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Fiction: An Accomplished Woman by Jude Morgan

An Accomplished Woman book coverAs a young woman, clever, self-reliant Lydia Templeton scandalized Regency society by rejecting the county’s most eligible bachelor. Ten years later, she is the rare lady who values knowledge and accomplishment over marriage. When asked to accompany a relative to Bath in pursuit of a marriage match, she is outspoken about the young suitors’ failings, but then she herself is confronted with the man she declined so long ago. Is her heart the closed book she thinks it is? In An Accomplished Woman, a light comedy of manners, author Jude Morgan captures the tone and style of Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer with a heroine who is fun, independent, and who says what is on her mind.

By Cathleen, Readers' Advisor on July 28, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, Romance

New: Historical Fiction and Romance

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Historical Fiction Books

The Auschwitz Escape book cover

The Pelican Bride book cover

Glorious book cover

 

– The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg

The Pelican Bride by Beth White

— Glorious by Jeff Guinn

— China Dolls by Lisa See

— The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor

— Dark Aemilia by Sally O’Reilly

— The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

— A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable

New: Romance Books

The Marriage Pact book cover

The Heart's Pursuit book cover

The Best Medicine book cover

The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller

The Heart’s Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher

The Best Medicine by Tracy Brogan

– The Kissing Bridge by Tricia Goyer

– A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

– Uncommon Romance by Jove Belle

– Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade

– Flirting with Forever by Molly Cannon

By MPPL on July 4, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, New Arrivals, Romance

Staff Pick: Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

Joyce Staff Picks photoAwakening in a casualty tent in France, 1916, Stella Bain, an American woman suffering from shell shock and amnesia, must find out who she is and recover the life she had. Anita Shreve’s newest title tells a story of love, loss, strength, and forgiveness against the backdrop of war.

By MPPL on July 1, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, Picks by Joyce, Staff Picks

Fiction: The Peerless Four by Victoria Patterson

The Peerless Four book coverThis short nonfiction novel tells the story of the first women to compete in the modern Olympic Games. Each chapter is delivered in the voice of one member of the Canadian track and field team. These 1920s women were indeed peerless, bravely facing naysayers who questioned their femininity and denounced their audacity, deriding them for assuming roles thought to be meant only for men. The Peerless Four is an inspirational underdog sports story that shows female athletes are every bit as dedicated and dogged in pursuit of Olympic glory as their male counterparts.

By MPPL on June 19, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction

New: Historical Fiction and Romance

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Historical Fiction Books

Edwin: High King of Britain book cover

The Last Kind Words Saloon book cover

The Orenda book cover

 

Edwin: High King of Britain by Edoardo Albert

The Last Kind Words Saloon by Larry McMurtry

The Orenda by Joseph Boyden

The Boy in His Winter by Norman Lock

History of the Rain by Niall Williams

Night in Shanghai by Nicole Mones

Fallen Beauty by Erika Robuck

The Whiskey Baron by Jon Sealy

New: Romance Books

How to Handle a Cowboy book cover

Talk Dirty to Me book cover

Sister Betty Says I Do book cover

How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy

Talk Dirty to Me by Dakota Cassidy

Sister Betty Says I Do by Pat G’Orge-Walker

Betting the Rainbow by Jodi Thomas

Dreams of Lilacs by Lynn Kurland

Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

It Had to Be You by Susan May Warren

Letting Go by Maya Banks

By MPPL on June 6, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, New Arrivals, Romance

Fiction: Revolutionary by Alex Myers

Revolutionary book coverThe year was 1782, and Deborah Samson had escaped her indentured servitude. The only way to do this was to cut her hair, wrap her chest, and dress herself in the clothes and mannerisms of men. After doing this, she became a soldier in the Continental Army. Samson – newly known as Robert Shurtliff – excelled as a soldier. Revolutionary is Alex Myers’ historical fiction debut, recounting the life of Deborah Samson, a real woman (one of many) that secretly fought in the Revolutionary War. Colonial history is given a whole new shine when seen through the eyes of this remarkable woman. If you like your historical fiction gritty, detailed, and focusing on lesser-knowns, try Revolutionary.

By Readers' Advisor on May 26, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction

Fiction: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites book coverIn Burial Rites, a sensual, quiet novel based on true events from early 19th-century Iceland, a housemaid is convicted of brutally murdering her master. Agnes is a sympathetic if mysterious character; abandoned in childhood and forced to fend for herself in progressively impoverished conditions, she has known only struggle. While awaiting execution, she’s sent to live with a humble country family and counseled by a young priest. Slowly, she reveals the sad path of her life leading up to her master’s death. Kent weaves together rich imagery and evocative period detail, ensuring readers feel the cold of the Icelandic winter, the pain and fear in Agnes’ heart, and the bitingly unfair treatment of the poor and condemned.

By MPPL on May 22, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction

New: Historical Fiction and Romance

Every Friday the Library will bring you short lists of buzz-worthy books in a rotating series of popular genres.

For these and other fresh reads, stop by the second floor Fiction/AV/Teen desk. While there, talk to a Readers’ Advisor about new and old titles tailored to your taste.

New: Historical Fiction Books

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 book cover

Girl on the Golden Coin book cover

Hyde book cover

 

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose

Girl on the Golden Coin by Marci Jefferson

Hyde by Daniel Levine

The Sentinels of Andersonville by Tracy Groot

Wake by Anna Hope

Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

Long Man by Amy Greene

Vienna Nocturne by Vivien Shotwell

My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner

New: Romance Books

Bad Boy Seduction book cover

Half Moon Harbo book cover

Princess Ever After book cover

Bad Boy Seduction by Zuri Day

Half Moon Harbor by Donna Kauffman

Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck

Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter

Reaper’s Legacy: Reaper’s Motorcycle Club by Joanna Wylde

The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand

Kiss the Bride by Lucy Kevin

By MPPL on May 9, 2014 Categories: Books, Historical Fiction, New Arrivals, Romance

Audiobook: The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

The Other Typist book coverCorruption, speakeasies, and flappers–oh, my! Suzanne Rindell’s The Other Typist, performed here by the charming actress Gretchen Mol, introduces us to an original narrator: a female transcriptionist in a police precinct during the Prohibition era. Rose is plain and punctilious, a woman in a man’s environment, and privy to the sordid stories and scandals of criminals. Enter Odalie, the gorgeous new “other typist,” a femme-fatale type who brings excitement into the office and Rose’s otherwise mundane life. Mystery surrounds Odalie, and as she and Rose become friends, we find neither woman is quite who she seems. Fun for fans of Jazz Age settings, strong female voices, and plots full of twists and turns.

By MPPL on May 8, 2014 Categories: Audiobooks, Historical Fiction

Book Discussion Questions: Claude and Camille by Stephanie Cowell

Claude and Camille book cover

SPOILER WARNING: These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points, if you have not read the book.

 

Title: Claude and Camille
Author: Stephanie Cowell
Page Count: 338
Genre: Historical, biographical fiction
Tone: Lush, leisurely

 

1. In the beginning of Claude and Camille, Monet’s mentor Boudin said “The only thing I see you lack Claude, is humility. When you learn that, you will do your best.” Do you believe that Claude ever learned humility? Was it necessary for him to succeed? Would Monet have been as successful if Boudin hadn’t challenged him?

2. Where did Claude Monet first see Camille? What was his reaction to her? Is Camille Claude’s muse?

3. What did  you think of the sexuality displayed in Claude and Camille? Did it surprise you?

4. Do you think Camille ever actually intend to marry her fiancé? What would lead you to that conclusion?

5. Claude and Camille ran off together and spent a week in Sevres (which, by the way, is Mt. Prospects Sister City). Claude had painted a picture of Camille (Women in the Garden) and as it was time to go back, he packed the picture away. He said, “My love is inside there now, my love is rolled away in darkness.” What do you think he meant by that? Was he talking about Camille or was the painting his love?

6. Camille is from a wealthy family and had a life of privilege. Do you think Camille realized how much her life would change when she defied her parents to live with Monet? If she had realized do you think she would have made the same choices?

7. What did Camille see in Claude? Why do you think they lived together and didn’t immediately get married?

8. What did you think of Camille’s parents’ attitude towards Claude? How would you feel if she were your daughter?

9. A recurring theme throughout Monet’s life is his refusal to take a job and his insistence on pursuing his art fulltime. What did Camille think about this? What do you think of this? Did you ever admire or agree with Claude’s choice to remain solely an artist? As an artist, do you think he could have achieved the success he did without solely concentrating on his art?

10. Do you think Claude’s father should have helped him more financially? What would you do if you had a budding Monet?

11. Did you wonder if Camille was mentally unstable?

12. When Camille thinks she is pregnant, Claude is clearly not happy, why is that? Why didn’t Claude and Camille marry when she discovered she was pregnant?

13. Claude goes to Le Havre to ask his father for more money after they learned of the pregnancy but he stayed there for quite some time. Why? What did you think of Camille’s reaction?

14. Camille’s first lover was Frédéric Bazille. He lets the cat out of the bag on the day Claude and Camille get married. Why then? Were you surprised to learn who Camille’s 1st lover was? Does Claude have a reason to be upset? Do you think Camille would have had a “better” life had she married Bazille?

15. There is a suggestion that Bazille was in love with Monet and Monet accepts this. What are your thoughts?

16. Was there any way that Claude could have prevented Bazille from going to war? If Frédéric had not died in the war would they have resumed their friendship?

17. Camille tells Claude that she gave up the Theatre for him. Is this a true statement? Why or why not?

18. After Claude and Camille’s argument at the house in Le Havre, Claude goes off to paint and Camille leaves the baby and goes to the shack where they made love. Claude comes home to find the baby crying and cold and angrily goes in search of Camille. What are your thoughts on both of their actions? Who do you sympathize more with?

19. After his suicide attempt, Claude writes Camille the most passionate letter of his life and then he leaves her to go to Le Havre. Why did he leave her? Why doesn’t he take Camille with him?

20. Camille’s uncle suffered a heart attack and she takes over the book store. She and Jean move into the rooms above it. Claude has been writing her sporadically. He writes her passionately and she is silent for three days and then her letter, when it comes, is “cautious.” How does Claude react to this? What does his reaction say about him?

21. How did you feel about Claude taking his family to London to wait out the war? Pissarro said, “…Our friends are safe and so are we….living our lives with the sole justification to paint…” What did you think of the artists? Do you think they were more important than common workers?

22. Monet and Camille were happy when Monet gets a lucrative commission from Ernest Hoschedé to paint some panels on the wall of the gazebo at his wife’s chateau. While there he becomes attracted to Alice Hoschedé. What do you think attracted him to her? Was she attracted to him?

23. Claude claimed to love Camille deeply. He had the example his father set of what happens to a relationship when there is infidelity and yet Claude had a tryst with Alice? Your thoughts?

24. Claude seemed very upset at the idea of Alice’s husband mismanaging her fortune and losing all those things she held dear. How is this different from how Claude took Camille away from her life of privilege and why does he feel so badly for Alice?

25. Claude eventually married Alice. Why? How was Claude and Alice’s relationship different than Claude and Camille’s?

26. Claude seemed genuinely upset over the death of Camille. He was an artist and he painted her on her deathbed as a way to keep her with him. Why was Camille’s sister Annette so horrified to see the picture Claude painted?

27. In the first  interlude Monet  is an old man working on his famous Water Lillies. He is having a difficult time and says, “What can these paintings of water lilies which are such a struggle for me have to do with my long lost love?” What do you think the lillies had to do with Camille? And why were they such a struggle for him?

28. Monet is writing to Camille’s sister Annette asking if she knows about Camille’s old love letters.  Why does he want to see letters written to another man? Why did Annette hate Claude? Why did Annette blame Claude for Camille’s death?

29. Did reading this novel affect how you regard Claude Monet? How?

30. Do you think it is necessary to understand art to love it? Can learning too much about an artist ruin your art appreciation? Explain.

 

Other Resources
Stephanie Cowell’s official book discussion questions
Lit Lovers‘ book discussion questions
Chocolate and Croissants interview
Huffington Post interview
Passages to the Past interview
Monet documentary

Be sure to stop at the second floor Reference Desk to ask about Claude Monet art history and coffee table books.

 

If you liked Claude and Camille, try…

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Hidden in the Shadow of the Master: The Model-wives of Cézanne, Monet, and Rodin by Ruth Butler
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro

The Painted Girls book cover     Hidden in the Shadow of the Master book coverThe Art Forger book cover

By Readers' Advisor on April 23, 2014 Categories: Book Discussion Questions, Books, Historical Fiction