Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Patti Calahan

Becoming Mrs. Lewis

It’s been said that this is the novel Patti Callahan was born to write.  I could not agree more!

Joy Davidman  was the wife of C.S. Lewis. Everyone knows he was a wildly famous writer of both children and adult books. But what is known about his wife, Joy, who was also a writer? In BECOMING MRS. LEWIS we find out all about the woman who was C.S. Lewis’s entire world.

Joy Davidman began corresponding  with C.S. Lewis while married to her first husband, Bill. She was married with two young boys and living in New York state. But something was dreadfully wrong with her life.  Her husband was a failing writer who was also a flaming alcoholic and womanizer.  Joy did everything in her power to “fix” it. Still, it wasn’t working.  Through letters shared with Lewis she kept her sanity, for the most part.  Joy struggled with health issues since a child.  Finally, her cousin convinced her to go to England to get away and heal and work on research for her book.  Of course this would lead to meeting Lewis in the flesh after years of corresponding across the pond.

Lewis and Davidman both had skeletons in their closets. The both had dabbled in communism and had been atheists at one time.  Now that they were Christians they had a lot to talk about.  The blossoming of their relationship over the years did become a love story. An epic and moving story of modern time.  Fresh, sophisticated. Love of each other and love of literature.

BECOMING MRS. LEWIS

Patti Callahan

I want to totally devour all of Lewis’s works now that I have read this novel. I want to pick his brain.  Callahan has written a beautiful novel filled with books, a brilliant mind and great insight to Lewis’s writing.  What a great novel for book clubs to embrace.

My review copy was sent from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review. I can’t thank them enough. And, yes, I loved the book!

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And The Winner Is….

Kerri Maher

The Kennedy Debutante

The winner of THE KENNEDY DEBUTANTE by Kerri Maher is Steve Cutler! Congratulations Steve. I know you’ll love it and so will your wife. Your lovely book will come straight from Berkley, a division of Penguin Random House.

I have just a couple questions and answers with the author. Interesting stuff.

Following the lives of the Kennedy dynasty is a bit of an American Obsession. What do you think it is that fascinates people so much about the Kennedy family?

Despite their wealth and power, they are also the American Any-Family. They’ve suffered the effects of alcoholism, workaholism, wars, bad luck, hubris, and poor medical care-just like the rest of us. And they’ve suffered it all so very publicly, which means we’ve also seen them rebound from their many tragedies and bad decisions.

Kick was known as the rebellious daughter of America’s royal family. What made her rebellious for her time?

Though it’s hard to fathom now, Kick made a very controversial “mixed marriage” when she married outside the Catholic Church-even though she was marrying another Christian. 

What do you hope readers will take away after reading THE KENNEDY DEBUTANTE?

I hope that readers might be able to see the Kennedy family with fresh eyes, as I did. I hope that they will be able to empathize with Kick and her parents and siblings, and see them for real people. Readers embroiled in family struggles of their own-especially women who have been made to doubt their own visions for their lives- I hope will find a friend in Kick. 

So there you have it! And then there is that famous Kennedy Curse….

Thank you all who commented. Go forth and read!

What If This Were Enough? by Heather Havrilesky

essay

Heather Havrilesky

A book of essays. But not just any book of essays. This one comes from New York Magazine’s Heather Havrilesky.  And she’s knocked it out of the park.

In nineteen essays, all new and revised and expanded, WHAT IF THIS WERE ENOUGH? investigates the ways we’ve convinced ourselves that salvation can be delivered only in the form of new products, new technologies, and new approaches to our lifestyles. From gaping at celebrities on Instagram and grappling with the anxieties of new platforms and devices, Heather Havrilesky sees us struggling  against the systems that we live within and redirects our attention toward what we have already.  She shows how we’re haunted by these ineffable things -hunger, worry, disappointment-and how sometimes just by describing them, we can begin to break their spells.

Miss Havrilesky tells it like it is. In fine prose and with a fierce sense of purpose and humor, I found myself nodding my head “yes” over and over again as I recognized so much of what she was saying.

I think the most profound statement in the book is ” Face to face, real-time connection to others feels fraught and awkward compared to the safe distance of digital communication. We maintain  intimate virtual contact with strangers but seem increasingly isolated from our closest friends and family members.” Wow, I actually said out loud. I recall a time when I relished a phone call from one of my sons. Now I receive text messages. Sometimes, when I’m really lucky, I get an email.  Happy Birthday is now done on Facebook or through text. Not always, but often. At first I found this disturbing. However, after hearing from friends, I know it’s just become the norm.  I have accepted it.

The prose is delightful and smart. The content is filled with essay after essay that you just might relate to.  It’s just flat-out really great writing.

My review copy arrived from Double Day Publishing. This is one to read and reread. Thanks a bunch.

 

Gone So Long by Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus III

Gone So Long

I was wandering the aisles at SIBA a couple weeks ago in Tampa when this finished book caught my eye because of the author’s name. This was the only copy. The publisher was not ready to let it go, yet. But they told me to come back at the end of the conference and I could have it. And I did. The rest is history!

Pay attention folks. Most of this new novel by Andre Dubus III takes place in and around Arcadia, Florida. One chapter is actually set in our Punta Gorda. Toward the end you find yourself in St. Pete.  So even though the novel begins in a small coastal town in New England, prepare yourselves to enter the backroads of Southern Florida and the quaint, atmospheric town of Arcadia. Prepare to delve into the world of antiques and get yourselves ready to feel the sweat run down your neck as the heat of the Florida sunshine comes home to roost.

Most of you already know I live in this area. Copperfish Books is located in  downtown Punta Gorda. Arcadia is just a hop, skip and jump up the road. I can’t remember any modern novel being set in this area. I found my heart thumping in my chest as I read more and more. And it got better and better.

I am not going to lie to you about the contents being light. They are anything but. So, what’s it about? Forty years ago Daniel Ahearn  was incarcerated for a horrific act of violence that left him a widower and  his three-year-old daughter fatherless.  Susan is in her forties now and still suffers from that awful night of which she does not remember even though she was actually witness to it all.

This brilliant novel goes back and forth in time and is told in the voices of the three main characters  to allow you a front row seat to then and now.

Daniel Ahearn worked as the “voice” on the midway in a seasonally tourist town on the coast in Massachusetts.   Linda became attracted to him as a young teen. They became inseparable and then Linda became pregnant and they married.  Linda gave birth to a baby girl the spitting imagine of herself. Daniel was so proud. And love abounded, until it became an ugly beast. Daniel became what he later referred to as “Danny” who was a violent and unpredictable other part of himself whom he could not control.  As Danny became more and more jealous of Linda, their lives began roiling out of control until one fateful night when Linda snapped and told Daniel she was going to leave him. And he snapped right back stabbing her in the kitchen of their tiny cottage as their 3-year-old  daughter Susan watched it all.

This brilliant novel mostly set in our backyard begins forty years after Daniel killed his wife and his daughter was taken from him. Daniel spent eighteen years in jail before being allowed out for good behavior. So what has he been doing for all this time? And who has he become? All this and so much more.

Susan has been raised by her maternal grandmother, Lois, who has become a bitter old woman at the age of 82 who is still looking for vengeance. Lois took Susan and left New England all those years ago. Susan has grown up in the small town of Arcadia.  Lois owns and runs an antique shop in the small town.  Susan grew apart from her grandmother years ago.  Yet, suddenly, she decides to “take a break” from her husband, Bobby, and go live with Lois for a time while she is supposed to be working on a book she’s writing.

Susan’s life has been filled with throw away relationships.  She can’t commit.  Even her marriage is not certain. She’s sexually promiscuous and that is putting it mildly. It’s one of the things that’s come of feeling loveless.

Meanwhile, Daniel is in the  late stages of prostate cancer and has decided it’s finally time to find Susan. This is it.

Susan feels drawn to meet her father.  But there is fear and anger keeping her at bay.  However, when he suddenly appears, she is faced with the reality.  This, at the end of the novel. The tension is so high and thick by then that we can’t be sure another crime may be committed.

author

Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus is a master storyteller who delves into the emotions of his characters to the Nth degree.  Daniel is not a character to be sympathized with. However, you just might find yourself feeling sorry for this terminally ill ex-con. Maybe.

The slow burn throughout the story becomes a scorching runaway fireball  toward the end of the novel.  You just can’t miss it!

We have been lucky enough to book Andre Dubus III. He will appear at Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida at six in the evening, Wednesday, January 23. RSVP at 941-205-2560. You can purchase your copy of GONE SO LONG online on our website or in the store.  If you click on our name under our logo, it will take you straight to the book.

This event is going to be important.  A novel set in Arcadia, Punta Gorda, and St. Petersburg is a case for celebration. We have a lot of questions to ask Mr. Dubus. And we can’t wait to meet him and hear him discuss his amazing book!

Giveaway! The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher

Kerri Maher

The Kennedy Debutante

Another great cover! Glowing blurbs abound from several well-known historical fiction authors.

Not much has been written about Kathleen ” Kick” Kennedy, the fourth of Joe and Rose Kennedy’s nine children.  But you’ll learn all you need to know in this wonderful new novel.

Kick lived in London in the late thirties and lived a life of glitz and glamour. While her father served as U.S. ambassador to London on the brink of WW11 Kick and her brothers were at the height of society.

I know I’ve recently become enamored with the PBS series The Crown.  Loved Downton Abbey.  I’m ready for this novel. Good timing. I have  a conversation with Kerri Maher I will publish some of  upon announcing the winner next week.

Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House, is providing the book to my winner. I have one book for giveaway. Please leave a comment below. I will choose my winner on Wednesday, October 3. Only U.S. addresses, please. And no P.O. boxes. Thanks so much and good luck!!

The Exes’s Revenge by Jo Jakeman

Jo Jakeman

The Exes’ Revenge

Sending out a heads’ up about this new thriller. THE EXES’ REVENGE will have you rooting for the three women who’ve been involved with the same man over the years. They are pissed as hell and one of them has managed to step across the line and step totally out of the box.

Phillip Rochester has an ex-wife, a soon to be ex-wife, and a girlfriend.  He’s been a terrible partner. And the women become unlikely allies and bond together.  They want revenge.

“THE EXES’ REVENGE is a wickedly dark thriller.” 

I have not yet read this thriller. But I love stories of revenge when it is well-deserved and served up on a plate!

My review copy arrived from Berkley, a division of PenguinRandomHouse in exchange for coverage. I decided since I have not yet read the book to do a spotlight. I know many of you love a great thriller. Let me know what you think.

Copperfish Books and Maurice On Books at SIBA2018

Tampa

SIBA2018

I had the pleasure of attending the Southern  Independent Booksellers  Association conference in Tampa, Florida last week. We closed the bookstore for four days so we could all go north to be with the best group of book lovers and book sellers on earth!  The excitement in the weeks preceding the conference was palpable as we prepared for what was coming.

September is notorious for hurricanes here in the South.  And, of course, Florence appeared to shake up the coast along the Carolinas and beyond. It caused all sorts of havoc and prevented some of our favorite authors and publishers and bookstore owners from arriving. But onward we went. No stopping us.

Jean Lewis

Lisa Patton & Me

I was thrilled to get to meet and bond with Lisa Patton who recently published one of my favorite books of the season, RUSH.

Lisa Patton

Rush

She is lovely inside and out.  Sadly, most of her wonderful books did not arrive with her.  Weather issues. But she got to wow the crowds and tell her story.

Jean, Lisa (RUSH), Cathy, and Kathie Bennett of Magic Time Literary Publicity

 

Thursday was filled with informative hour long classes where we learned good stuff to help us bring more to the book table.  We met authors and publishers. We made connections.  We are better already from having attended.  We even got to hear wonderful authors tell the story behind their books. Made us want to read them all!

at lunch

Me, Mary Kay, and Cathy Graham

On Friday afternoon we got an amazing surprise. Mary Kay Andrews  arrived. She had very graciously agreed to stand in for an author not able to attend because of the storm. What a treat for us.  Cathy and I had the pleasure of speaking to her about coming to Copperfish. She would love to!! Happy.  And then they announced her new book cover would be revealed at the trade show later in the day!

Mary Kay Andrews

Sunset Beach

Here you have it! SUNSET BEACH is the title of Mary Kay’s novel coming out in May. Much jumping up and down and shouting.

Karen with John Grisham

Our own Karen was last seen making off with a poster of John Grisham’s upcoming blockbusting novel! You go girl. It will now live in our store.

Copperfish

Our group complete with Liz on a stick!!

I have to say one of the highlights of the conference for me was hearing Rick Bragg speak on Friday night.  We all laughed ourselves silly.  He made the night. Rick is the winner of the SIBA Conroy Legacy Award. He stole the show. This photo of him with Wanda Jewell speaks volumes.

hugs

Wanda Jewel with Rick Bragg

Wanda Jewell is the woman who IS SIBA.  She is the person mostly behind the scene that makes it all come together and happen. She is beloved by Indy booksellers everywhere. Wanda, you are loved. Thanks for all you do.

SIBA

Trade show floor

To say a good time was had by all is way too trite.  It was overwhelming, totally over the top, filled with more books than you can imagine, and all-consuming. Was it worth it? Sure! You betcha.  And some of us will do it again next year. Until then, happy reading.