One title slated for a January debut is available now--Tracy Chevalier's The Lady and the Unicorn. Publisher's Weekly says this romance revolving around the six related medieval tapestries now hanging at the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris is "enthralling." I'd be requesting a library hold in a heartbeat if I were assured that it would be more engaging than Falling Angels. After the exquisite Girl with a Pearl Earring, I'm more than ready for an encore. Reviews look promising, so I'm hopeful. An interview with Chevalier reveals her thoughts about the book. For some reason, Blogger is not linking to the interview or her website. To locate the interview, try Googling this search string minus the quotes: "chevalier lady and the unicorn interview oberlin". To read the first chapter, follow this link: http://www.tchevalier/unicorn.com.
For the fans of Robert Heinlein, his so-called "lost" first novel will appear sometime in January. For Us, the Living: A Comedy of Customs, written circa 1938-1939, introduces themes and literary devices that he explored in more depth and to greater effect in his subsequent novels. Still, anyone with more than a passing affection for Heinlein will be curious to see how this early attempt at novel-writing compares with his more mature work.
Time for one personal flashback: Whenever I look back on books and the year 2003, I will remember it as the year I concluded more than five years of writing and research on my tome Women During the Civil War: An Encyclopedia, which was published in November. It's a great feeling to know that it's finished, that a fire did not destroy my papers and files or my house--does every writer worry about this?--, and that I no longer have to be immersed in the Civil War unless I choose to! Actually, I have several Civil War women-related ideas in the percolator now.