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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.

The September book recommendations are up at Five Directions Press. This month's list includes The Miniaturist, Separation, The Essex Serpent, and The Painted Queen.


The Painted Queen: An Amelia Peabody Novel of Suspense (Amelia Peabody Series) - Joan Hess, Elizabeth Peters

In this last adventure, set in 1912, Peabody and Emerson have barely set foot in Cairo before the first death occurs: an unknown man wearing a monocle who collapses just inside the door of the bathroom where Peabody is soaking off the grime of her train ride from Alexandria. There is no question that the death is murder, and discovering the identity of the corpse, the reason for his carrying a card bearing the single word Judas, and the hand behind the knife that has dispatched the unwanted visitor consumes Peabody and Emerson even as they devote some of their attention to the excavation that has brought them to Egypt. The murderer could be the Master Criminal, defending Peabody from harm. Or s/he could be the representative of a secret society of monocle wearers.

As Peabody and Emerson, with help from the junior members of their extended family, strive to figure out what’s going on, they must also deal with less deadly intrusions from a missionary named Dullard and the ineffable Ermintrude de Vere Smith, writer of racy romance novels, as well as a disappearing archeologist and an apparently nonstop succession of forgeries purporting to be statues of Nefertiti–the Painted Queen. It all makes for a deliciously entertaining sendoff to a much beloved series, one that Peabody and Emerson fans should not miss.


Interview with Joan Hess at New Books in Historical Fiction.

Since BookLikes doesn't yet have the gorgeous covers, let me supply them here. Released today, historical fantasy (more historical than fantasy), set in Ireland in 1958. The Falcon Strikes is Book 2 of a trilogy (book 1 released in 2016). You can find out more at the publisher's website or from my blog post, published today.


The Half-Drowned King: A Novel - Linnea Hartsuyker

Ever wonder what life looked like from the Viking side of the raiding and pillaging?This is the question that Linnea Hartsuyker explores in her new novel. And my blog post this week discusses my interview with Linnea, including a link to the (free) interview itself: http://blog.cplesley.com/2017/08/the-power-of-sea.html.

This week's blog post looks at my interview with Beatriz Chantrill Williams and the fun of writing entire families: http://blog.cplesley.com/2017/07/it-runs-in-families.html.
Rewind … because part of us will always be seventeen years old.
Karen Alexander lives in California and has it all: teenage children who allow her to be seen in public with them now and then, a successful architect husband who still kind of fits into his I Hate Maggie Thatcher T-shirt, and a teaching career she loves, especially in the school holidays. And she has Carol—her official Best Pal since their days of platform shoes, flicked-out hair, lip gloss shoplifted from Woolworths, Ally’s Tartan Army, and dancing to ABBA and "The Hustle" at the local disco.
Thirty-five years later, they worry more about a good foundation to cover the wrinkles, a reliable hairdresser to cover the grey, stylish but comfortable shoes, shapewear that gives them the semblance of a shape, and husbands who fall asleep on the couch.
Back in Scotland for a funeral and a cringe-worthy sixtieth birthday party, Karen runs into her teenage crush, Bobby Henderson, the former local punk rocker and all-round bad boy who broke Karen’s sixteen-year-old heart by not noticing her. When he walks into the party in his leather jacket and winks at her, Karen’s heart skips a beat like it was 1978. Is the first cut really the deepest? Has Karen spent the last thirty years with the wrong guy?
Can you rewind the tape of love, and if you can, should you?

Tangled Webs and Shining Stars

This week's post looks at the odd behavior of the Amazon.com reviews system and explains why I (really, honestly, truly) loved this book.


Source: http://blog.cplesley.com/2017/05/tangled-webs-and-shining-stars.html

Interview with the author at New Books in Historical Fiction. One for the time-travel romance fans, but with several interesting twists. I really enjoyed the book, but the interview was even more fun!


The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli - Alyssa Palombo

Interview with the author on my blog this week.

Normally I don't share links to blog posts about writing/publishing here, but all of you who can't finish books because they go into print without proper editing, typesetting, and proofing may appreciate this one from last Friday: “Catching Fleas.” And yes, I haven’t actually vanished from the planet, but I'm off work and in heavy-duty writing mode at present, plus I am in various stages of that editing, typesetting, and proofing for no fewer than four Five Directions Press titles due out in the next six months—including The Falcon Strikes, book 2 in Gabrielle Mathieu’s historical fantasy series, shown here.


Finding Billy Battles: An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption - Ronald E Yates

Interview with the author at New Books in Historical Fiction. He's a journalist by training and inclination, as well as a former radio host, so lots of fun to listen to even if the book is not your usual cup of tea.

Their Finest Hour and a Half - Lissa Evans

Q&A with the author, Lissa Evans, on my blog this week. The book has been renamed Their Finest for its US release, which took place last month, and as the new cover shows, it’s on its way to becoming a film—which seems appropriate for a book about screenwriting in World War II.


A Certain Age: A Novel - Beatriz Williams The Wicked City - Beatriz Williams

Book post at “The Roaring Twenties.”

More Winter Reading

And for those still looking for books to go under that Christmas tree (or whatever other winter holiday symbol you care to adopt), here are my suggestions of “Books for the Fireside,” including this one, published just today.


The Bookseller's Tale - Ann Swinfen

It's the winter holidays. The first snow has just appeared outside my window. What's better than a blazing fire, hot cocoa, a snuggly cat or two, and a good book? For some suggestions for titles along those roads less traveled, including Ann Swinfen's new Oxford Medieval Mystery series, see the December 2016 "Books We Loved" post from Five Directions Press.

The Invasion of the Tearling - Erika Johansen The Fate of the Tearling - Erika Johansen

This week's post, "Future Past, and Past Future," looks at the Tearling series as a whole.