Saturday, September 02, 2006

Saturday afternoon at the library, and some upcoming picks

It's around 3pm, the crowds have started to disperse (such as they were, on this very slow Saturday of Labor Day weekend), and I've already written brief reviews of four out of five novels for my November "What We're Reading" column for NoveList. Since I'm totally incapable of reading fiction at the reference desk, it's a good time to go through the list of forthcoming historical novels and pick out some titles that look to be worth reading. (It's either that or read the scintillating letters-to-the-editor column from the local paper, which someone happened to leave behind on one of the study tables; reading them always makes me want to move back to Boston. Which would you choose?)

Last week, I went through the online catalogs from Penguin, Time Warner, and Simon & Schuster imprints, and posted blurbs for the historical novels found therein. If you haven't been to the HNS forthcoming books page in a while, you'll find some new things there.

Janice Graham's The Tailor's Daughter (which Amazon seems to be mixing up with Maggie Bennett's novel of the same name), out in October from St. Martin's, features a deaf woman in Victorian England who "sets off on a treacherous journey that will lead her into a world of deception, murder, and madness." It boasts a nice blurb from Philippa Gregory. And I know I've seen that cover image before, somewhere...

Not that it needs any more publicity than it's getting, but I've been hearing great things about Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons. I almost took it for myself to review for HNR before "reader's block" hit me, and figured I owed it to the novel to send it to someone else. Forthcoming October 3rd from Random House.

My review of Barry Unsworth's The Ruby in Her Navel is finally posted on Amazon, if you look for the Booklist mention. Also October, from Doubleday/Talese. I warned you about the major spoilers in the Publishers Weekly review, though, so beware. The novel's definitely worth reading, and no, there's not a word in my review about its taking at least 75 pages for the plot to get moving. (Which I blogged about several months ago, if anyone remembers.) Why not? Because I only had 175 words to work with, and I decided it didn't matter in the end.

Isabel Allende has a new book forthcoming in November, Ines of My Soul, a biographical novel about Chile's founding mother. I've yet to read her Zorro, but I was impressed by both Daughter of Fortune and Portrait in Sepia; among other things, they taught me that "magical realism" wasn't a literary style to be feared.

I've also been hearing very good things about Donna Gillespie's Lady of the Light, volume 2 in a series that began with The Light Bearer, which finally found an American publisher after years of being available only in German.

What novels are you looking forward to?


  1. I'm really looking forward to Edith Felber's Queen of Shadows: A Novel of Isabella, Wife of King Edward II, which is due out in November.

  2. Alianore - I'll second that! Berkley has some great-looking novels coming out in the next few months, Queen of Shadows included.

  3. I am looking forward to the new Isabel Allende. I have read all of her novels except Zorro (tried and couldn't get into it) and her young adult trilogy. Of her older books, the only one I didn't like was The Infinite Plan. Blah, don't read that anyone.

  4. Kailana - what did you think was different about Zorro? The two Gold Rush-era books are the only ones I've read of hers, but I enjoyed them so much I really ought to read some of her others.

  5. I'm also looking forward to Queen of Shadows (which the publisher is kindly issuing on my birthday), along with the new Philippa Gregory (albeit warily; I liked the last one but didn't care for the ones before that)and Devotion by an author whose name I'm too lazy to look up right now.

  6. I am not sure how to explain what I didn't like about Zorro. It was dull, maybe? I just couldn't get into it at all. Mind you, I intend to try again. It might have been the day. But, I had the same problem with The Infinite Plan. It is possible to dislike a couple of books by a favourite author, I suppose. :)

    And Susan, I have heard BAD things about the new Gregory. I am not reading her. blah. I didn't like her enough in the first place to bother.

  7. Yeah, I think I'm going to wait for the library to get a copy before I read the newest Gregory.

  8. Generally I enjoy Gregory (though admit I don't always believe her characterizations...) but her latest couple novels have lightweight in comparison to the first two.