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.
Amid the turmoil of eighteenth-century Cornwall, Ross comes back to a home in ruins, his father dead and his childhood sweetheart engaged to another - his own heart as battered as the country around him. Experience the great houses and the glorious landscapes and follow the cast of characters as their stories play out against the backdrop of Cornwall's wild beauty, through interviews with the actors, behind the scenes insights and in-depth information on costumes, props and locations. Packed full of behind the scenes photographs, The World of Poldark is the ultimate guide to the popular series.
Back in civilian life, Albert and douard struggle to adjust to a society whose reverence for its dead cannot quite match its resentment for those who survived. But the two soldiers conspire to enact an audacious form of revenge against the country that abandoned them to penury and despair, with a scheme to swindle the whole of France on an epic scale. Meanwhile, believing her brother killed in action, douard's sister Madeleine has married Pradelle, who is running a little scam of his own...
Extraordinarily powerful and emotional, this debut fictional tale, based around a true event that occurred during the Second World War, is one that shouldn't be missed. On the brink of war, clouds are gathering in a small French village, a young boy tries to weather the storm, a couple fall in love and we discover that for one person the tempest has already passed and is now buried in silence. Time doesn't run sequentially, allowing a feeling of disquiet, concern and dread to steal across the pages as worlds and lives collide. This story feels very personal, the author shows us ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, living life as best they can. If you aren't already aware of the incident that occurs towards the end of the book, don't research it further until you've finished, instead connect to the people, let them become a part of you, experience their dreams and feel their emotions, in this eloquently moving and thought provoking novel. ~ Liz Robinson
This follows on from Cavendon Hall and is a projected series of novels set around a stately home in Yorkshire and its occupants, upstairs and down. The present earl, Charles, divorced with four daughters and one son and heir, is to marry their neighbour and old family friend, Charlotte Swann. The son, Miles, has been in love with her daughter for years so the scene is set to follow both families through love, marriage, divorce, financial upheavals and lots of drama. A huge amount of plot is packed into the book as the country crashes through the roaring twenties into the Great Depression, no doubt the centre of the next episode. It’s great stuff. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
An epic voyage, undertaken with the grandest of ambitions. When Laperouse leaves France in the Spring of 1785 with two ships under his command, he knows that he sails with the full backing of the French government. This is to be a voyage of scientific and geographical discovery - but every person on board has their own hopes, ambitions and dreams. As the ships move across vast distances in their journey of nearly four years, the different characters step forward and invite us into their world.
November 2015 eBook of the Month. A captivating and wonderfully evocative historical crime novel based in 1351, this is the second in the series, set after ‘Plague Land’. While it’s best to start at the beginning, ‘The Butcher Bird’ can actually be read as a standalone novel, as the background to the family structure is explained. At Somershill Manor, Oswald de Lacy attempts to solve the mysterious death of a baby, however he finds the situation running away from him. The historical notes at the end confirm this was a frightening time, with change coming hard on the heels of the Black Death. S. D. Sykes ensures that menace stalks through the pages, yet a weary and determined defiance makes itself felt. I believed the perilous nature of the times and flinched from the raw stink and the healing concoctions as I attempted to unravel this knotty, yet compelling mystery. ~ Liz Robinson
A stirring and elaborately sweeping saga set in Cornwall during the Second World War. Two sisters, Sara and Bette are as different as different can be, however they love each other dearly. Bette is young and frivolous and has her eye on the newly arrived American Marines, while faithful Sara is married to a difficult man and has two young children. Both women are set to be changed forever by the friendly invasion of Fowey in 1943. Freda Lightfoot allows us, the reader, far more information than either Sara or Bette, consequently there are times when you want to shout, to warn them or chastise their decisions. We see the young men as they train for the D-Day landings, witness the men of the Home Guard on their patrol and the women at home as they try to raise funds for the war. The storyline just gallops along, covering many of the difficulties faced during the war, making for an interesting and stimulating read. ~ Liz Robinson
The triumphant return of Larry McMurtry with this ballad in prose: his heartfelt tribute to a bygone era of the American West. Larry McMurtry has done more than any other living writer to shape our literary imagination of the American West. With The Last Kind Words Saloon, he returns to the vivid and unsparing portrait of the nineteenth-century and cowboy lifestyle made so memorable in his classic Lonesome Dove. Evoking the greatest characters and legends of the Old Wild West, McMurtry tells the story of the closing of the American frontier through the travails of two of its most immortal figures: Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Long Grass, Texas. Once hailed as heroes for their days of subduing drunks in Abilene and Dodge - more often with a mean look than a pistol - the taciturn Wyatt now idles away his time between bottles, while the dentist-turned-gunslinger Doc is more adept at poker than extracting teeth. With the buffalo herds gone, the Comanche defeated, and vast swaths of the Great Plains enclosed by cattle ranches, Wyatt and Doc live on, even as the storied West that forged their myths disappears. McMurtry traces the rich and varied friendship of the heroic pair from the town of Long Grass to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Denver, then to Mobetie, Texas, and finally to Tombstone, Arizona, culminating with the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral, rendered here in McMurtry's stark and peerless prose. As harsh and beautiful, and as brutal and captivating as the open range it depicts, The Last Kind Words Saloon celebrates the genius of one of the most original American writers.
One of our Books of the Year 2015. ‘Now is the Time’ is a fascinating, substantial, yet surprisingly contained novel given the subject matter. Detailing the peoples rebellion of 1381, Melvyn Bragg imagines this time and breathes life into the foundations and advance of the rising. With an unpopular poll tax, corruption rife and the plague decimating swathes of the country, the uprising still surprises the court of the King. Bragg focuses on the alliances of the main characters, 14 year old Richard II and his mother, the priest John Ball and former soldier Walter Tyler. Find yourself carried along at the front of the rebellion where reason and control is somehow maintained, while the rioting rolling mass of people to the rear, almost become a backdrop rather than being the heart of the story. Personally, I found the relationship between Richard and his mother the most fully realised and therefore intriguing and compelling. It feels as you read, as though this could have been a truth, even the truth… as though you are reading history in the making. ~ Liz Robinson October 2015 Book of the Month.
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Victorian-set adventures with a strong twist of steampunk. Captain John Hartdwick returns from captivity in Burma as an opium addict and a much disenchanted man. When he is recruited by a mysterious club to act as a spy against an untold menace to the Empire, he is soon coopted into a team of hardy secret agents fighting against a supernatural threat of the other kind. With touches of both H.G. Wells and H.P. Lovecraft, Latham conjures up a deft evocation of Victorian London in all its grime, bustle and colours and never slows the pace of the manifold derring dos unfolding. In addition, the splendidly engineered plot throws up regular surprises to keep the reader solidly on side and surprised on every dark corner. Simply put, a good read and exemplary entertainment. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
A gently paced, reflective debut novel, yet it still reveals the diversions, the slights and sometimes harsh stings of everyday life. Prepare to open a window to a different time, to an Ireland of faith, gossip, envy, friendship and love, set between 1879 and 1956. Anne Barnett opens up fleeting yet vivid glimpses of rural life, to thoughts and feelings, and although the focus remains on Felix and Sarah-Ann, who are fascinating in their own right, it’s the secondary characters who really bring this tale to life. The Largest Baby in Ireland After the Famine is a novel that you can dip in and out of, it doesn't demand to be read in one sitting, in fact it almost feels as though this is several short stories that intertwine and link into one novel. Enjoyable, interesting and amusing, this is a novel about real life, in all its pain and glory. ~ 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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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include: