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Books/book club

Historical fiction

(42 Posts)
Lynd1952 Thu 07-Apr-22 15:22:04

I have been reading a series by Ariana Franklin called Mistress of the Art of Death about Adelia a female forensics expert in the time of King Henry 11. Ariana Franklin also wrote under her married name Diana Norman, she was married to the TV film critic Barry Norman. Her books cover several periods in history and are very well researched. I will be sad to have finished reading her books and would very much appreciate recommendations in the Historical fiction genre. I also enjoyed reading Minette Walters The Last Hours, a book about the plague and it's sequel (a change from her usual thrillers) and the Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries by Ashley Gardner.

Ilovecheese Thu 07-Apr-22 15:43:32

Have you tried Norah Lofts. I don't think they are still in print but can be found on Ebay.

Grandmabatty Thu 07-Apr-22 15:43:53

C. Sansom and the Shardlake novels. He writes about the times of Henry the Eighth. Philippa Gregory has written many historical novels.

Hellogirl1 Thu 07-Apr-22 17:59:54

For a lighter read, the Georgette Heyer novels are a nice read.

Sar53 Thu 07-Apr-22 18:39:43

One of my favourite authors is Alison Weir. She writes fiction and non-fiction.
She has written a series about the six wives of Henry VIII and very good they are too.

TerriBull Thu 07-Apr-22 19:34:38

I read a lot of Jean Plaidy in my teens, anyone remember her?

Of late I've read quite a few of Philippa Gregory's I like her War of the Roses novels, The White Queen, The Red Queen. Also Andrew Taylor whose books are set in different periods, quite a good one around the time of the American War of Independence also one or two post English Civil War Fire of London time. Sometimes I'll read a historical biography if the subject matter takes my interest, I loved Clair Tomalin's, of Samuel Pepys The Unequalled Self.

I steer clear of the Tudors did them to death when I was at school, plus umpteen dramas featuring Henry V111 so many, I've almost felt like shouting at the screen "hey we did have other monarchs, but you'd never think so!!"

Sara1954 Thu 07-Apr-22 20:33:17

I also read a lot ofJean Plaidy in my teens.
I remember a family holiday, which I thought was just too boring in the Lake District, so I wandered off to the nearest book shop, bought a pile of her novels, and read them all.
I was a stroppy madam

MaizieD Thu 07-Apr-22 20:35:49

I haven't read a historical novel for a long time and some of my favourites are very much from my youth. I loved Margaret Irwin, who wrote about QE1 when she was a princess, and some about the Stuarts in the Civil War era. She was published in the 1930s - 1950s. No idea if they're still available.

Sara1954 Thu 07-Apr-22 20:38:53

I might have this wrong, I’m thinking back fifty years.
But there was a book I loved, I think it was The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seyton
(Spelling may be incorrect)
Anyone remember that?
I wrote an essay on if for an English exam, and was told it was a little inappropriate.

AreWeThereYet Thu 07-Apr-22 20:43:12

Sara1954 Yes there was. I have a first edition of 'The Winthrop Woman'.

eazybee Thu 07-Apr-22 20:50:18

Then there is 'Katherine' by Anya Seton , which was almost a rite of passage for teenage girls. When I was at Birmingham university I spent a fascinating afternoon in the archives reading copies of the Rolls concerning John of Gaunt and many of the people referred to in the book.

Shandy57 Thu 07-Apr-22 20:51:53

Hilary Mantel is amazing - did you watch Wolf Hall when it was dramatized?

Sara1954 Thu 07-Apr-22 21:09:25

AreWeThereYet and Eazybee
Oh Thankyou ladies, yes I also remember Katherine, I can’t really remember much about them, only that my teenage self loved them.

Sara1954 Thu 07-Apr-22 21:15:46

Agree, she is the Queen of historical writers, not everyone enjoys her style of writing, but I find it to be very realistic.

Yammy Thu 07-Apr-22 21:43:46


I might have this wrong, I’m thinking back fifty years.
But there was a book I loved, I think it was The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seyton
(Spelling may be incorrect)
Anyone remember that?
I wrote an essay on if for an English exam, and was told it was a little inappropriate.

I remember Anya Seton, I loved her book about John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford and one I think was called the Duke? of Derwentwater about Bonny Prince Charlie. Also the late Sharon Penman the Sunne in Splendour was brilliant about the Cousin's war. She wrote quite a few others about King John and the wars with the Welsh.
Katte Mosse writes well about the South of France and the Albigensian Crusade. I also like Alison Weir both her fact and fiction books. Elizabeth Chadwick if you want something lighter her books are often about the Crusades.

AreWeThereYet Thu 07-Apr-22 21:45:28

Sharon Penman is also a favourite of mine, especially 'The Sunne in Splendour', about the Wars of the Roses but more specifically Richard III.

I like the sound of the Ariana Franklin books, I'll have to look those up.

Shandy57 Fri 08-Apr-22 00:17:49

I've just remembered 'Hamnet' by Maggie O'Farrell. I really liked it and tried some more of her books, didn't enjoy them as much.

grannydarkhair Fri 08-Apr-22 00:34:31

For something a bit different, I’d recommend the Eagles of the Empire series by Simon Scarrow. The two main characters are Macro and Cato. They are Legionnaires, and as they are posted to different parts of the Roman Empire, you also meet real people, eg. Boudicca, Claudius, Nero.
Another series by SS I enjoyed is his Revolution Quartet, these are about Napoleon Bonaparte and the Duke of Wellington.

Sara1954 Fri 08-Apr-22 07:18:12

I’m not a massive historical fiction fan, but I do enjoy Alison Weir, and I’ve read a few Philippa Gregory, didn’t like Tidelands though.
As for Hamnet, I thought that was wonderful, and so far, I’ve enjoyed all her other books.

Sara1954 Fri 08-Apr-22 07:21:21

I’m impressed by your memory, I can see the books in front of me, remember that they meant a lot to me at the time, but couldn’t have told you what they were about.

Greyduster Fri 08-Apr-22 07:56:57

I read all the Mistress of the Art of Death books, Lynd1952, and they were brilliant. The last one in the series was finished by her daughter as she died before finishing it. It was almost seamless. Elizabeth Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy is very good. She brings both her and Henry to life. If you like the period, Manda Scott’s Boudicca series is unputdownable. I can also recommend S.W. Perry’s ‘Jackdaw Mysteries’ a series set in Elizabethan England.

Sara1954 Fri 08-Apr-22 08:04:45

I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction, but this is giving me an appetite for it.

TerriBull Fri 08-Apr-22 09:20:58

Like many people here I loved Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet. Talking of that author, just had one of the frequent emails I get from Waterstones advertising new books. Those who enjoyed Hamnet may be interested to know she has a new one coming out, The Marriage Portrait, and it seems she is continuing with the historical theme this book is set in the Italian Renaissance, which has remined me of another book set in that time that I enjoyed, Sarah Dunant's, The Birth of Venus.

volver Fri 08-Apr-22 09:23:35

This is such an interesting thread with lots of ideas, thank you. I was reminded of an author I used to read as a teenager, a bit like Jean Plaidy. I had to look her up.

Lozania Prole. I loved her books. Surely a made up name!!

Blossoming Fri 08-Apr-22 09:55:26

Lozania Prole was Ursula Bloom’s pen name.