Release Day Blitz Excerpt with Giveaway: Harbor for the Nightingale (Stranje House #4) by Kathleen Baldwin

September 26, 2019 giveaway 2

I am so excited that HARBOR FOR THE NIGHTINGALE by Kathleen Baldwin is available now and
that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by
Author Kathleen Baldwin, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a finished
copy of the book, US Only, courtesy of Kathleen and Rockstar Book Tours. So if
you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this
post.
About the Book:

Title: HARBOR FOR THE
NIGHTINGALE (Stranje House #4)
Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Pub. Date: September 26, 2019
Publisher: Ink Lion Books 
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 352
Harbor for the
Nightingale
 is the highly anticipated fourth installment in the popular
award-winning Stranje House YA series! #1 New York Times best-selling
author Meg Cabot
 calls this romantic Regency adventure series
“completely original and totally engrossing.”
“Enticing from
the first sentence.” —New York Times Sunday Book Review on A
School for Unusual Girls
“Baldwin has a
winning series here: her characters are intriguing and fully rendered.” —Booklist,
on Refuge for Masterminds
It’s 1814. In this alternate history, Napoleon has forced
Europe to its knees, and now he plots to seize control of Britain.
Maya brings the
mystery of India with her…
With her friends’
lives in deadly peril, Miss Maya Barrington, one of Miss Stranje’s unusual
girls, must serve as a double agent. To do so, she gains entry into Napoleon’s
duplicitous game on the arm of the enigmatic Lord Kinsworth. She can read
almost everyone; not so with this young rascal. Quick with a jest and armed
with lethal charm, Kinsworth remains just beyond her reach. Can she trust him?
With Britain’s
future at risk and those she loves in deadly peril, Maya questions everything
she thought she understood about life, love, and loyalty.
Fans of
genre-blending, romance, and action will love this speculative history
Regency-era novel filled with spunky heroines, handsome young lords, and
dastardly villains–fourth in the Stranje House series. Don’t miss the first
three books: A School for Unusual Girls, Exile for Dreamers, and Refuge
for Masterminds
“An outstanding
alternative history series entry and a must-have for teen libraries.” —School
Library Journal
 on Refuge for Masterminds
“This
alternative history series will appeal to fans of Gail Carriger’s works and The
Cecelia and Kate novels by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer.” —School
Library Journal
 on A School for Unusual Girls
Title: REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS (Stranje House #3)
Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Pub. Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Tor Teen
Format: Hardcover, Paperback,
eBook
Pages: 352
It’s 1814. Napoleon
has escaped his imprisonment on Elba. Britain is at war on four fronts. And at
Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, five young ladies are secretly being
trained for a world of spies, diplomacy, and war…
Napoleon’s invasion
of England is underway and someone at Stranje House is sneaking information to
his spies. Lady Jane Moore is determined to find out who it is. If anyone can
discover the traitor, it is Jane—for, according to headmistress Emma Stranje,
Lady Jane is a mastermind.
Jane doesn’t
consider herself a mastermind. It’s just that she tends to grasp the facts of a
situation quickly, and by doing so, she’s able to devise and implement a
sensible course of action. Is Jane enough of a mastermind to save the brash
young American inventor Alexander Sinclair, her friends at Stranje House, and
possibly England itself?
Title: EXILE
FOR DREAMERS (Stranje House #2)
Author: Kathleen
Baldwin
Pub. Date: May
24, 2016
Publisher: Tor
Teen
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
A School for Unusual Girls is the
first captivating installment in the Stranje House series for young adults by
award-winning author Kathleen Baldwin. #1 New York Times bestselling
author Meg Cabot calls this romantic Regency adventure “completely
original and totally engrossing.”

Tess can’t run far enough or fast enough to escape the prophetic dreams that
haunt her. Dreams bring nothing but death and grief, and Tess refuses to accept
that she may be destined for the same madness that destroyed her mother. Until
her disturbing dreams become the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man
she loves, and her friends at Stranje House from Lady Daneska and her lover,
the Ghost-agent of Napoleon, who has escaped from Elba. Can the young ladies of
Stranje House prevail once more? Or is England destined to fall into the hands
of the power-mad dictator?

“Enticing from the first sentence.” –New York Times Book Review

A School for Unusual Girls is a great next read for fans of Gail Carriger’s
Finishing School series and Robin LaFevers’ His Fair Assassin series. 
Title: A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS (Stranje House #1)
Author: Kathleen Baldwin
Pub. Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 352
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
It’s 1814. Napoleon
is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And
Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s
dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high
society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into
marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress
Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans
that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a
scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But
Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed,
marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord
Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible
ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work
together without losing their heads—or their hearts… 
 Excerpt:
One
Miss Maya Barrington’s
Typhoon
July
1814, Mayfair, London, Haversmythe House
Miss
Stranje hosts a coming-out ball for her young ladies
All the
world is sound. Even if I were blind, I would still be able to see. It is as
if
everything hums—the trees, air, stones, and people—especially people. They all
sing songs.
Some songs
are more dangerous than others.
Most of
the guests have already arrived at the ball, and our receiving line is
dwindling.
Georgie,
Lady Jane, and Tess left us to join a lively country-dance. Seraphina still
stands
quietly
beside me. Her inner music wraps around her as delicately as does the silk of
her
cloud-blue
ballgown. With her white-blonde hair, Sera is the closest thing to an angel I
have ever seen. On my other side, stands our rock, our headmistress, Miss
Stranje, a woman made of iron.
The
footman at the doors announces another arrival. “Lord and Lady Barrington.”
My father
and his wife stand in the doorway. The instruments playing serenely within
me crash
to a stop and clatter to the floor of my soul.
He
came
.
I press my
hand against my heart to keep it from flapping and shrieking like a strangled
bird.
Seraphina edges closer so that our shoulders touch. She is trying to lend me
strength.
The
ballroom overflows with people. Dozens of strangers clad in shimmering finery,
surround
us, laughing and talking, but my very English stepmother ignores them all and
marches
straight for the receiving line. She holds her nose aloft, and her mouth
pinched up
so tight
that her porcelain white face looks almost skeletal. An out of tune clarinet,
she
squeaks
toward us, every step making me wish I could stop up my ears.
People say
she is beautiful. My father certainly must have thought so. I fail to see it,
especially
when her face prunes up as it is doing now. It is a familiar expression. One
that causes me to quake nervously while simultaneously clenching my fists.
Stepmother.
That is what I was instructed to call her. I cannot bring myself to do it.
Mother
is a title of sacred honor. This woman, whose
soul honks like an out of tune oboe, hasn’t the faintest motherly inclination
toward me. To me, she will never be anything more than the woman who married my
father. Never mind that my mother, his first wife, was a Maharajah’s daughter.
To the new Lady Barrington, I am merely the brown-skinned embarrassment her
husband acquired in India. Her hate roars at me like high tide slamming against
a rocky shore.
She halts,
and her blond sausage curls quiver with distaste as she plants herself squarely
in front
of Miss Stranje. She does not curtsey or even nod in response to our
headmistress’s greeting.
Her words
trickle out so sweetly that most people would not notice she is gritting her
teeth as
she utters them. “Miss Stranje, a word if you please.”
Naturally,
Seraphina notices. She notices everything—it is her gift. And her curse.
She
reaches
for my hand to reassure me. Of the five of us, we who are Miss Stranje’s
students, Seraphina Wyndham is the only one who truly understands me, and I do
not want my best friend to suffer if she is caught being supportive of me. So,
I smile reassuringly and slip free of her fingers. This is my battle, and I
must face it alone.
Sera tugs
my arm as I step away and furtively whispers, “Do something. Calm her.”
She, like
everyone else at Stranje House, mistakenly thinks my voice contains some sort
of magical
power to soothe. It is much simpler than that. My grandmother taught me how to
use certain tones and cadences to relax people and communicate tranquility.
Most souls are more than receptive, they hunger for it. My father’s wife is a
different matter. I have tried in the past, and rather than succumb to my
calming tactics, she resists. On several occasions, she even covered her ears
and screeched at me. I remember well her accusations of witchcraft and demonic
bedevilment. It was on those grounds she convinced my father to send me away to
Stranje House.
I wish,
for Miss Stranje’s sake, Lady Barrington would let me quiet her rat-like
tendency
to snipe
and bite. Although, I’m not worried. I am confident our headmistress has
guessed what is coming and will manage my father’s wife quite handily without
my help. After all, a rat does not surprise an owl.
“This way,
Lady Barrington.” Miss Stranje graciously directs our bristling guest to the
side of
the receiving line.
Father’s
charming wife clasps my shoulder and propels me forward with her. I could not
possibly
soothe her now. I’m not nearly composed enough to do it. Indeed, I am battling
an overwhelming inclination to yank her boney claw from my shoulder and twist
it until she cries off.
“What have
you done, Miss Stranje?” Lady Barrington releases me and waves her hand
at my
ensemble. She is objecting to Miss Stranje’s ingenious innovation, a
traditional sari draped over an English ballgown.
“Why have
you dressed the child thus?” Lady Barrington’s fingers close in a fist around
the
embroidered veil covering my hair. “I’m mortified! You’ve garbed her like a
heathen.
Surely,
this is an affront to everyone here.” She flicks the saffron silk away as if it
has soiled her gloves. “How do you expect Lord Barrington and myself to weather
this . . . this outrage!”
She barks
so loud that some of our guests turn to stare.
“After the
enormous sum we paid you, it is beyond my comprehension why you should
do us such
a disservice—”
“Lady
Barrington!” Miss Stranje’s tone chops through the woman’s tirade. “Calm
yourself.”
Our headmistress stands a good four or five inches taller than most women, and
she straightens to make every inch count. “You sadly mistake the matter, my
lady. The other guests are well acquainted with your husband’s daughter. In
fact, a few weeks ago she was invited by no less a personage than Lady Jersey
to sing at Carlton House for the Prince Regent. Miss Barrington’s voice
impressed His Highness so greatly that he, the highest authority in
the land
, suggested your stepdaughter ought to be declared a national
treasure.”
“What?”
Lady Barrington blinks at this news, but her astonishment is short-lived. She
clears her
throat and steps up emboldened. “Oh, that. I am well aware of Maya’s
ability to mesmerize others with her voice. She uses demonic trickery, and you
ought not allow—”
Miss
Stranje leans forward, her tone low and deadly. “Are you unaware of the fact
that
Lady
Castlereagh issued Miss Barrington vouchers for Almack’s?”
“Al-Almack’s
. . .” Lady Barrington sputters at the mention of high society’s most exclusive
social club. Her hands flutter to her mouth in disbelief. “No. That can’t be.
Lady Castlereagh approved of her?” She glances sideways at me and her
upper lips curls as if she tastes something foul in the air.
“Yes. Her
vouchers were signed and sealed by the great lady herself.” Miss Stranje’s face
transforms
into a mask of hardened steel under which most people tremble in fear. “Not to put
too fine a point on it, my lady, but Miss Barrington has been granted entry
into the highest social circles. And, more to the point, it is my understanding
that the patronesses refused to grant you vouchers. You were denied, is that
not so?”
Lady
Barrington steps back, unwilling to answer, a hand clutching her throat.
Miss
Stranje refuses to let her quarry wriggle away. “In fact, my dear lady, anyone
planning a soiree or ball during the remainder of the season, anyone who is
anyone
, has invited Miss Barrington to attend. I have stacks of invitations,
dozens of notes, all of them begging your husband’s daughter to do them the
honor of singing at their gatherings. Indeed, society has taken her under their
wing so thoroughly I had rather thought you would be offering me a bonus,
instead of this ill-conceived reprimand.”
Miss
Stranje turns and levels a shrewd gaze at my father, who until this moment
stood
behind us
silently observing.
He places
a hand on his wife’s waist and moves her aside. This stranger, this formidable
Englishman
who I used to call Papa with such glee, steps up to my headmistress and takes her
measure. After a moment that stretches long enough to hammer my stomach into mincemeat,
he nods respectfully. “Very well, Miss Stranje. I shall send additional
remuneration to you in the morning.”
His wife
gasps, and indignation squeals off her like sour yellow gas.
He turns
to me and reaches for my hand. Every instinct in me shouts to pull back. Do
not
let him touch you
. It has been many long years since I
have seen anything resembling a fatherly mannerism from him. I am terrified of
what I might feel, and yet even more terrified of what I might miss if I pull
away.
A sharp
intake of breath crosses my lips, but then all other sounds cease. I no longer
hear
laughter or talking from the guests in the ballroom. No footsteps. No shuffling
or
clattering.
The hum of impenetrable silence muffles everything else as I watch him lift my hand.
My father
bows slightly, the way all the other gentlemen did as they came through the
receiving
line. He holds my fingers loosely as if we are mere acquaintances. “You look
lovely,
Maya, very much like your mother.” He straightens, and I think I hear a whiff
of
sound—a
soft keening, low and mournful. Except it is so brief and distant, I cannot be
certain.
“You have
her fire in your eyes. She would be proud.” He squares his shoulders. “I’m
pleased to
see you making your way in the world—flourishing on your own.”
Flourishing?
Hardly.
Unable to
summon enough breath for words, I dip in an English curtsey that has
become a
habit. When I am able to speak, it sounds embarrassingly weak and fluttery,
like a frightened bird. “I am glad you think so, my lord.”
He lets go
of my gloved fingers, offers his arm to his wife, and leaves me. Without a
backward glance,
he walks away. His measured gait is aloof and elegant, no different from that
of a hundred other strangers in this room. The hollow thump of his heels as he
abandons
me hurts far worse than anything the spiteful woman he married has ever said.
I wish now
that I had not allowed him to touch me. I ought to have run from the
house—anything
would be better than this grinding loneliness that darkens my insides. I
would
rather rip out my heart than to fall into the chasm threatening to swallow me.
I’ve been in that dark place before.
The way he
dismisses me without a second thought sends me spiraling back to India.
I’m there
again, in the stifling heat of his sickroom. Worried, I sneaked in to see him
and
stood
quietly at the foot of his bed. Fear thumped through me like an elephant march
as I watched him thrash under the sheets, fevered with the same epidemic that
had only days earlier taken my mother’s life.
I remember
his wide-eyed alarm when he noticed me standing by his bedpost. I was only six,
but I can still hear his hoarse shout for the servants. “Get her out of here.
Send her away!”
“No! No. I
want to stay with you. Let me stay with you,” I begged. Crying, I clung to his
bedpost,
refusing to leave.
“Go! Take
the chi—” Retching cut his rebuke short. Next came a string of muffled
curses.
“Out!”
“Come,
miss. You cannot stay. Your father is very sick.” Servants dragged me, kicking
and
screaming from his room. Later, my ayah told me Papa wanted me to stay
away so that I would not catch his illness. I will never know if that was true
or not. My ayah may have been trying to spare my feelings. I do remember
telling her I didn’t care if I got sick and died. I would rather stay with my
papa.
“No, kanya.
No, little girl. You must not say such things.” She brushed my hair until it
gleamed
like my papa’s black boots. “You will live, child. I see this. The future
blooms in
you. You
are gende ka phool.” She pulled a marigold out of a small vase and
placed it in my palms. “Protector. Sun lion.” I touched the bright orange
petals and thought to myself, what good is such a small flower. It is too
fragile—too easily crushed.
I
was right
.
The next
day, on Papa’s orders, his secretary, a fusty man with little patience for
children, escorted me to my grandmother’s family in the north. My father sent
me away from the only world I’d ever known. On that long trip, loneliness and
hurt chewed me up. Why would he send me so far away? Was he too sick? Or was
his grief too heavy for him to share in mine? Perhaps my black hair and olive
skin reminded him too much of my dead mother.
Or was it
because she was gone that he no longer cared for me?
Why?
We
traveled for days and days, journeying toward the great mountains, land of the
five
rivers,
and all the way there, sadness gnawed on my soul.
Few
Europeans had ever ventured to the old villages and cities along the rivers.
People
were wary
and distrustful of my white escort. He had difficulty finding a guide, and even
when he
did, we made several wrong turns. I did not care. Numb with grief, certain my
father
would die, or that he no longer loved me. I was already a lost child. What did
it
matter if
we wandered forever?
After
several treacherous river crossings, our guide located my family’s village on
the
Tawi
River. The weary attaché deposited me and my trunks in their midst and
hurriedly
left. I
sat in the dirt beside my baggage, completely abandoned. The last ember of hope
flickered
inside me and blew out.
Strangers,
who I would learn later were my cousins and aunts, gathered in a circle
around me,
staring, their faces ripe with curiosity and suspicion. Half-English,
half-Indian, I was an unwelcome oddity, who belonged nowhere. I sat in the
center of their circle, feeling like an oddly painted lizard. Did they judge me
poisonous? Or edible?
A woman’s
joyous cry startled me. Astonished, I stood up. In my exhausted state, amidst
all the
confusion, I briefly mistook her voice for my mother’s. I stared at the old
woman
running
toward me. The voice, although eerily similar, did not belong to my dead
mother.
It
belonged to my grandmother.
She burst
through her gathered kinsman, took one look at me, and opened her arms.
Though I
learned later she had only visited me once as an infant, she kissed my forehead
and hugged
me, rocking and murmuring in Hindi. In tears, she declared to all my cousins
and aunts
that I was her daughter returned home.
Grandmother,
my naanii, did not care about my mixed blood. She had no qualms about
teaching
her half-caste granddaughter the ways of her people. Others in our village were
not so quick to trust me. I was half-English, after all. But out of respect for
my grandmother, they kept their opinions to themselves. Naanii taught me
how to make bread, how to mix healing herbs, braid hair, sew, and a thousand
other things.
More
importantly, Naanii taught me to listen.
To hear
the world around us.
Over and
over, she told me, “All life sings a song if we will but stop and listen.”
I remember
standing on the banks of the river washing clothes. “Close your eyes, little
bird,” Naanii
said. “Quiet your mind and tell me what you hear?”
I pointed
to her kinswoman standing in the shallows scrubbing her laundry against the
stones. “I
hear Kanishka humming a contented tune.”
Grandmother,
ever patient, smiled and asked, “And the stones, little one, what do they
sing?”
I laughed
and closed my eyes tight, listening for subtler vibrations. “They are old, Naanii.
Their
voices are quiet and deep. I can hardly hear them. Kanishka sings too loudly,
so
does the
wind in the trees and grass.” I opened my eyes. “And the river is especially
loud.”
“Ahh.” She
nodded, wrung out the cloth she’d been laundering, and set it in her basket.
“It is
true. Water is bold and brash. Very noisy.” She galloped her fingers through
the air.
“Always
rushing to and fro. River thinks she is all-powerful. You must try harder, my
child.
Listen for
the calm voice of the stones.” She laid a smooth pebble in my palm and pointed to
one of the large rocks jutting up, splitting the current of the river. “Do you
feel it? The mighty waters push and shove with the strength of a hundred
horses, yet that boulder is unmoved. Hear how deep it hums, how sure it is of
its connection with mother earth.”
Years
later, I would hear the stones sing, but not that day. That day I heard my
grandmother, not just her words; I heard the unfathomable vibrations of her
soul. It was as if she was as ancient and knowing as the stones of which she
spoke.
I wish I
were still standing on the banks of the Tawi River. Instead, I am here in
London
with too
many sounds roaring in my ears—the babble of our many guests, the rumble of the
city seeping up through the bones of this house. My father has taken me half a
world away from the person who loves me best in all the world. Even though she
is thousands of miles away, I close my eyes, hoping to catch my grandmother’s
distant pulse. I try to block out all the other noises, searching for those
melodic threads that run between us even at this great distance.
“Maya?
Maya! Are you all right?” Lady Jane rests her hand on my shoulder and startles
me out of
my search. She and Sera stare at me expectantly. “The musicians are tuning up for
a quadrille. We are about to return to the dancing. But you seem shaken, what’s
wrong?”
I look at
Lady Jane, wondering how to answer. I am not all right, as she phrases
it, but
what else
can I say, here in this jangling place. “Yes, I hear the music,” I say, and try
to smile as if it is an important observation, as if the frivolity of dancing
lightens my heart.
“Hmm,” she
says skeptically, and takes my hand, pulling me along with her like the
mighty
river carrying a piece of driftwood. I feel her questions clamoring to be
asked, but luckily, I also know Lady Jane will restrain herself. This is not
the time or place for that sort of discussion. She glances around the room and
spots Alexander Sinclair. Immediately she brightens, and I feel joy pulse
through her fingertips.
“Come.” She leads the way and, arm in
arm, we face both the music and crowd together.
About Kathleen:

Award-winning
author, Kathleen Baldwin, loves adventure in books and in real life. She taught
rock climbing in the Rockies, survival camped in the desert, was stalked by a
mountain lion, lost an argument with a rattlesnake, enjoyed way too many
classes in college, fell in love at least a dozen times, and married her very
own hero. Together they’ve raised four free-spirited adventurous children.
SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL
GIRLS
is her first historical romance for Young Adults. Awarded 2016 Spirit of
Texas, it is also a Junior Library Guild selection. Publisher’s Lunch listed it
in 2015 YA BookBuzz. Scholastic licensed it for book fairs. Ian Bryce, producer
of Spiderman, Saving Private Ryan, and other notable films optioned the series
for film.
#1 New York Times
bestselling author Meg Cabot calls Kathleen’s romantic Regency adventure,
“completely original and totally engrossing.”




Giveaway Details:
1 winner will
receive a finished copy of HARBOR FOR THE NIGHTINGALE.
US Only.

2 Responses to “Release Day Blitz Excerpt with Giveaway: Harbor for the Nightingale (Stranje House #4) by Kathleen Baldwin”

  1. Olivia's Catastrophe

    I have read the first three books in this series and loved each and every single one. They are such good, feminist, historical fiction romance reads 😀 Can't wait to see what is going to come of this fourth one ^.^

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