New Historical Fiction Book: The Sisters: A Novel by Nancy Jensen

The Sisters: A Novel by Nancy Jensen

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; First Edition edition (November 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312542704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312542702

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Information from Amazon:

Review

“You’ll be drawn into the arms of The Sisters as if these women were your own family. You’ll want to hold them, warn them, betray their secrets. But this is a novel, one that is fresh and vibrant and complex. You cannot live the sisters’ lives, but only share in their joy and heartbreak and ultimate triumph. A remarkably powerful book.”
—Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale

“Nancy Jensen has the natural story-teller’s ability to command attention, but with sophisticated psychological understanding and beautifully crafted writing. The Sisters is a needed novel that will become a very popular classic.”
—Sena Jeter Naslund, author of Ahab’s Wife

“A beautiful and touching novel about the events and choices that shape not only our lives but the lives of generations to come. Nancy Jensen takes us on an epic yet intimate journey through eighty years, ultimately revealing the flawed but lovely landscape that makes up a family. Her characters will stay with us long after the book’s final pages.”
—Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader

Product Description

In the tradition of Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping and Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge, a dazzling debut novel about the family bonds that remain even when they seemirretrievably torn apart

Growing up in hardscrabble Kentucky in the 1920s, with their mother dead and their stepfather an ever-present threat, Bertie Fischer and her older sister Mabel have no one but each other—with perhaps a sweetheart for Bertie waiting in the wings. But on the day that Bertie receives her eighth-grade diploma, good intentions go terribly wrong. A choice made in desperate haste sets off a chain of misunderstandings that will divide the sisters and reverberate through three generations of women.

What happens when nothing turns out as you planned? From the Depression through World War II and Vietnam, and smaller events both tragic and joyful, Bertie and Mabel forge unexpected identities that are shaped by unspeakable secrets. As the sisters have daughters and granddaughters of their own, they discover that both love and betrayal are even more complicated than they seem.

Gorgeously written, with extraordinary insight and emotional truth, Nancy Jensen’s powerful debut novel illuminates the far-reaching power of family and family secrets.

New Historical Fiction Book: A Christmas Homecoming: A Novel by Anne Perry

A Christmas Homecoming: A Novel by Anne Perry

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (October 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345524632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345524638

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Information from Amazon:

Among the brilliant array of Anne Perry’s New York Times bestselling novels, her Christmas stories occupy perhaps the warmest spot in the hearts of readers. Each one is a masterpiece of suspense; each is alight with the true holiday spirit.

In A Christmas Homecoming, a familiar face from the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels—Charlotte’s mother, Caroline—travels with her young husband, Joshua Fielding, and his theatrical troupe to Whitby, the Yorkshire fishing village where Dracula the vampire first touched English soil in the sensational novel named after him. Joshua has arranged to produce a stage adaptation of Dracula by the daughter of Whitby millionaire Charles Netheridge during the Christmas holiday, but after the disastrous first read-through of her amateurish script, only the fact that the company is depending on Netheridge’s financial backing for their spring tour keeps them at work.

As tempers flare and wind and snow swirl around Netheridge’s lonely hilltop mansion, a black-cloaked stranger emerges from the storm—an eerily opportune arrival, for this enigmatic figure, one Anton Ballin, turns out to be a theatrical genius. At the same time, a brooding evil makes itself felt. Instead of the theatrical triumph that Netheridge desired for his daughter, there is murder—shocking and terrifying.

Anne Perry’s ninth Christmas novel keeps us poised on a razor’s edge of suspense, hypnotized by a story in which the heartwarming power of goodness is challenged by the seductive power of inner darkness. In the end, A Christmas Homecoming lifts the spirit and rejoices the heart.

Praise for the Christmas novels of Anne Perry
 
A Christmas Odyssey“[Perry] writes with detail that invades the senses.”—Lincoln Journal Star

A Christmas Promise

“Poignant . . . should be on the Christmas stocking list of anyone who likes a sniffle of nostalgia.”—The Washington Times

A Christmas Grace

“[A] heartwarming, if crime-tinged, complement to the holiday season.”—Booklist

A Christmas Beginning

“Intriguing . . . Perry’s use of period detail is, as always, strong and evocative.”—The Seattle Times

A Christmas Secret

“A delightful little book . . . Perry’s gift is that she can evoke a sense of place and time while still producing the thrills and chills expected of a modern-day mystery writer.”—The Orlando Sentinel

Book Reviews of The Lion Wakes by Robert Low

While blogging about the latest books being published in the field of historical fiction I have noticed that very few titles have reviews available pre-publication – I assume this is an embargo to make sure punters don’t get disappointed when they can’t buy the book straight away. So I thought for some selected titles I would also post some excerpts of reviews to give an overview of a book’s reception.

First up The Lion Wakes by Robert Low.

Living.scotsman.com gives a generally positive review, noting the gripping action, but also notes that sometimes the narrative is hard to follow:

All in all he has done something remarkable, and I look forward to the sequels. He has not set out to demolish the myth, but rather, by questioning simple interpretations of it, to deepen and enrich it; and he has brought this off in fine style. As a piece of bravura historical painting The Lion Wakes is remarkable.

Historicalnovels.info is again positive and mentions the Scottish voice of the author:

Low throws himself boldly and with brio into the dark and dangerous tangle of the First War of Scottish Independence. Written in a distinctively Scottish voice, rich in dialect and striking imagery, The Lion Wakes boasts a wealth of vividly drawn characters including a puissant, rancorous Edward I (“a great black storm”), and the best collection of Scottish rogues, retainers and hard fighting men since George MacDonald Fraser’sThe Candlemass Road. (2011; 439 pages, including a map of 13th-century Britain, Author’s Note, List of Characters and Glossary).

On the forums there are some good comments on the book at Historical Fiction Online.

So all in all very positive for this title!

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Alt Hist Issue 3 News and Table of Contents

Alt Hist Issue 3 is on its way and should be with us in November (or perhaps sooner for the eBook version). In the third issue of Alt Hist we have two stories about the American Civil War, one about the great Tesla, a tale about of wartime revenge set in Dublin, and a dramatic look at the early years of the cold war space race.

Here are the story titles and authors:

  • ‘A Light in the Darkness’ by Ian Sales
  • ‘Dublin Can Be Heaven’ by Seamus Sweeney
  • ‘Riders on the Storm’ by Arlan Andrews
  • ‘Bummers’ by Matthew Warner
  • ‘To The Stars’ by Brooks Rexroat
Don’t forget to sign up to the RSS feed or email subscription to make sure you get the latest news about Alt Hist Issue 3.
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Alt Hist to become a Biannual Publication

Alt Hist will be officially become a Biannual Publication. With the first two issues my aim was to see what was a reasonable publication schedule depending on my own available time and also the number of story submissions coming in. The first issue was published in October 2010 and the second issue was published in June 2011, and the third should be coming out in November 2011, so it looks like twice a year is about the right frequency for this publication.

So what does that mean for future publication dates? Well I think November and May are probably going to work out best. November – just before Christmas madness hits us, and May just before the Summer holidays.

As ever thank you for your support for Alt Hist, the new magazine of Historical Fiction and Alternate History.

More news on Issue 3 soon by the way!

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New Historical Fiction Book: The Lion Wakes by Robert Low

I’m going to begin posting on a regular basis about the latest new historical fiction book releases. I hope you find these posts informative. My aim is to take a look at publisher’s catalogues to see what’s coming out in the next couple of months. This title is just about to be published in the UK.

The Lion Wakes by Robert Low is published in the UK on 27th September 2011.

ISBN: 978-0-00-733788-0
Size: 130x197mm
Format: Paperback
Imprint: Harper
Division: HarperFiction

See Harper Collins’ website for ordering details in the UK, and Amazon.com where there’s information about the Hardback edition.

Here’s some information about this new historical fiction book from the publisher’s website:

The first novel in a major new series as Robert Low moves from the Vikings to the making of Scotland.

It is 1296 and Scotland is in turmoil. The old king, Alexander III, has died after falling off his horse one dark and stormy night. Scotland’s future is in peril. Edward I of England, desperate to keep control of his northern borders, arranges for John Baliol, a weak man who Edward knows he can manipulate, to take leadership of Scotland. But unrest is rife and many are determined to throw off the shackles of England. Among those men is Robert the Bruce, darkly handsome, young, angry and obsessed by his desire to win Scotland’s throne. He will fight for the freedom of the Scots until the end. But there are many rival factions and the English are a strong and fearsome opponent. The Lion Wakes culminates in the Battle of Falkirk which proves to be the beginning of a rivalry that will last for decades…

‘In The Lion Wakes Robert Low has created an enthralling, complete world: profoundly researched, brilliantly imagined. The novel is intensely exciting, enjoyable and satisfying: a novel of honour, duty, chivalry, desperation, self-interest and fear – more sophisticated than almost any recent novel with an historical setting. Crackling with original descriptive prose – sudden, arresting images combined with dialogue and accents caught to perfection – there is something deeply lyrical about its use of language. Robert Low writes too well for this novel to be contained by the label of “historical fiction” The Lion Wakes deserves to be read by all fans of historical fiction, but also by many, many more – by all those who enjoy classic storytelling in wonderful prose’ Harry Sidebottom ‘An outstanding novel. The Lion Wakes is a fantastic read, written by a real master of historical fiction. Low has painted a most compelling picture of 13th century Scotland. I cannot wait for the next book in the series’ Ben Kane ‘With excellent characters and an engaging plot that reeks of authenticity, The Lion Wakes is powerful stuff. Robert Low is on my “to read” list from now on’ Anthony Riches, author of the Empire series

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Interview with N. K. Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street

Alt Hist’s next author interview is with N. K. Pulley, who wrote ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ for Issue 2.

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I work for Cambridge University Press in the maths and astronomy departments, where I write a lot of blurbs and steal cake from the production editors. In September, I’ll be starting a creative writing MA at the University of East Anglia. I hope, at some point after that, to go to Japan.

How did you get the idea for the story?

Keita Mori coelesced one evening while I was watching Dr Who. I built everything else around him; I read through some old editions of the London Illustrated News to see what was happening in the 1880s and found that there had been an Irish bombing campaign, and that there had been a Japanese presence in Knightsbridge in the form of a show village. One of the lovelier things about historical fiction is that it practially writes itself.

I understand that your story is part of a series. What does the future hold for the characters of Watchmaker of Filigree Street?

Gilbert and Sullivan, a clockwork octopus and some suffragists, although possibly not all together.

Do you write exclusively historical fiction or do you stray into other genres? If so what do you think the main challenges are of writing historical fiction compared to other genres?

I write fantasy too. In some ways it is much easier than historical fiction, because you can make up your own timeline and your own rules; in others, historical fiction is a gift to plotting because often the things that actually happened, or could have happened if somebody hadn’t had toothache, are much more extraordinary than something completely imaginary. I think the main difficulty is finding the line between fiction and biography. It doesn’t do to get too bogged down in whether the Earl of Salisbury grew petunias or not, but at the same time, there needs to be enough research involved to avoid any howling errors.

Don’t forget to check out N. K. Pulley’s story ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ in the second issue of Alt Hist.

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Interview with Jessica Wilson, author of ‘Death in Theatre’

We’re going to be running a series of interviews with the authors from our second issue. First up is Jessica Wilson, author of ‘Death in Theatre’.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I’m a recent graduate of the University of Maryland’s Elementary Education program. I’ve loved writing since the third grade, and I’ve been an aspiring novelist since middle school when my friends and I would exchange writing on the bus. I’m 23, recently engaged, and currently working on what I hope will be my first novel. I write largely fantasy; I’ve actually earned Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future contest twice.

What attracts you to historical fiction?

“Death in Theatre” was actually a happy accident. I do not typically write historical fiction, and I only rarely read it. When I do read it, my favorite part is being immersed in the world as it was back then. It’s one thing to think about how different life was in historic times, but quite another to view it through the eyes of someone (real or fictional) who lived it.

How did you get the idea for the story?

I wrote “Death in Theatre” for a challenge on my writing website. It was a genre challenge, and that round was Historic Fiction. At first I wanted to go with something closer to my usual comfort range, like something medieval, Roman, or feudal Japanese. But eventually I decided that focusing on an individual would be best, and that a traitor or assassin would be the most intriguing. When I thought of John Wilkes Booth, I was uncertain at first because it’s not my usual fare, but I decided to challenge myself. What kind of man must Booth have been to assassinate President Lincoln?

Union or Confederacy?

Union. My family is actually from the south, but my dad was in the Army when I grew up and I lived all over. When I came back to the family home for my tenth grade year, seeing the Confederate pride down there disturbed me on a number of levels. The Confederacy wasn’t all about slave-holding, of course, though that was one reason I was put off by all the Confederate pride. But the simple fact that the Confederacy wanted to split from the Union makes all that pride seem unpatriotic to me. Maybe they view it differently, but that’s why I found (and still find) it hard to understand.

What are you currently working on?

A young adult fantasy novel. I actually have a lot of ideas floating around, but I’m trying to stick to this one. I have a long history of getting very far in a story and then abandoning it, taking a break for another idea. By the time I get back to the old story, I hate it and want to rewrite. My goal is to get all the way through this one this time, because what’s the use in being a writer if you never finish anything?

Don’t forget to read a free sample of Jessica’s ‘Death in Theatre’ from the second issue of Alt Hist. We think you’ll like it.

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Great Review of Alt Hist 2 at SF Crowsnest

Gareth Jones over at SF Crowsnest has given Alt Hist Issue 2 a really great review.

Here’s some of the highlights:

“The second issue of ‘AltHist’ magazine builds on the solid basis of the first issue, bringing a collection of historical fiction and alternate histories from a broad cross-section of history. There are some wonderful stories among them.”

“‘Long Nights In Languedoc’ … was a highly enjoyable start to the magazine. ”

“‘The Apollo Mission’ by David X. Wiggin is pretty short but does a good job of imagining the setting and the feelings of the unfortunate volunteer.”

‘Son of Flanders’: The horrors of life in the trenches are atmospherically portrayed”

‘In Cappadocia’: “short but intriguing”

“‘The Orchid Hunters’ is a superb story by Priya Sharma”

‘Death In Theatre’: “an interesting study in motivation and human nature.”

‘The Scarab Of Thutmose’: “an amusingly quirky tale of intrigue”

“‘The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street’ by NK Pulley is an intriguing Victorian tale set in London”

Remember if you want to order Alt Hist Issue 2 there are lots of options available. Visit the How to Get Your Alt Hist page for details.

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Submitting Book Reviews to Alt Hist

Just a reminder that Alt Hist also accepts non-fiction related to historical fiction and alternate history. In particular this could include book reviews. I am quite keen that we start publishing some of these so if you fancy reviewing some new releases then please get in touch. I would recommend that you take a look at what is coming out in the next few months and then let me know what you would be interested in reviewing. You should then be able to contact the appropriate publisher and ask them to send you a review copy – just let them know that you plan to be reviewing the book for Alt Hist and I’m sure they will be happy to send you a copy – publishers are very interested in getting new books as much publicity as possible.

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