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Topic: Help with Book Recommendations

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Subject: Help with Book Recommendations
Date Posted: 7/15/2008 4:05 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 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 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,509
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I'm thinking you may need to wander over to the Historical Fiction forum, it sounds like that is the genre that you enjoy.

I've read all the books you've mentioned, and enjoyed.

Date Posted: 7/15/2008 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
Posts: 295
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You might enjoy The Dark Lantern, by Gerri Brightwell



Portrait of an Unknown Woman, by  Vanora Bennett



Date Posted: 7/15/2008 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2007
Posts: 2,750
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There is a link under the Hidden Gems forum about The Virgin Blue...it is a book by the author of Girl w/ Pearl Earring. 

The subject title is something like: Book Before Girl with the Pearl Earring

Last Edited on: 7/15/08 9:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/15/2008 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2006
Posts: 40
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Thanks!  I'll have to check those books out.  I did see the post about THE VIRGIN BLUE.  I looked around at the historical fiction board, but it seems like most of the posts were about royalty and set during the different time periods of different kings and queens. 

I wasn't sure if the types of books I am interested in (except the Gregory books) would be considered Historical Fiction.  Do you think that the type of book I am looking for would fit in that genre?  I guess they probably would. 

Thanks for the input and recommendations!

Date Posted: 7/16/2008 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Maybe try The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon (Barcelona 1950s) or Lonesome Dove (late 19th century)  by Larry McMurtry. Sandra Dallas writes books in different eras. Also, Thunderstruck by Erik Larsen is also very good. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is set in the early 1900s.

Subject: help with book recommendations
Date Posted: 8/21/2008 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 66
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if you like one erik larsen, i think you would like them all.  i like to listen to his books on cd from the library.  there is also, 'isaac's storm'.  and if you like erik larsen,  you might also like David McCullough's books about various historical people and occurance's.  He presents history in a very readable and engaging way.  I listened to his book 'The johnstown flood' on cd and have begun his pulitzer prize winning book on john addams,  because i had heard so many people talking about it when it came out.  think there are also books on truman, and the panama canal, and '1776', and 'mornings on horseback' about teddy roosevelt.  i wish he would write one on lincoln.  i really like his writing style.

Date Posted: 8/21/2008 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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For the period around the settling of the new "Northwest Territory" by white settlers, try Conrad Richter's The Trees, The Fields, and The Town.

Date Posted: 8/21/2008 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 10/20/2007
Posts: 1,680
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I would recommend books by Beverly Swerling 



Date Posted: 8/29/2008 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
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I just recently read "On Wings of the Morning" by Marie Botswick. It was pretty enjoyable. I wouldn't say outstanding though. Very quick reading. takes place during WWII and is about two pilots, one man and one woman. It follows them through the course of the war. I've also started reading Atonement which so far is pretty good. and I loved the movie. I also always recommend The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas. It takes place during Tulipmania in Holland and is a great story. The first chapter is a little dry but if you can get past that the remainder of the book is amazing. do you have a specific time period that you prefer?
Subject: My recommendation
Date Posted: 9/7/2008 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2007
Posts: 2,287
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I read Water for Elephants this year and LOVED it.

I recently finished The Kite Runner and also loved it.  I thought that there might be too much history in the book (after reading the cover) and would I really understand this book that takes place in a foreign land?  Three complete strangers recommended this book to me.  I finally got it from  PBS.  Don't worry, there is just enough history in the book so that you know what is going on but it is about a relationship between two boys as they grown up.  I HIGHLY Recommend this book!

For me, another good book I have read this year is called Family History by Dani Shapiro.  It was so well written and all about the love of a mother for her child and what she will do to help her daughter with her problems.  I read this book in one weekend!

Date Posted: 9/8/2008 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
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"I looked around at the historical fiction board, but it seems like most of the posts were about royalty and set during the different time periods of different kings and queens." - I meant to say in my post, don't hesitate to ask everyone on the hisorical fiction thread any questions. There are several people who are very well read in a lot of areas...but it does seem like the tudors and books from that time period are the most asked about :)
Date Posted: 9/9/2008 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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How about E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime?   The author wove his story around REAL persons and fictional characters.  For the earliest white settlers in what ais now the state of Ohio, read Conrad Richter's trilogy, The Awakening Land.   That's what the publishers called the book when all three parts were published in one volume.  But you can also read  them in chronological order---The Trees, The Fields, and The Town.

Date Posted: 10/23/2008 8:58 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2008
Posts: 316
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The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett !

Subject: The Trees, The Trees, The Trees,,,,,,,,,,,
Date Posted: 11/8/2008 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,567
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Thank you, Bonnie!  I have been trying to remember the title and author of the book The Trees for years.  I read it in the 70's and could remember it was about trees and that it was wonderful, but times being what they were.....Anyway, thanks for recommending The Awakening Land.

Last Edited on: 11/15/08 4:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/8/2008 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2007
Posts: 357
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I recently read The Well and The Mine by Gin Phillips.  Excellent book about life in Alabama during the depression.  It really gives you an idea of how difficult life was during those hard times.

Another good book I read recently was Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum.  This was set during WWII and it was about a woman trying to survive in Germany and the choices she had to make for the survival of herself and her young daughter.


Date Posted: 11/10/2008 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Small Island by Andrea Levy. It is post WWII. It is the story of two women: one black, one white. Two countries. Same desires- to be loved and to have a place in this world. The novel is about their unlikely meeting and how their lives collide.