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Tara ConklinThe House Girl

May 16, 2014

Lina Sparrow can’t believe her luck when the boss at her fancy New York law firm offers her a once-in-a-lifetime chance: find a suitable plaintiff for a class-action suit to be lodged against the U.S. government and fifty rich corporations that profited from slave labor before the Civil War. The wealthy technocrat intent on pushing [...]

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Pamela MingleThe Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel

April 15, 2014

It seems fair to say that a large proportion of the English-speaking reading public has encountered Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice, either on the page or in one of the many adaptations for stage, screen, and television. At the same time, the number of avid Austen readers who remember much about Mary, the [...]

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James AitchesonSworn Sword

March 15, 2014

The chivalric society of medieval Europe resembled a pyramid, with each man sworn to serve the lord above him in a social hierarchy that reached up to the king. A warrior without a lord had no future, no means of support, no identity. So when Tancred, a Breton knight sworn to defend the newly appointed [...]

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Jessica BrockmoleLetters from Skye

February 21, 2014

In March 1912, a college student at the University of Illinois takes time away from his usual pursuits—painting the dean’s horse blue, climbing dorm walls with a sack of squirrels, reading Huckleberry Finn—to write a letter to a Scottish poet living on the remote Isle of Skye. As the young man, David Graham, notes in [...]

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Lee SmithGuests on Earth

January 17, 2014

On the night of March 9, 1948, fire consumed the Central Building at the Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina. Although people at the time recognized that the fire had been set, the local police department never identified the arsonist. Among the nine women who died on a locked floor at the top of [...]

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James ForresterSacred Treason

December 18, 2013

London, December 1563. Elizabeth I—Gloriana, the Virgin Queen—has ruled England for five years, but her throne is far from secure. Even though Elizabeth succeeded her half-sister Mary, the idea of a woman sovereign still troubles much of the populace. And although the burnings of Protestants at Smithfield ceased with Elizabeth’s accession, religion remains a source [...]

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Carol StricklandThe Eagle and the Swan

November 19, 2013

In 476 CE, according to the chronology most of us learned in school, the Roman Empire fell and the Dark Ages began. That’s how textbook chronologies work: one day you’re studying the Romans, and next day you’re deep in early feudal Europe, as if a fairy godmother had waved a magic wand. Reality is more [...]

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Yangsze ChooThe Ghost Bride

October 18, 2013

Malaya, 1893. Pan Li Lan, a beautiful eighteen-year-old, has watched her Chinese merchant family decline since the death of her mother from smallpox during Li Lan’s early childhood. Her father lives in isolation and smokes too much opium: bad for business, as anyone can see from the decaying surroundings of their Malacca estate. Li Lan [...]

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Virginia PyeRiver of Dust

September 23, 2013

Few possibilities terrify parents more than the kidnapping of a child. Guilt, grief, helplessness, anger, and immobilizing fear mingle to create an emotional stew with a mix of ingredients that varies just enough from person to person to reveal the cracks in once-solid relationships, leaving individuals struggling alone—and often against each other. If the parents [...]

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Janet Kastner OlshewskyThe Snake Fence

August 19, 2013

Sixteen is a difficult age, lodged somewhere between childhood and adulthood. In 1755, young Noble Butler has just finished his apprenticeship as a carpenter, and he wants nothing more than to undertake more advanced training as a cabinetmaker (qualified to produce the beautiful furniture characteristic of prerevolutionary North America). But no one in Philadelphia will [...]

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