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Historical Fiction Discussions > 5 Star Books Read in 2011

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message 1: by Beth (last edited May 19, 2011 09:14AM) (new)

Beth (MommaLioness) I saw this in another group and would love to see what you read this year that you rated 5 stars. And if you like, let us know why you rated it 5 stars.


message 2: by Beth (last edited May 19, 2011 09:16AM) (new)

Beth (MommaLioness) I will start with Into the Wilderness (Wilderness, #1) by Sara DonatiInto the Wilderness by Sara Donati
I am not sure why I hadn't found this book earlier. The characters were well developed, the history was realistic and the story kept me intrigued all the way through this book. I did not get much sleep during the days I read this book. I never could find a good stopping place once I started reading.


Margaret (ReadingwithMargaret) | 470 comments Beth NC wrote: "I will start with Into the Wilderness (Wilderness, #1) by Sara DonatiInto the Wilderness by Sara Donati
I am not sure why I hadn't found this book earlier. The characters were wel..."


Beth I totally agree, I am on book 3 in the series (once I get the April/May challenge out of the way).

My favorite 5 Star is
Juliet, I could see myself doing a reread on this one, I loved it.


Kate Quinn | 649 comments The Second Duchess - one of the best books I've read this year. Superb historical fiction.


Lasse | 26 comments Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill, I gave that book 5 stars.

It is historical fiction about an african girl captived and sold as slave to USA in the 18th century, it is an absolutely wonderful story.


Lasse | 26 comments Margaret I really liked Juliet too it was a really exciting thriller, I guess you are looking forward to the sequel?


Margaret (ReadingwithMargaret) | 470 comments Lasse wrote: "Margaret I really liked Juliet too it was a really exciting thriller, I guess you are looking forward to the sequel?"

Oh boy didn't know there was a sequel, now I am looking forward to it :)


Sara (weirdfishes4) | 3 comments I really really adore The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. Honestly I was drawn to it because I thought the cover was so pretty (bad, I know) but I didn't expect to love it as much as I do now! I actually sighed at the ending, which is something I never do haha. Now I'm obsessed with the author and just spent a fortune importing all her books from the UK. I just finished her newest one, The Rose Garden. It was SO good.


Beth (MommaLioness) Margaret wrote: "My favorite 5 Star is
Juliet, I could see myself doing a reread on this one, I loved it. ..."


Sounds like a great book. Already added it to my TBR


Beth (MommaLioness) Lasse wrote: "Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill, I gave that book 5 stars...."

Another one for the TBR thanks!


Lasse | 26 comments Well I dont know when she will finish it, but I had chat with Anne Fortier and she said she was writing on a sequel.


message 12: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new)

Jackie (TheNightOwl) | 2793 comments I didn't know about the Juliet sequel either. It makes sense even though I thought it ended nicely enough. Lasse, did Fortier tell you if it's centered on (view spoiler)


message 13: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new)

Jackie (TheNightOwl) | 2793 comments I only have one HF 5 star rated book: Lonesome Dove.

I didn't think I would like a book on cowboys wrangling cattle across the country, but I read this with a group of GR friends and ended up loving it. It's so much more than I thought it was going to be. The characters just jump right off the page. The first portion is very slow, but once the action starts it's like a rollercoaster.



I have two fantasy books rated 5 stars so far:

A Game of Thrones- This book is pure awesomeness. It reads like a historical fiction, but with some fantasy elements throw in. It's a complicated story told in a very simple, reader friendly way. I love the writing and the characters. The character development is very in depth. One moment I find myself hating a character and then the next I want to stab them. I haven't experienced another book like I have this one.

The Name of the Wind- I can see why Rothfuss has so many fans. I thought the set up of the story was very unique and I love the writing. I still have to read the second book, but I'm in the middle of the Game of Thrones series.


Lasse | 26 comments Jackie wrote: "I didn't know about the Juliet sequel either. It makes sense even though I thought it ended nicely enough. Lasse, did Fortier tell you if it's centered on [spoilers removed]"

I still have Anne Fortiers comment about the sequel, I will put it as a spoiler as I think it reveal a lot for those that havent read Juliet.
(view spoiler)


message 15: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new)

Jackie (TheNightOwl) | 2793 comments Thank you for the info Lasse! :)


Laura K | 129 comments Here are my 2011 HF 5-star reads:

Mistress of Rome- Great writing. I've pretty much had zero interest in reading Roman period novels; however, the sample on my Nook was very intriguing. So glad I gave it a go-- loved it!

The Other Boleyn Girl- Very good story. I had seen the movie first and liked it, but had no interest in reading the book, or even reading about the Tudors. Once again, I'm so glad I read it.


Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution-- I very much anticipated the release of this book. The cover is so pretty, and the plot description was new to me. Never knew the Madame Tussaud of the wax museums was a real person in history. I loved the writing, the story, learning about Marie (Madame Tussaud), and the French Revolution.


Laura K | 129 comments My 2011 5-star Fantasy read is-- Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. This is my first adult fantasy read. Great book, first in the series. Strong female protagonist. Very unique system of magic. Loved the story and the characters.


Janice (JaMaSc) I have given two 5 star ratings in 2011 - Cathedral of the Sea and The Last Days of Dogtown


message 20: by Chrissie (last edited May 20, 2011 12:40AM) (new)

Chrissie I have five 5-star books so far this year. They are all very, very different from each other.

Dog Tails: Three Humorous Short Stories for Dog Lovers is very funny. I don't like short stories, but this I loved!
My GR review (no spoilers): http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The White Woman on the Green Bicycle: A Novel is wonderfully written. It is historical fiction about Trinidad during the latter half of the 1900s. Yes, this one is amazing, exactly what 5-star books should be!
My GR spoiler-free review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Portrait Of A Turkish Family is about a real family in Turkey. The time period is for the most part the first half of the 1900s. You will get anothe view of Atatürk. This reads like fiction - better than fiction since it is all true and is never dry and will make you laugh.
My GR spoiler-free review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Then there is a YA and adult historical fiction. I had a hard time fitting this into the YA genre. Serious issues are covered. It is a coming of age story about a girl in Nigeria. Fact and fiction expertly rolled together. The book is Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away
And for the sake of consisteny my spoiler -free review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The Forgotten Highlander is an excellent memoir about a man from Scotland who lived through Japanese hellships, working on the bridge over the River Kwai and the "Deat Railway" between Thailand and Burma, many horrible illnesses, the bombing of Nagasaki... It is not written sentimentally, nor is it sensationalized. It is clear and concise and very moving. That this guy lived to write this book is amazing. He only wrote the book recently, after his wife died. Before then he just couldn't. As an old man he realized that it must be written. Japan must recognize what it has done. To this day they do not accept the true history of what they did in WW2. Shocking. My review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

I gave all of these 5-strs. My tastes are quite eclectic! :0)


message 21: by Cheryl A (last edited May 20, 2011 10:18PM) (new)

Cheryl A | 655 comments Apparently, I'm pretty stingy with my stars - I only have one 5 star this year,Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.

Thanks for the Juliet info - that was a highly rated read for last year and I'm now anticipating the sequel


message 22: by Kimberly (last edited May 20, 2011 10:35PM) (new)

Kimberly B. (kimberly_b) | 156 comments My only new 5 star HF book so far this year was A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick. All my other 5 stars were re-reads (which tells you they're good since I've now read them twice!): Queen of Camelot (one of my favorite books ever), The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, and An Echo in the Bone. I re-read the whole Outlander series, but only the last 3 landed in 2011.


Diana (LMD129) | 51 comments So far this year I've given four books 5 stars, which is actually rare for me since I don't give a lot of books a 5 and it's still so early in the year. Last year I only gave out three and two were in December.

Starting with historical fictions this year it's been:
Cleopatra's Daughter it was so different from what I normally read. The details were amazing, I loved the main character and it's been a story that's really stuck with me; I read it in February and still think about it three months later.

Christmas in Canaan which I decided to read because I really liked the Hallmark movie, and that's probably why I also liked it so much.

My other two are:
Tempestuous it was just none-stop and moved pretty quickly which I love in a book.

Peter Pan and Wendy I don't even know why I gave it that, usually when I give a 5 I can never explain why. If a book leaves me speechless that's when I'll give it 5.


Tara Chevrestt Can we mention YA books on here? I read a really good YA historical not too long ago. Deadly by Julie Chibbaro. It just popped into my head immediately upon reading this topic.


Heather | 23 comments If YA qualifies then I would have to say that anything by Avi is on my 5-star list for historical fiction. My favorite is The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. It has an excellent heroine and a fantastic plot.


Tara Chevrestt Oh I still love that book myself!


Kimberly B. (kimberly_b) | 156 comments LemonLinda--I've never given These Is My Words a second glance because the title is so odd, but I'm glad you mentioned it here. It sounds intriguing so I added it on my TBR. Thanks :)


Shomeret | 375 comments I only have two HFs that were five star so far this year.

They are:

An Incomplete Revengeby Jacqueline Winspear which is a post- WWI mystery in the Maisie Dobbs series involving prejudice in an English village.

Zora and Meby Victoria Bond and T. R. Simon which is a highly original children's mystery in which Zora Neale Hurston as a child finds out the truth about a murder, tells stories and learns about life.


Holly Weiss (HollyWeiss) | 377 comments Caleb's Crossing is a five-star for me. It is about the first Native American to graduate from Harvard - in 1660!


LemonLinda (lwilliamson42353) | 851 comments I definitely plan to read this one.


Zee | 96 comments I've surprised myself by realising that out of the books I've read for the first time this year, I've only given one five stars so far.

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber.

Here's hoping a few more make the standard!


Faith Justice | 479 comments I must be really stingy with my stars, or just had a dry spell. Checked this year and nothing higher than a four-star: Island Beneath the Sea in HF. I'll have to add a few titles from this thread to my TBR pile!


MissSusie Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by, Michelle Moran- learned so much about the french revolution and another book on the french revolution was Revolution by, Jennifer Donnelly I highly recommend both of these books!


Laura K | 129 comments Susie, I totally agree. I read both books and loved them. Great characters and lots of learning for me.


Diana (LMD129) | 51 comments I want to read those too, but I usually wait for the paperback version or buy them on my nook but then I'd like to finish what I'm currently reading.


Kit★ (xkittyxlzt) As far as only HF, my 5-Star reads so far in 2011 are:

The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett
On a Highland Shore by Kathleen Givens
The Birds and Other Stories by Daphne DuMaurier


Craig Coleman | 2 comments My only 5-star HF read this year so far: Scaramouche, by Rafael Sabatini. Written in the 1920s, but it's about the French Revolution. An excellent tale of revenge, with cliff-hangers and surprises.


Chrissie I have read three more books that I think are worthy of five stars:

A Bed of Red Flowers: In Search of My Afghanistan
My Childhood
Between Shades of Gray


Loren DeShon (LorenDeShon) | 26 comments Due to my daughter's interest I re-read SHOGUN by James Clavell. Not only five stars, but one of the best historical fiction novels ever.


Shay | 384 comments Loren wrote: "Due to my daughter's interest I re-read SHOGUN by James Clavell. Not only five stars, but one of the best historical fiction novels ever."

What I found fascinating about Clavell is his fascination and (it appears) love of Japanese culture. All of this despite being held in a Japanese POW camp- one of the "better" ones, he admits. But, still. King Rat is based on his POW experiences and he appears as a character in the novel. Wonder if there are any (good) biographies about Clavell.


jennbunny Byrkit I am very stingy with stars.....I have very few 5 star books but one I read this year was: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. It was a definite favorite of mine. The only other 5 star book for me (memoir) was: Does the Noise in My Head Bother You?.


Skandia (SFGirl) My 5 star reads have been so far

The Glass Virgin by Catherine Cookson
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

These 2 are really "my type of books" but the biggest surprise was how much I liked the YA fantasy book
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia


ToniS | 203 comments I rated three books with five stars this year:

The Remains of the Day
Silent in the Grave
Room


Lori Baldi | 171 comments Interesting how the thread was started so early in the year for posting the best 5 star reads of the year. We are truly at the end of the year and I was thrilled with The Invisible Bridge. That was the best of the 5 star books for me in historical fiction. I just finished The Winter Sea which was very close to being a 5 star and I may change my mind if I find that it haunts me.


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