The Splendid And The Vile by Erik Larson

The Splendid and the Vile

I’m not crazy about this title but, I am head over heels over this non-fiction history book by Erik Larson. To tell you the truth I would read even a grocery list if it was written by Larson.

Larson has tackled Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister in THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE.  What a year it was. On his first day as prime minister , Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium.  And for the next twelve months,  Hitler waged war by bombarding Britain with a relentless bombing campaign.  An entire year of it.  I took pause upon learning this. I had to go back and make sure it was truly a year. Yes indeed. Then I wondered, could the United States come back from something as ruthless as this? Churchill led his people through and taught them the art of being fearless.  Throughout this period Larson shows us behind the scenes in Churchill’s personal life as well.

My husband and I have been engrossed with The Crown on TV for the past year or so. I have especially found myself intrigued by Churchill and his time in office as well as his entire family.  Now with this in depth book that truly does read like a novel, I am finally getting into the meat of the story. It’s a real keeper for your library.

This history book follows perfectly on the coattails of

Lady Clementine

LADY CLEMENTINE by Marie Benedict. So for those of you who are still thirsty for more about this family, well, here it is and then some. Enjoy!

We have copies of both books at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda. We’d love to put them in your greedy reading hands. And they are discounted at 20% off.

One Copy Of THE GIRL IN WHITE GLOVES by Kerri Maher For Giveaway!

The Girl In The White Gloves

Great cover! Great story! I have one copy of THE GIRL IN WHITE GLOVES for giveaway. Please leave a comment below and you’ll be entered to win. I will choose my winner on Monday, March 2. Only U.S. addresses, and no P.O. boxes, please. Good luck!

Grace Kelly encapsulates the Cinderella and American dream. Grace grew up in Philadelphia in a prominent family. But her parents were not keen on her Hollywood ambitions.  Nonetheless, she became one of the most famous actresses of all time.  She was a star in the days of Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and on and on. In fact, she went on to win both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for her role in “The Country Girl, ” beating out Judy Garland in her role in “A Star Is Born.” Holy cow.

I became transformed once Grace met and married Prince Ranier of Monaco. Grace became every little girls dream: an American Princess. She definitely paved the way for the most recent actress to princess transition: Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry.  We all sure do love a royal wedding.  But we must ask ourselves, Was Grace happy? She was a very lonely princess always trying to make everyone else complete.

Grace On Her Wedding Day To Prince Ranier

Kerri Maher traveled to Monaco to do research so she could make her novel as real as possible. She did a great job. I was transformed. She had a conversation with a cab driver that totally helped her understand how the people of Monaco felt about Grace. They absolutely adored her. It took time, and was not overnight though….

We know the ending of this story but not much about the middle. I think you are going to so enjoy reading about Grace. This might be a novel but, it’s got so much reality..

My copy for giveaway is being provided by Berkley which is a division of Penguin Random House publishing. I can’t thank them enough.

We have copies of THE GIRL IN WHITE GLOVES at Copperfish Books. They are 20% off. Come on up and see us.

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

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.