The Concubine’s Daughter – Pai Kit Fai
Lotus Feet. He would give his daughter the dainty feet of a courtesan. This would enhance her beauty and her price, making her future shine like a new coin. He smiled to himself, pouring fresh tea. And it would stop her from running away…
When the young concubine of an old farmer in rural China gives birth to a daughter called Li-Xia, or “Beautiful One,” the child seems destined to become a concubine herself. Li refuses to submit to her fate, outwitting her father’s orders to bind her feet and escaping the silk farm with an English sea captain. Li takes her first steps toward fulfilling her mother’s dreams of becoming a scholar — but her final triumph must be left to her daughter, Su Sing, “Little Star,” in a journey that will take her from remote mountain refuges to the perils of Hong Kong on the eve of World War II.
When Gods Die – C.S. Harris
Brighton, England, 1811. The beautiful wife of an aging Marquis is found dead in the arms of the Prince Regent. Draped around her neck lies an ancient necklace with mythic origins–and mysterious ties to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin.
Haunted by his past, Sebastian investigates both the Marchioness’s death and his own possible connection to it–and discovers a complex pattern of lies and subterfuge. With the aid of his lover, Kat Boleyn, and a former street urchin now under his protection, Sebastian edges closer to the killer. And when one murder follows another, he confronts a conspiracy that threatens his own identity…and imperils the monarchy itself.
A Crowd of Twisted Things – Dawn Farnham
In December 1950, the worst riots Singapore had ever seen shot down the town for days, killing 18 people and wounding 173. Racial and religious tension had been simmering for months over the custody battle for wartime waif Maria Hertogh between her Malay-Muslim foster mother and her Dutch-Catholic biological parents.
In May 1950, Eurasian Annie Collins, following this case and filled with hope, returns to Singapore seeking her own lost baby. As the time bomb ticks and Annie unravels the threads of her quest into increasingly dangerous territory, she finds strange recollections intruding, ones that have nothing to do with her wartime experiences: disturbing visions and dreams which force her to doubt not just her past life, but her whole idea of who she truly is and even to question the search itself.
Twisted memories, twisted minds, twisted lives, twisted beliefs, the twists of fate and their tangled consequences.
A Crowd of Twisted Things is at once a lament for the loss and damage of war, and unravelling mystery and a journey into suppressed memory and the nature of self-delusion.
The Last Kashmiri Rose – Barbara Cleverly
In a land of saffron sunsets and blazing summer heat, an Englishwoman has been found dead, her wrists slit, her body floating in a bathtub of blood and water. But is it suicide or murder?
The case falls to Scotland Yard inspector Joe Sandilands, who survived the horror of the Western Front and has endured six sultry months in English-ruled Calcutta. Sandilands is ordered to investigate, and soon discovers that there have been other mysterious deaths, hearkening sinister ties to the present case.
Now, as the sovereignty of Britain is in decline and an insurgent India is on the rise, Sandilands must navigate the treacherous corridors of political decorum to bring a cunning killer to justice – knowing the next victim is already marked to die.
The Devlin Diary – Christi Phillips
London, 1672. The past twelve years have brought momentous changes: the restoration of the monarchy, a devastating plague and fire. Yet the city remains a teeming, thriving metropolis, energized by the lusty decadence of Charles II’s court and burgeoning scientific inquiry. Although women enjoy greater freedom, they are not allowed to practice medicine, a restriction that physician Hannah Devlin evades by treating patients that most other doctors shun: the city’s poor.
But Hannah has a special knowledge that Secretary of State Lord Arlington desperately needs. At the king’s Machiavellian court, Hannah attracts the attention of two men, charming courtier Ralph Montagu and anatomist Dr Edward Strathern, as well as the attention of the powerful College of Physicians, which views her work as a criminal. When two influential courtiers are found brutally murdered, their bodies inscribed with arcane symbols, Hannah is drawn into a dangerous investigation by Dr Strathern, who believes the murders conceal a far-reaching conspiracy that may include Hannah’s late father and the king himself.
Cambridge, 2008. Teaching history at Trinity College is Claire Donovan’s dream come true until one of her colleagues is found dead on the banks of the River Cam. The only key to the professor’s unsolved murder is a seventeenth-century diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king’s mistress. With help from the eclectic collections of Cambridge’s renowned libraries, Claire and historian Andrew Kent follow the clues Devlin left behind, uncovering secrets of London’s dark past and Cambridge’s equally murky present, and discovering that events of three hundred years ago may still have consequences today…
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to “My dear and unfortunate successor”. Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella’s Stepmother – Danielle Teller
We all know the story of Cinderella. Or do we?
As rumours about the cruel upbringing of beautiful newlywed Princess Cinderella roil the kingdom, her stepmother, Agnes, who knows all too well about hardship, privately records the true story. . . .
A peasant born into serfdom, Agnes is separated from her family and forced into servitude as a laundress’s apprentice when she is only ten years old. Using her wits and ingenuity, she escapes her tyrannical matron and makes her way toward a hopeful future. When teenaged Agnes is seduced by an older man and becomes pregnant, she is transformed by love for her child. Once again left penniless, Agnes has no choice but to return to servitude at the manor she thought she had left behind. Her new position is nursemaid to Ella, an otherworldly infant. She struggles to love the child who in time becomes her stepdaughter and, eventually, the celebrated princess who embodies everyone’s unattainable fantasies. The story of their relationship reveals that nothing is what it seems, that beauty is not always desirable, and that love can take on many guises.