Lunch With Marie Benedict And Friends Of The Punta Gorda Library

Me with Marie Benedict

A festive time was had by all who were lucky enough to nab a ticket to the hottest event in town on Wednesday, January, 22 at Isles Yacht Club.  I was honored to be included in this yearly event and I will say it and Marie far surpassed expectations! Win/win.

Marie Benedict’s newest novel is LADY CLEMENTINE and it’s a wonderful behind the scenes look at the life of Winston Churchill’s wife, Clementine. (Pronounced Clementeen. ) We all have heard of Winston’s wife. And we even think we know a thing or two. Well, I had to hold onto my reading hat because I had no idea she was such a positive force in Winston’s political life. Our program said LADY CLEMENTINE is a ferocious story of the brilliant and ambitious woman beside Winston Churchill, the story of a partner who did not flinch through the sweeping darkness of war, and who would not surrender either to expectations or to enemies.

Lady Clementine

Miss Benedict greeted everyone warmly and spoke directly to all her fans. She was a dream of a guest speaker. She shared so much of her research and added some fun things no one knew. She’s  a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in History and Art History, and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law. Holy cow, this woman is brilliant! Beautiful and smart. I love it.

Serena & Cathy from Copperfish Books

Serena and Cathy from Copperfish Books were on hand selling all of Benedict’s books: THE OTHER EINSTEIN; CARNEGIE’S MAID; and THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM.

Copperfish Books has copies of LADY CLEMENTINE in stock as well as her earlier books. So, come on in and see us. We had a blast at the event!

Sending a special shout out to Katie Mazzi for the invite and doing such a fabulous job organizing this very special event. Don’t forget to stop in and visit the gorgeous new library in Punta Gorda.

My Mistake.

Boy do I feel silly. I just noticed that I never published the winning post on the third. The winner was Kim Burris. I attempted to reach her via email twice. No response. So even though I did not post the actual winning post, I did send her emails. Kim, if you check your email and respond I will get you a book. I am sorry for the confusion. I will make it right.

A New Winner!

More Than Words

More Than Words

Good morning readers! Here on the Cape it’s sunny and cool. Looks like a perfect day to spend reading on the lanai.

Kim  Burris, you are my winner today. I will send you an email asking for your mailing address so the publisher can get your book to you asap.Congrats. And thanks so much to all of you who took the time to enter the contest.

I’m reading furiously so I can be prepared for presentation of my upcoming lectures. You guys are up for a treat. And, I promised to write about AMERICAN DIRT. I am almost ready to do that.


Calling Out A Second Winner

More Than Words

More Than Words

My original winner never responded to emails. Sadly, I must move on. I do have some good news for the new winner, though. Ti, you have won a trade paper copy of MORE THAN WORDS by Jill Santopolo. I will send out an email this morning to make sure you know and to get your mailing address. Congrats.

Just a note to all you wonderful readers. When you enter one of my giveaways, please, please, check your email to see if you have won. I always post a date for announcing the winner. Having said that, I do thank all of you readers for all your kind words. Cheers!

February Musings

Wyatt is checking out one of the orchids.

The skies are clear and the sun is bright. But the coolness in the air is telling me that it is, indeed ,February.  I am in the midst of the most successful lecture season yet. Visiting great clubs, showing off amazing novels, many that are not even published until spring and summer. Life is good.

A couple weeks ago my daughter, Alicia, flew down for a weekend. Sans kids and husband. We had big plans.

Alicia and Me at Hamilton

Yes, we had a blast at a matinee of the block-buster musical, Hamilton. We both loved every minute of it. I had been concerned that I might not be able to understand some of it. After all, I am not a big fan of rap music. And there is a lot of that in this musical. Not to fear, it was easy to keep up with and we did not miss a beat.

Alicia is a reader. So I went through my upcoming books to let her know what is going to be great. She left with more books than she came with. All good.

American Dirt

Shortly after Alicia left, the controversy over AMERICAN DIRT began to fester, and then it just ignited and blew sky high. To tell you the truth, I was shocked. As most of you know, I read the manuscript for AMERICAN DIRT over a year ago. I found it to be the most compelling literary thriller I had ever read. I still do. In fact, the publisher added my blurb to the review copies that went out all over the country. I was in good company: Stephen King; Don Winslow; Tara Conklin; Sarah Blake, along with many booksellers from all over the country. When the finished copy came out the bookseller’s blurbs had been left out in order to add some pretty big author’s names. Kristin Hannah, Ann Patchett, Sandra Cisneros, John Grisham and Julia Alvarez. King even went on to say that the prose is immaculate. These are authors I respect and admire. And trust.

Blurb from American Dirt

So, I am saddened and disheartened to hear the backlash about the novel. First of all, it’s a NOVEL. It’s hard for me to address this.  This important book has an audience. And it’s making people understand how desperate a person would be to do what Lydia Perez did in AMERICAN DIRT.  I have read mostly wonderful reviews of AMERICAN DIRT. But it’s the harsh and hurtful ones that are getting most of the attention, sadly.  Have you read Lauren Groff’s review in New York Times? It’s super. And she is one of this country’s best writers.  So, I say to you, read the book and try to read it with an open mind. Make your own decision. I’m grateful to have been able to read the book before anyone else. I just knew I loved it and I knew it would be so important. I also believe everyone should read it. Not looking for flaws, but for the experience.

We have some great books coming out this month.  I’m currently reading


APEIROGON by Colum McCann.  This man can WRITE. He can make a dust ball blowing around in a NYC alley sound amazing. A great one to look forward to is A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD by Therese Anne Fowler. Once slated to come out  this month I believe they have pushed it back to March. It is wonderful.

A Good Neighborhood

Tomorrow I’m looking forward to the weekly market near my new house. The vendor line-up swells exponentially during season and I know I can find the freshest veggies and fruits as well as organic meat and locally grown herbs and even cat grass. It’s a nice time wandering in and out of the tents enjoying the local color.

Cheers! I sure hope you’re reading something wonderful.




DEAR EDWARD by Ann Napolitano

Dear Edward

DEAR EDWARD is a novel I would never have purposely read. Why? Fear of flying, that’s why. This superb novel begins with an Airbus A321 plummeting from the sky somewhere over the great state of Colorado. One soul survived. One.  A young 12-year-old boy named Edward. All 183 passengers and his parents and older brother perished in the crash. Edward is now an instant celebrity.

Two of my coworkers raved about this novel. It’s not about a plane crash, it’s about the people and it’s about hope. Liz finally convinced me to read it. There is a scene near the beginning of the story that drew me in and sealed the deal. Edward is traveling from Newark to Los Angeles with his older brother and both his mom and dad. His mom is a screen writer and has a great new job waiting for her.  We all know the security procedures these days. There are measures we all have to conform to. One is to go through the security check point. Jordan, the older brother, bulks at going through the machine. In fact, he requests a pat down. His parents who are already cleared and waiting on the other side, are horrified. This scene is perfect. I could picture it clearly. Both mirthful and fearful. But it immediately put a human face on this story and pulled me in.

Napolitano chose to showcase a handful of the passengers and tell us some back story. She did this kindly and with much thought. But we know they are all going to die. The story is back and forth so the actual crash does not sneak up on you and pull your guts out.  I would never have been able to tolerate that.

author Dear Edward

When asked what inspired her to write this story, Napolitano responds. “It started with my obsession with a real plane crash from 2010. A commercial flight from South Africa to London–filled with mostly Dutch passengers on their way home from vacation crashed in Libya, and everyone on the flight died except for one 9-year-old boy named Ruben van Assouw. Ruben was found still strapped in to his seat about a half-mile  away from the wreckage. Investigators speculated that he’d been sitting near the fuselage and had been ejected from the plane. He had a badly broken leg and punctured lung but was otherwise fine. Everyone else, including his parents and brother, died immediately. I couldn’t read enough about this story, and I knew fairly quickly that I was going to have to write my way into understanding how this boy could possibly walk away from the crash, from the loss of his entire family, and find a way to not only survive but live. “

Edward’s aunt and uncle take him in after this tragedy. They have issues of their own but they do the best they can to make a home for him. But who can possibly know what’s going on in the mind of a young person who is just trying to survive in the midst of social media and memory.

I think it’s brilliant that Napolitano brings a young girl Edward’s own age into the mix. Shay lives across the street with her mom and is the only person who he can relate to. The only person who is not trying to candy-coat what has happened to Edward. Her quirky personality triggers something in Edward and  he knows he can trust Shay to be honest with him.

I’m truly glad I stepped from my comfort zone and read this book. Thanks Liz and Serena. You never let me down!

We have copies of DEAR EDWARD at Copperfish Books.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

We would love to put one in your hands. You will love it. And, we are competitive with pricing. 20% off!

More Than Words by Jill Santopolo : Giveaway!

More Than Words

More Than Words

Jill Santopolo’s last novel, THE LIGHT WE LOST, broke records in sales.  Somehow I missed it. So I was determined to get a review copy of MORE THAN WORDS asap.


Jill Santopolo

Nina Gregory is heir to the Gregory Hotels. Her dad and grandad worked hard to make their family name rise to the top.  After Nina’s mom died it was just her and her dad.

When Nina’s father dies her world changes drastically. She realizes her dad had always shielded her from all things bad. But, now, she’s running this company and discovering things that do not add up…

Nina has long known she’d be expected to run the family business. In fact, she has been schooled to do just that. However, she never thought it would happen so soon. She’s been enjoying working in politics and writing speeches for a smart young Latino man named Rafael. He’s running for mayor of New York City. It’s a big deal and even more so if he wins.  As she feels herself becoming closer to Rafael her relationship with her long-time friend Tim begins to change.

Mina is finding out that she is not the person she used to be. All bets are off.  We have a front row seat to Mina’s discovery of herself.  It’s a whirlwind story filled with mystery and romance.

I think you’ll love reading about Nina and her quest for herself.

Now MORE THAN WORDS is coming out in trade paper and Penguin Putnam is providing a book for giveaway. Please leave a comment below to get in on the fun. I will choose one winner on Monday, February 3. No PO boxes, please, and only U.S. addresses per usual. Good luck!