Reading up a storm … historical fiction, of course

During the last two months amidst the hectic activity of promoting Unravelled and running the 2013 historical fiction survey, I’ve done a lot of reading. Almost all of it historical fiction.

Although some appealed to me more than others, all are enjoyable reads and will have their fans in the different sub-genres that constitute historical fiction. (For an interesting look at these sub-genres, check out Reading the Past for Sarah Johnson’s blog post and presentation.)

My personal favourites were: A Spear of Summer Grass (intriguing characters, taught romance and beautiful Africa), Life After Life (novel ‘what if’ concept and great writing), Blood & Beauty (Borgia Italy with all its passions, deceits and displays of power), The Painted Girls (Paris in the late 1800s, gritty and compelling), Rules of Civility (exposes the realities of making it in pre-WWII New York), and Letters from Skye (connecting both world wars, an epistolary novel done extremely well).

Reading historical fiction is a passion for me. I’m drawn to superb writing, strong, rule-breaking characters, stories with energy and events that unfold with intensity, believable romantic plot lines that aren’t formulaic or predictable, WWI and WWII timeframes and historical details that transport me to the time and place without being overdone.

16 thoughts on “Reading up a storm … historical fiction, of course”

  1. Life After Life and Blood & Beauty are both on my to-read list. I’ve read and enjoyed Rules of Civility. Now, I’ll have to check out some of these others!

          1. According to the presentation notes, it was adapted from a quote in Orwell’s Animal Farm. I haven’t read that one, so I can’t think of what the actual quote is.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these books. Having written an epistolary novel, I’m looking forward to reading Letters from Skye, especially since my ancestors come from there

  3. There’s just not enough time for reading… And I’m a slow reader on top of that! I’m finishing up Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell after reading Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell. Both are excellent.

  4. I haven’t read any of these, but am definitely putting “Mistress of the Sun” and “Brave hearts” on my to be read list. I just finished reading “A Thousand Years of Johnny Von” by Edith M. Cortese, a fun and heart felt historical fiction/romance. Heading to the library to see if I can find these two books that you recommended. Thanks for suggesting them.

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