Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Swan Bonnet Blog Tour

 Book Title:  The Swan Bonnet

Author:  Katherine L. Holmes

Release Date:  July 16, 2013

Genre:  YA Historical Fiction

Publisher:  GMTA Publishing, LLC

Presented by:  As You Wish Tours


Swans are endangered in 1920s Alaska.  Unbeknown to Dawn, her grandfather has shot an old swan out of mercy.  In their coastal Alaskan town, her father buys the swan pelt, preventing her Uncle Alex, a fur trader, from selling it for export. Dawn’s father surprises her part-Aleut mother with a hat she helped to make and also with an idea to catch poachers. Dawn and her mother become involved with the suspicious effects of the swan bonnet besides its haunting effect.  But after they encounter women from a ship and find out about a hunting party, they ride to the inlet. There are townspeople roving the shore too but who is the vigilante and who is the poacher


Though Dawn hadn’t been on a boat with Oscar before, he was known to be as skilled with a fishing boat as his brothers.  Sometimes he skipped whole weeks of school during the salmon runs in the spring.  Dawn’s father knew Oscar’s father well enough and while he would think it was fine if she walked on the boardwalk with Oscar, being in a boat with him was probably the safer thing.  Oscar's brothers spent some evenings at Toddy’s and Oscar resembled them.

“They bargain about the liquor right from the boats,” he was saying. “They can toss it overboard if they see the deputy coming.  And say it floated all the way from British Columbia.”           

It was true.  Liquor was often hidden in the fishing nets as Mrs. Helsunk had said.  Especially when sailors were about.  It was said that fishing boats met larger craft offshore to get the liquor.

“Mrs. Helsunk has a mind to stop that,” Dawn said.

“Her temperance society?  I guess my mother didn’t attend.”

Oscar’s mother had sewn up some of the nicest dresses Dawn had ever seen at church.  Davy Shamison said that some could humble her because she once brought beer to men at a saloon up in Sitka when they still served it.  Oscar’s father had signed up as a sailor on a ship and when he came back, he brought her out of the saloon and stayed.  Toddy knew her from before she was married and women like Mrs. Helsunk avoided talking to her after church.

“Have you ever gone anywhere on a ship, Oscar?”

“Went to Juneau once.”

Dawn took off her straw hat since the breeze was buffeting it.  She loved to look at the town from the water, nestled as it was under the masts of spruce.  The clouds in the sky were unburdened and the air had sprays of sunshine in it.

Oscar was saying, “I want to join a ship, maybe next spring after the salmon run.  I want to see the western coast.  I don’t s’pose I’d like the work they’d give me.”

Still, Oscar had a pleased look on his face, the expression he usually wore at school.  Because he didn’t go every day, he seemed to enjoy it even if he wouldn't swallow some subjects as if they were forbidden bottles.  Sometimes he did better at geography than anyone.  He was like an otter, pleased to be on land, his hair shorn and browned up with a streak of sun.  His blue eyes weren’t like Captain Helsunk’s; they were mild as the sky today.

They passed the houses that dotted the shore, nearing the arm of land that gave passage to the inlet where Dawn’s grandparents lived.  The forest line was so thick that the inlet wasn’t visible until a boat was angled in its direction.


Katherine L. Holmes’ first published book was The House in Windward Leaves, an MG fantasy which  became an E-book Finalist in the 2013 New Generation Indie Book Awards and a Juvenile Fiction Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Book Awards. Also, she won Prize Americana for her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, published by Hollywood Books International.  In April 2013, The Wide Awake Loons was released by Silver Knight Publishing.  The Swan Bonnet, a historical novel, will be published in July, 2013, by GMTA Publishing.  Katherine has worked with used and rare books in the last years.  She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.




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