“A Brightness Long Ago” by Guy Gavriel Kay – The Meeting Between Free Will and Fate
Guy Gavriel Kay is without question one of the more prominent and outstanding speculative fiction authors writing today, and I think we can add A Brightness Long Ago to his list of successes.
The story follows an old and powerful man, part of the ruling council in a fantasy version of Venice, as he remembers his rather turbulent youth, how he came to be where he is, as well as all the different men and women who shaped his fate.
“The Book of Longings” by Sue Monk Kidd – The Rebellious Thorn
Sue Monk Kidd has never run short on imagination in her books, and her latest work, The Book of Longings, yet again bears testament to this.
Set in the first century during the Roman occupation of Israel, the novel borrows some elements from history to tell the story of Ana, who is determined to give a voice to the other silenced women of her times while trying to carve a most difficult path for her own fulfillment.
“The Man in the Red Coat” by Julian Barnes – Free-Range Intellectualism
Julian Barnes has long ago distinguished himself as one of the most intellectually-stimulating authors of our times, and with The Man in the Red Coat he puts his talents to use once again, taking us to the heart of the Belle Epoque Paris.
Through a journey on which we are guided by Samuel Pozzi, a pioneering gynecologist of his times, we make the acquaintance of the many remarkable people who populated the end of the 19th century, and the unexpected parallels drawn between this epoch and our own.
“The King at the Edge of the World” by Arthur Phillips – What Does a Monarch Believe?
Arthur Phillips has really been exploring his abilities as an author by diving into different genres since his first novel, and in The King at the Edge of the World he transports us into the realm of historical fiction.
Taking place in 1601, we follow a web of courtly intrigues anchored around the impending death of Queen Elizabeth I, the leading candidate to her succession King James VI, and Mahmoud Ezzedine, a Muslim physician who stayed behind from the Ottoman Empire’s last diplomatic visit.
“The Source” by James A. Michener – The Holy Land Madhouse
James A. Michener had a rather peculiar specialty as an author, focusing on rather lengthy historical novels profoundly focusing on a specific geographical location.
The Source, originally published back in 1965, takes us on a journey thousands of years long through the Holy Land, recounting the origins of Judaism, the rise of the early Hebrews, and all which happened since then until the modern conflict with Palestine.
“The Huntress” by Kate Quinn – The Long Hunt After the War
Kate Quinn has firmly cemented her place among the best historical fiction writers of today a few novels, and she continues her good literary streak with The Huntress.
The story is composed of three narratives, each one following in some way the titular Huntress, a Nazi war criminal of legendary proportions.
“Toward the Midnight Sun” by Eoin Dempsey – The Guiding Promise
Eoin Dempsey isn’t one to skimp on complexity and emotional depth in his novels, often trying to get to the very core of what his characters are experiencing.
In his most recent novel, titled Toward the Midnight Sun, we undertake an epic adventure with Anna Denton, a prospector during the Klondike gold rush with a different goal than most: to reach Henry Bradwell, the King of the Klondike, and the man she is meant to marry.
Despite the warm welcome after a treacherous journey, the winter is only beginning its deadly machinations.
“The Parisians” by Marius Gabriel – Neighbours and Enemies
Marius Gabriel has the undeniable knack of being able to profoundly penetrate into the soul of his characters while bringing history to life around them.
In The Parisians he takes us on another such excursion, presenting us with three women living in occupied Paris: the American Olivia Olsen, the designer Coco Chanel, and the French actress Arletty.
In their own ways, they all find themselves getting closer and closer to the enemy, a path which has its own price when the war finally comes to an end.
“Circe” by Madeline Miller – The Bridge Between Gods and Mortals
Madeline Miller has certainly made the best literary use of her time researching Greece and its mythology, recently penning her second novel titled Circe, told from the perspective of the titular character from the Odyssey.
In her own tale, Zeus exiles her to a deserted island after feeling threatened by her power, a place where Circe meets many famous mythological figures and begins her journey onwards to not only defy the Olympians, but also to choose which side she belongs to: gods or mortals.
“Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen” by Alison Weir – Mother of the Heir
Alison Weir has certainly done her part in bringing light to the Tudor dynasty in her Six Tudor Queens series, examining in detail the many women who came and went during this period of great turbulence in British history.
In Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen, Weir recounts the life of the titular woman, often overlooked in favour of the more tragic stories revolving around the wives of King Henry VIII.
A strange occurrence, considering she is the one who eventually brought forth his coveted son into the world.
“Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession” by Alison Weir – The Infamous Queen
Alison Weir has educated us quite a bit on King Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon, and pursues her ambition in Anne Boleyn, A King’s Obsession, telling us the story of the king’s second and arguably most infamous wife.
While her beheading has made the pages of countless history books for its ultimate political significance, few have sought to explore the unusually eventful life which led up to that point.
“Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen” by Alison Weir – The First Wife
One would be hard-pressed to find a person more qualified than Alison Weir when it comes to tackling the history of British Royalty.
Author of countless history books, she also likes to teach history in an alternative, fictionalized way, most notably through her Six Tudor Queens Series, each part dealing with one wife of the infamous King Henry VIII.
In Katherine of Aragon, Alison Weir takes us into the life of the king’s first and truly devoted wife as she rises from young Spanish princess to Queen of England and is forced to fight for what is hers in rather unexpected ways.