What would the weekend be without a bit of crusade humor?  In The Sister Queens, Marguerite accompanies her husband Louis IX of France on the first of his crusading expeditions (the Seventh Crusade).  She certainly didn’t experience much to laugh about.  Particularly when Louis and his knights were captured and she shouldered the responsibility of holdingDamietta and ransoming the knights.  

No reason we shouldn’t enjoy a laugh or two at this Horrible Histories explanation of the crusades however. :)

It has been a good week for The Sister Queens in the blogosphere – a very good week.  Just since Tuesday the novel has received FIVE reviews, all of them good.  Here are highlights from what some of the fabulous women of book-blogging had to say.

From Broken Teepee:

Ms. Perinot’s characterization of the two women is fascinating and I found it quite hard to put the book down; in fact, I read it in one sitting. I love writing that grabs you and won’t let you go like that. I want to continue with these two women and their complicated men. I hope that Ms. Perinot is considering further books on unsung women in history as she does have a magical way with words. A way that brings long dead characters to very real life.

Briar Patch Books said:

Perinot’s writing is almost flawless, and she brings to rich life characters who lived more than 600 years ago, no small feat. Readers will enjoy the romance of the tale but also the sibling connection between the sisters.”

And the Bookish Dame at A Bookish Libraria had some kind words about the characterization and dialogue in the book:

Her two sisters, as well as their two kings, the wicked mother-in-law ~ White Queen Blanche of Castille, and the sisters’ children are so magnificently drawn. I could absolutely see them alive and feel their hearts’ emotions and motivations. Beautifully written. Dialog was also appeared to be effortlessly rendered; it flowed and felt so natural.  The intimate communications between characters were meaningful and telling.”

 Several reviewers highlighted something I’ve believed (and trumpeted) since I first began reading historical fiction—the genre transcends history and speaks to issues as real and relevant today as they were hundreds of years ago. As Books, Belles, and Beaux put it:

While leading the life of a royal wife in the 13th century certainly has little bearing on life today, the relationships each sister shared with her husband, children, and extended family is certainly relevant to today’s reader.

While I Heart Words points out:

Yes, Sophie Perinot’s debut THE SISTER QUEENS takes us through medieval battles, the crusades, and some juicy court politics, but it is truly a story about two women and their quest for fulfillment.

All I can say is WOW ladies!  And thanks.  These last three weeks have been a marvelous whirlwind.  Turns out holding my book for the first time in a Barnes & Noble was just the beginning of the thrills.  Discovering there are readers who hold my book in their hearts—that’s the biggest thrill of all.

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I am celebrating the three-week anniversary of  my novel’s release with the help of Michelle at The True Book Addict.  Michelle is hosting a birthday giveaway.  A 500 page book – now THAT’S a party favor.

And Michelle had a present for me as well.  There is no better gift (three-week birthday or other) for an author than a good review, and The True Book Addict gives The Sister Queens a very good review indeed, remarking that:  

Good historical fiction will incite the reader to investigate the historical figures coming alive in its pages.  The Sister Queens is one such book.

(a sentiment I share – in fact, this is one of the reasons I, myself, love reading and writing historical fiction!)

Praising the insight with which the sister-relationship at the heart of the book is portrayed, Michelle says:

What is interesting in their story is how both queens learned to take on the traits of the other’s personality to help them to smoothly navigate their royal marriages and lives.  It takes intricate knowledge of the relationship between sisters to be able to portray that this is indeed what sisters do.

She concludes:

this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who loves the genre, and even those who are not regular readers of historical novels.

So what are you waiting for?  Head to The True Book Addict and enter to win a copy.

Today I am chatting with the marvelous Erin at Oh for the Hook of a Book.  She had some very unique questions for me, including whether the Christian undertones in my novel were intentional. 

Erin also reviews The Sister Queens, saying it is:

 one to mark down for the greatest of novels list and reads visually as a theatrical movie

 

My map of the USA is filling up (and so is my collage) as kind friends and readers snap and send pictures of The Sister Queens from various locations around the nation.  New York leads the tally with pictures from all over the state (but oddly not Manhattan, publishing central).  I have photos of The Sister Queens with adorable children, crazy friends, B&N workers, and even with a Tennessee spring field in the background.  Thanks to all the spotters who have contacted me so far.

I am eager to finish up New England.  So, I am going to make things a little interesting.  I have these lovely bookplates (which I distribute to book clubs I visit virtually) and I will sign and send one each to the first people to spot, snap and send photographs of The Sister Queens from Maine ,Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Just post a comment below letting me know you’ve spotted The Sister Queens (and where) or use the contact form here at the website.  I’ll let you know how to get your photo to me and you can let me know where you want your bookplate mailed.

I won’t keep you in suspense; quotes from these authors embody guiding principals of my life.  I share them (along with several other favorite quotes)  in an interview at Layered Pages today.  I also discuss why I find Louis IX of France even less likeable than his harridan of a mother, Blanch of Castile.  Please stop by, Stephanie asked some excellent questions!

Birds do it, bees do it, and our ancestors most definitely did it, but should sex be included in the pages of historical novels?  Today at Peeking Between the Pages I discuss the expansion of sexual content from historical romance into straight historical fiction and my views on this trend.

Meanwhile, the latest review of The Sister Queens is in!  The Broke and the Bookish says:

an excellent slice of an extremely interesting period of time. We get the politics and social aspects of not one but two countries (always a bonus!) as well as in the latter part of the book, Louis’ crusade to theHoly Land. I felt very connected to them and their personalities were extremely opposite and varied. I enjoyed watching the sisters grow from young teenagers to mature mothers, queens, and friends. Recommended to all historical fiction lovers!

 

The Sister Queens received another lovely review, this time from Kathleen at A CelticLady’s Reviews:

Sophie Perinot tells a very compelling story of two very diverse but strong women. In the writing of this book, I could tell that there was extensive research …into the lives of these two women and their families and they were portrayed as very real women who adored their children and would do anything to keep them safe and protect their heritage.

Stop by, Kathleen is also running a giveaway for those still hoping to win a copy of the novel.

 

 

 

Can I just say I love the name of this blog – Peeking Between the Pages.  Perhaps that’s because when I open a book I feel as if I am peeking into another world and into other people’s lives without them knowing it.  There is a certain amount of voyeurism (but not in the creepy sense) involved.

Today Dar at Peeking Between the Pages takes a look between the covers of The Sister Queens and proclaims:

 The Sister Queens has it all… court life, balls, rivalry, politics, love and lust; with the added element of it seeming so real to the reader as though watching a film. A fantastic debut!

Merci, Madame!

Another double-dip day for me in blog-land my friends. 

First, I discuss how The Sister Queen’s focus on how sisters shape each other makes it very personal in an interview with Kathleen at Celtic Lady’s Reviews. Kathleen and I also chat about how I got interested in writing historical fiction and what my typical writing day looks like.

Then, The Sister Queens is reviewed at Luxury Reading (“I found myself sucked into the story and could not put the book down”).