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Topic: Love historical fiction

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Subject: Love historical fiction
Date Posted: 12/27/2008 7:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2006
Posts: 28
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My big green oversized chair by the fireplace, my dog below me...and a historical fiction book in my hand, and absolute serenity and quiet is my ideal...I read a lot of historical fiction and post a lot of it, so be sure to check my bookshelf. I love escaping into other centuries...but only if it's well written. Would love your recommendations. Books have to be over 300 pages...I read very very fast...the bigger the better, but well written a must. Not into those that stuff all the pages with unnecessary sex, although I tolerated it well in Diana Gabaldon's series because her attention to historical detail in my opinion, has not been topped by anyone. Just wish she realized she could write those books w/o it and they'd still be tremendous.
Date Posted: 12/27/2008 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Welcome!

I am working on the second of Paullina Simon's Tatiana and Alexander series, and have the same complaint - I am no prude, but sometimes it just gets to be too much.

 

Date Posted: 12/27/2008 11:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/18/2007
Posts: 782
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If you love big books with lots of detail, I would try Collen McCullough's Masters of Rome series. The first book is called The First Man in Rome and there are several copies of it available. I could give better (and more!) suggestions if I knew what time periods you prefer.

Welcome to the Historical Fiction forum! We are always happy to have new people to talk to!

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 6:23 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,411
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BigGreenChair,

I think two of the best hist. fict. writers around are Sharon Kay Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick, especially EC"s three books about William Marshall and his father John (A Place Beyond Courage, The Greatest Knight, and The Scarlet Lion).  SKP's Welsh trilogy (Here Be Dragons is the first one) is excellent, as are her other wonderful books that starting with When Christ and His Saints Slept follow the rise of the Plantagenet dynasty; and The Sunne in Splendour about Edward IV and Richard III is an all-time favorite.  Edith Pargeter's Heaven Tree trilogy is another favorite.  I really like trilogies and books with sequels.  As with many other lovers of historical fiction, I think it's hard to ever pick a No. 1 favorite, but A Place Beyond Courage is probably my all-time favorite, certainly my favorite book of the 75 HF books read in 2008.

Mimi, I'm just finishing The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.  I have thoroughly enjoyed Tatiana and Alexander's story, but I agree that the author overdoes the "making love" bit -- not graphic in the the least, but  repetitive to the point of redundancy. (And I guess that phrase is a bit redundant also).

 

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 3/5/2008
Posts: 741
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Hi Big Green Chair, I, also, am fairly new to reading this genre and have gotten the best recommendations from this forum.  I am finishing The Bronze Horseman's second book and have just received the third.  I absolutely love these books.  Another recommendation that I loved is The Proud Breed by Celeste De Blasis.  I did not want that one to end either. Also, The Outback Series by Aaron Fletcher. Wish there were more of those also.

Jane

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,500
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Try anything by one of my favorite authors, Dorothy Dunnett.  Her books are complex, exciting,  towards the long side, and the romance is light and tasteful but the passions and the emotions are huge!

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2005
Posts: 809
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Two HUGE books (1,000+ pages) worth reading are The Autobiography of Henry VIII and The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George.

I very much enjoy historical mysteries. Many are short, but in long-running series, so you'll be busy for awhile! To start, I'd recommend Roman Blood by Steven Saylor, Absolution by Murder by Peter Tremayne and A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters. All three are the first books in a series: Roman Blood is set in Cicero's Rome, Absolution by Murder in Dark Ages Ireland and A Morbid Taste for Bones in 12th-century England and Wales.

This Web page is a good resource to find historical mysteries by authors and time periods: http://members.tripod.com/~BrerFox/historicalmystery.html

Glad you've joined us!

Felicia

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Mimi, I'm just finishing The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.  I have thoroughly enjoyed Tatiana and Alexander's story, but I agree that the author overdoes the "making love" bit -- not graphic in the the least, but  repetitive to the point of redundancy. (And I guess that phrase is a bit redundant also).

Yes, that's totally it, it just goes on and on.  Honestly I kind of worried about chafing after awhile.  The second book is the same, and I'm just about to start the third - the story line is fantastic, and expect it to continue.

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 7:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 437
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Another great author, with very detailed, long, descriptive HF books that always grab me is Margaret George.  My favorite was Memoirs of Cleopatra, and I'm about 2/3 through Mary, Called Magdalene right now and am really enjoying it. 

Date Posted: 12/28/2008 9:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,757
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Welcome, Big Green Chair!  Ahhh, sounds like bliss in that chair!  Can I join you?

I'm relatively new to HF too, but a couple of monster-sized books I've read recently and enjoyed are An Instance of the Fingerpost (yes, I know all of you HF veterans here are sick of me lauding this book that most of you read ages ago from the rooftops, but hey, I just discovered it, LOL!) and The Pillars of the Earth.  I like Pillars, but didn't loooooove it, if you know what I mean.  It just seemed like it went on and on and on and on and those poor people never got a break.  LOL! 

I've got some super-size books on my TBR shelf. I can't say for sure if they're good or not, but they're long.  LOL! 

I, Elizabeth, by Rosalind Miles

The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova

Helen of Troy, Margaret George

Mary, Queen of Scotts & The Isles, Margaret George (Obviously, ol' Margaret is verbose, LOL!)

The First Man in Rome, by Colleen McCullough (as has been mentioned)

And I must plug this book.  It's not technically HF, but a good part of it takes place in the past  - The Witching Hour by Anne Rice.  It's is hands down, without a doubt my most favorite book of all time. I've read it at least 3 times, and plan on reading it again soon. 

Date Posted: 12/29/2008 8:35 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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Welcome, BigGreenChair! You've definitely come to the right place; we on this forum share your love for HF and your wish for accuracy sans unnecessary spice.  We're actually a bunch of historians who simply prefer their history to be delivered with a story for context.  The ladies have given you the best recommendtions above, I've nothing to add but affirmation.

We're very active on the threads here on the HF forum, and we'd love to hear your voice on them as we discuss our various topics--don't be a stranger!

 

Colleen

Subject: Thank you to ALL
Date Posted: 1/5/2009 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2006
Posts: 28
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Subject: Thank you to ALL
Date Posted: 1/5/2009 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2006
Posts: 28
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I'm a dummie! I thought when someone posted a reply to you that you are somehow 'notified'. I do genealogy too and when you post in a genealogy forum you are notified is someone responds. So thank you to all of you who have been replying to the BIG GREEN CHAIR and I am sorry it took me so long to figure out you have to go into the forum yourself to figure out if anyone has replied. Many of your recommendations I have read, some I have not, so have jotted them all down. Here are some that over time I have 'kept' on my KEEPER BOOKSHELF. In most cases I believe you should pass books on, the more the better, but there are a few I have not been able to give up and will reread again in later years: Andersonville by McKinley Kantor Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund The Borderland by Edwin Shrake John Adams by David McCullough Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain Ordeal by Hunger by George R Stewart Goodbye Darkness by William Manchester Anya by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer Washington Goes to War by David Brinkley Anything James Michener wrote- Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercy The Gabaldon Outlander series Pillars of the Earth and sequel World Without End by Ken Follett Peace Like a River by Leif Enger Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus and so many others! Because I do genealogy, sometimes I read books that you could not call historical 'fiction' but historical nonfiction that I find very good and informative. Here are a few I really learned a lot from: The Plains Across by John D. Unruh Jr (so much in here you never learned in school!) The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan Cruel World by Lynn H. Nicholas Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War by T.J. Stiles (not just about Jesse James but great great info on the border wars MO KS etc) I've kept a blank book that during my lifetime I jot down beautiful phrases, inspiration, wisdom, thoughts that I have found during my lifetime of reading. DO ANY OF YOU DO THE SAME? Some of them are very powerful. If anyone else has done the same, I'd love to hear some of them. I've got enough going to keep posting for a year since I've been doing this my whole life. Here's one that I jotted down because it just felt 'right': History as a record of large movements does not interest me much. What fascinates me is history as a rendering of felt experience. History exists and existed only in personal perspective, as actual people lived and experienced it.
Subject: PS on that from Big Green Chair
Date Posted: 1/5/2009 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2006
Posts: 28
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ADD to my booklist a short one called: All Over But the Shoutin by Rick Bragg--really beautiful little book