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message 1: by JoLene, Mistress of the Challenge (last edited Dec 23, 2012 08:23AM) (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1287 comments Mod
What were the top historical books that you read in 2012?

Books listed could be published in any year -- they are the ones that you read this year! Also, you can include non-fiction or classics' but lets follow the rule that more than half of the action needs to take place at least 50 years ago.

message 2: by NayNay (new)

NayNay I read so many good ones this year....

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan The Forever Queen (The Saxon Series #1) by Helen Hollick Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham The Traitor's Wife A Novel of the Reign of Edward II by Susan Higginbotham The Stolen Crown The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England by Susan Higginbotham The Sixth Wife (Tudor Saga, #7) by Jean Plaidy The Lady in the Tower (Queens of England, #4) by Jean Plaidy The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3) by Diane Haeger Mary, Queen of France (Tudor Saga, #9) by Jean Plaidy Nefertiti by Michelle Moran The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran Madame Tussaud A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran

Oh there are so many more...but these well do, LOL

message 3: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Marina, I did love A Place of Greater Safety. Does that mean I will enjoy Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. They sound so daunting. How would you compare them?

message 4: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Dec 23, 2012 10:01PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 398 comments Wolf Hall is excellent, but not an easy read. "He" is Cromwell himself. Reading it in longer sustained stretches helped.

message 6: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Marina, thank you for explaining. I think I would enjoy hearing the story told from Cromwell's inner, personal pov. In whose head are you in BUTB?

Susanna,thanks for your advice. I agree that difficult books are best read "in one go", so your mind is not diverted. I cannot read such books by watering down the difficulty with easier reads; I only loose track of the thread by doing that! But how would you compare it to A Place of Greater Safety?

Re:Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. The text is thorough and detailed. You DO clearly come to understand HOW Lincoln succeeded in winning the Republican nomination in 1860. That is where I am. I like it very much.

message 7: by Donna (last edited Dec 24, 2012 03:24AM) (new)

Donna (drspoon) | 11 comments So many wonderful books read this year. Some hf favorites: Bring Up the Bodies, The Sand-Reckoner, The Red Tent, Moloka'i, Doc

message 9: by JoLene, Mistress of the Challenge (last edited Dec 24, 2012 01:51PM) (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1287 comments Mod
Here are my top 4 and 5 star historical reads (somewhat in top to bottom order):

The Book Thief: can't believe I waited so long to read
The Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England: loved this
Life: An Exploded Diagram: YA coming of age against backdrop of Cuban missile crisis
A Poisoned Season: 2nd Lady Emily mystery
11/22/63: time-travel to prevent Kennedy assassination -- but really much more than that
Kindred: a time-travel classic
The Skin Map: another time travel adventure (hummm...there might be a theme to books I like ;-)
Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus: enjoyable twist on mythology
The Hangman's Daughter: who knew the importance/role of hangmen
Four Sisters, All Queens: interesting story about an ambitious family from Provence
The Kitchen House: an indentured servant living with slaves on a plantation
The Angel Makers: interesting story based on true events
The Complete Maus: graphic novel depicted the author's fathers life

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 398 comments Chrissie: I haven't read A Place of Greater Safety, so can't compare them. Sorry!

message 11: by Shomeret (last edited Dec 24, 2012 01:17PM) (new)

Shomeret | 221 comments My five star HFs in 2012 in the order I read them are:

Ride for Rightsby Tara Chevrestt--society girls ride across the U.S. on motorcycles during WWI

Strandloperby Alan Garner-- 19th century English criminal transported to Australia escapes into the outback and lives with aborigines

Fire Angelsby Joseph Richardson-- A small Florida town during WWI deals with a number of social issues.

The Rock Childby Win Blevins--A part Native American brought up by Mormons meets a Tibetan nun in the 19th century American West

Freedom of the Monsoonby Malika Ghandi--The stories of a group of friends who lived through the Quit India movement that expelled the British from India

Chojunby Goran Powell--The experiences of a karate student on Okinawa before, during and after WWII and his relationship with his teacher, the real Mr. Miyagi, who actually existed.

message 12: by Bryn (new)

Bryn Hammond (brynhammond) | 277 comments Thanks for Strandloper, just ordered it. You know, that's the trouble with these lists.

message 13: by ~Brandy~ (new)

~Brandy~ | 10 comments The best HF I have read this year are:

The Angel Makers
The Tenth Gift
The Shadow of the Wind
War Brides

This was a wonderful year of reading. Hopfully next year will be just as good or better!

message 14: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel Falls the Shadow (Welsh Princes, #2) by Sharon Kay Penman , Under the Eagle (Eagle, #1) by Simon Scarrow , Here be Dragons (Welsh Princes, #1) by Sharon Kay Penman , Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1) by Ken Follett

message 15: by Joseph (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 94 comments The best historical fiction of 2012 IMO:
Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society A Novel by Amy Hill Hearth Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin The House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine Howe

message 16: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 221 comments I have both Silhouette of a Sparrowand
The House of Velvet and Glasson request from libraries. Thank you, Joseph.

message 18: by Michael (last edited Dec 25, 2012 08:46AM) (new)

Michael (mike999) Top fiction--by rough preference
Doc--Mary Doria Russell (2011)
Three Day Road--Joseph Boyden
Burr--Gore Vidal (1973)
Cloud Atlas--David Mitchell (2004)
The Cat's Table--Michael Ondaatje (2011)
The Prisoner of Heaven--Carlos Ruiz Zafon (2012)
Live by Night--Dennis Lehane (2012)
The Wars--Timothy Findley (1977)
The Sisters Brothers--Patrick deWitt (2011)
The Jade Peony--Wayson Choy (1995)
Burning Bright--Tracy Chevalier (2007)

Top history
1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created—Charles Mann (2011)
Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia—Michael Korda (2010)
The Drowned and the Saved--Primo Levi (1988)
Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War--Nathaniel Philbrick (2006)
Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission--Hampton Sides (2001)
Antietam:The Battle That Changed the Course of the Civil War--James McPherson (2002)
Sea of Thunder:Four Commanders and the Last Great Naval Campaign 1941-1945--Evan Thomas (2006)

message 20: by Lori (last edited Dec 25, 2012 05:03PM) (new)

Lori (glitzyrebel) My Favorite Reads in 2012
Unbroken A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4) by Diana Gabaldon Moloka'i by Alan Brennert Ready Player One by Ernest Cline The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern The Help by Kathryn Stockett Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2) by Diana Gabaldon The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) by Ken Follett Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani The Glassblower of Murano by Marina Fiorato Voyager (Outlander, #3) by Diana Gabaldon

message 23: by Rimma (new)

Rimma Rose  (rimmarose) | 1 comments Cursed To Survive by RR, The Years Of Extermination by Saul Friedlander

message 24: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Saadia (zoesaadia) Thank you for so many great recommendations. My head reels :D

message 25: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel These are not recommendations. These are the must reads! =P

message 26: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Saadia (zoesaadia) Yes, Sir :D

message 27: by Diane (new)

Diane Lewis Two stand out for me in this very busy year.
The Raven's Seal, beautiful writing and compelling characters.
And The Apothecary's Daughter.

message 28: by Marti (last edited Dec 27, 2012 11:35AM) (new)

Marti (marjay) My four and five star historical fiction books this year.

Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham,
The Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children, #5) by Jean M. Auel
The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children #6) by Jean M. Auel
Empress of the Seven Hills (Rome, #3) by Kate Quinn
The Second Empress: A Novel of Napoleon's Court by Michelle Moran
Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen by Mary Sharratt
The Shadow Queen: A Novel of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Rebecca Dean
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
The Winter Palace: A Novel of Catherine the Great by Eva Stachniak

message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

This isn't fiction, but The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation was spectacular! It's very informative and well-written nonfiction book.

message 30: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Some of my top Historical Fiction titles for 2012:

1. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isobel Wilkerson
2. Haven by Ruth Gruber
3. Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
4. The Arrogant Years by Lucette Lagnado
5. In the Garden of the Beasts by Eric White
6. War Horse by Michael Morpungo

message 31: by Nell (last edited Dec 29, 2012 03:30AM) (new)

Nell Nancy wrote: "Some of my top Historical Fiction titles for 2012:

1. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isobel Wilkerson
2. Haven by Ruth Gruber
3. Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
4. The Arrogant Years by..."

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration is nonfiction and an excellent read.

message 32: by Nancy from NJ (new)

Katz Nancy from NJ (nancyk18) Yes Nell, The Warmth is non - fiction and should have been noted when I posted it.

To tell the truth I find it very hard to categorize some books into genres. One of the Last books I read was Haven by Ruth Gruber which was Non-fiction but could also be categorized as Historical Non-Fiction or even a memoir about the author.

message 33: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie These have been my favorite books read this year:

Let the Great World Spin
Birds Without Wings
Rules of Civility
Between Love and Honor
All That I Am
Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life
Chronicle in Stone
A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary
Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness
Scribbling The Cat
Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

This may seem a lot, but I have read 157 books this year so far.

The last six are biographical, so not historical fiction. I guess you see my preference, but the two often overlap. All of these books will grab you. None leave you unmoved.

message 34: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) Chrissie wrote: "These have been my favorite books read this year..."
A lot of books I'd like to read. Nice balance of fiction and nonfiction. Birds without Wings was such a pleasure. Almost the same number of books read for the year. My commute allows me to do a lot of audiobooks. Who knows what historical books will come our way.

message 35: by Dem (new)

Dem | 238 comments My favourite historical reads of 2012 were.

Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie
Nicholas and Alexandra
Amongst Women
Amongst Women by John McGahern
Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

message 36: by Rosalie (new)

Rosalie Turner | 40 comments This was a good question. It made me go back & look at what I'd read and I was surprised at how few historical fictions were on my list even though I'm a HF author & I love that genre. A few favorites this year are:
"Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks (one of my fav authors)
"Doc" and "A Thread of Grace" by Mary Doria Russell
"The Paris Wife" by Paula Mclain

message 37: by Cher (new)

Cher (cher_n_books) | 7 comments My favorite historical read this year was Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys . Find myself still thinking about it and the characters a month after finishing it.

message 38: by Chrissie (new)

Chrissie Michael, I checked out your favorites too! We both like history. I have some of yours on my TBR pile. Nice. Audiobooks are certainly a great invention!

This is a great thread! Jolene, thank you.

message 39: by Michael (new)

Michael (mike999) Chrissie wrote: "Michael, I checked out your favorites too! We both like history. ..."
We just broke 200 books in common (unsure how many are TBR). (With your dog in your avatar, I wondered what your best dog books were; but alas you don't use that tag)

Would love to know more about Belgium history. A lab I worked in for 10 years had lots of Belgian neurologists come through on research fellowships. Flemish, Walloon, Frigian segments and roles in history are lost on me. Other questions include how many colonies did they have and how did they handle wars of independence? And who are the giants in writing? So if I am curious, I should do something in my reading journey to scratch that itch.

BTW: Your writing in English is very clear. Americans are so shamefully bad about learning other languages (I had only a couple years of Italian).

message 40: by Kimberly (last edited Dec 30, 2012 02:22PM) (new)

Kimberly I'm so glad to see that Jocasta: The Mother-Wife of Oedipus made the list on a few other people's favorites. I read it last year and loved it.

My list for 2012 in no particular order:

Cleopatra's Daughter
Beneath a Marble Sky
Doc- Loved this one!
Someone Knows My Name: A Novel
The Dressmaker

The Baker's Daughter
11/22/63-my first Stephen King novel. Loved it.
The Bronze Horseman
The Shoemaker's Wife
In Need of a Good Wife
Charms for the Easy Life
84, Charing Cross Road
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate-5 stars
A Good American

message 41: by R.M.F. (last edited Dec 31, 2012 05:31AM) (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 52 comments I've only heard of one of these books...the shame. In 2013, I need to give myself a dose of HF.

message 42: by Liza (new)

Liza Perrat (httpwwwgoodreadscomlizaperrat) I just finished the non-fiction: Eugenia, by Marke Tedeschi. An amazing true story set in Australia... I did find the last legal part of the trial dragged a bit though.

message 43: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Lafferty I discovered some great historic fiction in 2012. My favorites are The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley , Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier , Dreams of Joy by Lisa See , and The Kingmaker's Daughter (The Cousins' War #4) by Philippa Gregory

Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | -52 comments I had a heavy writing year, with not as much time as I would like for reading, but I really enjoyed The Help and Jeff Shaara's The Steel Wave: A Novel of World War II (I did not like another one of his books about the revolution). I also enjoyed The Song of Achilles (especially how the narrator kept on going despite being dead) and as a popcorn treat, Steven Saylor's series about Gordianus the Finder.

message 45: by Leonide (new)

Leonide Martin | 87 comments Ancient cultures, especially Mayan and Egyptian, are my particular HF interests, so those I most enjoyed in 2012 are: Domain (The Domain Trilogy, #1) by Steve Alten , Mayan Interface by Wim Coleman , The Crystal Skull by Manda Scott , The Lost Queen Ankhsenamun, Widow of King Tutankhamun by Cheryl L. Fluty , Nefertiti by Michelle Moran , Four Sisters, All Queens by Sherry Jones

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