|Sent on:||Wednesday, February 19, 2014 9:30 PM|
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 10 March to discuss "City of Women” by David Gillham. This will be our 40th meetup! Please RSVP when you get a chance if you haven't done so yet. Details here:
After that, we will meet on Monday 28 April and it's time to choose the book for that.
I've created a poll for everyone to vote on the April 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 April read.
I will close the poll in about a week’s time.
Thanks and happy reading
The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (1995)
Set in Germany at the very end of the eighteenth century, The Blue Flower is the story of the brilliant Fritz von Hardenberg, a graduate of the Universities of Jena, Leipzig and Wittenberg, learned in Dialectics and Mathematics, who later became the great romantic poet and philosopher Novalis. The passionate and idealistic Fritz needs his father’s permission to announce his engagement to his ‘heart’s heart’, his ‘true Philosophy’, twelve-year-old Sophie von Kuhn. It is a betrothal which amuses, astounds and disturbs his family and friends. How can it be so?
One of the most admired of all Penelope Fitzgerald’s books, The Blue Flower was chosen as Book of the Year more than any other in 1995. Her final book, it confirmed her reputation as one of the finest novelists of the century.
Harvest by Jim Crace (2013)
As late summer steals in and the final pearls of barley are gleaned, a remote English village comes under threat. A trio of outsiders – two men and a dangerously magnetic woman – arrives on the woodland borders triggering a series of events that will see Walter Thirsk’s village unmade in just seven days: the harvest blackened by smoke and fear, cruel punishment meted out to the innocent, and allegations of witchcraft. But something even darker is at the heart of Walter’s story, and he will be the only man left to tell it . . .
In effortless, expertly crafted prose, Jim Crace details the unravelling of bucolic life in the face of economic progress. His tale is timeless and unsettling, evoking a richly textured world you will remember long after you finish reading.
The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (2012)
1926. Tom Sherbourne is a young lighthouse keeper on a remote island off Western Australia. The only inhabitants of Janus Rock, he and his wife Isabel live a quiet life, cocooned from the rest of the world. One April morning a boat washes ashore carrying a dead man and a crying infant - and the path of the couple's lives hits an unthinkable crossroads. Only years later do they discover the devastating consequences of the decision they make that day - as the baby's real story unfolds ...
M L Stedman's debut is a mesmerising novel of love and loss and unbearable choices.
Secrecy by Rupert Thomson (2013)
It is Florence, 1691. The Renaissance is long gone, and the city is a dark, repressive place, where everything is forbidden and anything is possible. The Enlightenment may be just around the corner, but knowledge is still the property of the few, and they guard it fiercely. Art, sex and power - these, as always, are the obsessions.
Facing serious criminal charges, Gaetano Zummo is forced to flee his native Siracusa at the age of twenty, first to Palermo, then Naples, but always has the feeling that he is being pursued by his past, and that he will never be free of it. Zummo works an artist in wax. He is fascinated by the plague, and makes small wooden cabinets in which he places graphic, tortured models of the dead and dying. But Cosimo III, Tuscany's penultimate Medici ruler, gives Zummo his most challenging commission yet, and as he tackles it his path entwines with that of the apothecary's daughter Faustina, whose secret is even more explosive than his.
Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell (2013)
In 1002, fifteen-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.
Determined to outmanoeuvre her adversaries, Emma forges alliances with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.
Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Shadow on the Crown introduces readers to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern readers.