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Historical Fiction on the English Civil War

29 July 2008 — fuzzyhistory

Updated 15 September 2008. While the label, English Civil War, is a bit of a misnomer, it refers to a series of events and conflicts that take place in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales from 1625 to 1660. “During this period, the Stuart kingdoms … were ripped apart by religious and political unrest. But the conflict of the 1640s wasn’t a purely British phenomenon, it was part of a wider struggle for supremacy between Catholics and Protestants in Europe.” (BBC/The Open University, Civil War)

The British Civil Wars site provides a timeline of events as does the BBC/The Open University. Seattle University’s A.A. Lemieux Library offers an excellent list of sources, which includes biographies, treatises, research databases and more.

Use the resources available in Find Books to locate copies of these novels. Or for books currently available at Amazon, follow the title links. Fuzzy History receives a small commission for referral purchases.

Green titles comprise those I really enjoyed (Excellent to Very Good rating). Some of the works listed are biographical novels on King Charles I, who reigned during much of this time. If there is no comment following the title, I haven’t read the book. Or I haven’t found any information about it.

As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann. The first war provides the background with detail on the New Model Army and the Digger Movement. Read the full review.

By The Sword by Alison Stuart. Lovers on opposite sides of the conflict.

A Call of Trumpets by Jane Lane. Deals with the war and the relationship between Henrietta Maria and Prince Rupert.

Charles the King by Evelyn Anthony. A sympathetic look at Charles I, focusing on his marriage to Henrietta Maria. Includes much historical information about the events of the English Civil War.

A Crowning Mercy by Bernard Cornwell and Susannah Kells. A love story set against the English Civil War.

Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory. The gardener John Tradescant becomes lover to George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham.

The Faithful Lovers by Valerie Anand. This is the 4th book in the Bridge Over Time series.

The Green and the Gold by Christopher Peachment. Biographical fiction about Andrew Marvell, who was a spy in the service of Oliver Cromwell.

Havoc, in Its Third Year by Ronan Bennett. A “somber account of a man facing a crisis of spirit and conscience in” the early years of the English Civil War. (Publisher’s Weekly)

The Hostage Prince by Vanessa Hannam. A romance with the lovers’ families on opposite sides.

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. A historical mystery set during the Restoration period – about 3 years after the end of the English Civil War. Read the full review.

The King’s Man by Alison Stuart. A plot against Oliver Cromwell provides the background for this love story.

Lord Greville’s Captive by Nicola Cornick. A Harlequin romance set against the English Civil War.

Mara Haviland by Sue Hull. A romance set against the English Civil War.

Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes. The laundress Mary Floyd (actual historical person)  cares for Charles I during his captivity in Carisbrooke Castle prior to his trial and execution.

The Moon in the Water by Pamela Belle. Historical romance series with the first 2 books set during the English Civil War. Subsequent titles are The Chains of Fate, Alathea (post Civil War with detail about the London fire of 1666), and The Lodestar (set during the reign of Richard III).

My Lord Foxe by Constance Gluyas. Accurate characterizations of Charles and Henrietta Maria.

Myself, My Enemy by Jean Plaidy. The first book in the Queens of England series focuses on Henrietta Maria, the daughter of King Henry IV of France, who married Charles I.

The Oak Apple by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. Part of the Morland Dynasty series (#4), the book opens in 1630 and leads up to the struggle between king and parliament.

Pargeters by Norah Lofts. An epic novel set during the war and Restoration period.

Phoenix Rising by Jean Evans. Focuses on the power struggle between Charles I and his son.

The Proud Servant by Margaret Irwin. Subtitled The Story of Montrose, it relates the career of James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose, a proponent of the king.

The Questing Beast by Jane Lane. Biographical fiction on John Pym, who managed the money Parliament needed for the War.

The Quickenberry Tree by Annette Motley. A family story during the English Civil War.

Rider on a White Horse by Rosemary Sutcliff.

Rokeby by Sir Walter Scott. A poem on the events following the Battle of Marston Moor.

The Severed Crown by Jane Lane. The last months of the reign of Charles I told through letters.

Shadow Flies by Rose Macaulay. Biographical fiction on the poet, Robert Herrick.

The Stranger Prince by Margaret Irwin. Subtitled The Story of Rupert of the Rhine, this is biographical fiction on the nephew of Charles I.

They Were Defeated by Rose Macaulay. “Real 17th-century poets (including Robert Herrick) mingle with fictional characters …. She [Macaulay] paints a vivid portrait of one of England’s most turbulent periods.” (Amazon.com)

Turncoat’s Drum by Nicholas Carter. The first book in the Shadow on the Crown series “portrays life in 17th-century England through the eyes of the common men and women who fought and died for the distant causes of Parliament and the King.” (Amazon UK) It’s followed by Storming Party, And King’s Men Crow, Harvest of Swords, and Stand by the Colours.

Virgin Earth by Philippa Gregory. This stand-alone sequel to Earthly Joys follows John Tradescant the Younger into the service of King Charles I.

The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge.

Wife to Mr. Milton by Robert Graves. Tells the story of Marie Powell, the poet Milton’s first wife. The English Civil War and the execution of Charles I provide the background.

Wintercombe by Pamela Belle. A story about a family’s hardships when the man leaves for war. This is the first book in a series of 4. It’s followed by Herald of Joy, A Falling Star and Treason’s Gift.

The Winter Prince by Cheryl Sawyer. Romantic suspense involving Mary Villiers, the Duchess of Richmond and wife of James Stuart, and Prince Rupert of Bohemia.

Woodstock; or, the Cavalier by Sir Walter Scott. A romance.

The Young and Lonely King by Jane Lane. Biographical fiction on Charles I.

The Young Montrose by Nigel Tranter. Biographical fiction on James Graham, the Marquis of Montrose. Montrose is the sequel.

Additional Resources

The English Civil War Through the Restoration in Fiction: An Annotated Bibliography, 1625-1999 by Roxane C. Murph. Available for sale; not online.

Novels of the 17th Century, HistoricalNovels.com

Posted in English Civil War, Revolts & Revolutions.. Comments Off

While England Sleeps by David Leavitt

27 July 2008 — fuzzyhistory

Now a well-to-do has-been writer in his mid-50s, Brian Botsford is haunted by events of the late 1930s when fascism was on the rise in parts of Europe. In 1936, he was 22 years old and living at home, though his parents had died recently. He depended financially on a wealthy interfering aunt.

Lured by the strong pull of Communism amongst the circle of his acquaintances, Botsford attends a gathering where he meets Edward Phelan, a man 2 years younger and from the working class. Edward accompanies Botsford to the apartment where he recently moved.

Their brief sexual encounter leads to a more involved relationship. But whereas Phelan is comfortable with his sexuality, Botsford is not. Eventually his interfering aunt talks him into meeting a woman, who, he convinces himself, he ought to marry.

The woman – Philippa – knows him better than he knows himself. She rejects him. But in the meantime, Phelan discovers the betrayal and flees to Spain into the arms of the Communists.

Botsford’s reminiscences continue as they relate his feelings of sexual confusion and his eventual pursuit of Phelan. Readers gain snippets of insight into the dealings of the Communist Party, attitudes toward homosexuality and the conditions of war – the Spanish Civil War.

But, alas, this is not a novel about war or politics. Rather, it is a coming of age story – a tale about a man, who, by the time he accepts his homosexuality, finds it is too late for the one he loves.

Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of homoerotic sex. Rating: Very good. (Click the image above to purchase the novel from Amazon. Fuzzy History receives a small commission for the referral.)

Historical Fiction on Revolts and Revolutions

14 July 2008 — fuzzyhistory

Updated 30 July 2008. Having just concluded one of the most moving books I have ever read – As Meat Loves Salt – and following it with Q by Luther Blissett, it seems a good time to begin to list historical novels about revolutions that came about as a result of oppression. Because such a list could be a book in and of itself, what appears below are representative titles for select uprisings taking place from the late 13th Century to the 20th Century.

Over time, I will expand each subheading individually. The section on English Civil Wars has been expanded.

Use the resources available in Find Books to locate copies of these novels. Green titles comprise those I really enjoyed (Excellent to Very Good rating). If there is no comment following the title, I haven’t read the book.

The American Revolution (1763-1783)

Arundel by Kenneth Roberts. On Benedict Arnold’s invasion of Canada through Quebec.

The Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara. Sequel to Rise to Rebellion.

Rabble in Arms by Kenneth Roberts. Sequel to Arundel told from the loyalist point of view.

Redcoat by Bernard Cornwell. Loyalist point of view.

Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara. On the Boston Massacre and the days that follow.

American Slave Rebellions (1700s and 1800s)

Amistad by Joyce Annette Barnes. On the 1839 mutiny of the Spanish slave ship, Amistad.

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron. On Nat Turner’s slave rebellion in 1831.

Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

English Civil Wars (1625-1660)

As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann. The first war provides the background. It deals specifically with the Digger Movement.

The Faithful Lovers by Valerie Anand. Part of the Bridge Over Time series (#4), the English Civil War provides the background.

The Oak Apple by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. Part of the Morland Dynasty series (#4), the book opens in 1630 and leads up to the struggle between king and parliament.

Pargeters by Norah Lofts.

The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge.

The French Revolution (1789–1799)

City of Darkness, City of Light by Marge Piercy.

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel. Multiple points of view.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

German Peasants’ War (1524-1527)

Perfection by Anita Mason.

Q by Luther Blissett. Currrently reading.

Speak to Her Kindly by Jonathan Rainbow. On the Münster Rebellion, a later (1534-1535) attempt by the Anabaptists to establish a New Jerusalem.

Hundred Years’ War (1339-1453)

The Archer’s Tale by Bernard Cornwell. The U.K. title is Harlequin. This is the first of a trilogy that takes place during the Hundred Years’ War. Vagabond (#2) and Heretic (#3) complete the trilogy.

Kemp Passage At Arms by Daniel Hall.

Sir Nigel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sir Nigel serves King Edward III during the Hundred Years War.

The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sir Nigel now leads a band of English bowmen known as the White Company.

Jacobite Rebellions (1715 and 1745)

Devil Water by Anya Seton. On Catholic nobleman Charles Radcliff and his daughter during the Jacobite rebellion of 1715.

White Rose Rebel by Janet Paisley. Biographical fiction on Anne Farquharson, a female leader during the 1745 uprising.

Peasants’ Revolt (England, 1381)

Company of Rebels by Elizabeth Lord.

Confession of Jack Straw by Simone Zelitch.

The Constant Star by Prudence Andrew.

Russian Revolution of 1917

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.

The Iron Flood by Alexander Seravimovich.

The Kitchen Boy by Robert Alexander. On the final days of the Romanov’s.

Petersburg by Emily Hanlon. On events in 1905, a precursor to the 1917 revolution.

The Revolutionist by Robert Littell.

Scottish Wars of Independence (1285-1371)

The Bruce Trilogy  by Nigel Tranter. Biographical fiction about Robert the Bruce. Includes The Steps to the Empty Throne, The Path of the Hero King and The Price of the King’s Peace. Covers the first Scottish War.

The Fields of Bannockburn by Donna Fletcher Crow. Subtitled A Novel of Christian Scotland from Its Origins to Independence, this is an ambitious novel.

The Wallace by Nigel Tranter. On William Wallace, one of the leaders during the first Scottish War against England.