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Historical fiction, Victorian era?

(39 Posts)
treaclesoda Sat 13-Jun-15 22:02:50

I enjoy a bit of historical fiction (and read a fair bit of actual history too) but seem to have read an awful lot that is set in 16th century and thereabouts and fancied something different.

I quite fancy something set in the Victorian era, or even the very early 20th century at a push.

Can anyone suggest anything?
Thanks smile

OP’s posts: |
MamaMary Sat 13-Jun-15 22:08:35

Well there were a lot of novels actually written and published in the Victorian era - do they count? Pretty much anything by the Brontes, Elizabeth Gaskell, Thomas Hardy, Wilkie Collins - all fairly easy to read. More of a challenge (at least some of their works): Dickens, George Eliot.

If you mean fiction written much more recently I've also read a few of those - I'll have a think.

whitershadeofpale Sat 13-Jun-15 22:08:38

Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White. Also Sarah Waters, Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith and Affinity are all Victorian, her latest The Paying Guests is set in 1922.

MamaMary Sat 13-Jun-15 22:13:50

Recommend all the three Sarah Waters mentioned above, as well as Gillespie and I by Jane Harris and The Observations also by Jane Harris.

agoodbook Sat 13-Jun-15 22:22:32

Tracy Chevalier
Linda Holeman
Jaqueline Winspear writes crime novels set just after the 1st world war,

Sansarya Sat 13-Jun-15 22:25:02

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles' Morland Dynasty series has several volumes that span the Victorian age, although it helps if you've read the preceding books too.

SoljaBonita Sat 13-Jun-15 22:27:12

Water Music by t.c Boyle, which is my favourite book ever,

agoodbook Sat 13-Jun-15 22:39:51

forgot Ken Follett- love his books!

treaclesoda Sun 14-Jun-15 08:45:23

Thanks for the suggestions, loads for me to investigate.

Embarassingly when I was thinking about this last night I had a bit of a blank and could only think of Dickens and I knew he wasn't the only writer of his era. blush

But yes, interested both in books written at that time and in more modern authors who have written books set in that era. smile

OP’s posts: |
highlandcoo Sun 14-Jun-15 14:01:45

Yy to Michel Faber, Sarah Waters and particularly Jane Harris - The Observations is one of my favourite books. Came on to thread to recommend all three.

Arnold Bennett is a great Edwardian writer who deserves to be more widely known. He wrote family sagas set in the Potteries which are very readable. The Old Wives' Tale and Clayhanger are particularly good.

ImperialBlether Sun 14-Jun-15 14:03:47

Start with Sarah Waters' Fingersmith. It's beautifully written with a fantastic twist.

jeee Sun 14-Jun-15 14:10:55

Susan Howatch, Cashelmara (famine, Ireland), Penmarric (late nineteenth/early twentieth century Cornwall).

Sansarya Sun 14-Jun-15 17:37:13

Oh yes, definitely Susan Howatch. Also Reay Tannanill who wrote historical epics mainly set in Scotland in Victorian times.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Sun 14-Jun-15 17:46:22

Another fan of Sarah Waters and Michel Faber. Also Emma Donaghue's The sealed letter and Sarah Moss Bodies of Light - both excellent.

lucysnowe Sun 14-Jun-15 18:05:54

The Quincunx and The Unburied by Charles Palliser (I am always recommending them on here!)

DandyDan Sun 14-Jun-15 19:38:32

The Observations by Jane Harris;

in fact, also "Gillespie & I" by Jane Harris which is brilliant as well.

bruffin Sun 14-Jun-15 19:42:10

Anne Perry Victorian detective novels
Jean Plaidy books about Queen Victoria are very good.

PausingFlatly Sun 14-Jun-15 19:50:32

Dickens is hugely variable. I find some of it grippingly readable; some turgid trash.

My personal list of good Dickens reads is:
Bleak House
Tale of Two Cities (set in the C18th)
Our Mutual Friend
David Copperfield
The Pickwick Papers

Can take it or leave it:
The Mystery of Edwin Drood (unfinished)
Little Dorrit
Great Expectations
Dombey and Son (this one's teetering on the next category)

To be used only as loo roll:
Hard Times
Barnaby Rudge
The Old Curiosity Shop

PausingFlatly Sun 14-Jun-15 19:52:20

Seconding Mrs Gaskell and Wilkie Collins.

PausingFlatly Sun 14-Jun-15 19:54:55

If you're prepared to go a touch earlier than Victorian, there's Walter Scott. The Antiquary is one of my favourite books, but Rob Roy is an excellent read too.

Any Robert Louis Stevenson is a rollicking good read as well.

PausingFlatly Sun 14-Jun-15 19:56:09

Um, with the exception of the The Tailor of Ballantrae, unless you have a taste for the exceptionally creepy.

hifi Sun 14-Jun-15 20:16:58

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Mon 15-Jun-15 05:48:30

Norah Lofts wrote some splendid Victorian ones - try Lovers All Untrue and Nethergate.

SecretSpi Mon 15-Jun-15 21:11:34

Stone's Fall by Iain Pears

Molewoman Tue 16-Jun-15 11:48:20

I recommend Lady's Maid, by Margaret Forster. If you're also interested in France in the 19th century, try Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (as in the musical, but with a lot more in it). There's a good English translation published by Penguin.

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