In this LitStack Double Spotlight, we look at two debut novels that we know you will want to read: The Cure For Drowning by Loghan Paylor, and The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers
In This Double Spotlight on The Cure For Drowning and The City of Stardust
The Cure For Drowning by Loghan Paylor
Evocative, magical and luminously written, The Cure for Drowning is not only a brilliant, boundary-pushing love story but a Canadian historical novel that boldly centers queer and non-binary characters in unprecedented ways.
About The Cure For Drowning
Born Kathleen to an immigrant Irish farming family in southern Ontario, Kit McNair has been a troublesome changeling since, at ten, they fell through the river ice and drowned—only to be nursed back to life by their mother’s Celtic magic.
A daredevil in boy’s clothes, Kit chafes at every aspect of a farmgirl’s life, driving that same mother to distraction with worry about where Kit will ever fit in. When Rebekah Kromer, an elegant German-Canadian doctor’s daughter, moves to town with her parents, Rebekah has no doubt as to who 19-year-old Kit is. Soon she and Kit, and Kit’s older brother, Landon, are drawn into a love triangle that will tear them and their families apart, and send each of them off on a separate path to war.
Landon signs up for the Navy. Kit, now known as Christopher, joins the Royal Air Force, becoming a bomber navigator relied on for his luck and courage. Rebekah serves with naval intelligence in Halifax, until one more collision with Landon changes the course of her life and draws her back to the McNair farm—a place where she’d once known love. Fallen on even harder times, the McNairs welcome all the help she is able to give, and she believes she has found peace at last. Until, with the war over, Kit and Landon return home.
Told in the vivid, unforgettable voices of Kit and Rebekah, The Cure for Drowning is a powerfully engrossing novel that imagines a history that is truer than true.
Publish Date: January 30, 2024
Publisher: Random House Canada
Praise for The Cure For Drowning
“Brimming with magic and historical detail, The Cure for Drowning is a rare wonder of a book. A profound exploration of lives entwined, it is, at once, a page-turning read and a richly imagined study of love—the kind that overcomes and endures, and ultimately transforms us into who we’re meant to be.”—Ami McKay, bestselling author of The Birth House, The Virgin Cure, and The Witches of New York
“Loghan Paylor takes us on a journey of history, the complexity of family, both the ones we’re born into and the ones we choose, and the intoxication of queer love. This novel is deftly written and propulsive; the fantastical as important in detail as everything else. I’ll be thinking about this novel for years to come.”—Jessica Johns, author of Bad Cree
“The Cure for Drowning is a captivating and utterly engrossing work of historical fiction—intricately crafted, epic in scope and yet astonishingly intimate. In riveting prose, infused throughout with magic, Paylor renders characters who are painfully, exquisitely human; who traverse landscapes as diverse as a rural family farm in Ontario, jazz clubs in Halifax and the airfields of Europe during World War II, and yet who feel as familiar as neighbours….The Cure for Drowning…a modern classic; a debut that is as grounded as it is ground-breaking, as tender as it is thrilling”—Jasmine Sealy, author of The Island of Forgetting, winner of the Amazon First Novel Award
“Loghan Paylor’s lush scenes and exquisite sentences illuminate an important aspect of society largely invisible in historical fiction. Kit and Rebekah’s swirling life paths portray queer and trans people as integral parts of our collective history, even while they are forced to remain hidden. Yearning for love, acceptance and home propel this vivid narrative, in which where families can be more cruel than strangers, silence can be the loudest form of allyship, and a little bit of turquoise magic helps us realize ‘they knew who they were all along.’”—Tara McGuire, author of Holden, After and Before
About Loghan Paylor, Author of The Cure For Drowning
Loghan Paylor is a queer, trans author who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. Their short fiction and essays have previously appeared in Room and Prairie Fire, among others. Paylor has a Master’s in creative writing from the University of British Columbia, and a day job as a professional geek. The Cure for Drowning is their first novel.
The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers
Slip into a lush world of magic, stardust, and monsters in this spellbinding contemporary fantasy from debut author Georgia Summers.
About The City of Stardust
For centuries, the Everlys have seen their best and brightest disappear, taken as punishment for a crime no one remembers, for a purpose no one understands. Their tormentor, a woman named Penelope, never ages, never grows sick—and never forgives a debt.
Violet Everly was a child when her mother left on a stormy night, determined to break the curse. When Marianne never returns, Penelope issues an ultimatum: Violet has ten years to find her mother, or she will take her place. Violet is the last of the Everly line, the last to suffer. Unless she can break the curse first.
Her hunt leads her into a seductive, magical underworld of power-hungry scholars, fickle gods and monsters bent on revenge. And into the path of Penelope’s quiet assistant, Aleksander, who she knows cannot be trusted—and yet to whom she finds herself undeniably drawn.
With her time running out, Violet will travel the edges of the world to find Marianne and the key to the city of stardust, where the Everly story began.
Leaning into the lush possibilities of dark academia, The City of Stardust is full of cutthroat scholars, a dark and dangerous education and a secret society of magicians.
Publisher: Random House Worlds
Publication date: 01/23/2024
Praise for The City of Stardust
“The City of Stardust opens with a haunting prologue that weaves as enchanting a spell as any of the terrible and wonderful magic in the book, and it just gets better from there. Summers’ debut is a dark, gorgeous tale of curses, gods and monsters, with the love and loyalty of family at its heart.”—Sangu Mandanna, bestselling author of The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches
“A dark dream of a novel, Georgia Summers’s debut is like a sweet shop—an elegant, mysterious one—full of all my favorite things: a grand old house, strange magic, deep lore, a family curse, a cabal, a globe criss-crossing heroine, otherworldly beings, and a new mythos that feels both timeless and original. Welcome to The City of Stardust. Enjoy—and also beware. This fairy tale is deadly.”—Laini Taylor, New York Times bestselling author
The City of Stardust is “A story as darkly wondrous as midnight. Summers brilliantly takes our yearning to open doors to magical new worlds, and twists it into a seductively vicious dream of darkness, blood, and winged horrors. When monsters must be satiated, there is no escaping the choices between love and betrayal; survival and sacrifice. Enthralling to the last page.”—Shelley Parker-Chan, Sunday Times bestselling author of She Who Became the Sun
“In opening The City of Stardust, you enter a Gaiman-esque otherworld of scheming scholars and soul-stealing gods, where a daughter’s quest to understand her mother’s absence is as compelling as her fight against an ancient curse. The ghost of the city undone by pride and a broken promise haunts every page of this memorable and accomplished debut.”—Lucy Holland, author of Sistersong
“Georgia Summers’s fascinating debut, The City of Stardust, draws readers into a compelling story full of magic, curses, keys, and stories. It asks what we would do to break a curse, to close a door, or to open one. Readers who loved The Starless Sea or The Ten Thousand Doors of January will also love this darkly magical book.”—Kat Howard, author of the Unseen World duology
“A starry tale of curses, gods and scholars that glitters with magic. Beautifully spellbinding. I never wanted to leave The City of Stardust!”—M. A. Kuzniar, author of Midnight in Everwood
“In this darkly gorgeous tale of yearning and curses, Summers explores the terrible and wonderful power of love in its many forms—enduring, loyal, selfish, toxic, destructive—and what happens when betrayal and survival are but two sides of the same coin. Utterly mesmerizing.”—A. Y. Chao, #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of Shanghai Immortal
About Georgia Summers, Author of The City of Stardust
Georgia Summers is a half-British, half-Trinidadian writer. She spent most of her life living across the world, including Russia, Colombia, the USA, Scotland, and briefly Switzerland. She is still bad at languages.
She has previously worked as an editor, a bookseller and rare books student librarian, so you could say she’s seen the entire lifecycle of a book.
When she’s not doing bookish things, she enjoys embroidery, playing piano, and painting, among various other crafts. She currently lives in London, but she dreams of one day living in a haunted château with cats and a ghost that cleans. Source:https://georgiasummers.co.uk/
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