Monday, March 27, 2023
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The Courtesan’s Daughter
by Susanne Dunlap
Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Genre: Historical Fiction
What happens when a daughter’s dream and a mother’s sordid past collide?
New York, 1910. Seventeen-year-old Sylvie and her French-immigrant mother Justine eke out a living doing piecework in a tenement on the Lower East Side, while Sylvie attends school so that she can escape their life of poverty by becoming a teacher.
At least, that’s what her mother believes should happen. Sylvie, though, has a different dream. She wants to be a star in the new moving pictures, just like the beautiful Vitagraph Girl. When she meets a dangerously handsome Italian boy at church one Sunday and he encourages her ambitions, she begins secretly taking steps toward the career she knows her mother won’t approve of.
But Sylvie isn’t the only one with secrets. Justine has kept her sordid past from Sylvie ever since they came to New York fifteen years before, stitching together a fabric of lies along with the shirtwaists she finishes every day, doing everything in her power to keep the truth from her daughter-that she fled Paris as a courtesan after committing a crime that could still get her arrested, or worse.
When Justine’s past catches up with her in a single act of brutality, Sylvie witnesses what she thinks is her mother’s betrayal and runs away during a freak blizzard, putting them both in grave danger.
Ambition, survival, and unexpected alliances combine in this mother-daughter story that proves love can conquer all-at a price.
“A blisteringly smart novel of resilience and the pursuit of one’s dreams. The Courtesan’s Daughter draws readers in from the first page with its beguiling beginning. As it hurtles ahead, it holds you rapt up to the last page. Undoubtedly, this story is a tour de force from an author with absolute command of the genre.” – Chanticleer Book Reviews
About the Author
Susanne Dunlap is the author of twelve works of historical fiction for adults and teens, as well as an Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach. Her love of historical fiction arose partly from her studies in music history at Yale University (PhD, 1999), partly from her lifelong interest in women in the arts as a pianist and non-profit performing arts executive. Her novel The Paris Affair won first place in its category in the CIBA Dante Rossetti awards for Young Adult Fiction. The Musician’s Daughter was a Junior Library Guild Selection and a Bank Street Children’s Book of the Year, and was nominated for the Utah Book Award and the Missouri Gateway Reader’s Prize. In the Shadow of the Lamp was an Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award nominee. Susanne earned her BA and an MA (musicology) from Smith College, and lives in Biddeford, ME, with her little dog Betty.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, May 1
Review at Adventures in Lit
Wednesday, May 3
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Monday, May 8
Review at Cover Lover Book Review
Thursday, May 11
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, May 16
Excerpt at Books, Cooks, Looks
Friday, May 19
Review at Coffee and Ink
Enter to win a copy of The Courtesan’s Daughter by Susanne Dunlap.
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on May 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.