I have become a huge fan of historical fiction fan in my adult years, but this is something recent. Growing up I was really into fantasy. I have explored both the classic fantasies (Tolkien, George MacDonald) and also the modern fantasies (I’m still a huge fan of Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’, which was inspired by William Blake), and then I went through a phase where I read a bunch of the YA fantasy releases. After that, I sort of started feeling burnt out on fantasy. Now, whenever I pick up a fantasy book, it has to be something that really calls me. I’ve found that now I’m mostly drawn to fairy tale retellings when it comes to fantasy, and that’s what I read when it comes to that genre.
Instead of avidly reading fantasy, I have become enamoured with a new genre which I never really explored in depth while growing up, which is historical fiction. I am drawn to all kinds of historical fiction except WWII novels (sorry to say! I know they’re really popular but I am not really into the narratives that spring from it). I am especially drawn to historical fiction set in the ancient world, my favorite being Greek historical fiction, which is probably my favorite time period in history ever.
With that being said, I am going to share with you my upcoming TBR (to be read) pile of books, which are three total, and two of them are stories about ancient Greece. The first one is the Women of Troy by Pat Barker. Below is the blurb from GoodReads:
Troy has fallen. The Greeks have won their bitter war. They can return home as victors – all they need is a good wind to lift their sails. But the wind has vanished, the seas becalmed by vengeful gods, and so the warriors remain in limbo – camped in the shadow of the city they destroyed, kept company by the women they stole from it.
The women of Troy.
I am super excited to read this book because I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Silence of the Girls. I know I am in for a gritty ride but these books are such a rich feminist study while also making for a very entertaining and submersive experience. I easily get lost in Pat Barker’s storytelling.
The second book is Circe, by Madeline Miller, who also wrote the Song of Achilles which was a 5-star read for me.
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child – not powerful, like her father, nor viciously alluring like her mother. Turning to the world of mortals for companionship, she discovers that she does possess power – the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves.
I really loved The Song of Achilles and if Circe is half as good as that book, then consider me satisfied.
The third book on my historical fiction TBR list is Becoming Belle by Nuala O´Connor, set not in ancient Greece but in victorian London, which is also a super interesting setting.
In 1887, Isabel Bilton is the eldest of three daughters of a middle-class military family, growing up in a small garrison town. By 1891 she is the Countess of Clancarty, dubbed “the peasant countess” by the press, and a member of the Irish aristocracy. Becoming Belle is the story of the four years in between, of Belle’s rapid ascent and the people that tried to tear her down.
I am really drawn to aristocratic settings and anything victorian, so really looking forward to jumping into this. I will finish these three books in the next week or weeks, depending on how fast I read, and then I will let you know my thoughts once I’m done. Stay tuned!