Rather than let If You Like slide entirely away in the midst of Monday Give Away season, the ever resourceful Tracy (Teresa) Grant came up with the perfect way of squaring the circle: a Monday Give Away If You Like.
Courtesy of Tracy, here’s an If You Like inspired by her upcoming release, The Berkeley Square Affair.
Authors often get asked where they got the idea for a book. For me, at least, the answer is usually too much a mélange of inspirations and half-formulated thoughts to pinpoint one moment. But in the case of my forthcoming The Berkeley Square Affair, I know exactly when the idea came to me. I was driving with my daughter Mélanie to the birthday party of the daughter of friends who was turning one (at the time Mélanie’s own first birthday party seemed far in the future, and she is now past two, which tells you something about the time that elapses between the genesis of a book and its publication). As I drove along winding Marin County country roads, I got the idea of Malcolm and Suzanne’s friend, playwright Simon Tanner, climbing through their drawing room window, bloody from an attack. Because he was bringing them a manuscript. A manuscript that might be an alternate version of Hamlet. Of course, this being Malcolm and Suzanne’s world, the manuscript contains secrets beyond the identity of its author…
If you like stories with a literary twist, here are some others you might enjoy:
Possession by A.S. Byatt. This glorious novel is at once literary detective story, love story, and mediation on love and creativity. Byatt manages to create the voices of not one but two fictional Victorian poets. A work of staggering brilliance that brought tears to my eyes.
Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers. Both literary research and Harriet Vane’s novel in progress feature in the this complex novel which is a major turning point in the developing relationship of Harriet and Lord Peter Wimsey.
The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig. Even though Augustus Whittlesby is undercover when he writes, in the course of working on a play together, he and Emma Delagardie learn the truth of each other’s hearts. One of my favorite of Lauren’s books that combines two of my loves, literature and espionage.
The Courting of Philippa by Anthea Malcolm. The second of the Regency Romances I co-wrote with my mother, Joan Grant, features a heroine who writes romantic novels, and a hero who is also a writer but considers his work more serious. When they first meet, she discovers that he is the anonymous author of a scathingly dismissive review of her latest book…
Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. Ideally, see a production of this brilliant play, but if none is to hand, it is well worth reading. The plot moves between the present day and Regency England in the same country house. The story involves the intricacies of science, gardening, and a missing letter by Lord Byron, and the need to keep searching for answers, whether about science, history, or literature.
There are so many books I love on this list, including Gaudy Night, which is a constant re-read for me; Possession, which was a major inspiration for my upcoming Victorian-set book, That Summer, and, of course, Stoppard’s Arcadia. (Fun fact: I played Lady Croom in grad school, and got to dress in Regency costume, berate my butler with a swipe of the fan, and dally with Septimus Hodge. And, yes, there are embarrassing pictures of this extant on the internet.)
Tracy has generously provided us with a copy of her own book with a literary twist: The Berkeley Square Affair.
Here’s the official blurb:
A stolen treasure may hold the secret to a ghastly crime…. Ensconced in the comfort of their elegant home in London’s Berkeley Square, Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch are no longer subject to the perilous life of intrigue they led during the Napoleonic Wars. Once an Intelligence Agent, Malcolm is now a Member of Parliament, and Suzanne is one of the city’s most sought-after hostesses. But a late-night visit from a friend who’s been robbed may lure them back into the dangerous world they thought they’d left behind…. Playwright Simon Tanner had in his possession what may be a lost version of Hamlet, and the thieves were prepared to kill for it. But the Rannochs suspect there’s more at stake than a literary gem–for the play may conceal the identity of a Bonapartist spy–along with secrets that could force Malcolm and Suzanne to abandon their newfound peace and confront their own dark past….
For a copy of Tracy’s The Berkeley Square Affair, here’s your question:
What are your favorite books with a literary twist?
One person will be chosen at random to receive a copy of The Berkeley Square Affair. Winner to be announced on Wednesday….
Look for The Berkeley Square Affair in a bookstore near you on March 25!