Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: January Historical Fiction Books We Are Reading

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Subject: January Historical Fiction Books We Are Reading
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 8:42 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,305
Back To Top

Happy New Year Everyone

I am reading The Fortune Hunter :: Daisy Goodwin

I am having trouble getting into the book. I will give it another hundred pages or so. The plot and the characters are not grabbing me. Anyone else read it?

Alice
 



Last Edited on: 1/1/15 8:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 12:02 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
Back To Top

Alright everyone, brace yourselves: I'm starting Outlaw by Angus Donald.  (I know, I know!)  I've been hoarding this series because I love Robin Hood tales, but it's time. New year, new authors, no (or less) procrastination.  In fact, I may use my "Free" card in the challenge for all Robin Hood fiction!  That sounds like fun..

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 747
Back To Top

This series is about Robin Hood? I've heard the title, just didn't realize it was Robin....adding this book to my list.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 12:47 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

Reading another Laura London (a husband and wife writing team) historical romance, A Heart Too Proud. I really like the way these two write, despite my genuine dislike of Regency era and first person narrative. There's no peeping through cabinets or keyholes to recount what's going on like you see a lot of these days. And the dialog is so funny. Published back in the day, but not with the OTT cray-cray and sex commonly found in the old school books. Now available on ebook and in the Overdrive catalog. 

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,090
Back To Top

Carolyn --- Do not know if you are old enough to remember Errol Flynn Robin Hood movies, or have seen them in re-runs but these Robin Hood books are not G rated at all.  From a violence perspective they are a definite XX.  I have read the first 2 or 3 and, for me, I spread them out a bit so I am able to wash the gore off my hands between reads.  I do not say this to discourage you from reading them, just be aware they are not a lovely fairy tale!!!  Probably much closer to real life at the time.  Another note, they are extremely difficult to get ahold of.  I have actually purchased all of the ones I currently own.  If you manage to get books 1 and 2, I am happy to save mine for you when you are ready.  Perhaps Vicky will send along books 1 and 2 for you to borrow when she is finished. 

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 747
Back To Top

Becky,

Thanks for the heads up! It will probably be quite a while before I get around to them, as my TBR pile is teetering precariously on my shelves. But besides the violence, are they a good read? (I have seen Errol Flynn 's Robin Hood - fabulous movie, but I have no expectations that a book written in the 21st (?) century would adhere to such constraints. Lol

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
Back To Top

I'm close to finishing The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. It's a well-researched story about the Grimke sisters of Charleston, South Carolina in the early 1800's. Never heard of them? Neither had SMK - who lives in Charleston! They were early abolitionists from a wealthy, slave-owning, plantation owning Southern family. The book is excellent!

Kelly

P.S. Vicky - agree with everything Becky said re: the Angus Donald series! For Mom the series kinds of falls apart around book 4 or so, but the first ones are great adventures, albeit bloody!

 

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,207
Back To Top

VICKY!!!!!! I am truly SHOCKED!!!!! Just so everyone is up to date on Angus' books wink, the newest ones are:

The Iron Castle and Rebel Lord :: Angus Donald 

(Rebel Lord also has the title of King's Assassin.)



Last Edited on: 1/1/15 2:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2008
Posts: 1,711
Back To Top

Just started The Yard by Alex Grecian and The Serpent and the Pearl by Kate Quinn.

I read Outlaw last month and really enjoyed it! Looking forward to reading more of the series this year.



Last Edited on: 1/1/15 3:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,207
Back To Top

For me, avid fan of Angus'  writing that I am, I've been addicted to the whole series. In Angus' blog, he thinks that Iron Castle may his best so far. Looks like he is only planning one more Robin Hood book after Rebel Lord. Unfortunately, he has had to return to work at The Times newspaper due to financial reasons so he is having to squeeze his writing in around that....sigh. He will be coming up with something else though....

And yes, his writing is very graphic but I happen to like that and the action is non-stop - so much so that I'm amazed the pages aren't on fire as I turn them! wink



Last Edited on: 1/1/15 3:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 4:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
Back To Top

Aubree, I have The Yard on my short TBR pile (which, who are we kidding, isn't staying 'short' at all!) 

Jeanne...LOL!  I know!!  But I'm on Chapter 3 and loving it so far!  I don't really need my history too sanitized (for lack of a better description) and I like his writing style.  

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 4:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,207
Back To Top

BTW, Vicky, I also really, really like Alex Grecian's books too!! You've got some good reading to do girl!

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,090
Back To Top

Carolyn --- Yes, the books are worth the read, even with the gore.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
Back To Top

Yep, I am an Angus fan as well...as is my DH.

And I really liked The Yard too, but didn't read the sequels because I had heard they weren't very good, but it looks like I'll need to reconsider.

Right now, I'm reading Where Serpents Sleep, the fourth Sebastian St. Cyr mystery -- having just read the first three. And I have numbers 5 & 6 on my nightstand. My husband and I have an ongoing debate -- he likes to space out books in a series whereas I like to read them straight through if I can.  I think he has a much better memory than I -- he'll remember characters and plot lines. I, on the other hand, forget quickly so prefer to read one after the other so as not to tax my sieve-like memory.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 7:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,207
Back To Top

LOL Deb! Like you have a sieve-like memory!!! Spare me. The two of you must be a hoot...and I'm so glad that you are both Angus fans!

Those St Cyr books are great, aren't they? does your DH read those as well?



Last Edited on: 1/1/15 7:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,891
Back To Top

Starting off the new year with The Curse of the Pharoahs by Elizabeth Peters.  After this is finished I swear I am going to stop taking out books from the library for a minute and start reading some of the ones I own.  Quite hard to do when I work in 10 different libraries so of course I covet every new book that hits the shelves.  Wonder if they'll think I'm a weirdo if I start wearing a blindfold to work? :)

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,390
Back To Top

Ha! Holly, your comment made me laugh out loud ... wear a blindfold to work! ...

Deb, the 2nd Grecian book was not quite up to par with the first one, in my opinion, but I like the characters enough to be eager to read the 3rd ... which I happily received from my Secret Santa!

RE: Sebastian St. Cyr, I'm a little jealous that you are reading them for the first time while I impatiently wait on the next one. This is hands-down one of my very most favorite historical mystery series. Enjoy!

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2007
Posts: 8,491
Back To Top

Alice, I listened to The Fortune Hunter on audio a couple of months ago. I found it okay - not exceptional, not awful, but just okay. Sisi came across as very unlikable. The "hero" seemed a little wimpy to me. I wasn't delighted with it, but since I didn't have another audio on hand for my treadmill workouts, I finished it. If I had another set of discs waiting, I might have abandoned it.

I picked up a book today - The Schoolmaster's Daughter by John Smolens. Only about 20 pages in, but thinking it should be a good one. I will be starting a new audio on the treadmill tomorrow - The Devil's Workshop by Alex Grecian. Seems like he's a popular choice right about now!

wink

Date Posted: 1/2/2015 9:52 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
Back To Top

Happy New Year, friends!  I've been away awhile, and I hope all is well with everyone.

I finished listening to All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr last evening.  What a beautiful book!  One of the best I've read in awhile (although I also recently finished listening to Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein - author of Code Name Verity - which was also fabulous.)  I was in a reading funk in 2014.  Very little seemed to appeal to me, and I think I read like 18 books total the whole year.  Happy to be entering 2015 on a good note.

I am reading A Swarming of Bees by Theresa Tomlinson, and will start listening to Doc by Mary Doria Russell this evening.

Date Posted: 1/2/2015 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
Back To Top

@Vicky, Carolyn and Besty:  I am an Angus Donald virgin, have had them on my WL for years with no luck. Vicky and I were just chatting about them privately yesterday, and I can't wait to start them. I, too, had no idea they were so gorey, but as was stated, I think life was gorey back then and I've no problem so long as it's accurate historically. I think of all the things that tend to get left out by authors for purposes of selling books that are 'smoother reads' or more acceptable to our modern palate, the gore factor leads the list.  Just knowing the stories of my own ancestors in Scotland has clued me in that life was hard, very very hard.

While I am patiently (ok, foot-tappingly) awaiting Mr Donald, I am about to start a little gem called 'Blood Done Sign My Name', HF about a real event that happened in Durham, NC, not too far from where I live.It's about racial tensions in the early 20th century, and there's a murder and a coverup and all that good stuff.

Date Posted: 1/2/2015 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,138
Back To Top

I am hellbent on finishing (FINALLY) The Valley of Horses. I read a chapter or two and then take a few months off. It's been going on for far too long, and this is the month I finish it or finally just give it up. I loved Clan of the Cave Bear so much, that I just really, really want to follow Ayla's story. But this book...it just has not kept my interest at all. I'm guessing it's partly because of the long breaks I've taken with it, but gosh if it was a teeny bit more interesting the breaks wouldn't happen. LOL

I'm also reading a non-HF on my Nook, the 5th book of George R.R. Martin's Ice & Fire series (Dance with Dragons) and that is a much more interesting read. 

 

Date Posted: 1/2/2015 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,857
Back To Top

One of the best HF books I read last year was The Last Queen by Gortner, an unpostable, which I finished Dec. 31, 5 stars for me.   If you haven't read it, I recommend it but if you have I'd be interested in how you felt about it. 

Kelly:  I read that series and loved it, too.  Glad to hear that you are enjoying it.  And, Shelley, I had a first read for  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  Yes, yes, yes!  It's a great read.  Maybe I was in a reading funk, too.  I'm having trouble trying to decide what to read for this year.  Found myself moving to other challenges last year because I was burned out on HF.  Perhaps my starts this year reflect that movement - a memoir, a science fiction, and a contemporary read  (Yes ChefOut of the Silent Planet and Necessary Errors).  



Last Edited on: 1/20/15 5:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 12
Date Posted: 1/2/2015 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
Back To Top

Kelly, I loved Clan of the Cave Bear too, and although I read the subsequent books, none of them were nearly as good as the first one.  Isn't that the way it so often goes?

REK - Reading slumps are no fun.  I read more self-help/motivational books and knitting books/magazines (and listened to lots of knitting and fiber-related podcasts) than usual.  Almost every book I read was just "meh," and I was never very motivated to pick it up. I'd lay in bed at night and instead of reading on my Kindle, I'd surf the internet.  LOL!  Hoping it's over now since two of the books I read recently really interested me.  I'm also going to be more willing to pull the pin on a book if I don't like it.  I've always had a hard time doing that.  I feel like if I do that, any amount of time I've already invested in the book becomes a big waste.  LOL!  I can never seem to remember that continuing to read it is wasting even more time.  Like throwing good money after bad.

Date Posted: 1/2/2015 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
Back To Top

Kelly E., I had to chuckle when I read your comments about Valley of the Horses.  I seem to remember (if I search far, far back in the mists of time) that I struggled with that book as well.  She's alone for 98% of the novel!  But then, I do recall the third book, The Mammoth Hunters, being much better: more people, more action, more...mammoths. You name it, it had more!  

I'm dying to read All the Light we Cannot See; I have a brand new copy in my hot little hands which I am supposed to send to one of my branches. And I will, because luckily I'm really enjoying "Outlaw."  Not too gory yet; someone got their tongue cut out, but hey...eta: I don't think that's a spoiler, btw.



Last Edited on: 1/2/15 4:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/2/2015 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,207
Back To Top

@ Colleen....be advised that since Robin Hood was a legendary character, Angus has definitely taken some liberties with history and what "Robin" does or has done. Other than that, I think his research is great and his story lines pretty much follow the factual events. Keep in mind that this is historical FICTION and is obviously written to entertain - and it does entertain me!

Oh! here's a link to his website if you'd like to check it out further: http://www.angus-donald.com/book/



Last Edited on: 1/2/15 4:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Page: