Friday, October 2, 2009

Historical fiction

Historical fiction is a nice crossover between fact and fiction; if you are fond of nonfiction titles dealing with a particular period in history, you might well enjoy novels set in that time period. For those of you who are English history buffs - especially her Golden Age - we have a couple of new novels that may appeal to you.
The Elephant Keeper, by Christopher Nicholson, is set in the late 1700's. A pair of young elephants, sickly after their long sea voyage from the East Indies, are purchased by aging Lord Bidborough. They are placed in the care of young stable boy, and as he learns to care for the strange beasts he develops a deep relationship and an understanding with them. Told as entries in his diary, the stable boy's story depicts the lives of masters and servants and the precarious grip we all have on life.
The Wet Nurse's Tale, by Erica Eisdorfer, is another servant's tale. In this novel, Victoria is Queen and motherhood is sacred. As long as you're married, that is (and it helps to be wealthy, of course). For kitchen maid Susan Rose, however, the stigma of giving birth to an illegitimate daughter is compensated for by her new career: a wet nurse for rich women. An appealing heroine with a fair amount of spirit and self-reliance, Susan brings the reader into the relationships and intrigues that go on both upstairs and downstairs in the Victorian home.

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