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Tuesday, February 9th

at 7 PM

C.W. Gortner

The Vatican Princess:

A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia

For fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, bestselling author C. W. Gortner effortlessly weaves history and drama in this captivating novel about one of the world s most notorious families. Glamorous and predatory, the Borgias fascinated and terrorized fifteenth-century Renaissance Italy, and Lucrezia Borgia, beloved daughter of the pope, was at the center of the dynasty's ambitions. Slandered as a heartless seductress who lured men to their doom, was she in fact the villainess of legend, or was she trapped in a familial web, forced to choose between loyalty and survival? 
With the ascension of the Spaniard Rodrigo Borgia as Pope Alexander VI, a new era has dawned in Rome. Benefitting from their father's elevation are the new pope's illegitimate children, rival sons, Cesare and Juan, and beautiful young daughter Lucrezia each of whom assumes an exalted position in the papal court. Privileged and adored, Lucrezia yearns to escape her childhood and play a part in her family's fortunes. But Rome is seductive and dangerous: alliances shift at a moment's notice as Italy's ruling dynasties strive to keep rivals at bay. As Lucrezia's father faces challenges from all sides, the threat of a French invasion forces him to marry her off to a powerful adversary. But when she discovers the brutal truth behind her alliance, Lucrezia is plunged into a perilous gambit that will require all her wits, cunning, and guile. Escaping her marriage offers the chance of happiness with a passionate prince of Naples, yet as scandalous accusations of murder and incest build against her, menacing those she loves, Lucrezia must risk everything to overcome the lethal fate imposed upon her by her Borgia blood. 
Beautifully wrought, rich with fascinating historical detail, "The Vatican Princess "is the first novel to describe Lucrezia's coming-of-age in her own voice. What results is a dramatic, vivid tale set in an era of savagery and unparalleled splendor, where enemies and allies can be one and the same, and where loyalty to family can ultimately be a curse. 

 

Thursday, February 18th

at 7 PM

Elizabeth McKenzie 

The Portable Veblen

in conversation with Scott Hutchins (author of A Working Theory of Love)

An exuberant, one-of-a-kind novel about love and family, war and nature, new money and old values by a brilliant "New Yorker" contributor 
"The Portable Veblen" is a dazzlingly original novel that's as big-hearted as it is laugh-out-loud funny. Set in and around Palo Alto, amid the culture clash of new money and old (antiestablishment) values, and with the specter of our current wars looming across its pages, "The Portable Veblen" is an unforgettable look at the way we live now. A young couple on the brink of marriage, the charming Veblen and her fiance Paul, a brilliant neurologist, find their engagement in danger of collapse. Along the way they weather everything from each other's dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, to an intimate tete-a-tete with a very charismatic squirrel. 
Veblen (named after the iconoclastic economist Thorstein Veblen, who coined the term conspicuous consumption ) is one of the most refreshing heroines in recent fiction. Not quite liberated from the burdens of her hypochondriac, narcissistic mother and her institutionalized father, Veblen is an amateur translator and freelance self; in other words, she's adrift. Meanwhile, Paul the product of good hippies who were bad parents finds his ambition soaring. His medical research has led to the development of a device to help minimize battlefield brain trauma, an invention that gets him swept up in a high-stakes deal with the Department of Defense, a Bizarro World that McKenzie satirizes with granular specificity. 
As Paul is swept up by the promise of fame and fortune, Veblen heroically keeps the peace between all the damaged parties involved in their upcoming wedding, until she finds herself falling for someone or something else. Throughout, Elizabeth McKenzie asks: Where do our families end and we begin? How do we stay true to our ideals? And what is that squirrel"really"thinking? Replete with deadpan photos and sly appendices, "The Portable Veblen"is at once an honest inquiry into what we look for in love and an electrifying reading experience. 
 

Thursday, March 24th

at 7 PM


For More About the Festival

Elaine Feeney

The Radio Was Gospel

Elaine Feeney teaches English at St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam, County Galway. She is considered as part of a growing band of new young political Irish poets. She won the North Beach Nights Grand Slam and Cuirt Festival’s Grand Slam.  The Radio was Gospel is Elaine’s third collection, following Indiscipline (2007) and Where’s Katie? (Salmon, 2010). She has recorded an audio collection of her work with Sarah Clancy, Cinderella Backwards(2012). Her poetry has been broadcast on RTE radio and television. Elaine was the Over The Edge poetry Competition judge in 2011 and NUIG’s Sin Poetry Competition judge in 2013. She has performed at various literature and music festivals including the Cúirt International Literature Festival, The Ex-Border Festival in Italy, The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Vilenica Festival and The Electric Picnic. Her work has been published in numerous magazines including The SHOp and The Stinging Fly. Her work has been translated into Italian, Slovene and Lithuanian. Elaine grew up in Athenry, Co. Galway, where she now lives with her husband Ray Glasheen and sons, Jack and Finn.

 

Thursday, March 31st

at 7 PM

Jacqueline Winspear

Journey To Munich

A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Working with the British Secret Service on an undercover mission, Maisie Dobbs is sent to Hitler's Germany in this thrilling tale of danger and intrigue, the twelfth novel in Jacqueline Winspear's New York Times bestselling series that seems to get better with each entry.

It's early 1938, and Maisie Dobbs is back in England. On a fine yet chilly morning, as she walks towards Fitzroy Square, a place of many memories, she is intercepted by Brian Huntley and Robert MacFarlane of the Secret Service. The German government has agreed to release a British subject from prison, but only if he is handed over to a family member. Because the man's wife is bedridden and his daughter has been killed in an accident, the Secret Service wants Maisie, who bears a striking resemblance to the daughter, to retrieve the man from Dachau, on the outskirts of Munich.

The British government is not alone in its interest in Maisie s travel plans. Her nemesis the man she holds responsible for her husband s death has learned of her journey, and is also desperate for her help.

Traveling into the heart of Nazi Germany, Maisie encounters unexpected dangers and finds herself questioning whether it's time to return to the work she loved. But the Secret Service may have other ideas. . . 

 

Thursday, April 7

at 7 PM

Rhys Bowen

Time of Fog and Fire

Molly Murphy Sullivan's husband Daniel, a police captain in turn-of-the-century New York City, is in a precarious position. The new police commissioner wants him off the force altogether. So when Daniel's offered an assignment from John Wilkie, head of the secret service, he's eager to accept. Molly can't draw any details of the assignment out of him, even where he'll be working. But when she spots him in San Francisco during a movie news segment, she starts to wonder if he's in even more danger than she had first believed. And then she receives a strange and cryptic letter from him, leading her to conclude that he wants her to join him in San Francisco. Molly knows that if Daniel's turning to her rather than John Wilkie or his contacts in the police force, something must have gone terribly wrong. What can she do for him that the police can't? Especially when she doesn t even know what his assignment is? Embarking on a cross-country journey with her young son, Molly can't fathom what's in store for her, but she knows it might be dangerous in fact, it might put all of their lives at risk.

 

Thursday, June 23rd

at 7 PM

Thad Carhart

Finding Fontainebleau

An American Boy In France

A beguiling memoir of a childhood in 1950s Fontainebleau from the much-admired "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank" 
For a young American boy in the 1950s, Fontainebleau was a sight both strange and majestic, home to a continual series of adventures: a different language to learn, weekend visits to nearby Paris, family road trips to Spain and Italy. Then there was the chateau itself: a sprawling palace once the residence of kings, its grounds the perfect place to play hide-and-seek. The curiosities of the small town and the time with his family as expats left such an impression on him that thirty years later Carhart returned to France with his wife to raise their two children. Touring Fontainebleau again as an adult, he began to appreciate its influence on French style, taste, art, and architecture. Each trip to Fontainebleau introduces him to entirely new aspects of the chateau's history, enriching his memories and leading him to Patrick Ponsot, the head of the chateau's restoration, who becomes Carhart's guide to the hidden Fontainebleau. 
What emerges is an intimate chronicle of a time and place few have experienced. In warm, precise prose, Carhart reconstructs the wonders of his childhood as an American in postwar France, attending French schools with his brothers and sisters. His firsthand account brings to life nothing less than France in the 1950s, from the parks and museums of Paris to the rigors of French schooling to the vast chateau of Fontainebleau and its village, built, piece by piece, over many centuries. "Finding Fontainebleau" is for those captivated by the French way of life, for armchair travelers, and for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a place they want to visit over and over again.