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Historical Fiction December 2013
"Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them."
~ from Nicola Griffith's Hild
New and Recently Released!
Hild: A Novel - by Nicola Griffith
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/12/2013
Share Hild%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780374280871
ISBN-10: 0374280878
Set in a richly detailed seventh-century Anglo-Saxon England, this lush, sweeping novel envisions the life of St. Hilda of Whitby, whose wyrd (fate) is to become "the Light of the World." When her father, an exiled ætheling, is murdered, Hild joins the household of her uncle, King Edwin "Snakebeard" of Northumbria. Bright, curious, and highly observant, Hild soon gains a reputation for being able to predict the future, becoming her uncle's trusted seer -- a position as precarious as it is prestigious. Navigating courtly intrigue, as well as a multicultural society prone to violence and unrest, Hild also challenges the gender roles of her era by becoming an influential religious leader and patron of the arts.
The Last Banquet - by Jonathan Grimwood
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/01/2013
Share The Last Banquet ISBN-13: 9781609451387
ISBN-10: 1609451384
In 1790, Jean-Marie d'Aumont writes his autobiography, starting at age five when he's found sitting on a dung heap, eating beetles (the brown ones taste sour, the black sweet). Rescued and sent to a school for the sons of destitute nobles, d'Aumont becomes a soldier by trade, but develops an obsession with tasting every flavor the world has to offer. A friend of such real-life luminaries as Benjamin Franklin, the Marquis de Sade, and Voltaire, d'Aumont applies his intellectual curiosity to becoming an epicurean and sensualist of the first order. Skillfully depicting the Enlightenment, the court of Louis XVI at Versailles, and the French Revolution, this richly detailed tour of 18th-century France, though lighter and bawdier in tone, may appeal to readers who enjoyed Patrick Suskind's Perfume.
The Two Hotel Francforts: A Novel - by David Leavitt
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/15/2013
Share The Two Hotel Francforts%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9781596910423
ISBN-10: 1596910429
During the summer of 1940, American expatriates congregate in Lisbon, Portugal, awaiting the SS Manhattan, a ship dispatched by the State Department to transport stranded U.S. citizens back to their homeland. At the Café Suiça, Pete and Julia Winters meet Edward and Iris Freling, a husband-and-wife team of mystery writers, who, due to their freewheeling bohemian lifestyle and little dog Daisy, initially resemble a real-life Nick and Nora Charles. However, as the couples' lives become increasingly intertwined, sinister undertones emerge and all four characters' actions and decisions prove to have far-reaching implications.
Red Sky in Morning: A Novel - by Paul Lynch
Publisher: Little, Brown
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/05/2013
Share Red Sky in Morning%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780316230254
ISBN-10: 0316230251
"Night sky was black and then there was blood," begins Paul Lynch's gritty, lyrical debut. In 1832 County Donegal, impoverished tenant farmer Coll Coyle accidentally kills local landowner Master Hamilton, then flees to America with Hamilton's sadistic foreman, John Faller, in hot pursuit. Coyle survives a harrowing trans-Atlantic journey, followed by life in a cholera-ridden labor camp in Philadelphia, where he finds work laying railroad track across Pennsylvania. However, Faller, an expert tracker, doggedly traces Coyle's steps, determined not to rest until he has his revenge.
Rustication: A Novel - by Charles Palliser
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/04/2013
Share Rustication%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780393088724
ISBN-10: 0393088723
"Rusticated" (i.e. sent down in disgrace) from Cambridge, 17-year-old Richard Shenstone returns home in December of 1863. With no means of earning a living (or supporting his opium addiction), he's in no position to help his recently widowed mother or his troubled sister, Effie. Feeling trapped in the "benighted backwater" of rural Thurchester, Richard occupies himself by attempting to identify the author of a series of profane letters sent to local residents, accusing them of terrible crimes while threatening violence. Like author Charles Palliser's previous novels, The Quincunx and The Unburied, Rustication is an atmospheric, intricately plotted tale of psychological suspense with Gothic overtones.
The Valley of Amazement - by Amy Tan
Publisher: HarperCollins
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/05/2013
Share The Valley of Amazement ISBN-13: 9780062107312
ISBN-10: 0062107313
This sweeping family saga by acclaimed novelist Amy Tan, author of The Joy Luck Club,focuses on the relationship between Lulu Minturn (better known as Lulu Mimi), a white woman who owns one of Shanghai's finest courtesan houses, and her half-Chinese daughter Violet, whose desire to learn more about her ancestry takes her on a journey of self-discovery that she may not survive. Transporting readers back and forth between 19th-century China and 20th-century California, this lyrical, dramatic book may appeal to fans of Lisa See's Shanghai Girls or Mingmei Ye's Peach Blossom Pavilion.
Short Stories
Astray - by Emma Donoghue
Publisher: Little, Brown
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 10/30/2012
Share Astray ISBN-13: 9780316206297
ISBN-10: 0316206296
In her "wonderfully imaginative, transporting" (Booklist) return to historical fiction, Room author Emma Donoghue presents a diverse collection of 14 short stories inspired by past events. "The Lost Seed" introduces an embittered Puritan seeking revenge on his neighbors, while "Daddy's Girl," set in 19th-century New York City, stars a young woman who learns a shocking secret about her famous father after his death. "The Gift" unfolds through the correspondence between an impoverished mother and the man who adopts the child she's forced to give up. These individuals and others come to life in Donoghue's detailed portraits, which provide intimate glimpses into their times and places.
The Frozen Thames - by Helen Humphreys
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/24/2009
Share The Frozen Thames ISBN-13: 9780385342810
ISBN-10: 0385342810
"In its long history, the river Thames has frozen solid forty times," reveals author Helen Humphreys in her brief introduction to this richly detailed, meticulously researched short story collection, comprised of 40 vignettes that span seven centuries of British history, from 1142 to 1895. Beginning with the besieged Queen Matilda's daring escape from her tower window during a snowstorm, Humphreys brings to life indelible moments, large and small, including a Frost Fair on the ice, a massive ship trapped in the frozen Thames, and Henry VIII's royal procession down the river.
Tales of the New World - by Sabina Murray
Publisher: Black Cat
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/08/2011
Share Tales of the New World ISBN-13: 9780802170835
ISBN-10: 0802170838
This lyrical, atmospheric collection of ten short stories by PEN/Faulkner Award-winning author Sabrina Murray focuses on historical explorers and adventurers. In "Translation," a Venetian scholar chronicles Ferdinand Magellan's expedition to the Indies, while "Balboa" follows the Spanish conquistador as he "discovers" the South Seas. "Fish" finds Victorian spinster Mary Kingsley rejecting her sheltered existence and exploring the African interior, while "His Actual Mark" contrasts Edward Jon Eyre's close bond with a young aboriginal man with his later suppression of a Jamaican slave rebellion. Tales of the New World artfully explores the intersection of history and science in a manner that may appeal to fans of Andrea Barrett's Ship Fever or Servants of the Map.
Life Studies: Stories - by Susan Vreeland
Publisher: Penguin Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/29/2005
Share Life Studies%3a Stories ISBN-13: 9780143036104
ISBN-10: 0143036106
Best known for her lush, lyrical novels about the lives of artists, such as Clara and Mr. Tiffany and The Forest Lover, author Susan Vreeland offers 17 art-themed short stories in this collection. Some are biographical studies of Impressionist and Modern painters -- including Monet, Morisot, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Modigliani -- as seen through the eyes of their families, friends, lovers, acquaintances, and servants. Others explore the ways in which ordinary men and women are liberated by the arts, often in surprising ways. All are "stimulating and enriching" (Kirkus Reviews).
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