Monday, September 15, 2014

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway for Spy Island by Sophie Schiller

02_Spy Island

Publication Date: January 16, 2013 | CreateSpace | Formats: eBook, Paperback

Buy the Book:  Amazon US   Amazon UK

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A forbidden friendship that blossoms into love is at the heart of this colorful historical novel. Abigail Maduro arrives in the Danish West Indies on 1916 to live with her Aunt Esther, a bad tempered spinster, and her houseful of eccentric servants. Despite the island's veneer of tranquility, St. Thomas is a hotbed of German spies who use their Hamburg-America steamers to aid the Kaiser's war effort. When a mysterious stranger suddenly appears in town, Abigail is drawn into the conflict.

In the scholarly Erich Seibold, she finds the friendship and love she has been craving, even after she learns that Erich is really a deserter from a German U-boat. But their idyllic interlude comes to a crashing halt when the island's German consul also discovers Erich's identity, and blackmails him into committing sabotage.

After a melee involving the Danish governor, Erich is thrown into prison, forcing Abigail to risk everything to save him. Action and adventure abound in this colorful historical novel that brings to life a fading West Indian sugar colony in the last days of Danish rule.

Praise for Spy Island

"Spy Island is an exciting adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I love being immersed in the world of the Caribbean during World War I, I felt like I was looking into a snapshot of the past. This book is full of adventure, exciting twists, just when I thought I had the plot figured out, it would change again. The descriptions, the characters, and the plot of this story all weave together into a tight package of fun that you do not want to miss." The Howling Turtle Book Reviews 

"Spy Island is a fun, fast read for any fan of historical fiction and adventure stories." Lynne Hinkey, author of Marina Melee

"Spy Island hits that rare spot for me in historical fiction. Not only is it an entertaining story with lots of movement, but the authentic island feel and early 20th century world surround you. A great read!" Dianna Rostad, Amazon Reviewer

"From the first page, I was instantly thrown into Abby's world and truly taken aback by the lovely descriptions ranging from those of Panama to those of life at sea to those of the Danish West Indies. Sophie really managed to make me feel like I was right there with the characters in this one and it added a lot to my enjoyment of the book. Spy Island is a thrilling and fast paced novel perfect for fans of historical fiction and mystery." Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf Blog


Suddenly, a posse of machete-wielding men appears out of nowhere. They offer to find the shooter and bring him to justice. My heart races as I catch the glimmer of the razor-sharp machetes in their muscular, outstretched arms. These men are after Erich and there's no way to stop them.

I push my way through the crowd, attempting to flee to the safety of the Grand Hotel. All around me scuffles and brawls erupt among the outraged horde, while panicked faces emerge from windows and doorways, each one trying to make sense out of the confusion and strife. I crane my neck over the commotion, hoping to catch sight of the governor. Thankfully, he is still alive, although dazed with confusion.  Two policemen haul him to his feet and lead him to the safety of Fort Christian.

Still no sign of Erich anywhere. If Erich was indeed was the shooter, he has simply vanished. Just then, someone screams, "There he is. Grab him!" I look up. A dozen natives, all brandishing machetes, take off in hot pursuit of a solitary individual who resembles one of the Cha Cha's from Frenchtown who is pushing his way across the square in horror.

Making out his features is impossible as he has a scarf tied around half his face, rendering him unrecognizable. But by his size and height, I am pretty sure it is Erich. I yell for him to run faster, but my voice is drowned out by the deafening roar of the crowd. Erich scales a low wall and races down the nearest alleyway with a posse of men in hot pursuit. His pursuers shake their fists indignantly, swearing and yelling out threats as they attempt to catch him. Somehow Erich is faster, remarkably agile and adept at outrunning an angry mob, but I know his life is in great danger.

With no thought to my own safety, I chase after the posse, hoping I can somehow help to avert disaster. Erich races down Norre Gade as if he's on fire. He climbs up the steps of the Frederick Lutheran Church two at a time. When some of the men catch up with him, he swings around, kicking one in the chest and sending them all toppling backwards like a line of dominoes. Another one catches up with Erich, but receives a blinding punch in the face that sends him rolling down the steps like a broken wheel. Erich shakes his fist, then disappears inside the church, barring the door shut.

Another group of indignant citizens reaches the front door of the church and pounds on it with tremendous anger. They lunge at it, trying to push it open. All their force is no use; Erich has barred it from the inside with an iron rod. Amazingly, while they fumble with the front door, Erich slips out the back with the stealth of a mongoose and heads to the back of town. I catch sight of him as he races down Kongens Gade, dodging bewildered donkey carts and flustered market women as he runs for his life.

Just then, a thought occurs to me that by going through with Lothar Langsdorff's diabolical plan, Erich has sacrificed his own life to save mine. My heart swells with love for him. Fueled by the hope that I can repay the favor, I follow the trail of angry natives intent on bringing justice down on Erich's head, yet realizing I may never see him again.

03_Sophie Schiller
About the Author

Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies amid aging pirates and retired German spies. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.

You can find more information on Sophie Schiller and her novels at website. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying that “War is hell”, and while that is certainly true, another truth about life and war is that nothing is ever completely black and white.  What makes a young woman identify, and become friends with, a man fighting on the “wrong side”?  Using that question as a basis for her novel Spy Island, author Sophie Schiller takes us to the island of St. Thomas during World War I and gives us a tale filled with colorful characters, lots of adventure and a plot filled with plenty of twists and turns.  If you want to take a look at a time in history that is unfortunately overlooked these days, this is an entertaining way to get a glimpse of the past.

Filled with dreams and plans for her future, sixteen year old Abigail Maduro is surprised when her father’s lawyer informs her that her parents have died in a tragic train accident.  While dealing with her shock and grief, Abigail finds herself thrown on a boat and sent to her aunt’s home in St. Thomas.  She’s lost her parents, her home and her money. 

As Abigail’s story develops, and we meet her occasionally crazy and sometimes cruel aunt Esther, we also learn about the beginning of World War I and its impact in the Caribbean.  Ms. Schiller does a good job developing Abigail’s character; she’s young, a bit immature and very naïve at the start of the story.  Things she will outgrow as she ages and the war develops and she becomes involved in it.  While there are times I wanted to shake Abigail because of some of her choices, I was able to connect with her and liked her for the most part.

The secondary characters are also well developed and added quite a bit to the story.  Especially her friends, Erich Siebold, a German sailor she helps, and Ian, another sailor she befriends.  While both men have their own issues, Erich is the one that poses the most danger – feeding him and helping him hide puts Abigail in conflict with most of the people on the island, they only see Germans as the enemy and as probable spies.

Will Abigail continue to help Erich when things become really dangerous?  How will the war change her outlook on life overall? You’ll have to read Spy Island to find out, it’s an interesting story.

My Rating:  3.5 out of 5 Crowns

Spy Island Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15
Review & Giveaway at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, September 16
Review at The Librarian Fatale
Spotlight & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, September 17
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, September 18
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, September 19
Interview & Giveaway at Reading Lark

Monday, September 22
Review at Brooke Blogs
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Tuesday, September 23
Review at Just One More Chapter
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, September 24
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, September 25
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Friday, September 26
Review at Princess of Eboli
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

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  1. This novel sounds captivating and enthralling. Thanks for this feature and giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  2. Hi Maria, thank you for your lovely, thoughtful review. For any readers who are interesting in learning more about the story behind the story of Spy Island, I invite you to visit my blog:

  3. The story, though not the setting, sounds slightly familiar but I'd love to read it, thanks.

  4. Wow what a great review, the book sounds intriguing!

  5. This story sounds really different, a WWI spy story set in the Danish West Indies! Not a place you would expect to find German spies! Thank you for the giveaway.

  6. would LOVE to read this book!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!

  7. I would love to read this. I just finished Land of Love and Drowning, which is set in St. Thomas after the US took over.