If the term ‘historical fiction’ automatically makes you think of ancient old school books, then we’ve got to do something about that! Here we have six fantastic reads that are going to blow those dusty old tomes out of the water (and out of your memories) and have you reaching for the history books with relish! Full of drama, intrigue and suspense – these little slices of history are the perfect holiday companion if you want to try something a little different this summer:
The Six Tudor Queens: Katherine Of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir
You’re going to need to set a bit of time aside for this one as it’s quite the tome, but oh my days is it worth it. This marks the first in a brand new series from Alison Weir, which tells the stories of the six wives of Henry VIII and this author knows her stuff. So much so, that those who would describe themselves as pretty well versed on the Tudors will find whole chapters of their regal lives you’ve never discovered before. It’s informative, it’s passionate and it’s ruthless.
Skin by Ilka Tampke
Setting: Celtic Britain
Ailia has never truly belonged, for she has no totem, no ‘skin’. Without skin, she is not allowed to learn the traditions of her ancestors, or to marry. But this is Celtic Britain, and the dark power of the Roman Empire is gathering in the distance. As Ailia’s people prepare to face a brutal enemy and an uncertain future, it is Ailia who must embrace the extraordinary power which lies within her… and who must stand, alone, to protect the people she loves from the end of everything they’ve ever known.
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
Setting: Ice Age Europe
Follow Ayla, a Cro-Magnon child who loses her parents in an earthquake and is adopted by a tribe of Neanderthal, the Clan. See how the Clan’s wary suspicion is gradually transformed into acceptance of this girl, so different from them, under the guidance of its medicine woman Iza and its wise holy man Creb. Immerse yourself in a world dictated by the demands of survival in a hostile environment, and be swept away in an epic tale of love, identity and struggle.
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson
Setting: Georgian London
London, 1727 – and Tom Hawkins is about to fall from his heaven of card games, brothels and coffee-houses into the hell of a debtors’ prison. The Marshalsea is a savage world of its own, with simple rules: those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of the gaol’s rutheless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom Hawkins has never been good at following rules – even simple ones…
The Butcher’s Hook by Janet Ellis
Setting: Georgian London
At nineteen, Anne Jaccob is awakened to the possibility of joy when she meets Fub, the butcher’s apprentice, and begins to imagine a life of passion with him. Unfortunately her parents have already chosen a more suitable husband for her than Fub. But Anne is a determined young woman, with an idiosyncratic moral compass. In the matter of pursuing her own happiness, she shows no fear or hesitation.
The Revelations of Carey Ravine by Debra Daley
The novel follows the spirited Carey Ravine and her opportunistic and charming husband Oliver Nash as they try to make it in London society, but Nash’s ambitious plans also have a hint of danger and start to draw them into association with gamblers and secret societies. When a mysterious man appears revealing a troubling secret from the past, Carey’s unease grows. It’s time for her to face the truth behind his claims, and about herself.
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