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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

By the Light of Embers by Shaylin Gandhi - Book Tour - Book Review - Favorite Quotes - Giveaway - Enter Daily!

Hi lovelies!  It gives me great pleasure today to host Shaylin Gandhi and her new book, “By the Light of Embers”!  For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.

Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!!  Also, come back daily to interact with Shaylin and to increase your chances of winning!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you lots of luck in this fabulous giveaway!

By the Light of Embers
by Shaylin Gandhi


GENRE: Historical Women’s Fiction



It's 1954, and twenty-two-year-old Lucia Lafleur has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. While sock hops and poodle skirts occupy her classmates, she dreams of bacteria and broken bones—and the day she’ll finally fix them.

After graduation, a letter arrives, and Lucia reads the words she’s labored a lifetime to earn—"we are pleased to offer you a position at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine." But in the midst of her triumph, her fiancé delivers a crushing ultimatum: forego medical school, or forego marriage.

With fractured hopes, she returns home to Louisiana, expecting nothing of the summer of '54 but sweet tea and gumbo while she agonizes over her impending choice. There, she unexpectedly befriends Nicholas, a dark-skinned poet whose dignity and intellect are a salve to her aching heart. Their bond, initially forged from a shared love of literature, soon blossoms into something as bewitching as it is forbidden.

Yet her predicament deepens when a trivial misunderstanding between a local white woman and a black man results in a brutal lynching, and the peril of love across the color lines becomes chillingly real. Now, fulfilling her lifelong dream means relinquishing her heart—and escaping Louisiana alive.



I didn’t realize I’d drifted off until Nicholas touched my hand, startling my eyes open.  He lay on the blanket a few feet away, watching me.  His twilight eyes were as heart-stopping as ever, his lashes so long they nearly brushed his brows.

“I’m sorry it took so long,” he said.  “I wanted to get here earlier.  You don’t know how envious I am, seeing you nap.  I stay up half the night for all the work I should’ve finished while here with you.”

His mouth curved gently, though a sliver of sadness showed in the bow of his lips.  I wondered if he intended the words to distract me from what I had to ask.

“What happened last night?”

“Nothing you need to worry over, little bird.  Everything’s alright now.”

He didn’t elaborate.  Around us, cypresses reared skyward like cathedral columns while soft light filtered through the canopy and dusted our faces with tiny islands of radiance.  As always, the pristine silence of the swamp circled steaming waters, but today, something menacing lurked beneath it all.

“How can it be alright?  They’re talking all over town, about how someone attacked the Widow Magnusson in the street.”

His face lengthened.  “You heard about that?”

“I couldn’t not hear about it.”

He looked away.

Fear bubbled up from somewhere deep.  “Who’re they talking about?”

“Does it matter?”

The same maddening answer Gertrude Mays had given.  But she’d said it maliciously, while Nicholas imbued the words with grief.

“Will it always be like this?” I said, frustrated.  “Will there always be secrets, things you can’t tell me?”

“Yes,” he said.



This book tells a beautiful forbidden love story of two people that are caught in the wrong place and the wrong the time.  Although this book is written in an elegant and graceful style, it does not hold back on the grim and revolting details of the tragedies these characters face.

I found myself emotionally caught up in the characters and cheering for both Lucia and Nicholas!!

It was not hard to connect and form an emotional bond with the main characters!!  They were well-developed, relatable, and genuine.

Lucia is smart, strong, brave, caring, good-natured, and determined.  She has dreams of becoming a doctor and following in her father’s footsteps.  However, when her fiancé, Kip, gives her the ultimatum of being his wife or a doctor – her plans and dreams are turned upside down and she decides to return home to Louisiana for the summer with her Best Friend, Gretchen, to consider her options.  Although, I personally want to think the spirited girl in Lucia wanted to just toss Kip to side right then and there for even making such a demand, but this was different times, this was the Deep South in 1954 and women rarely held professional jobs – they were expected to be homemaker’s.  They were to marry, have kids, and stay at home.  Lucia wanting to be a doctor was unheard of.  And no “real” husband would want his wife out of the house all day.  But Lucia wanted more out her life, she was driven, and that’s probably another reason I loved her and easily clicked with her.

I really enjoyed Nicholas and his story.  He was sweet and gentle and the way he was with Lucia was precious.  They were adorable together!!

I also liked Sebastian and appreciated how understanding, kind, considerate, patient, attentive, and respectful he is.

Unfortunately, what seems unimportant to me, but is a huge plot point and a big deal in the Deep South in the 1950’s is that Lucia was White and Nicholas was Black – therefore, this was a forbidden relationship.  A relationship that if found-out could carry several different penalties – such as being ran out of town, jail, and/or death.

There is a particular troubling scene with a misunderstanding where a kind, Black gentleman is trying to return a woman’s handkerchief that she dropped, and he is actually lynched for inappropriately touching her when he was only trying to get her attention.  It was highly taken out of context, but I don’t doubt something like that occurred back then.  And it is utterly disturbingly to read about such terrible struggles that transpired during that era.  Although we may not exactly be hanging Black men anymore, I’m not sure we’ve totally learned from history as we are still in many ways dealing with racism, discrimination, and hatred.  And unfortunately, this bigotry is still very present in today’s political and criminal domain.  

The author provided several thought-provoking and compelling passages throughout this book!

Mrs. Gandhi’s writing style is superb!  She wrote so many passages with such powerful detail.  Several times I found myself completely captivated in the story!

One particular passage really stuck with me:

“Maybe there is a God. I’ve never believed in one because I couldn’t reconcile myself to the idea that a loving deity would create a world filled with tragedy.  But now I know that, if he does exist, suffering is his greatest gift to us.  It’s the keen edge of loss that lends our lives such meaning…”(Gandhi 425).

Wow!!  I think many of us have battled with how could a God put us through some of the toughest days of our lives or how could he take a loved one from us or why would he possibly allow 9/11 to have happened??  Most people usually answer it’s always a test and you’re never given more than you can handle.  I was intrigued about this way of looking at tragedies as a gift and how loss gives us meaning in our lives.  It is a fascinating take on this topic and it’s definitely something to explore and think more on.

I love the in-depth amount of research the author did while constructing this book.  It was clear she was very familiar and well-versed on the culture, customs, and traditions of the Deep South in the 1950’s.  The author provided so much detail and such vivid descriptions it made the scenes easy to picture.

Mrs. Gandhi went above and beyond in her research and it strongly shows in her writing.  She was able to find a way to add significant historical references that provided an authentic ambience to the book.

At first, I honestly felt like there were some easily predictable scenes.  However, I was pleasantly caught off guard as there were quite a few unexpected twists and turns that even I didn’t see coming!

Even though when you knew there was going to be heartbreak and tragedy around the corner, I still couldn’t stop turning the pages!!

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and would absolutely recommend it!  I think all historical woman’s fiction readers will like this book, too!  So, add it to your TBR List and get to reading - you won't be disappointed!

**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book and have voluntarily provided an honest, and unbiased review in accordance with FTC regulations.**



I hardly ever do this, but there were so many beautiful, well-crafted lines that I was truly impressed with I just had to make note of them and share them with you.  Don’t worry, I made sure not to include any spoilers!!

“At that, he wilted like a flower: all the steel bled away, leaving the lines of his face softened by sorrow.” (185)

“Sunlight flickered through the tattered lichen curtains, playing hide-and-seek with wisps of steam.” (195)

“My heart hammered, adrenaline rocketing through every artery.” (206)

“Wonder flooded me, racing up the back of my throat and spilling over my eyelashes.” (377)

“Tears coursed down my cheeks, leaping to the ground like falling diamonds.” (378)

“Tiny specks of light filtered through the Spanish moss, dancing in his black hair.” (381)

“He’d always been a force to be reckoned with: an arrow rocketing through life with no question of his destination.  He’d oozed self-assurance and ambition.” (381)

““Did he hurt you?” I spaced the words carefully, but they still came out sharp as knives.” (385)

“…her affection for him always remained steady, while she discarded suitors like used tissues.” (388)

If I could pluck one moment from my life and keep it under glass, I thought, it would be this one.  Everything throbbed with beautiful agony of love and existence, and I wondered if anyone else had ever felt the way I did just then.” (393)

“Now he was angry, his previous calmness evaporating like smoke.” (408)

“Time hung suspended in a moment of perfect diamond clarity, distilling everything into the consummate purity of a single thought.” (412)

Mrs. Gandhi is clearly very creative and talented with her wordplay.  These lines were just either so descriptive that they were easy to picture, thought-provoking, an intriguing concept, and/or just beyond well-written and I wanted to commend the author on her remarkable writing style!!!



SHAYLIN GANDHI secretly stole her mother’s copy of Clan of the Cave Bear at age ten, and fell madly in love with love stories. Now, as an author, she still can't get enough, and the tales she spins all center around affairs of the heart. To her, that's what makes a story truly worth telling.

Besides writing, she tries to stamp her passport at every opportunity. Traveling has been a lifelong passion, and she’s lucky to have done it a lot. Shaylin and her husband once spent an entire summer living in their van while touring the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Alaska. Her most memorable trips often tie in with writing: her books are usually inspired by majestic places that stole her breath.

In addition, Shaylin practices medicine, scuba dives, plays the piano, and once rode her bicycle from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. She now lives in Denver with her incredible husband, their identical twin daughters, and two adorable rescue dogs. The family can usually be found in the mountains, either hiking up or skiing down.

You can find Shaylin online at www.shaylingandhi.com or on Twitter @shaylingandhi. Please get in touch—she would love to hear from you!







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Shaylin will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

**This post contains affiliate links and if clicked and a purchase is made, I may receive a small commission to help support this blog.  This does not cost you anything, it just helps pay for all those awesome giveaways on here.**

This contest is sponsored by a third party. Fabulous and Brunette is a registered host of Goddess Fish Promotions.  Prizes are given away by the sponsors and not Fabulous and Brunette. The featured author and Goddess Fish Promotions are solely responsible for the giveaway prize.


  1. Shaylin ~ Good morning! Welcome back! It is so great to have you here again! Congrats on your new book and good luck on the book tour! I really enjoyed reading and reviewing your book, thanks for providing the copy! :)

  2. I've thoroughly enjoyed following the tour for By the Light of Embers and I'm definitely going to be checking it out. Thanks for sharing all of the great posts along the way :)