A couple of weeks ago I was lucky to attend my second blogger event of the summer. Hosted by Harper Collins (thank you Kat and Elinor!) the first part of the event found me enjoying a delicious ‘Not Afternoon Tea’ at the Oxo Tower with fellow bloggers and authors David Nobbs and Fanny Blake. I reviewed Fanny’s debut novel What Women Want back in April and was very excited to get my copy signed. David was celebrating a new release, It Had to be You which I’m looking forward to reading soon having really enjoyed one of his previous books Going Gently.
With lively chat covering blogging, twitter and writing it was a lovely afternoon with two great authors and a nice opportunity to catch up with Mel (High Heels and Book Deals), Talli (http://talliroland.blogspot.com/) and Jackie (Farm Lane Books) who I’d met at previous events and to meet fellow bloggers Elaine (Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover), Simon (Stuck in a Book) and Claire (Paperback Reader).
Following tea we hopped (ok, stepped slowly in my case) onto the river taxi and headed to the Tower of London where we attended the launch event for Sarah Gristwood’s debut fiction novel The Girl in the Mirror. Sarah gave a fascinating talk on the latter days of Elizabeth I’s reign and her relationship with the Earl of Essex including some delightfully horrific details of the beheadings that took place not far from where we sat that evening! Of course I couldn’t resist buying a copy of the book and getting Sarah to sign it too and went home one very happy blogger.
As well as the books featured above there are some fantastic titles being released by Harper in the latter half of 2011 so I thought I’d share with you my July-December highlights (click on the thumbnails to see the full covers)
Last Dance with Valentino by Daisy Waugh (August)
One night. One dance. One love to last a lifetime. 1916. Leaving war-ravaged London, Jenny Doyle sets sail for New York where she is to work for the de Saulles family. Their home, Gatsby-like in elegance, is rife with intrigue and madness. Only Jenny’s friendship with dancer Rodolfo offers escape… until, one tragic day, the household is changed forever.1926. America booms, prohibition rules and Rodolfo has taken his place on the silver screen as Rudolph Valentino. Will the world’s most desired film star and his lost love have their Hollywood happy ending, or will the tragic echoes from their time with the de Saulles thwart them one last time?
The Very Picture of You by Isabel Wolff (September)
A forbidden love, a life-long secret, and one chance to make the right decision. Ella has always been an artist, jotting down pictures from a young age, and now in her thirties she has made it her profession. Commissioned to capture memories, fading beauty and family moments, her sitters often reveal more about themselves than merely their outward appearance.When Ella’s younger sister Chloe asks her to paint a portrait of her new fiancé Nate, Ella is reluctant. He is a brash American who Ella thinks has proposed far too fast, so the thought of spending many hours alone with him fills her with dread. But before long Ella realises there is more to Nate than meets the eye. Inter-weaving the stories of Ella’s sitters – from the old lady with a wartime secret, to the handsome politician who has a confession to make – with Ella’s own hunt for her real father and slow realization that she is falling in love with the wrong man; a truly unforgettable portrait of the many aspects of love.
The Noble Assassin by Christie Dickason (October)
Court beauty, Lucy Russell, Countess of Bedford, feels frustrated by life with her weak husband. Poverty stricken, they are confined to their country estate and excluded from court life in London after he disastrously allies himself against Elizabeth I.Now, some years later, James I is seated on the English throne. His daughter, Elizabeth Stuart, former confidant of Lucy, has married the King of Bohemia. The precarious political situation in Europe is fraught, setting father against daughter. When Elizabeth and her husband are deposed, exiled and forced on the run, James is in no mood to come to Elizabeth’s aid.Hearing of Elizabeth’s predicament, Lucy sees an opportunity to re-establish the Bedford name and offers herself as a peace envoy between the two parties. Setting out on a daring mission across the channel, Lucy discovers she is being manipulated by unscrupulous men, not least the calculating and darkly handsome Duke of Buckingham.Can Lucy tread this most dangerous path, or by risking everything, will she pay the ultimate price?
The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern (November)
Dear Lucy Silchester,You have an appointment for Monday 27th July 2011.Yours sincerely,Life.Lucy Silchester has received an appointment card. Actually, she’s been invited along a few times to this appointment, but she keeps brushing the gold embossed envelope under the shag pile carpet. She’s taken her eye off the ball and has busied herself with work (a job she doesn’t love), helping out friends, fixing her car, feeding her cat, seeing her family and devoting her time to their life dramas.But Lucy is about to find out that this is one appointment that she can’t miss. And she can’t escape it either. Her Life is about to catch up with her in the most surreal of ways…
It Started With A Kiss by Miranda Dickinson (November)
How far would you go to find the man of your dreams? Romily Parker is a woman on a mission. On the last Saturday before Christmas, (shortly after disastrously declaring her undying love for her best friend, Charlie) Romily has a sudden, brief encounter with a gorgeous stranger who might, just possibly, be the man of her dreams. It only takes two small words – ‘Hello, beautiful’ – and one, heart-stopping kiss to make up her mind: she has to find him again.Giving herself a deadline of the following Christmas Eve, Romily commits to spending a year searching for the stranger – a decision which divides her family and friends.A sparkling, romantic comedy about an English girl who won’t give up on her dream of love.
The Scarlet Contessa by Jeanne Kalogridis (November)
Daughter of the Duke of Milan and wife of the conniving Count Girolamo Riario, Caterina Sforza was the bravest warrior Renaissance Italy ever knew. She ruled her own lands, fought her own battles, and openly took lovers whenever she pleased.Her remarkable tale is told by her lady-in-waiting, Dea, a woman knowledgeable in reading the ‘triumph cards’ – the predecessor of modern-day Tarot. As Dea tries to unravel the truth about her husband’s murder, Caterina single-handedly holds off invaders who would steal her title and lands. However, Dea’s reading of the cards reveals that Caterina cannot withstand a third and final invader – none other than Cesare Borgia, son of the corrupt Pope Alexander VI, who has an old score to settle with Caterina. Trapped inside the Fortress at Ravaldino as Borgia’s cannons pound the walls, Dea reviews Caterina’s scandalous past and struggles to understand their joint destiny, while Caterina valiantly tries to fight off Borgia’s unconquerable army.
I Heart Vegas by Lindsey Kelk (December)
Angela Clark loves her life in New York. She loves her job, her friends and her gorgeous musician boyfriend, Alex, who is finally ready to move in with her and start planning their future together. Everything is perfect.But, after Angela loses her job, her world starts to crumble around her – her visa is revoked and she’s given the disastrous news that she must leave New York and her life behind and go back to London.Confused, heartbroken and desperate to stay, the last thing Angela needs is a girls’ trip to Vegas just before Christmas – especially when Manhattan at Christmas is so perfect that she never wants to go home…