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Friday, April 26, 2013

St. George's Day: Historical Fiction

We're still on our St. George's day celebrations.

I don't know if you know this, but England has lots of YE OLDEN TIMES. Lots and lots of YE OLDEN TIMES. Here are some awesome books that cover some of these YE OLDEN TIMES.

    

Gilt by Katherine Longshore. This is the story of Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's doomed 5th wife. Narrated by Cat's best friend Kitty, it starts in the Dowager's house and largely focuses on life at court. This is also one of my favorite looks at Lady Rochford. I'm super-excited about Tarnish, Longshore's look at Anne Boleyn that comes out in June.

London Calling by Edward Bloor. Martin's wondering where he belongs in a difficult family and an even more difficult school situation. But then a radio lets him travel through time to relive the London Blitz. What he discovers will blow the lid off several family secrets. The time travel sounds hooky, but it's not in this dense and layered novel.

The Season by Sarah Maclean. Alex and her friends are not overly excited about the prospect of their first season. Sure, they are beautiful and come from excellent families but they aren't the type of girls who are delicate flowers, waiting to be courted by boring men old enough to be their fathers. Add in a mystery of a murdered Earl, and the boy (well, Earl) next store suddenly becoming more than your brothers' good friend, maybe and you've got yourself a winner.

    

A Spy in the House by Y. S. Lee. Sentenced to hang at the age of 12, Mary is rescued by Miss Scrimshaw's school for girls. Upon graduation, she's recruited into their secret-- a spy ring made of women, because in Victorian London, a woman who knows her place is in the perfect place to learn everything. Lee's a master at working in the details of daily life and the city, without it ever overwhelming the story. The first in a series, follow it with The Body at the Tower.

Dodger by Terry Prachett. After rescuing a beaten girl, Dodger ends up befriend Charles Dickens and being drawn into Lodon society and an international mystery that only someone with his street knowledge can solve.

Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed. It's 1910. After many years in India, the Averlys are back at Somerton, but whispers of the scandal that caused Lord Westlake his job have followed them. Ada needs to marry well to save the family, but she wants to study at Oxford and the boy who's caught her eye is most unsuitable. A large cast of characters and super gossipy, this is definitely the first in a series, but the second hasn't been announced yet.

    

Mary, Bloody Mary by Carolyn Meyer. This novelization of Mary Tudor's life-- a princess who's mother is horribly treated and then Mary loses her position and title and forced to serve her younger half-sibling. The first in Meyer's Young Royals series, follow it with Beware, Princess Elizabeth.

Year of Wonders: A Novel of the Plague by Geraldine Brooks. In the seventeenth century, when the Plague hits a small English village, they voluntarily seal themselves off, so they don't spread the disease further. Anna is an 18-year-old widow who watches as the disease takes her friends and family and tries to offer comfort and help to the dying. Published for adults, teens who enjoy literary fiction will like this one.

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet. The Cuban Missile Crisis took place in the US, but this book shows how it held the entire world in fear. Clem was born when German bombs hit his house during WWII. He's in love with the local rich girl and when bombs may start falling again, what better time than now?

What are your favorite historical fiction novels taking place in England?

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