Fiction Short Take: The Orphan’s Tale – Pam Jenoff

Jenoff is the author of a number of commercial historical novels, including the bestselling WWII novel, The Kommandant’s Girl. Jenoff returns to that territory in this story published under Harlequin’s MIRA imprint. Readers who enjoy the drama of stories like Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants will likely be drawn to this tale of everyday lives lived in Germany under the Nazis.

“Bestselling author Jenoff depicts two disparate women thrown together by destiny, each hiding a secret from the Nazi regime….Despite their different backgrounds, they find comfort and trust in each other’s friendship. Against the backdrop of circus life during the war, the author captures the very real terrors faced by both women as they navigate their working and personal relationships and their complicated love lives while striving for normalcy and keeping their secrets safe.”
Publishers Weekly

“I read this novel in a headlong rush, transported by the relationship between two vastly different women during World War II: a Jewish circus aerialist and a teenage runaway with a baby. Deftly juggling secrets, lies, treachery, and passion, Pam Jenoff vividly brings to life the agonizing choices and life-or-death consequences for a hardy band of travelers under Nazi occupation.”
— Christina Baker Kline

The Orphan’s Tale (9780778319818) By Pam Jenoff.  $15.99 trade paper original. 2/21/17 on sale.


Paperback Fiction Short Take: We Are Unprepared –

From Harlequin’s MIRA imprint comes an absorbing “cli-fi” novel about a superstorm that devastates a small Vermont town and reveals a deep rift in the marriage of the two main characters.

I picked up this debut because the author had previously worked in Washington as a communications officer in the Obama administration and for the Environmental Defense Fund. As I’d hoped, the novel is at once an accessible melodrama and a meditation about the potential costs of climate change on a personal and community scale. As she says in her note at the end of the book, it is “a small gesture of activism and a love letter to the woods I grew up in.”

We Are Unprepared is a Target Book Club Pick. It was included in Redbook’s best new fiction for the fall and mentioned in PW’s and Library Journal’s fall round ups. I think it’s worth having out on new paperback tables.

“Any book group will have lots to discuss here.”
— Library Journal

Never preachy or didactic, Reilly shows the costs of ignoring major problems—whether in a marriage, government, infrastructure, or the environment—and the deadly consequences of such ignorance.”

“Ash’s story points to human connection, rather than radical isolationism, as the key to surviving a crisis, a message that will uplift readers.”
— Publishers Weekly

We Are Unprepared (9780778319436) by Meg Little Reilly. $15.99 trade paper original. 8/30/16 on sale.

New Fiction: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper – Phaedra Patrick

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.