Category: Historical Fiction


by Catherine Marshall, 1967 Christy Huddleston, 19 yrs. old, volunteers to teach in a mission school in Cutter Gap, Tennessee in 1912 (Appalachia). She learns to love God and the poor mountain people who have it so hard. Some are mean, cruel. But in the end, love conquers. She teaches 67 children in a one-room […]

Les Miserables

by Victor Hugo, 1862, translated by Norman Denny 1200 pages. What a great book!!! Recommended by Sandy Calhoun. Jean Val Jean – ex-convict, imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving nephews, who changes into a saint after Bishop Digne gives him his silver candlesticks too, rather than having him arrested for stealing […]

King Solomon’s Mines

by H. Rider Haggard, 1885 Three Englishmen go on an adventure to find King Solomon’s diamond mine. After nearly dying many times, and being in a war in Kukualand, they make it! Almost die in the mine, too. Gagool, the ancient witch, locks them in but they manage to get out with a few diamonds […]

The Other Boleyn Girl

by Philippa Gregory, 2001 Racy novel about 1500-1536 England with King Henry VIII. Mary Boleyn, the sweet one, is the only one to survive. Brother, George, and sister, Queen Anne, are beheaded in 1536, accused of adultery. Anne was evil, ambitious – ruined Queen Katherine – poisoned a man – would do anything to get […]

Gates of Fire

by Steven Pressfield, 1998 The 300 Spartans go to battle at Thermopylae where all are eventually killed but not until they have killed millions of the enemy (Xerxes of Persia). What a great book! What warriors! Became intimate with the Spartans-their king, Leonidas, and their officers; Polynikes, Dienekes, Olympieus, and their wives. 480 B.C. Beautiful […]

Water for Elephants

by Sara Gruen, 2006 Jacob Jankowski’s parents are killed in an automobile accident. He is forced to join a circus – couldn’t finish his vet school exams. Gets hired as the circus vet. Falls in love with Marlena, who is married to August, a cruel, psychotic, animal trainer. He (August) tries to have Jacob killed […]

The Winds of War

by Herman Wouk, 1971 Historical novel about the years 1939 to 1941 and the start of WWII as seen through the family of Pug and Rhoda Henry. Victor (Pug) is Navy attache in Germany and then Russia. He has 2 sons, Warren and Byron, and a daughter, Madeline. They are grown children. The 2 boys […]

The Pillars of the Earth

by Ken Follett, 1989 From Karma. Wow! What a book, 973 pages! It was set in England from the years 1123 to 1174. Ken Follett’s preface says this book was out of character – a story about building a church. “What’s more, I don’t believe in God.” He fell in love with Peterborough Cathedral. Took […]

The Street of a Thousand Blossoms

by Gail Tsukiyama, 2008 Japan – 1930s to 1960s Two brothers, Hiroshi and Kenji, cared for by grandparents because parents drowned. Through WWII, Hiroshi became a Sumo wrestler, grand champion. Kenji became a mask-maker for the Noh Theatre. Both married, both lost wives. Hiroshi lost Aki – suicide – never overcame the guilt of her […]

The Bonesetter’s Daughter

by Amy Tan, 2003 WONDERFUL!!! Ruth-modern day San Francisco and her mother, LuLing and her mother, “Precious Auntie.” LuLing’s mother, “Precious Auntie,” who lost her fiance and father on the same day because of the evil Chang family. When LuLing is to marry a Chang, Precious Auntie killed herself which saved LuLing from making a […]

A Passage to India

by E.M. Forster, 1924 Hard to follow, hard to understand, but it was about India under British rule (yet another book in that time period!) Main characters: Dr. Aziz, Fielding, Heaslop, Mrs. Moore, Adela Quested, and many of Dr. Aziz’s Indian friends. Everything okay until Aziz takes Mrs. Moore and Miss Quested to Marabar Caves, […]

Things Fall Apart

by Chinua Achebe, 1958 A story about tribal Africa (Nigeria) and Okonkwo, a warrior, ashamed of his lazy father, mean & angry, and his “clan.” Many superstitions and gods, rules, etc., for living. Grow yams. Missionaries come – His son Nwoye converts. Bad ending – 2nd missionary not good. Okonkwo wants to destroy them all […]

The Far Pavilions

by M.M. Kaye, 1978 Over 900 pages – set in 1800s – India & Afghanistan. British rule India – Ash, Juli, Wally – EPIC – Ash main character from birth to young man. What a life! What he went through, not accepted by Britain or India. His thoughts and ideas could have saved 1000s of […]