Saturday, October 5, 2013

Friday Freebie: The Fountain of St. James Court by Sena Jeter Naslund

Congratulations to Jim Simpson, winner of last week's book giveaway: Rivers by Michael Farris Smith and Archangel by Andrea Barrett.

This week's Friday* Freebie is The Fountain of St. James Court by Sena Jeter Naslund (author of Ahab's Wife and many other novels).  Subtitled "Or, Portrait of the Artist as an Old Woman," Naslund's new novel (just released by William Morrow) features a novel-within-a-novel and spans two different time periods.  Here's more from the publisher's jacket copy:
"Is it a crime to live?  To create happiness for yourself through your own work?"  How do writers and painters get their ideas?  And what are the hard realities of such seemingly glamorous and romantic lives?  In her groundbreaking new novel, New York Times bestselling author Sena Jeter Naslund explores the transformative power of art, history, and love in the lives of creative women.  It's midnight on St. James Court, at the heart of which is a beautiful fountain sculpture of Venus rising from the sea.  Kathryn Callaghan has just finished the first draft of her novel about renowned painter Elisabeth Vigee-Le Brun, a survivor of the French Revolution who was hated for her sympathetic portraits of Marie Antoinette.  Although the manuscript is complete, its author remains haunted by Elisabeth's experiences, which are revealed in Sena Jeter Naslund's ingenious novel-within-a-novel interleaved with the chronicle of a day in the life of Kathryn Callaghan.  Despite being separated by time, place, and culture, Kathryn and Elisabeth possess similar gifts and burdens: uncompromising aesthetic codes, fierce pride in their artistic expression, and unwavering love and sacrifice for their children.  And before the next midnight rolls around, Kathryn will have confronted personal danger as frightening as the butchery that Elisabeth faced during the Reign of Terror.  Each woman will be called upon and tested; each will, like Venus, rise triumphantly above the expectations of her world.  In this, her compelling and intimate ninth book, Sena Jeter Naslund presents the reader with an eye-opening alternate vision of The Artist: not an angry young man but a woman of age and hard-won experience who has created for herself, against enormous odds, a fulfilling life of thoroughly realized achievement.

If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of The Fountain of St. James Court, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Oct. 10, at which time I'll draw the winning name.  I'll announce the lucky reader on Oct. 11.  If you'd like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words "Sign me up for the newsletter" in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you've done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying "I've shared" and I'll put your name in the hat twice.

*Yes, I know it's Saturday; and no, my calendar is not broken.  This week's "Friday Freebie" is coming to you late because I've been on the go this week--traveling to the lovely state of Vermont where I'm participating in the Brattleboro Literary Festival.  If you're in the area, I'll be reading some of my flash fiction tonight at 5:30 (along with Christine Schutt, Megan Mayhew Bergman, Pam Houston and Bonnie ZoBell); tomorrow (Sunday), I'll be on a panel about "building literary communities" at 12:30 and reading with Roxana Robinson at 2 p.m.  If you're passing through Brattleboro, please stop by and say hi.

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