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Good historical fiction?

(21 Posts)
SomebodySaveMe Thu 27-Sep-12 13:53:37

I'm looking for something new to read preferably set around the time of the first world war or before.

Any suggestions would be welcomed!

JellySwinger Thu 27-Sep-12 14:27:34

The First Casualty by Ben Elton.

tripfiction Thu 27-Sep-12 20:27:45

Try:
The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R King, England around 1910
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber, London Victorian era
The Diary of A Murder by Lee Jackson, Crystal Palace late 1800s
The Gate of Angels by Penelope Fitzgerald London, Cambridge 1912
And of course Birdsong by Sebastian Falks

Hope this helps.

notnowImreading Thu 27-Sep-12 20:28:38

The Great Lover by Jill Dawson, about Rupert Brooke.

ninjanurse Thu 27-Sep-12 21:14:38

My Dear, I wanted to tell you by Louisa Young. Set in the 1st world war, following two soldiers and their wives/girlfriends and covers the early attempts at plastic surgery on wounded soldiers. Absolutely brilliant book.

DuchessofMalfi Thu 27-Sep-12 22:01:51

Another vote for My Dear I Wanted To Tell You. It is brilliant, like ninja says smile.

imperialstateknickers Thu 27-Sep-12 22:06:27

Ninja that sounds just my cup of tea.

If you want a saga to keep you quiet for about a fortnight, there was a Ken Follett which I found last year, Fall of Giants, sweeping all over Europe as First World War unfolds... with added 1920's.

SomebodySaveMe Fri 28-Sep-12 06:18:14

My dear I wanted to tell you is brilliant. That's what sparked this latest need for historical fiction.

Peeenut Fri 28-Sep-12 06:46:08

I enjoyed The First Casualty by Ben Elton, the style is very different from Ben Elton as a stand up.

xkcdfangirl Fri 28-Sep-12 06:58:18

My two all-time favourites are "Katherine" by Anya Seyton and "The Eagle and the Raven" by Pauline Gedge. I must have read each more than 20 times.

highlandcoo Fri 28-Sep-12 11:05:21

I really enjoyed My dear I wanted to tell you too.

This is WW2, not WW1, but so worth reading: That Summer, by Andrew Greig. A love story interwoven with the events of the Battle of Britain over the months of one summer. The young man is a fighter pilot and the young woman is working for RDF (early radar) spotting the German planes arriving, and monitoring the British pilots. It's a beautifully written novel.

Like2Chat Fri 28-Sep-12 11:15:43

How about Brideshead Revisited? This is set just before the outbreak of WWII but wonderfully evocative. The book is so much better then the TV series.

gastrognome Fri 28-Sep-12 12:10:46

Atonement, by Ian McEwan.

deleted203 Fri 28-Sep-12 12:12:40

'In Pale Battalions' by Robert Goddard.

wombleside Fri 28-Sep-12 20:38:49

One of my favourites is This Time of Dying by Reina James set just after the end of WW1 during the Spanish flu epidemic.

xkcdfangirl Fri 28-Sep-12 22:24:06

I didn't read the OP properly - sorry - didn't notice the WW1 spec.
Have you read Parade's End? Ford Madox Ford.

mimbleandlittlemy Mon 01-Oct-12 16:24:10

Pat Barker's trilogy, Regeneration, The Eye in the Door and The Ghost Road are excellent. Also Half the Human Race by Anthony Quinn - WWI, suffragettes and cricket (don't worry about the cricket too much!).

There are now two of the Ken Follett books out - second has just come out and I managed to load both the first & second on to the kindle last week.

I've got My Dear I Wanted to Tell You on said Kindle, waiting to be read thanks to previous recommendations on MN.

deleted203 Mon 01-Oct-12 18:34:06

I'm afraid I hated Regeneration trilogy. And I also hated Birdsong. TBH my degree is in military history and I specialise in WW1 so I often find it quite irritating to read fiction about this period unless it's very accurate. Having said that I quite enjoyed, 'My dear I wanted to tell you'. If you are interested in WW1 and can bear a bit of gore I would highly recommend 'The Roses of No Man's Land' by Lyn McDonald. It is a collection of first hand reminiscences from women who went out to nurse on the front line and is tremendously powerful stuff. (Available from Amazon).

elkiedee Mon 01-Oct-12 18:42:10

Penelope Fitzgerald, The Beginning of Spring, set in Russia in 1912

sprout44 Sun 14-Oct-12 10:39:54

The long way home Sebastain Barry, great book, very sad as all his books are

JeanBodel Sun 14-Oct-12 10:42:45

Patrick O'Brien 'Master & Commander' series = Napoleonic Wars

George MacDonald Fraser 'Flashman' series = Victorian era

I appreciate this is not what you are looking for, but they belong in any thread about good historical fiction. smile

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