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“[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.”

NY Times

"Who knew 18th century Sweden could be so much fun? Karen Engelmann's debut novel, The Stockholm Octavo is a juicy page-turner… Engelmann's intellectually playful take on the mathematics of love and power prove irresistible."


“A full deck of piquant pleasures...elegant and precarious... Engelmann 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.”

Washington Post

"Karen Engelmann’s “The Stockholm Octavo” is a bonbon box filled with treats designed to appeal to lovers of literary historical thrillers." 


"This is a swirling, swooping fanfare of a tale, 
with an immense cast and an exhilaratingly sustained finale."

The Guardian

"Elegant and multifaceted, Engelmann’s debut explores love and connection in late-18th-century Sweden and delivers an unusual, richly-imagined read."

Kirkus (Starred)

Karen Engelmann | Writer & Illustrator

Library Journal (Starred)

Karen Engelmann | Writer & Illustrator

Publishers Weekly (starred)

"Mysterious, suspenseful, and, at times, action-packed, Engelmann’s masterful tale brings to mind the work of Katherine Neville (The Eight, 1988), Elizabeth Kostova (The Historian, 2005), and Félix J. Palma (The Map of Time, 2011)."

Booklist (starred)

"This is a brilliant novel of overlapping plots and intersecting characters. Here divination and the Divine Geometry intersect with the fate of a nation, and a faceless government official aligns himself with a clairvoyant, a cross-dressing calligrapher, a shrewd apothecary, a clueless fop, an evil temptress and a tenderhearted artist. The result is a pleasurable read and an impressive debut."

Star Tribune

Dangerous Liaisons meets Charles Dickens. . . Intrigue, lust, poisonous potions, murder, missed opportunities, misunderstandings, artisan French fans, cards —all combine deftly and, sometimes comically, to create a royal drama and a reading romp through the streets and back rooms of Stockholm. . . 
terrific fun.”

Portsmouth Herald

CBS Author Talk (video)

An interview about playing cards, fortunetelling and my favorite monarch. Click here to watch

The Leonard Lopate Show (audio)

A conversation with one of NYC's finest radio hosts. Listen here.

Otherppl with Brad Listi | Episode 124 (audio)

An hour long interview with the fascinating writer and reader Brad Listi from LA. I loved being picked by his book club THE NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (and the logo for the show!) Get a big glass of wine or a cup of strong coffee and have a listen!

Author Magazine with Bill Kenower (audio)

A fun interview with Bill Kenower of Author Magazine, a publication of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Filmed on the top floor of the Swedish Cultural Center in Seattle, with the scents of the December Julbord wafting up the stairs.

Check this out here.

Library Thing

I love all things library — here is an interview with Librarything's Jeremy Dibbell.


GOODREADS members have loads to say about the books they read — and the editors of the site gave me a chance to answer some questions about TSO, my experiences with fortunetelling, and the cards.

Click here.


BOOKPAGE posted this interview — Fate-charged Cards Hold the Keys to the Kingdom. Click to find out more.

Foyles Bookstore London

The Foyles editors asked some of the best (and hardest to answer!) questions. It was pleasure for me. Read them here.

Mea Culpa, Minerva and Mars (Powell’s Books)

An essay about a historical fiction writer's worst nightmare. All true. Even the horrid pimple. Read it here.

Karen Engelmann | Writer & Illustrator

Still Crazy for Him After All These Years (Wall Street Journal Travelers’ Tales)

STILL CRAZY FOR HIM AFTER ALL THESE YEARS — a true story about my search for an old flame in Stockholm. Read it here.

Karen Engelmann | Writer & Illustrator