A pretty good turn out for a nice sunny spring evening. Everyone was very vocal tonight which generated some lively discussion both on and off topic.
Tonight's question: "Do you keep all the books you buy, or pass them on?"
There were certainly two schools of thought. I would say the majority regarded their books as friends to be kept and treasured. One member said she would get rid of her furniture before she would get rid of her books. On the other hand, some read their books and then passes them on to others less fortunate. One member said she "hated the thought of all of those words just sitting there not being used".
Comments were made on whether the lending of books was practiced and if it was wise.
After some anecdotes, the consensus was that if you are willing to lend a book, you must also not count on its return.
On to this month's book "Mistress of the art of death" by Ariana Franklin.
The majority of the members seemed to enjoy the novel. Some found it hard going at first, but the pace picked up after the second chapter and it was a great read after that.
Set in medieval Cambridge England, the novel centers upon a female physician to the dead from Salerno who has been instructed by the King to visit Cambridge in the hopes that she might discern who was responsible for the murders of four children. The king was concerned because the Catholic citizens were blaming their Jewish neighbours and this was having an impact on the King's tariffs. The novel was steeped in religious history. Many lessons were learned which is one of the great perks of reading a historical novel. Margaret and I agreed that it was a cross between Kathy Reichs and Diana Gabaldon with about 60/40 veering toward the side of Gabaldon.
Written with historical accuracy and a keen sense of place, the mix of an intelligent protagonist and graphic scenes of depravity was skillfully rendered. The novel was very descriptive, though not at all boring or tedious in that description. It was agreed that the author viewed Henry II in a very sympathetic light.
The book had a satisfying conclusion and most agreed that they would read another book by the same author.
This novel won the Crime Writers’ Association Ellis Peters Historical Award for 2007.
and has it's own website which is certainly worth a visit: http://www.mistressoftheartofdeath.com/