That Dark and Bloody River (August/September 2015 discussion)

Courtesy of Random House

Courtesy of Random House

Allan Eckert

Summary:

The Ohio River, a principal route for pioneers pushing westward along its 981-mile course from Pennsylvania through Kentucky and Indiana to Illinois, was the scene of fierce battles among warring Indian tribes(Shawnee, Miami, Cherokee, Iroquois, etc.) and between Native Americans and white settlers. Tapping journals, letters, diaries and government memoranda from 1768 to 1799, and fleshing out his panoramic chronicle with reconstructed dialogue adapted from primary sources, historian-novelist Eckert has fashioned an epic narrative history of the struggle for dominance of the Ohio River Valley that makes compelling reading. The lives of notable pioneer families (Zanes, Bradys, Wetzels), incursions of traders, explorers, colonists, adventurers and the historic exploits of George Washington, Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark and others intersect. Eckert emphasizes the sudden, overwhelming movement of whites into Native American lands and the Indians’ initial restraint and tolerance, followed by furious raids, wars and expulsions.(courtesy of Publisher’s Weekly)

Biography:

Deanna Raybourn (Author’s Website)

Interviews:

Deanna Raybourn on Silent in the Grave (Mira) audio interview starts at time mark 2:44

Deanna Raybourn Interview (BookReporter)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Barnes & Noble) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (History Buff)

A Step Back in Time with Deanna Raybourn (Women on Writing) 

Interview with Deanna Raybourn (Me and My Big Mouth Blog)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (The Reading Frenzy Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Reading the Past)

20 Questions with Deanna Raybourn (All the World’s Our Page Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn on her Lady Julia Grey Series (BookYurt Blog)

Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews (Barnes & Noble)

Review at The Book Smugglers (Book Smugglers Blog)

Review at Historical Novels (Historical Novels)

Amazon Reviews (Amazon)

Goodreads Reviews (Goodreads)

Social Media:

Author’s Website   

Author’s Facebook

Author’s Twitter

Author’s Blog 

Author’s GoodReads Page

General Sites:

Deanna Raybourn Update on the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Harlequin Books via YouTube) video SPOILERS

Author Deanna Raybourn Shares Her Summer Reading Program Memories (NorthWest Akron Branch Library)

Victorian Crime & Investigation:

Policing in London (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Victorian Crime and Punishment 

Crime Prevention (National Archives, Britain)

Victorian Police and Prisons (LearnHistory via YouTube) video

Crime and the Victorians (BBC)

Gender and Crime (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Wayward Women: Victorian England’s Female Offenders

Victorian Poisoners (Historic UK)

Arsenic: The Victorian Viagra that Poisoned Britain (Canadian Content)

Poison in Victorian Britain: Accidental Murder, Death Club, Death in the Pot, Corpse Candles, Death on the Walls (Author Grace Elliot)

Classic Poisons (H2G2)

Victorian Mourning:

Victorian Mourning Etiquette (Author Tracy Chevalier’s Website)

Remembering A Loved One With Mourning Jewelry (Victorian Hairwork Society) 

Victorian Mourning Jewelry and Eye Miniatures (Barbara Warn via Pinterest)

Victorian Etiquette for Funerals (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning & Funeral Customs (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning Customs from Collier’s Cyclopedia (Quilt History)

The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies (Historic Camden County)

Victorian Vice:

Sex, Drugs & Music Hall (BBC)

Opium Dens and Opium Usage in Victorian England (Victorian History)

Victorian Obsession: Opium (Author Y. S. Lee)

What Opium Smoking Feels Like (Cat’s Meat Shop)

Victorian London’s Drug Culture (All In London)

Absinthe (Pennington Edition)

Absinthe (Unlacing the Victorians)

Absinthe FAQ (Virtual Absinthe Museum)

The Hellfire Club (Wikipedia)

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

Victorian Prostitution:

Prostitution in Victorian England (Victorian Web)

The Great Social Evil: Victorian Prostitution (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

Prostitution in Victorian England (Revisiting Dickens)

Prostitutes Part 1 & Part 2 (Unlacing the Victorians)

Prostitution: Then and Now (Hepatitis and AIDS Research Trust)

The Madonna and the Whore: The Victorian Wife and the Victorian Prostitute (Lourdes College) pdf

Victorian Politics & Reform:

The Difference Between Tories and Whigs (EHow)

Whigs (Wikipedia)

Tories (Wikipedia)

Radicals (Wikipedia)

Reforming Acts (BBC)

MP [Member of Parliament]The House of Commons  & The House of Lords (Wikipedia)

Annie Besant (Spartacus Educational)

John Stuart Mill (Spartacus Educational)

Mary Wollstonecraft (Spartacus Educational)

Victorian Fashion:

Victorian Fashion (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Fashion Links (Costumer’s Manifesto)

19th Century Fashion (Victoria & Albert Museum)

What Victorians Wore (Victorian Web)

Early Victorian Undergarments:Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Kate Tattersall)

Men’s Formal Wear: Early/Mid-Victorian, Late Victorian [Part 1 & Part 2(Black Tie Guide)

Victorian Life:

Articles & Illustrations from Victorian Books & Magazines (Mostly Victorian)

The Dictionary of Victorian London (Victorian London)

Learning Victorians (British Library)

The Victorian Age (A Victorian)

Crowns, Pounds, & Guineas: A Quick Guide to British Currency (All About Romance)

Late Victorian Coinage (Stadium Magazine)

Victorian Servants (All Things Bright & Beautiful)

Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy & Wages (This and That)

The Servants (All About Romance)

The Victorian Bedroom (Back in My Time)

Gender & Sexuality in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Coming Out: The London Season (Kate Tattersall)

The London Season (The History Box)

The Victorian House Party (All About Romance)

The Victorian Ball (Victoriana Magazine)

You’re Dead to Me: The Victorian Art of the Cut Direct (Author Juliet Moore)

Calling and Calling Cards (Castle Falkenstein)

Development of Victorian Morality (English Epochs 101)

The Worst Jobs in History, The Victorian Age: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (Channel 4, BBC via YouTube) video

The Malodorous Metropolis (Victorian History)

Victorian Medicine:

Victorian Medicine: From Fluke to Theory (BBC)

Health & Medicine in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for all Your Ills

 19th Century British Medicine and Public Health (Victorian Web)

Doctor Death: Poison in Victorian Britain (Author Grace Elliot)

Victorian Remedies: Of Course It’s Safe! (Pennington Edition)

The Physician in the 19th Century (Jane Austen’s World)

Medical Doctors in the Victorian Era (Steampunk Tribune)

Body Snatching (Jane Austen’s World)

Grave Matters: The Body Snatchers Unearthed (The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice) 

Body Snatching: A Grave Medical Problem (National Center for Biotechnology Information) pdf

Victorian Transportation:

Victorian Transport (The Ocular Helmsman)

Getting Around: Carriages in Regency and Victorian Times (All About Romance)

Transport and Carriages in the Victorian Era (Horse Canada)

The Case of the “Growler” and the Handsome Hansom (Victorian History)

The Railway in Victorian England (Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore)

Tower Ravens:

Ravens of the Tower of London (Wikipedia)

Meet the Ravens (Historic Royal Palaces) video   Scroll halfway down the page and click on “View our ‘Meet the Ravens’ video”

Gypsies (Roma):

Gypsies & Travellers (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

London’s Romany Gypsies (Culture 24)

Gypsies and Travellers (Travellers Times) pdf

Romany Roots  (BBC)

Romanichal (Wikipedia)

Romani People (Wikipedia)

Reading Tea Leaves:

How to Read Tea Leaves (Tasseomancy) (Tasseography.com)

Reading Tea Leaves (Reading Tea Leaves.info)

Further Readings:

Bibliography (Victorian Studies)

19th Century Mysteries (Stop You’re Killing Me) 

Murder by Gaslight: Mystery Fiction Set in the Victorian Era (Lincoln City Libraries, NB)

19th Century Historical Mysteries  (Crime Thru Time)

Victorian Mysteries (Historical Mystery Fiction)

Popular Victorian Mystery Books (GoodReads) 

 Discussion Questions:

1. Julia Grey was born into a large family of wealth and privilege. How do the Marches resist the confines and expectations of Victorian society? Are they always successful?

2. Families such as the Marches relied heavily upon numerous servants to handle the day to day operation of their homes. Discreet and diplomatic servants were invaluable. How do you think Aquinas, Morag and Monk acquitted themselves? Would you hire them?

3. As an arrangement between friends rather than a love match, Edward and Julia’s marriage was typical of the time. Do you suppose Edward was happy with the arrangement? Can you think of modern examples of , or reasons for, such a match?

4. How is Julia’s role within her marriage reflected in the setting of Grey House? Contrast the setting of Grey House with that of Nicholas Brisbane’s rooms in Chapel Street.

5. The book covers a murder investigation but also a woman’s journey as she discovers her authentic self. Describe the most important ways Julia begins to know herself. Could she have known any of these things while married to Edward?

6. At the heart of the book is Julia’s relationship with two archetypal men: Edward and Nicholas. Compare and contrast these relationships. Is there one important thing that each man may have given Julia?

7. The happiest relationships in this book are not conventional ones. Discuss characters who seem to have found personal happiness, and why this is so. 

8. Nicholas struggles with flashes of precognition. Is this ability a gift or a curse? How could he have made better use of it? 

9. What drives Nicholas? What sort of man is he? How does he differ from the other men in Julia’s life? 

10. Given their characters, histories, and status, is a romantic relationship between Julia and Nicholas sustainable? 

11. The motive behind Edward’s murder is jealousy. Would you consider this a crime of passion? Is it possible to kill someone you truly love??

12. There are numerous and engaging secondary characters in this novel — including a bird! Which of these characters did you most enjoy, and why?

13. Death had its own culture in Victorian England. How does this culture differ from modern times? Discuss a few of the customs referred to in the book. Who or what do you think was the genesis of these conventions?

14. Despite the serious nature of the subject, this story is written with a great deal of humor and wit. Describe one scene that you found particularly amusing.

15. Given the drawbacks of living in Victorian England, and the privileges of wealth and good birth, would you trade places with Julia?

(Questions courtesy of the author and publisher)

Other books by Raybourn: Silent in the Sanctuary — Silent on the Moor — The Dead Travel Fast Dark Road to Darjeeling — The Dark Enquiry Silent Night (Novella, E-book only) Far in the Wilds (Novella, E-book only)  A Spear of Summer Grass.

Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander — Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry — The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry– A Beautiful Blue Death  by Charles Finch– Murder on Astor Place  by Victoria Thompson —  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear — Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross — The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner — A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron — Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander — A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock– Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant — Death at Bishop’s Keep by Robin Paige — What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris — Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters — Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood — Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen — The Strange Files of Freemont Jones by Dianne Day — The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King — A Wicked Way to Burn by Margaret Miles — Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen — The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas — Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas — A Conspiracy of Violence by Susanna Gregory — Hawkwood by James McGee — The Crimson Cavalier by Mary Andrea Clarke — Gallow’s Thief by Bernard Cornwell — The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly — Deadly Love by Brenda Joyce — Duke’s Agent by Rebecca Jenkins — The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris — Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard — The Conjurer by Cordelia Frances Biddle — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig — Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey — The Three-Body Problem by Catherine Shaw — The Yard by Alex Grecian — Sister Beneath the Sheet by Gillian Linscott — Room With a Clue by Kate Kingsbury — Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin The Rose in the Wheel  by S. K. Rizzolo — Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon — The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

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The Happiness Project (November/December 2015 discussion)

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Gretchen Rubin

Summary:

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference. (courtesy of HarperCollins)

Biography:

Gretchen Rubin (Author’s Website)

Gretchen Rubin (Bright Sight Group)

Interviews:

Deanna Raybourn on Silent in the Grave (Mira) audio interview starts at time mark 2:44

Deanna Raybourn Interview (BookReporter)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Barnes & Noble) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (History Buff)

A Step Back in Time with Deanna Raybourn (Women on Writing) 

Interview with Deanna Raybourn (Me and My Big Mouth Blog)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (The Reading Frenzy Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Reading the Past)

20 Questions with Deanna Raybourn (All the World’s Our Page Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn on her Lady Julia Grey Series (BookYurt Blog)

Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews (Barnes & Noble)

Review at The Book Smugglers (Book Smugglers Blog)

Review at Historical Novels (Historical Novels)

Amazon Reviews (Amazon)

Goodreads Reviews (Goodreads)

Social Media:

Author’s Website   

Author’s Facebook

Author’s Twitter

Author’s YouTube video

Author’s GoodReads Page

Author’s Pinterest Page

General Sites:

Deanna Raybourn Update on the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Harlequin Books via YouTube) video SPOILERS

Author Deanna Raybourn Shares Her Summer Reading Program Memories (NorthWest Akron Branch Library)

Victorian Crime & Investigation:

Policing in London (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Victorian Crime and Punishment 

Crime Prevention (National Archives, Britain)

Victorian Police and Prisons (LearnHistory via YouTube) video

Crime and the Victorians (BBC)

Gender and Crime (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Wayward Women: Victorian England’s Female Offenders

Victorian Poisoners (Historic UK)

Arsenic: The Victorian Viagra that Poisoned Britain (Canadian Content)

Poison in Victorian Britain: Accidental Murder, Death Club, Death in the Pot, Corpse Candles, Death on the Walls (Author Grace Elliot)

Classic Poisons (H2G2)

Victorian Mourning:

Victorian Mourning Etiquette (Author Tracy Chevalier’s Website)

Remembering A Loved One With Mourning Jewelry (Victorian Hairwork Society) 

Victorian Mourning Jewelry and Eye Miniatures (Barbara Warn via Pinterest)

Victorian Etiquette for Funerals (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning & Funeral Customs (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning Customs from Collier’s Cyclopedia (Quilt History)

The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies (Historic Camden County)

Victorian Vice:

Sex, Drugs & Music Hall (BBC)

Opium Dens and Opium Usage in Victorian England (Victorian History)

Victorian Obsession: Opium (Author Y. S. Lee)

What Opium Smoking Feels Like (Cat’s Meat Shop)

Victorian London’s Drug Culture (All In London)

Absinthe (Pennington Edition)

Absinthe (Unlacing the Victorians)

Absinthe FAQ (Virtual Absinthe Museum)

The Hellfire Club (Wikipedia)

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

Victorian Prostitution:

Prostitution in Victorian England (Victorian Web)

The Great Social Evil: Victorian Prostitution (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

Prostitution in Victorian England (Revisiting Dickens)

Prostitutes Part 1 & Part 2 (Unlacing the Victorians)

Prostitution: Then and Now (Hepatitis and AIDS Research Trust)

The Madonna and the Whore: The Victorian Wife and the Victorian Prostitute (Lourdes College) pdf

Victorian Politics & Reform:

The Difference Between Tories and Whigs (EHow)

Whigs (Wikipedia)

Tories (Wikipedia)

Radicals (Wikipedia)

Reforming Acts (BBC)

MP [Member of Parliament]The House of Commons  & The House of Lords (Wikipedia)

Annie Besant (Spartacus Educational)

John Stuart Mill (Spartacus Educational)

Mary Wollstonecraft (Spartacus Educational)

Victorian Fashion:

Victorian Fashion (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Fashion Links (Costumer’s Manifesto)

19th Century Fashion (Victoria & Albert Museum)

What Victorians Wore (Victorian Web)

Early Victorian Undergarments:Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Kate Tattersall)

Men’s Formal Wear: Early/Mid-Victorian, Late Victorian [Part 1 & Part 2(Black Tie Guide)

Victorian Life:

Articles & Illustrations from Victorian Books & Magazines (Mostly Victorian)

The Dictionary of Victorian London (Victorian London)

Learning Victorians (British Library)

The Victorian Age (A Victorian)

Crowns, Pounds, & Guineas: A Quick Guide to British Currency (All About Romance)

Late Victorian Coinage (Stadium Magazine)

Victorian Servants (All Things Bright & Beautiful)

Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy & Wages (This and That)

The Servants (All About Romance)

The Victorian Bedroom (Back in My Time)

Gender & Sexuality in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Coming Out: The London Season (Kate Tattersall)

The London Season (The History Box)

The Victorian House Party (All About Romance)

The Victorian Ball (Victoriana Magazine)

You’re Dead to Me: The Victorian Art of the Cut Direct (Author Juliet Moore)

Calling and Calling Cards (Castle Falkenstein)

Development of Victorian Morality (English Epochs 101)

The Worst Jobs in History, The Victorian Age: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (Channel 4, BBC via YouTube) video

The Malodorous Metropolis (Victorian History)

Victorian Medicine:

Victorian Medicine: From Fluke to Theory (BBC)

Health & Medicine in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for all Your Ills

 19th Century British Medicine and Public Health (Victorian Web)

Doctor Death: Poison in Victorian Britain (Author Grace Elliot)

Victorian Remedies: Of Course It’s Safe! (Pennington Edition)

The Physician in the 19th Century (Jane Austen’s World)

Medical Doctors in the Victorian Era (Steampunk Tribune)

Body Snatching (Jane Austen’s World)

Grave Matters: The Body Snatchers Unearthed (The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice) 

Body Snatching: A Grave Medical Problem (National Center for Biotechnology Information) pdf

Victorian Transportation:

Victorian Transport (The Ocular Helmsman)

Getting Around: Carriages in Regency and Victorian Times (All About Romance)

Transport and Carriages in the Victorian Era (Horse Canada)

The Case of the “Growler” and the Handsome Hansom (Victorian History)

The Railway in Victorian England (Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore)

Tower Ravens:

Ravens of the Tower of London (Wikipedia)

Meet the Ravens (Historic Royal Palaces) video   Scroll halfway down the page and click on “View our ‘Meet the Ravens’ video”

Gypsies (Roma):

Gypsies & Travellers (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

London’s Romany Gypsies (Culture 24)

Gypsies and Travellers (Travellers Times) pdf

Romany Roots  (BBC)

Romanichal (Wikipedia)

Romani People (Wikipedia)

Reading Tea Leaves:

How to Read Tea Leaves (Tasseomancy) (Tasseography.com)

Reading Tea Leaves (Reading Tea Leaves.info)

Further Readings:

Bibliography (Victorian Studies)

19th Century Mysteries (Stop You’re Killing Me) 

Murder by Gaslight: Mystery Fiction Set in the Victorian Era (Lincoln City Libraries, NB)

19th Century Historical Mysteries  (Crime Thru Time)

Victorian Mysteries (Historical Mystery Fiction)

Popular Victorian Mystery Books (GoodReads) 

 Discussion Questions:

1. Julia Grey was born into a large family of wealth and privilege. How do the Marches resist the confines and expectations of Victorian society? Are they always successful?

2. Families such as the Marches relied heavily upon numerous servants to handle the day to day operation of their homes. Discreet and diplomatic servants were invaluable. How do you think Aquinas, Morag and Monk acquitted themselves? Would you hire them?

3. As an arrangement between friends rather than a love match, Edward and Julia’s marriage was typical of the time. Do you suppose Edward was happy with the arrangement? Can you think of modern examples of , or reasons for, such a match?

4. How is Julia’s role within her marriage reflected in the setting of Grey House? Contrast the setting of Grey House with that of Nicholas Brisbane’s rooms in Chapel Street.

5. The book covers a murder investigation but also a woman’s journey as she discovers her authentic self. Describe the most important ways Julia begins to know herself. Could she have known any of these things while married to Edward?

6. At the heart of the book is Julia’s relationship with two archetypal men: Edward and Nicholas. Compare and contrast these relationships. Is there one important thing that each man may have given Julia?

7. The happiest relationships in this book are not conventional ones. Discuss characters who seem to have found personal happiness, and why this is so. 

8. Nicholas struggles with flashes of precognition. Is this ability a gift or a curse? How could he have made better use of it? 

9. What drives Nicholas? What sort of man is he? How does he differ from the other men in Julia’s life? 

10. Given their characters, histories, and status, is a romantic relationship between Julia and Nicholas sustainable? 

11. The motive behind Edward’s murder is jealousy. Would you consider this a crime of passion? Is it possible to kill someone you truly love??

12. There are numerous and engaging secondary characters in this novel — including a bird! Which of these characters did you most enjoy, and why?

13. Death had its own culture in Victorian England. How does this culture differ from modern times? Discuss a few of the customs referred to in the book. Who or what do you think was the genesis of these conventions?

14. Despite the serious nature of the subject, this story is written with a great deal of humor and wit. Describe one scene that you found particularly amusing.

15. Given the drawbacks of living in Victorian England, and the privileges of wealth and good birth, would you trade places with Julia?

(Questions courtesy of the author and publisher)

Other books by Raybourn: Silent in the Sanctuary — Silent on the Moor — The Dead Travel Fast Dark Road to Darjeeling — The Dark Enquiry Silent Night (Novella, E-book only) Far in the Wilds (Novella, E-book only)  A Spear of Summer Grass.

Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander — Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry — The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry– A Beautiful Blue Death  by Charles Finch– Murder on Astor Place  by Victoria Thompson —  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear — Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross — The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner — A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron — Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander — A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock– Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant — Death at Bishop’s Keep by Robin Paige — What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris — Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters — Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood — Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen — The Strange Files of Freemont Jones by Dianne Day — The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King — A Wicked Way to Burn by Margaret Miles — Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen — The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas — Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas — A Conspiracy of Violence by Susanna Gregory — Hawkwood by James McGee — The Crimson Cavalier by Mary Andrea Clarke — Gallow’s Thief by Bernard Cornwell — The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly — Deadly Love by Brenda Joyce — Duke’s Agent by Rebecca Jenkins — The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris — Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard — The Conjurer by Cordelia Frances Biddle — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig — Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey — The Three-Body Problem by Catherine Shaw — The Yard by Alex Grecian — Sister Beneath the Sheet by Gillian Linscott — Room With a Clue by Kate Kingsbury — Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin The Rose in the Wheel  by S. K. Rizzolo — Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon — The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

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The Book Thief (May 2015 discussion)

Courtesy of Fantastic Fiction

Courtesy of Fantastic Fiction

Markus Zusak

Summary:

Liesel Meminger is only nine years old when she is taken to live with the Hubermanns, a foster family, on Himmel Street in Molching, Germany, in the late 1930s. She arrives with few possessions, but among them is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, a book that she stole from her brother’s burial place. During the years that Liesel lives with the Hubermanns, Hitler becomes more powerful, life on Himmel Street becomes more fearful, and Liesel becomes a fullfledged book thief. She rescues books from Nazi book-burnings and steals from the library of the mayor. Liesel is illiterate when she steals her fi rst book, but Hans Hubermann uses her prized books to teach her to read. This is a story of courage, friendship, love, survival, death, and grief. This is Liesel’s life on Himmel Street, told from Death’s point of view. (courtesy of Reading Group Guides)

Biography:

Deanna Raybourn (Author’s Website)

Interviews:

Deanna Raybourn on Silent in the Grave (Mira) audio interview starts at time mark 2:44

Deanna Raybourn Interview (BookReporter)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Barnes & Noble) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (History Buff)

A Step Back in Time with Deanna Raybourn (Women on Writing) 

Interview with Deanna Raybourn (Me and My Big Mouth Blog)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (The Reading Frenzy Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Reading the Past)

20 Questions with Deanna Raybourn (All the World’s Our Page Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn on her Lady Julia Grey Series (BookYurt Blog)

Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews (Barnes & Noble)

Review at The Book Smugglers (Book Smugglers Blog)

Review at Historical Novels (Historical Novels)

Amazon Reviews (Amazon)

Goodreads Reviews (Goodreads)

Social Media:

Author’s Website   

Author’s Facebook

Author’s Twitter

Author’s Blog 

Author’s GoodReads Page

General Sites:

Deanna Raybourn Update on the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Harlequin Books via YouTube) video SPOILERS

Author Deanna Raybourn Shares Her Summer Reading Program Memories (NorthWest Akron Branch Library)

Victorian Crime & Investigation:

Policing in London (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Victorian Crime and Punishment 

Crime Prevention (National Archives, Britain)

Victorian Police and Prisons (LearnHistory via YouTube) video

Crime and the Victorians (BBC)

Gender and Crime (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Wayward Women: Victorian England’s Female Offenders

Victorian Poisoners (Historic UK)

Arsenic: The Victorian Viagra that Poisoned Britain (Canadian Content)

Poison in Victorian Britain: Accidental Murder, Death Club, Death in the Pot, Corpse Candles, Death on the Walls (Author Grace Elliot)

Classic Poisons (H2G2)

Victorian Mourning:

Victorian Mourning Etiquette (Author Tracy Chevalier’s Website)

Remembering A Loved One With Mourning Jewelry (Victorian Hairwork Society) 

Victorian Mourning Jewelry and Eye Miniatures (Barbara Warn via Pinterest)

Victorian Etiquette for Funerals (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning & Funeral Customs (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning Customs from Collier’s Cyclopedia (Quilt History)

The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies (Historic Camden County)

Victorian Vice:

Sex, Drugs & Music Hall (BBC)

Opium Dens and Opium Usage in Victorian England (Victorian History)

Victorian Obsession: Opium (Author Y. S. Lee)

What Opium Smoking Feels Like (Cat’s Meat Shop)

Victorian London’s Drug Culture (All In London)

Absinthe (Pennington Edition)

Absinthe (Unlacing the Victorians)

Absinthe FAQ (Virtual Absinthe Museum)

The Hellfire Club (Wikipedia)

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

Victorian Prostitution:

Prostitution in Victorian England (Victorian Web)

The Great Social Evil: Victorian Prostitution (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

Prostitution in Victorian England (Revisiting Dickens)

Prostitutes Part 1 & Part 2 (Unlacing the Victorians)

Prostitution: Then and Now (Hepatitis and AIDS Research Trust)

The Madonna and the Whore: The Victorian Wife and the Victorian Prostitute (Lourdes College) pdf

Victorian Politics & Reform:

The Difference Between Tories and Whigs (EHow)

Whigs (Wikipedia)

Tories (Wikipedia)

Radicals (Wikipedia)

Reforming Acts (BBC)

MP [Member of Parliament]The House of Commons  & The House of Lords (Wikipedia)

Annie Besant (Spartacus Educational)

John Stuart Mill (Spartacus Educational)

Mary Wollstonecraft (Spartacus Educational)

Victorian Fashion:

Victorian Fashion (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Fashion Links (Costumer’s Manifesto)

19th Century Fashion (Victoria & Albert Museum)

What Victorians Wore (Victorian Web)

Early Victorian Undergarments:Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Kate Tattersall)

Men’s Formal Wear: Early/Mid-Victorian, Late Victorian [Part 1 & Part 2(Black Tie Guide)

Victorian Life:

Articles & Illustrations from Victorian Books & Magazines (Mostly Victorian)

The Dictionary of Victorian London (Victorian London)

Learning Victorians (British Library)

The Victorian Age (A Victorian)

Crowns, Pounds, & Guineas: A Quick Guide to British Currency (All About Romance)

Late Victorian Coinage (Stadium Magazine)

Victorian Servants (All Things Bright & Beautiful)

Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy & Wages (This and That)

The Servants (All About Romance)

The Victorian Bedroom (Back in My Time)

Gender & Sexuality in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Coming Out: The London Season (Kate Tattersall)

The London Season (The History Box)

The Victorian House Party (All About Romance)

The Victorian Ball (Victoriana Magazine)

You’re Dead to Me: The Victorian Art of the Cut Direct (Author Juliet Moore)

Calling and Calling Cards (Castle Falkenstein)

Development of Victorian Morality (English Epochs 101)

The Worst Jobs in History, The Victorian Age: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (Channel 4, BBC via YouTube) video

The Malodorous Metropolis (Victorian History)

Victorian Medicine:

Victorian Medicine: From Fluke to Theory (BBC)

Health & Medicine in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for all Your Ills

 19th Century British Medicine and Public Health (Victorian Web)

Doctor Death: Poison in Victorian Britain (Author Grace Elliot)

Victorian Remedies: Of Course It’s Safe! (Pennington Edition)

The Physician in the 19th Century (Jane Austen’s World)

Medical Doctors in the Victorian Era (Steampunk Tribune)

Body Snatching (Jane Austen’s World)

Grave Matters: The Body Snatchers Unearthed (The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice) 

Body Snatching: A Grave Medical Problem (National Center for Biotechnology Information) pdf

Victorian Transportation:

Victorian Transport (The Ocular Helmsman)

Getting Around: Carriages in Regency and Victorian Times (All About Romance)

Transport and Carriages in the Victorian Era (Horse Canada)

The Case of the “Growler” and the Handsome Hansom (Victorian History)

The Railway in Victorian England (Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore)

Tower Ravens:

Ravens of the Tower of London (Wikipedia)

Meet the Ravens (Historic Royal Palaces) video   Scroll halfway down the page and click on “View our ‘Meet the Ravens’ video”

Gypsies (Roma):

Gypsies & Travellers (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

London’s Romany Gypsies (Culture 24)

Gypsies and Travellers (Travellers Times) pdf

Romany Roots  (BBC)

Romanichal (Wikipedia)

Romani People (Wikipedia)

Reading Tea Leaves:

How to Read Tea Leaves (Tasseomancy) (Tasseography.com)

Reading Tea Leaves (Reading Tea Leaves.info)

Further Readings:

Bibliography (Victorian Studies)

19th Century Mysteries (Stop You’re Killing Me) 

Murder by Gaslight: Mystery Fiction Set in the Victorian Era (Lincoln City Libraries, NB)

19th Century Historical Mysteries  (Crime Thru Time)

Victorian Mysteries (Historical Mystery Fiction)

Popular Victorian Mystery Books (GoodReads) 

 Discussion Questions:

1. Julia Grey was born into a large family of wealth and privilege. How do the Marches resist the confines and expectations of Victorian society? Are they always successful?

2. Families such as the Marches relied heavily upon numerous servants to handle the day to day operation of their homes. Discreet and diplomatic servants were invaluable. How do you think Aquinas, Morag and Monk acquitted themselves? Would you hire them?

3. As an arrangement between friends rather than a love match, Edward and Julia’s marriage was typical of the time. Do you suppose Edward was happy with the arrangement? Can you think of modern examples of , or reasons for, such a match?

4. How is Julia’s role within her marriage reflected in the setting of Grey House? Contrast the setting of Grey House with that of Nicholas Brisbane’s rooms in Chapel Street.

5. The book covers a murder investigation but also a woman’s journey as she discovers her authentic self. Describe the most important ways Julia begins to know herself. Could she have known any of these things while married to Edward?

6. At the heart of the book is Julia’s relationship with two archetypal men: Edward and Nicholas. Compare and contrast these relationships. Is there one important thing that each man may have given Julia?

7. The happiest relationships in this book are not conventional ones. Discuss characters who seem to have found personal happiness, and why this is so. 

8. Nicholas struggles with flashes of precognition. Is this ability a gift or a curse? How could he have made better use of it? 

9. What drives Nicholas? What sort of man is he? How does he differ from the other men in Julia’s life? 

10. Given their characters, histories, and status, is a romantic relationship between Julia and Nicholas sustainable? 

11. The motive behind Edward’s murder is jealousy. Would you consider this a crime of passion? Is it possible to kill someone you truly love??

12. There are numerous and engaging secondary characters in this novel — including a bird! Which of these characters did you most enjoy, and why?

13. Death had its own culture in Victorian England. How does this culture differ from modern times? Discuss a few of the customs referred to in the book. Who or what do you think was the genesis of these conventions?

14. Despite the serious nature of the subject, this story is written with a great deal of humor and wit. Describe one scene that you found particularly amusing.

15. Given the drawbacks of living in Victorian England, and the privileges of wealth and good birth, would you trade places with Julia?

(Questions courtesy of the author and publisher)

Other books by Raybourn: Silent in the Sanctuary — Silent on the Moor — The Dead Travel Fast Dark Road to Darjeeling — The Dark Enquiry Silent Night (Novella, E-book only) Far in the Wilds (Novella, E-book only)  A Spear of Summer Grass.

Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander — Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry — The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry– A Beautiful Blue Death  by Charles Finch– Murder on Astor Place  by Victoria Thompson —  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear — Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross — The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner — A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron — Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander — A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock– Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant — Death at Bishop’s Keep by Robin Paige — What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris — Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters — Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood — Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen — The Strange Files of Freemont Jones by Dianne Day — The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King — A Wicked Way to Burn by Margaret Miles — Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen — The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas — Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas — A Conspiracy of Violence by Susanna Gregory — Hawkwood by James McGee — The Crimson Cavalier by Mary Andrea Clarke — Gallow’s Thief by Bernard Cornwell — The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly — Deadly Love by Brenda Joyce — Duke’s Agent by Rebecca Jenkins — The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris — Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard — The Conjurer by Cordelia Frances Biddle — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig — Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey — The Three-Body Problem by Catherine Shaw — The Yard by Alex Grecian — Sister Beneath the Sheet by Gillian Linscott — Room With a Clue by Kate Kingsbury — Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin The Rose in the Wheel  by S. K. Rizzolo — Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon — The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

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The Light Between Oceans (October 2015 discussion)

Courtesy of Scribner

M. L. Stedman

Summary:

After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them. (courtesy of Scribner
)

Biography:

Deanna Raybourn (Author’s Website)

Interviews:

Deanna Raybourn on Silent in the Grave (Mira) audio interview starts at time mark 2:44

Deanna Raybourn Interview (BookReporter)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Barnes & Noble) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (History Buff)

A Step Back in Time with Deanna Raybourn (Women on Writing) 

Interview with Deanna Raybourn (Me and My Big Mouth Blog)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (The Reading Frenzy Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Reading the Past)

20 Questions with Deanna Raybourn (All the World’s Our Page Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn on her Lady Julia Grey Series (BookYurt Blog)

Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews (Barnes & Noble)

Review at The Book Smugglers (Book Smugglers Blog)

Review at Historical Novels (Historical Novels)

Amazon Reviews (Amazon)

Goodreads Reviews (Goodreads)

Social Media:

Author’s Website   

Author’s Facebook

Author’s Twitter

Author’s Blog 

Author’s GoodReads Page

General Sites:

Deanna Raybourn Update on the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Harlequin Books via YouTube) video SPOILERS

Author Deanna Raybourn Shares Her Summer Reading Program Memories (NorthWest Akron Branch Library)

Victorian Crime & Investigation:

Policing in London (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Victorian Crime and Punishment 

Crime Prevention (National Archives, Britain)

Victorian Police and Prisons (LearnHistory via YouTube) video

Crime and the Victorians (BBC)

Gender and Crime (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Wayward Women: Victorian England’s Female Offenders

Victorian Poisoners (Historic UK)

Arsenic: The Victorian Viagra that Poisoned Britain (Canadian Content)

Poison in Victorian Britain: Accidental Murder, Death Club, Death in the Pot, Corpse Candles, Death on the Walls (Author Grace Elliot)

Classic Poisons (H2G2)

Victorian Mourning:

Victorian Mourning Etiquette (Author Tracy Chevalier’s Website)

Remembering A Loved One With Mourning Jewelry (Victorian Hairwork Society) 

Victorian Mourning Jewelry and Eye Miniatures (Barbara Warn via Pinterest)

Victorian Etiquette for Funerals (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning & Funeral Customs (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning Customs from Collier’s Cyclopedia (Quilt History)

The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies (Historic Camden County)

Victorian Vice:

Sex, Drugs & Music Hall (BBC)

Opium Dens and Opium Usage in Victorian England (Victorian History)

Victorian Obsession: Opium (Author Y. S. Lee)

What Opium Smoking Feels Like (Cat’s Meat Shop)

Victorian London’s Drug Culture (All In London)

Absinthe (Pennington Edition)

Absinthe (Unlacing the Victorians)

Absinthe FAQ (Virtual Absinthe Museum)

The Hellfire Club (Wikipedia)

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

Victorian Prostitution:

Prostitution in Victorian England (Victorian Web)

The Great Social Evil: Victorian Prostitution (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

Prostitution in Victorian England (Revisiting Dickens)

Prostitutes Part 1 & Part 2 (Unlacing the Victorians)

Prostitution: Then and Now (Hepatitis and AIDS Research Trust)

The Madonna and the Whore: The Victorian Wife and the Victorian Prostitute (Lourdes College) pdf

Victorian Politics & Reform:

The Difference Between Tories and Whigs (EHow)

Whigs (Wikipedia)

Tories (Wikipedia)

Radicals (Wikipedia)

Reforming Acts (BBC)

MP [Member of Parliament]The House of Commons  & The House of Lords (Wikipedia)

Annie Besant (Spartacus Educational)

John Stuart Mill (Spartacus Educational)

Mary Wollstonecraft (Spartacus Educational)

Victorian Fashion:

Victorian Fashion (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Fashion Links (Costumer’s Manifesto)

19th Century Fashion (Victoria & Albert Museum)

What Victorians Wore (Victorian Web)

Early Victorian Undergarments:Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Kate Tattersall)

Men’s Formal Wear: Early/Mid-Victorian, Late Victorian [Part 1 & Part 2(Black Tie Guide)

Victorian Life:

Articles & Illustrations from Victorian Books & Magazines (Mostly Victorian)

The Dictionary of Victorian London (Victorian London)

Learning Victorians (British Library)

The Victorian Age (A Victorian)

Crowns, Pounds, & Guineas: A Quick Guide to British Currency (All About Romance)

Late Victorian Coinage (Stadium Magazine)

Victorian Servants (All Things Bright & Beautiful)

Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy & Wages (This and That)

The Servants (All About Romance)

The Victorian Bedroom (Back in My Time)

Gender & Sexuality in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Coming Out: The London Season (Kate Tattersall)

The London Season (The History Box)

The Victorian House Party (All About Romance)

The Victorian Ball (Victoriana Magazine)

You’re Dead to Me: The Victorian Art of the Cut Direct (Author Juliet Moore)

Calling and Calling Cards (Castle Falkenstein)

Development of Victorian Morality (English Epochs 101)

The Worst Jobs in History, The Victorian Age: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (Channel 4, BBC via YouTube) video

The Malodorous Metropolis (Victorian History)

Victorian Medicine:

Victorian Medicine: From Fluke to Theory (BBC)

Health & Medicine in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for all Your Ills

 19th Century British Medicine and Public Health (Victorian Web)

Doctor Death: Poison in Victorian Britain (Author Grace Elliot)

Victorian Remedies: Of Course It’s Safe! (Pennington Edition)

The Physician in the 19th Century (Jane Austen’s World)

Medical Doctors in the Victorian Era (Steampunk Tribune)

Body Snatching (Jane Austen’s World)

Grave Matters: The Body Snatchers Unearthed (The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice) 

Body Snatching: A Grave Medical Problem (National Center for Biotechnology Information) pdf

Victorian Transportation:

Victorian Transport (The Ocular Helmsman)

Getting Around: Carriages in Regency and Victorian Times (All About Romance)

Transport and Carriages in the Victorian Era (Horse Canada)

The Case of the “Growler” and the Handsome Hansom (Victorian History)

The Railway in Victorian England (Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore)

Tower Ravens:

Ravens of the Tower of London (Wikipedia)

Meet the Ravens (Historic Royal Palaces) video   Scroll halfway down the page and click on “View our ‘Meet the Ravens’ video”

Gypsies (Roma):

Gypsies & Travellers (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

London’s Romany Gypsies (Culture 24)

Gypsies and Travellers (Travellers Times) pdf

Romany Roots  (BBC)

Romanichal (Wikipedia)

Romani People (Wikipedia)

Reading Tea Leaves:

How to Read Tea Leaves (Tasseomancy) (Tasseography.com)

Reading Tea Leaves (Reading Tea Leaves.info)

Further Readings:

Bibliography (Victorian Studies)

19th Century Mysteries (Stop You’re Killing Me) 

Murder by Gaslight: Mystery Fiction Set in the Victorian Era (Lincoln City Libraries, NB)

19th Century Historical Mysteries  (Crime Thru Time)

Victorian Mysteries (Historical Mystery Fiction)

Popular Victorian Mystery Books (GoodReads) 

 Discussion Questions:

1. Julia Grey was born into a large family of wealth and privilege. How do the Marches resist the confines and expectations of Victorian society? Are they always successful?

2. Families such as the Marches relied heavily upon numerous servants to handle the day to day operation of their homes. Discreet and diplomatic servants were invaluable. How do you think Aquinas, Morag and Monk acquitted themselves? Would you hire them?

3. As an arrangement between friends rather than a love match, Edward and Julia’s marriage was typical of the time. Do you suppose Edward was happy with the arrangement? Can you think of modern examples of , or reasons for, such a match?

4. How is Julia’s role within her marriage reflected in the setting of Grey House? Contrast the setting of Grey House with that of Nicholas Brisbane’s rooms in Chapel Street.

5. The book covers a murder investigation but also a woman’s journey as she discovers her authentic self. Describe the most important ways Julia begins to know herself. Could she have known any of these things while married to Edward?

6. At the heart of the book is Julia’s relationship with two archetypal men: Edward and Nicholas. Compare and contrast these relationships. Is there one important thing that each man may have given Julia?

7. The happiest relationships in this book are not conventional ones. Discuss characters who seem to have found personal happiness, and why this is so. 

8. Nicholas struggles with flashes of precognition. Is this ability a gift or a curse? How could he have made better use of it? 

9. What drives Nicholas? What sort of man is he? How does he differ from the other men in Julia’s life? 

10. Given their characters, histories, and status, is a romantic relationship between Julia and Nicholas sustainable? 

11. The motive behind Edward’s murder is jealousy. Would you consider this a crime of passion? Is it possible to kill someone you truly love??

12. There are numerous and engaging secondary characters in this novel — including a bird! Which of these characters did you most enjoy, and why?

13. Death had its own culture in Victorian England. How does this culture differ from modern times? Discuss a few of the customs referred to in the book. Who or what do you think was the genesis of these conventions?

14. Despite the serious nature of the subject, this story is written with a great deal of humor and wit. Describe one scene that you found particularly amusing.

15. Given the drawbacks of living in Victorian England, and the privileges of wealth and good birth, would you trade places with Julia?

(Questions courtesy of the author and publisher)

Other books by Raybourn: Silent in the Sanctuary — Silent on the Moor — The Dead Travel Fast Dark Road to Darjeeling — The Dark Enquiry Silent Night (Novella, E-book only) Far in the Wilds (Novella, E-book only)  A Spear of Summer Grass.

Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander — Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry — The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry– A Beautiful Blue Death  by Charles Finch– Murder on Astor Place  by Victoria Thompson —  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear — Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross — The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner — A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron — Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander — A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock– Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant — Death at Bishop’s Keep by Robin Paige — What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris — Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters — Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood — Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen — The Strange Files of Freemont Jones by Dianne Day — The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King — A Wicked Way to Burn by Margaret Miles — Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen — The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas — Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas — A Conspiracy of Violence by Susanna Gregory — Hawkwood by James McGee — The Crimson Cavalier by Mary Andrea Clarke — Gallow’s Thief by Bernard Cornwell — The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly — Deadly Love by Brenda Joyce — Duke’s Agent by Rebecca Jenkins — The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris — Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard — The Conjurer by Cordelia Frances Biddle — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig — Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey — The Three-Body Problem by Catherine Shaw — The Yard by Alex Grecian — Sister Beneath the Sheet by Gillian Linscott — Room With a Clue by Kate Kingsbury — Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin The Rose in the Wheel  by S. K. Rizzolo — Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon — The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

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Follow the River (March 2015 discussion)

Courtesy of Random House

Courtesy of Random House

James Alexander Thom

Summary:

Mary Ingles was 23, happily married, and pregnant with her third child when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement in 1755 and kidnapped her, leaving behind a bloody massacre. For months they held her captive. But nothing could imprison her spirit. With the rushing Ohio River as her guide, Mary Ingles walked one thousand miles through an untamed wilderness no white woman had ever seen. Her story lives on – extraordinary testimony to the indomitable strength of one pioneer woman who risked her life to return to her own people. (courtesy of Random House)

Biography:

Deanna Raybourn (Author’s Website)

Interviews:

Deanna Raybourn on Silent in the Grave (Mira) audio interview starts at time mark 2:44

Deanna Raybourn Interview (BookReporter)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Barnes & Noble) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (History Buff)

A Step Back in Time with Deanna Raybourn (Women on Writing) 

Interview with Deanna Raybourn (Me and My Big Mouth Blog)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (The Reading Frenzy Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Reading the Past)

20 Questions with Deanna Raybourn (All the World’s Our Page Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn on her Lady Julia Grey Series (BookYurt Blog)

Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews (Barnes & Noble)

Review at The Book Smugglers (Book Smugglers Blog)

Review at Historical Novels (Historical Novels)

Amazon Reviews (Amazon)

Goodreads Reviews (Goodreads)

Social Media:

Author’s Website   

Author’s Facebook

Author’s Twitter

Author’s Blog 

Author’s GoodReads Page

General Sites:

Deanna Raybourn Update on the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Harlequin Books via YouTube) video SPOILERS

Author Deanna Raybourn Shares Her Summer Reading Program Memories (NorthWest Akron Branch Library)

Victorian Crime & Investigation:

Policing in London (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Victorian Crime and Punishment 

Crime Prevention (National Archives, Britain)

Victorian Police and Prisons (LearnHistory via YouTube) video

Crime and the Victorians (BBC)

Gender and Crime (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Wayward Women: Victorian England’s Female Offenders

Victorian Poisoners (Historic UK)

Arsenic: The Victorian Viagra that Poisoned Britain (Canadian Content)

Poison in Victorian Britain: Accidental Murder, Death Club, Death in the Pot, Corpse Candles, Death on the Walls (Author Grace Elliot)

Classic Poisons (H2G2)

Victorian Mourning:

Victorian Mourning Etiquette (Author Tracy Chevalier’s Website)

Remembering A Loved One With Mourning Jewelry (Victorian Hairwork Society) 

Victorian Mourning Jewelry and Eye Miniatures (Barbara Warn via Pinterest)

Victorian Etiquette for Funerals (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning & Funeral Customs (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning Customs from Collier’s Cyclopedia (Quilt History)

The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies (Historic Camden County)

Victorian Vice:

Sex, Drugs & Music Hall (BBC)

Opium Dens and Opium Usage in Victorian England (Victorian History)

Victorian Obsession: Opium (Author Y. S. Lee)

What Opium Smoking Feels Like (Cat’s Meat Shop)

Victorian London’s Drug Culture (All In London)

Absinthe (Pennington Edition)

Absinthe (Unlacing the Victorians)

Absinthe FAQ (Virtual Absinthe Museum)

The Hellfire Club (Wikipedia)

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

Victorian Prostitution:

Prostitution in Victorian England (Victorian Web)

The Great Social Evil: Victorian Prostitution (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

Prostitution in Victorian England (Revisiting Dickens)

Prostitutes Part 1 & Part 2 (Unlacing the Victorians)

Prostitution: Then and Now (Hepatitis and AIDS Research Trust)

The Madonna and the Whore: The Victorian Wife and the Victorian Prostitute (Lourdes College) pdf

Victorian Politics & Reform:

The Difference Between Tories and Whigs (EHow)

Whigs (Wikipedia)

Tories (Wikipedia)

Radicals (Wikipedia)

Reforming Acts (BBC)

MP [Member of Parliament]The House of Commons  & The House of Lords (Wikipedia)

Annie Besant (Spartacus Educational)

John Stuart Mill (Spartacus Educational)

Mary Wollstonecraft (Spartacus Educational)

Victorian Fashion:

Victorian Fashion (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Fashion Links (Costumer’s Manifesto)

19th Century Fashion (Victoria & Albert Museum)

What Victorians Wore (Victorian Web)

Early Victorian Undergarments:Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Kate Tattersall)

Men’s Formal Wear: Early/Mid-Victorian, Late Victorian [Part 1 & Part 2(Black Tie Guide)

Victorian Life:

Articles & Illustrations from Victorian Books & Magazines (Mostly Victorian)

The Dictionary of Victorian London (Victorian London)

Learning Victorians (British Library)

The Victorian Age (A Victorian)

Crowns, Pounds, & Guineas: A Quick Guide to British Currency (All About Romance)

Late Victorian Coinage (Stadium Magazine)

Victorian Servants (All Things Bright & Beautiful)

Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy & Wages (This and That)

The Servants (All About Romance)

The Victorian Bedroom (Back in My Time)

Gender & Sexuality in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Coming Out: The London Season (Kate Tattersall)

The London Season (The History Box)

The Victorian House Party (All About Romance)

The Victorian Ball (Victoriana Magazine)

You’re Dead to Me: The Victorian Art of the Cut Direct (Author Juliet Moore)

Calling and Calling Cards (Castle Falkenstein)

Development of Victorian Morality (English Epochs 101)

The Worst Jobs in History, The Victorian Age: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (Channel 4, BBC via YouTube) video

The Malodorous Metropolis (Victorian History)

Victorian Medicine:

Victorian Medicine: From Fluke to Theory (BBC)

Health & Medicine in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for all Your Ills

 19th Century British Medicine and Public Health (Victorian Web)

Doctor Death: Poison in Victorian Britain (Author Grace Elliot)

Victorian Remedies: Of Course It’s Safe! (Pennington Edition)

The Physician in the 19th Century (Jane Austen’s World)

Medical Doctors in the Victorian Era (Steampunk Tribune)

Body Snatching (Jane Austen’s World)

Grave Matters: The Body Snatchers Unearthed (The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice) 

Body Snatching: A Grave Medical Problem (National Center for Biotechnology Information) pdf

Victorian Transportation:

Victorian Transport (The Ocular Helmsman)

Getting Around: Carriages in Regency and Victorian Times (All About Romance)

Transport and Carriages in the Victorian Era (Horse Canada)

The Case of the “Growler” and the Handsome Hansom (Victorian History)

The Railway in Victorian England (Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore)

Tower Ravens:

Ravens of the Tower of London (Wikipedia)

Meet the Ravens (Historic Royal Palaces) video   Scroll halfway down the page and click on “View our ‘Meet the Ravens’ video”

Gypsies (Roma):

Gypsies & Travellers (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

London’s Romany Gypsies (Culture 24)

Gypsies and Travellers (Travellers Times) pdf

Romany Roots  (BBC)

Romanichal (Wikipedia)

Romani People (Wikipedia)

Reading Tea Leaves:

How to Read Tea Leaves (Tasseomancy) (Tasseography.com)

Reading Tea Leaves (Reading Tea Leaves.info)

Further Readings:

Bibliography (Victorian Studies)

19th Century Mysteries (Stop You’re Killing Me) 

Murder by Gaslight: Mystery Fiction Set in the Victorian Era (Lincoln City Libraries, NB)

19th Century Historical Mysteries  (Crime Thru Time)

Victorian Mysteries (Historical Mystery Fiction)

Popular Victorian Mystery Books (GoodReads) 

 Discussion Questions:

1. Julia Grey was born into a large family of wealth and privilege. How do the Marches resist the confines and expectations of Victorian society? Are they always successful?

2. Families such as the Marches relied heavily upon numerous servants to handle the day to day operation of their homes. Discreet and diplomatic servants were invaluable. How do you think Aquinas, Morag and Monk acquitted themselves? Would you hire them?

3. As an arrangement between friends rather than a love match, Edward and Julia’s marriage was typical of the time. Do you suppose Edward was happy with the arrangement? Can you think of modern examples of , or reasons for, such a match?

4. How is Julia’s role within her marriage reflected in the setting of Grey House? Contrast the setting of Grey House with that of Nicholas Brisbane’s rooms in Chapel Street.

5. The book covers a murder investigation but also a woman’s journey as she discovers her authentic self. Describe the most important ways Julia begins to know herself. Could she have known any of these things while married to Edward?

6. At the heart of the book is Julia’s relationship with two archetypal men: Edward and Nicholas. Compare and contrast these relationships. Is there one important thing that each man may have given Julia?

7. The happiest relationships in this book are not conventional ones. Discuss characters who seem to have found personal happiness, and why this is so. 

8. Nicholas struggles with flashes of precognition. Is this ability a gift or a curse? How could he have made better use of it? 

9. What drives Nicholas? What sort of man is he? How does he differ from the other men in Julia’s life? 

10. Given their characters, histories, and status, is a romantic relationship between Julia and Nicholas sustainable? 

11. The motive behind Edward’s murder is jealousy. Would you consider this a crime of passion? Is it possible to kill someone you truly love??

12. There are numerous and engaging secondary characters in this novel — including a bird! Which of these characters did you most enjoy, and why?

13. Death had its own culture in Victorian England. How does this culture differ from modern times? Discuss a few of the customs referred to in the book. Who or what do you think was the genesis of these conventions?

14. Despite the serious nature of the subject, this story is written with a great deal of humor and wit. Describe one scene that you found particularly amusing.

15. Given the drawbacks of living in Victorian England, and the privileges of wealth and good birth, would you trade places with Julia?

(Questions courtesy of the author and publisher)

Other books by Raybourn: Silent in the Sanctuary — Silent on the Moor — The Dead Travel Fast Dark Road to Darjeeling — The Dark Enquiry Silent Night (Novella, E-book only) Far in the Wilds (Novella, E-book only)  A Spear of Summer Grass.

Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander — Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry — The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry– A Beautiful Blue Death  by Charles Finch– Murder on Astor Place  by Victoria Thompson —  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear — Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross — The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner — A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron — Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander — A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock– Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant — Death at Bishop’s Keep by Robin Paige — What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris — Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters — Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood — Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen — The Strange Files of Freemont Jones by Dianne Day — The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King — A Wicked Way to Burn by Margaret Miles — Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen — The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas — Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas — A Conspiracy of Violence by Susanna Gregory — Hawkwood by James McGee — The Crimson Cavalier by Mary Andrea Clarke — Gallow’s Thief by Bernard Cornwell — The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly — Deadly Love by Brenda Joyce — Duke’s Agent by Rebecca Jenkins — The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris — Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard — The Conjurer by Cordelia Frances Biddle — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig — Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey — The Three-Body Problem by Catherine Shaw — The Yard by Alex Grecian — Sister Beneath the Sheet by Gillian Linscott — Room With a Clue by Kate Kingsbury — Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin The Rose in the Wheel  by S. K. Rizzolo — Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon — The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

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All Creatures Great and Small (June 2015 discussion)

Courtesy of Macmillan

Courtesy of Macmillan

James Herriot

Summary:

For over forty years, generations of readers have thrilled to Herriot’s marvelous tales, deep love of life, and extraordinary storytelling abilities. For decades, Herriot roamed the remote, beautiful Yorkshire Dales, treating every patient that came his way from smallest to largest, and observing animals and humans alike with his keen, loving eye.
In All Creatures Great and Small, we meet the young Herriot as he takes up his calling and discovers that the realities of veterinary practice in rural Yorkshire are very different from the sterile setting of veterinary school. Some visits are heart-wrenchingly difficult, such as one to an old man in the village whose very ill dog is his only friend and companion, some are lighthearted and fun, such as Herriot’s periodic visits to the overfed and pampered Pekinese Tricki Woo who throws parties and has his own stationery, and yet others are inspirational and enlightening, such as Herriot’s recollections of poor farmers who will scrape their meager earnings together to be able to get proper care for their working animals.  From seeing to his patients in the depths of winter on the remotest homesteads to dealing with uncooperative owners and critically ill animals, Herriot discovers the wondrous variety and never-ending challenges of veterinary practice as his humor, compassion, and love of the animal world shine forth. (courtesy of Macmillan
)

Biography:

Deanna Raybourn (Author’s Website)

Interviews:

Deanna Raybourn on Silent in the Grave (Mira) audio interview starts at time mark 2:44

Deanna Raybourn Interview (BookReporter)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Barnes & Noble) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (History Buff)

A Step Back in Time with Deanna Raybourn (Women on Writing) 

Interview with Deanna Raybourn (Me and My Big Mouth Blog)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (The Reading Frenzy Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Reading the Past)

20 Questions with Deanna Raybourn (All the World’s Our Page Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn on her Lady Julia Grey Series (BookYurt Blog)

Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews (Barnes & Noble)

Review at The Book Smugglers (Book Smugglers Blog)

Review at Historical Novels (Historical Novels)

Amazon Reviews (Amazon)

Goodreads Reviews (Goodreads)

Social Media:

Author’s Website   

Author’s Facebook

Author’s Twitter

Author’s Blog 

Author’s GoodReads Page

General Sites:

Deanna Raybourn Update on the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Harlequin Books via YouTube) video SPOILERS

Author Deanna Raybourn Shares Her Summer Reading Program Memories (NorthWest Akron Branch Library)

Victorian Crime & Investigation:

Policing in London (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Victorian Crime and Punishment 

Crime Prevention (National Archives, Britain)

Victorian Police and Prisons (LearnHistory via YouTube) video

Crime and the Victorians (BBC)

Gender and Crime (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Wayward Women: Victorian England’s Female Offenders

Victorian Poisoners (Historic UK)

Arsenic: The Victorian Viagra that Poisoned Britain (Canadian Content)

Poison in Victorian Britain: Accidental Murder, Death Club, Death in the Pot, Corpse Candles, Death on the Walls (Author Grace Elliot)

Classic Poisons (H2G2)

Victorian Mourning:

Victorian Mourning Etiquette (Author Tracy Chevalier’s Website)

Remembering A Loved One With Mourning Jewelry (Victorian Hairwork Society) 

Victorian Mourning Jewelry and Eye Miniatures (Barbara Warn via Pinterest)

Victorian Etiquette for Funerals (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning & Funeral Customs (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning Customs from Collier’s Cyclopedia (Quilt History)

The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies (Historic Camden County)

Victorian Vice:

Sex, Drugs & Music Hall (BBC)

Opium Dens and Opium Usage in Victorian England (Victorian History)

Victorian Obsession: Opium (Author Y. S. Lee)

What Opium Smoking Feels Like (Cat’s Meat Shop)

Victorian London’s Drug Culture (All In London)

Absinthe (Pennington Edition)

Absinthe (Unlacing the Victorians)

Absinthe FAQ (Virtual Absinthe Museum)

The Hellfire Club (Wikipedia)

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

Victorian Prostitution:

Prostitution in Victorian England (Victorian Web)

The Great Social Evil: Victorian Prostitution (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

Prostitution in Victorian England (Revisiting Dickens)

Prostitutes Part 1 & Part 2 (Unlacing the Victorians)

Prostitution: Then and Now (Hepatitis and AIDS Research Trust)

The Madonna and the Whore: The Victorian Wife and the Victorian Prostitute (Lourdes College) pdf

Victorian Politics & Reform:

The Difference Between Tories and Whigs (EHow)

Whigs (Wikipedia)

Tories (Wikipedia)

Radicals (Wikipedia)

Reforming Acts (BBC)

MP [Member of Parliament]The House of Commons  & The House of Lords (Wikipedia)

Annie Besant (Spartacus Educational)

John Stuart Mill (Spartacus Educational)

Mary Wollstonecraft (Spartacus Educational)

Victorian Fashion:

Victorian Fashion (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Fashion Links (Costumer’s Manifesto)

19th Century Fashion (Victoria & Albert Museum)

What Victorians Wore (Victorian Web)

Early Victorian Undergarments:Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Kate Tattersall)

Men’s Formal Wear: Early/Mid-Victorian, Late Victorian [Part 1 & Part 2(Black Tie Guide)

Victorian Life:

Articles & Illustrations from Victorian Books & Magazines (Mostly Victorian)

The Dictionary of Victorian London (Victorian London)

Learning Victorians (British Library)

The Victorian Age (A Victorian)

Crowns, Pounds, & Guineas: A Quick Guide to British Currency (All About Romance)

Late Victorian Coinage (Stadium Magazine)

Victorian Servants (All Things Bright & Beautiful)

Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy & Wages (This and That)

The Servants (All About Romance)

The Victorian Bedroom (Back in My Time)

Gender & Sexuality in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Coming Out: The London Season (Kate Tattersall)

The London Season (The History Box)

The Victorian House Party (All About Romance)

The Victorian Ball (Victoriana Magazine)

You’re Dead to Me: The Victorian Art of the Cut Direct (Author Juliet Moore)

Calling and Calling Cards (Castle Falkenstein)

Development of Victorian Morality (English Epochs 101)

The Worst Jobs in History, The Victorian Age: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (Channel 4, BBC via YouTube) video

The Malodorous Metropolis (Victorian History)

Victorian Medicine:

Victorian Medicine: From Fluke to Theory (BBC)

Health & Medicine in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for all Your Ills

 19th Century British Medicine and Public Health (Victorian Web)

Doctor Death: Poison in Victorian Britain (Author Grace Elliot)

Victorian Remedies: Of Course It’s Safe! (Pennington Edition)

The Physician in the 19th Century (Jane Austen’s World)

Medical Doctors in the Victorian Era (Steampunk Tribune)

Body Snatching (Jane Austen’s World)

Grave Matters: The Body Snatchers Unearthed (The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice) 

Body Snatching: A Grave Medical Problem (National Center for Biotechnology Information) pdf

Victorian Transportation:

Victorian Transport (The Ocular Helmsman)

Getting Around: Carriages in Regency and Victorian Times (All About Romance)

Transport and Carriages in the Victorian Era (Horse Canada)

The Case of the “Growler” and the Handsome Hansom (Victorian History)

The Railway in Victorian England (Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore)

Tower Ravens:

Ravens of the Tower of London (Wikipedia)

Meet the Ravens (Historic Royal Palaces) video   Scroll halfway down the page and click on “View our ‘Meet the Ravens’ video”

Gypsies (Roma):

Gypsies & Travellers (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

London’s Romany Gypsies (Culture 24)

Gypsies and Travellers (Travellers Times) pdf

Romany Roots  (BBC)

Romanichal (Wikipedia)

Romani People (Wikipedia)

Reading Tea Leaves:

How to Read Tea Leaves (Tasseomancy) (Tasseography.com)

Reading Tea Leaves (Reading Tea Leaves.info)

Further Readings:

Bibliography (Victorian Studies)

19th Century Mysteries (Stop You’re Killing Me) 

Murder by Gaslight: Mystery Fiction Set in the Victorian Era (Lincoln City Libraries, NB)

19th Century Historical Mysteries  (Crime Thru Time)

Victorian Mysteries (Historical Mystery Fiction)

Popular Victorian Mystery Books (GoodReads) 

 Discussion Questions:

1. Julia Grey was born into a large family of wealth and privilege. How do the Marches resist the confines and expectations of Victorian society? Are they always successful?

2. Families such as the Marches relied heavily upon numerous servants to handle the day to day operation of their homes. Discreet and diplomatic servants were invaluable. How do you think Aquinas, Morag and Monk acquitted themselves? Would you hire them?

3. As an arrangement between friends rather than a love match, Edward and Julia’s marriage was typical of the time. Do you suppose Edward was happy with the arrangement? Can you think of modern examples of , or reasons for, such a match?

4. How is Julia’s role within her marriage reflected in the setting of Grey House? Contrast the setting of Grey House with that of Nicholas Brisbane’s rooms in Chapel Street.

5. The book covers a murder investigation but also a woman’s journey as she discovers her authentic self. Describe the most important ways Julia begins to know herself. Could she have known any of these things while married to Edward?

6. At the heart of the book is Julia’s relationship with two archetypal men: Edward and Nicholas. Compare and contrast these relationships. Is there one important thing that each man may have given Julia?

7. The happiest relationships in this book are not conventional ones. Discuss characters who seem to have found personal happiness, and why this is so. 

8. Nicholas struggles with flashes of precognition. Is this ability a gift or a curse? How could he have made better use of it? 

9. What drives Nicholas? What sort of man is he? How does he differ from the other men in Julia’s life? 

10. Given their characters, histories, and status, is a romantic relationship between Julia and Nicholas sustainable? 

11. The motive behind Edward’s murder is jealousy. Would you consider this a crime of passion? Is it possible to kill someone you truly love??

12. There are numerous and engaging secondary characters in this novel — including a bird! Which of these characters did you most enjoy, and why?

13. Death had its own culture in Victorian England. How does this culture differ from modern times? Discuss a few of the customs referred to in the book. Who or what do you think was the genesis of these conventions?

14. Despite the serious nature of the subject, this story is written with a great deal of humor and wit. Describe one scene that you found particularly amusing.

15. Given the drawbacks of living in Victorian England, and the privileges of wealth and good birth, would you trade places with Julia?

(Questions courtesy of the author and publisher)

Other books by Raybourn: Silent in the Sanctuary — Silent on the Moor — The Dead Travel Fast Dark Road to Darjeeling — The Dark Enquiry Silent Night (Novella, E-book only) Far in the Wilds (Novella, E-book only)  A Spear of Summer Grass.

Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander — Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry — The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry– A Beautiful Blue Death  by Charles Finch– Murder on Astor Place  by Victoria Thompson —  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear — Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross — The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner — A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron — Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander — A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock– Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant — Death at Bishop’s Keep by Robin Paige — What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris — Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters — Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood — Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen — The Strange Files of Freemont Jones by Dianne Day — The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King — A Wicked Way to Burn by Margaret Miles — Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen — The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas — Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas — A Conspiracy of Violence by Susanna Gregory — Hawkwood by James McGee — The Crimson Cavalier by Mary Andrea Clarke — Gallow’s Thief by Bernard Cornwell — The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly — Deadly Love by Brenda Joyce — Duke’s Agent by Rebecca Jenkins — The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris — Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard — The Conjurer by Cordelia Frances Biddle — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig — Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey — The Three-Body Problem by Catherine Shaw — The Yard by Alex Grecian — Sister Beneath the Sheet by Gillian Linscott — Room With a Clue by Kate Kingsbury — Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin The Rose in the Wheel  by S. K. Rizzolo — Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon — The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

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The Mockingbird Next Door / To Kill a Mockingbird (April 2015 discussion)

Courtesy of Penguin

Courtesy of Penguin

Courtesy of Hachette

Courtesy of Hachette

Marja Mills / Harper Lee

Summary:

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is one of the best loved novels of the twentieth century. But for the last fifty years, the novel’s celebrated author, Harper Lee, has said almost nothing on the record. Journalists have trekked to her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee, known to her friends as Nelle, has lived with her sister, Alice, for decades, trying and failing to get an interview with the author. But in 2001, the Lee sisters opened their door to Chicago Tribune journalist Marja Mills. It was the beginning of a long conversation—and a great friendship.
In 2004, with the Lees’ blessing, Mills moved into the house next door to the sisters. She spent the next eighteen months there, sharing coffee at McDonalds and trips to the Laundromat with Nelle, feeding the ducks and going out for catfish supper with the sisters, and exploring all over lower Alabama with the Lees’ inner circle of friends.

Nelle shared her love of history, literature, and the Southern way of life with Mills, as well as her keen sense of how journalism should be practiced. As the sisters decided to let Mills tell their story, Nelle helped make sure she was getting the story—and the South—right. Alice, the keeper of the Lee family history, shared the stories of their family. The Mockingbird Next Door is the story of Mills’s friendship with the Lee sisters. It is a testament to the great intelligence, sharp wit, and tremendous storytelling power of these two women, especially that of Nelle.
Mills was given a rare opportunity to know Nelle Harper Lee, to be part of the Lees’ life in Alabama, and to hear them reflect on their upbringing, their corner of the Deep South, how To Kill a Mockingbird affected their lives, and why Nelle Harper Lee chose to never write another novel. (courtesy of Penguin)

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus–three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.

A Pulitzer prize-winning masterwork of honor and injustice in the deep south – and the heroism of one man in the face of blind and violent hatred. Considered one of the best-loved stories of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into more than 40 languages, sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, served as the basis for an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the 20th century by librarians across the country. A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father – a crusading local lawyer – risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.

Biography:

Deanna Raybourn (Author’s Website)

Interviews:

Deanna Raybourn on Silent in the Grave (Mira) audio interview starts at time mark 2:44

Deanna Raybourn Interview (BookReporter)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Barnes & Noble) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (History Buff)

A Step Back in Time with Deanna Raybourn (Women on Writing) 

Interview with Deanna Raybourn (Me and My Big Mouth Blog)

Deanna Raybourn Interview (The Reading Frenzy Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn Interview (Reading the Past)

20 Questions with Deanna Raybourn (All the World’s Our Page Blog) 

Deanna Raybourn on her Lady Julia Grey Series (BookYurt Blog)

Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews (Barnes & Noble)

Review at The Book Smugglers (Book Smugglers Blog)

Review at Historical Novels (Historical Novels)

Amazon Reviews (Amazon)

Goodreads Reviews (Goodreads)

Social Media:

Author’s Website   

Author’s Facebook

Author’s Twitter

Author’s Blog 

Author’s GoodReads Page

General Sites:

Deanna Raybourn Update on the Lady Julia Grey Mysteries (Harlequin Books via YouTube) video SPOILERS

Author Deanna Raybourn Shares Her Summer Reading Program Memories (NorthWest Akron Branch Library)

Victorian Crime & Investigation:

Policing in London (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Victorian Crime and Punishment 

Crime Prevention (National Archives, Britain)

Victorian Police and Prisons (LearnHistory via YouTube) video

Crime and the Victorians (BBC)

Gender and Crime (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

Wayward Women: Victorian England’s Female Offenders

Victorian Poisoners (Historic UK)

Arsenic: The Victorian Viagra that Poisoned Britain (Canadian Content)

Poison in Victorian Britain: Accidental Murder, Death Club, Death in the Pot, Corpse Candles, Death on the Walls (Author Grace Elliot)

Classic Poisons (H2G2)

Victorian Mourning:

Victorian Mourning Etiquette (Author Tracy Chevalier’s Website)

Remembering A Loved One With Mourning Jewelry (Victorian Hairwork Society) 

Victorian Mourning Jewelry and Eye Miniatures (Barbara Warn via Pinterest)

Victorian Etiquette for Funerals (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning & Funeral Customs (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Mourning Customs from Collier’s Cyclopedia (Quilt History)

The Story of Victorian Funeral Cookies (Historic Camden County)

Victorian Vice:

Sex, Drugs & Music Hall (BBC)

Opium Dens and Opium Usage in Victorian England (Victorian History)

Victorian Obsession: Opium (Author Y. S. Lee)

What Opium Smoking Feels Like (Cat’s Meat Shop)

Victorian London’s Drug Culture (All In London)

Absinthe (Pennington Edition)

Absinthe (Unlacing the Victorians)

Absinthe FAQ (Virtual Absinthe Museum)

The Hellfire Club (Wikipedia)

Secrets of the Hellfire Club

Victorian Prostitution:

Prostitution in Victorian England (Victorian Web)

The Great Social Evil: Victorian Prostitution (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

Prostitution in Victorian England (Revisiting Dickens)

Prostitutes Part 1 & Part 2 (Unlacing the Victorians)

Prostitution: Then and Now (Hepatitis and AIDS Research Trust)

The Madonna and the Whore: The Victorian Wife and the Victorian Prostitute (Lourdes College) pdf

Victorian Politics & Reform:

The Difference Between Tories and Whigs (EHow)

Whigs (Wikipedia)

Tories (Wikipedia)

Radicals (Wikipedia)

Reforming Acts (BBC)

MP [Member of Parliament]The House of Commons  & The House of Lords (Wikipedia)

Annie Besant (Spartacus Educational)

John Stuart Mill (Spartacus Educational)

Mary Wollstonecraft (Spartacus Educational)

Victorian Fashion:

Victorian Fashion (Victoriana Magazine)

Victorian Fashion Links (Costumer’s Manifesto)

19th Century Fashion (Victoria & Albert Museum)

What Victorians Wore (Victorian Web)

Early Victorian Undergarments:Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (Kate Tattersall)

Men’s Formal Wear: Early/Mid-Victorian, Late Victorian [Part 1 & Part 2(Black Tie Guide)

Victorian Life:

Articles & Illustrations from Victorian Books & Magazines (Mostly Victorian)

The Dictionary of Victorian London (Victorian London)

Learning Victorians (British Library)

The Victorian Age (A Victorian)

Crowns, Pounds, & Guineas: A Quick Guide to British Currency (All About Romance)

Late Victorian Coinage (Stadium Magazine)

Victorian Servants (All Things Bright & Beautiful)

Victorian Domestic Servant Hierarchy & Wages (This and That)

The Servants (All About Romance)

The Victorian Bedroom (Back in My Time)

Gender & Sexuality in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Coming Out: The London Season (Kate Tattersall)

The London Season (The History Box)

The Victorian House Party (All About Romance)

The Victorian Ball (Victoriana Magazine)

You’re Dead to Me: The Victorian Art of the Cut Direct (Author Juliet Moore)

Calling and Calling Cards (Castle Falkenstein)

Development of Victorian Morality (English Epochs 101)

The Worst Jobs in History, The Victorian Age: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 (Channel 4, BBC via YouTube) video

The Malodorous Metropolis (Victorian History)

Victorian Medicine:

Victorian Medicine: From Fluke to Theory (BBC)

Health & Medicine in the 19th Century (Victoria & Albert Museum)

The Quack Doctor: Historical Remedies for all Your Ills

 19th Century British Medicine and Public Health (Victorian Web)

Doctor Death: Poison in Victorian Britain (Author Grace Elliot)

Victorian Remedies: Of Course It’s Safe! (Pennington Edition)

The Physician in the 19th Century (Jane Austen’s World)

Medical Doctors in the Victorian Era (Steampunk Tribune)

Body Snatching (Jane Austen’s World)

Grave Matters: The Body Snatchers Unearthed (The Chirurgeon’s Apprentice) 

Body Snatching: A Grave Medical Problem (National Center for Biotechnology Information) pdf

Victorian Transportation:

Victorian Transport (The Ocular Helmsman)

Getting Around: Carriages in Regency and Victorian Times (All About Romance)

Transport and Carriages in the Victorian Era (Horse Canada)

The Case of the “Growler” and the Handsome Hansom (Victorian History)

The Railway in Victorian England (Hated Rivals on the Surrey Shore)

Tower Ravens:

Ravens of the Tower of London (Wikipedia)

Meet the Ravens (Historic Royal Palaces) video   Scroll halfway down the page and click on “View our ‘Meet the Ravens’ video”

Gypsies (Roma):

Gypsies & Travellers (Proceedings of the Old Bailey)

London’s Romany Gypsies (Culture 24)

Gypsies and Travellers (Travellers Times) pdf

Romany Roots  (BBC)

Romanichal (Wikipedia)

Romani People (Wikipedia)

Reading Tea Leaves:

How to Read Tea Leaves (Tasseomancy) (Tasseography.com)

Reading Tea Leaves (Reading Tea Leaves.info)

Further Readings:

Bibliography (Victorian Studies)

19th Century Mysteries (Stop You’re Killing Me) 

Murder by Gaslight: Mystery Fiction Set in the Victorian Era (Lincoln City Libraries, NB)

19th Century Historical Mysteries  (Crime Thru Time)

Victorian Mysteries (Historical Mystery Fiction)

Popular Victorian Mystery Books (GoodReads) 

 Discussion Questions:

1. Julia Grey was born into a large family of wealth and privilege. How do the Marches resist the confines and expectations of Victorian society? Are they always successful?

2. Families such as the Marches relied heavily upon numerous servants to handle the day to day operation of their homes. Discreet and diplomatic servants were invaluable. How do you think Aquinas, Morag and Monk acquitted themselves? Would you hire them?

3. As an arrangement between friends rather than a love match, Edward and Julia’s marriage was typical of the time. Do you suppose Edward was happy with the arrangement? Can you think of modern examples of , or reasons for, such a match?

4. How is Julia’s role within her marriage reflected in the setting of Grey House? Contrast the setting of Grey House with that of Nicholas Brisbane’s rooms in Chapel Street.

5. The book covers a murder investigation but also a woman’s journey as she discovers her authentic self. Describe the most important ways Julia begins to know herself. Could she have known any of these things while married to Edward?

6. At the heart of the book is Julia’s relationship with two archetypal men: Edward and Nicholas. Compare and contrast these relationships. Is there one important thing that each man may have given Julia?

7. The happiest relationships in this book are not conventional ones. Discuss characters who seem to have found personal happiness, and why this is so. 

8. Nicholas struggles with flashes of precognition. Is this ability a gift or a curse? How could he have made better use of it? 

9. What drives Nicholas? What sort of man is he? How does he differ from the other men in Julia’s life? 

10. Given their characters, histories, and status, is a romantic relationship between Julia and Nicholas sustainable? 

11. The motive behind Edward’s murder is jealousy. Would you consider this a crime of passion? Is it possible to kill someone you truly love??

12. There are numerous and engaging secondary characters in this novel — including a bird! Which of these characters did you most enjoy, and why?

13. Death had its own culture in Victorian England. How does this culture differ from modern times? Discuss a few of the customs referred to in the book. Who or what do you think was the genesis of these conventions?

14. Despite the serious nature of the subject, this story is written with a great deal of humor and wit. Describe one scene that you found particularly amusing.

15. Given the drawbacks of living in Victorian England, and the privileges of wealth and good birth, would you trade places with Julia?

(Questions courtesy of the author and publisher)

Other books by Raybourn: Silent in the Sanctuary — Silent on the Moor — The Dead Travel Fast Dark Road to Darjeeling — The Dark Enquiry Silent Night (Novella, E-book only) Far in the Wilds (Novella, E-book only)  A Spear of Summer Grass.

Recommendations (NoveList & other sources): And Only to Decieve by Tasha Alexander — Cater Street Hangman by Anne Perry — The Face of a Stranger by Anne Perry– A Beautiful Blue Death  by Charles Finch– Murder on Astor Place  by Victoria Thompson —  Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear — Cut to the Quick by Kate Ross — The Hanover Square Affair by Ashley Gardner — A Flaw in the Blood by Stephanie Barron — Blind Justice by Bruce Alexander — A Foreign Affair by Caro Peacock– Daughter of the Game by Tracy Grant — Death at Bishop’s Keep by Robin Paige — What Angels Fear by C. S. Harris — Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters — Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood — Murphy’s Law by Rhys Bowen — The Strange Files of Freemont Jones by Dianne Day — The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King — A Wicked Way to Burn by Margaret Miles — Murder on the Lusitania by Conrad Allen — The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas — Some Danger Involved by Will Thomas — A Conspiracy of Violence by Susanna Gregory — Hawkwood by James McGee — The Crimson Cavalier by Mary Andrea Clarke — Gallow’s Thief by Bernard Cornwell — The Tomb of Zeus by Barbara Cleverly — Deadly Love by Brenda Joyce — Duke’s Agent by Rebecca Jenkins — The Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris — Mr. Timothy by Louis Bayard — The Conjurer by Cordelia Frances Biddle — The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig — Wobble to Death by Peter Lovesey — The Three-Body Problem by Catherine Shaw — The Yard by Alex Grecian — Sister Beneath the Sheet by Gillian Linscott — Room With a Clue by Kate Kingsbury — Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin The Rose in the Wheel  by S. K. Rizzolo — Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon — The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins.

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