Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: Book Recommendations

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Subject: Book Recommendations
Date Posted: 7/15/2008 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2006
Posts: 40
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Hi, I thought that I would ask this question here...hopefully someone will have some recommendations for me.

I just finished WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen and loved it.  In addition to the main story, I really enjoyed just getting a sense of what life was like on a circus during the early thirties, etc.  I also recently finished GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING and really enjoyed the story as well as the references to life during that time.  I like books set during all different time periods and various settings. 

I am looking for similar books--books that are set at different times in history, where you get a good story, but also a sense of what life was like during that time.  Some others that I have read that I have enjoyed are Phillipa Gregory's books and DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY... 

Anyone have any recommendations?  Thanks! 

Date Posted: 7/15/2008 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,508
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Yay! You wandered over here!

I thikn that reading some other of Tracy Chevalier's books would be a good start. The one I've read by her is "Lady and the Unicorn" I am excited, I get to go to the Cloisters in New York soon and am planning on seeing the tapestry.

Another good idea would be "The Girl in Hyacinth Blue" by Susan Vreeland.



Date Posted: 7/16/2008 9:04 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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This is a list of books I've read and enjoyed. They all have something to do with either art or music, and I think you'd enjoy them too.

  • Mademoiselle Victorine - Debra Finerman
  • The Wayward Muse - Elizabeth Hickey
  • The Painted Kiss - Elizabeth Hickey - These two Hickey books were very close to being my favorites of the list.
  • Liszt's Kiss - Susanne Dunlap - Definitely the second best.
  • Rembrandt's Whore - Sylvie Matton - My least favorite, but it was interesting and I'm glad I read it.
  • The Savage Garden - Mark Mills - This isnt about art or music, but it is about a beautiful garden, and, somehow, it seems to "fit" the list. It was a great book with a great mystery included, plus, it had wonderful descriptions too!
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy - Irving Stone - I read this years ago, but it's held up as THE best I've read so far about art or artists.
  • I, Mona Lisa - Jeanne Kalogridis
  • The Portrait of an Unknown Woman - Vanora Bennett

These are books I haven't read, but plan on reading one day.

  • The Flanders Panel - Arturo Perez-Reverte
  • The Painter - Will Davenport
  • A Likeness - Sonia Overall
  • The God of Spring - Arabella Edge
  • Quattrocento - James McKean

Last Edited on: 7/16/08 10:09 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/16/2008 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,508
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You know, another post reminded me that "Katherine" by Anya Seton is very good.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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Audrey, another good one by Anya Seton (and my personal favorite) is The Winthop Woman.  I like Philippa Gregory's book about the Tudors, although not entirely accurate - that's why it's called fiction.  There are tons of great reads in Historical Fiction - just pick a time & place and there is a novel written about it.  Everyone here is very helpful and has good suggestions.

Last Edited on: 7/16/08 2:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/16/2008 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2005
Posts: 714
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Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See was good. I also loved Katherine by Anya Seton.

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/24/2007
Posts: 1,932
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I've got a copy of Katherine on my shelf if anyone is looking for it.