Tag: Historical fiction

The Last Hours by Minette Walters

The Last Hours is Minette Walters’ first foray into historical fiction, a genre I do read a fair amount of, though not of this period. Set in the summer of 1348, the Black Death has just arrived in Dorset. The disease is unlike anything anyone has seen before and with the lack of medical knowledge, it swiftly devastates towns and villages. On the estate … Read More The Last Hours by Minette Walters

The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway

  This story grabs the reader from the first chapter: the sinking of a steamboat on the Ohio River in 1838, based on a real life tragedy. May survives by swimming a mile or more with a little girl in tow; other passengers lose their lives and this terrifying incident is brilliantly brought to life. A seamstress, May has made her living by travelling … Read More The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway

The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Set in Bavaria, Germany, The Women of the Castle follows three women as they come to terms with the end of World War II and the arrival of the Russians and Americans. I do love historical fiction and I haven’t read a huge number of novels set in post-war Germany (The Reader is the only novel that springs to my mind). The premise, seeing three very … Read More The Women of the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

I do love a Georgian drama, and Helen Dunmore has written a brilliant depiction of eighteenth century Bristol. Birdcage Walk is so authentic I could smell it. Dunmore’s city is one where women have agency without being too modern and she weaves historical fact into a dark tale of a marriage that is dangerously controlling. The year is 1792 and Lizzie Fawkes is barely more … Read More Birdcage Walk by Helen Dunmore

Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard (Cazalet Chronicles Book

Book three of the Cazalet Chronicles, Confusion takes us through the second half of World War II. Most of the children are now young adults and facing the challenges of learning to stand on their own two feet as well as dealing with the dangers of wartime London. Headstrong, independent Louise surprises everyone by abandoning her dreams of the stage and making a society marriage. Unhappiness … Read More Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard (Cazalet Chronicles Book

The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

Named after the Millais painting, but also featuring a sleepwalking character, Essie Fox’s novel takes us back to later Victorian London (1880s) and is rooted in the gothic, reminding me greatly of Wilkie Collins who has inspired my own writing as well as Fox’s. Published in 2011, for any readers familiar with the genre there is a lot within this book which is familiar. … Read More The Somnambulist by Essie Fox

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading Toni Morrison’s first novel, originally published back in 1970. Morrison’s reputation goes without saying, and I had to remind myself that this was her debut, a book that is so accomplished, so expertly structured in a non-traditional way that works to enhance the book rather than being just a gimmick. … Read More The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies

I had often seen Dinah Jefferies’ novels in bookshops and supermarkets, and wondered if they would be my cup of tea. I love Asia, and historical fiction, but I wasn’t sure if they would be a bit ‘Mills and Boon-like’. The title of her last two novels have also acted as a slight deterrent (The Tea Planter’s Wife, The Silk Merchant’s Daughter – why … Read More The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies

The Man With his Eyes Sewn Shut – Part Four

‘Where the hell is that man?’ Sam was pacing backstage, missing his Iago. Everyone else kept well out of his way, preparing themselves for the curtain to rise. ‘Ned!’ Ned lifted his head from his script which he was furiously studying. This could be it, the opportunity he had been waiting for, but there was a tricky song in the middle of the play, … Read More The Man With his Eyes Sewn Shut – Part Four

The Man with His Eyes Sewn Shut – Part Three

Click here to start this story at the beginning. Rehearsals for Othello began in earnest. In typical style, the company only had a week before opening. Nora darted around the stage between scenes, taking her measurements for the costumes that she would have to create, though mostly she only adjusted older outfits that would stand a new use. Her two young apprentices followed her … Read More The Man with His Eyes Sewn Shut – Part Three

The Man with His Eyes Sewn Shut – Part Two

Click to start at the beginning. Best laid plans, it is said, often go awry, but Ned had no knowledge of this saying. He woke fresh from his earlier than usual departure from the tavern, and was in good humour as he conducted his ablutions. Sean had walked Nora home before taking up his pitch along the road from the Olympia theatre, and Ned … Read More The Man with His Eyes Sewn Shut – Part Two

The Man with His Eyes Sewn Shut – Part One

The year was nearing its end, the days barely worth noticing as the dark winter nights invaded London. Ned had never minded the cold. Keeps the mind sharp, his father had always said, and since most evenings were spent in the warmth of a local tavern it didn’t matter to him that the streets outside were white with frost. As soon as Ned stepped off … Read More The Man with His Eyes Sewn Shut – Part One