Revolution and unrest are boiling up on the continent of Europe, but Sweden seems immune. All is well in the capitol city of Stockholm or so it seems to Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise and a true man of the Town – drinker, card shark, and contented bachelor. That is until Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, fortune-teller and proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares a vision of a golden path that will lead Emil to love and connection.
Mrs. Sparrow lays an Octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals
who can help him realize this vision–if he can find them. But as Emil eagerly searches for his eight,
he comes to the startling realization that finding them is no longer just a game of the heart,
but crucial to foiling the assassination of King Gustav III and pulling his country back
from the crumbling precipice of rebellion and chaos.
Historical fiction set in the far north during the turbulence of the late 18th century,
The Stockholm Octavo portrays a world of intrigue, betrayal and love infused with
cartomancy, folding fans, and the inevitability of fate.
New York Times Editor's Choice. Amazon Editor's Choice. Kirkus Best Fiction 2012.
Starred reviews: Kirkus, Library Journal, Booklist and Publisher's Weekly.
“[A] deliciously sly first novel...The Stockholm Octavo is an irresistible cipher between two covers—an atmospheric tale of many rogues and a few innocents gambling on politics and romance in the cold, cruel north.”
“A full deck of piquant pleasures...elegant and precarious... captures the lost enterprises and values of another time, the weird customs that strike us as alien and foolish. . . . [and] craftily unfolds her fictional story pleat by pleat within the real history of 1792.”
"Powdered wigs, poisoned fans and a lively deck of cards. … Karen Engelmann’s The Stockholm Octavo is a bonbon box filled with treats designed to appeal to lovers of literary historical thrillers."
"Who knew 18th century Sweden could be so much fun?
…The Stockholm Octavo is a juicy
page-turner… Engelmann's intellectually playful take on the mathematics of love and power proves irresistible."
"Sweden's golden age is spiritedly captured in this finely wrought historical fiction… This is a swirling, swooping fanfare of a tale, with an immense cast and an exhilaratingly sustained finale."
"Set during the reign of King Gustav III, the novel blends political intrigue, fortune-telling, alchemy, skullduggery, high treason and love. The plot is so compelling it will keep you up at night, and the characters so well crafted you will gladly follow them through the streets and alleys of 18th-century Stockholm."
A collection for ages 12-17 that explores a turbulent time in the western world. My piece on King Gustav III is included. Starred reviews in Publisher's Weekly
Illustrated short stories about the memories that holiday ornaments hold, written when my children were small and with them in mind.
The curtain rises on mortality, memory, betrayals, obsession, murder, costumes, and love when Miss Hall joins a clinical trial for longevity. A black comedy about end of life choices, Miss Hall’s Last Costume portrays a leading lady in an unforgettable last act.
The island of Manhattan, ravaged by superstorms and infrastructure collapse, is now a wildly popular national park, closed to permanent residents but open to courageous tourists 6 months per year. Park Intern Tree Andrews finds danger, passion and beauty in the ruins.