Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Let's Learn Some History! ...Sort of


      
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book blog meme now hosted by Jana over at The Artsy Reader Girl!

This week's topic is: Back to School!

I am a huge history fiend, so I decided to tweak this one into a history-oriented back-to-school themed post. These are all historical fiction novels, of course, so obviously don't take everything as fact, but they all are either based off of real people or time periods and therefore provide some great insight into different places and time periods.

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey
This book takes place in the late nineteenth century and follows the journey of Colonel Allen Forrester as he attempts to explore previously unexplored areas of Alaska Territory. This is also follows his now pregnant wife as she stays at home and awaits his return. To the Bright Edge of the World is a great look at the early explorations of Alaskan land, as well as a brief glimpse into what it was like to be a woman at this period in history. Review
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository



The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George
If you'd like to explore some ancient history, then perhaps you might like a fictionalized account of the infamous Emperor Nero. This novel follows Nero through his younger years up to his beginning years as emperor. The second book in this duology is coming out this fall and will continue the story of Nero (and I can't wait to read it!). Review
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository



Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King
More Ancient Rome! Instead of following an emperor, however, this book follows the life of a cook named Marcus Gavius Apicius (based off of a potentially real person). This book will take you through endless amounts of Ancient Roman gourmet food items, as well as provide a glimpse of some of the most common Roman etiquette and customs. Review
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository




The Abbot's Tale by Conn Iggulden
The Abbot's Tale moves sets the timeline to 937 AD and follows the life of priest Dunstan of Glastonbury, based on a real person. He's not the most likable man by any means, but this provides a fascinating look at life in England and its surrounding areas from some of extremely early points of history. Iggulden has clearly done a lot of research in creating the setting of this book, and it pays off! Review
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository




Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
The immigration process into the United States has always been a tenuous one, and this stunning book captures the journey of two sisters in 1937 as they attempt to make their way into the United States in the midst of the beginning and events of World War II. I'd also recommend Lisa See's other book, China Dolls, which centers on the life of two young Japanese women who are living in Chinatown when WWII occurs--it's a fascinating read! Review
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository




The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory
I couldn't make a historical fiction list without including Philippa Gregory, now could I? I'm pretty sure that would be illegal, actually.
This book in particular follows Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford, a lesser known woman who initially married the Duke of Bedford, an English regent of France. She was then introduced to alchemy and other academic subjects at this time, and the events of this book also take place during portions of the War of the Roses.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository


Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen
This book takes place in 1845 and features Edgar Allan Poe and his wife themselves. The book itself actually follows Frances Osgood, a fellow writer trying to make a name for herself. She meets Poe at a literary event and quickly develops a connection with him. Frances later meets his wife as well, who is not quite as innocent as she seems. This provides a great peak into the literary scene of this time period as well as some insight into Poe himself.
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository



The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
This isn't completely historical fiction since it does enter modern history up to the near present, but it does begin in 1940s post-war Ireland and tracks the course of one man's life. This is a stunning book that is one of my favorites--it's beautiful, a little heartbreaking, and endlessly witty. I really felt as though I learned a lot about the culture of Ireland over the twentieth century as well as some of twentieth century United States, so I would definitely recommend this one as well. Review
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository



The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
The Paying Guests takes place during 1920s London in post-war time when ex-servicemen were feeling lost and unable to find work. This particular story follows Frances Wray and her mother who begin taking lodgers in their house in order to offset the difficult times and lack of money they are experiencing. What ends up happening is completely unexpected and utterly compelling. This is a good look at life in London during a difficult time in history, and it provides an engaging story to boot! Review
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
This is another favorite of mine that follows an orphaned-turned-opera-star young woman who came from America and was eventually "swept up into the glitzy, gritty world of Second Empire Paris." This is not only an incredible story about the protagonist, it also features a stunning backdrop of mid-late nineteenth century Paris and what the culture was like. It also gives some great insight into a variety of different roles, such as working as an empress's maid, working in a hippodrome, and of course, being an opera singer. Review
Buy the book: Amazon | Book Depository

Have you read any of these? What books would you add to this list?


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20 comments:

  1. I'm actually in the middle of reading The Paying Guests. It's an intriguing story so far. Does your review contain any spoilers for it?

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

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    1. Ooh I hope you enjoy it! Nope, it is spoiler-free. :)

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  2. As always, these look amazing! I've actually been thinking, "I need to read more historical fiction," so thank you for this post!

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    1. Thank you! :) Well I'm happy to help, I hope you find some good books to read!

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  3. I haven't read any of these, but they look great! Especially Confessions of a Young Nero. One of my two main characters in my planned NaNoWriMo novel is a dutchess (in a fictional world) so maybe I should take a look at The Lady of the Rivers too.

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    1. Oh that sounds exciting! Best of luck on NaNoWriMo!

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  4. I LOVED The Queen of the Night!

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    1. I'm so glad to hear! I don't see too many people who have read it, so that makes me happy!

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  5. Hahah I agree you can't have a Historical Fiction list without Philippa Gregory πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I haven't read that one of hers but I have read a couple others and enjoyed them :D

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    1. She's just such staple and has a little bit of something for everyone!

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  6. I LOVE historical fiction. The Paying Guests was really good!

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    1. Same here! Sarah Waters is an incredible writer--I just finished Fingersmith by her and it was fantastic.

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  7. I love history too, so good historical fiction recs are always appreciated! I've never read Philippa Gregory but I'm pretty sure I've seen shows or movies based on her books- The White Queen and The Other Boleyn Girl?- I need to try her books. Her and Alison Weir, another one I've heard good things about.

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    1. Yeah, her books seem to be popular ones to adapt, though I can't blame them! Alison Weir is one that I really want to read more of as well, I hear her books are great.

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  8. I love your take on this week's topic. I have a copy of To the Bright Edge of the World on my kindle now. Sounds like I really need to get to that one soon. :)

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    1. I really hope you enjoy it if you do read it soon! It's really a beautiful story.

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  9. Love your list this week! I have to say I am a sucker for some good historical fiction novels.

    My TTT https://wp.me/p3ftwe-WI

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  10. I love this list, you have several books on here that I really want to read, in particular The Queen of the Night and The Paying Guests😊

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  11. Great list! I'm a fan of Phillipa Gregory and The Lady of the Rivers was the first book I read by her. Naturally, I had to read all of The Cousins' War series after that! πŸ™‚

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