Chicago– Today!
February 17th, 2018

It’s the very last stop on the English Wife tour and my one and only Midwestern appearance! Come join me and Charles Finch (author of the Charles Lennox mysteries) today at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park.

Can’t wait to see you there!

When: TODAY!! 3:00
What: Talk & Signing with Charles Finch
Where: 57th Street Books, 1301 E 57th Street

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
February 16th, 2018

How did I ever get through the 80s without reading Jackie Collins? I read the rest of the glamour epic squad: Judith Krantz, Danielle Steele, Sidney Sheldon, et al, but somehow missed Jackie Collins. I finally remedied that over a couple of long plane rides with Lovers and Gamblers, about a rock star and a rising actress and the cast of thousands that surrounds them. It made me realize how much I miss those sweeping, over the top sagas that were, where you feel like you’ve lived years in eight hundred pages– then realize for the characters it’s only been six months. But in those six months, careers are made and broken, kingdoms rise and fall, and goodness only knows what else.

For something completely different, I’ve moved on to the latest in Elly Griffiths’s Ruth Galloway series, The Chalk Pit, British mystery involving murdered rough sleepers and a set of mysterious bones (because with Ruth Galloway, there are always bones).

After this, I think I might finally, finally read Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells, which has been on my to read list for years now.

What have you been reading this week?

p.s. if you’re in the Chicago area, come join me for the last stop on The English Wife Tour on Saturday! I’ll be at 57th Street Books in Hyde Park at 3:00 with Charles Finch, author of the Charles Lennox mysteries. Hope to see you there!

 

ENGLISH WIFE Book Club on Facebook Today!
February 15th, 2018

I’ve been told people have been dying to discuss The English Wife without having to worry about spoilers (and it’s nearly impossible to talk about the book without spoilers), so, today, I’m holding a book club on my author Facebook page for everyone who has read the book.

The book club will kick off at 12:30 EST and run, officially, until 1:30– but I’ll keep on popping in throughout the day and I hope others will, too!

The posts will be up for posterity (or Facebook’s equivalent thereof), so if you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, you can always check out the discussion later.

If there’s sufficient interest, I’m happy to hold another book club either on Facebook or here on the website.

See you this afternoon!

English Wife book club

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!
February 14th, 2018

In honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s my traditional Valentine’s Day post: a piece I wrote way back in 2009, for the (now defunct) All-A-Blog.

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you….”

They do say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With that as my excuse, I plan to shamelessly imitate one of my favorite authors, Tracy Grant, who came up with the genius idea of compiling a list of her favorite fictional declarations of love in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Like Tracy, I tend to admire those hard-won resolutions where the hero and heroine have been kept apart by either internal or external impediments. Mr. Darcy (whose well-worn declaration heads this post), has to fight against his own, er, pride and prejudice before he can blurt out those famous lines to Elizabeth. In the case of Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane, discussed at length by Tracy, the impediment lies in Harriet’s psyche, in her fear of what dreadful changes giving in to emotion might work on them both (to be fair, she had just been accused of murdering her ex-lover, so one could appreciate why she was gun shy). It takes three books for Lord Peter to win her over, and when he does, the resolution is all the meaningful for being so hard fought.

Here are two of my other favorites. On one end, we have those sardonic heroes, in the model of Rhett Butler, who mock themselves even as they declare their affections:

“Would it take your mind off your unpleasant memories to know that I love you? That I am, as the novelists put it, ‘in love’ with you?”

The hero and heroine of Valerie Fitzgerald’s Zemindar are on the run through India in the midst of the mutiny of 1857. The hero’s estate has just been burned and looted, the heroine has come across the hideously mutilated bodies of close acquaintances, they have a dependent woman and baby on their hands, and they have no idea whether they’ll make it out alive. Even so, the hero couches his declaration in inverted commas. The fact that it took mutiny, murder and massacre to get him even to that point tells you an awful lot about what voicing those words cost him.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the fulsome declaration—with a twist:

“Love you! Girl, you’re in the very core of my heart. I hold you there like a jewel. Didn’t I promise you I’d never tell you a lie? Love you! I love you with all there is of me to love. Heart, soul, brain. Every fibre of body and spirit thrilling to the sweetness of you. There’s nobody in the world for me but you, Valency.”

No one writes it quite like L.M. Montgomery. The heroine of The Blue Castle was the one who did the proposing, on the understanding that she only had a year to live. When she finds out that she was misdiagnosed, she runs back home, convinced Barney will hate her for trapping him. Barney comes running after her, uttering the declaration above—which Valency doesn’t believe. It takes his losing his temper to convince her, which leads to my favorite line of that scene: “You darling!” [Valency] said. “You do mean it! You do really love me! You wouldn’t be so enraged if you didn’t!” High romance gives way to practical psychology.

I’d never stopped to think about it before, but I’ve written variants on both those scenes. The hero and heroine of my fourth book, The Seduction of the Crimson Rose, belong to the Rhett Butler/Zemindar camp (Tracy discusses them in her post). My fifth book, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, follows the Blue Castle pattern. When it comes down to it, the heroine is convinced of the sincerity of the hero’s affections not by his pretty speeches, but by the awkward honesty that comes later.

I have so many other favorite scenes—Rhett’s marriage proposal to Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, the final scene of Mary Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting, M.M. Kaye’s Trade Wind, Georgette Heyer’s Arabella—but this post has already reached absurd proportions.

What are your favorite literary declarations of love?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

p.s. in other news, now, in 2018, I’m having a Valentine’s Day give away over on my Facebook author page! Just head over there to check it out….

p.p.s. speaking of my Facebook author page, I’ll be holding an English Wife Book Club over there tomorrow from 12:30-1:30. Feel free to stop by at any time and chime in, even if it’s after the book club time. (I’ll keep checking back in.) And if there are any non-Facebook folks who would like to have another book club meeting here on the website, just let me know!

 

Chicago on Saturday– with Charles Finch!
February 12th, 2018

I’ll be winding up the English Wife tour this Saturday in the Windy City!

Come join me and Charles Finch (author of the Charles Lennox mysteries) at 57th Street books in Hyde Park for an afternoon of murderous Victorians as we discuss The English Wife and his upcoming The Woman in the Water.

This will be the last official stop on the English Wife tour– so let’s make this an afternoon to remember!

What: Talk & Signing with Charles Finch
When: February 17, 3:00
Where: 57th Street Books, 1301 E 57th Street

See you there!

 

Georgia– Last Chance!
February 10th, 2018

It’s your last chance to catch my song and dance routine with Deanna Raybourn before we fly off for points north! And, this time, we’re being filmed for tv!

Join us today at 3:00 at Books For Less in Buford, GA– and see if you can make us lose it laughing while the cameras are rolling!

Deanna and lauren

Many, many thanks to the Gwinnett County Public Library and Books For Less for hosting this event!

 

Georgia with Deanna Raybourn– Today and Tomorrow!
February 9th, 2018

We’re heeeeeere! Deanna Raybourn and I have descended on the Peach State for two days of author extravaganza.

lauren and deanna

We’ll be in Cobb County at the Mountainview Library in Marietta tonight and at Books For Less in Buford tomorrow afternoon.

Many, many thanks to Cobb County Public Library and Book Exchange of Marietta for hosting this event!

Hope to see you there!

FRIDAY (aka today!), 6:30
Marietta, GA
Mountain View Library
3320 Sandy Plains Road

SATURDAY (aka tomorrow), 3:00
Buford, GA
Books for Less
2815 Buford Dr # 108A

 

Two Authors Went Down to Georgia….
February 6th, 2018

Deanna Raybourn and I are going to Georgia! Come see us on Friday at Mountain View Library in Marietta, GA and on Saturday at Books For Less in Buford, GA.

Here are the details:

FRIDAY
Marietta, GA
February 9, 6:30
Mountain View Library
3320 Sandy Plains Road

SATURDAY
Buford. GA
February 10, 3:00
Books for Less
2815 Buford Dr # 108A

See you there!

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
February 2nd, 2018

Do you ever have those weeks where you can’t remember by the end just what you were reading? This was one of those for me. I started and put down a few books that just didn’t quite work for me and finally settled on a re-read of Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner, about an unemployed librarian who loads up a van with books and moves to the Highlands to start a mobile bookshop. Because, books. And the Highlands.

But now it may be time for me to venture out and try something new….

What have you been reading this week?

Also, I’m back off on book tour! I’ll be speaking in Connecticut this weekend, in Georgia (with Deanna Raybourn) next week, and in Chicago (with Charles Finch) on Presidents’ Day weekend– so if you’re in any of those places, check the Have Author Will Travel panel for details!

 

Website Reboot
February 1st, 2018

That time has come again: the time for a rethink of the website.

I’m going to be overhauling the whole site this spring– which is where you come in!

What do you love about the website? What do you hate about it? Is there anything it’s missing? If there’s anything you think I should have– or should absolutely not have– in the new website, let me know!

This site is for you, so I want to make sure it’s just right. All ideas and opinions appreciated!