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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

New On The Shelf At Fiction Books This Week

This week’s new addition to the virtual shelf  here at Fiction Books, once again comes courtesy of the lovely folks over at NetGalley, although this time the review request came directly from the book’s marketing and publicity firm, JKS Communications, thanks for that, Samantha and I hope that you enjoy a lovely Wedding Day!

The premise for the book is so intriguing, encompassing  a culture and period in history about which I know very little. The research by the author seems to be comprehensive and thorough and I am so pleased to be included in its promotional release.

My post therefore combines a latest release, virtual tour and a great author post, all rolled into one … So without further ado!

Image Of Blog Tour Promotional Logo For Rush Of Shadows By Catherine Bell

Read all about – ‘RUSH OF SHADOWS’
When American pioneers set their hearts on a California valley where Indians had been living for thousands of years, a period of uneasy appraisal emerged, followed by conflict and soon enough by genocide. The epic greed and violence of the 1850’s and 60’s has been brushed aside by history, conveniently forgotten in the pride of conquest.
Tough-minded and lyrical, Rush of Shadows brings to life the human dimensions of a tragic conflict which corrupted the winners and left the losers to haunt the landscape as shadows, who must survive and find a way for the essential spirit to go on.
Rush of Shadows brings to life two freethinking women; Mellie, a young white woman, who has lived among Mission Indians further south and is inclined to think of the Indians as neighbours; and Bahé, an Indian woman, amazed at the ignorance of the newcomers, who watches as sickness strikes deep and survival becomes harder by the day. Moments of nobility and compassion, ingenuity and forgiveness, qualities which might have prevailed if certain things had been different, ensure that the two women are able to endure the clash of their cultures and come to an unlikely understanding.

Say Hello! To Author – CATHERINE BELL
Image Of Author Catherine Bell
I grew up in a New England family with a sense of its past as distinguished and its culture superior, as chronicled in many of my short stories. An early reader, I found in fiction that penetrating experience of other people’s lives that opens a wider world.
The Winsor School, Harvard, and Stanford prepared me to recognize good writing and thinking. I credit work as a gardener, cook, cashier, waitress, and schoolbus driver with teaching me how to live in that wider world.
I have also worked as a secretary, freelance writer, and therapist, served as a teacher in the Peace Corps, and taught in inner city schools. I have lived in Paris, Brasilia, Nova Scotia, Northern California, and Washington, D.C.
Culture clashes, even within families, are often subjects of my fiction. I have published stories in a number of journals, including Midway Journal, Coal City Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Sixfold, Solstice, and South Carolina Review. My story “Among the Missing” won The Northern Virginia Review’s 2014 Prose Award.
I researched and wrote Rush of Shadows, my first novel, over a period of twenty years after I married a fourth-generation Californian and fell in love with his home territory, the Coast Range. The bright sunburned hills, dark firs, clear shallow streams, and twisted oaks were splendid, but the old barns and wooden churches and redwood train station didn’t seem old enough. Where was the long past? Where were the Indians? There was only the shadow of a story passed down by my husband’s grandmother late in life. Born in 1869, she grew up playing with Indian children whose parents worked on the ranch her father managed. One day the Army came to remove the Indians and march them to the reservation, and that was that. She was four years old, and she never forgot.
I now live with my husband in Washington, D.C. and visit children and grandchildren in California and Australia. As a teacher at Washington International School, I love reading great books with teenagers.
Catch up with all my latest news at my website
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We spent part of every summer with my husband’s family in Mendocino County, California, the most beautiful place I’d ever been, and the emptiest. When I realized it was empty because the Indians, after living there thousands of years, were gone, I began to write about it. I set up my typewriter on the workbench in the basement shop and enjoyed a pleasant isolation for an hour or two. In the mornings I walked a trail along a creek, picking blackberries, thinking about the story. In the afternoons we went to the lake and the children jumped off the float. In the evening, my mother-in- law served pickled beets, coleslaw, corn and pot roast, and Herman and Albertine came by for coffee. They talked about their ranch and the old families, and I realized it was my story they were talking about. It was going to be a lot of work. I didn’t care how much work it was, but how would I find the time?
As a teacher, I had summers off, but most of the year writing was catch-as-catch can. I was never quite able to keep to a schedule, never sure when I’d have time. I wrote notes wherever I was. At home, a row house in Washington, I had a desk in the middle of the family, the job, the swirl, and later a door I could close, but only when everything was okay outside, when somebody else was in charge, when people had grown up enough, when it was my turn. I walked in the mornings in Rock Creek Park, through the oaks and beeches, where I could talk to myself about the book. The dogs walked with me and curled up beside me when I wrote, but I had to wait for summer to get real time.
Image Of Author Catherine Bell At Work WritingFor a couple of weeks every summer, I wrote in the house I grew up in, on the North Shore near Boston. I cleared away the mirror and brushes and bureau scarf and set up my typewriter. In the mornings I walked around the point, where the abandoned Nike missile base no longer guarded the harbor, watching the seaweed on the rocks swirl in the tide. Then I shut my door while the grandfather clocked banged out an hour or two. In the afternoons I played with the children and weeded the raspberry patch and comforted my father, who was recovering from a stroke. I never had enough writing time. It would have been too odd to shut myself off longer. Nobody understood.


“How will I ever get this book written?” I asked my husband. “Let’s rent a place for two or three weeks,” he said, “and you can go there to write.” We found a small, cheap house in West Marin, California, near our grown daughter. I brought research stuff and a computer. In the morning fog I walked under the oak and eucalyptus trees, watching the deer in the grass, the owls, the horses. I studied up on sheep and cattle ranching, made new drafts, drove inland to escape the fog, to see if there was still sun in the world. When I came down with bronchial pneumonia, my son-in-law and daughter rescued and took care of me, and I went back to work.


Another year, we rented a cabin near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, where the fog was even worse. You could hardly see to find the store. The sink was a stainless steel bowl under a faucet. When you sat on the toilet, your knees banged the opposite wall. I walked in the mornings up hill through slash timber and blueberries, slapping mosquitoes. I read about Indian languages, revised chapters, printed and marked up drafts. The water stopped working and I had to beg a shower from a neighbor. In the middle of one night the children came, driving down from Halifax, and said, “Get a better place. Not here.”


Image Of the Bay Of Fundy, included in the guest post of Catherine BellBay Of Fundy

Further east we found a place with birches, where the sun shone. We painted the shed floor green and hammered together an L-shaped desk. I could look out one window to the house and another to the lake, close enough to hear it lapping. My husband stayed a while, then left me alone with nothing to do but write. I worked eight hours a day, sometimes ten or twelve. One afternoon I burst out of the shed and drove 15 miles to the nearest bookstore, to find somebody to tell about what I was doing. On Tuesdays, I drove over to the north shore to have lunch with Nancy. We had been to high school together. Now she was in an apartment in an old hotel, high up with the eagles, looking over the Bay of Fundy. We ate on the deck, talking about our childhoods, about writing, poetry, psychology, the difference between New England and California, Nova Scotia life. I’d found everything I needed: running water, a place to plug in a laptop, nature, sunshine, solitude, simplicity, a friend.

Image Of Author Catherine BellCatherine Bell

Picture of an English red post boxMailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the last week. Be warned that Mailbox Monday can lead to envy toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Mailbox Monday now has a permanent home, where links may be added each week. So why not stop by, leave a link to your own Mailbox Monday post, oh! and don’t forget to leave a comment for our three new joint administrators, after all, we all like to receive them … ‘Mailbox Monday’

 Leslie of ‘Under My Apple Tree’

 Serena of ‘Savvy Verse & Wit’

 Vicki of ‘I’d Rather Be At The Beach’

 This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!


Thanks for stopping by Catherine, it has been great hosting you, here at Fiction Books and thank you for entering into the spirit of the blogging community.

I look forward to reading ‘Rush Of Shadows’ and wish you every success with future book sales.

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • Like you, Yvonne, I’m not terribly familiar with the history of the area featured in this story. It sounds very interesting.

    Thanks to your guest author for sharing so much of her history and how the story came to be. It always makes a book a little more special when knowing the trials (and joys) behind it.

    I added one book to my Kindle this week and I hope to include it in a trio of “spooky” reviews for Halloween. (The Flip by Michael Phillip Cash) In the meantime, I’m loving what I’m currently reading: The Grip of God by Rebecca Hazell.

    • Hi Kelly,

      If I am going to be taken out of my usual sphere of reading genres by a book, I do like it when I am going to be learning something at the same time. I read a great fiction story by an Australian author about the indigenous Aborigine community of Australia, so discovering ‘Rush Of Shadows’, is sure to give a whole new perspective to my knowledge and beliefs about the Indian community of the American west.

      I can imagine that you will be thoroughly enjoying ‘The Grip Of God’, it sounds right up your street. Do you already have books 2 and 3 on your shelves, or were you waiting to see just how enjoyable book 1 was first?

      I haven’t come across author Michael Phillip Cash before and I must admit that some of his books sound a little too pure science fiction for me and that is one genre which I just can’t read at any price! I did find a couple of gems amongst his titles though, including ‘The Flip’ and those are most surely destined for my ‘Want To Read List’. I shall be interested to know what you think of his writing, unless of course you are familiar with his style and storytelling?

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that your weekend has been good so far.

      • I went on and added the second two books in the trilogy following Tracy’s final review. I felt sure I would enjoy them and was just waiting for the third to be released.

        Michael Phillip Cash is new to me, too, but I saw a review of The Flip on another blog and thought it looked fun (if not a little outside my usual reading). I’ll let you know!

        • I checked out quite a few of the Cash books and most have them have received nothing but 4 and 5 star ratings, even from readers who have then gone on to add the odd, not quite so positive comment. Everyone has nothing but praise for the style and standard of writing, so you should be on to a winner with ‘The Flip’.

    • Hi Kathy,

      I am really interested in social history and have found that the variety of books I have been asked to review, have provided ample opportunity to indulge my inquisitiveness and allowed me to collect valuable snippets of facts and information, about cultures from around the world.

      Even better when there is a great fictional storyline pulling everything together, adding interest and colour to the scene.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by, I appreciate your comments.

  • I do like to come away from a book having learnt something whether it be a new word or about a whole new culture. Sounds like a book I’d enjoy as like both yourself and Kelly this isn’t a place in history I’m familiar with and then of course there is the fact that I’m quite intrigued by both of these young woman.

    • Hi Tracy,

      From what I can gather from having read a couple of the existing reviews for this book, the story would seem to have been written in chronicle style, like a collection of journals from different people, put together to narrate a single story. If this is the case, then there should be be quite an in depth opportunity to meet the two main characters from the story and compare their individual accounts of life in 19th Century California.

      Fact and fiction combined can be a very powerful influence in defining other cultures and it also makes the learning so much easier and more enjoyable!

      Thanks for visiting today, I always enjoy chatting with you.

    • Hi Vicki,

      Hubbie will sit and read nothing but reference books, as he believes that it is a waste of time to read and not learn something from it at the same time. I maintain that I can learn untold gems of information from reading the fiction books I so enjoy and have often proved the point to him, when I get the opportunity to promote my new found intelligence on a subject!

      A good blend of fact and fiction will always win the day for me and I have high hopes that ‘Rush Of Shadows’ will provide a good social commentary about a society and times, about which my knowledge is very limited.

      Thanks for hosting MM this week and I hope that you too received some good new reading material.

    • Thanks Mary Ann.

      This is definitely one of those books I am pleased I was asked to read, as it would never have found its own way to my shelf and I would have missed out on this great opportunity.

      Have a great week and Happy Reading.

    • It certainly does and has definitely been a labour of love for author Catherine Bell, as this book has been some twenty years in the making! Dedication like that certainly needs some recognition!

      Thanks for stopping by and for helping to continue making MM accessible to us all.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      It is not like you to be late in stopping by, although of course, a return visit whilst welcome, is not expected or required. I always enjoy our chats and hope that everything is okay with you?

      I think that ‘Rush Of Shadows’ is either a book you can get into, with a premise and set of characters which you are interested in and can engage with, or not!

      I haven’t come across another other book with a premise anything like this one, so I am just hoping that it is as good as it sounds, whilst also being informative and offering a new perspective on events during this period of American history.

      Thanks for the lovely comment and enjoy what is left of the week.

Written by Yvonne