I’ve been sharing the books I read every month in my monthly favorites posts, but I don’t really review them other than saying if I loved or hated them. So today I thought it would be a good time to properly review them. Heads up: these are all historical fiction because I really, really love historical fiction. Some I listened to on Audible, and others I read the hard copy.
The Pillars of the Earth – Ken Follett
A few years ago, the miniseries based on the book was on Netflix, so I already knew what I was getting into. This epic novel spans decades in the 12th century and focuses on the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. It focuses on the lives of the people in and around the town: the abbot and the monks, the cathedral’s builder and his family, and the nearby earl’s family. Part of the beauty of this novel is that you read about the characters throughout their lives, and the characters are so real. The good characters aren’t entirely good, the bad ones aren’t entirely bad. The frightening thing about the antagonists is that they’re so real and you know that people like them truly existed. This novel is long and at times a little hard to get to, but it’s so worth it. I read the hard copy, but I suggest listening to it. I think it’ll be easier to enjoy it that way.
World Without End – Ken Follett
This is the second in the series and takes place 200ish years after Pillars of the Earth, but the only thing connecting it to the first one is that it also takes place in Kingsbridge. As my friend who recommended the series to me said, it has similar archetypal characters. I personally think that this book is better than the first. If you followed me on Twitter while I read it, you’ll know that I wrote several tweets about World Without End building me up and tearing me down at the same time. Like the first, if follows the characters throughout large parts of their lives. You can currently watch the miniseries on Netflix, but know that it takes several liberties with the text. Namely, it makes Godwyn much more of an awful person than he is in the novel and Caris a bit better. There are also several plot points that the series exaggerates. This is one of my all-time favorite books. It’s amazing. I strongly suggest listening to it.
A Triple Knot – Emma Campion
I found this book fascinating. It’s about Joan of Kent, the wife of Edward the Black Prince in 14th century England. She got married at age 12 to Thomas Holland, but her royal cousin King Edward III of England and her mother (among others) did not honor it. They spent 9 years trying to be together, including when her family forced her to marry someone else, and eventually the pope declared that marriage invalid. This book follows her from age 10 to 33, when she married the prince. I don’t advise listening to it because the narrator didn’t read things properly (in my opinion) and it was rather annoying. But the book was wonderful.
The Red Queen – Philippa Gregory
This is part of Philippa Gregory’s series The Cousins War about the War of the Roses in the 15th century. This novel is about Margaret Beaufort, the Lancaster heiress and mother of King Henry VII. It’s very interesting, but I really didn’t like Margaret, and it’s told from her point of view, so that’s kind of a problem. If you’re into history and the War of the Roses like I am, though, you should read it.
The Scarlet Lion – Elizabeth Chadwick
Such a fascinating book. The Scarlet Lion is about the second half of William Marshal’s life. He lived from 1146-1219, served 4 kings, and was considered one of the best knights who ever lived. I’ve read a lot about the kings he served – especially Henry II, Richard I, and John – but not a whole lot about him. I loved this book.
The White Queen – Philippa Gregory
This is another one in Philippa Gregory’s The Cousin’s War series, but this is about Elizabeth, wife to Edward IV. It was especially interesting to hear about the war from her point of view; many people hated her and thought she was a witch. She went from a knight’s widow to queen of England to living a self-imposed exile away from King Richard III and more. I liked this one much more than The Red Queen.
Hello! My name is Becca and I blog over at By Becca Ann! I have recently started this blog after running an on-again-off-again blog for a few years. This blog is a new chapter in my online world to go hand-in-hand with my new chapter in life! It’s all about things I like to talk about, things I like to do, and stuff I like to bake/make. Oh, and a lot about my dog!
I’m a semi-recent college graduate trying to find a big-girl job who has just recently moved back home to her parents. I’m obsessed with my 90-pound fur child, I love anything gold and only one white wine. I need to venture out a little more, so that’s why I’ve started this new blog!
What historical fiction books have you loved?