what i read // 2017 historical fiction + classic favourites

hello again friends!

honestly, I found it so hard to pick my favourite reads of this last year 2017. therefore, there shall be a small string of favourites posts throughout January divided by genre. a couple of weeks ago we started with contemporary fiction, which you can read here, + today we're talking about historical fiction (my favourite genre! eep!)  + classics. the only order is the order in which I read these novels throughout the year.

photo by me ft some of my mother's lovely crocheted handiwork + floorboards.

2 0 1 7   H I S T O R I C A L   F I C T I O N  +  C L A S S I C S   F A V O U R I T E S

X Going Over by Beth Kephart
Favourite quote: People who hide don't want to be found, Omi says. But Savas is just a little boy, and maybe hiding is not what Savas wants, and maybe what happens next will be my fault: I shouldn't have let him vanish. And maybe, also, I should confess to this: Mailing a word like now across the border wasn't exactly Stasi smart.
Going Over exceeded my expectations and first impressions in the best way. It focuses on an important, recent part of history: Berlin in the 1980s, escaping over the wall, and migrant workers from Turkey. I learned a lot from this novel, adored the writing style which is sort of fast and slow at the same time and doesn't really explain everything all at once, and the two main characters, Stefan and Ada, with their complicated first love and the relationships of family and friends around them. It's the kind of story that stands out and stays with you and one that you wish there was more of.

O Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice by Natasha Farrant
Favourite quote: Books may not judge you, but people do.
Here's my unpopular opinion of the day: I'm not a fan of Austen; therefore not a fan of Pride and Prejudice. I've always felt the story would be more interesting if it focused less on Lizzy and more on making the rest of her sisters three-dimensional characters. *shrugs* So in the interest of seeing how the story might look from Lydia's perspective, I picked up this YA historical novel. It's not a 100% perfect read, but it is charming, sweet, and quick. I have a soft spot for retelling, and this one, while not quite faithful to the original, lets us see a different side to Lydia. She's an unreliable narrator and still annoying, but I enjoyed the added depth and the added plot elements which helped me understand Lydia's personality and motives. Perfect for a cozy afternoon with a cup of tea.

X Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Favourite quote: But then a better thought occurred, and this was the one I carried away with me that day: If my life was to be just a single note in an endless symphony, how could I not sound it out for as long and as loudly as I could?
Wolf Hollow left me with an aching sadness and nostalgia for uncomplicated childhood. So when I was twelve I didn't have vindictive classmates or a stranger-turned-friend-who-still-might-be-strange-and-suffering-from-PTSD accused of harming said classmates, but I felt so much for Annabelle's inner struggles of growing up and gaining a deeper, more realistic and harsh understanding of the world around her. I loved the World War II, but in the farmland of New England setting. I loved the details, especially of the supporting characters, because it made me feel much closer to Annabelle's world. I nearly cried (I'm rarely an emotional reader) a few times. My only criticism is that the plot was slow in some places, but the ending, people: so good.

O Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery
Favourite quote: 'Dear old world,' she murmured, 'you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.'
This was a re-read because I'd only read the book once when I was, like, nine and seen the movie a million times and decided to start collecting the entire series, but I decided to re-read each novel as I bought it. Anyway, it's glorious. I love Anne and Green Gables and Marilla and Matthew and Diana and Gilbert and everyone so much. What really shone through to me re-reading was the relationships Anne builds with Marilla and Matthew, slowly but surely winning both their hearts. I also love how readable the narrative is, for a classic, and how funny certain parts are. Nothing's changed, really, Anne Shirley is still and will always be my literary heroine; reading Anne of Green Gables  feels a little (or a lot) like coming home.

X The Flying Classroom by Erich Kastner
Favourite quote: But now I must catch a No. 1 bus and rush home. Otherwise the macaroni will be cold. My mother will be considerably surprised when I tell her I met Johnny Trotz and his captain.
This is truly one of the sweetest old-fashioned children's classics of ever. The story involves the author's attempts to write a Christmas story about this group of boys and their adventures at boarding school coming up to the Christmas holidays. There's a play called The Flying Classroom, lots of backstory, reunions of old friends, fights and stolen homework. It's a reminder of the good things in this world like friendship, loyalty, vulnerability, and courage. Also breaks the fourth wall and additional walls between reality and fiction like a pro. ;)

do you have a favourite classic or historical fiction you read last year? or maybe let me know your all time favourites, so I can add them to this year's TBR? 


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