This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself Against infection and the hand of war, This happy breed of men, this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea, Which serves it in the office of a wall Or as a moat defensive to a house, Against the envy of less happier lands,-- This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. ~~William Shakespeare, Richard III

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Lady's Top Reads of 2009

I saw the ladies over at Historical Tapestry using this beautiful image with their lists of favorite reads from the year and I hope they don't mind my using it! I just loved it!

I read A LOT and I mean A LOT of books this year. 99.8% of them were historical fiction (hence my decision to start this blog a few months back!). I have kept a reading log over at the Historical Fiction Online forums but as I started THAT list about May, I probably missed a few that I had read before that. Anyway, I believe I read about 72 books this year (though I will be on a plane some tomorrow and I may finish a book in that time!). It was really hard to pick just 5 to mention since I read so many wonderful ones! You can read my reviews by clicking on the books. There are a few that I have not posted reviews for yet.

Here are my top 5 picks for 2009:

1. The Sunne in Splendour, Sharon Kay Penman
I can't say enough about Penman's novel about Richard III. Every book I read about R3 I compare to this one. It is absolutely fantastic and I haven't found anything that comes close to matching it in its "splendour."

2. Katherine, Anya Seton
This was a wonderful love story about John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynford, basically the ancestors of most of Britain's monarchy.

3. The Heretic Queen, Michelle Moran
Ancient Egypt has always intrigued me and Moran's novel about Nefertari kept me hooked from beginning to end. It was really amazing.

4.The Greatest Knight, Elizabeth Chadwick
I am hooked on Chadwick's novels after reading just a couple and this one has me panting for the sequel! I really loved William Marshal's story and can't wait to see what awaits him in the next reigns.

5. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey
Another R3 novel (who I have become obsessed with this year) only this one is told through the eyes of a modern detective who sets out to solve the mysteries surrounding the King. A really interesting read and one that brought up some intriguing points to think on.

And a few honorable mentions:

The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, Robin Maxwell
The Traitor's Wife, Susan Higginbotham
A Rose for the Crown, Anne Easter Smith
When Christ and His Saints Slept, Sharon Kay Penman
The First Princess of Wales, Karen Harper

There are many, many, MANY new books coming out in 2010 that I can not wait to read so I know I will have a huge list to pick through at the end of next year when it comes time to decide on my favorites!


  1. I absolutely loved The Heretic Queen. It was definitely one of my favorites too!

  2. Yep, yep, yep, yep and yep! All good ones!

    Alex is a marvel with the gorgeous icons she comes up with isn't she.

  3. Loved Heretic Queen and have most of the others in my tbr. Read Maxwell's book before blogginf but enjoyed it immensely. Have a Happy New year :)