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Topic: August-What are you reading for Historical Fiction

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Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Subject: August-What are you reading for Historical Fiction
Date Posted: 8/1/2015 7:44 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,308
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Let's discuss our August books.

I am reading a steampunk novel

Forged by Desire (London Steampunk, Bk 4) :: Bec McMaster

This is set in late 1800s I would say. Always fun mixture of paranormal and history. I enjoy this series a lot.

Alice



Last Edited on: 8/1/15 7:45 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/1/2015 12:17 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
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I just finished The Thunder of Giants by Joel Fishbane.  I really enjoyed this one!  It's a first novel, so you always go in with caution.  But he did a great job of holding my interest, and I thought his writing was good.  He tells the story of two women, both almost 8 feet tall, in alternating chapters.  Anna Swan (this character was based on a real person) was born in Nova Scotia in the 1840's and eventually became a feature in P.T. Barnum's museum.  (Barnum already had 3 male giants, and Anna was assumed to be the only female giant on earth.  Of course Barnum would say that, right?)  Anyway, a group of giants was called a thunder of giants, hence the title.  The second giant in this story is the fictional character Andorra Kelsey, who is spotted on the street in 1937 Detroit by a Hollywood scout, and soon travels to Hollywood to make a movie of the life of Anna Swan. 

Eventually the reader begins to see how the lives of these two women are linked by more than a physical similarity.  I would recommend this one.

Date Posted: 8/1/2015 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 2/27/2008
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About half-way through

http://www.paperbackswap.com/Glastonbury-Novel-Christian-Donna-Fletcher-Crow/book/1581341628/ 

And loving it!



Last Edited on: 8/1/15 1:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2015 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,927
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Working on Sashinka by Simon Montefiore.  As a teenager, Sashinka lives through the revolution that overthrows the Tsar.  She grows up and the story follows her through the terror that follows.  There are basically three sections in the novel - the first about Sashinka and her family during the period just prior to and through the revolution.  The second, Moscow, 1939, finds her married to a party member and raising two children.  This is where I am so I cannot comment on the third section called The Caucasus, London, Moscow, 1994.  It's good reading and I like it so far.  Just a comment:  The Observer (London) voted it as one of top five reads for summer of 2008. 



Last Edited on: 8/3/15 8:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/3/2015 7:55 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
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Hey --- if anyone else is interested in the above book REK mentions, the title is "Sashenka", ISBN 978-1416595557 for paperback.  The book sounds very interesting but I was not finding it anywhere, so checked author web page. He also often uses a middle name "Sebag".  Thanks REK for the recommendation.

Date Posted: 8/3/2015 8:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,927
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Thanks Becky!  I'm often reading books that others may not be reading.  Mine is up for grabs when I finish it if anyone is interested.  I have a beautiful HB.

Date Posted: 8/3/2015 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,107
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REK -- I would love to have your book if no one else has claimed it.  I suppose the easiest way is for you to give me the ISBN then I should pop up as a friend when you post.  Whatever will be easiest for you.  If you have my address on file, I can gift you a credit and you can send whenever.  There is no hurry.

Date Posted: 8/3/2015 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 749
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I finished The King's Assassin by Angus Donald yesterday, and started The Endless Forest by Sara Donati, the last (?) in her Wilderness series.

 

CR

Date Posted: 8/3/2015 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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I'm reading Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen by Mary Sharrat.  I'm not sure but I think someone else here mentioned having read this one.  I am moved by Sharrat's imagined life of Hildegard.  We like early music and have a CD of her music, which I guess has been around for 900 years!

Carolyn, I have been on the WL for The Endless Forest forever - is your copy going to be available by chance?

 

 

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 8/4/2015 7:15 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,308
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I am reading a very interesting book My Notorious Life: A Novel :: Kate Manning

It is based on a true character, madame X.  The woman Axie Muldoon was 1800's midwife, abortionist. Starts out in 1860 New York City when she is 12 and goes through her adult life. Anna Pacquin is working on a project to star as Axie in a miniseries.

Very good read.

Date Posted: 8/4/2015 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
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Donna,

Probably not, sorry.  I have the whole series and my cousin is interested in reading it :/  

I bought my HB copy from Better World Books for only $3; it's an ex-library copy but it's in good condition.  Maybe they have more copies?

CR

Date Posted: 8/4/2015 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,927
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I can't help but comment on Sashenka.  If you want a read that transports you to another time and place that is absolutely outstanding I recommend Sashenka by Simon Montefiore.  It's a story of family, friends, love and and life in Russia during the revolution that deposed the Tsar and the Stalin regime.  What a ride!  I had a tough time putting it down.



Last Edited on: 8/6/15 8:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/4/2015 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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Thanks anyway, Carolyn, and thanks for the tip.  I will look for it used since it doesn't seem to be circulating on PBS.

Alice, I liked My Notorious Life a lot - even better than The Orphan Train, which was a bit similar.

R E K., I'm putting Sashenka on the list.

Date Posted: 8/4/2015 7:21 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,107
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Alice --- At some point "My Notorious Life" was free on Kindle and I took it on a whim and ended up really enjoying it!!!

Carolyn --- Alice is sending me "Sashenka" so once I get it, I will give you the ISBN so you can put it on your wishlist, then when I post it you will come up at a friend and I will send it along.

Date Posted: 8/9/2015 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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Good morning all,

In spite of my busy life (read crazy, actually) I have managed to keep reading---some.  I am slowly working my way through the Anna Pigeon series by Nevada Barr, and just finished Book 7, Liberty Falling.  Very interesting descriptions of Ellis and Liberty Islands and a bit of their history. Then I picked up a juvenile novel (because the kids will be coming back soon!) called "The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate."  It's set in 1899, and is the story of Calpurnia Victoria, called Callie Vee by her five brothers.  She has a burning interest in nature, observing insects, plants and animals and recording these observations in a notebook.  She tries to check out a copy of Mr. Darwin's new book, On the Origin of Species at her local library, but the MEAN BAT OF A LIBRARIAN was horribly cruel!  Perfect example of everything we do not do in libraries today! I should use that scene in training new people!  Anyway, Callie is in for an amazing surprise when she finds out her grandfather (who lives with them, but seems unapproachable) not only has a copy of the book in his personal library, but he has corresponded with Mr. Darwin, being a naturalist himself.  And so begins a very sweet friendship between Callie and her grandfather.  Very well-written, and recommended for anyone with a girl interested in science (5th grade and up, I would say.)  

Next up is another book for the challenge: Imperial Woman, by Pearl S. Buck, will be my China book and my HIghbrow Classic.  :)  I live in her birthplace, I should read at least one of her books. *blushes*

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 8/9/2015 9:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,308
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I finished Fallen Women Author: Sandra Dallas 

Set in Denver 1885. Very good complex historical mystery. This is my first book I read by Ms. Dallas, I enjoyed her slowly revealing clues and very complex intersting characters.

Date Posted: 8/10/2015 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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Alice, I have enjoyed every Sandra Dallas novel I've read, especially The Diary of Mattie Spenser and The Persian Pickle Club.

Date Posted: 8/10/2015 11:49 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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@ REK--Sashenka is on my TBR as well, glad you are enjoying it!

I have not had a lot of time, but a 2 week vacation is coming up, so I'll load up my bag for the beach.  I am about to start The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin, for my IRL book club. It's apparently the story of Mrs. Charles Lindbergh and her trials and tribulations. I'll let you know how it goes.

Anyone else miss the frequency of posting from our board? It feels to me like we lost a lot of folks and our board here is just not as active anymore. I used to check in twice a day but don't need to anymore, there's nothing new that frequently.....   :(

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 8/10/2015 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,308
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yes once PBS started with charges a lot of our buddies left. Sad....

Date Posted: 8/10/2015 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
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Colleen:  Be interested in how you like The Aviator's Wife.  I read it some time ago but will keep my thoughts to myself until I hear from you.  

Sometimes I find a book that's just right for how I feel.  One such book that I've just finished is My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrick Backman.  He's the author of A Man Called Ove which I haven't yet read but has gotten lots of wonderful reviews.   Anyway I think that Grandmother is a magical book and if any of you like magic just a little perhaps this one is for you.  I found so many quotes that I marked as I went.  (I'm not usually one to do that.)  Went through eight book marks before I finished.  I loved Elsa, the key character, and her grandmother is a kick.  You can't help laughing about and with her.  There is so much in this wonderful read that I decided I had to write about it a bit and share with some of you.  Has anyone else read it?  If so, how did you feel about it?   

By the way I have never been much for commenting here even through I check it out daily.  Guess that makes me a lurker!  



Last Edited on: 8/10/15 2:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/11/2015 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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Carolyn, yes! I do miss the frequency of comments here and miss hearing from those who have left.  There is a comparable group on Goodreads, but  is not that active either.

I am reading a nonfiction book right now called "Van Gogh: A Life". Hubby and I were at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam last month and I decided to read about the artist's life when I got home.  I'm a little sorry I did because his life was a tragic life of mental illness and cycles of mania and depression.  The book is huge - 950 pages - and I'm about half way through.  It is really well written but reading it is a bit like picking at a scab - you know it's going to bleed and hurt but you feel compelled to do anyway.

For hf, I've just started the first book in the Poldark series.  Has anyone read these and if so, what did you think?

Date Posted: 8/12/2015 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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I too miss the flow of comments, hope it picks up.  Donna,  I started reading the Poldark series back in 2009 - loved them all.  Got Kelly involved in the series and the characters a few months ago, and she's now a big fan also.

Currently I'm reading The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly, set in Mississippi in 1927 just before the big flood, one of America's worst natural disasters (and yet mostly unknown).  Moonshiners, revenuers, murders, an abandoned baby, a likeable federal agent.  I'm only about half-way through it, anticipating a love story too.  Really like it.

Linda

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 8/13/2015 8:42 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,308
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I tried reading Warrior Queen: The Story of Boudica, Celtic Queen :: Alan Gold. I gave up after 80 pages.  Didn't like the writing style or slow pace. Constant switching from Britian to Rome drove me nuts. Well we can't like them all....

Date Posted: 8/13/2015 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,414
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I am STILL reading Six and a Half Deadly Sins by Colin Cotterill - the latest in the the Dr. Siri Paiboun series. Even though there are some laugh out loud minutes in this book, I am so distracted by computer games lately, that it's hard for me to get into anything except "grab you by the throat: mysteries! Hidden object games have me mesmerized.

Vicky - I finished Anatomy of Evil by Will Thomas and I enjoyed it. We'll have to chat about it.

Date Posted: 8/13/2015 11:35 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,481
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I'm reading Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn.  I have really been enjoying reading several of Ms. Quinn's books this year.

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