NPR’s Top 100 Romances
It’s not an easy task whittling the vast field of romance down to one hundred titles– but the specialists over at NPR have done an amazing job of picking some of the stand-outs in the field.
Reading this list is like a trip along my bookshelves: M.M. Kaye, Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, Susanna Kearsley, Judith Merkle Riley, Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kristan Higgins….
And I’m so very thrilled that The Secret History of the Pink Carnation is one of the 100!
(My sixth grade self is hyperventilating a little at being on a list with M.M. Kaye, Victoria Holt, et al.)
So if you’re looking for a good book to read this summer, check out NPR’s top 100 romances!
Behind the Scenes with THE OTHER DAUGHTER
They say it takes a thief to catch a thief. (Or was that just Cary Grant?) I don’t know that it takes an author to interview an author, but some of the best interview questions I’ve ever had came from M.J. Rose, author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows, who interviewed me recently for Bookmovement.
We talk about World War I, social change, character construction, 1920s parties, and why so many lawyers seem to wind up becoming writers.
Teaser Tuesday: the Pink Novella That Wasn’t
The last time we saw Jane Wooliston, aka The Pink Carnation, was in Pink X, aka The Passion of the Plumeria, as she declared her intention to go deep undercover– alone.
That was back in the spring of 1805. Pink XII, aka The Lure of the Moonflower, opens in December of 1807. That’s a pretty big gap.
Where oh where has the Pink Carnation been all this time? And why can’t Eloise find any trace of those two years in the archives?
All we know is that Miss Gwen, as of autumn 1806, is receiving letters from Jane from an undisclosed location. (That information having been redacted at the request of the Pink Carnation.)
As many of you know, originally, the plan was for there to be a novella out right before The Lure of the Moonflower, called “The Pink Carnation in Love”. (The novella was to be set in Venice, so the title was a nod to Casanova.)
But I got a bit behind deadline. And a bit more behind deadline. And that novella didn’t quite happen. By which I mean, it didn’t happen at all.
What can I tell you? Jane has traveled under many aliases and had many adventures since we saw her last– and it hasn’t always been easy. She’s missed Miss Gwen and her family more than she ever imagined she would, and no matter how many times she tells herself that the cause is noble and her reasons good, there have been times when those rationales have proved cold comfort.
But the biggest challenge by far? Having to join forces with the Gardener in Venice in the summer of 1807 to track down a killer indiscriminately targeting both English and French agents. As a sworn enemy, Nicolas de la Tour d’Argent is somewhat problematic. He refuses to act like an enemy. Instead he prefers to flirt. As an enemy, he’s problematic. As an ally? He’s incredibly dangerous.
I have a confession to make. This story? Goes much farther back than the plans for the Novella That Wasn’t. I’ve been wanting to write a Jane and the Gardener story since The Temptation of the Night Jasmine.
Originally, the plan was for it to be an entire book. Among my notes recently, I found this snippet, labeled “for Book VIII”:
“What a Jeanne d’Arc you would make.”
“Mad and martyred? No, thank you all the same.”
“Never swear by absolutes, my Jeanne. They have a way of betraying one.”
“Only if you betray them first. I have few virtues, but constancy is one of them.”
“Constancy… or cowardice?”
She didn’t like that. He saw her spine stiffen.
Given where I found it, I’m guessing that this fragment is circa 2008, and my vague plan was to have Jane and the Gardener’s book follow The Mischief of the Mistletoe. Jane and the Gardener were going to have to join forces to thwart a serial killer targeting agents from both countries.
As you can tell, that didn’t happen.
Instead, Pink VIII was my governess book, The Orchid Affair, and my Jane and the Gardener story got shelved for a later date. Some of that material was filtered into The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, the book in which Jane meets the Gardener for the first time, although we see their interactions there only through Miss Gwen’s viewpoint.
(And this lost chapter, in Jane’s viewpoint.)
Long story short? Jane and the Gardener do have their adventure in Venice, and it has a powerful impact on Jane. While I wish I could have shared it with you as a novella, you will still hear about that time in Venice– but through Jane’s recollections, in The Lure of the Moonflower.
Only one week more to go!
You Know You’re a 1920’s Party Girl in London When….
So many thanks to everyone on my Facebook page who contributed to the discussion! This is my first “gif” list– so I hope you like it.
Weekly Reading Round-Up
It’s been a rather crazy week, with much scurrying hither and yon, but I did take advantage of my event at the Mysterious Bookshop on Monday to buy one of the few Josephine Tey mysteries I haven’t read yet, To Love and Be Wise.
Now there’s just Brat Farrar to acquire….
(Speaking of the Mysterious Bookshop, I have to head back over there on Monday to sign a few more copies of The Other Daughter. So if you want one personalized, just contact them by Sunday to put in your request.)
What have you been reading this week?
Happy Birthday, OTHER DAUGHTER!
The Other Daughter makes its official way into the world today!
Booklist calls The Other Daughter, “vibrant and thrilling”.
RT Book Reviews declares “the complexity of the story-line and the characters draws readers deeply into the story until they are completely invested and hooked until the end.”
Check out the Have Author Will Travel panel in the left hand sidebar for more tour dates.
THE OTHER DAUGHTER– Tomorrow!
I can’t believe we’re this far into July already, but… The Other Daughter appears in stores tomorrow!
First of all, thanks so much to everyone who helped spread the word about The Other Daughter. I appreciate it so very much.
If you’re not in town, but would like a signed copy, The Mysterious Bookshop will have signed copies for sale. You can order them here. If you’d like your copy personalized, just get in touch with the folks at the bookstore before tomorrow evening and let them know to whom I should sign the book!
If you’ve ordered your book elsewhere, I’m happy to send a signed bookplate. I was taken by surprise by the extent of the bookplate demand, so I’m currently waiting for a new batch of bookplates to arrive, but once those get here (hopefully by the middle of this week), I can send signed bookplates winging your way for The Other Daughter and/or The Lure of the Moonflower.
As always, if you see The Other Daughter in the wild, send a picture my way! I’ll be sure to post it here on the website. (I love when my books get to be like garden gnomes and go all sorts of interesting places.)
And now, the announcement we’ve all been waiting for!
The winner of The Other Daughter Launch Contest is…
Brittany! (Of Comment #21.)
Congrats, Brittany! If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll send my very last The Lure of the Moonflower ARC your way.
Have I left anything out? Happy reading!
Weekly Reading Round-Up
Summer to me doesn’t mean beach reads. It means old school Gothics, particularly the mysteries of Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters. I don’t know if it’s because so many of the books are set during sultry Southern summers (like Houses of Stone, Be Buried in the Rain, and Shattered Silk); if it’s because the books must have been on a summer release schedule when I was in my teens (I can remember, on muggy hot summer days, coming home from the library with the new Barbara Michaels clasped triumphantly in my arms); or if it’s because they made such good summer vacation reading.
Either way, when the thermometer goes way up and the weather is sizzling hot (to borrow a phrase from Mr. Cole Porter), it’s time for Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters. This week? Shattered Silk and Devil May Care, both favorite summer reads.
I’ve also started Erik Larson’s Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania and am absolutely thrilled by the minute detail and dry humor.
What have you been reading this week?