Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite authors in X genre (historical fiction)

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is your favorite authors in a genre of your choice. I’ve been wavering all day over what genre to choose, but I finally decided on historical fiction, since that’s probably my favorite genre — well, along with mysteries. And fantasy. 🙂 So, in no particular order…

1. Georgette Heyer — Obviously! If you’re a Jane Austen fan who is looking for more authors to try, Heyer is the clear choice. She writes romances mostly set in the Regency era, and they are an absolute delight. Witty dialogue, swoonworthy heroes, and delightful secondary characters make Heyer’s books a pleasure to read. She’s my go-to comfort author, for sure! Try The Grand Sophy or Cotillion.

2. Sharon Kay Penman — In my opinion, she is the queen of medieval fiction. She writes these epic sagas that vividly portray life in the Middle Ages, using a mixture of real historical figures and invented characters.  She really makes the era come to life, and I’ve learned so much about medieval history through her novels! Try Here Be Dragons or When Christ and His Saints Slept.

3. Ellis Peters — While I’m sharing the medieval love, I have to mention the Brother Cadfael series! (I know I talk about these books nearly every week, but only because they are that good.) The books are a series of mysteries in which the detective is a Benedictine monk, so there’s a lot about life in a monastery and how the monks related to the secular community. Most books have a romance as well, and I’m a sucker for those. Start with the first book, A Morbid Taste for Bones. They don’t necessarily have to be read in order, but there are some plot lines that continue over several books.

4. Lauren Willig — The Pink Carnation series has basically everything I’m looking for in a novel: a great historical setting (usually 19th-century England, although India and France have each made appearances), espionage, romance, and a delightfully tongue-in-cheek style. Are these books great literature? No. Are they a ton of fun? Yes! There are very few books I’ll buy in hardcover, but the Pink Carnation series makes the cut. Start with book #1, The Secret History of the Pink Carnation.

5. Anna Dean — I am really enjoying the Dido Kent books, which are mysteries set in the Regency era. They definitely have an Austenesque feel to them; but while most Austen imitators get on my nerves because they fail to get the nuances right, Dean mimics the writing style extremely well. The first book is Bellfield Hall.

6. Patricia C. Wrede — This might be cheating a little, since Wrede’s books definitely fall within the fantasy category. But many of them are also quite definitely set in the Regency or Victorian era, and the historical details are basically the same (give or take a magic spell). I love authors who combine historical fiction and fantasy, and Wrede does so in such a charming way! Try Sorcery and Cecelia (co-written with Caroline Stevermer) or Mairelon the Magician.

7. Eva Ibbotson — Amazing! She wrote sweet, old-fashioned novels about strong girls who rise above extremely difficult circumstances and take control of their own destinies. The books are also glorious romances that contain every possible cliché, but somehow it doesn’t matter because they are just that good. These books are being marketed as YA, but I think they could equally be considered adult novels. Try A Countess Below Stairs or The Morning Gift.

8. Kate Ross — Yes, I’ve only read two of her four Regency-era mysteries featuring Julian Kestrel, dandy and sleuth. But trust me, they are great! Start with book #1, Cut to the Quick.

9. Jude Morgan — More Regency-era historical fiction with a hint of romance. Are you all sensing a pattern here? 🙂 Try Indiscretion or An Accomplished Woman.

10. Naomi Novik — OK, her Temeraire books are definitely more alternate history than historical fiction! But they are set during the Napoleonic Wars, and there are dragons. Imagine the epic sea battles of that era if they were fought on the backs of dragons! You have to read this series in order, so start with His Majesty’s Dragon.

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