Over the past few days at work, I’ve eyed a few books that somewhat cover my interest in Russian history (particularly pre-Bolshevik, WWII, and Cold War) and Arthurian legend. Two vastly different topics, each with fascinating elements of history and culture.
I spotted Lara’s Gift by Annamarie O’Brien, which is about breeding borzoi dogs in 1914. It’s a Middle Grade novel, and I know if I were younger it would’ve sparked my interest in Russian culture immediately. The Secret Daughter of the Tsar by Jennifer Laam was one I had hope for, but my disinterest in Russian royalty (although the Anastasia story is intriguing!) paired with a contemporary storyline weaving in detracted from that Russian feel. I’ve also read The Bronze Horseman trilogy by Paullina Simons, set in WWII Leningrad following two lovers who eventually split to the front and NYC, reunite, and continue their lives up to the present day. Last fall, I read The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford, a YA set in the Cold War, featuring a Russian boy with ambiguous intentions when an American girl falls in love with him.
Recommendations: I will read Middle Grade up to Adult Fiction, preferably by a contemporary author (Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky will wait till the long winter months, but if you have a favorite of their’s, let me know!), and preferably not about royalty. This can span from three eras: early 1900s, WWII, and Cold War. Do you have any recommendations?
Also, come on. Snow. If you don’t know me by now, you should know I love winter. Just look at those covers.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll remember I went through a huge Robin Hood and Merlin phase, watching the BBC shows and looking up historical information on whether or not these people were real, and if not then which individuals could they be based off of, etc. A friend of mine has already recommended Stephen Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy for Robin Hood (knowing my Hood interests are mostly of Celtic/early Anglo-Saxon origin and less on the actual thief), as well as Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle series.
I haven’t read Lawhead yet, nor have I read T.A. Barron’s Merlin Middle Grade series, Mary Stewart’s Arthurian Saga, or even the classic Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I kid you not, though, when I say these books haunt me in the store. I want to read them, but something is holding me back. Maybe you can provide that little push? (Don’t worry, I already own Once and Future King.)
Recommendations: I will read Middle Grade up to Adult fiction on anything pertaining to King Arthur and Merlin. The more Celtic/Anglo-Saxon history thrown in there, the better. In my head it makes everything more authentic! Do you have any suggestions?
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Share your thoughts and recommendations!