I'm Mary Novik--welcome to my website! In About Mary, I talk about what inspired me to write my debut novel Conceit, and in About Conceit, you'll find highlights from reviews, a book club guide, readers' comments, and an excerpt. Check back for updates to the Blog and News & Events, and share the 17th-century discoveries I post in Backgrounds. I'd love to hear from you via my Contact page.
It's been a busy and exciting time for my new novel Muse. First the copyedits. Then the proofs. And now I have a book cover that I can share. What do you think about it? The designer chose two lively paintings and put them together, with the woman standing in front of medieval Avignon. She's larger than life, upstaging the city, just as I imagined Solange. Avignon continues onto the back cover, so there's a panorama of the city from Saint Bénezet's bridge to the papal palace. Just looking at it brings back memories of visits to Avignon . . .
~ Open the blog
Conceit is a plenteous, fully engaging re-creation of 17th-century England, observed through the eyes of poet John Donne's daughter, Pegge. Mary Novik's imagination leaps from ecstatic to hellish, probing the carnal, the mortal and the mystical in fascinating counterpoint. The story opens with the great London fire of 1666, expands through decades, then revisits the charred ruins for an apotheosis of the macabre. --Globe & Mail
~ About Conceit
Solange Le Blanc begins life in the tempestuous streets of fourteenth-century Avignon, a city of men dominated by the Pope and his palace. Solange is raised by Benedictines, who believe she is clairvoyant. Trained in the abbey's scriptorium, but troubled by disturbing visions, she escapes from the abbey to work as a scribe in the city. There, she meets the charismatic and ambitious poet Petrarch and becomes not only his lover but also the muse who brings his sublime poetry to life. Later, Solange’s gift for prophecy seduces Pope Clement VI’s ear and she wins a powerful rôle in the most celebrated court in Europe. Doubleday, August 2013