Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: Recommendations

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Subject: Recommendations
Date Posted: 3/1/2012 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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Can anyone recommend some lighthearted historical fiction for me? I love, love, love historical romance novels but I'm looking for something that mixes more historical facts and happenings along with a good semi-lighthearted story. I enjoy Philippa Gregory and books like Wench, The Kitchen House and various others by Kate Morton. But they're definitely on the serious side.

Is there such a light hearted animal? Thanks.

Date Posted: 3/1/2012 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I shudder to call Elizabeth Chadwick "light," but she is easy and pleasurable to read. Just make sure you obtain books by the British EC and not the American author by the same name.

If you like a bit of time travel, Susanna Kearsley is easy to read and fun.

Date Posted: 3/1/2012 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
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I like the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Wilig, set in the late 18th- early 19th century England/France.

They're definitely historical romance, but they crack me up to no end.

Date Posted: 3/1/2012 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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I like the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Wilig, set in the late 18th- early 19th century England/France. They're definitely historical romance, but they crack me up to no end.

Oh I love these!!!! I totally forgot .... this is the type of book I'm looking for although maybe with a bit more historical facts.

Thank you so much for the suggestions -- I will definitely look into those authors.

Would love love to hear more!



Last Edited on: 3/1/12 4:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/1/2012 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Emery Lee, The Highest Stakes and  Fortune's Son.

Brenda Joyce's new one Surrender

The India Black Series byCarol K. Carr

Roberta Gellis historical's are romantic and very well researched, The Roslynde Chronicles are great.

I second Elizabeth Chadwick, she blows Phillipa Gregory out of the water and she has an extensive back list.

Have you read The Wilderness Series by Sara Donati?

Gillian Bagwell (steamy)

C.W. Gortner



Last Edited on: 3/1/12 4:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/1/2012 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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Do you like mystery series? Several of the historical mystery series that some of us follow are rather light & entertaining reading, with plenty of historical foundation. The "Lady Georgiana" mysteries by Rhys Bowen leap immediately to mind. The Victorian Mysteries by Robin Paige may be another series that might interest you.

Kelly

 

 

 



Last Edited on: 3/1/12 4:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/1/2012 5:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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I'm still brain weary from month end close out, but there's a list at Goodreads that might have some ideas for you. Link here.

Date Posted: 3/1/2012 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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I haven't read most of these suggestions!

I do love mysteries so i've read Rhys Bowen and thoroughly enjoy her multiple series -- India Black I didn't like for some reason. I think it was more the writing style than the premise because I thought that was great. Same with the Soulless series ... couldn't get into those. But those are the only authors I've heard of .... you all have opened up a new world for me.

Thank you!!l



Last Edited on: 3/1/12 11:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/1/2012 11:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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Oh my .... Chadwick is a very prolific writer with what looks like stand alones and a few series. What should I read first? Any suggestions? I noticed most are wishlisted so I was just going to go buy it or order it on my Nook to get me started.

Just make sure you obtain books by the British EC and not the American author by the same name.

Is the American author a science fiction writer? That's what it looked like. It was confusing at first. Maybe I'll go look at Fantastic Fiction to make sure I've got the right author.

Figured it out!



Last Edited on: 3/1/12 11:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/2/2012 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Just remember with the 2 ECs, if Fabio would look at home on the cover, you've got the wrong EC. devil

I recommend:

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (yes, she wrote Anne of Green Gables, but this book is for grownups)

The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips -- not HF per se, but it does involve the Greek gods, and is a very breezy read.  It does contain sex and bad langugage, if that offends you.

A Cup of Tea by Amy Ephron

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall -- it isn't strictly HF, but it is a charming series with so much detail that it is easy to feel as though you are there in Africa

Timeshare by Joshua Dann (first in a trilogy) -- this involves time travel, so is not strict HF, but the main character spends much of his time back in the 1940s in the glory days of Hollywood.  Fluffy, fun and fascinating.

You might also enjoy this thread: Books That Made me Laugh Inside and Out.

 

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 3/2/2012 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,741
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susan,

The William Marshal series is very good by Elizabeth Chadwick. I would start with A Place Beyond Course that book is about William's father John Marshall. My favorite nonseries book is Love Knot by Chadwick.

I also Like Michelle Moron's book. An older author that is a quick read is Jean Plaidy she is not flash but has a great grasp on histsory.

 

Alice

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 10:05 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Susan,

This is how I would group them, and how I would read them  Her Marshal series is the best, A Place Beyond Courage, The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion.
The next books are about the Bigod/Marshal families.  A Time For Singing (aka) For the Kings Favor, and To Defy A King.

The truth is in this time period the noble families of Norman England were closely linked by blood ties. So you see a lot of Prince John, Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, amongst others.

Winter Mantel and The Falcons of Montabard are linked.  Shadows and Strongholds and The Lords of White Castle are linked, 

The "Wild Hunt" Series are he first work, and while good not her best. All the rest are pretty much stand alone I believe..

I would start with the Marshal series.  But personally I would start with A Place Beyond Courage, which tells the story of John Fitz Gilbert the Marshal of Henry I,  He was the founder of the Marshal dynasty.

So here are my grades
The Wild Hunt series,  C+

The Marshal series,
A Place Beyond Courage. A
The Greatest Knight, A+
The Scarlet Lion, A
For the King's Favor/ A Time of Singing, A+
To Defy A King, B+

Children of Destiny aka  Daughters of the Grail,l  C
Shields of Pride, B
First Knight, D (This was written for the movie with Sean Connery and Richard Greer) horrible!  I don't think you can blame Chadwick for this.
The Conquest, C+
The Champion,  B
The Love Knot, A
The Marsh King's Daughter, C-
Lords of the White Castle, A
The Winter Mantle, B
The Falcons of Montabard, A 
Shadows and Strongholds, A 
Lady of the English, B 
 



Last Edited on: 3/2/12 10:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/2/2012 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2009
Posts: 1,170
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Susan-you've come to the right place to ask for suggestions.  These readers are evilwink in that regard! 

Second the Roberta Gellis, Plaidy, Gortner, Willig and Chadwick recs. 

Been reading hf since college(Plaidy, Gellis) and never even knew it. 

I really enjoyed Gortner's Tudor Secret. Plaidy(also Victoria Holt & Phillipa Carr)-grasp of readable history is really good.   

See you here or in the romance forum....

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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I third the Roberta Gellis nomination, especially the first 2 books in the Roselynd series. (Did I get the name right? I no longer own the books.)

Gortner's HF is excellent, altho I didn't care the for historical mystery he wrote a few years back. But he's not very romance-y, if that's what you prefer.

Can't stand Plaidy. Her writing's dated and she just plain bores me. But my opinion is in the minority here. :)

Is your reading list filling up yet?

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Genie, I'm with you on Plaidy. Dry as dirt.

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 1:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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Just remember with the 2 ECs, if Fabio would look at home on the cover, you've got the wrong EC.

ROFLOL! I did notice that!! cheeky

Jerelyn and Alice, thanks. I'll start with that series/book by Chadwick.

I have Cleopatra's Daughter by Moran coming to me. I'm excited to read it! I have Nefertiti that I need to read soon.



Last Edited on: 3/2/12 2:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/2/2012 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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Is your reading list filling up yet?

LOL Amazingly so!!

Susan-you've come to the right place to ask for suggestions. These readers are evilwink in that regard!

And to think, I prided myself on having NOT filled up the extra 100 spots I got from the goldkey membership. lol  There goes those last 50 spots probably!

 

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Yes we are evil, just wait soon you'll be reading Penman and Cornwell  Then we will have to teach you the secret handshake. cheeky

Welcome to the H/F forum! smiley

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 8:41 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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Susan,

I hope you will check in with our various threads & let us know what you find & what you think! If nothing else, please post to our monthly "what are you reading" thread. 

And, I'll be quite honest ... it's all a gentle nudge towards the edge of thecliff ... "we'll get you, my little pretty" ... 

We're a fun group & we love new people !!

 

Kelly

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Oh yes, we will get you my pretty.

BTW, instead of Barbara Erkine I would go righ to Susannah Kearsley if you are looking for time slips. No one does it better, plus her heroines aren't door mats.

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 3/2/2012 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 39,741
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You may want to try Arianna Franklin too she has a wonderful series of historical mysteries set in the late 1100's .  Can't think of the name of the series but I am sure someone else here can.

Alice

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Alice, that was her MIstress of the Art of Death Series.

Date Posted: 3/2/2012 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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Great idea, Alice! The first one is Mistress in the Art of Death, I think. Someone else can confirm. Unfortunately, there are just three (or four?) books in the series ... the author (AKA Diana Norman) died last year.

Can't remember if anyone has mentioned these yet - but Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia series is a real favorite around here !! Her opening lines from the first book (Silent in the Grave) are among of the best ever ...

"To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."

These are wonderful Victorian mysteries, with enough heft to them so that you are not wasting your time; but light enough to be enjoyable, love-to-read, books!

Kelly

 



Last Edited on: 3/2/12 11:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 3/2/2012 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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Yes we are evil, just wait soon you'll be reading Penman and Cornwell Then we will have to teach you the secret handshake. cheeky

Welcome to the H/F forum!

And, I'll be quite honest ... it's all a gentle nudge towards the edge of thecliff ... "we'll get you, my little pretty" ...

 Oh yes, we will get you my pretty.

lol --- I believe you! I'm pretty sure I've been successfully lured in. Now when I join Alice's historical swaps I'll be a whole lot more well versed than I usually now!

 You may want to try Arianna Franklin too

Hey I just found City of Shadows by her in my TBR. I thought she sounded familiar. Not exactly historical but I like that era too. Anyone read this one?

  

 



Last Edited on: 3/2/12 11:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/3/2012 1:24 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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Ok, here's the damage I've done so far:

The Blue Castle: Was only .99 for Nook so I downloaded that.

A Place Beyond Courage: WL since it's not offered for Nook. I was going to order it from B&N but the only copy is $18!?? Must be because it's an import. I'm probably going to order if from Amazon because I can get it there for $3 and some -- for some reason I find I must read this book NOW! wink

The Greatest Knight - can get for Nook and it's only $2.99. I'll order that as soon as I secure a copy of the first book.

(Question here: Why would Nook have a bundle package that starts with the above book and includes the following two books but leaves out A Place Beyond Courage?)

The Love Knot -- WL because not available for Nook. Might order it too from Amazon .....

C.W Gortner -- WL

I have a feeling these don't move too quickly on the WL? I see more books I'll end up caving and purchasing .... lol SHAME, shame on your guys! lol

Off to peruse the rest of everyone's suggestions!

ETA: Susanna Kearsley (a thousand to choose from. Any recommendations? The Rose Garden on Nook is only $2.99 so I got that one. It sure looks good. Any others?)

I ordered Roselynde and Silent in the Grave  since they were available.

I think I'll go to bed now so you peeps can't do any more damage! lol



Last Edited on: 3/3/12 2:38 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
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