My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart (1959)

‘The result of my own visit to Greece and the impact of that wonderful country on a mind steeped in the classics. ‘My Brother Michael’ was my love affair with Greece.’ - Mary Stewart Camilla Haven had broken with Philip her fiancée of six years, and now at twenty-five years of age, she had come … Continue reading My Brother Michael by Mary Stewart (1959)

Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart (1956)

Gianetta, named after her disreputable great-grandmother, Gianetta Fox who was once the rage of London, had just finished school and completed a course for mannequins. At a showing where she modelled an historical dress, she met Nicholas Drury, a successful author with a caustic tongue, who at 29 years of age was ten years her … Continue reading Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart (1956)

Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart (1965)

Vanessa March and her husband, Lewis, were about to go on a European holiday together. They had been married two years and Lewis’ work abroad had taken up so much of that time that he'd planned to transfer to another branch, but before he could do that he was asked to go to Sweden for … Continue reading Airs Above the Ground by Mary Stewart (1965)

Assignment in Brittany by Helen MacInnes (1942)

'Her purpose always was to strike at authoritarian governments. In the genre of highly literate suspense she is considered unrivaled.' Assignment in Brittany is Helen MacInnes’ second book and was published early in World War II not long after the Battle of Dunkirk. It is set in Brittany and captures the bleak atmosphere that must … Continue reading Assignment in Brittany by Helen MacInnes (1942)

Quo Vadis: A Tale in the Time of Nero by Henryk Sienkiewicz (1896)

Quo Vadis is, as its subtitle implies, a work of historical fiction set in Ancient Rome during Nero’s reign. It is the love story and spiritual journey of a young couple - Marcus Vinicius, a Roman tribune from a patrician family, and Lygia, daughter of a Lygian barbarian chief, held as hostage in Rome. It … Continue reading Quo Vadis: A Tale in the Time of Nero by Henryk Sienkiewicz (1896)

Blood Feud by Rosemary Sutcliff (1976)

Rosemary Sutcliff is considered to be one of the finest writers of historical novels for children but her writing is appealing for adult readers as well. As she herself said, “I write for children aged 8 to 88.” This ability to appeal to a wide age range is obvious in Blood Feud. I was listening … Continue reading Blood Feud by Rosemary Sutcliff (1976)

Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

Barnaby Rudge was published in 1841 and was Charles Dickens’ first historical novel. It is his least read book, which surprised me as the story is very interesting. It is based on a real historical event and includes a murder mystery, a talking raven, two romantic dramas, as well as being a social commentary on … Continue reading Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens

An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (1986)

In the 2016 introduction to the thirtieth anniversary edition of An Artist of the Floating World, the author wrote: ‘This novel is set in Japan before and after the Second World War, but it was very much shaped by the Britain in which I was then living: the pressure on people in every walk of … Continue reading An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (1986)