Book clubs, take note! Reviewers are giving Gail Godwin's latest, FLORA, high praise. Here's a quick summary to get you familiar:
Ten-year-old Helen and her summer guardian, Flora, are isolated together in Helen's decaying family house while her father is doing secret war work during the final months of World War II. At three, Helen lost her mother, and the beloved grandmother who raised her has just died. Flora, who cries at the drop of a hat, is ardently determined to do her best for Helen. Their relationship and its fallout will haunt Helen for the rest of her life.
"Unsparing yet compassioante; a fine addition to Godwin's long list of first-rate faction bringing 19th-century richness of detail and characterization to the ambiguities of modern life." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"[A] stirring and wondrous novel from Godwin…. [her] thoughtful portrayal of their boredom, desires, and the eventual heartbreak of their summer underscores the impossible position of children, who are powerless against the world and yet inherit responsibility for its agonies." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Godwin’s under-your-skin characters are perfectly realized, and the held-breath plot is consummately choreographed. But the wonder of this incisive novel of the endless repercussions of loss and remorse at the dawn of the atomic age is how subtly Godwin laces it with exquisite insights into secret family traumas, unspoken sexuality, class and racial divides, and the fallout of war while unveiling the incubating mind of a future writer." —Booklist (starred review)
FLORA was also on the May 2013 Indie Next List!
FLORA by Gail Godwin.Poignant story of loss of innocence in 1940s North Carolina mountains. #ewgc— Janet Lockhart (@HartGami) May 7, 2013
I'm going to do things a little bit differently today. Normally we're all, "Frontlist! Frontlist! Frontlist!" up in here, but I want to make sure that you hear about two of my favorite gems from last year straight from the horse’s mouth (me being the horse, in this case). Paula Brackston’s enchanting debut, THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER, and Jo Walton’s magical semi-memoir, AMONG OTHERS, are both captivating character-driven historicals that celebrate outcast women with a knack for magic.
I read both of these books late in the marketing game (they’re both already out in paperback!), but I’m so glad I did.
From 17th century Wessex to Victorian London to the battlefields of World War I, immortal witch Bess Hawksmith attempts to redeem her soul by saving lives all the while pursued by the evil sorcerer who transformed her from mortal to witch.
Booklist said, “Brackston’s first novel offers well-crafted characters in an absorbing plot and an altogether delicious blend of historical fiction and fantasy.”
And we’ve made it oh-so-easy on book clubs! There’s an excellent reading guide in the paperback version including an interview, an essay, recommended reading, and discussion questions! See the Reading Group Gold guide here.
Read an excerpt from the beginning here on Tor.com!
This book is at once the story of a young boarding school student struggling to escape a troubled childhood, her journey of first encounters with great novels, and the tale of conquering an ancient enchantment.
You know this one’s going to be good because it was just nominated for the 2011 Nebula Award for Best Novel! Nebulas not your thing? Well, in a starred review Publishers Weekly said, “World Fantasy Award–winner Walton turns the magical boarding school story inside out in this compelling coming-of-age tale.” Still not convinced? What if I told you that Nancy Pearl said it’s a gem? Now, we’re talking!Read more
If you missed Booklist's Book Group Buzz webinar (for shame!), we've got the scoop for you until the webinar is archived.
You can download the full title list from all publishers here. (Warning! The excel file downloads immediately.)
All of our buzzed books are shown above, but here are a few snippets from Talia's buzz to tempt you to tune in next time:
"What do Edith Wharton, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, "Upstairs, Downstairs," and People magazine have in common? THE AMERICAN HEIRESS has been compared to all of them." On THE AMERICAN HEIRESS
"A dead mother. An abusive father. A plot to escape. A sister has been left behind!" On THE SISTERS
"I have to take a second to thank Julia for writing some steamy moments between Reverend Claire and Chief of Police Russ. What could be better?" On ONE WAS A SOLDIER
"If you have a puppy, had a puppy, or have puppy-owning friends, you must start a puppy book club just to read this book." On THE PUPPY DIARIES
"Are we looking at those kittens? Hello? Kittens anyone?!" On BEST FRIENDS, OCCASIONAL ENEMIES
Check out our dedicated book club website, Reading Group Gold, for more recommendations.
[UPDATE] Our friends over at Booklist have posted all of the slides from the presentation for you here: http://www.BooklistOnline.com/media/webinars/materials/Book_Group_Buzzing.pdf. And they have posted the full audio-visual presentation, which you can watch here.Read more