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Which book should be April 2009's Book of the Month?

Retired Threads

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

The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe
2
8%
Kept: A Victorian Mystery by D J Taylor
2
8%
Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
4
15%
Max Havelaar, or The Coffee Auctions of a Dutch Trading Company by Multatuli
1
4%
Gone for Soldiers by Jeff Shaara
0
No votes
The Secret River by Kate Grenville
1
4%
Drood by Dan Simmons
5
19%
Mr Timoth by Louis Bayard
1
4%
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
4
15%
On Agate Hill by Lee Smith
2
8%
A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford
0
No votes
Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin
1
4%
The Gates of the Alamo by Stephen Harrigan
1
4%
Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold
1
4%
An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance
1
4%
 
Total votes: 26

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diamondlil
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Which book should be April 2009's Book of the Month?

Post by diamondlil » Sat February 28th, 2009, 12:48 am

The theme for this month was 19th century - either set during that time, or written then.

The poll will close on4 March

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The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe

The Last Crossing is a sweeping tale of breathtaking quests, adventurous detours, and hard-won redemption. Englishmen Charles and Addington Gaunt are ordered by their tyrannical industrialist father to find their brother Simon, who has gone missing in the wilds of the American West. Charles, a disillusioned artist, and Addington, a disgraced military captain, set off to remote Fort Benton on the edge of the Montana frontier. The brothers hire the enigmatic Jerry Potts, a half Blackfoot, half Scot guide, to lead them North, where Simon was last seen. Addington takes command of the mission, buying enough provisions to fill two wagons, and hires sycophantic journalist Caleb Ayto to record the journey for posterity. As the party heads out, it grows to include the fiery Lucy Stoveall, Civil War veteran Custis Straw, and saloonkeeper Aloysius Dooley. This unlikely posse becomes entangled in an unfolding drama that forces each one of them to confront personal demons. Told from alternating points of view with vivid flashbacks, The Last Crossing is a novel of ruggedness and salvation, an epic masterpiece set in a time when worlds collided, were destroyed, and were built anew. (416 pages)


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Kept: A Novel by D J Taylor

When Henry Ireland dies unexpectedly from what appears to be a riding accident in August 1863, the failed landowner leaves behind little save his high-strung young widow, Isabel—who somehow ends up in the home of Ireland's friend James Dixey. A celebrated naturalist, Dixey collects strange trophies in his secluded, decaying manse and has questionable associations with rather unsavory characters—including a pair of thuggish poachers named Dewar and Dunbar. Dixey's precocious, inquisitive young servant, Esther, cannot turn a blind eye to the suspicious activities surrounding her. While in the crime-ridden streets of London, a determined captain of Scotland Yard follows the threads that may well link a daring train robbery to the disappearance of a disturbed heiress as well as to the possible murder of Henry Ireland.

D. J. Taylor's Kept is a gorgeously intricate, dazzling reinvention of Victorian life and passions that is also a riveting investigation into some of the darkest, most secret chambers of the human heart. (480 pages)

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Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier


The coachman tried to warn her away from the ruined, forbidding place on the rainswept Cornish coast. But young Mary Yellan chose instead to honor her mother's dying request that she join her frightened Aunt Patience and huge, hulking Uncle Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn. From her first glimpse on that raw November eve, she could sense the inn's dark power. But never did Mary dream that she would become hopelessly ensnared in the vile, villainous schemes being hatched within its crumbling walls -- or that a handsome, mysterious stranger would so incite her passions ... tempting her to love a man whom she dares not trust.(304 pages)

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Max Havelaar, or The Coffee Auctions of a Dutch Trading Company by Multatuli

Max Havelaar - a Dutch civil servant in Java - burns with an insatiable desire to end the ill treatment and oppression inflicted on the native peoples by the colonial administration. Max is an inspirational figure, but he is also a flawed idealist whose vow to protect the Javanese from cruelty ends in his own downfall. In Max Havelaar, Multatuli (the pseudonym for Eduard Douwes Dekker) vividly recreated his own experiences in Java and tellingly depicts the hypocrisy of those who gained from the corrupt coffee trade. Sending shockwaves through the Dutch nation when it was published in 1860, this damning expose of the terrible conditions in the colonies led to welfare reforms in Java and continues to inspire the fairtrade movement today. Roy Edwards's vibrant translation conveys the satirical and innovative style of Multatuli's autobiographical polemic. In his introduction, R. P. Meijer discusses the author's tempestuous life and career, the controversy the novel aroused and its unusual narrative structure. (352 pages)


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Gone for Soldiers by Jeff Shaara

With his acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, Jeff Shaara expanded upon his father's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War classic, The Killer Angels--ushering the reader through the poignant drama of this most bloody chapter in our history. Now, in Gone for Soldiers, Jeff Shaara carries us back fifteen years before that momentous conflict, when the Civil War's most familiar names are fighting for another cause, junior officers marching under the same flag in an unfamiliar land, experiencing combat for the first time in the Mexican-American War.

In March 1847, the U.S. Navy delivers eight thousand soldiers on the beaches of Vera Cruz. They are led by the army's commanding general, Winfield Scott, a heroic veteran of the War of 1812, short tempered, vain, and nostalgic for the glories of his youth. At his right hand is Robert E. Lee, a forty-year-old engineer, a dignified, serious man who has never seen combat.

Scott leads his troops against the imperious Mexican dictator, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana. Obsessed with glory and his place in history, Santa Ana arrogantly underestimates the will and the heart of Scott and his army. As the Americans fight their way inland, both sides understand that the inevitable final conflict will come at the gates and fortified walls of the ancient capital, Mexico City.

Cut off from communication and their only supply line, the Americans learn about their enemy and themselves, as young men witness for the first time the horror of war. While Scott must weigh his own place in history, fighting what many consider a bully's war, Lee the engineer becomes Lee the hero, the one man in Scott's command whose extraordinary destiny as a soldier is clear.

In vivid, brilliant prose that illuminates the dark psychology of soldiers and their commanders trapped behind enemy lines, Jeff Shaara brings to life the haunted personalities and magnificent backdrop, the familiar characters, the stunning triumphs and soul-crushing defeats of this fascinating, long-forgotten war. Gone for Soldiers is an extraordinary achievement that will remain with you long after the final page is turned. (512 pages)


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The Secret River by Kate Grenville


The Orange Prize–winning author Kate Grenville recalls her family’s history in an astounding novel about the pioneers of New South Wales. Already a best seller in Australia, The Secret River is the story of Grenville’s ancestors, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people. William Thornhill, a Thames bargeman, is deported to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia in 1806. In this new world of convicts and charlatans, Thornhill tries to pull his family into a position of power and comfort. When he rounds a bend in the Hawkesbury River and sees a gentle slope of land, he becomes determined to make the place his own. But, as uninhabited as the island appears, Australia is full of native people, and they do not take kindly to Thornhill’s theft of their home. The Secret River is the tale of Thornhill’s deep love for his small corner of the new world, and his slow realization that if he wants to settle there, he must ally himself with the most despicable of the white settlers, and to keep his family safe, he must permit terrifying cruelty to come to innocent people. (352 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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Mr Timothy: A Novel by Louis Bayard

It's the Christmas season, and Mr. Timothy Cratchit, not the pious child the world thought he was, has just buried his father. He's also struggling to bury his past as a cripple and shed his financial ties to his benevolent "Uncle" Ebenezer by losing himself in the thick of London's underbelly. He boards at a brothel in exchange for teaching the mistress how to read and spends his nights dredging the Thames for dead bodies and the treasures in their pockets.

Timothy's life takes a sharp turn when he discovers the bodies of two dead girls, each seared with the same cruel brand on the upper arm. The sight of their horror-struck faces compels Timothy to become the protector of another young girl, Philomela, from the fate the others suffered at the hands of a dangerous and powerful man.

A different kind of Christmas story, this breathless flight through the teeming markets, shadowy passageways, and rolling brown fog of 1860s London would do Dickens proud for its surprising twists and turns, and its extraordinary heart. (416 pages)

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Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Margaret Mitchell's epic novel of love and war won the Pulitzer Prize and went on to give rise to two authorized sequels and one of the most popular and celebrated movies of all time.

Many novels have been written about the Civil War and its aftermath. None take us into the burning fields and cities of the American South as Gone With the Wind does, creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that we remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives.

In the two main characters, the white-shouldered, irresistible Scarlett and the flashy, contemptuous Rhett, Margaret Mitchell not only conveyed a timeless story of survival under the harshest of circumstances, she also created two of the most famous lovers in the English-speaking world since Romeo and Juliet.


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On Agate Hill by Lee Smith


A dusty box discovered in the wreckage of a once prosperous plantation on Agate Hill in Nnorth Carolina contains the remnants of an extraordinary life: diaries, letters, poems, songs, newspaper clippings, court records, marbles, rocks, dolls, and bones. It's through these treasured mementos that we meet Molly Petree.

Raised in those ruins and orphaned by the Civil War, Molly is a refugee who has no interest in self-pity. When a mysterious benefactor appears out her father's past to rescue her, she never looks back.

Spanning half a century, On Agate Hill follows Molly’s passionate, picaresque journey through love, betrayal, motherhood, a murder trial—and back home to Agate Hill under circumstances she never could have imagined.(384 pages)

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A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford

A celebration of an indomitable spirit, here is New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford's dazzling saga of a woman who dared to dream--and to triumph against all odds...

In the brooding moors above a humble Yorkshire village stood Fairley Hall. There, Emma Harte, its oppressed but resourceful servant girl, acquired a shrewd determination. There, she honed her skills, discovered the meaning of treachery, learned to survive, to become a woman,
and vowed to make her mark on the world.

In the wake of tragedy she rose from poverty to magnificent wealth as the iron-willed force behind a thriving international enterprise. As one of the richest women in the world Emma Harte has almost everything she fought so hard to achieve--save for the dream of love,
and for the passion of the one man she could never have.

Through two marriages, two devastating wars, and generations of secrets, Emma's unparalleled success has come with a price. As greed, envy, and revenge consume those closest to her, the brilliant matriarch now finds herself poised to outwit her enemies, and to face the betrayals of the past with the same ingenious resolve that forged her empire. (928 pages)

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Mary Reilly by Valerie Martin


From the acclaimed author of the bestselling Italian Fever comes a fresh twist on the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, a novel told from the perspective of Mary Reilly, Dr. Jekyll's dutiful and intelligent housemaid.

Faithfully weaving in details from Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, Martin introduces an original and captivating character: Mary is a survivor–scarred but still strong–familiar with evil, yet brimming with devotion and love. As a bond grows between Mary and her tortured employer, she is sent on errands to unsavory districts of London and entrusted with secrets she would rather not know. Unable to confront her hideous suspicions about Dr. Jekyll, Mary ultimately proves the lengths to which she'll go to protect him. Through her astute reflections, we hear the rest of the classic Jekyll and Hyde story, and this familiar tale is made more terrifying than we remember it, more complex than we imagined possible. (272 pages)

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The Gates of the Alamo by Stephen Harrigan


A huge, riveting, deeply imagined novel about the siege and fall of the Alamo in 1836-an event that formed the consciousness of Texas and that resonates through American history-The Gates of the Alamo follows the lives of three people whose fates become bound to the now-fabled Texas fort: Edmund McGowan, a proud and gifted naturalist whose life's work is threatened by the war against Mexico; the resourceful, widowed innkeeper Mary Mott; and her sixteen-year-old son, Terrell, whose first shattering experience with love leads him instead to war, and into the crucible of the Alamo. The story unfolds with vivid immediacy and describes the pivotal battle from the perspective of the Mexican attackers as well as the American defenders. Filled with dramatic scenes, and abounding in fictional and historical personalities-among them James Bowie, David Crockett, William Travis, and General Santa Anna-The Gates of the Alamo enfolds us in history and, through its remarkable and passionate storytelling, allows us to participate at last in an American legend. (592 pages?)

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Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold



Alfred Gibson’s funeral is taking place at Westminster Abbey, and his wife of twenty years, Dorothea, has not been invited. The Great Man’s will favours his children and a clandestine mistress over the woman he sent away when their youngest child was still an infant.

Dorothea hasn’t left her small apartment for years, and accepts her exclusion — until an invitation to a private audience with Queen Victoria arrives. The exhilaration of finding that she has much in common with the most powerful woman in England spurs Dorothea to examine her own life more closely. Her recollections uncover deviousness and the frighteningly hypnotic power of the genius she married, but also raise questions about her own complicity in her unhappiness. Questions that finally compel her to face her grown-up children and the two women she has long felt stole her husband: her own younger sister, Sissy, and the charming actress, Miss Ricketts.

This remarkable debut is as wise in the ways of the human heart as it is witty and vivid in its depiction of the charismatic Alfred Gibson, and the habits, mores, and personalities of Victorian London. (512 pages)

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An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance

Mrs. Lucy Carleton is daughter of one of the oldest and wealthiest families in New York City. William is Lucy's un-pedigreed nouveau riche husband. Problems arise when Lucy becomes increasingly uncomfortable with the prudish manners and paternalistic dependencies that define the wives of New York society. Lucy longs to break away and give free rein to her more bohemian soul, but her ambitious husband and domineering father are determined that she learn to conform to the mores of her social circle. Enter Dr. Victor Seth, the controversial and pioneering neurologist whom William hires to try to "cure" Lucy of her perceived "nervous disorder." Seth's groundbreaking methods of hypnosis lead Lucy to unforeseen and shocking experiences that set readers on a path through one of the most riveting works of historical fiction in recent memory. (432 pages)
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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sat February 28th, 2009, 4:40 am

I really dislike the cover for On Agate Hill and much prefer the old one.

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Post by Margaret » Sat February 28th, 2009, 8:36 pm

It's hard to choose, because there are so many enticing books on this list, but I went for Jamaica Inn because the last couple of BOMs have been quite long books, and I thought it would be nice to read a short one for a change. Drood was awfully tempting, though - I'm going to read it anyway, because I have it on hold at the library.
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Post by diamondlil » Sat February 28th, 2009, 9:08 pm

It was hard to choose this month. You know what I found interesting about this months nominations - lots of books set in America. That hasn't happened for a long time.
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Post by Divia » Sat February 28th, 2009, 10:06 pm

[quote=""diamondlil""]It was hard to choose this month. You know what I found interesting about this months nominations - lots of books set in America. That hasn't happened for a long time.[/quote]

I hadn't noticed! Hmm. interesting.
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Post by diamondlil » Tue March 3rd, 2009, 10:21 am

Approximately 48 hours left to vote if you havent already done so.
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Post by Leo62 » Tue March 3rd, 2009, 1:14 pm

I'm just about to read Kept, but gonna vote for Drood cos that's next on my TBR list ;)

BTW, didn't Crimson Petal and the White get nominated? :confused:
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Post by Madeleine » Tue March 3rd, 2009, 7:50 pm

Jamaica Inn is a fabulous read! Just one quibble with the description though, not sure if it's taken from the blurb on the book but the Inn isn't on the coast, it's slap bang in the middle of Bodmin Moor - inland! Sorry to nit-pick but this is my all-time favourite book we're talking about, set in one of my favourite places!

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Post by diamondlil » Wed March 4th, 2009, 9:02 am

[quote=""Leo62""]I'm just about to read Kept, but gonna vote for Drood cos that's next on my TBR list ;)

BTW, didn't Crimson Petal and the White get nominated? :confused: [/quote]

Crimson Petal and the White was mentioned, but the person who mentioned it had already nominated a book so I just took the first nomination.
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Post by diamondlil » Wed March 4th, 2009, 9:02 am

[quote=""Madeleine""]Jamaica Inn is a fabulous read! Just one quibble with the description though, not sure if it's taken from the blurb on the book but the Inn isn't on the coast, it's slap bang in the middle of Bodmin Moor - inland! Sorry to nit-pick but this is my all-time favourite book we're talking about, set in one of my favourite places![/quote]

The descriptions all come from Amazon.
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