Several months ago, I blogged here about my favorite historical novels for children. Now it’s time for some of the adult books that contributed to my enduring love for historical fiction. (These aren’t romances as such, although most have some romance in them.)
First of all — Thomas B. Costain. He wrote wonderful long novels teeming with adventure and historical detail. I don’t know how they would seem to modern readers; tastes have changed a great deal, but I adored them as a teen. The graphic I’ve chosen is of The Silver Chalice, which was a great story, but my favorite of all Costain’s novels is a medieval, The Black Rose (which had a boring audio cover on Amazon). Lots and lots of history, and some truly swoon-worthy romance.
Then there’s M.M. Kaye’s The Far Pavilions. It takes place in India, starting in the Himalayas, if I recall correctly. One of the editorial reviews on Amazon calls it “a vast, rich, and vibrant tapestry of love and war.” I couldn’t describe it better than that. It’s a fabulous historical novel and again, there’s some delightful romance along with it.
Georgette Heyer is known for her Regency romances, but she wrote a few historical novels as well. The Conqueror is my favorite. It’s a brilliantly written story about William the Conqueror, and Heyer slips in not one but two romances (although William is a tad brutal about his wooing–and about other things, so he’s not really a romantic hero). Raoul, the true hero of the story, is one to sigh for.
Several years ago, a friend recommended Diana Norman’s novel The Vizard Mask, and I’ll be forever grateful. If you’re interested in Restoration Era England, this one is for you. She wrote quite a bunch of historical novels, but my other favorites are the Makepeace Hedley books, a Regency-era trilogy (A Catch of Consequence, Taking Liberties, and The Sparks Fly Upward). She also wrote a fascinating YA time travel, Fitzempress’ Law, which takes place mostly in the time of Henry II. Note: Diana Norman can be painfully hard on her characters!! I make sure I’m in a fairly upbeat frame of mind before I tackle one of her books.
Last of all, I really must recommend two novels by an Internet friend who passed away last year, M.M. Bennetts. I highly recommend the meticulously researched and brilliantly executed May 1812 and Of Honest Fame. I particularly adored Of Honest Fame — it’s one of my rare re-reads.
In the meantime, who are some of your favorite authors of historical fiction? I’d love some recommendations. 🙂
And by the way, I’m giving away an e-copy of Lady of the Flames to a lucky commenter. (It’s not a historical saga, but it’s what I have to offer right now…)