Caleb Carr - The Alienist
The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night _New York Times_ reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or "alienist." On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan's infamous brothels. The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler's intellect and Moore's knowledge of New York's vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology-- amassing a psychological profile of the man they're looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before. and will kill again before the hunt is over. Fast-paced and gripping, infused with a historian's exactitude, _The Alienist_ conjures up the Gilded Age and its untarnished underside: verminous tenements and opulent mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. Here is a New York during an age when questioning society's belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and mortal consequences.
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'.
Terry Pratchett - Dodger
Dodger is a tosher - a sewer scavenger living in the squalor of Dickensian London. Everyone who is nobody knows him. Anyone who is anybody doesn't. He used to know his future; it involved a lot of brick-lined tunnels and plenty of filth. But when he rescues a young girl from a beating, things start to get really messy. Now everyone who is anyone wants to get their hands on Dodger.
Johanna Lindsey - When Passion Rules
#1 New York Times bestselling author Johanna Lindsey weaves a marvelous adventure set in the tumultuous world of continental royalty, where a stolen princess discovers a kingdom she was meant to inherit—and a passion made to rule her heart.Forced to flee Napoleon’s rampaging army on the continent, orphaned Alana Farmer and her eccentric guardian make a new home for themselves in London. There, Alana enjoys every privilege a daughter of the nobility could hope for, plus an education fit for a queen. Now, on the eve of her debut into London Society, she learns the shocking secret of her birthright. Can it be true? Is she really the lost princess of the European kingdom of Lubinia? Persuaded by her guardian to return to their homeland to quell a bloody revolt, Alana finds herself in an isolated, mountainous country whose customs strike her as medieval!With controversy and intrigue brewing around the beautiful newcomer, Christoph Becker, the captain of the palace guards, arrests Alana on suspicion that she is either a wily imposter or a seductive spy working for the shadowy figures determined to depose the king. No stranger himself to seduction, Christoph uses every means at his disposal to draw the truth from his alluring prisoner, even if he must lay his own life on the line to protect her from harm. Now, as a fiery passion flares between Alana and the man who has wrongly imprisoned her, the fate of a nation rests in their hands and on their hearts.In each of her dazzling bestsellers, Johanna Lindsey’s “mastery of historical romance” (Entertainment Weekly) shines stronger than ever!
Helene Wecker - The Golem and the Jinni
A marvelous and absorbing debut novel, an enchanting combination of vivid historical fiction and magical fable about two supernatural creatures in turn-of-the-century immigrant New York. An immigrant tale that combines elements of Jewish and Arab folk mythology, Helene Wecker's dazzling debut novel tells the story of two supernatural creatures who arrive separately in New York in 1899. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic. When her master-the husband who commissioned her-dies at sea on the voyage from Poland, she is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire, born in the ancient Syrian desert. Trapped in an old copper flask by a Bedouin wizard centuries ago, he is released accidentally by a tinsmith in a Lower Manhattan shop. Though he is no longer imprisoned, Ahmad is not entirely free-an unbreakable band of iron around his wrist binds him to the physical world. Overwhelmed by the incessant longing and fears of the humans around her, the cautious and tentative Chava-imbued with extraordinary physical strength-fears losing control and inflicting harm. Baptized by the tinsmith who makes him his apprentice, the handsome and capricious Ahmad-an entity of inquisitive intelligence and carefree pleasure-chafes at monotony and human dullness. Like their immigrant neighbors, the Golem and the Jinni struggle to make their way in this strange new place while masking the supernatural origins that could destroy them. Surrounding them is a colorful cast of supporting characters who inhabit the immigrant communities in lower Manhattan at the turn of the nineteenth into the twentieth century: the café owner Maryam Faddoul, a pillar of wisdom and support for her Syrian neighbors; the solitary Ice Cream Saleh, a damaged man cursed by tragedy; the kind and caring Rabbi Meyer and his beleaguered nephew Michael, whose Sheltering House receives newly arrived Jewish immigrants; the adventurous young socialite Sophia Winston; and the mysterious Joseph Schall, a dangerous man driven by ferocious ambition and esoteric wisdom. Meeting by chance, Chava and Ahmad become unlikely friends whose tenuous attachment challenges their opposing nature-until the night a terrifying incident drives them back into their separate worlds. But a powerful threat will soon bring the Golem and the Jinni together again, challenging their existence and forcing them to make a fateful choice. Marvelous and compulsively readable, The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
Robert Louis Stevenson - Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
'All human beings ... are commingled out of good and evil' Dr Jekyll has been experimenting with his identity. He has developed a drug which separates the two sides of his nature and allows him occasionally to abandon himself to his most corrupt inclinations as the monstrous Mr Hyde. But gradually he begins to find that the journey back to goodness becomes more and more difficult, and the risk that Mr Hyde will break free entirely from Dr Jekyll's control puts all of London in grave peril.
Susan Coolidge - In the High Valley
Lionel Young and his sister, Imogen, set out for the picturesque but remote High Valley in Colorado, leaving their hometown in Devonshire, England behind. Lionel wants to take the share in Geoffrey Templestowe’s cattle business. Imogen, owing to her prejudices against America and the American way of life, finds it hard to adjust to life over there. Clover Templestowe, now happily married and living in the High Valley, at first finds it very trying to get on with Imogen. A lot of events ensure in the course of which we meet again with Rose Red, get news from Cousin Helen and of course meet Katy again…
C. S. Forester - A Ship of the Line
May, 1810 - and thirty-nine-year-old Captain Horatio Hornblower has been handed his first ship of the line . . . Though the seventy-four-gun HMS Sutherland is 'the ugliest and least desirable two-decker in the Navy' and a crew shortage means he must recruit two hundred and fifty landlubbers, Hornblower knows that by the time Sutherland and her squadron reach the blockaded Catalonian coast every seaman will do his duty. But with daring raids against the French army and navy to be made, it will take all Hornblower's seamanship - and stewardship - to steer a steady course to victory and home . . . This is the sixth of eleven books chronicling the adventures of C. S. Forester's inimitable nautical hero, Horatio Hornblower.
Flora Thompson - Lark Rise
Lark Rise is Flora Thompson's childhood memories of a north Oxfordshire village, the people who lived and worked in it, and a way of life that has totally disappeared. The story is built around Laura and her brother Edmund, through whose eyes are seen "old Sally," whose grandfather built the house she lived in before the enclosure of the heathland, children's games, the interaction of village and gentry, and the way in which the seasons governed life.
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Blithedale Romance
Based on Hawthorne's own experience of a Utopian socialist community outside Boston, The Blithedale Romance tells of the attempts of a like-minded group to begin reforming a dissipated America. However, rather than dropping bad habits and changing the world, Coverdale the prurient bachelor, Hollingsworth the furious philanthropist, Zenobia the voluptuous feminist, and Priscilla the vulnerable seamstress soon find themselves pursuing egotistical paths which must lead ultimately to tragedy. Evoking a bright rural idyll which fails to survive the ravages of lust and power, Hawthorne cynically undermines the fatuities of nineteenth-century American idealism.
Joseph Conrad - The nigger of the "Narcissus"
A dying sailor boards the Narcissus and acts as a memento mori upon his shipmates, eliciting pity and selfless compassion as well as fear, resentment, and a profound hatred. Powerful narrative technique, compelling character study
Charles Frazier - Cold Mountain
A soldier wounded in the Civil War, Inman turns his back on the carnage of the battlefield and begins the treacherous journey home to Cold Mountain, and to Ada, the woman he loved before the war began. As Inman attempts to make his way across the mountains, through the devastated landscape ol a soon-to-be-defeated South, Ada struggles to make a living from the land her once-wealthy father left when he died. Neither knows if the other is still alive. _Cold Mountain_ is an Odyssean voyage, encompassing all the human tragedy and waste of war, and a powerful love story. Moving and uplifting, brilliantly written and utterly compelling, Charles Frazier's first novel is a classic story made fresh by a spectacular talent.
Charles Dickens - Little Dorrit
Charles Dickens's masterpiece about prison life is set in an English debtors' prison (where Dickens's own father had been imprisoned) and where Amy Dorrit, the heroine, has spent her entire life caring for her imprisoned father. The novel portrays both the physical and psychological horrors of imprisonment and the hypocrisy of a society that allows them to continue.
Tracy Rees - Amy Snow
Abandoned on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy is taken in at nearby Hatville Court. But the masters and servants of the grand estate prove cold and unwelcoming. Amy's only friend and ally is the sparkling young heiress Aurelia Vennaway. So when Aurelia dies young, Amy is devastated. But Aurelia leaves Amy one last gift. A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can follow. A life-changing discovery awaits, if only she can unlock the secret.
Charles Dickens - Nicholas Nickleby (angol)
This novel includes an introduction and notes by Dr T.C.B. Cook, and illustrations by Hablot K. Browne (Phiz). Following the success of "Pickwick Papers" and "Oliver Twist", "Nicholas Nickleby" was hailed as a comic triumph and firmly established Dickens as a 'literary gentleman'. It has a full supporting cast of delectable characters that range from the iniquitous Wackford Squeers and his family, to the delightful Mrs Nickleby, taking in the eccentric Crummles and his travelling players, the Mantalinis, the Kenwigs and many more. Combining these with typically Dickensian elements of burlesque and farce, the novel is eminently suited to dramatic adaptation. So great was the impact as it left Dickens' pen that many pirated versions appeared in print before the original was even finished. Often neglected by critics, "Nicholas Nickleby" has never ceased to delight readers and is widely regarded as one of the greatest comic masterpieces of nineteenth-century literature.
Thomas Hardy - The Mayor of Casterbridge
A cruel joke at a country fair goes too far when a drunken laborer auctions off his wife and child to the highest bidder. Rich in descriptive powers and steeped in irony, Hardy's gripping tale unfolds amid a rural English community. It offers a spellbinding portrayal of ambition, rivalry, revenge, and repentance.
Robert Louis Stevenson - Kidnapped
Classic adventure novel, set in the year 1751, centers around David Balfour, a young Scotsman orphaned by the death of his father. Betrayed by his uncle, the young hero is shanghaied and headed for bondage in the New World, until a swashbuckling highlander comes to his rescue. Stirring, suspenseful; considered by Stevenson his best fiction.
Jenő Rejtő - The Blonde Hurricane
Jenő Rejtő (1905-1943) was a journalist, prolific author of cabaret skits, and the steadfast practitioner of comic thrillers with unforgettable characters and one-liners that together have become part and parcel of Hungarian literary folklore. Delightfully grotesque parodies of the detective novels that had their heyday at the time, Rejtő wrote most of his books in the 1930s under the pen-name of P Howard. The Blonde Hurricane is one of the best of the lot. A combination of thriller and love story, it centres around the race to find a priceless family jewel concealed in a statuette of Buddha that an international band of crooks are after - and so is Miss Evelyn Weston, the Blonde Hurricane, and without her knowledge, Eddy Rancing, who is in love with her, plus a host of others. Everyone is being pursued as well as pursuing everyone else, from England to the African desert and back. Meanwhile, the humour comes pouring out of Rejto's pen as fast and furious as it did from his famous contemporary R G. Wodehouse.
Magda Szabó - The Door
A busy young writer struggling to cope with domestic chores, hires a housekeeper recommended by a friend. The housekeeper's reputation is one built on dependable efficiency, though she is something of an oddity. Stubborn, foul-mouthed and with a flagrant disregard for her employer's opinions she may even be crazy. She allows no-one to set foot inside her house; she masks herself with a veil and is equally guarded about her personal life. And yet Emerence is revered as much as she is feared. As the story progresses, her energy and passion to help becomes clear, extinguishing any doubts arising out of her bizarre behaviour. A stylishly told tale which recounts a strange relationship built up over 20 years between a writer and her housekeeper. After an unpromising and caustic start, benign feelings develop and ultimately the writer benefits from what becomes an inseparable relationship. Simultaneously we learn Emerence's tragic past which is revealed in snapshots throughout this book.