Posts tagged with "Historical Fiction"

Posted by bweiner on 02/19/14
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HHhH(2012) is the mesmerizing story of Jan Kubis and Jozef Gabcik, recruited by the British Secret Service to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, also known as " The Butcher of Prague". Heydrich, often called the Architect of the Holocaust, was responsible for the deaths of countless Jews during World War II.  French author Laurent Binet has crafted an intricate tale: part historical and part glorious imagination that actualizes this transformative event in the history of the Holocaust.
 
But there is more to this brilliant narrative than the documentation of this important historical event.Binet's postmodern approach reminds us to be skeptical in our analysis of historical events and to rely on our own clarification of events. His attention to detail and to the maintenance of historical integrity elevate this novel to the status of a postmodern classic.
 
This story digs deeply into historical significance while maintaining  the suspicious eye of an author writing in a postmodern, post-9/11 world. The writing is engrossing, elegant and graceful, and the thrilling narrative will keep you interested till the end. We can only hope that Laurent Binet will continue to delight us with his exquisite storytelling skills.

Posted by mingh on 03/22/12
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A number of fiction books have been written about the life of Amelia Earhart. I Was Amelia Earhart has her surviving the crash of her plane with her flight navigator, Fred Noonan.
 
In this brilliantly imagined novel, Amelia Earhart tells us what happened after she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared off the coast of New Guinea one glorious, windy day in 1937. And she tells us about herself.  There is her love affair with flying ("The sky is flesh") . . . .

There are her memories of the past: her childhood desire to become a heroine ("Heroines did what they wanted") . . . her marriage to G.P. Putnam, who promoted her to fame, but was willing to gamble her life so that the book she was writing about her round-the-world flight would sell out before Christmas.

There is the flight itself -- day after magnificent or perilous or exhilarating or terrifying day ("Noonan once said any fool could have seen I was risking my life but not living it").

And there is, miraculously, an island ("We named it Heaven, as a kind of joke"). And, most important, there is Noonan . . .

 
Here are other fiction books about the life of Amelia Earhart.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 06/17/13
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Attention fans of BBC America's Supernatural Saturday! Coming in 2014 is a new series based on the historical fantasy novel, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
 
If you haven't read it, now's your chance. It's 782 pages, so you may want to start now. Two magicians are bringing magic back to England with their skills and knowledge of long forgotten lore. As the Napoleonic Wars rage on, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell find themselves pitted against a deliciously crafty fairy.
 
Fans of dark fairy tales and historical fantasy will enjoy this beautifully crafted story.

Posted by Ultra Violet on 11/10/11
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I just can't get enough Tesla (the scientist, not the band). I am also a big fan of Jean Echenoz. He writes with style, grace and honesty. This is an elegant novel, although it is a bit depressing.

Posted by dnapravn on 11/13/13
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If you are anything like me you are having a difficult time waiting for the new season of Downton Abbey to begin. I can't wait to discover what's in store for the Crawley's and their servants this season. To make the time pass a little more quickly, you may want to get your fix of domestics by reading Jo Baker's latest novel, Longbourn. In it she imagines the belowstairs life of the Bennet household, the beloved family of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
 
While Pride and Prejudice follows the comings and goings of the Bennet family, Longbourn focuses on their small, often overworked domestic staff. Mrs. Hill, the housekeeper, does her best to keep everything running smoothly with the help of her aging husband, two young housemaids, Sarah and Polly, and the new footman, James. The novel focuses primarily on Sarah, who is bound and determined to decipher the mysterious appearance of the new footman in addition to completing all of her household duties.  
 
This was a fun, quick read that, in my opinion, stayed respectful to Austen's beloved classic. Enjoy! The Crawley family and their servants will be back in no time.

Posted by Auntie Anne. on 12/01/11
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It was the summer of 1880 in Paris, 10 years after France's crippling defeat in the Prussian war.  Even though France was finally recovering from a serious economic depression, the devastating psychological effect of the war could still be felt.  Parisian energy rebounded, however, when workers were given Sundays off.  A new society emerged - la vie moderne - and cafes, caberets, dance halls, and theaters all flourished.  The building of railroad lines to the countryside allowed Parisians to enjoy their Sundays in the enchanting riverside villages west of Paris.

A small group of artists, called Impressionists, had discovered the new engergy and modern individualism as well.  Breaking away from the classic artistic traditions of form and line, with scenes from the Bible or history as inspiration, the Impressionists left their studios to paint "La vie moderne" as they saw it and lived it.  Boldly using feathery touches of unblended color in textural brushstrokes, they painted scenes from the caberets, dance halls, theaters and Sunday boaters and picnicers.  Pierre-Auguste Renoir was one such painter. The Impressionists met with much criticism, since their technique was such a radical break with the classic artists.  One such critic threw down the gauntlet by saying "the Impressionists are inferior to what they undertake.  The man of genius has not arisen."  August Renoir picked up the gauntlet and created a work of true genius - "Luncheon of the Boating Party."

Susan Vreeland, the author, has given the reader a wonderful fictional accounting of the creation of this masterpiece by Renoir.  Renoir met with almost insurmountable obstacles.  He had only eight weeks of Sundays to paint it on the terrace of La Maison Fournaise at Chatou before he would lose the good summer light.  He was totally broke but somehow had to pay for the huge canvas, paints, fees for 14 models and rent for the terrace each Sunday.  When he began working on the painting his right arm was broken, so he painted with his left.  Crippling rheumatoid arthritis was beginning to take its toll on his fingers. Woven throughout the book are the personal stories of the 14 people who are in the painting.  Their colorful stories paint their own picture of la vie moderne in Paris - an actress, a mime, a journalist, an adventurer, a singer-flower seller, an art collector, a poet, a boatman, a baron, a yachtsman-painter.  Vreeland gives us a good taste of the conflicts and hedonism of the era, as well as the anguish and the joy, without which the Impressionists would have had no inspiration.


Posted by cclapper on 04/10/11
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Scotland -- 1074: Shipwrecked! Her family cast ashore- including Edgar of England, outlawed.  Warrior-King Malcolm Canmore will help... for the price of her hand in marriage.  Her hand that will steer the development of a barbaric Scotland and its peoples.  Rough-hewn times.  Rough justice.  Strong wills.
 
See Susan Fraser King's other novels, too: Lady Miracle and Lady MacBeth.  Yup.  THAT Lady MacBeth.      

Posted by Auntie Anne. on 08/31/11
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The setting is the alluring social scene of New York City in 1938.  Katey Kontent (“like the state of mind’), our heroine, is the daughter of a Russian immigrant.  Smart, witty and fearless, we first find Katey working at a Wall Street secretarial pool and living in a boardinghouse with her roommate Eve.  Katey and Eve pinch pennies all week so that they can go out on the town on the weekends.  Until New Year’s Eve when Eve’s social-climbing eye manages to land them in the path of Tinker Grey, a handsome New York up-and-comer banker.  Soon Tinker takes them under his wing and introduces them to the world of New York’s wealthy.  Thus the story unfolds.  These are three very complex characters, each with their own story to tell.  Eve has tunnel vision as far as improving her social status and the power it can bring.  Tinker, of course, is not the person he appears to be.  But Katey is a shining star.  Looking to improve her job status, she uses her brains and guts to move up from the secretarial pool to the upper echelon of Conde Naste magazine.  She manages to sidestep every bump in the road, and there were quite a few,  with grace and a strong sense of self.  We see her grow through her experiences and applaud her successes.
    
Rules of Civility is a very sophisticated, classy book, reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald in its smart dialogue and strong sense of the setting and time period.  With a dry martini in one hand and a cigarette in the other, the unforgettable characters stroll through the book with an edgy reality that only New York City can provide.  Sometimes brilliant, sometimes reckless, sometimes heartbreaking, this first novel by Amor Towles is a must read.

Posted by mingh on 04/02/12
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London, summer of 1584: Radical philosopher, ex-monk, and spy Giordano Bruno suspects he is being followed by an old enemy. He is shocked to discover that his pursuer is in fact Sophia Underhill, a young woman with whom he was once in love. When Bruno learns that Sophia has been accused of murdering her husband, a prominent magistrate in Canterbury, he agrees to do anything he can to help clear her name.

In the city that was once England's greatest center of pilgrimage, Bruno begins to uncover unsuspected secrets that point to the dead man being part of a larger and more dangerous plot in the making. He must turn his detective's eye on history,on Saint Thomas Becket, the twelfth-century archbishop murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, and on the legend surrounding the disappearance of his body, in order to solve the crime.

As Bruno's feelings for Sophia grow more intense, so does his fear that another murder is about to take place; perhaps his own. But more than Bruno's life is at stake in this vividly rendered, impeccably researched, and addictively page-turning whodunit;the stability of the kingdom hangs in the balance as Bruno hunts down a brutal murderer in the shadows of England's most ancient cathedral.


Posted by cclapper on 04/15/11
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Paris -- 1889: Murder... and epidemic!  And just as the world is flocking to Paris, visiting the new World's Fair and Mr. Eiffel's fresh wonder, the Eiffel Tower!  Explorer and investigative journalist extraordinaire Nellie Bly knows something is going on- could these murders and the epidemic be connected?  She's put her latest expose to bed, and is looking for a new challenge.  And helpers-interesting helpers: Louis Pasteur, Oscar Wilde and Jules Verne.  Nelly Bly is a woman of action, and she will play no small part in a world usually reserved for men.
 
This novel has gotten some good attention.  And Carol McCleary has spun a second tale of Nelly Bly- The Illusion of Murder.   May be more to come-