Pink XII ARCs!
May 21st, 2015

Can you guess what showed up on my doorstep today?

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Advance review copies of the final Pink book!

It’s both exciting and a little mind-boggling to have the final Pink Carnation book here in physical form (albeit, in rather bland ARC form). I had thought about this book for so long, avoided this book for so long, struggled with this book for so long. I still can’t entirely believe it exists.

To everyone who has requested a review copy, I wish, wish, wish I could send one to each and every one of you– but, as you can see from the box, I only have eight copies to play with (of which three are already promised to Pinkorama winners). So, to make it all fair, I’ll be holding a few contests here on the website and Facebook.

Contest #1 to commence as soon as I can think of a sufficiently cunning contest idea….

To learn more about The Lure of the Moonflower and read an excerpt, just visit the Lure of the Moonflower page here on the website.


THAT SUMMER on Kindle and Nook– price reduced!
May 20th, 2015

I am very happy to announce that with the move to paperback, you can now find That Summer for $9.99 on both Kindle and Nook.

That Summer (3) That Summer Paperback

I feel like there needs to be a jingle or tagline here…. Same great read, lower price?

Happy reading!


THAT SUMMER: in paperback today!
May 19th, 2015

My Preraphaelite novel, That Summer, comes out in paperback today!

That Summer Paperback 2009: When Julia Conley hears that she has inherited a house outside London from an unknown great-aunt, she assumes it’s a joke. She hasn’t been back to England since the car crash that killed her mother when she was six, an event she remembers only in her nightmares. But when she arrives at Herne Hill to sort through the house–with the help of her cousin Natasha and sexy antiques dealer Nicholas–bits of memory start coming back. And then she discovers a pre-Raphaelite painting, hidden behind the false back of an old wardrobe, and a window onto the house’s shrouded history begins to open…

1849: Imogen Grantham has spent nearly a decade trapped in a loveless marriage to a much older man, Arthur. The one bright spot in her life is her step-daughter, Evie, a high-spirited sixteen year old who is the closest thing to a child Imogen hopes to have. But everything changes when three young painters come to see Arthur’s collection of medieval artifacts, including Gavin Thorne, a quiet man with the unsettling ability to read Imogen better than anyone ever has. When Arthur hires Gavin to paint her portrait, none of them can guess what the hands of fate have set in motion.

From modern-day England to the early days of the Preraphaelite movement, Lauren Willig’s That Summer takes readers on an un-put-downable journey through a mysterious old house, a hidden love affair, and one woman’s search for the truth about her past–and herself.

Here’s the then and now of last year’s hardcover release day and this year’s paperback release day:

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If you see That Summer paperback in the wild, let me know!

You can learn more about the book here and find a bibliography here.

Happy reading!


THAT SUMMER– in stores tomorrow!
May 18th, 2015

It hardly seems possible, but That Summer comes out tomorrow– with a snazzy new cover.

That Summer Paperback

To celebrate the paperback release, the lovely Sharlene of Graphics by Sharlene made me these e-cards. Fun, no?

That Summer Paperback 1

That Summer Paperback 2

That Summer Paperback 3 fixed

That Summer Paperback 4

Which one is your favorite?


Dallas Informal Signing: 1:00 Today
May 15th, 2015

For those who can’t make it to the big book fair on Saturday, I’ll be doing an informal signing today from 1:00 to 1:30 in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Dallas. I’ll be the person who looks vaguely like my author photo, wearing a green dress patterned with blue flowers.

If you think you can make it, just drop me a note in the comments, so I’ll know to look out for you!


May 13th, 2015

You can find me this Saturday from 10:00-2:00 at the Hyatt Regency Dallas as part of the RT Convention Giant Book Fair.

Copies of That Summer, The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, and the mass market edition of The Secret History of the Pink Carnation will be for sale at the event.

Under the Book Fair rules, you’re allowed to bring up to ten books from home for the signing. (See here for the full rules.) I’ll also have bookplates with me, so if you’d like a bookplate pre-signed for your copy of The Other Daughter or The Lure of the Moonflower, just ask!

(Full disclosure: I believe there’s a $5 entry fee for the book fair, but I haven’t been able to find anything about it on the website.)

If you can’t make the Book Fair but would like some books signed while I’m in Dallas, drop me a line and let me know and I’ll see about doing an unofficial signing in the hotel lobby/Starbucks.


In my mailbox….
May 12th, 2015

That Summer in paperback!

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Less than one week to go until it appears in stores!

You can find all the links for pre-order here.


Teaser Tuesday: THAT SUMMER Bibliography
May 12th, 2015

I’m a little behind when it comes to posting a bibliography for That Summer– about a year behind, in fact.

With the paperback of That Summer appearing in stores a week from today, now seemed like a good time to remedy the defect.

Of course, a year after first publication and two years after handing the manuscript in, this is, of necessity, only a partial bibliography, drawn from a combination of memory and lots of digging through the piles of books next to my desk. It’s a combination of Victorian life, Preraphaelite painters, and contemporary criticism and fiction.

There are some excellent books about Victorian London that have come out since I wrote That Summer, but, for the sake of consistency, I included only those I actually consulted in the writing of the book.

And, voila! The partial bibliography….

Barringer, Tim. Reading the Pre-Raphaelites.

Batchelor, John. John Ruskin: A Life.

Bronte, Anne. Agnes Grey.

Bronte, Anne. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre.

Cooper, Suzanne Fagence. Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais.

Daly, Gay. Pre-Raphaelites in Love.

Davidoff, Leonore. Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850.

de Vries, Leonard. Panorama 1842-1865 – The World of the early Victorians as seen through the eyes of the Illustrated London News.

Flanders, Judith. Inside the Victorian Home: A Portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England.

Gaskell, Elizabeth. Mary Barton.

Garnett, Henrietta. Wives and Stunners: The Pre-Raphaelites and Their Muses.

Gernsheim, Alison. Victorian and Edwardian Fashion.

Mitchell, Sally. Daily Life in Victorian England.

Moyle, Franny. Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites.

Picard, Liza. Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840–1870.

Pool, Daniel. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist — The Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England.

Robinson, Michael. The Pre-Raphaelites: Their Lives and Works in 500 Images: A study of the artists, their lives and context, with 500 images, and a gallery showing 300 of their most iconic paintings.

Ruskin, John. On Art and Life.

Ruskin, John. Praeterita.

Todd, Pamela. Pre-Raphaelites at Home.

That Summer Paperback

That Summer appears in paperback on Tuesday, May 19th!


If You Like….
May 11th, 2015

After a long hiatus, If You Like is back! It’s all thanks to Tracy Grant, who provided this week’s guest If You Like post on one of my favorite topics: governess books.

Without any further ado, if you like governess books… here’s the lovely Tracy Grant, with some recommendations:

Mayfair AffairMy book The Mayfair Affair, which releases, on May 15 is many things–a historical mystery, a spy story, an adventure. But it is also a governess story. The book begins with Laura Dudley, governess to the children of my central spy couple Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch, accused of the murder of a powerful duke. Laura has been in the background in earlier books in the series. It was fun to explore her story and secrets. In honor of Laura, here are some of my favorite governess stories.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. How could I not start with this? The archetypal governess book. I first read it at the age of nine and discover new things in the story to this day.

The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig. One of my favorite books in a favorite series. I love Laura Grey, intelligent, sensible but with an adventurous heart. And I think it’s cool both Lauren and I, separately, named our quite different governess characters Laura!

Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stuart. When I was thirteen I thought this was one of the most romantic books I’d ever read. I still do in many ways. It’s also a Cinderella story and a wonderful, gripping adventure set in the French countryside.

The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh. An intensely emotional story that stayed with me long after I read it. Definite echoes of Jane Eyre but with a fresh spin.

The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton. The central characters are the four American débutantes who marry into the British aristocracy, but the governess is an important character in her own right. A wonderful portrait of the limited options faced by women without fortune or family and the challenges of living as a governess part and yet not part of a family. Her name is Laura Testvalley. I honestly didn’t think about her name being Laura as well until I wrote this post. I wonder subconsciously if that’s why I named my own Laura.

What are your favorite governess stories?

Thanks so much, Tracy! I cannot wait to read your governess book. (Which, if I remember correctly, comes out this Friday.)

And why do you think there are so many governesses named Laura?

The Other DaughterGovernesses are a topic dear to my heart right now because the heroine of my upcoming book, The Other Daughter, starts out the novel as a nursery governess. Her life takes some rather strange and ungovernessy twists after that, but the opening of the book is an homage to one of my all time favorite books, Nine Coaches Waiting, which Tracy discusses above.

For more governess book recommendations, here is another list I compiled for If You Like a few years ago. You’ll notice a certain amount of overlap….


Weekly Reading Round-Up
May 8th, 2015

Another win from the college roommate care package! I’ve been reading my way through Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series: Rivers of London, Moon Over Soho, and Whispers Under Ground. I’m currently on #4, Broken Homes, and have #5, Foxglove Summer, queued up next. Think police procedural meets Harry Potter. It’s paranormal policing in modern London with a snarky first person narrator who makes me think of a British, male Vicky Bliss. (Although he’s a policeman, not an art historian. It’s a tone thing.)

I’ve also been reading my way through a pile of research books for the next stand alone. More on that very, very soon.

What have you been reading this week?