Exploring what's "new" on the historical shelves
With children out of school and folks going on vacation, summer is traditionally
the time for blockbuster movies, usually action-adventure or comic-book-hero
sagas designed to snag the interest of kids and families. Then there are
“blockbuster books”—novels that strike the popular imagination and become
Though I tend not to like those extremely popular books, since several are set
in one of my favorite time periods—World War II—for Read More...
Who doesn’t love to peek into the lives of the rich, famous and influential? To
spark your summer reading, this month we will take a look at protagonists (some
real historical figures, some fictional) who strive for fame, fortune, and glory
in the chaotic decades after the devastation of World War I.
We begin with Hazel
Gaynor’s Read More...
In May, thoughts turn to the May Pole dances and Spring
celebrations in Merrie
Olde England. This month’s selections illumine the worlds of court and
entertainment, revealing the sometimes stark reality of life for women in
England in the 18th century—both high-born and commoner.
Beginning with the political, we have MISTRESS OF THE COURT by Read More...
When spring is in the air, thoughts turn to romance…and what is more romantic
than springtime in Paris? Or to be more exact, springtime in Versailles, as all
the choices we’ll explore this month take place around the small hunting lodge
at the edge of a royal forest which became a palace whose very name conjures
images of luxury, excess, drama and tragedy. The kings who inhabited that
palace dominated the known world Read More...
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, this month we’ll give a nod to the wearin’ of the
green with a series of stories featuring Irish characters and settings. For as
the old Irish saying goes:
“Always remember to forget
The friends who proved untrue
But never forget to remember
The ones who stuck by you.”
And what friend is Read More...
What could be more romantic than Italy? The hush of a gondola plying the waters
of a Venetian canal, the painted beauty of the countryside around Florence, the
walled cities of Sienna and San Gimignano… For your Valentine month treat, I
offer up a quartet of historical fiction that explores the art, craft,
excitement and intrigue of Venice, Florence and Sienna. Enjoy!
Progressing chronologically, we begin with Read More...
Are you as distressed as I am that Downton Abbey will soon be ending FOR GOOD?
(sob) Given the world-wide popularity of the show, there are surprisingly few
books set in the Edwardian era that incorporate the upstairs-downstairs,
love-interest and drama that make the show so engaging (to say nothing of the
yummy fashions.) But, in an attempt to offer solace, I’ve gathered a few volumes
which segue in and beyond Read More...
Christmas is filled with traditions whose repetition year after year provide a
sense of continuity and joy, as we remember favorite moments from childhood and
anticipate adding new memories to that book of mental treasures. Since many of
our traditions date from the Victorian period, I wanted to offer an array of
historical fiction from that era as a special Christmas tribute. However, as I
began to scan the real and digital shelves, I found Read More...
Earlier this month in Anaheim, Blizzard Entertainment held its annual
showcase upcoming releases by this originator of some of the most popular and
games on the market. In honor of one of its signature brands, World of
medieval-like fantasy landscape of warriors and weapons, we will look this time
BOHEMIAN GOSPEL by Dana Chamblee Carpenter
Two things historical fiction readers love: historical dramas brought to television,
usually by the BBC,
and series of books featuring the same characters and settings. In honor of
new fall historical series Home Fires, which highlights the women of one small
village and their
work to further the war effort in the opening days of World War II, we’ll look at three
authors who have
created series that also Read More...
With PBS set to begin another lush historical series, Indian Summers, set in the waning days
of British rule in 1930s India, it’s time to look at fiction that illuminates that fascinating and
THE RAJ QUARTET by Paul Scott
There’s something about summer that makes me think of sipping mint juleps on
the front porch swing
under a lazy fan, lush ferns in pots, and the sound of bees buzzing in the
hydrangea bushes. For this
column, we’ll visit Roaring Twenties-to-World War II-era fiction set in the
South, New York and
MAGNOLIA CITY by Duncan W. Alderson
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