Giveaway: Where the Light Falls

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“He hears them before he sees them, a swell of thousands, young and old, male and female, clamoring from the other side of the prison walls. They sound impatient, shrill with the heady prospect of fresh blood to wet the newly sharpened guillotine blade.” Allison and Owen Pataki, Where the Light Falls

Publisher Synopsis: 

A rich and sweeping novel of courage, duty, sacrifice, and love set during the French Revolution from New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki and her brother Owen Pataki

Three years after the storming of the Bastille, the streets of Paris are roiling with revolution. The citizens of France are enlivened by the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The monarchy of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has been dismantled—with the help of the guillotine—and a new nation is rising in its place. Jean-Luc, an idealistic young lawyer, moves his wife and their infant son from a comfortable life in Marseille to Paris, in the hopes of joining the cause. André, the son of a denounced nobleman, has evaded execution by joining the new French army. Sophie, a youngaristocratic widow, embarks on her own fight for independence against her powerful, vindictive uncle.

As chaos threatens to undo the progress of the Revolution and the demand for justice breeds instability and paranoia, the lives of these compatriots become inextricably linked. Jean-Luc, André, and Sophie find themselves in a world where survival seems increasingly less likely—for themselves and, indeed, for the nation.

Featuring cameos from legendary figures such as Robespierre, Louis XVI, and Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, Where the Light Falls is an epic and engrossing novel, moving from the streets and courtrooms of Paris to Napoleon’s epic march across the burning sands of Egypt. With vivid detail and imagery, the Patakis capture the hearts and minds of the citizens of France fighting for truth above all, and for their belief in a cause greater than themselves.

My Recommendation:

From its opening scene at the guillotine to the battlefield at Bois de Valmy, WHERE THE LIGHT FALLS immerses the reader in the violent and chaotic world of the French Revolution. While there is plenty of bloodshed and villainous plotting, the noble men and women at the heart of the novel demonstrate that integrity and honor are essential to righting the course of history.

While readers new to the subject will learn much, cameos by famous Parisians will thrill the Francophile. Of particular fascination is Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, whose own history sounds worthy of a novel.

The publisher was kind enough to offer a copy of WHERE THE LIGHT FALLS for a giveaway. To enter, simply comment below and share this post on social media by Friday, July 14th (Bastille Day.) Bonne chance!

 

Book Recommendation: FALLING

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“It starts with a house…This house, this dated, fusty house, is entirely within her budget, precisely because it is so dated and fusty. It is the perfect size–two bedrooms…And best of all there is a garden, or rather more than enough space for one…She imagines a long, rustic table, a small group of friends sitting around, bottles of rosé and candles interspersed with galvanized steel pots of lavender running down the center. Laughter. Happy faces. Everyone lit by the glow of summer and love.” Jane Green, FALLING

Publisher Synopsis:

The New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House, Jemima J, and Summer Secrets presents a novel about the pleasure and meaning of finding a home—and family—where you least expect them…

When Emma Montague left the strict confines of upper-crust British life for New York, she felt sure it would make her happy. Away from her parents and expectations, she felt liberated, throwing herself into Manhattan life replete with a high-paying job, a gorgeous apartment, and a string of successful boyfriends. But the cutthroat world of finance and relentless pursuit of more began to take its toll. This wasn’t the life she wanted either.

On the move again, Emma settles in the picturesque waterfront town of Westport, Connecticut, a world apart from both England and Manhattan. It is here that she begins to confront what it is she really wants from her life. With no job, and knowing only one person in town, she channels her passion for creating beautiful spaces into remaking the dilapidated cottage she rents from Dominic, a local handyman who lives next door with his six-year-old son.

Unlike any man Emma has ever known, Dominic is confident, grounded, and committed to being present for his son whose mother fled shortly after he was born. They become friends, and slowly much more, as Emma finds herself feeling at home in a way she never has before.

But just as they start to imagine a life together as a family, fate intervenes in the most shocking of ways. For the first time, Emma has to stay and fight for what she loves, for the truth she has discovered about herself, or risk losing it all.

In a novel of changing seasons, shifting lives, and selfless love, a story unfolds—of one woman’s far-reaching journey to discover who she is truly meant to be…

My Recommendation:

Summer is that delicious time when I dip into the pile of contemporary novels I neglect for historical fiction the other seasons of the year. I have been a long-time fan of Jane Green, and I couldn’t wait to read FALLING: A LOVE STORY. This is her 18th novel, and it might be her best.

FALLING is a story of faith: a woman takes a risk to create the life she always thought she wanted, and finds much more in the process. It is a family drama that is relatable on many levels, with characters real enough step off the page. You will grow to love these characters. Be sure to have a box of tissues handy.

I finished the book at midnight last night, and lost sleep thinking about Emma. My greatest hope is that Green writes a sequel. I need MORE.

Because we share a publisher, I was able to snag a couple of copies of FALLING to give away. For a chance to win, comment below with your favorite Jane Green novel or contemporary novelist, and share the giveaway on social media. You have until 9 PM EST on Monday, August 22nd to win. (US only, please.) Good luck!

GIVEAWAY: Enchanted Islands

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Publisher Synopsis:

Inspired by the midcentury memoirs of Frances Conway, Enchanted Islands is the dazzling story of an independent American woman whose path takes her far from her native Minnesota when she and her husband, an undercover intelligence officer, are sent to the Galápagos Islands at the brink of World War II.

Born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1882 to immigrant parents, Frances Frankowski covets the life of her best friend, Rosalie Mendel, who has everything Fanny could wish for—money, parents who value education, and an effervescent and winning personality. When, at age fifteen, Rosalie decides they should run away to Chicago, Fanny jumps at the chance to escape her unexceptional life. But, within a year, Rosalie commits an unforgivable betrayal, inciting Frances to strike out on her own.

Decades later, the women reconnect in San Francisco and realize how widely their lives have diverged. While Rosalie is a housewife and mother, Frances works as a secretary for the Office of Naval Intelligence. There she is introduced to Ainslie Conway, an intelligence operator ten years her junior. When it’s arranged for Frances and Ainslie to marry and carry out a mission on the Galápagos Islands, the couple’s identities—already hidden from each other—are further buried under their new cover stories. No longer a lonely spinster, Frances is about to begin the most fascinating and intrigue-filled years of her life.

Amid active volcanoes, forbidding wildlife and flora, and unfriendly neighbors, Ainslie and Frances carve out a life for themselves. But the secrets they harbor from their enemies and from each other may be their undoing.

Drawing on the rich history of the early twentieth century and set against a large, colorful canvas, Enchanted Islands boldly examines the complexity of female friendship, the universal pursuit of a place to call home, and the reverberations of secrets we keep from others and from ourselves.

Giveaway:

Because I continue to be immersed in my own research, I have a pile of novels tapping their feet, waiting for me to review them. I don’t want to let this pass by before I’ve had time to dig in, so I’m giving away the gorgeous hardcover Doubleday sent to me.

Check out these fantastic reviews:

“An endearing chronicle of female friendship and evolution in the early 20th century … Amend smartly plies the habitually underrecognized bonds of sisterhood … On an island bursting with nature’s most remarkable creatures, humanity’s depthless ­capacity for loneliness crows most keenly.”
New York Times Book Review

Enchanted Islands is a many faceted jewel. It’s a spy thriller, a survivalist memoir, and a portrait of a marriage. It’s a story of female friendships—Frances’ on-again, off-again relationships with Rosalie and Elke—as well as a fascinating travelogue most likely made more realistic by Amend’s travels to the islands … A great summer read, a fabulous story for all seasons, Enchanted Islands will carry you away.”
Chicago Tribune 

To win a copy of ENCHANTED ISLANDS simply comment below about your favorite travel-related book, and share the giveaway on social media. The drawing will run until Wednesday, August 10th at 9 PM EST. (US only, please.)

Good luck!

Giveaway: THE LIGHT OF PARIS

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“I didn’t set out to lose myself. No one does, really. No one purposely swims away from the solid, forgiving anchor of their heart. We simply make the tiniest of compromises, the smallest of decisions, not realizing the way those small changes add up to something larger until we are forced, for better or worse, to face the people we have become.” Eleanor Brown, THE LIGHT OF PARIS

PUBLISHER SYNOPSIS:

The Light of Paris is the miraculous new novel from New York Times–bestselling author Eleanor Brown, whose debut, The Weird Sisters, was a sensation beloved by critics and readers alike.
 
Madeleine is trapped—by her family’s expectations, by her controlling husband, and by her own fears—in an unhappy marriage and a life she never wanted. From the outside, it looks like she has everything, but on the inside, she fears she has nothing that matters.

In Madeleine’s memories, her grandmother Margie is the kind of woman she should have been—elegant, reserved, perfect. But when Madeleine finds a diary detailing Margie’s bold, romantic trip to Jazz Age Paris, she meets the grandmother she never knew: a dreamer who defied her strict, staid family and spent an exhilarating summer writing in cafés, living on her own, and falling for a charismatic artist.

Despite her unhappiness, when Madeleine’s marriage is threatened, she panics, escaping to her hometown and staying with her critical, disapproving mother. In that unlikely place, shaken by the revelation of a long-hidden family secret and inspired by her grandmother’s bravery, Madeleine creates her own Parisian summer—reconnecting to her love of painting, cultivating a vibrant circle of creative friends, and finding a kindred spirit in a down-to-earth chef who reminds her to feed both her body and her heart.

Margie and Madeleine’s stories intertwine to explore the joys and risks of living life on our own terms, of defying the rules that hold us back from our dreams, and of becoming the people we are meant to be.

GIVEAWAY:

Because I am immersed in my own research, I have a pile of novels tapping their feet, waiting for me to review them. I don’t want to let this one pass by before I’ve had time to dig in, so I’m giving away the gorgeous hardcover Putnam sent to me, and keeping the ARC for my future reading pleasure.

Jojo Moyes (bestselling author of ME BEFORE YOU) says THE LIGHT OF PARIS is, “So lovely and bighearted–it made me long for Paris.” 

Paula McLain (bestselling author of THE PARIS WIFE) says, “Wry, affecting, and deeply rewarding, THE LIGHT OF PARIS will keep you thinking–and smiling–long after the last page is turned.”

I cannot think of higher praise!

To win a copy of THE LIGHT OF PARIS simply comment below about your favorite Parisian-inspired novel or film, and share the giveaway on social media. The drawing will run until Tuesday, July 26th at 9 PM EST. (US only, please.)

Bonne chance! 

 

Giveaway: SISI: EMPRESS ON HER OWN

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Publisher Synopsis:

For readers of Philippa Gregory, Paula McLain, and Daisy Goodwin comes a sweeping and powerful novel by New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki. Sisi tells the little-known story of Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, the Princess Diana of her time, in an enthralling work of historical fiction that is also a gripping page-turner.

Married to Emperor Franz Joseph, Elisabeth—fondly known as Sisi—captures the hearts of her people as their “fairy queen,” but beneath that dazzling persona lives a far more complex figure. In mid-nineteenth-century Vienna, the halls of the Hofburg Palace buzz not only with imperial waltzes and champagne but with temptations, rivals, and cutthroat intrigue. Feeling stifled by strict protocols and a turbulent marriage, Sisi grows restless. A free-spirited wanderer, she finds solace at her estate outside Budapest. There she rides her beloved horses and enjoys visits from the Hungarian statesman Count Andrássy, the man with whom she’s unwittingly fallen in love. But tragic news brings Sisi out of her fragile seclusion, forcing her to return to her capital and a world of gossip, envy, and sorrow where a dangerous fate lurks in the shadows.

Through love affairs and loss, dedication and defiance, Sisi struggles against conflicting desires: to keep her family together, or to flee amid the collapse of her suffocating marriage and the gathering tumult of the First World War. In an age of crumbling monarchies, Sisi fights to assert her right to the throne beside her husband, to win the love of her people and the world, and to save an empire. But in the end, can she save herself?

Featuring larger-than-life historic figures such as Bavaria’s “Mad King Ludwig” and the tragic Crown Prince Rudolf, and set against many of Europe’s grandest sites—from Germany’s storied Neuschwanstein Castle to England’s lush shires—Sisi brings to life an extraordinary woman and the romantic, volatile era over which she presided.

My Recommendation:

Allison Pataki is one of my favorite historical novelists. Her attention to period detail, her rich prose, and the fascinating figures from history she brings to life stay with the reader and continue to get better and better. SISI: EMPRESS ON HER OWN is my favorite so far. I was fortunate enough to receive an early copy for review, and offered this endorsement:

“From luscious moonlit gardens to sumptuous castles, the settings of SISI: EMPRESS ON HER OWN are as dazzling as those of Vienna’s Imperial Court Theater, and the drama enacted on its pages is no less impressive. Pataki resurrects the unforgettable Empress Elisabeth in a rich and exquisite tragedy of passion and heartbreak—a true tour de force.”

At Allison’s launch party, she discussed how her travels led her to Sisi, and that it was as if they had been on a journey together in the writing of the books. She also talked about the power of fiction to reveal the ways individuals impact the outcome of history, and to inspire readers to understand their importance in the world.

I have one copy to give away to a lucky commenter below. Please tell me your favorite historical fiction author, or your favorite of Allison’s novels. Leave your comment by Monday, March 14th at 5 PM EST, and please share on social media. (US only.)

Giveaway: AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER

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Publisher Synopsis:

In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

My Recommendation:

I loved AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER so much, I provided this blurb:

“AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER is the story of a generation caught between the past and the future of a nation, and illuminates how the actions of one woman managed to sustain a family in spite of the consequences of both privilege and poverty. Not since GONE WITH THE WIND has a single volume family saga so brilliantly portrayed the triumphs, trials, and sins of a family in the American South.”

This is one of the finest historical novels I have ever read, and I have a copy to give away to one lucky reader. Please comment below by Wednesday, March 9th at 9 PM ET about your favorite epic historical drama, or why you are interested in this period in American history to win, and please share on social media. (US only, please.) Good luck!

Oscar Night Giveaway: STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD

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Publisher Synopsis:

Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind  ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

Los Angeles, 1938.  Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her  dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide.  What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.

Giveaway:

In 1940, GONE WITH THE WIND swept the Oscars. (The Oscar statuette–purchased by the late Michael Jackson–is still in the news because it has “gone” missing.) I would love a behind the scenes glimpse of the drama that went into making one of the most beloved (and controversial) films of all time.

Susan Meissner‘s moving novels have made me a long-time fan, and STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD is high on my TBR pile. I have one copy to give away to a lucky commenter below. Please tell me your favorite Meissner novel, or who you want to see win an Oscar in 2016. Please share on social media and enter by 9 PM ET on Wednesday, March 2nd. (US and Canada only.) Good Luck!