It will probably come as no surprise to you that my favorite genre is Historical Fiction, and while I love reading books and watching movies from a wide variety of genres, today we are going to focus on the historical fiction novels I read in 2018.
1. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Summary (from back of book): When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king and take fate into her own hands.
My Opinion: OH MY GOODNESS! This book was fascinating! I knew the story of Henry the VIII from history class, and I’ve read other historical fiction novels about Anne Boleyn, but this novel told from the perspective of Anne’s sister Mary….it put the whole story in a different light. It was a point of view I had never thought about much since the role of Mary Boleyn is lost in the history books. I would highly recommend this book.
2. The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde
Summary (from back of book): Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax are both in love with the same mythical suitor. Jack Worthing has wooed Gwendolen as Ernest while Algernon has also posed as Ernest to win the heart of Jack’s ward, Cecily. When all four arrive at Jack’s country home on the same weekend the “rivals” to fight for Ernest’s undivided attention and the “Ernests” to claim their beloveds pandemonium breaks loose. Only a senile nursemaid and an old, discarded hand-bag can save the day!
My Opinion: This play by Oscar Wilde is simply hilarious! Some of it’s humor would probably be lost on a reader who does not know about the social protocol of the late Victorian/Edwardian era, but as for me who lives for that kind of thing, I found it incredibly amusing.
3. The Last Full Measure by Ann Rinaldi
Summary (from back of book): As Confederate and Union soldiers take over their town, the local residents can do little more than hunker down in their homes while cannon and gunfire explode around them. But the battles are not only fought between soldiers. At home, fourteen-year-old Tacy and her disabled brother lock horns as David struggles with his desire to go to war. He has strong principles, and it tortures him to allow others to fight while he does nothing. In the aftermath of this great and terrible battle, in which so many soldiers sacrifice their lives for their beliefs, David gives his last full measure…and leaves Tacy struggling to make sense out of it all.
My Opinion: I’ve had this book for awhile and finally got around to reading it when I went to the Gettysburg reenactment last July. I fear I waited to long to read it, for while it is a good book, it’s main audience is young teens. So while I enjoyed reading about the city I had visited and places I had stood, I found some of the characters and plot wanting simply because I am much older then the target audience.
4. Memoirs of a Geisha by Author Golden
Summary (from back of book): In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable.
My Opinion: Wow, this book is so beautifully written. The life of a Geisha in the early to mid 1900’s Japan is simply fascinating. If you are looking for a book to submerge yourself in, look no further. This book appeals to all the senses. I would highly recommend.
Ok and there is one that is Historical Non-fiction, but I just couldn’t leave it out!
5. Royal Love Stories: The tales behind the real-life romances of Europe’s kings and queens by Gill Paul
Summary (from back of book): Wealth. Power. Status. The kings and queens throughout history seem to have it all. And yet love, it appears, was so often out of their reach. Marriages were arranged to form dynasties, fall in love with “the wrong person” was forbidden, the pressure to produce an heir was rife; responsibility forced hands and hearts had to follow.
Royal Love Stories tells the true love stories of 14 couples, providing a fascinating retelling of royal romance over the last seven centuries. Touching, absorbing, and tragic by turns, these stories bring the glamour and contradictions of royalty vividly to life.
My Opinion: I read this book right before the wedding of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry. My wonderful big sister gave this to me for my birthday because she knows I love several things a lot: weddings, history, and royals. This book combined all of them! I found the love stories of these royal couples very interesting, and would recommend the book.