Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Because of A Book with Susan Froetschel

This week I bring you another author, who has been gracious enough to send one of my readers a copy of her book.  Keep reading to find out which one she's giving away.

Susan Froetschel is the author of three mystery books, most recently Royal Escape - www.royalescape.net. She taught writing for more than 10 years at Yale and Southern Connecticut State University. She is based in Washington, D.C.

My mother died of a heart attack at age 33 on a summer day decades ago. Around that time, a package arrived in the mail for her from a book club. Inside was The Modern Family Cook Book by Meta Given, a two-volume set of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, and Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar.

My father opened the package and placed the books on a shelf in our living room. But the book selections of a 33-year-old woman took on special meaning, like some welcome advice from the grave, as I prepared to enter the third grade. I realized then that books shape our lives and I wanted to understand why my mom had selected these books. She didn’t get a chance to read them, but I welcomed the opportunity to examine her choices and struggle through books that were mature beyond my years. I immediately began using the cookbook, helping my dad prepare meals for my brother, sister and me. At first I read the sonnets aloud, not understanding them completely, but always felt a special thrill any time a teacher even mentioned Shakespeare.

But most intriguing of the lot was the novel Marjorie Morningstar, a dated tale of a woman who becomes distracted from her dreams to become a New York actress. A friend, a playwright, reunites with her two decades later and is surprised at how she has rewritten the history of their friendship and forgotten her own strong opinions. The playwright alone, “cursed with a writer’s memory,” remembers the younger woman and her dreams: “She doesn’t remember herself as she was. I am the only one on the face of God’s earth, I’m sure, who still holds that picture in a dim corner of memory.”

The book examines the contradictions confronting women in the 1950s, as suggested in the Salon essay by Alana Newhouse, “Marjorie Morningstar: The conservative novel that liberal feminists love.”

For me, as a child, the book’s message was clear: We lose a part of ourselves when we part with our dreams. And writing is one of the more effective ways to savor our dreams and memories.

Susan has agreed to giveaway a copy of her mystery, Royal Escape, to one lucky commenter.  Please comment appropriately, not just "enter me."  Extra entries will be given for tweeting, or blogging about this contest.  Open to US/Canada addresses and ends 10/15.

About Marjorie Mornningstar:  A starry-eyed young beauty, Marjorie Morgenstern is nineteen years old when she is offered the job of her dreams working in a summer stock company for Noel Airman, its talented and intensely charismatic director. Released from the social constraints of her old-fashioned New York Jewish family, and thrown into the glorious, colorful world of theatrical invention, Marjorie finds herself entangled in a powerful affair with the man destined to become the greatest — and the most destructive — love of her life.  

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at IndieBound

About Royal Escape:  In the novel, Royal Escape, a fictional British princess, Elena struggles to separate her children from a system that reinforces inequality. To raise her children as independent individuals, she
must fend off paparazzi, staff and in-laws.

Beautiful, witty and sharp on fashion and charity, Princess Elena was supposed to live the fairytale life.  Instead, her marriage is in ruins and her in-laws resent her glowing popularity.  All Elena wants is to spend time with her two sons and to be a good mother. The murder of her divorce attorney complicates her plans. The Queen, her mother-in-law, withholds settlement on a trust fund and expects Elena to give marriage one more chance. That means keeping a low profile and following all orders by the royal family and their staff. For Princess Elena and others, being a member of the Royal Family has become a royal trap –imposing lifelong limits on careers, daily activities and what one can say or do in any public setting. Elena resists any separation
from her sons, the loss of privacy and choice in the name of security.

Security is everywhere and no one is protected.
Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at IndieBound


brokenteepee said...

Oh, I LOVED Marjorie Morningstar! I read it years ago...

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Susan,

I was moved by your story. I remember Marjorie Morningstar very well, a fine novel, with something important to say to women. And Natalie Wood was quite good in the film version.
Like you, my mother died much too early and I have always felt the loss. But we were fortunate to have the love and example of our mothers. And just like you, writing has always been my dream; through my years of teaching and librarianship, I never let go of the desire to write.

All the best,

Jacqueline Seewald

Anonymous said...

I am so grateful for all the books that have helped me cope
Irene Van

traveler said...

What a beautiful and heartfelt post. It resounded with me for many reasons. The emotions that were felt from the untimely death of your mother and your love of reading. My mother is missed each and everyday, because nothing can replace that void. It is gratifying to read of someone else's appreciation of an emotional classic such as Marjorie Morningstar. This book has always reminded me of times gone by and another time, place and life. I am nostalgic for those precious days. When I read this amazing novel I was enthralled by the story. Reading has always had that influence upon me and I hope that it always will. Once again, lovely post and best of success. Royal Escape sounds captivating and unique.

Anonymous said...


Please write to royalescape.mystery at yahoo.com


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