August 29, 2014

Barbara Hawkins' Behind the Forgotten Front: A WWII Novel - Spotlight

Author Name: Barbara Hawkins
Title of Book: Behind the Forgotten Front
ISBN: 978-0-9915984-1-0
Pages: 335
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: August 22, 2014
Genre: WWII Historical Fiction Novel on the China-Burma-India Front (Forgotten Front)
Cover Design: Aidana WillowRaven
Special Note: 2015 will be the 70th Anniversaries of VE and VJ Day

About the author
Barbara Hawkins holds BS degrees from the University of Minnesota where she studied Botany and Mathematics. From there she traveled to jungles in Latin America collecting plant specimens for several universities. She also has a MS in Civil Engineering from California State University. For the last twenty-five-years she worked as a professional engineer. Her hobbies vary from cooking and yoga to bicycling and adventure travel.

About the book
It’s 1942 and Harry Flynn leaves behind the love of his life to journey into a world of tigers, elephants, and Himalayan Mountains. Here he must take risks if he is to survive. He enlists to fight in the war, expecting to find the thrill of danger and honor of military service. Instead of a fighting position, Harry is sent to the Forgotten Front in the Indian subcontinent as an ordinary supply officer. There, General Joseph ‘Vinegar Joe’ Stilwell is constructing a ‘road to nowhere’ through Japanese-occupied Burma. The general will do anything to get the road built.

Harry forges unlikely friendships in this strange world. He’s also forced to obey orders that challenge his principles and is torn between being true to himself or ‘no man at all.’ Not willing to let Uncle Sam needlessly condemn the road crew to death, he rebels.

He tries to sabotage the road’s progress where an all-black construction regiment is losing a man a mile due to disease and crumbling lopes. Then a commanding officer spots his unconventional skills. Immediately he’s transferred to America’s first guerrilla-supported unit: Merrill’s Marauders and later the Mars Task Force. Here, he must entrust his life to others. During a time when boys were forced to come of age on the battlefield, Harry must find what makes his life worth living or die.

‘One of a kind’ commentary
The lessons learned in World War II apply to all wars, where men walk away carrying unspeakable memories and ‘lives that could have been’ haunt those that lived. Behind the Forgotten Front brings them all back to life and shows that history is about facts driven by passions and sometimes the mistakes or real people.

General Joseph Stilwell 
“Attention!” A soldier in a crisp, clean uniform stands at the entrance to the mess hall at full salute. A General and Colonel enter the building.

Chairs tip over and tin cups drop to the floor as everyone pushes themselves to standing. The joking banter silences.

“I don’t give a damn if the Brits think building this road is a laborious task, unlikely to be finished until the need for it has passed. We know how to win wars. And flying the HUMP just isn’t enough. Who do they think we are—one of their bloody colonies?” The grizzled General, sporting a razor-edged crew-cut and biting down on a long, black cigarette holder, barks at the younger, pipe-smoking Colonel. Both are absorbed in their heated conversation and walk past the soldiers as though they’re ghosts.

“At ease, men,” the older general says as an afterthought. “We’re fighting a war. So dispense with all the jumping up and down business.”

Father James Stuart
Father Stuart’s brogue pulls my mind back to the Easter evening’s sermon. “Lads, the cold, the hunger, the sickness,and the fatigue ye have suffered has changed ye into men. Tis a tough way to become a man, fighting the crusades of others.It’s the ordinary man, trapped between earth and hell, who wins the war. And, while we can’t choose when we die, let ourdeath be worth our lives.”

In front of the gathering lies a field of wounded men, their tortured eyes holding tough questions for God. I thinkof those who didn’t make it and wonder why I was spared.

“But let God open yer eyes to the beauty that refuses to surrender.” With a sweeping arc, the priest encompasseseverything within the hills and valleys. Silver-tipped fruit pigeons swoop in for an evening’s meal, cooing gently. Perfumed,yellow-fringed flowers rustle with the leaves.

With that, the priest steps down from the altar to the injured. As he moves among them, he finishes the sermon with,“Let the war wait! Let us rejoice in life today! And tomorrow, give the Japs a good kick in the ass. In the name of God. Amen.”

Lt. Jack Knight 
“Ain’t that disrespectful, the way them little, tiny temples have been smashed up?” Lieutenant Jack Knight drawls. Knight, a newcomer with the 5332nd from the 124th Calvary Regiment, was recently assigned to Burma.

“War values nothing but victory,” Mr. Doyer answers.

“Yep,” Knight says; his gentle twang easy on my ears. “But we can’t take credit for our wins if we don’t accept the blame for our failures.”

Knight’s a plain-talking guy. Despite his intense, narrow eyes; his Slavic nose; and thin lips—all giving the impression of a high-level predator—he’s a likable guy. He came from a family with a strong sense of patriotic duty, and proudly introduced himself by saying, “If I can’t live with glory for my country, I don’t want to live without it.”

August 25, 2014

Alison Atlee's The Typewriter Girl - Book Blast {Giveaway}

Author Alison Atlee's The Typewriter Girl is now an audio book, narrated by Audie winner Rosalyn Landor, and in celebration she'll be touring the blogosphere from August 4-29 with HF Virtual Book Tours!

02_The Typewriter Girl

Audible Audio Book Edition
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Listening Length: 12 hours and 39 minutes
Publisher: Audible Studios
Language: English
Genre: Historical Fiction

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A Pub­lish­ers Weekly Best Books of the Year pick: The Type­writer Girl is a “spec­tac­u­lar debut, set in a per­fectly real­ized Vic­to­rian England.”

When Bet­sey Dob­son dis­em­barks from the Lon­don train in the sea­side resort of Idensea, all she owns is a small valise and a canary in a cage. After an attempt to forge a let­ter of ref­er­ence she knew would be denied her, Bet­sey has been fired from the typ­ing pool of her pre­vi­ous employer. Her vig­or­ous protest left one man wounded, another jilted, and her char­ac­ter per­ma­nently besmirched.

Now, with­out money or a ref­er­ence for a new job, the future looks even bleaker than the deba­cle she left behind her.

But her life is about to change … because a young Welsh­man on the rail­road quay, wait­ing for another woman, is the one finally will­ing to believe in her.

Mr. Jones is inept in mat­ters of love, but a genius at things mechan­i­cal. In Idensea, he has con­structed a glit­ter­ing pier that astounds the wealthy tourists. And in Bet­sey, he rec­og­nizes the ideal tour man­ager for the Idensea Pier & Plea­sure Build­ing Company.

After a life­time of guard­ing her secrets and break­ing the rules, Bet­sey becomes a force to be reck­oned with. Together, she and Mr. Jones must find a way for her to suc­ceed in a soci­ety that would reject her, and fig­ure the price of sur­ren­der­ing to the tides of love.

Praise for The Typewriter Girl

“Atlee’s out¬standing debut unflinchingly explores … the unforgiving man’s world of Victorian England.” –PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (starred review)

“Easily one of the most romantic books I’ll read all year … John and Betsey are compelling and worth rooting for.” –DEAR AUTHOR (a Recommended Read)

“Sweeps readers to a satisfying conclusion.” –LIBRARY JOURNAL

Buy the AudioBook

Amazon UK Amazon US

03_Alison Atlee

About the Author

Alison Atlee spent her childhood re-enacting Little Women and trying to fashion nineteenth century wardrobes for her Barbie dolls. Happily, these activities turned out to be good preparation for writing historical novels. She now lives in Kentucky. For more information please visit Alison Atlee's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Pinterest.

The Typewriter Girl Blog Tour & Book Blast Schedule

Monday, August 4
Review at Peeking Between the Pages (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Mina's Bookshelf
Book Blast at Princess of Eboli
Book Blast at Literary Chanteuse
Book Blast at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, August 5
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews (Print)
Book Blast at So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, August 6
Book Blast at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, August 7
Book Blast at Mari Reads
Book Blast at Book Lovers Paradise
Friday, August 8
Book Blast at Book Blast Central
Saturday, August 9
Book Blast at Caroline Wilson Writes
Sunday, August 10
Book Blast at Book Nerd
Monday, August 11
Review at Just One More Chapter (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Gobs and Gobs of Books
Tuesday, August 12
Book Blast at Queen of All She Reads
Wednesday, August 13
Review at Historical Tapestry (Audio Book)
Book Blast at The Lit Bitch
Book Blast at CelticLady's Reviews
Thursday, August 14
Review at A Bookish Affair (Print)
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Friday, August 15
Review at Brooke Blogs (Audio Book)
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Saturday, August 16
Book Blast at Broken Teepee
Sunday, August 17
Interview at Closed the Cover
Monday, August 18
Review at The Maiden's Court (Audio Book)
Tuesday, August 19
Book Blast at Layered Pages
Book Blast at Always with a Book
Wednesday, August 20
Book Blast at Literary, Etc.
Thursday, August 21
Review at Books in the Burbs (Print)
Book Blast at Bibliotica
Friday, August 22
Review at Bibliophilia, Please (Audio Book)
Saturday, August 23
Book Blast at Reading Lark
Book Blast at Ageless Pages Reviews
Sunday, August 24
Book Blast at Passages to the Past
Monday, August 25
Review at Flashlight Commentary (Audio Book)
Book Blast at Historical Fiction Connection
Tuesday, August 26
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 27
Book Blast at Susan Heim on Writing
Thursday, August 28
Review at Luxury Reading (Print)
Review at Jorie Loves a Story (Print)
Friday, August 29
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at The True Book Addict (Audio Book)

The Typewriter Girl Swag Giveaway

One copy of The Typewriter Girl (Audio Book or Print)
Set of earbuds in a cute typewriter print pouch
A Typewriter Girl Happily-Ever-After t-shirt (features last lines from famous novels)
A vintage style postcard "from" Idensea, the setting of The Typewriter Girl
A "dream wildly" ribbon bookmark with typewriter key charms

To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Giveaway is open to residents in the US, Canada, and the UK.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 30th and notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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August 22, 2014

Kristen Harnisch's The Vintner's Daughter - Guest Post and {Giveaway}

How History Shapes Plot in The Vintner’s Daughter
By Kristen Harnisch

The Vintner’s Daughter is the story of Sara Thibault’s struggle to reclaim her family’s Loire Valley vineyard, and Philippe Lemieux, the son of a rival family whose ambition is to own the largest vineyard in Napa. Surprisingly, I spent just as much time researching my debut historical novel as I did writing it. To accurately portray Sara and Philippe’s late-nineteenth century worlds, I studied the customs of the Loire, and numerous French and American wine history books. I read about the depravity of the Manhattan slums and scanned years of California wine trade papers, like the Pacific Wine and Spirit Review. I toured eight Napa vineyards (and, of course, sampled the wine!), consulted a master winemaker, and sifted through the old maps, photographs and eyewitness accounts of Napa in the late 1800s. The fascinating historical and winemaking details of the era, to a great extent, dictated the novel’s plot.

For example, I set the book in the late 1800s because both France and Napa vineyards were suffering—and beginning to recover—from the devastation of the phylloxera louse, a small yellow insect that invades the vine and sucks it dry of nutrients. From 1870 to the mid-1890s, the bug destroyed forty percent of the vines throughout France and fifty percent of the vines in Napa County. This devastation is the catalyst for the tragedy that befalls Sara’s family, but simultaneously presents a potentially lucrative opportunity for Philippe Lemieux.

When Sara is forced to flee to America, she slips into a world starkly different from the fruitful and sunlit vineyard of her childhood. Jacob Riis’s How the Other Half Lives gives a startling account of the poverty and corruption of Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 1896. This groundbreaking book inspires Sara’s experiences in this dangerous, gloomy slum of New York. The licentious lady of the night, the shifty-eyed street urchins, and the tenement children, afflicted with sores, rolling cigarettes for cash, all create a dark outer world that reflects Sara’s inner turmoil—the mixture of guilt and relief she feels about the sin she’s committed. The convent is her refuge from the chaotic streets of New York, but it quickly becomes her prison, preventing her from following in her father’s footsteps as a master winemaker—until she makes the fateful decision to leave.

The business side of Philippe’s story is based entirely on events that actually occurred in the wine industry from 1896-1897. Phylloxera-stricken Napa farms were abandoned, grape farmers developed new methods for replanting phylloxera-resistant vines, the threat of higher tariffs jeopardized California wine prices, and forward-thinking vintners began to bottle and label their wines, instead of indiscriminately blending and barreling their reds and whites for shipment. The period between the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and the Prohibition of the early 1900s was a time of excitement, innovation, and the birth of today’s vibrant Napa winemaking region.

I write historical fiction because I love to learn about the intricacies of life in another era. In The Vintner’s Daughter, it is my intention to lead the reader into every scene, so they experience the sights, sounds, smell, feel and taste of nineteenth-century vineyard life as the characters do. I sincerely hope you enjoy the journey!

About the book
In 1895, seventeen-year-old Sara Thibault’s dream is to follow in her father’s footsteps as master winemaker at their stunning Loire Valley family vineyard, Saint Martin. Although many don’t understand her ambition, Sara forges ahead toward her goal with a determination that will soon prove essential.

When Sara’s father is killed in a mudslide, her mother sells their land to a business rival whose eldest son married Sara’s sister, Lydia. Sara is shocked and deeply disappointed, having hoped to take over, to make her father proud. Disappointment quickly turns to fear when she realizes that her new brother-in-law Bastien has no real interest in the vineyard and far too much interest in her.

A violent tragedy leaves Bastien dead and compels the sisters to flee to America. Sara plans to eventually reclaim her family’s vineyard, but for now she travels to California in hopes of making her own way in the winemaking world. When she encounters Bastien’s brother, Philippe—a man as committed to bringing his brother’s killer to justice as he is to building the largest vineyard in the Napa region—they are instantly drawn to each other. But now she must make a choice: to risk discovery or run again. Will he help her regain Saint Martin, or prosecute her for her crime? How much more can she lose? And what loss is finally too great to bear?

Kristen Harnisch’s sweeping debut is a tale of betrayal, retribution, love, and redemption. THE VINTNER'S DAUGHTER is a captivating story that immerses readers in the rich cultures of the Loire Valley, New York, and Napa and a tenacious heroine’s fight to determine her own destiny.

Praise for the book
“One of the novel’s highlights is its rich history of the wine-making process through the eyes of a woman who is passionate and meticulous about each step.... In the beginning, [Sara] endures nonstop pain and loss, but these tragedies transform her from a smart, hardworking girl into an independent, resourceful woman. At its core, The Vintner’s Daughter is a story of perseverance and transcending one’s past.”—Booklist

“A young French woman, determined to pursue her dreams, shows resourcefulness and endurance as she journeys from her home to America in a novel set in the late 1800s….the plot is engaging and well-paced. Wine aficionados and fans of romance and historical fiction will drink this in.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Lush and evocative, this novel brings the Loire Valley and its glorious vineyards to life in a story that will delight readers everywhere. Enjoy with your favorite glass of Merlot!”—Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife

“… will invoke inevitable comparisons to Gone with the Wind…. A pleasure.”—Roberta Rich, author of The Harem Midwife and The Midwife of Venice

About the author
Kristen Harnisch drew upon her extensive research and experiences living in the San Francisco Bay Area and visiting the Loire Valley to create the story for The Vintner's Daughter, the first in a series about the changing world of vineyard life at the turn of the 20th century. Harnisch has a degree in economics from Villanova University and currently resides in Connecticut.

Find Kristen Online:

Giveaway: Enter to win a copy of The Vintner's Daughter by leaving a comment below with a way to contact you if you win. Open to U.S./Canada Only. Last day to enter is Friday, September 5. Good luck!

August 18, 2014

Caddy Rowland - Making History, Bohemian Style (Part 8)

Please welcome back historical fiction author and artist, Caddy Rowland, our monthly contributor here at Historical Fiction Connection.

We’ve talked about the two most popular places the late nineteenth and early twentieth century artists inhabited, but there’s another cabaret these and many others visited. I’ll bet all of you have heard of it. The Moulin Rouge. This famous cabaret is now very different than the Moulin Rouge of the 1800's. The original opened in 1889 at the same location. Technically in Pigalle, another district of Paris, it shares the 18th arrondissement with Montmartre. For that reason most people think of the Moulin Rouge as part of Montmartre. After all, it sits right at the foot of Montmartre hill.

When this new entertainment spot opened, a huge red windmill sat atop its roof, along with electric lights! Joseph Oller designed it as a place to come for an evening of Montmartre magic, which was by now very trendy and happening. Just like at the Chat Noir and Le Lapin Agile, a hodge-podge of people were drawn to place that lit up the night. Most of them had a whole lot more money than the artists. A gigantic, fake elephant “resided” in the courtyard, reserved for men only. Inside, they could partake in opium, booze, and women.

Although the d├ęcor was lush, glitzy and extremely glamorous, what went on there was anything but mainstream. Legend has it that the can-can dance started there, although in reality that dance was first done earlier by young boys on the streets in lines. Sometimes they were arrested for kicking up their legs in public! Next the can-can moved to the dance floors and was done by couples, who were also encouraged to refrain from doing.

"The First Palace of Women" soon became the nickname for this cabaret for good reason. The dancers were mostly courtesans who danced their dances to advertise what they really had for sale. Usually they had on lacy, revealing lingerie; lingerie which showed when they kicked up their legs. It was not unusual for them to routinely forego the lingerie, allowing the crowd full view of their most prized items for sale. Was that where the children's rhyme, "There's a place in France, where the ladies wear no pants" came from?

Yes, the original Moulin Rouge was considered a place people with morals wouldn’t frequent. And so the throngs grew, along with the wild stories. Fun and exciting on the surface, many men financially ruined themselves at the Moulin Rouge because of the drugs and women. Some even committed suicide because of the debauchery they indulged in.

As time marched on, it lost the tawdry decadence of the early days and became a legitimate place of entertainment. In 1903 it was renovated and reopened. The focus changed from prostitution to featuring world class performers onstage. Many famous singers and musicians played there and
the Moulin Rouge regularly featured the operetta. Goodbye bawdy, hello social acceptance.

In 1915 the Moulin Rouge was completely destroyed in a fire. Six years later it reopened and still stands today. You will still find the dancers doing the can-can, but they have their private parts covered. Drugs are no longer legal. The crowd is almost all tourists, wishing they could relive the excitement of the past, just for an evening. Oh, the show is still flashy and appealing to visitors, but the raw energy that was part of the original has moved on. It may be a much better place morally, but Moulin Rouge is only a shadow of what it once was.

Time really does change everything. Even though I’ll admit many of the changes at the Moulin Rouge were for the good, a part of me wishes we could go back in time. Wouldn’t it be fun to see what it was really like when it first opened and anything one wished for could be found?

If I were thirty years younger, I might even jump onstage and do my own wild rendition of the can-can. Just because I could back then, but now my legs tell me I can’t.

Yes, indeed. Time changes everything.

Historical Fiction by Caddy Rowland: 

Contact and Social Media Info. For Caddy Rowland:

Author Email:
Twitter: @caddyorpims

August 09, 2014

Anna Belfrage's The Graham Saga - Book Blast and {Giveaway}

Join Anna Belfrage as her beloved time-slip series, The Graham Saga, is featured around the blogosphere from July 28-August 15 with HF Virtual Book Tours and enter to win your own set of Books 1-6!

About The Graham Saga

The Graham Saga Series

This is the story of Alex and Matthew, two people who should never have met - not when she was born three hundred years after him. It all began the day Alex Lind got caught in a thunderstorm. Not your ordinary storm, no this was the mother of all storms, causing a most unusual rift in the fabric of time. Alex was dragged three centuries backwards in time, landing more or less at the feet of a very surprised Matthew Graham. In a series of books we follow the life and adventures of the expanding Graham family, both in Scotland and in the New World - and let me tell you it is quite an exciting life, at times excessively so in Alex' opinion. Sometimes people ask me why Alex had to be born in the twentieth century, why not make her a woman born and bred in the seventeenth century where the story is set? The answer to that is I have no idea. Alex Lind is an insistent, vibrant character that sprung into my head one morning and simply wouldn't let go. Seductively she whispered about terrible thunderstorms, about a gorgeous man with magic, hazel eyes, about loss and sorrow, about love - always this love, for her man and her children, for the people she lives with. With a throaty chuckle she shared insights into a life very far removed from mine, now and then stopping to shake her head and tell me that it probably hadn't been easy for Matthew, to have such an outspoken, strange and independent woman at his side. At this point Matthew groaned into life. Nay, he sighed, this woman of his was at times far too obstinate, with no notion of how a wife should be, meek and dutiful. But, he added with a laugh, he wouldn't want her any different, for all that she was half heathen and a right hand-full. No, he said, stretching to his full length, if truth be told not a day went by without him offering fervent thanks for his marvelous wife, a gift from God no less, how else to explain the propitious circumstances that had her landing at his feet that long gone August day? Still, dear reader, it isn't always easy. At times Alex thinks he's an overbearing bastard, at others he's sorely tempted to belt her. But the moment their fingertips graze against each other, the moment their eyes meet, the electrical current that always buzzes between them peaks and surges, it rushes through their veins, it makes their breathing hitch and ... She is his woman, he is her man. That's how it is, that's how it always will be.

Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind Book Three: The Prodigal Son Book Four: A Newfound Land Book Five: Serpents in the Garden Book Six: Revenge & Retribution Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014) Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)

About the Author

Anna BelfrageAnna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she's multilingual and most of her reading is historical- both non-fiction and fiction. Possessed of a lively imagination, she has drawers full of potential stories, all of them set in the past. She was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Ideally, Anna aspired to becoming a pioneer time traveller, but science has as yet not advanced to the point of making that possible. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career Anna raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive? For years she combined a challenging career with four children and the odd snatched moment of writing. Nowadays Anna spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she's still there. For additional information regarding Anna, her characters, extra scenes, and teasers for her next books, have a look at Anna's website at: You can also find her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, July 28
Broken Teepee
Kincavel Korner
bookworm2bookworm's Blog
Tuesday, July 29
So Many Books, So Little Time
Wednesday, July 30
A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Thursday, July 31
Book Drunkard
Friday, August 1
The Lit Bitch
Saturday, August 2
Book Nerd
Sunday, August 3
Literary Chanteuse
Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 4
A Bookish Girl
Historical Tapestry
To Read, Or Not to Read
Tuesday, August 5
CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, August 6
The True Book Addict
Thursday, August 7
Impressions in Ink
Friday, August 8
A Bookish Affair
The Mad Reviewer
Saturday, August 9
Historical Fiction Connection
Monday, August 11
Gobs and Gobs of Books
Tuesday, August 12
Pages of Comfort
Wednesday, August 13
History Undressed
Thursday, August 14
Passages to the Past
Friday, August 15
Mina's Bookshelf


To win a set of Anna Belfrage's Graham Saga (Books 1-6) please complete the Rafflecopter giveaway form below. Two winners will be chosen. Giveaway is open internationally!
Giveaway ends at 11:59pm on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will be chosen via Rafflecopter on August 16th and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

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