It’s a Three W Party– and You’re Invited!
September 18th, 2017

Next week, our own Beatriz Williams is releasing the second book in the Edwardian-set mystery series she writes under her secret bat name, Juliana Gray. So Karen White and I couldn’t resisting breaking out the virtual bubbly.

Come join us next Monday, 9/25 over at the Read A Romance Month Facebook Page, where we’ll be chatting, bantering, sharing the inside scoop on our upcoming books– and, of course, giving away all sorts of swag!

WWW Open House

Here’s the schedule:

Lauren Willig: 4:00-5:00 EST
Beatriz Williams (aka Juliana Gray): 5:00-7:00 EST
Karen White: 7:00-8:00 EST

Not that we’re likely to stick purely to our assigned times… because half the fun is bantering with each other!

So many thanks to our gracious hosts, Bobbi Dumas of Read a Romance Month and Sharlene of Graphics by Sharlene, who were the (anything but evil) geniuses behind this event and will be moderating, keeping us in line (we Ws tend to get a little slap happy), and passing around the virtual canapes.

Hope to see you there!

 

ENGLISH WIFE Give Away Ends Today!
September 16th, 2017

It’s your last chance to win one of the 150 advance copies of The English Wife St. Martin’s Press is giving away on Goodreads!

The Goodreads give away closes at midnight (West Coast time) tonight, so head on over and throw your hat in the ring for a chance to win one of these!

English Wife ARCs

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
September 14th, 2017

It’s always a joy discovering a new series. Instant reading material! This week, I moved on to book two in the Invisible Library series, The Masked City. These books remind me so much of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next books. Anyone else remember and love those?

After that, I zigzagged back to Scotland and women’s fiction with an old favorite: Alexandra Raife’s Wild Highland Home, about a woman who tries to come to terms with her life by pulling up stakes and moving to a remote cottage in the Scottish Highlands– and, of course, finds a sense of community she’d never dreamed of.

Next up, I am finally, finally starting Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses, which has been recommended on this page more times than I can count. (Well, I could count it, but it would be too labor intensive).

What have you been reading this week?

 

Pink Books in Forbes Magazine!
September 13th, 2017

In the “random but wonderful” category, a quote from one of the Pink Carnation books was featured in last week’s Forbes Magazine!

Pink in Forbes Garden Intrigue Paperback

I am so thrilled to be hanging out there with Agatha Christie and Dom Perignon. (Especially Dom Perignon! Pass the bubbly, please….)

The quote in question is from The Garden Intrigue, Augustus Whittlesby in spy mode, rather than poet mode.

Here’s the full passage:

Augustus had no proof that either Emma Delagardie or her cousin, the one with the strange name, had anything to do with Bonaparte’s mysterious device, but the coincidences were piling up, too many for comfort. It had seemed innocuous enough that Bonaparte intended to test his device during the visit of the American envoy. The presence of the Americans might be intended only as a distraction a smokescreen. One had the impression that they were brash and not terribly bright, thus making them perfect fodder for the role of unwitting decoy.

Likewise, it would ordinarily mean little that the American envoy’s nephew had a diagram of some sort of mechanical whatnot in his waistcoat pocket. It might be nothing more than a sketch for a new patent stove or a design for an improved water closet, Yankee ingenuity once again at work. They were a strange and mercantile people, these Americans. One never knew what they might come up with next.

Fun fact: the phrase “a strange and mercantile people” was a deliberate play on the title of Paul Langford’s classic social history of Georgian England: A Polite and Commercial People. It seemed only right to twist the phrase a bit for England’s ingenious and indefatigable American cousins….

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
September 8th, 2017

So many thanks to Alison for recommending Frederica! This is, indeed, an excellent Heyer, with all the best Heyer features: a lofty hero rendered human by an unlikely heroine, comic side characters, and an enforced stay in an inn (Heyer does excellent comic relief with enforced stays at inns: see also Sprig Muslin and The Talisman Ring).

From Regency England, I moved ahead to present day, with Veronica Henry’s How to Find Love in a Bookshop. Okay, okay, so I picked it up for the title– but I stayed for the gentle satire and lovely portraits of people finding themselves in a picturesque English town. It reminded me a great deal of Trisha Ashley’s Sticklepond books. So, of course, I ordered another one set in the same village right away.

Right now, I’m re-reading Hilary Beckles’s Natural Rebels: A Social History of Enslaved Women in Barbados, preparatory to getting my somewhat fuzzy head back into the current Work-in-Progress, aka the Barbados Book, while debating whether to indulge in a Trisha Ashley or Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling next. Or maybe the first Tana French Dublin Squad mystery, In the Woods. Decisions, decisions….

What have you been reading this week?

 

THE ENGLISH WIFE– and the kindness of authors
September 6th, 2017

When I typed that title, I had Tennessee Williams on the brain, but, really, it should be more of a collective noun: a kindness of authors.

A kindness of authors was wonderful enough to take time out of their own insane writing schedules to take an early look at The English Wife and share their thoughts– and I’m so grateful to them and so thrilled by what they had to say about it!

— “Lauren Willig has made a name for herself writing the finest historical intrigue and The English Wife does not disappoint – it is her best yet! Written with keen detail and subtle nuance, The English Wife is a dark and scintillating tale of betrayal, secrets and a marriage gone wrong that will have readers on the edge of their seats until the final breathtaking twist.” -Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

— “The English Wife by Lauren Willig is a gorgeous gem of a novel. Part historical fiction, part mystery, and part dual love story, this book is full of engaging characters, flawless writing, and a twisty plot that will keep the reader guessing until the last page. Willig mesmerizes with clever dialog and unexpected plot reveals, promising another fantastic read for her many fans, and a perfect introduction to new readers. This will go on my keeper shelf along with my entire Lauren Willig collection!” –New York Times bestselling author, Karen White

— “The English Wife is an atmospheric, instantly absorbing page-turner. Lauren Willig delivers a richly detailed, expertly plotted novel that will instantly transport you back in time. This novel has it all―an intriguing mystery, a love affair for the ages and secrets worth dying for.” ―Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not A Sound

— “An elegant page turner that kept me guessing. A masterful story that transported me back in time. A great, great Gothic.” -M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Library of Light and Shadow

— “Lauren Willig absolutely delivers in this deliciously-paced, intriguing tale that is part mystery, part love story, and part family drama of the most emotionally-riveting kind. Brimming with evocative historical details and hauntingly good.” -Susan Meissner, award-winning author of A Bridge Across the Ocean

— “Full of intrigue and suspense, Willig weaves an intricate tapestry of romance and betrayal. Rich in period detail and a plot that keeps you guessing, The English Wife, is a wonderful read.” -Alyson Richman, Internationally bestselling author of The Velvet Hours and The Lost Wife

— “Full of Gilded Age glamour and Gothic suspense, The English Wife will haunt readers long after the story ends. Willig draws us in immediately – not just with an opulent setting and sensational gossip – but with a crime so visually stunning, I was left gasping for air by the end of chapter one. From London to old New York, readers will be mesmerized. Willig’s writing is so smart and her pacing so masterful that readers will be guessing until the very last page. The English Wife combines the all insight of Edith Wharton with the tension and intrigue of Daphne du Maurier. It is Willig at her very best and most compelling.” -Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House

— “The English Wife brings to life old world New York City and London with all the splendor of two of my favorite novels, The Age of Innocence and The Crimson Petal and the White. Mystery, murder, mistaken identity, romance―Lauren Willig weaves each strand into a page-turning tapestry.” -Sally Koslow, author of The Widow Waltz and Another Side of Paradise

— “Lauren Willig’s historical novels are so immersive, so note-perfect in their mastery of setting and voice, that I’m tempted to wonder if she has a time machine at her disposal. THE ENGLISH WIFE, with its deliciously evocative portrait of the splendours, sorrows and intrigues of Gilded Age high society, is her best book yet.” -Jennifer Robson, USA Today and #1 Toronto Globe & Mail bestselling author of Goodnight from London.

Special hugs go to Alyson Richman– because, as any of you who have heard me give a talk about how I came to be a writer know, it has been my lifelong ambition to write a book that would be referred to as an “intricate tapestry”. (Always a tapestry, NEVER a tea towel.) Achievement unlocked!

The English Wife is available for pre-order from all the usual suspects: in hardcover from from your favorite local bookseller, Amazon, B&N, Books-A-Million, Indiebound, and Powell’s; in e-book on Kindle and Nook; and on audio CD.

If you would like to pre-order a signed and personalized copy, those will be available from FoxTale Book Shoppe , The Poisoned Pen , Murder by the Book, or The Corner Bookstore.

In the meantime, The English Wife is up for grabs on Goodreads! Enter before September 16th for a chance to win an advance copy.

 

THE ENGLISH WIFE– Goodreads Give-Away!
September 5th, 2017

Summer may be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s all grim and glum. There are pumpkin spice lattes to look forward to, plaid skirts, and red, orange and yellow leaves… and 150 advance copies of The English Wife up for grabs on Goodreads!

Between now and September 16th, St. Martin’s Press is very generously handing out 150 advance copies of The English Wife.

So head over to Goodreads for a chance to get an early look at the book readers are calling “a gorgeous gem of a novel”, and “a dark and scintillating tale of betrayal, secrets and a marriage gone wrong that will have readers on the edge of their seats until the final breathtaking twist.”

I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

The English Wife

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
September 1st, 2017

How is it September already?

I saw out the summer with winter in Scotland: Alexandra Raife’s Until the Spring, in which a pregnant woman seeks refuge with her lover’s family in a remote Scottish manor house after being tossed out by her adoptive parents. This Alexandra Raife book in particular is oh so very Britain in the 90s– when I read it, I can picture the sorts of outfits (and attitudes) from Britcoms like As Time Goes By and Waiting for God, shoulder pads and heavy blush for the city dwellers, baggy skirts and padded vests for the country folk.

I left Scotland for a London that never was, via the The Invisible Library, in which a Librarian must go undercover in an alternate realm to recover a dangerous book, encountering dragons, detectives, and afternoon tea along the way. Think a little The Librarians and a little Parasol Protectorate. And it’s the first in a series!

But I found I needed more Scotland, so I went back to my Alexandra Raife collection for Drumveyn, which is basically Monarch of the Glen under another name: a young laird named Archie, who has been living in London with an emotionally detached Englishwoman with a trendy haircut, who returns to the ancestral estate to help put things in order. And did I mention there’s a feisty cook? (Not named Lexy.) The big difference is that a lot of the emotional focus of the story is Archie’s mother, who, unlike Monarch of the Glen, is less a comic side character and more of a protagonist, coming into her own after her controlling husband’s death.

(Until the Spring and Drumveyn are my Raifes Less Read, because I find them both a little uneven. For those who have never read Raife before, my two favorites are Wild Highland Home and Belonging.)

Right now, I’m about to launch the Labor Day weekend by treating myself to Georgette Heyer’s Frederica, which, somehow, I had managed to not read all these years. (Thanks, Alison Doherty, for bringing it to my attention!) Such joy to find an unread book by a favorite author!

What have you been reading this week?

 

Top Five Heyers
August 29th, 2017

The other day, when I posted about my recent Heyer-a-thon, a funny thing happened in the Comments section: an impromptu discussion of Top Five Heyer novels.

Not four shall you count, not six, but five. (Sorry, Monty Python.) Why five? Perhaps because it’s so impossible to pick just one Heyer. Or, for that matter, three or four. Even picking five is tough– but upping it to ten feels like cheating.

So I thought I’d give it a go. Here, in no particular order, are my top five Heyers:

Devil’s Cub. Georgian, rather than Regency, this book captures the elegance and danger of an era when rakes wore ruffles and thought nothing of running a man through in the road. Vidal, the devil’s cub of the title, is a real rake, not a cutesy imitation one: mad, bad, and genuinely dangerous to know. Fortunately, the heroine, Mary Challoner, a woman of spirit and principle, is more than a match for him and refuses to give him any quarter– until he deserves it. (Side note: this book was the direct inspiration for the third in my Pink Carnation series, The Deception of the Emerald Ring, with its elopement gone wrong.)

The Nonesuch. This book is the archetypal Regency romance, with its country community that can’t help but make you think of the world of Pride and Prejudice, a gentlewoman turned governess for heroine, and a top of the trees (but not toplofty) hero who turns the community upside down by dint of his appearance. (There’s even a secondary romance a la Bingley and Jane.)

A Civil Contract. This one, while also a Regency, is a little different from the usual madcap romp. It’s more sober than Heyer’s other Regencies. The heroine is a “cit”, a rich merchant’s daughter, with none of the graces of the usual Heyer heroine. She’s a short, stout, housewifely soul. The hero, on the other hand, is a romantic, forced to sever his connection with the woman he always believed he would marry. But he discovers, over a year of marriage, that perhaps he’s not such a romantic as he thought, and that his practical Jenny may suit him better than flighty Julia. People seem to either love or hate A Civil Contract. I fall into the “love” category. (You can read my thoughts on it by scrolling down here until you get to the essay titled A Not So Fine Romance, from way back in September 2008.) In the end, is it a love match? That’s up for debate. I think it is– but you can see for yourself.

Arabella. Back to the madcap, Arabella is one of the brilliantly funny Heyers, in which a parson’s daughter come-to-town decides, in a moment of pique, to pretend to be an heiress– but never imagines just how much she’ll be caught up in her own deception. The hero knows almost from the outset, but plays along, first out of annoyance, and later because he’s come to care for her too much to figure out how to tell her he knows the truth. This also falls into the “proud and wealthy hero knocked down from his pedestal and made human” category.

Sylvester. Speaking of proud and lofty heroes…. It takes a novelist (also a twittery sister-in-law, a fop to end all fops, and a determined small child) to crack the ducal reserve of the eponymous Sylvester, with lots of hijinks and some of my very favorite comic scenes along the way.

Honorable mentions: The Talisman Ring, The Quiet Gentleman, and Sprig Muslin.

What are your top five Heyers?

 

Weekly Reading Round-Up
August 25th, 2017

Nobody does comic relief quite as elegantly as Georgette Heyer, the woman who invented the Regency romance. So, this week, in honor of Heyer’s birthday, I read two Heyer novels I had somehow missed out on over the years: Cotillion and Venetia.

If there are any Mischief of the Mistletoe fans out there, then hie yourself off to read Cotillion. There aren’t any Christmas puddings, but there is a hero who is quite definitely a close cousin to Turnip Fitzhugh (although Freddy would never be caught in a carnation embroidered waistcoat). The hero of Venetia is much more of the Lord Vaughn mode: mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Or, at least, everyone except the heroine thinks he is.

Right now, I’ve moved away from Regency London to the Scottish Highlands in the 1950s with A.D. Scott’s A Small Death in the Great Glen, the first in a mystery series recommended to me by the wonderful Barbara Peters of The Poisoned Pen, who came to the rescue with a long reading list once she learned I was going to be spending a lot of time pinned under an infant.* A Small Death in the Great Glen paints a richly textured picture of Highland life in the aftermath of World War II– and is making me want to go re-read my collection of Alexandra Raife novels (1990s Scottish women’s fiction), because Highlands.

What have you been reading this week?

*Side note: If you can’t make it to the Poisoned Pen in person, I highly recommend signing up for the Poisoned Pen newsletter or joining one of their book clubs. I’ve found so many good books that way.