Kimber here. Mom is busy rustling up some Independence Day eats. I’m not too sure about the potato salad and corn on the cob thing. But I’m all over the grilled burgers! Yeah, Lassie!
Well. The subject of “best U.S. historical fiction” came up the other night. We were watching videos of last year’s fireworks or somethin’. You know. The stupid Big Boom things. (Why do humans do this every Independence Day? I don’t get it.)
I was all ears. (For the book list. Not the Big Boom things. Mom got me a Thunder Shirt for that.)
Anyway, just in time for Independence Day, Mom and I put together a list of the best historical fiction reads set in the U.S. Mom says we aren’t even going to try to cover books by decade, social movement, issue, or what not. That’d take us like, till the cat comes home. Gag me with Meow Mix!
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. And what better way to ring in the day than with a love story?
Now, I could line the bottom of my bird cage (if I had one) with most of what passes for “romance” stories these days. That’s not what this list is about. You won’t find any cheap dime store boiler plate trash here. This list focuses on timeless love stories that go above and beyond basic romance.
Some of these titles are relatively new. Others have been around for centuries. All reach straight for your heart. Climb in. And settle in to stay. B.Y.O. tissue.
Here are 17 of the most unforgettable love stories of all time, along with memorable quotes. Many have been made into movies. Some might surprise you:
Jane Austen’s masterpiece of love and life among English gentility during the Georgian era. Mr. Bennet is an English gentleman living in Hartfordshire with his overbearing wife, one of the most ridiculous mothers in all literature. Mrs. Bennet’s chief goal in life is to see her five daughters married off and living comfortably. But fate intervenes…
This novel traces the lives and loves of its two tragic protagonists, Yuri Zhivago, a physician and poet, and Larissa Antipova. Pasternak’s epic love story takes place between the Russian Revolution of 1905 and World War II. First published in Italy in 1957.
“Oh, what a love it was, utterly free, unique, like nothing else on earth! Their thoughts were like other people’s songs.”
The powerful, poignant story of the unbreakable bond between a young boy and his two Redbone Hound dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann, reminds us what love really means. Set in the Ozarks during the depths of the Depression.
Once in a lifetime, a story comes along that inspires generations of readers. Where The Red Fern Grows is one of those stories. Bring Kleenex.
Note from Kimber:My personal favorite, friends! Even better than bacon! Mom always wants to snuggle up with this one. I’m a good helper, ya know. But I’m a World Class Snuggler and face-licker!
“I looked at his grave and, with tears in my eyes, I voiced these words: ‘You were worth it, old friend, and a thousand times over.’”
Set largely in Kenya, East Africa, this sweeping epic is a story of discovery, loss and love.
Karen Blixen followed her dreams until her dreams became reality. She came to Africa from Denmark to search for something inside herself. There, she discovers a man and a country. And life as she’s never known it.
Blixen published her autobiographical Out of Africa under the nom de plume, Isak Dinesen.
The 1985 movie won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture. It stars Meryl Streep as Blixen and Robert Redford as her lover, Dennys Finch-Hatton.
“If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”
A touching story about what we long for. What we settle for. And who we were meant for. Full of longing and wistfulness. Despair and hope. And unexpected plot twists. Vintage Nicholas Sparks.
“I read to her and she remembers.”
“We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has only happened once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory. I’ll never forget a single moment of it.”
‘Tis the month for love and romance and all things heartfelt. That includes good books and good food! In fact, what better way to kick off Valentine’s month than with pairing some great love stories with great food!
The titles below feature love stories flavored with rich, robust writing. Also links to a culinary idea or two you can savor before, after, or while you’re turning pages.
Some of these titles may be familiar. Some may be new. Some may surprise you. Just don’t get so engrossed in the plot that you neglect to mind the stove, okay?
Ready? Set? Grab your book. Head to the nearest kitchen and Let’s Go!
“Fall is in the air!” Mom announced the other day. I’m not sure what that means. But Mom is skipping merrily around the house, chirping about “fall colors,” “sweater weather” and “hot chocolate.” I’d be just as happy with a nice, thick New York steak. Whatever.
I figure it’s only a matter of time until Mom breaks out that stupid bright orange thingy she hauls me into whenever we go out in cold weather. Pay off: Coming home to a cozy spot in front of a nice, warm fireplace.
Anyway, Mom says fall is a great time to grab a hot cuppa whatever and curl up next to a roaring fire with a good book! She’s got a list. Checked it twice. (I helped. The first list didn’t smell right.)
Here are some of Mom’s top picks for the season. Some are old. Some are new. All are worthy reads. In no particular order:
Kimber the Magnificent here. Introducing my new best bud, Bebo. He’s a blue-eyed albino boxer dog. Super smart. Loyal. Dependable. Totally fearless. Solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. All-around awesome. You know. Like me.
Anyway,Bebo my new best bud is the hero of this cool book Mom and I recently read. It’s called Thirteen Miracles. Humans probably think this book is about a lady named Abby Welles. She kinda has a crisis of faith after her twin sister dies in a car wreck.
Depressed, confused, and running on faith fumes, Abby travels to Mexico to find Jose Luis Hernandez, aka: Destiny Man. He supposedly knows about miracles. Abby wants to research and write a book on the subject. She heads into the Sierra Madres and the Devil’s Backbone to try to make some sense of her life’s loose ends. What she finds is more than she bargained for as something dark and evil stalks her every step.
The Apple Dumpling Gang meets the red earth of Tara in this delicious romp through a Georgia playground of the rich and infamous.
When the Trapnell family patriarch dies, spoiled rotten and uber shallow family members drool over their slice of the $40 billion family fortune. They all try to snatch Daddy’s will from the shaky hands of a senile probate judge in order to further their own ridiculous plans.
Author John Mernone joins us today to discuss his debut historical novel, The World Turned Upside Down. You’ll want to listen in. Says John:
John Mernone’s debut historical novel has a personal connection.
How many times have you heard someone say that history is boring?
If you only see it as a list of names and dates and facts to be memorized, it is boring. I was lucky enough to have a few truly amazing teachers who taught me to look at history through the lens of personalities and situations. Take George Washington. In school, we’re taught about this legendary hero who led the colonists to independence. And maybe we hear about his wooden teeth.
We don’t learn about his many mistakes on the way to victory. We don’t learn that he wasn’t always patient or a brilliant strategist. He had very real flaws. But he was driven by an unshakeable belief in the cause, and he possessed a level of humility and conscientiousness that inspired devotion and admiration in everyone around him. I’ve always believed that George Washington was the greatest man in history, flaws and all.