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Books with a bit of history and mystery but set in modern times

(22 Posts)
BestIsWest Wed 01-Oct-14 10:42:12

I was thinking last night about some of my favourite books and realised that there's a common theme - the book is set in the present day but the narrator or main character is researching some sort of family or past mystery usually set in Victorian or later times.

Examples of the kind of book I'm thinking of are Asta's Book and the Blood Doctor by Barbara Vine and Posession by AS Byatt. Margaret Forster has also written some books on this theme.

They don't necessarily need to be fiction either.

So, any suggestions for more books like this?

OP’s posts: |
DuchessofMalfi Wed 01-Oct-14 11:29:57

Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Barbara Erskine? DH has read a few by these authors - he quite likes the history/mystery type novels they write.

Seeline Wed 01-Oct-14 11:35:48

Definitely Barbara Erskine. Her books are always based in modern times, with some link to the past - often some form of ghostly form. She has covered a huge chunk of history and I find them fascinating.

ThrowAChickenInTheAir Wed 01-Oct-14 11:38:46

Ooh yes I was going to suggest Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine. I read it years ago but remember it was v good.

MrsMcRuff Wed 01-Oct-14 11:44:49

Kate Atkinson - Human Croquet - brilliant story, where present and past intertwine. smile

ArsenicFaceCream Wed 01-Oct-14 11:50:17

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox, by Maggie O'Farrell

eagle2010 Wed 01-Oct-14 11:51:52

I was going to suggest Kate Atkinson as well - Case Histories is another one where past and present intertwine beautifully.

BestIsWest Wed 01-Oct-14 13:06:32

I've read all the above apart from Barbara Erskine! So good choices everyone!

I love love Kate Atkinson by the way. Jackson Brodie mmmm. I loved Life after Life too.

OP’s posts: |
eagle2010 Wed 01-Oct-14 14:25:53

Haha I've a crush on Jackson Brodie too smile

CoteDAzur Wed 01-Oct-14 22:43:07

The Skull Mantra and sequels - detective fiction in modern Tibet under Chinese occupation. Fantastic insight into culture, traditions, conflicting mindsets between the Chinese & Tibetans.

IDoAllMyOwnStunts Wed 01-Oct-14 22:46:06

Have you read 'the gargoyle' by Andrew Davidson? A great read that intertwines modern life with medieval history.

Clawdy Thu 02-Oct-14 15:59:28

The Naming of Eliza Quinn by Carol Birch is a wonderful read - a woman investigating her Irish roots goes to stay in a cottage once lived in by family and finds small bones hidden in an old tree. It moves between present day and the potato famine.

Julesmummy Mon 06-Oct-14 22:51:19

There is a series of book by Diana Gabaldon which starts with Outlander. Without giving too much away the central character falls through some standing stones in postwar Scotland and ends up in the highlands pre Culloden and the Jacobite rising. In the US there is a series running now of the first book. I urge everyone to read them. I promise you will be hooked!

januarysnowdrop Mon 06-Oct-14 22:53:32

Night Waking by Sarah Moss. Wonderful book.

snozzlemaid Tue 07-Oct-14 21:38:59

I've just read The Light Behind the Window by Lucinda Riley. It's set in both modern day and WW2.
I really enjoyed it.

MrMcGintysGoat Wed 08-Oct-14 19:18:43

I second Julesmummy, love the Outlander series.

canada24 Thu 09-Oct-14 09:27:13

I love The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe. It's set in Salem, Massachusetts and so is almost inevitably about the Salem Witches. It's a really fresh take on the story and personal for the author - she's apparently descended from one of the women accused in the trial. I read it for an online historical fiction course, otherwise I might never have come across it. Has anyone else read it/liked it?

elkiedee Sat 11-Oct-14 05:16:03

I see someone's already suggested Night Waking by Sarah Moss - seconded.

The Perfume Garden by Kate Lord Brown

Bay of Secrets by Rosanna Ley

Entry Island by Peter May

Into Suez by Stevie Davies

I read the Katherine Howe book and was very unimpressed.

BestIsWest Sun 12-Oct-14 09:00:58

Thank you all. Looking forward to reading these suggestions.

OP’s posts: |
Nerf Sun 12-Oct-14 09:02:59

The villa triste by Lucretia grindle set in Florence and touches on World War Two.

MrsTittleMouse Sun 12-Oct-14 09:06:16

If you like things with an element of a thriller about them, Kate Ellis writes crime novels with a large element of (British) archeology in them.

IsabellaofFrance Sun 12-Oct-14 09:43:26

Kate Mosse? Citadel was a bit of hard work but I did enjoy it overall.

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