Monday Give Away
December 11th, 2017

I’ve been working away at revisions on my section of the new Three Ws book (aka the Lusitania Book, aka Title to be Announced Soon!), so for today’s Monday give away, we have… a signed paperback copy of The Forgotten Room!

Here’s the official blurb:

Untitled-1New York Times bestselling authors Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig present a masterful collaboration—a rich, multigenerational novel of love and loss that spans half a century….

1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.

Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel’s portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate? And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother? In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known. But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room?

The Forgotten Room, set in alternating time periods, is a sumptuous feast of a novel brought to vivid life by three brilliant historical storytellers.

This book is set in three time periods: Gilded Age, 1920s, and World War II. For your chance to win a copy, here’s your question: which of those time periods would you most like to visit?

The winner will be announced on Thursday.

Psssst, just between us, for any Forgotten Room readers out there, you just might see a character from The Forgotten Room pop up in the Lusitania Book….

 

Monday Give Away Winner!
December 5th, 2017

The winner of my copy of Madame Tussaud is…

Mel Parraga! (Of Comment #11.)

Congrats, Mel! If you send me a message, I’ll pop your book in the mail to you. I hope you enjoy!

And stay tuned for another give away next Monday….

 

Book of the Month!
December 5th, 2017

I am so thrilled to announce that The English Wife is a Book of the Month Club selection for December!

Book of the Month Club Book of the Month Book Mail

It makes me so happy to see The English Wife there in such good company. And check out this fun infographic the Book of the Month Club people made!

Book of the Month Infographic

The English Wife will be making its official debut on January 9th. You can pre-order your copy now in hardcover, e-book, or audio from all of the usual suspects– and if you’d like to give it as a holiday gift, check out FoxTale Book Shoppe‘s special English Wife holiday pre-order.

 

Monday Give Away Returns!
December 4th, 2017

I’ve been cleaning out my bookshelves, which means… it’s time to bring back Monday Give Away!

For this Monday, I give you Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud, a look at the French Revolution through the eyes of the famed worker in wax.

Here’s the official blurb:

The world knows Madame Tussaud as a wax artist extraordinaire . . . but who was this woman who became one of the most famous sculptresses of all time? In these pages, her tumultuous and amazing story comes to life as only Michelle Moran can tell it. The year is 1788, and a revolution is about to begin.

Smart and ambitious, Marie Tussaud has learned the secrets of wax sculpting by working alongside her uncle in their celebrated wax museum, the Salon de Cire. From her popular model of the American ambassador, Thomas Jefferson, to her tableau of the royal family at dinner, Marie’s museum provides Parisians with the very latest news on fashion, gossip, and even politics. Her customers hail from every walk of life, yet her greatest dream is to attract the attention of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI; their stamp of approval on her work could catapult her and her museum to the fame and riches she desires. After months of anticipation, Marie learns that the royal family is willing to come and see their likenesses. When they finally arrive, the king’s sister is so impressed that she requests Marie’s presence at Versailles as a royal tutor in wax sculpting. It is a request Marie knows she cannot refuse—even if it means time away
from her beloved Salon and her increasingly dear friend, Henri Charles.

As Marie gets to know her pupil, Princesse Élisabeth, she also becomes acquainted with the king and queen, who introduce her to the glamorous life at court. From lavish parties with more delicacies than she’s ever seen to rooms filled with candles lit only once before being discarded, Marie steps into a world entirely different from her home on the Boulevard du Temple, where people are selling their teeth in order to put food on the table.

Meanwhile, many resent the vast separation between rich and poor. In salons and cafés across Paris, people like Camille Desmoulins, Jean-Paul Marat, and Maximilien Robespierre are lashing out against the monarchy. Soon, there’s whispered talk of revolution. . . . Will Marie be able to hold on to both the love of her life and her friendship with the royal family as France approaches civil war? And more important, will she be able to fulfill the demands of powerful revolutionaries who ask that she make the death masks of beheaded aristocrats, some of whom she knows?

Spanning five years, from the budding revolution to the Reign of Terror, Madame Tussaud brings us into the world of an incredible heroine whose talent for wax modeling saved her life and preserved the faces of a vanished kingdom.

For a chance to win my spare copy of Madame Tussaud, here’s your question: what’s your favorite novel or movie set during the French Revolution?

The winner will be announced tomorrow!

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
December 1st, 2017

Happy December!

There’s something about that post-Thanksgiving lull (and working on revisions) that just calls for comfort reading. For me, that means mysteries and British chick lit.

I dipped into Laurie King’s Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series with A Monstrous Regiment of Women and A Letter of Mary, in the latter of which one of my absolute favorite characters from another series (ahem, Lord Peter Wimsey, ahem) makes a surprise guest appearance.

Of course, I was so happy to see him there, that I hopped over to the Dorothy Sayers section of my shelves for a re-read of The Nine Tailors, which isn’t my favorite Wimsey (that would be the Harriet Vane ones, especially Gaudy Night), but has the benefit of having been re-read less recently.

Now I’m into my seasonal British chick lit reading, starting with Trisha Ashley’s The Magic of Christmas. My two favorites are A Winter’s Tale and The Twelve Days of Christmas, both of which will probably show up here later this month. Because ’tis the Season….

What have you been reading this week?

 

ENGLISH WIFE Holiday Pre-Order
November 26th, 2017

Small Business Saturday may be over, but it’s always time to be grateful to the independent bookstores in our lives!

I owe special thanks to FoxTale Book Shoppe, which has made it possible to give the gift of The English Wife these holidays. If you order from FoxTale now, your giftee will be sent a card and two English Wife coasters in December, with the book itself to follow in January.

TheEnglishWife_Postcard_Final_NoMarks-page-001 IMG_1002

Or, of course, you can always order one for yourself!

Just head over to the FoxTale English Wife pre-order page to order now….

Thanks, FoxTale!

 

THE OTHER DAUGHTER– On Sale Now!
November 20th, 2017

Need a break from turkey prep? Come join me in the nightclubs of Jazz Age London with Rachel Woodley and the enigmatic gossip columnist Simon Montfort.

For a limited time, the e-version of The Other Daughter is $1.99!

Other Daughter Price Drop Card 1

The best bit? In the back of the new e-book of The Other Daughter is a preview of my upcoming novel, The English Wife.

You can find The Other Daughter for $1.99 on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, and Google from now until January 8th, and, just for today, as the Nook Daily Find.

Here’s the official blurb:

Raised by her widowed mother in genteel poverty in an isolated English village, for the past six years Rachel Woodley has been working in France as a nursery governess. When her mother unexpectedly dies, she returns to England to clear out the cottage, and finds a scrapbook full of cuttings from London society pages—all pictures of her supposedly deceased father, very much alive. He’s an earl, socially prominent, with another daughter who is living a charmed life: a debutante, much photographed, and engaged to a rising Tory MP. Rachel’s cousin confirms the horrible truth: her father is alive, with a legitimate, acknowledged family. Which makes Rachel…not legitimate. Everything she thought she knew about herself and her past—even her very name—is a lie.

Still reeling from the death of her mother, and furious at this betrayal, Rachel enters into an uneasy alliance with a mysterious man-about-town, who promises her access to her father. With his help, Rachel sets herself up in London under a new identity and insinuates herself into the party-going crowd of Bright Young Things, with a steely determination to unveil her father’s perfidy and bring his—and her half-sister’s—charmed world crashing down. Very soon, however, Rachel faces two unexpected snags: she finds she genuinely likes her half-sister, Olivia, whose situation isn’t as simple it appears; and that Rachel herself might just be falling for her sister’s fiancé.

From Lauren Willig, author of the New York Times Best Selling novel The Ashford Affair, comes a page-turner full of deceit, passion, and revenge.

Happy reading!

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
November 17th, 2017

There’s something about crisp fall weather and new (or new to me) books that just go together. This week, I’ve dipped into:

— Laurie King’s Pirate King. I leapt over several intervening books to get to this one, but how could any lifelong Pirates of Penzance fan resist the lure of Pirates AND Mary Russell? For context, the very first show I ever saw on Broadway was the Keven Klein Pirates of Penzance when I was four years old– after which I regularly embarrassed my parents by stripping to my frilly petticoat at parties, announcing I was Mabel, and warbling “Poor Wand’ring One”. Sadly, singing G&S songs at parties is not a habit that has entirely gone away with age. I do still have to go back and read the earlier books in the series, but this one can absolutely be read out of order, and is a great deal of tongue and cheek fun. Highly recommended for other fans of G&S and for Miss Gwen, who would have adored Mary Russell. (By a Miss Gwen definition of “adore”, i.e. grimly approve.)

— Louise Miller’s The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, about a purple-haired pastry chef from Boston who relocates to a small inn in rural Vermont. They had me at the blurb that said, “Okay, it’s Gilmore Girls.”

And now I’m thinking about doubling back and reading Book 2 in Laurie King’s Mary Russell series…

What have you been reading this week?

 

Historical Fiction Panel, December 13th, NYC
November 16th, 2017

Will you be in New York on December 13th? Come join the Historical Dream Team at Shakespeare & Co!

I’m so excited to be joining Fiona Davis, Camille Di Maio, Lynda Loigman, Alyson Richman, and Sally Koslow to discuss history, fiction, inspiration, and why historical fiction matters so much today.

(Because I always wanted to flirt with men in knee breeches? Hmmm, must devise better answer.)

There won’t be copies of The English Wife yet, but they will have copies of my earlier books for sale (books always make excellent holiday gifts!) and I will bring bookplates, postcards, and possibly even a few English Wife coasters to give away….

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The details:

What: Historical Fiction Panel & Signing
When: December 13, 6:30
Where: Shakespeare & Co, 69th & Lex
Why: Because the weather outside might be frightful, but the company will be delightful?

Hope to see you there!

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
November 10th, 2017

When the weather gets crisp and the sky begins to go gray at four, it makes me think– well, yes, of London, but also of the New York of twenty-odd years ago, the scarred dark woodwork and nubby blue chairs of my school’s library, and the books I read in those chairs: Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Dorothy Cannell, Elsie Lee. The combination of a certain type of weather and a certain type of book (ahem, Thornyhold, ahem) is like a time capsule, hurtling me right back to where I was when I first read them.

This week I took the time machine back with two Mary Stewart novels: Nine Coaches Waiting and The Moon-Spinners.

Nine Coaches Waiting is hard to categorize for me. In some ways, it’s the archetypal Gothic, with a governess heroine, first person narrator, and a chateau. But the chateau isn’t the least bit brooding, the Jane Eyre references are firmly tongue in cheek, and the narration is strongly common-sensical. It’s really more romantic suspense than pure Gothic, lacking most of the dark trappings. Either way, it’s one of my favorite books of all time and a constant re-read.

The Moon-Spinners belongs to what I think of as the Mary Stewart travelogue sub-category. Take heroine, place her in picturesque landscape (in this case, Crete), let skullduggery ensue. Of her Greece-set books, my favorite has always been My Brother Michael, so it’s been fun to rediscover The Moon-Spinners after a long gap.

What have you been reading this week? (And do you have a favorite Mary Stewart?)