This post is by way of being a public service announcement for a couple of new books from Pushkin Press. I had been eying up 'The Brethren' after amazon recommended it, it's the first in a series of 13 French historical novels set in the 16th century and looked like it might be something D and I would both enjoy - making it an ideal present for him. It was a bonus then when the really lovely publicity woman from Pushkin emailed last week to see if I might like a review copy and if I could mention it before Father's Day I was happy to say yes to both.
The book landed on my doorstep last night - and looks particularly attractive, the fiver design is great. I'm off on holiday at the end of the week (where I will be seeing dad in time for Father's Day and everything) so might well take 'The Brethren' with me (though it should probably be a Trollope).
What 'The Brethren' promises is swashbuckling, lively adventure, and historical fiction at its very best (that's what the quotes say). The series (Fortunes of France) covers 26 years of tempestuous French history including "religious strife, famine, pestilence, bands of robbers...and, of course, the English." If it delivers half of that I'll be happy, the whole lot - well then, very happy indeed, and a good series is present giving gold.
Robert Merle also sounds interesting; born in French Algeria before moving to the mainland he worked as an interpreter with the British Expeditionary Forces, sadly captured at Dunkirk, and was a life long Anglophile. The Fortunes of France series has sold more than five million copies worldwide, he's been called 'The Dumas of the twentieth century' and received critical as well as popular success. So thank you Pushkin Press, I'm really looking forward to this one.
The lovely publicity lady (I should ask if she'd prefer I used her actual name) also suggested 'One Night Markovitch'. One Night, Markovitch won the Israeli equivalent of the Booker Prize when it was first published. Based on true events in history, it is the passionate story of two young men, Yaacov Markovitch (shy, unassuming, perennially unlucky in love) and Zeev Feinberg (charismatic, virile, sex-magnet to women) who, with several others, journey from Palestine on Europe on the eve of World War II to make sham marriages with Jewish women and bring them back to the homeland. The aim being to save the women from the threat of anti-Semitism and bring them to safety. Once back in Palestine, the men and women plan to divorce and get on with their own lives. But Yaacov Markovitch has been randomly paired with the most beautiful woman anyone has ever seen. And he refuses to divorce her, despite drastic consequences…
This is a love story, at its heart, but rich and multi-layered and sexy and unexpected in the most memorable way. Exploring unrequited love, arranged marriage, passion & lust, fear and loss this is an extraordinarily evocative novel – both very funny and exceptionally poignant. It’s very difficult to put down once you start….
This sounds great too, but then Pushkin books have always proved worth a second look and taking a chance on - and there you have it, public information broadcast completed.