Archive for June, 2017

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, June 30th, 2017

There’s nothing like rediscovering an old favorite. This week, I went back to my Renaissance roots with Judith Merkle Riley’s The Master of All Desires, in which a would-be poetess with a difficult family finds herself accidentally in possession of the Undying Head of Menander, a sinister wish-granter who delights in causing doom and chaos. With the help of Nostradamus, she manages to survive French politics, Menander, and the machinations of disappointed suitors who are after her dowry (or Menander). For other history nerds out there, the send-ups of Catherine de’ Medici, Diane de Poitiers, Henri II, and a very young Mary Queen of Scots are wickedly brilliant (and spot-on).

It’s hard to find anything comparable to Judith Merkle Riley’s novels. The closest comparison would probably be Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, which combines the same rich historical detail with quirky humor, although Merkly Riley’s books all also contain a touch of the supernatural. (They did like their alchemy and diabolism in the Renaissance!) Sadly, there are only six Judith Merkle Riley books in the world– A Vision of Light and two sequels (medieval), The Serpent Garden (Tudor), The Master of All Desires (French Renaissance), and Oracle Glass (court of Louis XIV), but they are all richly researched, brilliantly funny, and hold up to any number of re-reads.

Having got that out of my system, I now have a big pile of new books to read, including two Carol Goodmans, two Elly Griffiths, a Mary Kubica, and The Romance Reader’s Guide to Life (which someone recommended over on my Facebook author page).

What have you been reading this week? And what are you planning to read over the July 4th weekend?



Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

This week, I started with Carol Goodman’s River Road, a psychological thriller about a hit and run in an upstate New York university town, and all the secrets that come out in its wake.

River Road was an emotionally fraught read, so, after that, I moved on to something a bit less gut-wrenching: Josephine Tey’s Miss Pym Disposes, in which a visiting lecturer finds herself embroiled in the student politics at a phys ed college in England. There’s always something wonderful astringent about Tey’s prose.

What have you been reading this week?



THE ENGLISH WIFE– Pre-Order Links!

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

The English Wife is now available for pre-order in both print and e-book! (And also audio book.)

You can pre-order The English Wife on Kindle or Nook and it will be magically delivered to your device on January 9th, 2018….

In the meantime, keep an eye out for a Goodreads give away coming up in early July! Have you added The English Wife to your Goodreads to read shelf yet?

Here’s the official blurb:

The English Wife From the New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous New York Gilded Age novel full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?



PERILOUS GARD Winner

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

The winner of my extra copy of The Perilous Gard is…

Susan Craig! (Of Comment #10.)

Congrats, Susan! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll put your book in the mail to you. Happy reading!



Monday Give Away: THE PERILOUS GARD

Monday, June 19th, 2017

This Monday’s give away is a little bit different. This week’s book isn’t an advance copy. Quite the contrary. This is a book that first came out before I was born. But I’ve discovered that I have duplicate copies, so it seems only right to send one on to a good home.

So this week, I give you… Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard.

Here’s the official (very short) blurb:

perilous gard In 1558, while exiled by Queen Mary Tudor to a remote castle known as Perilous Gard, young Kate Sutton becomes involved in a series of mysterious events that lead her to an underground world peopled by Fairy Folk—whose customs are even older than the Druids’ and include human sacrifice.

Highly recommended for fellow fans of Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, Patricia C. Wrede’s Snow White and Rose Red, and anything faerie (with an “ae”) or Tudor.

So, for a chance to win my extra copy of The Perilous Gard, here’s your question: what’s your favorite oldie but goodie book?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.



Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, June 16th, 2017

I’ve had an excellent run of new books this week, across a rather broad genre spectrum, from historical fiction, to women’s fiction, to ghost story/psychological thriller. Here’s this week’s haul:

— Jennifer Ryan’s The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, about a group of women in an English village during World War II, and the various dramas that beset their community as they all grow and find their own strengths and commonalities;

— Kristan Higgins’s On Second Thought, set in a small town in New York, in which a death in the family turns two sisters’ lives upside down, but ultimately brings them both closer together;

— Carol Goodman’s The Widow’s House, a chills down the spine “is it a ghost? is it gaslighting? is the protagonist going mad?” story in which old secrets and, possibly, ghosts begin to come out when two writers relocate from Brooklyn to a tumbledown mansion in upstate New York.

What have you been reading this week?



STOLEN TIME Winner

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

The two winners of the e-copies of Chloé Duval’s Stolen Time are…

Deborah (of Comment #3) and Rachel Adrianna (of Comment #16)!

Congrats and happy reading to you both! Chloé will be in touch via email with your e-book link– so keep an eye out in your inbox!



Monday Give Away: STOLEN TIME

Monday, June 12th, 2017

I am delighted to report that our very own Céline (aka Chloé Duval), who many of you may know from this website community and Facebook, is celebrating the release of her first novel, Stolen Time!

Here’s the official blurb:

stolen-time-chloe-duvalIn a rural French village, a letter is delivered decades late, inspiring a young woman to try to reunite two star-crossed lovers . . .
Middle school teacher by day, romance writer by night, and group knitter on Tuesday evenings, Flavie Richalet leads a fairly uneventful life—until she receives a long delayed letter meant for a total stranger. Postmarked 1971, the yellowed envelope, addressed to an Amélie Lacombe, holds a fervent message of love and a marriage proposal, signed only with the initial E. Given her own fractured family history, Flavie is dreamily determined to learn what became of the couple…

Flavie’s inquiries lead her to a French seaside inn—and to E. himself, a true romantic who never forgot the girl who got away so many years ago. But his protective nephew, B&B owner Romaric, isn’t sure that trying to find Amélie after all these years is good for his uncle. At odds with the tall, dark, and impossibly passionate Romaric, Flavie must show him, and perhaps herself, that true love is timeless—and always worth waiting for…

Now I’d like to hand the floor over to the author, to talk about how she came to write her debut novel. Over to you, Céline/Chloé!

Hi, everyone, and thank you so much, Lauren, for allowing me to talk to your readers about my debut novel! Being a proud member of the Willig-maniacs family for quite some time now, I can’t tell you how honored I am to be here today, on the other side of the page!

First, let me introduce myself: my (pen) name is Chloé Duval, and I am a French-Canadian romance novelist – or at least, I try to be; sometimes, it feels like I am but the mere vessel through which the characters that have claimed possession of my brain get their stories out, if you see what I mean.

As a little girl, I loved fairy tales, and used to write stories about princes slaying dragons and freeing princesses from towers (any resemblance to any famous fairy tale would be completely fortuitous. Or maybe not). Then life, school, homework, studies took over, and I kind of let go of that creative side. Fast forward a *few* years later, when I started feeling my fingers tingling and the urge to write romantic stories came back to me with a vengeance. For a while then, I had discovered Lauren and the wonderful Pink Carnation series, and I *really* wanted to write stories that were as fascinating, as compelling, and as romantic as the Pink Carnation books were. I wanted to share the butterflies, and make people feel as happy as I was when I read them (and re-read them, and re-re-re-read them). I wanted to bring as much light into the world as Lauren brought into mine with her books. So, I wrote. And wrote again, when the first attempts didn’t work very well. And then, one day, two things happened. I saw Letters To Juliet, and heard about a postcard that made its way to its addressee quite a few decades after being mailed. Those two otherwise unrelated events made me start thinking… what if it was a love letter that got lost in the mail? What if in that love letter, a man asked a woman to elope with him, but she never received it? What if life kept them apart after that? What if… what if… Cheeks burning hot with excitement, my heart beating hard against my ribcage, I sat down with a pen and a notebook and started jotting down ideas, plots, character profiles, and that love letter that would be at the center of my story.

A few months later, Stolen Time was born, and then published (which in itself, was amazing enough), and then, acquired for translation into English (by then, I was pinching myself every other day just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming). And I have to admit, I am so in love with this story that I can’t tell you how happy I am that it happened, because it means I get to share it with readers, and that is the best feeling in the world.

Now, I’d love to introduce you to the story. I’m offering one ebook to two lucky readers! Just tell us in the comments… have you ever received something that wasn’t addressed to you? And if yes, what did you do?

Stolen Time makes its English language debut tomorrow, June 13th.

Happy book birthday, Céline/Chloé!

Good luck to everyone who has entered to win a copy. The winners will be announced on Wednesday.



THE ENGLISH WIFE: ARCs!

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

When I got back from writer retreat yesterday, the best surprise was waiting in the mail for me: advance copies of The English Wife!

English Wife ARCs

Here’s the blurb from the back:

From the New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Willig, comes this scandalous Gilded Age novel full of family secrets, affairs, and even murder.

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria. Yes, there are rumors that she’s having an affair with the architect, but rumors are rumors and people will gossip. But then Bayard is found dead with a knife in his chest on the night of their Twelfth Night Ball, Annabelle goes missing, presumed drowned, and the papers go mad. Bay’s sister, Janie, forms an unlikely alliance with a reporter to uncover the truth, convinced that Bay would never have killed his wife, that it must be a third party, but the more she learns about her brother and his wife, the more everything she thought she knew about them starts to unravel. Who were her brother and his wife, really? And why did her brother die with the name George on his lips?

Stay tuned for an ARC give away this summer!



THE WAY TO LONDON Winner

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

The winner of my advance copy of Alix Rickloff’s The Way to London is…

… Kelley B! (Of Comment #31.)

Congrats, Kelley! If you let me know where to send it, I’ll put your book in the mail to you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Check back on Monday for a new give away– plus special guest post!