Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? It’s all about balance, isn’t it? You’ll appreciate that same skill in A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar, a story that weaves between female missionaries in 1923 Asia and a woman in modern-day London who shows kindness to a Yemeni refugee. British citizens Eva, Lizzie, and Millicent have their strength and ideals tested when they find themselves unexpectedly caring for an infant while under house arrest in Turkestan. Then we shift to Frieda, a present-day Middle Eastern scholar who returns home after a long absence to discover she has inherited an apartment from a woman she has never met. Explore exotic lands and intriguing connections in Suzanne Joinson’s debut novel.
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Young Jim is tired of living in his father’s shadow. His father, Jim Hawkins, cavorted with the infamous swashbuckler, Long John Silver. You can read the elder Hawkins’ story in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic pirate tale, Treasure Island. Then there’s Natty, the androgynous daughter of Long John Silver. She, too, wants adventures of her own. Natty proposes to young Jim that they journey back to Treasure Island to retrieve all the silver that their fathers didn’t have room to carry home almost forty years before. Andrew Motion, a former Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom (1999 – 2000), writes of buccaneers, bullion, long held grudges, and Natty and Jim’s unexpected exploits in Silver: Return to Treasure Island.
Congratulations to Hilary Mantel for making award history with her win of the 2012 Man Booker Prize, a prestigious literary honor that often has significant impact on popular reading. Bring Up the Bodies, the second installment in a planned Tudor trilogy, explores the fate of Anne Boleyn. The first book, Wolf Hall, won the Prize in 2009 and became an international bestseller. According to the selection committee, “her resuscitation of Thomas Cromwell – and with him the historical novel – is one of the great achievements of modern literature.” With this honor, Mantel becomes the first writer to win for a direct sequel, one of only three writers to win more than once, the first woman to win twice, the first British author to win twice, and the first to win again in so short a time.
Cora Carlisle, a woman of 36, is in need of change. Her two sons are going off to college, and her husband has a busy law practice. When a chaperone is needed to guide 15-year-old Louise Brooks through New York City as she studies dance at the Denishawn School, Cora leaps at the chance. Louise is already a force of nature, extremely beautiful, and about to become a famous silent film star. Cora battles herself on how much to corral Louise and how much to take after her. The Chaperone, by Laura Moriarty, is an intriguing look at the 1920s, detailing not only the fun and flappers, but the poverty, race issues, and gender politics of the day.
Click here to see what books Alice might enjoy when resting from all that growing and shrinking.
If you like the movie 300, about 300 Spartans fending off overwhelming hordes of the Persian army at the strait of Thermopylae, then you’ll probably enjoy the similarly-themed novel Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. But your ancient historical fiction reading spree doesn’t have to stop there…
Click here for more novels set in or tied to ancient Greece.
Be still our hearts! The Romance Writers of America have named the most outstanding published romance novels of the year and honored them with the 2012 RITA Awards. No matter if your preferred hero wears a kilt, holds a Regency title, has ties to the supernatural, or appreciates homebaked goods, you’ll find a winner to enhance your dreams.
Best Historical Romance: The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne
Best Regency Historical Romance: A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements: How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal
Best First Book: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Best Paranormal Romance: Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Best Romantic Suspense: New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb
Best Young Adult Romance: Enclave by Ann Aguirre
The 2012 Christy Awards, designed to honor and promote excellence in Christian fiction, newly announced top picks in a variety of genres. Click here for a complete of nominees, and choose one of the winners below to inspire your end-of-summer reading.
Contemporary Standalone: Promises to Keep by Ann Tatlock
Contemporary Series: The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
Suspense: The Queen by Steven James
Historical: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin
Historical Romance: The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen
First Novel: Words by Ginny Yttrup
1867, Omaha. Julius Meyer was kidnapped by the Ponca Indians. Julius quickly picks up the Ponca’s customs and language and becomes their official interpreter. Combine Julius’ story with that of a scandalous soiled dove and Julius’ soon-to-be-famous magician cousin, Alexander Hermann, and you have Magic Words, by Gerald Kolpan.
Kolpan discusses the inspiration and writing process behind Magic Words: The Tale of a Jewish Boy-Interpreter, the World’s Most Estimable Magician, a Murderous Harlot, and America’s Greatest Indian Chief in the clip below.
Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin was a highly irregular nineteenth century woman who wore pants, smoked cigars in public, wrote sensational novels, and was most commonly known by her pseudonym, George Sand. Impromptu, starring Judy Davis, Emma Thompson, and Hugh Grant, is the story of Sand wooing Frédéric Chopin at an aspiring socialite’s salon in the French countryside. Sand invited herself to the salon and, to her chagrin, finds that her lovemaking is interrupted by several of her own ex-beaus and a mysterious secret admirer that grabs Chopin’s attention. The salon spirals out of control as artists vie for status and one another’s hearts in this unconventional, literary romance.