When 22-year-old Alice becomes pregnant out of wedlock in the early 1930s, both she and her family fear disgrace. Her mother sends her from London to the Gloucestershire countryside to await the baby’s birth at a place called Fiercombe Manor, after which she will give the baby to an orphanage. Her mother’s old friend, Mrs. Jelphs, is the housekeeper at the empty manor, and she promises to keep watch over Alice, who has concocted a cover story of a recently deceased husband.
A moment can change everything. Nat Weary learns that in a hurry. One minute, he was a World War II veteran on bended knee, proposing to his sweetheart during a concert in their hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. The next, Weary spots several men armed with pipes heading toward the performer, his childhood friend Nat “King” Cole.
Peter Schoeffer has no choice. Johann Fust raised him as his own son, and Peter owes him everything—even if that means he must do the work of the devil.
A chance discovery of an old biography at The Strand inspired journalist Alix Christie's debut novel, Gutenberg's Apprentice, which tells the story of the invention of moveable type and the printing of the Gutenberg Bible. In this essay, Christie explains how her lifelong love of letterpress printing left her uniquely suited to fictionalize this remarkable true story.
BookPage Fiction Top Pick, May 2014
Paris may be known as the City of Light, but in Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, it serves as the backdrop for some of the darkest events of human history—and for an exhilarating new novel from writer Francine Prose.
Francine Prose has written more than 20 books, including the National Book Award finalist Blue Angel, so the term “breakout book” doesn’t really apply. But her new historical novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, is poised to become her biggest hit yet. Told from various perspectives, the novel pieces together the life of Lou Villars—auto racer, cross-dresser and eventual Nazi sympathizer—against the turbulent backdrop of Jazz Age Paris. We asked Prose a few questions about the new book. Read on to find out about her own double identity and why she writes for readers like herself.
V.S. Naipaul said of the writing of Vladimir Nabokov: "It's bogus, calling attention to itself. Americans do that. All those beautiful sentences. What are they for?" James Scott has been compared, justifiably, to Michael Ondaatje and Cormac McCarthy. But his debut novel The Kept, as bleak as McCarthy and as lush as Ondaatje, seems at times an assemblage of beautiful sentences...
Would Jane Austen be rolling over in her grave after reading the latest additions to the Austen-phile’s bookshelf? Au contraire: If Austen had an iPhone, she would likely be tweeting the praises of these three charming Austen pastiches and tributes—which may have readers reaching for the originals.AN OVERLOOKED HEROINEThe Pursuit of Mary Bennet, former librarian Pamela...
Is there anything more nerve-racking than publishing a first novel? For authors and publishers alike, it’s a nail-biting moment of sink or swim. Here are 10 debuts from the year (so far!) that signal the start of promising careers.
Is there any setting more exotic—or enticing—than 18th-century Russia, populated as it is by finicky empresses, brutish tsars and decorated soldiers of the royal court? Best-selling author Debra Dean, previously heralded for The Madonnas of Leningrad, imagines the life of Russia’s beloved “holy-fool” Xenia, breathing life into the now-revered woman who became the...