November 4, 2020 | Issue #14
Five Facts From Our Friend, Brit Bennett
The one thing you’ve learned you can’t live without in quarantine:
Honestly, fresh air. I’ve always thought of myself as a homebody until I was forced to be. Then I realized how much I need to be outside.
Your perfect day:
Drinking wine someplace warm with someone I love.

Your favorite independent bookstore:
Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, MI. I have so many fond memories of attending readings, working in the coffee shop, or just browsing the shelves while in grad school.

The last book you raved about:
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. Such a blast.

Your next book in ten words or less:
Aging diva interviews for a tell-all about her late rival
Bookseller of the Week
This week’s featured bookseller is Harriett’s Bookshop in Philadelphia. Named for historical heroine Harriett Tubman, Harriett’s is an independent bookshop and writing space celebrating female writers, artists, and activists. This week they are offering a free “Substance Over Symbolism” tote bag with any purchase of $50 or more. Visit their special F&F List on to shop for books by our guest Brit Bennett, as well as those by the five F&F host authors.  
Up Close & Personal with Kristin Harmel

Happy Day-After-Election-Day to all our American readers (and a big hello to all of our international readers, who may have followed our American election, too).

I’m writing this a few days before the election has taken place, as I put the finishing touches on the first draft of my 2021 novel, The Forest of Vanishing Stars (which we’ll be doing a cover reveal for on the Friends & Fiction show on Nov. 18… Stay tuned!). I don’t know yet who will win the election, or whether we’ll even have a clear picture of the results by the time you’re reading this on Wednesday.

But I do know that what took place yesterday—a chance to have a voice in our government—was important. And to those of you who voted—however you voted—THANK YOU. Democracy works best when we all exercise and embrace that right to have a say. It’s truly a gift.

I write a lot about World War II, and especially about those whose voices were taken from them during the war. I also write about people who stood up and took those voices back—not at the ballot box, of course, but by standing up for the things they believed in, by risking their lives for the betterment of all mankind. Especially as I work on this latest novel—which is based on the true and incredible stories of Jewish refugees who had to hide deep in the forests of Poland simply to survive—I’m reminded of the remarkable gift of freedom we’ve all been given. Let’s never take that gift for granted.

We are so very fortunate to be free. We are so lucky to have a voice in our future. And whatever the outcome of this election, now is the time to come together and focus on moving forward to make this world a better place. 2020 has been a tough year, and the election probably hasn’t helped any of us to feel more at ease. But the only way to a better future is to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

All of us here at Friends & Fiction share a love of reading—and that’s an important thing to have in common, because books give us windows into other worlds, into perspectives that may not be our own. So when you join us on Wednesday nights, and on the page throughout the week, we hope you’ll find a family there. We hope you’ll find a place of peace and solace. And we hope you’ll find a reminder that we can all use our words and our voices to make the world a better place, at the ballot box and beyond.

From all of us to all of you, thank you for voting. Now, let’s walk into the future together, in friendship. Thanks, as always, for sharing some of your time with us at Friends & Fiction.

(By the way, if you’re interested in taking a look back at a time when women didn’t have the right to vote in the United States—only a century ago—check out the brand-new anthology Stories from Suffragette City, which is a collection of short stories that all take place on October 23, 1915, the day tens of thousands of women marched up Fifth Avenue, demanding the right to vote in New York City. It was edited by our past F&F guest Fiona Davis (along with M.J. Rose), and features an introduction by F&F guest Kristin Hannah and essays from past F&F guest Lisa Wingate and future guest Paula McLain. It’s a great reminder of the power of the vote—and how far we’ve come.)

Photo caption: Kristin and her family outside the White House, November 2017.
Debut Spotlight

In her debit novel, Duty and Desire, author
Anju Gattani asks the question: how can happiness survive when duty clashes with desire?

Sheetal Prasad has it all: youth, beauty, wealth, and education. But when this modern Indian woman surrenders love for honor and marries into India's most glamorous "royal family," those very advantages turn against her.

Meet the Dhanrajs - a powerful family bound together by a web of lies where infidelity, greed, secrets, and hidden identities lurk beneath the lush tapestry. The Dhanrajs will do whatever is necessary to mask the truth from the world.

As Sheetal peels back the layers of deceit in the glittering world of Indian mega-wealth - and struggles to control her own fate - she is threatened by the rage she harbors and the blazes of passion she ignites.
Latest News From "The Fab Five"

KRISTIN HARMEL 's THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES has been nominated for a Goodreads Readers Choice Award for Historical Fiction! Vote for her book by Nov. 8 to help her advance to the semifinal round! Vote HERE.

PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY was thrilled to have the chance to talk about her March 2021 historical novel, SURVIVING SAVANNAH, to a group of independent booksellers recently in a special Zoom session arranged by her publisher, Berkley. Bonus: she filmed her talk from the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum in Savannah, GA, standing in front of the scale model of the Steamship Pulaski.

Win one of 100 galleys of MARY KAY ANDREWS's May 2021 book THE NEWCOMER via this Goodreads giveaway running now through November 15th.

MARY ALICE MONROE is giving away sea turtle face masks to fans who pre-order her Summer 2021 book, The Summer of Lost and Found. Click HERE for details.

KRISTY WOODSON HARVEY has a mega Maximalist Holiday Finds Giveaway going on now on her Instagram feed. One lucky winner gets 7 prizes valued at over $800. Check it out!
We're Now a Podcast!

We're so excited that Friends & Fiction is officially available as a podcast!

Never fear! Our weekly web show on Facebook Live is not going anywhere! But we have been working hard to produce our episodes in audio-only format. So, the episodes we've recorded will be up on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and all other major podcasting platforms.

Not in front of the computer? Pop in your ear buds and listen in. Have a road trip planned? Take Friends & Fiction along for the ride!
News from the F&F Official Book Club
Make sure to join Brenda and Lisa for The Friends & Fiction Official Book Club, discussing Kristy Woodson Harvey's FEELS LIKE FALLING all month long, with a special, book club appearance from Kristy on Monday, Nov. 16th at 7pm ET. Click here to RSVP.

Mark your calendars for The Friends & Fiction Official Book Club's Virtual Potluck Friendsgiving on Thursday, Nov. 19th at 7pm ET. Details to come...

The book club had a great time on Monday, Oct. 19th with Patti Callahan Henry discussing her latest novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis. If you missed the live chat, you can catch the replay HERE