Historical Fictionistas discussion

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Recommendations? > 3rd Person Narrative - Historical Fictions

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message 1: by DNA (new)

DNA | 5 comments Hello wonderful readers! Can anyone point me to a list or give recommendations for good historical fictions that are NOT in 1st person perspective? From anywhere is fine but preferably those about pre-industrial age. Something like Margaret George's "Mary Queen of Scotland" or Daniel Peters' "The Incas".

I read a lot of history and historical fictions, and while I still consume tons of those told in 1st person, I personally prefer those which are written in 3rd person narrative. And browsing random titles online is so difficult because most books don't specify this and (if no reviewer on Goodreads post an excerpt *winks*) I can't flip through the pages before ordering them!

Please share some of your favourites (or even those you're on the fence with - I still want to check them out!). Older books and obscure authors are very welcome too. Thanks!


message 2: by Jodi (new)

Jodi (molomonkey) | 103 comments Have you read any of Sharon Kay Penman’s books? They are excellent and told in the 3rd person (at least the ones I’ve read). The Sunne in Splendour and her Plantagenet series starting with When Christ and his Saints Slept are among my favorite reads.


message 3: by DNA (new)

DNA | 5 comments Yes! I've read The Sunne in Splendour but haven't read anything else of hers. Thank you for reminding me of her, I remember liking it too.


message 4: by Emerson (new)

Emerson  | 6 comments I see where you are coming from. As i checked my Kindle/audible libraries, I realised that many if the recent historical fiction is told in first person.

I second the Penman novels. The Sunne in Splendour is one of my all time favorites.

If Amazon or othef seller does not have a look inside feature that shows a page or two of the writing , you can check to see if GR has a preview (open preview button)
If you have kindle or Nook, get the app to send you a sample. If these options don't work for you, look up the book in GR and look at the quotes, there are generally enough to get the pov.

On my TBR
Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernières
Flight of the Sparrow Amy Belding Brown
Push Not the River

Read
The Pillars of the Earth
Cold Mountain
Fire from Heaven
The Good Earth
Sharpe's Eagle



I know there are many more. I would check older books. Historicals in first person are kind of a thing in 21st century books, particulary among female authors, it seems, Really, I think it just depends on what the author is comfortable with. And the fact that 1st person is seen as personable and less distancing.

I think Dorothy Dunnett 's Lymmond and Niccolobooks are 3rd person


message 5: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 616 comments I seem to recall that The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish is written in the third person. It's a dual-timeline story. Another recent one is The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson.


message 6: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten  (kmcripn) I third Sharon Kay Penman. I've loved her since my dad insisted I read the Welsh Princes trilogy.

I also really loved Katherine by Anya Seton, which I believe is in 3rd person.

I sympathize with your position. I went off 1st person for decades after reading The Murder of Roger Ackroyd


message 7: by DNA (new)

DNA | 5 comments Emerson wrote: "I see where you are coming from. As i checked my Kindle/audible libraries, I realised that many if the recent historical fiction is told in first person.

I second the Penman novels. [book:The Sun..."


Thank you so much for the recommendations! And yes, I do all that you said as much as I could but you can't beat getting recommendations! Very interested in Birds Without Wings and the Good Earth. I am going to check them out today.

It is more difficult to browse through older books because a lot are not in digital format although Google seems to be improving this situation. I mostly order second-hand books at random just based on the titles and cross my fingers.


message 8: by DNA (new)

DNA | 5 comments Abigail wrote: "I seem to recall that The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish is written in the third person. It's a dual-timeline story. Another recent one is The Summer Before the War ..."

The Weight of Ink sounds fascinating. Thank you!


message 9: by DNA (new)

DNA | 5 comments Kirsten #flyapaperairplane #dothelindyhop #thankaredhead wrote: "I third Sharon Kay Penman. I've loved her since my dad insisted I read the Welsh Princes trilogy.

I also really loved Katherine by Anya Seton, which I believe is in 3r..."


Yeah, it's largely a hit-or-miss for me - but mostly it's a miss. Especially those that try to emulate narrating from their childhood. Somehow none quite cut it - all the 'children' have very adult voices and are just not believable to me. And I found that a lot of them don't bother with much descriptions (landscape? scenery? STUFF?) either which makes me sad.

Thank you for the recommendations! Please feel free to throw in more recommendations!


message 10: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 463 comments Elizabeth Chadwick's novels about William Marshall are excellent. The Scarlet Lion (William Marshal, #3) by Elizabeth Chadwick and The Greatest Knight (William Marshal, #2) by Elizabeth Chadwick were wonderful - last time I cried when someone died in a book. Hers are all 3rd person, I believe. At least, all that I've read.


message 11: by Adrian (new)

Adrian Deans (adriandeans) | 60 comments Bernard Cornwell (I think) never writes in First Person - he'd be close to my favourite HF writer.


message 12: by Liz (new)

Liz Macrae | 4 comments I like him too and the late Sarah Dunmore, who writes in the third person.


message 13: by Jodi (new)

Jodi (molomonkey) | 103 comments Adrian wrote: "Bernard Cornwell (I think) never writes in First Person - he'd be close to my favourite HF writer."

His Saxon series is in the first person as well as well as his Arthur trilogy. I really like both series, but they are told in the first person.


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