So this happened two weeks ago: I finished – finally – the second draft of The Gospel of Isabelle Dequenne. It’s a bit bloaty at the moment, coming in at a mere 862 pages. Or, if you prefer: 215,403 words.
(Yes, eight hundred and sixty-two. Two hundred and fifteen thousand four hundred and three. My first-ever novel and I write something Dostoevskyish in length. Because genius, right?)
Research and preparation are everything, and by the time Lisa Manterfield rolls up onto the terrace in Laguna Beach, there is an iced gin and tonic already waiting for her. When I ask Lisa if she had any trouble finding the terrace bar, she tells me it was pretty straightforward: just follow the smell of the sea and the magnetic pull of cocktails. It’s hard to argue with logic like that.
Confusion about the difference between plot and story is an issue I see quite often as a book coach.
“Wait, they’re not the same thing?” cry my beloved writers, and then come the sniffles…followed by the tears…and then the torches and the pitchforks.
First the boring bit: I was given the opportunity to review Lisa Manterfield’s new novel, The Smallest Thing, prior to its release. I received a complimentary early review copy from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation has been received or implied for this review, nor was I given guidance about review content. All the opinions expressed here are my own.
Now the fun bit: Lisa Manterfield’s second novel is a winner. The Smallest Thing is the engaging and wonderfully written story of Emmott Syddall, a seventeen-year-old English girl whose bucolic Derbyshire village is afflicted with a mysterious, deadly pandemic.
I was given the opportunity to review Lisa Manterfield’s new novel, A Strange Companion, prior to its release. Before I get to the review, I want to say that I received a complimentary early review copy from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation has been received or implied for this review, nor was I given guidance about review content. All the opinions expressed here are my own.
Having said all that, A Strange Companion comes out April 4th. Friends, you want this one.
The Aisne River flows in a northeast direction through northern France, at least until it reaches Reims, where it bends nearly due west and continues to its confluence with the Oise, and then on to the Seine and into the English Channel at Honfleur and Le Havre. The scenery alongside its banks is tranquil and bucolic, lined with trees and pastures as it has been for centuries.
In 1917 a ferocious battle was fought between French and German armies for a ridge near the Aisne River called Chemin des Dames, which translates to English as “the ladies’ path,” and was the preferred route for the daughters of Louis XV when they journeyed from Paris to the Château de Boves.