Monday, April 12, 2021

Boswell events: Stephanie Dray, Andrew J Graff, Shelley Nolden, Lawrence Baldassaro, plus the Edgar Award finalists for the Sue Grafton Prize - Kathleen Kent, Laurie R King, Rosalie Knecht, Sara Paretsky, Ilaria Tuti, James Riskin, plus a Amy E Reichert preview

Here's what's happening this week at Boswell!

Monday, April 12, 7 pm
Stephanie Dray, author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette
Tickets for this event available here

The Lynden Sculpture Garden Women’s Speakers Series, produce by Milwaukee Reads and Boswell Book Company, presents New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray for a presentation of her latest book, a historical novel based on the true story of a castle in the heart of France and the remarkable women bound by its legacy in some of humanity’s darkest hours. Admission for one device costs $5, or upgrade to a book-with-admission for $27, plus sales tax and ticket fee. $5 from each ticket will be donated back to the Lynden Sculpture Garden. Ticket link:

Dray, whose previous novels include My Dear Hamilton and America's First Daughter, both written with Laura Kamoie, brings to vibrant life the story of Chateau de Chavaniac and the Lafayette Preventorium, where socialite Beatrice Chanler cared for 25,000 children between 1917 and 1960 and hid Jewish children during WWII. Intricately woven and beautifully told, The Women of Chateau Lafayette is a sweeping novel about duty and hope, love and courage, and the strength we find from standing together on the shoulders of those who came before us.

From Amy Scribner's starred review in Bookpage: "In The Women of Chateau Lafayette, we move among the extravagance of Marie Antoinette’s royal court, the brutality of trench warfare in World War I and the misery of a French countryside slowly starving under Nazi rule. It’s an epic, gripping novel, a powerful depiction of the way brutal conflicts based on prejudice and greed tend to repeat time and again. And through it all, Dray poignantly reminds us of the undervalued contributions of women throughout history."

Monday, April 12, 7 pm
Andrew J Graff, author of Raft of Stars
in conversation with J Ryan Stradal for a virtual event
Register for this event here.

Boswell welcomes Andrew J Graff, who grew up in Wisconsin's North Woods, for a conversation about his debut novel set in 1990s rural Wisconsin with J Ryan Stradal, author of The Lager Queen of Minnesota and Kitchens of the Great Midwest. Pulitzer-winner Richard Russo calls Graff’s novel “a rousing adventure yarn full of danger and heart and humor.”

It’s summer in Claypot, Wisconsin, and the lives of ten-year-old Fischer “Fish” Branson and Dale “Bread” Breadwin are shaped by the two fathers they don’t talk about. One night, tired of seeing his best friend bruised and terrorized by his no-good dad, Fish takes action. A gunshot rings out and the two boys flee the scene, believing themselves murderers. They head for the woods, where they find their way onto a raft, but the natural terrors of Ironsforge gorge threaten to overwhelm them. Adults track the boys toward the novel’s heart-pounding climax on the edge of the gorge and a conclusion that beautifully makes manifest the grace these characters find in the wilderness and one another.

Raft of Stars
has been championed in The New York Times and The Washington Post. From Mark Athitakis's review: "Ultimately, though, Graff recognizes that his main job is to deliver a gripping adventure tale, which the concluding chapters offer plenty of - dangerous rapids leading to life-threatening waterfalls, menacing black bears and coyotes. To say who walks away and who doesn’t would spoil the story, but Graff closes with a foreboding mood that, in the long run, man is always the loser in any man vs. nature story." 

Tuesday, April 13, 7 pm
Shelley Nolden, author of The Vines
in conversation with Greer Macallister for a virtual event
Register for this event here.

Boswell hosts an evening with Wisconsin author Shelley Nolden for a conversation about her debut historical novel, a story that intertwines the horrific and elusive history of North Brother Island with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss. She’ll chat with Greer Macallister, author of The Magician’s Lie and The Arctic Fury.

Nolden was working on Wall Street when she first heard the history of North Brother Island, which rests in the shadows of New York City. At the age of 31, Nolden was diagnosed with leukemia, and the sense of isolation and fear she felt during her ordeal influenced her writing this thrilling historical novel. Booklist offered this praise: "In a debut that is part horror novel, part thought experiment, Nolden has accomplished the feat of getting readers to ask themselves what horrors can be done to serve the greater good."

Jenni Herrick covers Nolden's novel in The Shepherd Express as well: "Eerily relevant in today’s world hyper-focused on virology and immunization, this historically rich account imagines the tragic life of one long-persecuted patient who manages to survive alone on an uninhabited island."

North Brother Island holds the remains of a shuttered hospital, which holds the haunting memories of century-old quarantines and human experiments. A young explorer arrives on the island and glimpses an enigmatic beauty. Interest turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past. Will he unravel the mysteries and help save the stranger, or will she meet the same tragic ending as those who’ve already perished on the island?

Wednesday, April 14, 7 pm
Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards Virtual Event
The GP Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award Reading and Discussion
Kathleen Kent, author of The Burn
Laurie R King, author of Riviera Gold
Rosalie Knecht, author of Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery
Sara Paretsky, author of Dead Land
Ilaria Tuti, author of The Sleeping Nymph
James Ziskin, author of Turn to Stone
Register for this event here.

Boswell Book Company is pleased to host the official Edgar Awards virtual author event for the G.P. Putnam Son's Sue Grafton Memorial Award, which honors the best novel in a series featuring a female protagonist. This event will include readings from each of the nominated authors and questions from the audience.

And the nominees are! Kathleen Kent, author of the Edgar Award-nominated The Dime. Detective Betty Rhyzyk decides to go rogue, heading straight into the dark underworld of Dallas's most dangerous drug cartel.

Laurie R King, author of the New York Times bestselling Mary Russell mystery series. In this installment, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes turn the Riviera upside down to crack their most captivating case yet.

Rosalie Knecht, author of the genre-pushing Who Is Vera Kelly?. Knecht’s recently out-of-the-spy-game heroine finds herself traveling from Brooklyn to a sprawling countryside estate in the Caribbean in her first case as a private investigator.

Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Paretsky, who continues her legendary VI Warshawski series with a story that scrapes Chicago’s seedy underbelly when Warshawski’s goddaughter drags her into a fight over lakefront land use.

Italian author Ilaria Tuti, who follows up her award-winning Flowers Over the Inferno with a new tale of Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, expert criminal profiler with four decades of experience on the Italian police force, who returns to take on a chilling cold case.

And Anthony and McCavity award-winner James Ziskin, who offers up a 1960s-era locked-room mystery that takes Ellie Stone to Florence, Italy, an idyllic setting where a new case has sinister undertones.

Please note that portions of this event may be prerecorded.

Thursday, April 15, 7 pm
Larry Baldassaro, author of Tony Lazzeri: Yankees Legend and Baseball Pioneer
in conversation with Tom Shieber for a virtual event
Register for this event here.

Larry Baldassaro, Professor Emeritus of Italian at UWM and author of Beyond DiMaggio and Baseball Italian Style and editor of The Ted Williams Reader, joins us for an event celebrating the release of his new biography of the Yankees legend. He'll be in conversation with Tom Shieber, Senior Curator at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and lead curator for exhibits on Babe Ruth and Moe Berg. Shieber has also served the Society for American Baseball Research board of directors.

Before there was Joe DiMaggio, there was Tony Lazzeri, the first major baseball star of Italian descent. Lazzeri paved the way for DiMaggio and so many other Italian American fans and players by forging his own Hall of Fame career as a key member of the Yankees’ legendary Murderers’ Row lineup between 1926 and 1937. An unwitting pioneer who played his entire career while afflicted with epilepsy, Lazzeri was the first player to hit sixty home runs in organized baseball and the first Italian player with enough star power to attract a whole new generation of fans to the ballpark.

Ira Berkow, the Pulitzer-winning author of How Life Imitates Sports, says, “Cheers to Mr. Baldassaro for mining this terrific story.” And from John Thorn, official historian of Major League Baseball, “In real life as in baseball, how one performs in a climactic moment may unfairly obscure a multitude of other feats; Larry Baldassaro’s book reveals its subject to have been not only a wonderful ballplayer but also a great pioneer on behalf of Italian Americans forevermore.”

Monday, April 19, 7 pm
Amy E Reichert, author of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club
in conversation with Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin for a virtual event
Register for this event here.
The April edition of our Readings from Oconomowaukee virtual event series celebrates the latest novel from Wisconsinite Amy E Reichert, author of novels like The Optimist’s Guide to Letting Go and The Coincidence of Coconut Cake. Her latest is a story in which a woman must come home to Wisconsin Dells to face the (literal) ghosts of her hometown. She’ll join us for a conversation with bookstore proprietors Daniel Goldin and Lisa Baudoin. Signed copies of The Kindred Spirits Supper Club available through Boswell or Books and Company.

For journalist Sabrina Monroe, moving back home to the Dells means returning to the Monroe family curse: the women in her family can see spirits who come to them for help with unfinished business. But Sabrina’s always redirected the needy spirits to her mom, who’s much better suited for the job. The one exception has always been Molly, a bubbly rom-com loving ghost, who stuck by Sabrina’s side all through her lonely childhood.

Then Ray, the new local restaurateur, invites Sabrina to his supper club, where he flirts with her over his famous Brandy Old-Fashioneds. He’s charming and handsome, but Sabrina tells herself she doesn’t have time for romance; she needs to focus on finding a job. But the longer she’s in the Dells, the harder Ray is to resist. It doesn’t hurt that he shows his affection through good old-fashioned home-cooked suppers. As the Dells starts to feel like home for the first time, Sabrina begins to realize that she can make a difference and help others wherever she is in this heartwarming tale about the power of love and connection.

More on the
Boswell upcoming events page.

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