Tag Archives: Lauren Willig

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Garden Intrigue by Lauren Willig

     ” THE GARDEN INTRIGUE is the latest novel in the nationally bestselling Pink Carnation series byRITA Award winner Lauren Willig. In this ninth installment, long-time readers and newcomers alike will be delighted to meet a character sure to become a fan favorite—a poet whose fervent ardor leads him to declare his feelings for the Pink Carnation in atrociously overwrought verse.

Lovable modern day grad student Eloise Kelly is back and on the trail of the Pink Carnation when she discovers a wretched poem among the papers of a code book. Poetry penned by the notorious fop Augustus Whittlesby for Jane Wooliston (aka the Pink Carnation)—Eloise can’t help but wonder; can anyone really be that bad of a poet? Or is something else hiding behind his putridly saccharine words? Back in 1804, New York born Paris socialite Emma Morris Delgardie doesn’t think so. She’s too busy sipping champagne to notice Whittlesby’s strange interest in a top-secret device Napoleon has commissioned. Unfortunately for Emma, she’s the poet’s entrée into the emperor’s inner circle. Fortunately for Augustus, this plucky American heroine could turn out to be his true muse.”

The Garden Intrigue is the ninth book in the Pink Carnation Series and I have to admit I have been kind of lax since about the third or fourth book so going into it I was a little nervous that I would be lost. That was not the case. This installment has no problem standing on it’s own for a reader who has read a few books in the series or one who has no introduction whatsoever to the series. Either way I think it would prove to be an enjoyable read.

The main characters within the book remain the same as we continue to follow the modern day love story of Colin and Eloise which is probably my favorite part of the series in all honesty. Within the historical side of the story we meet a former character in the poet Augustus but he is supplied with a new love interest in the American Emma. I found both time periods and relationships to be interesting and addicting. Best of all is Willig’s rendering of the historical time period since she is such a spectacular researcher and exacting historical fiction author. Love, espionage, mystery and danger combine as always to create a great storyline within this series. Add in the bad poetry of Augustus for humor and you have the perfect recipe for a great read.  I for one am looking forward to going back and re-reading the books that I have missed after finishing this book.

My only real problem with The Garden Intrigue lies within the cover choice. I find it looks a little too much like a romance novel. It’s shelf appeal is greatly diminished for that reason in my opinion for many potential readers and I fear many  may overlook it based on cover alone. Most of the former books in the series had a much different cover that I thought served them well. You can compare covers here if you’d like and tell me if you agree.

 Book Giveaway

Stiletto Storytime is excited to be able to offer a giveaway as part of this TLC Book Blog Tour Stop for The Garden Intrigue and a copy of the book will soon belong to one very lucky reader. Giveaway ends midnight EST March 31, 2012. US/Canada addresses only please for this giveaway.

To enter to win a copy simply comment below and share your favorite book series. It can be historical fiction or not…whichever series you get really excited about each time a new installment is released.

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, New Books

Guest Post & Giveaway: What Lies Behind the Black Veil…Jane Austen’s Reproof of Gothic Fiction

Hi Courtney, what a pleasure it is to be here today at Stiletto Storytime during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It. With Halloween looming next week, and ghosts and horror stories on the minds of readers, I thought it quite appropriate to chat with you today about Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey, a tongue-in-cheek parody of the Gothic fiction so wildly popular in Austen’s time.

 Austen is known for her romantic dramas filled with dry humor and social reproof, but of her six major novels, Northanger is quite unique in that it was purposely written as satire and contains broader humor, stronger ironies – and – the classic elements to a Gothic novel: a troubled heroine (Catherine Morland), a haunted castle (an ancient abbey in this case), a mysterious and menacing male figure (General Tilney), hidden secrets of the past (the death of Mrs. Tilney), and a romantic hero who is at odds with his family (Henry Tilney). Now all of these classic Gothic elements of mystery and menace are actually projected by the imaginative heroine Catherine from her reading of Ann Radcliffe’s Gothic romance, The Mysteries of Udolpho, and further fueled by Henry Tilney’s teasing remarks.

 “And are you prepared to encounter all the horrors that a building such as ‘what one reads about’ may produce? Have you a stout heart? Nerves fit for sliding panels and tapestry?” Northanger Abbey, Chapter 20

 I find Northanger Abbey a perfect read for the Halloween season. Paired with the Gothic fiction that inspired it, such as Radcliffe’s Udolpho, Romance of the Forrest or The Italian, readers will have an excellent grasp of the early beginning of the Gothic genre from the late eighteenth century which would develop further with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

 I was so pleased that of the twenty-two stories in my Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, there are three stories with allusions to Gothic fiction: two inspired by Northanger Abbey: “The Mysterious Closet” and “A Night at Northanger” and a third in which Jane Austen returns as a ghost in “The Ghost Writer.”  Each is in spirit with Austen’s use of parody, spoof and comedy. Here are their descriptions:

“The Mysterious Closet: A Tale,” by Myretta Robens

In the wake of her most recent failed relationship, Cathy Fullerton takes an extended vacation in a converted Abbey in Gloucestershire, England.  Ensconced in the Radcliffe Suite, a jet-lagged Cathy mistakes a walk-in closet for a Vaulted Chamber, a clothing rack for an Instrument of Torture and an accumulation of cobwebs for her True Love.

“A Night at Northanger,” by Lauren Willig

Our heroine, Cate Cartwright, is part of the cast of “Ghost Trekkers”, currently filming at one of England’s most haunted homes, Northanger Abbey.  Naturally, Cate knows there’s no such thing as ghosts.  It’s all smoke and mirrors for the credulous who watch late night TV.  At least, that’s what she thinks… until she meets the shade of one Miss Jane Austen during one fateful night at Northanger.

“The Ghostwriter,” by Elizabeth Aston

 Sara, obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, is jilted by Charles, who can’t compete with Mr. Darcy. His parting gift is a lock of Jane Austen’s hair. Sara wakes the next morning to find a strange woman sitting on the end of her bed. A figment of her imagination? No, it’s the astringent ghost of Jane Austen. On a mission to restore the reputation of forgotten Gothic author Clarissa Curstable, Jane Austen saves Sara’s career and brings Charles back before taking herself off into the ether, but there’s a price to pay, as the couple discover when they wake up to find another ghostly visitor at the end of the bed. It’s Jane’s friend, Clarissa – and she plans to stay.

 While editing these short stories for the anthology, their irony and high comedy reminded of this passage in Northanger Abbey between Isabella Thorpe and Catherine Morland which illustrated Austen genius for burlesque.

 Isabella: “Have you gone on with Udolpho?”

 Catherine: “Yes, I have been reading it ever since I woke; and I am got to the black veil.”

 Isabella: “Are you, indeed? How delightful! Oh! I would not tell you what is behind the black veil for the world! Are not you wild to know?”

 Catherine: “Oh! Yes, quite; what can it be? But do not tell me — I would not be told upon any account. I know it must be a skeleton, I am sure it is Laurentina’s skeleton. Oh! I am delighted with the book! I should like to spend my whole life in reading it. I assure you, if it had not been to meet you, I would not have come away from it for all the world.” Northanger Abbey, Chapter 6

 Happy Halloween everyone. I hope you discover what lies behind the black veil!

 Cheers, Laurel Ann

 Editor bio:

 A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of Austenprose.com a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs Austenprose.com and JaneAustenMadeMeDoIt.com, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.

 Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart, edited by Laurel Ann Nattress

Ballantine Books • ISBN: 978-0345524966

 Book Giveaway

Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by leaving a comment by Midnight EST November 12, 2011 stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winner to be drawn at random. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all and Happy Reading!

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Filed under Adult Books, Blog Tour, Contests, historical fiction, Jane Austen, New Books, Short Story Collections