Bookseller Pens Bookseller's Daughter

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New from Brava (a division of Kensington Publishing) is a historical romance titled The Bookseller’s Daughter by Pam Rosenthal, a former bookseller and part-owner of the Modern Times Bookstore in San Francisco. Pam is currently a computer programmer and writer, while her husband, Michael, runs the store. Rosenthal’s first romance novel, Almost a Gentleman, was published by Brava last May; readers and critics of the romance genre have applauded both. Booklist called her writing "beautifully nuanced" and "graceful," and noted that it displayed a "poetic touch."

The Bookseller’s Daughter, set in France just before the Revolution, draws on the experiences of booksellers of the period described by Robert Darnton in The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France (Norton). Rosenthal credits the 1994 book as an inspiration for the colorful, passionate tale involving the smuggling of political and erotic books into France during that repressive period.

Author Pam Rosenthal

Rosenthal told BTW in a recent interview, "Darnton wrote about the books of Voltaire and Rousseau, but also about the 'under the cloak' books -- court gossip and erotic fiction. He based his research on the actual business correspondence of one real, historical bookseller, a Monsieur Rigaud of Montpellier. Rigaud was a shrewd, tough businessman. He dealt in both legitimate and illegitimate books. He would cast aspersions on the credit worthiness of smaller booksellers and drove many out of business. I loved reading about Rigaud, but especially in 1994 when chains were opening all over. I was angry -- I resented him and identified with his competitors. That’s how I came up with the honest bookseller and his fetching young daughter with ink-stained fingers."

Rosenthal noted that The Bookseller’s Daughter was her first romance novel, although under the name Molly Weatherfield she has published several erotic novels and is included in Susie Bright’s Best American Erotica 2000 (Simon & Schuster). She quipped that she writes erotica for "shy, smart people." Her husband, Michael, her "most astute reader," contributed some of his bookselling experience to The Bookseller’s Daughter, perhaps in this description of the field: "Tedious day-to-day work is a small price to pay for the joy of matching a book with its ideal reader…" --Nomi Schwartz