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text 2019-07-17 01:51
Update Historical Essential Reading List

Both Moonlight Reader and Portable Magic have added books.  You can find the updated list here

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text 2019-07-16 19:50
PM's Favorite/Essential Historical Fiction (2 of 2)

Continued from prior post, here's the rest of my list of favorite historical fiction for Chris's crowdsourced historical fiction reading list.


The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel  Clan of the Cave Bear

I can’t believe nobody has put this one on the list. Again, caveat emptor as it’s been over 30 years since I read it, but the first book in the series with explicit cave people sexy times has got to fit the category of Essential Reads. As I recall though, this first book was more about being different, about societal pressures to conform, and about learning to assert your true self.


The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley  The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

I cannot recommend the Flavia de Luce series enough. Set in the 1950’s, a feisty little girl uses her love of chemistry to become an amateur detective. When she’s not plotting to poison her sisters, of course. The audio on these, read by Jayne Entwistle, is a must. My original review here.


Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry  Lonesome Dove

Larry McMurtry, man. Need I say more? However, at almost 1000 pages, I highly recommend you do this on audio. Lee Horsely (yes, really his name) does an authentic reading.


True Grit - Charles Portis  True Grit

Not a great work of literature, but Mattie is a character you’ve got to meet.


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet - Jamie Ford  Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

A Chinese-American man revisits his boyhood during WWII, when his Japanese-American neighbors and friends were sent to government internment camps. You’ll need a whole box of tissues for this one. My review here.


The Ghost Bride - Yangsze Choo  The Ghost Bride

This one might be better classed under fantasy or folklore, since it’s not strictly realism, but it’s set in 1893 Malaysia and is a reflection of cultural beliefs and life of the time. It’s gorgeously written.

My review here.



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text 2019-07-16 19:43
PM's Favorite/Essential Historical Fiction (1 of 2)


This is a late submission for Chris's crowdsourced historical fiction reading list. I’m limiting my list to those books I’ve really enjoyed, but did not find on the initial list that Chris published a couple of weeks ago. It’s odd how few reviews I’ve written for these books, but I remember them all distinctly. I usually mostly forget a book once I’ve read it.


Cold Sassy Tree - Olive Ann Burns  Cold Sassy Tree

Caveat emptor. This was one of the first audiobooks I read as an adult, which would have been about 20 years ago, and my tastes have changed considerably since then. But I recall it as a sweet, funny tale of small-town life in the South at the start of the 20th century, from the POV of a young teenager trying to puzzle out the secrets and behaviors of the adults around him. Audio version would be best, unless you enjoy puzzling out text written in the vernacular.


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith  A Tree Grows In Brooklyn

Another coming-of-age story set at the turn of the 20th century, but this one is about a little girl growing up in inner-city poverty. It is beautiful and rich and full of hope and harsh reality. I also seem to remember losing interest in it once Francie grows up, but at least the first half of the book is fantastic.


The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton  The Lake House: A Novel - Kate Morton  The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton 

The Secret Keeper, The Lake House, The Forgotten Garden

I absolutely adore Kate Morton’s books, and I see that The House at Riverton is already on the list. In addition to that one, these are her books that I most love. They all follow a similar construction, where a present day character is trying to unravel the secrets of the past, and the story follows both past and present threads until all (or most) is revealed. The settings and timeframes are all different, and I’ve enjoyed each of them.


The Fire by Night - Teresa Messineo  The Fire by Night

I five-starred this one because it grabbed me, pulled me in, made me cry. And also because I connected with it so powerfully from my experience as a nurse, although of course I never did so in war. This is the story of two women who served as military nurses during WWII. It’s about love and friendship and duty and sacrifice.

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text 2019-07-15 03:50
Essential Historical List

We have reached 200, though the actual number of books is greater than that because I didn't list each and every book for each and every series.  If anyone has anything they want to add, you have until this coming Friday.


You can find the list here.


In the Notes section, I put whether or not the book was part of a series, and if the whole series was on the list, how many books in the series.  If any of the numbers are wrong let me know.  I also noted if the books were now usually published in one book. 


I am not sure of the exact number of Courtney Milan books because (1) she is still published and (2) if the book is in a ebook set, the set counts as one, so the number gets very confusing.



Thanks to everyone who sent in lists.  

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text 2019-07-10 15:49
More Historical Fiction for the list
Alaric the Goth - Marcel Brion
David Copperfield - Charles Dickens,Nina Burgis,Andrew Sanders
Great Expectations - Arthur Pober,Charles Dickens,Eric Freeberg,Deanna McFadden
Dracula and Other Stories by Bram Stoker. (Complete and Unabridged). Includes Dracula, the Jewel of Seven Stars, the Man (Aka: The Gates of Life), the - Bram Stoker
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart
Shogun: A Novel of Japan - James Clavell

Alaric the Goth by Marcel Brion

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Dracula by Bram Stoker

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (+series)

Shogun by James Clavell


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