Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ana's Books of a Lifetime

The Books of a Lifetime is a feature at the Historical Tapestry blog in which readers and writers share some of the books they have in their keeper shelves. To commemorate the blog's 3rd anniversary we decided to share our own books of a lifetime. I have many more favourites but here I listed the ones that have truly influenced me and developed both my love of both reading and history:


Looking back at what I read as child I realise that my taste for mystery and adventures started really early. Most of the books I remember reading had at least one of those themes if not both.

The Trixie Belden Series
Like Marg I shared a love of the Trixie Belden series. In my dreams I wanted to be Trixie and have a nice group of friends and play detective whenever the situation warranted it. The bad guys would always get caught and the good guys would rule the day. I remember waiting anxiously for each book to come out so I could continue the series.

The Mallory Towers and St Clare's Series by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton made me want to go away to boarding school but my parents never indulged me on that particular wish. I loved the Famous Five series but my real favourites were the Mallory Towers and the St Clare's series. I loved to read about how the girls made new friendships or met up with old friends, how they learned discipline and how they dealt with their every lives.

Le Malheurs de Sophie by Sophie Rostopchine, Comtesse de Ségur
I was sad not to find an english translation of Le Malleurs de Sophie which I read in portuguese. I have real fond memories of this story of a young aristocratic girl who was always getting into trouble but had a good heart. She wrote other books which I also enjoyed but this is the one I've kept in mind. I haven't read it in a long, long time and writing this post was a nice way to travel down Memory Lane.


Angelique by Sergeanne Golon
I was in my early teens when a friend loaned me the first book in a series that would start my love with all things historical fiction. The Angélique series by Serge and Anne Golon sent me to the nearest encyclopedias and history books to research who was real and who was fiction in the history of France. From the Sun King's court to the sands of the Maroccan desert and later the canadian shores this was one engaging adventure series with a strong historical research.

Emilio Salgari - The Black Corsair
Around the same time I was introduced to the work of Emilio Salgari. Although never having left Italy Salgari wrote about adventures in the Indian Jungle (the Sandokan series), the Pirates in the Caribbean (The Black Corsair series), the Far West and Africa as if he had been there. Vivid descriptions of engaging caracters and themes such as friendship, love and justice made for some memorable reading. I remember that besides the Black Corsair series I also loved a two book series about the Crusades (Capitan Tempesta and Il Leone di Damasco).

Alexandre Dumas - The Three Musketeers
Although the first Dumas book I read was indeed The Three Musketeers I quickly devoured every other of his titles that I could find at the library. My love of french history, having been awakened with the Angélique series, made me devour books like Twenty Years After, The Viscount of Bragelonne, the Count of Monte Cristo, La Reine Margot, The Knight of Maison Rouge, The Black Tulip... I just loved to follow the heroes and heroines of his books and soak up every historical detail mentioned.


Roberta Gellis - The Roselynde Chronicles
After a few years as a young adult where I didn't have much time to read I got back to the historical fiction genre discovering some authors that remain favourites today and the wealth of stories based in England's history. Roberta Gellis was one of those authors and the first book I read by her was Roselynde, the first in a series about strong women and set in the middle ages. After this one I read many other titles by her and since she is a prolific author I'm glad that I still have a few saved for a rainy day.

Sharon Kay Penman - The Sunne in Splendour
Around the same time I found Gellis I also discovered Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour. It was a book that I loved, a biography of Richard III that showed him in a totally different light from what I had read before. Penman successfully engaged my attention in the human side of the story and the politics of the period and I went on to read every other War of The Roses book that I could find.

Elizabeth Chadwick - To Defy a King
I have a hard time choosing which is my favourite Chadwick book so I just decided to list the last one of hers that I gave 5 stars to. Her portrayal of everyday life in the Middle Ages, the richness of the historical detail and complexity of her characters keep me glued to the pages and looking forward to every book she publishes. In To Defy a Kind she tells the story of Mahelt Marshall and the events that lead to the signing of the Magna Carta.


  1. I loved the Trixie Belden books! That Jim was a hunk, wasn't he?

  2. I never read Trixie Belden, but The Three Musketeers is one of my favorite reads as an adult.

  3. Susan,
    He certainly was! :-)

    Dumas was such a great author!

  4. I never read Trixie Belden as a kid. My sister actually did, but I was a Nancy Drew person. When I try to read series like them now, though, they are just too nice for me... If that makes sense! I really need to read some Dumas and I totally agree on The Sunne in Splendour. That was a fantastic book!

  5. I should have mentioned Sunne in Splendour. It was my first Richard III novel, and it is still the best IMO.

    LOL Susan. He certainly was a hunk.

  6. I too loved Enid Blyton's books as a child. In fact, I discuss some Malory towers books in my book on Enid Blyton, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (
    Stephen Isabirye

  7. Nice post, I love Les Malheurs de Sophie as well. I read it in French so many times... It was one of the first books I read when I was 7 ;)