Thanks so much to The Broke And The Bookish for their weekly meme, Top 10 Tuesday. They always come up with great themes to get me thinking. This week we are looking at Historical Settings. Check out what places in time other bloggers want to visit HERE.
While time travel may appeal to many, I prefer to visit the past in books. I enjoy too many of our modern conveniences (antibiotics, indoor plumbing, etc), so I am perfectly content to enjoy vicarious residence. Also, many of the time periods I find fascinating were not very pleasant times in which to live — wars, religious and racial persecution, and did I mention the lack of antibiotics?
So here are some books that I found really helpful in experiencing the reality of history from the comfort and safety of my own home.
Top 9 Historical Settings
Babylonian Exile and Restoration of Israel
Lynn Austin has a fabulous series that relates the return of Israel from its exile in Babylon. Currently there are three novels in the series, two of which I have read. Excellent writing. Excellent history. You can read my reviews of the two books I have read by clicking on the titles — Return to Me and Keepers of The Covenant. On This Foundation is in my TBR pile.
First Century Rome
Randy Singer‘s novel, The Advocate, spans the time leading up to the birth of Christ, his ministry and crucifixion, and the spread of the early church — through the eyes of a Roman citizen. The culture of Rome, both religious and political, is explored. The novel features many historical figures that made up the glory and corruptness that was Rome.
Who doesn’t like Vikings?! Well except the raping, pillaging and looting. Heather Day Gilbert‘s novel, God’s Daughter, depicts the life of Gudrid, a Christian woman who gave birth to the first European in North America. It’s gritty, just like the original Vikings, but depicts a woman who is faithful to her God, despite the era in which she lived.
I love the Middle Ages and I love a great mystery. Mel Starr combines both in his series featuring Hugh de Singleton. There are 8 books in this series, so plenty of good reading. I love that Hugh, though limited by the science and superstition of the time, finds clever albeit low-tech ways to uncover the villains. Ashes to Ashes is the latest book in the series. Look for my review later this week.
As a teenager, I devoured books written about the Tudors. I loved the miniseries about Henry and his 6 wives. In Henry Brooks-Vyner‘s book, The Heretic, the impact of Henry’s break with the Pope and establishing himself as head of the church in England is explored. The new Church of England began its own persecution of other Protestant groups. This richly detailed historical novel is also laced with romance, adventure and intrigue.
Early American History
One of the best novels I have read is Lori Benton’s Burning Sky. The American Revolution is over, but the fortunes of the new country are still in question. This novel was a book club selection and created some of the best discussion we have ever had. Rich historical detail of the New York frontier, depiction of Native American/White relations, and unforgettable characters combine in a book that I rated Very Highly Recommended.
U S Civil War
Tracy Groot is a favorite author. She writes moving and historically accurate fiction that keeps you thinking long after the last page is read. Her novel of the infamous Confederate prison, The Sentinels of Andersonville, struck a chord with both of my book clubs. The book was doubly special since I live just 45 minutes from the Andersonville historic site.
The Gilded Age — Golden Age of Hollywood
From the Gilded to the Golden, Susan May Warren depicts late 19th and early 20th century America with the multigenerational saga, The Daughters of Fortune. The series begins with The Heiress, continues in the Roaring Twenties with The Baroness and ends with The Duchess. I was swept up in the life and times of these characters — this is a highly recommended series.
World War II
The three books I have chosen to represent WWII are poignant looks at defeat, depravity and God’s power in the midst of suffering. They feature the ugliness of the human heart and the beauty of the human spirit. Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot is set during the British defeat at Dunkirk. The Butterfly and The Violin by Kristy Cambron is set in Auschwitz. The Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer is set in the Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies. All are historically accurate, but also portray faith messages that are relevant for today.
What are your favorite historical settings?