Saturday, January 18, 2014

For the forseeable future....

I have been absent from this blog in any meaningful capacity for so long I considered not even writing a post explaining why.  I blame cats.  Yes CATS- such as the lovely lady to the left.  They have completely taken over my life.   When I got into the rescue business a year ago my intentions were to help out here and there-maybe devote a couple weekends a month cleaning cages out at Petco.  That is how it started out. Then along came a poor gorgeous  sad looking homeless kitty by the name of Buster who needed a foster or he would be sent back to the pound and I said I'd do it.  He was the first of 42 cats that came through my household in 2013 and went on to find their forever homes.

Now in place of all the reading and reviewing I was doing I am fostering 8 cats at a time in addition to the 5 that are permanent residents here.  The role of chief pooper scooper at Petco has blossomed into running the cat health clinic every week, scheduling them all for spay/neuter, maintaining the rescue's Petfinder page, devoting every Saturday and Sunday to doing adoptions out at Petco and pretty much anything else my fellow crazy cat ladies ask of me.  The thing is despite having less time for pretty much anything else, I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

Like many other bloggers there was also the realization that I really missed reading for pure enjoyment. My wish this year is to go through 2014 no strings attached book-wise.  I am closing the door on blogging/reviewing indefinitely but am tucking the key away in a safe place for some time in the future.  I have a feeling I'll be back at some point and of course I'll still be lurking and commenting on my favorite blogs but Maggie (that would be the pretty Torti up top) and I will be bidding you all adieu for now.....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

April Historical Fiction Preview



The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic by Hazel Gaynor (Apr 1st)
Ireland, 1912. Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the lucky few passengers in steerage who survives. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that terrible night ever again.  Chicago, 1982. Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her Great Nana Maggie shares the painful secret she harbored for almost a lifetime about the Titanic, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.


The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell (in PB Apr 1st)
Confessions are Rose Baker’s job. A typist for the New York City Police Department, she sits in judgment like a high priestess. Criminals come before her to admit their transgressions, and, with a few strokes of the keys before her, she seals their fate. But while she may hear about shootings, knifings, and crimes of passion, as soon as she leaves the room, she reverts to a dignified and proper lady. Until Odalie joins the typing pool. As Rose quickly falls under the stylish, coquettish Odalie’s spell, she is lured into a sparkling underworld of speakeasies and jazz. And what starts as simple fascination turns into an obsession from which she may never recover.

 

Miracle Thief by Iris Anthony (Apr 1st)
In the darkest hour of the Dark Ages, when God often seemed silent, saints and their relics offered a touchstone of hope. But in a quest for the blessing of the divine, only the most ruthless of souls may win the prize. With her trademark intricate storytelling, Iris Anthony shines a light on the dark world of trading in dead bones. The Miracle Thief asks timeless questions that reverberate with the modern soul: what do we value? What is sacred? Do miracles really happen - or do we make them happen?



Silence for the Dead by Simone St James (Apr 1st)
In 1919, Kitty Weekes, pretty, resourceful, and on the run, falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House—its plaster is crumbling, its plumbing makes eerie noises, and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms. It’s known that the former occupants left abruptly, but where did they go? And why do the patients all seem to share the same nightmare, one so horrific that they dare not speak of it?  Kitty finds a dangerous ally in Jack Yates, an inmate who may be a war hero, a madman… or maybe both. But even as Kitty and Jack create a secret, intimate alliance to uncover the truth, disturbing revelations suggest the presence of powerful spectral forces. And when a medical catastrophe leaves them even more isolated, they must battle the menace on their own, caught in the heart of a mystery that could destroy them both.


Island of Doves by Kelly O’Connor McNees (Apr 1st)
Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her monstrous husband makes the home a terrible prison. When a local nun offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamship headed for Mackinac Island and a chance at freedom.  Magdelaine Fonteneau has seen her share of tragedy—a husband murdered before her eyes, two sisters lost—and she sees offering Susannah refuge in her island home as atonement for her many regrets. This act of kindness changes Susannah in ways she never could have imagined as she finds solace in the company of others who carry their own secrets and scars. Only together can they untangle their pasts—and find a future bright with the promise of new life…




The Secret Life of William Shakespeare by Jude Morgan (Apr 1st)
How well do you know the man you love? How much do you think you know about Shakespeare? What if they were one and the same? He is an ordinary man: unwilling craftsman, ambitious actor, resentful son, almost good-enough husband. And he is also a genius. The story of how a glove-maker from Warwickshire became the greatest writer of them all is vaguely known to most of us, but it would take an exceptional modern novelist to bring him to life. And now at last Jude Morgan, acclaimed author of Passion and The Taste of Sorrow, has taken Shakespeare's life, and created a masterpiece.




The Red Lily Crown: A Novel of Medici Florence by Elizabeth Loupas (Apr 1st)
April, 1574, Florence, Italy. Grand Duke Cosimo de’ Medici lies dying. The city is paralyzed with dread, for the next man to wear the red lily crown will be Prince Francesco: despotic, dangerous, and obsessed with alchemy.  Chiara Nerini, the troubled daughter of an anti-Medici bookseller, sets out to save her starving family by selling her dead father’s rare alchemical equipment to the prince. Instead she is trapped in his household—imprisoned and forcibly initiated as a virgin acolyte in Francesco’s quest for power and immortality. Undaunted, she seizes her chance to pursue undreamed-of power of her own.  Witness to sensuous intrigues and brutal murder plots, Chiara seeks a safe path through the labyrinth of Medici tyranny and deception. Beside her walks the prince’s mysterious English alchemist Ruanno, her friend and teacher, driven by his own dark goals. Can Chiara trust him to keep her secrets even to love her or will he prove to be her most treacherous enemy of all?






The White Princess by Philippa Gregory (in PB Apr 1st)
When Henry Tudor picks up the crown of England from the mud of Bosworth field, he knows he must marry the princess of the enemy house—Elizabeth of York—to unify a country divided by war for nearly two decades. But his bride is still in love with his slain enemy, Richard III—and her mother and half of England dream of a missing heir, sent into the unknown by the White Queen. While the new monarchy can win power, it cannot win hearts in an England that plots for the triumphant return of the House of York. Henry’s greatest fear is that somewhere a prince is waiting to invade and reclaim the throne. When a young man who would be king leads his army and invades England, Elizabeth has to choose between the new husband she is coming to love and the boy who claims to be her beloved lost brother: the rose of York come home at last.




Murder on High Holborn by Susanna Gregory (Apr 1st)
In 1665 England is facing war with the Dutch and the capital is awash with rumors of conspiracy and sedition. These are more frenetic than normal because of the recent sinking in the Thames of one of the largest ships in the navy - a disastrous tragedy that could very well have been caused by sabotage. As an experienced investigator, Thomas Chaloner knows that there are very few grains of truth in the shifting sands of the rumor-mill, but the loss of such an important warship and the murder of Paul Ferine, a Groom of the Robes, in a brothel favoured by the elite of the Palace of White Hall makes him scent a whiff of genuine treason. As well as investigating the murder, Chaloner is charged with tracking down the leaders of a fanatical sect known as the Fifth Monarchists. He suspects his masters are not particularly concerned by their amateur antics, and that the order for him to infiltrate the group is intended to distract him from uncovering some unsavory facts about Ferine and his courtly associates. Then, as he comes to know more about the Fifth Monarchists and their meetings on High Holborn, he discovers a puzzling number of connections - to both Ferine's murder and those involved with the defense of the realm. Connections that he must disentangle before it is too late to save the country ...



Templar's Acre by Michael Jecks (Apr 1st)
The Holy Land, 1291. A war has been raging across these lands for decades. The forces of the Crusaders have been pushed back again and again by the Muslims and now just one city remains in Crusader control. That one city stands between the past and the future, and must be defended at all costs. That city is Acre. Into this battle where men will fight to the death to defend their city comes a young boy. Green and scared, he has never seen battle before. But he is on the run from a dark past and he has no choice but to stay—and to stay means to fight. That boy is Baldwin de Furnshill. This is the story of the siege of Acre, and of the moment Baldwin first charged into battle. This is just the beginning. The rest is history.


Frog Music by Emma Donoghue (Apr 1st)
Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heatwave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman called Jenny Bonnet is shot dead. The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice--if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.



Love & Treasure by Ayelet Waldman (Apr 1st)
In 1945 on the outskirts of Salzburg, victorious American soldiers capture a train filled with unspeakable riches: piles of fine gold watches; mountains of fur coats; crates filled with wedding rings, silver picture frames, family heirlooms, and Shabbat candlesticks passed down through generations. Jack Wiseman, a tough, smart New York Jew, is the lieutenant charged with guarding this treasure—a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets Ilona, a fierce, beautiful Hungarian who has lost everything in the ravages of the Holocaust. Seventy years later, amid the shadowy world of art dealers who profit off the sins of previous generations, Jack gives a necklace to his granddaughter, Natalie Stein, and charges her with searching for an unknown woman—a woman whose portrait and fate come to haunt Natalie, a woman whose secret may help Natalie to understand the guilt her grandfather will take to his grave and to find a way out of the mess she has made of her own life.



Sedition by Katharine Grant (Apr 1st)
London, 1794: The problem: Four nouveau rich fathers with five marriageable daughters. The plan: The young women will learn to play the piano, give a concert for young Englishmen who have titles but no fortunes, and will marry very well indeed. The complications: The lascivious (and French) piano teacher; the piano maker’s jealous (and musically gifted) daughter; the one of these marriageable daughters with a mating plan of her own. While it might be a truth universally acknowledged that a man in possession of a title and no money must be in want of a fortune, what does a sexually awakened young woman want? In her wickedly alluring romp through the late-Georgian London, Italian piano making, and tightly-fitted Polonaise gowns, Katharine Grant has written a startling and provocative debut.



The Liars’ Gospel by Naomi Alderman (in PB Apr 8th)
A year after the death of Yehoshuah, a mysterious figure who wandered Roman-occupied Judea giving sermons and healing the sick, four people tell their stories. A mother, a friend, a collaborator, a rebel-to each of these witnesses the young preacher represents strikingly different things. But whether the witnesses are lying or telling the truth, their accounts will change all that comes after.
 

Leaving Everything Most Loved: A Maisie Dobbs Novel by Jacqueline Winspear (in PB Apr 8th)
The year is 1933. Maisie Dobbs is contacted by an Indian gentleman who has come to England in the hopes of finding out who killed his sister two months ago. Scotland Yard failed to make any arrest in the case, and there is reason to believe they failed to conduct a thorough investigation. The case becomes even more challenging when another Indian woman is murdered just hours before a scheduled interview. Meanwhile, unfinished business from a previous case becomes a distraction, as does a new development in Maisie's personal life.



The Venetian Bargain by Marina Fiorato (Apr 8th)
In 1576, five years after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Lepanto, a ship slips unnoticed into Venice bearing a deadly cargo. A man, more dead than alive, disembarks and staggers towards the Piazza San Marco. He brings a gift to Venice from the Turkish Sultan. Within days the city will be infected with bubonic plague - and the Turks will have their revenge. For months the plague wreaks havoc on Venice. In despair, the Doge summons the architect Andrea Palladio and offers him a commission: the greatest church of his career, an offering to God so magnificent that Venice will be saved. Palladio's own life is in danger too, and it will require all the skills of Dr Annibale Cason, the city's finest plague doctor, to keep him alive. But what Dr Cason has not counted on is the other passenger who disembarked from the Turkish ship - a young and beautiful harem doctor whose skills will more than match his own.
 


Mimi Malloy at Last by Julia MacDonnell (Apr 8th)
Forced into an early retirement at the age of sixty-something, Mimi Malloy enjoys the simple things in life: True Blue cigarettes, her apartment in the heart of Quincy, and an evening with Frank Sinatra on the stereo and a Manhattan in her hand. Born into an Irish Catholic brood of seven, with six daughters of her own, she knows that life isn't just a bowl of cherries--that, sometimes, it's the pits. And when an MRI reveals that Mimi's brain is filled with black spots--areas of atrophy, her doctor says--the prospect living out her days in an "Old Timer's facility" starts to look like more than just an idea at the top of her eldest daughter's to-do list. Yet as Mimi prepares to take a stand, she stumbles upon an old pendant, and her memory starts to return--specifically, memories of a shockingly painful childhood, her long-lost sister Fagan, and the wicked stepmother she swore to forget. By turns funny, wise, and whimsical, and always deeply moving, Mimi Malloy At Last is an unforgettable story of second chances and the family bonds that break us and remake us. Above all, it's a poignant reminder that it's never too late for love--and that one can always come of age a second time.




The Morning River by W. Michael Gear (re-release Apr 8th) 
1825: Disgusted that his son Richard, a timid and frail philosophy student at Harvard, knows nothing of practical value, Philip Hamilton challenges Richard to put his philosophy to the ultimate test--the Western frontier. If Richard can deliver $30,000 in bank notes to a business associate in St. Louis and return with a signed contract, then, and only then, will he be able to continue his studies at Harvard.




The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland (Apr 8th)
1660, Paris: Claudette's life is like an ever-revolving stage set.  From an impoverished childhood wandering the French countryside with her family's acting troupe, Claudette finally witnesses her mother's astonishing rise to stardom in Parisian theaters. Claudette finds working with playwrights Corneille, Molière and Racine to be deeply rewarding, but like all in the theatrical world, she's socially scorned. A series of chance encounters pull Claudette into the alluring orbit of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to Louis XIV and reigning "Shadow Queen." Needing someone to safeguard her secrets, Athénaïs offers to hire Claudette as her personal attendant. Enticed by the promise of riches and respectability, Claudette leaves the world of the theater only to find that court is very much like a stage--with outward shows of loyalty masking more devious intentions. This parallel is not lost on Athénaïs, who fears political enemies are plotting her ruin as young courtesans angle to take the coveted spot in the king's bed. Indeed, Claudette's "reputable" new position is marked by spying, illicit trysts and titanic power struggles. As Athénaïs begins to lose her grip on the Sun King, her use of the magical arts take a dark turn, and Claudette is forced to consider a move that will put her own life at risk. 
  


The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose (Apr 8th)
In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years René le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen's rivals. But it's René's other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That's when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene's secret to immortality. Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.

     
In Liberty’s Name by Eva Augustin Rumpf (Apr 9th)
Paris, 1792. When Jean-Louis Auberge narrowly escapes death in the bloody streets of Paris during the French Revolution, he abandons his study for the priesthood and seeks a safe haven in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue. Young Marie Jeannette Saunier's anticipated adventure on the island turns to tragedy and loss, as the slaves' quest for freedom erupts in a terrifying rebellion. The colony is thrust into a war of race and revenge that ends with the formation of a new nation, Haiti. Inspired by a true story and sweeping through four countries and two decades, this historical novel is peopled with figures such as King Louis XVI and Toussaint Louverture, the former slave known as Haiti's liberator.




The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer (in PB Apr 15th)
After the death of her beloved twin brother, Felix, and the breakup with her longtime lover, Nathan, Greta Wells embarks on a radical psychiatric treatment to alleviate her suffocating depression. But the treatment has unexpected effects, and the Greta of 1985 finds herself transported to remarkably similar lives in different eras—as a bohemian and adulteress in 1918, and a devoted wife and mother in 1941—fraught with familiar tensions and difficult choices. Traveling through time, the modern Greta learns that each reality has its own losses and rewards, and that her alternate selves are unpredictable, driven by their own desires and needs. And as the final treatment looms, one of these other selves could change everything.




The Sea House by Elizabeth Gifford (Apr 15th)
Moving to the island of Harris to restore the Sea House, Ruth finds herself strugging to understand the truth about her past - and at the same time finds the house holds a shocking secret. She must uncover what really happened in the Sea House a century earlier if the house is ever to become the home she longs for.







Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman (Apr 15th)
1891: Orphaned as a small child, Tilly Kirkland found a loving, safe home with her grandfather in Dorset. But nineteenth-century England is an unforgiving place for a young woman with limited means and as her grandfather's health fails, it seems perfect timing that she meets Jasper Dellafore. But her new husband is not all he seems. Alone in the Channel Islands, Tilly finds her dream of a loving marriage is turning into a nightmare.  2012: Bestselling novelist Nina Jones is struggling with writer's block and her disappointing personal life. Nothing is quite working. After a storm damages Starwater, her house on Ember Island, she decides to stay for a while and oversee the repairs: it’s a perfect excuse to leave her problems behind her on the mainland. Then Nina discovers diary pages hidden in the walls of the old home. And a mystery unravels that she is determined to solve.  Though the two women are separated by years, Starwater House will alter the course of both their lives. Nina will find that secrets never stay buried and Tilly learns that what matters most is trusting your heart.




Angels Make Their Hope Here by Breena Clarke (Apr 15th)
Russell's Knob is not paradise. But already in 1863 this New Jersey highlands settlement is home to a diverse population of blacks and whites and reds who have intermarried and lived in relative harmony for generations. It is a haven for Dossie Bird, who has escaped north along the Underground Railroad and now feels the embrace of the Smoot family: Duncan (so much older than Dossie; could he expect her to be his helpmeet?), his reticent sister, his exuberant nephews, and a circle of friends that includes the local spirit woman, Noelle. Tentatively, Dossie begins to lay down roots-until an act of violence propels her away from Russell's Knob and eventually into the mayhem of New York City's mean streets.




‘Til the Well Runs Dry by Lauren Francis-Sharma (Apr 15th)

Lauren Francis-Sharma's 'Til the Well Runs Dry opens in a seaside village in the north of Trinidad where young Marcia Garcia, a gifted and smart-mouthed 16-year-old seamstress, lives alone, raising two small boys and guarding a family secret. When she meets Farouk Karam, an ambitious young policemen (so taken with Marcia that he elicits the help of a tea-brewing obeah woman to guarantee her ardor), the risks and rewards in Marcia’s life amplify forever. On an island rich with laughter, Calypso, Carnival, cricket, beaches and salty air, sweet fruits and spicy stews, the novel follows Marcia and Farouk from their amusing and passionate courtship through personal and historical events that threaten Marcia’s secret, entangle the couple and their children in a scandal, and endanger the future for all of them.




Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose (Apr 22nd)
Emerging from the austerity and deprivation of the Great War, Paris in the 1920s shimmers with excitement, dissipation, and freedom. It is a place of intoxicating ambition, passion, art, and discontent, where louche jazz venues like the Chameleon Club draw expats, artists, libertines, and parvenus looking to indulge their true selves. It is at the Chameleon where the striking Lou Villars, an extraordinary athlete and scandalous cross-dressing lesbian, finds refuge among the club’s loyal patrons, including rising Hungarian photographer Gabor Tsenyi, socialite and art patron Baroness Lily de Rossignol; and caustic American writer Lionel Maine.  As the years pass, their fortunes—and the world itself—evolve. Lou falls desperately in love and finds success as a racecar driver. Gabor builds his reputation with startlingly vivid and imaginative photographs, including a haunting portrait of Lou and her lover, which will resonate through all their lives. As the exuberant 20s give way to the Depression of the 30s, Lou experiences another metamorphosis—sparked by tumultuous events—that will warp her earnest desire for love and approval into something far more sinister: collaboration with the Nazis.




The Poisoned Crown by Maurice Druon (in PB Apr 22nd)
No man is impervious to the poisons of the crown...
Having murdered his wife and exiled his mistress, King Louis X of France becomes besotted with Princess Clemence of Hungary and makes her his new Queen.  However, though the matter of the succession should be assured, it is far from so, as Louis embarks on an ill-fated war against Flanders. Where his father, Philip IV, was strong, Louis is weak, and the ambitions of his proud, profligate barons threaten his power and the future of a kingdom once ruled by an Iron King.




From the Charred Remains by Susanna Calkins (Apr 22nd)
Weeks after the Great Fire ravaged London, Lucy Campion—formerly a chambermaid, now a printer’s apprentice—is helping dig through the ashes of an old tavern, when a body is found stuffed into an old malt barrel, a knife through his chest. On the corpse is a small leather bag,  promptly pickpocketed by a passing thief, and passed accidentally to Lucy. Inside the bag, Lucy discovers a strange collection of objects—the winnings from the last card game ever played at the tavern and a poem. These are also the only clues to the victim and his murderer. Not realizing that the poem is in code, Lucy persuades her new employer to publish the poem.  This action leads to a chain of events that once again brings Lucy in direct confrontation with a murderer.




The Edge of the Earth by Christina Schwarz (in PB Apr 22nd)
In 1898, a woman forsakes the comfort of home and family for a love that takes her to a remote lighthouse on the wild coast of California. What she finds at the edge of the earth, hidden between the sea and the fog, will change her life irrevocably.  Trudy, who can argue Kant over dinner and play a respectable portion of Mozart’s Serenade in G major, has been raised to marry her childhood friend and assume a life of bourgeois comfort in Milwaukee. She knows she should be pleased, but she’s restless instead, yearning for something she lacks even the vocabulary to articulate. When she falls in love with enigmatic and ambitious Oskar, she believes she’s found her escape from the banality of her preordained life.  But escape turns out to be more fraught than Trudy had imagined. Alienated from family and friends, the couple moves across the country to take a job at a lighthouse at Point Lucia, California—an unnervingly isolated outcropping, trapped between the ocean and hundreds of miles of inaccessible wilderness. There they meet the light station’s only inhabitants—the formidable and guarded Crawleys. In this unfamiliar place, Trudy will find that nothing is as she might have predicted, especially after she discovers what hides among the rocks.



The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bojahlian (in PB Apr 29th)
1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison. 1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.



Stolen Remains by Christine Trent (Apr 29th)
After establishing her reputation as one of London's most highly regarded undertakers, Violet Harper decided to take her practice to the wilds of the American West. But when her mother falls ill, Violet and her husband Samuel are summoned back to England, where her skills are as sought-after as ever. She's honored to undertake the funeral of Anthony Fairmont, the Viscount Raybourn, a close friend of Queen Victoria's who died in suspicious circumstances--but it's difficult to perform her services when his body disappears. . .   As the viscount's undertaker, all eyes are on Violet as the Fairmonts and Scotland Yard begin the search for his earthly remains. Forced to exhume her latent talents as a sleuth to preserve her good name, Violet's own investigation takes her from servants' quarters, to the halls of Windsor Castle, to the tombs of ancient Egypt--and the Fairmont family's secrets quickly begin to unravel like a mummy's wrappings. But the closer Violet gets to the truth, the closer she gets to becoming the next missing body. . .
 

Ruby by Cynthia Bond (Apr 29th)
Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby, "the kind of pretty it hurt to look at," has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York. Ruby quickly winds her way into the ripe center of the city--the darkened piano bars and hidden alleyways of the Village--all the while hoping to see the red hair and green eyes of her mother. When the funeral of her childhood best friend forces her to return home, thirty-year-old Ruby Bell will find herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town's dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy. Full of life, exquisitely written, and suffused with the pastoral beauty of the rural South, Ruby carries the reader along in a rush: through the red dust and gossip of Main Street, to the pit fire where men swill bootleg outside Bloom's Juke, to Celia Jennings's kitchen where a cake is being made, yolk by yolk, that Ephram will use to try to begin again with Ruby.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

March Historical Fiction Preview


A King’s Ransom by Sharon Kay Penman (Mar 4th)
This long-anticipated sequel to the national bestseller Lionheartis a vivid and heart-wrenching story of the last event-filled years in the life of Richard, Coeur de Lion. Taken captive by the Holy Roman Emperor while en route home—in violation of the papal decree protecting all crusaders—he was to spend fifteen months chained in a dungeon while Eleanor of Aquitaine moved heaven and earth to raise the exorbitant ransom. But a further humiliation awaited him: he was forced to kneel and swear fealty to his bitter enemy. For the five years remaining to him, betrayals, intrigues, wars, and illness were ever present. So were his infidelities, perhaps a pattern set by his father’s faithlessness to Eleanor. But the courage, compassion, and intelligence of this warrior king became the stuff of legend, and A King’s Ransom brings the man and his world fully and powerfully alive.




The Mapmaker’s Daughter by Laurel Corona (Mar 4th)
Valencia, 1492. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella issue an order expelling all Jews who refuse to convert to Christianity. Amalia Cresques, daughter of a Jewish mapmaker whose services were so valuable that his faith had been ignored, can no longer evade the throne. She must leave her beloved atlas, her house, her country, forever. As Amalia remembers her past, living as a converso, hiding her faith, she must decide whether to risk the wrath of the Inquisition or relinquish what’s left of her true life. A mesmerizing saga about faith, family and Jewish identity.


 

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck (Mar 4th)
Upstate New York, 1928. Laura Kelley and the man she loves sneak away from their judgmental town to attend a performance of the scandalous Ziegfeld Follies. But the dark consequences of their night of daring and delight reach far into the future.…That same evening, Bohemian poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her indulgent husband hold a wild party in their remote mountain estate, hoping to inspire her muse. Millay declares her wish for a new lover who will take her to unparalleled heights of passion and poetry, but for the first time, the man who responds will not bend completely to her will.…Two years later, Laura, an unwed seamstress struggling to support her daughter, and Millay, a woman fighting the passage of time, work together secretly to create costumes for Millay’s next grand tour. As their complex, often uneasy friendship develops amid growing local condemnation, each woman is forced to confront what it means to be a fallen woman…and to decide for herself what price she is willing to pay to live a full life.



The Rebel Pirate by Donna Thorland (Mar 4th)
1775, Boston Harbor. James Sparhawk, Master and Commander in the British Navy, knows trouble when he sees it. The ship he’s boarded is carrying ammunition and gold into a country on the knife’s edge of war. Sparhawk’s duty is clear: confiscate the cargo, impound the vessel and seize the crew. But when one of the ship’s boys turns out to be a lovely girl, with a loaded pistol and dead-shot aim, Sparhawk finds himself held hostage aboard a Rebel privateer.  Sarah Ward never set out to break the law. Before Boston became a powder keg, she was poised to escape the stigma of being a notorious pirate’s daughter by wedding Micah Wild, one of Salem’s most successful merchants. Then a Patriot mob destroyed her fortune and Wild played her false by marrying her best friend and smuggling a chest of Rebel gold aboard her family’s ship.  Now branded a pirate herself, Sarah will do what she must to secure her family’s safety and her own future. Even if that means taking part in the cat and mouse game unfolding in Boston Harbor, the desperate naval fight between British and Rebel forces for the materiel of war—and pitting herself against James Sparhawk, the one man she cannot resist.




A Place at the Table by Susan Rebecca White (in PB Mar 4th)
Celebrating the healing power of food and the magic of New York City, A Place at the Table follows the lives of three seekers who come together in the understanding that when you embrace the thing that makes you different, you become whole. A Place at the Table tells the story of three unforgettable characters whose paths converge in a storied Manhattan café: Bobby, a young gay man from Georgia who has been ostracized by his family; Amelia, a wealthy Connecticut woman whose life is upended when a family secret comes to light; and Alice, an African-American chef from North Carolina whose heritage is the basis of a renowned cookbook but whose past is a mystery to those who know her. These characters are exiles—from homeland, from marriage, from family. While they all find companionship and careers through cooking, they hunger for the deeper nourishment of communion. As the narrative sweeps from a freed-slave settlement in 1920s North Carolina to Manhattan during the deadly AIDS epidemic of the 1980s to the well-heeled hamlet of contemporary Old Greenwich, Connecticut, Bobby, Amelia, and Alice are asked to sacrifice everything they ever knew or cared about to find authenticity and fulfillment.




Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler (in PB Mar 4th)
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes. What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein. Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too?



City of Darkness and Light by Rhys Bowen (Mar 4th) 
Molly and Daniel Sullivan are settling happily into the new routines of parenthood, but their domestic bliss is shattered when a gang retaliates against Daniel after he makes a big arrest. Daniel wants his family safely out of New York as soon as possible. Knowing she needs to protect their young son Liam, Molly agrees to take him on the long journey to Paris to stay with her friends Sid and Gus, who are studying art in the City of Light. But upon arriving in Paris, nothing goes as planned. Sid and Gus are nowhere to be found, and Molly's search for them leads her to the doorstep of a renowned Impressionist artist, whom she's horrified to learn has just been murdered. The longer Molly goes without finding her friends, and the more she learns about the painter's death, the more she starts to wonder if she and Liam might be in even more danger in Paris than they were at home.






Why Kings Confess: a Sebastian St Cyr Mystery by C.S. Harris (Mar 4th)
Regency England, January 1813: When a badly injured Frenchwoman is found beside the mutilated body of Dr. Damion Pelletan in one of London’s worst slums, Sebastian finds himself caught in a high-stakes tangle of murder and revenge. Although the woman, Alexi Sauvage, has no memory of the attack, Sebastian knows her all too well from an incident in his past—an act of wartime brutality and betrayal that nearly destroyed him. As the search for the killer leads Sebastian into a treacherous web of duplicity, he discovers that Pelletan was part of a secret delegation sent by Napoleon to investigate the possibility of peace with Britain. Despite his powerful father-in-law’s warnings, Sebastian plunges deep into the mystery of the “Lost Dauphin,” the boy prince who disappeared in the darkest days of the French Revolution, and soon finds himself at lethal odds with the Dauphin’s sister—the imperious, ruthless daughter of Marie Antoinette—who is determined to retake the French crown at any cost. With the murderer striking ever closer, Sebastian must battle new fears about Hero’s health and that of their soon-to-be born child. When he realizes the key to their survival may lie in the hands of an old enemy, he must finally face the truth about his own guilt in a past he has found too terrible to consider.... 




The Missing Italian Girl by Barbara Corrado Pope (in PB Mar 6th)
On a sultry night in June 1897, Pyotr Ivanovich Balenov, a young Russian, and two young women transport a dead man through the narrow streets of a working class neighborhood in Paris. They throw the body into the canal and the girls flee to the Latin Quarter to hide with one of Pyotr’s anarchist “comrades.” They do not realize that they, too, are being watched.  Their subsequent disappearance and the violent acts that follow will set Clarie Martin, a teacher and mother of a toddler, and her husband, magistrate Bernard Martin (last seen in Cezanne's Quarry and The Blood of Lorraine) on a dangerous quest to rescue them from a vicious killer in fin-de-siecle Paris.



Savage Girl by Jean Zimmerman (Mar 6th)
Jean Zimmerman’s new novel tells of the dramatic events that transpire when an alluring, blazingly smart eighteen-year-old girl named Bronwyn, reputedly raised by wolves in the wilds of Nevada, is adopted in 1875 by the Delegates, an outlandishly wealthy Manhattan couple, and taken back East to be civilized and introduced into high society.  Bronwyn hits the highly mannered world of Edith Wharton era Manhattan like a bomb. A series of suitors, both young and old, find her irresistible, but the willful girl’s illicit lovers begin to turn up murdered.  Zimmerman’s tale is narrated by the Delegate’s son, a Harvard anatomy student. The tormented, self-dramatizing Hugo Delegate speaks from a prison cell where he is prepared to take the fall for his beloved Savage Girl. This narrative—a love story and a mystery with a powerful sense of fable—is his confession.





The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton (re-issue Mar 6th)
In 1631 Elizabeth Winthrop, newly widowed with an infant daughter, set sail for the New World. In those days of hardship, famine, and Indian attack, there was only one way, in the minds of the governors of the Massachusetts Bay and Connecticut colonies, to hold together the sanity and identity of the colonists. That was through a strong and bigoted, theocratic government.  It is against this background of rigidity and conformity that Bess Winthrop dared to befriend Anne Hutchinson at the moment of her banishment from the Bay Colony; dared to challenge a determined army captain bent on the massacre of her friends the Siwanoy Indians; and, above all, dared to love a man as her heart and her whole being commanded. And so, as a response to this almost unmatched courage and vitality, Governor John Winthrop came to refer to this woman in the historical records of the time as his "unregenerate niece." Anya Seton’s riveting historical novel portrays the fortitude, humiliation, and ultimate triumph of the Winthrop woman, who believed in a concept of happiness transcending that of her own day.




The Lie by Helen Dunmore (Mar 10th)
Cornwall, 1920. Infantry officer Daniel Branwell has returned to his coastal hometown after the war. Unmoored and alone, Daniel spends his days in solitude, quietly working the land. However, all is not as it seems in the peaceful idylls of the countryside; and although he has left the trenches, Daniel cannot escape his dreadful past. As former friendships re-ignite, Daniel is drawn deeper and deeper into the tangled traumas of his youth and the memories of his best friend and his first love. Old wounds reopen, and old troubles resurface, though none so great as the lie that threatens to ruin Daniel's life, the lie from which he cannot run.




The Lost Sisterhood by Anne Fortier (Mar 11th)
The Lost Sisterhood tells the story of Diana, a young and aspiring—but somewhat aimless—professor at Oxford. Her fascination with the history of the Amazons, the legendary warrior women of ancient Greece, is deeply connected with her own family’s history; her grandmother in particular. When Diana is invited to consult on an archeological excavation, she quickly realizes that here, finally, may be the proof that the Amazons were real.  The Amazons’ “true” story—and Diana’s history—is threaded along with this modern day hunt. This historical back-story focuses on a group of women, and more specifically on two sisters, whose fight to survive takes us through ancient Athens and to Troy, where the novel reinvents our perspective on the famous Trojan War.



Veil of Time by Claire R. McDougall (Mar 11th)
In the wake of her divorce, Maggie Livingstone leaves her native Glasgow to rent a holiday cottage at the foot of Dunadd, an ancient Pictish hill fort in the Scottish highlands, where the kings of Scotland were once crowned. There she is hoping to find time to herself to finish a post-graduate thesis on the witch burnings she started before her marriage.  But there is too much in Maggie’s past to allow for much peace and quiet: There’s her epilepsy for which a scheduled surgery might be her only chance of “normality;” there’s the recent death of her eleven year-old daughter, Ellie; there’s her teenage son, who left for boarding school when tensions at home became intolerable.   But most of all, there are those vivid dreams Maggie has in the deep sleep after seizures which make her draw only a fuzzy line between waking and sleeping. Dunadd, with its own vibrant history, starts to cross that line, and soon Maggie isn’t sure if she is only dreaming about her forays back to 735AD.   Fergus, the king of Dunadd’s recently widowed brother, certainly seems real enough to be more than a passing interest to Maggie. Sula the druidess paints quite a different picture of the pagan religion than Maggie had understood from her research. And then there is Fergus’s young daughter, who is so like her own daughter, Maggie can’t decide which world she belongs in.  Back in her own time, Maggie discovers in an ancient census that 735 AD was the year of a devastating earthquake at Dunadd. With the date of her surgery fast approaching, Maggie knows she has to get back to warn Fergus to take his daughter and leave the fort, that the era of his family’s rule at Dunadd is about to come to an abrupt end.






The May Bride by Suzannah Dunn (UK Release Mar 13th)
I didn't stand a chance: looking back over thirteen years, that's what I see. In the very first instant, I was won over, and of course I was: I was fifteen and had been nowhere and done nothing, whereas Katherine was twenty-one and yellow-silk-clad and just married to the golden boy. Only a few years later, I'd be blaming myself for not having somehow seen ... but seen what, really? What - really, honestly - was there to see, when she walked into Hall? She was just a girl, a lovely, light-stepping girl, smiling that smile of hers, and, back then, as giddy with goodwill as the rest of us.
When Katherine Filliol arrives at Wolf Hall as the new young bride of Jane Seymour's older brother, Edward, Jane is irresistibly drawn to the confident older girl and they develop a close and trusting friendship, forged during a long, hot country summer. However, only two years later, the family is destroyed by Edward's allegations of Katherine's infidelity with his father. When Jane is also sent away, to serve Katharine of Aragon, she watches another wife being put aside, with terrible consequences.





The Visitors by Patrick O’Keeffe (Mar 13th)
James Dwyer was born in rural county Limerick before moving to Dublin as a teenager and ultimately settling in Ann Arbor. One night James’s past appears in the form of a down-and-out man named Walter, who issues an invitation for James to come to Upstate New York to visit his old childhood neighbor, Kevin Lyons. Although neither James nor Kevin particularly cares for each other, there’s no denying their complicated past. Kevin and James’s sister, Tess, were lovers while James fell hard for Kevin’s sister, Una.




Blood & Beauty by Sarah Dunant (in PB Mar 14th)
By the end of the fifteenth century, the beauty and creativity of Italy is matched only by its brutality and corruption. When Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia buys his way into the papacy as Alexander VI, the charismatic, consummate politician with a huge appetite for women and power knows that it will take his entire family to ensure his triumphant legacy as pope. His eldest son Cesare, with his dazzlingly cold intelligence and even colder soul, is Rodrigo's greatest-though increasingly unstable-weapon. Lucrezia, Rodrigo's beloved, beautiful daughter, is his prime dynastic tool.




The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau (in PB Mar 18th)
England, 1538. A bloody power struggle between crown and cross tears England asunder. Young Joanna Stafford has already tasted the wrath of the royal court, seen what lies inside the king's torture rooms and escaped death at the hands of those desperate to possess the power of an ancient relic. After seeing such sights, the quiet life is not for Joanna. Soon she risks arrest and imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a conspiracy scheming against Henry VIII. As the powerplays grow deadly, Joanna must realise if her role is more central than she'd ever imagined. As one fateful night at the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket proves, she must make a choice between those she cares for most and taking her place in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more powerful than the last. To learn the final, sinister piece of the prophecy, she flees across Europe with an amoral spy sent by Spain. As the necromancers complete the puzzle, Joanna realises the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands; hands which must someday hold the chalice that lies at the centre of these deadly prophecies...




Roosevelt’s Beast by Louis Bayard (Mar 18th)
1914. Brazil’s Rio da Dúvida, the River of Doubt. Plagued by hunger and suffering the lingering effects of malaria, Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit, and the other members of the now-ravaged Roosevelt-Rondon scientific expedition are traveling deeper and deeper into the jungle. When Kermit and Teddy are kidnapped by a never-before-seen Amazonian tribe, the great hunters are asked one thing in exchange for their freedom: find and kill a beast that leaves no tracks and that no member of the tribe has ever seen. But what are the origins of this beast, and how do they escape its brutal wrath? Roosevelt's Beast is a story of the impossible things that become possible when civilization is miles away, when the mind plays tricks on itself, and when old family secrets refuse to stay buried. With his characteristically rich storytelling and a touch of old-fashioned horror, the bestselling and critically acclaimed Louis Bayard turns the story of the well-known Roosevelt-Rondon expedition on its head and dares to ask: Are the beasts among us more frightening than the beasts within?





Fever by Mary Beth Keane (in PB Mar 18th)
On the eve of the twentieth century, Mary Mallon emigrated from Ireland at age fifteen to make her way in New York City. Brave, headstrong, and dreaming of being a cook, she fought to climb up from the lowest rung of the domestic-service ladder. Canny and enterprising, she worked her way to the kitchen, and discovered in herself the true talent of a chef. Sought after by New York aristocracy, and with an independence rare for a woman of the time, she seemed to have achieved the life she’d aimed for when she arrived in Castle Garden. Then one determined “medical engineer” noticed that she left a trail of disease wherever she cooked, and identified her as an “asymptomatic carrier” of Typhoid Fever. With this seemingly preposterous theory, he made Mallon a hunted woman.   The Department of Health sent Mallon to North Brother Island, where she was kept in isolation from 1907 to 1910, then released under the condition that she never work as a cook again. Yet for Mary—proud of her former status and passionate about cooking—the alternatives were abhorrent. She defied the edict.





Seducing Ingrid Bergman by Chris Greenhalgh (Mar 18th) 
June, 1945:In newly liberated Paris, battle-ravaged photographer Robert Capa is drowning his sorrows. After ten years of recording horror and violence, he longs for a diversion. Ingrid Bergman has been sent to entertain the troops and when she walks into the Ritz Hotel Capa is enchanted. From the moment he slips a mischievous invitation to dinner under her door, the two find themselves helplessly attracted. Ingrid, tired of her passionless marriage, and her controlling film studio, is desperate for freedom and excitement. And Capa is willing to oblige. Dinners in cafes he can’t afford. Night walks along the Seine. Dancing barefoot in nightclubs. Trysts in hotel rooms. He brings her back to life and she fills the hole inside him.  But with everything at stake, both Capa and Ingrid are presented with terrible choices.

 
Citadel by Kate Mosse (Mar 18th)
Carcassonne 1942. A spirited and courageous young woman, Sandrine, finds herself drawn into the world of the Resistance in Carcassonne under German Occupation. Her network - codenamed 'Citadel' - is made up of ordinary women who risk everything to fight the sinister battles raging in the shadows around them.  As the war reaches its violent and bloody conclusion, Sandrine's fate is tied up with that of three very different men. But who is the real enemy? Who is the real threat? And who is the true guardian of the ancient secrets that for generations have drawn people to the foothills of the Pyrenean Mountains?
 


Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter by Anne Clinard Barnhill (Mar 18th) 
Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford.  But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery.  No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses. Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children.  Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.




Hyde by Daniel Levine (Mar 18th)
Mr. Hyde is hiding, trapped in Dr. Jekyll’s surgical cabinet, counting the hours until capture. As four days pass, he has the chance, finally, to tell the story of his brief, marvelous life. We join Hyde, awakened after years of dormancy, in the mind he hesitantly shares with Jekyll. We spin with dizzy confusion as the potions take effect. We tromp through the dark streets of Victorian London. We watch Jekyll’s high-class life at a remove, blurred by a membrane of consciousness. We feel the horror of lost time, the helplessness of knowing we are responsible for the actions of a body not entirely our own. Girls have gone missing. Someone has been killed. The evidence points to Mr. Hyde. Someone is framing him, terrorizing him with cryptic notes and whisper campaigns. Who can it be? Even if these crimes weren’t of his choosing, can they have been by his hand?




City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn (Mar 25th)
Famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke never expected to see her husband, adventurer Gabriel Starke, ever again. They had been a golden couple, enjoying a whirlwind courtship amid the backdrop of a glittering social set in prewar London until his sudden death with the sinking of the Lusitania. Five years later, beginning to embrace life again, Evie embarks upon a flight around the world, collecting fame and admirers along the way. In the midst of her triumphant tour, she is shocked to receive a mysterious—and recent—photograph of Gabriel, which brings her ambitious stunt to a screeching halt. With her eccentric aunt Dove in tow, Evie tracks the source of the photo to the ancient City of Jasmine, Damascus. There she discovers that nothing is as it seems. Danger lurks at every turn, and at stake is a priceless relic, an artifact once lost to time and so valuable that criminals will stop at nothing to acquire it—even murder. Leaving the jewelled city behind, Evie sets off across the punishing sands of the desert to unearth the truth of Gabriel's disappearance and retrieve a relic straight from the pages of history. 




A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate by Susanna Calkins (in PB Mar 25th) 
For Lucy Campion, a seventeenth-century English chambermaid serving in the household of the local magistrate, life is an endless repetition of polishing pewter, emptying chamber pots, and dealing with other household chores until a fellow servant is ruthlessly killed, and someone she loves is wrongly arrested for the crime. In a time where the accused are presumed guilty until proven innocent, lawyers aren't permitted to defend their clients, and--if the plague doesn't kill them first--public executions draw a large crowd of spectators, Lucy knows she may never see this person alive again. Unless, that is, she can identify the true murderer.  Determined to do just that, Lucy finds herself venturing out of her expected station and into raucous printers' shops, secretive gypsy camps, the foul streets of London, and even the bowels of Newgate prison on a trail that might lead her straight into the arms of the killer.



A Man without Breath by Philip Kerr (in PB Mar 25th)
Berlin, March, 1943. A month has passed since the stunning defeat at Stalingrad. Though Hitler insists Germany is winning the war, commanders on the ground know better. Morale is low, discipline at risk. Now word has reached Berlin of a Red massacre of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk. If true, the message it would send to the troops is clear: Fight on or risk certain death. For once, both the Wehrmacht and Propaganda Minister Goebbels want the same thing: irrefutable evidence of this Russian atrocity. To the Wehrmacht, such proof will soften the reality of its own war crimes in the eyes of the victors. For Goebbels, such proof could turn the tide of war by destroying the Alliance, cutting Russia off from its western supply lines.  Both parties agree that the ensuing investigation must be overseen by a professional trained in sifting evidence and interrogating witnesses. Anything that smells of incompetence or tampering will defeat their purposes. And so Bernie Gunther is dispatched to Smolensk, where truth is as much a victim of war as those poor dead Polish officers.  Smolensk, March, 1943.  Army Group Center is an enclave of Prussian aristocrats who have owned the Wehrmacht almost as long as they’ve owned their baronial estates, an officer class whose families have been intermarrying for generations. The wisecracking, rough-edged Gunther is not a good fit. He is, after all, a Berlin bull. But he has a far bigger concern than sharp elbows and supercilious stares, for somewhere in this mix is a cunning and savage killer who has left a trail of bloody victims.  This is no psycho case. This is a man with motive enough to kill and skills enough to leave no trace of himself. Bad luck that in this war zone, such skills are two-a-penny. Somehow Bernie must put a face to this killer before he puts an end to Bernie.



The Revenant of Thraxton Hall by Vaughn Entwistle (Mar 25th)
Arthur Conan Doyle has just killed off Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem,” and he immediately becomes one of the most hated men in London. So when he is contacted by a medium “of some renown” and asked to investigate a murder, he jumps at the chance to get out of the city. The only thing is that the murder hasn’t happened yet—the medium, one Hope Thraxton, has foreseen that her death will occur at the third séance of a meeting of the Society for Psychical Research at her manor house in the English countryside. Along for the ride is Conan Doyle’s good friend Oscar Wilde, and together they work to narrow down the list of suspects, which includes a mysterious foreign Count, a levitating magician, and an irritable old woman with a “familiar.” Meanwhile, Conan Doyle is enchanted by the plight of the capricious Hope Thraxton, who may or may not have a more complicated back-story than it first appears. As Conan Doyle and Wilde participate in séances and consider the possible motives of the assembled group, the clock ticks ever closer to Hope’s murder.





For Such a Time by Kate Breslin (Mar 25th)
In 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric's secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.  Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric's compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.  Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp's prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?



The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig (in PB Mar 25th)
As a lawyer in a large Manhattan firm, just shy of making partner, Clementine Evans has finally achieved almost everything she's been working towards - but now she's not sure it's enough. Her long hours have led to a broken engagement and, suddenly single at thirty-four, she feels her messy life crumbling around her. But when the family gathers for her grandmother Addie's ninety-ninth birthday, a relative lets slip hints about a long-buried family secret, leading Clemmie on a journey into the past that could change everything...What follows is a potent story that spans generations and continents, bringing an Out of Africa feel to a Downton Abbey cast of unforgettable characters. From the inner circles of WWI-era British society to the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the red-dirt hills of Kenya, the never-told secrets of a woman and family unfurl.
 
Death on Blackheath by Anne Perry (in PB Mar 25th)
Greenwich,1897. A macabre scene is discovered outside a house on Shooters Hill. There has been a vicious fight, and amid the bloodstains are locks of long auburn hair. Thomas Pitt, head of Special Branch, is called: this is the home of Dudley Kynaston, a minister with access to some of the government's most dangerous secrets, and any inquiry must be handled with utmost discretion. Although an auburn-haired housemaid is missing from Kynaston's household, with no evidence there is little Pitt can do. Until a corpse, mutilated beyond recognition, is discovered a few weeks later. As Pitt begins to investigate, he finds small inconsistencies in Kynaston's story. Are these harmless omissions, or could they lead to something more serious, something that could threaten not just Kynaston's own family but also his Queen and country?



The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway (in PB Mar 25th)
“You are now a member of the Guild. There is no return.”Two hundred years after he was about to die on a Napoleonic battlefield, Nick Falcott, soldier and aristocrat, wakes up in a hospital bed in modern London. The Guild, an entity that controls time travel, showers him with life's advantages. But Nick yearns for home and for one brown-eyed girl, lost now down the centuries. Then the Guild asks him to break its own rule. It needs Nick to go back to 1815 to fight the Guild’s enemies and to find something called the Talisman. In 1815, Julia Percy mourns the death of her beloved grandfather, an earl who could play with time. On his deathbed he whispers in her ear: “Pretend!” Pretend what? When Nick returns home as if from the dead, older than he should be and battle scarred, Julia begins to suspect that her very life depends upon the secrets Grandfather never told her. Soon enough Julia and Nick are caught up in an adventure that stretches up and down the river of time. As their knowledge of the Guild and their feelings for each other grow, the fate of the future itself is hanging in the balance.



The Berkeley Square Affair by Teresa Grant (Mar 25th)
A stolen treasure may hold the secret to a ghastly crime. . .  Ensconced in the comfort of their elegant home in London's Berkeley Square, Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch are no longer subject to the perilous life of intrigue they led during the Napoleonic Wars. Once an Intelligence Agent, Malcolm is now a Member of Parliament, and Suzanne is one of the city's most sought-after hostesses. But a late-night visit from a friend who's been robbed may lure them back into the dangerous world they thought they'd left behind. . .   Playwright Simon Tanner had in his possession what may be a lost version of Hamlet, and the thieves were prepared to kill for it. But the Rannochs suspect there's more at stake than a literary gem--for the play may conceal the identity of a Bonapartist spy--along with secrets that could force Malcolm and Suzanne to abandon their newfound peace and confront their own dark past. . .



Magnolia City by Duncan W. Alderson (Mar 25th)
Houston in the 1920s is a city of established cotton kings and newly rich oil barons, where the elite live in beaux art mansions behind the gates of Courtlandt Place. Kirby Augustus Allen, grandson of the Allen brothers who founded Houston as a real estate deal, is grooming his daughter Hetty to marry Lamar Rusk, scion of the Splendora oil fortune. Instead, at the No-Tsu-Oh Carnival of 1928, beautiful, rebellious Hetty encounters a mysterious man from Montana dressed in the gear of a wildcatter--an outsider named Garret MacBride. Hetty is torn between Lamar's lavish courtship and her instinctive connection to Garret. As Lamar's wife she would be guaranteed acceptance to the highest ranks of Houston society. Yet Garret, poor but powerfully ambitious, offers the adventure she craves, with rendezvous in illicit jazz clubs and reckless nights of passion. The men's intense rivalry extends to business, as rumors of a vast, untapped ocean of oil in East Texas spark a frenzy that can make fortunes--or shatter lives and dreams beyond repair.





The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston (Mar 25th)
Lilith is the daughter of the sixth Duke of Radnor. She is one of the most beautiful young women in London and engaged to the city’s most eligible bachelor. She is also a witch. When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes the title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father’s role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the coven’s guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her charming fiancé and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt. Until the day she meets Bram, a talented artist who is neither a witch nor a member of her class. With him, she must not be secret and silent. Despite her loyalty to the coven and duty to her family, Lilith cannot keep her life as a witch hidden from the man she loves. To tell him will risk everything.




The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini (in PB Mar 25th)
Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lew’s convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life. Van Lew’s skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy ring’s reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.




Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell (Mar 25th)
As the nineteenth century comes to a close, the illustrious Vanderbilt family dominates Newport, Rhode Island, high society. But when murder darkens a glittering affair at the Vanderbilt summer home, reporter Emma Cross learns that sometimes the actions of the cream of society can curdle one's blood. . .  Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts' summer home. She also has a job to do--report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer. But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt's financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma's black sheep brother Brady is found in Cornelius's bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost. . .




The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin (UK Release Mar 27th)
Empress Elisabeth 'Sisi' of Austria is famed in her 1865 Winterhalter portrait depicting her lustrous, long dark hair studded with twenty-seven sparkling diamond stars, her pale, porcelain skin, her ruby lips and exquisite poise. Intelligent, beautiful and bored, she decides to leave her husband, Franz Joseph to his books, and pursue her love of hunting in a trip to England. It is there, riding with the hunt at Easton Neston, that she meets Bay Middleton, charismatic, handsome - and as excellent a rider as she is herself. Sisi is royalty, and married; Bay is charming, a commoner and betrothed - and his fiancee, Charlotte, is no fool...Rich in period detail, this is a delicious, playful novel of a woman bound by her upbringing, and a man who cannot resist breaking rules.




Bellagrand by Paullina Simons (Mar 27th)
After their whirlwind romance, Gina and Harry must learn what it really takes to mesh their families and their cultures. Readers will be delighted to see exactly how these characters fit into the Bronze Horseman legacy.