Following on the heels of Tuesday’s post, 7 Great Historical Fiction Characteristics, From Where I Sit, here are a few amazing historical fiction or historical romance authors I’ve found. Links are provided and at least one of my favorite titles for each author. Large tomes absolutely thrill me as I can immerse myself totally in the story.
The first of Sharon Kay Penman’s books which I read was lent to me by a dear librarian friend. The Sunne in Splendour tells of the reign of Richard III and completely won me over both to the main character and the power of Penman’s writing prowess. She has several more historical tomes, all of which I own and love. Her short historical mysteries are not so much to my taste.
Colleen McCullough first came to my attention with The Thorn Birds which brought Australia, the priesthood, and an amazing ranch to the fore. It was so striking that the movie hit the big time, bringing many more McCullough readers on board. Her Caesar series is my favorite, but she is so prolific an author I haven’t even read all of her books, although I’ve finished the whole Caesar series.
Margaret George is another favorite historical fiction author whose book, The Autobiography of Henry VIII with Notes by his Fool Will Somers, I read many years ago, yet still remember fondly. Since that one I have purchased several others of George’s huge tomes, each one a long, luxurious read that I just don’t want to end. Her latest, Elizabeth I, sits on my bedside now, just waiting for me to have time to crack it open.
Diana Gabaldon caught my attention with her arresting characters, Jamie and Claire, set against The Battle of Culloden and modern-day through a time travel device. The Outlander Series is great fun, illuminating a lot of historical material from the personal side of these fictional characters. Gabaldon’s Lord John series is not as arresting in my opinion but I’ve still read them all as Lord John interacts with Jamie and Claire. Gabaldon is a great author to discover and then read through all of her books.
M. M. Kaye’s The Far Pavilions is an intriguing look at the land of the Himalayas and its British connections. Read the description in the link for an excellent teaser. I loved this book but have never found another by this author, more’s the pity.
Herman Wouk. When I started reading The Winds of War, the story so captivated me that I couldn’t eat or sleep without living the book. I became very upset and when I began War and Remembrance Part I, I had to put it aside. A few years ago, at a slower part of my life, I picked up the series and tried again. This time I got through, loving every moment. The story of a family interconnected with different parts of the Second World War is vibrant and real, telling this part of our history from many different viewpoints, such as a Jewish girl, Pearl Harbour, and the navy and air force. The Caine Mutiny is Wouk’s first book in the series, a worthy volume as well.
Edward Rutherfurd takes a geographical area and starts perhaps thousands of years ago telling its story through the inhabitants. He covers many years but keeps the reader on side by showing a silver streak in the hair or brilliant blue eyes from generation to generation. I loved London, Forest and Sarum, the most. Again, these are large books with sweeping subjects, all giving an understanding of today through the history.
One final person on whom I shine a spotlight is Alison Weir, who writes history so well it reads like historical fiction. She is an amazing historian with a long line of books to her credit. Check out her site here.
The wonderful thing about this post is that you can add to my list of favorite historicals by commenting below. And if you don’t read historical fiction, perhaps you might share your favorite book of all time. While I love HF, I have many other books which have touched me deeply; in fact, one wonders where to stop with this topic!