Girl in Disguise: Q&A with Greer Macallister

Greer Macallister (Photo courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark)

Several years ago, Greer Macallister’s debut novel, The Magician’s Life, was featured in the Bas Bleu catalog. Our reviewer was enchanted by Macallister’s imaginative tale of a famed female illusionist accused of murder, so we jumped at the chance to read her second novel, Girl in Disguise, as soon as an advance copy arrived in our office. Told from the point of view of the first female Pinkerton agent, Macallister’s novel offers a glimpse into what was an unusual trade even for a man—and a virtually unheard of life for a woman. Recently, we were fortunate to chat with the author about her trailblazing heroine, the challenges of making up stories about real people, and her film-adaptation casting dreams. Continue reading

“She Has Proved Immortal”: The 200th Anniversary of Jane Austen’s Death

Austen signatureOn July 18, 1817, Jane Austen died in Winchester, England. In declining health for more than a year, Austen was just forty-one years old when she passed away. Her cause of death is still under speculation: What Austen downplayed as rheumatism may in fact have been Addison’s Disease (an endocrine disorder) or complications from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Other scholars suspect tuberculosis. Recently, a new theory suggested arsenic poisoning. What we do know, however, is that even death couldn’t dim her brilliant literary star. And this week, on the 200th anniversary of her death, fans on both sides of the Pond are celebrating the great writer’s life and work. Continue reading

A Society for Modern-Day Bluestockings

Bas Bleu was founded in 1994 by a true bluestocking, a book-loving lady who launched her venture from her Atlanta, Georgia, home. In the beginning, she wrote every word of catalog copy, packed and posted every order herself, and stored the company’s stock in a closet! She mailed 50,000 copies of the first edition of the Bas Bleu catalog. Today, we mail millions of copies to readers all over the country, but our little company never could have survived those early years without the enthusiasm and support of our loyal customers. That’s why, in 1999, we decided they deserved a little something extra…and the Bas Bleu Society was born! Continue reading

July Book a Month: The Evening of the Holiday

As part of Bas Bleu’s 2017 Book a Month program, each month we’re offering discussion questions, author interviews, or other bonus material about our Bluestocking BAM selection to enrich your reading experience—for book clubs as well as thoughtful individuals. (We’ll do our best to avoid plot spoilers, but you should proceed with caution!)

First published in 1966, our July Book a Month selection, The Evening of the Holiday, is Shirley Hazzard’s debut novel. Short yet elegant, it follows the love affair between Sophie, an English-Italian woman visiting Tuscany, and Tancredi, an older Italian man separated from his wife and family. Renowned for her evocative language and stunning sense of place, Hazzard offers a sophisticated and incisive portrait of an ill-fated summer love affair.  Continue reading