Friday, May 2, 2014

Friday Freebie: The Promise by Ann Weisgarber and The Fountain of St. James Court by Sena Jeter Naslund

Congratulations to Carl Scott, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: Afghan Post by Adrian Bonenberger, Friday Was the Bomb by Nathan Deuel, and Seriously Not All Right by Ron Capps.

This week's book giveaway is a repeat duo of two previous Friday Freebies: The Promise by Ann Weisgarber, which has just been released by Skyhorse Publishing; and The Fountain of St. James Court by Sena Jeter Naslund, from William Morrow.  Quivering Pen readers had the chance to win these in earlier contests, but I'm putting them up for grabs again since I have extra copies.  The Quivering Pen is all about Second Chances.  One lucky reader will win a copy of both books.  (The Promise is a hardcover, The Fountain of St. James Court is a paperback.)

From Ann Weisgarber, the author of The Personal History of Rachel Dupree which was shortlisted for the Orange Award for New Writers and longlisted for the Orange Prize, comes a novel set in 1900. In The Promise, young pianist Catherine Wainwright flees the fashionable town of Dayton, Ohio in the wake of a terrible scandal.  Heartbroken and facing destitution, she finds herself striking up correspondence with a childhood admirer, the recently widowed Oscar Williams.  In desperation she agrees to marry him, but when Catherine travels to Oscar's farm on Galveston Island, Texas--a thousand miles from home--she finds she is little prepared for the life that awaits her.  The island is remote, the weather sweltering, and Oscar's little boy Andre is grieving hard for his lost mother.  And though Oscar tries to please his new wife, the secrets of the past sit uncomfortably between them.  Meanwhile for Nan Ogden, Oscar's housekeeper, Catherine's sudden arrival has come as a great shock.  For not only did she promise Oscar's first wife that she would be the one to take care of little Andre, but she has feelings for Oscar which she is struggling to suppress.  And when the worst storm in a generation descends, the women will find themselves tested as never before.

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 both The Promise and 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 May 8, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on May 9.  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.

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