EWein Special Ops: A Sense of Place

For the last guest post for EWein Special Ops, we have the Elizabeth Wein herself sharing something about her writing. Plus an exclusive artwork that hasn’t been published anywhere else before.

YAY, EWein! *claps enthusiastically*


A Sense of Place
by Elizabeth Wein

I’m writing these words from Scotland, on the western edge of Europe. I don’t know where Chachic will be when she posts them for the world to read: Manila in the Philippines? Singapore? Somewhere on the Asian side of the Pacific Rim, anyway. I know for a fact that two of the contributors to this wonderful and flattering celebration of my books are based in the United States and one is based in Canada. Never mind the content of this week’s Book Nook postings—just think about the origins. What you’re reading here this week is coming from random points all around the world, and you’re reading it at a different random point somewhere else on the face of the global map. I think that’s pretty cool.

I am not a cartographer and I am not really a map nerd, but I have never written a novel—or even a short story—without referring to a map. A real one. I drew my own maps for my Aksum books, and I am extremely proud of them, especially the one of South Arabia which appears in The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom.

You can read the books without the maps, though. They don’t really matter, except in that they are a physical and visual manifestation of the setting. It is the sense of place that counts.

My favorite books have always been those that have a strong sense of place. When I think back to the fantasy writers who shaped my teenage reading, the ones that leap immediately to mind are Alan Garner, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Ursula K. LeGuin, and guess what? The books I loved best by these writers all include maps. Garner’s show a landscape based on a real place; Tolkien’s and LeGuin’s show imaginary countries, but that doesn’t make the settings for their fantasy worlds any less real in the context of their books. The world almost becomes a character in the novel itself. Setting shouldn’t just be there as a backdrop; a good sense of place will make a setting, fictionally speaking, into a living, breathing organism like our own planet, and the author’s love for and familiarity with the world of his or her creation guides us through the unfamiliar landscape like a virtual map.

The fictional worlds I love best stand on their own, even after the story’s characters have moved on to Westernesse or the Dry Land. You could set your own story in any of these places, celebrating the world the way fanfiction celebrates fictional characters.

ewein alderley edge 1984

That’s pretty much what I did with The Winter Prince. I set my first novel in the same landscape where Alan Garner set his first novel, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. Alderley, elder lea, Elder Field—“the Edge over Elder Field” is “Alderley Edge,” get it? To be fair, I claim some right to this landscape myself. I lived for a year in a house which still stands on the “site” of my fictional Arthurian “estate at Camlan.” My father read Garner’s Weirdstone aloud to me before I could read, under the shadow of the Edge itself, and this magical landscape got under my skin and stayed there. My ancestor did not carve the Wizard’s Well or design the stone circle there, as Alan Garner’s did; I do not have Garner’s blood right to that landscape. But as Lleu comments when Medraut shows him the rippled roof of the caves under the Edge for the first time (just as my father long ago showed them to me), “Dare anyone say he owns this?”

Lleu and Goewin’s fictional Elder Field of The Winter Prince is not Susan and Colin’s fictional Alderley of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, any more than Alan Garner’s childhood is my own. But Garner’s connection to the real world he lives in, and the way that connection shapes his imaginary fictional worlds, became a lifelong influence on my own writing.

It’s interesting how “place” can also influence the creative process as I’m shaping a story. When I was writing Code Name Verity, I reached a point where all I really wanted to do was write about Scotland, where I live now. None of the action of Code Name Verity took place in Scotland at that point, and there wasn’t any reason for it to. But I was letting my Scottish narrator have quite a bit of free rein with the telling, and there was much about her that I didn’t yet know, so I figured we could both write about Scotland for a while and see where it went. The scene-setting—with its branch line railway and haunted castle and the one flight in the book that I actually made myself—was sheer indulgence. The plot points that came out of it—a key character recruited to RAF Special Duties—were integral to the novel. I hadn’t seen either narrative device coming. But how wonderful, and amazing, that they can work together like that.

Goewin and Lleu. Artwork by EWein.

Goewin and Lleu. Artwork by EWein.

It seems appropriate, when so many people have come together from such immense distances to celebrate my work here, to have had this chance to celebrate and share with you some of my thoughts regarding the notion of place within the story.

I also want to thank Chachic for bringing together this stellar group of writers and readers and friends who have spent this holiday week, in various corners of the world, thinking and dreaming and writing about the worlds I have described in my books—some of them harsh, some surprising in their beauty, some embellished by my imagination, but all of them rooted in truth. It is just humbling to read your words of praise and encouragement. It means that my own words are not just being thrown out there into a vacuum. You are passing them on.

Happy new year to all readers all across this world!

With love & gratitude, E Wein


Thank YOU, EWein! I love the sense of place that well-written books can give its readers. And I love maps in books. I even took a picture of the one inside The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom:

Lion Hunters map

This concludes EWein Special Ops. I hope you all had fun going through the posts. The giveaways are still open until next week, click here to check them out.

EWein Special Ops

EWein Special Ops: Guest Post from Maggie

My good friend Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous generously got me a signed copy of Code Name Verity a few months ago, so I knew she would be perfect for EWein Special Ops.

Please welcome Maggie!

Young Adult Anonymous

I’m a book hoarder. When I love a book, I get as many editions as I can. My justification is that not only am I filling up my shelf, but I’m also creating a shelf for my future child. I see myself as a curator overseeing the portraits of characters that I hope will line the walls of my child’s mind. However, I still read primarily for myself. What I love about reading is that even though I’m no longer a child, I can still be shaken and affected so much by what I read.

One of the books that shook me to my core was Code Name Verity. I was sitting on an uncomfortable, backless stool in the ER, having accompanied by stepbrother after he drunkenly sliced his finger open at 3am, and I needed something to distract me from strangling the drunken mess in front of me. Enter Verity. For the next few hours, as we were moved from room to room, I stayed in Ormaie with Queenie. I was transfixed by this story of friendship, survival and war.

It’s like being in love, discovering your favorite author. I have been in love with Elizabeth Wein ever since that night and fell even more so with Rose Under Fire. I love that her characters are ordinary girls put in extraordinary circumstances. They are badass and fierce, but also scared and flawed. There’s a realness to them that went straight to my heart.

Maggie CNV

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Wein’s books are ones that create an instant bond with other book lovers. I’ve made some great friends through book blogging and for my birthday this year, Mandee of Vegan YA Nerds got me this necklace:

Maggie CNV pendant

These are special books and I’m thrilled to be part of the EWein Ops team. I have told the truth.


Thank you, Maggie! I love that you’ve bonded with other book lovers over CNV. I’m so happy we’re both EWein fans.

EWein Special Ops: Guest Post by Tori

Tori is a longtime fan and friend of Elizabeth Wein. She has a series of sweaters inspired by Elizabeth Wein characters, several of which can be seen here. She is here today to talk about growing up as an EWein fan.

Please give Tori a warm welcome!


I was thirteen when The Winter Prince came out; I read it because I was going on a field trip to a book reading. I’m not sure I was always so conscientious, but it was set in Arthurian England, and I was into King Arthur and Ancient Rome. I loved it. When I was fourteen, I was sure I wanted to be a writer. My mom, working magic as far as I could tell, called Elizabeth and asked if she wanted a teenage apprentice. I’m sure I wrote, but mostly, I remember reading lots, a rather eclectic list of things I almost definitely wouldn’t have picked up on my own (things like The Mabinogion, The Owl Service, and “The Wasteland.”) I sometimes joke that my taste has been formed by Elizabeth Wein, but I was fourteen and my brain was a sponge; it’s not that big a stretch. We fell a bit out of touch when she moved from Pennsylvania to England and then Scotland; it was before everyone had email, and I am a dreadful correspondent if stamps are required.

I waited patiently for A Coalition of Lions to come out. (I roll my eyes at George R. R. Martin fans when they complain about wait time between books. I waited ten years for Coalition.) At some point between books, I spent a month in Istanbul, and every time I looked at a mosaic I thought of Lleu, and Medraut telling him that he had to see the mosaics in Byzantium. I tried to make all my college friends read The Winter Prince, and it was frequently one of the books I read to decompress from reading too many philosophers.

A Coalition of Lions was the last time the release of one of Elizabeth’s books came out that surprised me. I was a senior in college, and I had checked Amazon randomly to see if it was ever coming out. And then, unable to wait for shipping, I started calling the bookstores I could walk to on foot to find out if they had it in stock and would put it on hold for me. I stayed up until four reading Coalition in a day. I finished, and I fished out an old email address I had written down and sent what was probably an only semi-coherent email, which reignited our correspondence.

Tori as Verity

Tori dressed as Verity for Halloween

Now, I am very lucky and get to be an early reader. I dressed up as Verity for Halloween three years ago, possibly before the Code Name Verity had a publisher. I had Ravensbrück dreams while I was reading Rose Under Fire. I’ve also had dreams about the possibly mythic Sword Dance, but no one took my books away from me when I had dreams about Sword Dance (I had dreamt I was going to be gassed in a concentration camp and woke up looking for more of Rose to read and was more bothered by the lack of book than by the dream; my friends made me promise to stop reading World War II novels for a while.)

There are little things from all of Elizabeth’s books that pop up for me. It seems fairly constant. There is an Ethiopian restaurant I can walk to from my house, and even if just eating Ethiopian food of injera didn’t make me think of Telemakos, they serve a wine called Aksum; the first time I realized that I made us order it on the principle of the name alone. I’ve made my own vanilla extract, and everytime I do, I think of Medraut. I assess every umbrella as “Useful in an air raid?” I’ve burst into tears, seeing a discarded ballpoint pen, free from the bank, on the sidewalk because it made me think of Maddie and her fabulous Eterpen. On my commutes to work, I listen to history podcasts and when I hit names and real historic facts that are in her books (particularly the Aksumite-Arthurian books) I have been known to yelp with excitement, even though I am surrounded by strangers who probably think I a bit mad.

I joked at the beginning that Elizabeth Wein has formed my taste. When The Winter Prince was released as a Kindle book, I was doing my very best EWein Facebook cheerleader and was virtually jumping up and down, trying to get my friends to read it again. Someone asked me what it was about. After giving my brief overview along the lines of “It’s a story about Mordred, set in England just after the Romans have left. He’s a dark anti-hero and his mother is a brilliant, scheming, thwarted queen. And it’s beautifully written.” And then I sat there and stared at those three sentences and said to myself, “You know, if someone were to write a book that were just for me and contained all of my favorite things, they would write The Winter Prince.


Thank you, Tori! Sword Dance has to happen!

EWein Special Ops

EWein Special Ops: Being Brave

Maureen is a library assistant who blogs at By Singing Light. Elizabeth Wein is one of her favorite authors and today, she talks about the theme of courage present in all of EWein’s novels.

Please join me in welcoming Maureen to EWein Special Ops!

By Singing Light


“I AM A COWARD,” Verity says right at the beginning of her story. “I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was… But now I know that I am a coward.”

Of course, the truth is more complicated. In fact, one of the brilliant things about Code Name Verity is the way it shows you a character who claims to be one thing, a coward, while disproving that again and again. To be frank, thinking about her bravery, the sheer audacity of it, takes my breath away and moves me to tears at the same time.

But it’s not just Verity herself. There’s Marie, the French Resistance lassie, and Mitraillette and the rest of the Thibauts. There’s Anna Engel, risking her life every time she does not translate exactly what is written, giving Maddie a scarf. And Georgia Penn, speaking of audacity. Read her scene again and think about the courage it would take for both her and Verity to enact that careful dance of words and movements. There’s Maddie, finding the strength to do the hardest thing, and then to keep living afterwards. And there’s Queenie’s mother, leaving the window open.

(Pause to mop up.)

But bravery is a strand that runs through all of Elizabeth Wein’s books. In Rose Under Fire, there are not heroics in the usual sense, in the Verity sense. The bravery there is required to keep living, to stay human under circumstances that are designed to keep you from doing either. It’s perhaps quieter than Code Name Verity, but it is just as present and just as intense. Starving women standing for hours in the snow rather than giving each other up.

It’s in The Winter Prince, in Lleu struggling against sleep and Medraut struggling against the darkness in himself. It’s in A Coalition of Lions, in Goewin leaving Britain behind, setting out alone into the unknown. Certainly it’s in The Sunbird — like Verity, Telemakos leaves me breathless. And in The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom, he must find a different kind of courage to win through a situation that looks impossible.

It seems to me that in all of the books, courage is one of the markers that point us toward the moral characters. When so many of them occupy a morally grey area, it is a signpost that tells us who deserves our care. Von Linden and Anako fail their tests; they do not even have the bravery to do their own dirty work. (Von Linden is a much more complex character than Anako, but in a way that makes his failure greater.) Even Nick, in Rose Under Fire, doesn’t have the courage to wait for Rose. On the other hand, Anna Engel acts with courage, as does Medraut. It’s this quality that sets them on the other side of that line.

It’s worth noting that the kind of courage I’m talking about, the kind that these books value, is not the same as honor. It’s not even necessarily physical courage, although it can be (in The Sunbird, for example). It’s not limited by age — see Telemakos and Amelie Thibaut — or by gender — see EVERYONE. Not the courage to fight the war or fire the gun, but the courage to do what is right, to face darkness internal or external and not give in. It’s the strength to keep going, to fly the plane.

This courage is not found in isolation. The friendship at the heart of Code Name Verity is not an accident. Verity retells the story of Queenie-and-Maddie, the sensational team, precisely because it gives her strength. Outside of that bond, Mitraillette is the one who keeps Maddie together in those frightful first days after the bridge. For Rose, in Ravensbruck, it’s Irina and Roza especially, but the whole of Block 32, which “was really, really good at propping people up.” Even Telemakos in Abreha’s palace is driven by Athena, proves himself with the other palace children.

And it’s Goewin and Telemakos under the city, drawing pictures on each others’ hands to chase away the darkness. It’s not an accident that the image of hands keeps showing up, from Arthur’s hands on Medraut’s shoulders in The Winter Prince, to A Coalition of Lions. And again in Code Name Verity with Marie and Verity (“the backs of our hands were touching”); on the cover of the US edition; with a hand on Maddie’s shoulder while she flies. And yet again when Rose and Irina share that secret symbol of who they are: taran. Wein’s books consistently undermine the narrative of lone heroes: again and again, we see that we are saved in the company of others, that in the dark places the important thing is who stands beside you.

After all, that’s what stories — the best stories — are. A light to see by, a hand holding yours in the dark.


Thank you, Maureen! I love that last line.

EWein Special Ops

EWein Special Ops: Tell the Truth. Tell the World.

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone! For today’s EWein Special Ops guest post, we have Shae from Shae Has Left the Room (previously, the blogger behind Bookshelvers Anonymous) here to talk about Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire. Shae likes reading middle grade and young adult novels from fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, historical fiction and magical realism genres.

Please give a warm welcome to Shae!

Shae Has Left the Room


Tell the Truth. Tell the World.


My love for Elizabeth Wein and her work is probably the worst-kept secret in the history of faux secrets. Snagging Code Name Verity from my store in exchange for the book I was currently reading was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my reading life. Then Rose Under Fire took all the hope, heartache, wonder, fear, despair, and awe I felt in its predecessor and deepened them.

I struggled for a long time over what to talk about for Chachic’s appreciation week. The power of friendship? The refreshing use of female friendship? The equally refreshing lack of an overpowering romance in either book? The way Ms. Wein uses common household items (chocolate bars, open windows, green lights, red toenail polish) to inflict EXTREME EMOTIONAL PAIN?! Or should I throw form and format to the wind and use my time to flail and freak over the way Ms. Wein can construct a sentence like no one I’ve ever read?

All so tempting, but out of Ms. Wein’s many contributions to the world at large, I think the one I appreciate the most is how she bypasses the easier historical narratives to tell those that need to be shouted. Both books, despite their differing narrative structures and separate narrators, drill down to one joint idea: telling the truth and the power of words.

Code Name VerityRose Under Fire

The tagline for the Code Name Verity is “I have told the truth.” The tagline for Rose Under Fire is “I will tell the world.” As the first-person declension indicates, these are statements made by the narrators in the books themselves, core values visited again and again at crucial points in the plots. These simple sentences are also more than beliefs held by Verity and Rose. They are, in a way, Ms. Wein’s mission statements to her readers.

Even the silliest of books teach as they entertain. A joke book teaches the societal construct of humor and the way language can be manipulated to draw out a laugh. A dry, serious tome beloved by academics might pontificate drily about various beliefs in the areas of philosophy, ethics, and human behavior. A picture book will impart social norms and desired behavior even as its bunny-eared protagonist chases her lost balloon. Code Name Verity tells the solemn truth through proven historical fact. It is not a book filled with sensationalized moments of pathos or fiery, Hollywood-appropriate escapes. To be sure, it is an exciting and bittersweet story, but its strength lies in its veracity.

Code Name Verity is about a female ATA (Air Transport Auxiliary) pilot and a female SOE (Special Operations Executive) agent in the service of Britain during World War 2. Both are pulled behind enemy lines (one into a Gestapo prison) and must fight their way home. This story is unique for allowing multiple female narratives in a major war where the females in question are not 1) nurses, or 2) civilians feeling the effects of the war back home. Verity and Maddie deal with the war and its dangers personally but also in a way that is historically accurate. Verity, our spy, is not James Bond. Maddie, our pilot, is not the Red Baron. Their roles are restricted to those allowed to women in their time, but these same roles are often hard for modern readers to swallow, having been taught in schools and by the media that only men did anything important in the past.

Rose Under Fire takes Code Name Verity‘s mission and expands upon it. Now we meet Rose Justice, a naive young pilot from America who strays behind enemy lines and is sent to Ravensbrück, a women’s concentration camp, where she meets other war prisoners. Through Rose we meet Russian fighter pilots, French Resistance fighters, Polish prisoners-turned-medical-experiments, American poets, and German traitors. All women, all influencing the war with their actions, with their bravery, and, most powerfully, with their words.

To the modern eye, Verity’s and Rose’s tales may seem fantastical. Women in war? Women on the front lines? Women being imprisoned, tortured, interrogated, experimented upon, and killed? Hollywood. That’s not real life. Men are the ones who shape the war, who fight in battles and make the big decisions. (To which I say bull patties!) This is where Ms. Wein’s dedication to telling the truth shines. The lack of sensationalism for the sake of a good story bolsters the effect of the narrations. It allows the emotional impact to travel farther and hit harder than a half-baked book packed with minimal facts and cheap thrills.

As moving as Verity and Maddie’s and Rose’s stories are in their own right, as much as you are tempted to bend beneath the weight of the tales, nothing compares to the bone-deep certainty that Ms. Wein has kept her promise. She has told the truth. Our narrators may not be real people, but the others they meet and the situations they encounter are. Though shoved behind the narratives of generals and politicians, the real-life stories of the Ravensbruck Rabbits, SOE agents, and ATA pilots who not only turned the tide of the war but also aided justice during the Nuremberg Trials after the fall of Germany have found a new stage in her works. She has kept her promise. She has told the truth. And she has told the world.

Links of Note:
My review of Code Name Verity
My review of Rose Under Fire
Real life spies and pilots – a link collection from Elizabeth Wein
Ravensbruck – a link collection from Elizabeth Wein
A lifetime’s worth of stories about women in history


Thank you, Shae! I love the power of words theme in EWein’s writing as well.

EWein Special Ops

EWein Special Ops: Introduction and How I Discovered Her Books

EWein Special Ops

I’m so glad that EWein Special Ops is here! EWein Special Ops is a blog event celebrating Elizabeth Wein’s wonderful novels. I have been a fan of her work for YEARS and I’ve been wanting to organize something like this for a while now. I’m glad I’m able to do it before the year ends. Watch out for guest posts from authors, fellow bloggers and fans throughout the week. On Twitter, I’m using the hashtag #EWeinSpecialOps if you want to keep track of tweets. If you’re interested in writing about anything related to EWein’s novels in your own blog at any point during this week, give me the link to the post and I’ll spread the word about it. As an aside, I love that I was able to find a picture of a younger EWein feeding a bird because I think it’s perfect for the event poster. I hope you all like it too.

Foxing The Sunbird

First page of my first copy of The Sunbird

To start things off, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about how I was introduced to EWein’s writing. I first found out about her back in 2008. That was before I had this book blog and at that time, I mostly got recommendations for the books that I read from Sounis, the LiveJournal community for fans of another author: Megan Whalen Turner (MWT). If you have been following my blog for a while, then you’re aware of how big a fan I am of MWT’s books. I even hosted a Queen’s Thief Week last year. So whenever someone recommends a book for readers who love MWT’s work, I sit up and pay attention. EWein’s Lion Hunter series kept being recommended in Sounis, by MWT herself, by R.J. Anderson (author of Knife, Ultraviolet, etc.) and other fellow Sounisians. I knew I had to get my hands on those books as soon as I could. When I went to the local bookstore in Manila to look for the books, I discovered that they only have copies of the last three books in the series: The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom. I was assured that I could start the series with The Sunbird so this was fine with me. I fell in love with the book and with its main character, the young Telemakos. I read the other two books soon after and they further cemented EWein’s status as one of my favorite authors. I was sorry that The Winter Prince and A Coalition of Lions wasn’t available in the Philippines but luckily, I traveled to the States in 2009 and I was able to grab copies there.

I was ecstatic when I started hearing the buzz that EWein will be releasing Code Name Verity in 2012 because of course, I wanted more of her writing. I knew it was going to be an amazing book, even if it’s different from her Lion Hunter novels, and I was right. I fell just as hard for Verity’s story as I did for Telemakos’. I guess it goes without saying that I was delighted to hear about the release of Rose Under Fire this year and I will always be excited for any new EWein title that will come out in the future.

EWein my own copies

My copies of Elizabeth Wein’s books

That’s the story of how I discovered EWein’s writing, what’s yours? Were her books recommended by someone you trust or you just happened to come across them in the bookstore? Were you introduced to her work through her earlier Lion Hunter novels or through Code Name Verity? For those who first found out about her by reading Code Name Verity, did that make you more curious about the rest of her books? One of the reasons why I’ve wanted to host an EWein week on my blog is to spread the word about the Lion Hunter series because I really think it deserves more attention. And now the Lion Hunter books are readily available in ebook format from Open Road.

I will be traveling from Singapore to Manila today (yay, I’ll be home for Christmas!) so I won’t be able to reply to comments right away but I would love to hear from all of you.

Rose Under Fire US edition

EWein Special Ops: December 21 to 28

First there was the Queen’s Thief Week:

Queen's Thief Badge

Then there was Marchetta Madness:

Marchetta Madness badge

In December, mark your calendars for EWein Special Ops:

EWein Special Ops

If it isn’t obvious yet, EWein Special Ops will be a week-long celebration of Elizabeth Wein’s novels including her Lion Hunters series, Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire. That pretty lady in the picture is a younger Elizabeth Wein. I thought the vintage photo would be perfect for the event’s poster. Fellow EWein fans, I hope you’re just as excited about this event as I am. For those who haven’t read any of her books, there’s plenty of time to catch up before December rolls around. 🙂

Novel Gossip: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Novel Gossip

The bloggers behind Chachic’s Book Nook and See Michelle Read chatting about books, thousands of miles apart.

Novel Gossip is a new feature that my good friend Michelle and I started a few months ago. Our inaugural post was The Chocolate Rose by Laura Florand. We both loved Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (my review, Michelle’s review) last year so Rose Under Fire was one of our most anticipated reads this year. Since it’s a book set in a concentration camp, we were pretty sure that it would be heartbreaking and that it would be a good idea to read this together so we can provide moral support as we go along. Click here to read our thoughts about this historical fiction novel. While we did our best to refrain from putting in spoilers, it’s pretty hard to have an in depth discussion without going into some of the things that happened within the book. If you’d rather go into Rose Under Fire without prior knowledge of its contents, then feel free to skip our discussion (although we hope you’d drop by after finishing the book).

Rose Under Fire UK and US

The UK and US editions, side by side

As always, we had so much fun doing this. It was an interesting conversation since I’m not familiar with concentration camp novels while Michelle has read a lot of them. Plus we grew up in different countries and had different history lessons concerning World War II. It’s funny how details like this affect our reading experience. Watch out for our next Novel Gossip title: Madam, Will You Talk by Mary Stewart.

Book Haul: Royal Mail and USPS Air Mail

In spite of the haze in Singapore reaching hazardous levels, I still had a great day because I received two packages today! I got the first one in the office, which is always a good thing as it brightens up my work day.

Royal Mail from EWein

Royal Mail package from Scotland

Wondering what’s inside?

Rose Under Fire UK signature

UK edition of Rose Under Fire, signed by EWein and includes a rose doodle

It’s the UK edition of Rose Under Fire, Elizabeth Wein’s latest novel! If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’d know that I’m a HUGE fan of EWein’s writing. Code Name Verity was released last year and it soared to my list of favorite books in 2012. I’ve urged other readers to pick up the books in the Lion Hunter series because I think they’re amazing. I was beyond happy when EWein offered to send me a signed copy. Thank you so much for this, EWein! 😀

Mail is usually delivered on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I checked the mail slot for our flat and was pleasantly surprised to see a package waiting for me. My good friend Heidi of Bunbury in the Stacks recently asked for my address because she said she wanted to send me a postcard. Lo and behold, she sends signed books instead!

Air Mail from Heidi

It’s a surprise package from the US!

I really gasped and said “OMG!” when I saw what was inside Heidi’s package. SO thoughtful and generous of her to think of sending these books to me:

Package from Heidi

Rose Under Fire US edition

Signed ARC of the US edition of Rose Under Fire

The Winter Sea signed

Susanna Kearsley’s handwriting is lovely!

Thanks, Heidi, for sending me these! I remember we were chatting on Twitter about how we were curious about The Winter Sea and that it’s a good introduction to Susanna Kearsley’s writing. Looking forward to giving it a try. It doesn’t hurt that the book has such a good cover. And that’s TWO copies of Rose Under Fire! And Maggie is sending me a signed copy of Code Name Verity. I feel like such a spoiled EWein fan now.

Rose Under Fire UK and US

The UK and US editions, side by side. Aren’t they pretty?

I’m continually amazed at how kind authors and fellow bloggers are. It makes me so happy to be a part of this community. Seriously, Thursday is my favorite day this week because of these beautiful books. I can’t wait to read them.