Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

THE MINIATURIST To Screen

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

9780062306814_f3fe5BBC One is adapting a 2014 LibraryRead’s pick, Jessie Burton’s debut novel, The Miniaturist (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), reports Deadline Hollywood.

The planned three-part mini-series is in the works for 2017. No specific start date or stars have yet been confirmed.

Burton’s book did very well in the UK. Radio Times reports it was “one of the fastest selling debut novels in a decade, shifting more than a million copies in 37 countries.” It won Waterstone’s Book of the Year (one of the UK’s biggest bookstore chains), the UK National Book Awards New Writer of the Year, the UK National Book Awards Overall Book of the Year, and The Observer‘s Book of the Year, which said “The writing is fluid and addictive and the story grows out of the most irritatingly brilliant idea imaginable.”

Burton said in a press release “It’s an almost indescribable thrill to know the characters and story I invented in The Miniaturist are going to be given a new life in such an exciting way. John Brownlow’s script is perfect. Short of actually being published, it’s the best news I’ve ever had.” (Brownlow wrote the screenplay for the Gwyneth Paltrow vehicle about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, Ted and Sylvia, aka Sylvia).

Posting on Twitter Buton was less restrained.

Stateside, Entertainment Weekly gave the novel an A-, writing “The Miniaturist is one of the year’s most hyped novels, and it’s easy to see why.” The Wall Street Journal ran a feature on the book (subscription may be required). Kirkus gave it a starred review, writing “With its oblique storytelling, crescendo of female empowerment and wrenching ending, this novel establishes Burton as a fresh and impressive voice; book groups in particular will relish it.”

Need a refresher on the plot? Elizabeth Angelastro of Manlius Library, Manlius, NY provided the LibraryReads annotation:

“A dollhouse whose figures and furnishings foretell life events, mysterious notes, family secrets and the powerful guild and church of 1686 Amsterdam. All these elements combine for an engaging story of a young bride’s struggle to be the ‘architect of her own fortune.’”

The executive producer for the BBC show said to think of the novel as “Wolf Hall meets Tulip Fever.”

The ORPHAN TRAIN House

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

9780061950704_6f669If you love real estate porn combined with the story of an author’s unexpected success, check out the cover story from Sunday’s NYT Real Estate section. In it, Christina Baker Kline writes that she had nearly given up on her dream to buy a house where her father and three siblings has been acquiring property, on Mount Desert Island in Maine.

All that changed when her novel Orphan Train, (HarperCollins/Morrow, 2014) which is partially set on Mount Desert Island, became a word-of-mouth bestseller.

Following Fellowes

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

9781250045461_aa055In her NYT review of Belgravia, the novel by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, Daisy Goodwin speculates on whether it will satisfy the legions who are still mourning the end of the TV series.

Curiously, Goodwin herself is in the running to fill that hole, as the writer and co-executive producer of an 8-part TV series Victoria, about the early years of the queen’s reign. It will run in January on PBS Masterpiece in the very time slot Downton once occupied (in the UK, it begins this fall on ITV, also in the time slot that Downton once ruled).

In addition, in late November, Goodwin will publish Victoria: A Novel (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press). It’s not clear that the book is the source for the series. The publisher description simply says, “Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the inner life of the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.”

Goodwin’s The Fortune Hunter (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, 2014) drew comparison from People magazine to Fellowes, “Downton Abbey fans will gallop like Thoroughbreds through this entertaining historical novel.”

Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman will star in the TV series as Victoria, reports Entertainment Weekly, “beginning from her ascension to the throne in 1837, through to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert,” played by Tom Hughes (About Time).

ITV has posted several clips, a longer first look and a teaser that reveals some of the lush costuming.

Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton enthuses to Entertainment Weekly, “Victoria has it all: a riveting script, brilliant cast, and spectacular locations. And it’s a true story! This is exactly the kind of programming Masterpiece fans will love.”

Holds Alert: BELGRAVIA, The Book

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

9781455541164_f7236After first debuting as 11 serial downloads, Julian Fellowes’s newest take on old money, Belgravia (Hachette/Grand Central; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample), is being published in a single print volume.

Reviews are range from raves to disappointment.

USA Today is entirely positive, praising the “juicy” 400 pager for its “zipping” pace and giving it four out of four stars. The paper goes on to say Fellowes “channels Dickens, Austen and romance queen Georgette Heyer” in his novel of “class snobbery, social climbing, lucky orphans and family secrets.”

In the upcoming NYT Sunday Book Review, author Daisy Goodwin, whose romantic historicals have tilled similar ground to Fellowes, is not as impressed, “Reading Belgravia is rather like visiting a modern re-creation of a Victorian house — every cornice molding is perfect — but it’s a Victorian house with 21st-century plumbing and Wi-Fi. It’s for anyone who has tried to read a 19th-century novel and become bored.”

Addressing the big question of how it will play with Downton Abbey fans, Goodwin says there is “plenty to enjoy here, and there’s no one like Fellowes for giving good dowager. But without the talents of great actors to turn stereotypes into human beings, much of the characterization … Belgravia has everything one would expect of a Victorian novel, apart from its sentimental heart.”

As we noted in the July 4th Titles To Know, The Seattle Times found that, in comparison to Downton, “Belgravia, unfortunately, feels like a respectable but socially inferior cousin; it might get invited to dinner, but only out of obligation.”

Regardless of these reviews, and while readers did not embrace the serial format, holds are very strong at several libraries we checked, easily topping a 3:1 ratio.

KLG Bump

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

1410470326_18235The Traitor’s Wife, Allison Pataki (S&S/Howard; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) got a big boost from Kathie Lee Gifford yesterday. The Today Show host named the novel as her “favorite thing” of the week. You can watch it here, but a warning, KLG doesn’t say much about it, just that it’s one of her favorite “historical fiction novels” and it’s about  Benedict Arnold’s wife, Peggy Shippen, who was “such a slut,” to which co-host Hoda chimes in “So juicy! So juicy!” That was enough to make it rise dramatically on Amazon, jumping from a sales rank of #9,217 to #33.

They also mention that it’s being made into a major motion picture.

It also tops the Huffington Post‘s list of “10 Books That All Hamilton Fans Must Read!” saying:

“Apparently Alexander Hamilton had success with the ladies. And you know one lady in particular who caught his eye? Peggy Shippen, the beautiful and beguiling young wife of patriot-turned-traitor Benedict Arnold … The rumors and reports were that Hamilton, who was in Arnold’s home the day the plot was thwarted, was so moved by chivalrous concern and empathy for the poor Peggy that he brought her flowers in bed.”

“Sensitive Storyteller” Chris Cleave On NPR

Monday, May 9th, 2016

9781501124372_102c9Rising on the Amazon charts on the strength of an interview on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday is Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave Is Forgiven (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The Library Reads pick, GalleyChatter hit, and Indie Next selection is currently #88 on Amazon’s Top 100 and is definitely headed for the best seller lists.

NPR’s Lynn Neary talks with Cleave about his own family’s WWII history, the Blitz in London and the Siege of Malta, and the pervasive racism of the era. Of his family he says:

“One of the bravest things that people in that generation did was to trust each other and was to trust themselves to fall in love. They fell in love sort of differently from the way we do. My real-life grandparents only met nine times before they were engaged. And so my grandmother’s engagement ring had these nine tiny stones on it, one for each time. And that was one of the bravest things they did. It wasn’t just that they were very stoical and that they endured so much. It was that they had faith in each other.”

The novel is receiving conflicting reviews. In the Washington Post, David L. Ulin, former editor  of the Los Angeles Times, says the author has problems tackling the grave effects of war, “None of the characters here is truly changed, not at the deepest level, which gives the book something of a shopworn quality.” On the other hand, The Guardian says: “With Everyone Brave Is Forgiven Cleave cements his reputation as a skilful storyteller, and a sensitive chronicler of the interplay between the political and the personal.”

TULIP FEVER Arrives in July

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Tulip FeverThe adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel Tulip Fever (PRH/Delacorte, 2000) was filmed back in 2014, so yesterday’s announcement of a July 15 release date seems sudden.

The industry news site IndieWire suggests that the Weinstein Company has held back the release for a reason, as they are known for “sitting on movies when they don’t make the grade” also citing that “American audiences are still waiting to see the WWII tale Suite Francaise starring Michelle Williams and Matthias Schoenaerts”

Neo trailer has been released yfor Tulip Fever, starring Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander, along with Christoph Waltz, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Cara Delevingne, Judi Dench and, Zach Galafianakis and no tie-in has been announced.

UPDATE: Trailer, below:

Vikander also stars in the film adaptation of The Light Between Oceans, set to open on Labor Day.

Belgravia Delayed

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

BelgraviaJulian Fellowes appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition today to talk about his new project. Harking back to an old form, his book Belgravia will be released in installments, but using modern technology, it will be delivered via an app.

Unfortunately, there is a hitch. According to the Belgravia App Page on Facebook,

“Our nineteenth century story has been stalled by twenty-first century technology! … We are currently resolving an unexpected technical issue and the launch of Julian Fellowes’s BELGRAVIA app has been delayed.”

As we noted earlier, a hardcover edition of the full series, as well as an audio, is set for July.
 

Summer Blooming

Monday, April 4th, 2016

9780812993103_f08deIn 2010, Helen Simonson’s debut novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand put a modern twist on the tradition of British novels about village life. The gentlemanly Major Pettigrew of the title falls for a lovely Pakistani widow who runs the local tea shop.

Critics were charmed and so were booksellers, making it a #1 Indie Next pick. It hit the lower rungs of the NYT best seller list and spent many more weeks on the paperback list.

Simonson’s new novel, The Summer Before the War (PRH/Random House; Random House Audio; BOT; OverDrive Sample), is taking off more quickly, arriving at #7 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction list in its first week of publication.

The #1 March LibraryReads pick, USA Today sums it up as “Julian Fellowes meets E.M. Forster.” The Washington Post calls it “a delightful story about nontraditional romantic relationships, class snobbery and the everybody-knows-everybody complications of living in a small community” and says “The novel’s amusing dialogue enlivens its compelling storyline and is sure to please fans of Downton.”

Entertainment Weekly gives it a B+ and offers: “within the framework of a wartime love story, Simonson captures the contradictions of small-town life perfectly: the idyllic pastimes, the overly involved neighbors, the hints at secrets and unspoken truths.” The goes on to say the novel is ” thoroughly enjoyable” and “addictively readable.”

The one nay-sayer is Miss Manners, reviewing the book for the NYT Sunday Book Review under her real name Judith Martin, carping over “an annoying caricature of Henry James” and adding that she prefers the Lucia and Mapp series by E.F. Benson, novels that are also set in the British town of Rye during the early 20th C.

Holds are growing at many libraries we checked, with some wait lists topping a 3:1 ratio.

Pennie Picks a Two-fer:
THE KITCHEN HOUSE

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

costco-connectionThis month Costco’s book buyer, Pennie Clark Ianniciello, calls attention to a sleeper hit and its follow-up.

The influential Costco buyer is well known for bringing new attention to titles re-released in trade paperback, such as The Art Forger, The Orchardist and Beautiful Ruins, resulting in each book rising or making its debut on best seller lists.

9781439153666_e5e4cThis month she mixes it up, going back in time to a book first reviewed in the trades in 2009, Kathleen Grissom’s debut, The Kitchen House (S&S/Touchstone; OverDrive Sample), also setting up the author’s forthcoming second novel.

The Kitchen House is likely already in most collections. While the sleeper languished at first it became a huge book club hit based on the PR efforts of Grissom. So remarkable was its rise that in 2012 The Wall Street Journal ran a story on its rags to riches turn around (link may require a subscription).

9781476748443_b8ed0Now Pennie is pushing it again, saying the antebellum story of a white indentured servant
has her “ready for Grissom’s follow-up novel,”
Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House,(S&S; S&S Audio; April).

The Kitchen House is still in demand with
active holds at many libraries we checked and Glory Over Everything already showing
solid demand.

THE LIGHT Appears This Fall

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

The Light Between Oceans, Trade PbkA couple of months ago, we wondered what had happened to the film adaptation of The Light Between Oceans, based on the long-running best seller by M.L. Stedman (S&S/ Scribner).

We just got our answer. Deadline reports it is scheduled for September 2nd, to take advantage of Labor Day weekend. Deadline suggests it may have been held back to save it for next year’s awards season. Both its stars are already up for Oscars this year, Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs and Alicia Vikander for The Danish Girl.

Tie-ins:

The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman, 8/30/16
Trade Paperback, (S&S/Scribner)
Mass Market, (S&S/Pocket Books)

For other adaptations in the works, check our Upcoming Adaptations list. For tie-ins, Upcoming — Tie-ins

Austen Adaptation Set for Release

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

On a buying spree at the Sundance Film FestivalAmazon acquired the buzzed-about Love and Friendship, based on an unfinished early novella by Jane Austen. Originally untitled, it was published in 1871, after Austen’s death, as Lady Susan. (available in several editions, including one from Penguin Classics). To make things more confusing, the movie uses the title of a different work by Austen, an early short story.

The movie is directed by Whit Stillman, described in an interview with Vanity Fair last week as “The cult director of contemporary and contemporary-ish Austen-inflected fare” (including Metropolitan and The last Days of Disco). It stars  Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny, with Xavier Samuel and Stephen Fry.

It will first be released in theaters, followed a month later by streaming via Amazon Prime. One source lists the release date as May 13.

The tie-in is written by the director:

Love & Friendship

Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated by Whit Stillman, (Hachette/Little, Brown).

The reviews of the screening at Sundance have been warm, as exemplified by those from Vanity Fair, “Love & Friendship: A Cream Puff of a Movie” and the Guardian, “Kate Beckinsale is a devious delight.”

OUTLANDER, Season 2,
Trailer & Tie-ins

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

The first trailer for new season of Outlander on STARZ was just released.

Based on the second novel in the book series, Dragonfly In Amber (PRH/Delacorte, 1992; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), it follows Jamie and Claire as they escape to France and try to stop the Jacobite rising. This moves the action from the Scottish Highlands to upper-class life in France.

Once again, it spans multiple time periods and also introduces new characters, including Jamie and Claire’s adult daughter Brianna, Fergus, Jamie’s spy and one-day-adopted son, and a young Lord John Grey.

Season two is slated to air some time this spring.

Tie-ins (Season 2 Cover Art to Come):

9780399177699_16a9f

Dragonfly in Amber (Starz Tie-in Edition) ,  Diana Gabaldon
PRH/Delta, March 8, 2016
Trade Paperback

RA Alert: GODDESS

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

9780732298883_915c1Calling her “an Olympic gold medalist combined with Lady GaGa,” Kelly Gardiner spoke to Scott Simon on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday about Julie d’Aubigny, the true-life subject of her novel, Goddess (HarperCollins; OverDrive Sample),

A legendary 17th century swashbuckling figure, a bisexual, cross-dressing opera singer and noted duelist who was raised in the servant side of Versailles, d’Aubigny was once sentenced to burn at the stake for her relationship with a nun.

After writing a string of historical fiction/adventure YA books, d’Aubigny Gardiner’s debut adult novel re-tells the highlights of d’Aubigny’s many adventured life, told in retrospect from her deathbed.

D’Aubigny has become somewhat of a standard barer Gardiner says, telling NPR:

“Throughout the centuries, she’s been written about … and every so often, she becomes famous all over again, and she’s famous all over again now. It’s fascinating to see — whenever society starts to think about, what does gender mean, what does sexuality mean, she’s just one of the names that comes up, and people start thinking about her, and talking about her, and portraying her all over again.”

Pennie’s October Pick

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

9780062279972_08eefCostco’s book buyer, Pennie Clark Ianniciello has recently featured well-known titles as her influential monthly “Pennie’s Pcks” (Me Before You, Circling The Sun, and The Girl On The Train were the July, August, and September selections).

Her October pick breaks the mold.

Brian Payton’s 2014 novel The Wind Is Not a River (Harper/Ecco; OverDrive Sample), while not exactly under the radar, did not achieve bestseller status.

It was both an Indie Next and a LibraryReads choice when it came out in hardcover. Librarian Nancy Pearl interviewed Payton in an “Author One-on-One” for Amazon, when it was picked as an Amazon Best Book of the Month.

9780062279989_27b0cThe novel explores a little-known aspect of WWII, the fierce fighting between Japanese and U.S.soldiers on Alaska’s Aleutians islands. The trade paperback edition features a cover that focuses on the relationship in the novel, underscored by a blurb from the USA Today review, “a haunting love story,” over the WWII survival story.

This month’s Costco Connection interviews Payton. In a sidebar Ianniciello says the novel is “so much more than a history lesson, this is a beautiful story about the way loss can affect people.”

Keep your eye on this one; Pennie’s Picks often have a widespread effect.