Saturday, September 26, 2009

A visual preview of the spring season, part one

Here we go with another visual preview - a dozen or so examples of historical novels forthcoming in the first few months of 2010. I've been trying to mix up US and UK examples, although there aren't too many of the latter yet. This post has been in the works for the past two weeks, so without further ado...

Historical suspense focusing on a real-life murder case that gripped New York City in 1857: the late-night murder of dentist Dr. Harvey Burdell on the 2nd floor of his town house on 31 Bond Street. You can google for more info if you want, but I won't say any more here. Harper, March.

Terrell has previously written two multi-period novels of international intrigue (The Chrysalis and The Map Thief). Here she turns to her first mainstream historical novel with a story about St. Brigid and the early Irish church, billed as Girl with a Pearl Earring meets How the Irish Saved Civilization. It's set in the 5th century. Ballantine, March.

A biographical novel of Countess Eliza de Feuillide, Jane Austen's spirited cousin, whose life was much more exciting and scandalous than that of Austen herself. I'm not really into the current Austen trend, but I did read the author's Cassandra and Jane after a free copy appeared in my mailbox, and I have to say, I quite enjoyed it. Per Publishers Marketplace, this one was previously titled "Enchanting Eliza," but you know we have to get Jane's name in there. Harper, March.

A fictionalized biography of French Romantic poet and actress Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, a contemporary of Hugo and Baudelaire, whose marriage to a fellow actor is thrown aside after she meets Henri de Latouche. Their year-long affair inspired her most acclaimed works. This novel, in its original French, won the 2005 Prix du récit biographique of the Académie internationale des arts et collections. In case you can't read the small type, the title is The Last Rendezvous by Anne Plantagenet. Other Press, March.

In 15th-century Bruges, master painter Hans Memling becomes entangled in a political quagmire when he plays host to two English exiles who aren't who they appear to be. Methinks you might guess where this is heading, but the blurb promises surprises, as well as excellent depictions of the Flemish art world. (The protagonist is a historical character.) Macmillan New Writing, January.

If I were a historical novelist, I'd kill for a cover like this... it says "buy me" all over it. Described as "Spartacus for girls," this historical epic set in 1st century Rome recounts a love story between Thea, a Jewish slave girl, and a gladiator; the pair become embroiled in a plot to kill the Emperor. UK rights went to Headline. The author has a blog at Goodreads. Berkley, April.

A debut novel set in 1930s industrial England, about a motherless 13-year-old girl named Ruby, employed at a local fish & chips shop, whose life is transformed after the arrival of a mysterious white-haired woman. Per the Publishers Weekly deals writeup, it's drawn comparisons to Thomas Hardy's Wessex novels. The publisher has a book trailer/interview with the author on YouTube. UK rights went to Chatto & Windus. Spiegel & Grau, February.

Perry's standalone historical epic (544 pages, per Amazon) takes place during the waning years of the Byzantine Empire. In 13th-century Constantinople, a young woman named Anna disguises herself as a eunuch to clear her brother of a murder charge. A few years ago, I zoomed through all of Perry's Monk novels (that had been published so far) and only stopped because my TBR pile was making me feel guilty for ignoring it. Daphne previewed this novel earlier in the month, but I couldn't resist mentioning it again because it's one I'm highly anticipating; it's going to be one of those "drop everything and read it" books. Ballantine, 23 March; Headline, 1st April.

Another novel I've been waiting for ever since I spotted it in the publisher's catalog; how many other novels can you name that are set in colonial Louisiana? In 1704, Elisabeth sets sail from Louis XIV's France to become the bride of one of the settlers, beginning a journey she could not have anticipated. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February.

In 17th-century England just after the Civil War (the period she wrote about in her earlier As Meat Loves Salt), Jonathan Dymond, a 26-year-old cider-maker, unravels a mystery of inheritance and family secrets sparked by a letter fragment found in the family's orchard. Faber, February.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Book review: Michelle Cameron, The Fruit of Her Hands

Michelle Cameron has written an inspiring, entertaining, and moving novel based on the life of renowned German rabbi Meir ben Baruch of Rothenberg, her ancestor, as seen from his wife’s viewpoint. It spans several countries and nearly 70 years of European Jewish history, following Shira of Ashkenaz and her family as they settle in new locales and begin new stages in their lives.

Shira, daughter of the chief rabbi for the city of Falaise, grows up in the shadow of William the Conqueror’s keep in early 13th-century France. Surrounded by the students of her father’s academy, and belonging to a culture in which women pray for their sons to become scholars, it’s no surprise that Shira places a high value on learning and yearns to study Talmud herself. Her loving father, a widower honored by Jews and Christians alike, takes pride in her academic talents but puts a stop to her formal education when they get in the way of running a suitably religious household.

Rabbi Shmuel’s esteemed reputation with scholars throughout the Ashkenazi world of western Germany and northern France means he’s able to recruit the best and brightest students for his yeshiva. After he remarries, he arranges his daughter’s wedding to Meir ben Baruch of Worms, one of his most promising pupils. In one another, Shira and Meir find their soul mates; they build a life together and raise their children, with all the attendant joys and occasional travails. Although Shira struggles with her responsibilities as a rabbi’s wife, even her overbearing mother-in-law (who fortunately lives far away!) doesn’t lessen Shira’s happiness in her role as matriarch to a growing family.

The main thing – and it’s a big one – disturbing the harmony of their life together is the lingering shadow of Nicholas Donin, a former student of Rabbi Shmuel’s who once sought to marry Shira. His fervent beliefs in the supremacy of the Torah over Talmud result in his excommunication and lead him to take revenge against his former fellow Jews.

The mid-13th century saw an increasing rise in anti-Semitism, and Shira and her family experience it firsthand. As outlandish rumors about Judaism gain ground, restrictions tighten. Being forced to pin gold circlets on their clothing as outward marks of their religion is, sadly, a small penalty compared to what happens later. In distant Brittany, Crusaders force Jews to choose between conversion and the sword, while in 1240, the Jews of Paris witness the public destruction of their sacred heritage. Misunderstandings about the Talmud and accusations of blood libel pop up wherever they go.

Regardless of events beyond her control, Shira holds on to what she holds most dear – her family, friends, and faith – assisting Meir as a scribe on occasion and ensuring a loving home for her children. Shira has a rebellious streak, which occasionally exasperates her husband, while at the same time she’s respectful of tradition. This gives the novel historical authenticity and contemporary appeal. Cameron sprinkles her novel with tidbits about Jewish women's rituals, like hanging amulets around a room during childbirth and placing an iron knife invoking Biblical matriarchs’ names underneath a woman's pillow to ensure a safe delivery. These fascinating details are well integrated into the story.

From the yeshiva of Falaise to the bustling markets of Les Halles in Paris to their 21-room house along the Tauber in Rothenberg, Cameron’s wonderfully fluid style carries the story forward. It’s simply a joy to read, and as we follow the characters’ lives, we get to see medieval Europe from a new and important perspective. Although Shira is an invented figure, she is thoroughly believable and a worthy partner for her famous husband. Despite the troubling times in which the characters live, The Fruit of Her Hands is ultimately a story about love, scholarship, resilience, and hope which allows for greater understanding of the Jewish faith. It’s well worth reading.


The Fruit of Her Hands: The Story of Shira of Ashkenaz was published in September by Pocket, $25.00 / CAN $32.99, hb, 436pp, ISBN 978-1-4391-1822-1. This marks a stop on Michelle Cameron's blog tour; visit her Events page for links to additional reviews and guest posts.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Book review: Thad Carhart, Across the Endless River

Born in 1805 along Lewis and Clark's Voyage of Discovery, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau is a man caught between two worlds. His travels begin in infancy, when Sacagawea straps him to her back on a cradleboard while heading westward with the famed expedition to the Pacific. Baptiste spends his childhood partly with her and his French fur-trapper father in the villages of the Mandan, and partly at William Clark's home in St. Louis. In 1824, when he is eighteen, he serves as a guide for Duke Paul of Württemberg on his first visit to the American frontier. The two strike up a friendship, prompting Paul to invite Baptiste to return with him to Europe and assist him in organizing his collection of Indian artifacts.

Little is known about Baptiste's five-year sojourn overseas, leaving Carhart plenty of room for imaginative exploration. After crossing an ocean far more vast than the prairie grasslands, Baptiste accompanies the "gypsy duke" on his travels from Le Havre to Stuttgart, Venice, Stockholm, and back, with many stops in between. He gets drawn into the unfamiliar world of European royalty and nobility, where one's outer appearance is assumed to reflect one's status, and his facility with languages and innate curiosity serve him well. Although he remains an outsider, he meets others who, like him, regularly move between two cultures. He shares romantic liaisons with two of them -- Princess Theresa, Paul's independent older cousin, and Maura, a sophisticated French-Irish wine merchant's daughter -- although social conventions prevent any formal attachments. As he comes of age, he experiences all the pleasures of aristocratic life but comes to understand its responsibilities and limitations.

It's ironic to have a protagonist articulate the problems with a novel's structure, yet Baptiste nails them exactly. While en route from Paris to Stuttgart, he expresses his discomfort with being a passive observer, "as if all that was expected of him was to go from one place to another and take in what he found." The early chapters brim with vibrant depictions of his adventures along the Missouri, a half-wild land full of natural beauty and diverse civilizations. Once in Europe, however, the novel loses steam. From the elaborately sculpted gardens at the Palace of Ludwigsburg to the ducal forest around Carlsruhe, Baptiste continually remarks on his elegant surroundings and marvels at the differences between them and his former life. He makes observations; he writes letters home about them; he learns a lot about European history, society, and customs and shares his knowledge about the Mandan. He and others discuss social issues of contemporary concern, yet the dialogue is frequently stilted -- resulting in scenes as inanimate as the specimens in Duke Paul's oversized, ill-conceived collection.

In some instances, the beautifully described settings take on a life of their own. While strolling with Baptiste along the streets of Paris, with the striped awnings of its cafés and the delicate archways of its stone bridges, it's possible to forget, temporarily, that this is supposed to be a novel. Once the characters' conversations begin intruding on the pages, the magic quickly dissipates. While not without its moments, this account of Baptiste's European voyage of discovery works better as travelogue than fiction.


Across the Endless River was published in hardcover this September by Doubleday at $26.95, hb, 308pp, 978-0-385-52977-8.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

BBAW contest winner, and what got me started with historical reading

I've really enjoyed reading all the contest entries this past week. Without further ado, it's time to draw the winner's name. This morning picked the winner as contest entrant #2, which is Mantelli! Congratulations, Mantelli, and I hope you enjoy the book. I'll be in touch shortly.

This wasn't meant to be a formal survey, but I found it fascinating to read about the novels that got everyone started reading historical fiction. The top titles/authors mentioned were Gone with the Wind, anything by Jean Plaidy, and The Other Boleyn Girl. Other books and authors cited more than once: Outlander (aka Cross Stitch), Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, Sharon Penman, Susan Carroll's The Dark Queen, Johnny Tremain, Dumas, Elizabeth Byrd's Immortal Queen (sounds like a good candidate for reissue!), The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Elizabeth Chadwick, Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre.

There were many, many other books recommended, so please stop by the comment trail on the previous post to read them all. I've certainly added more than a few to my mental TBR list.

I suppose I should answer the question myself, although I don't really remember specific historical novels standing out in my childhood reading. I used to read voraciously and indiscriminately -- classics, contemporary fiction, teenage romances, historical novels, fantasy, SF, mysteries, whatever. I read all the Little House books as well as Witch of Blackbird Pond and Johnny Tremain, the latter two for middle school. I expect most kids growing up in New England read them. The first adult historical novel I remember reading was Anya Seton's Katherine, which I wrote about for a 9th grade research paper. But I think the author who really got me started on reading HF was Jean Plaidy, in her alter ego as Victoria Holt. I read through all of the Holts and all her Philippa Carrs and kept seeing these Jean Plaidy books listed in the ending pages. "Jean Plaidy" didn't sound like a very glamorous name, and I was more into gothic romance at the time, so I figured the books were boring. What can I say.

When I was working a temp secretarial job between grad schools, I suddenly found myself with a lot of free time. The boss didn't mind if I read at my desk as long as all his memos got typed up and the phones were answered, and there really wasn't much else to do... I had a PC to work on, but this was before the Web (this probably dates me). So I went through all of the Plaidys in chronological order, reading one a day, until I'd made it through all of the Normans, Plantagenets, Stuarts, Georgians, and Victorians and then all the Queens of England novels that were out at the time. After that, I picked up Valerie Anand's Bridges Over Time books, Margaret Campbell Barnes, what I hadn't yet read of Norah Lofts, and whatever other historical novels I could find on the shelves of the East Lansing Public Library.

I have a feeling I've written most of this on the blog before, but there you have it. And the rest, as they say, is history. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My BBAW giveaway: Win a copy of Historical Fiction II

This is going to be my one and only giveaway in celebration of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, but it's a big one (literally). I've just finished mailing off 35 books to the winners and participants of the Title Game challenge, but couldn't resist doing just one more of these. (I'm doing my part to keep the post office in business, so that Saturday mail delivery doesn't go away.)

This time, the book I'm offering up is my own. One of my author copies of Historical Fiction II: A Guide to the Genre will be mailed out to a randomly selected blog visitor. Headless cover art below.

Within the book's 750-plus pages, you'll find detailed summaries and complete publication information for over 2700 recent and classic historical novels, all eagerly waiting to be added to your TBR piles! The chapter introductions discuss the history of the field, current trends, and benchmark titles, and a Resource section lists historical fiction publishers, book review sources, websites, bibliographies, and more. It's exhaustively indexed by author, title, series, subject, historical character, and place/time. Here's the publisher's description:

Historical fiction has surged in popularity in recent years, with new subgenres emerging (e.g. Viking romance, religious thrillers) and reader interest showing no signs of slowing down. This follow-up to Johnson's critically acclaimed guide published in 2005 covers new territory by focusing on English-language historical novels for adults published between mid-2004 and mid-2008, in particular those commonly found in American public library collections. The author's unique approach involves classifying titles by subgenres, rather than strictly by geography and chronology; thereby grouping read-alikes together. It gives users a deeper understanding of the genre, an update on new titles, and an easy way to identify read-alikes and book club selections. More than 2,700 historical fiction titles, about 2,000 new to this volume, are organized and described.
Historical Fiction II came out in hardcover this past March; it's been getting some nice reviews. Should you be the winner, I'll even sign this copy for you if you want.

To enter the drawing, leave a comment on this post mentioning the novel that first got you interested in reading historical fiction. Whether you're a new historical fiction fan or a longtime devotee, I'm curious to hear what book or books first got you started! Please include your email address as well. Deadline is 11:59pm CST, Friday, September 18th. The winner will be announced on Saturday.

Good luck to all the entrants!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Guest post by Jeri Westerson: "I'm Not Dead!"

Jeri is stopping by Reading the Past today as part of the blog tour for her second Crispin Guest novel, Serpent in the Thorns. This is the tour's first stop, and I hope you'll enjoy her informative, hilarious post as much as I did!

"I’m Not Dead!"

by Jeri Westerson

The medieval period was nothing if not rife with ceremony, where everyone knew their place in the scheme of things. It’s particularly true for my character Crispin Guest, an ex-knight turned detective in fourteenth century London. He no longer belongs to the society in which he was bred, but it doesn’t stop him from living by his knightly code.

Living by the rules is one thing. But following rules on one’s deathbed?

The pomp did not wait for the person to be deceased, but began as they lay dying. There were do’s and don’ts for the those in attendance, but as if you didn’t have enough to worry over, there was also a bit to do when you were the one dying. You learned all you needed from the Ars Moriendi or “Art of Dying,” a book on how to die well. You needed to concentrate on where you were going and to avoid all those demons hovering around you waiting to snatch your soul when you were the most vulnerable. Of course, you’re dying, for crying out loud! and it seems a little much to expect a person who might very well be in pain to keep from crying out unnecessarily, or moaning, or, well…making a spectacle of yourself, even if the room is filled with people, including your confessor. In fact, family was discouraged from being with you at this crucial stage as they would be a distraction for you as you worked on keeping your pride in check. Your priest would be anointing you. Once you were dead this anointing would not be cleansed from you to give you further protection from those lurking demons. But if you had the audacity to recover, it was certainly all right to wash it all off.

The room would be draped in black and there might be your executor helping you draft that really last will and testament. If you were of the wealthier class, you would be providing cloth for funeral gowns for the attendants. Perhaps you would also provide gowns for paupers to be in attendance and they could also be useful to carry torches in the procession to the church. The poor were often dragged into the proceedings since the prayers of the poor were deemed of more value than from others, being that Christ always had a special place in his heart for the poor. Shoes were bequeathed to poor women and coal was also provided for their hearths. All this last ditch generosity served to put you in better stead with the Almighty while showing off to the populace that you were an important bloke.

Once you were really most sincerely dead—and they might use a polished brass mirror or feather to see if you were breathing, or thump you on the breast to draw your attention to a crucifix or to an elevated Eucharist—you would be dressed in a shroud and laid in a parish hearse or a hearse of your own, if you were rich, and taken to the church for a mass. In the front of the procession were candle-bearers and bell-ringers. Both of these were designed to scare off demons who were still ready to snatch your soul as it was believed that the dead’s soul lingered for about a month after death like the last guest at a party who would not go home. Many masses throughout the month would be sung for you (as long as you paid for them ahead of time) to chase away the devils and to give your soul that last heave-ho to point you in the right direction. Hopefully, that would be upward.

Mourners in funeral gowns would also be in this procession. The body might lie in state at home from one day to several weeks, depending. A murdered individual or someone who died by violent means wasn’t very welcomed into the church as it was believed that he might be dripping blood all over the place, even though a body ceases to “drip” blood once the heart stops. It was believed a corpse’s blood would run in front of the murderer, ratting him out. Not so strange, then, that no one wanted to be present at the funeral under such circumstances. Still, there was a stigma attached to an unnatural death and such funerals—unless they were for a monarch—were dealt with quickly.

A coffin might be part of the procedures. They were involved in the transport of the body but not necessarily in the burying thereof. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, after all. Though if you had enough money you could be entombed in the church itself either in a shrine or in the floor. The nave was the cheapest. Your own chapel was premium.

At the end of the month of your death, it was traditional to hold a second service, alms for the poor again, and serve a funeral feast which was often more spectacular than the burial itself. A year after the burial an anniversary celebration might take place, much as the celebration of the anniversary of the death of a saint (that’s what a saint’s feast day is, after all).

So if you are after a really great death, forget the Viking funeral. You might want to opt for the extravagant medieval-style send off. But remember. It’ll cost you.


For more reading, see Death and Burial in Medieval England 1066-1550 by Christopher Daniell, Medieval Death by Paul Binski.

Jeri’s new Crispin Guest Medieval Noir, Serpent In The Thorns, will be in bookstores September 29th. For more, go to To follow Jeri on the rest of her blog tour, visit her appearance schedule.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Book review: J.H. Schryer's Goodnight Vienna

In March 1938, the Nazis enter Vienna to widespread acclaim and little overt resistance. Overnight, anti-Jewish propaganda rains down on the populace and begins appearing on shop windows. Katharine Walters, a concert violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic, has a second job at the British Embassy’s passport office overseeing the issuance of visas, a demanding task since many Jews are frantic to emigrate. She also works undercover as an operative for the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), otherwise known as MI6.

Her husband Jonathan, a surgeon and fellow agent, is continually sent on dangerous missions by his superior, Captain Henderson. In his absence, Katharine is assigned to watch over Freud's apartment until his visa is secured. Captain Henderson, for his part, has secretly loved Katharine for years but knows he's not free to reveal his feelings. Their close working relationship, and his seeming aloofness, creates an awkward situation for them both.

Alarming news reports come in: agents on active service are being eliminated, one by one. There’s a mole at work within the SIS, making Katharine fear for Jonathan’s safety. One night, her worst fears are realized. The story then flashes back to Berlin, six months earlier, to the point of their first meeting and Katharine’s recruitment into the world of international espionage.

Schryer (pseudonym of authors/historians James Hamilton and Dr. Helen Fry) keeps the pacing brisk and tension level high. The sharply written prose and cinematic descriptions make it easy to picture Vienna at a traumatic point in its history, and the dialogue is realistic and era-appropriate. The authors zoom in on striking images, such as the palatial lobby of the Hotel Imperial, with its polished checkerboard floor and sparkling chandelier. The tragic plight of Vienna's Jews is portrayed movingly, and the paths followed by the Jewish secondary characters exemplify the limited routes open to them.

All the characters have something to hide, as befitting a wartime thriller, but some are as inscrutable to the reader as they are to one another. Despite her career choice, for example, we never feel Katharine’s passion for her instrument. Surprising confidences are shared, viewpoints shift without warning, and one subplot is abandoned mid-story. (Perhaps the expected sequel will wrap up the loose ends?) While historical detail is mostly inserted smoothly, there's some heavy-handed explication: we're told at least three times that Jews were forced to scrub pavements. With the many misplaced commas and a few calculation errors, the novel sometimes reads like it missed the proofreading stage. It's meatier than expected from the short page count, but the miniscule typeface is really too small for comfort.

The most prominent character is actually Vienna itself, an elegant, cosmopolitan city transformed into a place of fear and heightening danger. The authors do a good job expressing the difficulty of living day-to-day when the Hitler Youth roam the streets and attempts at opposition are stifled. The complicated political situation is presented in an easily digestible manner, and it's educational and inspiring to read about the heroism of SIS operatives in 1930s Austria. Despite the novel’s rough edges, those fascinated by the subject, place, and time should find it worthwhile.


Goodnight Vienna was published this June by The History Press (UK) in paperback at £8.99, 192pp, 978-0-7524-4920-3. For more details, see the authors' website.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Historical Novel Title Game - the winners!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the challenge! You've all done an excellent job and come up with some great lists. Tabulating the results last night and this morning turned out to be a challenge for me, too, because there were many titles (especially historical romances and out-of-print books) I hadn't heard of before. Anyone notice that there were two titles from the grid in the photo itself? :)

I went through everyone's lists, removing the ones that weren't historical fiction (such as nonfiction biographies, modern thrillers, fantasy fiction; there was even a Star Trek novel in there), duplicates, and those with incomplete information or with words in the wrong order. For anyone who's interested, Hebe Elsna and Dorothy Phoebe Ansle are the same person, as are Lozania Prole and Ursula Bloom, so if you listed both for the same title, I counted them once. If anyone has questions on why certain titles didn't count, just email me or leave a comment. This is all pedantic stuff, but even after making these adjustments, it didn't change anyone's placement.

The results are:

First Place (and six free books): Yvette Hoitink, with 106 titles
Second Place (and five books): Heather Ganshorn, with 104 titles
Third Place (and four books): Daphne from Tanzanite's Shelf and Stuff, with 90 titles

Congratulations - great work!! I'll be in touch shortly.

And now for the winners' lists. Who would have thought there'd be so many combinations? Because I knew people would be curious, and because I was curious myself, I've made a brief notation as to the topic/setting after each book. I've put (hf) for those I know are historical fiction but couldn't easily find the exact subject for.

Yvette's list:

Devil's Bride - Stephanie Laurens (Regency romance)
Devil's Garden - Ace Atkins (1920s San Francisco)
Devil's mistress - Heather Graham (17th c witch trials)
Empress - Evelyn McCune (Wu Jao, 7th-c China)
Empress - Shan Sa (7th-c China)
First Knight - Elizabeth Chadwick (medieval England)
First queen - John Gall (Hatshepsut)
Golden girl - Joan Wolf (Regency romance)
Golden Princess - Laurence Moody (Elizabeth I)
Grace - Chapman Travers (post-Civil War romance)
Grace - Deneane Clark (Regency romance)
Grace - Robert Ward (Civil Rights era)
Heretic - Bernard Cornwell (Hundred Years War)
Heretic's daughter - Kathleen Kent (Salem witch trials)
King's fool - Margaret Campbell Barnes (Henry VIII’s England)
King's mistress - Julia Watson (hf)
King's mistress - Kathryn Dryden (Tudor era)
The Last Concubine - Lesley Downer (19th-c Japan)
Last Tsarina - Lozania Prole (Empress Alexandra)
Mistress - Amanda Quick (hist romance)
Mistress - Leda Swann (19th c erotic romance)
Princess - Gaelen Foley (19th c Europe, romance)
The Queen's Bastard - Robin Maxwell (Elizabeth I)
Rebel - Bernard Cornwell (US Civil War)
Rebel - Heather Graham (Florida Civil War romance)
Rebel - John Clagett (Confederate navy)
Rebel king - Charles Randolph Bruce, Carolyn Hale Bruce (Robert Bruce)
Red Queen - Jane Hammond (hf)
Royal Blood - Rona Sharon (Tudor vampires)
Royal's bride - Kat Martin (1854 England, romance)
The bastard - John Jakes (Am Revolution)
The Boleyn Wife - Brandy Purdy (Jane Boleyn)
The concubine - Jade Lee (19th c China)
The concubine - Norah Lofts (Anne Boleyn)
The Concubine - Elechi Amadi (colonial Africa)
The concubine's daughter - Helen Kwok (1950s-60s Hong Kong)
The concubine's daughter - Pai Kit Fai (20th c rural China)
The courtier's secret - Donna Russo Morin (Louis XIV’s court)
The devil's daughter - Laura Drewry (western romance)
The Devil's Queen - Jeanne Kalogridis (Catherine de Medici)
The French Mistress - Susan Holloway Scott (Louise de Keroualle)
The Garden - Gillian Linscott (Edwardian saga)
The German Bride - Joanna Hershon (post-Civil War Southwest)
The golden king - Max Overton (ancient Scythia)
The Heretic - Alison Macleod (Anne Askew)
The heretic - Andrew Feder (ancient Greece, timeslip)
The Heretic - Chris Scott (Giordano Bruno)
The Heretic - Lewis M. Weinstein (15th-c Spain)
The Heretic - Miguel Delibes (Inquisition)
The heretic queen - Michelle Moran (Nefertari)
The heretic's wife - Brenda Rickman Vantrease (medieval)
The Italian - Ann Radcliffe (18th c Italy)
The Italian - Elaine Coffman (19th-c romance)
The Italian Garden - Judith Lennox (16th-c Venice)
The Italian Woman - Jean Plaidy (Catherine de Medici)
The King’s Grace - Anne Easter Smith (Grace Plantagenet, dau of Edward IV)
The King's Daughter - Sandra Worth (Elizabeth of York)
The King's gold - Arturo Perez-Reverte (17th-c Spain)
The Last Boleyn - Karen Harper (Mary Boleyn)
The Last Empress - Anchee Min (Empress Tzu Hsi)
The Last Heretic - D Conrad (16th-c Europe)
The last queen - C.W. Gortner (Juana of Castile)
The mistress - Philippe Tapon (WWII)
The mistress - Valerie Sherwood (historical romance)
The other Boleyn girl - Philippa Gregory (Mary/Anne Boleyn)
The Other Queen - Philippa Gregory (Mary Queen of Scots)
The other wife - Emery Barrus (Mormon history)
The perfect bride - Eileen Putman (Regency romance)
The perfect knight - Catherine Gousseff and Fabian Negrin (Middle Ages, juvenile hf)
The perfect mistress - Betina Krahn (hist romance)
The perfect royal mistress - Diane Haeger (Nell Gwyn)
The perfect wife - Doris Leslie (wife of Disraeli)
The perfect wife - Lynsay Sands (medieval romance)
The perfect wife - Mary Burton (romance, 1876 Colorado)
The perfect wife - Victoria Alexander (romance, 19th c Egypt)
The princess - Jude Deveraux (WWII-era romance)
The Queen's fool - Philippa Gregory (Mary Tudor)
The rebel - Jack Dann (James Dean)
The rebel - May McGoldrick (Irish hist romance)
The rebel Bride - Eva McDonald (Restoration romance)
The Rebel Princess - Judith Koll Healey (Alais of France)
The red queen - Margaret Drabble (18th c Korea)
The Red queen - Ruth S. Perot (Margaret of Anjou)
The shoe queen - Anna Davis (1925 Paris)
The Tsarina's Daughter - Carolly Erickson (Grand Duchess Tatiana)
The Venetian - David Weiss (Titian)
The Venetian Mask - Rosalind Laker (1775 Venice)
The Venetian's Mistress - Ann Elizabeth Cree (19th c Italy, romance)
The Virgin Queen's Daughter - Ella March Chase (Tudor England)
The virgin's secret - Victoria Alexander (Victorian romance)
The White knight - Gilbert Morris (saga, 1942)
The White Queen - Philippa Gregory (Elizabeth Woodville)
The widow's secret - Sara Mitchell (insp Christian romance)
The Widow's War - Sally Gunning (colonial Cape Cod)
The Winter King - Bernard Cornwell (King Arthur trilogy, v.1)
The Winter Prince - Cheryl Sawyer (Rupert of the Rhine)
The winter queen - Boris Akunin (20th c Russia)
The Winter Queen - Jane Stevenson (Elizabeth of Bohemia)
The wise woman - Christian Jacq (ancient Egypt)
The wise woman - Philippa Gregory (Tudor England)
Virgin wife - Clare Kersey (hf)
White Knight - Jaclyn Reding (Regency romance)
White Queen - Lesley J. Nickell (Anne Neville)
White widow - Jim Lehrer (1950s Texas)
Winter's bride - Catherine Archer (historical romance)
Wise woman - R.A. Forde (5th c Brittany)

Heather's list:

The Alchemist, by Donna Boyd (time-slip to ancient Egypt)
The Alchemist's Daughter, by Katharine McMahon (1712 England)
The Alchemist's Daughter, by Eileen Kernaghan (YA, Elizabethan England)
The Alchemist's Daughter, by Elaine Knighton (historical romance)
The Bastard, by John Jakes (American Revolution)
The Bastard, by Brigitte von Tessin (medieval)
The Concubine, by Norah Lofts (Anne Boleyn)
The Concubine, by Elechi Amadi (colonial Africa)
The Concubine's Secret, by Kate Furnivall (1929 China)
The Concubine's Daughter, by Pai Kit Fai (20th c rural China)
The Courtier's Secret, by Donna Russo Morin (Louis XIV’s France)
The Devil's Queen, by Jeanne Kalogridis (Catherine de Medici)
The Devil's Bastard, by Charlsie Russell (18th c Natchez)
The Devil's Blood, by Kirby Jonas (American West)
Devil's Bride, by Stephanie Laurens (Regency romance)
Devil's Daughter, by Catherine Coulter (romance, England 1803)
Devil's Garden, by Ace Atkins (1920s San Frnacisco)
The Devil's Lady, by Deborah Simmons (medieval romance)
Devil's Lady, by Patricia Rice (hist romance)
Devil's Lady, by Dawn Lindsey (Regency romance)
Devil's Mistress, by Heather Graham (17th c witch trials)
The Devil's Mistress, by Alison Leslie Gold (Eva Braun)
Empress, by Shan Sa (7th-c China)
First Knight, by Elizabeth Chadwick (medieval)
The First Queen, by John Gall (Hatshepsut)
The French Mistress, by Susan Holloway Scott (Louise de Keroualle)
The Golden Knight, by George Challis (medieval)
Heretic, by Bernard Cornwell (Hundred Years’ War)
The Heretic, by Lewis M. Weinstein (Jews during the Inquisition)
The Heretic, by Alison MacLeod (Anne Askew)
The Heretic, by Miguel Delibes (15th-c Spain)
The Heretic, by Andrew Feder (ancient Greece, timeslip)
The Heretic, by Chris Scott (Giordano Bruno)
The Heretic's Daughter, by Kathleen Kent (Salem witch trials)
The Heretic Queen, by Michelle Moran (ancient Egypt)
The Heretic's Wife, by Brenda Rickman Vantrease (medieval, forthcoming)
King's Bastard, by Charlotte Denis (Charles II)
King Bastard, by Aileen Quigley (William the Conqueror)
The King's Bastard, by Hebe Elsna (Duke of Monmouth)
The King's Bastard, by Noel de Vic Beamish (Maurice de Saxe)
King's Blood, by Judith Tarr (Norman England)
The King's Daughter, by Sandra Worth (Elizabeth of York)
The King's Daughter, by Barbara Kyle (Mary Tudor’s England)
The King's Daughter, by Suzanne Martel (1660s Canada)
The King's Daughter, by Mary O'Connell (Hildegard of Bingen)
King's Fool, by Margaret Campbell Barnes (Henry VIII’s England)
The King's Fool, by Louis Arthur Cunningham (time of Louis XV, adventure)
The King's Garden, by Fanny Deschamps (time of Louis XIV)
The King's Girl, by Sylvie Ouellette (erotic romance set in early Canada)
The King's Gold, by Arturo Perez-Reverte (17th-c Spain)
The King's Grace, by Anne Easter Smith (Grace Plantagenet, illeg dau of Edward IV)
The King's Mistress, by Jean Plaidy (Jane Shore)
The King's Mistress, by Terri Brisbin (medieval romance)
The King's Mistress, by Julia Watson (hf)
The King's Mistress, by Emma Campion (Alice Perrers, mistress of Edward III)
The King's Mistress, by Kathryn Dryden (Tudor)
The King's Secret, by Kathryn Dryden (hf)
The King's Secret, by Tyrone Power (Edward III)
The King's Wife, by Ursula Bloom (hf)
The Knight, by Juliana Garnett (medieval romance)
The Knight's Bride, by Lyn Stone (medieval romance)
Knight's Lady, by Julianne Lee (timeslip, 14th-c Scotland)
Knight's Lady, by Suzanne Barclay (Regency romance)
The Last Boleyn, by Karen Harper (Mary Boleyn)
The Last Concubine, by Lesley Downer (19th c Japan)
The Last Empress, by Anchee Min (Empress Tzu Hsi)
The Last Heretic, by D.S. Conrad (16th-c Europe)
The Last Queen, by C.W. Gortner (Juana of Castile)
The Last King, by Michael Curtis Ford (King Mithradates the Great)
The Last Knight, by Candice Proctor (medieval romance)
The Last Princess, by Charles O. Locke (Incas)
The Mask, by Stuart Cloete (19th-c South Africa)
The Mask, by Donna Lee Poff (medieval romance)
The Other Boleyn Girl, by Philippa Gregory (Anne and Mary Boleyn)
The Other Queen, by Philippa Gregory (Mary Queen of Scots)
The Prince, by Hushain Golshiri (1920s Iran)
The Prince, by Francine Rivers (biblical)
The Prince's Bride, by Victoria Alexander (Regency romance)
The Queen's Bastard, by Robin Maxwell (Elizabethan)
The Queen's Fool, by Philippa Gregory (Mary Tudor’s England)
The Queen's Grace, by Nigel Tranter (Mary Queen of Scots)
The Queen's Grace, by Jan Westcott (Katharine Parr)
The Queen's Secret, by Jean Plaidy (Katharine de Valois)
The Queen's War, by Jeanne Mackin (Eleanor of Aquitaine)
Rebel King (trilogy name), by Charles Randolph Bruce and Carolyn Hale Bruce (Robert Bruce)
The Red Queen's Daughter, by Jacqueline A. Kolosov (Mary Seymour)
Royal Blood, by Rona Sharon (Tudor vampires)
Royal Bride, by Joan Wolf (post-Bonaparte Europe, romance)
The Shoe Queen, by Anna Davis (1925 Paris)
The Tsarina's Daughter, by Carolly Erickson (Grand Duchess Tatiana)
The Winter King, by Bernard Cornwell (Arthurian)
The Virgin Queen's Daughter, by Ella March Chase (Elizabethan)
The Venetian Mask, by Rosalind Laker (1775 Venice)
The Virgin Queen, by Maureen Peters (Elizabeth I)
The White Queen, by Frederic Fallon (MQos)
The White Queen, by Philippa Gregory (Eliz Woodville)
The Winter Queen, by Boris Akunin (20th c Russia)
The Winter Queen, by Jane Stevenson (Eliz of Bohemia)
The Widow's Secret, by Brian Thompson (Victorian romp)
The Widow's Secret, by Sara Mitchell (insp Christian romance)
The Widow's War, by Sally Gunning (colonial Massachusetts)
The Widow's War, by Mary Mackey (US Civil War)
The Winter Prince, by Cheryl Sawyer (Rupert of the Rhine)

Daphne's list:
(topic noted for those not listed previously)

Devil’s Garden – Ace Atkins
Empress – Shan Sa
First Knight – Elizabeth Chadwick
Gold – Stewart White (California Gold Rush)
Heretic – Bernard Cornwall
King’s Bastard – Charlotte Denis
King’s Blood – Judith Tarr
Knight’s Blood – Julianne Lee (timeslip, 14th-c Scotland)
Knight’s Lady – Julianne Lee
Perfect Wife – Lynsay Sands (medieval romance)
Queen Gold – Philippa Wiat (Philippa of Hainault)
Queen’s Lady – Patricia Parkes (Mary Tudor’s England)
The Queen’s War – Jeanne Mackin
Rebel – Bernard Cornwell
Red Gold – Alan Furst (WWII thriller)
Royal Blood – Rona Sharon
The Alchemist’s Daughter – Katherine McMahon
The Bastard – John Jakes
The Bride – Julie Garwood (medieval romance)
The Concubine – Norah Lofts
The Concubine’s Secret – Kate Furnivall
The Courtier’s Secret – Donna Russo Morin
The Devil’s Queen – Jeanne Kalogridis
The French Mistress – Susan Holloway Scott
The German Woman – Paul Griner (WWII)
The Golden Princess – Alexander Baron (Marina and Cortes)
The Heretic Queen – Michelle Moran
The Heretic’s Daughter – Kathleen Kent
The Heretic’s Wife – Brenda Rickman Vantrease
The Italian Garden – Judith Lennox
The Italian Woman – Jean Plaidy
The King’s Bastard – Hebe Elsna
The King’s Daughter - Lozania Prole (hf)
The King’s Daughter - Barbara Kyle
The King’s Daughter - Christie Dickason
The King’s Daughter – Sandra Worth
The King’s Fool – Margaret Campbell Barnes
The King’s Garden – Fanny Deschamps
The King’s Gold – Arturo-Perez Reverte
The King’s Grace – Anne Easter Smith
The King’s Mistress – Emma Campion
The King’s Mistress - Jean Plaidy
The King’s Wife – Ursula Bloom
The Last Boleyn – Karen Harper
The Last Bride – Sandra Landry (timeslip to medieval France)
The Last Concubine – Lesley Downer
The Last Empress- Anchee Min
The Last Girl – Stephan Collishaw (1930s Vilnius, Lithuania)
The Last King – Michael Curtis Ford
The Last Knight – Candice Proctor
The Last Queen – CW Gortner
The Last Tsarina – Lozania Prole
The Other Boleyn Girl – Philippa Gregory
The Other Queen – Philippa Gregory
The Other Woman – Iris Gower (Welsh saga)
The Perfect Daughter – Gillian Linscott (suffragette mystery)
The Perfect Royal Mistress – Diane Haeger
The Perfect Wife – Doris Leslie
The Prince – Francine Rivers
The Queen’s Bastard – Robin Maxwell
The Queen’s Fool – Philippa Gregory
The Queen’s Grace – Jan Westcott
The Queen’s Grace – Nigel Tranter
The Queen’s Lady – Barbara Kyle
The Queen’s Secret – Jean Plaidy
The Rebel Princess – Judith Koll Healey
The Red Queen – Ruth S. Perot
The Red Queen’s Daughter – Jacqueline Kolosov
The Shoe Queen – Anna Davis
The Tsarina’s Daughter – Carolly Erickson
The Venetian Mask – Rosalind Laker
The Virgin Queen – Maureen Peters
The Virgin Queen’s Daughter – Ella March Chase
The White – Deborah Larsen (Mary Jemison, 18th c Pennsylvania)
The White Empress – Lyn Andrews (British saga)
The White Queen - Lesley Nickell
The White Queen – Philippa Gregory
The Widow’s Secret – Brian Thompson
The Widow’s War - Mary Mackey
The Widow’s War – Sally Gunning
The Winter King – Bernand Cornwell
The Winter Prince – Cheryl Sawyer
The Winter Queen – Jane Stevenson
The Winter Queen - Judith Saxton
The Wise Woman – Philippa Gregory
Virgin – Robin Maxwell
Virgin Princess – Jane P. Richardson (historical India)
White Blood – James Fleming (1917 Russia)
Winter Garden – Adele Ashworth (Edwardian romance)
Winter’s Daughter – Juliet Dymoke (British saga)

Additional titles found by other participants:

Grace by Jane Roberts Wood (20th c Texas)
King's Daughter by Margaret Orford (Joanna, illeg dau of King John)
Rebel Girl by Ann Clancy (colonial Australia)
Royal Mistress by Margaret Orford (Princess Nest of Wales)
Royal Mistress by Patricia Campbell Horton (Barbara Villiers)
The Courtier’s Daughter by Lady Catherine Stepney (early 19th c)
The Devil’s Bride by Joan Silsby (sequel to Much Ado About Nothing)
The German Woman by Janet Ashton (Empress Alexandra)
The King's Daughter by Rosemary Churchill (Mary Tudor)
The Perfect Bride by Brenda Joyce (Regency-era romance)
The Perfect Princess by Elizabeth Thornton (Regency-era romance)
The Queen's Lady by Shannon Drake (Tudor-era romance)
The Rebel Princess by Doris Leslie (Sophia Dorothea of Celle)
The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory (forthcoming about Margaret Beaufort)
The Venetian’s Wife by Nick Bantock (Renaissance pictorial)
The Virgin Widow by Anne O’Brien (forthcoming about Anne Neville)
The White Princess by Philippa Gregory (forthcoming about Eliz of York)
The white queen by Frances Irwin (Anne Neville)
The White Queen by William Stearns Davis (St. Louis, King of France)
The Winter Queen by Amanda McCabe (historical romance, forthcoming)
The Winter War by William Durbin (1939 invasion of Finland)

But before I sign off ...

Whew - I think this is the longest post ever on this blog. I hope this helped turn you on to some historical novels new to you. And, finally, I wanted to thank the remaining participants who entered the contest and came up with impressive lists of their own. Rather than my doing a random drawing, you'll each be receiving two books from my pile of extras (which has grown slightly in size since the original contest was posted). The top 3 winners will get first dibs, but I hope you'll each end up with books you haven't read before. I'll be emailing you soon with a list of what's available. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Just a brief reminder

... that entries for the Historical Novel Title Game are due in by this Friday. I'll accept entries through midnight CST.