Co-author with her late aunt Mary Ann Shaffer of NYT bestselling THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY Annie Barrows' novel set in the 1930s inspired by her own family history, a love story set against the backdrop of a country under the siege of the Depression, but also a story about an oddball family and the effect they have on an exotic city girl from the east, sent by her father to take a job in the WPA, who rooms with a quirky family down south, to Susan Kamil for Dial Press, in a two-book deal, by Amy Rennert of the Amy Rennert Agency (world).
[I loved Guernsey and will be reading this one, too. I even bought people copies of Guernsey as Christmas gifts, the first time I've ever done this with a novel that the recipient didn't already have on a wish list.]
NYT bestselling author of THE TSARINA'S DAUGHTER Carolly Erickson's next two historical novels, the first featuring the rivalry between Bessie Blount and Anne Boleyn, again to Charles Spicer at St. Martin's, in a significant deal, by Heide Lange at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (world English).
[Bessie was the mother of Henry FitzRoy, whose birth proved that Henry VIII was capable of siring a healthy male heir. Thought she was out of the picture (married off elsewhere) by the time of Anne Boleyn's prominence at court, however?]
CASSANDRA AND JANE author Jill Pitkeathley's ENCHANTING ELIZA, the story of the Countess Eliza de Feuillide, Jane Austen's cousin whose life was much more intriguing and scandalous than Jane's own; told in the voices of those who knew her best, exploring some of the facts of Eliza's life and embellish upon them to illuminate the progressive and passionate woman who was a great influence on Jane's much-loved writing, to Stephanie Fraser at Harper, in a nice deal, for publication in April 2010 (World).
[I am not much of a Janeite, and so Cassandra and Jane surprised me; I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.]
Kelli Stanley's RICE BOWL, set in 1940 San Francisco, a defiant heroine Miranda Corbie, P.I., former Spanish Civil War nurse and ex-escort risks everything to investigate a hushed-up Chinatown murder, and exposes the destructive racial tensions between the Chinese-American and Japanese American communities, to Marcia Markland at Minotaur, in a two-book deal, for publication in 2010, by Kimberley Cameron at Reece Halsey North (NA).
[Kelli has also written Nox Dormienda, a mystery of ancient Rome, first in the Arcturus mystery series - a genre she terms "Roman noir." She moves to Minotaur with this new 1940s-set series.]
Cornelia Nixon's JARRETTSVILLE, set in Maryland days after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Jarrettsville is a novel about the true love story of the author's ancestor, Martha Jane Cairnes, who murders her fiance in front of his Union cavalry militia, and is later acquitted despite fifty eye-witnesses to her crime, to Jack Shoemaker at Counterpoint, by Wendy Weil at the Wendy Weil Agency.
[Nixon, Professor of English and Creative Writing at Mills College, is the winner of numerous literary awards, including the Pushcart Prize in 1995 and 2003.]
Arliss Ryan's THE SHAKESPEARE CHRONICLES, a fictional autobiography of Anne Hathaway which presents her as author and co-author of many of Shakespeare's works, to Ellen Edwards at NAL, by Robert Guinsler at Sterling Lord Literistic.
[Shakespeare is hot right now; I'm in the midst of reading Karen Harper's Mistress Shakespeare for a NoveList writeup. I reviewed Ryan's The Kingsley House, a Midwestern family saga, for the HNR in 2000, and you can find the review online here, 3/4 way down the page. There are some formatting issues with those old reviews that I need to fix, but it's still readable.]
The Painter from Shanghai author Jennifer Cody Epstein's THE GODS OF HEAVENLY PUNISHMENT, set between Japan and San Francisco in the wake of America's 1945 firebombing of Tokyo, about a young Japanese survivor and an American Army photographer - and about love and redemption found through dance, art and forgiveness, to Jill Bialosky at Norton, in a good deal, by Elizabeth Sheinkman at Curtis Brown UK (NA).
[Painter from Shanghai was an Editors' Choice for HNR last year.]