Sunday, January 7, 2018

Top 10 Real-Life Inspirations for The Lost Season of Love and Snow by Jennifer Laam + Giveaway (US/Canada)

The Lost Season of Love and Snow
Jennifer Laam
from St. Martin's Griffin (MacMillan)

The unforgettable story of Alexander Pushkin’s beautiful wife, Natalya, a woman much admired at Court, and how she became reviled as the villain of St. Petersburg.

At the beguiling age of sixteen, Natalya Goncharova is stunningly beautiful and intellectually curious. At her first public ball during the Christmas of 1828, she attracts the romantic attention of Russia’s most lauded rebel poet: Alexander Pushkin. Finding herself deeply attracted to Alexander’s intensity and joie de vivre, Natalya is swept up in a courtship and then a marriage full of passion but also destructive jealousies. When vicious court gossip leads Alexander to defend his honor as well as Natalya’s in a duel, he tragically succumbs to his injuries. Natalya finds herself reviled for her perceived role in his death. In her striking new novel, The Lost Season of Love and Snow, Jennifer Laam helps bring Natalya’s side of the story to life with vivid imagination—the compelling tale of her inner struggle to create a fulfilling life despite the dangerous intrigues of a glamorous imperial Court and that of her greatest love.

Real-Life Inspirations for The Lost Season of Love and Snow

  1. Alexander Pushkin once described Natalya as his “Madonna with a squint.” When I read this, I immediately assumed she was near-sighted. I have terrible eyesight and can all too easily imagine the horrors of a world where glasses on women were unacceptable.
  2. Alexander describes his time writing as “stupid fits.” This is also from the historical record. While I can’t claim his genius, I can relate to this attitude toward writing... especially during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
  3. Natalya liked to create costumes for balls held at the imperial Russian court. I love dressing up every year for Comic-Con. Apparently, Natalya and I both crave attention.
  4. On the other hand, we both like to balance evenings out with nights at home. In the first chapter, Natalya looks wistfully at her notebook before she goes to the dance master’s ball. Similarly, evenings of writing, reading, and cat cuddling keep me sane.
  5. Natalya mentions that her first daughter can’t wait to be born so she can get out in the world as quickly as possible. That is essentially how my mom has described my birth.
  6. This one is unfortunate, but Natalya lives in a world where women are valued based on their attractiveness to men. Sadly, I don’t think the world has changed much in this respect. Writing this book forced me take a hard look at the assumption that women need to appeal to men in order to find happiness.
  7. Natalya is fascinated with Catherine the Great, just like me. I still see Catherine as a major inspiration for women, not just for her political savvy but her unconventional personal life.
  8. Alexander Pushkin wrote Mozart and Salieri, the basis for the play and the film Amadeus, one of my favorites. Needless to say, Alexander references the story and Mozart several times in my book.
  9. At one point, Natalya throws a copy of Pushkin’s Evgeny Onegin against a wall because she is desperate to know what happens next. This sums up how I felt after every episode of Game of Thrones.
  10. At some point, I read that Alexander Pushkin loved cats. By the time I had completed this novel, I realized that cats had worked their way into the book. Natalya’s mother’s cat bears a striking resemblance to mine.


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of The Lost Season of Love and Snow—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is answer Jennifer's question in the comments below:
In The Lost Season of Love and Snow, Natalya creates several fabulous costumes including a recreation of a Minoan priestess from ancient Crete. What’s your all-time favorite costume? This can be something you’ve worn or an outfit from a book, movie, or TV show.
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Jennifer and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

I have always been satisfied with my Halloween costumes! Some of my favorites have been: diner waitress, French maid, geisha, and porcelain doll. As a very young child, I recall having people oohing and aahing over my Baby Bop, Sleeping Beauty, and hanbok costumes!

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to the lovely folks over at St. Martin's Press!
Giveaway ends January 21st at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US and Canada residents only. Sorry, everyone else! Please check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide. There are plenty to choose from!
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!