Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Favorite Historical Fiction Novels

Historical Fiction is probably me favorite genre. Today I will share some of my favorite historical fiction novels. I love reading about a past time and place, and really living it through the character's eyes. I studied
History and English in university, and I felt that History taught me the facts while English allowed me to live those lives and give me an in dept understanding of history.

I fell in love with the Tudors because of Philippa Gregory. After reading this one, I couldn't wait to continue the series. Mary and Anne were used by their parents. Daughters marriages were used to advance the family. In this case even an affair with the king is encouraged.

Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her familys ambitious plots as the kings interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands.

This books doesn't just have a pretty cover. The story within the pages was spellbinding.

East London, 1888 - a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths. Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger's son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.
But Fiona's life is shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit propels her rise from a modest West Side shop-front to the top of Manhattan's tea trade. But Fiona's old ghosts do not rest quietly, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future.

I loved this one, I felt like Hadley was a friend telling me her story.

A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wifecaptures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.
I couldn't put this one down. Civil war and slavery, a difficult time period but a fascinating read.
The year is 1862, and the Civil War rages through the South. On a Virginia tobacco plantation, another kind of battle soon begins. There, Cassius Howard, a skilled carpenter and slave, risks everything--punishment, sale to a cotton plantation, even his life--to learn the truth concerning the murder of Emoline, a freed black woman, a woman who secretly taught him to read and once saved his life. It is clear that no one cares about her death in the midst of a brutal and hellish war. No one but Cassius, who braves horrific dangers to escape the plantation and avenge her loss.
I love Irish history, and Falvey did a great job with The Yellow House.
THE YELLOW HOUSE delves into the passion and politics of Northern Ireland at the beginning of the 20th Century. Eileen O'Neill's family is torn apart by religious intolerance and secrets from the past. Determined to reclaim her ancestral home and reunite her family, Eileen begins working at the local mill, saving her money and holding fast to her dream. As war is declared on a local and global scale, Eileen cannot separate the politics from the very personal impact the conflict has had on her own life. She is soon torn between two men, each drawing her to one extreme. One is a charismatic and passionate political activist determined to win Irish independence from Great Britain at any cost, who appeals to her warrior's soul. The other is the wealthy and handsome black sheep of the pacifist family who owns the mill where she works, and whose persistent attention becomes impossible for her to ignore.


  1. I actually haven't read any but the Donnelly, which I loved so much! And even though I didn't love the third book of the series as much, it was still amazing, in the way only Donnelly can be. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next - she does so much research for her books!

  2. Sigh, the only book that I've read on your list is The Other Boleyn Girl. A couple of these books (The Paris Wife, ahem) have been on my TBR for awhile!

  3. I have The Yellow House on my bookshelf and must get to it, especially with your recommendation of it.

  4. I loved The Yellow House, too!

  5. I loved The Other Boleyn Girl. Since your such a fan of historical fiction, I wonder if you've read Farewell,My Queen by Chantal Thomas? It's about Marie Antoinette during 3 days in July of 1789 when the Bastille was stormed. I haven't read it yet but they made a film which has just now been released on dvd. If you have read it, I hope you'll come visit my blog and weigh in with a comment! Thanks:)

  6. I also loved The Other Boleyn Girl, although I'm generally not a fan of Philippa Gregory. I have The Tea Rose on my shelf, but the other titles are new to me. Given I love historical fiction I'll have to check them out.

  7. I absolutely LOVED the Tea Rose books. I only wish they were more of them. And if you're a fan of Phillipa Gregory, have you read anything by Jean Plaidy? I started reading her books in college, and since then she's probably become one of my favorite historical fiction authors.