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!


  1. What a fantastic giveaway! And I'm curious to read everyone else's answers, too.

    The book that got me hooked on historical fiction was Witch of Blackbird Pond by Speare, which I read in grade school.

    nnjmom at yahoo dot com

  2. Whoops, forgot my email address...

    When I was a kid, my family had lots of books in the house, and I read my way through them, as well as being taken to the library. I mostly read non-fiction history, as well as fantasies with historical and semi-historical elements, before I read any real historical novels. I don't remember which juvenile historical novels I read, though I suspect they included the usual Johnny Tremaine and things like that. The first historical novel I really remember liking, though, was The Silver Chalice by Thomas Costain, which I read when I was about 9. I thought it was terrific. I haven't read any Costain for years, though, even though I think I must have gone through a dozen of his books when I was a kid.

    Costain opened up the genre for me, and after that, I always looked for historical novels, and my Dad started me on adult ones early.

  3. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Pride and Prejudice got me started. Jane Austen is amazing!

  4. Great contest!

    I've been reading historical fiction so long I don't remember what book got me interested in it. However, I read Jane Eyre as a child and many times after, so I'll list that as one of my earliest historical novels.

    ShaunaRoberts at nasw dot com

  5. What a great giveaway! There are two books that got me started (i read them while on a family vacation weekend): The Dark Queen by Susan Carroll and Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl.


  6. I have had two phases in life of reading historical fiction. The first phase I read a lot of Plaidy, but the book that really reignited my passion for historical fiction was Cross Stitch (Outlander) by Diana Gabaldon.

    Great contest!

  7. Wow. I really had think hard on this. My mother had belonged to a book club back in the 40s, so there was historical fiction on our shelves as long as I can remember. I think I started reading them in grade 7-8. The first, I believe, was The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglass. Though it may have been Gone with the Wind. Mom had a 1939 edition that I much, much later gave to my daughter.

  8. Hi! I consider myself a long time historical novel fan. I began reading Jean Plaidy books in the late 70's and began reading anything could find from then on that took me back to the world of the Tudors. Recently it was reading Sharon Kay Penman's series and now my favored authors include Vanora Bennet, Susan Higginbotham, Susan Carroll, Anne Easter Smith, C.W Gortner, Jeanne Westin ..... you get the idea - I could go on and on. Inever get tired or bored of historical fiction and I love the way it takes me away to the time in the book - better than 'Calgon" any day ! I would be so glad to be able to see and review your book!

  9. I got seriously into historical fiction last year when I read The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber. It was a Victorian novel of epic proportions and I was instantly hooked.


  10. I'm not sure what I read, in the area of historical fiction as a child, but the first adult historical fiction book I rememberreading and re-reading was Immortal Queen by Elizabeth Byrd. It's about Mary, Queen of Scots, and I was fascinated by her tumultuous life.

  11. I didn't even have to think. I fell in love with the past when I read two books: Rosemary Sutcliffe's The Eagle of the Ninth and Alan Marshall's autobiographical I Can Jump Puddles. I must have been about seven and from then on I got hold of every historical fiction and NF book I could and I pestered my parents to let me visit every museum in every country town we passed through while we were on holiday.

    Gillian (gpolack(at)triviumpublishing(dot)com)

  12. Oh, what a great giveaway! I need a copy of your book!

    I remember reading Through A Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen when I was in college. That was the one that really hooked me, and HF has been my favorite genre ever since.

    I was a huge reader as a kid, but I don't remember reading any HF. I must have, but I can't remember it...

    thetometraveller *at* yahoo (dot) com

  13. The one book that got me hooked on Historical Fiction would have to be "Gone with the Wind." Read the book when I was 12 and was hooked. I would have to say though that since then that "My Splendid Concubine" by Lloyd Lofthouse ranks right up there. A great love story about China during the 19th century- during the opium wars. Very well researched and educational- plus the love story involved was wonderful!

  14. Oh this looks good!

    The other Boleyn girl - Philippa Gregory got me in to HF. I am hooked now and it is getting better now as I'm expolring different areas in HF, all from old England to Egypt.

    grottis6 [at] gmail [dot] com

  15. Thanks for this post, because it got me to thinking...the first historical novel I read was Shadow of the Moon by M.M. Kaye, followed closely by Trade Wind by M.M. Kaye, both when I was about 11 or 12. I even wrote her a fan letter, and she responded (this was back in 1982 or so). Wow. Now I'm going to tear the house apart to find that lovely letter she wrote. Thank you for helping me go down memory lane this morning!

  16. The very wonderful librarian at the local Carnegie library introduced me to HF with The Tudor Rose in the early 50s; and my mother read the Laura Ingalls Wilder series to me in the 40s and we had to wait for the last book due to paper shortages during WWII. In more recent years I got "back into" HF with The Other Boleyn Girl. I think it's great that you are offering a copy of your book, and I'd love to win it.

  17. OOH What a fantabulous giveaway! I've always looked to see if your book will eVVVVER drop in price (sadly, for me, no)..
    I fear I am not unique with the Book that hooked me on Historical fiction, as it is (drum roll...)The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Then The Boleyn Inheritance, The Constant Princess and then finally I started reading Weir's non-fiction to balance myself out and then who knows where I went next!! (Plaidy, Penman..)Of course I had read classics such as Alcott, and M. Mitchell, Dickens before getting hooked on European royalty.
    marieburton2004 at yahoo dot com

  18. The novel that got me started is 'Master and Commander' by Patrick O'Brian. A great start to a great series. Please enter me in your giveaway.

  19. Anonymous8:45 AM

    My first foray into Historical Fiction books was Edward Longshanks by Jean Plaidy. I also used to love watching historical films with my dad, especially Laurence Olivier in Richard III.
    This set me off on a lifelong love of the genre.
    This is an awesome giveaway and I'm sure whoever wins it will be overjoyed. :-)

  20. Johnny Tremain. One of many I read in grade school that got me hooked on the genre that your tweet makes me want to revisit. susanna (at) susannaspeier (dot) com

  21. When I was first moving away from true crime I found a copy of Joan Wolf's Born of the Sun hiding under a stack of unread/forgotten paperbacks and I never looked back.

    misfit and mom at earthlink dot net

  22. Anonymous9:17 AM

    What a tantalizing prize. The holy grail of historical fiction reference works. How can anyone resist posting? I certainly can’t!

    Papa Dumas hooked me forever on historical fiction. I can still remember the first time I read Alexandre Dumas – his ability to write fast-paced compelling stories of adventure and romance captivated me. I read extensively -- beyond the popular works like The Three Musketeers or the Count of Monte Cristo. One of my personal favorites is The Black Tulip a novel that most people have never heard of. But when I read Marguerite de Valois (more popularly known as Reine Margot) the novel made a special connection. It inspired me, years later, to begin writing historical fiction and it will always make my top ten list.


  23. This is going to date me but when I was a kid, I read all of Victoria Holt's novels. A librarian labeled me a fan of historican novels and I considered that quite the fancy title. I still do.

  24. BetsyB9:37 AM

    This is a great idea for a giveaway. Our library doesn't have a copy of your book and I've been dying to get my hands on it! The book that got me started reading historical fiction was The Persian Boy by Mary Renault. I was pretty sure that my parents wouldn't approve, so I read it under the blankets at night and hid it during the day. Thank you, too, for all the hard work involved in compiling your book.

    bj dot beyer at gmail dot com

  25. Ack, what a beautiful book! I can't imagine I'd ever take my nose out of it!

    What got me started - reading and writing - was Patricia Finney's Firedrake's Eye trilogy. Loved loved loved the detail, from the tavern brawl to the Council chamber, and could feel the dirt under my fingernails when I was finished. That woman is an inspiration.


  26. Count me in!

    I've read historical fiction off and on since childhood (my favorites were the Betsy-Tacy and the All-of-a-Kind-Family series), but I guess it was probably Sharon Penman's The Sunne in Splendour that make me conscious of historical fiction as a genre and that awakened me to its possibilities.

  27. I'll date myself right alongside Ann - I think I read every Jean Plaidy book there was as a teenager. But it was probably Dumas' The Three Musketeers that got me hooked.

  28. What a wonderful giveaway! I can't think exactly WHAT got me started, but I do remember reading The Gift of the Golden Cup by Isobel Lawrence. I found it in the library, and reread it many times.

    estesmcc AT yahoo DOT com

  29. The first historical novel that I remember absolutely loving was "Constance" by Patricia Clapp. The year I discovered it at my elementary school library, I know I checked it out at least 3-4 times. I really need to find a copy so I can read it again.

  30. This sounds so perfect! I'm new to historical fiction. But I've read many historical romances and the more I read, the more I want to look up regarding that time period. I learned too that I could learn so much more reading historical fiction! I'm starting to read more of Tutor's and am fascinated! I've started with Susan Carroll's books in the Cheney Sisters of Faire Isle Series, THE DARK QUEEN and got hooked. I also love historical mysteries! Especially those with Jack The Ripper and learning more about that. I think too the fascination comes in from when I was in HS, I didn't have an interpreter (sign language) to help me understand and I had so many questions that I'd go find more to read! So I love it now.


  31. I didn't read much history as a child but got hooked after reading Outlander by Diana Gabladon as an adult.

    sounders68 [at]

  32. I kept passing "The Other Boleyn Girl" over and over again at Borders back in college. I finally picked it up and read it, and I've been addicted to historical fiction (generally more factual than Ms. Gregory) ever since then.


  33. Awesome giveaway!

    The book that first got me interested in historical fiction was The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.

    emily DOT wittenberg @ gmail DOT com

  34. Anonymous2:05 PM

    Hi The book I loved was Outlander by Dianne Gabalon. I've read all her other books too. polo-puppy-fluffy(at)hotmail*dot*com

  35. Sarah K.3:02 PM

    Wow...your book! I'm going to have to throw my hat into the ring! The book that got me hooked on historical fiction was Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie by Kristiana Gregory, part of the Dear America series. I read it in fourth grade and when I finished it I remember begging my mother to take to the bookstore to get another "Dear America." I've been hooked on historical fiction every since.

  36. A great giveaway!

    The book that got me restarted was The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick.
    I've been reading historical fiction for a while and read Christian Jacq's Rameses sieres when i was fifteen.

    email: marshallslionatgoogledotcom

  37. I read Gone With The Wind when I was 12 and have not stopped reading historical fiction since then (I won't tell you how many years ago that was!). From there I proceded to devour Anya Seton, Jean Plaidy, and any other historical fiction writer out little one room library had on its shelves. By the way, my current library just got copies of Sarah's books and what a great resource on historical fiction they are! I would love to own a copy so please count me in.

  38. Sorry, forgot my email in the previous post - tmrtini at gmail dot com

  39. I think the first historical fiction book that I read was Little House in the Big Woods when I was in grade school, but that's just a guess. I have a hard time remember exactly because I read so much.

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  40. I think the book you reviewed that initially led me to you was Fitzempress' Law by Diana Norman. I have been trying to track down her out of prints, while totally loving her work published under Ariana Franklin.

    Thanks for the breadcrumb.

  41. I have been reading for as long as I can remember and I particularly remember reading the beautiful australian works of Colin Thiele as a young child. But the novel that got me absolutley hooked on historical fiction was Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth (well before it was popular and Oprafied - and re-released with the sequel - which incidentally, was nowhere near as good).

    I can remember it like it was yesterday. I must have been about 13 and I bought the paperback - all 1100 pages of it with my own money - I think it was $10.99 Australian way back then which was a lot of money for me (If only books were still that price - sigh!). But the cover had a picture of a cathedral on the front in the rolling downlands of England and I was completely enticed by the blurb. I remember being very nervous about spending so much money on a book without being 100% sure I would enjoy it, but it was medieval and was about a cathedral and it was fat, and smelled so wonderful and it flicked so luxuriously and silky across my thumb that I could not resist. When I got it home I covered it with clear contact (I covered all my books when I was young as I wanted to protect them) and began.

    It was the most entrancing, absorbing read I have had probably to this day (20 years later). I have read mainly historical fiction since - in fact almost exclusively - and there are undoubtedly novels which I would rate as perhaps better or certainly on par in terms of writing and story, but I don't think anything has ever replaced the enjoyment, experience and memories of that first real historical novel. And that same fat paperback is still on my bookshelf within view and very easy reach.


  42. Sorry about the long post folks - I just got writing remembering the book and well .....

  43. I think the first historical fiction book I read must have been something by Avi (or maybe it was one of those Royal Diaries books?)-- probably The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, as that's the one I remember and love the best. It definitely started me down of the road of being fascinated with anything taking place from the Napoleonic era to right up until the first World War!

    Thanks for hosting such a lovely contest. :D

    herebebooks at gmail dot com

  44. The books of Rachel by Joel Gross got me started on historical fiction and I named my daughter Rachel because of this great book.
    Thanks for the contest!

    jeaniner3 at gmail dot com

  45. Opps! slight mistake with email addy!lol

  46. Storm Winds by Iris Johansen. The heroine is one of the most independant I've ever read in a historical. The hero is still one of my favorites. Very re-readable.

  47. I'm going to have to go with a classic that I hesitated to read and then loved: Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts.
    Jessica James
    writefromthepast at yahoo dot com

  48. It's really hard to pin down a single book that made me love historical fiction, but I think I have to say it ws Sally Watson and her young adult novels, particularly the Hornet's Nest.

    ladymaddy at gmail dot com

  49. Valerie L3:01 PM

    I've been reading historical fiction for decades, and I don't remember my first loves specifically. I do know I read biographies of famous women as a child and then graduated to a series of "You Were There" books that transported you to a famous point in history. But in early high school I discovered the Angelique books of Sergeanne Golon and my fate with historical fiction, and historical heroes to die for, was sealed. It's been a long and lovely road since then with Costain and Yerby and then Sharon Kay Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick to name just a few.

  50. I am a fairly new Historical fiction fan. What got me started was "Girl With A Pearl Earring" by Tracey Chevalier. I then devoured all her other works. My other favorite is Geraldine Brooks three books.

    I would love to win Historical Fiction II


  51. I remember the book -- my grandmother took me to a book fair, I was in elementary school (5th grade) and she bought me a copy of Elizabeth the First. I'm blanking on the author right now but she's well known. I loved that book and that started my fascination with historical books and ultimately historical fiction (it was a non-fiction book but I quickly read everything I could find on Elizabeth including fiction).

  52. A Year of Wonders. Such a great book!! Thanks for the giveaway.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

  53. For me it was The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers by Margaret George. I read it in 7th form, while we were studying the Tudors (it was not compulsory reading, of course. Just me being me and reading more).

    My email is catherine[at]amynta[dot]org

  54. As I won the last challenge, I'll just add this comment without entering the competition. I'll just put the book on my wishlist instead :-)

    My first historical novel was 'Hasse Simonsdochter' by Thea Beckman, which I read when I was about 8 years old. It is a children's book but as well researched as any historical novel I've read since. It is set against the backdrop of the Hanseatic town of Kampen, the Netherlands, in the Middle Ages. The main character is a young girl who had a tough childhood and then saves a condemned man from the scaffold by marrying him. He is the captain of a group of mercenary soldiers. The book describes their story in a war-torn country. It was very gripping and got me on the path of historical novels.

  55. I'm a Regency Romance girl. I went over some of the other comments so I'm going to have to say My Friend Flicka or the Little House series. I think I'm new to "Historical Fiction", I just read what looks good ;-)

    You're book is beautiful and will open my eyes to a hole new sub-genre

    Please, throw my name in the hat.

    bookdragonslair at gmail dot com

  56. Sarah, I'd love to win your book! The first novel that got me interested in HF was GONE WITH THE WIND. We had to read it in eighth grade for summer reading and write a summary to hand in at the beginning of school. My teacher joked that my summary was almost as long as the novel itself! I just loved everything about the book, so I had to include it all.

    juliannedouglas05 [@]

  57. Who could resist the opportunity to win this book. Congratulations of Hisorical Ficiton II. I know RA Librarians and staff will make good use of your experise.

  58. Gone with the Wind was probably my first book and who knows from there.

  59. I don't know the title of the book but I read it in elementary school and it was about a boy who found a message carved into his dresser drawer and it turned out to be from a boy who lived during the Revolutionary War. I wish I could remember more and find that book. It sparked my interest in history.

    cindy at cindyswriting dot com

  60. just fabulous thanks minsthins at optonline dot net

  61. Boy, I have been a fan of historical fiction before I ever new that it was labele3d historical fiction. I really have no idea which was my very first but I do remember loving A Tale of Two Cities way back in high school.

    I would love to win this book! Is this giveaway open to Canada?

    teddyr66 at yahoo dot com

  62. My interest was piqued with Jean Plaidy and with that it just went on and on. (all her books were good).I hope this competition is open for overseas readers.



  63. giveaway

    The first book that initiated my interest in historical fiction was FOREVER AMBER and to add further inticement the book was kept behing the librarian's desk.

  64. I just realized I forgot my email address. It's

    Gone With the Wind looks like one of the major books that started readers on the historical fiction path. I read that too when I was 12. Sadly, none of the boys in my seventh grade class lived up to the charms of Rhett Butler.

  65. Anonymous8:37 AM

    Oh, I would LOVE to have this book!

    I think what originally got me interested in history, which eventually lead to historical fiction, was that my mother used to do a lot of genealogical research, and I have memories of being very small (about 3 years old) and going with her to cemeteries to do headstone rubbings, and she would also read to me from local history books. One particular passage that stands out in my memory was a group of pioneers having to drink their own urine during a very severe drought! Eeew!

    I am currently reading "The Tea Rose" by Jennifer Donnelly.

    jupe77_2000 at yahoo dot com

  66. Feast of Roses if you haven't read it I highly recommend it!

    ajcmeyer at go dot com

  67. I became interested in historical fiction while I was in elementary school. The Laura Ingalls Wilder series and then the Witch of Blackbird Pond are the ones that I remember right now. History has always fascinated me and I remember reading anything I could get my hands on regarding history. I even remember trying to check out a book on WWII from the local library when I was in elementary school and the librarian wouldn't let me do it since I was too young. I had to bring back a note from my parents saying that I could read these adult books.

    Enter me in the contest please.

    bstilwell at comcast dot net

  68. My mum was always into historical fiction. And she is a big talker! She would ramble on for ages about Henry VIII and his wives...I remember just zoning out as all teenagers do. Then one day...I read Immortal Queen by Elizabeth Bryd (about Mary Queen of Scots), and things slowly took off from there. Needless to say, although my mum still rabbits on for ages about the books she reads...I don't zone out as much as these days!

  69. Anonymous3:11 PM

    Wow, i love this giveaway! my first historical fiction book was Jane Eyre.

  70. For me it was Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen that did it. Thanks for the contest!


  71. Oooo, this sounds like the gift that really keeps on giving! =)

    I've been reading historical fiction since I was a kid, and I'd have to say that Ann Rinaldi's books probably got me started. A Break With Charity, The Fifth of March, The Last Silk Dress, etc.


    toadacious1 at yahoo dot com

  72. This is really hard - I was reading historical fiction in elementary school, before I knew what it really was. I would have to say it was the fictionalized "biographies" by Marguerite Vance of such historical figures as Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette, Martha Washington, and others that really set me on the path to both biographies and historical fiction. Later would come Elizabeth Janet Gray's JANE HOPE and other historical novels set in the south, and then the Williamsburg novels of Elswyth Thane. But Marguerite Vance probably got me started.

  73. Like many other readers, I've been reading historical fiction since I was quite young. I liked learning about different countries and periods, but also that the books also included a lot of drama. The first book of this type that I can remember is The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck that my uncle lent me when I was 10. It moved me and got me interested in China.

    gaby317nyc at gmail dot com

    I follow

  74. This comment has been removed by the author.

  75. Oh, I would love to win a copy of your book!
    While I have always loved historical fiction - I remember plowing through Forever Amber when I was 13 - it wasn't until I discovered Sharon Kay Penman that I became a devoted and more discerning fan. I think When Christ and His Saints Slept was my first one, and I haven't looked back since. She is my absolute favorite. Thanks for a wonderful blog!

  76. The Flame from Within by Shirley Kiger Connolly was probably my first. I won her book from a contest. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    Thank you,