Features · TBR Thursdays

TBR Thusday – Historical Fiction

Hello and welcome to another ‘TBR Thursday.’

In case you’re wondering ‘TBR Thursday’ is a feature where I pick five books from my TBR to share with you. They’re generally books that I feel are lesser known (have fewer ratings on Goodreads and/or I rarely see mentioned) and it’s basically an excuse to bring some more attention to these seemingly underrated books.

If anyone wants to join in you’re more than welcome to do so. I have a list of the year’s topics here and would love the excuse to learn more about the books that you feel deserve some more appreciation. Feel free to link back to me, comment on this post or contact me via the contact page of my blog if you do join in and want me to link to your post here.

This month’s topic is another genre that I want to read more of: Historical Fiction. I generally adore period dramas and movies and find history absolutely fascinating. There are certain periods of time that I love in particular – the Tudor and Victorian Era for instance – but plenty of others that I want to learn more about. So why don’t I read this genre more? I honestly don’t know. This year I fully intend to try and do so though.

The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

Just seventeen years old, Henry IX, known as William, is a king bound by the restraints of the regency yet anxious to prove himself. With the French threatening battle and the Catholics sowing the seeds of rebellion at home, William trusts only three people: his older sister Elizabeth; his best friend and loyal counselor, Dominic; and Minuette, a young orphan raised as a royal ward by William’s mother, Anne Boleyn.

Against a tide of secrets, betrayal, and murder, William finds himself fighting for the very soul of his kingdom. Then, when he and Dominic both fall in love with Minuette, romantic obsession looms over a new generation of Tudors. One among them will pay the price for a king’s desire, as a shocking twist of fate changes England’s fortunes forever.

Why?

I love the idea of this story! What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII the son that he wanted; what would happen next? It’s definitively an idea that intrigues me so I can’t wait to get stuck into this book soon. How could I possibly resist a book that promises yet more secrets, betrayal and murder within the Tudor Court? And that’s not even mentioning the new romantic obsession that’s looming. This book is so me!

The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas

In a city-state known for magnificence, where love affairs and conspiracies play out amidst brilliant painters, poets and musicians, the powerful and ambitious Alfonso d’Este, duke of Ferrara, takes a new bride. Half of Europe is certain he murdered his first wife, Lucrezia, the luminous child of the Medici. But no one dares accuse him, and no one has proof-least of all his second duchess, the far less beautiful but delightfully clever Barbara of Austria.

At first determined to ignore the rumors about her new husband, Barbara embraces the pleasures of the Ferrarese court. Yet wherever she turns she hears whispers of the first duchess’s wayward life and mysterious death. Barbara asks questions—a dangerous mistake for a duchess of Ferrara. Suddenly, to save her own life, Barbara has no choice but to risk the duke’s terrifying displeasure and discover the truth of Lucrezia’s death—or she will share her fate.

Why?

Yet another book that sounds as if it’s written for me to read! A historical novel where the second wife of a powerful duke finds herself in danger. What really happened to his first wife? Was it murder? And what on earth can Barbara possibly do if she discovers that it was? I absolutely can not wait to find out!

Mayflowers For November by Malyn Bromfield

Avis Grinnel’s life is forever changed when a young musician arrives unexpectedly to escort her to the innermost sanctum of King Henry VIII’s royal court.

However, it is not the king who has demanded her presence but his new queen, the much-disliked Anne Boleyn.

She has been told Avis is a “little cunning wench who has the sight” and demands she uses her powers to divine whether the queen is pregnant with a girl, or with the boy child the king expects.

From the moment she gives her fateful answer, Avis becomes embroiled in an extravagant world of intrigue, deceit and murderous plotting that is far removed from her lowly home life in the king’s kitchens at Greenwich Palace.

She becomes an unwilling participant and watcher in the alliances and misplaced loyalties of court life as the King wages religious war with the Pope and the churches while changing wives and mistresses in his relentless pursuit of a male heir.

Whispers, lies and rumours abound as the Queen fights for her survival and Avis struggles to balance her life of opulence in the royal chambers with the humble world of her baker parents and a mysterious suitor.

Her story is revealed partly as it unfolds and partly as a deeply-felt memory told to the faithful blind White Boy, who has been at her side for most of her life.

The brutal ending of Anne Boleyn’s reign is already known and written into history but this dramatic and vividly drawn story records the stark reality with an intricate and colourful portrayal of life at all levels in Tudor England.

Why?

Because it’s about the Tudors and I couldn’t resist buying it when I discovered it on my Kindle for only 99p? That’s basically why I brought it anyway but overall the blurb does sound pretty amazing. So this is definitely one book that I need to get stuck into soon!

Prisoner Of Night And Fog by Anne Blankman

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

Why?

I honestly can’t remember how I first learnt about this book but I do know that I seriously need to read it soon! How could I resist a blurb like this one? What will happen when Gretchen, who grew up under the wing of her ‘uncle’ Dolf finds herself falling for someone that she’s wrongly been taught to hate? Someone who tells her that her father was murdered and didn’t willingly give up his life. I really need to know more about this one because it sounds incredible!

Gilt by Katherine Longshore

In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free–
and love comes at the highest price of all.

When Kitty Tylney’s best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII’s heart and brings Kitty to court, she’s thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat’s shadow, Kitty’s now caught between two men–the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat’s meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.

Why?

Tudors! Need I say more after how many books featuring them that I’ve mentioned here? I’m also pretty curious about how Kitty will handle the situation that she finds herself trapped within. And, again, I can’t wait to learn more. I actually learnt about this book when I was looking at my library’s recent additions online once and spotted the companion novel ‘Brazen’. As I’m kind of hopeless when it comes to reading things – even standalone companions – out of order I want to pick this one up first.

Have you read any of the books that I’ve mentioned here today? Do you have any overlooked books on your TBR? Do you have any historical fiction recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you.

Features · Literary Lists

Literacy Lists: Historical Fiction (On My TBR)

As I said last month I’ve decided to make the next few of these lists focus on some of the different genres that I want to start reading more of. Historical fiction is something that I always say I want to pick up more. Why? I guess for a number of reasons really. Firstly I’ve always loved history and I find it fascinating to learn about different periods of time. I know, as this is fiction, not everything is true but it still gives you a sense of different times and places and they generally at least contain some details which are true. Secondly I’ve always loved period dramas and can get completely wrapped up in them. And thirdly… well I just adore the sound of the books that I’ve listed here and really think I’ll fall in love with them. Fingers crossed, at least.

The Lady Of The Rivers by Philippa Gregory

I’ve wanted to read The Cousins’ War series for quite some time now. I fell in love with the TV adaptations of both The White Queen and The White Princess yet haven’t had a chance to read any of the books. I love learning about history but I also find it intriguing that this series blends the historical with a little bit of witchcraft. Plus this is a period of time with a lot of drama, mysteries and unrest. So I seriously can’t wait to dive into this series; and I believe that this is the place to start if you want to read them chronologically?

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

This book has been on my TBR for a while. I think it sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to learn more. It’s set in another intriguing period of time and mentions some rather dark aspects of history. I’m quite curious to find out how they fit into the story. I was already desperate to read this book but after falling in love with Stepsister last year I’m even more eager to get on with this series

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

This is another one of those cases where I’ve seen the film but not read the book. And let’s be honest; the film devastated me. I’m pretty sure that the book will shatter my emotions too but I seriously want to get this read sometime. How have I not done so yet?

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

This book sounds amazing. As soon as I first learnt about it I added it straight to my TBR and knew that I’d have to pick it up soon. I can’t wait to learn about the betrayal that’s mentioned in the blurb and find out exactly what these two very different women uncover once united. This is definitely one that I plan to pick up soon.

Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

I guess this isn’t really fiction as it tells the experiences of a real life person but I can’t help but think of it as such thanks to the show. Either way I feel like it may read like a story? Although I honestly don’t know for sure. All I know is that this is a book that I really want to read sometime and I didn’t want to pass up the chance to mention it here. Maybe it’s not really fiction but it’s definitely historical. And I love the show so it’s certainly on my list.

Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

I love the show so how could I possibly resist this book? I can’t wait to dive into the pages of this book and learn more about Queen Victoria. The Victorian Era is a period of time that fascinates me greatly and for that reason I’d love to learn more. I’m hoping this will be quite a fair account too as it’s said to have drawn from Victoria’s diaries.

The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman

How could I possibly resist a book with a title like this one? Naturally it immediately caught my eye and it’s blurb drew me in even more. I can’t wait to read this story and learn more about a period of time that I can’t remember ever hearing mentioned much of at school. I love the sound of the decadent court-life and hidden scheming. The question of trust that is raised intrigues me too. Plus the obvious danger that Frances is in is sure to leave me hooked.

Myself, My Enemy by Jean Plaidy

Originally I was going to mention Jean Plaidy’s Tudor series here but as I already have several books about the Tudors on both this list and my upcoming ‘TBR Thursday’ I’ve decided to mention a different series by the author instead. ‘Myself, My Enemy’ is the first book in the author’s ‘Queens Of England’ series. I don’t really know anything about Queen Henrietta Maria but her story from this books blurb sounds like a fascinating one so I can’t wait to discover more! Other Queens with books in this series include Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria and Anne Boleyn among many others.

Katherine of Aragón: The True Queen by Alison Weir

This is one series that I plan to read very soon (I’ve checked and I can get the books from my local library). It sounds fantastic and in all honesty I absolutely adore all things Tudor. I’ve been fascinated by that period of time ever since I first heard about Henry VIII and his six wives. It’s something that I find hard not to be intrigued by. So how can I resist a series of books about each of the six women who ended up married to this famous Tudor King?

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory

I think I first decided that I wanted to read Philippa Gregory’s Tudor series when I was captivated by the film adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl. I don’t think I even knew it was based on a book at first but it got added to my list as soon as I discovered that fact. This book is listed as the first so it’s the one I’ve mentioned here. Plus it sounds like a fascinating story which I can’t wait to read for myself. As I said above I find the stories of King Henry VIII and his wives fascinating. And this is another that I’ll hopefully get read soon.


So those are ten of the historical fiction books that I’d most like to read. I’ve always loved history so I definitely want to make an effort to start picking books like these up a lot more. The Tudor period is probably what fascinates me the most, closely followed by the Victorian Era but there’s a lot of history that I’d love to learn more about. There are so many stories from the past to be told and it’s just so wonderful to learn about it through fiction. Do you have any historical fiction books on your TBR? What’s your favourite? Have you read any of these before? Let me know in the comments section below (: