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Your Top HF and Other reads of 2012

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: 1153
Joined: August 2012
Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Wed January 2nd, 2013, 9:23 pm

[quote=""Lady of Bennachie"]
I don't think I actually read any new releases this year. I even held off buying SKP's Lionheart, because I want the paperback to fit next to the others on my shelf :) [/quote]
[quote="Brenna""]I'm getting my paperback edition today! I am super excited about it because I held off for the same reason you did!
My paperback copy should be waiting on my desk at work right now, so I'll have my hands on it when I go in there tomorrow morning :)

Posts: 2475
Joined: August 2008
Location: Arizona, USA

Post by Ash » Fri January 4th, 2013, 3:27 pm

Save me a seat on the 'older and pickier' bench. I ended up rereading a lot of favorites this year, but it wasn't really a bad year for reading - just put aside a lot more books then I actually finished.


Bring Up The Bodies (read twice, which meant I had to re-read Wolf Hall twice ....)

Illuminations by Mary Sharrat (a decent imagining of what little is known about the life of Hildegard of Bergen)

Astray by Emma Donague (short stories based on real life characters)

Funny Papers Tom DeHaven (beginnings of the comics in newspapers, turn of the last century)

The Mirador Eliz Gille (novel based on the life of her mother, Irene Nemirovsky)

Non Fiction

In An Antique Land Amitav Ghosh

Memory Castle Mira Bartok

Cartoon History of the World Larry Gonick Vol III (I remember when these came out individually back in the 70s. The author started putting them into complete volumes which are so satisfying. finally got around to this one and found out that there is a 4th volume. Great series.)

Chicken Every Sunday Rosemary Drachman Taylor (memoir about the authors life in Arizona in the early 1900s)

Novels non HF

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Turn of Mind by Alice La Plante

The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
Absolutely loved that book - what happens when a cure for autism is found and all people with autism are required to take it. The meme of what is normal is done so well here.
Last edited by Ash on Sat January 12th, 2013, 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 921
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Post by Kveto from Prague » Sat January 5th, 2013, 4:07 pm

With my kindle I didnt read any recent books but I read some good freebies this year (mostly from manybooks.net or project guetenberg)

"The Thirsty sword: a tale of the norse invasion 1263" by Robert Leighton.
A fun novel with a vile antagonist.

"The Saracen" by Robert Shea
Brilliant novels set round the Italian crusades

"The Brethren" by H rider Haggard
A fun adventure novel with a pair of Saxon bothers

"The lost legion" by AC Doyle
Short stories mostly set in old Rome

"Court Jester" by Cornelia Baker
A fun novel about 2 noble girls and their jester.

"No Orchid for Miss Blandish" by Hadly Chase
The best gangster fiction Ive ever read.

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Posts: 965
Joined: August 2008

Post by Carla » Sun January 6th, 2013, 4:05 pm

Three that spring to mind are:

Hawk Quest, by Robert Lyndon. In 1072, an ill-assorted company sets out on an epic quest across most of the known world, to capture rare gyrfalcons in Greenland and deliver them to Anatolia (modern Turkey) as ransom for a captured knight. Beautifully written and with vivid characterisation, this compelling novel is thrilling, moving and funny by turns.

Thorn, by Michael Dean. Witty, intelligent black comedy exploring religious and social intolerance, centred on the (fictional) friendship between Rembrandt and Spinoza in Amsterdam at the height of the Dutch Golden Age.

Legacy, by Susan Kay (a re-read). Still my favourite portrayal of Elizabeth I in fiction, it captures the cruelty as well as the charisma.

I also liked The Boy With Two Heads, by JM Newsome, and the first two in Robert Low's new series about Robert Bruce, The Lion Wakes and The Lion At Bay.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com

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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 11th, 2013, 5:42 am

It's great reading everyone's lists, which remind me of some of my own best reading of 2012 and other years past, as well as whetting my appetite for more. I really wish I could have more than 24 hours in a day so I can read more novels along with a lot of other rewarding activities. If I get pickier as I get older, I also find that time seems to zip past at a much faster rate, perhaps one of the reasons I feel pickier, because I want to really savor all that fast-moving time as much as possible.

Here's my list, in no particular order:

Illuminations by Mary Sharratt
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
A Gift for the Magus by Linda Proud
The Last Nude by Ellis Avery
The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin
The Witches' Kitchen by Cecelia Holland
The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer
The Solitary House by Lynn Shepherd

There are thumbnail descriptions of all of these on the "Best of 2012" page at HistoricalNovels.info, and all of them have full reviews on the website - the "Best of" page has links to them.

Plus, an honorable mention that I read in mid-December, after my website list was already posted: The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen (see review).
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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