I'm a resident of Brooklyn and a proud new member of SheWrites. When I'm not clacking away at my laptop, I'm also an avid reader. In fact, I just finished reading "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" by Beth Hoffman and "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. Both are wonderful examples of great historical fiction written by lady writers. Both are poignant and told in the first person, although in the case of "Water for Elephants", Gruen utilizes an earth-shattering technique of using the PRESENT TENSE to convey a sense of urgency and tension to her narrative, and also to build suspense right up to the rollicking climax. Both of these writers have definitely influenced me in a tremendou way, especially "Water for Elephants", as I wrote my upcoming novel, "Transfer Day" in the present tense. I truly believe there is alway something to be learned by constantly reading other people's work and I would love to know what other people are reading under the heading "historical fiction" and who your favorite authors are and why. Also, what draws you to a book? The cover? The title? The subject matter? Is there any particular time period in history that you would LOVE to read/know more about, and why? Which living writer would you most like to meet and why?
Who is MY favorite writer of historical fiction? I think it's a toss-up between Leon Uris and Jeffrey Archer.
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I'm new at She Writes, too--am enjoying it very much. I loved both the historical novels you mentioned, plus Linda Holeman's THE LINNET BIRD, Robert Goolrick's A RELIABLE WIFE, and Ami McKay's THE VIRGIN CURE. All the women in these books are powerless until they make choices, good and bad, that open up opportunities to survive. I'd put ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN by Jim Fergus in that group, too. It's the high stakes that make these so compelling: if these women don't conform to society's proscribed roles for them, they'll die...but the fact that they won't conform gives them the chance to live on their own terms.
I've read Robert Goolrick's second novel, HEADING OUT TO WONDERFUL; it's un-put-downable, too, so I'd have to say I'd love to have a long, leisurely dinner with him. Can't wait for what he writes next.
Thanks for the reply, Beth. I've had my eye on "The Virgin Cure" and "One Thousand White Women" for quite some time. Maybe now I should just go ahead and order them from Amazon! I like what you said about characters becoming more compelling after they make difficult choices. We all want to be more assertive, take more chances, break out of ruts. Good, strong, compelling literary characters are the best way for us to spread our wings without crashing to the ground!
Is this a not-too-subtle hint that I'm supposed to be reading "Pillars of the Earth"? I'm presently reading Follett's "Hornet Flight" but everywhere I go I see "Pillars of the Earth": aiports, book stores, train stations, libraries, websites. It's everywhere! It's just that when I look at the large number of pages, I back off. I have such a long reading list that I'm trying to include only those books under 400 pages. However, since you liked it so much, I may have to reconsider.... When a girl named Deanna tells you something, you listen!
I'm really enjoying "Hornet Flight", it's the first Follett I've read since "The Key to Rebecca" in High School. I love a good spy thriller and I'm learning a lot by reading from the master. But now you've convinced me to pick up a copy of "Pillars".