To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice ColinFrom their first meeting in Paris aboard a hot air balloon, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier are drawn to each other. However, differences in social status preclude romance. Caitriona, a widow living in genteel poverty, is a paid chaperone to the children of a wealthy Glaswegian merchant, while Émile, an engineer employed by Gustave Eiffel, comes from a prosperous family that expects him to find a suitably moneyed wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, the would-be lovers find themselves caught between the irreconcilable demands of duty and passion. This moving novel boasts a slow-building love story between its sympathetic main characters and a vivid Belle Époque backdrop.
The Flame Bearer: A Novel by Bernard CornwellBefore he can reclaim his Northumbrian estate from his treacherous cousin, Uhtred of Bebbanburg must first honor his alliance with King Sigtryggr of Eoferwic (York), while outmaneuvering his enemies, Scottish King Constantin and Norseman Einar the White. Since Uhtred is a warrior, not a diplomat, readers can expect plenty of battle and bloodshed in this fast-paced and action-packed 11th novel in Bernard Cornwell's popular Saxon Stories novels. Due to the complex politics of 9th-century Britain, newcomers to the series may wish to start at the beginning with The Last Kingdom.
A Want of Kindness: A Novel by Joanne LimburgAt age ten, Lady Anne of York arrives at the court of her uncle, King Charles II, where she'll grow up to become a consummate courtier in an England wracked by decades of political upheaval and bitter rivalries among Europe's royal houses. Meticulous research demonstrated by rich period detail makes A Want of Kindness a good bet for fans of Alison Weir's historical fiction; readers fascinated by the Restoration and the Stuart dynasty may also enjoy Marci Jefferson's Girl on the Golden Coin or Karleen Koen's Dark Angels, both of which follow young women whose survival depends on successfully navigating courtly intrigue.
The Maid by Kimberly CutterMany are called, but few are chosen -- and by far the most unlikely choice to do God's work is an illiterate French peasant girl named Jehanne D'Arc, particularly when said work involves leading soldiers into battle. Guided by the voices of three saints, Jehanne knows that the Lord wants her to raise an army to drive the English out of France and place the Dauphin, Charles VII, on the throne. But first, she has to convince others of her divine mission. Set amid the bloody battlefields of the Hundred Years' War, this retelling of the life and death of Saint Joan of Arc "pays vibrant homage to this legendary woman" (Publishers Weekly).
The Memoirs of Cleopatra: A Novel by Margaret GeorgeCleopatra VII Philopator, the legendary "Queen of the Nile," narrates her own story in this lush and highly atmospheric novel. Despite considerable competition for the throne, the indomitable young princess nevertheless becomes the sole ruler of Ptolemaic Egypt through her cunning, ruthlessness, and canny alliances with powerful Romans, including Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. Throughout her tumultuous reign she displays an aptitude for politics matched only by her greatest enemy, Octavian. Like author Margaret George's biographical novels Mary, Called Magdalene and Helen of Troy, The Memoirs of Cleopatra draws on copious research to give voice to an influential woman of the ancient world.
The Vatican Princess: A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia by C.W. GortnerAfter Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia schemes his way to the papacy (as Pope Alexander VI), his illegitimate 13-year-old daughter Lucrezia -- now a bartered bride to the nobleman that helped him secure his new position -- begins her transformation from pawn to political player. While her brother Cesare uses military might to stake his claim, Lucrezia makes a series of marriages to form and reinforce alliances among Italy's most powerful families, including the Sforzas, the Gonzagas, the d'Estes, and the Medicis. Readers intrigued by the ambitious Borgia family may also enjoy Sarah Dunant's historical fiction duology, comprised of Blood and Beauty and In the Name of the Family.
Mata Hari's Last Dance: A Novel by Michelle MoranAlthough she'll one day present herself as a Javanese princess, Margaretha Zelle is born into a middle-class family in the Netherlands in 1876. At 18, she impulsively weds an army officer and accompanies him to the Dutch East Indies, where she endures an abusive marriage by immersing herself in traditional Indonesian dance, thus setting the stage for her debut as Mata Hari. After scandalizing audiences in Paris with her striptease act, she becomes a courtesan and -- once World War I begins -- a spy. For another atmospheric novel about this notorious woman check out Yannick Murphy's Signed, Mata Hari.
The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel by Alison WeirPrincess Elizabeth by birth, the three-year-old daughter of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII becomes simply Lady Elizabeth when her mother is executed in 1536. Over the next several years, Elizabeth watches as her father marries and disposes of multiple wives and as her half-siblings, Edward VI and Mary, wield power. Eventually, however, Elizabeth will herself rise from delegitimized daughter to reigning queen. This fictional portrait of the young Elizabeth will thrill readers who enjoy the endless drama of the Tudor court.
Contact the Library for more great titles!