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2019b ~ Your Historical Fiction Aventures!

Historical Fiction

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Edited: Jun 30, 6:51am Top

Collecting another 6 months of historical fiction posts ~ where and when do these tales take place?

ALSO: the Audiobooks group would welcome your input!

Jul 2, 8:07am Top

Travelling with a circus in the aftermath of the American Civil War, in Gary Jennings' Spangle.

Edited: Jul 4, 3:38pm Top

Well I am reading another WWII naval novel by Alistair Maclean titled H.M.S. Ulysses. I am on this ship which has borderline mutiny problems in a convoy starting a Murmansk run. I am in the first 50 pages and just getting to know the major characters of the book and I like the story so far.

Edited: Jul 4, 4:24pm Top

>4 tealadytoo: I need to read more MacLean. Ice Station Zebra was one of my top 5 books read last year.

Edited: Jul 4, 5:51pm Top

>3 Lynxear: Great book that I read as a kid and while I don't remember the details, I do remember the impact it had on me when I finished it.

But the greatest nautical fiction book I ever read, Patrick O'Brian's series notwithstanding, is The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat. Brutal verisimilitude about Royal Navy sailors in the Battle of the Atlantic.

Jul 5, 4:09am Top

Continuing the nautical topic, I am enjoying a French graphic novel about a corsair set in 1742: L'Épervier.

Jul 5, 10:49am Top

>5 Limelite: Yes it is a great story...I am off the coast of Iceland now in a storm with force 10 winds and snow. Not good at the best of times but on a ship that is near mutiny it is very trying. I like Maclean's naval war books but his attempt at a crime/mystery book fell flat for me.

I have read Cruel Sea , an amazing psychological thriller of WWII Atlantic convoys. I am Canadian and my only disappointment was that there was no mention of Canadian merchant seamen or vessels which comprised a large portion of the Atlantic merchant fleet in WWII.

I am not a great fan of Patrick O'Brian mainly because sometimes the Commander and his surgeon split up and then reunite but you only follow one but not the other. You almost need a dictionary of ancient seamen's language to understand their discussions :)

My favourite naval writers are C.S. Forrester (Hornblower series) and Dudley Pope (Ramage Series). Both are set in the Napoleonic war and are very well written.

Jul 6, 11:17am Top

>7 Lynxear:

Hornblower was my father's favorite maritime hero; Aubrey and Maturin are mine. Not sure I ever read any Ramage.

Do you know any Canadian authors who have or are writing the stories of the experiences of Canadian services and individuals in WW II? As we all know, that war launched an infinite number of American writers' careers, and still sustains hundreds today.

Jul 6, 7:36pm Top

I just finished all my love, Detrick by Roberta Kagan, set in Germany - WWII era.

Now reading the book woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson. Appalachian region of Kentucky in the 1930s with the interesting themes of the Pack Horse Librarians and the Blue People of Kentucky.

Edited: Jul 7, 1:05pm Top

>8 Limelite: I did some digging and came up with a few that may catch your eye

The Three Pleasures by Terry Watada - Japanese interment in Canada

The Water Beetles by Michael Kaan - the fall of Hong Kong

The Wars by Timothy Findley - WWI

Three Day Road, Joseph Boyden - experiences of an indigenous Canadian in Great war

On to Victory by Mark Zuehike - Canadian liberation of Netherlands

Generals Die in Bed by Charles Yale Harrison - anti-war novel of WWI

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje - post WWII London

When Your Numbers Up by Desmond Morton - the Canadian Soldier in the 1st World War

I have not found any Canadian naval novels but am sure they exist.

Jul 7, 11:25am Top

>8 Limelite: >10 Lynxear: Storm Below, by Hugh Garner, is about a fictional Canadian naval vessel during WW2.

In non-fiction, I liked Farley Mowat's Grey Seas Under, which is about salvage tugs and covers WW2 at least in part.

Jul 8, 7:38pm Top

>10 Lynxear: and >11 rabbitprincess:

Thank you both for taking the trouble. Consider my eye caught. Looks like I may have to duck a lot of bullets!

I'll read anything by Ondaatje, even if it's a cookbook. On to Victory interests me because my mother worked as a civilian for the American Occupation Forces cdr. in The Hague while my father worked for the Crown dismantling German factories that had been active in the war effort. Wasn't Mowat himself a WW II vet who saw active duty?

Again, I appreciate your research, even if it means probable disaster to my budget.

Jul 9, 7:33am Top

>10 Lynxear:, I'll vouch for Finley's The Wars, it was very good.

Jul 9, 11:03am Top

>13 Cecrow: >12 Limelite: Well I have not read any of these to date. The ones that catch my attention for my TBR list would be The Wars. Three Day Road. Generals Die in Bed and When Your Numbers Up.

I have made a note of them for my next used bookstore prowl. :)

I am almost finished HMS Ulysses... a story about a convoy to Murmansk, Russia. It is not an easy read as it is quite a depressive book. Nothing goes right for these guys and they are losing ships one or two at a time each day and the survivors in the water die in minutes from the cold.

Jul 9, 2:33pm Top

>14 Lynxear:

Exactly what sticks in my mind from youthful reading of "HMS U" too.

Quiet adventure in HF reading since I'm just sitting at table in Castlebridge around Christmas time with members of the Mellstock Quire, discussing the new school teacher, sipping whiskey and warming by the fire as the gentle gossip of Sussex working class friends unwinds around me.

Yes, it's Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy.

Jul 10, 12:58pm Top


Well the last 100 pages went quite fast but without revealing too much, 90% of the characters in the book are dead by the end of the book. I think this was Maclean's first Naval war novel. He certainly communicates the misery, hardship and reluctant gallantry of war. This is my third Maclean novel... I won't be in a hurry to read another.

I am going to try another Historical fiction in A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory. I think this will turn into a Historical Romance from the look of it. I am not a great fan of romance novels though Nevil Shute novels are basically that way and he succeeds in toning down the graphic aspects. Perhaps it will be so in this novel, but right now I need something to take my mind off the futility of war.

Jul 10, 5:57pm Top

Enjoying this library audiobook ~

The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory

(Plantagenet and Tudor Novels/mid 1500s/Elizabeth I/Robert and Amy Dudley)

Jul 22, 10:27am Top

I'm in Iceland in 1686 in The Glass Woman.

Jul 22, 10:52am Top

Heading back 12th century Shrewsbury Abbey with Brother Cadfael in The Rose Rent.

Edited: Jul 27, 6:54am Top

Enjoying this OverDrive audiobook ~

War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
(part 2/WWII England/Ada is a very independent 11-year-old with a younger brother/middle-grade lit/narrated by Jayne "Flavia" Entwistle)

UPDATE: ****1/2

Jul 23, 8:24pm Top

I'm in Scotland toward the end of the 13th century with William Wallace in Nigel Tranter's The Wallace.

Jul 25, 10:28am Top

Today I'm going to start The Secret Wife of Aaron Burr.

Jul 30, 6:39am Top

I finished The Apostle by Sholem Asch. Asch was a Yiddish writer, a Polish Jew who wrote about shtetl life in Europe and became very well known, with his work being translated into many languages. He moved to America in his 30s and began writing about the Jewish immigrant experience here. Late in his career, however, he wrote three books in what became known as his "Founders of Christianity" series: The Nazarene, The Apostle, and Mary. This did not go over well in the Jewish community of the time (The Apostle was published in 1942), and he lost readership and his job. This despite that fact that Asch maintained that the novels were meant to bridge the gap between Jews and Christians by demonstrating in fiction that Christianity was in fact a deeply Jewish phenomenon at its core. As my old man would have said, however, "Lotsa luck." And so I was curious about The Apostle. It is the fictional story of early Christianity as seen through the eyes of Saul, who become the Apostle Paul.

Once he is converted and begins preaching about the Messiah, Paul schlepps back and forth across the Middle East, founding congregations and converting Jew and Gentile alike to the new faith. Being Jewish myself, I never knew the details of Paul's life nor much about the turning point where Paul stopped preaching only to Jews that their Messiah had arrived and instead insisted on preaching to everyone, thus taking the new religion out of the realm of Judaism. (And that is, of course, to whatever extent this book is faithful to what is know of those events.) So that was interesting. Unfortunately about 95% of the storytelling is done in flat, expository prose. There's almost nothing to draw us into the narrative for its own sake. So I plodded through, chapter by chapter, one chapter at a time over several years, and now I've finished! I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone other than the historically curious about Asch and his career. That's probably a fairly small subset of my LibraryThing friends! I do look forward to going back and reading some of Asch's earlier works, which were much praised when he wrote them and are still highly regarded.

Edited: Jul 31, 8:02pm Top

Starting this library audiobook ~

Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier

(Ohio, mid 1800s/Honor Bright is a Quaker who left England after a major trauma/Underground Railroad/quilting)

UPDATE: ****

Edited: Jul 30, 9:03am Top

Reading an oldie, Taylor Caldwell's Captains and the Kings, following an Irish immigrant's rise to power in 19th century America. She certainly does love her conspiracy theories. Which is entertaining, if a bit over the top.

Aug 5, 12:21pm Top

Enjoying this OverDrive audiobook ~

Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

(Hagenheim Castle fairy tales, book #2/Sophie is a Snow-White-type character/Germany/Middle Ages/YA Christian lit)

Aug 6, 4:40am Top

I very much enjoyed Der zweite Reiter by Alex Beer, a mystery set in 1919 Vienna which paints a very vivid picture of the post-war chaos and misery.

Aug 7, 10:53am Top

I read a lot of Alistair Maclean books in the 70's and they were all, without exception, great reads.

Aug 8, 8:35am Top

Trying out my first Leon Uris novel; Trinity. Not sure how I've missed him for this many years.

Edited: Yesterday, 2:02pm Top

Listening to this library audiobook ~

Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

(Victorian era London/Slater is an archeologist & adventurer/Ursula is the owner of Kern Secretarial Agency/a death due to mysterious circumstances/amateur sleuthing and romance)

Aug 15, 12:39pm Top

I'm in 1787 at the moment, just starting Marley.

Aug 15, 8:47pm Top

Had an email notification from Read It Forward for free giveaway of new novel by Sara Donati (pen name of Rosina Lippi) for her latest novel, Where the Light Enters. Release date 9/10/19. Partial blurb from Booklist starred review: Donati’s saga of a New York family in the 1880s, with its exquisitely realized characters, is apt to inspire repeated readings. Taking up the story begun in The Gilded Hour (2015), Donati extends the experiences of the Savard cousins, Anna and Sophie, both physicians, one white and one multiracial, and the diverse individuals who become their family. . .

Anyone can enter here.


Aug 15, 8:51pm Top

For fans of this popular historical fiction writer. . .

Had an email notification from Read It Forward for free giveaway of new novel by Sara Donati (pen name of Rosina Lippi) for her latest novel, Where the Light Enters. Release date 9/10/19. Partial blurb from Booklist starred review: Donati’s saga of a New York family in the 1880s, with its exquisitely realized characters, is apt to inspire repeated readings. Taking up the story begun in The Gilded Hour (2015), Donati extends the experiences of the Savard cousins, Anna and Sophie, both physicians, one white and one multiracial, and the diverse individuals who become their family. . .

Anyone can enter here.


Edited: Yesterday, 2:03pm Top

Enjoying this Kindle eBook Alexa is reading to me ~

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

(delving into the post-war chapters of this favorite)

Group: Historical Fiction

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