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Historical fiction, England, ca. 1300-1485 - please help

Historical fiction, England, ca. 1300-1485 - please help

Old Dec 6th, 2000, 04:54 PM
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Historical fiction, England, ca. 1300-1485 - please help

My wife is finishing Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time and wants as a birthday present another novel that covers about the same period in English history, roughly from the beginning of the Hundred Years War through the Wars of the Roses. Her birthday is three days from now, and I'll appreciate any suggestions.
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 05:13 PM
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Gosh Joe,
I wish I COULD remember a good title! (I'm interested in any responses you get!!!)

I guess I would try doing a general search or go to Amazon.com books (I'm an Amazon addict!) and do a search there...you might get some connection/suggestion in that area...

Anyway, Maybe you'll get some great suggestions right here!

I think it's so cool you're trying to find/think of something perfect for your wife!

Good luck and Happy Birthday (to her!)
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 05:55 PM
Marc David Miller
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"A Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman, although it is non-fiction, and deals primarily with France (but French/English history had much common ground then), is a wonderful read.
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 06:05 PM
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Forever Amber remains one of the more memorable fiction books I've read ... albeit 40+ years ago.

The good news is it's available in hardcover and paperback (the latter just republished this past September.

Not bad for a 1944 book!

You'll find both editions available at Amazon.com
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 06:26 PM
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Joe: Michael Crichton's novel Timeline is not the typical historical fiction as it also includes a lot of scientific theory combined with a good sense of imagination. About half of the book occurs in a French location;English and French castles / towns on opposing sides of a river, during the first 20 years of the 100 year war. The "past" is portrayed very authentically and the
mind set of the time period may interest your wife. In light of this forum and the many downer comments made here about suburban strip malls, shopping centers, and "sprawl" - it was really a kick to read Crichton's theory
and "proof" that many of these castles that Americans love to go ga-ga after
were the unlovely and unloved, deseased, cold and hard to keep up necessary evils for markets at that time. His is an interesting book with great contrasts between the modern men's sensibility and those of their
14th century counterparts. Got a little too brutal for me actually, but it's a good read.
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 06:37 PM
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While we're at it...1500's?
Anyone remember the name of a novel/bio about Anne Boleyn? (I remember reading a wonderful one years ago...)
Don't know why, but I've always been intrigued by that whole era...
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 07:24 PM
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Joe: This is a little later than the time you mentioned, mid-1500's, but if your wife likes stories about reincarnation with historical background, a great book is Green Darkness by Anya Seton.
Old Dec 6th, 2000, 07:29 PM
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They're not novels, but Alison Weir's books are wonderful. They're really easy to read, and I flowed through them exactly like a novel. I have "The Wars of the Roses," "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" and "The Children of Henry VIII," and she has written a couple of others. I can't recommend them highly enough.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 04:27 AM
Neal Sanders
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Joe, the best book I have read in the past ten years is Iain Pears' "An Instance of the Fingerpost." The setting is somewhat later -- 1663, and the period is the Restoration, but the setting is Oxford and London and the details are absolutely perfect. The writing is stunningly good, the story both plausible and imaginative.

The story is a mystery -- the murder of an Oxford don -- and the book is told, Rashomon-like, from four characters' point of view. In essence, the book is an inquiry both into a murder and into the nature of truth.

For anyone hooked on English history, this book will be a treat.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 04:39 AM
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Sharon Kay Penman has several books about pre-Tudor England. I think "The Sun in Splendor" is about the Wars of the Roses; "While Christ and His Angels (Saints?) Slept" is about the civil war between Stephen and Maude; There is also a Trilogy about Llewelyn Fawr, Simon de Montfort, and Edward Longshanks.

Edith Pargeter wrote a trilogy, "The Brothers of Gwynedd", about the Princes Llewelyn Fawr and Llewelyn ab Griffydd of Wales, as well as a book about Henry Hotspur and Henry V, "A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury".

Edith Pargeter also wrote the "Brother Cadfael Mysteries" under the pen-name of Ellis Peters.

I read, enjoyed, and would recommend all of these, although the books by Penman would probably be my first recommendation.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 04:50 AM
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Years ago, I read and loved a novel by Anya Seton called Katherine. Katherine was the wife of "kingmaker" John of Gaunt and also was the sister-in-law of Geoffrey Chaucer. It was great historical fiction.

Also, check out this Web site: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~soon/histf...rdianlist.html
It relates specifically to historical fiction during the Wars of the Roses.

Daughter of Time is one of my all-time favorite mysteries. Be sure to post what books you came up with, so all the rest of us literature aficionados can get some more recommendations!
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 04:51 AM
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Norah Lofts wrote a lot of English historical fiction, and I believe she wrote one about Anne Boylen. Anne Perry's Victorian mysteries are set in the 19th century, but they are good. Kate Ross also writes medieval mysteries.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 07:09 AM
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Anyone who reads "Green Darkness" and likes it should be sure to visit Ightham Mote, the 14C moated manor house (owned by the National Trust) where it was set. The story was based on an actual incident where workers found a skeleton inside a wall. See http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/scri...&PropertyId=91
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 07:23 AM
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I must second Katherine by Anya Seton. It is my favorite book. The action takes place between 1350 and 1400 and is a fascinating story. I read it for the first time when I was 13, and many times since. It was the reason I majored in history in college. If you look it up on Amazaon, you'll see what a loyal following the book has by how many people reviewed it.

A little earlier time period, but a wonderful book is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 07:41 AM
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Here's another vote for Alison Weir. Like the above poster stated, they may not be fiction, but they do read quite easily. In addition to the War of the Roses, Six Wives of Henry VIII and the Children of Henry VIII, she also wrote, the Princes in the Tower (reading that now), Elizabeth I, and one more that escapes my mind.

I also enjoyed both Timeline, Pillars of the Earth, and Daughter of Time (after reading that, I just had to read the Princes in the Tower).
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 09:12 AM
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I'm in the midst of reading a series of mystery novels by Margaret Frazer set in the England of this period--the protagonist is a Benedictine nun named Sister Frevisse The books have a lot of period detail and interesting characters. They are, of course, similar to the outstanding Brother Cadfael series by Edith Pargeter, which is set in a somewhat earlier period. Both series are available in paperback and I think a group of several books by each author would make a wonderful gift.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 09:26 AM
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I second the recommendation for A Distant Mirror, it's impossible to put down. Also Sharon Kay Penman's books are likewise, and they are fiction, but rich in history.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 11:21 AM
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I really enjoyed The Doomsday Book by Katherine Willis. It is a historical novel/fantasy/science fiction/suspense that takes place during the black plague. Another book by Willis, Three Men, a Dog, and a Boat (Or Three men and a dog in a boat?) takes place in victorian England and is also quite good.
Old Dec 7th, 2000, 01:53 PM
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A great Anne Boleyn book for SharonM and others interested is The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell. It is now in paperback. I believe she has another out of the same time period, but I can't remember the title.
Old Dec 8th, 2000, 06:11 AM
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While Christ and his Saints slept is excellent. Takes place slightly before what you're asking, but is a really good read. Mary, Queen of Scotland by Margaret George is slightly after that, but is really good as well. Both are fairly lengthy and get you really involved in the details.

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