April 23, 2009

Upcoming Paperback Releases I Covet the Most

Stealing Athena by Karen Essex (April 28) Stealing Athena is the story of two women, separated by centuries but united by their association with some of the world''s greatest and most controversial works of art. Aspasia, a philosopher and courtesan to visionary politician Pericles during Athens''s Golden Age, defies societal restrictions to become fiercely influential in Athens'' power circle. Mary, the Countess of Elgin and a beautiful Scottish heiress, charms the fearsome men of the Ottoman Empire to make possible her husband''s costly acquisitions, all the while brazenly defying the social conventions of her time. Both women prevail yet pay a heavy price for their rebellion. A tale of romance, intrigue, greed, and glory, Stealing Athena interweaves the lives of two of history''s most beguiling heroines.
The Last Queen: A Novel by C.W. Gortner (May 5) In this stunning novel, C. W. Gortner brings to life Juana of Castile, the third child of Queen Isabel and King Ferdinand of Spain, who would become the last queen of Spanish blood to inherit her country’s throne. Along the way, Gortner takes the reader from the somber majesty of Spain to the glittering and lethal courts of Flanders, France, and Tudor England.Born amid her parents’ ruthless struggle to unify and strengthen their kingdom, Juana, at the age of sixteen, is sent to wed Philip, heir to the Habsburg Empire. Juana finds unexpected love and passion with her dashing young husband, and at first she is content with her children and her married life. But when tragedy strikes and she becomes heir to the Spanish throne, Juana finds herself plunged into a battle for power against her husband that grows to involve the major monarchs of Europe. Besieged by foes on all sides, Juana vows to secure her crown and save Spain from ruin, even if it costs her everything.
The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson (May 26) In an expensive London restaurant Julia Lovat receives a gift that will change her life. It appears to be a book of exquisite 17th-century embroidery patterns but on closer examination Julia finds it also contains faint diary entries. In these, Cat Tregenna, an embroideress, tells how she and others were stolen out of a Cornish church in 1625 by Muslim pirates and taken on a brutal voyage to Morocco to be auctioned off as slaves. Captivated by this dramatic discovery, Julia sets off to North Africa to determine the authenticity of the book and to uncover more of Cat’s story. There, in the company of a charismatic Moroccan guide, amid the sultry heat, the spice markets, and exotic ruins, Julia discovers buried secrets. And in Morocco – just as Cat did before her – she loses her heart. Almost 400 years apart, the stories of the two women converge in an extraordinary and haunting manner that will make readers wonder – is history fated to repeat itself? Chapters Amazon
A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander (June 23)
At her friend Ivy''s behest, Emily reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the sprawling English country estate of Lord Fortescue, a man she finds as odious as he is powerful. But if Emily is expecting Lord Fortescue to be the greatest of her problems, she is wrong. Her host has also invited Kristiana von Lange, an Austrian countess who was once linked romantically with Emily''s fiance, the debonair Colin Hargreaves. What Emily believes will be a tedious evening turns deadly when Fortescue is found murdered, and his protege, Robert Brandon--Ivy''s husband--is arrested for the crime. Determined to right this terrible wrong and clear Robert''s name, Emily begins to dig for answers, a quest that will lead her from London''s glittering ballrooms to Vienna''s sordid backstreets. Not until she engages a notorious anarchist in a game of wits does the shocking truth begin to emerge: the price of exonerating Robert can be paid only by placing Colin in deadly peril. To save her fiance, Emily must do the unthinkable: bargain with her nemesis, the Countess von Lange.
Chapters Amazon Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte by Syrie James (June 30) Syrie James takes us into the unquiet soul of Charlotte Bronte. Poor, plain and unconnected, Charlotte, her sisters live in the wilds of Yorkshire. Their eccentric father allows no curtains on the windows and no rugs on the floors. Their brother is a drunkard and a drug addict. But these three sisters write some of the most beloved books ever created. Many don't know that Charlotte's life held hidden passions. And while many remember Jan Eyre, few know about her romance with Arthur Bell Nichols. After her death, he destroyed so much of the personal writing of her adulthood, but now, Charlotte's secrets are about to be told. Chapters
The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory (July 13)
Mary is Queen of Scotland but she has been forced to flee her land and take refuge in an England that is ruled by her cousin Elizabeth. But England‚ precarious in its Protestant state‚ set against the mighty powers of Spain‚ France and Rome‚ doesn′t need a charismatic Catholic figurehead at large. So Elizabeth′s chief advisor‚ Cecil‚ devises a plan in which Mary will live under guard with his trusted accomplice: Bess of Hardwick.
Bess is a self−made woman‚ a shrewd survivor. She is newly married to her fourth and most distinguished husband‚ the Earl of Shrewsbury. But what marriage can withstand the charms of Mary? Or the threat of rebellion that she always carries? Mary must wait in her privileged imprisonment for the return to Scotland and her infant son; but waiting is not the same as doing nothing... With her characteristic combination of superb storytelling and authentic historical background‚ Philippa Gregory brings to life this period of great change‚ in a riveting tale of betrayal‚ loyalty‚ politics and passion.
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (November 10)
A riveting family saga, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle explores the deep and ancient alliance between humans and dogs, and the power of fate through one boy’s epic journey into the wild.
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong companion. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelle's once-peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm – and into Edgar's mother’s affections.
Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires, spectacularly. Edgar flees into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm. He comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father’s murderer, and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs, turn Edgar ever homeward.
Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes – the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a ghost made of falling rain – create a family saga that is at once a brilliantly inventive retelling of Hamlet, an exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic.
Amazon I would have to say I am looking forward to The Tenth Gift the most. A friend recommended it highly to me. I can't wait. I think I like the hardcover artwork better than the trade paperback. There has been a lot of positive buzz about The Last Queen too and some great reviews. Now all I need is more hours in the day to read all the books on my wishlist and in my tbr pile!

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