THE GENERAL'S MISTRESS

Liberty and libertinage, reason and magic—the conflicting passions of the French Revolution swirl throughout the adventures of Elzelina van Aylde-Versfelt.

Based upon the real life of Maria Versfelt (alias Ida St. Elme)—courtesan, actress and writer—Graham’s (Stealing Fire, 2010, etc.) latest entwines history, romance and a delicious dollop of fantasy. Hearing voices and seeing ghosts in mirrors, the women of Elza’s family have always stood a bit outside society’s bounds. The mirrors and the death of her only son, Charles, have maddened Elza’s mother. Elza comforts her mother by cross-dressing as Charles, which soon becomes a habit—for it is, indeed, easier and safer to travel as a man. Soon, Charles becomes an alter ego. In addition to teasing gender lines, Elza has herself seen the image of her true love in the tarot card image of the King of Chalices. By 12, she has been coerced into marriage to handsome Jan Ringeling. Seven years and two children later, she finds herself chained to a cold man with political aspirations but little talent. Elza makes a daring escape, cross-dressing and fleeing her enraged husband (who threatens to have her confined as mad, just like her mother). She seeks protection from a commander in the French army, the brilliant military strategist Victor Moreau. Yet his protection comes at an interesting price: Elza must become his mistress. So begins an erotic metamorphosis from Elza, the dutiful wife, to Ida, the seductive courtesan. On Moreau’s arm, Ida enters Parisian society, gaining admiration from men and women alike. Yet, the tarot card reading lingers with her. While she respects Victor, she longs to find the King of Chalices. On her journey towards her red-haired beloved, Ida/Elza becomes an actress, a medium channeling an angel and even Bonaparte’s paramour.

Sexy and dashing.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4516-6721-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one’s a real winner.

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THE HATING GAME

Lucy Hutton absolutely detests her office mate Joshua Templeman. He’s a pompous, self-important, obnoxious ass. But, she’s got to admit, he is pretty cute.

From the moment they meet, a result of the unwelcome corporate merger between their employers, Lucy and Joshua are at odds. Joshua is assistant to the CEO of what was once Bexley Publishing, a numbers-crunching, foosball-playing frat house–cum-business. Lucy is assistant to the CEO of the now-defunct Gamin Publishing, a Birkenstock-clad, free-flowing commune of literary purists. When the two companies begrudgingly become one, so does the executive suite. Thus begins this hate-at-first-sight romantic comedy. Lucy and Joshua’s daily interactions include the staring game, the mirror game, and the HR game, each played with the intensity of the Hunger Games. Their mutual antipathy grows when a new executive position opens at Bexley-Gamin Publishing and both Lucy's and Joshua’s bosses think their protégés would be the perfect choice. Here the high-stakes game begins. After yet another 60-hour work week, which now includes prepping for upcoming interviews, Lucy logs off of her computer (Password: IHATEJOSHUA4EV@) to head home, but not before her rival hops into the elevator with her. When Joshua hits the emergency button and stops the ride, Lucy is certain her nemesis is going to kill her. Instead, he plants a (completely consensual) kiss on her that awakens something she hadn’t known existed. Debut novelist Thorne delivers something nearly impossible: an entirely predictable plot that is also completely fresh, original, and utterly charming. From the opening page, readers will know the outcome of Lucy and Joshua’s relationship, but what happens in between is magic. From Lucy’s hilarious inner dialogue to Joshua’s sharp retorts, the chemistry between them is irresistibly adorable—and smokin’ hot.

A breezy tale perfect for a day at the beach, this one’s a real winner.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-243959-8

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as...

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THE TATTOOIST OF AUSCHWITZ

An unlikely love story set amid the horrors of a Nazi death camp.

Based on real people and events, this debut novel follows Lale Sokolov, a young Slovakian Jew sent to Auschwitz in 1942. There, he assumes the heinous task of tattooing incoming Jewish prisoners with the dehumanizing numbers their SS captors use to identify them. When the Tätowierer, as he is called, meets fellow prisoner Gita Furman, 17, he is immediately smitten. Eventually, the attraction becomes mutual. Lale proves himself an operator, at once cagey and courageous: As the Tätowierer, he is granted special privileges and manages to smuggle food to starving prisoners. Through female prisoners who catalog the belongings confiscated from fellow inmates, Lale gains access to jewels, which he trades to a pair of local villagers for chocolate, medicine, and other items. Meanwhile, despite overwhelming odds, Lale and Gita are able to meet privately from time to time and become lovers. In 1944, just ahead of the arrival of Russian troops, Lale and Gita separately leave the concentration camp and experience harrowingly close calls. Suffice it to say they both survive. To her credit, the author doesn’t flinch from describing the depravity of the SS in Auschwitz and the unimaginable suffering of their victims—no gauzy evasions here, as in Boy in the Striped Pajamas. She also manages to raise, if not really explore, some trickier issues—the guilt of those Jews, like the tattooist, who survived by doing the Nazis’ bidding, in a sense betraying their fellow Jews; and the complicity of those non-Jews, like the Slovaks in Lale’s hometown, who failed to come to the aid of their beleaguered countrymen.

The writing is merely serviceable, and one can’t help but wish the author had found a way to present her material as nonfiction. Still, this is a powerful, gut-wrenching tale that is hard to shake off.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-279715-5

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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