Monday, August 10, 2009

Book Moments…Sparking the Love for Historical Fiction



This morning I have a question for you wonderful Bloggy pals of mine...

Just recently, one of my good friends said she might like to start reading some HF..Yippee! I thought- finally someone in the real world who can share my passion face to face! OK, well I’m not getting overly excited cause I realize this genre is not for everyone...but I’m hopeful. She’s the type of gal that usually loves biographies, political stuff, and books on sprituality. But now, she says she’s ready to get into the history of royals and is very curious.

Here it comes…she’s asked me to recommend a good read to start her off. Any recommendations?? I’d love to start her off on a Plaidy…Or maybe with the French Courts (being in French Canada, this would be a good start since she’s already familiar with some French history…), and of course the Josephine Trilogy, or, or…

But then, as Arleigh pointed out, I should be careful not to scare her off with stuff that’s too heavy for a beginner..so her suggestion was a Philippa Gregory- since she’s usually a good one to hook people into the genre.

I can't seem to pick one! I’d love to hear all of your suggestions:)

19 comments:

Dar said...

I'm with Arleigh on this one too. I'd say The Other Boleyn Girl - something like that. Easy to read and really enjoyable.

Roberta said...

Too funny...I'm with Arleigh as well...The Other Boleyn Girl or The Virgin Lover by Gregory have just enough "sizzle" to hook you along with the history.
Roberta

madameguillotine said...

How about 'A Rose for Virtue' by Norah Lofts? It is about Reine Hortense and is a lovely read. It's currently out of print (although I think there may have been a recent reissue) but is easy to get hold of! :)

Sarah C said...

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. That's really how I became obsessed w/ reading HF. It's got a little bit of sci-fi, romance and history - the works. That'll ease her into it nicely. :)

Cinderella said...

My mother, who is not a big reader of historical fiction, read a Catherine Cookson book and loved it. I told her there are a lot more books out there like that one! Catherine Cookson and Norah Lofts wrote short books with a lot of suspense so that's a good place to start. As mentioned above, "A Rose for Virtue" is very good. (As far as I know, Cookson didn't write anything about royalty.)

If your friend is a big reader, I don't think Plaidy is too heavy. Or you could recommend one of the better (older) Victoria Holt books. A few of the Holt books dealt with royalty (My Enemy the Queen, The Queen's Confession). Among current writers, The Other Boleyn Girl is a good choice. Or maybe "Here Be Dragons" by Sharon Kay Penman.

Matterhorn said...

I wish I could recommend something, but I don't read much historical fiction- I guess what really happened is wild enough for me:)

Judy said...

I'd say "Shadows on the Rock" by Willa Cather - 17th Century French Canada - deft, fairly compact, not too long.

dolleygurl said...

I would say either a Philippa Gregory (The Other Boleyn Girl was what got me hooked) or a Michelle Moran (her writing style is something that hooks people too and its not like reading a history book). Those would be my suggestions.

Ms. K @ Write On Thyme said...

Oh my...I haven't read enough to say. Still so much on my list to catch up on. But I've had the Philippa Gregory books recommended to me more than once. And I've hooked more than one person into the Outlander Series (tho they are so dense for me that I have to take longggg breaks between each book!). Still need to delve into Plaidy! And you inspire me! (I also loved Kristin Lavransdatter when i read it years ago!)
Happy Tuesday!
Kirsten

Allie ~ Hist-Fic Chick said...

I would say The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. It helped spark my interest in both Anne Boleyn AND Elizabeth, and I loved reading Elizabeth's reactions to her mother's story, as few hist-fic authors really venture to get creative with that topic, that is, expressing what might have been Elizabeth's feelings towards her often reviled and certainly infamous mother. Good idea to start her on something lighter rather than a jam-packed history sesh. That should hook her for now and then soon enough she'll come crawling back for the Plaidy's... :)

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Gregory is a good way to go - like otheres said here, she is who brought me in too. However when you said she likes biographies, politics and spirituality - I think Pope Joan by Donne Woolfolk Cross has all three.

Linda Ellen said...

I haven't read any Historical Fiction yet, but I'll listen to what you'll suggest. I can relate to the feeling of being a beginner and not knowing where to start. I felt that way when I first started blogging. =)

Nikola said...

I wouldn't recommend Philipa, since the British courts have a lot of characters, all with intricate relatinships.

Instead, I would recommend something by Tracy Chevalier (Fallen Angels, to be exact), because it is an amazing slice of historical fiction, yet not so stuffy. :)

lilly said...

You know there are so many different sub-genres within historical fiction that it's hard to say which ones will get your friend hooked.
I would say Margaret George is the one because her Mary, Queen of Scotland was the book that made me fall in love with HF but I love chunksters and the size of this book might scare your friend away :)

Marie Burton said...

Hmmm.. PG is an obvious choice.
But at Lilly says, the sub-genre may be what is key here. And you would know better if your friend would be scared of chunksters or not. See what COUNTRY your friend would like to know more about. Start from there. I have had a fascination for England, so of course starting with the Tudors was abvious for me.
But if she wants to learn more about France, go with French revolution stuff; and Sandra Gulland, Catherine Delors..
As far asa Plaidy goes, just be sure to recommend one that you loved, and don't just say Plaidy since we know some are drier than others. I loved The Murder in The Tower and that one is not one of the more popular ones.
Ms Lucy I miss you.

dolleygurl said...

I have an award for you at my blog!http://themaidenscourt.blogspot.com/

Ana O. said...

I think something light and fun should be the way for her to start! Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, as so many have already mentioned, is one obvious choice, it's got every ingredient to hook even the most reluctant. I'd also suggest The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly or the The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig, for a nice mix of adventure and history.

Ms. Lucy said...

Thank you so much for all your great recommendations!!

So, it seems that The Other Boleyn Girl is what she chose to read...She's on the second chapter and can't put it down:) It's a great start isn't it?

Jenny Girl said...

Arleigh is spot on! PG is how I got started. I also liked Poise Graeme-Evans trilogy about a woman and Edward IV.
Here's her website: http://www.posiegraemeevans.com/
I thought they were pretty good and easy reading. But you must read them in order, starting with The Innocent.