Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves— Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic “Book of Negroes.” This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all of its own.
Aminata’s eventual return to Sierra Leone—passing ships carrying thousands of slaves bound for America—is an engrossing account of an obscure but important chapter in history that saw 1,200 former slaves embark on a harrowing back-to-Africa odyssey. Lawrence Hill is a master at transforming the neglected corners of history into brilliant imaginings, as engaging and revealing as only the best historical fiction can be. A sweeping story that transports the reader from a tribal African village to a plantation in the southern United States, from the teeming Halifax docks to the manor houses of London, The Book of Negroes introduces one of the strongest female characters in recent Canadian fiction, one who cuts a swath through a world hostile to her colour and her sex.
Rick Porrello - To Kill the Irishman
For decades, Americans have had a fascination with the Mafia. We have paid the box offices generously to be entertained by films like The Godfather, Goodfellas, Casino and Donnie Brasco. Likewise, millions have been spent in bookstores on titles like Boss of Bosses, Doublecross, The Last Mafioso, Underboss and the numerous John Gotti stories. It started in the fifties, when mob soldier Joseph Valachi broke the blood oath of omerta which swears Mafia members to secrecy, violations being punishable by death. The term Mafia became a household word. Higher ranking mob turncoats like Jimmy "Weasel" Fratianno, Angelo "Big Ange" Lonardo and Sammy "the Bull" Gravano would follow. In years to come we would learn of the Mafia's influence in labor unions, gambling, political corruption, narcotics, major airports, big city docks, legitimate business and industry and even the entertainment mecca of Las Vegas. With hard-to-ignore evidence, there would be shocking allegations that the Mafia had collaborated with the Central Intelligence Agency in "Operation Mongoose," the plot to assassinate Cuban Communist leader Fidel Castro. It is even believed by many that the Mafia helped engineer the rise of John F. Kennedy to President of the United States, then was responsible for the assassination of he and his brother Senator Robert Kennedy, and actress Marilyn Monroe. In the seventies and eighties, the government began winning more of their battles with the Mafia. New anti-racketeering legislation and technology, coupled with tougher drug laws, undercover operations, unprecedented inter-agency cooperation and WITSEC, the federal witness protection program were effective weapons. Attrition of old-school Mafioso made the timing good. The young replacements were not the jail-stint-hardened men that their fathers, uncles and neighborhood heroes were. As a result of all this, whole Mafia hierarchies were dismantled in cities like Milwaukee, Cleveland, Kansas City and Los Angeles. Top New York mob dons, like Tony Salerno and John Gotti were, convicted and imprisoned for life.
Edward Rutherfurd - Ireland Awakening
Few authors are as ambitious as Edward Rutherford. And Dublin: Foundation, the first of a massive two-part epic, is possibly Rutherford's most challenging undertaking yet--and (on the evidence of this first book) could well be his most considerable achievement. Rutherford's sheer readability belies his obvious seriousness. His arm-straining volumes may cover every possible variety of human experience (couched in historical backgrounds of immense detail and authenticity), but he remains a storyteller of no mean skills. From the early books that made his name (notably the much-acclaimed Sarum), through to the more recent blockbuster London, the author has combined a panoramic, Homeric vision with a James-Joyce like concentration on the minutiae of everyday life; the results of this synthesis are brought to perfectly honed effect in Dublin: Foundation. Parallels with Joyce's Dublin are not appropriate here, though. The scope is far wider and stretches back into history. Beginning in Pre-Christian Ireland as the Kings of Tara reigned autocratically, we encounter the lovers Prince Conall and the beautiful Deidre. An army sized dramatis personae surround the lovers, representing every player in a turbulent era. We are shown many of the key events in Irish history, with parts for Saint Patrick, the Nordic savagery of the Vikings and the battles with the cunning Henry VIII. As this operatic volume ends with the approach of the Reformation, the orchestration of narrative commands total respect. --Barry Forshaw
Virginia Woolf - Orlando / Mrs. Dalloway / To the Lighthouse
Gathered together in one volume, three of Virginia Woolf`s greatest novels. ORLANDO has lived as both a man and a woman through the centuries. Written as a tribute to Vita Sackville-West, this exuberant and entertaining novel is a unique contribution to twentieth-century literature. MRS DALLOWAY follows the toughts and memories of a fashionable society hostess during a single day in June as she prepares for a party that evening. As she takes her heroine through the day, Virginia Woolf breaks new ground in English fiction-writing. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE The Ramsay family and their guests are holidaying on the Isle of Skye. Virginia Woolf`s most celebrated novel explores, through the postponement of a visit to a nearby lighthouse, the complexities and tensions of family life.
John Burnham Schwartz - The Commoner
John Burnham Schwartz bases his fourth novel on the Empress Michiko and Crown Princess Masako of Japan. Though Japanese imperial life remains shrouded in mystery, Schwartz teases out the details through extensive research. Much to the astonishment and pleasure of the critics, he gives Haruko an authentic and completely convincing voice. While his vivid depictions of postwar Japan are stunning, it is Haruko’s vibrant inner life that propels the narrative and resounds with readers. Though not as intense as Reservation Road (1998), Schwartz’s unflinching portrayal of the aftermath of a child’s death, and though slightly marred by an implausible ending, The Commoner will captivate readers by providing a haunting look into the 2,000 years of secrets surrounding the Chrysanthemum Throne.
Katie McGarry - Pushing the Limits
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked. So wrong for each other...and yet so right. No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.
William Styron - Sophie's Choice
Stingo, an inexperienced twenty-two year old Southerner, takes us back to the summer of 1947 and a boarding house in a leafy Brooklyn suburb. There he meets Nathan, a fiery Jewish intellectual; and Sophie, a beautiful and fragile Polish Catholic. Stingo is drawn into the heart of their passionate and destructive relationship as witness, confidant and supplicant. Ultimately, he arrives at the dark core of Sophie's past: her memories of pre-war Poland, the concentration camp and - the essence of her terrible secret - her choice.
Lawrence Hill - Someone Knows My Name
Abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom—and of the knowledge she needs to get home. Sold to an indigo trader who recognizes her intelligence, Aminata is torn from her husband and child and thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan, Aminata helps pen the Book of Negroes, a list of blacks rewarded for service to the king with safe passage to Nova Scotia. There Aminata finds a life of hardship and stinging prejudice. When the British abolitionists come looking for "adventurers" to create a new colony in Sierra Leone, Aminata assists in moving 1,200 Nova Scotians to Africa and aiding the abolitionist cause by revealing the realities of slavery to the British public. This captivating story of one woman's remarkable experience spans six decades and three continents and brings to life a crucial chapter in world history.
Maeve Binchy - Evening Class
The Italian evening class at Mountainview School is like hundreds of others starting up all over the city. But this one has its own special quality - as the focus for the varied hopes and dreams of teachers and students alike. And by the time the group sets off on the end-of-course trip to Italy, a surprising number of those hopes and dreams have come true - in sone odd and unexpected ways...
C. S. Forester - Mr Midshipman Hornblower
1793, the eve of the Napoleonic Wars, and Midshipman Horatio Hornblower receives his first command...As a seventeen-year-old with a touch of sea sickness, young Horatio Hornblower hardly cuts a dash in His Majesty's navy. Yet, from the moment he is ordered to board a French merchant ship in the Bay of Biscay and take command of crew and cargo, he proves his seafaring mettle on the waves. With a character-forming duel, several chases and some strange tavern encounters, the young Hornblower is soon forged into a formidable man of the sea. This is the first of eleven books chronicling the nautical adventures of C. S. Forester's inimitable hero, Horatio Hornblower.
Celia Rees - Kalózok!
"Nagyszerű kalandregény a kalóztörténetek minden elengedhetetlen kellékével: csatákkal, párbajokkal, elbűvölő kalandorokkal, igaz szerelemmel, és néhány betört fejjel. Lebilincselő elbeszélés, amely úgy képes az olvasó elé tárni a kalózok korát, hogy közben nem vész el a részletekben...Egy elragadó hősnő izgalmas kalandjai." THE GUARDIAN - Nagy Britannia "...a történelmi-ifjúsági regények tehetséges írója: egyedülálló módon képes erős, intelligens nőalakokat teremteni, akik szembeszállnak koruk kegyetlen szabályaival. Rees könyvében megelevenedik a kalózok világa, s komolyan körbejárja a rabszolgák és nők helyzetének kérdéskörét is. Rees kiváló kutató, akinek írásaiban a legapróbb részlet is történelmi hűséggel bír." NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW - USA
Sarah Dessen - Lock and Key
Ruby Cooper likes to expect the worst. That way, she's never disappointed. Abandoned by her mother and forced to leave the house she calls home, Ruby is facing too many changes. Her lonely world has been transformed into a life of luxury by her long lost sister, but all Ruby wants to do is leave - she can make it on her own. Even Nate, the gorgeous boy-next-door can't seem to change her mind. Will Ruby realize first impressions don't always count? Because people can suprise you...
Deborah Meyler - The Bookstore
Idealistic and ardent, Esme Garland has arrived in Manhattan with a scholarship to study art history at Columbia University. When she falls in love with New York blue-blood Mitchell van Leuven, with his penchant for all things erotic, life seems to be clear sailing, until a thin blue line signals stormy times ahead. Before she has a chance to tell Mitchell about her pregnancy, he abruptly declares their sex life is not nearly transgressive enough, and ends it all. Stubbornly determined to master everything from Degas to diapers, Esme starts work at a small West Side bookstore to make ends meet. The Owl is a shabby all-day, all-night haven for a colorful crew of characters, such as handsome and taciturn guitar player Luke and George, the owner, who lives on spirulina shakes and idealism. The Owl becomes a nexus of good in a difficult world for Esme—but will it be enough to sustain her when Mitchell, glittering with charm and danger, comes back on the scene? _The Bookstore_ is a celebration of books, of the shops where they are sold, and of the people who work, read, and live in them. The Bookstore is also a story about emotional discovery, the complex choices we all face, and the accidental inspirations that make a life worth the reading.
Margit Kaffka - Colours and Years
Margit Kaffka (1880-1918) was born in the provincial town of Nagykároly (now Carei in Romania). A schoolteacher by training, she was twice married with a son, and as a friend wrote about her, 'She wielded her pen as our mothers did their mixing spoons.' faking up her maiden name as a writer, she soon turned to writing both poetry and prose, and became part of the small circle of distinguished writers who ran the literary journal Nyugat. She sat with the men in smoky coffee-houses and wrote1 short stories about women who achieved financial independence but suffered many unfulfilled dreams and were faced with impossibly difficult choices. Her novel, Colours and Years, which came out in 1912, explored the complexities facing different generations of these new women and catapulted her to success. Based on the technique of the talking head, it reveals not only the character of the writer herself, her background and history, with special emphasis on her relationship to her mother, but life as it was lived just before the First World War in the small Hungarian town of Nagykároly. The poet Endre Ady's words stand as a fitting tribute to her even today: 'Let us rejoice in Margit Kaffka because she proves the triumph of Hungarian feminism... She is a strong person, an artist with an assured future: no criticism can hinder her true destiny the path marked as her own'.
Rosie Thomas - The Potter's House
Olivia Giorgiadis has left her English roots behind. She lives on a tiny Greek island, married to a local man, mother to two small sons. Year on year, island life has followed a peaceful unchanging rhythm. Until now. An earthquake ravages the coast, its force devastating the island. In the aftermath comes a stranger: an Englishwoman, destitute but for the clothes she wears. Olivia welcomes the stranger into her home, the potter's house. But as Kitty melts into the family and the village community, so Olivia begins to sense that her mysterious visitor threatens all she holds dear...
Gillian Flynn - Gone Girl
Marriage can be a real killer. One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn. On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer? As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.
André Brink - A Chain of Voices
On a farm near the Cape Colony in the early nineteenth century, a slave rebellion kills three and leaves eleven others condemned to death. The rebellion's leader, Galant, was raised alongside the boys who would become his masters. His first victim, Nicholas van der Merwe, might have been his brother. As the many layers of Andre Brink's novel unfold, it becomes clear that the violent uprising is as much a culmination of family tensions as it is an outcry against the oppression of slavery. Spanning three generations and narrated in the voices of both the living and the dead, A Chain of Voices is reminiscent of William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!; it is a beautiful and haunting illustration of racism's plague on South Africa.
Thomas Pynchon - Mason & Dixon
Charles Mason (1728-1786) and Jeremiah Dixon (1733-1779) were the British surveyors best remembered for running the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland that we know today as the Mason-Dixon Line. Here is their story as re-imagined by Thomas Pynchon, featuring Native Americans and frontier folk, ripped bodices, naval warfare, conspiracies erotic and political, and major caffeine abuse. We follow the mismatched pair--one rollicking, the other depressive; one Gothic, the other pre-Romantic--from their first journey together to the Cape of Good Hope, to pre-Revolutionary America and back, through the strange yet redemptive turns of fortune in their later lives, on a grand tour of the Enlightenment's dark hemisphere, as they observe and participate in the many opportunities for insanity presented them by the Age of Reason.
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter
America’s first psychological novel, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is a dark tale of love, crime, and revenge set in colonial New England. It revolves around a single, forbidden act of passion that forever alters the lives of three members of a small Puritan community: Hester Prynne, an ardent and fierce woman whobears the punishment of her sin in humble silence; the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, a respected public figure who is inwardly tormented by long-hidden guilt; and the malevolent Roger Chillingworth, Hester’s husband—a man who seethes with an Ahab-like lust for vengeance. The landscape of this classic novel is uniquely American, but the themes it explores are universal—the nature of sin, guilt, and penitence, the clash between our private and public selves, and the spiritual and psychological cost of living outside society. Constructed with the elegance of a Greek tragedy, The Scarlet Letter brilliantly illuminates the truth that lies deep within the human heart.