Book Talk Good for Book Clubs

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration and setting for Julian Fellowes’s Emmy Award-winning PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war.

Meet the Author Good for Book Clubs

Pope Joan on ReelzChannel TV

“‘Why is the movie never as good as the book?’ Readers are asking the wrong question,” suggests Donna Woolfolk Cross, author of Pope Joan. “The question should be: ‘Why is the movie always different from the book?’ Here’s what matters: The movie needs to capture the soul of the book – the part that made readers love it. I’m so lucky this happened with Pope Joan. The theme of my novel is female empowerment through learning. That theme has survived intact – and very movingly – in the film. This is why I’m so excited about the upcoming television mini-series based on my novel. It has TWO nights to tell the story of Pope Joan. It will air on ReelzChannel TV on December 18/19.”

Read It First Good for Book Clubs

Sarah McCoy’s New Novel The Baker’s Daughter

“A beautiful, heart-breaking gem of a novel written just the way I like them,” says Tatiana de Rosnay, international bestselling author of Sarah’s Key and A Secret Kept, “with the past coming back to haunt the present, endearing heroines and a sunny, hopeful ending. You’ll wolf it up in one delicious gulp.” Fans of historical fiction, romance, and page-turning novels will love Sarah McCoy’s The Baker’s Daughter.

Reader Reviews Good for Book Clubs

Reader Review: Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King

“I knew very little of Queen Margaret or King Malcolm and this was a great introduction,” writes Siobian at The Owl Bookmark Blog. “Reading Susan Fraser King’s Queen Hereafter, it was easy to see why the Catholic church made Margaret a saint. Equally moving to me was the love between her and Malcolm. The scenes of them together were so sweet and I enjoyed watching her go from indifference toward the king to bliss. Overall, I liked this book and learned a lot about Scotland and its heritage.”

Meet the Author Good for Book Clubs

Anka Muhlstein on Balzac’s Omelette, Perfect for Food Lovers and Bookworms

“In my view, The Human Comedy is the best restaurant guide you could ask for, for the era,” suggests Anka Muhlstein, author of Balzac’s Omelette. “Balzac was a regular at some forty restaurants, and he sent his characters off into the most refined establishments, as well as into the lowliest ones. The result is both an ideal Michelin Guide of gastronomical delights (and disasters) in nineteenth-century Paris, and an enchanting introduction to the work of one of the greatest French novelists.”

Read It First Good for Book Clubs

The Innocent, the New Vanessa Michael Munroe Novel by Taylor Stevens

In February 2011, Read It Forward introduced you to Taylor Stevens and her blockbuster debut The Informationist. With The Innocent, Taylor returns with another page-turning thriller featuring the fearless Vanessa Michael Munroe. Tautly written, brilliantly paced, and with the same evocation of the exotic combined with chilling violence that made The Informationist such a success, The Innocent confirms Taylor Stevens’ reputation as a thriller writer of the first rank.

Read It First Good for Book Clubs

The Power of Introverts in Quiet by Susan Cain

Did you know that at least one-third of the people you know are introverts? Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Susan Cain charts the rise of “the extrovert ideal” over the twentieth century, explores its far-reaching effects, and shows us how to empower an introverted child and how companies can harness the natural talents of introverts. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves. Check out what authors like Gretchen Rubin, Andrew Weil, and Naomi Wolf are saying, take the Quiet Quiz, read the Quiet Manifesto, learn about famous introverts in history, get advice on parenting introverted kids, and enjoy a Q&A with author Susan Cain.

Meet the Author Good for Book Clubs

Ella March Chase on Researching Her Tudor Novel Three Maids for a Crown

“A glimpse into the hearts and minds, hopes and fears of women who lived through turbulent times is the gift historical fiction gives readers as we move through our own lives: A connection to people who refused to be crushed by circumstances beyond their control,” writes Ella March Chase, author of Three Maids For A Crown. “This bridge to the past and the lessons it teaches is an ongoing study for me – my addiction to researching the history, especially of women – continues to be one of my greatest passions. It is that passion that has compelled me to write a series of three essays connected to Three Maids For A Crown, in which I will explore in more depth historical incidents connected to the Grey sisters.”