Call to Juno by Elisabeth Storrs, MM Bennetts Award for historical fiction, Paris Reborn by Stephane Kirkland, reading historical fiction, researching historical fiction, The Lady of the Tower by Elizabeth St. John, The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
40 books in 2016 – several for research purposes, a number for reviews or articles, and a good number for pleasure – have to have some of those! Some were superb, others I did not finish.
I suspect I’m a ‘hard marker’. Here’s the rating system I used in 2014 and 2015: LR = light, enjoyable read; GR = good, several caveats; ER = excellent, few caveats; OR = outstanding; DNF = did not finish; NF=Non-Fiction; NMT = not my type.
The following are from January 2016 to May. I’ve included links to blog posts and reviews where appropriate. I’ll share the balance in a few days.
|Jan||Girl on the Train||Paula Hawkins||DNF||Wanted to see what all the fuss was about; after 15% I no longer cared|
|The House I Loved||Tatiana de Rosnay||GR||Not nearly as captivating as Sarah’s Key|
|Paris Reborn||Stephane Kirkland||ER||Narrative non-fiction about the rebuilding of Paris; superbly written|
|Feb||At the Existentialist Café||Sara Blakewell||GR||The lives and ideas of famous philosophers like Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus, Heidegger|
|Pillars of Light||Jane Johnson||GR||The siege of Akka in the time of Richard Lionheart|
|The Lost Sisterhood||Anne Fortier||GR||A young scholar risks her reputation to prove that the legendary women known as the Amazons existed|
|Call to Juno||Elisabeth Storrs||ER||Last of her trilogy set during wars between Rome and the Etruscans|
|Diary of the Besieged Resident in Paris||Henry Labouchere||NF||A journalist’s diary during the 1870 Prussian siege of Paris|
|Mar||France Since 1870||Charles Sowerwine||NF||For research purposes|
|Courtesans||Katie Hickman||NF||For research purposes|
|Accessories to Modernity||Susan Hiner||NF||For research purposes|
|The Rosie Project||Graeme Simsion||LR||Very funny; a man with Aspergers conducts a project to find a wife|
|The Lady of the Tower||Elizabeth St. John||ER||Compelling story of Lucy St. John, wife of the Lieutenant of the Tower of London in 17th century|
|Apr||Tobias||Prue Batten||NMT||Set in the waning years of the Byzantium Empire|
|Runaway||Peter May||GR||A crime novel set in 1965 and fifty years later|
|The Ladies Paradise||Emile Zola||DNF||Read to get a feel for 19th century Paris|
|With Violets||Elizabeth Robards||GR||Based on the premise that Berthe Morisot and Edouard Manet were lovers|
|May||The Nightingale||Kristin Hannah||ER||Two French sisters play their parts in WWII|
|Wulfsana||E.S. Moxon||DNF||Set in AD433 Britain|
|The Sands of Kedar||Diana Khalil||DNF||a strong-willed girl in the male-dominated society of pre-Islam Arabia|
|Oswald: Return of the King||Edoardo Albert||GR||The second book in the author’s Northumbrian Thrones trilogy|
Looking back it seems that I was heavily into research during the first few months of 2016 as well as being involved in reviews for the MM Bennetts historical fiction award.
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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, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.