It’s time for New Year reading challenges, yay! The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by Passages to the Past which is an amazing blog focusing on historical fiction. All subgenres of historical fiction are welcome so romance, young adult, mystery, whatever, all are welcome 🙂
The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st 2019 and has 6 levels.
20th Century Reader – 2 books
Victorian Reader – 5 books
Renaissance Reader – 10 books
Medieval – 15 books
Ancient History – 25 books
Prehistoric – 50+ books
I’m going to aim for Ancient History – 25 books. In 2018 I read about 20 historical books so 25 should be attainable.
Historical Fiction MBR
MBR stands for “might be read”.
I often see classics being tagged historical fiction so I’m including them in my list. I’m just going to pick out 5 books now because I will most likely discover some new ones throughout 2019.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”
1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.
1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.
I received this book from Harper Collins a few months ago, started reading it, liked it but stopped for whatever reason. I recently listened to the audio of Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb and loved it so. I’m really excited to read more by both of them. Heather Webb has a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera that I will likely pick up in 2019 as well.
With This Ring (Vanza #1) by Amanda Quick
Leo Drake, the “Mad Monk of Monkcrest,” is notoriously eccentric and unquestionably reclusive. But he is also a noted antiquities expert, which is why Beatrice Poole has demanded his reluctant assistance. The freethinking authoress of “horrid novels,” Beatrice is searching for the Forbidden Rings of Aphrodite, a mythic treasure she suspects played a role in her uncle’s death. Beatrice finds Leo every bit as fascinating as one of the heroes in her novels-and she’s convinced he’s the only one who can help her. But after only five minutes in her company, Leo is sure he’s never met a woman more infuriating…and more likely to rescue him from boredom. Yet the alliance may well prove to be the biggest mistake of their lives. For a villain lurks in London, waiting for the pair to unearth the Forbidden Rings-knowing that when they do, that day will be their last….
So, I did the unspeakable and read the second and third books in this series before reading the first book. It seems like a strange thing to do but I had those two and had to wait for this one. I also read a review on the second book that said there was no tangible connection between them and could be read as a stand-alone so I went with it. Now I can read the first one and get the series straightened up.
Notorious Pleasure (Maiden Lane #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt
Their lives were perfect…
Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn’t bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother…
Until they met each other.
Lord Griffin Reading is far from perfect – and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire—desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero’s wedding nears, and Griffin’s enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?
I read the first book in this series in 2016 and loved it. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to decide to continue with the series but here we are.
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell
‘Such whispered tales, such old temptations and hauntings, and devilish terrors’
Elizabeth Gaskell’s chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect. ‘Disappearances’, inspired by local legends of mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; ‘Lois the Witch’, a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ a mysterious child roams the freezing Northumberland moors. Whether darkly surreal, such as ‘The Poor Clare’, where an evil doppelganger is formed by a woman’s bitter curse, or mischievous like ‘Curious, if True’, a playful reworking of fairy tales, all the pieces in this volume form a start contrast to the social realism of Gaskell’s novels, revealing a darker and more unsettling style of writing.
Laura Kranzler’s introduction discusses how Gaskell’s tales, with their ghostly doublings and transgressive passions, show the Gothic underside of female identity, domestic relations and male authority. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading and explanatory notes.
This one I will probably hold out reading until #victober in October which is a Victorian literature readathon. It’s perfect for that time of year.
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Graham Greene’s classic Cuban spy story, now with a new package and a new introduction
First published in 1959, Our Man in Havana is an espionage thriller, a penetrating character study, and a political satire that still resonates to this day. Conceived as one of Graham Greene’s ‘entertainments,’ it tells of MI6’s man in Havana, Wormold, a former vacuum-cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent out of economic necessity. To keep his job, he files bogus reports based on Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and dreams up military installations from vacuum-cleaner designs. Then his stories start coming disturbingly true.
I read The End of the Affair by Greene in 2018 and loved it so I want to pick up some more books by him.