New Historical Fiction Book: The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco

The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco

Hardcover: 464 pages

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; None edition (November 8, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0547577532
ISBN-13: 978-0547577531

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

This book caused loads of controversy apparently when it was published in Italy last year. Umberto treads ideas of conspiracy theories, which he first looked at in Foucault’s Pendulum. A return to form perhaps? The last thing I read by him was Baudalino, which I found indulgent and disappointing, but I loved The Name of the Rose and Foucault’s Pendulum.

Here’s some more information about this book:

Amazon.com Review

Nineteenth-century Europe—from Turin to Prague to Paris—abounds with the ghastly and the mysterious. Conspiracies rule history. Jesuits plot against Freemasons. Italian republicans strangle priests with their own intestines. French criminals plan bombings by day and celebrate Black Masses at night. Every nation has its own secret service, perpetrating forgeries, plots, and massacres. From the unification of Italy to the Paris Commune to the Dreyfus Affair to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, Europe is in tumult and everyone needs a scapegoat. But what if, behind all of these conspiracies both real and imagined, lay one lone man? What if that evil genius created its most infamous document?

Eco takes his readers on an unforgettable journey through the underbelly of world-shattering events. Eco at his most exciting, a book immediately hailed as a masterpiece.

A Note from the Author on Amazon

Dear Amazon Readers:

The nineteenth century teemed with mysterious and horrible events: the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the notorious forgery that later inspired Hitler; the Dreyfus Case; and numerous intrigues involving the secret services of various nations, Masonic sects, Jesuit conspiracies, as well as other episodes that—were they not documented truths—would be difficult to believe.

The Prague Cemetery is a story in which all the characters except one—the main character—really existed. Even the hero’s grandfather, the author of a mysterious actual letter that triggered modern anti- Semitism, is historical.

And the hero himself, though fictional, is a personage who resembles many people we have all known, past and present. In the book, he serves as the author of diverse fabrications and plots against a backdrop of extraordinary coups de théâtre: sewers filled with corpses, ships that explode in the region of an erupting volcano, abbots stabbed to death, notaries with fake beards, hysterical female Satanists, the celebrants of black Masses, and so on.

I am expecting two kinds of readers. The first has no idea that all these things really happened, knows nothing about nineteenth-century literature, and might even have taken Dan Brown seriously. He or she should gain a certain sadistic satisfaction from what will seem a perverse invention—including the main character, whom I have tried to make the most cynical and disagreeable in all the history of literature.

The second, however, knows or senses that I am recounting things that really happened. The fact that history can be quite so devious may cause this reader’s brow to become lightly beaded with sweat. He will look anxiously behind him, switch on all the lights, and suspect that these things could happen again today. In fact, they may be happening in that very moment. And he will think, as I do: “They are among us…”

–Umberto Eco

Review

“[Eco’s] latest takes that longtime thriller darling, the conspiracy theory, and turns it into something grander…Sold to 40 countries and said to be controversial; a speed-read with smarts.” —Library Journal, “My Picks”

“A whirlwind tour of conspiracy and political intrigue…this dark tale is delightfully embellished with sophisticated and playful commentary on, among other things, Freud, metafiction, and the challenges of historiography.” —Booklist

“Intriguing, hilarious….a tale by a master.” —Publishers Weekly boxed review “He’s got a humdinger in this new high-level whodunit…a perplexing, multilayered, attention-holding mystery.” —Kirkus, starred

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New Historical Fiction Book: The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst

The Stranger‘s Child by Alan Hollinghurst

Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Knopf (October 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0307272761
ISBN-13: 978-0307272768

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Reviews and Description from Amazon:

“Brilliantly written, intricate and wide-reaching . . . An almost century-long cavalcade of changing social, sexual and cultural attitudes, exhibited in sensuously imagined scenes and scrutinized with ironic wit . . . Marvelously acute in its attention to idioms and idiosyncrasies, tone and body language, psychological and emotional nuances, the book gives intensely credible life to its swarm of characters . . . Masterly in its narrative sweep, richly textured prose and imaginative flair and depth, this novel about an increasingly threadbare literary reputation enormously enhances Hollinghurst’s own. With The Stranger’s Child, an already remarkable talent unfurls into something spectacular.”
—Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times (London)

“Not only Alan Hollinghurst’s most ambitious novel to date, but also his funniest since The Spell . . . Hollinghurst is perhaps our most literary contemporary novelist, in the sense that his books are . . . playfully, but never merely flippantly, studded with allusions. . . . The principal theme of the workings of time and memory [is] brilliantly embodied in the book’s structure, with its bold narrative leaps forward . . . The novel’s long chronological reach (1913 to 2008) allows the sometimes melancholy but often comic workings of time to become apparent. . . . In a novel covering a large swathe of time, an entire era or society can be evoked in a phrase . . . Period indicators are always spot on . . . Although many of the scenes he describes are in themselves amusing, his great comic gift is displayed in the precise deployment of language as much as in the beadiness of his observation. Like Evelyn Waugh he creates comedy from the tension between the elegance of his prose and the often indecorous things he is describing, and so the reader is caught between amusement and exhilaration when someone with a terrible hangover staggers to the lavatory where he is ‘sick, in one great comprehensive paragraph.’ Hollinghurst’s pouncing on exactly the right, though often unexpected, word for his purposes is all the more effective for occurring in a prose of considerable poise. . . . In this populous story even the most minor character is brilliantly realized, and Hollinghurst’s nimble changes of narrative perspective frequently wrongfoot the reader, whose sympathies undergo a number of unexpected readjustments. Beautifully written, ambitious in its scope and structure, confident in its execution, The Stranger’s Child is a masterclass in the art of the novel.”
—Peter Parker, The Times Literary Supplement (UK)
 
“Highly entertaining and, as always with Hollinghurst, the dialogue is immaculate and the characterization first class. . . . Every Alan Hollinghurst novel is a cause for celebration, and this spacious, elegant satire is no exception.”
—David Robson, Sunday Telegraph (UK)

“Bloody-hell-this-is-good . . . Punctuated by abrupt and jagged turns of fate, skillfully redolent of life lived forwards, this story is fabulously involving and rich. It’s also very funny, in a dry and forgiving way. The silky precision of its prose . . . is matched by the mimetic completeness of its fictional world. This is an exercise in realism of a dazzlingly high order: it really does seem to be observed rather than imagined. The touches of extraneous detail are unobtrusive, concrete and exact. . . . The Stranger’s Child is a knowingly literary performance: a descendent of E. M. Forster or Evelyn Waugh by way of A. S. Byatt and the Ian McEwan of Atonement. . . . The novel’s presiding tone [is] arch humor. That humor is central: softening the book’s melancholy with a wan and forgiving sense of the vanity of human wishes. . . . In the end, the central character in The Stranger’s Child is neither Cecil nor Daphne, but time itself, breaking the threaded dances and the diver’s brilliant bow. There’s a whiff of the Possession-style scholarly page-turner in the closing sections . . . but the larger movement of the story is towards entropy. More of the past is always going to be lost than recovered. Rather than use its scale to produce the weightless afflatus of a family saga, The Stranger’s Child captures as well as anything I’ve read the particular gravity of time passing, and the irrecoverable losses it brings with it. It is an extraordinary achievement.”
—Sam Leith, The Spectator (UK)

“An opulent epic that follows the variegated fortunes of two aristocratic families from 1913 to 2008. . . . Possibility and fumbling desire run through the narrative like a rippling electric current. . . . Mortality [and] mythology feed into an extravagant and playful riff on literature itself, rich with references to the novels of E. M. Forster, Evelyn Waugh and Hollinghurst’s beloved Henry James. . . . Like everything Hollinghurst writes, the story also has a keen sense of aesthetics and the history of taste.”
—Claire Allfree, Metro (UK)

“Sumptuously retelling a familiar narrative of English decline through a series of friendships and encounters which form a sort of daisy chain of erotic and literary influence, [The Stranger’s Child is] elegant . . . affecting, erudite [and written] with tenderness and sensuous immediacy. As an accounting with class and history, Hollinghurst’s new novel will be compared to Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and Ian McEwan’s Atonement. . . .The novel deals with the short life and posthumous reputation of Cecil Valance, a poet whose lyrical outpourings are given huge poignancy by the carnage of the trenches. . . . Hollinghurst has a feel for the fragility of memory, and the brutality inherent in the modernist drive to ‘make it new.’ Victorianism, with its sentiment, clutter and decorum, has special importance in The Stranger’s Child . . . It is the signal achievement of The Stranger’s Child to show that, despite the silence in which relationships like that of Cecil and George were shrouded, their influence has echoed on through the years, as an unconscious pattern for other friendships and love affairs. In the present day, when the immediacy of a young man reciting Tennyson has been replaced by a website with audio clips mouthed by an animated Tennyson avatar, this tradition persists, against the odds.”
—Hari Kunzru, The Observer (UK)

“Intelligence, perceptiveness, skill and sensibility . . . [this is] a complex, stylish comedy of class, politics, art and sexuality . . . The Stranger’s Child feels like the kind of novel that [E. M.] Forster might have written . . . An impeccable, ironic, profoundly enjoyable plot structure, with ‘secrets nested inside each other,’ The Stranger’s Child could be usefully compared with A. S. Byatt’s Possession in its account of the way [the poet] Cecil [Valance] is mythologized by memory, misunderstandings and lies . . . It is Corley Court, the ‘violently Victorian’ ancestral home, which is at the heart of the novel. Like Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead, Kazuo Ishiguro’s Darlington Hall and Sarah Waters’s Hundreds Hall, the house is both the setting and the magnifying glass under which the characters’ obsessions and frailties are to be exposed. . . . The narrative [is] largely carried by dialogue, much of it so freighted with irony as to be a delight in itself. Musical performances reveal character (another Forsterian hallmark), but the novel’s chief pleasure is itself akin to music: characters and details concerning life and love move in and out of focus to reveal unexpected discords and harmonies. . . . Probably the best novel this year so far . . . Gorgeous.”
—Amanda Craig, The Independent on Sunday

“Delightful . . . In Hollinghurst’s eagerly awaited new novel we see that if history is written by the winners, biography belongs to the survivors. . . . Tremendously readable and engrossing.”
—John Harding, Daily Mail (UK)

“If this wonderfully well-made and witty novel doesn’t win the Man Booker Prize, there is no justice in the world. . . . This is Brideshead Revisited in reverse. . . . Hollinghurst evokes the world of [Rupert] Brooke and of the Bloomsbury set. And he does so through the depiction of the sort of people who have written about that world—Michael Holroyd, the biographer of Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw, comes to mind. This evocation is refreshingly ironic, even satirical, as is the comic nailing-down of what it’s like to be a book reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement (of which Hollinghurst was once deputy editor). . . . The real villain is the passing of time. . . Constantly provocative, intricately plotted, slyly hilarious—in short, a triumph of the storyteller’s art.”
—Brian Lynch, Irish Independent

“Eagerly awaited . . . Charming . . . Perfect . . . Hollinghurst writes so carefully and subversively, often with one eyebrow raised in sardonic amusement as he satirizes the excesses of his mostly high-born protagonists . . . elegant people partying on the edge of the abyss . . . [He] is interested in what it means to love someone or something that is perpetually unattainable . . . The Stranger’s Child is broader in scope and more generous in outlook than anything [he] has written before, as well as being structurally his most ambitious work and his most restrained sexually. What remains absolutely characteristic is the gracefulness of his sentences, scrupulously scene-shaping and mood-patterning.”
—Jason Cowley, Financial Times

Product Description

From the Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Line of Beauty: a magnificent, century-spanning saga about a love triangle that spawns a myth, and a family mystery, across generations.

In the late summer of 1913, George Sawle brings his Cambridge schoolmate—a handsome, aristocratic young poet named Cecil Valance—to his family’s modest home outside London for the weekend. George is enthralled by Cecil, and soon his sixteen-year-old sister, Daphne, is equally besotted by him and the stories he tells about Corley Court, the country estate he is heir to. But what Cecil writes in Daphne’s autograph album will change their and their families’ lives forever: a poem that, after Cecil is killed in the Great War and his reputation burnished, will become a touchstone for a generation, a work recited by every schoolchild in England. Over time, a tragic love story is spun, even as other secrets lie buried—until, decades later, an ambitious biographer threatens to unearth them.

Rich with Hollinghurst’s signature gifts—haunting sensuality, delicious wit and exquisite lyricism—The Stranger’s Child is a tour de force: a masterly novel about the lingering power of desire, how the heart creates its own history, and how legends are made.

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New Historical Fiction Book – Until the Dawn’s Light: A Novel by Aharon Applefield

Until the Dawn’s Light: A Novel by Aharon Applefield

Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Schocken (October 11, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0805241795
ISBN-13: 978-0805241792

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher’s Website:

From the award-winning, internationally acclaimed writer (“One of the best novelists alive” —Irving Howe): a Jewish woman marries a gentile laborer in turn-of-the-century Austria, with disastrous results.

A high school honor student bound for university and a career as a mathematician, Blanca lives with her parents in a small town in Austria in the early years of the twentieth century. At school one day she meets Adolf, who comes from a family of peasant laborers. Tall and sturdy, plainspoken and uncomplicated, Adolf is unlike anyone Blanca has ever met. And Adolf is awestruck by beautiful, brilliant Blanca–even though she is Jewish. When Blanca is asked by school administrators to tutor Adolf, the inevitable happens: they fall in love. And when Adolf asks her to marry him, Blanca abandons her plans to attend university, converts to Christianity, and leaves her family, her friends, and her old life behind.

Almost immediately, things begin to go horribly wrong. Told in a series of flashbacks as Blanca and her son flee from their town with the police in hot pursuit, the tragic story of Blanca’s life with Adolf recalls a time and place that are no more but that powerfully reverberate in collective memory.

Reviews:

“Tragic heroine Blanca will remind readers of Hardy’s luckless Tess, for Blanca’s essential decency and self-sacrificing attempts to do right end, fatefully and inexorably, in suffering. . . . As she tries to outrun her past, Blanca faithfully records her own history and surveys the loss of faith among Austrian Jews; with this, the story of one woman’s misfortune takes on the magnitude of history. . . . Compelling.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Distinguished fiction by one of Israel’s most prominent novelists. . . . A beautiful and affecting novel, Tolstoyan in its compassion for humanity.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“An affecting tale [and a] graceful narrative.”
—Booklist

“A worthy addition to the oeuvre of an acknowledged master of the plight of Europe’s Jews before and during the Holocaust. Appelfeld makes every word count as he hauntingly depicts the tragedy of the human condition.”
—Library Journal

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New Historical Fiction Book: Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman

Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: A Marian Wood Book/Putnam (October 4, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0399157859
ISBN-13: 978-0399157851
Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 2 inches

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher’s Website:

From the New York Times-bestselling novelist, a stunning story of a great medieval warrior-king, the accomplished and controversial son of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Richard, Coeur de Lion.

They were called “The Devil’s Brood,” though never to their faces. They were the four surviving sons of Henry Plantagenet and Eleanor of Aquitaine. With two such extraordinary parents, much was expected of them.

But the eldest-charming yet mercurial-would turn on his father and, like his brother Geoffrey, meet an early death. When Henry died, Richard would take the throne and, almost immediately, set off for the Holy Land. This was the Third Crusade, and it would be characterized by internecine warfare among the Christians and extraordinary campaigns against the Saracens. And, back in England, by the conniving of Richard’s youngest brother, John, to steal his crown.

In Lionheart, Sharon Kay Penman displays her remarkable mastery of historical detail and her acute understanding of human foibles. The result is a powerful story of intrigue, war, and- surprisingly-effective diplomacy, played out against the roiling conflicts of love and loyalty, passion and treachery, all set against the rich textures of the Holy Land.

Author Tour Dates

Review:

“The great Crusader king Richard the Lionheart comes alive in all his complex splendor in this masterpiece of a medieval tapestry by Sharon Kay Penman. She brings him and his legendary enemy, Saladin, before us, both on the battlefield for Jerusalem and in the quiet of their private chambers. It’s as if you were there, in this strange, beguiling, vanished time that haunts the Middle East even today. Penman has triumphed in capturing its elusive essence and the blazing glory of the English king called Lionheart.”
-Margaret George, author of Elizabeth I: A Novel

 

 

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Book Reviews of The Lion Wakes by Robert Low

While blogging about the latest books being published in the field of historical fiction I have noticed that very few titles have reviews available pre-publication – I assume this is an embargo to make sure punters don’t get disappointed when they can’t buy the book straight away. So I thought for some selected titles I would also post some excerpts of reviews to give an overview of a book’s reception.

First up The Lion Wakes by Robert Low.

Living.scotsman.com gives a generally positive review, noting the gripping action, but also notes that sometimes the narrative is hard to follow:

All in all he has done something remarkable, and I look forward to the sequels. He has not set out to demolish the myth, but rather, by questioning simple interpretations of it, to deepen and enrich it; and he has brought this off in fine style. As a piece of bravura historical painting The Lion Wakes is remarkable.

Historicalnovels.info is again positive and mentions the Scottish voice of the author:

Low throws himself boldly and with brio into the dark and dangerous tangle of the First War of Scottish Independence. Written in a distinctively Scottish voice, rich in dialect and striking imagery, The Lion Wakes boasts a wealth of vividly drawn characters including a puissant, rancorous Edward I (“a great black storm”), and the best collection of Scottish rogues, retainers and hard fighting men since George MacDonald Fraser’sThe Candlemass Road. (2011; 439 pages, including a map of 13th-century Britain, Author’s Note, List of Characters and Glossary).

On the forums there are some good comments on the book at Historical Fiction Online.

So all in all very positive for this title!

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New Historical Fiction Book: Conquest by Julian Stockwin

Conquest: A Kydd Sea Adventure by Julian Stockwin

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: McBooks Press (October 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1590136268
ISBN-13: 978-1590136263

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

From the Publisher’s Website:

Newly victorious at the Battle of Trafalgar, England now rules the seas and is free to colonize the furthest reaches of the world. Captain Thomas Kydd joins an expedition to take Dutch-held Cape Town, a strategic harbor that will give England a rich trade route to India.

With enemies lurking on all sides, Kydd and his men must defend the fragile colony while braving Africa’s vast and hostile hinterland. When Renzi learns too much about the enemy’s plans, even Kydd may not be able to save him.

Editorial Reviews on Amazon:

“Continuing the rousing adventures of Thomas Kydd . . . Stockwin, a career navy man, writes of the nautical life with vivid authority.”  —Kirkus Reviews
“Stockwin continues to display his talents in transporting his audience from the 21st century to the chaotic worlds of Kydd, Renzi, and their imperiled homeland . . . [and] goes into action with swords drawn and cannons and carronades blasting.”  —Historical Novels Review
“An exciting and suspenseful historical loaded with action, intrigue, treachery, and the bloody gore of 1805 warfare. . . . [Offers] vivid and lush descriptions of colonial South Africa, professional seamanship, bold leadership, and . . . the perils of life at sea in the Royal Navy.” —Publishers Weekly (August 22, 2011)
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New Historical Fiction Book: Dead Eagles by Phil Ward

Dead Eagles by Phil Ward

Hardcover: 300 pages
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press (October 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1608321924
ISBN-13: 978-1608321926
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

 

Reviews of Dead Eagles:

The book was engaging, energetic and interactive and if you are looking for an action packed book that will leave you wondering what will come next, look no further than this book! Dad of Divas’ Reviews.

From the Publisher’s Website:

In this sequel to Those Who Dare, U.S.Major John Randal, Commander of Strategic Raiding Forces is back, leading a crew of British Commandos, Royal Marines and Royal Navy raiders on bigger and bolder missions to foil Hitler’s Third Reich.

Off the Gold Coast colony in Africa, the Germans are operating a naval intelligence ring that gathers information about British convoys in the southern sea-lane. Couriers carry the data to nearby Rio Bonita, a tiny Portuguese island protectorate, whence they are broadcast to Nazi U-boats and surface raiders from a clandestine radio station onboard one of three interned enemy ships. As a result, British convoys vital to the war effort are ravaged.

Major Randal and the Raiding Forces’s mission is to invade neutral Rio Bonita and spirit away the three ships. Failure means either imprisonment or hanging for piracy—and that Portugal will declare war on its oldest ally.

Peopling Dead Eagles are colorful characters new and old.  There is Wild West showman Captain “Geronimo Joe” McKoy, the stunning  Special Operations Executive operator Lady Jane Seaborn, who adopts the Raiding Forces as her own pet project; and Lady Jane’s bombshell of a driver, Pamala Plum-Martin. Even Commander Ian Fleming puts in an appearance, submitting a plan for “Operation Ruthless”, the goal of which is to board a Luftwaffe bomber and crash it into the English Channel in order to capture an Enigma  coding device from a Nazi air-sea rescue craft.

This action packed adventure story features Lovat Scout Snipers, the take down of the Vichy French fleet in English ports, daring Commando raids, an epic sea battle, beautiful spies and culminates in a deadly shoot-out in a crowed bar in Occupied France.

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New Historical Fiction Book: The Dower House by Malcolm MacDonald

The Dower House by Malcolm MacDonald

A second book from Severn House Publishing released on 1st October

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0727880616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727880611
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 1 inches

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

From the publisher’s website:

From war-torn Europe they came to Britain, yearning to start a new life. Together, they found it.
Spring, 1947. A concentration camp survivor, noted sculptor Felix Breit, arrives in London, hoping to rebuild his life and career. His opportunity comes when two English architects invite him to join a community they are creating at the Dower House, a Georgian country house in Hertfordshire. He is soon joined by Faith Bullen-Ffitch, an ambitious young publisher, but as the house fills with families, Felix realises he has fallen for Angela Wirth, a fellow camp survivor. But dare they ever admit their love, knowing the horrors in their pasts? . . .

And from Amazon:

Severn House adds to its engaging series of historical romances with the first in a new series by bestselling British author MacDonald set during in the devastating aftermath of World War II. Jewish sculptor Felix Breit has survived Nazi medical experiments at the Mauthausen concentration camp. He reaches London in 1947, where two architect friends, sensing that the war and its atrocities will utterly change humankind’s perspectives on our capacity for good and unspeakable evil, rent a 60-room country manor, the Dower House, in the hope of establishing a commune dedicated to a “post-war renaissance.” Their “community of the future” will include working class people, and all will strive for “the next stage of himself warning a Frenchwoman about the scars she’ll get if she “keeps picking at the wound,” thus establishing the tale’s moral center amidst post-war tension. Blending a well researched setting with an unusual story line, MacDonald captures the era’s specifics, and reaches for universal truths while probing wounded psyches in a damaged world. — Booklist, September 15, 2011

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New Historical Fiction Book: The Great Betrayal by Pamela Oldfield

 

The Great Betrayal by Pamela Oldfield

The UK Edition of this title was published in the June this year, but in the US it is out on 1st October.

Available from Amazon.com

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Severn House Publishers (October 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0727880632
ISBN-13: 978-0727880635
Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches

Here’s some more information from the publisher’s website:

A tale of family, secrets and lies, from a well-loved author
1904, London. Lydia Daye adores her husband John, but his secret government job means he is often away. She consoles herself with her small son, Adam, and the knowledge that John’s salary allows them to live comfortably. Dolly Ellerway lives just two miles away, but in a different world. Pregnant, she is delighted when the father of her child says he’ll marry her, even though he can barely afford it. It seems unlikely that the two will ever meet, but one day Lydia sends a fateful letter that will change both women’s lives forever . . .

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New Historical Fiction: Shakespeare’s Mistress by Karen Harper

Shakespeare’s Mistress by Karen Harper
Published in the UK by Ebury Publishing (no info on US publication)
EAN: 9780091940423
Published: 10 Nov 2011

Order via Amazon

Information from the Publisher’s Website:

England, 1601. 
When Queen Elizabeth’s men come looking for William Shakespeare – a rumoured Catholic in a time of Catholic-Protestant intrigue and insurrection – they first question a beautiful, dark-haired woman who seems to know the famous playwright very well. Too well.

She is Anne Whateley, born in Temple Grafton, a small town just up the river from Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. And as church records show – were anyone to look for them – Anne Whateley was wed to William Shakespeare in a small country church just days before he married another woman, Anne Hathaway, who has lived as his wife for decades.

In SHAKESPEARE’S MISTRESS, Anne Whateley – who may or may not be Will’s true wife – tells her story. Stretching almost fifty years, from the rural villages of Warwickshire to the bustling city of London, with its teeming streets and lively theatres, it’s a story of undying passion, for life, love, and literature.

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