Donna's Historical Fiction

  1. Isabella The Warrior Queen by Kirstin Downey – 2014. Story of the 15th C Spanish queen who left both good and bad marks upon the world.   At a young age she had to fight to seize control of the throne and although many people think she was just King Ferdinand’s wife, she was actually the ruling force.  Engaging and informative biography.
  2. The Coffee Trader by David Liss – 2003. Ever wonder how we got started drinking coffee?  Read this interesting story about a man who starts a secret partnership with someone who thinks they can get rich selling a new beverage called coffee.  But their liaison is dangerous for several reasons.  Just enough intrigue to keep you turning pages.
  3. The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis – 2012.   Leonarda Da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli are featured inthis 16th century investigation into who murdered the pope’s son Juan Borgia.  The author uses the story to present his theory of the secret history of Machiavelli’s “The Prince." 
  4. Pillars of the Earth (1989) and World Without End (2007) by Ken Follett.  Pillars…. is an enthralling story of the building of a cathedral in 12th C England.  Both it and World…  follow the family histories of everyone connected to the cathedral.  Great heroes and villains plus a nice historical tale that take you from early to modern times.
  5. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – 2013.  A teen’s life is altered after he survives an art museum explosion that kills several people, including his mother and a dying stranger who begs the boy to deliver a ring to an antique furniture restorer.  But he has a secret that follows him into adulthood - he took a valuable painting from the museum.  His bumpy upbringing and unscrupulous behavior serve to keep him on edge.  This is a gritty page-turner with bits of darkness throughout.
  6. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – 2014.  An 11-year-old girl is horrified by her birthday present: a 10-year-old slave girl called “Handful”.  Throughout her life she chafes at the notion of slavery and the limits forced on women of her time.  The complex relationship she has with Handful is marred by her guilt over being unable to keep her promise to free the girl.son now eager to learn his family’s perfume business.  This one has an intriguing narrative opening.
  7. Barkskins by Annie Proulx - 2016.  A multi-generational look at the North American and Canadian timber trade from the perspective of two families starting in the 1600s to the present.  I like a well-researched historical novel and think you'll enjoy this one.
  8. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber – 2002.  In the 19th C William meets a woman that motivates him from idleness to learning the family perfume business.  Once in his life, she pities his strange wife and befriends his daughter.  Adult themes.  I liked this for it's intriguing narrative style, Dickensian themes and interesting characters.
  9. Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd – 1987.  The history of England’s Salisbury Plain and the building of the famous cathedral.  A multi-generational account from the pre-historic era through the 21st century.  May sound boring, but the author really did his homework and has an ability to weave multiple stories together to make this book shine!
  10. Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier – 2007.  A rural late 18th century family moves to London lured by the promise of a better job, only to find it isn’t what they thought.  Good story with a great sense of place.
  11. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – 1991.  My all-time favorite because this book has it all – drama, history, humor, romance, believable dialog and great characters.  Claire is a nurse thrown into the strangest of situations and must use all her resources to survive.  Now a popular TV series (yes, the library has it on DVD).  Next in the series are:
  • Dragonfly in Amber
  • Voyager
  • The Drums of Autumn
  • The Fiery Cross
  • A Breath of Snow and Ashes
  • An Echo in the Bone
  • Written in My Own Heart’s Blood

And – there’s “The Outlandish Companion” version 1 & 2 to help you catch up on the previous books while you’re eagerly awaiting the next one.  And millions of readers are waiting all over the world for the next installment!