February Book Club Selection

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For most of us, February means the last pass through winter, highlighted by Groundhog Day, the Superbowl, and Valentine’s Day. But otherwise, as CS Lewis said, “Always winter but never Christmas.” So how can we beat the winter blues that inevitably set in this time of year?

With a great story.

And at She Reads this month, we’ve got one for you, and by one of our own no less!

THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS is a romp through New York in 1930. Populated by gangsters and crooked politicians, society ladies and dancers, this story is nothing like your day-to-day life and yet… you will find the three women mentioned in the title strangely recognizable. At the center of this book is a real-life missing judge, Joseph Crater, who to this day has never been found. What happened to him the world may never know. But author Ariel Lawhon has cleverly re-imagined what might have happened if three women in his life really did know… but for their own reasons chose not to tell.

We invite you to join us this month to hear from Ariel, co-founder of this site and the mother of four little boys she fondly refers to as “The Wild Rumpus,” about how and why she wrote the book, and how she balances writing, reading and life with her passel of sons. Snag a copy of the book (signed copies are available at Parnassus Books in Nashville and Foxtale Book Shoppe in Atlanta–both stores are happy to ship) and join us in discussing this great story. You might just forget how cold it is outside.

In celebration of the true events that inspired this novel, we have a special giveaway this month. One book club will receive five copies of THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS and a set of commemorative shot glasses so you too can participate in the famous toast found in its first pages. (See the entry form below for details)

WMM Book Club Prize

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wifemaidmistress (1) (1)A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in 1930—Justice Joseph Crater’s infamous disappearance—as seen through the eyes of the three women who knew him best.

They say behind every great man, there’s a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the judge’s wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting in the judge’s bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband’s recent promotion to detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall leaders and the city’s most notorious gangster, Owney “The Killer” Madden.

On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge’s involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?

After 39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge’s favorite watering hole back in the day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks—one for her and one in honor of her missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to tell a tale—of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than she has initially let on.

With a layered intensity and prose as effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages.

You can read an excerpt of THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS here.

You can add the book to your Goodreads list here.

You can view photos of the real people who inspired the book on this Pinterest board.

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Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is co-founder of She Reads, a novelist, blogger, and life-long reader. She lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four young sons (whom she calls The Wild Rumpus, except on the days when she calls them The Barbarian Horde–if you ever visit her you’ll know why). Her novel, THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS, is based on the still-unsolved disappearance of a New York State Supreme Court Judge and was published by Doubleday this week. Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart, that marrying her best friend was the best decision she ever made, and that a good nap can cure all ills. And coffee. She really, really believes in coffee.

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About Marybeth Whalen

Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.

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69 Responses to February Book Club Selection

  1. Blanche Diane Henry February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I must read and share!

  2. Billie February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Ohhhh yes, my BOOK TALKers would love this one. Bring it on…

  3. Paige Carroll February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Your book sounds very intriguing! I know I would enjoy a copy! Thank you for having the giveaway.

  4. Elisabeth February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have wanted to read this book since I first heard about it!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. techeditor February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’m anxious to read this. Is it all right if my bookclub is online only and is made up of English speakers in various countries?

  6. Barb M February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have been waiting for this! I would love to win it, thanks for the chance!

  7. Marie February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while now. Something about this weather seems especially right for falling into a well-executed historical mystery!

  8. Gwyn February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    This sounds like a fun book!!! I can’t wait to read it.

  9. Ariel February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Looks great!

  10. Melissa Crytzer Fry February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    So excited for you, Ariel! Makes perfect sense for you to be the February pick. Looking forward to reading!

    And let me tell you: shot glasses are the perfect addition to any book club. I thought mine was the only one to use them. :-)

  11. Julia Munroe Martin February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I’ve been looking forward to this book — here’s hoping!

  12. Debbie D February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I think my bookclub would really enjoy this one! I know I am looking forward to reading it!

  13. Carl February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, that would be a brilliant prize to win. Imagine how surprised everyone would be. Please enter my name for the chance to win.

  14. Book Club Cheerleader February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Marybeth: I picked this up at Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend’s Weekend and I can’t wait to read it! Cheers!

  15. KATHLEEN BIANCHI February 3, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I love that the book is written from the point of view of three woman. I loove mystery.

  16. Barbara February 3, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Our book talkers Would Love to read this. I can send discussion time already.

  17. Barbara February 3, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Our book luv would enjoy this one.

  18. Denise Duvall February 3, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    From the pictures of the real characters,he looks disgusted and defeated at the same time. The wife looks like someone, he would want to leave.
    Sounds like a great story. Thank you for the giveaway.

  19. Deby Coley February 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have been wafting for this novel a long time! I hope you pick me:)

  20. JanellK February 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks to the author for sharing. Putting this on my must read list.

  21. Paula Dolin February 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Congrats on the great reviews! I’d love to win a copy.

  22. Cammi H February 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like such a good read!! I need something to keep me busy during all these snow days!!

  23. Susan Gruener February 5, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Oh, the webs they weave! :) Can’t wait to read Ariel’s new mystery!
    Thanks She Reads!

  24. Kathy February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This historic fiction sounds like a puzzle that can be put together by the three women who knew Justice Joseph Crater best. I’d love to read this book.

  25. janet February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    this book sounds intriguing, would love to read iut

  26. Bonnie February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Would love to read/win this! Sounds perfect for these snowy days!

  27. Joy Cook February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like the perfect book for my book club to read this month.

  28. Carmen February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    sounds like a great read!

  29. Cindy Humphrey February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds interesting! I can’t wait to read it!

  30. Traci R February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds very interesting!! Thanks. Put it on my list to read ASAP

  31. Lina Hill February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I am very intrigued by this book and passing it along to a friend to try as well.

  32. Sherry February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Cannot wait to read this one!

  33. brooke February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Sounds like a wonderful read and how fun that it’s by Ariel :)

  34. Misti February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Looking forward to reading! Just downloaded to my Kindle.

  35. Polly Schneider February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This book sounds like a must read. I would love to win a copy. Thanks!

  36. Michelle W. February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds like a good read! Would love to win! Thanks for the chance!

  37. Jeanne S. February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    My book club will love it! We are The Book Divas and we usually drink wine, but we will make an exception when we read this book!

  38. Antoinette T February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Book sounds intriguing. Definitely on my to read list

  39. Michelle T. February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love to read this book and to share this with my daughters and church members that share my love for reading.

  40. Janet K February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds so good!

  41. Wendy February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Looking forward to recommending this to my book club! Sounds like a fascinating read!
    Thank you.

  42. shannon brown February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This has been on my wish list, I would love to win a copy of it!

  43. Mary Beth February 5, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I hope to get this soon – sounds good.

  44. Cyndi February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Want to read!!!!

  45. Rhonda G February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds like a wonderful wintertime read!

  46. Cindy H in Texas February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Really excited about this book!! Have read the free excerpt and I’m hooked!

  47. michelle h February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    another book for my “to read” shelf!

  48. Cathie Martin February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I can’t wait to read this!

  49. Tura Klepfer February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Love she reads and after reading the exert I can’t wait to read the entire book! I was captured from the start and did not realize I was done until there was nothing left! So disappointed but come payday so want to download on my nook! Can’t wait!

  50. Carol r. February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    As a teacher, I love reading for my free time, so I really hope that I win!

  51. Tracy February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Sounds fascinating!

  52. Carol r. February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Hope i win

  53. Carol February 6, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    As a teacher I love reading so I would love to win.

  54. Adriane Wilson February 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I love to Read!!!

  55. Margaret February 6, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Looks like a good book for our book club.

  56. Bloomin'Chick Jo February 7, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Fantastic giveaway and sounds like a great read!

  57. anne February 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    A captivating giveaway. thanks for this feature.

  58. Christine February 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while, so this is very exciting!

  59. Tanya @ Mom's Small Victories February 7, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    This sounds fantastic, historical fiction with mystery and jazz age splendor. Thanks for the chance to win it. How do I apply to be a She Reads Blogger? I love the books you all read!

  60. Alana February 10, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I just love the retro theme and cover (and yes I always do use the cover to help judge the book!).

  61. Jody February 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    Ahhh. Someone make this into a movie!!

  62. BermudaOnion(Kathy) February 20, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Thanks for the giveaway – my book club loves historical fiction!

  63. Dori February 22, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I can’t get my nose out of this book!!!

  64. Melanie Backus February 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I would love this book for my book club.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Wife, the Maid, & the Mistress by Ariel LawhonStory Matters - February 3, 2014

    […] skilled and gracious writer writes. You can see what other bloggers are saying about this book here, where you can also enter a drawing to win a copy of your […]

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    […] to read this book? You are in luck! Traveling With T just happens to know of several giveaways! She Reads is giving away 5 copies (plus shot glasses- super cute!), Goodreads is giving away 30 copies, and […]

  3. Author Spotlight: Ariel Lawhon, author of THE WIFE, THE MAID, & THE MISTRESS | Traveling With T - February 21, 2014

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