A Year of Reading 2019 – Part 2

Tuesday’s post included 21 of the 38 books read during 2019. Below are the remaining 17. And here’s the legend.

LR = light, enjoyable read; GR = good, several caveats; ER = excellent, few caveats; OR = outstanding; DNF = did not finish; NMT = not my type.

Title Author Comment
Jul The Spy and the Traitor Ben Macintyre OR This true story of espionage and double agents during the Cold War is riveting.
Jul Eye of the Needle Ken Follett ER An exciting, tense spy thriller set during WWII. One of Follett’s best.
Jul Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell DNF Devoured this when I was a teenager but could not get ‘into’ the story a second time.
Aug Ribbons of Scarlet Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Heather Webb OR Wonderfully written novel set during the French Revolution. Told through the eyes of six unique, complex women.
Aug The Guilty Ones Joy Ellis ER Definitely a page-turner with many unexpected twists.
Aug The Punishment She Deserves Elizabeth George OR Superb twists and turns in this murder-mystery be acclaimed author Elizabeth George.
Sep Crime on the Fens Joy Ellis LR Crisp police detective story, with many twists and twisted characters.
Sep The Irish Princess Elizabeth Chadwick ER Superb historical fiction featuring Ireland in the 12th century, a time of warring kingdoms and England’s plans to seek control.
Oct Know My Name Chanel Miller OR A stunning journey through the lived experience of Chanel Miller a victim of sexual assault.
Oct She Said Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey ER Breaking the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse and the #MeToo movement
Nov Button Man Andrew Gross LR 3.5 stars. Intriguing historical backdrop and time period – the garment industry in 1930s New York – make this an interesting read.
Nov The One Man Andrew Gross DNF Folks on Goodreads said this was Gross’s best. Perhaps I wasn’t in the right mood.
Nov The Ragged Edge of Night Olivia Hawker ER A beautifully written story that features distinct and memorable characters; set in WWII with German characters
Nov Written in Their Stars Elizabeth St. John ER The novel sizzles with emotion, tension, and memorable characters who struggle to overcome tragedies during the English Civil War.
Nov The Harem Midwife Roberta Rich LR An intriguing peek into the confines, jealousies and power struggles of a sultan’s harem.
Dec The Dressmaker of Khair Khana Gayle Tzemach Lemmon ER An inspiring story of women coping with life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Non-fiction.
Dec The Fortunate Ones Catherine Hokin ER This novel grabs your attention from start to finish and makes you think about war, consequences, choices, and the power of love.
Dec The Dutch House Ann Patchett ER Words like quiet, introspective, compelling characters, and atmospheric come to mind.

 

I hope you all enjoyed some wonderful books in 2019. Recommendations and comments welcome.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

 

What’s on Your Nightstand?

Do the books beside your bed beckon or taunt? Do they make you feel guilty or make you crave the time required to dip into their pages?

Five books and a Kindle reside on my beside table. Since I share a Kindle account with my husband, the Kindle can provide hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of reading pleasure. A huge portion of them mysteries — my husband’s favourite genre — but many others as well. I’m currently reading Beartown by Frederik Backman. I had been reading Gone With the Wind but found it rather slow and long-winded (no pun intended).

Next we have The Churchill Factor by Boris Johnson. I started this after seeing Dunkirk and Darkest Hour and reading a biography of Clementine Churchill. Unfortunately, Boris Johnson’s Brexit nonsense has interfered with my enjoyment of the book. Whether I will complete it remains to be seen. I’m on page 41.

Just Imagine: A New Life on an Old Boat by Michelle Caffrey is on loan from a friend. It tells the story of a couple who leave their jobs in the software industry to buy a converted 1906 Dutch barge and boat along canals and rivers from Holland to France. Now wouldn’t you love to do that? It definitely beckons!

Story by Robert McKee was recommended by my friend and fellow author Barbara Kyle. While McKee’s focus is on screenwriting, the advice is equally helpful to those of us writing novels. I’m on page 121.

Aging Backwards by Miranda Esmonde-White was a Christmas gift from my husband. It’s described as “a groundbreaking guide to understanding how aging happens [yes, I’m getting older] and how to repair and reverse its effects.” I’ve read a few chapters but haven’t attempted the exercises outlined in the book. Sigh. Too busy writing the next novel!

Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson is at the bottom of the pile. In a fit of frustration with my inability to figure out what I – one little person – should do to combat climate change, I purchased this book. It has lots of useful advice but many suggestions that I would never adopt – like making my own toothpaste. It’s more of a resource book than something to read.

An eclectic mix, but not as much historical fiction or historical non-fiction as I usually have waiting for me.

What’s on your virtual or real bedside table?

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION  FOLLOW A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

10 thoughts on Favourite Historical Fiction

Participants in the 2015 reader survey nominated their favourite historical fiction (a second post added those mentioned by 5 to 9 participants). What can we glean from the more than 1700 nominated titles?

Favourite-Historical-Fiction

  1. Many mentions of titles by authors such as Dorothy Dunnett, Elizabeth Chadwick, Sharon Kay Penman, Bernard Cornwell, Patrick O’Brian, Ken Follett and Diana Gabaldon which is not surprising given the status of these writers as favourite authors. (You can find the post on favourite authors here.)
  2. Many mentions of Outlander and Wolf Hall  and I wonder if this reflects their recent TV adaptations.
  3. Despite the request for single titles only, series were frequently nominated which makes me think that participants really enjoy series and additionally did not want to be restricted to three titles.
  4. A significant number of favourites are stories set in ancient Rome.
  5. Many favourite stories were written long ago by authors such as Sir Walter Scott, Daniel Defoe, Mary Stewart, Alexandre Dumas, Irving Stone, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jean Plaidy, Leo Tolstoy.
  6. Readers enjoy myths, particularly those told of King Arthur and Merlin.
  7. Both major and minor historical fiction figures feature in the stories.
  8. There are many, many authors I have never heard of.
  9. The inclusion of a few relatively recent 2015 novels – All the Light We Cannot See for example – might suggest that it’s easier to recall a title recently read than one from long ago.
  10. Not surprisingly, favourites vary with gender, nationality and age.

FOR MORE ON READING & WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET will be published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.