Help A Bitch Out

Best. Query. Ever.

A Bitchery reader forwarded me this query for what may be the best (I hope) April Fool’s book search inquiry ever from the RRA listserv. Enjoy – and try not to feel the limitless bottom of despair when you are 2/3 of the way through reading it and realize, it could be a real romance you read one time….

A patron has requested help in identifying a book that she read
“during the springtime in Europe on the banks of a famous river.” She
can’t remember which river, but says it comes up frequently in
crossword puzzles. (I don’t suspect this part matters much anyway.)

The book is the story of a young woman named something like Kate or
Katherine or Karen whose normal life in the Midwest (or possibly
West, but definitely not the eastern seaboard) is changed forever
when her father goes missing overseas (the mother disappeared in K’s
childhood, although the patron cannot remember if this was because of
death, or an affair, or something else). Following the lead in a
mysterious note, K goes in search of her father, accompanied by her
chaperone (who is a little person) and her cat. One of these
companions talks, the other is mute. (The patron thinks it was the
cat that talks but that would be odd wouldn’t it?).

Many adventures ensue. There is a stint in a traveling circus, a ride
on a zeppelin, a meeting with three mysterious sisters, and an
encounter with a famous artist (abstract or surrealist, definitely
not representational). All of this is background for the main story,
which involves a mystery solved by K and a famous female literary
figure (a Bronte? Virginia Woolf? V.C. Andrews?) who is inspired by
the events to write what will become her first novel.

Early in the book, there is a love triangle in which K becomes
involved with a lighthouse keeper, a pirate, and a vampire (love
square? love rhombus?) Apparently none of these affairs comes to
fruition, as K ends up married and wearing a burquah in Iran
(Afghanistan?) where she learns in a heartfelt, tender way the
firsthand misery of life behind the veil. (Personally, I think it’s
likely that the patron is mixing the plot of two or more books. She’s
a regular and there is some medical history involved although she is
one of our most devoted readers. So if part of this doesn’t fit,
please pass along your suggestions anyway.)

The patron describes the tone of the book as a “vivid, fast-paced
historical romp with lyrical, nuanced prose.” She says the writing is
compelling and evocative, much like the works of Thackeray, Proust,
or Robert Heinlein (!?), but with a youthful, angsty quality. (I
added “with overtones of green apple, a soupcon of vanilla, playful
hints of elderberry, and an earthy finish” as a little joke, but she
just said “no, it was more spicy than fruity.”)

She remembers the cover as sepia or gray in color, with red lettering.
There was a picture of a woman (presumably K) but not a complete
picture. It may, in fact, have been a picture of only her feet. One
of the words in the title may have been a day of the week, or a
month, or a season and at the time she read it, she remembers
thinking that the title as a whole reminded her of a band name or a
popular song title.

If all that weren’t complicated enough, the patron thinks the book
might be based on a true story or contained elements of memoir (get
in line on that one, huh?) The patron swore that the book was co-
written by James Patterson. I told her this last bit was unlikely,
and that regardless, this information would not help us limit the

After several searches, I’m unable to locate the book. (Or books?)
The patron would also like to read books like this one, but I must
confess, I’m stumped about where to start there as well. Any ideas?

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    KimberlyD says:

    That must be the longest romance novel in the history of romance novels!

    Its pretty funny if its a joke. Its even funnier if its not.

  2. 2
    jenifer says:

    The patron swore that the book was co- written by James Patterson. I told her this last bit was unlikely, and that regardless, this information would not help us limit the search.

    That’s totally my favorite part!

  3. 3
    rebyj says:

    i think its real lol
    i’m 90% sure i read it
    the zepplin ride, the pirate and vampire and the 3 weird sisters all sound familiar.
    someone better come up with the title!!!

  4. 4
    RStewie says:

    I became useless after the

    love rhombus

    Love Quadragle FTW!!

  5. 5
    Sharyn says:

    The patron swore that the book was co- written by James Patterson. I told her this last bit was unlikely, and that regardless, this information would not help us limit the search.

    As a librarian this is the funniest and truest part of the whole thing!

  6. 6
    rebyj says:

    i wonder if the dad was a snake oil salesman or doctor..
    seriously sounds familiar..i’m thinking back when my mom read barbra cartland and others of her ilk.

  7. 7
    Arhylda says:

    Didn’t Cassie Edwards write that one?


  8. 8
    Suze says:

    I’m pretty sure I saw the movie version.  Anthony Adverse, it was called, and I think this book is the prologue of the movie.

    Yeah, I’m kidding, but the movie is real, and the prologue is at least a half-hour long.

  9. 9
    simi12780 says:

    Sounds like a very interesting read, if you find out the name, I’d like to read it. But it doesn’t sound like anything that I’ve heard of before.

  10. 10
    Adler says:


    That is all.

  11. 11

    I’m sure I read something like this in a Cassie Edwards book once…

  12. 12
    Deb says:

    If it wasn’t for the vampire, I’d swear this was a Bertrice Small book.  One of the ones that covers the globe and inevitably includes a harem at some point…

    I also love the “co-written by James Patterson” line…

  13. 13
    Brit Blaise says:

    “love rhombus” is my pet name for my dh. Have you been reading my toilet paper?

  14. 14
    Denni says:

    James Patterson was the icing on what was already a very funny cake.

  15. 15
    Esri Rose says:

    Sounds like a book by Nicholas Christopher, of Veronica fame.

  16. 16
    Denni says:

    Speaking of April Fools Day, I totally borrowed the dogfood prank (don’t sue me please).  My son is in High School, and his friends razzed him all day because they found it while raiding his lunch bag.  Now he wants the details of how to TP moms in the bathroom.

  17. 17

    ROFLMFAO @ Love Rhombus
    I actually had to wiki that to make sure I knew what it was. Thanks for the laugh. I am down with the flu and a nasty case of the quickies. Thank God for Carmex.
    Hey on the bright side I will have a nice 10 or 15 lb start on bikini season.
    What the frak?

  18. 18
    EmmyS says:

    a nasty case of the quickies

    I don’t recognize this illness… what are the symptoms? An uncontrollable need to run home for a nooner?

  19. 19
    chrocs says:

    I also got the flu but no quickies…
    That’s not fair!

  20. 20

    this is going to sound crazy, but could it possibly be memoirs by gertude bell, the english woman who was in iraq in the 1920s and 1930s, she knew virgina woolf, her prose is lyrical, and she got laid alot…

  21. 21
  22. 22

    Who the hell uses Carmex with sex?
    I’d be blowin on my cooty for days.

    < ....kicks dirt on Anthony for trying to sound smart instead of funny.

  23. 23

    sorry, im just not that funny…

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