Wednesday, July 6, 2022

A Dress of Violet Taffeta

It’s a pleasure to share with you today the recent release of author Tessa Arlen’s A DRESS OF VIOLET TAFFETA (Berkley Trade Paperback Original; July 5, 2022), a sumptuous novel based on the fascinating true story of La Belle Époque icon Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon.

Lucy shattered the boundaries of fashion with her magnificently sensual and striking designs. She launched her fashion empire in the late 1890s as a way to keep her and her five-year-old daughter financially afloat after she was abandoned by her husband.

In a time when women from good families were expected to look beautiful and be content with producing children and running their elegant houses, this woman triumphed in the competitive London world of dressmaking and became the Queen of Haute Couture.

Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon was a female fashion icon, trailblazer, and survivor of the Titanic, yet very little has been written about her life and work.

This is the second historical fiction novel from Tessa Arlen, whose debut in the genre, In Royal Service to the Queen, received rave reviews from BuzzFeed, People Magazine, Parade, and Woman’s World.


By Tessa Arlen
Fiction - Biographical
Berkley Trade Paperback Original
on sale July 5, 2022

The story: Lucy Duff Gordon knows she is talented. She sees color, light, and texture in ways few people can begin to imagine. But is the male-dominated world of haute couture, who would use her art for their own gain, ready for her?

When she is deserted by her wealthy husband, Lucy is left penniless with an aging mother and her five-year-old daughter to support. Desperate to survive, Lucy turns to her one true talent to make a living. As a little girl, the dresses she made for her dolls were the envy of her group of playmates. Now, she uses her creative designs and her remarkable eye for color to take her place in the fashion world—failure is not an option.

Then, on a frigid night in 1912, Lucy’s life changes once more, when she becomes one of 706 people to survive the sinking of the Titanic. She could never have imagined the effects the disaster would have on her fashion label Lucile, her marriage to her second husband, and her legacy. But no matter what life throws at her, Lucy will live on as a trailblazing and innovative fashion icon, never letting go of what she worked so hard to earn. This is her story.

Meet the Author: Tessa Arlen

Tessa Arlen is the author of the Woman of World War II Mysteries and the novel In Royal Service to the Queen.

Born in Singapore, the daughter of a British diplomat, she has lived in Egypt, Germany, the Persian Gulf, China, and India. She now lives with her husband in historic Santa Fe, where she gardens in summer and writes in winter.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Isn't it fascinating to read stories based on true events? Does it make it want to Google Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon to learn more about her? It does me! 

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Miss Aldridge Regrets

I’m delighted to share with you the news that today acclaimed British novelist Louise Hare delivers the first in an all-new series: MISS ALDRIDGE REGRETS (Berkley Hardcover; on sale July 5, 2022), a twisty, locked-room mystery set in 1936 aboard the Queen Mary.

In her US debut, Louise introduces readers to a delightfully flawed protagonist, Miss Lena Aldridge, a bold, brave, and clever multiracial jazz singer and actress who is never afraid to speak her mind or bend the rules, and who passes for white in a society that rarely celebrates Black women.

Despite her best efforts, Lena’s career hasn’t taken off as she has hoped. She’s mourning the loss of her beloved father and just scraping by, singing in a dull basement club in London, recently dumped by her married lover. So, Lena is thrilled when she’s approached by an American businessman who offers her a chance to cross the pond on the Queen Mary and become a Broadway star in New York.

Lena accepts the opportunity without a second thought. Just imagine—Lena, under the shining lights of Broadway! She’s never been to America, and after all, her life in London is hardly extraordinary. And an escape sounds even more appealing after she’s witnessed a brutal crime in the night club. But it never occurs to Lena that she may well be crossing the Atlantic alongside a killer.

Miss Aldridge sets sail alongside her new agent and a wealthy American family, who invite her to dinners and take her under their wing, never suspecting Lena’s true heritage. But when members of the family begin to drop dead, and the family doctor goes missing, Lena once more finds herself at the center of a murder investigation—and it’s looking more and more like the opportunity of a lifetime may in fact turn out to be her swan song.

Meet the Author: Louise Hare

Louise, a multiracial British woman like her protagonist, was inspired to pen MISS ALDRIDGE REGRETS by the works of Agatha Christie and Patricia Highsmith. While unfolding a well-executed mystery perfect for fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Louise takes on issues like class, race, and women’s equality that continue to resonate almost 100 years after the action in the novel.

Louise’s debut novel, This Lovely City, was published in the UK to wide acclaim, and was a Between the Covers Book Club Pick on BBC Two. She has an MA in creative writing from the University of London. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today. This sounds like a great summer read. Doesn’t this synopsis just draw you in making you want to know what happens next?