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Topic: I'm New Here and Looking for Historical Novels

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Subject: I'm New Here and Looking for Historical Novels
Date Posted: 10/6/2008 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2008
Posts: 1
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Howdy from Texas!  I love all kinds of reading, but I'm really looking for some good, historical novels right now.  I've finished "Pillars of the Earth" and "World Without End" by Ken Follett (GREAT books!!), and also "Tipperary" and "Ireland" by Frank Delaney (sorry, none of these are available for swap).  If any of you have some suggestions, I'd sure like to hear them.

Thanks, and I'll be seeing you around the forum!


Date Posted: 10/7/2008 1:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 576
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welcome Nancy!

There is also a Historical Fiction thread on here and everyone is always willing to send you some ideas. :)

What time period are you interested in? Give us an idea of what you like and I'm sure we can come up with some great ideas!

I've just started reading Lucy (about FDR's affair with Lucy Mercer) and so far so good.  I read a lot of historical fiction..when I have the time that is! I also read On the Wings of the Morning recently and enjoyed it.

Date Posted: 10/7/2008 1:40 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2007
Posts: 3,237
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A few of my faves:

The Far Pavilions by M. M. Kaye (takes place in British India in the 1840s-1860s)

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (takes place in Australia in the first half of the twentieth century)

The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher (takes place in England during WW II and the 1980s--moves back and forth between periods)

Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (takes place in the Pacific Northwest during WW II and also has present-day scenes)

The Widow's War by Sally Gunning (takes place in colonial New England)

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks (takes place in medieval England)

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (takes place during the American Civil War, of course)

and Laurie L. King's Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes mysteries, which are some of favorite novels ever--they take place in England during WW1 and the 1920s. The first is called The Beekeeper's Apprentice.

Date Posted: 10/7/2008 2:48 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,535
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Welcome!!!  Please join us in Historical Fiction.  Pretty soon you'll have more books than you'll know what to do with. :)

Date Posted: 10/7/2008 8:09 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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I really like the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear.  It is set in the late 1920s/early 1930s in England.

Date Posted: 10/7/2008 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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I think you'd enjoy Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurty, I'm pretty sure it qualifies as historical fiction.

Date Posted: 10/7/2008 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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Welcome, Nancy!  Defintely join us in the Historical Fiction forum.  My TBR list has gone from just a list to a mountain since I joined PBS.  By the way my sister lives in McKinney, TX.  Her name is Kathee and she works at Curves.

Subject: Welcome!
Date Posted: 10/7/2008 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 4/26/2008
Posts: 1
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Hey Nancy! If you are looking for some Regency historicals, I highly recommend Julia Quinn, Johanna Lindsey and Sabrina Jeffries. They are humorous, mysterious, all-around good reads. I have just started Celeste Bradley's The Liar's Club series, and that is very good as well.


Date Posted: 10/7/2008 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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WE WANT YOU!  in the Historical Ficiton thread--we are a very active group there and no matter what you are looking for, our folks know of it and will share with you!

If you liked Ireland, try Edward Rutherford's London.  A thick MMPB, but well worth it--he's kind of like James Mitchener--he starts at the very very beginning. Speaking of James Michener, any of his novels are great suggestions--Mexico, Centennial, Poland, Chesapeake,...and many many others--he focuses on a specific place and starts at the beginning and weaves all of the history in for you.

On our HF thread, we are partial to the Tudor era and England in general (but we are very well read on other sub-genres). We'd start you off with Phillippa Gregory's Tudor series The Other Boleyn Girl, etc--book is waaay better than the recent film.

What times in history or places do you like specifically? our Book of the Month club just finished  reads about Ancient Greece, Ancient Troy, and now we're reading in Victorian England. Next month is a title on Chinese HF that I particularly am looking forward to. Do join us!

Date Posted: 10/7/2008 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 437
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Hi, Nancy.  Welcome, and as many have said already - please join us on the HF forum.  The forum has turned me on to many good reads that I would have have found otherwise. 

I've really enjoyed Margaret George's historical novels.  They are lengthy, but very worth it.  I just finished Memoirs of Cleopatra and loved it.  Felt like I was right there in Egypt with Cleopatra. 

Are they any time periods you're most interested in?

Date Posted: 10/8/2008 8:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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If you liked Pillars of the Earth, then try A Bridge to the Sky by Margaret Ball -- I've read it several times and really enjoyed it!

Date Posted: 10/8/2008 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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Hi!  Check out:

Music And Silence-Rose Tremain

The Colour-Rose Tremain

The Memoirs Of Cleopatra-Margaret George (I agree with the above poster-EXCELLENT)!!

Legacy-Susan Kay

Year Of Wonders-Geraldine Brooks

author Aaron Fletcher's Walkabout series

To Dance With Kings-Rosalind Laker

Sandra Gulland's Josephine series

I, Mona Lisa-Jean Kalogridis

Tulip Fever-Deborah Moggach


So many more I can't think of right now, but hopefully all the suggestions posted will get you started!  Have fun looking!


Date Posted: 10/8/2008 8:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/5/2006
Posts: 4,325
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Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber was excellent, it ends rather abruptly but other than that I loved it.

Date Posted: 10/9/2008 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2005
Posts: 463
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Another Margaret George goodie:  The Autobiography Of King Henry VIII With Notes From His Fool, Will Somers

I have Rose Tremain's "Restoration" on my TBR but didn't suggest it because I haven't read it yet.  If it's like the other 2 I listed it's a good one! 

Date Posted: 10/13/2008 1:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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If you're interested in medieval England HF, I'd recommend the books of Elizabeth Chadwick.  I love her writing.  However, there are two authors with this same name so you have to pay attention to which one you are getting when you look for her books.  The one I'm referring to is English and her books are all set in the Middle Ages.  The other one is an American romance author, I haven't read any of her books.

Date Posted: 10/16/2009 12:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2005
Posts: 694
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i just finished books 1 & 2 in the maisie dobbs series (Maisie Dobbs and Bird of a feather)  i really enjoyed them....kind of historical fiction, murder mystery, love stories.... excellent writing too.

Date Posted: 10/16/2009 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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A few HF books I've read recently that I found to be excellent:

City of Thieves - Benioff

The Killer Angels - Shaara

Lonesome Dove - McMurtry

The Diary of Mattie Spenser - Dallas

War and Peace - Tolstoy

The Secret River - Grenville

Homeland - John Jakes

Sacajawea - Waldo

Agincourt - Cornwell

Cold Mountain - Frazier

Sacred Hearts - Dunant

The Day the Falls Stood Still - Buchanan

Honolulu - Brennert

All Quiet on the Western Front - Remarque

Subject: Historical Fiction at its best
Date Posted: 10/16/2009 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 31
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Hi Nancy,

Sharon Kay Penman:  
1101-1154 When Christ And His Saints Slept (Vol 1 of Trilogy)
1156-1171 Time And Space (Vol 2 of Trilogy)
12th Cent Devil's Brood (Vol 3 of Trilogy)- not yet released
1192-1193 The Queen's Man
1193 Cruel As The Grave
1183-1232 Here Be Dragons (Vol 1 of Welsh Trilogy)
1231-1267 Falls The Shadow (Vol 2 of Welsh Trilogy)
1271-1283 The Reckoning (Vol 3 of Welsh Trilogy)
1459-1492 The Sunne In Splendour

Wilbur Smith - The River God -- Egypt

Michael C. White - Soul Catcher -- outstanding Civil War era book

Susan Howatch - Wheel of Fortune

Kathleen Winsor - Forever Amber  "The first real historical romance. This is the book that started it all for me!"

Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier 

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak  --  I loved this book!!!

Just so many wonderful books -- your TBR stack will reach the ceiling!!


Last Edited on: 10/16/09 4:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/16/2009 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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not sure if this is historical fiction but I read and really enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It's in the form of letters mostly so you may not like that. There was some humor and lightness considering most of the letters were about the terrible time they spend under German occupation before they were liberated..the starvation, imprisonment, death..was really good IMO.

Date Posted: 10/17/2009 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2009
Posts: 33
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A fine Balance- Rohinton Mistry - based in 1975 India-  A highly recommended book about the caste sytem in India. It is also an Oprah pick.

The help- Katheryn Stockett- 1960's civil rights movement.  Told through the voices of three women- Two maids and a white women.  Loved this book- The book on tape is awesome as there are three voices narrating.

Date Posted: 10/21/2009 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
Posts: 236
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Are you sorry you asked yet? LOL

Some other authors you will love anything by:

Anya Seton; Mary Renault; Nigel Tranter; Jean Plaidy; Bernard Cornwell; Guy Gavriel Kay -yes! he's labelled Fantasy, but it's thinly disguised history, just set in an alternate world with 2 moons and gods with strange names.  I also second all of the above to name a few.

Get ordering and enjoy.

Cheers, Margaret