Archive for July, 2017

Pink Carnation: $2.99!

Saturday, July 29th, 2017

They seek him here; they seek him there… and, in e-book, the Pink Carnation is currently $2.99 everywhere!

I’m not quite sure how long this price drop will last (the author is always the last to know), but, for the moment, the first book in the Pink Carnation series is $2.99 on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Google, and iBooks.

So if there’s someone you know who has been wanting to give the series a try, now may be the time….

Pink 1 cover

And while you’re in a swashbuckling mood, the first of Donna Thorland‘s Renegades of the Revolution series, The Turncoat, is also on sale for $2.99 in e on Kindle, Nook, et al. You can find out more about The Turncoat here.

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, July 28th, 2017

I’ve been having such a good run of new books recently. On tap for this week was:

— Francine Matthews’s Death in Rough Water, the second of her Nantucket-set Merry Folger mysteries. The more I read this series, the more I love it– particularly the developing relationship between the detective and another character, which reminds me so much (in the best possible way) of Harriet Vane and Lord Peter Wimsey;

— Lynda Cohen Loigman’s The Two-Family House, a book that kept me up reading long, long after I’d meant to go to sleep, set in 1950s and 60s Brooklyn, about the way one decision made on one snowy night shapes the fate of two families for a generation to come (and don’t you love those books where you can absolutely understand and sympathize with why characters do something or other, but also the unexpected repercussions that fan out from it?);

— and did I mention that I’m a little obsessed with the Merry Folger books right now? I’d meant to do some work reading after my Two-Family House book binge, but instead couldn’t resist moving on to Book III, Death in a Mood Indigo.

What have you been reading this week?


Thursday, July 27th, 2017

Because who doesn’t want to be thinking about January in the middle of July?

As the sun blazes overhead, let’s get ready for the season of frost and reading snuggled up in a warm blanket by marking your calendars for the English Wife tour, coming to a bookstore (possibly) near you in January.

Here’s what’s on the calendar so far:

New York, NY
January 9, 6pm
English Wife Launch Party!
Talk & Signing
The Corner Bookstore
1313 Madison Avenue

Woodstock, GA
January 13, 1pm
Talk & Signing
with super special guest, Karen White!
FoxTale Book Shoppe
105 E Main Street

FoxTale English Wife

There will also be events at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, AZ, and Murder by the Book in Houston, TX, among other places– more details to come as we get closer to launch date!

You can pre-order a signed copy of The English Wife from The Corner Bookstore, FoxTale Book Shoppe , The Poisoned Pen , or Murder by the Book.

The English Wife is also available for pre-order from all the usual suspects: in hardcover from from your favorite local bookseller, Amazon, B&N, Books-A-Million, Indiebound, and Powell’s; in e-book on Kindle and Nook; and on audio CD.

Here’s the official blurb:

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

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life in New York: 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?

“Lauren Willig has made a name for herself writing the finest historical intrigue and The English Wife does not disappoint – it is her best yet! Written with keen detail and subtle nuance, The English Wife is a dark and scintillating tale of betrayal, secrets and a marriage gone wrong that will have readers on the edge of their seats until the final breathtaking twist.” -Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale

Let the countdown to January begin!

If You Like….

Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Maybe it’s all those postcards of the Eiffel Tower, maybe it comes of watching Gigi at a susceptible age, but there’s just something about Belle Epoque Paris.

Even though The English Wife is set largely in New York and London, I couldn’t resist sending my characters on a little excursion to Paris, where they got to picnic in the Jardin des Tuileries and visit the first ever exhibition of the brand new Photo-Club de Paris.

Do you also like to vacation in late 19th century Paris?

If you like books set in Belle Epoque Paris, you’ll probably like…

— Guy de Maupassant’s Bel-Ami, a dark story of social ambition about a personable man who sleeps and marries his way up in fin de siecle Paris (now also a movie with Kristin Scott Thomas, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, and that guy from Twilight);

— Proust’s Swann’s Way— because, really, how can we talk about the Belle Epoque without including Proust?

— Edith Wharton’s Madame De Treymes, an American eye’s view of the gratin (or upper class) of Belle Epoque Paris, told through the lens of the unhappy marriage of a New Yorker to a French aristocrat;

— M.J. Rose’s The Witch of Painted Sorrows, in which a young woman flees an unhappy marriage in New York to seek refuge with her grandmother, once a notable Paris courtesan, and to take classes with Moreau at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. But as she explores her artistic talent and family history, she finds herself drawn deeper and deeper into supernatural forces beyond her control;

— Alyson Richman’s The Velvet Hours. Remember that Paris apartment that was closed up during World War II and rediscovered, untouched, in 2016? The Velvet Hours goes back and forth between the life of the original owner of the apartment, Marthe de Florian, a Belle Epoque courtesan, and her granddaughter’s experiences on the eve of World War II;

— Michelle Gable’s A Paris Apartment, also inspired by that same apartment, but going back and forth between Marthe de Florian in the late 19th century and a Sotheby’s employee in the present day;

— Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Painted Girls, inspired by Degas’s painting, “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen”, about two sisters struggling to survive in 1880s Paris;

— Carole Nelson Douglas’s Chapel Noir. This is several books along in Carole Nelson Douglas’s amazing Irene Adler series (which began with Good Night Mr. Holmes, later reissued as The Adventuress), but you can certainly read it by itself. Irene Adler and her companion, Nell, now living in the suburbs of Paris, are called in to examine a grisly murder at a brothel patronized by the Prince of Wales, leading them into an investigation that takes them to the darkest corners of Paris;

— Madeleine Brent’s A Heritage of Shadows, which takes place in both Paris and London in the 1890s, involving Paris’s seedy underworld and one young woman caught up in it (very much a 1980s period piece!);

— Claude Izner’s Victor Legris mysteries in which a young bookseller finds himself drawn into solving murders in 1890s Paris;

— and, of course, that gem among made-for-TV Barbara Cartland movies, The Flame is Love, which manages to combine every possible cliche about fin de siecle Paris, including a spot of diabolism.

I have a feeling I’ve missed several very obvious books– and many that aren’t obvious at all. Help! What are your favorite novels set in Belle Epoque Paris?

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, July 21st, 2017

I had a stack of books I was saving for slightly later in the summer, but couldn’t resist digging into them now. So, this week, I treated myself to:

— Amy Poeppel’s Small Admissions (which just came out in paperback), a smart and snarky combination of social satire and coming of age story, in which, in the wake of having both her romantic and grad school expectations crushed, a twenty-something takes a job in the admissions department of a Manhattan private school and learns about herself in the process– while dodging crazy parents;

— Susan Meissner’s As Bright as Heaven (coming spring 2018), a riveting and wrenching historical novel about a family in Philadelphia during the 1918 flu pandemic, struggling to survive in the midst of a world turned abruptly upside down, as death stalked the streets, schools and churches were closed, bodies piled up too fast to bury, and a person you waved to today might be gone tomorrow.

FullSizeRender (3)

What have you been reading this week?

If You Like….

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

As I was gathering up my pictures of the various settings in The English Wife to share with you, it occurred to me that it might be fun to do a bunch of If You Likes to cover the various places involved in the book.

So, since this is my Gilded Age book, it made sense to start out with Gilded Age New York. In subsequent weeks, I’ll move on to late Victorian London, Belle Epoque Paris, and the Hudson Valley.

But, for the moment, let’s pop back in time to Manhattan circa 1870-1910….

If you like books set in Gilded Age New York, you’ll probably like…

— Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. How could we not start with Wharton, the archetypal author of New York’s Gilded Age? Wharton takes us through Lily Bart’s desperate struggle to remain a member of the social set to which she was born, highlighting all the idiosyncrasies and hypocrisies of New York’s claustrophobic upper class.

— Jack Finney’s Time and Again. Who doesn’t dream of being able to step back in time? Maybe that’s why this book is such a perennial favorite: an exercise into what might happen if you could actually hop over into the New York of 1882, examining the past with modern (well, sort of modern– 1970) eyes.

— Sara Donati’s The Gilded Hour, the story of two female doctors, cousins, moving between the orphanages and ballrooms of 1880s New York.

— Caleb Carr’s The Alienist, an iconic thriller set in 1896 New York (the same time period as The English Wife), as Dr. Lazslo Kreizler, the “alienist”, attempts to find a serial killer.

— Louis Auchincloss’s East Side Story. This one is cheating a bit, because it begins before and stretches well past the Gilded Age– but it’s a deft and insightful look at New York’s elite and how they became what they are.

— Beverly Swerling’s City of Promise, which takes an intimate look at New York’s post-Civil War boom through the eyes of an entrepreneur who makes his fortune through pioneering apartment living and a young woman with a dodgy past.

— on the romance side of things, Joanna Shupe’s Knickerbocker Club books, Magnate, Tycoon, and Baron, all set in the bustle and boom of New York in the 1880s.

— on the mystery side, there’s Stefanie Pintoff’s Simon Ziele series, starting with In the Shadow of Gotham, about a detective solving crimes in 1905 New York.

— and then there’s The Forgotten Room, the novel I co-wrote with Karen White and Beatriz Williams. The book takes place in three time periods, starting off in the 1890s, as a young woman goes to work as a maid in an Upper East Side mansion. But what is her real relationship to the house and its inhabitants?

While I was writing this post, I stumbled upon an an earlier If You Like post I had written on the same topic. There are some overlaps, but not as many as you would expect! So you can check here for more recommendations….

Which are your favorite Gilded Age New York novels?

(I’ll be sharing some Gilded Age New York non-fiction books in the fall.)

Name That Book

Saturday, July 15th, 2017

Today, I got an email from Fiona, asking if I could identify a book for her. It didn’t ring a bell for me (or, rather, it rang a sort of bell, which turned out to be the wrong bell), so I thought I’d call in my crack team of book experts, i.e. you, to see if anyone else could put a name to it.

Here’s Fiona’s description of the Demmed Elusive Book:

I read it about 5 years ago, was paperback, cover was kind of cartoony; was it purple with the scene of her standing by a basement door that was cracked open and all you could see of her was from the waist down and she was wearing a skirt and heels?

Woman inherits house, it’s a sanctuary/safe house ends up with a big male fairy, and vampire living with her, for some reason there is a guy with a sword after her or a housemate, there are wards around the house. she and the guy get together, think she finds being near a really big tree on property comforting???????

the guy has a sword, only he seems to get through the ward, none of others he is with can

not sure if mixing books, but think there was something in attic, bit grumpy and got left alone.

I was initially thinking possibly Tanya Huff’s Summon the Keeper, because of the something grumpy in the attic– but I don’t think that one has a fairy.

Can anyone name that book?

Also, does anyone else have unidentified books that have been plaguing them? If you do, I’m happy to post here and see if anyone can name them!

Weekly Reading Round-Up

Friday, July 14th, 2017

I’ve been on a mystery kick this week. I started with Carol Goodman’s The Seduction of Water, in which a writing professor goes back to the Catskills hotel where she grew up to solve the mystery of her mother’s death decades before, and then moved on to the first of Francine Matthews’s Merry Folger mysteries, Death in the Off-Season, in which the Nantucket police chief’s detective daughter must prove herself as a detective by solving the murder of the black sheep brother of a prominent local family.

I’d go right into the second Merry Folger mystery, Death in Rough Water, but I’m trying to pace myself and make the series last, so, instead, I’m switching genres entirely and moving on to Amy Poeppel’s satire of the New York private school process, Small Admissions.

What have you been reading this week?

French Books Winner

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

The winner of the bundle of books in French is…

Andra! (Of Comment #6.)

Congrats, Andra! If you let me know where to send them, I’ll pop your books in the mail to you.

So many thanks to everyone who entered for the wonderful French books/movie recs! I’ll be running a second contest on my Facebook author page tomorrow, so pop by there for another chance to win!

Monday Give Away: En Français!

Monday, July 10th, 2017

In honor of France’s upcoming national holiday, I’m giving away copies of my books in French!

Would you like to read the first two Pink books or The Ashford Affair en français? Then now’s your chance! I’ll be giving away one set of all three here today and another on Facebook later this week.

Pink France La_mysterieuse_histoire_de_l_oeillet_rose Black Tulip France Ashford France paperback

So, for a chance to win The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, The Masque of the Black Tulip, and The Ashford Affair in French, here’s your question: what’s your favorite book or movie set in France?

The winner will be announced on Wednesday.