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Circling the Sun by Paula McLain

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 Beryl Markham (1902-1986) was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1936. She was the first female horse trainer in the world, producing one of the greatest victories in the history of racing. She was a free-spirited character. She may not be someone you identify with, but she was full of passion and worth of attention. “A woman who lived by her own code instead of society’s.” Beryl is brought to Kenya as a child. But the rough kind of life isn’t meant for her mother and brother, who go back to England. Beryl stays with her father, who falls in love with the wild side of Africa. At sixteen, she is forced to start making decisions for herself as her father is moving south to Cape Town. Against her better judgement, she marries Jock, a landowner, who isn’t “afraid to dirty his hands” as her father puts it. As she suffers “an illness of the spirit,” she lifts herself up by becoming a horse trainer. Something that comes naturally to her. She also experiences more than one m

The Collector's Daughter by Gill Paul

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The Collector's Daughter brings a fascinating story of Lady Evelyn Herbert, who took the very first steps into the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.  London, 1972. Eve is in her early seventies, and after another stroke she is working to regain her speech at a rehabilitation center. It’s here that she receives a visitor from Egypt - Dr. Ana Mansor. Mansor has been engaged in a research project and has found some anomalies in archives around the finds of the Tutankhamun’s tomb. The memory of the discovery gives Eve a spark and motivation for improving her speech, but there is something she doesn’t want to reveal. Luxor, 1919. Eve comes from a privileged family, a daughter of Lord Carnarvon, who funds the exploration of the Tutankhamun’s tomb. While her mother plans to marry her well, meaning to a man of certain social standing, Eve dreams of an equal partnership, a man who will share a passion for travel and who will accept her being a lady archeologist. She has been coming to Egypt with

Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood

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    Klytemnestra and Helen are daughters of Lord Tyndareos, King of Sparta. Klytemnestra as the oldest daughter is the heiress, and so is supposed to be the Queen of Sparta and stay with her family. But her father betroths her to Agamemnon, King of Mycenae, which means she needs to live in his kingdom. All this results in a feeling of betrayal, and fear she will likely never see her family again, since a married woman does not travel, and is the steward of her husbands’ household. Helen, legendary for her beauty, gets betrothed to Menelaos, who is Agamemnon’s brother. As much as she appreciates her husband’s gentleness, she is frustrated with him not expressing his feelings. Without much conversation between them, she feels as she hardly knows her husband, but now that she is pregnant, he shows a lot of tenderness and she hopes it’s a new beginning for them. When Menelaos welcomes friendship between two kingdoms, his and the one of Troy, it changes everything. Helen is enchanted by

The Royal Secret by Andrew Taylor

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 London, 1670. Two young girls, Maria and Hannah, plot a murder by witchcraft. Once, “allies of a sort, united in their hatred of Abbott and his tyrannies.” Later, as Abbott is only a memory, one blackmails another. Cat Hakesby carries on her late husband’s business as an architect and surveyor. She is commissioned to build a new poultry house for the king’s sister, which requires her to travel to France where the king’s sister resides. James Marwood works at Scotland Yard when Richard Abbott, one of Lord Arlington’s clerks, dies. Marwood is set on an investigation of the circumstances surrounding Abbott’s death, and relates his findings to Lord Arlington, Undersecretary of State. Meanwhile, Marwood and Cat meet once or twice a month to listen to music or go to a play or go for a walk in finer weather. It is an alliance of mutual assistance rather than affection as she prefers to keep her independence. After the end of last outing, they don’t make plans for the next time, as they usual

The Voyage of Freydis by Tamara Goranson

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  This memorable retelling of Vinland saga challenges the past portrayals of Freydis Eirksdottir, a strong-willed woman, who defied the odds of her society. Greenland, 996 AD. Freydis is married to an abusive Norseman named Thorvard. Shortly after, her brother Leif leaves Greenland’s shores to sail across the northern seas. During his absence, and after the death of their father, the land of Greenland is ruled by Thorvard. But the successful voyage of Leif makes him reclaim the title of his father, which only upsets Thorvard. And as much as the siblings share a deep bond, it doesn’t go deep enough when Fredyis wants to divorce her abusive husband and seeks support of her brother. It wouldn’t help Leif in his ambitious plan. But then a couple from Iceland confirms that divorce would ruin her financially. They need a sponsor to help them out on their expedition to Vinland. They have ships, but they need a wealthy patron that could travel with them. Taking a Viking expedition would keep h

To Cook A Bear by Mikael Niemi

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  Fascinating story of a historical figure, shedding light on Lars Levi Laestadius’ work. As a Swedish Sami pastor, he founded the revival movement to help his largely Sami congregations, who were ravaged by alcoholism. Northern Sweden, 1852. Laestadius, an avid botanist and pastor, shelters a runaway Sami boy named Jussi. He takes the boy on many excursions into nature teaching him how to observe what surrounds them. The botanical treks are also filled with philosophical discussions, but their spiritual journey is disturbed when a maid goes missing. Jussi is a faithful disciple in every aspect. When they’re pulled to assist in finding the missing maid, Laestadius has Jussi deducing from the scene as much as possible, with which the boy struggles at first. Pastor, on the other hand, while reasoning scenarios reveals in his knowledge. Those scenes may unnerve some. When another maid goes missing, bait and traps are laid in the forest for the killer bear. The blame is put on a bear, but

Emily's House by Amy Belding Brown

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  Irish Immigrant Margaret Maher was Emily Dickinson’s maid and confidante. Did Margaret honor Emily’s only wish? Amherst, Massachusetts, 1869. Edward Dickinson is a lawyer, treasurer and founder among other titles, who has a reputation of being disagreeable and haughty. Margaret is about to “take the measure of the man for herself since she is to be working in his house.” It was supposed to be just a temporary position, but she is forced to postpone her dream of moving to California. Soon enough, she warms up toward the Dickinson women, including strangest one – Emily. Margaret never heard of a woman writing poems, which doesn’t sound proper at all, but that’s not what makes Emily strange. It’s her hiding behind the closed doors in her room most of the time, and hiding from people in general. “She had her ways of disappearing, she was like a ghost.” Nevertheless, Emily warms up to Margaret like to no other maid before. The layers of mystery surrounding Emily start to peel off with Mar