Weekly Reading Round-Up
March 24th, 2017

It’s a funny thing. When I get down to the writing stage of a new book, I need new books to read. Not old comfort reads, but brand-new-to-me books, preferably a series, if one can be had. Laurie King’s Kate Martinelli mysteries got me through the end of That Summer, Laura Resnick’s Esther Diamond novels saw me through The Other Daughter, and Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London made The Lure of the Moonflower possible. I have all sorts of theories about this, none of them terribly useful, especially when I’m desperately in need of a new series– because that new book isn’t just going to write itself. (Although, sometimes, it would be nice if it would, like those elves and the shoemaker. Or do elves only do shoes?)

On the recommendation of my best friend, I’m giving Elly Griffiths’s Ruth Galloway mysteries mysteries a go, although I seem to have started at the end of the series by accident, with The Ghost Fields.

I also finally, finally read Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard, in which one of the Princess Elizabeth’s ladies in waiting is exiled by Queen Mary to a remote castle where the border between the mortal realm and faerie may be thinner than in other places. How did I never read this book as a teenager? It’s making me feel rather nostalgic for both Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin (Tam Lin reimagined in the 1970s, over four years in a small liberal arts college) and Patricia C. Wrede’s Snow White and Rose Red (an Elizabethan-set retelling of the classic fairy tale).

What have you been reading this week? And do you have any good series to recommend?


March 19th, 2017

The winner of the advance copy of Jennifer Robson’s Goodnight from London is…

…Karen Townsend!

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


Weekly Reading Round-Up
March 17th, 2017

This week, I was lucky enough to get my hands on an early copy of Jennifer Robson’s latest, Goodnight from London.

goodnight from londonUnlike her earlier books, this one moves forward to World War II, when an American journalist takes a job with a paper in London, covering the Blitz (and living through it). In the best sort of way, this book reminded me of Rilla of Ingleside: the war seen from the home front, stretching on longer than anyone thought it could– although with rather more bombing and fewer war babies in soup tureens. And, of course, World War II rather than World War I.

And now for the best part! Would you like to read Goodnight from London now, rather than waiting for the May release? I have one ARC up for grabs. For a chance to win, just comment below!

The winner will be announced on Sunday…. Good luck!

What have you been reading this week?


THE ENGLISH WIFE: Official Release Date!
March 13th, 2017

This just in: The English Wife, aka the next stand alone novel, aka the Gilded Age Book, has an official release date!

You can find The English Wife on shelves on January 9, 2018.

Just to give you a glimpse, here are the final proofs (plus tea and biscuits):

English Wife proofs

Cover, excerpts, buy links, and all that other fun stuff coming up soon!


Weekly Reading Round-Up
March 10th, 2017

So many thanks to Carly for mentioning The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope in the Facebook comments on last week’s Weekly Reading Round-Up!

Where has this book been all my life?

Short answer: on my bookshelf. A friend gave it to me years ago, but it languished with the other “I’ll get to this someday” books. So I’m so grateful to Carly for reminding me of it and making me finally go read it. It’s… How to describe? It’s very Pink Carnation-y, in that there’s a modern heroine solving a mystery involving a lost set of papers and a dashing marauder during the American Revolution. We get the historical story told in the first person by the actors themselves, with wonderful deadpan humor and a couple of interwoven romances. Highly, highly recommended.

And now I’m in that book mourning period that you enter into when you’ve just finished something very, very good and aren’t quite sure what to read next.

Fortunately, I saw Jennifer Robson the other day, and she was kind enough to give me an ARC of Goodnight from London, her upcoming World War II novel. So I don’t think my book slump will last long!

What have you been reading this week?


Weekly Reading Round-Up
March 3rd, 2017

First off, so many thanks to everyone who came out to the Boston Public Library on Tuesday night! It is always a joy to talk books in such great company.

The other great thing about heading out to Boston? Reading time on the train. (I wasn’t meant to be reading. I was meant to be writing. But… these things happen.)

The two highlights of my recent reading spree are:

— Karen White’s The Night the Lights Went Out. And I’m not just saying this because Karen knows where all of my skeletons are buried. (And, if she went after them, would undoubtedly do so in a coordinated outfit while using a Kate Spade shovel.) I loved this book for both its send-up of the modern insanity of private school parenting and for its poignant look into a Georgia childhood during the Depression. The two halves of the book, modern affluence and past struggle, provided the perfect contrast– and set up an excellent mystery.

— Tana French’s The Trespasser. I first stumbled on Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad books via a book dispensing machine– I kid you not– at Heathrow Airport lo these many years ago. The book was In the Woods, the first of French’s psychological– and highly engaging– police procedurals, and I was hooked. Each book focuses on a different detective, each with his or her own personal issues and slant. Each contains a highly twisty mystery told in lyrical prose. I have only one complaint: why has no one made these into a tv mini-series yet?

What have you been reading this week?


Boston Tonight!
February 28th, 2017

If you’re in Boston, come join Eloisa James, Caroline Linden, and me tonight at 6:30 at the Boston Public Library for a discussion of romance, history, and fiction– not necessarily in that order.

When: Tuesday, 2/28, 6:30-8:00 (aka tonight!)
Where: Boston Public Library, Copley Square, Commonwealth Salon
What: Panel discussion with Eloisa James and Caroline Linden
Why: Because it’s Tuesday. Also, books.

See you in Boston!

LW2-19 (1)


Weekly Reading Round-Up
February 3rd, 2017

Which has been more like monthly reading round-up around here recently…. Sorry, all! That’s partly because, instead of fiction, a lot of my recent reading has looked like this:

FullSizeRender (2)

Back in fiction land, I’ve been on a Julian Kestrel binge. For those who haven’t stumbled on them yet, they’re Regency-set mysteries, featuring dandy sleuth Julian Kestral, beautifully researched, beautifully plotted, and beautifully written. Even on a tenth or eleventh re-read, I find myself reading phrases out loud, just to savor the cadence of them.

After my Kestrel binge, it felt incumbent upon me to actually read something new for a change, so I hied myself off to the library’s new books shelf, where I came upon Brunonia Barry’s The Fifth Petal, a murder mystery set in Salem, around the 1989 murders of three women and the old secrets that get stirred up when the survivor of those murders, a child at the time, returns to Salem as a grown-up.

Next up is Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia, and, held in reserve until the writing gets tough, the latest Rivers of London novel, The Hanging Tree.

What have you been reading recently?


Boston in February
January 9th, 2017

Hello, Boston friends! On the last day of February, Eloisa James, Sarah MacLean and I will be heading your way for a talk at the Boston Public Library, moderated by Caroline Linden.

You can find us on February 28th, at 6:30, in the Commonwealth Salon of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square, where we’ll be chatting about history, romance, and whatnot (there’s always a lot of whatnot).

If you’re in town, come join us!

What: Panel Discussion and Book Signing
When: February 28, 6:30
Where: Boston Public Library, Copley Square, 700 Boylston Street
Who: Eloisa James, Sarah MacLean, Lauren Willig, Caroline Linden– and you!


Weekly Reading Round-Up
January 6th, 2017

Happy January, all! To kick off the New Year, I’ve been reading:

Snowdrift and Other Stories, a Georgette Heyer short story collection, featuring three rediscovered stories. (For those of you who have read Pistols for Two, it’s Pistols for Two plus three.) Of course, I loved them. You can’t beat Georgette Heyer for historical hilarity. But I did find they were best taken with breaks in between, lest you forget just which Regency miss was eloping (or not eloping) with whom.

High Rising, Angela Thirkell’s first novel, set partly over the Christmas holidays and New Year, which may be what made me think of it. A novelist juggling a child, manuscripts, and various obligations over the holidays? Hmmm…. Mostly, I love Thirkell’s breezy writing style and light-hearted social satire.

Summer Half, also Thirkell. A much later Thirkell, but still filled with her signature mismatches that come undone and matches that come right. Or something like that. This one is set at a public school and features masters entangled with the headmaster’s vain daughter and Tony Morland, the annoying small boy in High Rising, as a worldly wise sixth former.

There’s a character reading law in Summer Half, which, naturally, made me think of Kate Ross’s third Julian Kestrel mystery, Whom the Gods Love, set partly around the Inns of Court (albeit a good hundred years earlier than Summer Half). But that’s how free association works, so that’s what I’ll be reading next.

What have you been reading as 2017 unfolds?