Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Bowlerhatgirl Recommends...Historical Fiction!

Hi everyone!
My recommendation post will be about historical fiction, because I think that it's one of my favourite genres, and I was looking at my bookcase today and realised that I have a lot of historical books! Quite a few of these I read a few years ago so some of them may not be YA, but they're still really good!

1. Any historical book by Mary Hooper. Mary Hooper has written so many books set in the past, from At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, which takes place in 1665 during the Plague, to Fallen Grace, which takes place in Victorian London. Her books really got me into reading historical fiction, and while the writing is kind of aimed at the lower end of YA, some of the subjects covered are quite dark. She doesn't sugar-coat the past, and has realistic, likeable main characters.

2. The Cat Royal series by Julia Golding. This series follows a girl called Cat Royal (surprisingly), who was left on the doorstep of the Drury Lane theatre when she was a baby. Throughout the books, Cat gets into various different adventures, having to evade the police, becoming a - reluctant - member of the Royal Navy, and pretending to be a ballerina. Cat is so feisty and brave that you can't not like her, and you learn quite a bit about the events that were happening in the late 1700s, like the French Revolution, slavery, and life in a mill. There isn't a lot of romance in these books (although I ship Cat and Frank), but the adventures Cat has are fun and exciting. You also experience what society was like just before 1800.

3. The Jane Austen duology by Cora Harrison. I'm not sure what this set of two books is called, but it consists of I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend and Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend, and they're so sweet. It centres around a fictional character called Jenny - although she was apparently based on a real person - and Jane Austen when she was a teenager. Together, Jenny and Jane try to navigate the tricky waters that is society in Regency England. These books are written in the form of Jenny's diary and come complete with illustrations. Jenny is a lovely narrator, and it was really fun to read about a young Jane Austen (even if it is a fictional account). If you love Jane Austen, or a lighter historical read, I would definitely recommend these two books.

4. The Red Necklace duology by Sally Gardner. These two books - The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade - are set in the French Revolution and centre around Yann, a boy who possesses magical abilities, and Sido, who is trying to keep herself and her father, the Marque de Villeduval. I remember absolutely loving these books when I read them; there's just the right balance between magic and history, and I loved Yann, Sido, and Tetu the dwarf. It's also set in France, and I love books set in France. If you like your historical books to have a bit of fantasy in them, I would read these!

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Oh hey, Libby managed to include The Night Circus in a post! She's never done that before! Anyway, The Night Circus is set in the 1800s, and though it doesn't focus on the historical side of the story much, it wouldn't feel as magical as it does. And it's just a good book...I would put it in any recommendation video to be honest! My review is here.

6. The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. By far one of my favourite series ever, the Infernal Devices is set in Victorian London and focusses on Tessa Gray as she arrives in the city and begins to realise that she may not be all that she seems. It features rich settings, Shadowhunter awesomeness, and WILLIAM HERONDALE AND JEM CARSTAIRS AKA BEST FRIENDS IN THE UNIVERSE EVER. The characters are so strong, and the plot will ultimately break your heart in an amazing way. Like The Night Circus, this series wouldn't be the same if it was set in present day.

7. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. If you didn't know, I love Cat Winters' books, and this was just amazing. Set at the end of World War 1 during the Spanish Flu epidemic, Mary Shelley Black begins to question if the paranormal really doesn't exist after she does something desperate. There are pictures in the book, which adds to the atmospheric story, and I think Cat Winters' writing is great. As it is about ghosts, it's actually quite creepy and a little scary at times! My review for her book The Cure for Dreaming is here.

8. The Diviners by Libba Bray. I love all things 1920s; there's just something about that decade that makes me adore it, and if I could time travel I would go back to 1920s New York. So when I found The Diviners, which is set in the 1920s and contains paranormal aspects and people who can do cool stuff, it was bound to become one of my favourites. If you didn't know, The Diviners is about Evie O'Neill, a girl with supernatural abilities who is sent to New York, where she has to stop an evil that threatens the city. It's true that Evie is quite selfish and can be annoying, but there is such a wonderful cast of characters - Memphis, Theta, Henry (I love Henry and he was literally in about three scenes), JERICHO - and there are quite a few moments when Evie is endearing that you stop minding. With the sequel Lair of Dreams coming out soon, you have the perfect excuse to start reading The Diviners!

9. The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough. I recently just finished this book, but it's amazing. I won't say much about it because I've just done a review, but if you like strong independent female leads, the perfect fictional boyfriend, romance, angst, the 1930s, and books which personify Love and Death, this is the book for you. My review is here.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. An obvious choice, but rightly so. It was so interesting to read about World War 2 from someone living in Germany's point of view, and Liesel and Rudy and Max's story is wonderful.

11. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This is such a heart-breaking but good book. It follows Verity, an agent who gets trapped in Germany during World War 2, and Maddie, her best friend who was flying the plane they were both on when it crashed. With a massive plot twist and a sad, shocking ending, Code Name Verity is wonderful. Cross My Heart by Carmen Reid is also about spies in World War 2 and another very good book.

Those are my historical fiction recommendations! And of course there would be eleven instead of ten, because why have a nice rounded number? Have you read any of these? What did you think?
Thanks for reading(:

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