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Old 12-10-2009, 05:28 PM   #16
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'Possession' by Antonia Byatt
FABULOUS book. I loved it. It has both historical and contemporary romance with a large dollop of literary treasure hunting.

In North America, the author is listed as "A.S. Byatt".

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Old 12-10-2009, 05:37 PM   #17
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the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon. You either love 'em or hate 'em. Many adore them!! This is one series where it *really* matters that you start at the beginning tho.
I didn't; hated & didn't finish it; started the series later un-knowingly, and wondered why that middle book sounded so familiar (up to where I had quit it). Yummy historical view!
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I'd definitely say these are romance in disguise. I like them myself because I think they're fun, entertaining, light reading, but the books fits comfortably within 'historical romance' IMHO.
Well, there is a LOT of historical detail, about ordinary life, in there too. And a lot LESS romance than the previously mentioned Georgette Heyer (which I also love). I mean, Georgette Heyer is ONLY about a romance --- which is not the same as saying "sex".
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:38 PM   #18
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Well, you might like "Pillars of the Earth". There is a strong romance component to the novel, however that is only one element of the plot. Are you looking for something that is "all" romance, i.e. the plot is only focused around romance? (Sorry I might not be making much sense...)
I totally get what you're asking. I don't minding the love story being the sub plot. I've picked up "Pillars of the Earth" I think the last 3 times I've gone into B&N... Maybe I should just read it eh?

Thanks for all the suggestions!!! Lots to choose from now!
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Old 12-10-2009, 06:51 PM   #19
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What historical period and country interests you?

Some suggestions (that are not romance in disguise):

Edit: I just realised you still wanted a love story....

Rose by Martin Cruz Smith
'Fingersmith' and 'Affinity' by Sarah Waters
Any book by Judith Merkle Riley except the last three - they're humour, it might not be what you are looking for?
'Possession' by Antonia Byatt
In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant (BTW, even if there actually *is* half-naked woman on the cover (I just realised), it's not 'romance', so don't diss it bec. of the cover )
edit, added: 'Girl with a pearl earring' by Tracy Chevalier


Moved these out of the way. Good historical novels, but not love stories:
Colleen McColloughs 'Master's of Rome' series
Roanoke by Margaret Lawrence
Lempriere's Dictionary by Lawrence Norfolk
'A Conspiracy of Paper' and 'The Coffee Trader' by David Liss
The Blood Doctor by Barbara Vine
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber
The Physician by Noah Gordon
Wow, nice list! Thanks! I'm not picky as far as time period. In the Company of the Courtesan sounds really good!

Thanks for the suggestions!
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:13 AM   #20
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I totally get what you're asking. I don't minding the love story being the sub plot. I've picked up "Pillars of the Earth" I think the last 3 times I've gone into B&N... Maybe I should just read it eh?

Thanks for all the suggestions!!! Lots to choose from now!
The pillars of the Earth is a great book, so - yeah - just read it!
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:25 AM   #21
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'Possession' by Antonia Byatt
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FABULOUS book. I loved it. It has both historical and contemporary romance with a large dollop of literary treasure hunting.
In North America, the author is listed as "A.S. Byatt".
'Possession' is one of my least favourite books - ever.
I can't resist any opportunity to express my loathing of it - sorry.

I always think of it as similar to John Fowles' 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'; which I thought a much better read.

I'd also highly recommend Alasdair Gray's 'Poor Things' - a brilliant variation on the Frankenstein story.

Last edited by Sparrow; 12-11-2009 at 03:29 AM.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:56 AM   #22
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I'm trying to find a good historical fiction with a love story in it. (not "historical romances"-if there's a picture of a half naked renaissance (sp?) woman on the cover-not my thing)

I'm leaning toward something more along the lines of Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights...

Any suggestions?
How about Barbara Hambly's series with Benjamin January as protagonist? He was a black freeman in New Orleans, a musician, and a surgeon. The first of the series is A Free Man of Colour. But the romance does not become important until later in the series.

Regards, Alex
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Old 12-11-2009, 04:38 AM   #23
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'Possession' is one of my least favourite books - ever.
I can't resist any opportunity to express my loathing of it - sorry.

I always think of it as similar to John Fowles' 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'; which I thought a much better read.
Loathe? Did you say 'loathe'? While I don't consider it her strongest work, you're talking about my favourite author here, hm?

Seriously, why? I mean, 'loathe' is a strong word - I can't even think of any book I loathe. You can't just drop in here and 'loathe' a book without an explanation

Byatt is a literary author, and I know people who've stumbled over this aspect of her writing. Personally I like her so much because she's such a visual writer, both metaphorically and literally. If you think there is a theme, or that a colour or a name has a certain meaning or connection, you're probably right. For me at makes the stories a bit like puzzles. They are so very interesting.
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Old 12-11-2009, 05:41 AM   #24
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Loathe? Did you say 'loathe'? While I don't consider it her strongest work, you're talking about my favourite author here, hm?

Seriously, why? I mean, 'loathe' is a strong word - I can't even think of any book I loathe. You can't just drop in here and 'loathe' a book without an explanation
All that fairytale garbage; and the cod-Victorian poetry - it seemed to me she was treating her readers like idiots.

And the characters were intensely annoying as well. The plot was derivative, the book was too long.
But mainly it was the feeling of being treated like an idiot by a second-rate writer - soooo annoying!
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Old 12-11-2009, 08:56 AM   #25
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All that fairytale garbage; and the cod-Victorian poetry - it seemed to me she was treating her readers like idiots.

And the characters were intensely annoying as well. The plot was derivative, the book was too long.
But mainly it was the feeling of being treated like an idiot by a second-rate writer - soooo annoying!
I think you're a lost cause (case?). You have no idea what you missed in that book if that was the only thing you got out of it.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:17 AM   #26
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I think you're a lost cause (case?). You have no idea what you missed in that book if that was the only thing you got out of it.
Perhaps it's a gender thing. Some books seem to appeal to women, but not to men. Eg, I've never heard a man say that he enjoyed Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series, but lots of girls seem to love it.
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:20 AM   #27
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Among my favorite historical fiction are the Flashman series by George MacDonald Fraser. He borrowed the Harry Flashman character from the novel 'Tom Brown's School Days' and has placed him at the center of momentous events in Victorian Britain such as the Charge of the Light Brigade, Sacking of the Summer Palace and the Retreat from Kabul. He even has him in the US in a couple of novels.

Very funny while at the same time, very historically accurate.
Second this recommendation, absolutely my favourite series of books. I would query the 'love story' requirement with these though. Harry Flashman's more of a 'lust' kind of guy.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:42 PM   #28
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Perhaps it's a gender thing. Some books seem to appeal to women, but not to men. Eg, I've never heard a man say that he enjoyed Diana Gabaldon's "Outlander" series, but lots of girls seem to love it.
Yes and no... I don't see much similarity between the 'Outlander' series and Byatt's 'Possession' except in a very superficial sense. Outlander is a romantic, historical action-adventure, where 'Possession' is a carefully crafted and styled literary novel. Sort of like the difference between 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and an art-house film. I like both, but not for the same reasons.

Byatt do tend to have women and women's condition's as a strong theme, and I think this may make her work more accessible to women than men. This book though, is more of a hero-journey tale, with Roland as the primary protagonist. Women play a large role, but it's not their story. Maud do go through a transformation, but one that is initiated by Roland, while his own comes from within himself.

So this is really a story about a man. But.... the water-fairy, Melusine, is a transsexual creature - where does that leave the combined Roland-Maud... They are both impotent/frozen humans who become whole via each other. At the outset, you shouldn't think either had the power to move the other.

Byatt states in the preface that this book is written as a 'romance', and it has elements of both the 'high romance' of medieval times, as well as 'low romance' (as Tolkien defined it) of the 19th century (not quite as in modern 'romance novel'). There's also strong folklore/fairytale elements, too, especially in the tale of the modern couple of Roland and Maud (which incidentally have 'high romance' style, non-modern, names). Roland, for example, is almost literally a mole; he has dark sleek hair, he lives underground and at the library he digs out and un-earth texts form the depths of the stacks. He even has an underground work office - in Hell, or at least the 'nether regions'. His demonic master, Professor ?? is an atheist(I think?) and described as fire-and-brimstone preacher. Maud is a water creature. Always surrounded by cool green and white, glass and water. Like Melusine, but without power. She's hiding behind a frozen exterior like a fairy-tale heroine, always slipping away like water.

And so on. I could go on I've read the book three times, but it's 8-9 years since last time, and it's been interesting to think about it again. I've learned a great deal a since then about stories and analysis and interpretation.
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Old 12-11-2009, 12:55 PM   #29
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I haven't read this one, but came across it on the various indie blogs where I hang out (I think she's an indie author, but maybe not.)

http://www.amazon.com/Arianas-Pride/...fxsouandmag-20

I know there are other formats available at this blog:

http://www.jobreepublishing.com/

Again, haven't read it, so can't say if it's any good, but I think it falls into the type of book you are looking for.

Maria
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Old 12-11-2009, 01:25 PM   #30
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Byatt do tend to have women and women's condition's as a strong theme, and I think this may make her work more accessible to women than men. This book though, is more of a hero-journey tale, with Roland as the primary protagonist. ... So this is really a story about a man. ...
If 'Possession' is typical, then I don't think Byatt can portray convincing male characters.
That was another aspect of my irritation with it.
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