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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.

Antonia Barclay and Her Scottish Claymore: A Rebellious Romantic Comedy - Jane Carter Barrett

Q&A with author Jane Carter Barrett about her new historical romance, set in 16th-century Scotland, is the subject of this week’s post.

The California Wife

New podcast interview with Kristen Harnisch at New Books in Historical Fiction about her latest novel, The California Wife. Cover shown below, as it doesn't seem to have made it to BookLikes yet (it is very new).


Kingdom of the Shades (Tarkei Chronicles Book 2) - C. P. Lesley
  • Sorry to be late with this (life has been hectic). This week's blog post is about the difference between the reality and the illusion in women's lives.


Life in Quarantine

This week's post features my interview with Diane McKinney-Whetstone about her newest novel, Lazaretto. The interview itself is at New Books in Historical Fiction. She's a vibrant and interesting speaker, so the podcast is well worth your time—and it's free!


Suffer the Little Children (The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez Book 5) - Ann Swinfen

I have enjoyed all of this series—some books more than others, but every one has its own charms. This one was a particular pleasure. Kit is installed as an assistant physician at St. Thomas's Hospital, the second great facility caring for the poor in late 16th-century England, and in charge of the maternity ward. Abandoned, abused, and unwanted children are everywhere in this novel—the most compelling a group of young urchins who beg for food outside the playhouse where Kit's friend Simon makes his living as an actor. A young playwright named Will (with an unpronounceable last name—guess who?) has just joined the theater, and there are amusing references to his plays. But the central story line involves the approaching death of Sir Francis Walsingham, the potential threats to his secret service as a result, a kidnapped child, and, of course, a plot against the throne. It's all fast-paced and riveting and sets Kit up for the next journey, to Muscovy, which I loved even more.

The Forgotten Flapper: A Novel of Olive Thomas - Laini Giles
This week's post highlights Laini Giles and her interview with New Books in Historical Fiction.Don't miss her Forgotten Flapper: it's a charmer!

Official Launch Day—and Kindle Sale

The Swan Princess (Legends of the Five Directions) (Volume 3) - C. P. Lesley The Winged Horse (Legends of the Five Directions Book 2) - C. P. Lesley The Golden Lynx - C.P. Lesley

Today The Swan Princess is officially out (and kudos to BookLikes for getting into the database so fast). To celebrate, I'm running a 99¢ (99p) sale on the Kindle versions of The Golden Lynx and The Winged Horse, for people who want to start the series at the beginning. The sale is already underway in the UK and will start in the US at 8 am Pacific Time, less than an hour from now. It runs through Monday morning at 8 AM GMT/PDT. You can read more about the book and the sale in this week's blog post.


If you have an e-reader that is not a Kindle, you can buy the Kindle version on sale, then e-mail me via my website. I'll be happy to send you an ePub version instead.

Book News

This week's post looks at Kathleen Tessaro's new book, Rare Objects—a novel set in Depression-era Boston that is due for release on Tuesday, April 12 (so new it's not in the Booklikes database yet, but the cover is below.


And my own Swan Princess (Legends of the Five Directions 3: North) came out this week. In honor of the formal launch on Friday, the e-book versions will be on sale for 99 cents from April 15 through April 17. So if you missed The Golden Lynx and The Winged Horse, this is your chance to give them a try at low cost. Swan Princess is not yet in the BookLikes database either, but click on any of the underlined titles to find the books.


The Joys of Writing Historical Fiction

Faint Promise of Rain - Anjali Mitter Duva The Vintner's Daughter - Kristen Harnisch The Last Wife of Attila the Hun - Joan Schweighardt

This week's post (which went up on Wed. to avoid April Fool's Day, but which I was then too busy to post!) is part of a joint blog project with three other authors: Anjali Mitter Duva, Kristen Harnisch, and Joan Schweighardt—whose book covers are shown above.  Kristen actually has a new book, The California Wife, which is due in May and not yet listed in the Booklikes database. We decided to get together and write about what we love about researching and creating historical fiction. So take a look not just at my post but at theirs (links at the bottom). The range of approaches is interesting in itself.

The Moon in the Palace (The Empress of Bright Moon Duology) - Weina Dai Randel The Empress of Bright Moon (The Empress of Bright Moon Duology) - Weina Dai Randel

My latest blog post, "First, but Not Equal," features my NB Historical Fiction interview with Weina Dai Randel and her wonderful novels about Empress Wu of China, part of my "women in history" series. The post also includes a link to the interview.


I loved these two books. The covers alone are a joy to behold!

Rebel Queen: A Novel - Michelle Moran

DNF at 36%. I may come back to this someday: it's not bad. But it is shallow in its characterization and description, and with so many more books to read than I have time, I just can't afford to waste hours on one I don't love.

The Nonesuch - Georgette Heyer

Not my favorite Heyer of all tome, but still a charming love story between two adults, each of whom knows his/her own mind, who are drawn together by intelligence, social awareness, and humor. One of her better Regencies—and, I think, the first one I read where the heroine, although several years younger than the hero, was not the 17-year-old beauty but a woman of sense. For that reason alone, I had fond menories of it, and this reread fulfilled those positive memories.

Remembering the Great War

Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War - Lauren Willig, Joshilyn Jackson;Hazel Gaynor;Mary McNear;Nadia Hashimi;Emmi Itäranta;CJ Hauser;Katherine Harbour;Rebecca Rotert;Holly Brown;M. P. Cooley;Carrie La Seur;Sarah Creech, Jennifer Robson, Marci Jefferson, Jessica Brockmole, Beatriz Williams, Evangeli

This week's blog post features an interview with Heather Webb, the editor of Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War. If you are interested in fiction writing or anthologies or just the idea behind this project, Heather's views are worth the read.

The Divine and the Disrespected

Faint Promise of Rain - Anjali Mitter Duva

I'm reviving my 2013 blog series on women's roles throughout history with this look at temple dancers and saloon girls, "The Divine and the Disrespected." Stay tuned for more posts on Empress Wu, women warriors, and the Victorian take on those same temple dancers (and its surprising connection to my own novels).

Doc - Mary Doria Russell Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral - Mary Doria Russell

This week's blog post looks at characters from another angle: real people whose motives and natures are often more obscure than those of their fictional counterparts—as seen through the fiction of Mary Doria Russell, especially the two novels featured here. The Wild West! Cowboys (and Cow Boys), gamblers and drunkards, financiers and newspapermen—and one elderly woman determined to whitewash her husband's legacy. You can learn about them all via the links here and below.

Doc - Mary Doria Russell Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral - Mary Doria Russell

New interview with Mary Doria Russell at New Books in Historical Fiction: free, as always (although we love donations).