This weekend, my husband and I went to a local Borders outlet to see what bargains could be had. I went through the Fiction & Literature section (70% off!) shelf by shelf, and came away with six historical novels. I was surprised I was able to get so many good books, but, as hubby told his mother later over the phone, "Sam likes books no one else likes." Oh well, more for me! Here are my acquisitions:
River God by Wilbur Smith. In a divided Egypt, the eunuch slave Taita aids and conceals a romance between his master's daughter Lostris and her lover, the warrior Tanus. Very loose on historical accuracy, I've heard, but it makes up for it in plot.
The Second Duchess by Elizabeth Loupas. Barbara of Austria marries Alfonso d'Este, duke of Ferrara, and finds herself caught up in a mystery involving the suspicious death of the duke's first wife, the beautiful Lucrezia. The novel was inspired by Robert Browning's chilling narrative poem "My Last Duchess," which was itself inspired by real historical figures and events.
The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim. The privileged daughter of a wealthy Korean calligrapher must endure the Japanese invasion of Korea in the early 20th Century, her father's fall from wealth, and a decade-long separation from her husband after only one day of marriage.
By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan. The Inquisition is Coming to Renaissance Spain, and Luis de Santangel, chancellor to the royal household and a converso (a Jewish convert to Catholicism), finds himself torn between his old and new faiths. Add Christopher Columbus and a passion for a Jewish lady silversmith, and I'm sold.
The Gentleman Poet by Kathryn Johnson. It's about an historical shipwreck that inspired Shakespeare to write his play The Tempest. I love Shakespeare and I love The Tempest, so I didn't even need to think about getting this one.
Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn. It's the Year of Four Emperors in Rome, and sisters Marcella and Cornelia will both be swept up into the political intrigues that surround the grasping for the grown. In the end, only one of them can become Empress of Rome.