Monday, February 7, 2011

Historical Fiction Reading Swap

The five of us have decided to do a bit of a reading swap. We essentially drew names, but really used, and the person that we drew we have to choose a book for. This post is to share what was chosen. The challenge will run until December 31, then in January we will decide if we want to make it an annual thing.

How it Works:

Teddy chooses for Alex
Kelly chooses for Marg
Marg chooses for Ana
Ana chooses for Teddy
Alex chooses for Kelly

The Book Choices:

Kelly's Choice for Marg:

In Victorian England, an orphan girl is sent to a country estate to work for-and ultimately woo-its young heiress, on behalf of a mysterious benefactor known as Gentleman.
Teddy's Choice for Alex:
In 1806 William Thornhill, an illiterate English bargeman and a man of quick temper but deep compassion, steals a load of wood and, as a part of his lenient sentence, is deported, along with his beloved wife, Sal, to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia. The Secret River is the tale of William and Sal’s deep love for their small, exotic corner of the new world, and William’s gradual realization that if he wants to make a home for his family, he must forcibly take the land from the people who came before him. Acclaimed around the world, The Secret River is a magnificent, transporting work of historical fiction.

Marg's Choice for Ana:

History has all but forgotten...

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...

Alex's Choice for Kelly:

This classic romance novel tells the true story of the love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family. Set in the vibrant 14th century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who ruled despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already married Katherine. Their well-documented affair and love persist through decades of war, adultery, murder, loneliness, and redemption. This epic novel of conflict, cruelty, and untamable love has become a classic since its first publication in 1954.

Ana's Choice for Teddy:

"I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers." January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb....

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends--and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island--boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's...


  1. I've read two of those. The Winter Sea is wonderful, hope you enjoy it Ana. And if audio versions of these books are allowed, I urge Teddy to listen to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It's one of the best performed books I've ever "read."

  2. Lori, thanks for the suggestion. I will most likely read it though. I own the printed version and that reading is faster than listening. Although I do listen to audiobooks on occasion.

  3. Hope you get the chance to listen too one day. I listen to as much fiction as I read, otherwise I'd never fit it all in. Guernsey is one of the best. So is Connie Willis's To Say Nothing Of The Dog. I think she was channeling P.G. Wodehouse for that one. The reader for that, Steven Crossley, is one of the best.