Monday, March 27, 2006

A Big, Thick Novel by a Debut Writer

My daily Google alert for "historical novel society" brought up a recent article on Anne Easter Smith's A Rose for the Crown which, as she rightly notes, was an Editors' Choice selection in the HNR last quarter. I can't wait to read it. Her next novel's going to be about Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV:

Smith is two-thirds of the way through "A Daughter of York." Book tour aside, the writing is more stressful than her first book. Margaret of York (1446-1503) was the daughter of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville. She became known as Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy when she became Charles' third wife. Their dynastic and opulent marriages occurred in Bruges on July 9, 1468.

More details from the Press Republican, a newspaper local to eastern NY State.
And read the HNR review of her novel, too.

If it's true that chain bookstores refuse to carry big thick novels by unknown writers, how do you explain the success of this 670-page tome?


  1. Hi Sarah

    I found your blog from Alex's Historical Fiction. Great to see that you've landed on Planet Blog!

    Speaking of long historical novels, there's an article here

  2. praise of Hunger's Brides by Paul Anderson from well-known literary author A. N. Wilson (he says it's longer than War and Peace). I don't now whether it's sold well -- do you?

    (sorry, my first comment went off before I'd finished it. I seem to have become cack-handed at Blogger comments recently!)

  3. Oh dear, I see the link to the Hunger's Bride article doesn't work. This might be better:

  4. Hi Sarah!

    I have a copy of Hunger's Brides but haven't read it yet. I'll have to wait until I have a month or so of free time. It weighs in at 4.5 lbs. I suspect this is one case where bookstores were unwilling to take a chance, because when it was first published, I only ever saw it in one store (an indie, not a chain) and they only had one copy. As far as I know, HNS won't be covering it because we never got a review copy, and now that it's been remaindered we probably won't. But maybe my UK counterpart at the Review will manage to snag one.

  5. I just started reading A Rose for the Crown last night. I'm only 50 pages in, but it's very good so far.

    The Hunger's Brides web site actually has hints for how to hold the book to avoid straining yourself while reading it. It seems like most of the press that it got was related to its size (and heft), rather than its content. I haven't read it, but I plan to eventually...sometime when I have ample time to finish it. The few reviews I've read said that it was good, but that it could have used some editing.

  6. Aaack - yet another book for my TBB list. But NOT to be acquired till after we've moved. My books will form the majority of the weight in our move. Suddenly all those booksales I've been to over the years don't look like such a great idea *g*.

    As for bookstores carrying unknowns, seems it probably depends on the buyers. If they're familiar with HF and know where to source info on debuts, there's probably a better chance big books, even by new authors, will get picked up.