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message 1: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
I love Historical Fiction, I always have. I devoured the Phillipa Gregory books and I have just found a new favorite that I recommend to anyone else who likes HF. The Twentieth Wife A Novel Set in India, I was drawn in right away and loved this book.
What historical fiction do you recommend?

Maria | 92 comments I too love HF. I have a Phillipa Gregory book on my TBR list - definitely will move it up. Looking forward to other recomendations. I really love historical fiction because of the armchair travelling bonus as well! You're not only getting history but learning about that area as well.

Daughter of Fortune A Novel
1800's Chile and also in California during the gold rush.

Girl with a Pearl Earring
great imaginings about the history of a famous painting! really enjoyed a look at old dutch life and the artist process of painting

Meg (megvt) | 2851 comments I also love historical fiction.

John Adams
The Hornet's Nest - Jimmy Carter

Sheila  | 2502 comments Mod
I LOVE historical fiction. Some good ones I have read are:

Nefertiti A Novel(one of Aprils books here)

The Flames of Rome A Novel(Nero, Rome, and early Christianity)

Pompeii A Novel (eruption of Mt Vesuvius and destruction of Pompeii)

The Memoirs of Cleopatraby Margaret George

The Autobiography of Henry VIII With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers, also by Margaret George

Rise to Rebellion A Novel of the American Revolution

The Glorious Cause(continues where Rise to Rebellion leaves off)

Pontius Pilate A Novel

The Agony and the Ecstasy A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo

KrisT | 553 comments I love historical fiction too.

I recommend:
Daughter of Fortune A Novel and the one that goes with it Portrait in Sepia A Novel

The Birth of Venus A Novelby Sarah Dunant and her In the company of the Courtesan

Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girlplus there are many about the holocaust that are good.

message 6: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
Sheila I have been meaning to pick up a Margret George book forever! I especially want to read the one about Henry VIII good to know it comes well recommended.

Wanda (wanda514) I absolutely adore historical fiction. I can recommend anything by Sharon Kay Penman. She is my favorite. Dorothy Dunnett is another good one although she can be a bit dry in the beginning you just have to stick with it - her books are great!

Brittany (MissBrittany) | 336 comments I have read very few, but I loved The Other Boleyn Girl and Memiors of a Geisha.

Mary Crabtree (boonebridgebookscom) | 88 comments Brittany, I loved Memoirs of a Geisha...

Wonderful balance of story and cultural history.

message 10: by Wanda (last edited Mar 25, 2009 05:56AM) (new)

Wanda (wanda514) Sheila wrote: "I LOVE historical fiction. Some good ones I have read are:

Nefertiti A Novel(one of..."

Sheila: I have The Agony and the Ecstasy on my TBR list - how was it? I am always looking for new historical fiction to read. There are some authors I won't go near with a ten-foot pole (some of whom are listed in this thread); but, this one sounds great. Isn't this the one where in the movie, Michelangelo argues with the Pope about the design of the artwork to be placed upon the ceiling? Thanks! P.S. I am not really enjoying Nefertiti - she is whiny and it reminds me of The Other Boleyn Girl (which I hated). I am not sure if I can stick with this one.

Maria | 92 comments Has anyone read any of Gillian Bradshaw's books? I heard good things about them...they don't seem well known on Goodreads as far as # of ratings.

I've been meaning to pick up :

The Beacon at Alexandria

It is a story in 4th c AD about a woman who poses as a man so that she can study medicine at Alexandria.

message 12: by Adrienne (last edited Mar 25, 2009 06:10AM) (new)

Adrienne (kalanna) | 175 comments Two come to mind...

Gates of Fire An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae --> This is a very "boyish" book of battles and blood. It's fierce, but the story was so poignant and the Spartan culture so alive that it's one of my favorites ever. The movie 300, though based not on this book but a graphic novel, was a little like seeing this book come to life. There's a different human story in the two books, but the setting, the foe, the insurmountable odds all the same.

The Josephine Bonaparte Collection: The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe, and The Last Great Dance on Earth --> Written in journal format, they are a gorgeous emotional rollercoaster that bestows on the reader that "everyone can be a princess" fantasy. (Who knew that Josephine came from such humble beginnings?) Then you turn the page and there is the very real and very ugly French Revolution. Love these books and Gulland is an Ontario author.

KrisT | 553 comments Maria that reminded me of one I love Pope Joan A Novel

Kalanna I have the first of the Josephine books I want to get to someday.

message 14: by Jo (last edited Mar 25, 2009 09:33AM) (new)

Jo (BloominChick) | 2991 comments (Tera, don't flog me for this!) I LOVED: Loving Frank A Novel This type of book isn't normally my cup of tea and only picked it up because it was a CoL group read last year, but it had me from the 1st few pages!

The Heretic's Daughter While I have mixed feelings about this book, I think it's one of the most vivid & honest accounts of the conditions in Salem Jail during the Witch Trials and for that alone I think it should be required reading in high schools & colleges.

Wanda (wanda514) KrisT wrote: "Maria that reminded me of one I love Pope Joan A Novel

Kalanna I have the first of..."

I enjoyed Pope Joan too. And, I, too, have the Josephine trilogy to read someday.

Adrienne (kalanna) | 175 comments *swinging a pendant* Read Josephine, read Josephine.


message 17: by Wanda (last edited Mar 25, 2009 12:31PM) (new)

Wanda (wanda514) Kalanna wrote: "*swinging a pendant* Read Josephine, read Josephine.


*Eyes spinning in circles* Kalanna says "read Josephine, read Josephine. Must read Josephine."

Adrienne (kalanna) | 175 comments Kelly Jo, I actually started reading the Masters of Rome series backwards. Picked up Antony and Cleopatra at my local library because I noticed the cover art on the "new release" shelf and have always been entranced by Egypt. I really enjoyed it, and yet most people on Goodreads say this was not her best work. Will definitely look for The First Man in Rome soon.

They are entranced... phase one of my plan is working! muhahahha

swinging... swinging...

Courtney | 1 comments I just finished Loving Frank and, particularly as a big fan of FLW anyway, I thought the book was great. Even though it was fiction, with it being an extrapolation on facts I feel like I got some really good insight into who they really were as people.

Suze (suzed) | 68 comments I finished reading 'The Killer Angels' by Michael Shaara a couple of weeks ago and it still resonates within me. This is a Pulitzer prize winning book about the Battle of Gettysburg. It's definitely a book about war, but I learned more about the Civil War, this battle and the leaders on both sides than I ever did reading history books in school. I highly recommend this book.

Wendy | 10 comments I'm just about finished with Ines of my Soul - it's about Ines Suarez and her role in founding/building the nation of Chile. I haven't read many books about South America, but this one is very interesting. It gets pretty graphic in some parts - describing the war with the natives there - but I love the historical context. It's written by Isabel Allende (who wrote Daughter of Fortune). I'll probably read more of her books...

Suze (suzed) | 68 comments I need to stop reading these lists - my wish list on Amazon is out of control!

message 23: by Maria (last edited Mar 26, 2009 05:18PM) (new)

Maria | 92 comments These lists helped me today at 1/2 price books.
I found the follwing on clearance all at $2 each! Woot

The Twentieth Wife A Novel
Portrait in Sepia A Novel
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan A Novel

KrisT - I added Pope Joan to my library hold list. Looks very good - thanks for the rec!

message 24: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
I ordered Pope Joan from the other day.
They JUST opened a 1/2 price books near me and the opening week is this week with SALES!!!

message 25: by Maria (last edited Mar 26, 2009 06:16PM) (new)

Maria | 92 comments So glad to here you now have one near you, Tera. You will probably go home with an armload of books at the opening sale!
My local one always has about 6 library carts full of literature (not mass market) for $1 or $2. At that price - my arms fill up fast.
By the way, when I picked up 20th Wife today - I noticed that the author lives in my town - Bellevue, Wa. Thought that was kinda neat!
Maybe I can order Pope Joan from you when you are done! I mailed of 6 books today for PBS - including TTW to you!

message 26: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
*cries a tear* I miss Bellevue WA. I miss WA!!!

Maria | 92 comments Oh - you used to live in Bellevue?! : )
I included a little Seattle bookstore bookmarker with TTW!

message 28: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
I used to live in Bothell and Issaquah. I miss the NW SOOOO much. Thanks for sending me a piece of home :)

message 29: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
Wait I lived in Bellevue when I first got married and my husband worked there until we moved here. I used to love to go to Crossroads mall on the weekends and spend the afternoon in 1/2 price books and then get some Pho`.

Victoria (viva_victoria) | 4 comments Have to pipe up for anything by Edward Rutherfurd - in particular Sarum, Russka, and London. More of a fictional history of place and families rather than a single time period.

I second anything by Margaret George (except maybe Mary Queen of Scots) and Sharon Kay Penman (especially The Sunne in Splendour).

Pope Joan has been on my to-read shelf for a while, perhaps I should dust it off and move it to the front of the list.

Meg (megvt) | 2851 comments I love Michener and Uris if you are looking for a chunky to become your friend.

KrisT | 553 comments Tera, are you on the 1/2 price mailing list? if so this week I think there was a ton of coupons in the email.

I am so glad so many are interested in Pope Joan it is a really good book.
I have been wanting to read Margaret George and I never get to her cuz they are so chunky!

Lisa KrisT wrote: "Tera, are you on the 1/2 price mailing list? if so this week I think there was a ton of coupons in the email.

I am so glad so many are interested in Pope Joan it is a really good book.
I have bee..."

Coupons to 1/2 Price? I have got to get on their mailing list! Headed there after work!

Sheila  | 2502 comments Mod
Wanda, I have not read any of Sharon Kay Penman's books, but my husband read all of the books in the Here be Dragons series, as well as other books of hers and really enjoyed them. In fact when we went to Wales on vacation, we visited a whole bunch of the historical sites from those books (the old welsh castles, churches, graves, waterfalls, places where people were killed, etc).

I read The Agony and the Ecstasy many years ago, but I remember really enjoying it and learning alot from it. Yes, it is the one where the movie was made where Michelangelo argues with the Pope.

Nefertiti is similar in style to The Other Boleyn Girl and the other Phillipa Gregory books, so if you don't like Phillipa Gregory you probably won't like Nefertiti.
I like them all though. :o)

Interesting to see Gates of Fire mentioned. I had heard it was good, but just couldn't get into in, no matter how much I tried, so I ended up giving my copy away on PBS.

Maria, nice to see someone else from WA! I live Rochester, a small town below Olympia.

Wanda (wanda514) Sheila wrote: "Wanda, I have not read any of Sharon Kay Penman's books, but my husband read all of the books in the [b:Here be Dragons|77449|Here be Dragons (Welsh Princes, Book 1)|Sharon Kay Penman|http://photo...."

Sheila, you are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Wales and the old castles. I hope to be able to do the same some day. I have ordered Agony and Ecstasy and cannot wait until it arrives. And, you are correct, I could not finish Nefertiti. I just did not care for it. So, I am reading Lady Audley's Secret now - an old Victorian novel originally written for a newspaper serialization. It is surprisingly good. It is available for free download from Amazon for Kindle and I would imagine from other ereader sites, too. I know it is also available from as a free download. And, one more thing -- I am really dumb because I kept thinking PBS was something to do with public broadcasting so I would go onto the pbs website and scour it looking for something trading books. Stupid me! I only just realized it was paperback swap when I yahooed it. Learn something new every day.

Victoria (viva_victoria) | 4 comments Kelly Jo wrote: "I got Rutherfurd's "London" from BookMooch yesterday. I've never read anything from him yet. Victoria, what did you think of his writing? "

I enjoyed the books. Was not spectacularly amazing writing, but it isn't bad, and the stories are engaging. Each chapter is a different generation of history, following the same families through the history of a place (e.g. Sarum from Stonehenge thru Salisbury Cathedral to modern times). So you don't really engage with a specific character for more than one chapter, but you do engage with their family history.

The only Rutherfurd I didn't care for was The Forest, I thought London was great, and am very much looking forward to New York coming out later this year.

message 37: by Tera, First Chick (new)

Tera | 2510 comments Mod
I remember I checked out The Agony and the Ecstasy A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo in HS but never finished it because everytime I took it out to read in class the boys oooh'd and ahhh'd over the title. They thought it was erotica. boys!

teri | 540 comments I shouldn't have wandered into this thread. Too many books, too little time, and here I am adding to my already too long list. *sighs. removes cap from pen.*

Sheila  | 2502 comments Mod
I just looked through some old journals of mine from 1985 to 1993, and in the backs of them I had written down books I read for those years. Looking through the books I found some historical fiction that I had forgotten. I read these in 1987 and 1988, and remember really enjoying them and learning about the Civil War era. They are
North and South, Love and War, and Heaven and Hell.

Victoria (viva_victoria) | 4 comments Sheila wrote: "and remember really enjoying them and learning about the Civil War era. "

Oh, for Civil War historical fiction, I strongly recommend Howard Bahr's The Black Flower. Beautiful, beautiful writing. Have The Judas Field queued up to read soon.

Sheila  | 2502 comments Mod
Okay, I've thought of another. I was talking to Meg on another thread about a book she won, Genghis Birth of an Empire, which is historical fiction about Genghis Khan, and it reminded me of another great book called The Journeyer, which is all about Marco Polo and his travels including the time he spend with Kublai Khan (grandson of Genghis).

Kathy | 66 comments My idea of heaven is a nice comfy chair and all the books on my wish list, with eterity to read them all.

Jennifer W | 1532 comments I'm with you Kathy!

I'm currently reading The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse which takes place over the last 100 years (give or take) on a reservation. Lots of unique characters!
Last year at some point I read Raising Holy Hell A Novel by Bruce Olds about John Brown and the raid on Harpers Ferry that lead to the Civil War. It was presented in an interesting way, journal entries from and about John Brown, newspaper articles etc. I also have his Bucking the Tiger A Novel about Doc Holiday which I imagine will be as imaginatively presented as John Brown was.

My personal historical preferences are WWII and the Civil Rights movement of the 60s.

Wanda (wanda514) Kathy wrote: "My idea of heaven is a nice comfy chair and all the books on my wish list, with eterity to read them all.

Kathy, my idea of heaven would be holding that baby in your picture - simply adorable!

Kathy | 66 comments Thanks Wanda!! That's my new grandaughter. She has truly brightened my life.

Wanda (wanda514) Kathy wrote: "Thanks Wanda!! That's my new grandaughter. She has truly brightened my life."

And now she is world famous. Thanks so much for sharing. I could look at baby pictures all day. Babies are the best!

Katie (cowgirl-up) | 319 comments I really enjoy Phillipa Gregory.

I'll 2nd (or 3rd or 4th or 5th) Daughter of Fortune A Novel.

For Civil War era, I really liked The Widow of the South.

I know I've read more. Those are just the recent ones that stand out in my mind.

Wendy | 17 comments Hi Maria, I've recently read two of Bradshaw's books.
"Island of Ghosts", which is about the Roman occupation of Britain and the barbarian tribes that helped them, was just ok for me. There wasn't much action for a book about barbarians and warriors.

Also read "The Wolf Hunt" which is much much better. It's a fairy tale-ish, medieval story about a young woman who's kidnapped from a nunnery and meets a lord who's hiding a deep dark secret about his identity. She keeps his secret from being exposed and, of course, falls in love with him.

I'm looking forward to reading Bradshaw's books about Egypt.

Maria wrote: "Has anyone read any of Gillian Bradshaw's books? I heard good things about them...they don't seem well known on Goodreads as far as # of ratings.

I've been meaning to pick up :

[b:The Beacon..."

Vinny | 4 comments Thanks for the tips, ladies! If I ever get done my Afghanistan/Middle Eastern library I know what to read next!

I have to say some of Gregory Maguire's Fantasy meets Historical Fiction are great (ie Mirror Mirror).

Also read Pillars of the Earth (LARGE!) and as much as I kept telling myself I hated it, I couldn't stop reading it :)

I LOVED LOVED LOVED The Mistress of the Art of Death and The Serpent's Tale(don't let the names scare you). Easy and quick but with plenty to think upon.Ariana FranklinGregory Maguire

Beth I highly recommend THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER by Kathleen Kent, set during the time of the Salem witch trials and written by a descendant of one of the women condemned as a witch. A fascinating and emotional read!

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Twentieth Wife (other topics)
Daughter of Fortune (other topics)
Girl With a Pearl Earring (other topics)
Pontius Pilate (other topics)
Rise to Rebellion (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Ariana Franklin (other topics)
Gregory Maguire (other topics)