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RoseRed135

Biographies & Historical Fiction

47 posts in this topic

I will definitely be reading more of her books!

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There was a book my mother owned that I read several years ago called Fauna by Denise Robins, I just could not put that book down. The story spanned three generations. It was a captivating story that broached complex issues for that particular time period.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7794209-fauna

 

 

Edited by RoseRed135
clicked edit by error

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While I was on vacation, I read Love and Louis XIV, by Antonia Frasier. Since I so enjoyed Mistress of the Sun, as mentioned earlier, I was intrigued when I came upon this book that explores the "Sun King's" relationships w/ his other mistresses, as well as his wife/queen, mother, etc.

Nor was I disappointed. Not only did I get a broader perspective of Louis' relationships than in the other book (though it's still a favorite of mine), but I learned a lot about the ideas about relationships that held sway at the time. 

Also enjoyed Eleanor of Aquitaine, by Alison Weir. Read her life story as a teenager, actually, but this book, of course, is for adults and gave much more historical info, etc. Again, I learned a lot about the ideas about men, women and relationships that were popular during the person's lifetime.

Both books were well researched and well written, IMO. And they made for engaging reading w/o being "too heavy" for vacation. :)

Edited by RoseRed135

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I never liked history in school and don't enjoy reading historical novels usually, but I have read many of the classics. 

Autobiographies are some of my favorites when I am looking for a "heavier" read.

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I just started Humphrey Bogart, written by his son Stephen...

I love historical fiction, that's why I'm such a fan of John Jakes.

Have you read The Book Thief? WWII story set in a small town outside Munich....great character development.

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Queen Victoria is one of my favorite people to read about. 

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As I mentioned in "What Are You Reading," I'm currently reading  Charlotte Chandler's The Girl Who Walked Home Alone: Bette Davis, a Personal Biography. It's based on extensive interviews w/ the famous actress and told mostly in her own words. Includes some fascinating details, IMO, on Davis' opinions, feelings, personal quirks, etc. Really enjoying it!

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Recently read Marie Antoinette, by Antonia Fraser. A detailed account of the ill-fated woman's fate from birth to death. Found it fascinating!

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On 2/22/2016 at 2:30 AM, RoseRed135 said:

These sound good, ladies!

And thanks,, Mame - I'll look into "The Kent Chronicles" soon!

I read the Kent Family Chronicles (actually devoured them).... Historical Fiction is a great genre of reading material.  Through my intense love of these type of books, I learned enough  to pass a CLEP (College for Life Experience) Test and got a credit in History.

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After the Cheering Stops - by Cyndy Feasel

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Ok, it took a while, but I finally started the Kent Family Chronicles. Reading the first book in the series - thoroughly engrossed!

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

Ok, it took a while, but I finally started the Kent Family Chronicles. Reading the first book in the series - thoroughly engrossed!

We'll see you back here sometime around Labor Day all bleary eyed but happy....LOL. This series is thoroughly engrossing. Excellently researched and the character development is stellar . John Jakes remains a favorite historical fiction author. 

Edited by Mame925
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On 6/29/2017 at 1:49 PM, Mame925 said:

We'll see you back here sometime around Labor Day all bleary eyed but happy....LOL. This series is thoroughly engrossing. Excellently researched and the character development is stellar . John Jakes remains a favorite historical fiction author. 

Finished the first book and into the second. :)

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:)

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Finished the second Kent Family book and went right through the 3rd and 4th during our family vacation (lots of activities but also lots of time to read). Will be starting the 5th some time today. :)

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I've read that series at least twice! And having you talk about them makes me want to drag them out and start again!

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Have read half the series now. Moving right along... :)

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3 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

Have read half the series now. Moving right along... :)

:good: So, has your knowledge of American history expanded a bit? Everything Jakes writes is meticulously researched. He really needs to write history books for the schools...

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21 hours ago, Mame925 said:

:good: So, has your knowledge of American history expanded a bit?

Yes, definitely! And I thought I knew quite a bit.

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Finished the Kent series. Loved it!

Now reading Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List. Saw the (very powerful, IMO) movie years ago. But the book is giving me somewhat more insight into Schindler's background and overall character. Very interesting.

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5 minutes ago, RoseRed135 said:

Finished the Kent series. Loved it!

And when you are ready for your next Jakes' series, North & South (the sequels are Love & War, Heaven & Hell) or Crown Family Saga (Homeland/American Dreams) or any other of his single volume books...he dabbles in science fiction as well. 

You are so lucky to read Kent Chronicles now....I started them in the 70s, when they were new and had to wait, wait, wait for each new volume...it was sheer torture.

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I found this list today...I've read about half of these...

10 Accurate Historical Fiction Books for Nonfiction Readers

Fact, meet fiction.

As much as we can learn from history books, there's something to be said for fact-based historical fiction. When well-known periods—whether it's the Civil War era or 1920s America—are placed inside a fictional context, we can get a feel for the texture of a time and place. What did people sound like? What did they wear? And what was their daily life like? These details, while sometimes present in nonfiction books, can close the distance between ourselves and the past when presented through dialogue and characters. We can resonate with characters and place ourselves within the narrative to feel like we, too, are charging across the battlefield or steaming across the Atlantic in an ocean liner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 10 books below blend fact and fiction to create a reading experience that is entertaining and eye-opening. Based on research and filled with historical accuracies, these novels—like their nonfiction counterparts—can enrich our knowledge of bygone eras. 

 
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The Good Earth

Buck’s Pulitzer Prize winner paints a portrait of the working class in turn-of-the-century China, as Dickens once did for 19th century London. We’re introduced to Wang Lung and his wife, O-Ian—a farmer and former slave, respectively—who climb their way out of poverty. Years of toiling in the fields eventually earns them a higher social standing and—most importantly to Wang Lung—his own property. But success comes at a steep price, and soon Wang must choose between his land, which is his soul, and his family, which is his heart.  

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Rich Man, Poor Man

By Irwin Shaw

Sweeping from the 1940s to the Vietnam War era, Irwin Shaw’s bestseller opens with two teenage brothers amidst the Second World War. Each differ considerably; where Tom is prone to bad behavior, Rudolph is a well-behaved go-getter—though they do share a mutual dislike for the other. Their paths diverge in adulthood when Rudolph becomes a successful businessman, leaving Tom—who is now an increasingly violent boxer—behind. But despite the bad blood between them, and the rapidly changing landscape of post-war America, the brothers always find themselves inextricably linked.

 
 
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April Morning

By Howard Fast

It’s April 18, 1775—the eve of the first battle of the American Revolution. As rumors spread of an imminent British attack, the men of Lexington, MA take up arms and march to Concord. Among them is 15-year-old Adam Cooper who, until now, has lived in the shadow of his disapproving father and older brother. But come morning, Adam will no longer be the kid he was—but a man in his own right, facing the Redcoats’ open fire.

 

 

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Pillar of Iron

By Taylor Caldwell

With her knack for historical accuracy and compelling drama, Taylor Caldwell breathes life into ancient Rome and legendary philosopher-slash-orator, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Featuring some of history’s most renowned figures (Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, for instance), Caldwell's story is based on extensive research—including speeches, private correspondence, ancient texts, and manuscripts. Thus, A Pillar of Iron is more than a compelling epic from a gifted storyteller. It’s also an in-depth look at the Roman Empire and the development of Western ideologies.

 
 
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Anna and the King of Siam

Margaret Landon’s beloved novel, which inspired The King and I, draws from historical journals and is a one-way ticket to 1860s Siam. Needing to support her two children, the widowed Anna Leonowens accepts a position at a royal palace in Siam, where she’ll serve as a governess to the king’s children. Though her students are quick to accept her, Anna's modern British thinking clashes with King Mongkut’s traditionalism. Years later, however, Anna's influence will inspire a drastic democratic reform and change the very fiber of Siam forever. 

 
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An Undisturbed Peace

By Mary Glickman

A Jewish man immigrates to America, seeking a better life. A Cherokee aristocrat holds onto a forbidden love, though she’s renounced old family ties. And a black slave, just 50 miles away, struggles to survive one more day...These three lives will converge and become irreversibly entwined when Andrew Jackson enacts the Indian Removal Act—setting them down the brutal and treacherous Trail of Tears. A tragic but ultimately hopeful story, An Undisturbed Peace is an unflinching look at one of the ugliest parts of American history.    

 
 
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The Thin Red Line

By James Jones

Inspired by his own experiences during the Guadalcanal campaign, James Jones' novel reigns as a masterpiece of World War II fiction. We follow a cast of misfit characters—the “C-for-Charlie” company—as they transform from fresh, terrified recruits into veteran fighters in the jungles of Guadalcanal. The result is a haunting portrait of brotherhood and combat that stands alongside war classics like Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.

 

 
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North and South

By John Jakes

Despite hailing from different backgrounds, Yankee George Hazard and southerner Orry Main forge a lasting bond at West Point. But as America braces for a civil war, the boys must choose between friend and country when they find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. New York Times-bestselling author John Jakes does a masterful job of setting the social and political scene, creating an epic that is rich with drama and history. The saga continues in the follow-ups, Love and War and Heaven and Hell, which follow the now-fraught relationship between the Main and Hazard families.

 
 
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The Confessions of Nat Turner

From the author of Sophie’s Choice comes the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of Nat Turner—the leader of the 1831 slave revolt. While awaiting his own execution, Styron's rendition of the famed preacher recounts the years preceding the rebellion. Through Nat's reflections, we learn of the atrocities Nat endured at the hands of slave owners—and what can drive a man to seek his vengeance.

 
 
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Topaz

By Leon Uris

The year is 1962, and a defected Russian spy gives Michael Nordstrom, an American intelligence officer, word of a covert KGB operation. Based on the real-life “Martel Affair," Nordstrom learns of Russia’s plan to infiltrate French intelligence—and soon. Meanwhile, another threat is quickly developing, and Topaz expands into a tale of espionage and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Putting credence to USA Today’s praise that Uris is “a master at weaving historical fact and fiction,” the bestselling author draws from history to create an exciting thriller about the conflicts between America, Russia, France, and Cuba during the Cold War.  

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