Top 5 Gateway Books to my Favorite Genre



My list is in two parts this week. Those that got me into historical fiction and those who got me into historical, fictionalized accounts of real people.


Historical Fiction


I’ve written enough about this one. But it started it all.

Gone With the Wind.


I’m cheating and calling these one. Winds of War gave me a valuable lesson. When a teacher spotted me with the Reader’s Digest condensed version he bellowed “If Herman Wouk had wanted it that way, he’d have written it that way.” I learned to look for the word “unabridged” when I bought books! I loved this book and was thrilled to watch the 1970’s mini-series of it too–it had a superb cast. I miss those mini-series. They were excellent. The second book is one of the few novels I’ve run out and bought in hard back–this was way, way before Kindle! Just as great as the first book. These are part of the reason Herman Wouk is one of my very favorite authors of all time. Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk.


In the 1970’s my Mom and I read many  of the great novels of R.F. Delderfield. His books are the type I love–big, sweeping family sagas! This one, though, is set in a second, or maybe even third, tier boys “public” school (a private prep school to Americans). I’ve posted on it before–it’s marvelous. The story of a shell-shocked WWI soldier, brought back to life as a teacher. This, too, was made into a great Masterpiece Theater presentation in the 1980s. To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield.


Historical Fiction About Real People

I must confess here that there is good and bad in this part of the genre–much more so than in mere historical fiction. There is a popular British woman spy series, for example, where she works with Churchill and the royals–I couldn’t stand that series. But when this type writing is good it is amazing and sucks you into the world of the historical personage. My Gateways to this genre within a genre are below.



I suppose an affair shouldn’t be glorified, but FDR’s not-so-secret love affair with his wife’s World War I -era social secretary is part of American history now. Ellen Feldman’s wonderful retelling is spot on. I loved it. No romping thru beds–this one stays true to the time of its setting. Lucy by Ellen Feldman.


This story of Frank Lloyd Wright and his affair with Mamah Cheney is one I recently posted about here. It brought them truly to life. I listened to the audio and it was like watching it all happen. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.

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