Jolabokaflod

Christmas Book Flood | Recommending reading

Historical and biographical fiction

Please visit our Book Bulletin 2018 crowdfunding project at CrowdPatch to buy recommendations for our Winter 2018 catalogue and to volunteer your skills, experience and contacts. All funds raised will support not-for-profit Jolabokaflod CIC’s forthcoming programme of events.

The Caribbean
Jacob Gelt Dekker
(UK: Amsterdam Publishers, @AmsterdamPB, 2018; USA: Amsterdam Publishers, @AmsterdamPB, 2018)

After a life-changing diagnosis, Dutch entrepreneur Jacob Gelt Dekker decides to take a step into the unknown. Setting sail from his home in Key West, he embarks on an odyssey around the Caribbean islands, navigating treacherous waters and nations forever shaped by the Age of Discovery and transatlantic slave trade. Soon he discovers that he is not alone on his boat. With him during the long days and nights at sea are Anansi the Spider, the West African trickster, and The Flying Dutchman, doomed to sail the oceans forever and harbouring a terrible secret.

Together, this unlikely trio seeks to establish the truth about the history of the Caribbean. Along the way, they encounter famous pirates and unpick tales of untold riches, but also retrace the steps of the region’s slaves, finding out how events in Europe, the fledgling American colonies, and Africa sealed their fates.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Liesbeth Heenk, Founder, International Online Publisher & Agent, Amsterdam Publishers > www.amsterdampublishers.com/en | info@amsterdampublishers.com

The Liberation
Kate Furnivall
(UK: Simon & Schuster, @simonschusterUK, 2016)

This novel is set in Italy in 1945 as British and American troops attempt to bring order to the devastated country and Italy’s population fights to survive. Caterina Lombardi is desperate – her father is dead, her mother has disappeared and her brother is being drawn towards danger. One morning, among the ruins of the bombed Naples streets, Caterina is forced to go to extreme lengths to protect her own life and in doing so forges a future in which she must clear her father’s name. An Allied Army officer accuses him of treason and Caterina discovers a plot against her family. Who can she trust and who is the real enemy now? And will the secrets of the past be her downfall?

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
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South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Adele Blair, blogger Kraftireader kraftireader.wordpress.com

The Glass Palace
Amitav Ghosh
(UK: The Borough Press, @BoroughPress, 2002; USA: Random House, @penguinrandom, 2002)

Rajkumar is only another boy, helping on a market stall in the dusty square outside the royal palace, when the British force the Burmese king, queen and all the court into exile. He is rescued by the far-seeing Chinese merchant, and with him builds up a logging business in upper Burma. But haunted by his vision of the royal family, he journeys to the obscure town in India where they have been exiled …

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Fern Wells, Aus-UK

Memoirs of a Geisha
Arthur Golden
(UK: Vintage, @vintagebooks, 1998; USA: Vintage, @VintageAnchor, 1999)

A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. She tells her story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Her memoirs conjure up the perfection and the ugliness of life behind rice-paper screens, where young girls learn the arts of geisha – dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono, how to walk and pour tea, and how to beguile the land’s most powerful men.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
James Berkery, Choreographer and Movement Director http://www.jamesberkery.com

The Painted Kiss
Elizabeth Hickey
(USA: Washington Square Press, @simonschuster, 2006)

This novel reimagines the tumultuous relationship between the Viennese painter Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge, the woman who posed for Klimt’s masterpiece The Kiss – and whose name he uttered with his dying breath.

Vienna in 1886 was a city of elegant cafés, grand opera houses, and a thriving and adventurous artistic community. It is here where the 12-year-old Emilie meets the controversial libertine and painter. Hired by her bourgeois father for basic drawing lessons, Klimt introduces Emilie to a subculture of dissolute artists, wanton models, and decadent patrons that both terrifies and inspires her.

The Painted Kiss follows Emilie as she blossoms from a naïve young girl to one of Europe’s most exclusive couturiers – and Klimt’s most beloved model and mistress.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Stephanie Evans at Ayesha Pande Literary

I, Eliza Hamilton
Susan Holloway Scott
(USA: Kensington Publishing, @KensingtonBooks, 2017)

As the daughter of a respected general, Elizabeth Schuyler is accustomed to socialising with dignitaries and soldiers. But no visitor to her parents’ home has affected her so strongly as Alexander Hamilton: a charismatic, ambitious aide to George Washington. They marry quickly, and despite the tumult of the American Revolution, Eliza is confident in her brilliant husband and in her role as his helpmate. But it is in the aftermath of war, as Hamilton becomes one of the country’s most important figures, that she truly comes into her own.

In the new capital, Eliza becomes an adored member of society, respected for her fierce devotion to Hamilton as well as her grace. Behind closed doors, she astutely manages their expanding household, and assists her husband with his political writings. Yet some challenges are impossible to prepare for. Through public scandal, betrayal, personal heartbreak, and tragedy, she is tested again and again. In the end, it will be Eliza’s indomitable strength that makes her not only Hamilton’s most crucial ally in life, but also his most loyal advocate after his death, determined to preserve his legacy whilst pursuing her own extraordinary path through the nation they helped shape together.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
New Zealand: Find a Bookshop (independents) | Amazon | Dymocks | Paper Plus | Whitcoulls
South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Kensington Publishing at BookExpo America

The Kaiser’s Dawn
John Hughes-Wilson
(UK: Unicorn, @UnicornPubGroup, 2018; USA: Uniform Press, @UnicornPubGroup, 2018)

In mid-summer 1918, a top-secret mission was set in motion to kill Kaiser Wilhelm II. It was thought that killing the German head of state and commander-in-chief would serve as a mortal blow to the German forces, and that they would collapse very quickly after the assassination. Kept secret for a century, the plot is revealed in the historical thriller The Kaiser’s Dawn, which John Hughes-Wilson has built from information discovered in never-before-published notebooks, maps, and pilots’ flying records, and confirmed by material found in the RAF archives.

The implications of this secret attack raise many explosive new historical questions. Exactly who ordered the attack? Was the King informed of the attempt to kill his royal cousin? Did Prime Minister Lloyd George know? A century later, no one is certain – all that can be known for sure is that someone in the government must have sanctioned the plan …

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Andrew Hayward, director, Court Publishing Services

The Poisonwood Bible
Barbara Kingsolver
(UK: Faber & Faber, @FaberBooks, 2017; USA: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, @HarperPerennial, 2008)

This is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it – from garden seeds to Scripture – is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
India: Bookstores in India (independents) | Amazon | Flipkart | Goodreads | Infibeam | SapnaOnline
IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
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South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Gill Paul, author

A Spy After All
John Lewes
(UK: Serpent and Dove, @JohnoLewes1, 2017)

With an ability to survive in the merciless desert that puts other well-known agents into the shade, Steel doesn’t worry if there is nowhere to run and hide. But there is always a price to be paid.

Jock Steel is a young British army officer who knows more than most about his Nazi opponents. He is also passionately in love with Madeleine McLean. Determined to bring his new form of warfare behind enemy lines, Steel is persuaded to serve Britain as a spy in order to safeguard MI6 secrets in the fight against Rommel in North Africa.

As Madeleine leaves Oxford to work in MI5 to get closer to Steel, she uncovers dark secrets at the heart of British Intelligence. Steel abandons Madeleine to fend for herself while he tracks traitors behind enemy lines. Will his revolutionary ideas for a new kind of secret war outwit enemies at home and abroad? Now that they have been torn apart, can their love survive?

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
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South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Yasmine Khera, xxx

Bring Up the Bodies
(Thomas Cromwell: book 2)
Hilary Mantel
(UK: 4th Estate, @4thEstateBooks, 2013; USA: Picador, @PicadorUSA, 2013)

By 1535 Thomas Cromwell is Chief Minister to Henry VIII, his fortunes having risen with those of Anne Boleyn, the king’s new wife. But Anne has failed to give the king an heir, and Cromwell watches as Henry falls for plain Jane Seymour … Cromwell must find a solution that will satisfy Henry, safeguard the nation and secure his own career. But neither minister nor king will emerge unscathed from the bloody theatre of Anne’s final days.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
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South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Neil Fenton, C-level COO/CFO > neilrfenton@gmail.com

Tombland
(Shardlake: book 7)
C J Sansom
(UK: Mantle, @MantleBooks, 2018; USA: Mulholland Books, @mulhollandbooks, 2019)

Summer, 1549. Two years after the death of Henry VIII, England is sliding into chaos … The nominal king, Edward VI, is 11 years old. His uncle Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, rules as Protector. The extirpation of the old religion by radical Protestants is stirring discontent among the populace while the Protector’s prolonged war with Scotland is proving a disastrous failure and threatens to involve France. Worst of all, the economy is in collapse, inflation rages and rebellion is stirring among the peasantry.

Since the old King’s death, Matthew Shardlake has been working as a lawyer in the service of Henry’s younger daughter, the Lady Elizabeth. The gruesome murder of Edith Boleyn, the wife of John Boleyn – a distant Norfolk relation of Elizabeth’s mother – which could have political implications for Elizabeth, brings Shardlake and his assistant Nicholas Overton to the summer assizes at Norwich. There they are reunited with Shardlake’s former assistant Jack Barak. The three find layers of mystery and danger surrounding Edith’s death, as a second murder is committed …

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
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IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
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Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Danuta Kean, xxx

xxx

When Nietzsche Wept
Irvin D Yalom
(UK: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, @HarperPerennial, 2016; USA: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, @HarperPerennial, 2011)

The novel starts with Dr Josef Breuer sitting in a cafe in Venice, Italy waiting for Lou Salomé, who was involved with Friedrich Nietzsche. She has written a letter stating that the future of the philosophy of Germany is at stake and that the German philosopher needs help desperately. The plot develops into a therapy where Breuer needs to have his soul treated, i.e. to help him get over a patient who he treated for hysteria and with whom he has fallen in love, whereas Nietzsche needs help with his migraines. Influenced by the revolutionary ideas of his young disciple Sigmund Freud, Josef Breuer starts the dangerous strategy that will mean the origin of psychoanalysis. Thanks to their unusual relationship, both of them will see how their perspective of life changes completely.

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
USA: NewPages (independents) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble [ebook] | Hummingbird (ebooks and audiobooks)
CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
India: Bookstores in India (independents) | Amazon | Flipkart | Goodreads | Infibeam | SapnaOnline
IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
New Zealand: Find a Bookshop (independents) | Amazon | Dymocks | Paper Plus | Whitcoulls
South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Irina Abel, SharePoint consultant and Blogger > http://www.bookandcoffee.co.uk | irina@bookandcoffee.co.uk

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
(UK: Black Swan, @PenguinUKBooks, 2014; USA: Alfred A Knopf, @AAKnopf, 2007)

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still … Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meagre existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbours during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement …

UK: Bookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Blackwells | Foyles | Hive Store | Waterstones | WHSmith
USA: NewPages (independents) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble [ebook] | Hummingbird (ebooks and audiobooks)
CanadaFindaBookstore.ca (independents) | Amazon | Indigo [ebook]
India: Bookstores in India (independents) | Amazon | Flipkart | Goodreads | Infibeam | SapnaOnline
IrelandBookshop Search (independents) | Amazon | Books.ie | Dubray | Eason | Kennys Bookshop
Australia: Bookshops.com.au (independents) | Amazon | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Dymocks | Queensland Book Depot
New Zealand: Find a Bookshop (independents) | Amazon | Dymocks | Paper Plus | Whitcoulls
South Africa: Bookshops (independents) | Amazon | Bargain Books | Exclusive Books
Rest of the world: Book Depository | Wordery

Recommended by:
Adam Green, musician

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