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London Historical Fiction Book Group Message Board › London Historical Fiction Book Group - Help choose our September book

London Historical Fiction Book Group - Help choose our September book

user 7750145
Group Organizer
London, GB
Hi everyone.

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 23 July to discuss "The Ground is Burning" by Samuel Black. Please RSVP when you get a chance if you haven't done so yet. Details here:­

After that, we will meet on Monday 10 September and it's time to choose the book for that.

I've created a poll for everyone to vote on the September book from the shortlist detailed below.
Please go to the Polls section to vote.­

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 September read.
I will close the poll in a week or so.

Thanks and happy reading

The Solitude of Thomas Cave by Georgina Harding (2007)
Pages: 256

In 1616, as the last warm days dwindle in the north Atlantic, the men on an English whaling ship prepare to head back toward home. But there is one exception among them: the quiet, headstrong Thomas Cave. For Cave has bet the rest of the crew that he can spend a winter on this Arctic island. Alone.
His shipmates sail away, the days shorten, and the cold weather moves in. Thomas Cave faces months of darkness, ice, and blizzards. He has nothing to his name except his rations, shelter, and a journal—a record in case he doesn't survive to tell his story. But nothing so threatens the willful sailor as his own mind: he is haunted by the remembrances of another life and a lost love. From his post at the edge of the known world, Cave sees his own past, and begins to reflect on man's relationship with God and the wilderness.
A beautiful, ghostly tale, The Solitude of Thomas Cave brings us back to the beginning of the modern world, in a story infused with the violence, power and beauty that define both man and nature.

Wallis by Rebecca Dean (2012)
(published in the US as 'The Shadow Queen')
Pages: 464­

Wallis Simpson, the woman for whom King Edward VIII gave up a throne, is a woman of myth and legend. She was also a woman of many secrets - secrets even the enslaved Edward and those who reviled her, never suspected.
Rebecca Dean takes us into the world that formed her. The Baltimore childhood where she had to subsist on charity, desperately wanting to be part of an elite social circle denied to her and yet hers by right. Her girlhood where, uncaring of the conventions of the time, she discovered the power she was always to have over men. Her first marriage to a violently abusive husband, her precarious and reckless years in Peking and Shanghai and the glamorous years in 1930's London when, as Mrs Ernest Simpson, her finely-honed social climbing skills culminate in an introduction that will alter the course of British royal history - her introduction to Edward, Prince of Wales.
Within the freedom that a novel gives, Rebecca Dean brings together aspects of Wallis Simpson's life previously only hinted at. This is Wallis as she has never been seen before - a Wallis with whom the reader can at last be in sympathy with.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)
Pages: 368­

WINNER OF THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2012.   Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Despite their differences, Achilles befriends the shamed prince, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, Achilles must go to war in distant Troy and fulfill his destiny. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus goes with him, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Inquisition by Alfredo Colitto (2011)
Pages: 496­

A Templar in disguise. A dangerous scientist. And a killer who turns hearts to iron . . . In 14th-century Italy, Mondino is a university anatomist - a man of science in a land governed by the brutal Inquisition. But the corpse brought to Mondino's laboratory one stormy night defies natural law: The victim is a Templar knight, and his heart has been transformed into a block of iron. Is it alchemy? Or the diabolical work of an ingenious killer? Aided by his headstrong student Gerardo - a young man concealing a deadly secret identity - Mondino must outwit both ruthless Inquisitors and vengeful Templars if he's to stop a murderer who threatens to shake the very foundations of Christendom.

The Glass Room by Simon Mawer (2009)
Pages: 416­

Cool. Balanced. Modern. The precisions of science, the wild variance of lust, the catharsis of confession and the fear of failure - these are things that happen in the Glass Room.
High on a Czechoslovak hill, the Landauer House shines as a wonder of steel and glass and onyx built specially for newlyweds Viktor and Liesel Landauer, a Jew married to a gentile. But the radiant honesty of 1930 that the house, with its unique Glass Room, seems to engender quickly tarnishes as the storm clouds of WW2 gather, and eventually the family must flee, accompanied by Viktor's lover and her child.
But the house's story is far from over, and as it passes from hand to hand, from Czech to Russian, both the best and the worst of the history of Eastern Europe becomes somehow embodied and perhaps emboldened within the beautiful and austere surfaces and planes so carefully designed, until events become full-circle.


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