⏳⏳Historical Fiction Challenge: Part II ⌛⌛

É uma continuação do tópico ⏳ Historical Fiction Challenge ⌛.

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⏳⏳Historical Fiction Challenge: Part II ⌛⌛

Editado: Abr 7, 3:09 pm

______________________________ Floating clock on mantel; Selection of Historical Fiction titles

This is a continuation of the original thread.

Last May (2022) Katie over at Books and Things launched a Historical Fiction Readathon! The video in which she lays out what qualifies as historical fiction as well as several of her recommendations are here: https://youtu.be/XPgpXd-9cBI

A number of readers in the 2022 Category Challenge were rather enamored of this challenge and co-opted it as a mini-challenge within their own threads for the month/year; So I asked Katie for permission to re-mount the prompts here as a year-long challenge and she graciously agreed 🙂

1. Read a work of historical fiction set in the country you’re from
2. Read a work of historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from
3. Read a work of historical fiction set in your favourite historical time period to read about
4. Read a work of historical fiction set in a time period you’ll less familiar with
5. Read a work of historical fiction with a speculative element
6. Read a work of historical fiction about a real historical figure or a specific historical event
7. Read a classic work of historical fiction
Bonus: Read a work of historical fiction of over 500 pages

Read at least one or shoot for the whole list; Or anything in-between!
There is no minimum or maximum per prompt and you can read a book for a prompt in any order whenever you feel like it. You can start now if you like and we'll be carrying it through December 2023.

Don't forget to add to the Wiki: https://wiki.librarything.com/index.php/2023_Category_Challenge:_Historical_Fict...

Editado: Abr 7, 6:00 pm

I just took a quick look over on the Wiki and at my own reading list, and it looks like the most challenging prompt so far is "Read a classic work of historical fiction"! Digging into my stacks, I've found four in particular that I think will fit and hope to get to them, if not this month, at least in this quarter:

Henry VIII (by William Shakepeare) - written in 1613; set in 1502 - 1509
A Lost Lady of Old Years (by John Buchan) - written 1899; set in 1745
Witch Wood (by John Buchan) - Written in 1927; set in 1644
Sir Quixote of the Moors (by John Buchan) - written in 1895; set in middle/late 17th c.

Another area where I've had a weak showing is "historical fiction set in the country you’re from" (USA). I've found a trilogy by Dennis Lehane that will work for this:

The Given Day (Joe Coughlin #1)
Live by Night (#2)
World Gone By (#3)

The first two are set in Boston, Massachusetts; but last one might not fit the prompt. It looks like it's set in Cuba? I'll find out when I get there! :-)

Editado: Abr 7, 4:27 pm

Earlier this week, I finished listening to Troubles (Empire Trilogy #1; by J. G. Farrell; narrated by Kevin Hely) - English Major Brendan Archer has been discharged from the Great War and recovery from shell shock and so heads up to Ireland to claim his fiancée. Things are immediately and apparently "not right" when he shows up: Angela, his betrothed seems oddly distant & absent and; where they live, The Majestic Hotel once popular in the nineteenth century has fallen into ruin. The Irish War of Independence breaks out and wages on with ramifications to the stability of the hotel and its occupants. At once both sad and funny, the whole of the novel has such a surreal tone that it would be easy to conjecture that Archer has found his way to a lunatic asylum! The whole of the Empire Trilogy is a satirical look at the British Empire, moments in history often branded as time of glory; but might actually be something less than. Farrell's takes are sharp and subtle, like a fine blade finding its mark; but entertaining and vivid. The only caveat here is a trigger warning for cavalier animal cruelty.

• "set in a different country to the one you’re from" - Ireland
• "set in a time period you’ll less familiar with" - Irish War of Independence: 1919-1921
• "about a real historical figure or a specific historical event" - Irish War of Independence

Editado: Abr 7, 4:58 pm

>2 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Another area where I've had a weak showing is "historical fiction set in the country you’re from" (USA)

Having the same problem.I did read the emancipators wifeawhile ago and loved it about mary todd lincoln which fixes lots of myths about her life. Im sure I can find something else, need to do a search.

Abr 8, 12:09 am

Finished March by Geraldine Brooks.

set in my country
real people and events.

Editado: Abr 8, 1:46 pm

>2 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I've added my classics to the wiki, so now there are 4. For whatever reason, I have trouble with the wiki and never seem to get it right. Took a while, but I think I've got them OK for now.

The only Buchan I've read is The Thirty-Nine Steps. I have Greenmantle on my TBR, but I think it is a contemporary (to the writer--1916) story.

Abr 8, 4:35 pm

>6 kac522:
I am glad you mentioned that you have trouble with the wiki. So do I, I can't get it to keep anything I enter.

Abr 8, 5:36 pm

>6 kac522: Yeah, the Richard Hannay stories were written as war-time propaganda pieces— so not historical fiction :-/

I read both The Thirty-Nine Steps & Greenmantle recently. Ridiculously fun! 🙂

Abr 8, 5:40 pm

>6 kac522: >7 benitastrnad: oh wow, I’m sorry to hear about the Wiki. I see the four Classics that kac533 posted. I wonder if it’s specific to this wiki or site-wide.

If anyone else is having trouble, please let me know and I’ll see if I can troubleshoot or find someone who can help.

Abr 8, 6:00 pm

>9 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I just added a few books to the Wiki without any problems.

>7 benitastrnad: When you scroll down to the bottom to save your edit, choose “this is a minor edit” and tick the capture box. My apologies if you’re already doing this and the problem is something else.

Abr 8, 6:00 pm

>9 Tanya-dogearedcopy: It works fine for me.

Editado: Abr 8, 8:52 pm

I don't have trouble with saving the Wiki entries, I just don't understand the formatting, and the "help" isn't at all helpful for me. I need more step-by-step, I guess. I ended up by copying previous entries, but I don't understand why or how it works.

Editado: Abr 9, 2:45 pm

I didn't even know the LT Wiki had a Help page! I just went over there and now I'm like, "Ooooh! I didn't know I could do that!"

Anyway, I hope this helps:
• Go to the Main Page of the book you want to list and copy the link;
• Go to the Wiki page and add an asterisk (*) on the line where you want to add the book. This creates the bullet point;
• Add a left-square bracket. This begins the capture part of the line;
• Add the link you copied from the first step above;
• Type in the title of the book;
• Add a right-square bracket. This ends the capture;
• Add any other text that you would like (recommended: author, your username; optional: rating, and COMPLETED). The three apostrophes on either side of the word, "COMPLETED" are what formats it in bold
• Check off "This is a minor edit" (I do this when I'm correcting a typo but I don't think it hurts either way);
• Check off "I am not a robot". Sometimes, you'll have to prove it by checking off all the squares that have a motorcycle or traffic light or whatever. More difficult on an iPhone as the images don't scale down to size. Irony of a bot asking if you're a bot is not lost 😂
• Save!

Now the link and text you captured in the brackets will appear as a hyperlink back to the main page. If you have a typo in the text you typed in, it doesn't matter, the hyperlink will still work. The text is just a "cover" for the link.

A lot of people are like, "Why bother? I've already made comments/updates in the thread..." Well, it's an easy way for a moderator to see what categories are working well and those that are not-- all at a glance and, especially when the threads may span multiple parts or continuations. It's also a shortcut for others to see what has been covered if they're stumped as to what might fit from their own stacks. Still, it's not an absolute requirement and no one is going to shame you for not doing it.

My biggest beef with the Wiki is that it's different formatting keystrokes than what we use in Talk. I often have to go back and correct/edit for formatting or replace an apostrophe that somehow got omitted :-/

Apologies if you already know this; but If you want a deeper dive, let me know and I'll see what I can find out.

ETA: LOL, even writing this post, I had to go back and correct for formatting!
ETA: Corrected to include the CAPTCHA steps

Editado: Abr 9, 1:56 am

>13 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Thank you! Your steps are very easy to follow, and I wish I had found something like them earlier. (The only thing I would add is that you have to check off the "captcha" box before you can Save--which I repeatedly forgot to do and got some ugly red error). I think I figured out most of those steps eventually, after half an hour of trial and error. If I have any sense, I'll copy & paste them some place handy, which, of course, I'll never be able to find again. ;)

My biggest beef with the Wiki is that it's different formatting keystrokes than what we use in Talk

Maybe that's it--I kept trying to apply "Talk" shortcuts/code to the Wiki. It's similar but not the same.

My own biggest beef with the Wiki is that it doesn't have the LibraryThing "bar" across the top: "Home/Your Books/Add books/Groups/Talk" etc. From a Wiki page you can only hit your browser's back-button to go to your previous page OR click the LT logo to go back to the Home page. I'm sure there's some Very Important Technical Reason for this, but it's annoying.

AND while I've got you on the line, one more thing--how did you get those cool bullets in your messages >2 Tanya-dogearedcopy: & >13 Tanya-dogearedcopy:?

Abr 9, 2:01 pm

A bullet in Wiki is an asterisk (*); but a bullet in Talk is & bull ; (without spaces)

I found this thread which is very helpful, "The New How To Do Fancy Things In Your Posts Thread":

Abr 9, 2:26 pm

Abr 10, 10:49 am

>2 Tanya-dogearedcopy: My plan is to read Wuthering Heights and/or Ivanhoe for that prompt. I agree that it is one of those that does not come easy but needs some thought!

Abr 10, 5:35 pm

I've just finished Trespasses by Louise Kennedy, which takes place in the seventies, during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. I was planning to count this as "a specific historical event", but The Troubles continued for more than thirty years, and to my mind an event is discrete and short, so I'm going to add it as a second book to 2. Read a work of historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from.

With the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, this is a timely read.

The event/historical figure is the category that's giving me the most difficulty.

Abr 10, 5:35 pm

#6. Real historical figure

The Secret Wife of King George IV / Diane Haeger.
3.5 stars

King George IV (King of England between 1820 an 1830) before becoming king, did not get along with this father at all. Not only that, he fell in love with a Catholic (Maria) and there was no way his father would agree for them to marry. Maria insisted on being married before agreeing to becoming further involved in the relationship, so they married in a Catholic ceremony (that was illegal/not recognized in England). George had hoped his father would not live much longer (but he did), so he would be able to change that law and have Maria recognized as his legal wife.

This is not a time period I have read much (or anything?) about. It was really interesting to learn of this secret relationship/marriage. There was more romance to the story than I’d expected; I added this to my tbr a long time ago, so it’s possible I realized that at the time. But it was still interesting. There were times that the story moved a bit slowly, though. I also can’t say I really liked either main character, but I was still interested to read that this had happened at all.

Abr 13, 7:58 am

>12 kac522: I always copy previous entries when I add my books to any of the LT wikis. It makes everything so much easier!

Abr 14, 2:43 pm

I finished Autumn Princess, Dragon Child yesterday. This is the second title in the four-book series, Tales of Shikanoko-- a historical fantasy set in Medieval Japan (12th century). The story actually begins with Emperor of the Eight Islands (copying over from the pervious thread for ease of reference):

...there's adventure, court intrigue, sorcerers, magic... Kumayama no Kazumaru is the heir-presumptive to a small, but important estate in the imaginary/mythical kingdom that the author has based on Medieval Japanese tales. On a hunting trip with his uncle however, Kumayama is left for dead; but through the intervention of a stag, some magic, and a sorcerer, our hero is invested with power and re-born as "Shikanoko" ("deer's child"). From here on on, his fate/destiny becomes entwined with that of the kingdom. The plot is fast moving and the lack of in-depth interior thought may fail to engage some readers fully; but I stand by my review of 2016:

Stylized like a translation of a feudal Japanese tale, this is a story of magic, passions, political power and shifting allegiances. It is spare prose that yields rich imagery, a slender book that bears an epic story. The internal beat or meter of the story is reminiscent of medieval chansons de trouveres with the evocation of poetry, the lyrical prose, the linear narrative told in small sections, and the ultimate sum being greater than the parts.

In Autumn Princess, Dragon Child, the focus shifts away from Shikanoko to Nishnimi no Akihime ("Aki"), a young woman promised to a temple as a nun but who finds her destiny subverted at the end of Emperor of the Eight Islands. On the run with the true Emperor, she must find sanctuary and her own fate. Relationships are entangled and movement through the imaginary kingdom is swift with many place names sounding similar-- so even though the novel is relatively short, having the "List of Characters" and a Map at the beginning of the print editions is very helpful when a quick reminder is needed.

• set in a different country to the one you’re from
• set in a time period you’ll less familiar with
• with a speculative element

Abr 14, 3:07 pm

Earlier this week, I picked up the Audible Daily Deal, the novella, Tread of Angels (by Rebecca Roanhorse; narrated by Dion Graham) - This is a mystery set in an alternate 1883 Denver, where Celeste (a faro dealer at a saloon) must find out what really happened when her sister is hauled off to jail for having killed a man. Sounds like a thin premise; but what makes this story a standout are the rich world building and original plotting. This Denver is the site where the Satan fell when he was cast down to Earth. His demon allies and those who bear a certain mark are known as The Fallen; while the Archangels and their followers are known as The Elect. The Elect rule with a strict and prejudicial hand while the The Fallen are tolerated because only they can detect where the rich deposits of energy-driving ore can be found. As Celeste moves though this landscape where she treads as an unmarked Fallen, the audiobook narrator's voice seduces the listener into a nuanced society and a surprising plot within a short number of pages/hours. I love this and hope there is more to come from this world.

• set in the country you’re from
• set in a time period you’ll less familiar with
• with a speculative element

Abr 15, 12:40 pm

I finished listening to The Autumn Bride by Anne Gracie, which is a Regency romance. There are several historical time periods that I love, but the Regency is definitely one of them.

Abr 18, 2:45 am

>20 fuzzi: I've sometimes wondered if I was the only one doing that

Editado: Abr 18, 3:03 am

Currently reading The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths set in 1953 and the run-up to QEII's coronation. The coming coronation and the celebrations are there in the background but I don't think it's really about the coronation so a real figure or specific event is still proving elusive.

• less familiar
• my country

Incidentally, my private definition of historical fiction has always been "set in a time before the author was born" but now I'm wondering what to do about an author born in the 1980s whose book is set in the late 1950s or the 1960s - set before the author was born but during my lifetime.

Abr 18, 3:10 am

>25 Robertgreaves: My definition is “set in a time earlier than when the author is writing.” The number of years earlier is flexible. Usually fifty or more, but that’s not rigid.

I’m also stuck on real figure or event.

Editado: Abr 18, 5:32 am

I am currently reading The Coast by Eleanor Limprecht. It is about a young girl who is sent to live in leper colony in 1910 after she contracts the disease. This will either be ‘set in the country you are from’ or ‘set in a time period you are less familiar with’. I will probably select the later as there are other Australian historical novels I plan to get to this year.

Editado: Abr 18, 10:26 am

>25 Robertgreaves: yeah that definition would miss a whole lot of good HF! More and more Im settling on 50 years from my current age. That feels much more realistic cause while was around in the 60s, my awarness of the world around me wasnt. Mmm my first memory of a major event was JFK assassination. That might work as a better definition. Try it with your own memory and see if that works for you

Abr 19, 7:35 pm

I read The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. This counts as a work of historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from and a work over 500 pages. I am also counting this as a time period you are not familiar with, since I knew nothing about the French resistance prior to reading this book.

Abr 23, 4:31 pm

I finished the third title in the Tale of Shinanoko series, Lord of the Darkwood (by Lian Hearn). In this "installment" of the story, the disparate fates/destinies of the characters are converging. Our protagonists make mistakes which end tragically, while the antagonists seem to be getting away with their crimes-- but the Empire overall is cursed with drought and famine... The overall pace is picking up as we head into the last book in the quartet, The Tengu's Game of Go!

Abr 25, 12:54 pm

>24 Robertgreaves: I doubt we're the only two...

Abr 28, 10:21 pm

I just finished the fourth and last book the the Tale of the Shikanoko series, The Tengu's Game of Go (by Lian Hearn). The individual fates & destinies of the characters play out in unexpected ways-- even to the last page; but none of the endings are implausible despite the involvement of spirits, magic & sorcery. One of the exciting things at the last (not a spoiler!) is that this Tale is something of a prelude for the Tales of the Otori! Onwards!
In the end notes, the author cites as her sources Medieval Japanese warrior texts and she is apparently something of an expert/hardcore enthusiast of the topic.

Abr 29, 5:34 am

that looks like an interesting fantasy series, and always like reading series when they are completed! checking it out

Abr 29, 12:59 pm

>32 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Tales of the Shikanoko and Tales of the Otori are definitelly going on my wish list!

Abr 30, 10:48 am

I have re-read Royal Flash where Flashman tangles with Lola Montez and Otto von Bismarck.

Abr 30, 10:57 pm

#7. Hoping this can count for "a classic work of historical fiction". The author could be considered to have written classic historical fiction, so hopefully I can count this as one of them! Originally published in 1959.

King's Fool / Margaret Campbell Barnes
3 stars

Will Somers was Henry VIII’s court jester from the time his daughter Mary was around 10 years old. Will remained Henry’s jester through all Henry’s wives until Henry passed away. Initially, Will found work for a local merchant, but when he accompanied that merchant to Court, he was enticed to stay and work as Henry’s jester. Will apparently became quite close with Henry and his family. This book has a fictional romance component to it.

There was a short author’s note at the start that explained that the romance was fictional, though much of the rest of the story is true; I always appreciate that kind of note or I would have wondered. I actually found Will’s life more interesting initially when he worked for the merchant, but then my interest waxed and waned through the rest of it. It seemed like Henry went through his last 5 wives very quickly in this book (and I suppose he really did, but this book seemed to speed that up), but of course that wasn’t the focus of the book, either. Overall, it was ok for me.

Abr 30, 11:06 pm

I just finished The Librarian of Burned Books. WWII era in NYC, Berlin and Paris

Maio 3, 5:15 am

Currently reading The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon.

So far set in England (my country) in 1760 (a less familiar period). So far no real persons/events on stage, though they are referred to, and no speculative elements, though time travel is referred to.

Maio 3, 2:41 pm

I've found a book about a real person and borrowed it on Overdrive. The Twilight World by Werner Herzog is historical fiction based on Hiroo Onoda, the Japanese soldier who defended an island in the Philippines for decades after the end of WWII.

Editado: Maio 3, 4:26 pm

>39 pamelad: I have that and yet to read it. Learned a bit too much about the author and put the book on the back burner The story is facsinating, I remember reading about it in our Weekly Reader at school. Be curious your take on it

Maio 7, 2:46 pm

For a classic work I read I, Claudius by Robert Graves.
This is a fictional biography, although filled with actual events. Robert Graves gave Claudius a voice and personality - and what a personality! Intrigues and depravity were frequent but a speech impediment and physical handicap made Claudius appear innocuous, an unappealing target. He took to writing a history that made this into a gossipy journal that would give modern scandal sheets a run for their money. Reading it reminded me of a tv series I loved of the same name featuring Derek Jacobi and William Hurt that was broadcast a few decades ago. Excellent reading.

Editado: Maio 7, 5:26 pm

>40 cindydavid4: I've finished The Twilight World. The three pros are: the story it tells is interesting because the subject is; it's nice and short; it fits the real person category. The cons are: the problem inherent in fictionalised biographies ie. what's true and what's not?; the prose style, with sentence fragments consisting of chains of similes, some of them obscure, linked by commas; Herzog hasn't acknowledged Hiroo Onoda's book; it's really about Herzog's philosophical ponderings, so to me it seems as though Herzog has cannibalised another man's life to lend gravitas to his own reflections.

I have put Hiroo Onoda's No Surrender: My Thirty-year War on my wish list.

ETA I've now finished the core categories and have only the bonus to go.

>41 VivienneR: Congratulations! I'm glad it turned out to be so enjoyable.

Maio 7, 9:20 pm

>41 VivienneR: I Claudius was fantastic, and started me on a run of ancient rome history that I hadn't cared about before. and oh Jacobi is marvelous in this role

Maio 7, 9:21 pm

>42 pamelad: it's really about Herzog's philosophical ponderings, so to me it seems as though Herzog has cannibalised another man's life to lend gravitas to his own reflections.

Yeah thats what I suspected. Let me know how you like the real version!

Maio 8, 9:20 am

>41 VivienneR: I saw some episodes of the series, but have not read the book on which it was based.

Maybe someday.

Maio 8, 11:02 am

I've read two short stories by Diana Gabaldon: A Plague of Zombies and Besieged set in 1760/1 Jamaica and Cuba, a period and country I'm not familiar with and including zombies, making as a speculative element.

Maio 11, 5:17 am

I have finished Das Nordseekind, latest in a series of historical mysteries featuring Theodor Storm.

Maio 11, 5:41 am

Currently reading An Act of Detection by Charlie Cochrane set in 1950.

My country, set in a time I am familiar with

Maio 12, 10:36 pm

I keep forgetting to post over here. I usually read more historical fiction than I have so far this year. There's only been three:

Bride of the Rat God by Barbara Hambly, 1920s Hollywood. Fits for set in my country, a time period I'm less familiar with and has a speculative element.
Murder in Grub Street by Bruce Alexander, 17th century London. Fits for not set in my country
The Novice's Tale by Margaret Frazer, 15th century England. Fits for not my country and a favorite time period.

Maio 14, 9:14 pm

I finished The Flight of the Heron by D. K. Broster for "Read a work of historical fiction about a real historical figure or a specific historical event" and enjoyed it very much. This novel takes place in Scotland during the 1745 Jacobite and is about the friendship between two soldiers on opposite sites of the conflict. While the main characters are fictional, several of the minor characters are real-life figure.

Editado: Maio 14, 10:23 pm

I’ve just started All Human Wisdom (Paris Between the Wars #2; by Pierre Lemaitre) - The opening chapter begins with the funeral of Marcel Pericoult— the head of a financial empire and the father of two of the main characters in the first-in-series, The Great Swindle. The only thing I can say at this point is that Lemaitre has started off things with a bang— an emotionally fraught scene that deeply imprints itself in your mind’s eye!

Editado: Maio 17, 2:11 am

I finished a re-read of A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr (1980), which is set in 1920. It's the story of a young Great War veteran who goes to a North Yorkshire country village to restore a medieval painting in a church, and in the process begins to restore himself. A small gem, coming in at 135 pages.

2-a country I'm not from
3-favorite time period (between the wars)
6-real event--although not set during the Great War, real historical people and battles are mentioned a number of times, and its memory is always looming in the background of the story.

Maio 19, 2:06 pm

I finished Powder and Patch by Georgette Heyer. This is a classic work of historical fiction - it was published in 1923, but is set in Georgian England (and Paris).

Editado: Maio 19, 9:31 pm

Now reading the hidden palace, sequel to one of my fav HF/F the golem and the jinni

1. Read a work of historical fiction set in the country you’re from
3. Read a work of historical fiction set in your favourite historical time period to read about
5. Read a work of historical fiction with a speculative element

Bonus: Read a work of historical fiction of over 500 pages

"Chava is a golem, a woman made of clay, who can hear the thoughts and longings of those around her and feels compelled by her nature to help them. Ahmad is a jinni, a restless creature of fire, once free to roam the desert but now imprisoned in the shape of a man. Fearing they'll be exposed as monsters, these magical beings hide their true selves and try to pass as human just two more immigrants in the bustling world of 1900s Manhattan. Brought together under calamitous circumstances, their lives are now entwined but they're not yet certain of what they mean to each other.

Spanning the tumultuous years from the turn of the twentieth century to the beginning of World War I, The Hidden Palace follows these lives and others as they collide and interleave. Can Chava and Ahmad find their places in the human world while remaining true to each other? Or will their opposing natures and desires eventually tear them apart especially once they encounter, thrillingly, other beings like themselves"

Maio 20, 2:04 am

Currently reading To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.

My country (the UK)
Time I'm reasonably familiar with (late 19th century)
Speculative element (time travel)
More than 500 pages (510)

Editado: Maio 21, 12:11 am

>54 cindydavid4:
I loved Hidden Palace. I also loved Golem and the Jinni. Both books made me believe I was living in the New York City of immigrant days.

>55 Robertgreaves:
I read To Say Nothing of the Dog years ago and really enjoyed it. You are in for a fun ride with this one.

Maio 25, 7:33 pm

I read Dear America: Voyage on the Titanic by Ellen Emerson White for a real historic event.

Maio 27, 11:03 am

I have finished Troubles, where a group of Anglo-Irish stick tenaciously to their Hotel while the Irish fight for independence. Set in a country where I don't live.

Maio 29, 2:56 pm

Over the weekend, I finished reading All Human Wisdom (Les Enfants du désastre/Paris Between-the-Wars #2 by Pierre Lemaitre) - Marcel Péricourt has passed away and his daughter, Madeleine is his heir to the financial empire that he built. But Madeleine is too naive and trusting and ends up being fleeced by those closest to her. Hell, however has no fury like a woman betrayed, especially when the woman is a mother who must avenge not only the insult to herself but the injury done to her son. The backdrop to this vengeance tale is the heavy financial deficit France experienced after WWI, the tax evasion schemes that the rich were able to take advantage of, and the rearmament of Germany/rise of Nazism. If it doesn't quite pack the punch of the first book in the series, The Great Swindle, it's still far more clever than your average grifter tale and; I'm am told by my husband who has read the trilogy that the last book, Mirror of Our Sorrows returns to form. Trigger warning for child sexual abuse-- though not graphically depicted, Lemaitre leaves no doubt as to what has happened.

Added to the lists, "set in a different country to the one you’re from" (France) & "set in a time period you’ll less familiar with" (Interwar)

Maio 29, 4:36 pm

things fall apart been meaning to read this forever, but the African Challenge was doijng African Nobel winners this month so here was my chance From review"The story follows a prominent tribal man, Okonkwo. Okonkwo was born to a weak man, and as children often do, he rejects that weakness and is "self made" through hard work. He is also a warrior and sees strength as an important sign of masculinity, power, and control. The book focuses pretty exclusively on this one character and his interactions with his tribe, surrounding tribes, and ultimately with white missionaries who interfere with his way of life.....depicts pre-colonial life in the southeastern part of Nigeria and the invasion by Europeans during the late 19th century. 5*

2. Read a work of historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from Nigeria

4. Read a work of historical fiction set in a time period you’ll less familiar with late 19th century

5. Read a work of historical fiction with a speculative element

7. Read a classic work of historical fiction

Maio 31, 1:44 am

A book set in my own country: Der Tote im Fleet is a mystery set in Hamburg, five years after the great fire burned down much of the old town. And while the city is eagerly being reconstructed there are also discussions on how to accommodate the modern times and needs of a big trading city.

Jun 5, 5:56 pm

I've found a long book that looks promising: Csardas by Diane Pearson. Goodreads says it appeals to people who liked Zemindar and The Far Pavilions, which I certainly did. They're also candidates for the over 500-page category.

Editado: Jun 7, 12:07 pm

after lives

2. Read a work of historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from: set in colonial-era German East Africa(Tanzania)

3. Read a work of historical fiction set in your favourite historical time period to read about early 1900s

5. Read a work of historical fiction with a speculative element

review here https://www.librarything.com/topic/349922#n8161128

Jun 5, 10:47 pm

Currently reading Caligula by Douglas Jackson.

Set in Italy (not my country)
Set during the Roman Empire (a favourite period)
A minor speculative element (the narrator's best friend's sister has second sight)
The narrator is fictional but he is the real Roman Emperor's animal trainer, so we see real characters and events from his point of view.

Jun 8, 8:16 pm

Checking in with some historical fiction I've read since mid-May:

--Under the Greenwood Tree, Thomas Hardy (1872); re-read on audiobook. Set in in the 1840s in Hardy's rural Wessex, it is a gentle read and evokes a time pre-railroad and is one of Hardy's few books with a happy ending.

--To Serve Them All My Days, R. F. Delderfield (1972). Set in Devonshire, it covers the period from 1918 until about 1941, again reflecting a changing Britain.

--Barnaby Rudge, Charles Dickens (1841); re-read on audiobook. Set during the London Gordon (anti-Catholic) riots of 1780, Dickens provides the most graphic description of mob riots that I have ever read. A more rambling plot than A Tale of Two Cities, I still feel it's a vastly under-appreciated work of historical fiction.

All 3 are:
--Not from my country and considered classics

--To Serve Them All My Days and Barnaby Rudge include real historical events and figures.
--To Serve Them All My Days was set in a time period I'm familiar with, while Barnaby Rudge and Under the Greenwood Tree are from times less familiar to me.

Jun 9, 12:46 am

Highly recommend Rose Tremain's Restoration and Merivel great historical fiction.

Jun 11, 11:12 pm

my review of a girl is a body of water is here https://www.librarything.com/topic/349922#n8164277

Im not including it in the challenge because I dont think the 70s-80s are considered historic fiction, but wanted to put up the review anyway

Jun 12, 2:23 am

I have finished Smoke and Ashes, a historical mystery set in Calcutta 1921, a period and country I am not very familiar with.

Jun 16, 12:32 pm

review of "the girl" by Edna Ferber is here https://www.librarything.com/topic/349922#n8164277

1. Read a work of historical fiction set in the country you’re from
3. Read a work of historical fiction set in your favourite historical time period to read about 1880-1929
7. Read a classic work of historical fiction

Jun 21, 2:41 am

Emmas Reise is mostly set in my own country, but in a time I know relatively little about: the year is 1650 and the Thirty Years' War has just ended. It was disappointing in the end, as the two characters seemed to be traipsing around the country to no real purpose.

Jun 22, 2:32 am

And I have also finished Der eiserne Wal which is set in Hamburg in 1862 and involves an experimental submarine, the "iron whale" of the title.

Jun 22, 7:30 am

Just finished the Newbery award winner Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, set in a small town in Kansas. Story starts in 1918 WWi era and picks up again in 1936 during the Depression.

Takes place in my own country.
Time period of interest to me. Abilene, the main character, is the same age as my parents were in 1936.
Real historical events.

Jun 22, 11:51 am

Just started Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin #1; by Patrick O'Brian). Set in 1800, this first-in-series features Jack Aubrey who has just received his first commission as Captain of the Sophie, a small, slow ship with an "old-fashioned" air. He has just met the rather anemic-looking Maturin-- a bird watcher and 'cello player... I first read this over fifteen years ago; but I don't remember anything about it other than I liked it! Coming back to it now, it's absolutely engrossing from the first page as Captain Aubrey negotiates the political machinations of his superiors as well as an the challenges of his ship.

Jun 23, 12:23 pm

>74 Tanya-dogearedcopy:
I have been wanting to start on this series, but have hesitated because it is one of those series with lots of books! I am a completist at heart and once I start a series I think I need to finish it, so I have put this one on the backburner for the time being.

Jun 23, 3:04 pm

>74 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I really want to like this series. I tried Master and Commander twice and I did finish it second time round, but I don't really get on with his writing style.

Jun 23, 7:03 pm

Currently reading Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Borderline historical fiction by my personal definition.

Time: 1950/60s
Place: USA

Not where I'm from. Familiar time without being a favourite to read about.

Editado: Jun 23, 7:13 pm

I have finished Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner, set in a country other than mine.

>6 kac522: I have had a different kind of problem with wikis (not just this one). When I get to the captcha section it takes several (up to 10) tries before it is accepted. I've given up after years without problems.

Jun 23, 11:45 pm

>77 Robertgreaves: my big sis is singing its praises to the moon; looking forward to reading it

Review of show boat here https://www.librarything.com/topic/349922#n8171935

1. Read a work of historical fiction set in the country you’re from

3. Read a work of historical fiction set in your favourite historical time period to read about

7. Read a classic work of historical fiction

Jun 26, 7:43 pm

I read The Rail Splitter by John Cribb. It qualifies as a work of historical fiction set in the country you're from and read a work of historical fiction about a real historical figure or a specific historical event.

Editado: Jun 27, 2:18 am

I finished The Betrothed (I promessi sposi) by Alessandro Manzoni (1840 revised edition), translated by Bruce Penman (Penguin). This is a long (720 pages) classic work of Italian historical fiction, set in the Milan/Lombardy area circa 1628-1630. The story follows two fictional characters, Renzo and Lucia, betrothed lovers who encounter various obstacles throughout the book, until they are finally united in marriage at the end.

In the meantime we follow our characters during the 1628 Milan bread riots, the ravaging of villages in 1629 by soldiers in the Thirty Years' War, and finally the 1630 bubonic plague which devastated the region. Manzoni brings in real events and at least a dozen real historical characters from the era, including referencing actual memoirs and documents of the time. The descriptions of the plague were particularly detailed and were eerily familiar.

I found the first half of the book slow-moving, with a heavy emphasis on religion, and I almost gave up. But the last third of the book brings in all the major historical events and flew by. It is said that Manzoni was inspired by the works of Sir Walter Scott to write a novel in this "new" historical fiction genre.

It's important to note that Manzoni original wrote the book in 1821 in an archaic form of Italian, normally used by Italian academics of that time for great works of literature. Additionally, since Italy was not yet unified during the time Manzoni was writing, every region still had its own particular dialect and there was no official standard language of Italy. Dissatisfied with this stilted writing style, over the next 20 years Manzoni gradually revised the entire book into the more common Tuscan dialect and published a completely revised edition in 1840. This would later become the basis for the modern Italian language still in use today.

Besides the Penman translation, I also referenced a new 2022 translation by Michael F. Moore, with Introduction by Jhumpa Lahiri, which had a detailed map of the area, a description of the real historical characters and a short description of the historical events referred to in the book. Personally I preferred the older Penman translation, but the additional materials in the new Moore translation were invaluable.

Jun 27, 9:12 am

>81 kac522: It's important to note that Manzoni original wrote the book in 1821 in an archaic form of Italian, normally used by Italian academics of that time for great works of literature. Additionally, since Italy was not yet unified during the time Manzoni was writing, every region still had its own particular dialect and there was no official standard language of Italy. Dissatisfied with this stilted writing style, over the next 20 years Manzoni gradually revised the entire book into the more common Tuscan dialect and published a completely revised edition in 1840. This would later become the basis for the modern Italian language still in use today.

This is fascinating! I love how language develops and evolves. Was it this book alone what changed it? other people had to be involved Id think. I assume regional dialects remained just interesting that suddenly there is Italian Do you have any more information on this?

Jun 30, 10:24 pm

Starting A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton Walsh.

Time: 1660s
Place: Eyams (UK)

My country, a period I'm reasonably familiar with, and set against a real event (the Great Plague of 1665)

Jul 1, 10:15 am

one of my fav brit author; I don't think I read that one, tho sounds familiar (might be comparing it with year of wonder which I didn;t care for)

Jul 1, 8:19 pm

I preferred it to Year of Wonders

Jul 1, 8:43 pm

Oh good thx

Jul 1, 8:50 pm

My review:

A young woman's account of the plague in Eyam, written in an attempt to exorcise her trauma, not that she put it like that, obviously, as the book's style and narrative voice did feel as if it could be authentically from the 17th century. The author captured the social and religious nuances well as the people were caught by the plague in the midst of a transition from strict Puritanism to the more easy-going ways of the Restoration.

The book is quite short at 135 pages, which is just as well as there are no chapter breaks.

Jul 2, 1:39 pm

I have finished A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens for the bonus category.

That completes my first round of the challenge. I have started on a second round. My aim is to read at least two books in each category.

Jul 3, 2:18 pm

Finished The Lions of Fifth Avenue

Set in my own country. (NYC)
Real historic place - NY Public Library

Jul 4, 10:16 pm

I finished A Lesson in Secrets by Jacqueline Winspear for a country other than where I live.

Jul 13, 12:44 am

Good Daughters by Mary Hocking (classic work)

In this Virago Modern Classic, Hocking captures a time in the 1930s when another war was still a threat most ordinary people thought would come to nothing. Stanley and Louise Fairley have three daughters, Louise, Alice and Claire, the youngest. This third person account is from Alice, the middle daughter's viewpoint, and at twelve years old, her view is naturally limited to her understanding of the world. The family are accurately portrayed for the era: father, a religious man, has the last say in everything, the agreeable mother, and the three daughters, whose varied personalities are all capable of being swept away on current trends. Middle class, yet some of their friends come from very different backgrounds that serves to complete the picture. It's a quiet story yet has some eyebrow-raising moments. Hocking's writing is straightforward and clear, where it is easy to see the potential for misadventure.

This is the first part of a trilogy and I look forward to the next one. Highly recommended.

Editado: Jul 13, 11:06 am

>92 VivienneR: I've had this as "my next read" for about 3 months, but some other book always seems more appealing & I never get to it! You just gave me the incentive to really make it next!

Jul 13, 12:26 pm

>93 kac522: I can understand that because I bought the book as a "must have" and yet it has sat on the shelves for a few years. And then it took me a long time to read it because I kept falling asleep. I admit I was also reading Swann's Way: In search of things past by Proust as well as Seven Steeples by Sara Baume - two quiet, introspective reads - at the same time. I'll look forward to your comments!

Jul 13, 1:09 pm

>92 VivienneR: this looks right up my alley, will have to check it out

Jul 14, 1:20 am

>95 cindydavid4: Good! It's one of those books that deserve a full review because there is much more to it than I covered. You'll enjoy it.

Jul 17, 2:30 am

I have finished Barnaby Rudge, all 766 pages of it, and feel a bit smug about it. I am counting it as a classic of historical fiction.

Editado: Jul 23, 6:18 pm

I just finished Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin #1; by Patrick O'Brian)!
British Captain James Aubrey and the ship surgeon, Stephen Maturin serve aboard the tiny Sophie. Out on the seas where they venture on cruises to capture prizes (ships & cargo that can be sold/auctioned off), they take on a larger, better-gunned Spanish frigate... Set in 1805 during the early years of the Napoleanic Wars and on the Mediterranean, the swashbuckling take is larded with nautical terms; but you can extrapolate the action line, humor and well-drawn characters even if you can't tell the difference between a jib and a topgallant!

Filed under "a work of historical fiction set in a time period you’ll less familiar with"-- the Napoleanic Era

Jul 31, 4:00 am

Les Chouans also counts as a classical work of historical fiction. It's set in 1799, the year Balzac was born, so he didn't actually experience these particular events.

Editado: Ago 1, 3:08 am

Currently reading House of Names by Colm Tóibín, a re-telling of the story of The Oresteia, so set in Bronze Age Greece.

Not my country, familiar time. Real people/events, who knows?

Ago 2, 12:11 am

Ago 2, 3:54 pm

I hope you liked gardens of light as much as I did. One of my top reads of the year. the history of Mani is a little shaky, not much to go one but I liked how the author developed him and his work

Ago 3, 5:48 pm

COMPLETED The Gardens of Light by Amin Maalouf

Time: 3rd century AD
Place: Sassanian Empire (mostly Mesopotamia)

Not my country or a time and place I'm familiar with.

Fictional life of Mani (his wikipedia article).

My review:

An interesting picture of 3rd century Mesopotamia (now Iraq/Iran) as Mani tries to unite all of the religions of his time in a simple pacifistic belief system with support from the Emperor Shapur of the Sassanid dynasty but open hostility from the entrenched priesthood.

Editado: Ago 18, 1:48 pm

I read A Net for Small Fishes by Lucy Jago for the "less familiar time period".

An ambitious 17th century drama filled with scandal based on the close friendship between Frances Howard, Countess of Essex and a talented fashion stylist, Anne Turner. Frances needed her confidant because Essex was a brutal, obnoxious husband, undistinguished in his career and derided at court by his claims.

Although it appears well-researched, Jago's writing is immature. Part of that immaturity shows in the florid metaphors and a grandiose style emulating Mandel's Wolf Hall. Told from Anne Turner's point of view made it implausible. Just how much can a servant overhear?

The title refers to the results of justice, where small fish are caught while the big fish get away.

Ago 15, 2:34 am

The real event in Der blaue Tod is the cholera epidemic of 1892 in Hamburg. Although it's a mystery, we spend much time with the doctors trying to make the politicos believe this is serious.

Ago 15, 10:27 am

I liked THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS by Susan Meissner,
historical fiction set in San Francisco at the time of the great earthquake and fire of 1906.

Editado: Set 2, 7:27 pm

good night Irene about the "donut dollies" during WWII supplying troops with donuts and coffee while they wait to be deployed. The author of Hummingbirds Daughter tells the story of his mother's experience in Europe

2. Read a work of historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from France

3. Read a work of historical fiction set in your favourite historical time period to read about WWII

6. Read a work of historical fiction about a real historical figure or a specific historical event "Donut Dollys"

Ago 20, 11:17 pm

This is my last one, and I knew it would be - by far - the hardest to complete!
Speculative fiction

One Thousand White Women / Jim Fergus.
3.5 stars

In 1875, the US Government made a deal with the Cheyenne to provide them with 1000 white women to marry (according to the author’s note, this was a real request, but it was never agreed to… except for purposes of this book). They would have the indigenous men’s children, then raise them in a white world, thereby being a bridge between the two cultures. The women would also help to assimilate/convert the indigenous peoples. The women were to be volunteers.

May Dodd (along with some others), had been living in an asylum. She had children with a man who wasn’t her husband; they lived together and were very happy. But this made her promiscuous, according to her family, and therefore insane so she should live the rest of her life in an asylum. This deal to be a wife to a Cheyenne man provided May a way out of the asylum. Other women also agreed to this, some from asylums, others who might have been incarcerated. Some maybe just wanted the adventure.

This was told mostly in diary form, with a few letters, as well. It started off pretty slow for me, but got better once the women were living with the Cheyenne. I quite liked many of the characters and the friendships that developed between them. I also think the book did a good job of showing the culture shock, and the women trying to fit in to this new culture.

The tension increased with a big event toward the end of the book, and I did like the way it ended with a couple of external voices to the main part of the story. I wasn’t sure at first, but I ended up liking it enough to read the sequel. I almost increased my rating just slightly, but decided to keep it at “good”, as that’s where it sat for the bulk of the book.

Ago 24, 4:48 am

My edition of Rot ist mein Name runs to 925 pages, so I'm using it for the bonus category of more than 500 pages.

Editado: Set 2, 9:50 am


The Abbot's Gibbet
The Leper's Return
Squire Throwleigh's Heir

All by Michael Jecks and set in 1320s England.

My country but an unfamiliar period.

Starting Vita Brevis by Jostein Gaarder, set in 4th/5th century AD in what are now Algeria and Italy.

Set 7, 3:15 am

COMPLETED Vita Brevis by Jostein Gaarder

Place: Algeria/Tunisia and Italy - not my country
Time: 4th/5th century AD - a less familiar period

Real person/events: St. Augustine of Hippo, his dismissal of his long-term girlfriend in the hope of making an advantageous marriage and his conversion to Christianity

Set 7, 7:20 pm

I read Gunpowder, Treason and Plot by Lettice Cooper for the Real Figure or Event prompt.

Cooper's story is a clear and expertly presented account of the plot to blow up King James I, his family, and the House of Lords and Commons in 1605. An easy read and a pleasant surprise.

An anonymous letter addressed to Baron Monteagle warned that his friends and family would be in danger at the opening of Parliament on November 5 "They shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament, and yet shall not see who hurts them." When the message was relayed to the King he was reminded of the murder of his father, Lord Darnley and immediately understood that the wording indicated gunpowder was to be used. He ordered a search of the cellars. Fawkes was discovered but was able to put the searchers at ease by saying his master, Thomas Percy stored firewood there for the coming winter. The King was not taken in. He dispatched a Justice of the Peace for Westminster accompanied by a troop of soldiers to arrive late at night on the 4th November successfully catching Fawkes and foiling the plot. When Londoners heard of the plot and outcome they chose to burn his effigy on the many bonfires blazing in celebration that night. Fawkes was tortured before giving up any information about his co-conspirators. The result was that sterner laws against Catholics were passed, exactly the opposite of what they intended. The memory has been kept alive ever since by children of England who celebrate his capture by lighting bonfires and burning Guy Fawkes effigies.

Please to remember
The Fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know no reason
Why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

Set 7, 9:19 pm

Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin Novels #2; by Patrick O'Brian) - The Peace of Amiens settles on Europe for a hot minute— enough time for Jack Aubrey to settle a bit into country life, fall in love and run up ruinous debt. Napoleon breaks the Peace and in a desperate bid to stay on the British Naval career track, Aubrey accepts the captaincy of an awkward experimental ship. Despite its ungainliness, Aubrey manages to work it to his advantage as Spain threatens to enter the War with France (against England)… Piratical moves, political maneuvering and some deft comic touches make this a joy to read. The nautical terminology is easy to figure out with the diagram of a four-squared ship at the beginning of the book and; just a little extra googling.

For me, this fit the categories of:
• set in a different country to the one you’re from (France) and;
• set in a time period you’ll less familiar with (Napoleonic Era)

Set 7, 9:55 pm

Currently reading The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff.

Place: USA, Utah Territory (not my country)
Time: dual timeline - 19th century and present day (I am not familiar with this part of 19th century USA)

Real events/people: founding and early history of the Mormons and polygamy, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Ann Eliza Young

Editado: Set 17, 10:23 am

Last night I finished reading The Mirror of Our Sorrows (Les Enfants du Disastres #3; by Pierre Lemaitre; translated from the original French by Frank Wynne). The last time we saw Louise, she was a little girl and a friend of the disfigured soldier in the first book in the series, The Great Swindle. Thirty years-old now and a teacher, she is caught up in a scandal that will propel her to re-examine her family’s past secrets even as the phoney war explodes into the real thing. Lemaitre’s plotting and historical research are non pareil; but this conclusion to the trilogy lacked the intensity of the first two books in the series and; it all wrapped up a touch too neatly. Though a bit “less” than the other books, still an unforgettable story.

• historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from (France)
• historical fiction set in a time period you’ll less familiar with (WWII)
• historical fiction about a real historical figure or a specific historical event (The Phoney War)

Set 19, 2:51 am

COMPLETED Founding Fathers by Alfred Duggan

Time: 8th/7th century BC (not a very familiar time)
Place: Italy (not my country)

Set 20, 6:49 am

I have finished Beric the Briton by G. A. Henty, a prolific writer of historical fiction for boys from the Victorian age. Hard to swallow these days.

Editado: Set 20, 7:30 pm

Bread Givers The intro and forward to this, about the author and her life, is worth the read by itself. Havent finished, but its an immigration novel that takes place on the lower east side nyc. it brings to mind the works of the Singer brothers in their descriptions of tht time and place. Written about the same time, this was written at a time when these books were not written by women

ETA Never mind, just realized The author did not write this as historic fiction, but more of a memoir/fiction so it wouldnt fit as historic fiction, still a very interesting book of that time and place

Set 21, 11:52 am

I've just started reading H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin #3 by Patrick O'Brian). The adventures & misadventures of Jack Aubrey continue on the high seas as the Napoleonic War gins up... :-)

Set 21, 5:16 pm

I'm reading Simon the Coldheart by Georgette Heyer, which is set in the fifteenth century, an unfamiliar period. I wouldn't normally count an historical romance for this challenge, but Heyer is in a class above.

Set 22, 2:22 pm

I read The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell for a less familiar time period. Set in the late 9th century, the carnage Cornwell describes makes me wonder how humans survived. The slaughter doesn't even compare to all the bloody mysteries I have read over the years. It is well written but tough going because it's not much to my liking.

Set 22, 2:37 pm

those days were pretty horrid; one of the reasons why I don't read him anymore is his detail that he goes into. But loved that book and Stonehenge opened up that place and time for me His Arthur series starting with winter king brought the legend back to its time and place

Set 22, 4:02 pm

>122 cindydavid4: Thank you for the tips, Cindy. I'll add Stonehenge and The Winter King to my wishlist.

Set 23, 6:09 am

>122 cindydavid4: I know what you mean. I love the history, but the endless and repetitive battle scenes get wearing. I have read all 13 books in the series but was glad to finish them.

Editado: Set 23, 12:29 pm

David got his start by reading the Sharpe series ages ago, got him hooked on all things Cromwell. Interesting background on the author- " Bernard Cornwell was adopted at the age of six weeks by two members of a strict fundamentalist sect called the Peculiar People. He grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventional medicine and toy guns. INot surprisingly, he developed a fascination for military adventure. As a teenager he devoured CS Forester’s Hornblower novels and tried to enlist three times. Poor eyesight put paid to his dream, instead he went to university to read theology. On graduating, he became a teacher, then joined BBC’s Nationwide, working his way up the ladder to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland, then editor of Thames News. " so there, thumbing his nose at his adoptive parents

Set 24, 4:38 am

I've just read Simon the Coldheart by Georgette Heyer for the unfamiliar period. It's set in the fifteenth century during the 100-years war and is more historical than romance,

Set 25, 5:00 pm

I've finished The Novel of Ferrara by Giorgio Bassani for the bonus category. It's a collection of five books about the Jews of Ferrara, a city near Bologna and Ravenna. The narrator and his family saw themselves as both Jewish and Italian and were part of the fabric of Ferrara until the racial laws of 1938. In 1942-43, the Jews who had remained in Ferrara, over 100, were sent to Germany. Only one survived. This was hard to read in parts, but well worth reading.

Set 25, 5:14 pm

Just finished A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black for my favourite time period, the 20th century.

So slow and meandering that at times I almost forgot a murder was being investigated. When an infamous newspaperman is found shot with his own shotgun it is thought at first that it was suicide. No one was particularly upset. Despite the title I always visualize Black's Quirke stories in dismal, smoky, black and white, particularly fitting for this bleak story that looks at Dublin's anti-Semitism and dark topics that were usually kept quiet in 1950s Ireland. As always, Black's writing is outstanding.

Set 26, 3:09 pm

Last night, I finished listening to Blitz (The Rook Files #3; by Daniel O’Malley; narrated by Moira Quirk) which is a fantasy novel set in present day London and in 1940 during the German bombing. In 1940, a Nazi bomber crashes in London and a sole crew member survives-- only to wreck havoc in the underworld by using his natural talent of directed electrocution. In the present day, Lynney has discovered that she can charge metal objects by direct contact. What the two people, generations apart, have in common besides their power, is having attracted the attention of the Chequery, a para-governmental organization with the mission statement of keeping the supernatural under control and away from public scrutiny.

The historical aspects of the 1940 settings were vividly described: the Anderson shelters, the city bunkers, the air raids & destruction, the emotional angst & turmoil of Londoners... My criticisms of the book have nothing to do with its historicity; just quibbles with the style: O'Malley hasn't met a back story he doesn't love to tell-- so the narrative gets smothered with nested anecdotes. And too, the marriage of the two plot arcs doesn't land nearly as solid as one might hope after 28.5 hours-- so while I rated it four-stars, it's a rather weak "four".

• historical fiction set in a different country to the one you’re from (England)
• historical fiction set in a time period you’ll less familiar with (WWII, especially the early years)
• historical fiction with a speculative element (people with supernatural powers)
• historical fiction about a real historical figure or a specific historical event (The Blitz)

Set 27, 1:36 am

I read Bullet for a Star by Stuart Kaminski for "set in a different country to the one you are from".

For me it was a good choice for the prompt, historical fiction in America, because it featured America's famous movie stars of the 1940s. I can't say I knew them all or all the movies mentioned, but knew enough to make it fun and push me to look for more in the series. It would make a great read for a fan of Hollywood's Golden Age movies.

Editado: Set 27, 4:19 pm

I'm not able to add anything to the wiki. Is anyone else having trouble? I haven't had any trouble with other wikis.

Set 27, 5:41 pm

>131 VivienneR: I was just able to add in a title in the Wiki. Perhaps try again?

Set 27, 7:55 pm

>132 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I have tried several times over the last few days but I will try again. Thanks, Tanya.

Set 27, 8:00 pm

>132 Tanya-dogearedcopy: Thank you, Tanya. It worked this time and I was able to enter two books.

Set 28, 10:21 am

Just fiinished Horse by Geraldine Brooks.

set in my country - US
a favorite time period - 1850s-1860s
based on real people and historic events.

Set 29, 9:16 pm

I read Zeke and Ned by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana.

Read a work of historical fiction set in the country you’re from
Read a work of historical fiction about a real historical figure or a specific historical event

Editado: Out 1, 1:49 am

July - September HF reads:

The Dressmaker, Beryl Bainbridge (1973), London, WWII, real events
Good Daughters, Mary Hocking (1984), London 1933-1938, real events, favorite time period, First in a trilogy
Indifferent Heroes, Mary Hocking (1985), WWII: London, Cornwall, Burma, Egypt, real events, 2nd in a trilogy
Jamaica Inn, Daphne Du Maurier(1936), Cornwall, circa 1815, lesser known time period
The Whistling Season, Ivan Doig (2006), Montana, 1909-10, real event (Halley's Comet), my country

Of these, Good Daughters was my favorite, and The Dressmaker was my least favorite. Jamaica Inn felt the least successful as historical fiction; it could have been any time from 1600-1900, but that may have been on purpose.

Out 6, 4:21 pm

Mistress Wilding is set during the Duke of Monmouth's attempt to wrest the throne from his uncle, James II. That's a period I'm unfamiliar with, and the author mentions lots of people involved in the rising that I have never heard of. Not one of Sabatini's best.

Out 19, 9:48 am

I very much liked Lois the Witch, despite the grim subject of the Salem witch trials, and I'm counting it as a classic work of HF.

Out 19, 4:50 pm

I read The Tree of Man by Patrick White, which I am counting as a classic. It's 490 pages, so just misses the bonus category. I'm planning to read Babel for that one, and also for the speculative element category.

Out 19, 5:02 pm

>138 MissWatson: I've downloaded this one for the person or event category and will give it a try in the hope that a luke-warm Sabatini is still worth reading. Alternatively, I have Denise Mina's Three Fires ready to go. It's about Savaranola.

Out 19, 5:15 pm

I've added H.M.S. Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin #3; by Patrick O'Brian) to the list, "Read a work of historical fiction set in a time period you’ll less familiar with"-- The Napoleanic Era. Set in 1805 and on the heels of the events that take place in Post Captain (#2), this is about as swashbuckling as you can get sans pirates! An adventure on the High Seas that starts off from England, around the Cape of Good Hope, on to the Indian Ocean and, back-- Captain Jack Aubrey and the ship surgeon/Catalan spy, Stephen Maturin cement their friendship as they negotiate women, admiralty politics and the vicissitudes of the French. Nautical language got in the way a little bit; but I learned about wind-gauge (not a thing; but an advantage one ship has over the other given the wind, the positions of the ships and, the skill of the crews onboard).

Out 19, 7:16 pm

>142 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I was thinking of reading the first one next month for another challenge. I have heard many people say how good they are but that the nautical terminology is a challenge in itself.

Out 19, 11:33 pm

>140 pamelad: curious how you lke Babel

Out 20, 3:28 am

>141 pamelad: At some point I'm going to read up on this period of English history, just to get a better idea of what happens in the novel, so that must count in its favour. And I loved Mr Wilding's sidekick, Nick Trenchard.

Out 20, 4:45 pm

>143 Robertgreaves: I won't lie and say it's no problem; but I did find that it does get easier as you go along.

I looked up a lot of terminology online, found a site that mapped all the voyages (which helped me orient myself logistically) and; though it sounds counterintuitive, watched the movie, Master and Commander which features a period ship. Seeing how a ship physically works aside from floating was an epiphany. There is also a diagram of a sailing ship at the beginning of each book (and so far it's been the same ship-- which is weird if only because it's not any of the ships feature in the books); which helps by giving a general overview of the sails.

There are also a lot of fans who have built web-sites, written books, created art... dedicated to any one thing you might be interested from nautical terminology, medical history, food references, timelines... It's seems a bit overwhelming-- until you find yourself needing to know exactly how big was that cannon? 😂

Fan Projects: https://www.patrickobrian.com/
The Partick O'Brian Mapping Project: https://www.cannonade.net/index.php

Out 22, 7:29 pm

For a real figure or event, I read On Desperate Ground by James R. Benn.
Benn is a terrific writer, effortlessly taking the reader along with the story and well drawn characters. It was interesting to see things from the German side and refreshing to read a more realistic account without concentrating on the horror. An excellent book and I'm now looking forward to reading the author's Billy Boyle series.

The title is from a quote of Sun Tze: "Desperate ground is no place of refuge at all".

Luckily I found this when I was looking for the author's Billy Boyle series that was recommended by mysterymax.

Editado: Out 29, 10:12 am

Bridge of Birds is set in Ancient China and has ghosts and some less believable things going on.

Editado: Out 29, 11:17 am

COMPLETED The Building of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche.

Time: 1850s
Place: Ireland and Canada

Not my country and not a time and place I'm familiar with.

Editado: Out 29, 8:53 pm

I read Belgravia by Julian Fellowes for "set in a country other than yours".
Oh dear, what a disappointment. What dreadful people! I expected more from the creator of Downton Abbey but of course, with no real story, no big names playing aristocrats and swishing about in grand crinolines, then this is all there is.

Out 29, 9:29 pm

im not surprised since even in Downton Abbey there were dreadful people! The one book of his I read was snobs finished in a day and laughed my f. fool head off, tried to read his others but it was just the same story basically. probably wont try anything else

Nov 2, 4:05 pm

I've finished Babel by R. F. Kuang and am counting it for 5. Speculative element, and Bonus. That leaves one more category to complete my second attempt: 6. Person or Event. I'm planning to read Denise Mina's Three Fires, about Savaranola, which is nice and short.

Nov 2, 11:27 pm

what did you think of babel?

Nov 3, 1:08 am

>153 cindydavid4: Review on my thread. I liked it.

Editado: Nov 3, 12:52 pm

just saw it,yeah I was also fascinated by the linguistic discussions also agreed with " managed for the most part to glide past characters who behaved and spoke more like contemporary Americans than people living in Victorian Britain." I read her 'poppy war' which is just as well written; eager to see what she comes up with next

Nov 6, 3:01 pm

I've read Three Fires by Denise Mina, which is about the fifteenth century Dominican priest, Savaranola. I recommend it.

>155 cindydavid4: I've put a hold on Yellowface, which is a departure from her other books because it's contemporary with no fantastic aspects.

Nov 6, 6:41 pm

Starting Katherine of Aragon The True Queen by Alison Weir.

It's about a real person and is more than 500 pages. My country and a period I'm reasonably familiar with

Nov 10, 8:27 am

probably my favorite novel of katherine is the kings pleasure Norah Lofts HFs are always excellent and well researched. This one makes Katherine a 3 demensional character, whom you come to respect and admire over the course of the book.

Nov 10, 8:54 am

>159 cindydavid4: I knew how it had to end, but I was still heartbroken for her

Editado: Nov 10, 12:04 pm

It looks like there is interest in continuing this challenge under the umbrella of the 2024 Category Challenge!
Before I set it up, I would love to know of you would like it exactly the same or if you would like some tweaks:

• One adjustment I am thinking about is to include Classics in general under the prompt, "Read a classic work of historical fiction". The idea here is that a Classic novel can tell us much about the time period in which it was written. Yes? No?
• Are there any prompts you would like to go away?
• Would you like to add more prompts? Maybe a focus on a random time period?
• Other?

I'm hoping to set up the 2024 Historical Fiction Challenge over the US Thanksgiving Holiday (November 22-26) and am very open to any and all suggestions & critiques until then :-)

This message has also been posted over at the Welcome to the 2024 Category Challenge! group thread:

Editado: Nov 10, 3:58 pm

>161 Tanya-dogearedcopy: I was really keen to do this instead of a HistoryCAT. I had suggested some general CAT topics using this as a guide but have removed them so we don't have duplications.

Happy to add Classic Fiction as a topic. I would not like a focus on a random time period and prefer the openness of the challenge as it stands.

Suggesting the topic: from your library or wish list.

Thak you for doing this again.

Nov 10, 7:02 pm

yes to classic fiction, Im fine with the present prompts Thanks for all that you do here!

Nov 11, 10:57 am

Thanks for organising us again, I'm looking forward to it. And classic fiction is a good addition.

Nov 12, 5:13 am

I am just posting now, but in August I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, which is historical fiction with a speculative element. I have two prompts to go and hope to conclude the challenge in the weeks to come!

I am fine with anything you decide for next year as I am just dipping in and out of this challenge and can adjust to anything :-)

Nov 13, 2:12 am

Starting Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien set during the Napoleonic wars.

I am reasonably familiar with the period, though not this aspect of it.
My country and elsewhere.

Nov 17, 4:35 am

COMPLETED Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brien.

I am reasonably familiar with the period. Mainly set at sea in the Western part of the Mediterranean

Nov 17, 3:38 pm

For "Set in a different country to yours" I read I Hear the Sirens in the Street by Adrian McKinty.
Another excellent mystery tale from Northern Ireland during “The Troubles”. McKinty combines a tantalizing mystery of a body torso found in a suitcase with an accurate description of the political situation of the 1980s.

This is the second novel of the series and what is most impressive is the authenticity of his description of the politics of the time. I read the third in the series last month and was even more impressed. Terrific story and characters. I’m looking forward to continuing with the series.

Nov 20, 5:30 am

I'm surprised that I have only now read a book set in my favourite period for historical fiction, the Regency: Sharpe's Assassin. It's the latest in the series and I do wonder where he will find more gaps into which he can squeeze another adventure.

Nov 20, 10:17 am

have you been reading that series? David got hooked on it years ago, pretty sure he has all of them, as well as Cornwells Viking series.

Nov 21, 3:20 am

>170 cindydavid4: Yes, I have been a Sharpe groupie from the first book onwards. So many of Georgette Heyer's heroes served with Wellington, and yet there never was a series (that I was aware of) that did for the Army what CS Forester and others have done for the Royal Navy, until Sharpe appeared on the scene.

Nov 24, 6:47 pm

COMPLETED Execution by S. J. Parris

Set in Elizabethan England, so my country and a period I'm familiar with.
Real people characters - Giordano Bruno, Sir Francis Walsingham, Anthony Babington

Nov 26, 4:15 am

The real event in All the light we cannot see is the destruction of Saint-Malo in August 1944.

Ontem, 10:53 pm

I finished A Convergence of Solitudes by Anita Anand for the "set in the country you’re from" prompt. This one is set in Montreal from the 1960's to the 1990's and deals with the Quebec separatist movement and the experiences of immigrants.

I also finished The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, set in 1920's and 1930's Barcelona for the bonus prompt (a work of 500+ pages).

Hoje, 11:50 am

>174 mathgirl40:
Have you read the trilogy by Carlos Ruiz Zafon? The entire trilogy is very good with Barcelona becoming a character on its own.