Archive for the ‘Historical’ Category

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


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.

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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

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).


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,

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.


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. 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.

Debut with Legs; BURIAL RITES

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Burial RitesThe number one pick on the September IndieNext list is Burial Rites, (Hachette/Little, Brown; Hachette Audio; Hachette Large Print), a debut novel set in Iceland and based on the true story of the last woman executed there 1820’s. It is by Australian writer Hannah Kent, who became obsessed with the story after visiting Iceland as a teenager.

Prepub reviews have been strong, with Kirkus breathlessly applauding it for language that is “flickering, sparkling and flashing like the northern lights.” LJ puts it “In the company of works by Hilary Mantel, Susan Vreeland, and Rose Tremain” and calls it a “compulsively readable novel [that] entertains while illuminating a significant but little-known true story.” Librarians on GalleyChat also say the book had them “mesmerized.”

Libraries are so far showing few holds on minimal ordering.

Digital galleys are available from Edelweiss and NetGalley, until the pub. date of 9/10.

Beach Read Challenge: LETTERS FROM SKYE

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Continuing the “Beach Read Challenge,” the staff at Cuyahoga Public Library are reading ARC’s (both e-ARC’s and print) to identify new titles for summer reading. Supporting the effort, Wendy Bartlett, Collection Development Manager, orders more non-reservable copies of each selected title to make it  available for browsing and recommending. The first pick was The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, Anton DiSclafani, (Penguin/Riverhead). The second arrives next week. The following is from Wendy’s weekly “hot title alert” to the staff:

Letters From SkyeLetters from Skye by Jessica Brockmole, (RH/Ballantine) [Ed note: Digital ARC’s available from Edelweiss, but hurry, they won’t be available after the book is published next Tuesday].

Here’s another good book to hand customers this summer, one that is a more poignant Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Just prior to World War I, a young American writes a fan letter to his favorite poet. Little does he know that the poet is a lovely young woman. As the letters go back and forth, we learn more about Elspeth and David, and their unfolding, very complicated love story.

Elspeth lives an isolated life on the Isle of Skye, and years later, Elspeth’s daughter Margaret, in the midst of her own love story, tries to piece together what really happened and where her scattered family might be. The mystery keeps the romance from being overly sentimental. You  want to see if it all works out for these likable characters.

If your customers like historical fiction and don’t mind epistolary novels, they’ll enjoy Letters from Skye.

Thanks to Sue Levinsohn and Barb Wilson, who also gave this one a test drive and came back with positive reports!

Philippa Gregory’s WHITE QUEEN On Starz

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Philippa Gregory’s novels in The Cousins’ War series, set during Great Britain’s War of the Roses, have been adapted into a ten-part tv series that will premiere on STARZ cable network on Saturday, August 10th at 9pm ET/PT. Titled The White Queen, the BBC/STARZ production is actually based on the first three books [UPDATE: the fourth title, The Kingmaker’s Daughter is also being released as a tie-in], which are being released as trade paperback tie-ins in early July by S&S/Touchstone.

The White Queen,9781476735481

The Red Queen, 9781476746302

Lady of the Rivers, 9781476746319

The Kingmaker’s Daughter, 9781476746326

The White Queen  The Red Queen  Lady of the Rivers

It stars Max Irons (son of Jeremy Irons, he appeared in the movie Red Riding Hood), Amanda Hale (The Crimson Petal & The White), James Frain (The Tudors). Newcomer Rebecca Ferguson plays the Elizabeth Woodville, the White Queen. Amanda Hale is Margaret Beufort, the Red Queen and Faye Marsay is Anne Neville, the Lady of the Rivers. Gregory is an executive producer on the project.

The two teasers give quite different impressions of what to expect (see if you can guess which is the STARZ promo and which the BBC without looking at the credits).



The next book in the series, The White Princess, (S&S/Touchstone; S&S Audio) will be published on July 23.

CITY OF WOMEN Best Seller Debut

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

City of WomenA debut novel set in Nazi Germany, City of Women, by David R. Gillham (Penguin /Putnam /Einhorn) was published in August.

After it was released in trade paperback and was chosen as a Book of the Month by COSTCO’s book buyer, the author went on a 17-city tour, which is just winding down.

It makes its first appearance on the NYT best seller list, at #15 on the 6/2 trade paperback list.

It was part of our Penguin First Flights program; read the online interview and listen to a podcast interview with the author here.

Closer to Screen: AGINCOURT

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

CornwellBack in 2010, when Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling novel, Agincourt (Harper, 2009), about the battle that was also the basis for Shakespeare’s Henry V, was signed for a film, we warned you not to hold your breath. Filmmaker Michael Mann had several other projects in the works. Since then, he has completed two TV series for HBO (Luck and the documentary Witness).

Agincourt is now back in the news; Deadline reports that the script is being rewritten. There is some excitement about Mann’s renewed interest based on his handling of 1992’s The Last of the Mohicans, starring Daniel Day-Lewis (Roger Ebert called it,  “quite an improvement on Cooper’s all but unreadable book”). One more  project stands in the way, however. Mann begins production in June on another feature film.

CITY OF WOMEN Is Pennie’s Pick for May

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

City of WomenOne of the early titles in our Penguin First Flights Program was David Gillham’s novel set in WW II Germany, City of Women (Penguin/ Putnam/ Einhorn). Arriving in paperback this month (Penguin/Berkley Trade), it is COSTCO Book Buyer Pennie Iannicello’s pick for May. She praises Gillham for “an unforgettable job of taking readers to 1943 Berlin. The city is filled with women who, although left behind, are forging ahead with their lives and wrestling with decisions that are heavy with life-changing implications.”

A COSTCO Pick often insures a long life on best seller lists for paperback re-releases. Previous picks include, The Paris Wife, The Language of Flowers, and Rules of Civility.

Read our online chat with Gillham here. You can sign up for the First Flights program here.

Our next debut author chat, with Anton DiSclafani, author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, is on Monday, May 13, 4 to 5 p.m ET.

WOLF HALL Finds Its Cromwell

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

9780805080681The ruthless heart of Hilary Mantel’s Tudor series is Thomas Cromwell, who pulled the strings for a time in Henry VIII’s court. The BBC has found the actor to play that juicy role in a mini-series of 6 one-hour episodes based on Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (both Macmillan/Holt). Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance, according to The Daily Mail. He is familiar with the Tudor Court; he played another famous schemer of the period, Thomas Boleyn in the 2008 film of Phillipa Gregory’s book The Other Boleyn Girl (S&S/Scribner).

Unfortunately, this casting means production may be delayed a year, since Rylance has other commitments to complete, including an upcoming play, Nice Fish, at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis.

Mantel is currently writing Mirror And The Light, the third book in the Tudor series (and fending off criticism for her misunderstood remarks about Kate Middleton).