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17th Century England

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
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17th Century England

Postby Margaret » Fri December 5th, 2008, 1:35 am

Two of the books that will go on my "best I've read this year" list are set in seventeenth century England, a period I hadn't thought I was especially interested in until I read these books.

I posted about the first one on the old forum: Mary McCann's As Meat Loves Salt, about an emotionally impaired man who becomes involved in the English Civil War as a soldier for Cromwell's forces and also in the "Diggers" movement, a poorly organized but idealistic movement to take over uncultivated land for agricultural communes. It's quite interesting from an abstract standpoint, but the novel is not abstract at all. I've reviewed it here.

The other is a novel by a Canadian author, Mary Novik, called Conceit, which I've just finished reading (and reviewing here). It's about a daughter of John Donne, the famous poet and Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral. The writing is exceptionally fine, and the characters were so alive, it felt like they were right in the room with me sometimes. It got excellent reviews in the U.K., but seems to be almost unknown in the U.S., which is a shame. Maybe people think U.S. readers aren't interested in John Donne - but this would be a great read even if the characters were entirely fictional.
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Leo62
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Postby Leo62 » Sat December 6th, 2008, 10:42 pm

I haven't read either of those and they're both going on my list :D

I'd also recommend Havoc in its Third Year by Ronan Bennett (murder, god and the devil in the 1630's) and - less good, but still worth a go if you're into the period - The Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (the 1665 plague in a small village).

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diamondlil
Bibliomaniac

Postby diamondlil » Sat December 6th, 2008, 10:44 pm

If you are interested in the Gunpowder plot, then you might like The Firemaster's Mistress by Christie Dickason.
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Leo62
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Postby Leo62 » Mon December 8th, 2008, 12:04 pm

Thought of another one - "Restoration" by Rose Tremain. :)

Her "Music and Silence" is also C17, but set in Denmark.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Mon December 8th, 2008, 4:50 pm

I'll put in a word for Diana Norman's "Vizard Mask", which is set in the Restoration period. It's loosely based on the life of Margaret (Peggy) Hughes, the first female actress to take the stage in England. She became the mistress of prince Rupert of the Rhine in his later years.
It's set in London and also in the West Country at the time of Monmouth's Rebellion.

Also favourites, Fidelis Morgan's Countess Ashby de la Zouche mystery series salso set in the Restoration period. The Countess is a decrepit but sharp elderly noblewoman down on her luck, and the stories are both very clever and hilarious.

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Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Mon December 8th, 2008, 7:59 pm

Maybe there's a reason why I was never too interested in 17th century England before - novels set during this period are difficult to get ahold of in the U.S. The only Diana Norman novels that are readily available here are her American Revolution novels (A Woman of Consequence, etc.) and her mysteries. My library does have Rose Tremain's novels and a couple of Fidelis Morgan's mysteries. I hear good things about Rose Tremain and will have to move her higher on my TBR list.
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Leo62
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Postby Leo62 » Tue December 9th, 2008, 4:49 pm

Margaret wrote:I hear good things about Rose Tremain and will have to move her higher on my TBR list.


"Restoration" is great. :)

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Tue December 9th, 2008, 8:19 pm

I'll start with Restoration, then. Thanks for the tip!
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings and over 650 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

SGM
Compulsive Reader

Along the lines of Fidelis Morgan

Postby SGM » Wed March 17th, 2010, 9:59 pm

Susannah Gregory has written a series of crime novels set in 17th Century London (Thomas Challoner) unfortunately I was not fond of them. There is also a series by Edward Marston -- The Parliament House and Frost Fair -- which are also crime based.

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diamondlil
Bibliomaniac

Postby diamondlil » Sun March 21st, 2010, 11:45 am

Over at Historical Tapestry we recently had a week featuring posts by authors who write about the 17th century. One of those was Alison Stuart who wrote a couple of novels set in England during that time. Her books were self published but at least one of them was an Espy prize winner (prize for self published novels). I own them, but haven't yet managed to read them.
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There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.



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