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

From: Justin
Sent on: Saturday, June 15, 2013 5:28 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 22 July to discuss "Jezebel” by Eleanor de Jong. Please RSVP when you get a chance if you haven't done so yet and please keep your attendance status up to date if it changes. Details here:
http://www.meetup.com/London-Historical-Fiction-Book-Group/events/109544722/

After that, we will meet on Monday 2 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.
http://www.meetup.com/London-Historical-Fiction-Book-Group/polls/

Below are details of each of the shortlisted books. Please rate each book from 1 to 10 indicating your interest in reading it, with 10 indicating the greatest interest.
The most popular one will be our September read.
I will close the poll in ten days’ time or so.

Thanks and happy reading
Justin

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

The Course of Honour by Lindsey Davis (1997)
Pages: 352
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Course-Honour-Lindsey-Davis/dp/0099515253/



Description
A true, historical love story from the bestselling author of the Falco novels.

'He has no money, no reputation and no famous ancestors.' The love story of the Emperor Vespasian, who brought peace to Rome after years of strife, and his mistress, the freed slave woman Caenis, this book recreates Ancient Rome's most turbulent period - the reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero and Vespasian's rise to power.

As their forbidden romance blossoms, Caenis is embroiled in political intrigue, while Vespasian embarks on a glorious career. Years pass, then Vespasian risks all in the climactic struggle for power - bringing hope for Rome, but a threat to the relationship that has endured for so long.



Magda by Meike Ziervogel (2013)
Pages: 128
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Magda-Meike-Ziervogel/dp/1907773401/



Description
Unloved sons turn their aggression on the outside world. Unloved daughters destroy the people they love, and then themselves.

In this daring portrayal of Magda Goebbels – wife of Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels – Meike Ziervogel unveils an historical tale of abusive mother and daughter relationships that reaches a terrifying conclusion in the last days of Nazi Germany.

Magda is born at the beginning of the 20th century, the illegitimate child of a maidservant who feels burdened with a daughter she does not want. The girl grows up to become an ambitious woman, desperate for love and recognition. When Magda meets Joseph Goebbels, he appears to answer all her needs, and together they have six children. Towards the end of the Second World War, Magda has become physically and emotionally sick. As she takes her children into the Führer’s bunker, her eldest daughter Helga experiences an overwhelming sense of foreboding.



The English Monster by Lloyd Shepherd (2012)
Pages: 432
http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-English-Monster-Lloyd-Shepherd/dp/0857205374/



Description
London, 1811. The twisting streets of riverside Wapping hold many an untold sin. Bounded by the Ratcliffe Highway to the north and the modern wonders of the Dock to the south, shameful secrets are largely hidden by the noise and glory of Trade. But two families have fallen victim to foul murder, and a terrified populace calls for justice. John Harriott, magistrate of the new Thames River Police Office, must deliver revenge up to them and his only hope of doing so is Charles Horton, Harriot's senior officer.

Based on the real-life story of the gruesome Ratcliffe Highway murders, The English Monster takes us on a voyage across centuries, through the Age of Discovery, and throws us up, part of the human jetsam, onto the streets of Regency Wapping, policed only by Officer Horton.



Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks (2011)
Pages: 336
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Calebs-Crossing-Geraldine-Brooks/dp/0007333544/



Description
Martha’s Vineyard, 1650s: Bethia Mayfield is a young girl growing up in the tiny settlement of Great Harbor, amid a small band of pioneers and Puritans. Restless, bright and curious, but denied the education that her brothers receive, she slips away as often as she can to explore the island’s wild landscapes and observe its native Wampanoag inhabitants. At the age of twelve, she encounters Caleb, the young son of a chieftain, and the children form a secret friendship that gradually draws each into the alien world of the other.

Meanwhile, Bethia’s minister father is trying to convert the Wampanoag, awakening the wrath of the tribe’s shaman against whose magic he must test his own beliefs. And when he takes it upon himself to educate Caleb, it will further divide the communities – within a year the boy is learning Latin and Greek, and leaves the island to study at Harvard. As Caleb makes the crossing into white culture, Bethia finds herself pulled in the opposite direction. Trapped by the narrow strictures of her faith and her gender, she seeks connections with Caleb’s world that will challenge her beliefs and set her at odds with her community…



Philida by André Brink (2012)
Pages: 320
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Philida-Andr%C3%A9-Brink/dp/0099578751/



Description
The year is 1832 and the Cape is rife with rumours about the liberation of slaves. Philida is the mother of four children by François Brink, the son of her master. François has reneged on his promise to set her free and his father has ordered him to marry a white woman from a prominent family, selling Philida on to owners in the harsh country in the north. Unwilling to accept this fate, Philida tests the limits of her freedom by setting off on a journey. She travels across the great wilderness to the far north of Cape Town - determined to survive and be free. Longlisted for the Man Booker prize 2012.

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