Historical Fictionistas discussion

182 views
Recommendations? > Good contemporary HF authors?

Comments Showing 1-25 of 25 (25 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul Losada | 4 comments Hi all. Who's writing some of the best HF books today? What are some good (not necessarily popular) titles you all respect and recommend? I'm particularly interested in non-fantasy based HF, but I'll check out anything that's a great story. I'm mostly new to this world of fiction, but I'm very curious to learn more. Thank you for your help!


message 2: by Michele (new)

Michele What about older works, like 80s, 90s etc? Also, any particular time period you find interesting? HF includes such a wide ranging array of times and places.


message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul Losada | 4 comments I'm just curious about who's writing it well now... there's more resources and knowledge available now to write even better, more accurate HF books than was possible in the 90's, 80's, etc. no?


message 4: by Paul (last edited May 03, 2014 11:14PM) (new)

Paul Losada | 4 comments Also, it's easier to do a google search on notable, more classic HF titles ;)


message 5: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Crampton (cramptonmargaret) | 7894 comments I recommend Ken Follett. His books are long but fascinating. I've read Pillars of the Earth and Fall of Giants. First in Mecieval times and second period of First World War. I have both give stars. I hope you enjoy them.


message 6: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Dee | 1 comments I'm a big fan of Jo O'Connor after reading star of the sea. very talented


message 7: by Judith (new)

Judith (windowtoapast) | 34 comments My personal favourite is Katherine Howe. Her books are amazing: accurate and compelling historical fiction with a touch of magic/supernatural. Her prose is beautiful and her characters are complex.

This may not be as contemporary as you'd like, but Connie Willis's 1992 Doomsday Book is a phenomenal work of historical fiction (especially if you like sci-fi!)


message 8: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 466 comments Do you have an interest in a particular period? Most authors tend to focus on one.


message 9: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2467 comments Mod
I agree with Eileen. It would be nice to now what period you are interested in to narrow down recs. Also, if you mind romance or not.

With that said Bernard Cornwell is a very popular contemporary author you might want to check out.


message 10: by Paul (last edited May 04, 2014 10:06AM) (new)

Paul Losada | 4 comments I appreciate the comments everyone! I suppose if I were to hone in on a particular area of history--I'd be curious of an author writing HF that covers time periods as recent as the 1970's, 80's, and 90's. But again, I'd be happy to read about the Bronze age if it included a compelling plot and characters.


message 11: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 111 comments The only book that I'd consider remotely HF set in the 90s is The Cellist of Sarajevo. I reckon most people in this group would consider books set after the early 70s as not meeting the HF definition of the group. I typically consider them contemporary fiction rather than HF.


message 12: by Petra (new)

Petra | 2 comments I am Susanna Gregory, karen Maitland, michael jecks, imogen robertson and ruth downie.... I am sure I know more, but these authors create believable plotlines with rich historical detail and characters that are well fleshed out.


message 13: by Petra (new)

Petra | 2 comments I am enjoying susanna ....' grrr, phone is frustrating to type on! :-)


message 14: by Jane (new)

Jane Carver (janecc) | 12 comments I understand the definition of Historical Fiction that we use, but it does seem that if a book written today is about an event that is clearly going to be considered historical, like the war in Sarajevo, it certainly blurs the line. If the event had happened 50 years earlier, no one would quibble about the book being designated Historical fiction. It's not just Contemporary Fiction, perhaps it should be redefined as Contemporary Historical Fiction.


message 15: by Libbie Hawker (new)

Libbie Hawker (L.M. Ironside) (lmironside) | 253 comments Paul, who are some authors you currently read and enjoy? I think that will help us narrow our suggestions for you!

I don't think most people here would consider the 1970s - 1990s historical fiction...usually it's taken to mean 50 years in the past or greater.


message 16: by Dispatcher209 (new)

Dispatcher209 | 10 comments I love The Crimson Petal and The White by Michel Faber (sorry I haven't figured out how to add the link in). It's set in Victorian London. The book is extremely long but incredibly detailed.


message 17: by Martine (new)

Martine Bailey (martineanne) | 34 comments Yes, Michel Faber is a teriffically intelligent writer and The Crimson Petal and the White is marvellous. He also writes contemporary fiction and I loved a very strange and creepy book called Under the Skin. One of the more interesting contemporary historical writers is Rose Tremain. She often moves periods so some of my favourites are The Color (19th century goldrush New Zealand) as well as Trespass and The Road Home (both 20th century). She is intelligent, can be frustrating but never formulaic. I also look forward to new writing from Sarah Waters and Tracey Chevalier.
And for historical mysteries you can't beat Andrew Taylor, especially The American Boy about Edgar Alllen Poe.


message 18: by Lisasue (new)

Lisasue (lisasuej) Paul wrote: "Hi all. Who's writing some of the best HF books today? What are some good (not necessarily popular) titles you all respect and recommend? I'm particularly interested in non-fantasy based HF, but I'..."

Paul wrote: "Hi all. Who's writing some of the best HF books today? What are some good (not necessarily popular) titles you all respect and recommend? I'm particularly interested in non-fantasy based HF, but I'..."

Martine wrote: "Yes, Michel Faber is a teriffically intelligent writer and The Crimson Petal and the White is marvellous. He also writes contemporary fiction and I loved a very strange ..."

I would recommend any book written by David Liss and My Name is Mary Sutter.


message 19: by JoLene, Mistress of the Challenge (new)

JoLene (trvl2mtns) | 1380 comments Mod
I really like Sharon Kay Penman and Sandra Gulland for European HF. I third the recommendation of Bernard Cornwell and would add Wilbur Smith. These two guys cover a wide range of places and time periods.

Also, the definition of HF is based on the idea that an author must do historical research in addition to writing a good story, which is where the 50 year rule is used.


message 20: by Hamid (last edited May 19, 2014 11:01PM) (new)

Hamid Karima | 41 comments Paul wrote: "Hi all. Who's writing some of the best HF books today?

I write non-fantasy historical fictions, but I can't tell if my first book has been good or bad;the readers should tell.Of course I think it isn't a boring story.



message 21: by Jackie, That's Her Constableness to you! (last edited May 21, 2014 01:11PM) (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) | 2467 comments Mod
Lisa, it is not appropriate to plug your book. Please follow our group rules: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/... . Thanks!


message 22: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Leary Hi HFs,
I'm not sure my suggestion totally fits here. My 'contemporary' author died 10 years ago but his work is brilliant and I'm trying to get the word out.
The author is Robert Merle, probably best known in English for Weekend at Zuydecoote and Day of the Dolphin. However, it is his 13-book series Fortunes of France that I really treasure. Says Wiki: "Recreating 16th and 17th century France through the eyes of a fictitious Protestant doctor turned spy, he went so far as to write it in the period's French making it virtually untranslatable."
Untranslatable until now that is. I'm delighted to be able to inform HFs that Pushkin Press has taken the plunge. The first in the series, The Brethren (978-1782270447), is out in September (UK) and March 2015 (US). I rank this series with O'Brian's Aubry/Maturin series, which is high praise from one who regards O'Brian as one of the greats of the HF genre.


message 23: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Lincoln | 13 comments Lauren Belfer wrote A City of Light, about Buffalo NY and the beginning of electrical power, and A Fierce Radiance, about the search for penicillin early in the 1900s, both kind of obscure subjects that she has turned into engrossing novels.


message 24: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Crampton (cramptonmargaret) | 7894 comments I think Ken Follett is hard to
Beat


message 25: by Joseph (last edited Oct 01, 2014 07:41AM) (new)

Joseph  (bluemanticore) | 103 comments Susan Vreeland just came out with one of the best, most realistic works of historical fiction I have ever read: Lisette's List.
Other works and/or authors who have published since 2010 that I would recommend are, in no particular order:
Anything by Tracy Chevalier
Revolutionary by Alex Myers
Anything by Melanie Benjamin
Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown
Emily & Herman: A Literary Romance by John J. Healey
Silhouette of a Sparrow by Molly Beth Griffin
The Woman Who Heard Color by Kelly Jones
The Maid: A Novel of Joan of Arc by Kimberly Cutter
The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees
Corrag by Susan Fletcher


back to top