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Old 11-20-2010, 04:43 PM   #1
shore_pk
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Need historical fiction recommendations

I'm looking for some great historical fiction recommendations that are available in an electronic format (free or $).

Almost anytime period from 1700 forward is fine, any location. Some favorites place and times are: Germany, Scotland, Ireland, England, Australia, China or Japan, WW2 (homefront life more than battles), survival stories and immigration stories.

I do not like supernatural, paranormal, witchcraft or graphic sex, violence or language.

TY,

Linda
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Old 11-20-2010, 09:08 PM   #2
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Is it safe to assume that you are already familiar with Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens ... etc etc? I'm currently re-reading Pride and Prejudice and loving it, just went past one of my favourite lines: "There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well."

Almost any list of free epubs will give you quite a good listing of classic historical fiction. I was surprised to find Edgar Rice Burroughs' "The Outlaw of Torn" in amongst a Historical fiction list ... I guess it's strictly correct but never really thought of his writing that way (it's a good yarn, albeit short and very much in the Burroughs' style).

I did a quick search for Ion Idriess, to see what was available as ebooks. Read about him here: http://delarue.net/idriess.htm His work is rather different, mostly quite factual but written almost like fiction. I found some of this books quite hard work but others have been very enjoyable. The only ebook I found was this one: The Red Chief as Told by the Last of His Tribe. As it happens that's one I have not read before so I can't tell you anything about it.

You might also like to try some Robert Goddard, if you haven't already. Many of his books have a strong historical aspect to them. "In Pale Battalions" is still a real favourite but many of his others are very very good too.

I found "The Physician" by Noah Gordon to be very good but I was not been to see it under any ebook searchs - you may have better luck.

One from left-field is "Airman" by Eoin Colfer (he of Artemis Fowl fame). Not sure if you'd really classify it as historical fiction or not, but it certainly has that feel to it. It may have been intended for younger readers, not sure, but I know I enjoyed it - just as I have enjoyed his Artemis Fowl books.
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:21 AM   #3
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Old 11-21-2010, 03:48 AM   #4
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Linda,

Here are some ideas off the top of my head:

The Black Arrow, Robert Louis Stevenson (English War of the Roses)

Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson (Jacobite Revolt in Scotland)

The Master of Ballantrae, Robert Louis Stevenson (Jacobite Revolt in Scotland)

The Count of Monte Christo, Alexander Dumas ("Hundred Days" in France)

Scaramouche, Rafael Sabatini (French Revolution)

A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (French Revolution)
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Old 11-21-2010, 03:51 AM   #5
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Is it safe to assume that you are already familiar with Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens .....

You might also like to try some Robert Goddard, if you haven't already. Many of his books have a strong historical aspect to them. "In Pale Battalions" is still a real favourite but many of his others are very very good too.
I agree with your about Robert Goddard, but I'm not sure that I'd class Jane Austen or Cholotte Bronte as historical fiction - more like fiction that was written a long time ago.
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Old 11-21-2010, 06:05 AM   #6
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I agree with your about Robert Goddard, but I'm not sure that I'd class Jane Austen or Cholotte Bronte as historical fiction - more like fiction that was written a long time ago.
So at least we know they are authentic and well researched.

But I guess you're right, that is a valid distinction - although we may want to ask the OP whether they meant Historical fiction or historical fiction (if you see what I mean).

To me there is nothing like the "being there" sense you get from reading Dickens, Austen, Wells ... (pick your author), to give you a sense of the time and place. It may not have been written as Historical fiction but that is what it has become (and just think of all the contemporary writers who will become part of a new genre as time passes).

I love that the books written long ago take me some pages to adjust to the writing - the adjustment is part of the transport. Sure I think Goddard is a wonderful author, and sure I enjoy some of Michener and some others, but the experience is quite different to reading those authors that lived in that time. Personally I consider H.G.Wells novels to be historical now (they barely qualify as the science fiction they were written as originally) because they transport me to a time when not just the language, but their very way of thinking, was subtly different to what it is today.
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Old 11-21-2010, 03:54 PM   #7
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I am familiar with the classics - I enjoyed Tale of Two Cities and loved Count of Monte Cristo and some of Dumas' other works.

I think I mean both historical and Historical fiction now that you bring it up. I enjoy both but get frustrated by the (sometimes) overly offensive content in new books and also, some that are not as well written sound too modern at times for the setting. On the other hand older books can be challenging to read at times.

TY, I will check out the thread mentioned above and Robert Goddard!
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Old 11-21-2010, 08:11 PM   #8
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I posted this in another thread on Historical fiction.
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shore_pk View Post
I'm looking for some great historical fiction recommendations that are available in an electronic format (free or $).

Almost anytime period from 1700 forward is fine, any location. Some favorites place and times are: Germany, Scotland, Ireland, England, Australia, China or Japan, WW2 (homefront life more than battles), survival stories and immigration stories.

I do not like supernatural, paranormal, witchcraft or graphic sex, violence or language.

TY,

Linda
Linda, if New Zealand in the Victorian period sounds interesting to you, you might enjoy my books :-) The first one is free.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:42 AM   #10
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May I suggest The Secret River by Kate Grenville, historical fiction about the early English settlers of Australia (so part of it takes place in England). There are some parts that are very disturbing, though.

Shayne, I will have to check out your books since they sound like they might be up my alley. I am wondering if you have read The Secret River and what you thought of it?

eP

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Old 11-22-2010, 09:59 AM   #11
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To me there is nothing like the "being there" sense you get from reading Dickens, Austen, Wells ... (pick your author), to give you a sense of the time and place. ... Sure I think Goddard is a wonderful author, and sure I enjoy some of Michener and some others, but the experience is quite different to reading those authors that lived in that time.
I agree with all those points.

The trouble with a lot of modern historical fiction is that you can see the research, if you know what I mean: the author goes out of their way to slip in odd facts that they've dug up in their research, just for the sake of showing off their knowledge.

Regarding Robert Goddard. For the benefit of those who don't know him, he is a British writer who writes intricate thrillers and conspiracy novels, often involving modern characters investigating some sinister event in the past. His first book, Past Caring, and also In Pale Batallions (mentioned by Gmw) are excellent, but I think he went off the boil with his later books.

(I also read somewhere that he is John Major's favourite author. Not sure if that is a recommendation or not.)
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:00 AM   #12
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I do not like supernatural, paranormal, witchcraft or graphic sex, violence or language.
Dang! Talk about sucking the life outta fiction.
(I kid)
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:03 AM   #13
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Linda, if New Zealand in the Victorian period sounds interesting to you, you might enjoy my books :-) The first one is free.
I highly recommend Shayne's books. They are some of the best-written ebooks I've read. I reviewed them here.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:06 AM   #14
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Linda,

One other author to add to the list is Nigel Tranter. He has written many novels set in Scotland, many set against the background of Anglo-Scottish conflicts and civil wars.

Another excellent Scottish historical writer is John Prebble, who writes about the Jacobite Revolt and the subsequent decline of the Highland clans.

If you're interested in getting a feel for Scotland over the last few hundred years, both writers witers will be worth considering.
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Old 11-22-2010, 11:45 AM   #15
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Linda, if New Zealand in the Victorian period sounds interesting to you, you might enjoy my books :-) The first one is free.
Can you tell me the order of the books? I found 2 that were free and I'm not sure which one is first?

TY
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