Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Becoming Clementine

We are so excited to have the chance to spotlight Becoming Clementine by Jennifer Niven. The wonderful people of Goldberg-McDuffie Communications have also graciously arranged for us to offer up one copy of the book to our followers. Check out the giveaway details at the end of this post.


 “Niven delivers a heart-stopping tale of wartime intrigue, romance, and high adventure…[a] realistic portrayal of World War II’s horror, heroism and sacrifice.” ~Romantic Times, (Top Pick) 

 “Niven continues her heroine’s growth from small-town Southern girl…[and] gives her plenty of hurdles to overcome, as well as a bit of romance, while readers learn more about the role women played in World War II.” ~Library Journal 

"Powerful, gripping, tragic, romantic, and inspiring. Becoming Clementine is a page-turner of a story, with its riveting, insightful, on-the-ground perspectives of World War II. Spellbinding." ~ James Earl Jones (Tony Award-winning, Emmy Award-winning actor) 

"I found Niven's authentic application of tradecraft a hidden gift in the espionage thriller that is Becoming Clementine. Read it for the intriguing tale and the intriguing tradecraft." ~ Linda McCarthy (founding curator of the CIA Museum) 

Acclaimed author Jennifer Niven has cultivated a devoted readership with her spellbinding Velva Jean series. The bestselling first book, Velva Jean Learns to Drive (her fiction debut), was based on her Emmy Award-winning film of the same name and was an Indie Pick for the August 2009 Indie Next List. Critics and fans alike have fallen in love with her series heroine, Velva Jean Hart. In a starred review for Velva Jean Learns to Fly, the second book in the series, Booklist called Velva Jean “a heroine with grit, grace, determination, and enough humanity to hook readers with ferocious tenderness, making them want to find and befriend her.” Now, Niven returns with BECOMING CLEMENTINE (Plume Original; September 25, 2012; $15.00), Velva Jean’s most thrilling and inspiring high-stakes adventure yet. 

 BECOMING CLEMENTINE honors the often forgotten heroes of WWII—women—and its release coincides with the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, which was a forerunner of the CIA. In addition, this September also marks the 70th anniversary of the first gathering of WASP recruits, who began training in the fall of 1942. 

 It’s summer 1944 and Velva Jean has just become the second woman in history to pilot a bomber across the Atlantic Ocean as a member of the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). After flying the B-17 Flying Fortress into Prestwick, Scotland, she volunteers to copilot a plane carrying special agents to their drop spot over Normandy. Her personal motivation: to find her brother Johnny Clay who is missing in action. But when the plane is shot down over France and only Velva Jean and five agents survive, she is forced to become a fighter; to become a spy; to become Clementine Roux. As she loses herself in her new identity, she also loses her heart: falling in love with her fellow agent, Émile, a handsome and mysterious Frenchman with secrets of his own. When Clementine ends up in the most brutal prison in Paris, trying to help Émile and the team rescue an operative known only as “Swan,” she discovers the depths of human cruelty, the triumph of her own spirit, and the bravery of her team, who will stop at nothing to carry out their mission. And all the while she searches for her brother. Will she find him?  And, at the end of her adventure, will she be able to find herself again?   

 In researching BECOMING CLEMENTINE, Niven wanted to pay homage to the daring women who appeared in their own adventure stories of the 1920s and 1930s like Constance Kurridge and Flyin’ Jenny, comic book heroes who were well ahead of their time. She also turned to her own family history. “Women spies run rampant in my family,” says Niven. “They spied in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. One of these women, Jane Black Thomas, was a Revolutionary War hero and South Carolina’s first feminist. These women have always fascinated me, as has World War II.” 

 Richly textured and historically evocative, BECOMING CLEMENTINE is a captivating story of love and war, identity and sacrifice, and is a must-read for history buffs and fiction lovers of all ages. 

 BECOMING CLEMENTINE by Jennifer Niven Plume Original; September 25th, 2012 / $15.00 / ISBN 978-0452298101

Jennifer Niven lives in Los Angeles, where her film Velva Jean Learns to Drive won an Emmy Award and she received her MFA in screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first book, The Ice Master, was released in November 2000 and named one of the Top Ten Nonfiction Books of the Year by Entertainment Weekly.  A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writer, Jennifer has ten different publishers in ten separate countries, and the book has been translated into German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Danish, and Icelandic, among other languages.  

 Jennifer and The Ice Master have appeared in Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Glamour, The New Yorker, Outside, The New York Times Book Review, The London Daily Mail, The London Times, and Writer's Digest, among others.  Dateline NBC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel have featured The Ice Master and Jennifer in hour-long documentaries, she and the book have appeared frequently on the BBC, and the book has been the subject of numerous German, Canadian, and British television documentaries. The Ice Master has been nominated for awards by the American Library Association and Book Sense, and received Italy's esteemed Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Prize for 2002.   

Jennifer's second book, Ada Blackjack— an inspiring true story of the woman the press called "the female Robinson Crusoe"— was released in November 2003, was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick, has been optioned for the movies, was recently translated into Chinese and French, and will soon be published in Estonian. 

 Her memoir, The Aqua-Net Diaries: Big Hair, Big Dreams, Small Town, was published in February 2010 by Gallery Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, and was optioned by Warner Bros. as a television series.

 Her first novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive (based on the Emmy Award-winning film of the same name), was released July 2009 by Penguin/Plume. It was an Indie Pick for the August 2009 Indie Next List and was also a Costco Book of the Month. The second book in the Velva Jean series, Velva Jean Learns to Fly, was released by Penguin/Plume in August 2011, and the third book in the series, Becoming Clementine, will be published September 25, 2012. She is currently working on the fourth Velva Jean novel, which will be out in the fall of 2013. 

 With her mother, author Penelope Niven, Jennifer has conducted numerous seminars in writing and addressed audiences around the world. 

 For more information, visit her website:

We will be giving away ONE copy of Becoming Clementine by Jennifer Niven. Please fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter. You must be 18+ years of age to win AND a resident of the US. Books will be shipped directly from the publicist. Reading Lark is not responsible for prize delivery or lost books.


  1. Thanks for the giveaway! I've read the second Velva Jean novel and really enjoyed it, especially since the character's from North Carolina (my home state), so I'd love to win the next book!

  2. ths looks a super read. Am eager to give it a try!

  3. This book sounds amazing! The reason that I want to win this book is because I love books about World War II, heroism, spies, and I love the fact that this book focus on a woman bomber who become a spy. Most of these type of books focus on men. Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!

  4. My great aunt was in the Women's Army Corps (WAC), so I'd think I'd really enjoy this! Thanks for the info and chance to win!

  5. Thanks for historical books

  6. The WWII era was so important in the creation of the political world that we still see today. The contributions made to that effort by the women on the Allied side are sometimes overshadowed but were nonetheless of great importance. Whether in fiction or non-fiction, those stories are well worth telling.


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