What ho, Portalians!
I am delighted to report that our Summer Fiction Extravaganza got off to a great start with Lee Irby and Cara Black!
And I'm confident that we're going to keep the momentum going with our next two authors, Karen Dionne and Martha Conway.
Before I talk about them and their books, I want to remind you that for every verified author event you attend this month, you'll accrue a 5% discount toward a shopping spree on the date of your choosing in July.
There are four events left, so there's still time to rack up 10%, 15%, or even 20% savings!
A few months ago, I was snuffling around online looking at forthcoming book releases--as one does--when I stumbled across a description of a high-concept thriller so juicy that I had to read it aloud to the entire bookstore. I was not the only one in the room eager to get my mitts on a copy of The Marsh King's Daughter. And, wait, what's this?
The author is an old friend of mine! Karen Dionne and I have been socializing at writers' conferences for a decade or more. So I understand if you question my objectivity on the subject of her latest book. However, the New York Times has given The Marsh King's Daughter the mother of all rave reviews. It starts, "What a shame it would be to revert to the reading habits of the 'Twilight' age, if it meant missing out on books as subtle, brilliant and mature as Karen Dionne’s newest novel, The Marsh King’s Daughter." And it ends: "In its balance of emotional patience and chapter-by-chapter suspense, The Marsh King’s Daughter is about as good as a thriller can be." You can see the entire review here.
Now let's talk about Martha Conway and The Underground River. As luck would have it, I've been casually acquainted with Martha for about as long as I've known Karen. (The book world is really delightfully small.)
While we don't know each other well, we've gotten to know each other a bit better since I started working at BookShop West Portal. Why? Because we're Martha's neighborhood bookstore and we get to see her in the shop.
And let me tell you, there's nothing more delightful for us than to roll out the red carpet for a member of our own community!
Portalians, let me tell you, Martha won me over from this novel's opening pages. It starts with a bang--literally--and the tale of May, the novel's protagonist drew me right in. It's got the perfect amount of historical detail to paint an evocative portrait of America on the cusp of transition. Set on the Mississippi River, on the border between the North and South in 1838, abolitionists will do whatever they have to do to free slaves. Martha subverts expectations brilliantly, and I expect The Underground River will find a long life among book clubs.The storytelling will keep you turning pages, but there's a lot to chew over here. Or drink wine over, as the case may be.
Karen Dionne will be discussing The Marsh King's Daughter this Monday, June 19th at 7:00pm. Please come out to hear what all the buzz is about. You'll thank me! And Martha Conway will be discussing The Underground River on Tuesday, June 20th at 7:00pm. I know it's a lot to ask you to come back one night later, but both of these books and these authors are so different and so special. What a privilege and a thrill to be able to host two writers of this caliber in one week!
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for two writers with San Francisco-set tales to finish off our Summer Fiction Extravaganza in my next missive.
Bookshop West Portal
80 West Portal Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94127