “African American Victorian Woman.” One picture. And she was dressed as a burlesque dancer. Nice. I tried “Black woman in 1890,” a bit miffed that I had to use the term “Black” rather than “African American”—nothing. I got desperate, rolled my eyes, and even attempted the archaic “Negro woman in 1890” in hopes of getting something…nothing.

I tried other sites. I found the same problem.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised—when you think of a high-society Victorian woman, does an African American face come to mind?

This doesn’t match up with the truth, though. In the late Victorian era, there was a thriving, influential, African American community in Chicago as well as many other major cities. While there were indeed crowded ghetto areas, the “Black Elite” prospered in the medical and legal professions.

Unfortunately, we rarely hear of these remarkable people who moved beyond the place society had deemed was theirs, who built on the humble foundation of literacy, who pushed innovation forward, who served on boards and cultural societies, and who worked to pull their families out of the devastation of slavery and the Civil War.

It is uncomfortable to admit, but the picture that comes to mind when thinking of an African American in the late 1800s has more in common with slaves than with a prosperous, thriving community.

And since poor African Americans outnumbered wealthy ones, I suppose one could make the argument that this reflected how a majority of African Americans lived. And that would be true…

…but it would also be true for whites. One of my grandfathers was born in an Iowa coal town. Another, into the dustbowl conditions of North Dakota. In fact, if I look back in my own history, almost every one of my ancestors lived in poverty.

So why is it that when I think about a Victorian Era woman, the picture that comes to mind looks like someone from the set of Meet Me In St. Louis.

And here’s the twist…because the picture of the woman in my mind looks a bit like me (in that we are both white), her poise, the no-nonsense posture and expression…it makes me feel a bit of pride—even though I have no real connection with her. The fact is, I can look at these old pictures and see in her the determination I hope to have. I want to live up to this woman’s expectations. As crazy as it sounds, when I look at these pictures, I feel pride in a heritage I do not own. My family was in poverty, but because of these pictures, I can identify with affluence. Prosperity does not feel like a foreign concept.

Now imagine that every picture of a white woman I saw as representative of my past looked haggard, tired, and hopeless.

I’ll leave the implications for you to puzzle out.

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom, January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 24

Simple Harvest Reads, January 24

allofakindmom, January 25

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 26

Pursuing Stacie, January 26

A Reader’s Brain, January 27

proud to be an autism mom, January 28

Bigreadersite, January 28

Bibliophile Reviews, January 29

A Greater Yes, January 30

margaret kazmierczak, January 30 (Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 1

Janices book reviews, February 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 3

Carpe Diem, February 4

A Baker’s Perspective, February 5


Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of signed copies of the entire series!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c729