Do you think of Harlequin as the publisher of those bodice ripping romances you buy in the grocery store? It’s time to rethink what this publisher is up to. Yes they continue to crank out mass market romances and women’s fiction. But their Mira imprint is developing a line of hardcover and trade fiction that works very well in the Indie market.
They’ve already made a big splash in suspense with Mary Kubica and now are poised to break out in general fiction with The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. This lovely story of a widower and his journey to rejoin life after his wife’s death should appeal to fans of The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. Booksellers are already on board: It’s a June 2016 Indie Next pick.
“Patrick’s debut novel evokes whimsy and poignancy. Since Miriam, his wife of 40 years, died a year ago, 69-year-old Arthur Pepper stopped living; he merely exists, until he finds a gold charm bracelet he’d never seen before tucked inside one of her shoes. The first of the bracelet’s eight charms is a bejeweled elephant inscribed with a phone number. He calls it and is shocked to learn that Miriam once lived in India. He sets about exploring the other charms….While unraveling Miriam’s past, Arthur realizes that his outward journey is also a journey within, and in a comically heartwarming fashion he attempts to embrace the unknown while slowly discovering his positive impact on others. This is a sweet story with an almost magical, but never saccharine denouement, as a newly whole Arthur Pepper emerges.”
— Publishers Weekly
Tender, insightful, and surprising, this wonderful debut novel is a stunning addition to the popular genre of transformative stories of otherwise uneventful lives. It will instantly capture the hearts of readers who loved Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry of Harold Fry, Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop, and Antoine Laurain’s The Red Notebook.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
“Arthur’s grief over the loss of his wife is palpable, and his sadness at the estrangement of his adult children feels quite genuine. You may even, against your better judgment, shed a few tears as he endeavors to set things right with them. Yet each bad turn in the book comes wrapped in a teachable moment; each cloud has an unmistakable silver lining. The author’s outlook remains relentlessly upbeat, and in the end, this sentimental novel is as cozy and fortifying as a hot cup of tea on a cold afternoon.
— Kirkus Reviews
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (9780778319337) by Phaedra Patrick. 24.99 hardcover. 5/3/16 on sale.