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Welcome to my attempt at blogging. I am a true to heart bibliophile. Here I will discuss and review books as I read them. You are welcome to do the same. The only rules are no profanity, no politics, no religion, and have fun!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


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Please join Mary F. Burns as she tours the blogospere with HF Virtual Book Tours for Isaac and
Ishmael: A Novel of Genesis from June 8-26.

Publication Date: November 15, 2014 Sand Hill Press Formats: eBook, Paperback Genre: Historical Fiction/Biblical


     Isaac and Ishmael attempts to bring to human scale the legends and mythic dimensions of Abraham and Sarah, their sons Isaac and Ishmael, and Isaac and Rebecca's twin sons Esau and Jacob. Readers will experience the struggles, competition, betrayals and loves of these brothers, fathers and sons caught up in the overarching tension between time and eternity, a place where a new God is coming into being,Yahweh, the uncanny, irascible, mischievous, bargaining God who participated in the life of a new people and compelled them to a new way of being human. The stormy relationship of Isaac and Ishmael has long passed into a tradition which looks to Isaac as the father of the Jewish people, and Ishmael as the father of the Arab people, particularly in Egypt. Similarly, while Jacob carries on his father's heritage, becoming the father of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, his twin brother Esau, the red-haired archer who sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil soup, is traditionally said to have departed for the North, and populated what would later become Rome. Isaac and Ishmael explores the thorny, complex yet delicate relations between these brothers and fathers, providing a more human understanding of the differences that arise between individuals and peoples, even now as the ancient tensions in the Middle East continue to flare up in modern confrontations and war. Ever present in the story are the strong, subtle and often ambitious women of Biblical legend: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.

Official Book Trailer

Isaac & Ishmael Available at

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About the Author03_Mary F. Burns

Mary F. Burns is the author of ISAAC AND ISHMAEL, published by Sand Hill Review Press in November 2014. Other historical fiction includes THE SPOILS OF AVALON and PORTRAITS OF AN ARTIST (Sand Hill Review Press, February 2014, 2013), both books featuring the celebrated portrait painter, John Singer Sargent and his best friend, writer Violet Paget (aka Vernon Lee). Mary is a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and a former member of the HNS Conference board of directors. Her debut historical novel J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE was published in July 2010 by O-Books (John Hunt Publishers, UK). She has also written two cozy-village mysteries in a series titled The West Portal Mysteries (The Lucky Dog Lottery and The Tarot Card Murders). She will be part of two panels at the upcoming North American Historical Novel Society Conference in June in Denver, one on The Historical Mystery and the other on Art and Artists in Historical Fiction. Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English, along with a high school teaching certificate. She relocated to San Francisco in 1976 where she now lives with her husband Stuart in the West Portal neighborhood. Ms. Burns may be contacted by email at maryfburns@att.net. For more information please visit Mary Burns's website at www.maryfburns.com.

You can also connect with Mary on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads, or read her blog posts at: www.jthewomanwhowrotethebible.com www.literarygracenotes.blogspot.com www.portraitsofanartist.blogspot.com www.sargent-pagetmysteries.blogspot.com www.genesisnovel.blogspot.com

Isaac and Ishmael Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 8 Excerpt at What Is That Book About Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past Tuesday, June 9 Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views Wednesday, June 10 Spotlight at Let Them Read Books Thursday, June 11 Review at A Book Drunkard Friday, June 12 Spotlight & Giveaway at Unshelfish Monday, June 15 Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews Tuesday, June 16 Review at Book Nerd Wednesday, June 17 Review & Excerpt at Book Lovers Paradise Thursday, June 18 Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book Friday, June 19 Guest Post at Just One More Chapter Sunday, June 21 Review & Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story Monday, June 22 Excerpt at 100 Pages a Day Tuesday, June 23 Spotlight at Broken Teepee Thursday, June 25 Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection Friday, June 26 Review & Giveaway at Genre Queen

i wish to present a short excerpt from ISAAC AND ISHMAEL:

Sarai, laughing, has hurt Yahweh’s feelings. 
What? I who groan in age am now to groan in pleasure, and bear a son? Who’s kidding whom?
Who is that laughing? says Yahweh. Who thinks I cannot do this thing?
Not I. Her eyes on the ground. Then sideways she sees her husband whose eyes are fixed on the boldest stranger, who sits eating veal and drinking milk under their olive trees. Abram holds his breath. The stranger has just said to him, Count the stars. Can you? Your descendants shall be more. The two men with him are silent, their eyes glitter, their arms like wings tucked at their sides even as they eat.
I’ll be back in nine months, says the stranger, to see your son.

There you have it , an excerpt from a fantastic book.  I received this book to review.  I started reading and kept reading, and reading, and reading.  I could not put the book down!

The story of Abraham's two sons.  One by Hagar, and one by Sarah.  Most of us are familiar with the biblical story, but Burn's goes deeper and tells a beguiling story.   Ms. Burn's storytelling style is unique.  The reader is drawn into the tale and becomes not just a reader, but an active participant in the events.   I felt like a family member watching the events unfold.   I can only describe this book as incredible.     The characters are so well developed, they are REAL people.  You will be part of their lives.   Some, you will like more than others.  Strangely enough, I was not a big fan of Sarah or Abraham.  I loved Isaac and felt strongly toward Ishmael.  

I highly recommend this book and look forward to more by Mary F Burns.

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