Just in time for the 12-week anniversary of the novel’s debut, The Sister Queens has crossed the three-dozen-review mark.  And just look what the kind folks at Fresh Fiction are saying:

This is the must read novel of the summer for anyone with a passion for historical fiction.”

 And:

Sophie Perinot’s magical storytelling transforms history into a page-turner medieval saga.”

 Let me tell you, it is not everyday a 500 page novel gets called a page turner!  I am very grateful for the kind words.  And I do hope fans and followers of Fresh Fiction will pick up a copy of my novel for their beach bags.

She ruled the British Empirefor more than fifty years and was half of one of the greatest royal love stories.  Queen Victoria is a natural figure of interest for lovers of English royal history everywhere, myself included, and today is our day!  Britain’s Telegraph reports that Victoria’s private journals are being made available on-line–all 141 volumes of them.  Now that’s my kind of beach reading!  These journals have certainly rocketed to the top of my TBR pile.

For serious researchers, the journals can be searched by date or place of entry and some portion is already searchable by keyword (thanks to transcription).  The website showcasing the diaries also features supporting material—including timelines, essays onVictoria’s reign, and sketches inVictoria’s own hand.

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The Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers (RHFL) Book Club is celebrating its 2nd Anniversary, and the on-line bash just got underway!  If, like me, you are a fan of historical fiction that features a strong romantic plot line, you will not want to miss it!  There will be more than a dozen opportunities to chat live with well known authors of historical novels and historical romances.

Check out the schedule below.  Then, to participate, visit the RHFL facbook page . 

I will be doing a live chat tomorrow between 8 to 9 a.m. and I hope to have some readers company (please don’t leave me sitting there alone, lol).

SATURDAY, May 19th (that’s today)

12N-1:OO PM Suzan Tisdale (LAIDEN’S DAUGHTER) and Sherry Jones (FOUR SISTERS, ALL QUEENS)
1:00-2:00 PM Gillian Bagwell (The September Queen)
4:00-5:00 PMurrayPura (THE WINGS OF MORNING)
5:00–6:00 PM Sharon Lathan (MISSDARCYFALLSIN LOVE)
6:00-7:00 PM Shana Galen (LORD AND LADY SPY)
7:00-8:00 PM Kiru Taye – giveaway only (HIS TREASURE or HIS STRENGTH)
8:00-9:00 PM – Emery Lee (FORTUNE’S SON)
9:00-10:00 PM – Victoria Vane (A WILD NIGHT’S BRIDE)
10:00-11:00 PM –  MK Chester (SURRENDER TO THE ROMAN)
11:00 PM -12:00 AM -TracyGrant (IMPERIAL SCANDAL)

SUNDAY, May 20th

For the NIGHT OWLS — 12:00-2:00 AM Jina Bacarr (TITANIC RHAPSODY)
2:00-4:00 AM  – Karen Aminadra (CHARLOTTE- P&P CONT. Kindle copy)
8:00-9:00 AM — Sophie Perinot (THE SISTER QUEENS) YEP THAT’S ME!!!
9:00-10:00 AM – DeAnna Cameron (THE BELLY DANCER) Ginger Myrick 2 Kindle copies El Rey- complete
10:00-11 AM – DeAnna Cameron (DANCING AT THE CHANCE) Christy English (THE QUEEN’S PAWN)

I am very pleased to add another super review to The Sister Queens’ collection!  With over thirty positive reviews now in, I am grateful for and humbled by this embarrassment of riches.

The latest praise comes from Onyx Book Chateau where Kyrsta gave the book 4 ½ stars and had this to say:

I absolutely adored this book! It was a fully engaging novel and remarkably relatable – I could totally imagine these two sisters carrying out a relationship through letters throughout their lives as rival queens.”

She had particular praise for the dialogue which she said was:

written effortlessly as it flowed in a natural way, it never felt forced or fake.

As for who should read the book, Kyrsta would:

recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of historical fiction and especially to those of you out there who have a sister – I saw so much of my sister’s and my relationship in these pages (I saw myself being Marguerite and my sister as Eleanor) and I was able to reflect upon our own relationship.”

Today I am inaugurating a new type of  post, Historical Resources I Love, giving me an opportunity to share some of the many volumes I keep close at hand while writing.  These are books, websites, etc that will allow you to delve more deeply into the history related to The Sister Queens should you so choose.

First up, Medieval Costume in England and France:  The 13th 14th and 15th Centuries by Mary G. Houston.

Tired of reading about “sleeveless surcoats” without being able to imagine what one looks like?  Don’t know your Agrafe (a brooch used to fasten a cloak) from your Agraffes (hooks and eyes used on armor and other garments)?  This slender volume will set you straight.  What do I love about it?  It’s brief, well researched, amply illustrated and covers bothEngland and France (handy when you are writing about sisters who became the queens of those kingdoms).  So slip into something comfortable, setting down in your chair and explore the fashions of the past.

I have to admit, I would rather have been there in person.  After all, those present in the Metro-Atlanta area living room belonging to my hostess had wine and dessert.  I had water and a cough drop.  Still, the elements that really mattered – lively conversation, probing questions and moments of humor – translated across the miles last evening when I attended my first book club by skype.  It was amazing :)  A great big thanks to all the ladies present for selecting The Sister Queens as their monthly read and for their warm hospitality.

Thanks ladies! Members of the Atlanta book club who hosted me for my foray into clubbing by skype

Mother’s Day is a “brunch holiday.”  I detest brunch.  There is something so very non-committal about it.  Besides, all the best food (not to mention the alcohol to go with it) comes out after dark.  In the early years of being a mother I devoted considerable time and energy in the month of April to oh-so-subtly delivering my anti-brunch message (my husband comes from a Mother’s-Day-Brunch family).  By the time we had two toddlers I’d given up on subtle and had “Sophie hates brunch” tattooed on hubby’s arm.  Let’s face it there is NOTHING relaxing or celebratory about trying to consume a meal in a nice restaurant with two toddlers.  And, crazy as it may seem, I’ve always been under the impression that a gift is supposed to delight and relax its recipient.

Motherhood is not, generally speaking, a relaxing occupation.  Everything is prone to interruption.  Everything.  If you are a mother and you’ve been drawn, shampoo-still-in-hair, from the shower by disturbing sounds from elsewhere in your house—sounds suggesting that either furniture or children are being broken—then you know precisely what I mean.  The TRULY perfect Mother’s Day gift would be an exotic getaway.  A weekend on a beach inBali.  Shopping inParis.  A day at the spa.  Heck, I drive past a Dominican retreat on my appointed motherly rounds, and lately I’ve been thinking a day with the nuns would do wonders for me.  Please note, I am not even Catholic.

The truth is, for many of us, an actually physical getaway is pipe dream.  There are kids to be delivered to and from a myriad of activities (anyone who’s had a “oh my god I forgot to pick up [insert child’s name here]” moment, raise your hand), homework to help with, etc.  And can you just imagine the size of the laundry pile that would await a mother’s return should she actually manage to slip away toBali?

But being a mom is a joy and an avocation.  It’s taught me a lot of things including how to live in the moment.  After two decades of motherhood I know that I need to both treasure and expect my “me time” in small increments.  You have perhaps heard of the twenty-minute power nap?  Well, I have become the master of the eleven-minute sitting-in-the-car-getaway.  And that leads me to books.

Books offer the perfect, portable, getaway.  I may look like I am in the carpool line, waiting for the man with the whistle to call a hundred car engines to life, but I am not.  I am in ancient Rome thanks to Kate Quinn’s Empress of the Seven Hills.  I am in regency England watching a confirmed bachelor-dandy fall head-over-heels thanks to Miranda Neville.  I am spending an afternoon with Catherine de Medici thanks to biographer R. J. Knecht.  I am attending festivities at the Valois court with Philippe Erlanger.  I am discovering a set of sisters from Provence in a secondary research source on Notre Dame de Paris—sisters who will lead me on an adventure ultimately resulting in the publication of my debut novel, The Sister Queens.

The cost of these getaways is negligible (certainly not in the league of airline tickets to Bali).  For the cost of a brunch I’d hate for the five of us, my family can get me a whole armload of books I’ll love and that will fit into my schedule.  Yes, I may get snappish when I am forced to put down a novel at a climatic moment to help find a uniform skirt gone missing, or “check” on someone who has already been in bed for an hour but is still not asleep (you know who you are, son).  But it’s a lot easier to settle back down on the couch and slip back into the French Revolution with Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud than it is to sop up all the water and suds from interrupted tub-time.  When I travel by novel I can get back home from Paris for tuck-in time.  Try doing that by airplane (especially in a TSA infested air-travel world).

So, husband dearest, books please.  Mother’s Day is still more than a week away.  Don’t make me tattoo this on your. . . oh, never mind.

Everybody knows there is no better way to celebrate success than with friends!  Today I am celebrating the 8-week anniversary of the release of The Sister Queens (hooray).  But I want to take a moment to celebrate how special this day is for two of my fellow historical authors as well.

Today is the 4-week anniversary of Kate Quinn’s brilliant Empress of the Seven Hills.  It is also the 4-week anniversary of Elizabeth Loupas’ entrancing The Flower Reader.  Now I could go on all day about how wonderful these ladies’ books are – but why take my word for it?  Both have received considerable praise since they hit shelves.

Peeking Between the Pages say’s of Kate’s Empress:

The characters in this novel just jump out at you. They have a depth to them and the life in Ancient Rome is described so vividly you feel sure you are experiencing it all with your favorite characters.”

 While Amy at Passages to the Past purrs:

 No one does Ancient Rome quite like author Kate Quinn”

 Damn straight!

 Praise for Elizabeth’s book includes this from The True Book Addict:

The Flower Reader is rich storytelling and its characters are real and interesting.  The historical details were obviously meticulously researched.  Throw in some intrigue and scandal and we have a book that will appeal to all readers, not only fans of historical fiction.”

I hope you’ll forgive me for rounding out this book-realease anniversary celebration with a clip from the newest review of my own book.  The Tulsa Book Review said:

The Sister Queens is historic fiction at its absolute finest. I simply cannot wait to see what this author does next. She’s already won herself a spot on my list of favorite authors. In all of its colorful prose, deep and eccentric characters, and historical brilliance, this book can be summed up with one word: phenomenal. Brava!”

Happy anniversary ladies! And many, many happy returns.