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There may have been some chortling as I read the prompt for today’s Top Ten Tuesday post. Choose only ten books?? Only if I get a dragon to pet and a bag full of chocolate pastry to eat in my castle made of all the books I did not choose. (-> my real life goal)
Since no dragon has magically appeared at my doorstep that means I get to share with you guys all of the awesome books! I chose historical fiction because narrowing my love of fantasy down into a post that would not take days to read would be traumatic (plus you never know when an evil mastermind might magically come out of a book to smite you for not adding them to your list).
Thus, on to the subgenres!:
- The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby – The hardest thing with reading HF is finding books that don’t read like modern day values just transported back in time, because that’s unrealistic. Nicolaos, the MC of the Athenian mysteries series, is really relatable but also comes across as a real Ancient Greek man. The mysteries tend to start off a bit slow, but then twists and turns pull you right into the storyline.
- Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys – I had never heard of the Wilhelm Gustloff before reading this book. I didn’t really know much about Eastern Europe during WWII either, but this book changed all of that. The merging of the four teens’ stories is superb and the suspense is ramped up high – it is hard to put down once you’ve started!
- A madness so discreet by Mindy McGinnis – This book knocked my socks off – with incredibly well developed characters, an eerie and haunting setting, wrapped up in a dark and difficult plot bow – it’s NOT a book for everyone.
- Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters – Spunky characters + sassy dialogue + Egyptian mummies = one happy reader.
- Vinland Saga by Makoto Yukimura – An intricately drawn manga about the Vikings, Thorfinn is forced to join Askeladd’s Viking warriors after they kill his parents, but he is focused on revenge. Lots of real historical details are mixed with a packed action-driven plot and complex characters. This is one of the few series that I buy when it comes out, because I can’t wait for the library to get their copy!
- All Gail Carriger – Although it doesn’t show too much on this list, I have a real weakness for the regency/victorian time periods – especially steampunk! Gail Carriger’s books are all funny, spunky, and wittily created so that Alexia/Sophronia/Prudence (her three MCs for different series) get up to quite a bit of mischief while also saving England from the Picklemen (yes, best evil villain names EVER). Pictured above are the first books in each series.
- His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers – A nunnery dedicated to training assassins and set in Brittany? Yes, please. I will take all of the books and run away with them into the sunset…. Well, except for the last book. Still have not read it yet *hides behind massive TBR*.
- Obsidian and Blood by Aliette de Bodard – This is an omnibus of three books in the Obsidian and Blood series, topping over 900 pages, and yet I could not stop reading it! The setting is 1480s Tenochtitlan, which in and of itself is rare in HF, but the fantasy aspects are phenomenal. In this series, the Aztec gods are real and the reader follows Acatl, the High Priest of the Dead, as he investigates deaths that may endanger the boundaries between the gods’ world and the human one. If you’ve ever been curious to read a book set in the pre-conquest Americas, YOU NEED TO GET THIS NOW!
- The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – A slight tear jerker (only slight, because if you know your Greek mythology, you know what happens to Achilles before you start the book), but still such a sweet love story between Achilles and his best friend/lover Patroclus. If you like stories set in ancient times or myth retellings, this is definitely one you should try!
- The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley – All of Susanna Kearsley’s books feature two timelines – one modern and one historical (usually dealing with the Jacobites in some way)- with romance thrown into both streams. The Winter Sea has two of my favorite OTPs of any HF romance, Carrie + Graham and Sophia + John. If I could have a cottage by Slains Castle, like in the book, I would move right away – the atmosphere is described so charmingly!
- Julia Quinn – The Bridgerton family is rambunctious and witty and always supportive when it comes to pushing people into marriage. They are fabulous. Plus, Lady Whistledown, a fake society columnist, is hilarious and commentates on everything in the series – if you put her name on a book, I will read it!
- Mary of Carisbrooke: The girl who would not betray her king by Margaret Campbell Barnes – I read this story a long, long, long time ago, but even thinking of it still makes me smile. Mary is a naïve servant girl at Carisbrooke Castle when King Charles I is sent there to be imprisoned towards the end of the British Civil War. Mary is as loyal as a stubborn mule to the crown, ultimately befriending the monarch, and getting into political intrigue galore.
- The Least Likely Bride by Jane Feather – Alongside the Bridgertons, Jane Feather’s Brides series were some of the first HF romance books that I ever read. My all time favorite is definitely Olivia, the scholarly daughter, who tumbles down a cliff while reading a Greek philosophical text, only to wake up on a pirate ship! Hilarious and romantic entanglements ensue. Plus, I may secretly dream of owning the dress on the cover someday. #bookcoverdreams
What are your top ten ALL TIME favorite books? Have you read any of these books or subgenres? What other HF books would you pick?