Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

WOLF HALL Series, U.S. Debut

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

9780312429980   Bring Up the Bodies (Booker Winner)

Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall series, recently told an audience that she will not appreciate it if the BBC indulges in the kind of “nonsense” that the Americans brought to history in The Tudors TV series on Showtime.

American audiences will be able to judge for themselves this spring. PBS just announced that they will air the series as part of  “Masterpiece,” beginning April 5. The six-part series stars Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis, known to many American primarily as Brody in the first three seasons of Showtime’s Homeland, as Henry VIII.

In an odd bit of timing, the TV series begins after the Broadway opening on March 20th of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s theatrical adaptation, which has been a hit in London (view Act 1, Scene 1). The text of the play will be published in two versions:

9780007549894_4b1c7  9781250064172_e247a

Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies: (stage version)
Hilary Mantel, Mike Poulton
Theatre Communications Group; December 16, 2014
Ship Date: November 24, 2014
9780007549894, 000754989X
Trade Paperback, $22.95 USD

Wolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies: The Stage Adaptation
Hilary Mantel, Mike Poulton
Picador: February 24, 2015
9781250064172, 1250064171
Trade Paperback, $16.00 USD

As to when the third book in the trilogy, The Mirror and The Light will appear, Mantel said it is “unlikely to be ready until 2016.

Final WOLF HALL Book Not Til 2016

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

9780312429980   Bring Up the Bodies (Booker Winner)

The author of the Wolf Hall series, Hilary Mantel, puts the BBC on notice that she won’t appreciate it if their adaptation of her books, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies, indulges in the kind of “nonsense” that the Americans brought to history in The Tudors TV series on Showtime. Speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival over the weekend,  she said, “At some point, someone had decided that it was too complex for Henry VIII to have two sisters, so they rolled them into one. Then they had to find a fictitious king for her to marry, so I think they invented a king from Portugal unknown to history. It’s so shaming, and it stems from not trusting the intelligence of the viewer,”

Reporting on the session, The Telegraph notes that the author dashed hopes that the third in the book trilogy, The Mirror and The Light, will appear next year, saying it is “unlikely to be ready until 2016.

WOLF HALL Coming to Broadway

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

9780312429980   Bring Up the Bodies (Booker Winner)

Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s adaptation of the first two books in Hilary Mantel’s Tudor trilogy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, has been a has been a hit in London and is now set to make its American debut on Broadway April 9 next year. The production is over 5 1/2 hours long, which can be viewed in two consecutive parts (with a dinner break), or on separate days.

Perhaps feeling some competition,  the executive producer of the upcoming BBC TV adaptation of Wolf Hall, commented in a recent essay in The Guardian, “I would like to clarify that the BBC commissioned the six-hour mini-series long before it was produced for the stage.” Starring Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell and Damian Lewis (Homeland) as Henry VIII, filming was under way in various historic British locations this summer. No release dates have been announced.

The author is at work on third book in the series, The Mirror and The Light, (she and the stage play’s producer both say they hope it will also be adapted). No publication date has been announced, but some sources say it is due next year.

The stage adaptation will be released in book form this coming February. According to the publisher, it  also”contains a substantial set of notes by Hilary Mantel on each of the principal characters, offering a unique insight into the plays and an invaluable resource to any reader looking for an even deeper understanding of Mantel’s historical creations.”

9781250064172_e247aWolf Hall & Bring Up the Bodies: The Stage Adaptation,  (Macmillan/Picador)
Hilary Mantel, Mike Poulton (adapted by)
Macmillan/Picador: February 24, 2015
9781250064172, 1250064171
Trade Paperback
$16.00 USD

Readers Advisory: Historical Fiction and the “Ick” Factor

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

9780062335944_2516fKaty Simpson Smith has received enviable attention for her first novel, The Story of Land and Sea, (Harper; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio, 8/26/14 ). Vogue magazine profiled the author, under the headline, “Katy Simpson Smith’s Luminous Novel Is Set to Be the Debut of the Year.”

The Washington Post saw in the novel echoes of Hilary Mantel‘s Wolf Hall series, in that it “works to breathe life into history using the immediacy of the present tense. Its finely wrought (sometimes overwrought) language blends startling details of the everyday with a dreamy, aphoristic quality. The effect is to root the novel in its historical moment but to reach toward the universal in its exploration of love and grief.”

Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, agrees that those details of daily life are “startling,” but not necessarily in a good way. She opened a discussion with branch staff about the book, via the following comments on the staff intranet.

Have you noticed the trend toward Realism with a capital “R” that has been hitting historical fiction? I get that living in 1793 was no picnic, but seriously, leave the ick factor to my imagination, okay?

I first noticed this with last year’s Longbourn by Jo Baker, a book I loved, but if there had been one more paragraph about chamber pots, I swear I’d have pitched it across the room. And Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Great book as a long as you aren’t depressed when you start it, because trust me, you will be when you finish it. Did I really need to know how grungy Iceland was in 1829? I have been blessed with a great imagination. Oh, Writer. Trust your readers. We could have figured it out.

And now along comes The Story of Land and Sea, an excellent historical novel with lots of good historical detail woven in, lots of examination of how people in 1793 North Carolina thought and believed and therefore behaved differently than we do, which is superbly done, but ugh—when you get to the part about yellow fever. Again, Oh, Writer, I can color in those details myself.

I wonder if this is part of a larger cultural change. Are people so accustomed to visual entertainment that writers have to literally give us the gory details to make it real for people used to getting their mental pictures drawn for them on Xbox and HBO?

If your customers like extremely well written historical novels with carefully crafted character development, they’ll love The Story of Land and Sea, but if they are more to the Gentle Reader side of the scale, they’d be happier with Light Between the Oceans or The Invention of Wings.

Several of Cuyahoga staff members responded that they like those details, including Susan Levinsohn, who wrote,

I think we are more tolerant than we were even 10 yrs. ago for the reasons you mentioned above. Senior ladies are not asking for cozies like they used to and don’t mind reading the more graphic fiction. I also think many people that read historical fiction (including myself) like to read background information that does represent the times. I like to get a “feel” for the times and the people of the era as well as the story woven around it. I think if part of the appeal for the reader is the history then the details, however “icky” are more likely taken in as just true to the times. I like Miss Marple but I’ll take Burial Rites too.

As Wendy says, it’s important to understand your customers preferences when making recommendations.

Read the first chapter here.

Readers Advisory: THE MINIATURIST

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

9780062306814_315ffAs we reported earlier, Cuyahoga Public Library’s Wendy Bartlett increased her orders for The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperLuxe) after it received an enthusiastic review in the locally influential Cleveland Plain Dealer,

After reading it herself, she reported to staff:

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. Oh, wait. Similar plot, different book. Instead of the 20th century England of Rebecca, we’re in the 17th century Amsterdam of The Miniaturist. If your readers like a strong sense of place and a highly readable book, they’ll love this one.

I read The Miniaturist in two sittings, even though I figured out the family secrets in the first 100 pages (Jessie Burton could take some pointers on suspense from DuMaurier). However, the pacing is unusually strong for a historical novel, the mystery surrounding The Miniaturist holds up throughout, and you really do feel like you’re in 17th century Amsterdam, which is no small feat.

Holds are building, and I think this one will continue to have strong word of mouth, so it will behoove you to give it a look.

Happy Reading!

If you can’t get your hands on a copy, you can read a sample via OverDrive.

It is an August LibraryReads pick, gets an  A-, in Entertainment Weekly. The author was profiled in The Wall Street Journal.

Check your holds; they are heavy in some areas.

Major Promo for
THE MINIATURIST

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

9780062306814_315ffA sure indicator that a new book season is upon us is a WSJ story on the marketing efforts behind a particular title.

This season, it’s The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton, (HarperCollins/Ecco; HarperLuxe).

About a lonely young woman in 17th C Amsterdam who creates a magical dollhouse that begins to predict the future, it is also a LibraryReads pick and gets an A- in Entertainment Weekly. Read a sample vis OverDrive.

Based on a review in the locally influential Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wendy Bartlett of Cuyahoga Public Library, has already put in a hefty additional order that is quadruple the initial quantity.

article-2717879-2021DE2300000578-388_306x473Published earlier in the U.K., it’s been in the top ten there since July. The Wall Street Journal details the elaborate U.K.  marketing campaign, with intricate shop displays that include “doll’s houses and Delft pottery, in one case flying a motorized parakeet around the books (a green bird figures in the novel).”

The U.K. cover features an actual dollhouse, complete with its own “making of” video.

 

Hot in Cleveland

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

When Wendy Bartlett, head of collection development at Cuyahoga P.L, Ohio, has a gut feeling about a title, she buys it in quantity, to be ahead of the demand curve. She lets the staff in on her thinking through her “Hot Title Thursdays” posts on the staff intranet, a clever way of ensuring the success of these titles, as staff in turn recommends them.

Conversely, Wendy relies on staff response when she just doesn’t see the potential in some heavily-promoted title (not a fan of The Night Circus when it was first announced, she asked staff to read galleys to tell her if she was nuts. They told her she was. She ordered more. Good thing; it went on to be a best seller).

We’ve asked Wendy to begin sharing her Hot Title Thursdays posts on EarlyWord. Below is the first, about a book that’s also been generating enthusiasm on GalleyChat. It’s coming out the end of July and is now available via NetGalley and Edelweiss (sounds perfect for the Memorial Day weekend).

Fortune HunterThe Fortune Hunter, Daisy Goodwin, (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press; Macmillan Audio; Thorndike)

Wanna find out how the 1% lived back in the day?

Here’s your chance!

If you don’t think “gossipy page turner” when you think of historical fiction, you clearly haven’t read Daisy Goodwin. Her previous title, a debut novel, The American Heiress also did very well for us.

I’m happy to report that her new novel, The Fortune Hunter, is even stronger, particularly in terms of pacing, and will again appeal to a wide range of readers, from romance to historical fiction, to royal watchers, to the Downton Abbey crowd, and even to people who love travel.

Part of the fascination is that Goodwin has based the novel on actual historical figures in Victorian-era Europe, including Victoria herself. The main characters are Elizabeth “Sisi” Winterhalter, the Empress of Austria, Bay Middleton (yes, a distant relative of the current Princess of Wales), the Earl of Spencer, as in Diana’s great-great-grandfather……..you get the idea. Sisi, a legendary beauty, travels Europe to alleviate her boredom. (The cocaine mixture administered by the Hungarian lady-in-waiting doesn’t hurt either.) She decides she wants handsome Bay Middleton, the best rider in England, to be her personal assistant for hunting season. But Middleton is in love with the heiress to the Lennox fortune—a young woman not wise at all in the ways of the world. It’s a love triangle, but also a clash of societal roles, classes and cultures. Fun, fun, fun. I read it in two sittings.

This one has a street date of July 29th. Get those holds in now! ENJOY!

WOLF HALL Begins Shooting

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Chalfield Manor

The village of Holt in Wiltshire is gearing up for the BBC’s arrival next week to begin filming the adaptation of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. The shoot will take place in Great Chalfield Manor, standing in for Thomas Cromwell’s home.

Mark Rylance, who will play Cromwell, is familiar with that house. It was used as the Boleyn family home in the 2008 film of Phillipa Gregory’s novel, The Other Boleyn Girl (S&S/Scribner), in which he portrayed Thomas Boleyn.

Fans who have been eagerly awaiting Mirror And The Light, the projected final volume in Mantel’s series, were disappointed when it was announced that her next book, coming at the end of September, is The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and Other Stories, (Macmillan/Holt, Macmillan Audio, read by Simon Vance), which is obviously not part of the Tudor series.

She has said, however, that she plans to finish Mirror And The Light this year. That book is clearly very much on her mind. On Saturday, speaking on BBC radio about why she finds her subject Cromwell so fascinating, she addressed the inevitable final event of the story, when his “life will end abruptly on the scaffold.” Rather than seeing his life as ending of failure, she hopes the “reader, when we get there, will be moved, will be sorry, but will also be  astounded by the life I’ve narrated. I aim to leave my reader harrowed, and yet braced, ready for the next thing.”

Early Attention for FROG MUSIC

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Frog MusicAfter the huge success of Room, it’s no surprise that critics are vying to be the first to review author Emma Donoghue’s next book, Frog Music, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio and Large Print), which arrives this coming Tuesday (although some libraries are showing that it is in process).

The Washington Post‘s is among the first of the consumer reviews, with Ron Charles noting, “The millions of readers who know Donoghue only from the harrowing tale of that little boy [in Room] will discover in Frog Music just how expansive and boisterous this Irish Canadian author can be … Donoghue has created a full-throated murder mystery, spiced with song and forbidden love.”

The Wall Street Journal profiles the author’s background research, in which she came up with a solution to a real-life murder that took place in San Francisco in 1876.

The film rights for Room were acquired in 2013. It is still in development as of January, according to a story in Deadline.

Media Attention: THE TRAITOR’S WIFE

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Traitor's WifeThe daughter of former New York governor George Pataki, Allison, has published a novel about Benedict Arnold and his wife Peggy, The Traitor’s Wife. An original trade paperback released by Howard Books, a Christian publisher bought by S&S in 2006, it got attention from Fox News, as well as the Wall Street Journal Live.

The book rose to #5 on Amazon sales rankings as a result. Libraries are showing holds on light ordering.

UPDATE: The author is scheduled for the Today Show on March 19

TODAY SHOW Picks UNDER THE WIDE

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Under the Wide and StarryThe Today Show Book Club, which has been quiet for a while, re-emerges with a new pick, Nancy Horan’s novel based on the story of Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Van de Grift, Under The Wide and Starry Sky. (RH/Ballantine; released on Tuesday).

Describing the book, Savannah Guthrie says,”Think Downton Abbey with a twist.”

Stevenson’s name is in the air currently; it is also attached to the new STARZ series, Black Sails, billed a a “prequel” to the author’s classic, Treasure Island.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

This is the third pick since the club as announced in September. The others were:

1) The Bone Season, Samantha Shannon, (Macmillan/Bloomsbury)

2) Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, Helen Fielding, (RH/Knopf)

PAINTED GIRLS Possible TV Series

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The Painted GirlsCathy Marie Buchanan’s novel, The Painted Girls, (Penguin/Riverhead), published in January, was inspired by Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.

It is now the inspiration for a possible TV series, produced by The CW and CBS TV Studios, according to Deadline.com.

The novel received praise in a Washington Post review by Susan Vreeland, the author of another book inspired by a work of art from the same period, Luncheon of the Boating Party, (Penguin).

LIVE BY NIGHT To Movies

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Live by NightThe film adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night, directed by Ben Affleck, will be released on Christmas Day, 2015. Affleck will star; no other stars have been announced.

Affleck’s first outing as a director was a film based on another Lehane novel, 2007’s Gone Baby Gone.

Live by Night (Harper/ Morrow) is a crime novel set in the Prohibition era about the rise of an Irish-American gangster. Prophetically, Entertainment Weekly, called it a “ripping, movie-ready yarn that jumps from a Boston prison to Tampa speakeasies to a Cuban tobacco farm.”

Affleck is currently at work as an actor, playing the lead in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, set for release on Oct 3, 2014.

Lehane is no stranger to the movies; in addition to Gone Baby Gone, films have been made of his novels Mystic River (2003) and Shutter Island (2010). He has also written for the TV series The Wire and Boardwalk Empire.

OUTLANDER Shooting In Scotland

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

OutlanderBased on the first title in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels, the STARZ series began production in Scotland earlier this month, and now has an official web site, Starz.com/Originals/Outlander.

During last week’s Comic Con in NYC, Gabaldon and Executive Producer Ronald D. Moore held a special event for fans (summary here:  “Who’s Been Cast in Starz’s ‘Outlander‘? Plus 11 More Things We Know About the Upcoming Series“). Moore emphasized how faithful the adaptation will be to the book  (“I live with a fan, my wife, and it’s my job not to screw up her favorite book!”)

Below is the video, preceded by some scenes from the shoot. Concept art for the sets is shown beginning at time stamp 9:15:

Written in My Own Heart's Blood

The forthcoming 8th title in the series, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, (RH/Delacorte) has been moved from its original December publication date to March 25, 2014, when it will tie in to the publicity for the STARZ series.

Holds Alert: ORPHAN TRAIN

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

The Orphan TrainThe Orphan Train, a novel by Christina Baker Kline (author of The Way We Should Be, among others) rises to #5 on the USA Today Best Seller list this week, its highest spot to date. A paperback original, it is based on historical events, the rounding up of orphans from New York streets, between 1854 and 1929, to ship them via train to the midwest, in hopes families there would adopt them.

Programs commemorating that history are being held this month on the both ends of the orphan train route; New York’s Grand Central Station, where a musical based on the story opens next week, and in Minnesota’s Union Depot. CBSNews.com posted a slideshow of photos from a nonfiction title, Extra! Extra! The Orphan Trains and Newsboys of New Yorkby Minnesota historian Renee Wendinger, whose mother was one of the Orphan Train children.

Christina Baker Kline’s novel, The Orphan Train  (Harper/Morrow; 4/2/13) was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday in April. Holds are heavy in most libraries.