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December 1, 2015


This month, we're pleased to feature two new historical fiction titles:

- In Sophie Perinot's Médicis Daughter, Princess Margot navigates her way through royal intrigue and religious war as she comes of age in 16th century France, and

- Ellen Marie Wiseman's Coal River explores
one young woman's determination to put an end to child labor in a Pennsylvania mining town. 


Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp 

Médicis Daughter
by Sophie Perinot 
Fiction / 384 pages / Hardcover  
Thomas Dunne Books /
December 2015 
Dear Reader,

I have three grand passions -- writing, family, and history. Drawing on these, I create novels set in the past but driven by relationships that still nurture and exasperate us today. Médicis Daughter is such a book. Every daughter knows the mother-daughter relationship can be perilous. Now imagine your mother was Catherine de Médicis -- a powerful Queen who views independence as disloyalty. That's the situation my heroine, Marguerite de Valois, faces. Coming of age during France's religious wars, Marguerite knows she will be married off to forge an alliance for the crown. What she doesn't expect is a string of prospective grooms that includes: a madman, a former brother-in-law, a man who abhors women, and a notorious heretic. Nor does she anticipate falling head-over-heels for the charismatic Duc de Guise. But she does.  How Marguerite resolves the conflicts between her duty and her heart, and between her family and her conscience lies at the center of my novel.


Sophie Perinot


About Médicis Daughter:  

Winter, 1564. Princess Marguerite is summoned to the French Court, where nothing is what it seems and a wrong word can lead to ruin. Margot's mother, Catherine de Médicis, rules over all, even the King. Raised to marry to the crown's advantage, Margot wishes to do her duty. Although her heart belongs to the charismatic Duc de Guise, her hand will be offered to Henri of Navarre, a Protestant heretic looking to seal a tenuous truce. But the peace is a mirage. When Margot's wedding devolves into bloodshed, she will be forced to choose between her family and her soul.
Reviews of Médicis Daughter:   
"Perinot matches the rhythm of Margot's life to the political storms: as the battles escalate, so do the perils of love and lust. A riveting page-turner skillfully blending illicit liaisons and political chicanery."
-Kirkus Reviews

"Renaissance France meets Game of Thrones: dark, sumptuous historical fiction that coils religious strife, court intrigue, passionate love, family hatred, and betrayed innocence like a nest of poisonous snakes."
-Kate Quinn, bestselling author of The Serpent and the Pearl 
To learn more, visit the author's website, read her blog, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Sophie Perinot is available to speak to your book club by Skype or in person if you live in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Contact Sophie to arrange a discussion.


Coal River  
by Ellen Marie Wiseman 
Fiction / 304 pages / Paperback 
Kensington / November 2015 
Dear Reader,

The inspiration for Coal River came from my interest in the plight of coal miners, something that was sparked by movies like How Green Was My Valley and Harlan County USA. I find it fascinating that men risk their lives every day to make a living by going deep in the earth despite the danger of cave-ins and explosions. I can only imagine how hard life must have been in the early years of mining for impoverished mining families, many of whom came to this country from foreign lands in search of a better life.

I was struck by the fact that young boys were used to sort coal from the mine, working until their fingers bled. When I realized other people hadn't heard about the breaker boys either, I knew it was a story that needed to be told. I also wanted to write about the struggles of the breaker boys' mothers and siblings, and the exploitation of miners at the hands of their employers.

Coal River explores one young woman's determination to put an end to child labor in a Pennsylvania mining town. It is a story about resilience in the face of hardship, and the simple acts of courage that can change everything. I hope you enjoy it!
Many thanks,

About Coal River:  
As a child, Emma Malloy left isolated Coal River, Pennsylvania, vowing never to return. Now, orphaned and penniless at nineteen, she accepts the train ticket from her aunt and uncle and travels back to the rough-hewn community. Treated like a servant by her relatives, Emma works for free in the company store. There, miners and their impoverished families must pay inflated prices for food, clothing, and tools, while those who owe money are turned away to starve.
Most heartrending of all are the breaker boys Emma sees around the village -- young children who toil all day sorting coal amid treacherous machinery. Their soot-stained faces remind Emma of the little brother she lost long ago, and she begins leaving stolen food on families' doorsteps, and marking the miners' bills paid.
Though Emma's actions draw ire from the mine owner and police captain, they lead to an alliance with a charismatic miner who offers to help her expose the truth. And as the lines blur between what is legal and what is just, Emma must risk everything to follow her conscience.
Review of Coal River:

 "In clean, clear prose, Wiseman paints an insightful portrait of a coal town and the miners' struggle for their rights, along with the fight against child labor. This non-stop read is a compelling story of one woman's determination to see justice win over greed and corruption. The careful research shows in every page of this forthright picture of a world brought from darkness into the light." -RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars
To learn more, visit the author's website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Ellen Marie Wiseman is available to speak to your book club by phone, or in person if you live within a 50-mile radius of Watertown, New York. Email Ellen to arrange a discussion. 

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