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Long Summer Day (A Horseman Riding By Book 1)
by R. F. Delderfield
4.4 Stars (147 Reviews)
Genre: Literature & Fiction | Sagas

A great read for fans of PBS’s Poldark and Downton Abbey — first in the saga of a man returning from battle to an estate in the pre-WWI English countryside.

After serving his country in the Boer War, injured Lieutenant Paul Craddock returns to England to resume civilian life. But things have changed since he joined the Imperial Yeomanry three years ago. His father has died, leaving Paul as heir to a scrap metal business he has no intention of continuing. Instead, he purchases an auctioned-off thirteen-hundred-acre estate in a secluded corner of Devon. Neglected and overgrown, Shallowford becomes the symbol of all that Paul has lost — and a reminder of the gentle place his homeland once was. And here, on this sprawling stretch of land, he will be changed by his love for two women: fiercely independent Grace Lovell, and lovely, demure Claire Derwent.

Set in the English countryside in the first part of the previous century — from the long “Edwardian afternoon” following the death of Queen Victoria, to the gathering storm of World War I — Long Summer Day is the story of a man, his family, and a people struggling to adapt to life in a new world.

Long Summer Day is the first novel in R. F. Delderfield’s saga A Horseman Riding By, which continues with Post of Honour and The Green Gauntlet.

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The Undertaking: A Novel
by Audrey Magee
3.9 Stars (99 Reviews)
Genre: Historical Fiction | Literary Fiction

A “deeply impressive… devastating but quite stunning” novel about doomed love and ambition in Nazi Germany (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).

Set during World War II amid the trenches of the eastern front and the turmoil of Berlin under the Third Reich, The Undertaking intertwines the lives of two German strangers entering into a proxy marriage of convenience, self-interest, and of ideology.

Peter Faber is a soldier desperate to escape the madness of war if only by a three-week honeymoon leave. His new wife is Katharine Spinell, a resourceful young woman from Berlin who anticipates the likelihood of a widow’s pension should Peter die in battle. When they finally meet there is an attraction as unexpected as it is intense. But as Peter returns to Stalingrad, and as Katherine ruthlessly works her way into Nazi high society, the tides of war change. So do Peter and Katharine’s fates and fortunes, in this “bold, honest novel about Nazi greed and moral blankness… and the small people who are inseparably part of a great ravagement” (The Guardian).

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The Ninth Hour: A Novel
by Alice McDermott
4.1 Stars (287 Reviews)
Genre: Historical Fiction | Literature & Fiction | Literary Fiction

A magnificent new novel from one of America’s finest writers — a powerfully affecting story spanning the twentieth century of a widow and her daughter and the nuns who serve their Irish-American community in Brooklyn.

On a dim winter afternoon, a young Irish immigrant opens a gas tap in his Brooklyn tenement. He is determined to prove — to the subway bosses who have recently fired him, to his pregnant wife — that “the hours of his life… belonged to himself alone.” In the aftermath of the fire that follows, Sister St. Saviour, an aging nun, a Little Nursing Sister of the Sick Poor, appears, unbidden, to direct the way forward for his widow and his unborn child.

In Catholic Brooklyn in the early part of the twentieth century, decorum, superstition, and shame collude to erase the man’s brief existence, and yet his suicide, though never spoken of, reverberates through many lives — testing the limits and the demands of love and sacrifice, of forgiveness and forgetfulness, even through multiple generations. Rendered with remarkable delicacy, heart, and intelligence, Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour is a crowning achievement of one of the finest American writers at work today.

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