I've just created a poll to choose the next book. Please vote for up to four books. The most popular one will be our October read. If the second most popular book also gets plenty of votes, then that will be our December read.
More details on the books are given below. I will close the poll as soon as sufficient people have voted, hopefully in no more than a week to 10 days' time.
Please visit the Polls section to vote:http://www.meetup.com/London-Historical-Fiction-Book-Group/polls/
While you're there, please also vote for the next date in the other poll if you haven't done so yet.
The books are as follows (date shown is of first publication, page numbers and RRP relate to the current paperback edition):
(NB. I've included the links to Amazon UK but you may be able to find the book more cheaply on other sites such as Play.com, Awesome Books or Green Metropolis. I'm sure you have your favourites. Aphrohead and The Book Depository are other sites to check out for new books with free delivery.)
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan (2007)
pages: 432; RRP: ?7.99http://www.amazon.co.uk/Loving-Frank-Nancy-Horan/dp/0340919442/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250083654&sr=8-1
In the early 1900s, polite Chicago society was rocked by terrible scandal as renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright ran off with Mamah Cheney, a client's wife. Abandoning their families and reputations, the lovers fled to Europe and exile. Mamah's actions branded her an unnatural mother and society relished her persecution. For the rest of her life Mamah paid an extraordinary price for moving outside society's rules, in a time that was unforgiving of a woman's quest for fulfilment and personal happiness. Headstrong and honest, her love for Frank was unstoppable. This portrait of her life as his muse and soulmate is a moving, passionate and timeless love story.
Affinity by Sarah Waters (1999)
pages: 368; RRP: ?7.99http://www.amazon.co.uk/Affinity-Sarah-Waters/dp/1844085007/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250083856&sr=1-2
Set in and around the women's prison at Milbank in the 1870s, Affinity is an eerie and utterly compelling ghost story, a complex and intriguing literary mystery and a poignant love story with an unexpected twist in the tale. Following the death of her father, Margaret Prior has decided to pursue some 'good work' with the lady criminals of one of London's most notorious gaols. Surrounded by prisoners, murderers and common thieves, Margaret feels herself drawn to one of the prisons more unlikely inmates - the imprisoned spiritualist Selina Dawes. Sympathetic to the plight of this innocent-seeming girl, Margaret sees herself dispensing guidance and perhaps friendship on her visits, little expecting to find herself dabbling in a twilight world of seances, shadows, unruly spirits and unseemly passions.
Gypsy by Lesley Pearse (2008)
pages: 544; RRP: ?6.99http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gypsy-Lesley-Pearse/dp/0141030496/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250084021&sr=1-1
Liverpool, 1893, and tragedy sends Beth Bolton on a journey far from home ... Fifteen-year-old Beth's dreams are shattered when she, her brother Sam and baby sister Molly are orphaned. Sam believes that only in America can they make their fortunes so, reluctantly leaving Molly with adoptive parents, brother and sister embark on the greatest adventure of their lives. Onboard the steamer to New York there are rogues aplenty. But Beth's talent with the fiddle earns her the nickname Gypsy - and the friendship of charismatic gambler Theo and sharp-witted Londoner, Jack. And after dodging trouble across America, finally the foursome head for the dangerous mountains of Canada and the Klondike river in search of gold. How far must Beth go to find happiness? And will her travels lead this gypsy to a place she can call home?
Mr Timothy by Louis Bayard (2003)
pages: 400; RRP: ?7.99http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mr-Timothy-Louis-Bayard/dp/0719567025/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250084194&sr=1-1
In Louis Bayard's brilliantly imagined novel, Tiny Tim of 'Christmas Carol' fame has cast his crutches aside. Determined to cut his financial ties to his Uncle Ebenezer, he now spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasure hidden in their pockets. One day, he comes across a girl's body, branded with a mysterious 'G'. Then he finds another girl with a similar brand - but she is still alive. Determined to protect Philomela and get to the bottom of the mystery, Tim embarks on an astonishing adventure... With wonderful characters, a compelling plot and the vivid atmosphere of Victorian London, this page-turner is gripping from beginning to end.
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (1974)
pages: 416; RRP: ?7.99http://www.amazon.co.uk/Killer-Angels-Michael-Shaara/dp/1846970865/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250084528&sr=1-1
This title is a novelized account of the Battle of Gettysburg that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1975. It is the third summer of the war...On June 15, 1863, Robert Lee's Confederate Army of Northern Virginia slips across the Potomac to begin the invasion of the North. His army is 70,000 strong but mostly unpaid and self-equipped. It has won nearly every battle it has fought. Lee knows a letter has been written, a letter offering peace. It is to be placed on the desk of Abraham Lincoln the day after Lee has won this battle.
Empress Orchid by Anchee Min (2004)
pages: 352; RRP: ?7.99http://www.amazon.co.uk/Empress-Orchid-Anchee-Min/dp/0747568332/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250084759&sr=1-1
An enthralling, erotic story of Imperial China from the author of Red Azalea and Becoming Madame Mao. To rescue her family from poverty and avoid marrying her slope-shouldered cousin, seventeen-year-old Orchid competes to be one of the Emperor's wives. When she is chosen as a lower-ranking concubine she enters the erotically charged and ritualised Forbidden City. But beneath its immaculate facade lie whispers of murders and ghosts, and the thousands of concubines will stoop to any lengths to bear the Emperor's son. Orchid trains herself in the art of pleasuring a man, bribes her way into the royal bed, and seduces the monarch, drawing the attention of dangerous foes. Little does she know that China will collapse around her, and that she will be its last Empress.