Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
I don’t have exact dates yet, but here’s the rough schedule for my upcoming book releases:
— July, 2017: a personal essay in A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light, a non-fiction anthology about Paris, edited by the lovely Eleanor Brown.
— January, 2018: THE ENGLISH WIFE, hardcover.
— Summer, 2018: The Lusitania Book (aka the new Team W Book, aka We Don’t Have a Proper Title Yet), hardcover.
I’ll post more on all of these soon!
Friday, November 25th, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving! (Or really, Happy Black Friday!)
I was in an epic mood this week, so I revisited a very old favorite: Joan Wolf’s Born of the Sun, about a sixth century Saxon king of Wessex and his British wife, Niniane. There are court intrigues, family strife, battles– and, of course, a wonderful love story, spread out over a long marriage and a long reign. This is one of those books that never goes stale for me.
What have you been reading this week?
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016
The winner of Ann Leary’s The Children is…
… Maria! (Of Comment #14.)
Congrats, Maria! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll put your book in the mail to you.
Wishing everyone a wonderful, safe, happy Thanksgiving!
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
If you can’t go to Paris, Paris will be coming to you this summer, in the anthology A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light.
I’m so thrilled to get to revisit one of my favorite cities in such wonderful company!
Here is the tres snazzy cover:
Et voila! The official blurb:
A collection of all-new Paris-themed essays written by some of the biggest names in women’s fiction, including Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler, Maggie Shipstead, and Lauren Willig, edited by Eleanor Brown, the New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters and The Light of Paris.
“My time in Paris,” says New York Times–bestselling author Paula McLain (The Paris Wife), “was like no one else’s ever.” For each of the sixteen bestselling authors in this warm, inspiring, and charming collection of personal essays on the City of Light, nothing could be more true.
While all of the women writers featured here have written books connected to Paris, their personal stories of the city are wildly different. Meg Waite Clayton (The Race for Paris) and M. J. Rose (The Book of Lost Fragrances) share the romantic secrets that have made Paris the destination for lovers for hundreds of years. Susan Vreeland (The Girl in Hyacinth Blue) and J. Courtney Sullivan (The Engagements) peek behind the stereotype of snobbish Parisians to show us the genuine kindness of real people.
From book club favorites Paula McLain, Therese Anne Fowler (Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald), and anthology editor Eleanor Brown (The Light of Paris) to mystery writer Cara Black (Murder in the Marais), historical author Lauren Willig (The Secret History of the Pink Carnation), and memoirist Julie Powell (Julie and Julia), these Parisian memoirs range from laugh-out-loud funny to wistfully romantic to thoughtfully somber and reflective.
Perfect for armchair travelers and veterans of Parisian pilgrimages alike, readers will delight in these brand-new tales from their most beloved authors.
A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light will appear in bookstores near you on July 4, 2017. (Not quite Bastille Day… but close!)
Monday, November 21st, 2016
There’s been a bit of a give away gap– apologies! To make it up to you, I have a particularly good one for you today: a hardcover copy of Ann Leary’s The Children.
Here’s the official blurb:
From New York Times bestselling author Ann Leary comes the captivating story of a wealthy, but unconventional New England family, told from the perspective of a reclusive 29-year-old who has a secret (and famous) life on the Internet.
Charlotte Maynard rarely leaves her mother’s home, the sprawling Connecticut lake house that belonged to her late stepfather, Whit Whitman, and the generations of Whitmans before him. While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at “Lakeside,” their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace―and a provision in the family trust. When Spin, the youngest and favorite of all the children, brings his fiancé home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued. The beautiful and accomplished Laurel Atwood breathes new life into this often comically rarefied world. But as the wedding draws near, and flaws surface in the family’s polite veneer, an array of simmering resentments and unfortunate truths is exposed.
With remarkable wit and insight, Ann Leary pulls back the curtain on one blended family, as they are forced to grapple with the assets and liabilities – both material and psychological – left behind by their wonderfully flawed patriarch.
What could be more appropriate for Thanksgiving week than a book about a dysfunctional family?
For a chance to win a hardcover copy of Ann Leary’s The Children, here’s your question:
— What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? (Edible or otherwise.)
Happy holiday, all! Winners will be announced on Wednesday.
Friday, November 18th, 2016
This week, in between working on the outline for the new Team W book with Beatriz Williams and Karen White, I treated myself to two new books: Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Sherry Thomas’s A Study In Scarlet Women.
Although very different, both are takes on earlier stories: Uprooted builds off previous generations of fairy tales (so many echoes of Robin McKinley!) while A Study in Scarlet Women is a new look at Sherlock Holmes, imagining Holmes as a woman in an era that wasn’t particularly hospitable towards female enterprise.
Now, I’m plunged into a research refresher for my next stand alone novel (more on that soon!).
What have you been reading this week?
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016
If there’s been some radio silence here on the website recently… it’s because Karen White, Beatriz Williams and I were off at our Top Secret Undisclosed Location thrashing out the outline of the new collaborative novel!
How Top Secret was it? Let’s just say that every good lair needs a spooky old tunnel.
Also someone to guard our drinks while we work.
The new Team W book is set during the final voyage of the Lusitania and will probably be coming your way at some point in late 2018. We’re very excited to share it with you– once we actually finish writing it.
Friday, November 11th, 2016
Sometimes, you just need a fairy tale. This week, I revisited one of my all time favorites, Robin McKinley’s Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast.
It’s a beautiful re-telling of Beauty and the Beast– with certain elements in common with the Disney version that followed, like Beauty being a bookworm and an amazing library filled with more books than the world could possibly hold.
From there, it was an easy jump to Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, which I’ve only just started– but the voice reminds me a great deal of Robin McKinley. I’ll be bringing Uprooted with me tomorrow as I fly off to meet Karen White and Beatriz Williams at our designated top secret location to begin working on the next tri-book.
What have you been reading this week?
Monday, November 7th, 2016
The English Wife will be coming your way in January or February of 2018.
I don’t have an official blurb yet, but here’s a rough description:
January 1899: at a grand Twelfth Night ball in a mansion on the Hudson, Knickerbocker patrician Bayard Van Duyvil pushes his English wife into the river and then stabs himself. Or something of the sort. The end result is that Bayard has a knife in his chest and his wife is in the river, galvanizing every journalist and society gossip for miles around.
Everyone agrees they saw it coming, ever since Van Duyvil returned to New York five years before, unexpectedly married and madly in love. After all, only a man with with love would spend a fortune building his wife a replica of her family home on the grounds of his ancestral estate. And then for his wife to carry on an affair with the architect right under her husband’s nose! Why, no wonder he snapped!
Or did he? And who is the mysterious “George” whose name was on the dying man’s lips? Amid the flurry of rumor and speculation, Bayard’s younger sister, Janie Van Duyvil, is determined to find out what really happened there on the icy banks of the Hudson.
Ranging from the London theatres of the early 1890s to the salons of Belle Epoque Paris to the rocky beaches of Newport and the glittering inner circles of Gilded Age New York, THE ENGLISH WIFE traces the path of a marriage where nothing is quite as it seems. But will Janie discover the truth in time to prevent another tragedy?
I am ridiculously excited about this book and can’t wait to share more about it with you!
Friday, November 4th, 2016
It has been a banner book week for me. So good, in fact, that I can’t imagine what I’ll read next.
First up? Simone St. James’s The Broken Girls. Here’s the unofficial blurb as relayed to me by Simone:
In 1950 Vermont, four lonely girls in a remote boarding school protect each other against the ghost in the darkness – and the terrors of their own lives – until tragedy strikes and changes them forever.
In 2014, a journalist covering the restoration of the long-abandoned school finds evidence of a decades-old crime that eerily echoes the tragedy in her own life. And alongside the secrets of the school, she awakens a haunting that has lain dormant in the cold, idyllic woods – until now…
I read it the day before Halloween. I’d meant to save it for Halloween, but a new Simone St. James? About a New England boarding school? No one has that kind of will power.
It is so good. So good. Creepy New England, interwoven mysteries, and ghostly happenings good. Think Barbara Michaels at her best, but with a dual plot-line.
The Broken Girls comes out in spring of 2018. There aren’t pre-order links up yet, but when there are, I know I’ll be clicking that buy button. This is a book I’ll be reading again.
It took a strong book to follow that, but, fortunately for me, I had Abby Fabiaschi’s I Liked My Life on hand. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book, told from the points of view of the ghost of a woman who had committed suicide and the husband and daughter she had left behind. How was that going to work? But it did. It worked beautifully, watching each coming to terms with themselves and their lives– and unpicking the mystery of why a seemingly happy woman would decide to take the plunge off the top of Wellesley’s library. There were so many thought-provoking reflections about the sorts of lives we lead, the pressures of work and motherhood (and teenagerhood) and the family baggage we carry with us. But, mostly, how poorly we read and how little we know about the people who are closest to us.
I Liked My Life comes out in January. I highly recommend it. Think Liane Moriarty, but not Australian.
To top it all off, I treated myself to Sonali Dev’s latest, A Change of Heart. Spouse, upon seeing the cover and title, quipped, “So it’s about illegal organ trafficking in Mumbai?” To which I replied, “Yes, yes, it is.” The change of heart in the title is both figurative and literal, the romance taking place against a background of high stakes skullduggery.
What does one read after a run of books like that? I have N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season at the top of the pile, but I’m not sure I’m ready to read it quite yet.
What have you been reading this week?