AUTHORBUZZ: Click here to discover new books,
"meet" the authors and enter to win.
Let's get right to it today....my guest author is Lauren Willig a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of seventeen works of historical fiction, including The Ashford Affair, the Pink Carnation series, and the collaborative novel, The Forgotten Room.
After graduating from Yale University, Lauren embarked on a PhD in History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time. Her latest novel, The English Wife, is a gothic tale of scandal and secrets set in New York's Gilded Age.
After you read Lauren's guest column, take her up on her offer and share your thoughts. She'd love to hear from you, and she's giving away a copy of her new book.
Please welcome Lauren Willig to the book club...
Do you ever pick up a book, and suddenly you can remember just where you were the first time you read it? More than that, you are that person again. I can chart the phases of my life by the books I read. Gothic novels--Jane Eyre, Nine Coaches Waiting, The Crying Child, anything by Victoria Holt--take me straight back to the Upper School Library, rain dripping down the oriole windows, the peculiar smell of the heaters permeating the nubby, dark blue upholstery. For that moment, I'm sixteen again, in a kilt, with an oversized L.L. Bean backpack at my feet spewing math homework and English essays, living vicariously through the vicissitudes of Victorian governesses and wondering if brooding heroes would be found as readily on a college campus as on the Yorkshire moors.
Give me some British chick lit and I'm in my twenties, in a pair of high-heeled boots and a cinch-wasted coat, reeking of spilled coffee, running to catch the Tube on my way home from a day of doing dissertation research at the British Library. Open up Elizabeth Young's Fair Game or Melissa Nathan's Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmin Field, and I can taste that squashed Marks & Spencer's tuna and corn sandwich that I'd stuck at the bottom of my bag. I can feel the drizzle of a London November stinging my cheeks and smell the musty aroma of the worn carpet that led down to my basement flat.
Classic mysteries knock me back to the months after my daughter was born, stealing those moments when she napped to indulge in cheese and crackers (the dinner of champions! or at least of exhausted new mothers) and Dorothy Sayers. I can feel that mix of relief and guilt. Was I stunting her growth by letting her nap in the swing? I would just give it another twenty minutes.... Okay, forty. I can remember the slant of the light across the glass of the china cabinet, the waving shadows cast by the trees across the street in Central Park, the creak of the baby swing, the faint itch of cracker crumbs across my chest, and the wit of Lord Peter Wimsey as he dashed off in his black Daimler after yet another murderer, the 1920s and my living room and my sleeping baby all wrapped up together, forever, in the pages of those books.
Right now, I've been on a binge of Laurie King's Mary Russell books, and I wonder if, someday, I'll pick one up and it will be January 2018 again, with the milky smell of my new son, and the faint panic that comes of being behind on book deadline.
Which books take you back in time?
I'd love to hear which books bring back memories for you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. One person will be chosen at random to receive a copy of The English Wife--and hopefully make some new book memories!
Email email@example.com to share your thoughts with Lauren.
** Be sure to enter the "Things I love" Giveaway. My homemade chocolate chip cookies (delivered to your door) and vintage aprons. Enter any or all of the drawings.
To enter to win the COOKIES, click here.
To enter to win the APRON, click here.
You can also win a Penguin tote bag, sign up to win when you sample this month's featured Penguin Classic at the link below my column.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is THE STORY OF HONG GILDONG. Read now and enter-to-win for your chance to win a Penguin tote bag.