Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Historical Fiction Out This Month

Crimson Rose by M.J. Trow (Nov 1st)
March, 1587. Christopher Marlowe’s play Tamburlaine, with the incomparable Ned Alleyn in the title role, has opened at the Rose Theatre, and a new era on the London stage is born. Yet the play is almost shut down on its opening night. For a member of the audience, Eleanor Merchant, lies dead, hit by a musket ball fired from the stage. The man with his finger on the trigger? A bit-part player named Will Shakespeare. Convinced of Shakespeare’s innocence, Marlowe determines to find out what really happened. When a second body is found floating in the River Thames, it becomes clear that Eleanor Merchant’s death was no accident, and that something deeper and darker is afoot. And why is the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, taking a close personal interest in the case?

Hardcastle’s Traitors by Graham Ison (Nov 1st)
It is New Year’s Eve 1915 and the Hardcastle family are welcoming 1916 at their home in Kennington, London. But an hour into the New Year, Hardcastle is called to a murder in a jeweller’s shop in Vauxhall. In a first for the A Division senior detective, the killers apparently made their escape in a motor car. As Hardcastle’s enquiry progresses, what he believed to be a fairly straightforward investigation turns into one with ramifications extending from Chelsea via Sussex and Surrey to France, close to the fighting on the Western Front. And as is so often the case in wartime, the army becomes involved and so, to Hardcastle’s dismay, does Scotland Yard’s Special Branch . . .

Marbeck and the King-in-Waiting by John Pilkington (Nov 1st)
Spring, 1603: Queen Elizabeth is dying, and England waits anxiously. The Virgin Queen hasn’t named an heir, refusing even to speak. Her cousin James, King of Scotland, is assumed to be her successor, but will the transition be peaceful? Sir Robert Cecil, Secretary of State, fears insurrection and has brought troops to the capital. But from where might the danger come – overseas, or from malcontents closer to home? Meanwhile Marbeck, Cecil’s best intelligencer, is under a cloud, wrongly suspected of shady dealings with the Spanish. So when the son of his friend Lady Celia Scroop joins a fanatical Puritan sect, he’s glad to leave London to try and find the wayward youth. But events move fast and Marbeck finds himself in a maelstrom: forced to confront plots from two directions, that threaten not only the peace of the nation but the very fabric of England itself . . .

Solid Citizens by David Wishart (Nov 1st)
December, AD39. While enjoying the Winter Festival holiday at his adopted daughter’s home in the Alban Hills, Marcus Corvinus discovers that an outwardly respectable pillar of the community, local politician Quintus Caesius has been discovered beaten to death at the rear entrance of the town brothel. Questioning those who knew the victim, Corvinus is dismayed to find Bovillae a place of small town secrets, bitter feuds, malicious gossip and deadly rivalry: a world away from the sophistication of Rome. As he is to discover, there are several suspects with reason to bear Caesius a grudge. But who would hate him enough to kill him? And what would a supposedly solid citizen be doing visiting the local brothel?

The Phoenix (Morland Dynasty #35) by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (Nov 1st)
It is 1931 and the world is still reeling from the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash. Polly Morland has returned to Morland Place, saving it from financial ruin. Her plans to change things are met with resistance, however, and she must prove her mettle in a man's world. Jack, war hero and family man, knows that he must make a change for the sake of those he holds dear, so when an opportunity arises that would take him back to York, he seizes it with both hands. In London, Robert is bored with his office job and seeks something grander. Fatherless and dealing with the repercussions of his family's bankruptcy, he must make his own way now that he has been left to the mercy of the world. His sister Charlotte, also frustrated with her life and sure that she will never receive an offer of marriage, longs for something different as well. As the years roll by, the threat of another war hangs in the air, and when King Edward VIII takes to the throne, things seem to be on the brink of change once more. But like a phoenix rising up from the ashes, the Morlands prove yet again that they will emerge from whatever they must face stronger than ever before.

Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch (Nov 5th)
It's 1832 and Coll Coyle has killed the wrong man. The dead man's father is an expert tracker and ruthless killer with a single-minded focus on vengeance. The hunt leads from the windswept bogs of County Donegal, across the Atlantic to the choleric work camps of the Pennsylvania railroad, where both men will find their fates in the hardship and rough country of the fledgling United States.

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fanny Flagg (Nov 5th)
Spanning decades, generations, and America in the 1940s and today, The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion is a fun-loving mystery about an Alabama woman today, and five women who in 1943 worked in a Phillips 66 gas station, during the WWII years. Like Fannie Flagg's classic Fried Green Tomatoes, this is a riveting, fun story of two families, set in present day America and during World War II, filled to the brim with Flagg's trademark funny voice and storytelling magic.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (Nov 5th)
Moving between the dazzling world of courtesans in turn of the century Shanghai, a remote Chinese mountain village, and the rough-hewn streets of nineteenth-century San Francisco, Amy Tan’s sweeping new novel maps the lives of three generations of women connected by blood and history—and the mystery of an evocative painting known as “The Valley of Amazement.”  Violet is one of the most celebrated courtesans in Shanghai, a beautiful and intelligent woman who has honed her ability to become any man’s fantasy since her start as a “Virgin Courtesan” at the age of twelve. Half-Chinese and half-American, she moves effortlessly between the East and the West. But her talents belie her private struggle to understand who she really is and her search for a home in the world. Abandoned by her mother, Lucia, and uncertain of her father’s identity, Violet’s quest to truly love and be loved will set her on a path fraught with danger and complexity—and the loss of her own daughter. Lucia, a willful and wild American woman who was once herself the proprietress of Shanghai’s most exclusive courtesan house, nurses her own secret wounds, which she first sustained when, as a teenager, she fell in love with a Chinese painter and followed him from San Francisco to Shanghai. Her search for penance and redemption will bring her to a startling reunion with Flora, Violet’s daughter, and will shatter all that Violet believed she knew about her mother.

Sherlock Holmes: The Will of the Dead by George Mann (Nov 5th)
A young man named Peter Maugram appears at the front door of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson's Baker Street lodgings. Maugram's uncle is dead and his will has disappeared, leaving the man afraid that he will be left penniless. Holmes agrees to take the case and he and Watson dig deep into the murky past of this complex family.

Dollface: A Novel of the Roaring Twenties by Renee Rosen (Nov 5th)
During the 1920s Chicago's speakeasies are filled with flappers and dashing young men doing the Charleston and the Bunny Hug. They're drinking liquor from teacups and living the good life. But while the party goes on inside, the streets are turning deadly as Al Capone's South Side Gang and Dion O'Banion's North Side Gang vie for control of the city's lucrative bootlegging industry. Vera Abramowitz, a spunky young beauty finds herself caught in a lover's triangle involving two men from rival gangs. Shep Green is a charismatic smooth-talking gentleman who works for Dion O'Banion and Tony Liolli is a sexy henchman for Al Capone with a penchant for risk-taking and gambling. Set against the backdrop of Chicago's infamous Beer Wars, Vera, her best friend Evelyn and gun molls Basha and Dora, traverse this fast-paced world where their lives become entangled in everything from infidelity, to bootlegging to murder. All the while, Vera is torn between two powerful and dangerous men until the St. Valentine's Day Massacre determines all their fates.

The Blooding of Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys (re-release Nov 5th)
London 1759 and Jack's life is easy. A scholar at Westminster School, a master with cricket bat or billiard cue, the leader of a gang of bucks about the Town, he has both a girl he worships ...and a courtesan teaching him the more basic arts of love. Yet he plans to give up all carousing, sit the examinations for Cambridge, find a career in any field he chooses. If he can just stay out of trouble for one night... From the billiard halls and brothels of London to a clash of Empires on the Plains of Abraham, Jack life is forever altered by the tragedies of that night. Through duels, battles, frantic escapes and a brutal winter spent in a cave in Canada, Jack learns the truth of his father's words... as well as a dozen things to do with a dead bear. A year on, the schoolboy will vanish, a man appear. But first he must learn to kill. To come of age, Jack Absolute must be blooded.

Havisham by Ronald Frame (Nov 5th)
Catherine Havisham was born into privilege. Spry, imperious, she is the daughter of a wealthy brewer. But she is never far from the smell of hops and the arresting letters on the brewhouse wall—HAVISHAM. A reminder of all she owes to the family name, and the family business. Sent by her father to stay with the Chadwycks, Catherine discovers elegant pastimes to remove the taint of her family’s new money. But for all her growing sophistication Catherine is anything but worldly, and when a charismatic stranger pays her attention, everything—her heart, her future, the very Havisham name— is vulnerable. In this astounding prelude to Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations, Ronald Frame unfurls the psychological trauma that made young Catherine into Miss Havisham, and cursed her to a life alone roaming the halls of the mansion in the tatters of the dress she wore for the wedding she was never to have.

A Long Way from Verona by Jane Gardam (Nov 5th)
‘I ought to tell you at the beginning that I am not quite normal having had a violent experience at the age of nine'  Jessica Vye's 'violent experience' colors her schooldays and her reaction to the world around her- a confining world of Order Marks, wartime restrictions, viyella dresses, nicely-restrained essays and dusty tea shops. For Jessica she has been told that she is 'beyond all possible doubt', a born writer. With her inability to conform, her absolute compulsion to tell the truth and her dedication to accurately noting her experiences, she knows this anyway. But what she doesn't know is that the experiences that sustain and enrich her burgeoning talent will one day lead to a new- and entirely unexpected- reality.

Saving Mozart by Raphael Jerusalmy (Nov 5th)
Raphaël Jerusalmy’s debut novel takes the form of the journal of Otto J. Steiner, a former music critic of Jewish descent suffering from tuberculosis in a Salzburg sanatorium in 1939. Drained by his illness and isolated in the gloomy sanatorium, Steiner finds solace only in music. He is horrified to learn that the Nazis’ are transforming a Mozart festival into a fascist event. Steiner feels helpless at first, but an invitation from a friend presents him with an opportunity to fight back. Under the guise of organizing a concert for Nazi officials, Steiner formulates a plan to save Mozart that could dramatically change the course of the war.

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield (Nov 5th)
Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed--he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business--one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife's fresh grave--and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William--a mysterious business called "Bellman & Black" . . .

Emma of Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick (Nov 5th)
A Clearing in the Wild
When Emma’s outspoken ways and growing skepticism lead to a clash with the 1850s Bethel, Missouri colony’s beloved leader, she finds new opportunities to pursue her dreams of independence. But as she clears a pathway West to her truest and deepest self, she discovers something she never expected: a yearning for the warm embrace of community.
A Tendering in the Storm
Determined to raise her children on her own terms, Emma suddenly finds herself alone and pregnant with her third child, struggling to keep her family secure in the remote coastal forest of the Washington Territory. As clouds of despair close in, she must decide whether to continue in her own waning strength or to humble herself and accept help from the very people she once so eagerly left behind.
A Mending at the Edge
As a mother, daughter, sister, and estranged wife, Emma struggles to find her place inside—and outside—the confines of her religious community. Emma reaches out to others on the fringe, searching for healing and purpose. By blending her unique talents with service to others, she creates renewed hope as she weaves together the threads of family, friends, and faith.

The Boleyn Deceit by Laura Andersen (Nov 5th)
The regency period is over and William Tudor, now King Henry IX, sits alone on the throne. But England must still contend with those who doubt his legitimacy, both in faraway lands and within his own family. To diffuse tensions and appease the Catholics, William is betrothed to a young princess from France, but still he has eyes for only his childhood friend Minuette, and court tongues are wagging. Even more scandalous—and dangerous, if discovered—is that Minuette’s heart and soul belong to Dominic, William’s best friend and trusted advisor. Minuette must walk a delicate balance between her two suitors, unable to confide in anyone, not even her friend Elizabeth, William’s sister, who must contend with her own cleaved heart. In this irresistible tale, the secrets that everyone keeps are enough to change the course of an empire.

The Conversation by Jean d’Ormesson (Nov 6th)
Several years after the French Revolution, in the winter of 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte has to make a crucial decision: to keep the main ideals of the new France alive or to elevate the country into a powerful base by making it an empire and becoming emperor. One evening at the Tuileries Residence in Paris, Second Consul Jean-Jacques Cambacérès, a brilliant law scholar and close ally, listens as Napoleon struggles to determine what will be best for a country much weakened by ten years of wars and revolutions. Torn between his revolutionary ideals and his overwhelming longing for power, Napoleon Bonaparte declares that it can only be achieved by his taking the throne. Bonaparte attempts to rally Cambacérès to his cause and maps out in great detail why France must become an empire, with him as its Emperor. The Republican hero desires only one thing: to forge his legend during his lifetime. France has arrived at a crossroads, and Bonaparte must break many barriers to fulfill his ambition. “An empire is a Republic that has been enthroned,” he declares. And so, through the night, French history is made.

Lionheart by Stewart Binns (Nov 7th)
Lionheart is the latest historical adventure novel from Stewart Binns, covering the extraordinary life of King Richard the Lionheart. Richard of Aquitaine, the third son of King Henry II, is developing a fearsome reputation for being a ruthless warrior. Arrogant and conceited he earns the name Richard Lionheart for his bravery and brutality on the battlefield. After the death his brothers, Richard's impatience to take the throne, and gain the immense power that being King over a vast empire would bring him, leads him to form an alliance with Philip II, King of France. After invading his father's lands on the Continent, Richard Lionheart goes on to defeat the King's army at the tumultuous Battle of Ballans. Taking his place on the throne he begins his bloody quest to return the Holy Land to Christian rule.

Ace, King, Knave by Maria McCann (Nov 7th)
Behind doors is another story. Behind doors you can do what you like. Sophia - rational, demure, and hiding a 'little weakness' - has recently married the charismatic Mr Zedland. But Zedland has secrets of his own and Sophia comes to suspect that her marriage is not what it seems. In cramped rooms in Covent Garden, Betsy-Ann shuffles a pack of cards. A gambler, dealer in second-hand goods, and living with a grave robber, her life could not be more different to Sophia's - but she too discovers that she has been lied to. As both women take steps to discover the truth, their lives come together through a dramatic series of events, taking the reader through the streets of 1760s London: a city wearing a genteel civility on its surface and rife with hypocrisy, oppression and violence lurking underneath.

The Lost Duchess by Jenny Bardem (UK Release Nov 7th)
When Emme Fifield, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I, meets Kit Doonan, one of Sir Francis Drake's men recently returned from the New World, she is only too eager to join his planned expedition to Virginia - not least to escape the scoundrel who has deflowered her. The venture offers the rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits the chance of a fresh start in a brave new world, but the reality proves dangerous beyond their imagining. A series of near disasters confront them early on, and Emme begins to suspect that the expedition guide, Simon Ferdinando, might be a secret Spanish agent. As the plight of the fledgling colony becomes increasingly desperate, she turns to Kit Doonan. But the handsome mariner with a troubled past has his own inner demons to confront, and a son to protect unbeknown to anyone else...

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve (Nov 12th)
When a young American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in the exclusive garden of London's Bryanston Square, residents August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.  A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge, a cranial surgeon, quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse's aide in France, but she can't remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

An Old Betrayal by Charles Finch (Nov 12th)
On a spring morning in London, 1875, Charles Lenox agrees to take time away from his busy schedule as a Member of Parliament to meet an old protégé’s client at Charing Cross. But when their cryptic encounter seems to lead, days later, to the murder of an innocuous country squire, this fast favor draws Lenox inexorably back into his old profession. Soon he realizes that, far from concluding the murdere r’s business, this body is only the first step in a cruel plan, many years in the plotting. Where will he strike next? The answer, Lenox learns with slowly dawning horror, may be at the very heart of England’s monarchy. Ranging from the slums of London to the city’s corridors of power, the newest Charles Lenox novel bears all of this series’ customary wit, charm, and trickery— a compulsive escape to a different time.

The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini (in PB Nov 12th)
In this first of a new series of lighthearted historical mysteries set in 1890s San Francisco, former Pinkerton operative Sabina Carpenter and her detective partner, ex-Secret Service agent John Quincannon, undertake what initially appear to be two unrelated investigations. Sabina’s case involves the hunt for a ruthless lady “dip” who uses fiendish means to relieve her victims of their valuables at Chutes Amusement Park and other crowded places. Quincannon, meanwhile, is after a slippery housebreaker who targets the homes of wealthy residents, following a trail that leads him from the infamous Barbary Coast to an oyster pirate’s lair to a Tenderloin parlor house known as the Fiddle Dee Dee. The two cases eventually connect in surprising fashion, but not before two murders and assorted other felonies complicate matters even further. And not before the two sleuths are hindered, assisted, and exasperated by the bughouse Sherlock Holmes.

Hild by Nicola Griffin (Nov 12th)
Hild is born into a world in transition. In seventh-century Britain, small kingdoms are merging, usually violently. A new religion is coming ashore; the old gods’ priests are worrying. Edwin of Northumbria plots to become overking of the Angles, ruthlessly using every tool at his disposal: blood, bribery, belief.  Hild is the king’s youngest niece. She has the powerful curiosity of a bright child, a will of adamant, and a way of seeing the world—of studying nature, of matching cause with effect, of observing human nature and predicting what will happen next—that can seem uncanny, even supernatural, to those around her. She establishes herself as the king’s seer. And she is indispensable—until she should ever lead the king astray. The stakes are life and death: for Hild, her family, her loved ones, and the increasing numbers who seek the protection of the strange girl who can read the world and see the future. Hild is a young woman at the heart of the violence, subtlety, and mysticism of the early medieval age—all of it brilliantly and accurately evoked by Nicola Griffith’s luminous prose. Recalling such feats of historical fiction as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Sigrid Undset’s Kristin Lavransdatter, Hild brings a beautiful, brutal world—and one of its most fascinating, pivotal figures, the girl who would become St. Hilda of Whitby—to vivid, absorbing life.

The Serpent and the Staff by Barbara Wood (Nov 12th)
Ugarit, Syria, 1450 B.C.E. Eighteen-year-old Leah, the eldest daughter of a wealthy winemaker, is past the traditional age of betrothal. Vowed to wed the wealthy but cruel shipbuilder Jotham, Leah declines his offer of marriage after discovering that he and his family suffer from “the falling sickness.” Enraged by her refusal and his ruined reputation, he blackmails Leah’s father, a punishment forgiven only by offering Leah’s hand in marriage. With no more options for another suitor and no male heir for her family, Leah must seek out the cure for Jotham’s sickness or her family will face permanent ruin. During her quest Leah begins to burn with desire for Daveed, the handsome household scribe whose culture forbids their union. Daveed has been called by the gods to restore the Brotherhood, an elite fraternity of guardians at the great Library of Ugarit, rumored to contain the secret symbol of immortality within its ancient archives. If his plan succeeds, it may also save Leah’s family from disaster. But even Daveed and Leah cannot fathom the extent of Jotham’s sinister schemes to make Leah his bride once and for all.

A Christmas Hope by Anne Perry (Nov 12th)
Claudine Burroughs, a volunteer in Hester Monk’s clinic for sick and injured prostitutes, no longer expects closeness with her coldly ambitious husband and dreads the holidays. Then, at a glittering yuletide gala, she meets the attractive poet Dai Tregarron and suddenly her spirits lift. Alas, an hour later, this fascinating man is enmeshed in a nightmare—accused of killing a young streetwalker who had been smuggled into the party. Even though she suspects that an upper-class clique is quickly closing ranks to protect the real killer, Claudine and the clinic’s disreputable bookkeeper, Squeaky Robinson, vow to do their utmost for Dai. But it seems that hypocritical London society would rather send an innocent poet to the gallows than expose the shocking truth about one of their own. Nevertheless, it’s the season of miracles and Claudine and Squeaky finally see a glimmer of hope—not only for Dai but for an innocent young woman teetering on the brink of a lifetime of unhappiness. Anne Perry’s heartwarming new holiday novel is a celebration of courage, faith, and love for all seasons.

Quarantine by John Smolens (in PB Nov 14th)
The year is 1796, and a trading ship arrives in the vibrant trading town of Newburyport, Massachusetts.  But it's a ghost ship--her entire crew has been decimated by a virulent fever which sweeps through the harbor town, and Newburyport's residents start to fall ill and die with alarming haste.   Something has to be done to stop the virus from spreading further.  When physician Giles Wiggins places the port under quarantine, he earns the ire of his shipbuilder half-brother, the wealthy and powerful Enoch Sumner, and their eccentric mother, Miranda. Defiantly, Giles sets up a pest-house, where the afflicted might be cared for and separated from the rest of the populace in an attempt to contain the epidemic. As the seaport descends into panic, religious fervor, and mob rule, bizarre occurrences ensue:  the harbormaster’s family falls victim to the fever, except for his son, Leander Hatch, who is taken in at the Sumner mansion and a young woman, Marie Montpelier, is fished out of the Merrimac River barely clinging to life, causing Giles and Enoch—who is convinced she’s the expatriate daughter of the French king—to vie for her attentions--all while medical supplies are pillaged by a black marketer from Boston.  As the epidemic grows, fear, greed, and unhinged obsession threaten the Sumner family—and the future of Newburyport itself.

The Time of the Wolf: A Novel of Medieval England by James Wilde (Nov 14th)
1062, a time many fear is the End of Days. With the English King Edward heirless and ailing, across the grey seas in Normandy the brutal William the Bastard waits for the moment when he can drown England in a tide of blood. The ravens of war are gathering. But as the king's closest advisors scheme and squabble amongst themselves, hopes of resisting the ambition of the Norman duke come to rest with just one man: Hereward. But in his country's hour of greatest need, his enemies at court have made him outlaw. To stay alive—and a free man—he must carve a bloody swathe from the frozen lands outside the court. The tale of a man whose deeds will become the stuff of legend, this is also the story of two mismatched allies: Hereward the man of war, and Alric, a man of peace, a monk. One will risk everything to save the land he loves, the other to save his friend's soul . . .

The First of July: A Novel by Elizabeth Speller (Nov 14th)
On July 1st, 1913, four very different men are leading four very different lives. Exactly three years later, it is just after seven in the morning, and there are a few seconds of peace as the guns on the Somme fall silent and larks soar across the battlefield, singing as they fly over the trenches. What follows is a day of catastrophe in which Allied casualties number almost one hundred thousand. A horror that would have been unimaginable in pre-war Europe and England becomes a day of reckoning, where their lives will change forever, for Frank, Benedict, Jean-Batiste, and Harry.

The Winter Warrior: A Novel of Medieval England by James Wilde (Nov 14th)
1067. Following the devastating destruction of the Battle of Hastings, William the Bastard and his men have descended on England. Villages are torched; men, women and children are put to the sword as the Norman king attempts to impose his cruel will upon this unruly nation. But there is one who stands in the way of the invader's savagery. He is called Hereward. He is a warrior and master tactician and as adept at battle as the imposter who sits upon the throne. And he is England's last hope. In a Fenlands fortress of water and wild wood, Hereward's resistance is simmering. His army of outcasts grows by the day—a devil's army that emerges out of the mists and the night, leaving death in its wake. But William is not easily cowed. Under the command of his ruthless deputy, Ivo Taillebois—the man they call 'the Butcher'—the Norman forces will do whatever it takes to crush the rebels, even if it means razing England to the ground. Here then is the tale of the bloodiest rebellion England has ever known—the beginning of an epic struggle that will change England forever.

An Elegant Solution by Paul Robertson (Nov 19th)
For young Leonhard Euler, the Bernoulli family have been more than just friends. Master Johann has been a demanding mentor, and his sons have been Leonhard's allies and companions. But it is also a family torn by jealousy and distrust. Father and sons are engaged in a ruthless competition for prestige among the mathematical elites of Europe, especially the greatest prize: the Chair of Mathematics at the University of Basel, which Johann holds and his sons want. And now, their aspirations may have turned deadly. Lured into an investigation of the suspicious death of Uncle Jacob twenty years ago, Leonhard soon realizes there's more at stake than even a prominent appointment. Surrounded by the most brilliant--and cunning--minds of his generation, Leonhard is forced to see how dangerous his world is. His studies in mathematics have always been entwined with his thoughts on theology, and now, caught in a deadly battle of wills, he'll need both his genius and his faith to survive.

Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses: A Mystery by Catriona McPherson (Nov 19th) 
Before she was a detective, before she was a reluctant wife and distracted mother, before she was even a debutante, Dandy Gilver spent one perfect summer with the Lipscotts of Pereford. The golden memories of it have sustained her through many a cold snap in Perthshire. So when two of the Lipscott sisters beg her to help the third, she can hardly refuse. Sweet, pretty Fleur Lipscott: where is she now? The astonishing answer to this is that Fleur - still Miss Lipscott, indeed more Miss Lipscott than ever - is buried alive in the tiny seaside village of Portpatrick, working as a schoolmistress at St Columba's College for Young Ladies. But she is one of the few remaining, for St Columba's has been shedding mistresses as a snake its skins and the exodus is far from over. With mistresses vanishing and corpses mounting up, can Mrs Gilver, detective, pass herself off as Miss Gilver, English mistress, to solve the one and stop the other?
Ashenden by Elizabeth Wilhide (in PB Nov 19th)
“The house contains time. Its walls hold stories. Births and deaths, comings and goings, people and events passing through. . . . For now, however, it lies suspended in a kind of emptiness, as if it has fallen asleep or someone has put it under a spell. This silence won’t last: can’t last. Something will have to be done.”  When brother and sister Charlie and Ros discover that they have inherited their aunt’s grand English country house, they must decide if they should sell it. As they survey the effects of time on the estate’s architectural treasures, a narrative spanning two and a half centuries unfolds. We meet those who built the house, lived in it and loved it, worked in it, and those who would subvert it to their own ends. Each chapter is skillfully woven into the others so that the storylines of the upstairs and downstairs characters and their relatives and descendants intertwine to make a rich tapestry.

Tuscan Rose by Belinda Alexandra (in PB Nov 19th)
A mysterious stranger known as 'The Wolf' leaves an infant with the sisters of Santo Spirito. A tiny silver key hidden in her wrappings is the only clue to the child's identity and so begins a story as intriguing and beautiful as the city of Florence itself. Belinda Alexandra's new novel, Tuscan Rose, is set in Italy during the time of Mussolini.

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin (in PB Nov 26th)
For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.  Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.

Death Comes to the Village by Catherine Lloyd (Nov 26th)
 When Major Robert Kurland returns badly wounded from the battlefields of France, he is completely confined to bed. One night he spies a mysterious figure near the parish church carrying a heavy load, and suspects foul play. Reluctant to share his experience with his staff, he turns to an old childhood acquaintance, Miss Lucy Harrington, the Rector’s daughter. When Lucy mentions the recent disappearance of two young serving girls, Robert wonders if one of the girls has met with a terrible end. As they struggle to solve the mystery, the unlikely pair find themselves revealing far more to each other than they had ever imagined. But setting a trap to force a confession out of the suspected murderer will put them both in mortal danger...

The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates (in PB Nov 26th)
Princeton, New Jersey, at the turn of the twentieth century: a tranquil place to raise a family, a genteel town for genteel souls. But something dark and dangerous lurks at the edges of the town, corrupting and infecting its residents. Vampires and ghosts haunt the dreams of the innocent. A powerful curse besets the elite families of Princeton; their daughters begin disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man–a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil, and who spreads his curse upon a richly deserving community of white Anglo-Saxon privilege. And in the Pine Barrens that border the town, a lush and terrifying underworld opens up.When the bride's brother sets out against all odds to find her, his path will cross those of Princeton's most formidable people, from Grover Cleveland, fresh out of his second term in the White House and retired to town for a quieter life, to soon-to-be commander in chief Woodrow Wilson, president of the university and a complex individual obsessed to the point of madness with his need to retain power; from the young Socialist idealist Upton Sinclair to his charismatic comrade Jack London, and the most famous writer of the era, Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain–all plagued by "accursed" visions.


The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle (Nov 26th)
For most of her life Mary Bennet has been an object of ridicule. With a notable absence of the social graces, she has been an embarrassment to her family on more than one occasion. But lately, Mary has changed. She's matured and attained a respectable, if somewhat unpolished, decorum. But her peace and contentment are shattered when her sister Lydia turns up-very pregnant and separated from Wickham. Mary and Kitty are bustled off to stay with Jane and her husband. It is there that Mary meets Henry Walsh, whose attentions confound her. Unschooled in the game of love, her heart and her future are at risk. Is she worthy of love or should she take the safer path? In her journey of self-acceptance, she discovers the answer.

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