Archive for September, 2016

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Thanks to my friend Vicki (hi, Vicki!), I had a pile of new books to read this week. They were all very different and all excellent.

First up? The Secrets of Wishtide by Kate Saunders. Those of you who are frequent readers of this site will know that Kate Saunders’s The Marrying Game and Bachelor Boys (sort of chick lit– but not really) have been on my keeper shelf since I stumbled on them back in grad school, so I was thrilled to learn that the author is launching a Victorian mystery series about a widow named Laetitia Rodd, who acts as an investigator for her barrister brother, Fred. It’s as if Sherlock Holmes met Miss Marple and they had a mid-Victorian love child. Never mind. Horrible metaphor. But you get the idea. I’m looking forward to the second installment.

From Victorian England, I moved to 1925 Oregon with Cat Winters’s Yesternight, a haunting book set on the wind-swept Oregon coast in which a school psychologist– a woman struggling to make it in a man’s field– finds herself drawn into the mysterious case of a girl who claims to have lived before. But the psychologist has secrets and traumas in her own past that get tangled with the case of the girl and change all of their lives. Creepy and deeply compelling.

As an antidote to the chill down the spine, I’ve moved on to Jenny Colgan’s The Bookshop on the Corner, about a librarian who finds herself made redundant (aka is sacked) and decides to take the plunge and open a bookmobile. I’ve just started it, but it seems the perfect sort of read with a cup of tea on a rainy day. Because who hasn’t wanted to move to a remote part of Britain and open a bookshop?

What have you been reading this week?

“Velvet Hours” Winner

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

The winner of Alyson Richman’s The Velvet Hours is…

… Lauren H! (Of Comment #13.)

Congrats, Lauren! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll pop your book in the mail to you.

Stay tuned for another give away next Monday!

It’s official: new WWW book on its way!

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

It’s been ridiculously hard keeping this secret– and, to be fair, none of us has been keeping the secret particularly well, since we all tend to blab when on book tour. Just get a glass of wine into one of us, and All Is Known.

But I digress. The news is: Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and I are writing another book together!

three-ws Book Miser

The book is going to be set on the final voyage of the Lusitania in 1915 and should be ready for your reading pleasure in summer of 2018. Karen, Beatriz, and I plotted the book together while on book tour for The Forgotten Room last January– so you can imagine how it’s been killing us to keep quiet about it!

In just one month, we’re going away to a Top Secret Undisclosed Location (NOT a ship) to work on the Lusitania book together. So keep an eye on the WWW Facebook page where we’ll have more news and contests as the story unfolds!

Monday Give Away

Monday, September 26th, 2016

Remember that Paris apartment that was discovered a few years back? The home of a Belle Epoque courtesan, it had been closed by her granddaughter as the Germans marched on Paris and left untouched ever since. Who could resist that sort of fodder for fiction?

For today’s Monday give away, we have Alyson Richman’s The Velvet Hours.

Here’s the official blurb:

the-velvet-hours From the international bestselling author of The Lost Wife and The Garden of Letters, comes a story—inspired by true events—of two women pursuing freedom and independence in Paris during WWII.

As Paris teeters on the edge of the German occupation, a young French woman closes the door to her late grandmother’s treasure-filled apartment, unsure if she’ll ever return.

An elusive courtesan, Marthe de Florian cultivated a life of art and beauty, casting out all recollections of her impoverished childhood in the dark alleys of Montmartre. With Europe on the brink of war, she shares her story with her granddaughter Solange Beaugiron, using her prized possessions to reveal her innermost secrets. Most striking of all are a beautiful string of pearls and a magnificent portrait of Marthe painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Boldini. As Marthe’s tale unfolds, like velvet itself, stitched with its own shadow and light, it helps to guide Solange on her own path.

Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved.

There is something fascinating about the relics of a bygone world, frozen in situ: an Egyptian tomb, Pompeii, a Paris apartment. Sometimes, it’s something smaller: an old postcard in an antique store, the message still on the back. A scribble on the flyleaf of a book.

Have you ever stumbled on anything that made you feel that kind of connection to the past?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Perhaps it’s something about fall, but I’ve been on an old school Gothic kick this past week.

I started with Anna Lee Huber‘s upcoming book, Secrets in the Mist, a Regency set Gothic involving misty marshes, a mysterious creature named “The Lantern Man”, and, of course, smugglers.

From there, I moved on to some old Elsie Lee comfort reads. For those of you who haven’t discovered Elsie Lee, think Mad Men, but with spies. The wise-cracking, Seven Sisters grad heroines invariably trounce foreign operatives and baffle Interpol, in between mixing highballs, fixing flounces, and caring for stray cats.

After that…. A care package was just sent to me by my favorite book whisperer (thanks, Vicki!), so there is an embarrassment of choice.

What have you been reading this week?

Author Confidential….

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

Pssst! It’s Author Confidential, Bacon Free Library’s (incredibly ingenious) fall fundraiser.

What it is: a chance to ask your favorite author three questions– and receive a hand-written answer in return!

Here’s the official press release:

Bacon Free Library Announces ‘Author Confidential’ Auction

Best Selling Authors to Answer Three Questions from Winning Bidders

Have you ever finished a book only to find yourself full of questions? What inspired the story? Did the husband do it? Is she going to live? Will there be a sequel? Now’s your chance to find out!

This fall the Bacon Free Library in Natick, Massachusetts is inviting the public to bid on the opportunity to ask more than 75 best-selling and award-winning authors three (3) questions. The highest bidders will have the chance to ask authors, whose works range from mystery/thrillers to literary fiction, historical fiction to children’s literature, romance to nonfiction, about anything regarding the author’s work or writing process. Winning bidders will receive a signed, keepsake letter written by the author with their responses by mail.

The online auction will take place on eBay from Sunday, October 23, 2016 8pm through Sunday, October 30, 2016 8pm [EST]. Starting bids range from $50-$75.

Authors participating in the Library’s ‘Author Confidential Auction’ are some of the most beloved, diverse and prolific in current literature. They are known for popular and familiar titles such as Fates and Furies, The Perfect Storm, The Giver, In the Heart of the Sea, Presumed Innocent, and A Thousand Acres. Many of their works have been adapted as major motion pictures and television shows.

An interactive list of participating authors is available at

and includes Lee Child, Nora Roberts, Bill Bryson, Diana Gabaldon, Jeff Kinney, JoJo Moyes, Dave Eggers, Laura Hillenbrand, Andy Weir, Peter H. Reynolds among many other notable writers.

Additional details and information on bidding rules are available at

Mark your calendars for October 23, when the auction opens! I’ll post about it again when we get closer to the date. You can find the full list of participating authors here.

“Place of Secrets” Winner

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

The winner of my copy of Rachel Hore’s A Place of Secrets is…

… Adeia! (Of comment #8.)

Congrats, Adeia! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll pop your book in the mail to you.

Check back on Monday for a new give away!

Out and About in October: NJ and MI

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

You can find me out and about in October!

Morristown, New Jersey: Saturday, 10/1

I am thrilled to be kicking off the month with the Morristown Festival of Books. Join me Saturday, October 1st, in Morristown, NJ for a panel with two of my favorite people: Sarah MacLean and Eloisa James. If you’ve heard us speak together before, you’ll know that things can get a little bit slap-happy….

The event is free and open to the public. Our talk will be at the Church of the Redeemer (36 South Street) from 10:00-11:00. If you can’t make it to the talk, you can find us at 11:00 in the Author Signing Tent, signing books and chatting (and probably drinking coffee).

Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Saturday, 10/22

What could be better than tea and books? Grosse Pointe Library brings back their acclaimed Authors to the Pointe series on October 22 at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Estate with a classic English tea, Paula McLain, and me.

Tickets for the event are $30, available starting on 9/22 (this Thursday!) on a first come/first served basis at Grosse Pointe Library’s Central Branch.

See you in October!

Monday Give Away

Monday, September 19th, 2016

I did promise you more old houses and family secrets, didn’t I? This week’s book up for grabs is Rachel Hore’s A Place of Secrets.

Here’s the official blurb:

place-of-secretsA runaway bestseller in Britain with over 100,000 copies sold, a riveting historical mystery in the tradition of Kate Morton

Auction house appraiser Jude leaves London for her dream job at Starbrough Hall, an estate in the countryside, examining and pricing the manuscripts and instruments of an eighteenth-century astronomer. She is welcomed by Chantal Wickham and Jude feels close to the old woman at once: they have both lost their husbands. Hard times have forced the Wickham family to sell the astronomer’s work, their land and with it, the timeworn tower that lies nearby. The tower was built as an observatory for astronomer Anthony Wickham and his daughter Esther, and it served as the setting for their most incredible discoveries.

Though Jude is far away from her life in London, her arrival at Starbrough Hall brings a host of childhood memories. She meets Euan, a famed writer and naturalist who lives in the gamekeeper’s cottage at the foot of the tower, where Jude’s grandfather once lived. And a nightmare begins to haunt her six-year-old niece, the same nightmare Jude herself had years ago. Is it possible that the dreams are passed down from one generation to the next? What secrets does the tower hold? And will Jude unearth them before it’s too late?

Have you noticed that there are a lot of appraisers in novels? Also curators, antiques dealers, grad students, art historians, grad student art historians, and other people who deal with art and antiques. Which makes sense in books dealing with history, artifacts, and secrets.

For a chance to win my copy of A Place of Secrets, here’s your question:

— If you were a heroine in a novel and could be anything you liked, what would your profession be?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, September 16th, 2016

As I finish up the revisions on the Gilded Age book (more about that soon, I promise!), I’ve been doing my best to read outside of my comfort zone, to try new genres and authors– or, at least, books I wouldn’t have picked up on my own.

This week?

— Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker, involving a very secret service, a mad princeling, a machine that could bring on the end of the world, and the son of a gangster trying to live an honorable life as a clockmaker– until he can’t. Something about it reminded me of Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, although I can’t quite peg why.

— Simon Sylvestor’s The Visitors, set on a remote Scottish island (any other Shetland fans out there?), and told from the viewpoint of a teenage girl. It’s wonderfully atmospheric and eerie, as villagers begin disappearing and you have to wonder whether the newcomers to town have something to do with it. Or is there something supernatural at work?

What have you been reading this week?