1800s, 19th Century, African American, Art, Author, Biography, Books, Christian, Civil War, Dolley Madison, Edwardian, Family History, Fantasy, Law, Lincoln, Literature, Military, Mystery, Navy, Novel, Pre-Reads, Regency, Romance, Sagas, Scottish, Slavery, Society, Steampunk, Victorian, War, Women, Writer
It comes of a Wednesday. The last Wednesday or the month to be exact. Sixteen curated 19th century related, recently published titles are selected from a vast array of resources, some exclusively available to Librarians. The sources include Baker and Taylor, Library Journal, Kirkus Review, Publisher’s Weekly, and occasionally, Amazon. Only books with high ratings are included. The summaries and reviews are taken from these sites. I make a point to present a well-rounded collection, as to not have a solid list of historical mystery books. The list is broken down into two parts; fiction and non-fiction and categorized alphabetically by title. For purely, professional snobbery, I once thought about arranging the fiction books by author and non-fiction titles by the Dewey Decimal System or the Library of Congress Classification, but those arrangement are not international. The basic tenant of all library is access; to make things easily available to the masses. So, I just sorted by title. Easy peasy. These titles were released or re-released this month. As such, I have not read any of theses publications, but I want to! So have your pen and paper at the ready. You may want to jot some of these books down, so you may request them at your local library, bookstore or Amazon. Let me know which ones are you going to add in the comment section below.
Lucy Pickett, whose research on ways to counter vampires is a priority for the Botanical Aid Society of London, visits Blackwell Manor to find a remedy for her cousin Kate, who’s usually “healthy as an ox” but has been taken ill since moving there with her new husband, the brother of the Earl of Blackwell. When the ghost of Marie, the late sister of the secretive earl, tries to communicate with Lucy, the earl takes her under his protection and his scrutiny. She’s terrified by the scar across his face and the rumors that he killed both Marie and his young wife, and yet Lucy finds him to be a kind confidant and an appealing suitor.
In an alternate 1906, the United States and Japan have forged a powerful confederation the Unified Pacificin an attempt to dominate the world. Their first target is a vulnerable China. In San Francisco, headstrong secretary Ingrid Carmichael is assisting a group of powerful geomancer wardens who have no idea of the depth of her own talent or that she is the only woman to possess such skills. When assassins kill the wardens, Ingrid and her mentor are protected by her incredible magic. But the pair is far from safe. Without its full force of guardian geomancers, the city is on the brink of a cataclysmic earthquake that will expose the earths power to masterminds determined to control the energy for their own dark ends. The danger escalates when Chinese refugees, preparing to fight the encroaching American and Japanese forces, fracture the uneasy alliance between the Pacific allies, transforming San Francisco into a veritable powder keg. And the slightest tremor will set it off. . . . Forced on the run, Ingrid makes some shocking discoveries about herself. Her already considerable magic has grown even more fearsome . . . and she may be the fulcrum on which the balance of world power rests.
Historical farce that pits a middling London poet against a very gentlemanly Devil. At the outset, Lionel Savage, a poet of some following but little literary distinction, discovers that he is all but broke. Alas, he has, and he must remedy his situation quickly in order to continue to circulate in the high society to which he has become accustomed. It’s his good fortune—or is it?—to find himself matched with a beautiful heiress whose family apparently wants her to marry a poet, and he’s apparently as good as any. Yet six months after the nuptials, he has yet to consummate t he marriage, share more than a few words with his bride, or write an acceptable poem since their courtship. At one of the society parties his wife throws to ease her frustrations, he encounters the gentleman of the title, explains his dilemma, and lends the Devil a book. That very night, his wife disappears. What follows encompasses his adventurously wanton sister, his wife’s famous explorer brother, an inventor suspected of treason, a wise bookseller, and the butler, all of whom are attempting to answer two questions: did the narrator make a bargain with the Devil to take his wife? If so, how can he get her back?
Two years after her brother Andy’s death from an accident after running away from home, Rebekah Hardin still feels responsible for not being able to help him and heal her large family. To ease the financial burden on her parents—and the burden in her heart—Rebekah sets off to find a job at Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave, where she wins over Tolly Sandford, the head guide, and becomes the newest cave tour guide. The aspiring cartographer Devlin Bale also comes to Mammoth Cave with plans to spend his summer mapping the massive cave and surveying the surrounding land for a new National Park—which could give his father a boost in the upcoming Senate race. But when true intentions are revealed and tragedy threatens to strike, Rebekah’s growing friendship with Devlin is put into question. Even then, her first concern is for others around her: Tolly’s safety in the cave, her family’s well-being, and Devlin’s spiritual welfare.
In the spring of 1861, Ambrose Bierce, just shy of nineteen, became Private Bierce of the Ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry. For the next four years, Bierce marched and fought throughout the western theater of the Civil War. Because of his searing wartime experience, Bierce became a key writer in the history of American literary realism. Scholars have long asserted that there are concrete connections between Bierce’s fiction and his service, but surprisingly no biographer has focused solely on Bierce’s formative Civil War career and made these connections clear. Christopher K. Coleman uses Ambrose Bierce’s few autobiographical writings about the war and a deep analysis of his fiction to help readers see and feel the muddy, bloody world threatening Bierce and his fellow Civil War soldiers. Across the Tennessee River from the battle of Shiloh, Bierce, who could only hear the battle in the darkness writes, “The death-line was an arc of which the river was the chord.” Ambrose Bierce and the Period of Honorable Strife is a fascinating account of the movements of the Ninth Indiana Regiment—a unit that saw as much action as any through the war—and readers will come to know the men and leaders, the deaths and glories, of this group from its most insightful observer.
Relying on first-hand accounts, historian Jane Hampton Cook weaves together several different narratives to create a vivid, multidimensional account of the burning of Washington, including the escalation that led to it and the immediate aftermath. From James and Dolly Madison to the British admiral who ordered the White House set aflame, historical figures are brought to life through their experience of this unprecedented attack. The Burning of the White House is the story of a city invaded, a presidential family displaced, a nation humbled, and an American spirit that somehow remained unbroken.
From the early days of steamship travel, artists stifled by the culture of their homelands fled to islands, jungles, and deserts in search of new creative and emotional frontiers. Their flight inspired a unique body of work that doesn’t fit squarely within the Western canon, yet may be some of the most original statements we have about the range and depth of the artistic imagination.
Focusing on six principal subjects, Jamie James locates “a lost national school” of artists who left their homes for the unknown. There is Walter Spies, the devastatingly handsome German painter who remade his life in Bali; Raden Saleh, the Javanese painter who found fame in Europe; Isabelle Eberhardt, a Russian-Swiss writer who roamed the Sahara dressed as an Arab man; the American experimental filmmaker Maya Deren, who went to Haiti and became a committed follower of voodoo. From France, Paul Gauguin left for Tahiti; and Victor Segalen, a naval doctor, poet, and novelist, immersed himself in classical Chinese civilization in imperial Peking.
In The Glamour of Strangeness, James evokes these extraordinary lives in portraits that bring the transcultural artist into sharp relief. Drawing on his own career as a travel writer and years of archival research uncovering previously unpublished letters and journals, James creates a penetrating study of the powerful connection between art and the exotic.
The first half of the nineteenth century brought two major revolution, the British Industrial Revolution and the French political revolution, which devastatingly heralded the modern world. In Newfoundland, an important strategic outpost island within the powerful British Empire, the period brought the start of religious, educational, and class identifications and divisions, particularly in the capital, St. John’s. It also marked the beginning of the growth of a popular culture: citizens of St. John’s enjoyed amateur and professional theatre, on par with that in London, as well as horse—racing, the Regatta, circuses, concerts, and exhibitions of art and natural history, opening the eyes of residents to worlds they would never have experienced. Overall, argues historian Phillip McCann, the years 1800 to 1855 can be seen as a crucible in which Newfoundland society and identity was born.
Beginning on Fletcher’s small Vermont farm, Smith traces the family’s dispersion across the land. Using family letters and diaries, Smith painstakingly frames the rugged patriarch’s drive and determination. These traits are also visible in the ambitions of his sons, Elijah and Calvin, who were eager to carve out their own destinies. Smith relays Elijah’s conflicting views about slavery upon relocating to Virginia, marrying into a slave-owning family, and coming to defend slavery as “rather a misfortune than a crime” while becoming one of the state’s largest slave owners. Calvin, one of the youngest Fletcher children, stands out as a respected lawyer and abolitionist in Indianapolis who later teamed with Elijah to pay their late father’s debts. Smith is able to show that Jesse Fletcher’s views of hard work, determination, and courage were passed down to his grandchildren. In following the family through two generations, Smith shows the conflicting nature of American democracy in the various paths chosen by the offspring of the Fletcher bloodline.
The English-born Morris came from a bourgeois background and, like his associates Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones (both of who were members of the group of artists known as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood), looked to the medieval Christian tradition as inspiration for his fabric and textile designs. Fortuny, who was descended from an aristocratic Spanish family and designed fabrics in his Venice studio, had an imagination steeped in Mediterranean culture and informed by his fascination with ancient Cretan civilization in Knossos. Looking beyond the superficialities of both mens’ lives and work, Byatt finds kinship in their indebtedness to classic traditions, several shared motifs in their art (notably peacocks and pomegranates), and the balance of beauty and utility that they strove for in their productions.
The War of 1812 is typically noted for a handful of events: the burning of the White House, the rise of the Star Spangled Banner, and the battle of New Orleans. But in fact the greatest consequence of that distant conflict was the birth of the U.S. Navy. During the War of 1812, America’s tiny fleet took on the mightiest naval power on earth, besting the British in a string of victories that stunned both nations. The book sheds new light on the naval battles of the War of 1812 and how they gave birth to our nation’s great navy, as well as tells the story of the War of 1812 through the portraits of famous American war heroes. From the cunning Stephen Decatur to the fierce David Porter, Ships of Oak, Guns of Iron relates how thousands of American men and boys gave better than they got against the British Navy. The great age of fighting sail is as rich in heroic drama as any epoch.