2013 favourite historical fiction authors, books read in 2015, Circling the Sun by Paula McLain, Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell, Elizabeth I by Margaret George, Mademoiselle Chanel by CW Gortner, The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig, The Children Act by Ian McEwan, The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks, Will Poole's Island by Tim Weed
On January 6th, I posted 24 of the 40 books read during 2015. So today I’m including the balance using the same rating system: LR = light, enjoyable read; GR = good, several caveats; ER = excellent, few caveats; OR = outstanding; DNF = did not finish; NMT = not my type.
In the process of writing this post, I’ve discovered two additional books read this year. You’ll see them listed at the end.
|June||The Dream Lover||Elizabeth Berg||GR||Novel about George Sand; back and forth timeline was confusing; events felt repetitive|
|Mademoiselle Chanel||C.W. Gortner||ER||Coco Chanel in all her glories and contradictions; not quite as compelling as The Queen’s Vow or The Last Queen|
|Will Poole’s Island||Tim Weed||ER||In 17th century New England, a young man meets a visionary native; Excellent historical fiction|
|July||Death of a Century||Daniel Robinson||NMT||Read for an HNS feature; poorly written|
|Aug||The Ashford Affair||Lauren Willig||ER||A woman uncovers a family mystery; well written page turner|
|Claude & Camille||Stephanie Cowell||ER||Claude Monet and his first wife Camille; great historical detail of impressionist era|
|Children of War||Martin Walker||LR||Mystery set in Dordogne; lots of twists and turns; read as audiobook|
|The Children Act||Ian McEwan||ER||McEwan is a superb writer; this is a poignant tale that is hard to put down|
|Sept||H is For Hawk||Helen MacDonald||NMT||Book club read; memoir; way too much detail on goshawks|
|Elizabeth I||Margaret George||OR||Elizabeth I in her later years; superb characters and history; the second half is particularly compelling|
|Oct||The Muralist||B.A. Shapiro||GR||Art and intrigue at the beginnings of WWII; distracting dual time structure and multiple voices|
|Nov||Mr. Churchill’s Secretary||Susan Elia MacNeal||LR||Whodunit set in WWI England|
|Power Play||Danielle Steele||NMT||I’m sure there are fans of Danielle Steele but I’m not one of them; trite and simplistic|
|The Golden Child||Penelope Fitzgerald||DNF||Quirky people employed at a British museum|
|Dec||Circling the Sun||Paula McLain||ER||Based on the life of Beryl Clutterbuck the first woman to fly across the Atlantic; well written; rich characters & setting|
|The Secret Chord||Geraldine Brooks||OR||The life of the biblical King David as told by his prophet Natan; historically captivating|
|Oops– forgot these||Purity||Jonathan Franzen||DNF||Annoying characters and thin plot; guess I’m not a Franzen fan|
|The Lover’s Path||Kris Waldherr||LR||Novella told like a fable|
2016 is off to the races with Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay, At the Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Blakewell which I began in late November, and Paris Reborn by Stephane Kirkland.
Wishing everyone a great year of reading.
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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.