Put on your party hats!  There is something to celebrate!  The Sister Queens just received an extremely laudatory and exquisitely written review at Let Them Read Books.  Lines like these had me blushing at my desk:

Sophie Perinot’s writing style is simple and honest and all the more eloquent for it.

* * *

I was reminded of one of my favorite historical fiction authors, Sharon Kay Penman. (Although Ms. Perinot’s style is deliciously more sexy :) There’s not a word out of place, and I must have marked a dozen beautiful passages of description and observation. Whether the emotion is grief, anger, or love, Perinot gives it life and evokes it from the reader.”

* * *

Historical fiction lovers rejoice! A new and true talent has arrived on the scene!”

And while I am busy hugging myself (yeah, I do that), you should plan on returning to Let Them Read Books tomorrow because Jenny will be hosting a giveaway.  I will also be guest posting on a new reading list I started at Goodreads—a list you may be very interested in.

 

"The Sister Queens" spotted at the home of a reader in TN

I can’t believe it – today marks the 7-week anniversary since launch day for The Sister Queens.  Never have weeks rolled by so quickly!

Much of the time I’ll admit I was lost in a blur of blog appearances and promotional duties, so I may have fallen short of my pre-launch pledge to “savor every moment.”  But just because I was dazed doesn’t mean I didn’t’ enjoy myself!  Highlights included a marvelous Moroccan dinner at the home of a woman who “won” me in a school auction; an on-line author chat where I shared the virtual floor with the talented Christy English; and a well-attended outing at Barnes & Noble where the incomparable Kate Quinn & Stephanie Dray joined me for a lively discussion of “Sex, Lies and History: A Literary Threesome.”

And then of courses there were the reviews.  The Sister Queens was privileged (and I was humbled) to receive more than two-dozen on-line reviews from book bloggers and on-line publications during its first seven weeks on the market.  If you are interested in reading some of the many good things that have been written about The Sister Queens, check out the “reviews” category here at the blog—it should take you directly to some of my “highlight” posts complete with links to full reviews.  Besides these “official” opinions, many readers have taken the time to share what they thought about the book at Goodreads and Amazon.  To everyone who has taken a moment to let me know whether by review, letter or email, how you felt about my debut effort, thank you!  To all my “queen-spotters” (some of whose pictures dot this post), I appreciate your time, your enthusiasm and your photographic skills.  My collage is filling in nicely.  Over all then I am feeling pretty grateful to say the least!

"The Sister Queens" spotted (enthusiastically) in Omaha NE

But, even as I bask in the glow of a successful release, I know this is no time to take things easy.  In the first weeks after its release a book is the latest thing.  It’s on all those glamorous, sexy  front bookstore tables under signs like “New Releases” or “Notable in Paperback”  The internet hums with talk of an author with a new release and of her book.  New is exciting.  I am not new anymore.  But I still want to be exciting!  In the next seven weeks, even as I shift my attention more and more to my wip, I will still have an eye on The Sister Queens.  I hope you will too oh faithful readers.  The optimist inside me says that book lovers—unlike those who find the majority of their entertainment electronically—still have nice long attention spans in a era of sound-bites.  Here’s hoping I am right!

In upstate NY with its cutest fan

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I don’t play fantasy sports (real sports either for the record), but as a reader and writer I participate in something similar—fantasy casting. I bet you do too. Certain novels just read like movies, filling my head with images of people, places and situations so vivid that I might be watching the action unfold on a screen. I know EXACTLY who I’d like to see play particular characters in some of my favorite novels but, sadly, no one inHollywood ever rings me up when they are making a movie out of a book and says “cast this baby for us.”

Hence the fantasy casting.  Because when real-life constraints—money, an actor’s age, and/or even whether he/she is still among the living—are set aside I can have any book made into a movie starring precisely who I envision in each role. Bliss.

Of course my fantasy cast is not your fantasy cast. And that’s another upside from my point of view. If I prefer Glenda Jackson asElizabeth I (a role she nailed on the BBC before many of you were born) and you prefer Cate Blanchett that’s just fine. We can each pop some popcorn, pull up our respective hassocks, settle down with the very same book in hand and watch the action on the tiny screens in our head featuring our choice. It’s a fantasy remember :)

But for some reason while I’ve been busy casting other writer’s historical novels I never thought about a fantasy cast for The Sister Queens . . . until yesterday. That’s when a pair of talented writer friends (Lydia Netzer and Nancy Bilyeau) pointed out how cinemographic my novel is and started making casting suggestions of their own.

Next thing you knew we had a pretty good list going. I knew it was time to share, and more than that to solicit readers’ opinions. So, in a sort of “We’ll show you our if you show us yours” gesture, I am putting our current fantasy casting ideas out on the table and counting on you to reciprocate. Who do you see playing Louis IX? Eleanor? Jean? The Dragon of Castile? DO TELL (that’s what comments sections are made for)!

Fantasy Cast, The Sister Queens
A Starter List Courtesy of Sophie, Lydia and Nancy

Marguerite: (I’ll admit I see my eldest daughter in this role so thank heavens for the suggestions of others) Romola Garai, Saoirse Ronan, Keira Knightly

Eleanor: (Again my second daughter plays this role in my head): Miranda Otto (remember current age is no impediment), Anna Kendrick, Hailee Steinfeld (right age for start of book but later?), Rooney Mara, Dakota Fanning

Blanche of Castile:  Dame Judy Dench, Virna Lisi

Louis IX: Julian Sands (when he was younger), Rupert Penry-Jones (ditto. Or he could play Henry as he currently is), Keith Ledger (told you we included the dead), Alex Pettfer, Raymond Coulthard, Douglas Booth (if he isn’t playing Jean)

Jean de Joinville:  Douglas Booth (if you didn’t see him in the recent Masterpiece Great Expectations, click the link—it will be apparent why he is my first choice), Kit Harington (you know, Jon Snow in Game of Thrones), a younger Joseph Fiennes (particular if his brother played Henry), Henry Cavill, Jamie Bell (right age for the start of the action but later?), Jeremy Irvine, Orlando Bloom (who might also play Louis if he put in those contacts he wore for Legolas)

Henry III:  Michael Fassbender (yeah he is too good looking – so?), Seth Green, Daniel Auteuil (in younger days), Sean Bean (and for once he wouldn’t have to DIE in a movie), Johnny Lee Miller, Rupert Penry-Jones.

 

I’ve been tagged by author, Erika Robuck, whose novel Hemingway’s Girl will be out this September  with NAL (same imprint as The Sister Queens).   To play the game, she instructed me to do the following:

1. Go to the 77th page of my latest book (or wip – author’s choice).

2. Count down 7 lines.

3. Copy the 7 sentences that follow, and post them as a teaser.

4. Tag 7 other authors.

In this scene from The Sister Queens, Eleanor of Provence’s brother-in-law, the Earl Richard, returns to the English royal court furious over the secret marriage of his sister to Simon de Montfort.  The Earl confronts King Henry III during court festivities, interrupting Eleanor and Henry while they are dancing.   Without further ado, here are seven sentences (or thereabouts) from the 77th page of The Sister Queens:

Her welfare?  If that is all that worries you, be done.  Lady Montfort is quite abundantly happy with her situation.”  For the first time Henry looks in my direction.  “Is that not so Eleanor?  Our sister writes to the Queen glowingly of her new husband.”

“This is not a fanciful troubadour’s romance!  It is a royal marriage!  It ought not to be managed by women.”

My Uncle, silent himself, gives me a meaningful look, warning me to hold my tongue.

Now, I’ll tag 7  brilliant authors to give us teasers of their own:

1. Kate Quinn

2. Nancy Bilyeau

3. Elizabeth Loupas

4. Erin Cashman

5. Mindy McGinnis

6. Stephanie Dray

7. Lydia Netzer

Visit their websites in the next few days to get a peek into their latest work and discover who they’ll tag in turn.  Nothing like a little game to start the weekend.

Today’s review of THE SISTER QUEENS comes from a fellow historical writer, Julianne Douglas of  Writing the Renaissance. My favorite quote:

Congratulations to the author for finding a little-explored moment in history and bringing it to life for modern readers with verve, demonstrating how the bonds of sisterhood transcend not only distance, but time.”

They do indeed!

I am flattered that Julianne, a professor of literature, calls the novel:

an admirable debut, well-written and richly imagined, peopled with unique characters and simmering with conflict. Despite its length, the story never bogs down with unnecessary detail; the politics of thirteenth-centuryFranceandEnglandare sketched with just enough detail to support the dramatic action. The focus remains on the sisters’ relationship throughout, assuring thematic as well as structural cohesion.”

I hope you will venture over to Writing the Renaissance today and read the rest of her review.   Then stop by again tomorrow when I answer a series of questions generated by Julianne’s reading of the book.

You’ve read my blog.  You’ve read my book.  Now I’d love to meet you.

On April 21st I’ll be joining the fabulous and talented Kate Quinn (Mistress of Rome, Daughters of Rome, & Empress of the Seven Hills) and Stephanie Dray (Lily of the Nile & Song of the Nile) for a “literary threesome” in theWashingtonDC metropolitan area.

Come on out to hear us discuss Sex, Lies and History, and make the acquaintance of some amazing historical women—Cleopatra’s daughter; a host of patrician Roman women (including an empress and the daughter of a Senator); and, of course, my pair of 13th century Provencal sisters who became the queens ofFrance andEngland.  In addition to a lively panel discussion, all three of us will be signing books.  It’s a triple historical fiction treat!

Here are the details:

Date: April 21st

Time: 1-3 p.m.

Location: Barnes & Noble,Spectrum Center, 1851 Fountain Drive, Reston, VA20190

Authors Stephanie Dray, Kate Quinn, and Sophie Perinot will appear ensemble in Northern Virginia

 

 

By my count this lovely review of The Sister Queens from Kathy at Bags, Books & Bon Jovi marks the TWENTY-FIFTH on-line review received by the novel.  Twenty-five is a milestone.

I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank each and every member of the virtual-world book community who took the time to read my debut and share their thoughts on it.  I am grateful.  I am humbled.  And in many cases I was very moved.

As for Kathy, she believes The Sister Queens would make a “fascinating choice” for book clubs and says:

There is just so much drama and intrigue and it can be told from so many perspectives… and reading such a novel told from two sisters’ points of view is refreshing and, honestly, a little unexpected. I did not realize, when I was offered this novel for review, that it would be such an intimate tale.”

If you have missed any of what has been said about The Sister Queens, the “Reviews” blog post category should bring up a complete (or nearly complete) list of links as well as some highlights.

The Sister Queens started their week at The Maiden’s Court where Heather enthused:

The pages of this read absolutely flew by at a pace much faster than my recent reads this year. This is a testimony to just how well written these characters were and how invested in their lives I became. You are simply sucked into all of the ups and downs that these women face.

Then, after stuffing themselves with four-week launch anniversary cupcakes (no, wait, that was me), the queens received “4 Willies” (can I just say I love that) at To Read or Not to Read, where Marcie said:

Perinot makes you care about these characters. She nailed the bond that only sister’s can have. The love, the jealousy, and also the deep friendship. This book was a page turner that I thoroughly enjoyed.”

Thank you ladies!  So glad you had The Sister Queens on your reading lists.  Hope your words will encourage others to add the novel to theirs.

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Happy 4-Week Birthday to my beloved book-baby.  Since you are an inanimate object, Mommy gets the cupcake (chocolate please) 😉