Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

City of Light, City of Poison by Holly TuckerCity of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

Thanks to Erin Lovett of  W.W. Norton, I am giving away one print copy of City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker.

Description of City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

Holly Tucker’s new book, CITY OF LIGHT, CITY OF POISON: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris is a tale of poison, witchcraft, and murder.

When the Sun King first ascends to the throne, Paris, France is far from celestial. At the start of Louis XIV’s reign, the streets are filthy and dangerous, with nobility getting robbed at night. To combat the crime wave sweeping his nation, Louis appoints Nicolas de La Reynie as Paris’s first chief of police. One of La Reynie’s first acts: to install the street lamps that help make Paris into the “City of Light” we know and love today. However, things aren’t much improved behind closed doors: people in even the most respectable households are dying painful deaths under mysterious circumstances. It is a time when residents of the City of Love know no limits in matters of the heart—or of gaining inheritances. Some of the more dangerous methods they resort to include shirts washed in arsenic, goblets coated with toad venom, and cups tainted by diamond powder meant to lacerate the organs of anyone unfortunate enough to ingest it.

In CITY OF LIGHT, CITY OF POISON, Holly Tucker takes a deep dive into La Reynie’s meticulous documentation of the scandal at the center of Louis XIV’s reign, retracing the deliberations of the secret tribunal Louis convened to tell contemporary readers the thrilling story that Louis tried to bury—a story of poison, torture, lovers, witches, satanic priests, and aristocratic ladies resorting to evil.

As La Reynie discovered, not even the Sun King himself was outside the reach of the nefarious plots swirling around seventeenth-century Paris. It seemed half of Paris was caught up in the twisted criminal web, with the dogged La Reynie willing to torture the accused to understand the extent of the Parisian murder spree before it might touch the king. Aristocratic men and women feared being thrown in prison if they so much as had their fortune told by one of the well-known practitioners of magic who were found to be responsible for far more dastardly deeds. Even Louis would be torn between fear for his own life and love for his current and former mistresses, for whom he had a notorious—and expensive—soft spot, when the ranks of the accused swelled to encompass some shockingly intimately placed members of his court.

Tucker proves a brilliant guide to the winding streets and hallowed halls of Louis XIV’s France, from the dark corners of Montorgeuil and the legendary Parisian cathedrals where ungodly rituals and acts were performed to the gilded halls of Versailles. Her thorough research and lively voice bring these vivid, compelling, and sometimes-appalling characters to life as she tells an almost-unbelievable story for which Louis XIV thought he had burned all the evidence.

Praise for City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

“Holly Tucker has unearthed and brought to life a treasure trove of court documents and notes. . . . City of Light, City of Poison provides stunning insights into the real filth of Louis XIV’s reign . . . [and is] completely absorbing, especially because of the wealth of everyday life detail Tucker provides.”-Booklist

“Tucker . . . vividly brings to life a slice of Parisian history in a rigorously researched true-crime epic . . . that reads like a combination of the most compelling mystery fiction and Dumas’s romances of twisted court intrigues.”-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

City of Light, City of Poison . . . is part true crime, part history, and all scandal.”-Library Journal (Editors’ Pick)

About Holly Tucker

City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

(c) Kimberly Wylie

Holly Tucker is a professor of French and biomedical ethics and society at Vanderbilt University. She lives in Nashville and Aix-en-Provence, France. She is the author of Blood Work, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, among other works.

Giveaway of City of Light, City of Poison by Holly Tucker

This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on April 1, 2017 midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Northanger Abbey and the History of England by Jane AustenNorthanger Abbey and the History of England by Jane Austen, Read by Alison Larkin 

I am happy to be offering the change to win one copy of the CD version of this audiobook.

Description of Northanger Abbey and the History of England by Jane Austen

Award-winning narrator and internationally acclaimed writer/comedienne, Alison Larkin brings her signature wit to this dazzling audio production of Jane Austen’s first novel, Northanger Abbey, followed by The History of England, a short, delightfully satirical piece rarely heard on audio, written by Jane Austen when she was just fifteen years old. 

 In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Morland, a clergyman’s daughter, longs for the kind of romantic adventures she has read about in her favorite Gothic novels. After spending a season mingling with fashionable high society in Bath, she is invited to stay at Northanger Abbey where nothing is what it seems. 

 In The History of England, the teenage Jane Austen pokes fun at the historians of the day who pretended to be objective when they clearly were not, and wrote about the kings and queens of England with less respect (and more wit) than a British newspaper. 

Giveaway of Northanger Abbey and the History of England by Jane Austen

This giveaway is open to the U.S. only and ends on March 31, 2017 midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

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Before the War by Fay WeldonBefore the War by Fay Weldon

Thanks to Sarah Schoof of  St. Martin’s Press, I am giving away one print copy of Before the War by Fay Weldon.

Description of Before the War by Fay Weldon

London, 1922. It’s a cold November morning, the station is windswept and rural, the sky is threatening snow, and the train is late. Vivien Ripple, 20 years old and an ungainly five foot eleven, waits on the platform at Dilberne Halt. She is wealthy and well-bred—only daughter to the founder of Ripple & Co, the nation’s top publisher—but plain, painfully awkward, and, perhaps worst of all, intelligent. Nicknamed “the giantess,” Vivvie is, in the estimation of most, already a spinster. But she has a plan. That very morning, Vivvie will ride to the city with the express purpose of changing her life forever.

Enter Sherwyn Sexton: charismatic, handsome—if, to his dismay, rather short. He’s an aspiring novelist and editor at Ripple & Co whose greatest love is the (similarly handsome, but taller) protagonist of his thriller series. He also has a penchant for pretty young women—single and otherwise. Sherwyn is shocked when his boss’s hulking daughter, dressed in a tweed jacket and moth-eaten scarf, strides into his office and asks for his hand in marriage. But his finances are running thin to support his regular dinners on the town, and Vivien’s promise to house him in comfort while he writes is simply too good to refuse. What neither of them know is that she is pregnant by another man, and will die in childbirth in just a few months…

With one eye on the present and one on the past, Fay Weldon offers Vivien’s fate, along with that of London between World Wars I and II: a city fizzing with change, full of flat-chested flappers, shell-shocked soldiers, and aristocrats clinging to history.

Inventive, warm, playful, and full of Weldon’s trademark ironic edge, Before the War is a spellbinding novel from one of the greatest writers of our time.

Praise for Before the War by Fay Weldon

“Featuring a cast of oddball characters and astute observations about courtship, family, and what it means to be human, Weldon’s novel crackles with erudite writing evocative of the time period. This is a complex character study filled with wit and wisdom about family, society, and the restrictions both can place on women.”-Publishers Weekly

“A romp of a read full of Weldon wit and wisdom, as well as sumptuous period detail, gawky, oversized Vivvie is a wonderfully offbeat heroine while her mother Adela makes a brilliantly ghastly villain.”-Daily Mail (UK)

“A wise and witty story about a family that is as dysfunctional as the history of the world in the 1920s and 1930s but filled with sharp observations about life as we live it now.”-The Times (UK)

About Fay WeldonBefore the War by Fay Weldon

FAY WELDON is a novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. In addition to winning a Writers’ Guild Award for the pilot of Upstairs Downstairs, she is a Commander of the British Empire whose books include Praxis, shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction; The Heart of the Country, winner of the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize; Worst Fears, shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award; and Wicked Women, which won the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award. She lives in England.

Giveaway of Before the War by Fay Weldon

This giveaway is open to Canada and the U.S. only and ends on March 31, 2017 midnight pacific time.  Entries are accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway