Friday, July 20, 2012

Fabulous historical fiction: Patrick O'Brian, Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel



Yes, friends, I read a lot of fiction, and historical fiction in particular.
I have found a giant among these novelists and his name is Patrick O'Brian. This is not just my wee opinion, since my husband concurs, and so does the New York Times, where I read that O'Brian is the greatest living historical fiction writer in the English language. Sadly O'Brian died a few years ago and we lost a genius of a man.
The first book in his series is "Master and Commander" and you may have seen and enjoyed the movie by that name, starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin.
To me, the casting of these actors is Perfection.
The books are set in about 1800 to 1820 and cover Britain's wars at sea, and the life of the sailors as they venture around the globe on the King's business, to Chile, Africa, Europe and the South Seas, and also their time on land. Jack and Stephen each love very strong women.
My husband and I bought all 20 of the books, and I just completed reading "Letter of Marque", number 12 in the series. I am led to tell you that this volume is a high point to read. Jack is revealed as a truly noble man and refuses the "pardon" offered to him since he was an innocent man and not guilty.
Stephen Maturin is a complex man, a dedicated ship's surgeon and scientist, a spy at the highest levels, and a patriot following his convictions, and his love for a lady.
Now therein lies a tale.
Have you read this series? Do you admire it?


Another excellent writer is Philippa Gregory, and her books on the Tudor kings and queens, with my favorite thus far being "The Other Boleyn Girl", set in the court of Henry VIII. Now that was an exciting period, and this book covers a few of King Henry VIII's wives and the political intrigues. One thing that influenced this king to marry so often was the huge pressure for him to have a male heir.
I recently bought "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel, about Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell and enjoyed it. Cromwell is a fascinating man and reviewers say things like "witty, arch, elegant, richly detailed."
Any historical fiction you recommend ?

19 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I'm reading Mantel next, but I do adore Philippa Gregory and Antonia Frasier.

June said...

I haven't read any of these, but now that you have highly recommended them, I just might get my glasses on for them : )
I used to be such a reader and still love it, but mainly read the classics over and over. Don't know why, but I love them.
Hope all is great with you the Summer!
hugs from here...

Barbara F. said...

I am a fan of Patrick O'Brien. My former boss used to read them, too. xo

Debby@Just Breathe said...

So happy you have a passion that you love. Have a nice weekend.

Karen June Miller said...

Thanks for the heads up on these books! I belong to a Book Club up here in the mountains. I'll have to make some recommendations to the group.

Karen
Idaho

Theanne said...

They all sound interesting...haven't been reading much lately...more watching of Netflix via my computer!

Jane The Booklady said...

My slightly guilty love is historical romance...Georgette Heyer and Eloisa James are my favourites! Jane xx

My Grama's Soul said...

Oh Terra.....I love all these authors....I've read quite a few of each one of them.
Jo

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Thanks for stopping by and loving on me....This has really been a hard time....So thanksful for my blogger friends

bj said...

I haven't read these...I used to read a lot .....before blogging. :)

Buttercup said...

I enjoyed the movie of "Master and Commander," but haven't read the book. I've got "Wolf Hall," but haven't tackled that yet. Eager to read it.I love a series of mysteries -- that description doesn't truly do justice to the depth of the writing -- that take place in Tudor England. The first book in the series is "Dissolution" by by C.J. Sansom. Wonderful characters and fascinating glimpses into the period.

GARAGE SALE GAL said...

Hi Terra,
Can't help you out with that...
I really appreciate and Thank You for praying for my BFF. It's a huge shock! God is in control!
Warmly,
deb

Jennifer Beaudet said...

I'm embarrassed to say I really don't read that much, besides art books and magazines. My daughter loves the last one. She's read them all (she's 19...not too young) I saw the movie and thought it was good. I enjoy the history and the fashions. This is definitely the kind of reading I like to do but never get around to it. Thanks so much for your visits!:)
Jen

Maple Lane said...

Thanks for the review! I always take a book with me to the doctor's waiting room!

Patricia said...

Historical fiction has not been my favorite genre but I have to admit that recently I have been been finding myself gravitating to that setting. A recent Hilary Mantel..the sequel to Wolf's Hall is very captivating..."Bringing Up the Bodies." I also enjoy personal memoirs that are set in Italy during WWII, like "Il Confino."

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

When I was (much, much) younger, I was a voracious reader; but now, I don't read much. If I do, it is usually during the summer months, when I head to the States and have a big variety of books to choose from (censorship is practiced in Kuwait so choices are limited). I need total silence, no distractions ... otherwise I find myself reading the same page over and over and over again. Mostly I craft now. :) Hope you are having a great day. Tammy

koralee said...

thank you so much for the reviews...i am always looking for good summer reads. Hope all is well my friend.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I adored Wolf Hall and have the sequel, Bring Up The Bodies, working its way up the stack of my yet-to-be-reads! Wonderful and so atmospheric. I had the good fortune to be at Hampton Court, by myself on a drizzly February afternoon, not long after I finished Wolf Hall and, oh, the ghosts were everywhere!

Thanks so much for your visit and sweet comment! Edward and I welcome you at our blog anytime!!
xo,
pamela

Holly Lefevre said...

I do not read books as much as I would like to (or should) but The Other Boleyn Girl was one of my favorites!