Over at the lovely The Broke and the Bookish blog, they run a feature called “Top Ten Tuesday.” Because I have been meaning to get in on this for AGES, I finally managed to set down and get myself to DO it. I decided to take the prompt and do my Top Ten Historical Fiction books, because I just recently found myself back on this kick. It should be noted that I read mostly Egyptian and Tudor England books, hence the lack of variety on the list. (All links will go to the book’s Goodreads page so you can read more about them.)
1. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
If you enjoy Egyptian historical fiction and have NOT read this book, there is something seriously wrong with you. Not kidding. This one deals with Nefertari, the beloved queen of Ramses the Great. It also postulates a few things that could have been possible to make the history more interesting, which will only make sense to you if you read…
2. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
Self explanatory as to which Pharaoh and Queen this one deals with. This was Moran’s first book, and the one that really got me interested in the Armana period in the first place. Gorgeously done, as always.
3. The Queen’s Governess by Karen Harper
I’ll admit, I was tentative about going into a book narrated by Queen Elizabeth’s governess Kat Ashley, but this was a surprise find I was very happy with.
4. Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran
Okay, yeah, I kind of hero-worship Moran. This one was her last Egyptian novel in a while, sadly, but it opened my eyes to a whole new story I had never realized existed: the story of Cleopatra’s daughter, Cleopatra Selene, and the rest of Cleopatra’s kids. I don’t know why this was a group of figures I never looked into before, because these poor kids were the only people left to deal with the fallout of their parents death and the Roman’s anger. Seriously. Read it.
5. The King’s Rose by Alisa M. Libby
I had never really been a fan of Catherine Howard, and in fact she was my least favorite of Henry VIII’s 6 wives. However, this book was done really well, and I actually started connecting with her. As always–and probably truthfully–she is depicted as vain and vapid, but she had other characteristics in this book that make her into a real, young girl who was placed in a powerful, dangerous situation.
6. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn
To this day, I have no idea why I picked up this book, since I usually avoid Roman history, but I’m glad I did. Not only was this a different kind of story, but it was also a historical with a real STORY hidden beneath all the layers. Some historicals read like a history book, especially when dealing with well written characters, so this was a refreshing read with a new story for me.
7. The Red Queen’s Daughter by Jaqueline Kolosov
Mostly recommended for young readers, this was another story I had never thought to look into. Catherine Parr’s young daughter with Thomas Seymour is thought to have died around the age of three or so, but this imagines what if she didn’t. PLUS, it adds in some elements of witchcraft and magic, which was equally awesome.
8. Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter (this link goes to my review)
This is another retelling of the story of Cleopatra’s daughter Cleopatra Selene, which I found to be quite different from Moran’s version. This version of Selene is even more kick butt, and–since the facts surrounding her and her brothers are so few–Shecter was able to imagine a whole new story plotline that was engaging even though I’d read Cleopatra’s Daughter before.
9. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
I’ve never been a fan of Weir’s writing style for the most part, or really cared about Jane Grey, but this book just had me feeling everything for the “Nine Day Queen.” I had never really thought about what she thought, or what she went through, but this book really connected me.
10. The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory
I’m usually a sucker for Gregory’s books, but the Queen’s Fool is definitely one of my favorites. Few people are ever really sympathetic to Mary Tudor, so I found that really interesting. Also, usually Gregory goes from the point of view of a well-known historical figure, but this time she uses the POV of a made up girl with the power of Sight (seeing the future) which made it doubly interesting. Gregory connected the story to Mary and Elizabeth, but also let the main character tell her own.
So now you know MY top 10 – what are yours, and do you have any recommendations for me?