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Which book should be March 2009 Book of the Month?

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Which book should be Book of the Month for March 2009?

The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson
3
8%
A Question of Guilt by Julianne Lee
1
3%
Drood by Dan Simmons
3
8%
Vivaldi's Virgins by Barbara Quick
1
3%
Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor
7
19%
The Master of Verona by David Blixt
9
24%
Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow
4
11%
The Mathematics of Love by Emma Darwin
1
3%
The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon
0
No votes
Serena: A Novel by Ron Rash
1
3%
Sister Teresa by Barbara Mujica
2
5%
Daughter of the Sea by Sarah Woodhouse
0
No votes
The Secret Book of Grazei dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park
1
3%
Signora da Vinci by Robin Maxwell
4
11%
 
Total votes: 37

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diamondlil
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Which book should be March 2009 Book of the Month?

Post by diamondlil » Sat January 24th, 2009, 12:26 am

The poll will close on January 29.



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The Swan Maiden by Jules Watson

In this lush, romantic retelling of one of the most enduring Irish legends, acclaimed Celtic historical author Jules Watson reignites the tale of Deirdre—the Irish Helen of Troy—in a story that is at once magical, beautiful, and tragic.

She was born with a blessing and a curse: that she would grow into a woman of extraordinary beauty—and bring ruin to the kingdom of Ulster and its ruler, the wily Conor. Ignoring the pleadings of his druid to expel the infant, King Conor secrets the girl child with a poor couple in his province, where no man can covet her. There, under the tutelage of a shamaness, Deirdre comes of age in nature and magic…. And in the season of her awakening, the king is inexorably drawn to her impossible beauty.

But for Deirdre, her fate as a man’s possession is worse than death. And soon the green-eyed girl, at home in waterfall and woods, finds herself at the side of three rebellious young warriors. Among them is the handsome Naisi. His heart charged with bitterness toward the aging king, and growing in love for the defiant girl, Naisi will lead Deirdre far from Ulster—and into a war of wits, swords, and spirit that will take a lifetime to wage.

Brimming with life and its lusts, here is a soaring tale of enchantment and eternal passions—and of a woman who became legend. (560 pages)

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A Question of Guilt: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Death of Henry Darnley by Julianne Lee

A rich, compelling novel that asks the question: Was Mary Stuart guilty of murder?

It is three days after the execution of Mary Stuart and the streets of London are buzzing with the news. But not everyone is convinced that the scandalized Queen of Scots was guilty of plotting against her cousin, Elizabeth I—or that she was involved in the murder of her husband, Henry Darnley.

Scottish-born Lady Janet de Ros, wife of a wealthy English merchant, thinks the ravishingly beautiful Mary was merely an innocent bystander, betrayed by the machinations of a disloyal court. Determined to uncover the truth, Janet travels from Fotheringhay Castle to Edinburgh, to pursue an investigation that, she will come to realize, could endanger her life—and bring disgrace to her very own family… (320 pages)

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Drood by Dan Simmons


On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.

Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?

Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best. (784 pages)

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Vivaldi’s Virgins by Barbara Quick


Abandoned as an infant, fourteen-year-old Anna Maria dal Violin is one of the elite musicians living in the foundling home where the "Red Priest," Antonio Vivaldi, is maestro and composer. Fiercely determined to find out where she came from, Anna Maria embarks on a journey of self-discovery that carries her into a wondrous and haunting world of music and spectacle, bringing eighteenth-century Venice magically to life. (304 pages)


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Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor


Abandoned pregnant and penniless on the teeming streets of London, 16-year-old Amber St. Clare manages, by using her wits, beauty, and courage, to climb to the highest position a woman could achieve in Restoration England-that of favorite mistress of the Merry Monarch, Charles II. From whores and highwaymen to courtiers and noblemen, from events such as the Great Plague and the Fire of London to the intimate passions of ordinary-and extraordinary-men and women, Amber experiences it all. But throughout her trials and escapades, she remains, in her heart, true to the one man she really loves, the one man she can never have. Frequently compared to Gone with the Wind, Forever Amber is the other great historical romance, outselling every other American novel of the 1940s-despite being banned in Boston for its sheer sexiness. A book to read and reread, this edition brings back to print an unforgettable romance and a timeless masterpiece. (976 pages)

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The Master of Verona by David Blixt

The Master of Verona is a sweeping historical novel that takes place, primarily, in early 14th Century Verona. It is the story of Pietro Alaghieri - the eldest surving son of the poet Dante - who gets caught up in the sweep of history: the war between Padua and Verona; the rise of Verona's Captiano, Cangrande della Scala, Dante's increasing fame since the publication of The Inferno, an infernal plot against Cangrande's bastard son, and the rivalry of his two best friends over the affections of a girl, a rivalry that will severe a friendship, divide a city, and ultimately lead to the best-known tragic romance in history.

In 1312, the exiled poet Dante and his two sons, seventeen year old Pietro and fourteen year old Jacopo (“Poco”), travel to Verona at the invitation of Verona's leader, the legendary Franceso “Cangrande” della Scalla. While there, a sneak attack on Vincenza, Verona's client city, leads Pietro into his first battle, into the confidences of the charaismatic Cangrande, and into a tight friendship with Mariotto (“Mari”) Montecchi and Antonio (“Antony”) Capuletti. But hidden forces are at work against Cangrande - a series of attempts against a male baby, named Francesco and adopted by Cangrande's sister, widely believed to be his bastard son and possible heir.
Based on historical figures and the stories that formed the basis for some of Shakespeare's greatest plays, The Master of Verona is a compelling novel of politics, friendship, and conspiracy that recalls the best of Bernard Cornwell and Dorothy Dunnett. (592 pages)

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Celia Garth by Gwen Bristow

Bringing to life the heady days of the American Revolution through the eyes of a heroine who played a brave and dramatic part in the conflict, this novel follows Celia Garth, a Charleston native, as she transforms from a fashionable dressmaker to a patriot spy. When the king's army captures Charleston and sweeps through the Carolina countryside in a wave of blood, fire, and debauchery, the rebel cause seems all but lost. But when Francis Marion, a lieutenant colonel in the Continental Army known as "The Swamp Fox," recruits Celia as a spy, the tides of war begin to shift. This classic historical novel captures the fervor of 18th-century Charleston, the American Revolution, and a woman who risked her life for the patriot cause. (416 pages)

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The Mathematics of Love by Emma Darwin

The Mathematics of Love is a poignant chronicle of two people, separated by centuries, whose lives—amazingly, impossibly—become interwoven in a brilliant tapestry of tragedy, memory, and time. Following alternate but intimately connected stories—of a curious, promiscuous teenager in her season of exile and awakening in the English countryside in 1976, and a nineteenth-century soldier damaged on the fields of Waterloo, struggling to find his way back to life with the help of a compassionate, extraordinary woman—Emma Darwin's breathtaking narrative brilliantly evokes the horrors of war, the pain of loss, the heat of passion, and the enduring power of love.

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The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon


Russia, 1854: the Crimean War grinds on, and as the bitter winter draws near, the battlefield hospitals fill with dying men. In defiance of Florence Nightingale, Rosa Barr - young, headstrong and beautiful - travels to Balaklava, determined to save as many of the wounded as she can. For Mariella Lingwood, Rosa's cousin, the war is contained within the pages of her scrapbook, in her London sewing circle, and in the letters she receives from Henry, her fiance, a celebrated surgeon who has also volunteered to work within the shadow of the guns. When Henry falls ill and is sent to recuperate in Italy, Mariella impulsively decides she must go to him. But upon their arrival at his lodgings, she and her maid make a heartbreaking discovery: Rosa has disappeared. Following the trail of her elusive and captivating cousin, Mariella's epic journey takes her from the domestic restraint of Victorian London to the ravaged landscape of the Crimea and the tragic city of Sebastopol, where she encounters Rosa's dashing stepbrother, a reckless cavalry officer whose complex past - and future - is inextricably bound up with her own. As her quest leads her deeper into the dark heart of the conflict, Mariella's ordered world begins to crumble and she finds she has much to learn about secrecy, faithfulness and love. But, in the thick of a war fought on more fronts than one, she also discovers a strength and passion she never knew she possessed. (384 pages)

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Serena: A Novel by Ron Rash

The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains -- but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving her husband's life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.

Rash's masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed. (384 pages)

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Sister Teresa by Barbara Mujica

Spoiled with beauty, riches, and adoration, a young girl from Àvila is sent to a convent by her parents to learn discipline, but discovers instead an unparalleled spiritual fervor-- one so powerful as to be condemned as sinful by some. She is Saint Teresa--known as a mystic, reformer and founder of convents, and the author of numerous texts that introduced her radical religious ideas and practices to a society suffering through the repressive throes of the Spanish Inquisition. In Barbara Mujica’s masterful tale, her story--her days of youthful romance, her sensual fits of spiritual rapture, secret heritage as a Jewish convert to Catholicism, cloak-and-dagger political dealings, struggles against sexual blackmail, and mysterious illness--unfolds with a tumultuous urgency. Blending fact with fiction in vivid detail, painstakingly researched and beautifully rendered, Mujica's tale conjures a brilliant picture of sisterhood, faith, the terror of religious persecution, the miracle of salvation, and to one woman's challenge to the power of strict orthodoxy, a challenge that consisted of a crime of passion--her own personal relationship with God. (336 pages)

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Daughter of the Sea by Sarah Woodhouse

It's a great story, with romance, about a woman in the nineteenth century who fights to take over her father's merchant shipping business. She ends up in the Crimea and there is quite a large section of the book devoted to her experiences during the Crimean War. Sarah Woodhouse's earlier historicals are worth tracking down - beautifully written, with good characterization and period detail. They are romances, but by no means historical romances, if that makes sense! Think MM Kaye and Diana Norman. (352 pages)\

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The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park

The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi is a sweeping tale of intrigue and romance set in a time rife with court politics, papal chicanery, religious intolerance, and inviolable social rules. Grazia, private secretary to the world-renowned Isabella d'Este, is the daughter of an eminent Jewish banker, the wife of the pope's Jewish physician, and the lover of a Christian prince. In a "secret book," written as a legacy for her son, she records her struggles to choose between the seductions of the Christian world and a return to the family, traditions, and duties of her Jewish roots. As she re-creates Renaissance Italy in captivating detail, Jacqueline Park gives us a timeless portrait of a brave and brilliant woman trapped in an unforgiving, inflexible society. (576 pages)

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Signora da Vinci by Robin Maxwell

Following the “absolutely superb”(Diane Haeger, author of The Secret Bride) Mademoiselle Boleyn, novelist Robin Maxwell delves into the life of Caterina—the adventurer, alchemist, and mother of Leonardo da Vinci.

Caterina was fifteen years old in 1452 when she bore an illegitimate child in the tiny village of Vinci. His name was Leonardo, and he was destined to change the world forever.

Caterina suffered much cruelty as an unmarried mother and had no recourse when her boy was taken away from her. But no one knew the secrets of her own childhood, nor could ever have imagined the dangerous and heretical scheme she would devise to protect and watch over her remarkable son. This is her story. (448 pages)
Last edited by diamondlil on Sat January 24th, 2009, 12:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sat January 24th, 2009, 1:30 am

There are a ton of choices this month. I have read a few so we'll have to see what gets picked.
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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Sat January 24th, 2009, 1:36 am

Lots of good options! I can't decide what to vote for!
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Leo62
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Post by Leo62 » Sat January 24th, 2009, 5:54 pm

ooh some great choices there :D

I've read The Rose of Sebastopol, but both Drood and The Master of Verona sound good...as well as - of course - my own nomination, The Mathematics of Love... ;)

what to do, what to do...

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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Sat January 24th, 2009, 11:07 pm

I've read a number of them but a couple of them are ones that I would want to encourage others to read (like Master of Verona for example), and then there are the ones that I really want to read like Drood and The Swan Maiden. Such a tough decision.
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Post by Helen_Davis » Sun January 25th, 2009, 12:41 am

Forever Ambre all the way!

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Julianne Douglas
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Post by Julianne Douglas » Sun January 25th, 2009, 5:32 am

So many good books! I hate having to choose between writing and reading in the little free time I have. :(
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Carine
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Post by Carine » Mon January 26th, 2009, 7:13 am

Wow, such a lot of choices !! Difficult to just choose 1 !

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Post by Margaret » Mon January 26th, 2009, 9:58 pm

I see Forever Amber is pulling ahead by a nose. I didn't vote for it, but now I'm thinking maybe I should have. I've never read it, and it was very influential in the historical fiction field.
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Post by SonjaMarie » Tue January 27th, 2009, 3:31 am

Sigh, maybe I should give up suggesting "Question of Guilt", it never seems to go anywhere :P

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