Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: 2016: Best Books?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: 2016: Best Books?
Date Posted: 12/26/2016 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
Back To Top

What were your standouts in 2016? I had a great reading year overall, with several books I rated as 5 stars. Top favorites for me this year were (in no particular order):

The Secret Chord, Geraldine Brooks (I know I said no particular order, but this one may be #1 of the year for me!)

An Officer & a Spy, Robert Harris

The Truth According to Us, Annie Barrows

Glory Over Everything, Kathleen Grissom

Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys

The Bookman's Tale, Charlie Lovett

The Gilded Hour, Sara Donati

 

Biggest surprise award would have to go to The Beekeeper's Apprentice, by Laurie King. Such a fun book and I had no idea how much I would love it.

~Kelly



Last Edited on: 12/26/16 12:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/26/2016 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
Back To Top

This wasn't a stellar reading year for me, but three absolute stand-outs were:

Cry to Heaven, A. Rice

The Song of Troy, C. McCullough

An Officer and a Spy, R, Harris

 

Date Posted: 12/27/2016 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
Back To Top

Donna,

An Officer & A Spy was such a surprise ... I didn't know anything about the Dreyfuss Affair ... not sure I even knew there was such a thing. And then the book was so well-written ... I enjoyed it immensely and then recommended it to both Linda & one of my brothers. Mom raced through it, but my brother felt like it moved a little slow for his tastes.

And, I read The Song of Troy several years ago and loved it! I think our copy is still on Mom's shelves. If a person wanted to read just one book about the Trojan War, this would be the one I would recommend.

~Kelly

 



Last Edited on: 12/27/16 9:57 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/27/2016 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,481
Back To Top

2016 was also a very good reading year for me with several 5 star reads:

Seven for A Secret by Lyndsay Faye  (the second of her New York police series)

The Song of Troy by Colleen McCullough  (a revelation; the world still misses her!)

Euphoria by Lily King  (this one was a surprise but I love anthropology)

The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone (how did I go so many years without reading this one?!)

The Twice Born by Pauline Gedge  (a dependable, gifted author who writes about ancient Egypt)

Date Posted: 12/27/2016 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
Back To Top

And I should have mentioned that I read An Officer & a Spy because of Kelly's recommendation and The Song of Troy because of Cheryl's. I get great book recs here!

Date Posted: 12/27/2016 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,481
Back To Top

Donna:kiss

Date Posted: 12/27/2016 11:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/9/2009
Posts: 8,982
Back To Top

I enjoyed most of what I read for the historical fiction challenge but the best by far was The Musuem of Extraordinary Things.by Alice Hoffman.   There are a few moments of magical realism but the strongest parts are those that are historically true-the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, The Dreamland fire on Coney Island, the exhibition of "freaks," the chaos that was New York at the turn of the century.

Date Posted: 12/29/2016 6:25 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 749
Back To Top

I found some really great authors and their series this year:

Lyndsay Faye's Timothy Wilde trilogy -loved her writing, characters. I actually felt like I was in old New York.

CS Harris's Sebastian St. Cyr series- could Sebastian BE any hotter?! 

 

Date Posted: 12/29/2016 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
Back To Top

Ahhh ... Timothy Wilde and Sebastian in the same year? Lucky girl, Carolyn!

Date Posted: 12/29/2016 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,892
Back To Top

I didn't read a lot of historical fiction this year as YA suited my reading schedule with the school load but I read 4 I really liked:

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

The Moon in the Palace and The Empress of Bright Moon by Weina Dai Randel

and Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbotham

 

Date Posted: 12/29/2016 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
Back To Top

I loved Lilac Girls, too.

Date Posted: 12/29/2016 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 749
Back To Top

@Kelly - I know, right?! Lol

Date Posted: 12/30/2016 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
Back To Top

Linda's favorites for 2016:

The Girl from the Train (Irma Joubert)

Once We Were Brothers (Ronald H. Balson)

Salt to the Sea (Ruta Sepetys)

Bloodline (Conn Iggulden)

Glory over Everything (Kathleen Grissom)

Mary Called Magdalene (Margaret George)

Shaman (Noah Gordon)

An Officer and a Spy (Robert Harris)

The Gilded Hour (Sara Donati)

     And I loved the final 2 books by Lyndsey Faye about the early NYC police department.  Seven for a Secret and The Fatal Flame.

Although I don't think the latest Saxon books are as fascinating as the earlier one, I still love Uhtred, and enjoyed Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell.

 

 

Date Posted: 1/2/2017 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2010
Posts: 244
Back To Top

Very best was Benioff's City of Thieves. Other really good ones include Istanbul Passage by Kanon, Rise to Rebellion by Shaara and The Archer's Tale (which I'm still finishing) by Cornwell.

Date Posted: 1/3/2017 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
Back To Top

Kristin,  we really liked City of Thieves also.  And I loved all three books of Cornwell 's Grail Quest Series

Linda



Last Edited on: 1/3/17 1:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/14/2017 1:45 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,138
Back To Top

Kelly, I also read and put The Secred Chord on my best of year list! I have yet to be disappointed by her books. Also, I have The Bookman's Tale on my TBR and I'm really excited to read it. I'm pleased to see it made a "best of year" list! 

Donna, I've had A Cry to Heaven on my TBR for so long and remember buying it because it was so highly recommended. I'm going to bump that one up the list!

My best HF book of 2016 was The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. For non-HF, I'd have to name Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

Date Posted: 1/17/2017 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,412
Back To Top

Some of my best reads this past year (in no particular order):

Flight of Dreams by Ariel Lawhon

Edge of Lost by Kristina McMorris

Child Thief by Dan Smith

Plague by C C Humphreys

Mercury's Rise by Ann Parker

When Falcons Fall by C S Harris

Date Posted: 1/17/2017 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,927
Back To Top

Wow!  This thread is going to lengthen my TBR by so many but these are the ones I want to share.  I've included a historical because it was so good and so well written, Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith.

Regeneration by Pat Barker2/11/2016
River God by Wilbur Smith, 3/5/2016
The Spymistress by Jennifer Chiaverini, 3/6/2016
The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart, 3/8/2016
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, 4/16/20
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie , 7/19/2016
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, 9/15/2016
A Noble Radiance by Donna Leon, 10/8/2016
The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley, 10/12/2016
Letters from Yellowstone by Diane Smith, 11/30/2016
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys, 12/28/2016
Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson, 12/30/2016 



Last Edited on: 2/10/17 6:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 7
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 2/1/2017 6:45 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,297
Back To Top

Just noticed this thread some of my favorites for 2016 are

 

My Lady Judge by Cora Harrison  and everyting else I read by her

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatrix Williams

Madame Chanel by C.W Gortner

A Study in Death by Anna Lee Huber

Murder at the Marble House by Alyssa Maxwell

The Wild Hunt by Elizabeth Chadwick

Hanging Mary by Susan Higginbottom

America's Frist Daughter by Stephanie Dray