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London Historical Fiction Book Group - Help choose our July book

From: Justin
Sent on: Sunday, May 20, 2012 3:59 PM

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 11 June to discuss "Half of the Human Race" by Anthony Quinn. 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/58749552/

After that, we meet on Monday 23 July and it's time to choose the book for that.

I've created a poll for everyone to vote on the July 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 July read.
I will close the poll in a few days' time so we have the selection in place for as soon as possible.

Thanks and happy reading
Justin

--------------------------------

The Ground is Burning by Samuel Black (2011)
Pages: 432




Description
A sweeping historical novel set during the great Italian wars of the early sixteenth century. Seduction, betrayal and murder: the true art of the Renaissance. Cesare Borgia, Niccolo Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci - three of the most famous, or notorious, names in European history. In the autumn of 1502, their lives intersect in a castle in Italy's Romagna. In this hugely intelligent and entertaining novel, Samuel Black tells the true story of these men who, with different tools - ruthless ambition, unstoppable genius and subtle political manipulation - each follow an obsession to attain greatness and leave a lasting mark on the world. And at the centre of this court of intrigue and deception is Dorotea Caracciolo, a young noblewoman abducted by Borgia who has become his lover - and his secret agent. Their story begins in hope and fear and ends in bloodshed, deceit and triumph. Along the way, there are battles and romances, lavish parties and furtive stranglings. And out of this maelstrom will emerge the Mona Lisa and The Prince.



Every Man for Himself by Beryl Bainbridge (1996)
Pages: 224
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Every-Man-Himself-Beryl-Bainbridge/dp/0349108706



Description
For the four fraught, mysterious days of her doomed maiden voyage in 1912, the Titanic sails towards New York, glittering with luxury, freighted with millionaires and hopefuls. In her labyrinthine passageways are played out the last, secret hours of a small group of passengers, their fate sealed in prose of startling, sublime beauty, as Beryl Bainbridge's haunting masterpiece moves inexorably to its known and terrible end.



My Name is Mary Sutter By Robin Oliveira (2011)
Pages: 384
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Name-Mary-Sutter-Robin-Oliveira/dp/0241950007



Description
On the eve of America's Civil War a New York midwife makes a fateful decision . . .
Mary Sutter, a brilliant young midwife, dreams of proving herself as capable as any man. But medical schools refuse to teach women. So when her heart is broken, she heads to Washington DC to tend the Civil War wounded. Assisted and encouraged by two surgeons, who both fall for her, and ignoring requests to return home to help her twin sister give birth, Mary pursues her dream of becoming a surgeon and saving lives - no matter the cost to herself or those she loves and no matter the harrowing conditions she has yet to face.
A brilliant portrait of an unforgettable heroine and a powerful evocation of trauma in the aftermath of battle, My Name is Mary Sutter is an utterly original story of one woman proving she is a match for any man.



The Redemption of Alexander Seaton by Shona MacLean (2008)
Pages: 356
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Redemption-Alexander-Seaton-Shona-MacLean/dp/1847247911



Description
Is the young man simply drunk or does his staggering walk suggest something more sinister? When he collapses in front of the two sisters on that dark, wet night, the women guess rightly that he's been poisoned. So begins this gripping tale set in the town of Banff, Scotland in the 1620s. The body of the victim, the apothecary's apprentice, is found in the house of Alexander Seaton - a fallen minister, the discovery of whose clandestine love affair has left him disgraced and deprived him of his vocation. Why was the body moved to Seaton's house? What is the significance of the unusual poison used to kill him? And why would anyone want to murder this likeable young man? Seaton sets out to find answers to these and many other questions, embarking on a journey where he encounters the witch hunt, extreme religious prejudice, cruelty and the darkness in men's souls. It is also a personal quest that leads Alexander to the rediscovery of his faith in God and his belief in himself. Among her many strengths, Shona MacLean is brilliant at evoking period and place. You feel you are in those cold, dark, northern rooms, eavesdropping on her characters. You are totally involved in the rich, convincing world she has re-created.



The Blanket of the Dark by John Buchan (1931)
Pages: 304
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Blanket-Dark-John-Buchan/dp/1846970725



Description
It is 1536, and the Reformation has yet to disrupt the life of the great medieval Abbey of Oseney near Oxford, where a young man known as Peter Pentecost is completing his education. But Peter's life is about to be changed forever when he uncovers the astonishing secret of his true identity, a secret that has been kept from him all his life: that he is the son and heir of Edward, Duke of Buckingham, and by rights he, not Henry Tudor, should be King of England. His anonymous life at Oseney has been carefully arranged to keep him from harm--until the day arrives when those who have been watching over him are ready to challenge Henry VIII.
From the moment Peter discovers the truth, he descends into a dangerous world of conspiracy and treason, as powerful men seek to persuade him to leave behind the security and tranquility of his life at Oseney and risk everything in a rebellion that could put him on the throne of England.

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