Historical Fiction, for if You’re Missing Outlander

Hello readers!

It’s Droughtland again. And all the fans of historical fiction, especially historical fiction with a bit of magical realism, are looking for new authors.

So let’s start with Sara Donati! She was an early fan of Diana Gabaldon. Like Diana Gabaldon, she is a scientist and when she started writing, she was still in academia. (Note for fans of Diana Gabaldon who date back to the turn of the century: Sara Donati helped set up, run, and host the first website for Gabaldon. It outgrew any normal website in visits pretty quickly and went to a more dedicated set up. However if you were trying to learn to navigate the web and find Diana Gabaldon, Sara Donati was the one responsible for the long, long, hard-to-remember and harder-to-type address.)

Into The Wilderness is the first is her series. It begins a generation after The Last of the Mohicans (yes, the James Fenimore Cooper one) on a mountain in upstate New York, and it covers the history of our early republic in the six books of the series. It also seriously addresses the problems of slavery in our earliest days as well as racism both for Native Americans and Black people. I quickly fell in love with the characters, Nathaniel Bonner (son of Hawkeye and Cora) and Elizabeth Middleton, daughter of a crown loyalist who is trying to reclaim her inheritance. My attention and loyalty was captured almost immediately and followed all six books.

Sara Donati’s second series The Gilded Hour follows the descendants of the first series, but is set in New York city in the Gilded Age. Slavery is forgotten enough to be thought of as a Southern problem, but racism is alive and distorting society.

I liked the first series better when I did my first read, so I would recommend them as the first place to start. The books are very family oriented, so a list of characters and the interlocking relationships is helpful. I learned a lot of history that was left out of the classes I attended, especially on slavery in New England after the revolution. It was eyeopening, to put it mildly.

My second recommendation of those of us who can’t get enough Outlander, is Susanna Kearsley. I am happy to read anything this woman writes, but I especially enjoy the ones with ghosts! These are the most friendly, least threatening ghost stories a scaredy cat like me can find.

I don’t remember which of her books I read first, but the one I finished and started right back at the beginning for an immediate re-read was Shadowy Horseswhich has Roman ghosts at an archeology site that can only be seen by a little boy and his collie dog. I was hooked. She has also written several books on the Jacobite rebellion, which I learned more about by reading Outlander than in school. What Diana Gabaldon doesn’t waste a lot of time on is that Bonnie Prince Charles was the grandson, and the rebellion had been going on for a long time before Cullodean. Starting with The Winter Sea, Kearsley has several books that show how this very English dynastic dispute reverberated all through Europe.

Really folks, English history taught in Colorado managed to ignore everything the authors of the textbook didn’t think was important to the nation that was going to be.  So something like a Dutch prince who ends up on the British throne and all the realignment of foreign policy in Europe was just kinda treated as “…and this happened and then in England….” Suasanna Kearsley has written a series of very entertaining books that showed there were consequences of what the British like to call the Glorious Revolution that echo forward more as terrorism. Sudden disruptions of the power structure can take generations to work out, and aren’t always peaceful.

These are some of my favorite books to tide you over until the new Outlander book appears… hopefully soon?

–Susie

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You can purchase any or all of these wonderful historical fiction books by clicking on their titles above. Remember, we’re hand delivering books on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays–no waiting for the mail!

Happy Reading!

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