Caroline Herschel’s prospects as a plain, poor and pox-scarred woman in 19th-century Germany are not good. Living in a cramped home surrounded by siblings and an affectionless mother, her only saviors are her brilliant older brother William—who moved to England—and her loving but sickly father, who after attending the wedding of a neighbor’s daughter wails to Caroline, “Oh, my dear. You are neither handsome nor rich. What is to be done?”
Kristina McMorris evokes such a strong sense of place that to open her books feels less like reading and more like traveling.
When Judy Blume was a teenager in Elizabeth, New Jersey, three commercial jets crashed in her town within months of each other, each narrowly avoiding schools and orphanages. In retrospect, it’s shocking that she hasn’t considered telling this dramatic story before. But only now has Blume written about it in a novel, In the Unlikely Event.
Teddy Todd, who first appeared in Kate Atkinson’s thrilling Life After Life (2013), served as a British pilot in World War II. As a young man in the throes of a brutal war, he “didn’t expect to see the alchemy of spring, to see the dull brown earth change to bright green and then pale gold.”
It’s estimated that around 500 women passed themselves off as men so they could fight in the Civil War. In the haunting Neverhome, Laird Hunt deftly imagines one such situation and its heartbreaking repercussions.
To marry their daughters off, four social-climbing men in 1790s London hatch a plot: Buy a pianoforte (the au courant instrument of the late 18th century) and have them give a concert that will have noblemen lined up for their hands in marriage.
The ladies are as varied as their fathers are ambitious: emaciated Georgiana; Everina with her unfortunate false teeth; mysterious Alathea; and the Brass sisters, practical Harriet and lumpy Marianne.
First the woman behind Frank Lloyd Wright and now Robert Louis Stevenson’s wife—author Nancy Horan has carved a niche for herself as a novelist who gives voice to strong, influential yet largely forgotten women.
“Women have been underrepresented in the history books,” Horan says by phone from her home on an island near Seattle. “I’ve chosen to write about two women who were very strong in their own right.”
It took Sue Monk Kidd four years to write her sweeping new novel, The Invention of Wings. When the book was finally finished, the last thing she wanted to think about was starting a new project, so she and her husband took a getaway river cruise from Berlin to Prague. “My husband’s from Mississippi, so [river cruising] is his...
Amy Tan does not have a fabulous closet befitting a world-famous author. She is in the midst of cleaning it when BookPage calls to talk about her lush new novel, The Valley of Amazement.“It’s a terrible closet,” Tan says with a laugh from her home in New York City. “It’s a teeny-tiny closet. The doors keep going off...
Jamie Ford conducted his interview with BookPage while crouched on the floor of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, seeking good cell reception and a pocket of quiet. While he briefly worried he might look like a homeless person lying on the floor of an international airport, he more or less embraces the whirlwind that comes with life on the...