Quantcast

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

Source: TLC Book Tours
Paperback, 327 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams is set in the early 1920s when times were beginning to change and women were feeling a little freer to do more than marry and have children. Told from the points of view of Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue, New York, and Miss Sophie Fortescue, a naive younger daughter of an inventor who recently became wealthy, Williams weaves a mystery that can only come to light when the intersection of two similar panes of a prism come together unexpectedly. (I’ll leave the final panes of that prism a mystery) The novel brings to life the cloistered life of a newly rich family as a juxtaposition to old, wealthy families in New York society. Even as the clash of new and old money continues on the surface, bubbling underneath is a desire of women in both realms to break free into the world of Jazz, booze, and freedom.

“‘Still, it was a passion of yours, wasn’t it? There was a reason you loved it, there was a reason you loved flying that had nothing to do with shooting down other airplanes and killing people. So that reason must still exist inside you, waiting for the — the — tide to go back out.'” (pg. 110)

Theresa’s marriage has grown stale, as she’s tolerated her husband’s discreet dalliances and the birth of a child just months after her own first born. As she strives to take a risk and begin her own affair, she finds herself caught up in the same traditional web of matrimony and security as the young man she falls into bed with seeks more. A principled man, an ace pilot during WWI, Octavian Rofrano grabs onto her offerings like a life preserver. It is not until he becomes Sophie’s cavalier that he begins to see that there can be more to life than a casual love affair with a married woman.

Meanwhile, Theresa’s bachelor brother Ox has fallen in love with the slip of a girl, whose innocence has been cracked by a trip to Europe with her inventor father and her sister. Sophie has fallen for his charms, until she begins to see the wider world around her, and all of its possibilities. How these lives become tangled into a treacherous web will rivet readers to every word on the page. Williams has created a socialite set and a set of new money players who are drawn into tragic circumstances beyond their control. A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams raises questions about experience and innocence, age and beauty, love and lust, and emptiness and fulfillment — how do we reach our full potential without knowing our past and leaping into the future? Can scandal ruin it all?

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.

Find out more about Beatriz at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Mailbox Monday #407

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Family Portraits: A Dearest Friends Continuation by Pamela Lynne, a gift from the author.

In Dearest Friends, Pamela Lynne drew complex and interesting characters who joined Darcy and Elizabeth on their road to happily ever after. But, what happened after ‘the end’? Did Lydia survive her time at Rosings? Did Jane find fulfillment as Mrs. Bingley? Did Mary and Sebastian adhere to duty or allow their hearts to lead them? Follow the Fitzwilliams, Bennets, Gardiners and Darcys through portraits of their lives at two, five and ten years after the Darcys’ marriage. Their canvas is studded with heartbreaking loss, new beginnings and, through it all, the indelible bond of family?

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams for review.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor.

A Jane Austen Christmas: Regency Christmas Traditions by Maria Grace, which I won from JustJane1813.

Many Christmas traditions and images of ‘old fashioned’ holidays are based on Victorian celebrations. Going back just a little further, to the beginning of the 19th century, the holiday Jane Austen knew would have looked distinctly odd to modern sensibilities.

How odd? Families rarely decorated Christmas trees. Festivities centered on socializing instead of gift-giving. Festivities focused on adults, with children largely consigned to the nursery. Holiday events, including balls, parties, dinners, and even weddings celebrations, started a week before Advent and extended all the way through to Twelfth Night in January.

Take a step into history with Maria Grace as she explores the traditions, celebrations, games and foods that made up Christmastide in Jane Austen’s era. Packed with information and rich with detail from period authors, Maria Grace transports the reader to a longed-for old fashioned Christmas.

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan for review in 2017.

As England enters World War II’s dark early days, spirited music professor Primrose Trent, recently arrived to the village of Chilbury, emboldens the women of the town to defy the Vicar’s stuffy edict to shutter the church’s choir in the absence of men and instead ‘carry on singing’. Resurrecting themselves as “The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir”, the women of this small village soon use their joint song to lift up themselves, and the community, as the war tears through their lives.

Told through letters and journals, The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir moves seamlessly from budding romances to village intrigues to heartbreaking matters of life and death. As we come to know the struggles of the charismatic members of this unforgettable outfit — a timid widow worried over her son at the front; the town beauty drawn to a rakish artist; her younger sister nursing an impossible crush and dabbling in politics she doesn’t understand; a young Jewish refugee hiding secrets about her family, and a conniving midwife plotting to outrun her seedy past — we come to see how the strength each finds in the choir’s collective voice reverberates in her individual life.

In turns funny, charming and heart-wrenching, this lovingly executed ensemble novel will charm and inspire, illuminating the true spirit of the women on the home front, in a village of indomitable spirit, at the dawn of a most terrible conflict.

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff for review in 2017.

Seventeen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier during the occupation of her native Holland. Heartbroken over the loss of the baby she was forced to give up for adoption, she lives above a small German rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep.

When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants, unknown children ripped from their parents and headed for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the baby that was taken from her. In a moment that will change the course of her life, she steals one of the babies and flees into the snowy night, where she is rescued by a German circus.

The circus owner offers to teach Noa the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their unlikely friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

From my secret Santa:

Overheard in Hell

Take Out From the Writer’s Cafe

By Candlelight: Dark Imagination

Straying from the Path

Dancing on the Edge

If My Sandcastle Drowns… Can I Live With You?

What did you receive?

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig

Source: publisher
Hardcover, 384 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig is set in 1892, 1920, 1944 and the art that connects Olive Van Alan, Lucy Young, and Dr. Kate Schuyler to one another through the generations is not the biggest mystery, neither is their relationship to one another. What is forgotten in this tale of love, disappointment, and fate is trust – it’s locked up, hidden in an attic room. There is broken trust between mother-daughter, lovers, and between the past and present.

“As the only female doctor on staff, it was hard enough maintaining the persona of a woman with no feelings or personal needs in front of the male doctors. It was nearly impossible in front of the nurses. If they’d asked me why I’d become a doctor, I would have told them. But they didn’t ask. They seemed to be of a like mind when it came to me — I was a doctor because I thought I was too good to be a nurse.” (pg. 2 ARC)

In addition to gender issues that persist in all three time periods — with women taking on work outside the home — these women also face the harsh realities of a world on the cusp or in the midst of change. From the rise of new money and decadence and the crash that wiped out many wealthy families’ fortunes to prohibition and WWII, there were great opportunities and traumatic losses. Olive is a dreamer with a positive outlook even as she strives to avenge the death of her father, while Kate is a woman determined to make her mark on the medical community and carve her own path to happiness. Lucy is a bit of a wildcard; she has ambition, but not quite enough to carry her through some disappointments on her own.

“‘What your parents did isn’t who you are.'” (pg. 228 ARC)

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig is a sweeping novel about the ties that bind these women together and their family secrets, but also how their lives are wrapped in the work of an artist with the last name Ravenel. Each story of romance is heartbreaking, but the strongest is that between Olive and Harry Pratt. Their love reverberates through the entire novel — it is the anchor that binds these three generations of women.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Authors:

Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—Southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, playing piano, and avoiding cooking. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and two spoiled Havanese dogs.

A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons. She now lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry. Her books include Overseas (2012), A Hundred Summers (2013), The Secret Life of Violet Grant (2014), Tiny Little Thing (2015), Along the Infinite Sea (2015), The Forgotten Room (2016), and the forthcoming A Certain Age (June 2016)

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of sixteen works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association’s annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in English History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her “Pink Carnation” series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

Mailbox Monday #384

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

The Hermit by Thomas Rydahl, translated by K.E. Semmel, for review.

A car is found crashed on a beach in the Canary Island resort of Fuerteventura. In the trunk is a cardboard box containing the body of a small boy — no one knows his name, and there is no trace of a driver.

The last thing Fuerteventura needs is a murder. The island’s already got half-empty bars and windswept beaches, and the local police are under pressure to cut the investigation short.

But long-time islander Erhard, who sees more than most people, won’t let the investigation drop — and he has nothing to lose. He has severed ties with his wife and child in Denmark and has cut himself off from the modern world.

The question is: can an old man who knows nothing about mobile phones, the internet or social media possibly solve a murder in the modern world, especially one that stretches far beyond the sandy beaches of Fuerteventura?

Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede, which I purchased for book club.

Snow White and Rose Red live on the edge of the forest that conceals the elusive border of Faerie. They know enough about Faerie lands and mortal magic to be concerned when they find two human sorcerers setting spells near the border. And when the kindly, intelligent black bear wanders into their cottage some months later, they realize the connection between his plight and the sorcery they saw in the forest.

Amazon Kindle Freebies:

An American Airman in Paris by Beatriz Williams

Octavian Rofrano has never met the girl whose photograph was his constant companion through the long days and nights of the Great War. The promises he made to himself and that far-away image in the silence of his cockpit have never left him, but the anguish and loneliness of post-Armistice Paris has crept into his bones. One night, Octavian finally decides to lose himself in the sad beauty the City of Lights offers, but as reminders of that 11th day of November fill his mind, can he let go of past hopes or does the promise of salvation still have a hold on him?

Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

Elizabeth left her family’s home in Seattle fifteen years ago to pursue her lifelong dream—chefing her own restaurant in New York City. Jane stayed behind to raise a family. Estranged since their mother’s death many years ago, the circumstances of their lives are about to bring them together once again.

Known for her absolute command of her culinary domain, Elizabeth’s gifts in the kitchen have begun to elude her. And patrons and reviewers are noticing. In need of some rest and an opportunity to recover her passion for cooking, Elizabeth jumps at the excuse to rush to her sister’s bedside when Jane is diagnosed with cancer. After all, Elizabeth did the same for their mother. Perhaps this time, it will make a difference.

As Elizabeth pours her renewed energy into her sister’s care and into her burgeoning interest in Nick, Jane’s handsome coworker, her life begins to evolve from the singular pursuit of her own dream into the beautiful world of family, food, literature, and love that was shattered when she and Jane lost their mother. Will she stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane—and Elizabeth to Nick’s Mr. Darcy—or will she return to the life she has worked so hard to create?

Yes, Mr. Darcy by J. Dawn King

Elizabeth Bennet’s girlish dreams of love and romance are shattered. Her father has decided she will be the one to secure her family’s future through a marriage of convenience to his heir. Disappointment and sadness weigh her soul when she travels with her aunt and uncle—a consolation before she submits to duty. When she sees the reflection of her heartbreak in the face of an unknown young lady, Elizabeth reaches out to the girl, extending a hopeful outlook she herself has been denied. Mr. Darcy regrets missing the opportunity to know the pretty stranger who helped his grieving, younger sister rise above her sadness. Hope keeps him seeking her face in every crowd. As time passes it seems the woman he admires might be an ephemeral dream born of his heart’s desire. Darcy finally finds her when he is forced to visit his friend, Mr. Bingley, but is she already taken? Can he restore hope to this woman he barely knows? Will she let him?

Lost to the Ocean by Melanie Schertz

Elizabeth Bennet and Georgiana Darcy were friends of long standing when they ventured a trip together to Ramsgate. While there, they are kidnapped by George Wickham, taken on a waiting ship which was to take them to Portugal. But these plans are waylaid by a storm which destroys the ship, leaving the young ladies on the shores of war torn France. While Georgiana’s brother rushes to find them, could there be someone still in England who was mysteriously behind Wickham’s behavior?

Mister Darcy’s Dogs by Barbara Silkstone

Doctor Lizzie Bennet, struggling against her conservative English countryside upbringing, determines to prove her worth as a dog psychologist. Nothing will deter her from her career until she meets the uppity and oh-so mysterious Londoner, Mister Darcy. His on-again, off-again flirtatious manner, and his pompous putdowns challenge Lizzie’s short temper. When Mister Darcy hires her to train his lovable basset hounds for an important foxhunt, Lizzie accepts the task despite knowing next to nothing about the sport and harboring an intense fear of horses.

Two of the villains Austen fans love to boo and hiss arrive to torment Lizzie: Caroline Bingley, in hot pursuit of Mister Darcy does all she can to discredit and humiliate Lizzie. Mister Darcy’s old nemesis, George Wickham, stalks the Bennet family.

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White

After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough.

Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

Devour (book 1) by Shelly Crane

Clara has it all.

A wrestling-star boyfriend, she’s popular, tons of friends, all the right school activities, pretty much a perfect life…up until her parents died. Now she lives with the town pastor and his family, and though they take good care of her, she feels alone in a crowd of people.

But when a new guy comes to town, Clara is fascinated with him, no matter how much she tries to fight it, and her carefully constructed, perfect little world begins to crumble. And then things take a turn for the…unexplainable. Eli confesses to her that she gives him something he’s never had before, something he needs.

Everything is about to change for this normal, pretty, popular girl in a supernatural way.

Queen of Someday (book 1) by Sherry Ficklin

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother’s quest to put her on the throne of Russia—at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family—and herself—Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

Dark Desires (book 1) by Eve Silver

Betrayed by those she trusted, penniless and alone, Darcie Finch is forced to accept a position that no one else dares, as assistant to dangerously attractive Dr. Damien Cole. Ignoring the whispered warnings and rumours that he’s a man to fear, she takes her position at his eerie estate where she quickly discovers that nothing is at it seems, least of all her handsome and brooding employer. As Darcie struggles with her fierce attraction to Damien, she must also deal with the blood, the disappearances … and the murders.

With her options dwindling and time running out, Darcie must rely on her instincts as she confronts the man she is falling in love with. Is he an innocent and misunderstood man … or a remorseless killer who prowls the East End streets?

Snowy White World to Save by Stephanie Lisa Tara

Where has mother gone? Mothers don’t leave. Mothers stay, forever. Mothers are like redwood trees, those special forever trees that grow hundreds of feet high and live for thousands of years. Mothers read storybooks aloud. They know the power of a story. Power that can even make the wrong-beats of a child’s heart go away.

Maybe the monarch butterfly was right? Perhaps they should make the journey. The one that was too long, and too far, for a girl with a wrong-beating heart. Yet there was someone in the redwood forest that Eliza just knew could help. Not just any someone. Another mother. The first mother. The one, Eliza’s own mother had spoken of. Great Mother Redwood. The very first, the oldest and wisest redwood tree of them all. She, who started the forest thousands of years ago, might know where mother had gone. It seemed impossible. To find one who had never been seen, one who had only been spoken of? Yet. Mothers dont leave. They are like redwood trees. They stay, forever.

Eliza decided she must try. She would put one foot in front of the other, slowly. She would take small steps. She knew the butterfly would be patient alongside her. Down the path. To the forever trees.

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War by Jessica Brockmole, Hazel Gaynor, Evangeline Holland, Marci Jefferson, Kate Kerrigan, Jennifer Robson, Heather Webb, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig

tlc tour hostSource: TLC Book Tours
Paperback, 368 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War by Jessica Brockmole, Hazel Gaynor, Evangeline Holland, Marci Jefferson, Kate Kerrigan, Jennifer Robson, Heather Webb, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig is a collection of short stories set during World War I, the Great War. Love is at the crux of each story, whether its a lost love or the love of a child lost to war, and these men and women are tested by the ravages of combat.  These writers have a firm grasp of the subject and readers will never question their knowledge of WWI or the human condition.  From a childless widow of German heritage living in France in “Hour of the Bells” by Heather Webb to a young wife left in Paris alone and estranged from her husband’s family in “After You’ve Gone” by Evangeline Holland, people are torn apart by war in many ways and those who are left behind to pick up the pieces are weary and forlorn.  They must pick up their skirts or what remains of their lives and move on, despite the pull of the past, the future that will never be, or the emptiness of their homes.

“But the trick was not to care too much.  To care just enough.” (from “An American Airman in Paris” by Beatriz Williams, pg. 244 ARC)

“Sixty years gone like a song, like a record on a gramophone, with the needle left to bump against the edge, around and around, the music gone.” (from “The Record Set Straight” by Lauren Willig, pg. 44 ARC)

These characters care, they care a lot, and even after the war is long over, the past still haunts them, at least until they are able to make amends or at least set the record straight.  How do you get past the loss of loved ones, do you wallow? do you seek revenge? how do you hold on to hope? Sometimes the war doesn’t leave a physical reminder, but a mental and emotional one — scars that are harder to trace and heal.  These stories are packed full of emotion and characters who will leave readers weeping and praising the hope they find.

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War by Jessica Brockmole, Hazel Gaynor, Evangeline Holland, Marci Jefferson, Kate Kerrigan, Jennifer Robson, Heather Webb, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig takes readers on a journey through and over the trenches and to the many sides in a war — crossing both national and familial borders.

Rating: Cinquain

Connect with the Authors:

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m counting this as my Fiction Book Set During WWI.

 

Mailbox Monday #353

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe from the author for review.

When Jane Austen’s doctor discovers the secret to immortal life in 1817, she thinks her wishes have come true. But when she wakes up from the dead, a penniless Miss Austen finds herself in 1925, having to become a governess to five girls of an eccentric and bohemian family at the crumbling Manberley Castle by the sea. Jane soon finds she’s caught up in the dramas of every family member, but she loves nothing more than a challenge, and resolves on putting them in order. If only she can stop herself from falling in love, she can change the lives of them all!  Inspired by Jane Austen’s wonderful novels and written in the tradition of classic books like Cold Comfort Farm, I Capture the Castle, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Jane Austen Lives Again is an amusing fairy story for grown-ups.

Fudge Brownies & Murder by Janel Gradowski from the author for review.

Culinary whiz and reluctant amateur sleuth, Amy Ridley, has a lot on her plate. Her very pregnant best friend, Carla, can barely move from her couch per doctor’s orders. So Amy is tasked with preparing meals for the expanding family along with baking endless pans of brownies to quench Carla’s pregnancy cravings. Not only is she playing chef, but she’s also trying to convince the mommy-to-be that she needs to have a baby shower. But when a restaurant owner is murdered at a blogging conference, Amy finds herself in a race to catch the killer before the baby is born.

As Carla’s baby bump gets bigger, so does the list of suspects. While Amy pares down the potential murderers and staves off disgruntled cooking competition rivals, the clock ticks down, the baby’s arrival draws closer, and the danger grows stronger! If Amy doesn’t watch her back, she may be the next member of the competition going down.

The Diary of Emily Dickinson by Jamie Fuller, illustrated by Marlene McLoughlin, which I picked up at the library sale shelf for 50 cents.

The discovery of Emily Dickinson’s poetry after her death unleashed a series of mysteries and revelations that astonished those who knew her and continue to intrigue readers today. Who was the reclusive woman who wrote these wise and beautiful verses? Slowly answers came and, with them, more questions. Why did Emily continue to seek the advice of Thomas Wentworth Higginson when he never recognized her genius? To whom were the mysterious “master” letters, written at the height of her poetic creativity, addressed? Why did she keep most of her writing secret from her family? Did she hope for eventual fame? Answers to such questions could have been suggested in 1916, when, during reconstruction of the Dickinson house in Amherst, Massachusetts, a worker discovered Emily’s secret diary hidden in a crevice of the wall of the conservatory. Unfortunately, he kept the discovery to himself for many years. Only now has this remarkable document, edited and annotated by Jamie Fuller, become available to Dickinson admirers. Such is the premise of this unique fictional work. The diary begins in March 1867 and ends in April 1868. During this span Dickinson recounts the revelations and trials of her day-to-day life, from burnt puddings to professions of undying love.

With discriminating insight, Fuller helps extract from Dickinson’s cryptic style her views on God, family, nature, death, love, poetry, fame, and her role as a woman in a patriarchal society. Most of all, The Diary of Emily Dickinson is an exquisite account of what it means to live the writing life, to live for poetry. Author Jamie Fuller has given us a fictional diary based on close readings of Dickinson’s writings and contemporaneousmaterials, that is so sensitive and sympathetic, so delicately and smoothly written, in a style so closely resembling Emily’s own, that one could well believe it contains the private musings of the enigmatic poet. In it, Emily Dickinson comes alive.

Levitation for Agnostics by Arne Weingart for review from Book Savvy Public Relations.

Arne Weingart’s debut poetry collection. Winner of the 2014 New American Poetry prize.

Arne Weingart is the 2015 laureate of the New American Press Poetry Prize, awarded for his debut poetry collection, Levitation for Agnostics (New American Press, January 2016). A Pushcart Prize nominee, Arne also won the 2013 Sow’s Ear Poetry Review Poetry Contest and has had poems featured by such esteemed publications as RHINO, The Georgetown Review, Oberon, Arts & Letters and The Spoon River Poetry Review.  He has been granted a writing residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and is alumnus of Columbia University’s MFA program in writing. Arne and his family live in Chicago, where he is the principal of a graphic design firm specializing in identity and wayfinding.

Fall of Poppies by Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, and Marci Jefferson for review from Harper Collins and TLC Book Tours.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month…

November 11, 1918. After four long, dark years of fighting, the Great War ends at last, and the world is forever changed. For soldiers, loved ones, and survivors the years ahead stretch with new promise, even as their hearts are marked by all those who have been lost.

As families come back together, lovers reunite, and strangers take solace in each other, everyone has a story to tell.

In this moving anthology, nine authors share stories of love, strength, and renewal as hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #351

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Nine Coins/Nueve Monedas by Carlos Pintado, translated by Hilary Vaughn Dobel, introduction by Richard Blanco for review from Akashic Books.

Nine Coins/Nueve monedas is a palimpsest of love, fears, dreams, and the intimate landscapes where the author seeks refuge. These poems appear like small islands of salvation, covered with the brief splendor of the coins people sometimes grab hold of, taking the form of a very personal and often devastating map. Each poem is a song at the edge of an abyss; an illusory gold coin obtained as a revelation; a song of hope and understanding. The volume’s dreamlike geography prompts the reader to revisit the thread, the labyrinth, and the Minotaur’s legends. The night streets of South Beach, Alexandria, and many other cities, lit by the fading torches, seem to guide us in conversation with characters who are long dead.

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and more for review from Penguin for review.

1945: When the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.

Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel’s portrait miniature who looks so much like Kate?  And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother?  In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Gilded Age Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known.  But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room? 

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King from my mom as an early Christmas present.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

What did you receive?