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Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
3.85
If Masterpiece Theatre doesn't make this book into a movie starring Derek Jacobi, it will be a crime. There has not been so perfectly English a read i ...more
not set
Jan 29, 2011
 
The Queen's Vow: A Novel of Isabella of Castile
3.88
Spain is difficult for historical fiction readers. Say "Spain" and thoughts trigger of bullfights, bloodshed, torture, and religious fanaticism. Spani ...more
not set
Jun 01, 2012
 
The Sister Queens
3.94
As a disclaimer, I will admit that Sophie Perinot is a friend of mine, and I very much hope that her debut novel “The Sister Queens” hits the New York ...more
not set
Oct 04, 2011
 
The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan
4.31
I've never met Stephanie Thornton in person, but boy, do I want to, because her brand as an author is unapologetically kick-ass women of the ancient w ...more
not set
Dec 02, 2014
 
The Red Lily Crown: A Novel of Medici Florence
3.87
I've rarely been so happy to offer a cover quote for a novel. Elizabeth Loupas hit it out of the park with "The Second Duchess," and "The Flower Reade ...more
not set
Aug 05, 2013
 
The Botticelli Secret
3.83
This book was pure fun. The plot was improbable and at times inexplicable, but I smiled all the way through. Mainly this was due to the narrator: chee ...more
Jun 2010
May 25, 2010
 
The Eagle and the Raven
4.15
I normally avoid historicals if they contain the words "sweeping" or "three generations" - but this book deserves both without irony. It tells the sto ...more
not set
May 12, 2009
 
A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)
4.44
Book One of one of the best fantasy series out there. I'm lukewarm on fantasy - so much of the time it's warmed-over Tolkien, heroes and princesses en ...more
not set
May 04, 2009
 
The Flower Reader
3.87
There are not many authors who could convincingly tie together such diverse things as flower magic, Highland politics, and a hero who wears eyeliner - ...more
not set
Dec 17, 2011
 
Blue Asylum
3.61
Sometimes it seems as if the only historical fiction is yet another retread about a Tudor Queen or Plantagenet princess - where are the little people ...more
not set
May 02, 2012
 
The Oracle Glass
3.88
My favorite of Judith Merkle Riley's books. I read this in junior high, and managed to severely unsettle a number of teachers with my in-depth knowled ...more
Jan 1996
May 04, 2009
 
The Heaven Tree Trilogy
4.28
This is one of the finest historical fiction novels out there. Technically it's three novels, but they all blur into one. The story revolves around a ...more
not set
May 11, 2009
 
Katherine
4.18
This is one of the great historical fiction romances of all time, and a surprisingly accurate portrayal of the Middle Ages. Katherine is a pretty fift ...more
not set
Nov 28, 2009
 
Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English
3.57
What a wonderful treat this book is: sparkling wit, crystalline prose, characters full of courage and sympathy. The middle-aged Jack Rosenblum is a Ge ...more
not set
Sep 22, 2010
 
Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady
4.04
I read this book at thirteen, and my world fell into place. No longer did I have to wonder why my loved ones annoyed me, why I didn't want to hang out ...more
not set
May 07, 2009
 
The Tigress of Forlì: Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess, Caterina Riario Sforza de Medici
4.01
A fascinating biography of the woman who went toe to toe against Cesare Borgia, and nearly won. Caterina Sforza isn't as well known a figure of the Re ...more
not set
Nov 09, 2011
 
Mademoiselle Chanel
4.09
Kate Quinn
Gortner writes such wonderful women. He's written a lot of queens, and fashion designer Coco Chanel might seem like a departure for him, but
...more
Apr 11, 2015
Jul 02, 2014
 
The Paris Winter
3.71
Superbly atmospheric novel of bohemian Paris, and a top-flight mystery as well. The heroine, a fierce young art student, is sensitive and appealing, a ...more
not set
Jan 31, 2015
 
The Burning Land (The Saxon Stories, #5)
4.26
Alfred the Great, in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories, has a love for order, peace, and Christianity. He has always been dismayed by his reliance on U ...more
not set
Feb 28, 2010
 
Under the Dome
3.89
Stephen King's latest books have been quirky, to say the least, but with "Under the Dome" he returns to his roots. Here's a book very much like "The S ...more
not set
Nov 20, 2009
 
Sacred Hearts
3.72
Novels about nuns are difficult to get right. Many are too evangelical; others simply seize the trappings of veils and prayers as a dramatic setting f ...more
not set
Jan 11, 2010
 
Foreign Affairs
3.71
As the heroine of "Foreign Affairs" complains, there is no grand romance in our culture for the middle-aged, only for the young and beautiful. This bo ...more
not set
Jan 15, 2010
 
The Second Duchess
3.90
"She had a heart too soon made glad." Browning's immortal line from his poem "The Last Duchess," said by Renaissance Duke Alfonso of Este about his fi ...more
not set
Apr 11, 2011
 
The Little Stranger
3.49
A good ghost story should have you behaving irrationally: stealing the night-light out of your child's room, or unable to sleep until you put the book ...more
not set
Dec 15, 2009
 
The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1)
4.25
Hands down the best King Arthur fiction ever written. "The Winter King" begins Bernard Cornwell's trilogy of Arthur, the king who may have lived in ea ...more
not set
May 06, 2009
 
A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2)
4.39
A marvelous follow-up to Game of Thrones. When we left the world of Westeros, the land has been torn apart by the death of King Robert, who has left s ...more
not set
May 08, 2009
 
Becoming Josephine
3.85
Josephine Bonaparte springs so vividly to live in these pages she practically walks right off them. Webb paints a full and charming portrait of the Cr ...more
not set
Jan 29, 2014
 
The Crown (Joanna Stafford, #1)
3.80
I somehow missed meeting Nancy Bilyeau at the last Historical Novel Society Conference, which is a pity because I'd have liked to congratulate her on ...more
not set
Jul 20, 2013
 
Memoirs of a Geisha
4.04
Writers usually work by the truism of "write what you know," which makes this book astounding. How did a middle-aged modern Western man write so compe ...more
not set
Jun 09, 2010
 
The Last Queen
4.00
C.W. Gortner has one of the more interesting literary platforms I've ever seen for a historical fiction writer, particularly a male one: he takes the ...more
not set
Apr 30, 2011
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