Firstly, welcome to all those who've joined the group recently. Very much looking forward to seeing you at one of our meetups soon.
Our next meetup is on Monday 16 April to discuss "Pure" by Andrew Miller. Please RSVP when you get a chance if you haven't done so yet. Details here:http://www.meetup.com/London-Historical-Fiction-Book-Group/events/46925352/
After that, we meet on Monday 11 June and it's time to choose the book for that so everyone has plenty of time to get it and read it.
I've created a poll for everyone to vote on the June book from the shortlist detailed below. Please go to the Polls section to vote.http://www.meetup.com/London-Historical-Fiction-Book-Group/polls/
Below are details of each of the shortlisted books. Please vote for as many books as you like. The most popular one will be our June read.
I will close the poll as soon as sufficient people have voted, hopefully in ten days' time or so.
Thanks and happy reading
Half of the Human Race by Anthony Quinn (2011)
Summer of 1911. The streets of London ring with cheers for a new king's coronation and the cries of increasingly violent suffragette protests. Connie Callaway, fired up by the possibilities of independence, wants more than the conventional comforts of marriage. Spirited and courageous, she is determined to fight for 'the greatest cause the world has ever known'. Will Maitland, the rising star of county cricket, is a man of traditional opinions. He is both intrigued and appalled by Connie's outspokenness and her quest for self-fulfilment. Buffeted and spun by choice and chance, their lives become inextricably entangled, even as the outbreak of war drives them further apart. This is a deeply affecting story of love against all the odds.
The History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason (2011)
It is 1907. The belle époque is in full swing. Piet Barol has escaped the drabness of the provinces for the grandest mansion in Amsterdam. As tutor to the son of Europe's wealthiest hotelier, he learns the intimate secrets of this glittering family - and changes it forever. With nothing but his exquisite looks and wit to rely on, he is determined to make a fortune of his own. But in the heady exhilaration of this new world, amid delights and temptations he has only dreamed of, Piet discovers that some of the liaisons he has cultivated are dangerous indeed.
The Maid by Kimberly Cutter (2011)
It is the early part of the fifteenth century and the tumultuous Hundred Years War rages on. In the quiet of her parents' garden in Domremy, a twelve-year-old peasant girl, Jehanne, hears a voice that will change her life - and the course of European history. The tale of Jehanne d'Arc, the saint and warrior who believed she had been chosen by God to save France, and who led an army of 10,000 soldiers against the English, has captivated our imagination for centuries. The Maid is an unforgettable novel about the power and burden of faith, and the exhilarating and devastating consequences of fame.
The Passionate Brood by Margaret Campbell Barnes (1944)
In this compelling novel of love, loyalty, and lost chances, Margaret Campbell Barnes gives readers a new perspective on Richard the Lionheart's triumphs and tragedies. Drawing on folklore, Barnes explores what might have happened if King Richard's foster brother were none other than Robin Hood, a legendary figure more vibrant that most in authentic history. Thick as thieves as Richard builds a kingdom and marshals a crusade, the two clash when Robin Hood so provokes the king's white-hot temper that Richard banishes him. The Passionate Brood is a tale of a man driven to win back the Holy Land, beset by the guilt of being the lionhearted leader of the Plantagenets.
To Kill a Tsar by Andrew Williams (2010)
2 April 1879, St Petersburg. A shot rings out in Palace Square. The Tsar is unhurt, but badly shaken. Cossack guards tackle the would-be assassin to the ground. And in the melee no one notices a pretty, dark-haired young woman in a heavy coat walk purposefully away from the scene. Russia is alive with revolutionaries and this is just one of many assassination attempts on the unpopular Tsar Alexander II. For Dr Frederick Hadfield, part of the Anglo-Russian establishment with a medical practice dependent on the patronage of the nobility, politics is a distraction. But when he meets the passionate idealist Anna Petrovna, he finds himself drawn into a dangerous double life. Set in a world of stark contrasts, from glittering ballrooms to the cruel cells of the House of Preliminary Detention, from the grandeur of the British Embassy to the underground presses of the young revolutionaries, To Kill a Tsar is both a gripping thriller and a passionate love story.