Welcome to a new weekly blog: Friday Featured. I'm going to publish, working from A-Z, a weekly list of authors whose works I think you should check out. Maybe I've read some of their works, maybe I've worked with them on various projects, perhaps their books are on my To-Be-Read pile, or perhaps they are friends of mine who have news that needs to be shared. The only rule here is that it is totally unsolicited. The authors don't know I'm going to feature them, and in that way you'll know that this is simply my honest opinion. If I haven't read their work yet I'll be candid and say so, but at least one book by each of these authors is either on my shelves, or on my Kindle; it might be that I just haven't got to them yet 😊
So, this week, naturally and logically enough, we start with A: (clicking on the names will take you to the author website; book titles will take you to Amazon)
Melissa Addey I've been privileged to read two of Melissa's books, one from each of her two series, and I loved them both. A String of Silver Beads, set in eleventh-century North Africa, and The Garden of Perfect Brightness set in eighteenth-century China. Not only did I enjoy the writing, and the stories, but I learned a great deal too about these - new to me - worlds. From eleventh-century North Africa, to an emperor's beautiful garden in China, I was dropped into unfamiliar settings but completely immersed. Melissa's first novel, The Fragrant Concubine, was picked for Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society and longlisted for the Mslexia Novel Competition.
One Sentence Summary: Melissa uses words to paint images and her writing is sublime.
Judith Arnopp Judith has written books set in the early medieval period, including novels set in the New Forest during the reign of William Rufus, and the story of the daughter of Mercia, married to the king of Wales in the years leading up to 1066, but I think it's fair to say that Tudor history is taking up more of her time lately. She has recently published a trilogy about a somewhat controversial figure, Margaret Beaufort. So far I've read the first of these volumes, The Beaufort Bride and found myself reconsidering what I knew about young Margaret and the life she had to endure, and admiring her fortitude. Judith is also a talented seamstress with an etsy site for her exquisite Tudor head-dresses, and she can be seen regularly at Tudor events, dressed in Tudor costume made by her own fair hand. I believe Judith is working on a new book about Mary Tudor.
One Sentence Summary: Judith gets deeply inside her character's mind to deliver a realistic, moving portrayal of Margaret the child bride.
Judith Alnatt I wasn't aware of this author's work until I came across The Moon Field in a tiny second-hand book shop. It's a story of WWI, or rather life before it, and life after it, and how people coped with the changes forced upon them; the reasons men - boys - went to war, and the effect on those left behind. The focus is on the difference between home pre-war, and home post-war and how what happens to the central character, George, alters the world not just for him, but all those around him.
One Sentence Summary: Thought-provoking tale which offers the reader more than the horrors of the trenches.
I'd urge you to look up these books - and any other by the authors. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Yes, this week's selection are all historical fiction, but that's not all I read, so stay tuned. Pick a Friday Read, and let's meet here again next week 😊
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