When British author Katherine May released her debut book, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, in 2020, the editors of BookPage became deeply obsessed. (Forming a cult was briefly discussed, but the thought was ultimately abandoned as cults require too much administrative work.) We knew right away that this was a book to return to year after year, a ritual to bring us comfort during the months when sunlight grows sparse and we need someone to remind us how to embrace the darkness.
Since then, readers the world over have been enchanted by May’s flowing, rhythmic writing, both in Wintering and in her follow-up book, The Electricity of Every Living Thing, about walking the southwestern coast of England as May reckoned with the realization that she is autistic. Her next book, Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age, is one of our most anticipated books of 2023, and this description from Riverhead will make it clear why:
Many of us feel trapped in a grind of constant change: rolling news cycles, the chatter of social media, our families split along partisan lines. We feel fearful and tired, on edge in our bodies, not quite knowing what has us perpetually depleted. For Katherine May, this low hum of fatigue and anxiety made her wonder what she was missing. Could there be a different way to relate to the world, one that would allow her feel more rested and at ease, even as seismic changes unfold on the planet? Might there be a way for all of us to move through life with curiosity and tenderness, sensitized to the subtle magic all around?
In Enchantment, May invites the reader to come with her on a journey to reawaken our innate sense of wonder and awe. With humor, candor, and warmth, she shares stories of her own struggles with work, family, and the aftereffects of pandemic, particularly the feelings of overwhelm as the world rushes to reopen. Craving a different way to live, May begins to explore the restorative properties of the natural world, moving through the elements of earth, water, fire, and air, and identifying the quiet traces of magic that can be found only when we look for them. Through deliberate attention and ritual, she unearths the potency and nourishment that come from quiet reconnection with our immediate environment. Blending lyricism and storytelling, sensitivity and empathy, Enchantment invites each of us to open the door to human experience in all its sensual complexity, and to find the beauty waiting for us there.
Here’s what the author had to say about why Enchantment is such an essential book for our times:
Enchantment will be available at your local bookstore or library on March 7, 2023, and you can preorder it here. Until then, feast your eyes on and whet your appetite with this beautiful cover.
Cover art by Lauren Peters-Collaer/Riverhead Books
We’re thrilled to reveal the cover of the newest book from Katherine May, bestselling author of Wintering.
Author Alexis Hall is adored by fans and critics alike for his signature blend of witty repartee, endearing characters and warmhearted love stories. He’s already proven himself to be one of the best writers of contemporary rom-coms with books like Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, and in 2022, he’s making the jump to historical romance. January saw the release of the Regency-era romp Something Fabulous, and this summer fans will finally get their hands on A Lady for a Duke, one of the most the hotly anticipated romances of the year.
Read the official summary from Hall’s publisher, Forever, and you’ll immediately understand why:
When Viola Carroll was presumed dead at Waterloo, she took the opportunity to live, at last, as herself. But freedom does not come without a price, and Viola paid for hers with the loss of her wealth, her title, and her closest companion, Justin de Vere, the Duke of Gracewood.
Only when their families reconnect, years after the war, does Viola learn how deep that loss truly was. Shattered without her, Gracewood has retreated so far into grief that Viola barely recognises her old friend in the lonely, brooding man he has become. As Viola strives to bring Gracewood back to himself, fresh desires give new names to old feelings. Feelings that would have been impossible once and may be impossible still, but which Viola cannot deny. Even if they cost her everything, all over again.
You can get A Lady for a Duke at your local bookstore or library on May 24, 2022. But in the meantime, you can sigh at the absolutely gorgeous cover below.
No one does an art thriller quite like B.A. Shapiro, and with such as novels The Art Forger and The Muralist, she’s carved out quite the niche by blinding literary thrills with questions of authenticity, value, museum politics and the inner workings of various historical art scenes.
Shapiro’s next novel, Metropolis, arrives this spring from Algonquin Books, and BookPage is delighted to reveal its cover and an exclusive excerpt!
First, read a bit about Metropolis in the official synopsis from Algonquin:
This masterful novel of psychological suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger follows a cast of unforgettable characters whose lives intersect when a harrowing accident occurs at the Metropolis Storage Warehouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
But was it really an accident? Was it suicide? A murder? Six mysterious characters who rent units in, or are connected to, the self-storage facility must now reevaluate their lives. We meet Serge, an unstable but brilliant street photographer who lives in his unit, which overflows with thousands of undeveloped pictures; Zach, the building’s owner, who develops Serge’s photos as he searches for clues to the accident; Marta, an undocumented immigrant who is finishing her dissertation and hiding from ICE; Liddy, an abused wife and mother, who re-creates her children’s bedroom in her unit; Jason, who has left his corporate firm and now practices law from his storage unit; and Rose, the office manager, who takes kickbacks to let renters live in the building and has her own complicated family history.
The characters have a variety of backgrounds: They are different races; they practice different religions; they’re young and they’re not so young; they are rich, poor, and somewhere in the middle. As they dip in and out of one another’s lives, fight circumstances that are within and also beyond their control, and try to discover the details of the accident, Shapiro both dismantles the myth of the American dream and builds tension to an exciting climax.
Metropolis hits bookstores and libraries on May 17, 2022. While you wait, we’re delighted to reveal the cover from designer Sara Wood and art director Christopher Moisan. Plus, an exclusive excerpt after the jump!
BOSTONGLOBE.COM, JANUARY 7, 2018. Cambridge, MA—Rescue workers were dispatched to the Metropolis Storage Warehouse at Massachusetts Avenue and Vassar Street in response to a 911 call at 11:15 this evening. At least one person was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with critical injuries after a fall down an elevator shaft. Details are limited, and neither police nor hospital officials identified the victim. Questions were raised about what people were doing at the self-storage facility at that hour, and police are investigating other violations concerning the building. This is a developing story. It will be updated.
It’s Rose’s fault. It’s Aetna’s fault. It’s Otis Elevator’s fault. All of the above and none of the above. Zach Davidson hovers at the edge of the crowd, but at six two it’s tough to blend into the background. The auctioneer doesn’t know Zach is the recipient of the money from the forthcoming sales, and he wants to keep it that way, although he doesn’t know why this matters. He isn’t even sure why he’s come, unless as some perverse form of self-flagellation.
“Most of you know the rules,” the auctioneer begins in her booming voice, “but I’m going to go over them quickly. Due to foreclosure of the building, the contents of twenty-two abandoned storage units are up for sale. The minimum bid is one hundred dollars. Cash only. I’ll open the door to each unit, and you’ll have five minutes to see what’s inside, and then I’ll start the auction. You may not cross the threshold. You may not touch anything. You may not ask me any questions, because I don’t have any answers. You take it all or you leave it all. Then we move on to the next unit. Is this clear?”
There’s a murmur of acceptance, which echoes off the concrete walls and floor, the steel-reinforced ceiling. They’re standing outside Rose’s old office, the woman Zach shouldn’t have relied on. Every direction he looks pisses him off. Rose’s empty desk, the dim bulbs, the peeling paint. He turns his back on the yellow police tape stretched across the elevator.
It’s been almost four months since it happened, and still no one knows for sure if it was an accident, a suicide attempt, or a murder attempt. Could be any of them, but it doesn’t make all that much difference. He’s screwed any which way. Damn elevator. Damn Rose. Damn hard luck.
He follows the auctioneer as she marches down a corridor lined with heavy metal doors, each imprinted with a round medallion containing a large M intertwined with a smaller S and W. Metropolis Storage Warehouse. One hundred and twenty-three years old. Six stories high. Ninety feet wide. Four hundred and eighty feet long. Almost four hundred storage units of various sizes and shapes; some even have windows. Zach knows it well.
The potential bidders are a mixed bunch. Two men in ratty clothes smell as if they’ve been sleeping on the street, which they probably have. Another three look like lawyers or real estate developers, and there’s a foursome of gray-hairs who appear to have just stepped off the golf course. A gaggle of middle-aged women in running shoes sends stern glances at a girl clutching a pen and a pad of paper, who seems far too young to be the mother of the children she’s yelling at. Male, female, tall, short, fat, slim, white, Black, brown, rich, poor, clever, or not so clever. Like the inner recesses of Metropolis itself, a diverse assemblage that stands in contrast to the archipelago of cultural and economic neighborhoods Boston has become.
Zach has owned Metropolis for ten years, bought at a ridiculously low price in a quasi-legal deal that looked to be the way out of the consequences of his bad choices. Although it still belongs to him, however temporarily, he has no idea what’s behind any of the doors. The building had a well-deserved shady reputation when he purchased it, and he concluded he was better off not knowing what people were storing in their units. In retrospect, a little prying might have averted this mess.
The auctioneer, a beefy woman with biceps twice the size of Zach’s, takes a key from her backpack and dramatically twists it into the lock. Then she slides the ten-foot-wide fireproof door along its track on the floor to reveal a murky room, lumpy with shadowy objects. She reaches inside and flips on the light.
“Take it all! Leave it all!” she cries. “Five minutes!”
Revealed by naked light bulbs hanging from the eleven-foot ceiling, #114 is decidedly dull. An old refrigerator, an electric stove, a bunch of mismatched chairs, a couple of mattresses, clothes overflowing from open cartons scattered all over the floor. There are at least two dozen sealed boxes lined up against the far wall and a four-foot pile of empty picture frames ready to topple. Everything is coated with what appears to be decades of dust. Zach groans inwardly. He needs every cent he can squeeze out of this auction, and no one’s going to bid on any of this junk.
But he’s wrong. After the auctioneer starts rippling her tongue in an impenetrable torrent of words, people start raising their hands. When the contents go for $850, Zach is flabbergasted. The other units surely contain more impressive stuff than this and should generate even higher bids.
Some do, some don’t, and two are completely empty.
“Take it all! Leave it all! Five minutes!”
When the auctioneer unlocks the door of #357, there’s a collective gasp. The interior looks like a stage waiting for the evening performance to commence: a complete upscale office suite, including a desk, bookshelves, and a small conference table surrounded by four chairs. Bizarre. It goes for $3,500.
On the fifth floor is a tiny and perfectly immaculate unit: a neatly made single bed, an intricately carved rolltop desk, a chair, a small bureau. Nothing else. One thousand dollars. In #454, there’s another bizarre tableau. Creepy, actually. It appears to belong to a couple of teenagers. Two desks piled with books and trophies, walls covered with movie posters, and corkboards adorned with invitations and photos and newspaper clippings. Did they come here to study? To hide? Zach stretches his neck in as far as he can without the auctioneer cutting it off.
She almost does. “Step back, sir!” she yells, her voice stiletto-sharp. “This minute!” Everyone looks at him as if he’s committed a heinous crime. “Take it all! Leave it all! Five minutes!”
Annoyed, he does as she orders, but he wants to see more, surprised to find himself interested in the lives lived here. This is something he’d never considered before, or to be more correct, he had thought about it, but only as a means to get the bad guys out of the building and clean up his own act. Now the questions surge. Who were these people? Why these particular items? And, most intriguing of all, why did they leave so much behind?
Unit 421 is another stage, but this one is freakish in its attention to detail. It’s a double unit with two round windows, and it looks like an upscale studio apartment, perhaps a pied-à-terre. Against one wall, a queen-size bed is covered by a rumpled silk bedspread and an unreasonable number of pillows. A nightstand holding a lamp and a clock sits to its right side; a large abstract painting is centered over the headboard. At the other end of the unit is an overstuffed reading chair, a writing desk, and a sectional couch, also with too many pillows, facing a large-screen television. In the corner, there’s a small table, two chairs, and a compact kitchen featuring cabinets, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a fancy hot plate.
“Take it all! Leave it all! Five minutes!”
This time there’s no doubt in Zach’s mind to whom the unit belongs, or rather, to whom it had belonged. Liddy Haines. He closes his eyes and presses his forefinger to the bridge of his nose in an attempt to make the horrific image go away, which it does not. Six thousand dollars.
Unit 514 was apparently used as a darkroom, and from the looks of it, also as a bedroom. He stares at the sheets pooling at the edge of a cot, at the dirty clothes heaped on the floor. He’s seen three beds in three different units over the last hour, and he clenches his fists to contain his anger. If Rose didn’t know people were living here, she should have. It was a lawsuit waiting to happen—even if it wasn’t the lawsuit now upending his life. An irony he’d appreciate more if he weren’t so damn furious.
In contrast to Liddy Haines’s unit, there’s no expensive furniture here, but there is a lot of high-quality photographic equipment. A long table edges the south side of the room, overflowing with trays, chemicals, jugs, paper, an enlarger, and an assortment of spools, filters, thermometers, and timers. A clothesline with pins attached stretches over the jumble, and there are at least a dozen five-gallon Poland Spring containers, most of them full, along with another dozen warehouse-size cartons of energy bars.
A Rolleiflex camera is perched atop a stack of cartons, its well-worn leather strap dangling. Zach recognizes it because of the nature photography he’s been doing lately, his current obsession. Highpointing, climbing the highest peak in every state, was his last one, and that’s what got him into taking landscape pictures in the first place. But his interest in mountaineering has been waning—thirty-two states is more than enough—as his new interest in photography has waxed. He’s usually only good for one obsession at a time, dropping the previous one when another grabs his fancy. He’s an all-in or all-out kind of guy.
The Rolleiflex is a twin-lens reflex, medium format, which hardly anyone uses anymore. But if you know what you’re doing, it takes remarkable photos. Zach rented one when he was at Bryce last year, and the first time he looked down into the viewfinder—which is at waist, rather than eye, level—he was blown away.
The vastness of the mountains and the big sky in front of him were perfectly reflected through the lens, without the tunnel vision effect of a standard camera. When he returned to Boston, he kept it a few extra days and experimented with street photography. The cool part is that because you’re looking down rather than directly at your subject, no one is aware they’re being photographed. Vivian Maier, arguably one of the greatest street photographers ever, used a Rolleiflex.
Zach leans into the unit as far as the Nazi will allow, searching for pictures. There are a few lying about, but it’s difficult to see them from the hallway. The ones he can see are all square rather than rectangular, a feature of the Rolleiflex. He tilts his head and squints at a photo on the end of the table closest to him: a striking black-and-white with afternoon sunlight cutting a diagonal across the image.
A man is standing in front of an open door with an arched top; the word “Office” can be clearly read behind his head. His shoulder leans against the doorframe, one knee slightly bent. His eyes stare off into the distance. Before Zach understands what he’s seeing, his stomach twists. It’s a photograph of him.
Educator Tiffany Jewell’s book for teen readers, This Book Is Anti-Racist, became a #1 New York Times and indie bestseller in 2020. In her next book, The Antiracist Kid, Jewell brings her expertise as an antiracism and anti-bias facilitator to middle grade readers eager to discover how they can learn about and take action against racism. The book also includes illustrations by Eisner Award-nominated artist Nicole Miles.
Here’s the official description from Versify, Jewell’s publisher:
What is racism? What is antiracism? Why are both important to learn about? In this book, systemic racism and the antiracist tools to fight it are easily accessible to the youngest readers.
In three sections, this must-have guide explains:
Identity: What it is and how it applies to you
Justice: What it is, what racism has to do with it and how to address injustice
Activism: A how-to with resources to be the best antiracist kid you can be
This book teaches younger children the words, language and methods to recognize racism and injustice—and what to do when they encounter it at home, at school and in the media they watch, play and read.
The Antiracist Kid hits shelves at libraries and bookstores everywhere on August 16, 2022, and BookPage is thrilled to reveal its amazing cover below! The cover was illustrated by Nicole Miles and designed by Samira Iravani. Be sure to check out our Q&A with Jewell after the reveal. Just scroll down!
How did you feel the first time you saw the finished cover for The Antiracist Kid? I was totally excited to see this beautiful and fun cover! I immediately showed my children, who were equally as excited. Nicole Miles is brilliant and I’m so excited she’s illustrating the book! I can’t wait for everyone to see it!
After the success of This Book Is Anti-Racist, what drew you to create a book for younger readers? What excited you about the idea and was rewarding as you worked on it? I’ve been wanting to write a book for younger readers since I first started working on This Book Is Anti-Racist! I love working with young learners and honestly, it’s the group I feel most comfortable teaching, working and collaborating with.
One of the things I love most about this new book is that it’s a series of questions that kids have asked me, their caregivers, teachers, librarians, other adults in their lives and each other. Questions like: Why do people have different skin colors? Where did race come from? Is it OK to talk about differences? Why do some people have more power than others? And so, so, so many more! This book is like a conversation between me and the reader where we get to do some big work around understanding what racism is and how to actively work toward a just community and world! I’m so excited there will be a book like this for younger kids, because you are never too young to learn about racism and to start the lifelong work of antiracism!
One of the things you bring to both of these books is years of experience in the classroom, working with young people. Can you talk a little bit about that experience and how it shaped The Antiracist Kid? The Antiracist Kid grew out of the work I’ve done with kids for over almost two decades. Young children are curious. They want to know who they are, who the people around them are, what is happening in their lives (and beyond) and why things happen the way they do. They are so creative and such amazing problem solvers. They’re great observers, but they don’t always have the vocabulary and language to fully understand what it is they are witnessing and experiencing.
In my classroom, we spent our time learning about our own identities and those of our classmates and peers, and building community. We did this alongside learning how to read and write, building our mathematics skills, exploring science and diving into history, and it was so exciting and purposeful and necessary! My students always shared with me what they wanted to know and it is because of them—and ALL the young people with big questions—that I continue to do this work. All of my years of teaching and working with children and their families have led me to the work I am doing now, and I’m so grateful I get to do this.
Can you talk a little bit about your hopes for this book? How do you hope a young reader who reads it feels when they turn that last page and finish reading it? What do you hope they do next? I hope this book becomes a go-to book for all young readers and their caregivers! I hope they’ll see themselves in this book and know that they are not too young to talk about, learn about, understand and stand up against racism. I hope The Antiracist Kid becomes a well-loved book and is in every home and classroom and library around the country. I hope all readers will pick it up without fear. I hope this book will inspire everyone who reads it to share it, to work collectively and to work together to eradicate systemic racism and injustice!
The Antiracist Kid will be published in August 2023. That’s a long time from now! Can you recommend some books for kids to read in the meantime? Yes! There are so many amazing books! I’ll share some of our family favorites and the ones students I’ve been working with are enjoying right now too!
Educator Tiffany Jewell’s book for teen readers, This Book Is Anti-Racist, became a #1 New York Times and indie bestseller in 2020. In her next book, The Antiracist Kid, Jewell brings her expertise as an antiracism and anti-bias facilitator to middle grade readers eager to discover how they can learn about and take action against […]
We were enormous fans of Project Duchessby romance mainstay Sabrina Jeffries, which introduced an entire family of complicated, dangerously attractive dukes. Our expectations were already high for Jeffries’ follow-up and then skyrocketed even further when we saw this glorious cover!
The Bachelor will tell the love story of Lady Gwyn Drake, the only daughter of thrice-married matriarch Lydia. When flirtatious and independent Gwyn is blackmailed, her twin brother hires their gamekeeper, Joshua Wolfe, to keep her safe. A former war hero struggling to adjust to civilian life, Joshua struggles to accept his attraction to Gwyn. But with danger stalking the woman he can’t help but love, Joshua will have to risk opening his heart before it’s too late.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our Q&A with Sabrina Jeffries about Project Duchess.
Get your first look at the stunning cover of Sabrina Jeffries’ The Bachelor!
Mary Jo Putney’s Rogues Redeemed series made our 2017 best romance covers list, and I would be shocked if something similar doesn’t happen this year. Seriously, look at this.
This quite frankly awe-inspiring cover art was inspired by Jacques-Louis David’s iconic portrait of Napoleon (right), which is fitting for a romance that takes place during the chaos of his abdication, escape from Elba and ultimate defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. British intelligence officer Simon Duval is called back into service when Napoleon returns from exile, throwing his new marriage to Suzanne Duval in jeopardy. Read on for an exclusive excerpt below!
Simon had been one of many guests at her wedding to the Comte de Chambron. She’d been only fifteen, dazzled by suave Jean-Louis and thrilled to be making such a grand marriage. Since Simon had been near her age, they’d developed a teasing friendship in the days before the wedding, but that had been a lifetime ago.
She settled in the chair to the right of the fireplace. “How did you find me?”
“Captain Gabriel Hawkins.” Simon took the seat opposite her. “He and I shared an alarming adventure in Portugal some years back. By chance we ran into each other and, as we exchanged news, I learned that he’s just returned from a voyage to Constantinople and you were a passenger.”
She stiffened. “Did he tell you my circumstances?”
Voice gentle, Simon said, “He said you were in the harem of a powerful and deeply corrupt Turkish official, and that your aid was invaluable in rescuing two English women, including the young lady who is now his wife.”
Those were the bare facts. She hoped that Hawkins had said no more than that. “And in return, he rescued me and brought me here.”
“Hawkins said he offered to take you to France, but that you chose to join émigré relatives who were in the French community in Soho.” His perceptive gaze was evaluating her and the clean but worn sitting room. She could guess his thoughts. In London, Soho was the French quarter where the wealthy émigrés lived. The poor ones struggled to make a living in this rundown neighborhood in the St. Pancras parish.
Answering his unasked question, she said, “After Napoleon abdicated, those cousins returned to France to reclaim their property. I was not surprised to find them gone. But no matter. I prefer to make my own way in England rather than return to France. There is nothing for me there.”
His gaze flicked around the worn sitting room again. “Forgive me for asking, but how are you managing?” “I sew well and I’ve been doing piecework. Soon I should be able to find a permanent position.” She smiled wryly. “But I do wish I’d been able to bring the jewels I had when I was a favorite in the harem! I’d have been able to buy my own shop.”
“Money makes everything easier,” he agreed, his brow furrowed. “I’m fortunate that my mother came from a successful English merchant family and her fortune remained on this side of the channel.”
“Very prudent of your mother and her family.” She cocked her head to one side. “Are you here only to look up a distant family connection? Perhaps you are bored now that you’ve sold out of the army?”
“Not bored, though I am rather at loose ends,” he admitted. “But as soon as Hawkins mentioned you, I wanted to see if you were the right Suzanne Duval, and if so, to learn how you are faring.”
Mr. Potter returned, a tea tray in hand. The tray was dented pewter and there was a chip in the spout of the teapot, but her landlord presented the refreshments with the air of a duke’s butler. There was also a dish of shortbread.
“Thank you, Mr. Potter!” Suzanne said warmly. “You and your wife have outdone yourselves.”
“The pleasure is ours, my lady.” He inclined his head and withdrew from the room.
“My lady?” Simon asked as she poured tea for them. “He knows that you’re an aristocrat?”
“He was just being polite, though you might have changed that.” She sipped her tea, then offered him the shortbread. “Have a piece. Mrs. Potter is a wonderful baker.”
He followed her advice and murmured appreciatively after he bit into it. “She is, and she doesn’t stint on the butter.” He finished his tea in a long swallow and set the cup down with a clink. “I wonder if I might find old friends or relations in the émigré community. Have you found your compatriots welcoming even though your relatives have returned to France?”
Her mouth twisted. “The grand émigrés in Soho will have nothing to do with a woman who was a whore in Turkey.”
He winced. “Surely no one said such an appalling thing!”
“The aristocratic ladies did. Their husbands tried to corner me in empty rooms,” she said tartly. “I decided I would be safer among my more humble countrymen here in St. Pancras.”
He bit off a curse. “You deserve so much better than this, Suzanne!”
She sighed. “If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that no one ‘deserves’ anything more than the right to struggle for survival. I’d rather be here altering gowns in a cold room than living in luxury in a Turkish harem and wondering which night might be my last, so I think I am doing well.” She raised her teacup in a mock toast. “Will you drink to my survival, Simon?”
“I can do more than that,” he said, his gaze intense. “Marry me, Suzanne.”
See the incredible cover of Mary Joy Putney’s Once a Spy, and read an exclusive excerpt!
The holidays are here early with Vanessa Kelly’s The Highlander’s Christmas Bride, a standout in the annual crop of seasonal romances. But Kelly has another gift for romance readers—the cover reveal for the next installment in her Clan Kendrick series! Read on for an exclusive look at the gorgeous cover art, and a sneak peak at the story from Kelly herself.
I’m thrilled to share the amazing cover for The Highlander’s English Bride, book three in my bestselling Clan Kendrick series of Scottish historical romances. Clan Kendrick is loosely based on the old movie musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers—set in the Highlands, naturally!
The Highlander’s English Bride is Graeme Kendrick’s story. The hellion of the family, Graeme was the lad who would cut off a girl’s braid, let the sheep loose from the pasture and break into the local church and steal the candlesticks, all on a dare. When he was older, he ran an illegal whisky still on Kendrick lands, much to the displeasure of his big brother, the clan chief.
In short, Graeme was the proverbial bad boy.
But Graeme also has a big heart, a brave soul and a restless spirit. Those qualities eventually meant a career in His Majesty’s spy service—basically a Regency 007. A quiet life in Scotland, with a wife and a passel of bairns, is not for our Graeme.
Enter Lady Sabrina Bell, beloved goddaughter of the King of England and a determined young lady with superior management abilities. Sabrina has been running her tidy, comfortable world and everyone in it for as long as she can remember. Think Jane Austen’s Emma, and you’ve got a bead on Sabrina.
But when Sabrina meets Graeme—after she’s pushed into a lake in Hyde Park, no less—tidy and comfortable go right out the window. These two are the immovable object and the irresistible force colliding on a grand, Highland scale.
The result is adventure, danger and romance, with a tidy spot of history included. In August of 1822, King George IV made a visit to Scotland, the first by an English monarch in a very long time. The visit was extravagantly excessive, often silly (lots and lots of tartan), and a bang-up, popular success. Still, not all the sins of the past were forgiven, and rumblings of discontent over the visit of the Sassenach king percolated throughout Scotland.
In The Highlander’s English Bride, Graeme is tasked with foiling a possible assassination plot—one that will put Sabrina in danger. Being the capable sort, Sabrina is quite sure that Graeme needs her help to solve the mystery.
When these two get together, the Highlands will never be the same!
Vanessa Kelly has an early Christmas gift for romance readers—the cover reveal for the next installment in her Clan Kendrick series! Read on for an exclusive look at the gorgeous cover art.
Charlie Donlea’s brilliant investigator Rory Moore returns in The Suicide House, which will be published in July 2020 by Kensington Books. When two students are horrifically murdered just outside the grounds of their exclusive prep school, Rory sets out to solve the case and tracks her efforts by recording a podcast (which you can listen to here). See the stunning cover below, and read on for an exclusive excerpt.
Westmont Prep Boarding School
Friday, June 21, 2019
A fingernail moon floated in the midnight sky, its tarnished sheen intermittently visibly through the foliage. The moon’s erratic presence penetrated the interlocking tree branches with a pale glaze that painted the forest floor in the lacquered finish of a black-and-white film. Visibility came from the candle they carried, the flame of which died every time they picked up their pace and tried to jog through the woods. They tried to slow themselves, to be careful and deliberate, but walking was not an option. They needed to hurry.
The one with the candle cupped his hand in front of the flame, which allowed them a few minutes of uninterrupted searching and brought them to a row of suspicious-looking trees. As they stood perfectly still and scanned the tree trunks, looking for the key they so desperately needed, the flame of their candle expired again. No wind was present, and they hadn’t so much as taken a step in any direction. The candle’s flame simply died, leaving a plume of smoke that filled their nostrils with the scent of burnt wax. The sudden and unexplained eclipse of the candle meant The Man in the Mirror was close. By rule—rules no one ever broke—they had ten seconds to relight the candle.
They fumbled with the matches—the rules allowed only matches, no lighters. One of them struck a matchstick across the phosphorous strip on the side of the box. Nothing. His hands shook as he swiped again. The match broke in two and fell to the dark forest floor. He reached into the matchbox, spilling several others to the ground in the process.
“Dammit,” he whispered.
“Hurry up,” the other said.
They couldn’t afford to waste matches. They’d need them again if they made it back to the house and into the safe room. But right now they were alone in the dark woods with an unlit candle and in great danger, if they believed the rumors and folklore. The tremor in their hands suggested they did. The one with the matches steadied his hand and made a smooth sweep against the phosphorous, which caused the match to light in a sizzling blaze. The eruption gave off a cloud of sulfur-tinged smoke before calming to a controlled flame. He trembled as he touched the match to the candle’s wick, happy for the light it provided. They calmed their breathing and moved their attention back to the shadowed forest around them. They listened and waited, and when they were sure they had beaten the clock, they slowly made their way forward, carefully shielding the flame as they went—a lighted candle was the only way to keep The Man in the Mirror away.
They made it to the huge sequoia tree and saw a wooden box at its base.
“There!” one of them said, falling to his knees. He opened the lid and found a key inside. His heart pounded with powerful contractions that rushed blood through the bulging vessels in his neck.
The one holding the candle blew it out—the rules stated that guidance candles could stay lit only until a key was found—and they both took off through the woods. In the distance, a train whistle blew into the night, fueling their adrenaline. The race was on. They crashed through the forest, twisting ankles and unsuccessfully shielding their faces from the branches that whipped their cheeks. As they continued through the woods, the rumble of the approaching train shook the ground beneath them as it roared past. The vibration brought more urgency to their steps.
When they reached the edge of the forest, the train was charging along the tracks to their left in a metallic blur that erratically caught the reflection of the moon. They broke free from the dark foliage and took off toward the house, their grunting and panting silenced by the roar of the train. They made it to the back door and pushed inside. They crept through the black hallways until they saw the door to the safe room.
One of them inserted the key into the doorknob and twisted. The lock surrendered and the door swung open. They entered the safe room and closed the door behind them. Inside was pitch black, much worse than what the forest had offered. One of them fell to the floor and, on his hands and knees, felt along the hardwood until his fingers came to the row of candles that sat in front of a tall, standing mirror. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the book of matches. There were three remaining. Striking the matchstick along the edge of the box, the tip ignited. He lit one of the candles and stood to face the mirror, which was covered by a heavy tarp. The rules stated that the mirror could only be uncovered after a team had made it back from the woods.
He took a deep breath and nodded to his partner, who pulled the tarp from the mirror. Their reflections were shadowed by candlelight, but they noticed the horizontal lacerations on their cheeks, and the blood that streamed perpendicular from them. They looked eerie and battle worn, but they’d made it. The rumbling evaporated as the last of the train passed the house and continued off to the east. Silence filled the room.
Looking in the mirror, they each took one last breath hoping they were not too late. Then, together, they whispered:
“The man in the mirror. The man in the mirror. The man in the mirror.”
A moment passed, during which neither blinked or breathed. Then something flashed behind them. A blur in the mirror between their reflections. Then a face came into focus, and a pair of eyes bright with ricochets from the candle’s flame. Before either could turn, or scream, or fight, their candle went out.
Charlie Donlea’s brilliant investigator Rory Moore returns in The Suicide House, which will be published in July 2020 by Kensington Books. When two students are horrifically murdered just outside the grounds of their exclusive prep school, Rory sets out to solve the case and tracks her efforts by recording a podcast (which you can listen to […]
Romance and intrigue ensue when a duke leaves his fortune to three unsuspecting women in Madeline Hunter’s latest series, A Duke’s Heiress! Heiress for Hire, the first book in the series, follows Chase Radnor, the mysteriously generous duke’s nephew, as he teams up with one of the beneficiaries of the will, independent detective Minerva Hepplewhite, to figure out why his uncle left him with nothing.
Mark your calendars for April 28, 2020, when this delightful romance will be released to the world. See the stunning cover for Heiress for Hire below and read on for an exclusive excerpt!
Chase did not like when carefully laid plans failed. Now he grimaced while the servant called Beth dabbed at his scalp to clean the wound of blood.
A good deal of blood. He knew from his time in the army that scalp wounds were notorious for bleeding, no matter how minor.
Not that his felt all that minor. The hammer still banged.
He was sitting on a stool while the stout woman did her nursing. Fifteen feet away Minerva Hepplewhite waited patiently, watching. Lounging, damn it. The pistol now lay on a table next to where she relaxed on a divan.
She appeared composed. At ease. Minerva Hepplewhite had a level of self-possession that unaccountably irritated him.
“Explain yourself,” she said. “If you had information to give me, why didn’t you show up on my doorstep and present your card?”
That was hard to explain without putting her on her guard. “I wanted proof you were Minerva Hepplewhite. I did not want to risk speaking to the wrong woman.”
She frowned over that.
The hands on his scalp lifted, then returned and pressed against his head. He almost cursed the woman, even though he knew she only applied a poultice. The woman Beth stepped back, taking the scent of cheap rose water with her. “Done. Shouldn’t bleed much now. You will want your valet to wash your hair carefully for a spell. If he soaks your shirt in salt water, it should help get the blood out.” She gestured to his coats. “Not much help for those stains, though.”
The two women exchanged looks. Beth left the library and closed the door behind her.
“How did you find me?” Minerva Hepplewhite asked.
“It is my profession to find people.”
“Ah, you are a runner. Is this not an odd assignment? I thought it was your profession to find paramours of married individuals, then tell their spouses about their misdeeds.”
He did that too. It was the least interesting work, and an assignment he did not seek. Yet it came to him too often, since so many spouses committed so many misdeeds.
“I am not a runner. I am a gentleman who on occasion conducts discreet inquiries.”
“If the fine distinction gives you comfort that you are not a servant, hold to it.”
He stood. His scalp gave a few good hammer blows in response, but they were not quite as bad as they had been.
“Tell me about this inheritance,” she said.
She wore an undressing gown. It sported a good deal of frothy lace around her neck and at its hem, but it had seen better days. Shapeless but soft, it revealed her form while she sat there with it billowing over the divan’s faded rose toile cushion.
“A fortune was left to a woman named Minerva Hepplewhite, currently resident of London, by the late Duke of Hollinburgh.”
He took satisfaction in how her eyes widened. Then she laughed. “How absurd. This must be a joke. Why would the Duke of Hollinburgh leave me a fortune?”
He shrugged. “Believe me, that is my burning question as well. You must be . . . a good friend? A retainer? . . . A lover?”
Her frown dissolved and a broad smile took its place.
“A lover?” She swept her hand—an exceedingly lovely hand, he noticed—gesturing at the chamber. “Do I look like I have enjoyed the favor of a duke? Did you see a footman in the entryway? A fine carriage in the yard?”
Like that undressing gown, only serviceable furniture populated the library, and none of it was new. This certainly supported what she was saying, for this modest house on Rupert Street would hardly satisfy a duke’s mistress . . . at least, so it seemed.
Still smiling, she caught his gaze with her own. She had a talent for captivating one’s attention with that compelling focus. She appeared to invite him to look into her soul, to learn whether she spoke the truth or not. To discover—everything. He was not immune to the lure. She was a damned attractive woman. Distinctive. Unusual. Her disconcerting self-confidence made her interesting.
“Mr. Radnor, not only was I not this duke’s lover or mistress, but I never even met him.”
And with those words, Chase’s current assignment suddenly became much more difficult.
See the gorgeous cover of Madeline Hunter’s upcoming historical romance, Heiress for Hire!
Bestselling author and Caldecott Honor illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi returns at long last to the magical world of his 2012 novel, Kenny & the Dragon! Kenny & the Book of Beasts is a lushly illustrated sequel, full of wit and charm, that features the fantastical creatures and enchanting landscapes that have become DiTerlizzi’s calling card.
In Kenny & the Book of Beasts, a lot has changed for Kenny Rabbit. He’s got a dozen new sisters, his friends are at different schools and Sir George is off adventuring. It feels like the only thing Kenny can count on is Grahame, his dragon pal—that is, until Dante, the legendary manticore, arrives. Dante is also an old friend of Grahame’s, and they spend a lot of time catching up . . . without Kenny. But there’s a witch to defeat, a friend to rescue and a mysterious book to unlock, and those are quests for best friends, not old friends. Right?
Kenny & the Book of Beasts hits shelves at bookstores and libraries everywhere on September 22, 2020, but you can see the cover reveal and read an exclusive excerpt right now. Just scroll down!
Bestselling author and Caldecott Honor illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi returns at long last to the magical world of his 2012 novel, Kenny & the Dragon! Kenny & the Book of Beasts is a lushly illustrated sequel, full of wit and charm, that features the fantastical creatures and enchanting landscapes that have become DiTerlizzi’s calling card. In […]
Young detective Myrtle Hardcastle is on the case once more in Elizabeth C. Bunce’s How to Get Away With Myrtle, the next book about the intrepid sleuth after Premeditated Myrtle, which BookPage called “a book young readers will love and adults may well sneak out of backpacks and off of nightstands for their own enjoyment” in a starred review.
How to Get Away With Myrtlefinds Myrtle reluctantly joining her Aunt Helena on a trip to the English seaside, though Myrtle would much rather be at home, where she can keep tabs on More Important Things like local criminals and murder trials. But since she has no say in the matter, Myrtle finds herself shipped off on an admittedly fabulous private train coach, along with her faithful governess and her cat, Peony.
Once on board, Myrtle is excited to discover that one of her fellow passengers is Mrs. Bloom, an insurance investigator tasked with protecting a priceless tiara. But when both Mrs. Bloom and the tiara vanish, and Myrtle discovers a dead body in the baggage car, the trip is quickly derailed. Surrounded by the ineptitude of the local police force and stranded in a backwater carnival town, Myrtle has no choice but to follow the evidence to uncover which of her fellow passengers is a thief and a murderer.
How to Get Away With Myrtle will hit shelves at bookstores and libraries everywhere on Oct. 6, 2020—the same day as Premeditated Myrtle!—but you can see the gorgeous cover, illustrated by Bret Helquist, and read an exclusive excerpt right now. Just scroll down!
Chapter 1: Extradition
“Just as no scientific or military expedition would set off without adequate supplies, equipment, and reconnaissance, the same is no less important for leisure travel.”—Hardcastle’s Practical Travel Companion: A Compendium of Useful Advice & Select Destinations of Note for the Modern Tourist, Vol. I, 1893
“Think of it as an academic exercise.” Miss Judson, my governess, dropped another armload of chemisettes onto the bed. Peony let out a mew of protest and sought refuge in the trunk.
“In what discipline?” I surreptitiously withdrew two petticoats from my luggage, replacing them with the latest edition of English Law Reports and three volumes of my encyclopædia. Taking the whole set seemed excessive, but I could not be sure Fairhaven would have a bookshop or a lending library. The Brochure had not specified.
“Put that middy* back,” Miss Judson said. “Aunt Helena will expect to see you in it. And discipline is exactly right. You and I shall be practicing our Exceptional Forbearance.”
“I thought we were going to frolic on sunny beaches and partake of Family Amusements.” The Brochure had likewise not specified what, precisely, a “Family Amusement” entailed, but I suspected nothing good. “Besides, that dress is ridiculous! I’m not a naval recruit.”
I felt like one, though, press-ganged into a Seaside Holiday by ruthless schemers who were entirely unsympathetic to my objections.
Miss Judson retrieved the garment and folded it anew. “We have been over this. Your aunt wants to take you on holiday—”
“No, she doesn’t.”
“Myrtle. You have exhausted your appeals. Accept your sentence gracefully.” As soon as she said that, I could tell she wanted to take the words back.
“My sentence?” I cried. “I am being punished.” I threw down the heap of petticoats.
“Of course you’re not,” said Miss Judson. “Stop getting carried away.”
“What happened this summer wasn’t my fault! Father told me that himself.” Arms crossed, I willed Miss Judson to prove me wrong.
“He meant it. This holiday is to get away from all of that—”
“Father went all the way to Paris to get away from me.”
Miss Judson turned me to face her. “You may not believe this, but your father just wants you to have a good time—”
“I’d have a good time in Paris. With him.”
“—doing something that does not involve murder.”
I glowered at her. “An ordinary holiday. Like an ordinary girl.”
“Exactly. I’m sure you can manage that. Rumor has it you’re clever and resourceful.”
She plucked the Ballingall Excursions brochure from my hands and slipped it into my valise. “Finish packing. We’re going to miss the train. Be downstairs in fifteen minutes, and if that hat is not on your head when you appear, I shall make you sit next to Aunt Helena for the entire trip.”
She would, too. Peony offered a little warble of sympathy.
Defeated, I beheld the sea of garments before me. My great aunt Helena had been sending shipments of new clothes for weeks. My Holiday Wardrobe was now three times the size of my regular wardrobe, and included the aforementioned sailor suit (for yachting), a Promenade Ensemble (for walking), a Walking Dress (for . . . ?), and a perfectly horrifying bathing costume, of which no further mention shall be made, for the protection of the Reader’s delicate sensibilities.
“Exceptional Forbearance, indeed,” I said to Peony. “Assuming I don’t die of boredom.” I hadn’t yet seen a case that could reliably cite Tedium as a cause of death—but if I had to be the first case study, at least the holiday wouldn’t be a complete waste of time.
“Mrrow,” Peony agreed.
“It’s all very well for you,” I said. “You’ll be here with your sunbeams and your fish heads and Cook.” With a final wretched sigh, I picked up The Hat—the crowning humiliation, quite literally, of this ordeal. With its enormous puce† bow, tiny velvet pumpkins, and sprig of dried wheat, it looked like a rotting autumnal meadow. All it lacked was a couple of flesh-eating beetles.
Peony hissed and swatted at the ribbon.
I beheld Peony. I beheld the hat. I beheld my trunk crammed full of holiday clothes and not nearly enough books. Peony beheld them as well.
“No,” she said, firmly.
“If I have to do this, so do you.” I scooped her up and dropped her unceremoniously into the hatbox,‡ along with a nice flannel petticoat and a leftover biscuit. Before closing the trunk, I defiantly tossed in my magnifying lens, slingshot, and a sturdy pair of Wellies that may or may not still have been wet from earlier. The hat, like a martyr, I wore.
* a garment inexplicably fashioned after a midshipman’s uniform; id est, a sailor suit
† named for the French word for flea, the flattering hue of digested blood
‡Lest you fear for her safety, she had been sleeping in that hatbox for the better part of the week, and it was quite the latest in hatbox engineering, sturdy pasteboard and mesh, so there was perfectly adequate oxygen.
This excerpt is reprinted courtesy of Algonquin Young Readers.
Young detective Myrtle Hardcastle is on the case once more in Elizabeth C. Bunce’s How to Get Away With Myrtle, the next book about the intrepid sleuth after Premeditated Myrtle, which BookPage called “a book young readers will love and adults may well sneak out of backpacks and off of nightstands for their own enjoyment” […]
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