Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Historical Fiction Bookshelf

Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres to read. There's something about being immersed into the past that just captures my imagination like few other genres. I blame my inner history nerd - I love learning about all the little details that made up peoples' lives way back when. . Whether the storylines contain queens and castles, sufferagettes or flapper dresses, there is a place on my bookshelf for all of them. If you are a lover of this genre take a peak at my favourite historical novels and the periods their characters inhabit.

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. Well I do love a good turn of the century historical novel and The Tea Rose does not disappoint. A fast paced and truly epic novel set in East London in the late 1880s. Donnelly captures the lives of working class London, from crowded street markets to the foggy dark and dangerous streets of Whitechaple to the London docks and banks of the river Thames in this rags to riches tale.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Claire Randall and her husband celebrate the post-war months with a trip to Inverness, Scotland to explore the history of the area and, rekindle their ailing relationship. But history has other ideas as Claire's visit to an ancient stone circle sees her transported back in time. Scotland in 1784 is not a welcoming place for an Englishwoman as Claire finds herself in the midst of the Scottish uprising.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory. Mary Boleyn arrives in King Henry VIII's court as a young girl and quickly finds favour with the King. Her place as the future Queen seems certain but over time However, as Henry's interest wanes Mary's ambitious sister Anne overshadows her and is willing to do whatever it takes to make herself Queen.

Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier. Johanne Vermeer's beautiful painting is brought to life in this tale of the master painter and his humble muse. Chevalier explores the everyday domesticities of Dutch life in the Vermeer household during the 1660s. The arrival of a young servant girl causes domestic tension in the Vermeer household as Johanne becomes increasingly enchanted by her beauty.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. Nitta Sayuri is plucked from her humble fishing village and sold to a renown Geisha house. This beautifully written novel brings to life the dying world of the Japanese Geisha where appearances are everything. Though Nitta's life appears to be glamorous it is really a facade, for what she truly wants is to fall in love.

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. Boston post-world war one is grappling with the Spanish influenza. The local police force haven't enough men to cope with the sick and dying arriving into Port. To top it off workers are unioninsing, threatening to strike and demanding better working conditions. Danny Coughlin the son of the chief of police is sent undercover with the intention of placating the union members but soon finds himself questioning what he was sent in to do.


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