Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Review - The Lost Summers of Newport by Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig

These three iconic authors have teamed up and produced yet another fantastic piece of literary fiction spanning a century and told by the three female stars. If you love either of these authors and have not tried one of their collaborations yet. Do not let this get by.

ISBN-13: 978-0063040748
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: 05-17-2022
Length: 400 pp
Source: Netgalley for review
Buy It: PublisherAmazon/ B&N/ IndieBound




"An engrossing and sumptuous tale, this novel is a fantastic spring read." — Good Morning America

From the New York Times bestselling team of Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White—a novel of money and secrets set among the famous summer mansions of Newport, Rhode Island, spanning over a century from the Gilded Age to the present day.

“Three stories elegantly intertwine in this clever and stylish tale of murder and family lies…This crackerjack novel offers three mysteries for the price of one.”--Publishers Weekly (starred review"

2019: Andie Figuero has just landed her dream job as a producer of Mansion Makeover, a popular reality show about restoring America’s most lavish historic houses. Andie has high hopes for her latest project: the once glorious but gently crumbling Sprague Hall in Newport, Rhode Island, summer resort of America’s gilded class—famous for the lavish “summer cottages” of Vanderbilts and Belmonts. But Andie runs into trouble: the reclusive heiress who still lives in the mansion, Lucia “Lucky” Sprague, will only allow the show to go forward on two conditions: One, nobody speaks to her. Two, nobody touches the mansion’s ruined boathouse.

1899: Ellen Daniels has been hired to give singing lessons to Miss Maybelle Sprague, a naive young Colorado mining heiress whose stepbrother John has poured their new money into buying a place among Newport’s elite. John is determined to see Maybelle married off to a fortune-hunting Italian prince, and Ellen is supposed to polish up the girl for her launch into society. But the deceptively demure Ellen has her own checkered past, and she’s hiding in plain sight at Sprague Hall.

1958: Lucia “Lucky” Sprague has always felt like an outsider at Sprague Hall. When she and her grandmother—the American-born Princess di Conti—fled Mussolini’s Italy, it seemed natural to go back to the imposing Newport house Nana owned but hadn’t seen since her marriage in 1899. Over the years, Lucky's lost her Italian accent and found a place for herself among the yachting set by marrying Stuyvesant Sprague, the alcoholic scion of her Sprague stepfamily. But one fateful night in the mansion’s old boathouse will uncover a devastating truth...and change everything she thought she knew about her past.

As the cameras roll on Mansion Makeover, the house begins to yield up the dark secrets the Spragues thought would stay hidden forever…

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Newport, Rhode Island

September 2019

By the time my ancient Honda Civic and I made it across the Newport Bridge over the East Passage of Narragansett Bay and past the bars and tired neighborhoods nearest the harbor, it was clear I’d traveled more than just the thirty-three miles separating my hometown of Cranston,

Rhode Island, from the coastal resort town of Newport. As soon as I turned left on Ruggles Avenue and into the historic neighborhood of Old Newport, it was as if I’d been dropped into another world; the three-bedroom split-level where I’d grown up with my parents and sister—and where I’d lived even after my mother had decamped for parts unknown—seemed a distant memory from another life. I found myself holding my breath, as if unwilling to allow the rarified air of this place to taint me. I’d seen it happen.

I slowed as I reached Bellevue Avenue and took another left, deciding at the last minute to take a brief tour to admire the palatial summer cottages. The novelist Henry James had nicknamed the houses and called Newport itself a breeding ground for White Elephants. He wasn’t wrong. First impressions showed the grand scale of the sloping lawns and expansive views of both the water and the town, the monoliths of stone and marble towering above the sea cliffs like Zeus on Mount Olympus, protected by hedges and iron fences. But with my trained eye as an architectural historian, I spotted the signs of decay, of chipped paint and sagging porticos, and sympathized with the burden of general maintenance and leaky roofs.

The opulent Chateau-Sur-Mer dominated a corner lot, its mishmash of architectural styles ranging from its original Italian Renaissance to Second Empire French jarring to those of us who knew better, but nonetheless stunningly gorgeous to the less informed. It had been my mother’s favorite of all the Newport mansions, as she’d point out during our frequent driving tours where she’d want to live if she ever had the money. I detoured onto Narragansett to reach Ochre Point Avenue and glimpsed the famed Vanderbilt mansion, The Breakers. I was reminded of the oft-quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald, who’d once said, “The rich are different from us.” Hemingway’s famous reply had been, “Yes. They have more money.” But even I knew it wasn’t that simple.

Heading back to Bellevue, I inched my way down the street, glad that Labor Day weekend and the throngs of tourists were both gone so I was able to take my time without anyone honking behind me. I had been told that the driveway I was looking for would be hard to find, tucked between Marble House and Rosecliff, toward a less significant house perched near a small curve of coast with the improbable name of Sheep Point Cove.

I glanced down at the paper in my lap, the directions scrawled in my nearly indecipherable handwriting from an earlier phone call with my mentor and producer of Makeover Mansion, Marc Albertson. I frowned at the irony of how my handwriting matched his slurred words, recalling the number of times I’d had to ask him to repeat himself as I’d scribbled my notes.

I drove past the driveway twice. Judging from the sparse peppering of small, dark stones strewn over a mostly dirt drive, it was unsurprising that I’d missed it. I made the turn, unsure of what I would find on the other side of the open gates, now rusted in place and adorned with overgrown hedges and vines that brushed the roof and sides of my car as I passed through.

The sight of work vans and the film crew milling around, unloading equipment and unraveling cords, told me I was in the right place. As if the missing gray slate roof tiles and chipped pilasters wouldn’t have been enough. A late-model Volvo station wagon with Connecticut plates and a dusty old Porsche 911 were parked on the lawn, but I instinctively knew that my Civic didn’t belong next to them. Instead, I stopped my car at the end of the drive beneath a drooping porte cochere, where I was greeted by the headless statue of a well-endowed Roman god. Even his fig leaf had been worn away by time, in seeming solidarity with the crumbling mansion.

The house whimpered from gentle neglect, which was always better than the howling heard from houses with no hope of resurrection. A good friend from grad school had once told me that old houses were like holding a piece of history in one’s hand. I knew she was right, which is why I’d devoted my career to saving them.

I exited my car and stepped out onto the weed-choked lawn, filling my nostrils with the salty tang of ocean air and stretching my neck to see above the third floor and count the number of chimneys. Viewers of Makeover Mansion always wanted to know that little factoid, as if it had anything to do with the importance of historic preservation or the perceived value of the structure. Not that the attitude surprised me. Going into our second season, I’d received enough email from viewers—and network heads—to understand that the general population was less interested in historic paint colors and authentic wood floor refinishing and more about modernizing kitchens and bathrooms for today’s living. And the proverbial family skeletons hiding in musty closets. I found it all more than a little bewildering.

I walked toward a cluster of crew people, looking for Marc and then checking my phone again to see if he’d called. Except for three missed calls from a number I didn’t recognize, there was nothing. Not even a voicemail. Ignoring the spam calls, I dialed Marc’s number and let it ring ten times before giving up. I shoved the phone in the back pocket of my jeans and approached one of the men, a cameraman I knew from the first season of Makeover Mansion, George Chirona. He was older than me—midthirties—with muscled forearms and shoulders from hauling camera equipment all day. He gave me a bear hug in greeting.

“Andie! Good to see you. Any idea where Marc is? We’ve been waiting on him to get started.”

“I was about to ask you the same thing. I spoke with him last night and he promised to be here before the crew to talk with the family to go over the ground rules, and to get a preliminary tour. That should have been more than an hour ago.” Our eyes met in mutual understanding. “Let me see what I can do. Marc’s been the only liaison with the family, but maybe they’ll be okay dealing with me in his absence.”

With a faked smile of confidence, I walked around to the front of the house, my steps slowing as I realized the sheer size of the home and tried to recall what little Marc had told me about the Sprague family. They’d purchased the mansion from the original owners in 1899, around the same time they’d changed the spelling of their last name from Spragg to the more high-brow Sprague. They’d seized the opportunity after a huge scandal resulted in a quick sale and renamed it Sprague Hall. Marc believed that sharing only sparse details about each project made for more interesting viewing as everything was as much a surprise to me as it was for the viewer—even though it left me looking like an unprepared amateur. I’d been tempted to Google, but a misplaced sense of loyalty to Marc always held me back.

I’d been tasked with the renovation of three major rooms in the Italian Renaissance mansion for a network how-to reality show. All that Marc had told me about the house’s history was that it had been built in 1884 for a short-lived robber baron who had lost all his money less than a decade after he made it and who shot himself in shame. The house had been picked up by the Van Duyvils, an old-money Knickerbocker family who couldn’t see their way to building one of the tacky new mansions but didn’t mind picking one up cheap. But they’d had their own dramatic meltdown (Marc had said something about murder and suicide, not at this house, but at one of the Van Duyvils’ others, which meant that, thank goodness, I wouldn’t have to deal with them on the program) and that was when the house had fallen into the hands of the Sprague family. The Spragues were new money and desperate to disguise it behind the facade of a Newport mansion built to impress. Apparently Sprague senior had been pretty pissed about Rosecliff being built next door, overshadowing his comparatively modest palace (only thirty bedrooms). Mr. Sprague had accused the Nevada silver heiress and her husband who had built Rosecliff of knocking off Sprague Hall, just on a grander scale, even though, by all opinions, the Oelrichs were not in the least aware of the existence of Mr. Sprague, or his inferior mansion. As if there could be such a thing in Newport.

I climbed wide, narrow steps toward the front terrace adorned with a colonnade on three sides, then passed beneath three sweeping arches. Away from the bright sunlight, I blinked in the relative dim shade of the entranceway and found myself staring at two massive carved oak doors. I attempted to determine which was the main door and looked for a doorbell before giving up and knocking on the one on the right.

Four large holes in the door made me wonder if there had once been a door knocker at some point that had either fallen off or been stolen. Or been removed and sold. Looking up at empty chains suspended over the arch above me where an enormous lantern had undoubtedly once hung, I’d bet on the latter.

While I waited, I noted more signs of decay and the inevitable passage of time all structures were forced to endure, especially those in which the cost of upkeep overtook the funds needed to pay for it. Marc had explained that the elderly and reclusive Lucia “Lucky” Sprague had agreed to a season of Makeover Mansion to be filmed in her house for this sole reason, but from his inability to meet my gaze when he told me so, I’d been left to wonder otherwise.

Rosecliff and Kingscote, another white elephant, had been bequeathed to the Preservation Society of Newport County in the early seventies, complete with an income from a maintenance trust. I wondered why Sprague Hall had not been similarly blessed. My thoughts dwelled on the long list of tragedies that had plagued the estate and the families who’d lived in it since it was built in 1884. I saw the chipping and sagging ruin of this once graceful dame as one of the biggest tragedies of all.

I knocked again, the sound swallowed within the thick wood of the door. I imagined most visitors gave up and left after finding neither a doorbell to ring nor the staff to answer a knock. If I didn’t need my job or the money it offered, I would have done the same. Instead, I took a deep breath, and turned the brass door handle, not all that surprised to feel it give and the door swing open on protesting hinges.

“Hello?” I called out.

The first thing I noticed was the heaviness of the air, an atmosphere of neglect and abandonment like the opening of an ancient crypt. I left the door open, hoping the crisp ocean breezes would dilute the oppressiveness and allow any restless spirits roaming among the dust motes to depart.

The second thing I noticed was the sheer magnitude of the space, the soaring fifty-foot ceilings and Caen limestone walls, the heavy cornices of plaster and gilt. The painted ceiling, depicting what might have been Poseidon taking control of the sea from Zeus, but whose once vibrant colors had faded, had great patches missing, presumably having long since taken a suicidal plunge to the marble floor below.

While working on my historic preservation degree and in my job as architectural historian, I’d seen plenty of large houses. But this was on a scale of Newport proportions: bloated, gilded, and overelaborate. Considering it had been built to mimic the Renaissance palaces of Turin and Genoa, it wasn’t a complete surprise. The total absence of furniture and accessories was.

“Hello?” I called again, hearing the echo of my words and the faint cadence of voices coming from somewhere deep in the house. I followed the sound through the great hall, passing rooms whose uses had long since gone extinct from modern houses, but which pulled to me with a nostalgia felt only by those like me who loved old houses and all their quirks.

By the time I reached the unadorned back hallways, I knew I’d found the area of the servants’ domain and possibly the kitchen—one of the rooms I’d been tasked with renovating.

As I approached a brightly lit room at the end of a hallway, the voices of a man and a woman got louder. Even though their voices weren’t raised, it was clear by their clipped words that seemed to get shorter and shorter that they were arguing.

“Really, Luke,” the woman’s voice carried down the hall. “You need to exercise your power of attorney now before this ridiculous TV show is allowed to happen. It’s not too late. You simply have to convince Lucky that she needs to sell this albatross to some Russian oligarch or tech millionaire—they’re the only ones who can afford a place like this anymore. It’s ridiculous to hold on to it and continue to live in it while it collapses around her—especially when she never even leaves her rooms! I will be more than happy to find a gorgeous retirement community for her.”

“No,” came the male voice, presumably Luke’s. “She signed the contract and is mentally competent.

As her power of attorney, it’s my job to make sure that we abide by her wishes—not ours.”

I stopped in the doorway of a bright kitchen taken straight from a fifties home-décor magazine, complete with black-and-white-check laminate floors, turquoise cabinets, and Formica countertops. Large windows framed the room, explaining the brightness, leaving me at a momentary disadvantage as the two occupants were backlit from the sunshine, the light aimed directly at me as if I were in an interrogation.

I took a step into the room, unwilling to accept the disadvantage.

The woman spoke, her accent polished New England, her bobbed hair Grace Kelly–blond, her clothes undoubtedly designer. “I’m Hadley Sprague-Armstrong. Who are you?” Her icy pale blue eyes swept over me, quickly taking in my dark hair, olive skin, crew neck cotton sweater from Target, and the Sperry Top-Siders I’d found at a garage sale while in college. Telling her my name would simply cement her snap first impression: not WASP and lacking funds. Both of which were correct.

“I’m Andrea Figuero, the show host for Makeover Mansion. The producer, Marc Albertson, and the crew call me Andie.” I knew better than to offer a hand to shake. My gaze traveled between Hadley and Luke, their remarkable physical similarities identifying them as siblings, as I attempted to determine which of them was in charge. Luke appeared to be around the same age as his sister, about thirty, with sun-streaked light brown hair. His khaki shorts and button-down oxford cloth shirt with rolled-up sleeves exposing tanned forearms was a uniform I knew all too well. The fact that he wore sunglasses inside and reeked of stale beer made me dismiss him out of hand. Turning back to Hadley, I said, “Speaking of Marc, have you seen him?”

Her lips tightened. “No, we haven’t. My brother and I were just discussing the show. Since our grandmother has changed her mind . . .”

“No, she hasn’t,” Luke said, wearily pulling off his sunglasses, revealing blue eyes the same icy shade as his sister’s. Except his were bloodshot and his cheek wore a smear of lipstick, making me dislike him even more. “But Marc isn’t here. I got up early to meet with him so I’m more than a little annoyed. He didn’t say anything about sending an underling.”

I bristled at his dismissive tone, but knew I had to hold on to my temper. I needed this job too badly. Forcing a neutral expression, I said, “Since Marc’s not here, I’d like to go ahead and do a quick tour of the three rooms scheduled for the renovation. I want to get the crew inside to film preliminary before shots so we can get started on that today.”

Luke was already walking toward a back door. Over his shoulder, he said, “Hadley, I’m sure you can handle that. I’m meeting friends at the club. It’s too nice a day to be wasting time indoors instead of out on the water.”

He belonged to a yacht club. Of course. As if I needed yet another reason to dislike him.

“I really don’t think . . . ,” Hadley began to protest.

He opened the door just as Hadley’s phone rang. She held up her hand to prevent Luke from leaving as she answered the call. After a short conversation, she tossed her phone into her large bag. “Sorry to disappoint, but I’ve got to go. The stationers have completely messed up Emmeline’s fourth birthday party invitations. The font is not at all what I wanted and they can’t seem to understand the problem. It’s hopeless. I’ve got to go straighten it out. You’re on your own, Brother.” She let her cool gaze slip to me. “Goodbye, Adrienne. I doubt I’ll be seeing you again. Despite what my brother thinks, this arrangement is not going to work.”

“We’ll talk later,” Luke said through gritted teeth as he held the door open for his sister.

“It’s Andrea,” I called to her departing back, unwilling to let her have the last word.

Luke’s mouth slanted upward in a reluctant and fleeting smile. “I guess I’m stuck with you.” He glanced at his watch. “If we hurry, I can still make it. Hope you can walk fast. Just stay close so you don’t get lost.”

At an almost run, I followed him through opulent rooms redolent of their former glory with sculpted fireplaces, faded and peeling wall murals, missing chandeliers, and threadbare rugs. Yet the scope and elegance remained, a ghost of a curious past I was eager to uncover. And perhaps help to regain its lost beauty and relevance. It’s why I’d been attracted to historic preservation in the first place.

I followed Luke through back passageways I knew I’d never find again to the ballroom, the wall murals showing empty spots and loose wires where sconces should have hung. A threadbare sofa sat in one corner, the cushions sagging in the middle.

“Where is all the furniture—” I began, interrupted by my phone ringing.

“Excuse me,” I said, still running behind Luke as I spoke. “This must be Marc.” I answered it without looking at the screen, not wanting to trip or lose sight of Luke and be lost forever. “Where are you?” I hissed.

“Miss Figuero? I was about to ask you the same thing. I’ve been trying to reach you all morning.”

I didn’t recognize the woman’s voice but recalled the multiple phone calls from the same number I’d seen on my screen earlier and had assumed were spam. “I’m sorry, who is this?”

“This is Roberta Montemurno, Petey’s first grade teacher. You were signed up to bring the snack for today. Can I hope it will be here within the next hour?”

Shit. “Yes. Of course. I’m so sorry. I don’t know how I forgot. . . .”

“No worries. As long as they get here in time. I’m sure you can imagine what fifteen disappointed first graders can be like.”

“Not really, but—”

“Thank you, Miss Figuero.” She clicked off.

Luke, having finally paused, looked at me with annoyance. “One minute,” I said, already dialing my dad. He picked up on the first ring.

“Dad, I need you to run to Price Right and pick up two dozen cupcakes from the bakery section and take them to Petey’s school. Nut and gluten free. I completely forgot.”

His heavy sigh rumbled through the phone. “All right. I’ll take care of it. But it’s going to cost you.”

“Gin rummy or pinochle?”

“Your pick.”

I heard his grin through his words. “Done. See you when you get home.”

“Thanks, Dad. You’re the best.”

“I know.”

I hung up, my smile fading as I looked at Luke, who didn’t bother to hide his impatience. “If you’re done chatting, can we continue the tour?”

I wanted to correct him and say that making me chase him at breakneck speed through a sixty-thousand-square-foot mansion was more like a marathon than a tour but bit my tongue. I followed him through another maze of passageways until I found myself crossing the great hall from another direction, then heading up the main staircase to the second-floor gallery. Its bronze and wrought iron railings were still intact as was the stained-glass skylight overhead. A faded spot on the wall indicated where a tapestry might have once hung. I wanted to ask Luke what had happened to it and all of the other missing pieces in the house, but I was afraid I already knew. I would ask Marc.

We walked down a long hallway over patched and frayed formerly red carpet to a doorway near the end. Luke turned the handle and stepped back, allowing me to go first. “Maybelle’s bedroom. I believe this is the third room in addition to the kitchen and ballroom in our contract.”

“Yes,” I said, curious as to who Maybelle was, and why the décor in this particular room was at odds with that in the rest of the house. Before I had time to study it or ask questions, I was dragged back down the main staircase and out through the front door from which I’d arrived.

I was out of breath from the running, and it took me two attempts to speak. “Do you have a floor plan? I need to direct the crew, but I have no idea if I can find those rooms again.” “You’ll figure it out.” He glanced at his watch again. “I’ve got to go.” He began walking toward the parked 911 as I jogged along beside him, my legs no match for his long strides. Luke continued: “In case Marc hasn’t drilled this into you already, there are three stipulations for allowing the filming here. The first is that no one attempts to speak with our grandmother, Lucia Sprague. Her rooms are on the third floor and very private. She prefers to keep them that way. No one is to go up there. The second is that absolutely no filming is to be allowed in or around the boathouse.”

“But . . .” I wanted him to slow down, to tell me why. I’d never been the sort of person to blindly follow directions. I always wanted to have a reason. “Those are the rules. Break them, and the deal is off.” He opened the driver’s door and slid in.

“What’s the third rule?”

“No one from the family is to be in any camera shot, including me. I live here, and I don’t want to be disturbed.” He shut the door before I could suggest he invest in a pair of earplugs because shooting started at eight A.M. The engine rumbled as he put the car into gear, then he sped away, churning up dirt and what little loose gravel was left on the drive.

I took a deep breath, trying unsuccessfully to calm my anger, and found myself looking down the lawn in the direction of the water, where the boathouse would be located. Luke had said we couldn’t film there. But he hadn’t said I couldn’t actually go there. Still smarting at being so easily dismissed, I made the quick decision just to take a peek at the forbidden boathouse. After telling George and the rest of the crew that I’d be right back and to be on the lookout for Marc, I began walking briskly toward the water.

I’d barely gone twenty feet before the hairs on the back of my neck stood up as the inescapable feeling of being watched swept over me. I wheeled around, wondering if Luke had returned. The drive was empty. My gaze traveled up the Indiana limestone wall of the house to the row of third-floor windows. I squinted, wondering if the shadow of a woman was a figment of my fertile imagination. It was too far for me to see details, but I felt sure that dark, piercing eyes were staring down at me. I blinked, and the shadow disappeared, leaving only the slight movement of a curtain.

A cloud briefly obscured the sun. I didn’t believe in omens or portents of doom, but I felt strongly that I was being urged to retrace my steps and return to the crew. I walked quickly, the surety of a direct gaze aimed at my back following me until I turned the corner.




My Review:

The Lost Summers of Newport
Karen White, Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig


The latest team effort from White, Williams and Willig is an exceptional piece of literary fiction featuring three strong females and spanning over a century from the late 1800s to present day highlighting the secrets, lies, consequences and buried bodies surrounding one Newport RI mansion. These storytellers are all masters of their art, drawing their audience right inside the story, keeping them turning pages with their tightly plotted interweaving tales. The main protagonists are all fabulous and readers will have a hard time picking favorites and the secondary characters both good and not so good are utterly unforgettable. The story is seamless and only long-time fans will know who created whom because of the obvious name dropping interlaced within the stories. The narrative flows beautifully and compliments the period it reflects and the backdrops are out of this world and over the top displaying the extravagances of the well to dos of Newport past and present. Fans of any of these award- winning authors, amazing historical fiction and/or strong female protagonists will have a hard time putting this read down.

In 1899 Ellen Daniels is running from her past and the dangerous people that are looking for her. She luckily lands a job teaching music to Maybelle Sprague, a naïve young Newport heiress whose stepbrother is husband shopping for her and just placed an Italian Prince in his cart. Now all Ellen has to do is keep her head down, do her job and help her charge land her Prince.

When Italy fell to the fascists the American heiress turned Italian Princess di Conte escaped with the clothes on her back her beloved granddaughter Lucia and a locked steamer trunk and returned to her birthright Sprague Hall in Newport RI. Now it’s 1958 and Lucky (Lucia) is all grown up and has had it with her philandering husband. She owes it to her slightly senile nonna and her daughter Joanie to stay in this crumbling mansion but the cost just might be her own sanity.

In present day Newport Rhode Island historic preservationist Andrea (Andie) Figuero arrives at a once grande dame now just another decaying Newport great home to start filming the second season of the reality show Makeover Mansion. She should be excited because this is her bread and butter but lately the show’s producers want more reality ie family skeletons falling out of closets and less historic conservancy in the show. Her hopes of meeting the enigmatic matriarch, Lucky Sprague is quickly slipping through her fingers when she realizes she’s got to tell the family the show is now more about digging up family dirt than replacing wallpaper.

About the authors:

With more than 1.8 million books in print in eight different languages, Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of 23 novels, including the popular Charleston-set Tradd Street mystery series.

Raised in a house full of brothers, Karen’s love of books and strong female characters first began in the third grade when the local librarian issued her a library card and placed The Secret of the Old Clock, a Nancy Drew Mystery, in her hands.

Beatriz Williams is the New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of Our Woman in Moscow, The Summer Wives, Her Last Flight, The Golden Hour, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, A Hundred Summers, and several other works of historical fiction

Born in Seattle, Washington, Beatriz now lives near the Connecticut shore with her husband and four children, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

Lauren Willig
is the New York Times bestselling author of nineteen works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association's annual list of the best genre fiction. After graduating from Yale University, she embarked on a PhD in History at Harvard before leaving academia to acquire a JD at Harvard Law while authoring her "Pink Carnation" series of Napoleonic-set novels. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.







  1. This sounds well done and I like the three threads and span.

  2. You remind me that I really need to read this one. Great review, Debbie!

  3. They are such clever writers and their books together are great. You are enticing me to this one.

  4. thanks for your kind words and you're welcome

  5. This sounds really well done. It is neat when several authors come together to tell a story.

    1. Oh and Carole these authors mesh so well together if you didn't know it was a collaboration you'd think it was penned by one author