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Tue, 18 Jul



An Afternoon with author Stef Penney “Tenderness of Wolves”

A wonderful opportunity to meet author Stef Penney and hear about her new books, literary experiences and get a dedicated book signed. Accessible venue.

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An Afternoon with author Stef Penney “Tenderness of Wolves”
An Afternoon with author Stef Penney “Tenderness of Wolves”

Time & Location

18 Jul 2023, 14:00 – 15:30

Huntingdon, 39 High St, Huntingdon PE29 3AQ, UK

About the event

The Beasts of Paris is the eagerly awaited new novel from Stef Penney, the author of the biggest selling Costa Prize Winner of all time, The Tenderness of Wolves. We're delighted that Stef is able to join us at the Commemoration Hall for an afternoon of high-velocity conversation about that new book, and to take your questions about her extraordinary career. ‘A supreme storyteller’ The Times She may be one of the best storytellers we have’ The Scotsman In the newly built, beautiful City of Lights, a vibrant group of characters are caught up in turbulent times as the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 culminates in defeat for the French. Anne is a former patient from the women's asylum La Salpetriere, trying to carve out a new life outside its heavy walls in a world that doesn't understand her.  Newcomer Lawrence, a photographer, is fleeing the restrictions of his puritanical Canadian upbringing. And Ellis, a troubled and boisterous young army surgeon, has lived through the trauma of the US Civil War and will do anything to avoid another bloodbath. All three live near the Jardin des Plantes, where the Menagerie hosts glamorous predators that bewitch visitors from all walks of life... but even these splendid beasts will not be untouched by the coming storms. The Siege of Paris sees the snowbound city encircled and bombarded by the Prussians during a harsh winter of hunger and bitter cold. Despite the hardships and fear, friendship and even forbidden love kindle among the candlelit cafes and stricken streets. When the siege is lifted, the socialist government of the Paris Commune sweeps briefly to heady power – before being violently crushed by the French Army. The City of Lights is aflame. The streets are peppered with barricades. Grand mansions, theatres and churches hold makeshift hospitals and danger is everywhere... but amid this chaos, it’s still possible to live and love with bold intensity. Against this tumultuous, vividly written backdrop, our characters fight their demons, face their fears and lose their hearts. Despite the gorgeously realised historical setting, The Beasts of Paris explores deeply contemporary issues of gender, sexuality, inequality and race. This eagerly awaited novel – a mesmerizing journey with a peerless storyteller – will delight Stef Penney's legions of fans. Once again, Niche Books of Huntingdon will be our bookseller on the day. They'll have Stef's previous books as well as fresh-from-the-printers copies of The Beasts of Paris, to give or to guzzle up. We'll look forward to seeing you.

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