About the Book
Book: Slashed Canvas
Author: Liz Tolsma
Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale
Release date: February 1, 2022
Held prisoner by all she’s lost, Katarina’s about to lose all she has.
Grand Duchess Katarina Volstova barely escaped the Russian revolution, arriving in Paris just before the birth of her twin daughters. With her heart still captive in her homeland, she haunts the Louvre each day, spending hours gazing at one painting, lost in her pain.
Not the man he once was, Timothy Smythe never returned home to England after the Great War. Instead, he hides himself away doing maintenance in the Louvre and watching the beautiful woman whose pain seems riveted on one painting.
When Katarina returns home to find her daughters and their nanny missing, the loss opens her eyes to all she has to lose now.
Frantic to find her girls, her distress causes Timothy to offer his assistance. Together they put together clues to a puzzle they must complete before the kidnapper ensures Katarina and her daughters are never reunited.
Slashed Canvas offers a retelling of The Lost Princess that mingles self-centered grief, spoiled little girls, and proof that nothing will stop a mother from saving her children.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their youngest daughter. Her son is a US Marine, and her oldest daughter is a college student. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her website at www.liztolsma.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter (@LizTolsma), Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. She is also the host of the Christian Historical Fiction Talk podcast.
More from Liz
How Slashed Canvas Came to Be
It was the last evening of the SoCal Christian Writer’s Conference three years ago. A group of us decided that frozen yogurt sounded good, so we walked the few blocks from the university where the conference was being held to the local fro-yo shop.
On the way back, I was walking alongside fellow author Chautona Havig. We were chatting about various projects we had underway, and she mentioned that she and Sandy Barela from Celebrate Lit had come up with an idea for a boxed set. This involved taking a fairy-tale and turning it into a 1920s mystery. Would I be interested?
You don’t have to ask me twice if I’d like to be in a set with Chautona that’s put out by Sandy. Before I knew what was happening, I was agreeing to it. Then we got talking about what fairy tales I might use. As soon as she said The Lost Princess, an idea sparked in my brain. It really was that instant. 1920s. Princess. Russia. Exile.
This might come as a surprise to both Chautona and Sandy, but I really didn’t know the story of The Lost Princess. Not at all. When I was working up the idea, I had to read the story and figure out how to make my idea mesh with the fairy tale. Thankfully, the story did work well with what I intended to do with Slashed Canvas.
And that title? Well, that was quite difficult. At the time, my niece was staying with us and interning for me. One night, we sat and ran through idea after idea until we came up with “Something” Canvas. I wanted a strong adjective and we offered and rejected many until we came up with Slashed Canvas. I hadn’t written a word of the book, but I managed to work a slashed canvas into the story.
And what about the painting in Slashed Canvas? I knew I wanted it to be by a Russian artist and hang in the Louvre, but there weren’t (and aren’t) many paintings like that in the Louvre. Russia has been loath to allow any of its art to leave the country. So what was I going to do? I really was going crazy.
Then I spoke on the phone to Kristy Cambron. Not only is she a fabulous author, but she also has a degree in art history. It was her idea to make up my own painting. That way, I could make it work however I needed it to for the story. What a relief. I did just that, and the story flowed from there.
And the clues to the mystery? Those were my dad’s ideas. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything!
So that’s how Slashed Canvas came to be. It was the work of so many different people. Authors, much as we hide behind our computers, never work in a vacuum. Very often, there are many fingers in the pie to make the finished product.
The book is written so well I never put it down till I was finished. The details are exquisite as the author describes Russia. It was easy to picture the place where Grand Duchess Katarina was born. She never wanted for anything and as a child she was pretty spoiled. Her parents did spend quality time with her and she was disciplined when needed. All this is important as we delve deeper into her life.
After leaving her homeland she finds herself in Paris with identical twin girls to raise on her own. Her husband’s death is a tragedy that she may never get over. Her daughters were very spoiled, rude and prideful. Katarina doted on them but never disciplined them at all. How odd that she would not correct her children’s behavior when she wasn’t raised that why. Her heart is so broken that all she thinks about is a painting on display at the Louvre. Why does she go there everyday? It is said, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” so what was this painting trying to tell her? The painting starts to become like an idol to her and her children are left at home with a nanny most of the time.
Georges is the highlight for me in the story. This man is humbled and never complains about the injury he got while in service to his country. His disability never slows him down and I admired how much he wanted to help Katarina. Seeing her everyday staring at a painting makes him curious. I loved how the author brings these two characters together.
The story is emotional and has lessons on loss, letting go of the past and finding peace. Sometimes we don’t appreciate what we have till we lose it. Katarina discovers that it is time to lay the memory of her husband to rest. My heart ached for her as she has this moment with God that is honest and inspiring. Saying goodbye to a loved one you have lost has to be one of the hardest things anyone has to endure.
The mystery of who kidnapped Katarina’s children is masterfully written as clues pop up throughout the story. I did think that perhaps it was somehow connected to teaching Katarina a lesson, but I couldn’t figure out who was behind the kidnapping. The story is filled with suspense, murder and an unlikely person who wants to teach Katarina a lesson.
I did have to refresh my memory of the fairy tale this book was based on. I love how the author took her own creative outlook and produced a story that far outshines the original fairy tale. Thank you for reminding me to never forget the people I have lost but to also be thankful for the lessons I have learned to become stronger and that you are always there in my weakest moments.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Liz is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and copy of the book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.