Seeking: Good story spanning a family generation or two.

(75 Posts)
doings Sun 11-Aug-13 18:34:18

. . .could be historical (don't fancy way back though) or contemporary. One of those books that gets you really involved with the characters and their lives through many years.

Like The Color Purple or The Corrections or The Good Earth???

Anybody got any suggestions, please. Thanks.

Graceparkhill Sun 11-Aug-13 18:37:44

The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard

utahforever Sun 11-Aug-13 18:38:06

A Woman of Substance and its sequels were good, although the first book was the best.

CoteDAzur Sun 11-Aug-13 18:39:23

Middlesex is very good.

utahforever Sun 11-Aug-13 18:39:48

Ooops, forgot the author

A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford

DoItTooJulia Sun 11-Aug-13 18:41:45

The House of the Spirits, Isabelle Allende.

1000 years of solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver. Awesome book.

AtYourCervix Sun 11-Aug-13 18:43:41

I'm in the middle of The Cazalets. Lovibg it v much.

Laurie Graham - The Unfortunates is v funny (as are most her others)

Zoomania Sun 11-Aug-13 18:47:19

Pillars of the earth, ken follet

doings Sun 11-Aug-13 18:52:25

WoW-zer! Just nipped out and came back - refreshed screen and there's loads of suggestions. Brilliant!

Many, many thanks.

TiredyCustards Sun 11-Aug-13 18:52:37

Fall on your knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

LinusVanPelt Sun 11-Aug-13 18:59:31

Joy Luck Club?

superbagpuss Sun 11-Aug-13 19:09:50

penmarric Susan howatch - a great family saga set in cornwall 19c, never met anyone else that has read it but I loved it

DuchessofMalfi Sun 11-Aug-13 19:29:39

R F Delderfield wrote some good family stuff. Titles escape my memory right now blush but they were good. Also one he wrote set in a school To Serve Them All My Days. They might fit the bill.

Newforestpony Sun 11-Aug-13 19:35:17

Try some Edward Rutherford books -

The New Forest

Historical to present day following several families/links with references to actual occurrences too.

cosmicnibble Sun 11-Aug-13 19:47:02

If you liked the corrections have you read Freedom also by Jonathon Franzen?

FrauMoose Sun 11-Aug-13 19:50:09

Behind the Scenes at the Museum (Kate Atkinson)

Cutting for Stone - ?? Verghese

Cheddars Sun 11-Aug-13 19:54:22

Try Maisie Mosco's series which starts with Almonds and Raisins

Set in Manchester in 1905, this book begins the story of the Sandberg family who, having escaped from Eastern Europe, now struggle through the Great War and the Depression in England. Maisie Mosco has written eight novels including "After the Dream".

I really enjoyed the series.

Zoomania Sun 11-Aug-13 19:54:48

Sorry just seen your not way back bit. Pillars of the earth starts quite a time ago! Is very gripping though.

teabagpleb Sun 11-Aug-13 20:07:10

The Glass Palace, Amritav Ghosh.

I can second Poisonwood Bible, though didn't like some of her others so much.

For relaxing holiday reading, there's always Jilly Cooper and Riders, Rivals, etc... smile

Clawdy Sun 11-Aug-13 20:25:05

The Whiteoak Saga - Mazo de la Roche - used to read 'em avidly,so did my mum and sis!

shelsco Sun 11-Aug-13 20:46:47

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton was brilliant, I couldn't put it down. Set now but with flashbacks to the second world war and the earlier life of the mother throughout. Although its not a detective story at all, there's a real mystery to it so you're constantly trying to work it all out along with the main character. It's easy to read but not a simple story! The best book I've read in ages.

elQuintoConyo Sun 11-Aug-13 20:57:41

The Blind Assassin Margaret Atwood, covered three generations. Great book.

I hated Poisonwood Bible hmm

Behind the scenes at the museum is awesome but v sad.

Steinbeck East of Eden

The camomile lawn Mary Wesley

magimedi Mon 12-Aug-13 09:51:36

The Forsyte Saga - John Galsworthy.

So much better than any of the TV adaptations.

Pinupgirl Tue 13-Aug-13 17:47:16

The spoils of time trilogy by Penny Vincenzi. Hers are not the sort of books I usually read but I loved these and have read them over and over again.

KidleysDiddleye Tue 13-Aug-13 18:04:40

Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
The Rain Before It Falls by Jonathan Coe

MatildaMay Tue 13-Aug-13 18:10:01

Shelsco - "The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton was brilliant, I couldn't put it down. Set now but with flashbacks to the second world war and the earlier life of the mother throughout. Although its not a detective story at all, there's a real mystery to it so you're constantly trying to work it all out along with the main character. It's easy to read but not a simple story! The best book I've read in ages."

I agree. I've only just finished reading it this afternoon (about 15 minutes ago) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Only problem is, I've been so engrossed I've not done much else today! smile

Laquila Tue 13-Aug-13 18:14:25

I also recommend The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (LOVE IT) and In The House of The Spirits by Isabel Allende - in fact I just dug the latter out this morning to lend to a friend to take in hold and it reminded me how great it was.

Also, The Map of Love, by Ahdaf Soueif.

Loved Poisonwood Bible, A Fine Balance (tho very sad), Middlesex and Cutting For Stone, as previously mentioned.

Also loved Freedom, but not quite as much as the corrections.

GeorginaWorsley Wed 14-Aug-13 08:39:43

Superbagpus,I've read Penmarric and love it.
Plus Susan Howatch's other sagas,
Wheel of Fortune and Cashelmara.
They are based on true historical events,early Plantagenet's I think.

LottieJenkins Wed 14-Aug-13 08:50:00

Nancherrow and Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher are good! smile

magimedi Wed 14-Aug-13 09:24:06

LaQuila - The Map of Love, is one of my favourite books. I think I've read it at least five times.

PseudoBadger Wed 14-Aug-13 09:27:36

Would Life after Life (Kate Atkinson) count?

Yika Wed 14-Aug-13 09:27:56

A suitable boy by Vikram Seth. I was so involved with the characters I slowed down towards the end to make it last and felt bereft when it finally ended.

Laquila Wed 14-Aug-13 09:30:24

Ohh Magimedi it makes me wail every time! I first read it when I was quite young - didn't know anything really about Eygpt and the Midlle East. I ended up getting an email address for Ahdaf Soueif (God knows where from) and writing to her to say how much I'd loved it and how sad it was about the whole Middle Eastern situation, and she started adding me to mailing lists and sending me great big theses to read and petitions to sign! I was a bit baffled.

I also second AgentProvocateur's rec for A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry, and someone else suggested The Unfortunates, by Laurie Graham, which is a brilliant book.

Caitycat Wed 14-Aug-13 09:35:24

Agree with Penny Vicenzi spoils of time. Also Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks, brilliant family saga and not weird like many of his other books!

Ooh, I've had Map of Love sitting by my bed for years. I don't know why I can't bring myself to start it. But knowing that Laquila's a Fine Balance fan, and loves Map of Love is making me want to read it now...

doings Thu 15-Aug-13 18:11:58

Many thanks contributors!

Some wonderful suggestions heresmile

SarahAndFuck Mon 19-Aug-13 20:56:59

Liars and Saints and then A Family Daughter by Maile Meloy. Both books cover the American Santerre family from the second world war when Yvette and Teddy first marry and then sees their children and grandchildren reach adulthood.

I loved both books and for such a big timescale they flow very easily without seeming to leave any gaps in the history of the family.

mumslife Mon 19-Aug-13 23:13:42

The cazalets is brill fifth book coming out novembER

HalfSpamHalfBrisket Mon 19-Aug-13 23:32:02

Gerard Woodward's August/I'll go to bed at noon/A curious earth sequence, which follows the disfunctional Jones family. They were recommended on here and I love them.

DeeCrepid Tue 20-Aug-13 13:31:35

I have really enjoyed the Shayne Parkinson series of novels.
The first one is called Sentence of Marriage. There are four of them I think. They are set in New Zealand and span a generation.

The first one is free on Kindle.

Also highly recommend the Elizabeth Jane Howard 'Cazalet Chronicles'.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 24-Aug-13 19:01:38

Try Tiger Hills. We read it for our book club and we all loved it.

LowLevelWhinging Sat 24-Aug-13 19:07:06

Wild Swans by Jung Chang

MrsBartlet Mon 26-Aug-13 19:51:59

The Forsyte Saga - I keep meaning re-read it.

tribpot Mon 26-Aug-13 19:59:35

I've read Penmarric too! Might grab it for the Kindle now it's available.

EnlightenedOwl Mon 26-Aug-13 20:17:55

Catrin Collier Hearts of Gold series outstanding
Janet Tanner - The Black Mountains quartet also outstanding

TrickyWoo Mon 26-Aug-13 20:19:59

The Son is in the booker prize list now (eek I think), and is meant to be great.

CircassianLeyla Mon 26-Aug-13 20:21:58

Came on to suggest Wild Swans and see it has already been suggested.

TrickyWoo Mon 26-Aug-13 20:26:46

<embarrassed> it was on Simon Mayo radio prior. That's hardly booker short list. Never mind !

TrickyWoo Mon 26-Aug-13 20:27:39

Programme not prior

And spelling of <>

Crikeyblimey Mon 26-Aug-13 20:30:14

Has anyone mentioned The House of Spirits by Isabel Allande? Easily my favourite book. Spams several generations of a family in Chile. Fascinating, well written and very moving / entertaining.

Also Wild Swans - 3 very different generations of a Chinese family.

5Foot5 Thu 29-Aug-13 22:33:25

Try Maisie Mosco's series which starts with Almonds and Raisins

I opened this thread intending to recommend this and I see Cheddars has beaten me to it!

I second Penmarric - love it.

But I noticed someone recommending Laurie Graham's "The Unfortunates". Normally I love Laurie Graham and have read almost everything she has written, but I really didn't take to this one. I think the spec. for this thread is better fulfilled by "The Future Homemakers of America"

Ehhn Thu 29-Aug-13 22:36:16

Paul henke million tears series

ColdfeetPinksocks Thu 29-Aug-13 22:42:03

If you like Ahdaf Soueif or Vikram Seth, try the Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz. Just beautiful.

If you're after something fluffier, Penny Vincenza is great.

Wild Swans

GwenCooper81 Fri 30-Aug-13 08:51:56

I'm in the middle of reading The Cazalets books, there are five, I'm halfway through the second and really enjoying them!
'Coming home' by Rosamund Pilcher is my favorite book ever!. Set in Cornwall before and during the war it's beautiful. One of those books that can be read time and time again. Her other books are fantastic as well, though none as good as coming home! .
I'm going to download Penmerric on payday smile

mignonette Fri 30-Aug-13 09:02:04

A great 'trashy read is Shirley Conran's 'Lace' and 'Scruples' by Judith Krantz

I also like

'Prince of Tides'- Pat Conroy
'Standing In The Rainbow'- Fannie Flagg
The Sisters'- Lori Lansen
The beauty of Humanity Movement- Camilla Gibb
American Wife- Curtis Sittingfield
The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells (non fiction family account)
Thornbirds by Coleen McCullough (great big potboiler)
The Womens Room by Marilyn French
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Sons And Lovers by D H Lawrence

tripfiction Fri 30-Aug-13 13:52:26

I don't think anyone has mentioned 'The Family on Paradise Pier' by Dermot Bolger, 'A stunning historical saga set in the early decades of the twentieth century which follows the lives and loves of one extraordinary family'. It takes you to Spain, England, Russia, Ireland, and Dublin

From all the great recommendations you will find something perfect, I am sure!

Stokey Fri 30-Aug-13 16:13:00

I Also loved Penmarric but think the Wheel of Fortune by same author was even better. In fact all her saga ones were pretty good.

What about Robertson Davies? all pretty good

Greydog Fri 30-Aug-13 16:17:10

I didn't like the Cazalettes at all - I couldn't find a single character in the book that I cared about! Wild Swans tho, and Memoirs of a Geisha.

MistressDeeCee Fri 30-Aug-13 16:25:49

I'll probably get laughed outta here...! but I revisited the Mallen trilogy by Catherine Cookson. I read this more years ago than I can remember, its about several generations of 1 family. I never get fed up of the writing style. how absorbing the characters are, and Ive not found a trilogy Ive enjoyed so much ever since, really.

Books: The Mallen Streak - The Mallen Girl - The Mallen Litter

ParsingFancy Fri 30-Aug-13 16:26:53

The Shell Seekers was Rosamunde Pilcher's first novel, very much a family saga, and is followed by September.

Rumer Godden's A Fugue in Time covers three generations, and her China Court five. I always think of Pilcher as Godden-lite: easier to follow but also with less bite.

Lauren Groff and Laurie Graham are both good, funny and charming with Groff being a little deeper perhaps.

3littlefrogs Wed 04-Sep-13 17:05:42

I was going to suggest the Maisie Moscow series too.
I enjoyed the Poldark series (Winston Graham)

vaticancameo Wed 04-Sep-13 17:09:25

If you like literary fiction, The Children's Book by AS Byatt is fantastic. It follows a family from the Victorian era to WW1.

The Children's Book is good but quite hard work, I felt like I'd received a GCSE in turn of the century culture. Had to read a few light things afterwards!

OverAndAbove Thu 05-Sep-13 06:37:48

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

It covers seven generations of a family in Columbia and is absolutely brilliant. It haunted me for ages the first time I read it.

iseenodust Thu 05-Sep-13 11:37:49

From above agree especially with
Joy Luck Club
Poldark series
RF Delderfield

Disliked The Children's Book & The Poisonwood Bible

Would a bit of time travel put you off? If not, The Little Book by Selden Edwards is very sweet.

Essexgirlupnorth Sat 07-Sep-13 09:14:12

Loved Penny Vincenzi's Spoils of Time Trilogy though read the second book first.

Currently reading Sarah Lark's Song of the Spirits which is the sequel to The Land of the Long White Cloud. Set in New Zealand in 19th century about two woman who sail from Britain to get married and follows their lives. Song if the Spirits follows their Grandchildren.

Been a long time since I read them, but used to love various series by iris gower. Set in Wales , interesting from a social history perspective and good old family sagas with romance thrown in

MorvahRising Tue 10-Sep-13 23:32:57

Another vote for Penmarric, The Wheel of Fortune and Susan Howarth's books in general, and also the fantastic Cazalet chronicles. I've only just found out that the fifth in the series is coming out in November and am intending to book the nearest Saturday, light the fire and dive in until I finish it!

I haven't read it yet, it's nearing the top of my to-read list, but what about the Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy? I've had several recommendations for this from friends.

sherbetpips Wed 11-Sep-13 12:14:57

Jeffrey Archer The Clifton Chronicles, 3 books so far, 4th due out soon. 4 generations of two familes so far. Cannot wait for number 4, as 3 was a real cliff hanger.

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