Her View From Home Book Club-Our Next Selection

13 Dec, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Written by: Trish Eklund

Kelly and I really enjoyed our discussion on The Fault in Our Stars! Remember, you can add your input anytime after the discussion and we will continue to check them. We are excited to start reading our January selection, The Map of Time, by Felix Palma. I have actually already started reading it to get a head-start. The holidays can be such a hectic time of year, and I’m sure every woman can relate. I have always been drawn to Victorian London, and Jack the Ripper. This book has both! As I’m writing this, I’m on page 40 of the book and can’t put it down! Kelly and I are excited to see what everyone thinks of the book.

Here is a synopsis of the book. Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence.

What happens if we change history? Félix J. Palma explores this question in The Map of Time, and he weaves a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting, a story full of love and adventure that transports readers to a haunting Victorian London for their own taste of time travel.

I thought it would be fun to add some links for more information regarding the classics Mr. Wells is determined to save, as well as some tidbits about 19th Century London, and Jack the Ripper.

Jack the Ripper was known for committing gruesome murders from August 7 to September 10 in 1888. He remains one of England’s, and the world’s, most infamous criminals. The culprit responsible for the murders of five prostitutes—all took place within a mile of each other, and involved the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate and the City of London. Despite countless investigations claiming definitive evidence of the brutal killer’s identity, his name and motive are still unkown. The name “Jack the Ripper” originates from a letter written by someone who claimed to be the Whitechapel butcher, published at the time of the attacks.

H.G. Wells was born on Sept. 21, 1866.  His first novel, The Time Machine was an instant success and Wells produced a series of science fiction novels which pioneered our ideas of the future.  He died in 1946.

Bram Stoker was born in Dublin, Ireland. Turning to fiction later in life, Stoker published  his masterpiece, Dracula, in 1897.

When I think of 19th century London, images of top-hats, canes, the flickering lamp-posts lining the dark streets while horse hooves clomp across the cobblestone streets. I have not yet visited London, but it is on my list of places I want to go. Here are some of the most popular London Attractions.

The following facts found on Life in the 19th Century.

  • In the 19th century families were much larger than today, and infant mortality was high.
  • In the 19th century the Father was head of the family. He wife and children respected him and obeyed him (at least that was the theory!). Until 1882 all a woman’s property, even the money she earned, belonged to her husband. Divorce was made legal in 1857 but it was very rare in the 19th century.
  • The Industrial Revolution created a huge demand for female and child labour. Children had always done some work but at least before the 19th century they worked in their own homes with their parents or on land nearby. Children’s work was largely seasonal so they did have some time to play. When children worked in textile factories they often worked for more than 12 hours a day. In the early 19th century poor families often had to share toilets and on Sunday mornings queues formed. Given these horrid conditions it is not surprising that disease was common. Life expectancy in towns was low (significantly lower than in the countryside) and infant mortality was very high. British towns and cities suffered outbreaks of cholera in 1831-32 and in 1848-49. Fortunately the last outbreak finally spurred people into action. In the late 19th century most towns dug sewers and created piped water supplies, which made society much healthier. Gaslight first became common in well off people’s homes in the 1840s. By the late 1870s most working class homes had gaslight, at least downstairs. Bedrooms might have oil lamps. Gas fires first became common in the 1880s. Gas cookers first became common in the 1890s. Joseph Swan invented the electric light bulb in 1878. (Thomas Edison invented an improved version in 1879). In the last 2 decades of the 19th century many British towns and cities installed electric street lights. However electric light was expensive and it took a long time to replace gas in people’s homes.
  • The first chocolate bar was made in 1847. Milk chocolate was invented in 1875.
  • Girls from upper class families were taught by a governess. Boys were often sent to public schools like Eaton. Middle class boys went to grammar schools. Middle class girls went to private schools were they were taught ‘accomplishments’ such as music and sewing.

Announcing the winner of our January selection, The Map of Time: Lexi Wichelt

Her comment: A friend recommended The Guernsey Literary and Potato peel pie society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
Lexi, email your address to [email protected] and I will have your book shipped to you. If you have already purchased the book, I would be happy to ship the February selection to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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