Top Ten Tuesday: History and Geography!

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana of That Artsy Reader Girl, is “Books with Geographical Terms in the Title” (for example: mountain, island, latitude/longitude, ash, bay, beach, border, canyon, cape, city, cliff, coast, country, desert, epicenter, hamlet, highway, jungle, ocean, park, sea, shore, tide, valley, etc).

I haven’t taken part in Top Ten Tuesday for a few months, so thought I would join in with this one. The topic was suggested by Lisa, who blogs at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life.

The ten books I’ve listed below are all historical novels with geographical terms in the title and they are all books that I’ve reviewed on my blog. They are also all written by female authors, although I didn’t do that intentionally!

1. Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier – This is a family saga following five generations of the Brodrick family of Clonmere Castle in Ireland. A curse placed on the family by a feuding neighbour seems to come true as each generation experiences tragedy, unhappiness and bad luck. Du Maurier is one of my favourite authors and although I did like this one, it was certainly bleak and miserable!

2. The Child from the Sea by Elizabeth Goudge – The first Goudge novel I read, this is a beautifully written book telling the story of Lucy Walter, a Welsh girl from Pembrokeshire who later becomes a mistress of King Charles II.

3. The Country of Others by Leïla Slimani – This book was originally written in French and is available in an English translation by Sam Taylor. It’s the story of a young woman from France who marries a Moroccan soldier in the 1940s and goes to live with him in Morocco, but finds that settling into life in a new country is much more difficult than she’d expected.

4. The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley – A multiple timeline novel which moves between wartime London, 1970s Ireland and modern day New York. Unusually, I found all of the storylines equally interesting to read about; normally I find myself drawn to one or the other.

5. The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe – This 1791 classic is set in 17th century France. It’s not Radcliffe’s best, but it’s still an entertaining read with all the elements you would expect in a Gothic novel, including dark forests, ruined buildings and gloomy weather.

6. Islands of Mercy by Rose Tremain – This novel set in the 19th century follows two very different characters: a young nurse from Bath and an eccentric Englishman living on the island of Borneo. It should have been fascinating but I found it disjointed and it’s the only Rose Tremain novel I’ve read so far that I haven’t enjoyed.

7. The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman – I loved this book about a young couple living in a lighthouse on an island off the coast of Australia in 1926. When a boat with a baby girl in it is washed up on the shore, they have different opinions over whether to keep the child to raise as their own. A moving and thought-provoking read.

8. In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S Haasse – I read this in an English translation by Lewis C Kaplan as it was originally published in Dutch in 1949. It’s set in France during the Hundred Years’ War and written from the perspective of Charles of Orléans. A beautifully written novel and one that I loved.

9. City of God by Cecelia Holland – Cecelia Holland is a very prolific author whose books cover a wide range of time periods and topics. This one is set in Rome at the time of the Borgias and follows the story of a secretary in the Florentine embassy who becomes drawn into Borgia conspiracies.

10. River of Destiny by Barbara Erskine – I’ve tried a few Erskine novels now and am not really a fan, but they do all have interesting settings. This book has three storylines, one set in Anglo-Saxon England, one in the Victorian period and the other in the present day, all linked by sightings of a ghostly Viking ship.


Have you read any of these? Which other books with geographical terms in the title can you think of?

13 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: History and Geography!

  1. whatmeread says:

    I read Hungry Hill and The Child from the Sea a long time ago. I’m fairly sure I also read In a Dark Wood Wandering. Here are a few I’ve reviewed: Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend, Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, The Luminous Sea by Melissa Barbeau, A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, Gentlemen of Road by Michael Chabon, The River by Rumer Godden, Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson.

  2. CLM (@ConMartin) says:

    I’ve read 1, 2, 7 and 8. I am a Goudge fan but when I reread The Child From the Sea fairly recently I did not like it all that much. Have you read any Madeleine Polland? I really like Shattered Summer which is about the Monmouth Revolution and has a dream like quality that is interesting.

    I read one book by Lucinda Riley I thought was awful so decided not to read any more but I know a lot of people like her books. Maybe I just read a bad one.

    • Helen says:

      The Child From the Sea was the first Elizabeth Goudge book I read and I did enjoy it, but have read others since that I’ve liked a lot more. I haven’t read anything by Madeleine Polland. Her books all seem to be out of print here, but I’ll look out for them.

      Some of Lucinda Riley’s earlier books weren’t very good, but I think her recent Seven Sisters series was much better.

  3. Lory says:

    I have only read The Child from the Sea. I didn’t do this TTT but when I looked at recently read books I found almost exclusively watery themes: Streams in the Wasteland, Black Water Sister, Journey to the River Sea, The Dragonfly Pool, Over Sea, Under Stone. I need to come back to earth at some point!

    • Helen says:

      I have you to thank for introducing me to Elizabeth Goudge – I read The Child from the Sea for one of your reading weeks. That’s interesting that you’ve read so many books with watery titles recently!

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