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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 World War II mystery surfaces fifty years later as land is developed in Alderney. This is only Waltersâ€™ third thriller but I do wholeheartedly recommend him. Well written, steeped in historical atmosphere, tense, taut and truly page-turning stuff, he is certainly worth a try.Comparison: Frederick Forsyth, Gerald Seymour, Duncan Falconer.Similar this month: Jack Higgins, Ken Follett.
This is a first novel, see what you think, will she make it in this crowded area? I think so. This is 1959, a tale of adversity, survival, courage and drama. Be prepared to cry. Comparison: Josephine Cox, Lyn Andrews, Lynda Page.Similar this month: Annie Wilkinson.
Excellent study of life as a cook in the eighteenth century turns into a compelling whodunit which keeps you guessing right up to the end. As with all good whodunits, I shouldnâ€™t tell you any more.Comparison: Iain Pears, Robert Goddard, Charles Palliser.Similar this month: None, but try Jude Morgan for historical detail and Barbara Nadel for whodunit.
Selected for the Man Booker 2005 Shortlist. A beautifully written 'coming of age' novel exploring the profound effects WW1 had on the young men caught up in this traumatic event. Download an extract and make up your own mind.
The bittersweet story of twin sisters set in Lancashireâ€™s glass works. I think she is one of the best saga authors around.Comparison: Catherine Cookson, Ruth Hamilton, Josephine Cox.Similar this month: Pip Granger, Margaret Dickinson.
Based on fact but infused with Gregory's own take on history, this is an inspiring and sumptuous novel with Elizabeth I at centre stage. It's full of romance, scheming, intrigue and passion with Robert Dudley a key player in Elizabeth's game of lust despite the fact that of course he was married to someone who, like Elizabeth was no pushover. The characters are well drawn and the storyline spot on.Comparison: Rose Tremain, Tracy Chevalier, C C Humphreys.Similar this month: Jude Morgan, Janet Gleeson.
World War II and a Liverpool-based tale of a disadvantaged wheelchair-bound girl in for a rough ride. Dramatic page-turning stuff.Comparisons: Geraldine O’Neill, Lyn Andrews, Katie FlynnSimilar this month: Lilian Harry, Beryl Matthews.
I have a lot of time for this author. You really should seek out That Summer, a lovely World War II tale. This is dual time. Penang in the 1930s and the Orkneys today where our protagonist goes home to recover from brain surgery and joins a project working on wave power. His brush with death stimulates him to discover more about his father and some ‘disgrace’ in the 30s, hence Penang. So we follow the two in a convincing, poignant novel of love, life and understanding. Highly recommended.
This is one of those glorious multi-layered, multi-peopled, family sagas stretching over three generations around the world. Full of incident, historical sweep, drama, scandal and passion, it is what good old-fashioned story telling is all about but it does take a little getting into. However, once there, it is truly rewarding.Comparison: Judith Lennox, Sally Beauman, Sarah Harrison.Similar this month: Jennifer Haigh, Adriana Trigiani.
A sweeping historical epic of love, honour and the fight for freedom as the Romans invade Britain. It is the first in a trilogy which I understand will span three centuries. The second, The Dawn Stag, comes in an expensive, large paperback (tpb) at the same time. It’s glorious stuff, both deep and wholly absorbing. I really enjoyed it. Comparison: Manda Scott’s Boudica, Bernard Cornwell, Juliet Marillier.Similar this month: Neal Stephenson, Lian Hearn (but fantasy).
Probably one of the most impressive historical works of 17th century life, adventure and scholarship ever, this is the second volume in his Baroque Cycle, the more swashbuckling of the three, but you must start with the first, Quicksilver. They are huge in length (nearly a thousand pages), scope and detail but you certainly don’t feel it as you race through the pages of dashing heroes, dastardly plotting and cunning manipulation. Quite wonderful. I cannot recommend them highly enough. The sort of books you want to curl up and live inside.Comparison: Susanna Clarke, Alexandre Dumas, Bernard Cornwell.Similar this month: Jules Watson for historical, Ian McDonald for huge scope.
Haunting and beautifully written, this popular comedian is without doubt a highly accomplished and talented author. Inspired by the experiences of his own grandfather, this is a complex tale of love, displacement and survival amongst the German Jewish internees on the Isle of Man during World War II. Powerful and dark, it’s a remarkable achievement, successful on so many planes, quite a book.Comparison: Ben Elton, Keith Waterhouse, Stephen Fry.Similar this month: Cecilia Samartin, Andrew Greig.
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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