I am a history nut, so it would be safe to say my favorite books usually involve the past. There are usually a couple historical fictions on the Bestsellers lists; however, I find neglected titles much more fascinating. These five books did not make it to the Bestsellers lists, but they captivated me just the same.
The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman
The Dress Lodger is an interesting historical fiction about the cholera epidemic of 1831, set in the English town that first fell victim. Since the poorest citizens were hit the hardest by this disease, this book involves some very seedy characters. Dress Lodgers were poor prostitutes who were given a fancy dress and lodging by their landlord. The dress gave them access to a higher class client, which meant more money. Besides the Dress Lodger, the other major character is a doctor, who like the doctors of that day, taught medicine to students by stealing bodies. This book is well written and very worth the read.
The Secret History of The Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
The story involves a young American woman traveling to England to dig up information for her research paper. What she finds is the secrets behind the famous English spies who worked in France. The stories of the past and present intertwine to keep the pages turning quickly.
This author is now one of my all time favorites. I adored this book! It is a little bit of everything – historical fiction, mystery, romance and adventure. This was the funniest read I have ever had. I about died at the end because the book stopped and the story was not over. The teaser for the next novel was excellently executed. All I wanted to do was to find that next novel immediately! That day, I went out and bought the second book as it had just come off the presses. You HAVE to read this book! You will be as hooked as me.
The Masque of The Black Tulip by Lauren Willig
The Masque of The Black Tulip is the continuation of the above story, which again leaves you wanting more. The book ends as before, with a teaser to the third book, which I have insured will be under my Christmas tree. I am purposely not telling you very much about the storylines, so you may have the joy of experiencing it revealing itself. I am dying for the next book.
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette is an eye-opening view into Marie Antoinette’s world. It is written as a diary, as if it were her own words. The reader can almost understand how the French Revolution came to be by reading this book. Louis and Marie were too privileged to see the suffering of their people. In the midst of such incredible poverty, money was lavishly spent on keeping up the elaborate court. For example, Marie Antoinette threw away calfskin gloves after wearing them once. But this window into her world shows you how she could do such things in the midst of the turmoil within the Country. The book leaves you craving more information about the lives of the privileged French just prior to the French Revolution.
Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles
Enemy Women is a very good historical fiction based on true, yet UNTOLD, history of women during the civil war. The main character is a woman who is falsely accused of aiding the South and is imprisoned in a Union women’s prison. From stories like “Gone With the Wind” we have only part of the story of women during the civil war. This book tells the other part, the shocking part, the part nobody else is going to tell. I was surprised that such a fascinating book found its way into the bargain bin. This is a story that needs to be told, and here, it is told well.