Monday, April 24th, 2017
I tend to be a rather picky reader, but every now and again, a book just grabs me. Teresa Messineo’s The Fire by Night was one of those books.
Here’s the official blurb:
A powerful and evocative debut novel about two American military nurses during World War II that illuminates the unsung heroism of women who risked their lives in the fight—a riveting saga of friendship, valor, sacrifice, and survival combining the grit and selflessness of Band of Brothers with the emotional resonance of The Nightingale.
In war-torn France, Jo McMahon, an Italian-Irish girl from the tenements of Brooklyn, tends to six seriously wounded soldiers in a makeshift medical unit. Enemy bombs have destroyed her hospital convoy, and now Jo singlehandedly struggles to keep her patients and herself alive in a cramped and freezing tent close to German troops. There is a growing tenderness between her and one of her patients, a Scottish officer, but Jo’s heart is seared by the pain of all she has lost and seen. Nearing her breaking point, she fights to hold on to joyful memories of the past, to the times she shared with her best friend, Kay, whom she met in nursing school.
Half a world away in the Pacific, Kay is trapped in a squalid Japanese POW camp in Manila, one of thousands of Allied men, women, and children whose fates rest in the hands of a sadistic enemy. Far from the familiar safety of the small Pennsylvania coal town of her childhood, Kay clings to memories of her happy days posted in Hawaii, and the handsome flyer who swept her off her feet in the weeks before Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by cruelty and death, Kay battles to maintain her sanity and save lives as best she can . . . and live to see her beloved friend Jo once more.
When the conflict at last comes to an end, Jo and Kay discover that to achieve their own peace, they must find their place—and the hope of love—in a world that’s forever changed. With rich, superbly researched detail, Teresa Messineo’s thrilling novel brings to life the pain and uncertainty of war and the sustaining power of love and friendship, and illuminates the lives of the women who risked everything to save others during a horrifying time.
World War II seems to be having a fiction renaissance recently. I remember, back in the day, watching the larger than life Winds of War mini-series, going along for the adventure in Shining Through (which, in a roundabout way, provided the inspiration for my own Orchid Affair), sobbing over Mila 18, and, of course, Eva Ibbotson’s The Morning Gift. But then there was rather a gap.
For a chance to win my ARC of Teresa Messineo’s The Fire by Night, here’s your question: what’s your favorite World War II set book or show?
The winner will be announced on Wednesday.
Friday, April 21st, 2017
It’s been a mystery/suspense/thriller week for me, starting with Megan Miranda’s The Perfect Stranger, a psychological thriller set in Western Pennsylvania, where a journalist takes refuge as a schoolteacher after being disgraced and discredited back in Boston. But where has her roommate gone? And why has someone attacked a woman with (almost) her face? So many thanks to whomever it was on the Great Thoughts Great Readers page who recommended this book! I read it in a night, and immediately went to hunt down the author’s first book, All the Missing Girls.
For a change of tone, I moved on to the latest in Donna Andrews’s Murder with [Insert Bird Here] series, Die Like an Eagle, in which the usual hijinks and murder ensue in the small Virginia county of Caerphilly, this time on the baseball field.
I’ve been meaning to read Val McDermid for ages (does anyone else remember the British tv series, Wire in the Blood?), so I pounced on The Skeleton Road, which surprised me by being less Jackson Brodie and more international intrigue, tracing a dead body found on a roof in Edinburgh back to the siege of Dubrovnik and Balkan war crimes of the 1990s.
So, basically, it’s been a run of reading win, albeit all in very different ways. Which raises the question… what to read next?
What have you been reading this week?
Wednesday, April 19th, 2017
The winner of my ARC of The Night the Lights Went Out is…
Sarah! (Of Comment #57.)
Congrats, Sarah! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll put your book in the mail to you.
If you want to learn more about The Night the Lights Went Out or find Karen on tour, just click here.
Stay tuned for a new give away coming up on Monday!
Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
The English Wife is now available for pre-order from Amazon and B&N!
Book production happens at different paces. I’ve had books (ahem, The Lure of the Moonflower, ahem), where the cover and official blurb were out in the world months before I’d actually gotten words on the page. In this case, it’s the other way around: we may not have a cover or blurb yet, but there’s a very final, final manuscript just waiting to be bound into book form.
I can’t wait to share the book with you on January 9th, 2018!
I’ll have more here about The English Wife including teasers, behind the scenes, and contests for advance copies as we get closer to the release date.
As a reminder, the grand prize winner of the Pinkorama gets an advance copy of The English Wife— so if you haven’t started your sugary creation, now’s the time to get crafting!
Monday, April 17th, 2017
I seem to be accumulating large piles of advance review copies of books. Some of these haven’t come out yet; some are just out; and others have been out for quite some time (at least if the amount of dust is anything to go by).
Which means… I’m bringing back Monday Give Away!
And what better way to kick it off than with an amazing book by one of my favorite people: Karen White‘s The Night the Lights Went Out, which just came out last week. (You can find a list of Karen’s book tour stops here.)
Here’s the official blurb:
From the New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street series comes a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems….
Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.
Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.
Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather’s world.
In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women….
If you like Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, you will love The Night the Lights Went Out.
The book spans two time periods: present day Atlanta mom culture and Depression era Georgia.
For a chance to win an ARC of The Night the Lights Went Out, here’s your question: which of those settings intrigues you more?
One person who comments will be chosen at random to receive my ARC of The Night the Lights Went Out. The winner will be announced on Wednesday. And if you see the book in a bookstore or the library in the meantime… snap it up!
Friday, April 7th, 2017
Calling all francophiles and francophones: there are now two editions of La mystérieuse histoire de l’Œillet Rose! (Aka The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.)
If you’re in France, keep an eye out for the brand new French edition at your local librarie on April 14th!
The Masque of the Black Tulip should be following shortly….
And here’s a quick interview en français avec les Lectrices Diva about Pink, et al.
Meanwhile, if you’re in French Canada, you can find the first three books in the Pink series looking like this:
Which cover of La mystérieuse histoire de l’Œillet Rose do you like best?
Tuesday, April 4th, 2017
Are you ready for the 7th Annual Pink Carnation Peep Diorama Contest? It’s spring, which means… it’s Pinkorama time!
The rules are simple: using those sugary, marshmallowy goodies (Peeps), recreate your favorite scene from any one of my books, novellas, or short stories. There are the Pink books, for Napoleonic Peeps; The Ashford Affair, just in case you feel like going Edwardian Peep, 1920s Peep, or Kenya Peep; That Summer, for Victorian Peep and Pre-Raphaelite Peep (or Dorrington Descendant Peep); The Other Daughter, for Bright Young Peeps; or The Forgotten Room, for New York Peeps throughout the ages. (Can’t you just picture that World War II Peep?)
Two L (disillusioned law student Peep), “A Night at Northanger” (ghost hunter Peep), and “The Record Set Right” (World War I or modern Peep) are also fair game.
Okay, so the title is a little misleading. I guess it’s really more appropriately a Willigorama at this point? But that doesn’t sound nearly so catchy as Pinkorama, so Pinkorama it remains.
Once your Peep creation is complete, take a picture (or pictures) of your Pinkorama and email them to me at email@example.com with “Pinkorama” in the subject line.
The deadline for the Pinkorama is Tuesday, May 2. I’ll post all the Pinkoramas here on the website and open it up to general voting.
As for the prize…. Every entrant will receive a signed paperback copy of The Forgotten Room.
The winner? Will receive an ARC of my January 2018 novel, The English Wife. (To be mailed as soon as those ARCs arrive.)
If you’re seeking Peep inspiration, check out last year’s peeptastic entries or the Pinkorama Gallery!
Let the sugary fun begin!