All posts tagged: England

Wednesdays with Writers: Historic ‘dummy boards’ come to life in Laura Purcell’s eerie double-historical Gothic ghost tale, THE SILENT COMPANIONS; braiding time periods, woman’s mental health in the Victorian era and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A Gothic, foreboding Victorian ghost story set in a crumbling mansion among dual-historical time periods.  Already published to rave reviews in the U.K., Laura Purcell’s THE SILENT COMPANIONS (Penguin Books, Trade Paperback Original; on-sale March 6, 2018) is a mesmerizingly creepy Victorian Gothic that will have you staying up all night—and perhaps checking to make sure your door is locked! When Elsie Livingstone marries Rupert Bainbridge, she is believed she is destined for a life of luxury. He’s handsome, a bit older than she, and quiet handsome. But he dies shortly into their marriage. Elsie finds she’s pregnant and alone in her late husband’s crumbling family estate Somewhere in England (near London, I assume). The family estate is not very inviting. The servants are resentful and a little rough around the edges. The villagers are suspicious of the old place and feel it’s cursed; they refuse to work there. Elsie has only her deceased husband’s awkward female cousin, Sarah for companionship…or does she? Could there be other ‘companions’ inhabiting the home, too? Told in …

WeekEND Reading: New York Times Bestselling Author Ken Follet talks about the third book in his Kingsbridge series, A COLUMN OF FIRE, how his wife’s characteristics sometimes appear in female characters, religious freedom, and kick-ass women of the 16th century

By Leslie Lindsay  From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH and WORLD WITHOUT END comes the next epic novel in the Kingsbridge series: A COLUMN OF FIRE.  In 1989 Ken Follet published the historical epic THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH, a departure for the bestselling writer which stunned reader and critics alike with its ambitious scope and unforgettable cast of characters. That was nearly 30 years ago!. It reached #1 on bestsellers lists across the world, and since become Follet’s most popular novel. Ten years ago, Oprah selected THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH for her Book Club, and the second book in the series was published, WORLD WITHOUT END. The saga continues with Follet’s new epic, A COLUMN OF FIRE (September 12, Viking). This one introduces a world of spies and secret agents in the 16th century, a time when Queen Elizabeth I ruled. Set during one of the most turbulent and revolutionary times in history, this novel is one of Follet’s most exciting and ambitious works yet. …

Wednesdays with Writers: Helen Simpson talks about her collection of stories in COCKFOSTERS, how a short story is really like a geological core sample~’skipping the gossip and going for the jugular,’ how an empty nest is invigorating, her to-read pile, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Quiet, honest and wry short stories about women in middle-age is as tender as it is disturbing. Helen Simpson has been writing short stories for a long time–in fact, COCKFOSTERS (Alfred A. Knopf, June 2017) is her *sixth* collection–and I’ve just now been introduced to her?! She’s British, and that might be part of it, but still. I see her as a contemporary to Flannery O’Connor, Richard Russo, Tom Perrotta, Alice Munro, and perhaps Lorna Lanvick and Joyce Carol Oates.  Included stories revolve mostly around women in their 40s and 50s focusing on identity, reinvention, changing bodies/sex lives, empty-nesters. There’s a gaze toward the horizon, as many of these women are entering the ‘autumn’ of their lives. Time is ticking, and it’s felt in this collection, a hum that is the steady pulse of suspense. These nine stories are deceptively quiet and honest, bringing to light a very authentic recognition of life, of children, of marriages, of friendships between women; there are betrayals and acceptance, complexities as well as simplicities. You’ll find there’s …

Writers on Wednesdays: Debut author Camille Di Maio talks about finding balance in life, how The Beatles influenced THE MEMORY OF US, her snoring (gasp!) problem, writing a minimum of 500 words a day, and an amazing support cast

By Leslie Lindsay  I absolutely fell in love with THE MEMORY OF US, a gorgeous historical fiction debut from Camille Di Maio. Her prose is absolutely stunning, the pacing and emotional arc is quite eloquent and moving. I simply couldn’t put the book down until I knew how everything unfolded. Julianne Westcott is a gorgeous Protestant socialite from a prominent Liverpool family in the midst of WWII. She has everything at her fingertips, including a mother who could only hope to marry her off to a fine, upstanding gentleman worthy of her hand. But Julianne has other plans; she enrolls in nursing school in London, though her parents aren’t 100% behind her. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. When Julianne inadvertently discovers an institutionalized deaf and blind twin brother, she begins visiting him at his place of residence. It’s there that she first lays eyes on the gardener, Kyle McCarthy, an Irish seminarian. Falling in love, Julianne and Kyle will do all it takes to end up together; but the stakes are high. …

Write On, Wednesday: Edgar-Nominated Lisa Ballantyne talks about EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT, memory, PTSD, and Falling in love with character before plot

By Leslie Lindsay  International bestselling author and Edgar Nominee Lisa Ballantyne leapt onto the scene in 2013 with her gorgeous and chilling debut THE GUILTY ONE. Now she returns with stunning follow up EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT, a tale that alternates between a kidnapping in 1985 and a present day accident that sends one woman down a path of discovery that will leave her forever changed. Set in Scotland and England, EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT is a compelling read about a cast of characters who don’t seem to be related at all in the beginning, but of course, they’re all there for a reason. When Deputy Director/Teacher of a nearby school is rear-ended in a crash near the holidays, she is struck with shards of memory that propel her back to 1985 and a haunting event that has left her fragile since. She feels she’s losing her mind, but could it just be the stress of raising kids, working, and the holidays? EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT explores PTSD, family connections, and is beautifully executed in a page-turning read. …