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Advice Needed On These Historical Novels

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Advice Needed On These Historical Novels

Post by SonjaMarie » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 2:28 am

These are the current historical novels on my BF queue and I need advice about which ones are worth reading and which ones aren't, any advice is appreciated!

The Queen's Lover by Vanora Bennett 624pgs
For the King by Catherine Delors (July 2011)
To Be Queen of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christy English
When We Were Gods: A Novel of Cleopatra by Colin Falconer
The Queen's Rival: In the Court of Henry VIII by Diane Haeger
The King's Witch by Cecelia Holland (July 2011) (?)
The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick
The Scarlet Contessa: A Novel of Italian Renaissance by Jeanne Kalogridis (July 2011) (?)
The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette (Young Royals) by Carolyn Meyer (June 2011)
The King's Touch by Jude Morgan
To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin
Exit the Actress: A Novel by Priya Parmar
The Borgia Betrayal: A Novel (Poisoner Mysteries) by Sara Poole (June 2011)
Isabeau, A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer by N. Gemini Sasson
Désirée: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon's First Love by Annemarie Selinko
Queen By Right: A Novel by Anne Easter Smith (May 2011)
The Fugitive Prince by Noel Stevens
The Adventures of Alianore Audley by Brian Wainwright


Last edited by SonjaMarie on Sat April 23rd, 2011, 2:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by boswellbaxter » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 2:45 am

I loved The King's Touch.

The Bad Queen
is a YA novel about Marie Antoinette; it's a quick and enjoyable enough read but about the only thing I found memorable about it was its gimmicky "rule" format.

Queen by Right isn't out yet except as an ARC; I imagine that if you like her other books and prefer your roses spanking white, you'd like this one. :p

I really didn't like Désirée, but I'm in the minority. Napoleon running off to seek Desiree's advice and/or approval every time he made a decision got old for me in a hurry.

Alianore Audley is quite funny.

I have To Be Queen in my own TBR pile, and Isabeau is on my Kindle.
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Post by Misfit » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 3:08 am

I really didn't like Désirée, but I'm in the minority. Napoleon running off to seek Desiree's advice and/or approval every time he made a decision got old for me in a hurry.

Alianore Audley is quite funny.
Ditto those two opinions. I think the diary narrative in Desiree really hampered the story. Brian Alianore is hilarious.

My luck with Haegar and Bennett are middling to poor and I don't plan on going near either again. I like Hollick a lot. The Forever Queen might not be her strongest, but it's still very good.
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Post by Divia » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 3:23 am

I didnt like Scarlett Contessa. It was long and wordy.
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Post by Veronica » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 3:48 am

I haven't read any of those books but I do like Diane Haeger as an author..
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Post by Vanessa » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 9:54 am

I have For the King by Catherine Delors on my TBR pile - I loved Mistress of the Revolution (it as a book of the month on here some time ago).

I read Queen of Silks (aka Figures in Silk) by Vanora Bennett and enjoyed it. I think I maybe in the minority for this one, though.

I loved Passion by Jude Morgan and have heard great things about The King's Touch, which is on my TBR pile.

I have Anne Easter Smith's books on my TBR pile - I think I'm attracted to her books by the covers!! :o :rolleyes: :D
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Post by EC2 » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 11:16 am

I've only read the Brian Wainwright out of those and I loved it.
Oh, and Helen Hollick's. That's been edited and improved upon since the UK edition and she's a solid writer.
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For never will cowards fall down there.'

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Post by Margaret » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 6:41 pm

A big thumbs up for Catherine Delors' For the King (see review). I thought it had the perfect balance of swiftly paced, tense plotting and literary depth with exceptionally vivid and evocative prose.

Some people like Cecelia Holland and some don't. I'm in the "yes" camp, because she is so good at evoking the time period, and her characters never feel like modern people in fancy dress-up. I haven't read The King's Witch, though.

Jeanne Kalogridis's The Scarlet Contessa (see review) took the ickiest rumors about Catherine de Medici and assumed they were true, so there are some pretty gory scenes involving the practice of sorcery. I much preferred the biographical novel approach of Chris Gortner's The Confessions of Catherine de Medici (see review). But if you've already read that one, and The Scarlett Contessa is on your pile, you might want to read it just to see how differently two authors can approach the same historical person's story!

After reading Donna Russo Morin's The Secret of the Glass (see review), I lost interest in reading any of her other novels. Lots of over-the-top metaphors, and some that I found totally ridiculous. But if you're into historical romance and don't care too much about an elegant writing style, you might enjoy it.

Although I haven't read The King's Touch, I thoroughly enjoyed Jude Morgan's Charlotte and Emily aka A Taste of Sorrow (see review). If I had another Jude Morgan novel on my own TBR pile, I'd dive right into it.
Last edited by Margaret on Sat April 23rd, 2011, 6:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by BrianPK » Sat April 23rd, 2011, 10:43 pm


I really didn't like Désirée, but I'm in the minority. Napoleon running off to seek Desiree's advice and/or approval every time he made a decision got old for me in a hurry.

I really enjoyed Desiree,which I read about 20 years ago but you're correct about Napoleon rushing back to see Desiree immediately after his retreat from Moscow. That also struck me as being a little silly.

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Post by eclecticreader10 » Sun April 24th, 2011, 3:44 am

Désirée: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon's First Love by Annemarie Selinko

I read this when I was 15. I think it was the first HF that I ever read. It heald my interest. I know I liked it, but I can't say why. It was too many years ago (over 40).

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