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dhaupt
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Re: Historical Fiction?

 


Peppermill wrote:

 


dhaupt wrote:

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:

 

I also have this book and found it a wonderful read. It was definitely a different view point to the story of what was going on during that era.
Mtn Muse

dhaupt wrote:

 

 

Pilate's Wife 

 

I was fortunate to review this for Harper Colllins back in 07 and really liked the novel way the book looked at the history of the time. 


 


Glad you enjoyed it Karen, maybe we were separated at birth :-)

 


It's on special right now for $2.99 at B&N, out-of-stock in stores near me.  My Bible class is doing a series right now on Biblical women, not necessarily the most usual ones.  I haven't seen the syllabus.  I wonder if she will be one we will consider.

 

 

I noticed yesterday that the Met catalog has an art book of women in the Bible -- but that one is not inexpensive! 


Thanks Pepper!

 

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Mountain_Muse
Posts: 1,104
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Re: Historical Fiction?

Debbie,

 

Well at least she wasn't "cunning".  She only had "dreams".  LOL

 

Mtn Muse

 

 


dhaupt wrote:

 


Peppermill wrote:

 


dhaupt wrote:

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:

 

I also have this book and found it a wonderful read. It was definitely a different view point to the story of what was going on during that era.
Mtn Muse

dhaupt wrote:

 

 

Pilate's Wife 

 

I was fortunate to review this for Harper Colllins back in 07 and really liked the novel way the book looked at the history of the time. 


 


Glad you enjoyed it Karen, maybe we were separated at birth :-)

 


It's on special right now for $2.99 at B&N, out-of-stock in stores near me.  My Bible class is doing a series right now on Biblical women, not necessarily the most usual ones.  I haven't seen the syllabus.  I wonder if she will be one we will consider.

 

 

I noticed yesterday that the Met catalog has an art book of women in the Bible -- but that one is not inexpensive! 


Thanks Pepper!

 


 

A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Historical Fiction?

 

 :smileyvery-happy:

Mountain_Muse wrote:

Debbie,

 

Well at least she wasn't "cunning".  She only had "dreams".  LOL

 

Mtn Muse

 

 


dhaupt wrote:

 


Peppermill wrote:

 


dhaupt wrote:

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:

 

I also have this book and found it a wonderful read. It was definitely a different view point to the story of what was going on during that era.
Mtn Muse

dhaupt wrote:

 

 

Pilate's Wife 

 

I was fortunate to review this for Harper Colllins back in 07 and really liked the novel way the book looked at the history of the time. 


 


Glad you enjoyed it Karen, maybe we were separated at birth :-)

 


It's on special right now for $2.99 at B&N, out-of-stock in stores near me.  My Bible class is doing a series right now on Biblical women, not necessarily the most usual ones.  I haven't seen the syllabus.  I wonder if she will be one we will consider.

 

 

I noticed yesterday that the Met catalog has an art book of women in the Bible -- but that one is not inexpensive! 


Thanks Pepper!

 


 


 

Contributor
handberry
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-20-2010
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Re: Historical Fiction?

Titanic  Echo of the dying Confession

 

 

Think the Titanic hit an iceberg by accident? Do you think that the whole situation befalling the steamship was clearly a situation of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? You might rethink your answer once you read this novel. What if I were to tell you that a book came out 15 year before the creation of the Titanic, which gave the basic step on how to build and sink a ship called the Titan? What would you say if I told you that someone purposely built the ship with its intended flaws all to make the ship easier to sink if struck upon its port or starboard side? What if I were to tell you that things in this world are not always as clear cut as we would like them to be? Titanic: Echo of the Dying Confession is the historical supernatural fiction, based specifically around the factual details in regards to the design, creation, and ultimately the sinking of the steamship Titanic and gives a whole new idea to the question of what was really the cause of the ship being destroyed.

Author Troy Veenstra
www.veenstrapublishing.biz
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Historical Fiction?

[ Edited ]

What makes "good" historical fiction?

 

When is it "bad"?

 

When is it "abysmal"?

 

How can the reader be aware and make good choices?

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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1AnneB
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Re: Historical Fiction?


Peppermill wrote:

What makes "good" historical fiction?

 

When is it "bad"?

 

When is it "abysmal"?

 

How can the reader be aware and make good choices?

 


Wow, Pepper - Interesting questions. I think that often I subscribe to the "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" when it comes to books, but I also think that we as readers frequently rely on the opinions of those whose tastes are similar to ours. Recently, I have often taken to reading the "customer reviews" that are included online with the book descriptions. Some online booksellers offer an excerpt to a potential buyer. I think that, as readers, we are fortunate to be able to do so much research online, but, that said, we are able to refine our likes and dislikes by reading a variety of genres and authors. Each time we read, we enlarge our knowledge base and mind. Time spent reading is NEVER wasted....

 

Anne

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Historical Fiction?

Time spent reading is NEVER wasted....

 

Well, with the richness of choices and authors available, I usually try to remember Mark Twain's words to the effect of "Don't read good books.  There isn't time for that.  Read only the best." 

 

Not that I often succeed, but I do try to avoid trash and offensive propaganda, except to sometimes understand it and why a bit.

 

Shortly before the Current Events club lost Monty, he wrote some very interesting comments about a book supposedly historically based.  He expressed some feelings of outrage at authors who deliberately do sloppy research or who load and bias the truth (whatever or however one considers that sometimes elusive reality), sometimes to deceive, sometimes to serve some self-selected cause not supported by careful, thorough work.  He also expressed how, especially in the case of history, it is difficult to judge, at least alone, beyond whatever are the confines of one's own specialized knowledge.

 

(As I have said many times, "the best" is often dependent on time, place, mood, ..., among many other criteria.)

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Scribe
Mountain_Muse
Posts: 1,104
Registered: ‎06-09-2010

Re: Historical Fiction?

 


Peppermill wrote:

Time spent reading is NEVER wasted....

 

Well, with the richness of choices and authors available, I usually try to remember Mark Twain's words to the effect of "Don't read good books.  There isn't time for that.  Read only the best." 

 

Not that I often succeed, but I do try to avoid trash and offensive propaganda, except to sometimes understand it and why a bit.

 

Shortly before the Current Events club lost Monty, he wrote some very interesting comments about a book supposedly historically based.  He expressed some feelings of outrage at authors who deliberately do sloppy research or who load and bias the truth (whatever or however one considers that sometimes elusive reality), sometimes to deceive, sometimes to serve some self-selected cause not supported by careful, thorough work.  He also expressed how, especially in the case of history, it is difficult to judge, at least alone, beyond whatever are the confines of one's own specialized knowledge.

 

(As I have said many times, "the best" is often dependent on time, place, mood, ..., among many other criteria.)

 

 


 

I think running into "historically based" books of fiction that were poorly researched are part of the reason I became such a history nut.  What we do have to take into consideration, though, is that not all authors have the same level of access to records and tomes as others.

 

Oft times we (authors, students of history, and readers in general) have to rely on the research and integrity of the writing of those who have been able to access works and tomes that others only dream of reading and poring through.  The onus is on the researcher to set aside their pre-conceived agendas and report the facts of the research accurately.  

 

 This being said, are we being overly hard on someone who writes a "period" work that has not spent years researching every nuance for accuracy?  

 

What is the purpose of the work of fiction?  I think the historical fiction can be set in at least two classifications.  The first classification is Historically Based Fiction.  This would be a novel that is based on an actual event, person or group of people.  This type of fiction, I would hold the author's feet to the fire and expect the author to have as much accuracy of fact as possible included within the novel.  Only the unknown would be "literarily" filled in to carry the story line and fill out the characters.  

 

The second type I would refer to as  Historical Fiction.  This type of novel would be written to be set in a certain time period.  I would expect the author to have done enough research about the time period to make the characters, settings, and storyline believable.  An example of not understanding proper usage and common mis-usage by mass market historical romance authors is of the reference to a woman having "the vapors".  Most of these romance authors use vapors in the connotation of a lady fainting away.  NO.  "the vapors" is a delicate way of saying a woman was suffering from "gas", or to put it not so delicately "farts".  Knowing this makes for some pretty entertaining reading.

 

Another entertaining misnomer is the use, by writers of the Garderobe or Gardre Robe.  Most refer to it in reference to a Chiffonrobe or a free-standing closet to hold clothing, which is fine, unless your historical fiction is dated during the medieval period.

garde·robe  [gahrd-rohb]  Show IPA
–noun
1.  a wardrobe or its contents.
2.  a private room, as a bedroom.
3.  (in medieval architecture) a latrine or privy.
Origin: 
1400–50;  late ME < MF: lit., (it) keeps clothing
Pepper, is this what you were talking about?
Mtn Muse
A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
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Re: Historical Fiction?

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:

Pepper, is this what you were talking about?

Mtn Muse

Mtn Muse -- well, this rant from Monty touches on some of the issues far better than I can.  And I agree with many of your comments as well.  Also, this week a family member recommended to me a book that she claimed gave a very balanced view of a particular political figure.  Well, the leanings of the author are well known, and I must admit a (healthy?) skepticism that his seeming balance won't still represent tipped scales.

 

For the background of Monty's almost diatribe, see here:

http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Current-Events-and-History/What-would-you-like-to-read-for-fa...

 

I wanted to drop back in quickly and apologize for being so arch on this topic. I've been up late, sleepless and irritable, and it's been a mistake to post anything without stepping back from it for a few hours. Unfortunately, I don't remember what a normal or functional sleep schedule is anymore, on account of work, so that's not really an option. In any event, that's not an excuse.

I apologize, RCL, for disagreeing with you as I did. In this case, it's a matter of delivery. The substance of my disagreement is unchanged, but I should have gone about it more productively. The antagonism isn't going to change your mind. In fact, I don't think I can change your mind. Not that you're stubborn but rather that I can't really be the vehicle for that change.

The reason I disagree intensely about the worth of a book like KKT is because I spent a lot of time not just studying the history of the events it covers but the historiography of those events (i.e. the history of the histories written). Part of my learning about WWI involved reading the flawed interpretations and bad data about it (for example the old "Germany bears almost all responsibility and guilt for the war"—an interpretation that KKT advocates, by the way). But this is just the luck of what I studied. If you give me a book on Mongolia, I couldn't tell you if it's crazy or brilliant, because I don't know anything about Mongolia. Depending on the subject, I'm as much at sea as anyone, as much at the mercy of the author.

Being frustrated about historiography is, to a certain extent, a foolish frustration because it involves people taking my word for it. I have to say, "Just accept on faith that if you had time to read 19 more books about this, many of them dry and boring, you would come to disagree very strongly with what you're enjoying now." But of course often people don't like the idea of taking things on faith but also don't have time to read a wheelbarrow full of books. More importantly, what they're looking at now seems reasonable. It's not like the book says on random pages, "THERE IS AN ERROR ON THIS PAGE." When I picked it up on the bookstore, it did that for me many many times, but that's because of what I'd read in the past. For many audiences, it won't do that.

 

And it's fine to have fun reading the book. If people enjoy a book, enjoy it. That's great. The only problems come from applying that enjoyment. Just like it might be engrossing and wonderful to look at critically flawed schematics of a car engine. From a pure entertainment standpoint, there's nothing that can go wrong doing that. Just don't attempt to build anything off what you've read or it's going to explode.

I should mention here that I have several friends who have spent literally over a decade studying history, who labor to research long articles because of their devotion to the record. Part of my intense dislike for slapdash history, especially the marketable kind, is because of how it feels like a cynical slap in the face of people who do unsexy but commendable work in service to what actually happened, people who will go uncelebrated because they won't tart up or dumb down the topic to sell books. That's the sort of thing done by people who have a background in TV, and ostensibly none in the topic at hand; people who are serial history-generic biographers with a track record for regularly making date, locational and genealogical errors—even when, for instance, writing about soccer players who are still alive at the time—but who cash nice checks anyway.

That cynical cash-in aspect should make you mad, too, because for the most part it's designed to part people like you from their money. I don't know how else to say this, but demographically history does very poorly with women, and books like this are meant to tap an unexploited market: women out of college, who as a rule history doesn't sell to well. That's why so many of these books tend to read like "History if it were a Vogue Magazine" article. The presumption is that you can mostly get women to buy a history book if it relies on couching information in a soap operatic narrative, filled with conspicuous-consumption details. (The other cheap tactic: cloying appeals to emotion. "Lifetime Original Movie" narratives of history.) If this makes you mad. It should. I personally find it insulting, because it relies on the notion that it's better to publish works of lesser quality if you can sell more copies by capitalizing on stereotyping. I feel the same way about it that I do the strategy for targeting men with sci-fi and fantasy books: the worse the book is, the more enormous the breasts on the cover.

That said, if you're getting the sense that I'm a snob about this, I'm not. I like popular history, and I wish there were more of it. Part of the reason I review as many of them as I do for the B&N blog is that I'm always looking for good "gateway" books that open up parts of history to people who otherwise might not be interested in them. There's nothing wrong with appealing to a popular audience. (I think a great example of a book with credible work and a wide demographic appeal is "The Great Mortality," which has a lot of elements of rich court life while providing a smart summary of a lot of current scholarship about the Plague. It's well written and fun, and it's exactly the sort of thing that will suck in a lot of people and send them on their way to continue the journey.)

There is something wrong, however, with tweaking the record to make a wide appeal. If you have to make the product non-functional to sell it, you're doing something wrong. You send people on their way, but you send them with a flawed head start that they're going to have to double back on if they're serious about the topic. There are many popular histories out there that make little sins of omission, of hype, of tweaking some details for marketing appeal. And I think most of that is tolerable if not desirable. The problem I have with a book like KKT is that I believe it's broken at its thesis. It doesn't matter what details the author embroiders or what colors she picks on certain topics if there's something not quite right with the silk. (This is why I was having trouble engaging your quoting details from the book at me. You're giving me excerpts from a flawed premise, interpretations of small events extenuating from a misconception of what they add up to, what the big picture is, what the surrounding context and forces are. To return to the above metaphor, the embroidery doesn't matter; the silk still has mold on it. This is also why I made the remark about your reading another very similar book on the same topic. It's like a different tapestry woven from the same batch of silk.)

Anyhow, those are all the reasons why I get so very fussy with a book like this, and I apologize for the earlier throwdown and wish I'd gone to the effort to outline them in the first place instead of being impatient and snippy about it. Imagine I'm wearing a workman's shirt with PARDON OUR PROGRESS written on it. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's the middle of the night, and I have a blistering headache from staring at a computer screen, and—just my luck—that's what I get to do for at least three more hours before I can go to sleep.

 

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Mountain_Muse
Posts: 1,104
Registered: ‎06-09-2010
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Re: Historical Fiction?

 


Mountain_Muse wrote:

 

Thanks for the reference and link.  I read through the entire thread.  It is too bad that he left the group.  But as to the string ----  geez.  Whew.

 

I love history and love digging to find works and documentation on little known history because I am well aware that "the winners always write the history" that survives.  

 

With the studies and findings that are coming out on history from about 100 A.D. to about 1200 A.D. (not the flashy novel stuff we read, but hardcore research),  just how much history has been skewed is astounding.  BUT.... that's a whole 'nother soap box for a different string and board.  

 

I am here to learn and to share.  I know that over the last few months I have learned more than I have in years and it has been wonderful.  The ability to exchange opinions sources of information, points of view and then to be able to agree to disagree has been succor to this soul.  

 

I can tell that  I am just starting to discover the different depths and wonders hiding here on the boards, and book clubs within B&N.  

 

 Let me know if there's a good topic or book you think I might enjoy.  

 

Mtn Muse



Peppermill wrote:

Time spent reading is NEVER wasted....

 

Well, with the richness of choices and authors available, I usually try to remember Mark Twain's words to the effect of "Don't read good books.  There isn't time for that.  Read only the best." 

 

Not that I often succeed, but I do try to avoid trash and offensive propaganda, except to sometimes understand it and why a bit.

 

Shortly before the Current Events club lost Monty, he wrote some very interesting comments about a book supposedly historically based.  He expressed some feelings of outrage at authors who deliberately do sloppy research or who load and bias the truth (whatever or however one considers that sometimes elusive reality), sometimes to deceive, sometimes to serve some self-selected cause not supported by careful, thorough work.  He also expressed how, especially in the case of history, it is difficult to judge, at least alone, beyond whatever are the confines of one's own specialized knowledge.

 

(As I have said many times, "the best" is often dependent on time, place, mood, ..., among many other criteria.)

 

 


 

I think running into "historically based" books of fiction that were poorly researched are part of the reason I became such a history nut.  What we do have to take into consideration, though, is that not all authors have the same level of access to records and tomes as others.

 

Oft times we (authors, students of history, and readers in general) have to rely on the research and integrity of the writing of those who have been able to access works and tomes that others only dream of reading and poring through.  The onus is on the researcher to set aside their pre-conceived agendas and report the facts of the research accurately.  

 

 This being said, are we being overly hard on someone who writes a "period" work that has not spent years researching every nuance for accuracy?  

 

What is the purpose of the work of fiction?  I think the historical fiction can be set in at least two classifications.  The first classification is Historically Based Fiction.  This would be a novel that is based on an actual event, person or group of people.  This type of fiction, I would hold the author's feet to the fire and expect the author to have as much accuracy of fact as possible included within the novel.  Only the unknown would be "literarily" filled in to carry the story line and fill out the characters.  

 

The second type I would refer to as  Historical Fiction.  This type of novel would be written to be set in a certain time period.  I would expect the author to have done enough research about the time period to make the characters, settings, and storyline believable.  An example of not understanding proper usage and common mis-usage by mass market historical romance authors is of the reference to a woman having "the vapors".  Most of these romance authors use vapors in the connotation of a lady fainting away.  NO.  "the vapors" is a delicate way of saying a woman was suffering from "gas", or to put it not so delicately "farts".  Knowing this makes for some pretty entertaining reading.

 

Another entertaining misnomer is the use, by writers of the Garderobe or Gardre Robe.  Most refer to it in reference to a Chiffonrobe or a free-standing closet to hold clothing, which is fine, unless your historical fiction is dated during the medieval period.

garde·robe  [gahrd-rohb]  Show IPA
–noun
1.  a wardrobe or its contents.
2.  a private room, as a bedroom.
3.  (in medieval architecture) a latrine or privy.
Origin: 
1400–50;  late ME < MF: lit., (it) keeps clothing
Pepper, is this what you were talking about?
Mtn Muse

 

A really good book is much like an artichoke. As you peel back each page of the of the book, you get closer and closer to the succulent heart of the story.
Contributor
handberry
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-20-2010
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Re: Historical Fiction?

Titanic  

Author Troy Veenstra
www.veenstrapublishing.biz
New User
JConMartin
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-30-2011
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Re: Historical Fiction?

Push Not the River  Are you up for historical fiction set in Poland during the eighteenth century?

 

PUSH NOT THE RIVER is based on the diary of a Polish countess who lived during a very turbulent time.

It's a story of love and war and a rivalry between Anna and her cousin.

 

Family saga would describe it, I guess. At St. Martin's Press request, AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY provided an exciting sequel.

 

The finale to the trilogy is in the works.

New User
JConMartin
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-30-2011
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Re: Historical Fiction?

Push Not the River  Are you up for historical fiction set in Poland during the eighteenth century?

 

PUSH NOT THE RIVER is based on the diary of a Polish countess who lived during a very turbulent time.

It's a story of love and war and a rivalry between Anna and her cousin.

 

Family saga would describe it, I guess. At St. Martin's Press request, AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY provided an exciting sequel.

 

The finale to the trilogy is in the works.

Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Historical Fiction?


JConMartin wrote:

Push Not the River  Are you up for historical fiction set in Poland during the eighteenth century?

 

PUSH NOT THE RIVER is based on the diary of a Polish countess who lived during a very turbulent time.

It's a story of love and war and a rivalry between Anna and her cousin.

 

Family saga would describe it, I guess. At St. Martin's Press request, AGAINST A CRIMSON SKY provided an exciting sequel.

 

The finale to the trilogy is in the works.


Thanks JCon, are you the author?

St. Martins is one of my favorite publishers

do you reommend reading the novels in order?

Thanks for commenting

Reader 4
miss_dobie
Posts: 43
Registered: ‎03-05-2011
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Re: Historical Fiction?

[ Edited ]

The Autobiography of Henry VIII  The very first historical fiction book about Tudor England that I read was "The Autobiography of King Henry VIII" by Margaret George.  Thank goodness this was my first because, as it happened, I accidentally ran into one of the very finest writers of our times!  The book was absolutely amazing and I have been truly spoiled.  Margaret George is the best at anything she writes!  After that, I found Jean Plaidy.  She has a wealth of books on historical England of that time period, before and after.  If you read these authors, you will learn an incredible amount of important British history and the stories will be told in such a way that you will never forget them.  My advice:  start here and start with the best.  Enjoy!

B&N rocks!

My signature line is better than your signature line. :smileyhappy:
Reader 4
miss_dobie
Posts: 43
Registered: ‎03-05-2011
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Re: Historical Fiction?

I agree.  Wolf Hall was very interesting and I chose it because I wanted to know more about Cromwell.  However, I found it to be a very, very hard read.  I would not recommend Wolf Hall to anyone who is just beginning to get into Tudor England.  Save this book for once you have read all of (1) Margaret George, (2) Jean Plaidy, and (3) Phillippa Gregory.

B&N rocks!

My signature line is better than your signature line. :smileyhappy:
Contributor
JMBAR
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎10-04-2010
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Re: Historical Fiction?

Heart of the Lion  

 

 One woman's courage would determine the fate of the English crown.

Distinguished Bibliophile
Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Historical Fiction?

[ Edited ]

A while back I believe someone asked for a suggestion for fiction featuring Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Well, shortly thereafter I saw an advertisement for the  book I am going to list below, but then I couldn't remember who asked the question.  Later, I found the request again, but by then I had lost the name of the book!  :smileysad::smileymad:

 

Tonight I saw the advertisement again, but of course I can't find the request!  So, I'm going to post it here under historical fiction and if the topic is of interest to any one out there, you are on your own to figure out if it is a worthwhile read:

 

The Queen's Pawn by Christy English

 

Okay -- update.  This is now a duplicate message.  I found the original request and have responded to it as well.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
Contributor
JMBAR
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎10-04-2010
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Re: Historical Fiction?

Fallen Hopes, Taken Dreams

 

 

They were teenagers whose only crime was being born Native American.  For that they would suffer terribly.  Fiction woven in fact, Fallen Hopes, Taken Dreams is a powerful story of love and survival.  A must-read for your Nook.  

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dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Historical Fiction?


JMBAR wrote:

Fallen Hopes, Taken Dreams

 

 

They were teenagers whose only crime was being born Native American.  For that they would suffer terribly.  Fiction woven in fact, Fallen Hopes, Taken Dreams is a powerful story of love and survival.  A must-read for your Nook.  


thanks for bringing this front and center, You're the author I assume.

 

Is this fiction or non-fiction, where does it take place

Good luck with your nookbook