Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ANSA: Sarah Pleydell

WELCOME to the Cologne blog tour and another meeting of ANSA!!  I would like to introduce miss Sarah Pleydell.  Keep reading to hear all about her, and her amazing novel!

Sarah Pleydell is a literary master who teaches writing and literature at the University of Maryland, College Park.  She currently lives in London, England where she acts, writes plays and teaches children drama.  Her work has been published with Fuze Publishing.  Sarah began writing at a young age with romance... "I have been writing stories since I was a young girl. (Mainly romance stories based on girlish versions of Charles Dickens’ A tale of two Cities) However, I really got going during high school where I had an inspiring teacher who instilled a confidence in my unique voice and vision. I did not write again for many years until I began an MFA at the University of Maryland. I worked with the writer, Joyce Kornblatt, who like my first mentor encouraged me to write in my own style and from my own core. Looking back that was such a blessing."

Sarah's writing is deeply inspired by her homeland, England. "After living for twenty years in the United States, I developed an overwhelming nostalgia for England, the country of my birth, a longing for the consolation of native not adoptive soil. I loved the United States but felt in my bones that these were not my lands, mountains, rivers or streams. I think this is true for many expatriates. As I journalled and reflected, I realized that Kew Gardens, the affluent London suburb where I grew up, presented the perfect setting for a novel. It had a beguiling beauty and melancholia than was distinctively British but also fertile soil for more universal themes."

Her absolute favorite author is Toni Morrison. "Her prose is above reproach, but more than that she runs full force into the open arms of the thorniest, most challenging subject matters. Beloved and the Bluest Eye are my favorites, the former about slavery and the latter about sexual abuse. She does not flinch and that courage is what has inspired me to dig deep and to be brave."

The latest release from Sarah is Cologne. A novel featured on NPR that mixes childhood with history.

Cologne Book Blurb:
London, 1960: Renate von Hasselmann, a nineteen-year-old German au pair, arrives at Victoria Station prepared to meet her new charges, Caroline and Maggie Whitaker. Yet she is ill-prepared for their parents: the mother, Helen, knows more about Nazi Germany than Renate does, and the father, Jack, disarms Renate with his quicksilver charm.

In Sarah Pleydell's debut novel, childhood and history collide, blurring the distinctions between victim and victor, ruin and redemption. With delicate humor, Pleydell presents a portrait of a family on the cusp of great social change, while reminding us that the traumas of war revisit the children of the peace.

Into this delicate peace will barge Renate. She will smell of incense and Christmas trees, dark sweet chocolate cooking on a stove, Renate who should have known better, who should have heeded their warnings.

At the end of this day, Renate will settle the children to sleep for the very first time, and they will sit up, suddenly, the two of them, wide-awake and delighted with their defiance. And they will sing to her their dead men and daisies song: “When will they e-ve-rr learn, when will they e-ver-r learn?”

“It’s the hymn,” the older one will inform her, “for all the women who lost their sweethearts to the First World War, for the ones who never even met the men they would otherwise have married. It’s horribly sad, isn’t it, Renate, never even to meet your husband?”

Though it won’t be Renate’s husband they will be warning her about. (end)

Check out the book trailer below!

Pick up your own copy of Cologne from Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Fuze Publishing.  Keep up with Sarah and her adventures on Facebook, Goodreads, the blog tour website, Twitter, and Tribute Books Facebook.  Happy Reading!


Tribute Books said...

Hilary, thanks for showcasing the lovely Sarah Pleydell today at Novel d'Tales. We appreciate it :)

P.S. Your banner brightened up my day!

HilyBee said...

Super excited you like it! :D