Jessie Burton pairs lavish descriptions of life in 17th-century Amsterdam with a clever touch of intrigue in her debut historical novel, The Miniaturist.
Eighteen-year-old Petronella "Nella" Oortman is the shy new bride of an enigmatic and wealthy merchant, Johannes Brandt, but too often she finds herself alone in her new, unfriendly household.
Johannes tries to comfort Nella with the gift of a tiny cabinet house, which is an exact replica of their own. But when Nella employs a miniaturist to furnish it, his cryptic clues lead her to uncover long-hidden secrets about the Brandt family.
Get the in-depth scoop from Burton herself in the video below:
The Miniaturist is out today! Will you be picking up a copy?
The story unfolds in three separate sections, each centered on the larger story of the Hungarian Gold Train during World War II. Readers follow three different men through three different time periods: Jack, a young Jewish-American captain in the war; Amitai, an Israeli-born art dealer in the current day who deals with repatriated items; and Dr. Zobel, a pioneering psychiatrist at the turn of the 20th century in Budapest.
An intricate gemstone peacock pendant holds the key to the novel's decades-spanning mystery, but the male narrators and Waldman's unique female characters (Jack's love Ilona, his daughter Natalie and the suffragette Gizella) truly make this novel shine.
Watch the captivating trailer for Love & Treasure below:
What do you think, readers? Are you interested in this new historical novel?
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our web-exclusive Q&A with Waldman for more on Love & Treasure!
Is there anything as aesthetically intriguing as swinging 60's London? Pop-culture and music journalist William Shaw transports us into the world of mini-dresses, go-go boots and, of course, The Beatles in his newest mystery, She's Leaving Home.
But it isn't all peace and love and youthful rebellion—Shaw taps into the rampant sexism and xenophobia that colored much of this decade as well.
When the strangled body of a teenage girl is found near Abbey Road Studios, Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen is assigned to the case, along with Helen Tozer, the first woman to join his detective staff. Shaw is on point with his characters, dialogue and period detail, making this first installation in his planned trilogy of cultural thrillers a highly recommended read.
Check out the slick trailer from Mulholland Books below:
Well readers, what do you think? Are you interested in reading She's Leaving Home?
Alex Myers cleverly blends his own family history with fiction in his unique debut novel, Revolutionary. We meet Deborah Samson Gannett, Myers' own ancestor, during the American Revolution in 1782. When the 22-year-old servant can no longer bear her oppressive life in Colonial Massachusetts, she makes her break for independence. Disguising herself as "Robert Shurtliff," the tall and strong Gannett joins the Continental Army.
Myers' own experience in coming out as transgender makes Deborah's internal struggle over her newly adopted identity and fears of rejection incredibly palpable. In a special column written for BookPage, Myers explains his writing process:
I wanted to let her character emerge fully, without bearing the imprint of my own. Yet, so often as I wrote, I thought—she would have worried about using the bathroom . . . she would have glowed when someone called her “young man”. . . just like me. There were many times when I felt that point of contact through the page.
Watch this video with author Alex Myers to learn more about the book:
What do you think, readers? Are you interested picking up this historical novel?
In an imaginative prelude to Charles Dickens' acclaimed classic, Great Expectations, Scottish novelist Ronald Frame allows readers a glimpse into the life of Catherine Havisham, a character who has chilled readers with her dour and ghostly literary presence for well over a century.
With Havisham, Frame nimbly explores what some could call hallowed literary ground—we first meet Catherine as the precocious child of a wealthy brewer and follow her through her years of growth and social refinement. Yet it is Frame's detailed account of her (infamous) relationship with the roguish Charles Compeyson that makes us truly sorry for saying such ugly things about her in our high school English classes.
Our reviewer Elizabeth Atwood gave high praise: "An excellent example of a present-day writer taking on a classic, Havisham gives the reader food for thought while reviving one of the great characters of Victorian literature."
Sounds like a true book nerd's story to us! Watch the stylish trailer below:
What do you think, readers? Have you picked up a copy of Havisham yet?
The Rosatis thought they were safe from the war hidden away in their ancient villa, until two soldiers walked into their lives. Twelve years later, the Rosatis are being targeted by a serial killer. Serafina Bettini begins investigating the case, but every step closer to an answer brings back her own hidden past. In a world that is trying to recover from the pain of war, Bohjalian expertly knots the threads of his characters, creating a story of love and revenge.
Chris Bohjalian, New York Times best-selling author of The Sandcastle Girls, delivers another mysterious novel, this one set in the beautiful hills of Tuscany. Our reviewer calls The Light in the Ruins "a brilliant blend of historical fiction and a chilling serial killer story."
Be sure to read the full review here and check out the trailer below from Knopf Doubleday for more:
Will you read The Light in the Ruins? What other mysteries have you read during Private Eye July?
Clair Roth is a struggling artist who copies famous paintings for an online reproduction company to make ends meet. When a gallery owner promises to make her famous if she copies a certain painting for him she agrees, but there's a twist: the painting in question has been missing since 1990 when it was stolen in an art gallery heist.
Clair becomes suspicious about the painting's own legitimacy as she unearths secrets about the heist and the paintings origins that lead her to question the true value of authenticity in art.
My favorite thing about The Art Forger is its exquisite blending of fact and fiction. The gallery heist in the book is real, and B.A. Shapiro's extensive research of the event adds a realistic quality to this literary thriller.
Read our interview with Shapiro here and check out the trailer in which she talks about the origins of the novel:
Will you read The Art Forger? What other historical novels have caught your eye?
Duels! Witchcraft! Missing treasure! Murder! Mass hysteria! Fans of fast-paced historical fiction will love The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch. Set in 1689, it is the story of the author's own ancestors, a famous Bavarian executioner clan. It's pure literary entertainment, all rooted in real history.
Here's what our reviewer had to say:
While the book is called The Hangman’s Daughter, the character who seems to interest author Oliver Pötzsch the most is the hangman himself, Jakob Kuisl. A hulking creature who is ambivalent about his career as a state-approved murderer, the hangman proves to be smarter, faster, stronger, more sensitive, more decisive and (against all odds) the best doctor in town. Despite these remarkable credentials, he is also an outcast: lowly, disrespected and considered a sign of bad luck.
Check out the trailer:
The Hangman's Daughter is out now. Will you be grabbing a copy for yourself?
Our interview with Geraldine Brooks about Caleb's Crossing is BookPage's May cover story. The novel is about a Wampanoag boy who graduated from Harvard in 1665—and the Puritan woman he befriends, and who longs for an education.
In the interview, Brooks explains some of the history behind her fiction, like how some women in the 17th century were literate and longed for a better lot in life.
For some fantastic visuals to go along with the interview, watch this trailer from Viking, which takes us from Martha's Vineyard to Harvard, the settings of the novel:
Do you want to read Caleb's Crossing?
What's your favorite novel by Geraldine Brooks?
We've reported on Ken Follett's Century Trilogy throughout the past year—from the book deal in Frankfurt to the release of the cover. Now, believe it or not, we are approaching the pub date of book 1: Fall of Giants. The 985-page, $36 novel comes out one week from today.
The trilogy is about the intertwined fates of five families—American, English, German, Russian and Welsh—throughout the 20th century. Fall of Giants takes readers through World War I, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for women's suffrage.
BookPage contributor Alden Mudge interviewed Follett for the September issue of BookPage. You can read the full interview on BookPage.com next week, but here's a little preview:
My mantra while writing Fall of Giants was ‘they don’t want a history lesson.’ So I had to find ways in which all of these developments were part of the lives of characters in the story.
What book trailers are you buzzing about today?
Related in BookPage: a Q&A with Follett about World Without End, the sequel to Pillars of the Earth