Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Freebie: The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil, Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel, The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

Congratulations to Michelle Reynolds, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.

This week's book giveaway is a "Sea" trio: The Great Glass Sea by Josh Weil, Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel, and The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith.  The Great Glass Sea and The Story of Land and Sea are hardcovers; Sea Creatures is a trade paperback.  Oh, and The Great Glass Sea is a signed copy!

A giant greenhouse, mirrors floating in space, sibling rivalry, and a Russia unlike the one we know--these are some of the elements that make up Josh Weil’s new book, The Great Glass Sea.  Here’s the jacket copy from the publisher: “Twins Yarik and Dima have been inseparable since childhood.  Living on their uncle’s farm after the death of their father, the boys once spent their days helping farmers in fields, their nights spellbound by their uncle’s tales.  Years later, they labor together at the Oranzheria, a sea of glass erected over acres of cropland and lit by space mirrors that ensnare the denizens of Petroplavilsk in perpetual daylight.  Now the twins have only work in common—stalwart Yarik married with children, oppressed by the burden of responsibility; dreamer Dima living alone with his mother, wistfully planning the brothers’ return to their uncle’s land.  But an encounter with the Oranzerhia’s billionaire owner changes their lives forever and soon both men find themselves poster boys for opposing ideologies that threaten to destroy not only the lives of those they love but the love that has bonded them since birth.  A breathtakingly ambitious novel of love, loss, and light, set amid a bold vision of an alternative present-day Russia.”  On a personal note: I'm halfway through The Great Glass Sea right now and I'm here to tell you that it’s simply fabulous (and fabulist, in places).  I think this blurb from Sherri Flick (writing in Ploughshares about Josh's earlier collection of novellas, The New Valley) perfectly sums up how I feel about this novel: “[Weil’s] language is exquisite, his sentences glorious.  In fact, [he] writes the kinds of sentences you want to go sniff and then slosh around in your mouth for a while before heading into the next paragraph.  The kind that make you set the book down and think, the kind that can break your heart with their truthful simplicity.”

In Sea Creatures by Susanna Daniel (author of Stiltsville), a mother must make the unthinkable choice between her husband and her son.  When Georgia Quillian returns to her hometown of Miami, her toddler and husband in tow, she is hoping for a fresh start.  They have left Illinois trailing scandal and disappointment in their wake, fallout from her husband's severe sleep disorder.  For months, their three-year-old son has refused to speak a word.  On a whim, Georgia takes a job as an errand runner for a reclusive artist and is surprised at how her life changes dramatically.  But soon the family's challenges return, more complicated than before.  Late that summer, as a hurricane bears down on South Florida, Georgia must face the fact that her decisions have put her only child in grave danger.  Sea Creatures is a mesmerizing exploration of the high stakes of marriage and parenthood.  Writing in Wisconsin State Journal, Jeanna Kolker had this to say about the novel: “A sophisticated story that holds the reader rapt….[Daniel] sets up each scene in Sea Creatures with masterful strokes….She builds momentum from the opening chapter, leading up to the crescendo….Daniel drives into tumultuous waters and emerges with a mesmerizing, beautiful novel.”

Set in a small coastal town in North Carolina during the waning years of the American Revolution, The Story of Land and Sea follows three generations of family--fathers and daughters, mother and son, master and slave--characters who yearn for redemption amid a heady brew of war, kidnapping, slavery, and love.  Drawn to the ocean, ten-year-old Tabitha wanders the marshes of her small coastal village and listens to her father's stories about his pirate voyages and the mother she never knew.  Since the loss of his wife, Helen, John has remained land-bound for their daughter, but when Tab contracts yellow fever, he turns to the sea once more.  Desperate to save his daughter, he takes her aboard a sloop bound for Bermuda, hoping the salt air will heal her.  Years before, Helen herself was raised by a widowed father.  Asa, the devout owner of a small plantation, gives his daughter a young slave named Moll for her tenth birthday.  Left largely on their own, Helen and Moll develop a close but uneasy companionship.  Helen gradually takes over the running of the plantation as the girls grow up, but when she meets John, the pirate turned Continental soldier, she flouts convention and her father's wishes by falling in love.  Moll, meanwhile, is forced into marriage with a stranger.  Her only solace is her son, Davy, whom she will protect with a passion that defies the bounds of slavery.  You can read more about Smith's novel (including a brief excerpt) at the June edition of Front Porch Books right here at The Quivering Pen.

If you’d like a chance at winning all three books, 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 Aug. 28, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on Aug. 29.  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.

No comments:

Post a Comment