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

London Historical Fiction Book Group - Help choose our book for September

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 21 July to discuss "Augustus” by John Williams. Please RSVP when you get a chance if you haven't done so yet. Details here:­

This will again take place at our new venue, Penderal’s Oak in Holborn.

After that, we will meet on Monday 15 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 score each book out of 10, indicating your interest in it.
The most popular one will be our September read.
I will close the poll in about a couple of weeks’ time.

Thanks and happy reading


The Potter's Hand by A N Wilson (2012)
Pages: 512­

In 1774, Josiah Wedgwood, master craftsman possessed with a burning scientific vision, embarks upon the thousand piece Frog Service for Catherine the Great. Josiah's nephew Tom journeys to America to buy clay from the Cherokee for this exquisite china. Tom is caught up in the American rebellion, and falls for a Cherokee woman who will come to play a crucial role in Josiah's late, great creation: the Portland Vase. As the family fortune is made, and Josiah's entrepreneurial brilliance creates an empire that will endure for generations, it is his daughter Sukey, future mother of Charles Darwin, who bears clear-eyed witness. A novel of epic scope, rich in warmth, intellect and humanity, The Potter's Hand explores the lives and loves of one of Britain's greatest families, whose travails are both ordinary - births, deaths, marriages, opium addiction, depression - and utterly extraordinary.

The Maid's Version by Daniel Woodrell (2013)
Pages: 176­

In 1929, an explosion at a dance hall in a Missouri town killed 42 people. Who was to blame? Mobsters from St. Louis? Embittered gypsies? The preacher who railed against the loose morals of the waltzing couples? Or could it have been a colossal accident?

Alma Dunahew, whose scandalous younger sister was among the dead, believes she knows the answer - and that its roots lie in a dangerous love affair. But no one will listen to a woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Maid to a prominent citizen, wife of a hopeless alcoholic, her dogged pursuit of justice makes her an outcast and causes a long-standing rift with her own son. It is only decades later that her grandson listens to her account and unearths the sorry truth.

With remarkable economy, Daniel Woodrell tells a richly layered story of passion, betrayal and vengeance and two families at opposite ends of the social scale connected down the generations by a festering secret. This is a stunning novel by a writer hailed by Roddy Doyle as 'one of the world's greatest novelists'.

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (2013)
Pages: 320­

In 1919 Emily Ehrlich watches as two young airmen, Alcock and Brown, emerge from the carnage of World War One to pilot the very first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to the west of Ireland. In 1845 Frederick Douglass, a black American slave, lands in Ireland to champion ideas of democracy and freedom, only to find a famine unfurling at his feet. And in 1998 Senator George Mitchell criss-crosses the ocean in search of an elusive Irish peace. Stitching these stories intricately together, Colum McCann sets out to explore the fine line between what is real and what is imagined, and the tangled skein of connections that make up our lives.

Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough (2014)
Pages: 448­

From author of THE THORN BIRDS, one of the biggest-selling books of all time, comes this epic saga of love, betrayal and redemption in 1920s Australia.
The four Latimer sisters are famous throughout New South Wales for their beauty, wit, ambition and sisterly love. They thought that would never change.
But then they left home to train as nurses, swapping the feather beds of their father's townhouse for the spartan bunks of nursing accommodation. And now, as the Depression casts its shadow across Australia, they must confront their own secret desires as the world changes around them. Will the sisters find the independence they crave? Or is life - like love - always bittersweet?

After Flodden by Rosemary Goring (2013)
Pages: 336­

Patrick Paniter was James IV's right-hand man, a diplomatic genius who was in charge of the guns at the disastrous battle of Flodden in September 1513 in which the English annihilated the Scots. After the death of his king he is tormented by guilt as he relives the events that led to war. When Louise Brenier, daughter of a rogue sea trader, asks his help in finding out if her brother Benoit was killed in action, it is the least he can do to salve his conscience. Not satisfied with the news he brings, Louise sets off to find out the truth herself, and swiftly falls foul of one of the lawless clans that rule the ungovernable borderlands. After Flodden is a novel about the consequences of the battle of Flodden, as seen through the eyes of several characters who either had a hand in bringing the country to war, or were profoundly affected by the outcome.
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