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Spotlight/US Giveaway: Grief Cottage by Gail Godwin

Bloomsbury  June 6, 2017

Publisher’s Description:

The haunting tale of a desolate cottage, and the hair-thin junction between this life and the next, from bestselling National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin.

After his mother’s death, eleven-year-old Marcus is sent to live on a small South Carolina island with his great aunt, a reclusive painter with a haunted past. Aunt Charlotte, otherwise a woman of few words, points out a ruined cottage, telling Marcus she had visited it regularly after she’d moved there thirty years ago because it matched the ruin of her own life. Eventually she was inspired to take up painting so she could capture its utter desolation.

The islanders call it “Grief Cottage,” because a boy and his parents disappeared from it during a hurricane fifty years before. Their bodies were never found and the cottage has stood empty ever since. During his lonely hours while Aunt Charlotte is in her studio painting and keeping her demons at bay, Marcus visits the cottage daily, building up his courage by coming ever closer, even after the ghost of the boy who died seems to reveal himself. Full of curiosity and open to the unfamiliar and uncanny given the recent upending of his life, he courts the ghost boy, never certain whether the ghost is friendly or follows some sinister agenda.

Grief Cottage is the best sort of ghost story, but it is far more than that–an investigation of grief, remorse, and the memories that haunt us. The power and beauty of this artful novel wash over the reader like the waves on a South Carolina beach.


About the Author:

Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award finalist and the bestselling author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed books, including Publishing, a memoir, and the novels FloraFather Melancholy’s Daughter, and Evensong. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts grants for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Woodstock, New York.

Book tour schedule

NPR interview with the author


Praise for Gail Godwin:

“Something between a search for understanding and a mournful confession . . . A testament to the power of storytelling to bring solace when none other is possible.” —Washington Post on FLORA

“Remorse may be the defining emotion for our narrator, Helen, but Godwin the writer has nothing to regret: Flora is an elegant little creeper of a story.” —Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air

Flora is a beautiful examination of character and the far-reaching repercussions of our actions. Gail Godwin brings grace, honesty, and enormous intelligence to every page.” —Ann Patchett

Flora is Godwin at her best, a compelling story about Helen’s growth of consciousness told with fearless candor and the poignant wisdom of hindsight.” —Boston Globe

“A chronicle of her life as a writer whose career has been boosted and buffeted by the vagaries of the publishing industry. She has made of it a suspenseful account, with . . . emotional depth, too.” —Wall Street Journal on PUBLISHING

“A memoir in the old sense of the term, a story with a scope of five decades written by an author of some renown . . . You don’t have to be a hungry writer or an aspiring editor to appreciate Publishing. You don’t have to have followed Godwin’s career as a reader either, though the millions who have will be treated to a look behind the scenes.” —New York Times Book Review on PUBLISHING

“Godwin affectionately divulges the various moments, places, and characters in her life that eventually slipped into her 14 novels. These disclosures leave you hungry to reread her oeuvre with the newfound secrets in mind.” —Entertainment Weekly on PUBLISHING

“This memoir by the acclaimed, prolific novelist is testament to both her talent and her perseverance.” – O, the Oprah Magazine on PUBLISHING


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Giveaway ends on June 14, 2017


Spotlight/US Giveaway: Max’s Diamonds: A Novel by Jay Greenfield

maxs-diamonds_cov

Description:

A stunning decades-spanning debut novel, about a man forced to confront his moral culpability, the legacy of impossible loss, and the claims of his Jewish identity. Paul Hartman, coming of age in postwar Rockaway, grows up haunted by the specter of his cousin Max, an Auschwitz survivor, and Max’s mysterious cache of diamonds, which fund Paul’s Harvard Law education and even sparkle in his fiancée’s engagement ring. When a stranger from his past confronts him with an impossible demand, one that could destroy his law career, his marriage and his sense of self, Paul must make choices that will change his fate forever.


Reviews:

“Five Stars (out of Five)! An incredibly engaging and thought-provoking story of one man haunted by the grief of his past. Max’s Diamonds, an excellent new work of fiction by Jay Greenfield, traces the life of a man hiding his past and a traumatic childhood. This is a story filled with secrets, lies, and an overwhelming sense of grief. …Greenfield fills his novel with richly drawn characters, each unique and interesting, flawed yet relatable…. It’s a place worth stopping by again, as the rich characters combine with beautiful descriptions of settings and, at times, an almost lyrical prose …. Themes of religious persecution, the consequences of lifelong guilt, and the difficulties of familial relationships and relationships created on a base of lies reside beneath the surface of this work, adding complexity as well as beauty.” —Tracy Fischer, Foreword Reviews

“Max’s Diamonds is a Bildungsroman, a mystery and a multi-generational survivor’s tale all at once. But above, it’s a hugely entertaining novel. Jay Greenfield has made a terrific debut.” —Leonard Cassuto, author, Hard-Boiled Sentimentality: The Secret History of American Crime Stories

“A terrific read, fast-paced and darkly humorous …. Part parody of the American dream of self-determination, part tribute to a bygone world defined by the claims of heritage, this riveting debut novel pits the legacy of the Holocaust against the promise of East Coast ambition to measure the conflicting moralities of mid-century American Jews.” —Eve Keller, co-author, Two Rings: A Story of Love and War

“Jay Greenfield’s engrossing novel vividly depicts a young man’s coming of age in Rockaway, a close-knit beach community in New York, during and after World War II. The Holocaust and its aftermath affect him personally through the experiences of family members. Paul, the protagonist, becomes an ambitious young lawyer, but ultimately comes to terms with his identity as a Jew through his dramatic encounter with his Israeli daughter. We could not put this novel down.” —Lawrence Kaplan and Carol Kaplan, co-authors, Between Ocean and City: The Transformation of Rockaway, New York


13055609_1628228444163978_6135174534182841502_nAuthor Bio:

Jay Greenfield was raised in Rockaway, New York. For several decades, he was a trial lawyer with a New York-based international law firm, where he argued in the Supreme Court of the United States, represented civil rights activists in Louisiana during 1964’s Freedom Summer, and was senior counsel in several cases establishing that, under New York law, homeless families have a right to shelter. He retired early to devote himself to writing fiction. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Judy; they have three adult children and three grandchildren. Max’s Diamonds (Chickadee Prince Books, 2016) is his debut novel.

For more information connect with him on Facebook.


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Spotlight/US Giveaway: A Gift of Love by Tony Cointreau

a gift of love

A Gift of Love
Lessons Learned From My Work and Friendship with Mother Teresa
by Tony Cointreau
Published by Prospecta Press
Hardcover: 200 pages
September 6, 2016; $20.00 US/$25.00 CAN; 9781632260499

Description

Stories from a life of caregiving for others that will help those who have the responsibility and the privilege of caring for a loved one at the end of his or her life.

After experiencing a comfortable childhood as an heir to the Cointreau liquor fortune, and having had a successful career in show business, Tony Cointreau felt that he needed something more meaningful in his life. This led him to spend twelve years as a dedicated volunteer in Mother Teresa’s hospices in New York and Calcutta, helping more than one hundred people while they went through the process of dying.

Every family eventually has to deal with caregiving and the end of life, and Tony’s friends kept pleading with him to write his experiences so that when they had to face it, perhaps for the first time, they would have a better idea of the simple things they could do to help their own loved ones during those last months, weeks, days, or hours.

This book is Tony’s answer to those requests. His overall approach to caregiving for the living as well as for the dying shines through in each chapter, both in practical matters and in reverence for the privilege of sharing in life’s momentous transitions.


Author Bio

Tony Cointreau, author of A Gift of Love: Lessons Learned from My Work and Friendship with Mother Teresa, is a member of the French liqueur Cointreau family. He was born into a life of wealth and privilege, growing up among the rich and famous. His maternal grandmother was an opera star, and Tony’s own voice led him to a successful international singing career. His paternal heritage put him on the Cointreau board of directors. But he felt a need for something more meaningful in his life—and his heart led him to Calcutta and Mother Teresa.

Tony’s childhood experiences—an emotionally remote mother; a Swiss nanny who constantly told him, “Mother only loves you when you’re perfect;” an angry, bullying older brother; and a sexually predatory fourth-grade schoolteacher—convinced him that the only way to be loved is to be perfect. He set out on a lifelong quest for a loving mother figure and unconditional love, and he found it with Mother Teresa and her work. She became another mother for him, as he describes in his memoir, Ethel Merman, Mother Teresa… and Me.

Tony volunteered in Mother Teresa’s hospices for twelve years, learning to give unconditional love, and helping more than one hundred people while they were dying.

For more information please visit http://tonycointreau.com


Reviews for Tony Cointreau’s Work
“I was so interested in your life with Ethel Merman . . . she was a gifted and fascinating woman. And of course Mother Teresa is smiling down. I don’t think she would ever be anything but enthusiastic about your life and its far-ranging activity. Your book is a wonderful story that nobody else can tell. I even think your family background is fun! You are a Cointreau, but then you also had the important entertainer career — I don’t think they make many more like you.”
— Helen Gurley Brown, Author and iconic editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine

Tony Cointreau’s friendship with my mother was one of her life’s true blessings. Naturally comfortable in the brightest light of her stardom and the softest light of her vulnerable heart, Tony shared an everyday intimacy with Ethel like a second son . . . like my brother.
— Bob Levitt, Ethel Merman’s son

Dear Tony,
I am glad to know that you have experienced joy in sharing our works of love for the poor in our home for AIDS patients. Thank you for your generous gift of love. Please pray for me as I do for you.
God bless you,
— Mother Teresa, Missionaries of Charity


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a gift of love

Giveaway ends September 12, 2016

All the Time in the World by Caroline Angell

  • all the time in the worldTitle:  All the Time in the World: A Novel
  • Author:  Caroline Angell
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  336
  • Published:  July 2016 – Henry Holt
  • Source:  Publisher/FSB Associates

Description:  Charlotte, a gifted and superbly trained young musician, has been blindsided by a shocking betrayal in her promising career when she takes a babysitting job with the McLeans, a glamorous Upper East Side Manhattan family. At first, the nanny gig is just a way of tiding herself over until she has licked her wounds and figured out her next move as a composer in New York. But, as it turns out, Charlotte is naturally good with children and becomes as deeply fond of the two little boys as they are of her. When an unthinkable tragedy leaves the McLeans bereft, Charlotte is not the only one who realizes that she’s the key to holding little George and Matty’s world together. Suddenly, in addition to life’s usual puzzles, such as sorting out which suitor is her best match, she finds herself with an impossible choice between her life-long dreams and the torn-apart family she’s come to love. By turns hilarious, sexy, and wise, Caroline Angell’s remarkable and generous debut is the story of a young woman’s discovery of the things that matter most.  (publisher)

My take:  This is the story of Charlotte, a fledgling composer who is more successful at being a nanny for a young family than she is at her art. At least that’s how she feels. She had the rug pulled out from under her by a mentor who found success with Charlotte’s composition, claiming it as her own. Feeling powerless, Charlotte can barely speak about it to anyone so she does her best at helping care for the McLean children. When a tragedy occurs Charlotte becomes indispensable to the family and is even less inclined to pursue her art. As they do, things come to a head and Charlotte must make a decision that could shake the world even more for everyone involved. As difficult as it is, that decision will empower Charlotte in ways she hadn’t imagined.

I had a hard time finding something to like about a couple of the characters – two brothers, one being the father of the two young children. I found them lacking when it came to stepping up at the appropriate times – two more people to take advantage of Charlotte. And that led me to shake my head at times when Charlotte failed to speak up or act.

Caroline Angell’s novel is a study in grief, moving through grief, and finding one’s way through challenges in life. Any reader who has experienced loss of this kind will understand what the characters go through – and that there’s no right way to do it. This is just how Charlotte and the McLean family grieved their loss and started the ascent to a new normal. It’s a compelling story and I’m glad I had the chance to read it.