Пью второй месяц - кофе для похудения с имбирем. Очень довольна результатом!

Introduction to Fuzzy History

29 June 2008 — fuzzyhistory

I started reading historical fiction in college. I was a dual history-Spanish major (later changed to American Studies-Spanish) and a number of my professors sought to capture students’ interests through assigning readings that included novels. I read Kenneth Roberts, John Steinbeck, John Dos Passos, Lillian Hellman, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett, William Faulkner, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev and Nikolai Gogol, amongst others. Many of these authors, of course, did not write historical fiction. Their subjects were contemporary. But because the books capture the times so well, many now (and when I read them) serve as historical fiction.

While I read historical fiction off-and-on for years after leaving college, I didn’t pick it up again regularly until about 2 years ago. Now it’s as if I’m trying to make up for lost time. I’ve kept notes on what I’ve read during the this time. I’ve also written numerous book reviews as a consumer at sites, such as Amazon and HistoricalFiction.org. I’ve participated in relevant discussion forums at these sites as well as at LibraryThing and PaperbackSwap.

To say I enjoy talking about historical fiction is, well, obvious. This, then, is one reason for launching the blog. My other reasons include:

  • To maintain a better organized and searchable record of what I’ve read and what I thought of it.
  • To prepare what librarians call a pathfinder to novels about specific events, places or people in history. In libraryland, a pathfinder is a guide to a topic, typically limited to resources within the library’s collection. Today, they often include resources, such as specialized databases and Web sites, outside the collection.
  • To share my knowledge of research and the used book trade to help others find good historical fiction as well as scarce out-of-print titles.

Finally, by way of introduction, I’d like to explain the title I choose for this blog. Those familiar with fuzzy logic may already have guessed. History depicted in a novel may be true, false or somewhere in between. This theme of historical accuracy will appear time and again in my blog posts; hence, the title Fuzzy History.

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The Plantagenets: Series by Juliet Dymoke

29 June 2008 — fuzzyhistory

Juliet Dymoke wrote mostly in the 1970s and 1980s. Not much appears to be known about her except that she was born in England during 1919 and died in 2001. She was a member of the Romantic Novelist Association.

Despite her relative obscurity today, Dymoke published an impressive list of titles. The Plantagenets is a 6-book series that covers the reigns of English kings from Henry II to Richard III.

    A Pride of Kings – Henry II, Richard I, John
    The Royal Griffin – Henry III
    The Lion of Mortimer – Edward II
    Lady of the Garter – Edward III
    The Lord of Greenwich – Henry V
    The Sun in Splendor – Edward IV, Richard III

In addition to providing an overview of the reigns of these kings, several of the titles feature other lesser-known historical characters. A Pride of Kings gives us the point of view of William Marshal, a knight who served each of them. Lady of the Garter tells Joan of Kent’s story as well. It also introduces Edward III’s son, Edward the Black Prince. The Lord of Greenwich is Humphrey (spelled Humfrey), Duke of Gloucester and brother of Henry V.

To date, I have read two books in the series – 3 and 4. Reviews are forthcoming.

Not surprisingly, Dymoke serves history with a touch of romance. For this reason, she will appeal mostly to women. But the romance is light. There are no love scenes, which might otherwise place the books firmly in the historical romance genre.

If you like Sharon Kay Penman, Elizabeth Chadwick (the English author) or Jean Plaidy, you will probably like this series. It’s long out of print, so expect to piece it together one title at time through used book stores. (Bookfinder should get you started.) I was lucky enough to win an eBay auction for the whole series. But you don’t see these too often.

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