I’ve met the coolest people through Twitter. Just recently I’ve come to know author Dana Sachs. Last December she threw a brilliant literary dinner party (#litdinner) during the Twitter Literary Festival. Then I learned she had a book coming out which features several things I love. The art of Hiroshige. Japanese culture. California. Witty women in the winter of life. Later I learned she lives here in North Carolina, about three hours from me. We’ve yet to sit down for a face-to-face, but we’ve had some excellent conversations through Twitter and email. And I’m sure an in-the-skin meeting is on the horizon.
Now back to her book. The Secret of the Nightingale Palace comes out today. Who wouldn’t want to drive across country in a classic Rolls Royce? I’ve had the pleasure of riding in these classic cars several times—once from County Winslow in Ireland to Dublin, and another time through the historic streets of Lisbon—and believe me, when you’re in one of those vehicles, people stare at you. I mean they really look. They nudge their partners and point. A smile creeps across their face and they raise their hand over their eyes to peer inside. Camera phones come up and they snap, snap, snap. Their heads turn as you pass and they keep you in sight as you disappear down the lane. Most remarkable were the old men who transformed into little boys at the sight of our queue of antique autos. As if the sight took years from their lives, they straightened their back and raised their heads; cheeks lifted down-turned lips into smiles, and their eyes lit with memories of bygone times.
Sorry for that fond digression. Now back to The Secret of the Nightingale Palace. Anna is a young widow still grieving the death of her husband to leukemia two years before. Her grandmother, the feisty octogenarian Goldie, is comfortable in her widow’s weeds and can’t understand why Anna is still reeling from the harsh, drawn-out death of her husband. However much she wants to move on, Anna has armored herself with undesirability and unworthiness—two attributes for which Goldie has no sympathy. When Goldie recruits—practically demands—Anna to drive her from New York to San Francisco in her classic Rolls Royce, a fascinating tale of two widows of different eras unravels across the miles. Get ready for a most unexpected and delightful ending for both of the women.
Dana invited me to participate in a blog tour called THE NEXT BIG THING. Next week I’ll be blogging about my WIP, The Sword Swallower’s Daughter. Before I post my Next Big Thing interview, I hope you’ll take a moment to read Dana’s post and then go get her book for a literary tour of love, loss and unexpected joy.