Historical Fictionistas discussion

Recommendations? > Sweeping family saga

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Jenny (Novel Idea) (novelidea) | 6 comments Hi there! Does anyone have any suggestions for HF that follows one English family thru several generations? I'm thinking along the lines of Downton Abbey in that respect. Can be in any time period though. Series or stand alone's, doesn't matter.

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Belle Blackburn | 61 comments Wheel of Fortune by Susan Howatch covers 100 years of a family in Wales but is fiction, not historical fiction.

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Becky (beckyofthe19and9) | 3408 comments Mod
I don't know any specifically English sagas like that. Have you tried Listopia? There are some Downton Abbey lists that might include books you're looking for:

Downton Abbey-esque Books
Read in place of watching Downton Abbey
Books for Downton Abbey Fans
Downton Abbey Read-alikes

Jenny (Novel Idea) (novelidea) | 6 comments Thanks so much ladies! I'll look into your suggestions.

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Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 610 comments This suggestion is not historical fiction in the sense of a contemporary writer writing about past eras, but it is historical to us now: Angela Thirkell’s Barsetshire series of novels (about a group of different families living in Trollope’s fictional Barsetshire in the first half of the twentieth century). I think High Rising is the first of the series.

message 6: by Laurel (last edited Aug 14, 2015 12:30PM) (new)

Laurel Bradshaw (llawryf) | 34 comments The Morland Dynasty series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (The Founding) - about 35 books.

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Harold Titus (haroldtitus) | 106 comments The many Poldark books written by Winston Graham span two generations: the 1780s into the early 1800s.

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Eileen Iciek | 463 comments Ken Follett's Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1) by Ken Follett Winter of the World (The Century Trilogy #2) by Ken Follett Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy, #3) by Ken Follett . It starts before WWI and ends about 2008.

R.F. Delderfield's, including God Is an Englishman (Swann Saga, #1) by R.F. Delderfield and others, were like that. The Forsyth Saga, too.

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Eileen Iciek | 463 comments You can also check out Elizabeth Chadwick and her William Marshall books, if you want to go a lot further back.

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C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 684 comments Norah Lofts' Suffolk Trilogy is now on Kindle (and available free if you have Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime): The Town House, The House at Old Vine, The House at Sunset.

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Karen | 18 comments Well, I loved Sharon Kay Penman's series starting with "When Christ and His Saints Slept" - four books following Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine and their four sons.

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Margaret Crampton (cramptonmargaret) | 7993 comments Although autobiographical and not fiction I thoroughly recommend the Harry Bernstein trilogy. These books were written by Harry in his nineties and read like a novel and span his life and family saga from his childhood in a mill town in the North of England where anti semitism is rife, to the family's emigration joining the extended family and chasing the elusive American Dream in Chicago and New York during the depression and finally finding love and happiness with his wife Ruby and his own family. Although perhaps not sweeping and not fiction it is beautifully written and follows his dis functional family dogged by poverty clinging to Jewish beliefs a triumph of love and the human spirit against all odds. the invisible wall , the dream and the golden willow

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Catherine Byrne (katarina66) | 38 comments Loved the Ken Follett sagas

Jenny (Novel Idea) (novelidea) | 6 comments Thanks so much for all of the suggestions. I am looking them all up now!

message 15: by Lindsey (last edited Sep 01, 2015 06:23PM) (new)

Lindsey | 265 comments I put in another vote for the Forsyte Saga-that is one I'm looking to reread soon.

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Arnold Bennett's The Old Wives sTale covers 70 years at the turn of the 20th century in England.
It is a contemporary novel, set in the middle classes-no lords or ladies-but is a bit of a lost classic.

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Gracebaldwin (aparatchick) | 4 comments I'll recommend Elizabeth Jane Howard's series of five that cover four generations of a British family from the 1930s to 1950s. Very well written with memorable characters that change over time (of course, they go through WWII, so I suppose they would!).

They are:
The Light Years
Marking Time
Casting Off
All Change

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Gdaiva | 8 comments yes, i double the Forsyte saga, beautiful

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Patricia | 67 comments Penny Vincenzi's Lytton family trilogy: No Angel; Something Dangerous; Into Temptation. Follows a family in England who own a publishing house. Very entertaining reading.

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Angela (faerietela) | 11 comments I highly recommend The Rose Trilogy by Jennifer Donnelly if you haven't already. It is definitely a family saga, and covers different perspectives at different times and in different books. Plus I think they are great. The first one is called The Tea Rose. Also The Tiger Queens: The Women of Genghis Khan is a fabulous read. I couldn't put it down, which surprised me because I knew nothing of the period and didn't expect much. The book is split into 4 parts, each told by a different woman in the family. Amazing. Hope you found what you were looking for. Happy reading. :)

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Kandice I second The Rose Trilogy! Lovely books.

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Mary | 8 comments I'm a another Ken Follet fan, The Pillars of the Earth in particular. I also love Edward Rutherford. Check out Sarum: The Novel of England. Bernard Cornwell is fun too.

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Mary | 8 comments Rebecca West's The Fountain Overflows isn't exactly a saga, but it is a remarkable book about an English family.

message 24: by Jenny (Novel Idea) (last edited Sep 18, 2015 05:10AM) (new)

Jenny (Novel Idea) (novelidea) | 6 comments Thanks so much for the suggestions.

I keep meaning to read Sarum: The Novel of England and even London (which I already own). The only one by Edward Rutherford that I've read so far is New York. It was great.

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Michele There's Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Woman of Substance series. A bit melodramatic 80s style but very much a page-turner.

Same with John Jakes' North and South trilogy and The Bastard series.

message 26: by Sally (last edited Sep 18, 2015 07:45AM) (new)

Sally Wragg | 22 comments I'm not sure if I'm allowed to recommend my own work (so I do hope this is okay!) but my Loxley trilogy is a family saga and follows the fortunes of the Loxley family through the generations. It's set on a fictional country estate in Derbyshire and ranges from the beginnings of the First to the Second World War. The first book is 'Loxley', followed by 'The Angel and The Sword' (published by Robert Hale and shortly to appear as an ebook) and finally, 'The Gypsy's Tale'.

Loxley by Sally Wragg The Angel and the Sword by Sally Wragg The Gypsy's Tale by Sally Wragg

The links are:- Loxley The Angel and the Sword The Gypsy's Tale

message 27: by C.P. (last edited Sep 20, 2015 07:35AM) (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 684 comments If you are willing to go outside the UK, most of Mazo de la Roche's Whiteoaks of Jalna series, which begins in Ireland but mostly takes place in Ontario, is now available on Kindle.

Jenny (Novel Idea) (novelidea) | 6 comments I'm totally willing to go outside the UK. I'm not even sure why I was that specific except I had just finished Downton Abbey. lol

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Kandice The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough is a sweeping family saga set in Australia.

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Kandice Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley is my favorite generational family story ever. It begins in Africa, but quickly comes to America.

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Jane | 180 comments Farewell Britannia by Simon Young Farewell Britannia by Simon Young. Britons 55 BC until the Romans leave Britain in 410 AD.

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Amalie | 5 comments The legend of the ice people by Margit Sandemo is an amazing norwegian family saga, spanning around 500 years and 47 books, all over scandinavia in a mix ox historical fiction of fantasy.

message 33: by Anna (last edited Apr 14, 2017 03:06PM) (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 90 comments Ross Poldark (Poldark, #1) by Winston Graham

The Poldark books are fantastic and are by Winston Graham. There are 12 of them. They have also been turned into a TV series which is as loved as Downton Abbey.

Cornish family set in 1790s onwards. Wonderful. Set near the sea.

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Beth Sponzilli (bethsponzilli) | 79 comments Philippa Gregory's Wideacre series!!

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Christine Malec | 169 comments I really love the Jalna series by Mazo De La Roche. The book linked here was the first published, but there are 14 or so, spanning 1850-1950. These books are very Canadian to me. Set on the western shore of Lake Ontario, they follow a family full of strong, well-developed characters, tied closely to the land. The landscape itself is so well described that it's like a character too.

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Lizabeth | 23 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "Ross Poldark (Poldark, #1) by Winston Graham

The Poldark books are fantastic and are by Winston Graham. There are 12 of them. They have also been turned into a TV series which is as loved as Downton Abbey.

I loved the 1970's Masterpiece Theater presentation of this story and also love the new one! I have the first three books in the series and look forward to diving into them!

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Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 90 comments I can't wait for the next TV series. I won't read the books at the moment because I have written books (and am writing a third) which reviewers have said are like Poldark so I daren't be influenced by another writer's work.

I started my books about 10 years ago, long before the current TV series, and I didn't see the 1970's one - I hope one of the TV stations will show it again. When I finish writing the current one, I shall return to the Poldark books which I first read (one or two only) 25 years ago, if I remember rightly!

Aren't we lucky that he wrote 12! So much more for the TV people to work on.

I vaguely recall the first book where Demelza did not have red hair. I wonder if I've got that wrong? I thought it was dark in the book.

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Cynthia Miller (cinzia8) | 22 comments Jenny (Novel Idea) wrote: "Thanks so much for the suggestions.

I keep meaning to read Sarum: The Novel of England and even London (which I already own). The only one by Edward Rutherford that I'..."

Rutherford's Sarum is excellent as well as his The Princes of Ireland. He starts in early ancient times and tells the history through the family lineage of the first character. Sarum is the ancient name for Salisbury and the Princes of Ireland is about the city of Dublin.

message 39: by Lizabeth (last edited Apr 24, 2017 05:33PM) (new)

Lizabeth | 23 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "I can't wait for the next TV series. I won't read the books at the moment because I have written books (and am writing a third) which reviewers have said are like Poldark so I daren't be influenced..."

Your use of the words "daren't" and "shall" shows some 18th century influence already! Are you British? (And you are right; Demelza is described as having "dark, untidy hair." :)

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Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 90 comments Aha! The old memory hasn't given up yet! Dark hair. Thank you, Lizabeth.

Yes, I'm British. It shows, I know! The British Speech Museum installs itself in my head when I sit down to write my books ;)

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