I have an additional Karen Harper giveaway to offer: a copy of MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, which came out in trade paperback from NAL earlier this month. From Ms. Harper's website:
England, 1601. When Queen Elizabeth’s men come looking for William Shakespeare—a rumored Catholic in a time of Catholic-Protestant intrigue and insurrection—they first question a beautiful dark-haired woman who seems to know the famous playwright very well. Too well. She is Anne Whateley, born in Temple Grafton, a small town just upriver from Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. And as church records show—were anyone to look for them—Anne Whateley was wed to William Shakespeare in a small country church just days before he married another woman, Anne Hathaway, who has lived as his wife for decades. In MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE, Anne Whateley--who may or may not be Will’s true wife--tells her story. Stretching almost fifty years, from the rural villages of Warwickshire to the bustling city of London, with its teeming streets and lively theaters, it’s a story of undying passion, for life, love, and literature.
Again, this contest will remain open until 10 pm PST next Friday, January 29, with the randomly-drawn winner's name posted by Saturday morning, January 30. Please leave a comment HERE with your email address if you are interested in entering the drawing for MISTRESS SHAKESPEARE. If you are interested in both Harper books, please leave a separate comment at EACH post.
I write historical fiction set in sixteenth century France. An avid reader who fell in love with all things French as a teen, I went on to earn a Ph.D in French literature from Princeton. My stories grow from my research and my desire to make Renaissance Europe come alive for modern readers. Explore my blog and immerse yourself in this fascinating era!
Excerpt from The Measure of Silence. Copyright 2007.
[Jollande] refused to pursue the direction of these thoughts as she bent to pick up Blaise's apron. Smoothing its ample folds, she wandered back into the showroom. It was still empty of both staff and customers. She hung the apron from a hook and, as if drawn by an invisible lead, descended the three steps that led to the workroom proper. Her breath quickened as the familiar thrill began to tickle her. She was too tired to fight it any longer.
Two wooden presses, rising like massive portals, languished in the midday somnolence, huge screws raised, heavy boards arrested high above frames of type set deep in the beds. Behind them, suspended from cords running the width of the room, curtains of newly printed pages swayed on currents of air, damp ink glistening. She plunged in among the leaves. Towards the back of the room she found what she was looking for. Her heart thumped as she read Ovid's opening verse: "In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora..." She traced the embellished capital with an ink-stained fingertip. Would it ever be her words aligned letter by letter on the typesetter's stick, her pages hanging to dry slowly into timelessness, her volumes offering themselves with immodest abandon on the shelves around the room? Once she would have replied yes without hesitation; now her resolve danced like the skittish sheet beneath her finger...
A polite cough fractured the silence. "Pardon me, madame. Customers are not permitted to enter the workshop."
Jollande froze. She turned slowly, uncertain of whom she would find. The man's black robe stained the wall of white pages like a puddle of spilled ink. Dark curls pooled beneath his flat cap; his neatly trimmed beard framed generous lips and softened his square jaw. His gray gaze was direct, his bland expression betrayed by the slight furrow of his brow. With the resigned tolerance of a parent herding an unruly child, he bowed slightly and gestured towards the front room. How long had he been there, watching? Whatever was he doing at the Fountain, acting as if he owned the place?
Jollande ignored the direction of his gesture and took a different path through the paper maze. "Customers," she retorted from behind page eight, "are not usually left to their own devices."