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Rich and immersive, transporting and informative, good historical fiction is a sumptuous treat. See the past re-written with our Historical Fiction collection. Here to take you to another time without the cost of building a time machine.
A sweeping historical drama based around the massacre of the MacDonald clan in 1692 and told from the perspective of a young girl, now imprisoned, accused of being a witch. Rich in historical detail and wonderfully descriptive of the landscapes of the Highlands this is a book to immerse your self in and enjoy page by page.
November 2010 Book of the Month. Despite its misleading cover, this is a charming story of society London in the 1920s, influenced by the discoveries in Egypt, particularly the famous tomb of Tutankhamen. Much of the narrative is interspersed with memories of that great find and the events surrounding it. It also touches on the horror of World War I and the ‘forgotten’ soldiers suffering from shell shock. A nice portrait of women’s lives at a time of social upheaval and a man’s life at a time of emotional disturbance. Comparison: Rebecca Dean, Judith Lennox, Mary Doria Russell.
February 2012 Guest Editor Joanna Trollope on Hilary Mantel... I loved her writing, long before the mega success of Wolf Hall. She wrote the best novel (bad title – A Place of Greater Safety) I ever read about the French Revolution, and some great modern ones – like Fludd and Eight Days on Gazzah Street. She isn’t just clever and original, she is also seriously funny, and I love that. Winner of the inaugural Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction 2010. Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2009. Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2009. Costa Book Awards 2009 Judges' comment: "One of the outstanding books of the year - historical fiction at its best." Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 26 November 2009. The subject of Henry VIII will always provide a rich source of historical, political and scandalous fodder and here Hilary Mantel concentrates on one of the most interesting times in his reign – the divorce of Catherine of Aragon and his split from the Church of Rome. Mantel breathes life in to every character and even if you feel you have heard this story a million times she brings an original and tantalising voice to the period.
February 2010 Debut of the Month. If I had a star choice for the month this would be it. It is a devastating, powerful tale of poverty, endurance, jealousy, hardship and sadness, set in 1938 amongst Ukrainian immigrants trying to carve out a life for themselves in the Canadian wilderness. It ends up setting family members against each other in a story that fair hits you in the stomach. A must read. Comparison: John Steinbeck, Leif Enger (Peace Like a River), Alistair Macleod (No Great Mischief).
A great murder mystery set in the aftermath of the Second World War. Great characters who are opinionated, loud and liberated. A thriller with a bit of a difference and thoroughly enjoyable.
The latest in her Dartmoor-based series takes us on to 1953, Coronation year, and the ups and downs of the village. People fluctuate between tragedy and bliss in another involved, heart-warming tale. Perfect nostalgia. Comparison: Marcia Willett, Debbie Macomber.
A great book for a book club read with much to discuss in this tale of a young Chinese girl, Fusang, kidnapped from her homeland and forced in to prostitution in San Francisco. Her beauty and understated charm lead to a wealthy Californian falling in love with her and a violent gangster becoming obsessed with her. A moving and page-turning story.
Longlisted for the prestigious 2010 Orange Prize. April 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. February 2010 Book of the Month. Set just after the English Civil war this historical family drama is rich in historical detail. McCann has obviously researched the period well and it comes through in the fascinating insights in to the time and characters. Part family drama, part thriller this is a real page turner and we look forward to seeing more from this author in the future.
February 2010 Debut of the Month. Based on a true story this debut is riveting from the start. A historical novel but written in a very modern voice and as funny as it is sad. You find your loyalties torn between the characters, with sympathy for each of them and the situation fate has put them in. It’s one of the books you want to race through to see how it all turns out in the end. A great page turner quite unique in its style, pure entertainment.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 1 April 2010. Longlisted for the prestigious 2010 Orange Prize. February 2010 Book of the Month. With the recent television adaptation of Levy’s best known novel, Small Island, there has been great anticipation of this new novel and Levy does not disappoint. A sensitive story told through the eyes of a young girl enslaved on a Jamaican plantation in the 1800’s. Mesmerising, fascinating and moving this is another gem of a book. March 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. The Good Housekeeping view... Her previous novel, Small Island, was a massive success, winning numerous awards including theOrange Prize for Fiction, and was adapted into a BBC1 drama. Now comes The Long Song (Headline), a vivid, sometimes brutal and incredibly absorbing story of life on a Jamaican sugar plantation during the turbulent dying days of slavery. Told in the words of July, a resourceful and necessarily resilient housemaid, it portrays the struggle of master and slave to find their place in the world, and is ultimately a tale of salvation.
Martyr is the first in the acclaimed and bestselling John Shakespeare Elizabethan mystery series by Rory Clements, winner of the Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award. Click here to see the new book in the John Shakespeare series, The Queen's Man. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.
A sweeping, compelling story which brings to life the Iranian Revolution in which the Shah is losing his hold on power as a consequence of the exciled Ayatollah inciting rebellion, from an author who experienced it first-hand. It's a heart-rending story and beautifully written.
Once Upon a Time…
With authors like the two-time Man Booker Prize winning Hilary Mantel among its illuminati, it’s no wonder that Historical Fiction is arguably more popular than ever. Follow the lives, loves, betrayals, deaths, trials-and-tribulations of those that went before us.
Whether you follow Sebastian Faulks and P.S Duffy to the hell and displacement of the Front in WWI, Philippa Gregory to the intrigue, immorality and perils of the court of Henry VIII, or get rocked on the high seas of the King’s Navy in Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander, there is a wealth of exceptional storytelling to dive headfirst into. Where will you let our time machine take you today?
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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: