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Historical Fiction 101-starter books for the newbie

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blueemerald
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Historical Fiction 101-starter books for the newbie

Post by blueemerald » Sat January 17th, 2015, 1:21 am

I have a friend who does not read for pleasure. Nearly all her reading is related to her professional job. She recently took a holiday. Surprisingly, she brought along "Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette" by Sena Jeter Naslund. She buzzed through the entire novel in only a few sitting (a bid deal for her). She loved it! "It is so descriptive! It's like actually being there" said she! Yes, that is historical fiction! This friend is excited to explore more historical fiction and pleasure reading.

I want to recommend some HF books to her. She seems to be most interested in American history. What book(s) would you suggest I recommend? Thanks!

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat January 17th, 2015, 3:11 am

American History? Lots of fun there!
Anya Seton, The Winthrop Woman
Elizabeth George Speare, Witch of Blackbird Pond (YA, but still an excellent read) And as long as we're on Speare, The Sign of the Beaver is also a great descriptive story!
Gwen Bristow: Deep Summer, Celia Garth, Jubilee Trail, Calico Palace.
Gone With the Wind, of course
Alexander Thom, From Sea to Shining Sea (Lewis & Clark)
Sarah Donati, Into the Wilderness
Covering Wolfe's Pre-Revolutionary Canadian campaign, Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat January 17th, 2015, 4:46 pm

[quote=""MLE (Emily Cotton)""]American History? Lots of fun there!
Anya Seton, The Winthrop Woman
Elizabeth George Speare, Witch of Blackbird Pond (YA, but still an excellent read) And as long as we're on Speare, The Sign of the Beaver is also a great descriptive story!
Gwen Bristow: Deep Summer, Celia Garth, Jubilee Trail, Calico Palace.
Gone With the Wind, of course
Alexander Thom, From Sea to Shining Sea (Lewis & Clark)
Sarah Donati, Into the Wilderness
Covering Wolfe's Pre-Revolutionary Canadian campaign, Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger[/quote]

Yep, though I still have Lord Vanity around unread. Celeste de Blasis has some cracking good yarns. The Proud Breed for starters, California setting. Her Wild Swan trilogy is very good too. Lily Cigar by Tom Murphy is another big fat rag to riches California Saga.

If you friend is on Goodreads, there's an American Historical Fiction group, plus there's tons of lists that might have ideas.

California historical fiction

Or try searching lists for what she's looking for. Like these results for American historical fiction.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sat January 17th, 2015, 4:52 pm

I shall be near you( came out last year).
A Hall (I forgot the title it take place before and after the civil war)
Widow of the South
Inventions of Wings
The Lost summer of Louisa May Alcott
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

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princess garnet
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Post by princess garnet » Sat January 17th, 2015, 5:21 pm

I've enjoyed reading and own Jennifer Chiaverini's Civil War novels. One of the things that I enjoyed about them was that was set here in the DC area, where I live and work. She's got a new one coming out about Julia Grant (wife of Pres. Ulysses S. Grant) and her maid Jule.

The novel I'm reading now is Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden. (It's Christian historical fiction) The heroine Anna is a maps librarian and one of the few women working at the Library of Congress. It's 1897 and the staff is getting ready to move to the newly completed Thomas Jefferson Building.

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blueemerald
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Post by blueemerald » Sun January 18th, 2015, 9:19 pm

Thanks, everyone, for the recommendations! I'll cull through these and draw up a short list for her. (She is not so hot on strong romance storyline nor the epic.) Saw some interesting ones in there for my TBR list as well.

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wendy
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Post by wendy » Fri February 6th, 2015, 2:18 pm

[quote=""blueemerald""]Thanks, everyone, for the recommendations! I'll cull through these and draw up a short list for her. (She is not so hot on strong romance storyline nor the epic.) Saw some interesting ones in there for my TBR list as well.[/quote]

Also Ken Follett's PILLARS OF THE EARTH and WORLD WITHOUT END. Both great starts for readers entering HF!
Wendy K. Perriman
Fire on Dark Water (Penguin, 2011)
http://www.wendyperriman.com
http://www.FireOnDarkWater.com

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blueemerald
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Post by blueemerald » Sat February 7th, 2015, 5:02 pm

Well, I shared a short list with my reading-for-pleasure-newbie friend. She seemed especially interested in the California HF as she was born and raised in CA. I twill be interesting to see what she does. It is fun to be a person of influence in a newbie reader's literary life!
Thanks again everybody; appreciate your time and thought.

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Sun February 8th, 2015, 7:20 pm

I can't think of any CA HF. That doesnt mean its not out there...just I can't think of any.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sun February 8th, 2015, 7:44 pm

California has a fascinating history, especially the gold rush era. Highway 49 is fun to travel. Note: that website has some music at the intro, so speakers off it you're at work or something.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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