What's the Name of That Book??? discussion

Suggest books for me > Books with epic multi-generational family sagas (ie: Rice's The Witching Hour)

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OddModicum Rachel (oddmodicumrachel) | 42 comments Hoping some of you have some good ideas! Someone in another forum got me thinking about how much I loved The Witching Hour, and the whole Lives of the Mayfair Witches series by Anne Rice. Read that series a good 6x, and was fascinated by the epic family history spanning centuries. Obviously, no one writes epic backstory quite like Anne Rice, but I'd love some suggestions for anything with huge family history and ideally incorporating some paranormal, gothic or historical aspects. Any ideas? Thanks in advance!

message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan | 150 comments The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or one of Kate Morton's novels. Not exactly like Anne Rice but I think you'll enjoy them!

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Scott The Deceiver by Melanie Tem

message 4: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 37757 comments Mod
No paranormal or gothic, but if you like historical fiction and colonialism The Raj Quartet has a sprawling cast of characters, some related (not all).

message 5: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

OddModicum Rachel (oddmodicumrachel) | 42 comments Megan wrote: "The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield or one of Kate Morton's novels. Not exactly like Anne Rice but I think you'll enjoy them!"

So funny! That's an August 'book club' book for a group on GR I just joined today. Already have it reserved. ;)

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Laina (lshockley) | 188 comments Hi there! A few to try:

The Mists of Avalon Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley:

Cane River by Lalita Tademy
(Not a series, but you might enjoy this multi-generational tale)

The Pillars of the Earth Series by Ken Follett


message 8: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (notemily) | 478 comments The House of the Spirits spans several generations.

message 9: by OddModicum Rachel (last edited Jul 26, 2014 11:15AM) (new)

OddModicum Rachel (oddmodicumrachel) | 42 comments Oh wow, you guys rock! I haven't read "House of the Spirits" since just after it came out, and its been 10 years or so. Would love to read that again. And never did read Allende's books before it in the series.

And Laina, that Cane River looks truly outstanding! I loved Mother of Pearl which its compared to on the side, and Tumbling and The Warmest December are two other similar GR recommendations that look fantastic. And the Mists of Avalon and Pillars of the Earth series have both been on my reading list forever, but I'd kinda half forgotten they exist. lol So those will be perfect as well, and they're great long chunky series, which'll keep me busy. ;)

Thank you guys, seriously! Fabulous suggestions.

message 10: by Michele (new)

Michele | 280 comments Barbara Taylor Bradford has a bunch of big books that follow a woman and her family - A Woman of Substance is the first book,

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Moloch | 275 comments No paranormal, but follows a Sicilian family of the 19th century through various generations. It's one of the best novels of the Italian literature

The Viceroys

message 12: by Michele (new)

Michele | 2357 comments John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga is pretty epic family tale.

Maybe Flambards.

If you're OK with straight historical fiction (that is, without fantasy or paranormal), Jean Plaidy has written dozens of wonderful historical fiction novels on the English Kings, from like the 12th century to the 20th.

The Dollanganger saga, starting with Flowers in the Attic, follows a dark and twisted family with all sorts of nasty secrets.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germain series recounts the adventures of the vampire le Comte St. Germain over three thousand years, from ancient Egypt to modern America. You'd probably want to start with Hotel Transylvania (18th c. France, if I remember correctly), though my favorite is Blood Games which is set in Imperial Rome.

message 13: by Ann aka Iftcan (last edited Jul 27, 2014 06:16PM) (new)

Ann aka Iftcan (iftcan) | 6972 comments Mod
The Saint-Germain Chronicles is a good way to get your feet with the St. Germain series.

I don't remember if it's the suggestion I have above, or if it's Hotel Transylvania but in one she talks about researching for a vampire series that she wanted to write, and was reading about St. Germain (he was an actual historical figure, btw.) And she said that suddenly she went, "Oh, wow, what am I THINKING--here's a historical character who claims to actually BE a vampire. (At that point in time it was very popular for a noble/royal to claim to be vampiric in order to protect themselves from assassination attempts.)

message 14: by OddModicum Rachel (last edited Jul 27, 2014 07:08PM) (new)

OddModicum Rachel (oddmodicumrachel) | 42 comments That Saint-Germain series sounds truly lovely. I love that the books seem to cover different periods.

I'm great with straight historical fiction, and Plaidy is new to me, so those look intriguing. I REALLY love historical fic that is so well described that you get sucked into the period. The Matthew Corbett series by Robert McCammon (Speaks the Nightbird, The Queen of Bedlam...) was that way for me.

The Viceroys sounds perfect. I'm fascinated by italian culture of that time period, so looking forward to that, for sure. I've read a lot of Roman and Venetian historical fic, but don't think I've come across anything set in Sicily, before.

And I remember reading Bradford's A Woman of Substance years ago, but don't think I ever got the books that follow. That'll be great for a reread and continuation of the series. I remember I loved the book, but that's about all I can recall, offhand.

Love these suggestions! Thanks, everyone!

message 15: by Michele (last edited Jul 27, 2014 07:16PM) (new)

Michele | 2357 comments OddModicum Rachel wrote: "I'm great with straight historical fiction...I REALLY love historical fic that is so well described that you get sucked into the period..."

You'll love Jean Plaidy, then. Seriously well researched stuff. I'd also suggest The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers and Hilary Mantel's novelization of the life of Thomas Cromwell starting with Wolf Hall.

You might also like the Lymond Chronicles, Dorothy Dunnet's series about 16th c. Scotland, starting with The Game of Kings.

OddModicum Rachel (oddmodicumrachel) | 42 comments Michele wrote: "OddModicum Rachel wrote: "I'm great with straight historical fiction...I REALLY love historical fic that is so well described that you get sucked into the period..."

You'll love Jean Plaidy, then...."

Ooh, yes please. Men in kilts. ;)

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Trish | 4 comments The 5(?) book series by author Maisie Mosco beginning with "Almonds and Raisins" (aka "From the Bitter Land") is an excellent series beginning in 1905 about a family of Jewish Russian immigrants settling in Manchester, England. The series follows four generations of the family, if I remember correctly. Highly recommend! :)

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Liralen | 709 comments Sophie wrote: "The House of the Spirits spans several generations."

And, in a similar vein, One Hundred Years of Solitude covers a hundred years of a town/family.

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Juels | 2400 comments It isn't paranormal but I did love Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon.

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Hisgirl85 | 8 comments Straight historical: Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. The writing was very vivid, and the story takes place in China.

Magical realism/YA: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. This goes back to great-grandparents and the writing is very lovely, too.

Also, if you like magical realism, her books are shorter, but Sarah Addison Allen goes a little into the history of her characters and stories.

Best of luck. :)

OddModicum Rachel (oddmodicumrachel) | 42 comments These all sound so amazing! I've not no objections to paranormal... actually tend to read more in that vein than historical fic. My faves tend to combine the two.

And Magical Realism is one of my true loves... nothing makes me love a book more than a lyrical style with gorgeous writing. Really excited about those! And cultural influences, like the China setting, are one of my loves as well.

These are all such amazing suggestions! Thank you all so much for piping in, as I'd never have found these on my own.

message 22: by Brett (new)

Brett | 12 comments Middlesex by Geoffrey Eugenindies (sp?) is another great generation-spanning saga about a Brother and sister from Greece who emigrate to America and their descendents.

message 23: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (last edited May 04, 2017 04:32PM) (new)

Lobstergirl | 37757 comments Mod
You might like Ancient Evenings. Set in ancient Egypt, features a great-grandfather telling his life story. He has been reincarnated three times and has had 4 lives; his 6 year old great-grandson is also the narrator. His granddaughter is also a character, and her husband, and the pharaohs Ramses II and Ramses IX. Ramses II's wife Nefertiri and his whole harem. There is lots of gods and whether you want to call it magical realism or paranormal, stuff along those lines. Lots and lots of sex and buggery and flowery writing. I think it covers about 1.5 centuries.

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MJ | 1340 comments Gene of Isis by Traci Harding. Paranormal.

3 books. Three women. Starts with newest generation finding an old diary about gg(?) grandmother. And while she's on a journey that is actually connected to the gg-gm's, she's given part of a journal from a supa-great relation in the 1300's I think, that has a connect/impact on her life and decisions now.

message 25: by Heather (new)

Heather | 178 comments Almost anything by Edward Rutherfurd.


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Rosa (rosaiglarsh) | 4985 comments Hawaii by James A. Michener, and probably many other books of his as well.

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K.L. | 72 comments Jalna series by Mazo de la Roche. Spans 100 years of an Ontario family

message 28: by Megan (new)

Megan | 7 comments You may enjoy The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough or the The Bastard (and associated Kent Family Chronicles) by John Jakes. The first is set in Australia and follows family secrets + romance through 2-3 generations, also includes some Vatican politics iirc. The Kent Family Chronicles is during the American Revolution time period.

message 29: by MJ (new)

MJ | 1340 comments The Dragon Prince series by Melanie Rawn and the Deverry series by Katherine Kerr might make it. They are fantasy tho.

TDPs covers the main characters from young adulthood then skips a bit to their kids in taking the lead.

TDs is more about reincarnations. One main character makes an oath to 'make up for it', and then finds himself coming face to face with a central group of characters thru multiple reincarnations. Each time, the aim is to 'put things right', but there is more than he thought that needs to be corrected and each cycle may bring the same souls, but they are new people with their own struggles and no memory of him or his aims.

And if we are going to stretch that far, have a look at The Ancient Future trilogy by Traci Harding too. Multi generations, same soul group, but add in time travel... So several of the characters get multiple reincarnations, but some of them then start popping thru time, so you're not always loosing the characters you already know.

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Lau Maia Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters, #1) by Juliet Marillier this series by Juliet Marillier

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Kaion (kaionvin) | 389 comments Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine saga follows the fortunes of several interconnected Ojibwe families over the course of the better part of the 20th century, starting chronologically with Tracks.


message 32: by Heather (new)

Heather | 178 comments Edward Rutherfurd All of his novels tend to take several families from the Stone or Bronze Age of an area all the way to the present time, interweaving them as he goes.

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Kaion (kaionvin) | 389 comments Homegoing is getting lots of award buzz.

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message 36: by Michele (new)

Michele | 2357 comments Is the OP still checking this thread, I wonder?

A few more possibilities:

The Fionavar Tapestry starting with The Summer Tree (high fantasy, Arthurian legend)
I, Claudius and Claudius the God (ancient Rome)
The First Man in Rome and sequels (ancient Rome)
The Game of Kings and sequels (16th c. Scotland)
Shōgun (19th c. Japan)

message 37: by Gillian (new)

Gillian | 241 comments The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler.

The rockabilly werewolf from Mars | 1473 comments Blackwater by Michael McDowell is another horror/family saga series.

message 41: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 37757 comments Mod
Emile Zola's Rougon-Macquart series.


"Set in France's Second Empire, the series traces the "environmental" influences of violence, alcohol and prostitution which became more prevalent during the second wave of the Industrial Revolution. The series examines two branches of a family: the respectable (that is, legitimate) Rougons and the disreputable (illegitimate) Macquarts for five generations."

message 42: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 37757 comments Mod
The Sparsholt Affair. No paranormal or gothic.

message 43: by Isabela (new)

Isabela | 13 comments Don’t know if someone mentioned before, but any books from Lucinda Riley fits that description. They’re stand alone books, but worth it

message 44: by Lobstergirl, au gratin (new)

Lobstergirl | 37757 comments Mod
Commonwealth isn't epic, but it is multigenerational.

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