Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday links and deals

I'm on my lunch break, rounding up some historical fiction news and deals for a Monday afternoon post.

Last week I set up a profile with Google Reader, subscribing to all of the blogs I read regularly so that I can keep up with them more easily. I'd avoided dealing with feed readers for a while (I know some people read this site through Bloglines, though found it didn't work for me). I have to say that Google Reader has been an incredible help with blog and time management. Plus, I was astonished -- in a very good way -- to see that this blog has 286 subscribers through Google.

While looking through my subs there, I noticed that Mystery*File (my dad's blog) was featuring a review of one of EilĂ­s Dillon's contemporary mysteries, of which there were three. The review links out to a long bio of Ms. Dillon, who wrote in many genres, but she was best known for her historical novels about Ireland. A year ago, I reviewed Wild Geese for this site as part of the "obscure books" series.

On that note, are there any out-of-print novels you'd like to see reviewed at Reading the Past, or neglected authors profiled here? If so, I'd be curious to hear.

The Seattle Times recently asked their readership to send in details on their favorite historical novels, and response was so great that they split the results up into two sections: American and international titles. How many have you read?

A selection of recent young adult historical novels from School Library Journal.

For a nice change, there were a number of historical novel deals featured in the latest Lunch Weekly roundup from Publishers Marketplace. The (NA) designation means North American rights were sold.

NYT bestselling author of Through a Glass Darkly, Now Face to Face, and Dark Angels author Karleen Koen's BEFORE VERSAILLES, a luscious, sweeping story of the young life of Louis XIV before he became known as The Sun King, to Heather Lazare at Crown, by Jean Naggar at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (US). [I've read and loved all three, and bet this new one will be hugely popular... it's nice to see more historical fiction set in France, too.]

Amor Towles' RULES OF CIVILITY, the story of a tenacious and beautiful young wit of ignominious beginnings who, in the twilight of the Great Depression, embarks on a journey through the upper echelons of New York City in search of a future far brighter than she's been told she has the right to expect, to Molly Stern at Viking, at auction, in a significant deal, for publication in 2011, by Dorian Karchmar at William Morris Endeavor (NA).

Michael David Lukas's THE ORACLE OF STAMBOUL, about an eight-year old girl, who becomes an adviser to the Sultan in 1885 as the Ottoman Empire is crumbling, to Terry Karten at Harper, in a good deal, for publication in February, 2011, by Nicole Aragi at Aragi Inc.

Musician and songwriter Josh Ritter's first novel BRIGHT'S PASSAGE, set in rural West Virginia in the aftermath of WWI, about a veteran who has lost his wife and is caring for their newborn, and finds himself steered in unlikely ways by an angel who has followed him home from the trenches of France, to Noah Eaker at Dial Press, for publication in summer 2011, by Scott Moyers at The Wylie Agency (NA).

Samantha Sotto-Yambao's EVER AFTER HAPPILY, a delightful debut in which a young widow discovers that her dead husband may in fact be very much alive - which would be wonderful if the bearer of this news wasn't her thirty-two-year old husband's thirty-two-year old grandson, her search for answers takes readers on an adventure from revolutionary Paris to medieval Prussia to ancient Venice, to a place where she discovers whether love is truly everlasting, to Kate Kennedy at Shaye Areheart Books, by Stephanie Kip Rostan at Levine Greenberg Literary Agency (World). [The lengthy description here is intriguing; it sounds like a time-slip novel of sorts, but I could be wrong]

The Witch Doctor's Wife author Tamar Myers's THE HEAD HUNTER'S DAUGHTER, to Tessa Woodward at Avon A, in a very nice deal, by Nancy Yost of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency (NA). [Mothers, daughters, wives... the trend in book titles continues. I reviewed the first book for Historical Novels Review's February issue and plan to read this new one as well.]


  1. Hi Sarah,

    Regarding neglected authors, I'd love to see some Canadian authors profiled. I realize most Canadian historical fiction is probably not of great interest to American readers, but there are lots of great books that cover historical episodes common to both countries. I've started a blog to review books for Historical Tapestry's alphabet challenge (, and I'm trying to profile some of these books (ignore letter F; it's my first non-Canadian title on the list). I have a whole bunch of others in mind, if you're interested.

  2. Hi Heather - thanks for the suggestion. It's an excellent idea. I just reworked my planned coverage for the alphabet challenge to include a couple more Canadian authors (you'll be seeing them in due course), plus this would give me a good chance to read, finally, some of the books I picked up on past trips to Canada. It's true, there are many excellent novels published in Canada that we in the U.S. never see. I have some titles in mind, and other ideas are very welcome!

  3. Not that he is out of print, by Dave McGowan is sweet Canadian author. (Self published)
    But I loved to hear about the Before Versailles novel by Karlenn Koen, that is awesome!!

  4. wonderful Blog .. i like historical fiction novels, this will keep me on track with the varieties ... last thing i have been reading was "The Historian", it involves a lot of history in it ... if u didn't read it i might think you will love it :)

  5. The deal that I was most interested in is Karleen Koen, despite the fact that I still haven't managed to read any of her other novels.

  6. Anonymous3:15 PM

    FWIW, the first of the Moorland series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, THE FOUNDING, will be re-released in April, this time in a trade pb format.

  7. Hi Sarah,

    Great blog! My husband stumbled across it when he looked up my book deal. I'm thrilled you find the premise intriguing. The novel, as you pointed does cover a number of historical periods. It isn't exactly a "time slip" story as you mentioned, but I will say that your guess comes pretty "close." I can't say much more than that at this point without spoiling the fun. :)


  8. Hi Sam,

    Thanks for commenting! Hmm, now it sounds even more intriguing :) I look forward to reading it once it's out!