What's your favourite historical novel? Tell us and be in with a chance to WIN a SIGNED COPY of Helen Dunmore's new novel Exposure plus backlist book bundle

(139 Posts)
UrsulaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Feb-16 15:11:59

Set against a backdrop of the Cold War, spies and scandal, Helen Dunmore's remarkable new novel, Exposure, out this week, tells the story of a woman's determination to protect her family at all costs. When Lily's husband is accused of passing on highly sensitive information to the Soviets, and arrested, Lily is forced to confront forbidden love, intimate betrayal and the devastating power of exposure.

"Exposure is the sort of winter read you hanker for...the period is so meticulously re-created that you almost hear the hiss of the gas streetlamps." - The Times

"This book is a triumph - a marvellous piece of seamless storytelling." - Penelope Lively

Share your favourite historical novels for a chance to win a signed copy of Exposure, plus a backlist bundle of books including Sunday Times bestseller The Lie and The Betrayal.

Helen Dunmore is the author of fourteen novels. Her first, Zennor in Darkness, explored the events which led to D H Lawrence’s expulsion from Cornwall (on suspicion of spying) during the First World War. It won the McKitterick Prize. Her third novel, A Spell of Winter, won the inaugural Orange Prize, now the Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction. Her bestselling novel The Siege, set during the Siege of Leningrad, was described by Antony Beevor as ‘a world-class novel’ and was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel of the Year and the Orange Prize.

She is fascinated by the Cold War era, which was also the era of her childhood, and is the setting for Exposure, and by the secrets, betrayals, loves, lies and loyalties which make up the period’s intimate history.

Quogwinkle Mon 01-Feb-16 15:59:54

I think it has to be Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. I'm just about to start a reread of it this week. Close favourites also would have to be C J Sansom's Shardlake series and S J Parris's Giordano Bruno series.

Clawdy Mon 01-Feb-16 17:12:11

I loved We Speak No Treason by Rosemary Hawley Jarman. It turned me into a life-long Ricardian, and made the discovery of his bones in the car park many years later beyond thrilling!

MrsRedWhite214 Mon 01-Feb-16 17:22:19

I adore A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale. I was completely swept away by it!

Persistentdonor Mon 01-Feb-16 17:32:30

"Katherine" by Anya Seton is one of my all time favourites. Sister-in-Law of Geoffrey Chaucer, and third wife of John of Gaunt; mother of the Beauforts. It is fascinating and evocative. One I have re-read many times over the last 45 years.

lindarumsey Mon 01-Feb-16 17:34:14

The Cousins' War book by Philippa Gregory - great to read detailed history books from a female perspective!

LeighAO Mon 01-Feb-16 17:35:10

Lots of choices but I think Kate Mosse writes brilliantly, sending her readers to a believable, vivid past, so my choices are Labrynth For a taste of Middle Ages Languedoc and The Taxidermists Daughter for a closer to home Sussex in 1912.

lindarumsey Mon 01-Feb-16 17:36:54

Should say The Cousins' War books!

navylass Mon 01-Feb-16 17:38:18

Definitely Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for me.

cavylover Mon 01-Feb-16 17:38:39

A Grove of Eagles by Winston Graham, author of the Poldark books. Excellently written book I would love to see turned into a film.

pennwood Mon 01-Feb-16 17:40:48

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey is a book I enjoyed

eddiemairswife Mon 01-Feb-16 17:42:41

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. Following the lives of Danton, Desmoulins and Robespierre from their childhoods through to the French Revolution and its aftermath.....a period of history we don't study in detail in England. I lent it to a French friend, who was captivated by it.

labradoodlemum Mon 01-Feb-16 17:51:18

I loved Melting the Snow on Hester Street by Daisy Waugh

nannyt Mon 01-Feb-16 18:03:54

Loved Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier.

Cerealchanger Mon 01-Feb-16 18:04:44

I second 'Katherine' by Anya Seton, I loved it as a teenager. I also enjoyed 'pillars of the earth' by ken follett.

lesley37 Mon 01-Feb-16 18:05:59

My favourite book is Gone with the wind.

CoteDAzur Mon 01-Feb-16 18:12:14

This Thing Of Darkness

Runners-up:

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
The Luminaries
Measuring The World

Wolf Hall would not even make it into the first hundred.

burwellmum Mon 01-Feb-16 18:14:17

I also remember enjoying The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey when I was a teenager as did my DD when I gave it to her. When I was younger I loved Rosemary Sutcliff's books such as the Eagle of the Ninth trilogy which seem to have completely disappeared.

Noeuf Mon 01-Feb-16 18:14:27

It's the villa triste by lucretia grindle, mixing second world war with modern day. Absolutely beautiful and engrossing. It's a find I just picked off a bookshelf in the shop and is now in my top three books.

henbane Mon 01-Feb-16 18:20:12

As a teenager I loved Margaret Irwin's historical novels about the Tudor and Stuart period. My favourite was "The Stranger Prince: The Story of Rupert of the Rhine". More recently it has to be Wolf Hall which I only read after seeing the tv series - now I'm searching charity shops for Bring Up the Bodies.

GranAnn42 Mon 01-Feb-16 18:23:17

Definitely has to be Swallows and Amazons - reminds me of my childhood! Mucky constantly.

FoxInABox Mon 01-Feb-16 18:23:42

I adored the help, and Calling Me Home. I almost found myself thinking in a southern American drawl! I also love all of Kate Mortons books- early 1900s novels that set the scene beautifully of period houses and estates. I also loved Lesley Pearces Belle series, again wary 1900s. I loved wolf hall too and also (although I seem in the minority!) really enjoyed the Tv adaptation.

henbane Mon 01-Feb-16 18:25:12

And I've just thought of The Miniaturist, which I've just read!

glasgow1975 Mon 01-Feb-16 18:29:58

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

Andrews55 Mon 01-Feb-16 18:30:12

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo was excellent. I also enjoyed The Lie by Helen Dunmore.

(I loved The Miniaturist too, henbane)

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