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Topic: Reading through British History - Feedback/Input/Suggestions Needed

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Subject: Reading through British History - Feedback/Input/Suggestions Needed
Date Posted: 3/10/2014 10:03 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
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As some of you may remember, in the fall of 2012 I took a trip to England  - London & York.  It was my second trip as I had also visited in 2005  - London & the Salisbury Plain / Wiltshire - Stonehenge, Avebury, Glastonbury, Bath, etc.    There are periods/parts of British history that I know quite well - such as Stonehenge.  However, when I visited York it became clear that there are big gaps in my knowledge of British history - like the War of the Roses.   So while I was over there I downloaded British History for Dummies (don't laugh, it's been very informative and entertaining) and also picked up a book at Winsdor Castle with the history of the entire British monarchy going back to the early kings of England/Wessex.   Between the two books, I've filled in the gaps pretty well with some basic knowledge.  But now I would like to do a "deep dive" into British history and I'm thinking the best way to do that is to read through it chronologically.

So I've gone through my TBR - which is quite large - and listed all of the books both fiction and non-fiction that I think would apply to this effort.  I'm focusing primarily on the history of England.    For now I'm not planning to include Ireland or Scotland, except on the peripherary.  I'm not sure about Wales.   The "native" Britons were pushed to the west to Wales and Cornwall, so I might include Wales.  But I only have one book set in Wales on the list right now that I know about (Hood by Stephen Lawhead).

So here's where I need your help - please!    I would like the books on this list  - both fictional and non-fiction - to be truer to history..  I know we have several people on this board who are knowledgable about this.  There are also several gaps in the timeframe that need to be filled with books - so suggestions on those would be great.   If you see any gaps that I haven't identified yet, please feel free to suggest books.  I have in fact already started on this "Deep Dive into British History".  I read Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell late in 2013.  But then I ran straight into several time periods for which I have no books - and don't know which books to get - so that is as far as I have gotten LOL.   Luckily I don't really have a timeframe in which I have to complete this challenge.  I would maybe like to get 6-10 books read in the challenge this year and know the challenge is going to take multiple years.

Oh, and a few more things ...  I would very much use as many books from my own TBR for this as much as works.  And I would like to "spread the wealth" among various authors.  For example, I know that Sharon Kay Penman is considered a very good author of British historical fiction, but don't want to include too many books by her on the list.  But if you have a book in mind that you think is better than one I have on the list, go ahead and suggest it and tell me why :-)

Thanks in advance for any input!!  I'll check in regularly to respond.

Lynne

ETA:  I'm also especially interested in any historical fiction books set in York - other than the Owen Archer series which I am already reading.  Before going to York, I tried to find some but kept finding books on the War of the Roses (not necessarily set in York)  and New York instead.



Last Edited on: 3/10/14 11:33 AM ET - Total times edited: 7
Date Posted: 3/10/2014 10:05 AM ET
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Here's the list so far!

  • Multi Time Period / The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England (NF)
  • Multi Time Period / Sarum by Edward Rutherford (Salisbury Plain)
  • Multi Time Period / London by Edward Rutherford
  • 2000 BC / Neolithic-Beakers-Early Bronze Age / Stonehenge by Bernard Cornwell (done)
  • MISSING TIME PERIOD – Iron Age 750BC – AD 43
  • MISSIING TIME PERIOD – Pre-Roman  / Early Roman Britain
  • 2nd Century Roman Britain / None / The Germanicus Mosaic: Libertus Mysteries #1 and A Pattern of Blood #2 by Rosemary Rowe
  • MISSING TIME PERIOD – Late Roman Britain
  • Post-Roman / King Arthur / #1 The Skystone and #2 The Singing Sword: Camulod Chronicles by Jack Whyte
  • Post-Roman / King Arthur / Sword at Sunset /  Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutciff
  • 7th Century Ireland / Sister Fidelma Mysteries by Peter Tremayne
  • MISSING TIME PERIOD – Viking occupation of Northern England / York
  • MISSING TIME PERIOD – Early English Kings
  • 1044 / The Future King and I Am the Chosen King by Hollick
  • 1066 / The Norman Conquest by Morris (NF)
  • 11th Century / The Perfect Wife by Lynsay Sands (Historical Romance)
  • 11th Century / Robin Hood / Hood by Stephen Lawhead
  • 1120-1399 / The Plantagenets by Jones (NF)
  • 1135 / Civil War: Maude vs Stephen / When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman
  • 1138 / Cadfael Mysteries by Ellis Peters
  • Late 12th Century / William Marshall /  The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
  • 12th Century / Henry II & Queen Eleanor / The Serpent’s Tale by Ariana Franklin
  • 1193 / Eleanor of Aquitane / The Queen’s Man: Medieval Mystery #1 by Sharon Kay Penman
  • GAP???
  •  1200s /  The Four Queens by Nancy Gladstone (NF)
  • 1366 York / The Nun’s Tale: Owen Archer #3 by Candace Robb
  •  1400s / The Novice’s Tale: Sister Frevisse #1 by Margaret Frazer
  • 1450 / War of the Roses – Edward IV / The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans
  • 1464 / War of the Roses / The White Queen/The Red Queen/The Lady of the Rivers by Phillipa Gregory
  • 1483 / War of the Roses / The Stolen Crown by Higgenbotham
  •  1500s - Tudor / Katherine of Aragon & Henry VIII / The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
  • 1560 – Tudor / Elizabeth I / To Shield the Queen: Ursula Blanchard mysteries #1 by Fiona Buckley
  • Elizabethan / Herbal Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson
  • 1603+ /James I & Charles I / Earthly Joys by Phillipa Gregory
  • 1660’s Restoration / Charles II / Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor
  • 1673-1700 / Duchess: A Novel of Sarah Churhill by Susan Holloway Scott
  • 1714 Cornwall / The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
  • 1748 / Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue
  • 1760 / The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon
  •  1800’s / many / What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool (NF)
  • 1814 / Georgiana Darcy’s Diary by Elliot
  • Early 1800’s / Jane Austen Mysteries by Stephanie Barron
  • 1868 / India / The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  • Late 1800s – Victorian / The Widow of Larkspur Inn by Blackwell
  • Late 1800s – Victorian / And Only to Deceive by Alexander
  • Late 1800’s – Victorian / Arthur Conan-Doyle / Arthur & George by Julian Barnes
  • Late 1800s – Victorian / Victoria’s Daughters by Jerrold Packard
  • 1890’s / Victorian/Edwardian Mysteries by Robin Paige
  • 1901 / Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier
  • Early 1900s / The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones
  • MISSING TIME PERIOD - WWI
  • 1920’s / Daisy Dalrimple mysteries by Carolyn Dunn
  • 1920’s / Mary Russell mysteries by Laurie R King
  • 1930’s / Royal Spyness mysteries by Rhys Bowen
  • 1940’s / WWII / Blitzcat by Robert Westall
  • 1950’s / Miss Buncle’s Book by Stevenson
Date Posted: 3/10/2014 4:33 PM ET
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For WWI I'd recommend Philip Rock's The Passing Bells. There's also Over There by Thomas Fielding (or is it Felding?).

Date Posted: 3/10/2014 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
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For 9th c. Britain, I'd recommend Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred series -- but there are 7 books thus far, so that may not work.

For The Wars of the Roses, I would strongly recommend Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour over the Phillipa Gregory books.

For Henry VIII and his wives, I'd go with Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII.

For Elizabeth I, I'd go with Susan Kay's Legacy (but I do not know the Buckley mysteries).

Quite honestly, for Henry II and Eleanor, as much as I like Franklin's and Penman's mystery series, I would opt for Sharon Kay Penman with The Devil's Brood -- but it really depends on how much history you want in the foreground versus the background.

For Roman Britain at the end of the 3rd century, you might try Rosemary Sutcliff's The Silver Branch and/or for 5th c., Sutcliff's The Lantern Bearers.

I'd probably add Katherine by Anya Seton -- it covers important 14th c. history and is just a good book.

 



Last Edited on: 3/10/14 8:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/10/2014 8:37 PM ET
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I just love this thread and I plan to print this list and all the suggestions for future reference.

Date Posted: 3/10/2014 10:59 PM ET
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Thanks for all suggestions and comments so far!  I'm going to try to look into them in more depth tomorrow.

Date Posted: 3/10/2014 11:10 PM ET
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I agree with Deb about Legacy. I read it last month and loved it! I also really enjoyed Miss Buncle's book. Very cute story. 

Date Posted: 3/11/2014 7:45 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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This is a great idea, Lynne. I wonder if you have heard of the site, Historical Novels, which briefly annotates and organizes HF titles by place and time period. It may already have the list you are looking for.

That said, I recommend the Manda Scott series on Boudica for the 1st Century Britain. They cover the invasion of the Romans.

Date Posted: 3/11/2014 7:58 AM ET
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Oh Lynne, I can't tell you how many times I've contemplated doing this! (And for Ireland too).  For now, I'll watch you enjoy this project, but I have a feeling I will jump in and do this too in the next year or so! smiley

I second Bernard Cornwell's books about Uhtred--I believe York is the setting, so you NEED to read those!  (Well, York at times, let's put it that way.)  Rosemary Sutcliff does a wonderful job with Roman Britain, and I'm glad to see Sword at Sunset on your list.  

Do you want more than one book for each time period?

Date Posted: 3/11/2014 8:01 AM ET
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As always, Genie has a brilliant suggestion. The Historical Novels site she recommends is a terrific source for this kind of project.

Date Posted: 3/11/2014 9:32 AM ET
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How did I not know that website existed?!  Thanks, Genie!

Date Posted: 3/11/2014 10:44 AM ET
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Jean Plaidy was an extremely prolific writer who wrote dozens of novels covering pretty much all of English history from the Norman conquest to World War II.  I've read all her books and highly recommend them.  She also wrote different genres under the names Victoria Holt and Phillipa Carr.  (Her real name was Eleanor Hibbert.)

Date Posted: 3/11/2014 1:16 PM ET
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Last Edited on: 2/4/15 2:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/11/2014 1:42 PM ET
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Good adds, Tess!

 

Date Posted: 3/11/2014 11:48 PM ET
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Strong endorsement of Manda Scott's Boudica quadrilogy for 1st century Brittain!

Linda & I started a list a few years ago, using the Royals as the divisions. Unfortunately, we have not done a very good job editing or keeping it updated. So, although imperfect and incomplete, it may be of some value & may spark some other ideas/endorsements from the rest of the group.

 

  1. Pre-Conquest
    • Warlord Chronicles (Trilogy), Bernard Cornwell - King Arthur
    • Kingmaking, Dragon's Banner, Shadow of the King (Trilogy), Helen Hollick - King Arthur
    • Dark Ages Trilogy: Road to Avalon, Joan Wolf - King Arthur
    • Dark Ages Trilogy: Born of the Sun, Joan Wolf - King Ceawlin
    • Dark Ages Trilogy: Edge of Light, Joan Wolf - Alfred the Great
    • Saxon Chronicles, Bernard Cornwell – Alfred the Great
    • Gildenford, (1/3) Valerie Anand
    • Norman Pretender, (2/3) Valerie Anand
    • The Forever Queen, (1/2) Helen Hollick - Emma (aka The Hollow Crown)
    • I Am the Chosen King, (2/2) Helen Hollick – Harold Godwinson (aka Harold the King)
    • The Wind from Hastings, Morgan Lewelyn – Harold Godwinson
    • Lord of Sunset, Parke Godwin  (Cathy)
    • Warriors of the Dragon Gold, Ray Bryant

 

  1. William the Conqueror
    • Conquest, Elizabeth Chadwick
    • Winter Mantle, Eliz. Chadwick (Post 1066)
    • Of the Ring of Earls, Juliet Dymoke 
    • Disputed Crown, (3/3) Valerie Anand
    • Conqueror, Georgette Heyer
    • Needle in the Blood, Sarah Bower
    • King of the Wood, Valerie Anand – William Rufus
    • A Memory of Lions, Parke Godwin  (Cathy)

 

  1. Henry I, Stephen (Henry I’s nephew) & Matilda (Henry I’s daughter) (1100 – 1154)
    • When Christ & His Saints Slept, Sharon Kay Penman
    • The Morning Gift, Diana Norman
    • The Love Knot, Elizabeth Chadwick
    • A Place Beyond Courage (John Marshal), Eliz Chadwick
    • Falcons of Montabard, Eliz Chadwick
    • Henry of the High Rock, Juliet Dymoke

 

  1. Henry II & Eleanor of Aquitaine, Richard the Lion Heart, John I (1154 – 1199)
    • Time & Chance, Sharon Kay Penman
    • The Devil’s Brood, SKP
    • The Queen’s Man, SKP (hist mys)
    • Cruel as the Grave, SKP (hist mys)
    • Dragon’s Lair, SKP (hist mys)
    • Prince of Darkness, SKP (hist mys)
    • Champion, Eliz Chadwick – Richard I & John
    • Shields of Pride (1173), Eliz. Chadwick
    • The Greatest Knight, Elizabeth Chadwick  - William Marshal
    • Scarlet Lion, Elizabeth Chadwick – William Marshal (sequel to Greatest Knight)
    • Shadows & Strongholds, Eliz. Chadwick
    • Mistress of the Art of Death, Arianna Franklin (hist mys)
    • Serpent’s Tale, Arianna Franklin (hist mys)
    • Fitzempress’ Law, Diana Norman
    • Time of Singing, Elizabeth Chadwick

 

  1. John I (1199 – 1216)
    • Lords of the White Castle, Eliz. Chadwick (Shadows’ sequel)
    • Here be Dragons (Welsh Trilogy 1/3), SKP
    • Marsh King’s Daughter, Eliz. Chadwick
    • The Heaven Tree Trilogy, Edith Pargeter
    • Below the Salt, Thomas Costain

 

  1. Henry III (1216 – 1272) & Edward I (1272 – 1307)
    • Falls the Shadow (Welsh Trilogy 2/3), SKP
    • The Reckoning (Welsh Trilogy 3/3), SKP
    • The Brothers of Gwynedd, Edith Pargeter
    • Love Knot, Vanessa Alexander – Joanna (Edward I’s daughter)

 

  1. Edward II (1307 – 1327)
    • Traitor’s Wife, Susan Higginbotham
    • Queen Isabella, Alison Weir
    •  

 

  1. Edward III (1327 – 1377)
    • The Grail Quest Trilogy, Bernard Cornwell
    • Nectar from a Stone, Jane Guill (Wales)
    • 1356, Bernard Cornwell
    •  

 

  1. Richard II (1377 – 1399),  Henry IV (Bolinbroke) (1399 – 1413)
    • Katherine, Anya Seton - John of Gaunt’s mistress & 3rd wife
    • Julian’s Cell, Ralph Milton
    • Within the Fetterlock, Brian Wainwright
    • A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury, Edith Pargeter
    • Within the Hollow Crown, Margaret Campbell Barnes
    • The Illuminator, Brenda Rickman Vantrease
    • The Mercy Seller, Brenda Rickman Ventrease
    • Crispin Guest mysteries, Jeri Westerson - Richard II

 

  1. Henry V (1413 - 1422)
    • Crown in Candlelight, Rosemary Hawley Jarman
    • Azincourt, Bernard Cornwell
    •  

 

  1. Edward IV (1461 – 1469; 1471 – 1483) &  Henry VI (1422 – 1461; 1470 – 1471)
    • Adventures of Alianore Audley, Brian Wainwright
    • Wars of the Roses, Alison Weir
    • The Innocent, Posie Graeme-Evans
    • The Exiled, Posie Graeme-Evans
    • The Uncrowned Queen, Posie Graeme-Evans
    • Sunne in Splendour, SKP
    • Daughter of York, Anne Easter Smith (Margaret, Edward & Richard’s sister)
    • King's Grace, Anne Easter Smith - Edward IV
    • Royal Mistress, Anne Easter Smith - Edward IV
    • Queen by Right, Anne Easter Smith - Cecily Neville, Edward IV's Mother
    • Figures in Silk, Vanora Bennett
    •  

 

  1. Richard III (1483 – 1485)
    • Sunne in Splendour, SKP
    • Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey
    • A Rose for the Crown, Anne Easter Smith
    • We Speak No Treason, Rosemary Halley Jarman
    • Treason, Meredith Whitford
    • Richard the Third, Paul Murray Kendall
    • Royal Blood: Richard III, Bertram Fields
    • Seventh Son, Reay Tannahill
    •  
    •  

 

  1. Henry VII (1485 – 1509)
    • King’s Daughter, Sandra Worth
    • To Hold the Crown, Jean Plaidy
    •  

 

  1. Henry VIII (1509 – 1547)
    • The Constant Princess, (Katharine of Aragon) Philippa Gregory
    • Kathryn in the Court of Six Queens, Anne M. Abbey
    • Autobiography of Henry VIII, Margaret George
    • Portrait of an Unknown Woman, Vanora Bennett
    • The Dissolution (& other Matthew Shardlake mysteries), C.J. Sansom
    •  

 

  1. Mary I (1533 – 1558) & Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603)
    • Queen’s Fool, Philippa Gregory
    • Mary, Queen of Scots, Margaret George
    •  

 

  1. Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603)
    • Legacy, Susan Kay
    • Firedrake’s Eye, Unicorn’s Blood, Gloriana’s Torch, Patricia Finney (hist mys trilogy)
    • A Famine of Horses, A Season of Knives, A Surfeit of Guns, A Plague of Angels, etc. PF Chisholm – Sir Robert Carey, Scottish Border, hist mys series
    •  

 

  1. James I (VI of Scotland) (1603 – 1625)
    • Firemaster’s Mistress, Christie Dickason
    •  
    •  

 

  1. Charles I (1625 – 1649)
    • Earthly Joys, Virgin Earth Philippa Gregory
    • Moon in the Water, Pamela Belle (1/3)
    • Chains of Fate, Pamela Belle (2/3)
    • Royal Escape, Georgette Heyer
    •  

 

  1. Oliver Cromwell & the Roundheads (1653 – 1659)
    • Wintercombe, Pamela Belle (1/4)
    • Herald of Joy, Pamela Belle (2/4)

 

  1. Charles II (1660 – 1685)
    • Dark Angels, Karleen Koen
    • The Vizard Mask, Diana Norman
    • Alethea, Pamela Belle (3/3)
    • Lady on the Coin, Margaret Campbell Barnes (Cathy)
    • Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks - The Plague of 1665

 

  1. James II (1685 – 1688)
    • A Falling Star, Pamela Belle (3/4)
    • Treason's Gift, Pamela Belle (4/4)
    •  

 

  1. William III (1688 - 1702) &  Mary II (1688 – 1694)
    •  
    •  

 

  1. Anne (1702 - 1714)
    • Through a Glass Darkly, Karleen Koen
    • Shores of Darkness, Diana Norman

 

  1. George I (1714 - 1727)
    •  
    •  

 

  1. George II (1727 - 1760)
    •  
    •  

 

  1. George III (1760 - 1820)*
    • God Save the King aka Queen of Bedlam, Laura Purcell (Cathy)
    • A Catch of Consequence, Diana Norman (1/3)
    • Taking Liberties, Diana Norman (2/3)
    • Sparks Fly Upward, Diana Norman (3/3) (Largely set in France, French Revolution)

 

  1. George IV (1820 - 1830) * Ruled as Prince Regent after his father declared unfit 1812 -1820
    • The Glitter and the Gold, Michael Dyne  (Cathy)
    • Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries, C.S. Harris


Last Edited on: 3/14/14 7:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/12/2014 7:38 AM ET
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Kelly and Linda, wow! Nice list. I appreciate you sharing it with us!

Date Posted: 3/12/2014 10:49 AM ET
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Nice list. For George IV, might I suggest The Glitter and the Gold by Michael Dyne?

George III, there's God Save the King by Laura Purcell, which has been picked up by a publisher and coming out again soon as Queen of Bedlam.

Date Posted: 3/12/2014 11:03 AM ET
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I could suck up a lot of time adding to this list cheeky

Pre Conquest, Lord of Sunset by Parke Godwin. Not my favorite, and alternating first person POVs, but worthwhile. I recommend the Anand books highly.

Conquest, A Memory of Lions by Parke Godwin. Highly recommend by me, it's on my keepers shelf. I have Juliet Dymoke's Of the Rings of Earls shelved as Norman Conquest. Haven't read it yet.

Charles II, Forever Amber?


 

Date Posted: 3/12/2014 7:59 PM ET
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I need to visit with Linda - I think we could make some good edits to this list. In the meantime, I will edit to add Cathy's suggestions. It was always our half-developed idea to get this list more fully developed and then made available to anyone who might be interested. The problem, of course, is that such a goal is a moving target ... as we read more and discover more wonderful books pertaining to English history.

Where does The Vizard Mask by Diana Norman belong? That's one of the Charles, yes? And the Pamela Bell trilogies? And the Makepeace Hadley (A Catch of Consequence, etc.) belongs w/ George III, yes?

Kelly

Date Posted: 3/12/2014 8:27 PM ET
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A great list, Kelly and Linda.  Another one I will print and save.

Date Posted: 3/12/2014 8:34 PM ET
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Shoot, I opened a new tab on the Fire and lost my comment. VM, Restoration. Belle's wintercombe nooks, Cromwell to Glrious Revolution. Heron books, Charles I through London Fire.

Edited, mixed up my series.

Annette Motley's Quickenberry Tree, I think prior to Cromwell, but will have to double check. Du Maurier's The King's General, Cromwell I think. Speaking of DM, Mary Anne, Georgian.



Last Edited on: 3/12/14 8:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/12/2014 8:38 PM ET
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Sorry to post multiple times, but I'm not losing a comment again. Thread at HFO on Glorious Revolution, http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2837

Date Posted: 3/13/2014 1:12 PM ET
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Charles II, Lady on the Coin by Margaret Campbell Barnes. I have this out from the library now. There is also Girl on the Golden Coin (same topic as the Barnes book) by Marci Jefferson. I've heard mixed opinions on this one. Lol, the usual names from the blurb circle are on this one praising it. I'm waiting for library copy.

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 10:55 AM ET
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Just popping in quick to thank everyone for their input.  I have been unexectedly busy for the past few days and am about to leave for a weekend crafting retreat.  When I get back on Sunday I hope to find time to go through everyone's suggestions and edit my list.

Lynne

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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Linda & I have been revising our list ... removed a few we wouldn't feel real strongly about recommending and/or haven't read yet. We also added some that we have read and would recommend. :)

 

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