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Karin Tanabe Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The List (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Price of Inheritance (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gilded Years (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Diplomat's Daughter (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Hundred Suns (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Woman of Intelligence (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Sunset Crowd (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Karin Tanabe is a literature and fiction and historical fiction author that is best known for her blockbuster novels “The List,” “The Gilded Years,” and “The Diplomat’s Daughter.” Her third novel “The Gilded Years” is the story of a black girl that passed as white until she was exposed by a fellow student. The novel was adapted into “White Lie,” a major motion picture by Sony Pictures that won the seven-way studio auction. All four of Karin’s novels have been widely covered in the media on publications such as “People,” “NPR,” “Town & Country,” “The Washington Post,” “Essence,” “USA Today,” “Time,” and “The Skimm.” “A Hundred Suns” published in 2020 is a 1930s psychological thriller set in Vietnam. Before she became an author, Karin was a reporter and writer at “Politico” and is still a frequent contributor to several national papers as a features writer and book reviewer. She went to Vassar College for her undergraduate studies and currently lives with her husband and children in Washington, DC.

Tanabe was born to a writer father and hence writing was something that she was always familiar with right from her childhood. She would see friends that had fathers that were doctors or nuclear physicists and thought them too boring as compared to writer. As such, she always loved making up stories and by the time she was nine, she knew that she was destined to be an author. She was attending a writing workshop where the modus operandi was to turn down the lights and the students had to write anything that came from their creative minds. It was a magical experience that got her hooked into writing. After graduating from high school, she attended Vassar College and it is from her time at the college that she found inspiration for her third novel “The Gilded Years.” Her desire to become a professional author grew even stronger in college as she fantasized about becoming a poet or playwright. A few years after her graduation from Vassar, she got a job at “Politico” and freelanced at several other publications. She would work for several years as a feature writer and columnist. According to the author, She had decided against becoming an author since she as not ready for the tough slog of fiction writing and journalism seemed like a sure bet if she wanted to start bringing in income immediately. However, she was still writing in her spare time and Atria Books offered her a book deal in 2012. She published her debut novel “The List” in 2013 and has never looked back since. Among her inspirations are Kazuo Ishiguro, Irwin Shaw, Jane Smiley, Edith Wharton, Joyce Carol Oates, and Dorothy Parker.

Karin Tanabe started out writing chick-lit but the path to historical fiction was a very straightforward one. As a former journalist, she missed doing research and started writing the manuscript for Diplomat’s Daughter that she knew would require some research. “The List” her debut novel required little imagination and no study of history since it was a story drawn for her own experiences living side by side with the elite of Washington. Tanabe then wrote the novel “The Price of Inheritance” which was an analysis of the art world in New York where she had worked for a time. “The Gilded Years” that was a historical novel required a lot of research even though she got some help from fellow alumna that had attended Vassar College with her. The novel would soon eclipse all of her other works become a best seller that her publisher suggested she write historical fiction from then on.

Karin Tanabe’s debut novel “The List” introduces Adrienne Brown, a twenty-eight-year-old graduate of Wellesley College. She had recently quit her job at “Town & Country” as she had found another one at the “Capitolist.” Beltway insiders referred to the publication as “the List” given that it is the only media outlet that was expanding in the capital. However, given that it is a smaller paper, Adrienne has to take a pay cut, which means moving back in with her parents and giving up the Louboutins. She is certain that the move will change her career trajectory but she soon realizes that while it does change her life, it is not in the way she expected. She has to adapt to the insane pace of the Capitolist and this means writing up to ten stories a day some of which she has to write on her computer and Blackberry sometimes on her commute. She is also expected to write back to her editor within three minutes of getting an email. But just as she is about to be overwhelmed by the workload, she finds a juicy political story that involves a popular senator who has a thing with her rival. She thinks that she has the scoop of a lifetime as she learns there is more to the story than meets the eye. But she cannot decide if she should go public with the story yet.

Tanabe’s “The Price of Inheritance” is the thrilling story of Carolyn Everett, a twenty-nine-year-old rising star at Christie’s, where she has been working for nearly a decade. But she is undone by a scandal after one wrong decision and is left broken and unemployed. Desperate to get her life back on track, she leaves New York and finds work at a tiny antique store in Rhode Island. Attending a small county auction, she stumbles upon a rare piece of Middle Eastern pottery and on a hunch, she gets it for twenty bucks. She is curious about the owner and sets out to find him. Her investigations take her to the US Navy Base in town, where she meets Tyler Ford, a Marine Sergeant. He is a notorious womanizer that tells her that he got the antique from a translator when he was working in the Middle East during the Iraq War. While they could not be any more different, they both develop an obsession with the bizarre piece of pottery and with each other. But then the source of the piece comes under scrutiny and reveals a darker side to Tyler that smells of scandal. But can Carolyn survive another scandal, particularly when it involves the man she has fallen for?

“The Gilded Years” by Karin Tanabe is a captivating historical fiction novel inspired by the true story of the first black student to ever attend Vassar College. Anita Hemmings had always longed to become a student at Vassar the most exclusive women’s school in the US. She had finally been granted admission and is a senior in the 1897 class. However, she had only gotten admission since she is an African American that could pass for white with her dark hair and olive complexion. But in her final year, she is bunking with Louise Taylor, a girl that comes from one of the most prominent families of New York. While she has managed to keep a low profile so far, it is impossible to do so with Louise who is inescapable with her verve and energy and it is not long before the two are inseparable. Introduced into the world of elites, she learns what it means to be seen as an educated and wealthy white woman. She is also dating a handsome and moneyed Harvard student until Louise becomes obsessed with Frederick who is Anita’s brother. Nothing has ever threatened her secret as much as this and as her graduation day looms, things could become even more perilous.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Karin Tanabe

2 Responses to “Karin Tanabe”

  1. Dianne Boadle: 2 years ago

    I have read a review for The Gilded Years and have ordered it for myself but I cannot find on any of the book stores I have searched and The Vanishing Half is not mentioned anywhere. I even googled Karen and it is not mentioned in the list of her books. Has it had a title changed?

    • Graeme: 2 years ago

      The Gilded Years is available at numerous bookstores I checked such as Amazon. The Vanishing Half was a novel written by Brit Bennett, not Karen.


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