|Other books we’re loving this month|
| Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade
By Diana Gabaldon
From the exquisitely talented and award-winning author of the Outlander Saga come two additions to the oeuvre, both featuring Lord John Grey.
This dashing character first appeared in Gabaldon’s blockbuster, Voyager, and readers cheered him on in the New York Times bestselling Lord John and the Private Matter.
Diana Gabaldon takes readers back to eighteenth-century Britain as Lord John Grey pursues a deadly family secret as well as a clandestine love affair, set against the background of the Seven Years War.
Seventeen years earlier, Grey’s father, the Duke of Pardloe, shot himself, days before he was to be accused of being a Jacobite traitor. By raising a regiment to fight at Culloden, Grey’s elder brother has succeeded in redeeming the family name, aided by Grey, now a major in that regiment. But now, on the eve of the regiment’s move to Germany, comes a mysterious threat that throws the matter of the Duke’s death into stark new question, and brings the Grey brothers into fresh conflict with the past and each other.
From barracks and parade grounds to the battlefields of Prussia and the stony fells of the Lake District, Lord John’s struggle to find the truth leads him through danger and passion, ever deeper, toward the answer to the question at the centre of his soul–what is it that is most important to a man? Love, loyalty, family name? Self-respect, or honesty? Surviving both the battle of Krefeld and a searing personal betrayal, he returns to the Lake District to find the man who may hold the key to his quest: a Jacobite prisoner named Jamie Fraser. Here, Grey finds his truth and faces a final choice: between honour and life itself.
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| Fire in the Blood
By Irene Nemirovsky
A new treasure unearthed by Némirovsky’s biographers: another never-before-published novel from the author of the #1 bestselling Suite Française.
This perfect gem of a novel was discovered only recently in separate archive files. A few pages were in the famous suitcase that Irène Némirovsky’s daughters saved, but the balance had been deposited with a very close friend during the war. A morality tale with doubtful morals, a story of murder, love and betrayal in rural France, Fire in the Blood, planned in 1937 and written in 1941, is set in a small village (based on Issy l’Evèque, where Suite Française was written), and brilliantly prefigures the village community in her later masterpiece.
Fire in the Blood is a beautiful chamber piece which starts quietly, lyrically, but then races away with revelations and narrative twists in a story about young women forced into marriages with old men, about mothers and daughters, stepmothers and stepdaughters, youthful passions and the regrets of old age, about peasant communities and the ways they hide their secrets. Némirovsky looks at her characters, both young and old, with the same clear-eyed distance and humanity as she displayed in Suite Française, unpeeling layer after layer. As atmospheric and haunting as Sándor Márai’s Embers, and with the crystalline perfection of Chekhov, Fire in the Blood is another gripping literary find.
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By Graham Swift
Random House Canada
From Graham Swift, Booker Prize-winning author of Last Orders, comes a masterful and compassionate novel of rare emotional power and narrative skill.
On a midsummer’s night, Paula lies awake beside her sleeping husband. She and Mike have been married for twenty-five years, a good marriage; they have two teenage children, Nick and Kate, peacefully sleeping in their own nearby rooms. But Paula’s eyes won’t close: the next morning she and Mike have to tell the children something that will redefine all their lives.
Recalling the years before and after her children were born, Paula begins a story that is both a glowing celebration of love possessed and a moving acknowledgement of the fear of loss, of the fragilities, illusions and secrets on which even our most intimate sense of who we are can rest. As day draws nearer, Paula’s intensely personal thoughts seem to touch on all our tomorrows.
Brilliantly distilling half a century into one suspenseful night, as tender in its tone as it is deep in its resonance, Tomorrow is a magical exploration of coupledom, parenthood and individuality, and a unique meditation on the mysteries of happiness and belonging.
It’s a week past your sixteenth birthday. By a fluke that’s become something of an embarrassment and that some people will say wasn’t a fluke at all, you were born in Gemini. I’m not an especially superstitious woman. I married a scientist. But one little thing I’ll do tomorrow–today, I mean, but for a little while still I can keep up the illusion–is cross my fingers.
Everything’s quiet, the house is still. Mike and I have anticipated this moment, we’ve talked about it and rehearsed it in our heads so many times that recently it’s sometimes seemed like a relief: it’s actually come. On the other hand, it’s monstrous, it’s outrageous–and it’s in our power to postpone it. But ‘after their sixteenth birthday’, we said, and let’s be strict about it. Perhaps you may even appreciate our discipline and tact. Let’s be strict, but let’s not be cruel. Give them a week. Let them have their birthday, their last birthday of that old life.
You’re sleeping the deep sleep of teenagers. I just about remember it. I wonder how you’ll sleep tomorrow.
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