Category Archives: Historical Fiction

The Taste of Sorrow

Now that I’ve read all seven novels by the Brontë sisters, I am proceeding to books about them. First up is Jude Morgan’s wonderful novel about their lives. As far as I can tell, not having read any biographies of … Continue reading

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Midnight in Europe

Alan Furst’s new novel enters new territory for me. Instead of focusing on Paris before and during World War II, in Midnight in Europe, Furst turns to the Spanish Civil War, a conflict I knew nothing at all about. The … Continue reading

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Bring Up the Bodies

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall was one of the very last books I read in December 2013, and it couldn’t have surprised me more. Instead of being an overhyped, overwritten contender for a sometimes-lackluster prize, it took a man who has … Continue reading

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The Signature of All Things

Alma Whittaker was born at the dawn of the 19th century. Her father, Henry, had pulled himself out of poverty and built a thriving business that made him the wealthiest man in Philadelphia. Alma’s mother, Beatrix, was an intellectual from … Continue reading

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The Phoenix

The Winding Road, the 34th book in Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’ Morland Dynasty series, was supposed to be the final book in the series when it was published in 2011. The author wanted to continue, following the family into the 1930s and … Continue reading

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The Very Thought of You

One interesting thing about making a point of reading books I’ve had on my To Be Read shelf for a long time is that I end up picking up books that I don’t remember getting. I have them, but I … Continue reading

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Longbourn

Even if you haven’t heard about Jo Baker’s recent novel, you may recognize the title as the name of the village where the Bennett family lived in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and that village is indeed where this novel … Continue reading

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A Suitable Boy

So let’s get this bit out of the way: A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth is a long book, even by my doorstop-loving standards. It’s more than 1,400 pages and took me almost a month to read. Going against my … Continue reading

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The Ringed Castle

The last scene of Pawn in Frankincense left us standing, bereft, as Francis Crawford of Lymond and Sevigny left his friends, his opium habit, his country, his son, and his virgin wife. He left unexpectedly, for parts unknown, in the … Continue reading

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The Blind Assassin (reread)

This novel by Margaret Atwood begins with the aftermath–with 25-year-old Laura Chase driving off a bridge, possibly on purpose. Iris Chase Griffin, Laura’s sister and our narrator, then discovers Laura’s notebooks. A few pages later, we learn that Laura wrote … Continue reading

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