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What were your favorite reads of 2011?

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
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Posts: 3661
Joined: August 2008
Location: Nottingham UK

Post by EC2 » Tue January 3rd, 2012, 8:29 pm

I've forgotten most of mine because I didn't keep a record, but from what I can remember:
Not in order:
Revelation - C J Sansom - 10/10
Dark Matter - Michele Paver 10/10
The Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey - 10/10
The Kashmir Shawl - Rosie Thomas - 9/10
The William series of Books by Richmal Crompton - 10/10
Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman 10/10
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman 10/10 (loosely historical)
Stardust - Neil Gaiman 10/10 (loosely historical)

Find of the year - Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series. I am now seriously hooked - except for the were-tiger episode that was a rip-off of Janet Evanovich's Ranger.
Also really enjoyed The Untied Kingdom by Kate Johnson in this sort of sassy alternative genre.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal


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cw gortner
Posts: 1288
Joined: September 2008
Location: San Francisco,CA

Post by cw gortner » Tue January 3rd, 2012, 9:19 pm

I had a good year of reading, even if my time was constrained by writing and research. It goes without saying that I truly loved some of the books written by members of our forum, including in no particular order:

The Second Duchess - Elizabeth Loupas
Madame Tussaud - Michelle Moran
Lady of the English - Elizabeth Chadwick
Queen of Last Hopes - Susan Higgenbotham
and Ben Kane's fantastic Roman trilogy, which kept me up reading way past my bedtime!

From the 34 non-forum books on my official reading list, I loved these, again in no particular order:
Revenger - Rory Clements
The Owl Killers - Karen Maitland
The Music of the Spheres - Elizabeth Redfern
Before Versailles - Karleen Koen
Ratcatcher - James McGee
The Queen's Fool - Philippa Gregory
Daughters of Rome - Kate Quinn
A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
Elizabeth I - Margaret George
The King's Man - Pauline Gedge
The Mercy Seller - Brenda Rickman Vantrese
The Sleepwalkers - Paul Grossman
The Janissary Tree - Jason Goodwin
The Book of Lost Fragrances - M.J. Rose (ARC)
The Winter Palace - Eva Stanyick (ARC)
Lord John and the Private Matter - Diana Gabaldon
The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern
Island Beneath the Sea - Isabel Allende
Becoming Marie Antoinette - Juliet Grey
The Time In Between - Maria Duenas
The Last Romanov - Dora Levy Mossanen
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters
The Map of Time - Felix Parma
THE QUEEN'S VOW available on June 12, 2012!
THE TUDOR SECRET, Book I in the Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles


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Posts: 5823
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: "The Girl in the Painting" by Kirsty Ferry
Preferred HF: Plantagenets, Victorian, crime, dual time-frame
Location: Essex/London

Post by Madeleine » Fri January 6th, 2012, 8:14 pm

EC - I agree with you about the were-tiger, I knew he reminded me of someone! I haven't really taken to him either, in fact he's not a very good character at all.
Currently reading "The Girl in the Painting" by Kirsty Ferry

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Posts: 2440
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favourite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA

Post by Margaret » Fri January 6th, 2012, 8:25 pm

I had a less than stellar reading year - lots of personal and professional distractions had me reading much less than usual.
Me, too. But I really, really loved Doc by Mary Doria Russell.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Posts: 182
Joined: December 2010
Location: Finland

Post by Elysium » Sat January 7th, 2012, 10:33 am

in no particular order:

historical fiction
The Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner
The Queen of Last Hopes by Susan Higginbotham
India Black by Carol K. Carr
Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick

Catherine of Aragon by Giles Tremlett
She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor
Richard the Lionheart: King and Knight by Jean Flori

other books
Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Shadow Chaser by Alexey Pehov
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Leonardo Noto
Posts: 49
Joined: January 2012

Historical Fiction

Post by Leonardo Noto » Fri January 27th, 2012, 5:07 pm

I know that he's not traditionally thought of as a historical fiction author, but Michael Crichton's Pirate Latitudes is a wonderful, and educational, read. I'm a physician-author so I'm rather partial to the works of Mr. Crichton. With that said, I think that most people would agree that The Great Train Robbery and Eaters of the Dead/The 13th Warrior are historical fiction par excellence.

Leonardo Noto
Author: The Life of a Colonial Fugitive.
Last edited by Leonardo Noto on Fri January 27th, 2012, 5:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Matt Phillips
Posts: 100
Joined: August 2009

Post by Matt Phillips » Fri January 27th, 2012, 10:22 pm

I read and enjoyed, to varying extents and for various reasons:

The Forgotten Legion by Ben Kane
Lionheart by SKP
Poison by Sara Poole
World Without End by Ken Follett
On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
Sharpe's Gold, Lords of the North, Sword Song, and Rebel by Bernard Cornwell
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
Shadowbrook by Beverly Swerling
Atonement by Ian McEwan
The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
The Disagreement by Nick Taylor
The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (re-read)

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

... and any number of non-fiction texts for research!

Leonardo Noto
Posts: 49
Joined: January 2012

Empires of the Sea

Post by Leonardo Noto » Sat January 28th, 2012, 8:24 pm

The book isn't fiction but it reads like it is. It provides a nice, and fast-paced, synopsis of a forgotten period of history: the wars b/t Southern Europe and the Ottoman Empire for control of the Mediterrean Sea and the Balkans during the 1400s-1600s.

Empires of the Sea.
By: Roger Crowley

Leonardo Noto
Author: The Life of a Colonial Fugitive.

Leonardo Noto
Posts: 49
Joined: January 2012

Medical Historical Fiction

Post by Leonardo Noto » Sat January 28th, 2012, 8:33 pm

Three great medical novels, all based in America during the 1960s. Reading these books really gives you a taste of what it was like to be a physician in the 50s-60s era of medicine. They also will give you some powerful food-for-thought on issues that are still as contentious today as they were fifty years ago, like reproductive/abortion rights and universal health care.

The House of God. Samuel Shem-- A satirical look at Mass. Gen. Hospital and Havard Medical School that actually was much closer to the truth than most readers probably realized.

A Case of Need. Michael Crichton-- A disturbing novel about illegal/underground abortions.

Five Patients. Michael Crichton-- Not fiction but written as engagingly as the rest of his works. It's amazing how many of the issues that were facing medicine fifty years ago have yet to be resolved. The book is striking both for the progress that we have made in some areas, and the utter lack of progress that we have made in others.

Leonardo Noto
Author: The Life of a Colonial Fugitive.

Posts: 17
Joined: January 2010

Post by DebB » Mon February 6th, 2012, 8:05 pm

As usual, I'm late to the party but my top reads of 2011:

Historical Fiction

The Count of Monte Cristoby Dumas (unabridged translation by Buss)
The Heaven Tree Trilogy by Pargeter
The Far Pavilions by Kaye
Aztec by Jennings
Lionheart by Penman
A Place Beyond Courage by Chadwick
To Defy a King by Chadwick
The Love Knot by Chadwick
Shadows and Strongholds by Chadwick
The Falcons of Montabard by Chadwick
Shields of Pride by Chadwick
Lady of the English by Chadwick
The Marsh King's Daughter by Chadwick
Celia Garth by Bristow
The Forgotten Garden by Morton
Lily Cigar by Murphy
Treason by Whitford

Historical Mysteries

The Flavia de Luce series by Bradley (The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie; The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag; A Red Herring Without Mustard; I Am Half-Sick of Shadows -- audios)
The Crispin Guest series by Westerson (Veil of Lies; Serpent in the Thorns; The Demon's Parchment; Troubled Bones)
The Barker and Llewelyn series by Thomas (Some Danger Involved; To Kingdom Come; The Limehouse Text; The Hellfire Conspiracy)
The Dr. Siri Paiboun series by Cotterill (The Coroner's Lunch; Thirty-Three Teeth: Disco for the Departed; Anarchy and Old Dogs; Curse of the Pogo Stick; The Merry Misogynist; Love Songs from a Shallow Grave) [not exactly historical fiction but close enough]


A Game of Thrones by Martin


Unbroken by Hillenbrand (audio)
My Reading Life by Conroy

Non-Historical Fiction

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Shriver
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Franklin
Last edited by DebB on Mon February 6th, 2012, 8:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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