[bksvol-discuss] Fw: Historical Fiction January 2010

  • From: "Amber Wallenstein" <amber.wallens@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010 11:53:40 -0500

New and Recently Released!

The Burning Land - by Bernard Cornwell
Publisher: HarperCollins
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 01/19/2010
ISBN-13: 9780060888749
ISBN-10: 0060888741
Uhtred is a Saxon who was raised by Danes and a pagan in an England that's 
becoming increasingly Christian. Unsure of where he belongs, Uhtred leaves 
King Alfred and returns to the place of his birth. But while he's off fighting 
to reclaim his ancestral home of Bebbanburg, his rival Harald Bloodhair
has his eye on Alfred's throne--meaning that Uhtred will have to decide where 
his loyalties truly lie. Ninth-century Britain comes to life in this 5th
installment of Bernard Cornwell's King Alfred the Great series, which begins 
with The Last Kingdom. Don't want to commit to a series? Cornwell is also
the author of the standalone novel Agincourt, which recounts the famous battle 
between Henry V's English forces and their French adversaries.

Sand Daughter - by Sarah Bryant
Publisher: Berkley Books
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 10/06/2009
ISBN-13: 9780425229804
ISBN-10: 0425229807
It's the 12th century and the Christian Franji (Franks), led by the Knights 
Templar, are struggling to retain control of the Holy Land while Saladin 
to unite the Muslim world in opposition. As battles rage and alliances shift, 
two young Bedouins become pawns in the conflict. Khalidah, desperate to escape
an arranged marriage, runs away with traveling singer Suleyman, who has 
promised to take her to Qaf, the home of her mother's people. Meanwhile, 
childhood friend Bilal becomes a spy for both the Franji and the Arabs while he 
struggles with divided loyalties. If you enjoy historical fiction about
the Crusades, try Pamela Kaufman's Crusader trilogy or Evan S. Connell's Deus 
lo Volt!

The Listener - by Shira Nayman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 12/29/2009
ISBN-13: 9780743292825
ISBN-10: 0743292820
In 1947, psychiatrist Dr. Henry Harrison, director of Shadowbrook hospital, 
encounters the strangest case of his career. His newest patient, Bertram Reiner,
is a German-born biochemist who fought for the U.S. during World War II and has 
voluntarily committed himself to the asylum. But not because he's mentally
ill, Bertram insists; he's there because he believes his Nazi brother is out to 
get him. Initially skeptical, Harrison begins to wonder if Bertram is telling
the truth after he sees a strange man on the hospital grounds. At the same 
time, Harrison must wrestle with his own demons. For another book about the
complex relationship between a psychiatrist and a soldier, you might try Pat 
Barker's WWI-set Regeneration; if you enjoy suspenseful stories set in 
hospitals, you may also enjoy Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island.
First Chapter

The Creed of Violence - by Boston Teran
Publisher: Counterpoint
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 10/20/2009
ISBN-13: 9781582435251
ISBN-10: 1582435251
Rawbone was only a boy when he first killed a man, an act that kicked off an 
impressive criminal career. But when he's caught smuggling munitions across
the U.S. border into Mexico, he's in danger of going to prison for a very long 
time...until he makes a deal with the Bureau of Investigation, the forerunner
of the modern-day FBI. Rawbone agrees to turn informant in exchange for 
immunity from prosecution--and with the 1910 Mexican Revolution looming, he 
into the desert with agent John Lourdes to infiltrate the ranks of the 
revolutionaries. But unbeknownst to everyone but Lourdes, he and Rawbone have a
history. With its rugged setting, psychologically complex characters, and 
violent undertones, The Creed of Violence will appeal to fans of Cormac 
Focus on: Servants

The Blood of Flowers: A Novel - by Anita Amirrezvani
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 05/02/2008
ISBN-13: 9780316065771
ISBN-10: 0316065773
In 17th-century Persia, one nameless girl's life changes forever when an 
ill-omened comet streaks across the sky. Soon after the event, the girl's father
dies unexpectedly, and she and her mother travel to Isfahan to the house of her 
uncle, who is the Shah's carpet maker. While her role is that of a servant,
she soon becomes something of an apprentice, learning everything about the 
carpet trade. That's not the only change in her life: instead of the marriage
she's long anticipated, she must submit to a sigheh--a temporary, renewable 
marriage contract lasting three months--in order to earn her keep. But the
girl, who has discovered a passion for making carpets, has other ideas. Don't 
miss this "lushly orchestrated debut" (Publishers Weekly) by Iranian-American
author Anita Amirrezvani.

The Nature of Monsters - by Clare Clark
Publisher: Harcourt
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 05/07/2007
ISBN-13: 9780151012060
ISBN-10: 0151012067
In 1718 England, 16-year-old Eliza Tally is pregnant and homeless. Cast off by 
the wealthy lover who had promised to marry her, Eliza travels to London
where she becomes an apothecary's maid. Her new employer, Grayson Black, is an 
eccentric would-be scientist who keeps his face veiled at all times. However,
Eliza soon comes to realize that Black's face isn't the only thing he keeps 
well hidden. As her pregnancy progresses, he reveals a darker side of himself
and Eliza must find a way to escape. Chilling and atmospheric, this book by the 
author of The Great Stink combines rich historical detail with the suspense
of a horror novel and will appeal to readers who enjoyed Valerie Martin's Mary 
First Chapter

Oscar Wilde Discovers America: A Novel - by Louis Edwards
Publisher: Scribner
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 01/01/2003
ISBN-13: 9780743236898
ISBN-10: 0743236890
Recent college graduate William Traquair is at loose ends. As a young 
African-American man and the son of a household servant, William finds that his 
and ambitions don't match up with society's expectations. But the future grows 
brighter when, through the intervention of his father's wealthy employer,
he becomes Oscar Wilde's personal valet. Accompanying the famous playwright and 
aesthete on his grand tour of America, William--dubbed "Traquair" by his
new boss--experiences more than he ever thought possible and begins to see 
himself clearly for the first time. Kirkus Reviews, in a starred review, calls
Oscar Wilde Discovers America "tremendous fun" with "just the right savvy, 
melodrama, wit, and fantasy."
First Chapter

Alias Grace - Atwood, Margaret
Publisher: Nan A. Talese
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 12/01/1996
ISBN-13: 9780385475716
ISBN-10: 0385475713
Intrigued by contemporary reports of a sensational murder trial in 1843 Canada, 
Atwood has drawn a compelling portrait of what might have been. Her protagonist,
the real life Grace Marks, is an enigma. Convicted at age 16 of the murder of 
her employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper and lover, Nancy Montgomery,
Grace escaped the gallows when her sentence was commuted to life in prison, but 
she also spent some years in an insane asylum after an emotional breakdown.
Because she gave three different accounts of the killings, and because she was 
accused of being the sole perpetrator by the man who was hanged for the
crime, Grace's life and mind are fertile territory for Atwood. Adapting her 
style to the period she describes, she has written a typical Victorian novel,
leisurely in exposition, copiously detailed and crowded with subtly drawn 
characters who speak the embroidered, pietistic language of the time. She has
created a probing psychological portrait of a working-class woman victimized by 
society because of her poverty, and victimized again by the judicial and
prison systems. The narrative gains texture and tension from the dynamic 
between Grace and an interlocutor, earnest young bachelor Dr. Simon Jordan, who
is investigating the causes of lunacy with plans to establish his own, more 
enlightened institution. Jordan is hoping to awaken Grace's suppressed memories
of the day of the murder, but Grace, though uneducated, is far wilier than 
Jordan, whom she tells only what she wishes to confess. He, on the other hand,
is handicapped by his compassion, which makes him the victim of the wiles of 
other women, too--his passionate, desperate landlady, and the virginal but
predatory daughter of the prison governor. These encounters give Atwood the 
chance to describe the war between the sexes with her usual wit. Although the
narrative holds several big surprises, the central question--Was Grace dupe and 
victim or seductress and instigator of the bloody crime?--is left tantalizingly
First Chapter

Lady's Maid: A Novel - by Margaret Forster
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 05/15/2007
ISBN-13: 9780345497437
ISBN-10: 0345497430
The romance of Victorian poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning unfolds 
before the eyes of Barrett's devoted maid, Lily Wilson. Arriving at Wimpole
Street in 1844, Wilson soon becomes more than a servant to her frail and 
reclusive yet highly intelligent mistress. After Browning arrives on the scene,
Wilson serves as friend and confidante throughout the couple's secret courtship 
and marriage--even serving as the sole witness at their wedding. But when
the lovers decide to elope to Italy, Wilson risks losing everything. Told 
largely through Wilson's correspondence with her mother, Lady's Maid is both
a love story and a penetrating examination of social class.

Afterimage: A Novel - by Helen Humphreys
Publisher: HarperCollins
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 07/10/2009
ISBN-13: 9781554684731
ISBN-10: 1554684730
In 1865, Annie Phelan takes a position as a maid in the English country home of 
Isabelle and Eldon Dashell. Annie, orphaned by the Irish famine, is used
to being a servant--but she's never had employers like the Dashells, who don't 
believe in God, are up-to-date on the latest scientific breakthroughs, and
are largely unconcerned with what society thinks of them. Eldon, a cartographer 
who longs to be an explorer, busies himself with planning an expedition
to the Arctic, while Lady Isabella explores her talent for photography, finding 
her muse in Annie. This novel by Canadian author Helen Humphreys is inspired
by the life and work of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

Mr. Darwin's Shooter - by Roger McDonald
Publisher: PGW
Check Library Catalog
Pub Date: 01/21/2008
ISBN-13: 9780802143563
ISBN-10: 0802143563
This fictional chronicle of the life of Charles Darwin's assistant Syms 
Covington begins in 1859 as he awaits his copy of his former employer's 
magnum opus, On the Origin of Species. But the story actually begins in 1831, 
when Covington joins the crew of the HMS Beagle and makes the acquaintance
of a young naturalist by the name of Darwin. Soon, the lad becomes Darwin's 
"shooter," helping to collect the specimens that will form the basis of the
theory of natural selection, as well as Darwin's manservant and amanuensis. But 
as Covington realizes the implications of their work and its potential
impact on society, he begins to have grave reservations.

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