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C. P. Lesley

Bookworm, writer, radio host—I blog about history, fiction, and publishing in the Internet Age. You can find the full blog on my website. This space is for books.

This week's blog post revisits my New Books in Historical Fiction interview with Joan Schweighardt, author of the Rivers Trilogy and many other novels.


And because I do write my own novels, too, here's a quick look at the scene where the heroine meets the hero (although of course, they don't know that yet).



This week's post is an interview with Philip Cioffari, whose latest novel is the perfect match for Valentine's Day.


Just what you guys need: more book recommendations, right? :-)


Anyhow, here's my quarterly short list of what's on my bookshelf right now.


Ushering in 2020

I make New Year's resolutions only for writing, but if you'd like to know what I'll be up to next year, you can find a short list in this week's blog post.


Interview with Molly Greeley, whose debut novel, The Clergyman's Wife, just came out with William Morrow. Pride & Prejudice fans, this one's for you!



I think I've mentioned before that, as a historian by profession and training, I'm a bit bats about altering the historical record in any significant way, even in a novel. Which should explain my latest post, already aired by my alter ego on "All the Russias."



Interview with Georgie Blalock

Love Netflix's The Crown? Then this is a novel for you. Q&A with Georgie Blalock on my blog today.


Interview with the author(s) on New Books in Historical Fiction. If you love historical mystery series, this one (and its 29+ predecessors) is for you! Just out from William Morrow Books.


This week's blog post revisits my New Books in Historical Fiction interview with Talia Carner, whose novel The Third Daughter came out in September. An extension of Fiddler on the Roof that you probably never imagined was possible....


Q&A with author Joan Schweighardt about her new Rivers  series on my blog today.



Francie Meeker and her best friend, Vi Carothers, bought into the promise offered to middle-class, especially white, women in the mid-twentieth-century United States: find a man with a good career, marry young, stay at home, raise the children, keep house, and all will be well.

By 1952, despite some successes, reality has killed this dream. So at the beginning of Lies in White Dresses—the sparkling new novel by Sofia Grant, who is also the author of The Dress in the Window and The Daisy Children—Francie and Vi are boarding a train to Reno, Nevada. There, after six weeks residency, they can file for divorce.

On the train they meet a young woman, June Samples, traveling with a small child. Unlike Francie and Vi, June has almost no means of support. Vi takes a liking to the younger woman and, when they reach Reno, she invites June to share her hotel suite.

The first night, a babysitting job brings the threesome to the attention of Virgie, the hotel keeper’s daughter and a self-styled detective. Then, not long after their arrival, the local police report that Vi has drowned. Virgie is convinced she knows what happened. But who will believe a twelve-year-old girl?

Compared to medieval Europe or Han Dynasty China, the 1940s and 1950s do not seem so long ago. But as Sofia Grant makes clear in this page-turning novel, in many respects the previous century was indeed a different world.

Interview with the author at New Books in Historical Fiction.

Today's blog post is a Q&A with Talia Carner, whose The Third Daughter came out with William Morrow this week. Wonderful novel (if heartbreaking at times)—definitely worth reading.


And for more on Song of the Siren, set 25 years or so later than Silent Water, here's a post where for once I'm answering questions instead of asking them.


Sometimes you'd think the Renaissance was limited to England, France, and Italy. But no, it was a general European phenomenon, as shown by this new historical novel set in the court of King Sigismund I and his Italian wife, Bona Sforza of Milan (and, of course, my own Song of the Siren). Find out more from this interview with the author, on my blog today. Then check out the book!



Bookshelf, August 2019

Mini-reviews for a few of the books I read and loved between April and July, as well as books I expect to read in August are listed in this week's blog post, "Bookshelf, August 2019." And if you're not already following the "Books We Loved" posts put out by Five Directions Press, you can find a broader array of titles around the middle of each month by clicking on the press's name, above.