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.
An entertaining historical mystery supplying oodles of 1920’s fizz and fun, alongside a firm foundation from the suffragette movement and scars of the First World War. It’s the summer of 1920 and as Poppy arrives in London she discovers the enticing world of journalism and a mystery that has been desperately waiting to be solved since 1913. In the historical notes Fiona Veitch Smith reveals that she has played (just a little) with the timeline of the 20’s, however the vivacious story just zips along due to the excitement of the theatre and jazz clubs and menace of a dastardly foe. This is the first in the ‘Poppy Denby Investigates’ series and introduces the fast paced world of journalism with flair, making for an engaging read. ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from the Publisher... The Jazz Files is a gloriously fun read – it's fast-paced, clever, and extremely likeable. The first book in The Poppy Denby Investigates series, The Jazz Files introduces a host of brilliantly drawn characters who bring the roaring 20s to life. A book that will embroil you in the lives of the Suffragettes and draw you into an investigation full of intriguing twists and turns! ~ Jess Tinker, Editor, Lion Hudson
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A touching romance, a time travel extravaganza, baroque and moving, S.E. Lister's second novel, following the gothic HIDEOUS CREATURES which put her on the map of literary dreams, confirms a striking talent with distant echoes of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE and THE NIGHT CIRCUS, but with a unique voice of its own full of care and whimsy. Rosa Hyde is the daughter of a time traveller and is stuck in 1945 and desperate to escape, which she eventually does with the assistance of a roisterous time gypsy, Tommy Rust and goes gallivanting alongside him through the corridors of history. An encounter with another traveller, the soldier Harding, a hardened journeyman of the time streams, brings the idyllic wandering to an end and casts doubt in her mind as to where she actually belongs. Melancholy, colourful and lyrical, truly the stuff of dreams. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Startling, assertive and intense, this is a distinctive and original take on the myth of Odysseus, focusing on reality, creative reality and fabrication. Reading ‘Penelope’s Web’, you quickly realise that the title is entirely appropriate, however make no mistake, this is a book about war, about bloody violence, rape, pillage, death… and it’s about the mental wounds that war inflicts. This is also a book where four-letter expletives and the treatment of women may make you cringe, in fact they should make you cringe. Keep an eye out for the icons heading each section as you start to read, Odysseus, Penelope and the Narrator have very different voices, yet the icons set the tone for the story and your expectations. Odysseus is a soldier, brutal, frank, cunning, able to express the basic animal instincts that cut in during battle, yet he also has a higher awareness of humanity. Penelope weaves gossamer strands of truth, spinning romance, half truths and exaggeration into a tapestry of myth and legend. Occasionally, I found some of the modern day terminology that Odysseus uses, jarred slightly in the storyline, however it served as reminder that war hasn't changed, it still maims and steals mental wellbeing and lives. Christopher Rush has written a tenacious and thought- provoking tale that is so graphically powerful, it feels as though you’re watching a film in the privacy of your own mind. ~ Liz Robinson
September 2015 eBook of the Month. Another wonderfully readable mystery plunging you into the final years of Mary Stewart, Queen of Scots. This is the fifth in the ‘Hew Cullan Mystery’ series, beginning in 1586, it backtracks to the end of Friend and Foe before settling again into the story. Hew Cullan is caught in the tangled web of Walsingham, can Hew’s integrity remain intact? You bear witness to a conflict between religion and crown, a conflict that has the ability to tear asunder previous relationships, as Hew learns to his peril as he begins a new liaison and investigates the origins of a painting. It not only feels as though Shirley McKay understands this period, it also seems as though she could have been there, as with vibrant descriptions she has the ability to paint the most dynamic picture of living in that time. Historical figures appear in the tale, a brief summary of their life appears at the end, along with a glossary of some of the astonishingly colourful words that are used to increase the potency of this enjoyable and captivating novel. ~ Liz Robinson The Hew Cullan series:1. Hue & Cry2. Fate & Fortune3. Time & Tide4. Friend & Foe5. Queen & Country
The enthralling new Sunday Times bestselling gothic novel from the author of THE WINTER GHOSTS, CITADEL and LABYRINTH. The clock strikes twelve. Beneath the wind and the remorseless tolling of the bell, no one can hear the scream ...1912. A Sussex churchyard. Villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will not survive the coming year are thought to walk. And in the shadows, a woman lies dead. As the flood waters rise, Connie Gifford is marooned in a decaying house with her increasingly tormented father. He drinks to escape the past, but an accident has robbed her of her most significant childhood memories. Until the disturbance at the church awakens fragments of those vanished years ...
One of our Books of the Year 2015. A captivating, moving and skilfully expressive novel, set between 1935 and 1962, focusing on guilt, forgiveness and the linked lives of three men. Although this is a fictional story, it has a firm base in history, with much of the novel taking place in the labour camp of Auschwitz-III Monowitz. The first few paragraphs detail Auschwitz with such raw descriptive precision, the cold, the hunger, the weariness, the instinctive battle for survival are set in stone. The camp is an animal like entity, it is alert to change, is able to sense danger and has a cunning of it’s own. John Donoghue allows the story to shift around in time, encouraging understanding to grow as information is revealed. The storyline subtly edges through the obvious and shocking, towards a path of compassion and recognition. This battleground of chess pieces cleverly balances an almost documentary style with an intensely intimate story, making this a beautifully readable and emotional story. ~ Liz Robinson
September 2015 Book of the Month. Chosen as a Richard and Judy Book Club selection Autumn 2015. An exotically intense, vibrant and memorable tale, set in Ceylon from 1925 and covering a period of eleven years. Nineteen year old Gwen discovers an unfamiliar world both physically and emotionally when she leaves England to be with her new husband. Gwen enters a testing arena, conflict comes in many forms and destructive secrets convulse corrosively just out of reach. Dinah Jefferies opens up Ceylon for our viewing, tasting and touching pleasure, she describes this vivid land and customs quite beautifully, while settling the story gently within its midst. The characters are portrayed realistically, mistakes are made and hidden, guilt and suspicion become damaging companions. Written with true eloquence and compassion The Tea Planter’s Wife is a profoundly moving and engaging novel. ~ Liz Robinson
Based on a true story, The Revenant is an epic tale of revenge set in the Rocky Mountains and soon to be a major motion picture, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. A remarkable tale of obsession and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution. The film adaptation, starring Leonardo DiCaprio won numerous BAFTA's in Feb 16 and is shortlisted for a number of Oscars too. Click below to view the trailer.
Amory's first memory is of her father doing a handstand. She has memories of him returning on leave during the First World War. But his absences, both actual and emotional, are what she chiefly remembers. It is her photographer uncle Greville who supplies the emotional bond she needs, and, when he gives her a camera and some rudimentary lessons in photography, unleashes a passion that will irrevocably shape her future. A spell at boarding school ends abruptly and Amory begins an apprenticeship with Greville in London, living in his flat in Kensington, earning two pounds a week photographing socialites for fashionable magazines. But Amory is hungry for more and her search for life, love and artistic expression will take her to the demi monde of Berlin of the late 1920s, to New York of the 1930s, to the Blackshirt riots in London and to France in the Second World War where she becomes one of the first women war photographers. Her desire for experience will lead Amory to further wars, to lovers, husbands and children as she continues to pursue her dreams and battle her demons.
The quest for eternal life; a tale of alchemy and skulduggery in the thirteenth century. Starting in France our young hero, Philippe, in the employment of a count in the court of Louis VIII discovers some false documents which he uses for a bit of blackmail ending with the lad fleeing for his life. He was to deliver a silver raven’s head to another noble man … Making his way to England he ends up with a lord obsessed with finding the secret to bring people back to life who is in cahoots with an abbot obsessed with finding the elixir to eternal life. Young boys are useful in their experiments … oh, and there is a girl … the local apothecary’s niece … so lots to keep you entertained. ~ Sarah Broadhurst A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'I’ve been Karen Maitland’s publisher since her first medieval novel, Company of Liars – which regularly tops lists of favourite historical novels. And working on these books is nothing less than a delight; each is unique and imaginative in its depiction of the Middle Ages. And yet they are all linked by Maitland’s trademark weaving of dark, sometimes deadly, threads of plot and the pleasure she takes in giving readers an insight into how greatly superstition and religion influenced attitudes and ways of life. In her hands the Middle Ages have never seemed so relevant; she finds echoes of our modern issues in the past – whether climate change in Company of Liars, the riots of 2011 in The Vanishing Witch or the power of the tabloid story in The Raven’s Head. Karen Maitland’s novels are supremely entertaining and addictive as well as educative, as any of her ardent fans will tell you.' - Publishing Director, Mari Evans
One of our Books of the Year 2015. Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2015. A slight departure for this highly regarded author being an historical tale of Edwardian London and Canada based on a true story from his family history. Harry Case, a gentleman in suburban London, marries and has a daughter. Unexpectedly he discovers he is gay and has a passionate carnal affair with an actor. Huge family uproar and Harry is persuaded to cut himself off and emigrate to Canada. Here we follow him through hard grind and tough living as he joins a scheme to claim land on the prairie. He gets befriended and then dominated by a sinister Dane. Eventually Harry finds the partner of his dreams but along comes the war, the flu epidemic and more tragedy. Harry falls into a kind of madness. Finally, though, there is a happy ending of sorts. The frank treatment of gay love and sex is hardly shocking today but think back and relive a tough and sad life beautifully entered here. ~ Sarah Broadhurst Costa Judges' comment: “A sensitive, beautifully structured story of loss, fear, exile and hope.”
One of our Books of the Year 2015. September 2015 Book of the Month. An atmospheric, touching and compassionate story based in London during the Second World War, where living on the edge and in the moment occurred on a daily basis. We seem to view Elinor and Paul from a distance, the writing initially skates over their feelings, creating a boundary and a sense of remoteness. When Bertha enters the tale there is an immediate burst of character, colour and emotion, effectively highlighting the other relationships. Pat Barker writes with an eloquently simple, stark style that somehow conveys the significance and consequences of the London Blitz, with even more power and emotion. The London of bombs, fire, craters, rubble, plaster dust, fear and exhaustion is an achingly moving and thought provoking place. This is the third in a trilogy, however I read Noonday as a stand-alone novel and didn’t feel as though I was missing out on what had gone before, though there are enough back references and tantalising hints to encourage me to go back to the beginning just as soon as I can, and I don't think having already read‘Noonday will spoil that experience. Able to delve into the most intimate, hidden places of a relationship, yet simultaneously display the wider aspect of the London Blitz during 1940, this is a commanding and memorable read. ~ Liz Robinson
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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