Historical Musings #58: From the TBR…

Welcome to my monthly post on all things historical fiction!

I haven’t had much time to put a post together this month, so I thought I would just take a quick look at some of the books I have waiting on my TBR. On Friday I reviewed The Brothers York by Thomas Penn, a non-fiction account of the Wars of the Roses, which is one of my favourite periods of history. I have already read a lot of books, both fiction and non-fiction, set in that period and have listed them here, but there are a few others I’ve acquired over the last few years and haven’t had a chance to read yet. Here are some of them (with descriptions taken from Goodreads):

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The Seventh Son by Reay Tannahill (2001)

Reay Tannahill’s enthralling novel is a family saga in the grand tradition, a tale of brother against brother, cousin against cousin, of love, hate and intrigue, of women inescapably entangled in the fates of their men, and of a mystery that has exercised people’s minds for more than five hundred years. At the heart of it all is the complex human being known to history as Richard III, a king whose reign is darkened by the murder of the young Princes in the Tower, but who also found a touching love with the woman he married, and possessed immense courage. Here, brought vividly to life in this most moving novel, is a man who inspired loyalty and hatred in almost equal measure, until at last the implacable enmity of one woman brought about his downfall.

The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)

Originally serialized in a periodical of boys’ adventure fiction, The Black Arrow is a swashbuckling portrait of a young man’s journey to discover the heroism within himself. Young Dick Shelton, caught in the midst of England’s War of the Roses, finds his loyalties torn between the guardian who will ultimately betray him and the leader of a secret fellowship, The Black Arrow. As Shelton is drawn deeper into this conspiracy, he must distinguish friend from foe and confront war, shipwreck, revenge, murder, and forbidden love, as England’s crown threatens to topple around him.

The King’s Grey Mare by Rosemary Hawley Jarman (1973)

The King’s grey mare was Elizabeth Woodville, Queen and wife of Edward IV. Beautiful beyond belief, with unique silver-grey hair, she had once known joy of a marriage based on love—only to see it snatched away on the battlefield. Hardened and changed by grief, Elizabeth became the tool of her evil ambitious mother—the witch, Jaquetta of Bedford—who was determined that her daughter should sit on the throne of England. By trickery, deception, and witchcraft, Jaquetta’s wish was fulfilled. But even a witch could not have known the tragedy which lay in store for the King’s grey mare.

Queen of Silks by Vanora Bennett (2008)

This novel brings together the silk business of fifteenth-century London and the personality of King Richard III, suspected throughout history of having murdered his two nephews, the Princes in the Tower. The story begins with silk merchant John Lambert’s decision to marry off his two beautiful daughters at the end of the Wars of the Roses. Elder daughter Jane starts a notorious liaison with King Edward IV – Richard’s older brother – while her sister, Isabel, as the new silkworker to the court, becomes privy to its most intimate secrets. Could the sisters hold the keys to power at this time of uncertainty?

The Lodestar by Pamela Belle (1987)

For Christie Heron, ruthless ambition is the lodestar of his destiny. Determined to break free from his humble origins in the border country of Northumbria, he enlists in the household of Richard of Gloucester, rising with his lord to the dangerous pinnacles of power. Tangled in Richard’s web of treason and tragedy, Christie learns the full price that his destiny demands, Meg his beloved sister and only friend, rejects him. Julian, daughter of a knight of Oxfordshire, bears him undying enmity. And the long shadow of the Welsh adventurer Henry Tudor falls dark over Bosworth Field….

The King’s Bed by Margaret Campbell Barnes (1961)

For seventeen-year-old Tansy Marsh, life centres upon her father’s inn, The White Boar, in Leicester. Richard III sits upon the throne of England, and all seems well. But the threat of the would-be usurper, Henry Tudor, looms like a gathering storm and soon the eye of that storm is uncomfortably close to Tansy, disrupting her reassuringly ordinary life. Once King Richard is defeated, that life becomes even less ordinary for Tansy has met Dickon Broome, the man who will change her existence forever. And while life goes on under the Tudors, Dickon has particular reason to bear a grudge.

Non-Fiction

Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou by Amy Licence (2018)

He became king before his first birthday, inheriting a vast empire from his military hero father; she was the daughter of a king without power, who made an unexpected marriage at the age of fifteen. Almost completely opposite in character, together they formed an unlikely but complimentary partnership. Henry VI and Margaret of Anjou have become famous as the Lancastrian king and queen who were deposed during the Wars of the Roses but there is so much more to their story. The political narrative of their years together is a tale of twists and turns, encompassing incredible highs, when they came close to fulfilling their desires, and terrible, heart-breaking lows.

Blood and Roses by Helen Castor (2004)

The Wars of the Roses turned England upside down. Between 1455 and 1485 four kings, including Richard III, lost their thrones, more than forty noblemen lost their lives on the battlefield or their heads on the block, and thousands of the men who followed them met violent deaths. As they made their way in a disintegrating world, the Paston family in Norfolk family were writing letters – about politics, about business, about shopping, about love and about each other, including the first valentine. Using these letters – the oldest surviving family correspondence in English – Helen Castor traces the extraordinary history of the Paston family across three generations. Blood & Roses tells the dramatic, moving and intensely human story of how one family survived one of the most tempestuous periods in English history.

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If you’ve read any of these books, let me know what you thought. Which ones do you think are worth reading and which aren’t? What are your favourite books set in this period?

Historical Musings #57: Historical fiction to look out for in 2020

Welcome to my monthly post on all things historical fiction.

As has become a tradition here, I am devoting my first Historical Musings post of the year to a preview of some of the new historical fiction being published this year. This is by no means a complete list – simply a selection of books that I personally am interested in reading or that have caught my attention for one reason or another. Publication dates are for the UK and could change.

January

The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson – Joanna Hickson’s latest Tudor novel tells the story of Joan Vaux, one of Elizabeth of York’s household. I have already started reading this one which was published on Thursday. [9th January]

Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau – Having enjoyed all of Nancy Bilyeau’s previous novels (the Joanna Stafford trilogy and The Blue) I have my copy of Dreamland ready to begin. Set in Coney Island in 1911, this is a very different time period and setting for Bilyeau, but is already getting good reviews. [16th January]

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende – I wasn’t very impressed with my first Allende book, The Japanese Lover, but I thought I would give her another chance and try her new one, set in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. [21st January]

February

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave – I have to admit, it was the cover that drew me to this book, but the setting – 17th century Norway – and the plot, ‘Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials’, both sound appealing too. [6th February]

The Year Without Summer by Guinevere Glasfurd – I loved Glasfurd’s first book, The Words in my Hand, about the mistress of Rene Descartes, so I was excited to find that she has another book coming out soon. This one is about the eruption of an Indonesian volcano in 1815. [6th February]

Requiem for a Knave by Laura Carlin – I had mixed feelings about Laura Carlin’s previous novel, The Wicked Cometh, but I still want to read her new one, about a 14th century pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, as it sounds so interesting. [6th February]

March

The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel – This, the final part of Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy, will surely be one of the most anticipated new releases of the year for many people. Not much longer to wait now! [5th March]

The Animals at Lockwood Manor by Jane Healey – Another book that I was initially drawn to by the cover and title, but the plot sounds intriguing too. It’s the story of a woman tasked with the evacuation of a collection of stuffed animals from the Natural History Museum during World War II. [5th March]

The Ninth Child by Sally Magnusson – I enjoyed Sally Magnusson’s last novel, The Sealwoman’s Gift, and this one sounds equally fascinating – a story woven around the building of the Loch Katrine waterworks in 19th century Scotland. [19th March]

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry – This is the sequel to Barry’s hugely successful Days Without End, which was actually my least favourite of his books so far. Barry’s writing is always beautiful, though, and this one, which focuses on one of the characters from that novel – the Lakota orphan, Winona – sounds more appealing to me. [19th March]

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell – I haven’t read any of Maggie O’Farrell’s other books, but where better to start than with this new book about Shakespeare and the loss of his son, Hamnet. [31st March]

April

The Last Protector by Andrew Taylor – I love Andrew Taylor’s books and have been enjoying his Marwood and Lovett series, set in the aftermath of the Great Fire of London. This is the fourth in the series and I’m sure it will be as good as the first three. [2nd April]

The Forgotten Sister by Nicola Cornick – Nicola Cornick’s latest time slip novel moves between the present day and the 1560s, following the story of Amy Robsart, wife of the Elizabethan courtier Robert Dudley. [30th April]

May

When We Fall by Carolyn Kirby – I loved Carolyn Kirby’s first novel, The Conviction of Cora Burns, so I’m pleased to see she has another book out this year – although this one, set during World War II, sounds completely different! [7th May]

Katheryn Howard, The Tainted Queen by Alison Weir – This fifth novel in the Six Tudor Queens series will focus, unsurprisingly, on Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Katheryn Howard. I have read all of the first four books, so I will be reading this one too. [14th May]

Islands of Mercy by Rose Tremain – Rose Tremain’s new novel takes us from ‘the confines of an English tearoom to the rainforests of a tropical island via the slums of Dublin and the transgressive fancy-dress boutiques of Paris.’ Sounds intriguing! [28th May]

June

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson – Following last year’s Blood & Sugar, this is another historical mystery set in the 18th century and featuring the character of Caro Corsham. In this book, Caro is investigating the death of a woman found in the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. [25th June]

July

The Tuscan Contessa by Dinah Jefferies – This sounds like a very different setting for Dinah Jefferies, whose previous novels have all been set in Asia. This one is about an Italian woman in 1940s Tuscany. [23rd July]

August

The Coming of the Wolf by Elizabeth Chadwick – This is a prequel to Chadwick’s first medieval novel, The Wild Hunt, which was published thirty years ago and which I still haven’t read. I will probably read this one first and then read The Wild Hunt and its sequels. [6th August – No cover for this one yet]

The Silver Collar by Antonia Hodgson – The next book in Antonia Hodgson’s wonderful Thomas Hawkins historical crime series. It seems like such a long time since the last one! [6th August]

September

China by Edward Rutherfurd – I’ve been waiting for this for years, but the publication date keeps being pushed back, so I hope it’s true that it’s finally coming in September. Like his other books, it will tell the story of a particular place – in this case, China – over a period of many years. [3rd September]

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett – This is set at the end of the Dark Ages and is described as a prequel to The Pillars of the Earth. I will probably read it, but I hope it will be better than the last book in the series, A Column of Fire. [15th September]

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Do any of these interest you? What have I missed? Are there any other new historical fiction novels being published in 2020 that you’re looking forward to reading?

Historical Musings #56: My year in historical fiction – 2019

It’s my final Historical Musings post of 2019, which means it’s time for my annual summary of my year in historical fiction! I have kept the same categories as in the previous three years so that it should be easy to make comparisons and to see if there have been any interesting changes in my reading patterns and choices (my 2018 post is here, 2017 here and 2016 here).

I know the year is not quite over yet, but I have a lot of other posts to fit in before the end of December and I don’t think I’ll read enough historical fiction in the final two weeks of the year to significantly affect these statistics anyway.

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Time periods read about in 2019

The 19th century has been the most popular time period in my historical fiction reading for the last three years and yet again it’s the clear winner.

I’ve only read two books set earlier than the 12th century this year and they were The Mark of the Horse Lord by Rosemary Sutcliff and The Silver Pigs by Lindsey Davis.

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54.2% of the historical fiction authors I read this year were new to me.

This is up from 31.2% last year (and higher than 47.3% in 2017 and 26.4% in 2016 too).

Three books I’ve read by new-to-me historical fiction authors in 2019:
Bodies of Light by Sarah Moss
The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan by Cynthia Jefferies
The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

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Publication dates of books read in 2019

No big surprises here. Most of the historical fiction novels I’ve read this year have been new releases with the rest spread evenly across 1950-2018 and only a few published earlier than that. The earliest was from 1810 – The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter.

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20.8% of my historical reads in 2019 were historical mysteries.

Up from 14.3% in 2018.

Three historical mysteries I’ve read this year:
The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve
The King’s Evil by Andrew Taylor
Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

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I’ve read historical fiction set in 16 different countries this year.

Sadly, this is down from 22 countries in 2018 and 21 in 2017 – I’ll have to make more effort next year! As usual, I have read more books set in my own country (England) than any other, which is not a deliberate choice but more a reflection of the subjects and time periods I tend to be drawn to. France and Scotland were in second and third place this year (the opposite way round from last year).

Three books I’ve read set in countries other than my own:
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See (South Korea)
Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop (Greece)
The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea (Iceland)

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Four historical men I’ve read about this year:

Sir James Simpson

Richard II (A King Under Siege by Mercedes Rochelle)
James Simpson (The Art of Dying by Ambrose Parry)
William Wallace (The Scottish Chiefs by Jane Porter)
Casanova (Casanova and the Faceless Woman by Olivier Barde-Cabuçon)

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Four historical women I’ve read about this year:

Grace Darling

Constance of York (A Tapestry of Treason by Anne O’Brien)
Grace Darling (The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter by Hazel Gaynor)
Isabella of France (The She-Wolf by Maurice Druon)
Nest ferch Rhys (The Drowned Court by Tracey Warr)

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What about you? Have you read any good historical fiction this year? Have you read any of the books or authors I’ve mentioned here and have you noticed any patterns or trends in your own reading?

Historical Musings #55: Lest we forget

Welcome to my monthly post on all things historical fiction. As tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday, I thought it would be appropriate to devote this month’s post to historical novels which explore the impact and legacy of the First World War. I’ve always found this an interesting and moving period to read about and have come across books which cover almost every aspect of the war you can think of.

I’ve read books about wartime nurses (The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally and The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr), the horrors of life in the trenches (The Lie by Helen Dunmore) and men left suffering from shell shock (Dead Man’s Embers by Mari Strachan), what it means to be a conscientious objector (The Absolutist by John Boyne and If You Go Away by Adele Parks), the class and social changes that came about because of the war (The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn and The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson), and even the bravery of the horses that served in the war (War Horse by Michael Morpurgo).

I’ve also discovered family sagas which are set at least partly during the war (Post of Honour by RF Delderfield and The Daughter of Hardie by Anne Melville), historical mysteries set during or just after the war (The Return of Captain John Emmett and The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller) and fictional accounts of real people and their wartime experiences (Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud and Zennor in Darkness by Helen Dunmore).

A good range of books there, I think, and although I can’t say that I loved all of them, I do think they all have something to offer and provide some insights into different aspects of the war. One thing I can say for certain is that reading about the war has helped me to appreciate the courage and resilience faced by both those on the front line and those left behind at home.

Now it’s your turn. Which books set during World War I would you recommend?

Historical Musings #54: Historical Highlights

This month – on Wednesday 16th October to be precise – my blog will be ten years old! To mark the occasion, I thought I would use this month’s Historical Musings post to look back at some of the best historical fiction I have read since I started blogging in 2009. I have listed a selection of highlights for each year and apologise to any books and authors I haven’t managed to include!

In 2009:

* This was not a full year of blogging – just two and a half months – and only a few of the books I read in that time could be classed as historical fiction, but I particularly enjoyed The Moonlit Cage by Linda Holeman.

In 2010:

* I read my first Georgette Heyer novel, The Talisman Ring, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t started reading her books earlier! I also read my first books by Sarah Waters, Tracy Chevalier and Lisa See and have gone on to read more by all of them.
* One of my favourite books of the year was The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman, a book which sparked my interest in the Wars of the Roses and Richard III.
* I also loved The Black Tulip, The Meaning of Night and The Saffron Gate.

In 2011:

* My first read of the year was the wonderful The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier. Only part of the book is set in the past and the rest is contemporary, but I love the way the transitions between the two are handled.
* Andrew Taylor and Jane Harris were two authors I read for the first time in 2011 and still love. I read two books by each in 2011 and my favourites were The American Boy (by Taylor) and Gillespie and I (by Harris).
* Other books I particularly enjoyed were Jamrach’s Menagerie, Passion, The Sisters Brothers and Stone’s Fall.

In 2012:

* This was the year I discovered Dorothy Dunnett! Reading the six books that make up The Lymond Chronicles – and then later in the year, the eight books of The House of Niccolò – was the highlight not just of 2012, but of my whole ten years of blogging.
* I also loved Scaramouche, Here Be Dragons, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Wolf Hall. I read the first book in Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series this year too.
* The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye was probably the biggest surprise of the year, as I didn’t expect to like it much but ended up really enjoying it.

In 2013:

* I started two new series that I loved but still haven’t finished: Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series and Maurice Druon’s The Accursed Kings.
* New authors read for the first time in 2013 included Elizabeth Fremantle, John Boyne, Mary Renault and Anne O’Brien. I also read my first two books by Guy Gavriel Kay – Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan, fantasy set in worlds closely resembling real periods of history.
* Other favourites this year were The King’s General, Bring Up the Bodies, King Hereafter and Captain Blood.

In 2014:

* I started two new historical mystery series in 2014 – first I met Matthew Shardlake in CJ Sansom’s Dissolution – and then Thomas Hawkins in Antonia Hodgson’s The Devil in the Marshalsea. Another historical crime novel I enjoyed, sadly not part of a series, was The Convictions of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes.
* I read my first book by Robert Harris: his excellent novel about the Dreyfus Affair, An Officer and a Spy.
* I also loved The Moon in the Water, Hild, Bitter Greens, Zemindar, Falls the Shadow and The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters. Another good year!

In 2015:

* I read Elizabeth Goudge for the first time in 2015 (The Child from the Sea) and I also enjoyed Alias Grace, The Sea-Hawk, Gildenford, and the Ibis trilogy.
* After avoiding books set in Ancient Rome for most of my life, two of my favourite books of the year turned out to be Imperium and Lustrum by Robert Harris, the first two books in his Cicero trilogy.
* Here on the blog I announced my Reading the Walter Scott Prize project (something I have sadly neglected in recent months and need to get back to). In April 2015 I also started my monthly Historical Musings posts. In the very first of these posts I asked a simple question: Do you read historical fiction?

In 2016:

* I read a lot of classic historical fiction in 2016 including Lorna Doone, Mauprat, Kristin Lavransdatter and Redgauntlet – and I finished Alexandre Dumas’ d’Artagnan series this year as well.
* The Classics Club Spin gave me Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger. A great result as I loved it!
* I also enjoyed reading Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy, Restoration and Merivel by Rose Tremain – and my first of Rosemary Sutcliff’s adult novels, The Rider of the White Horse.

In 2017:

* 2017 got off to a good start with The Red Sphinx and His Bloody Project and continued to be a good year for historical fiction. Some of my favourites of the year included Golden Hill, Wintercombe, Towers in the Mist and A Gentleman in Moscow – and two books by Rebecca Mascull, The Wild Air and Song of the Sea Maid.
* I read Shadow of the Moon for a summer readalong. As an MM Kaye fan, I don’t know why I hadn’t read it earlier, and of course I loved it.
* I also enjoyed The Bear and the Nightingale, the first in a fantasy trilogy grounded strongly in historical Russia, and I started Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Cazalet Chronicles (yet another series I still need to finish).

In 2018:

* I enjoyed re-reading Penmarric by Susan Howatch and really don’t know why I do so little re-reading these days.
* Some of my favourite historical fiction novels in 2018 were about real historical figures such as the Brontë sisters (Dark Quartet), Elizabeth Mortimer (Queen of the North) and William Marshal (The Scarlet Lion).
* I loved meeting Emmy Lake in AJ Pearce’s wartime novel Dear Mrs Bird, a book I thought was the perfect combination of light and dark.

In 2019:

* Well, 2019 isn’t over yet but so far some of my favourites have been The Way to the Lantern by Audrey Erskine Lindop, Things in Jars by Jess Kidd and The Devil’s Slave by Tracy Borman.

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I hope I’ve convinced you to try some of these books, if you haven’t already! What are your own historical highlights of the last few years?

September Quiz – The Answers!

Thanks to everyone who took part in my historical fiction first lines quiz last weekend. As promised, here are the answers:

1. I was down in Surrey, on business for Lord Cromwell’s office, when the summons came.
Dissolution by CJ Sansom

2. It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.
Outlander/Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon

3. His children are falling from the sky.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

4. Ashton Hilary Akbar Pelham-Martyn was born in a camp near the crest of a pass in the Himalayas, and subsequently christened in a patent canvas bucket.
The Far Pavilions by MM Kaye

5. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.
Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini

6. When the east wind blows up Helford river the shining waters become troubled and disturbed and the little waves beat angrily upon the sandy shores.
Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier

7. On the step of her new husband’s home, Nella Oortman lifts and drops the dolphin knocker, embarrassed by the thud.
The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

8. Richard did not become frightened until darkness began to settle over the woods.
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman

9. On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of Romance of the Rose was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

10. The method of laying out a corpse in Missouri sure took the proverbial cake.
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

11. My father is Sir Richard Woodville, Baron Rivers, an English nobleman, a landholder, and a supporter of the true Kings of England, the Lancastrian line.
The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

12. When the year one thousand came, Thorkel Amundason was five years old, and hardly noticed how frightened everyone was.
King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett

13. In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster.
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott

14. In the tender green time of April, Katherine set forth at last upon her journey with the two nuns and the royal messenger.
Katherine by Anya Seton

15. At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool.
A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

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I hope you all had fun with the quiz. I think every book apart from The Three Musketeers and Days Without End was correctly guessed by at least one person. Well done everyone!

Historical Musings #53: A quiz for September

Welcome to my monthly post on all things historical fiction.

This month I thought I would do something slightly different and put together a little quiz for you. I’ve listed below the opening lines from fifteen historical fiction novels, ranging from classics to recent bestsellers to some of my personal favourites. If you think you can identify any of them, leave a comment with your guesses and I’ll post the answers next week.

Have fun!

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1. I was down in Surrey, on business for Lord Cromwell’s office, when the summons came.

2. It wasn’t a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.

3. His children are falling from the sky.

4. Ashton Hilary Akbar Pelham-Martyn was born in a camp near the crest of a pass in the Himalayas, and subsequently christened in a patent canvas bucket.

5. He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.

6. When the east wind blows up Helford river the shining waters become troubled and disturbed and the little waves beat angrily upon the sandy shores.

7. On the step of her new husband’s home, Nella Oortman lifts and drops the dolphin knocker, embarrassed by the thud.

8. Richard did not become frightened until darkness began to settle over the woods.

9. On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of Romance of the Rose was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had just made a second La Rochelle of it.

10. The method of laying out a corpse in Missouri sure took the proverbial cake.

11. My father is Sir Richard Woodville, Baron Rivers, an English nobleman, a landholder, and a supporter of the true Kings of England, the Lancastrian line.

12. When the year one thousand came, Thorkel Amundason was five years old, and hardly noticed how frightened everyone was.

13. In that pleasant district of merry England which is watered by the river Don, there extended in ancient times a large forest, covering the greater part of the beautiful hills and valleys which lie between Sheffield and the pleasant town of Doncaster.

14. In the tender green time of April, Katherine set forth at last upon her journey with the two nuns and the royal messenger.

15. At half past six on the twenty-first of June 1922, when Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov was escorted through the gates of the Kremlin onto Red Square, it was glorious and cool.

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How many of these do you know?