The best historical fiction books on how magic can change your life

I wrote...

Tangle of Time

By Maureen Thorpe,

Book cover of Tangle of Time

What is my book about?

When Annie Thornton, midwife and fledgling witch, falls through time to a fifteenth-century Yorkshire village, she befriends two soldiers returning from the French Wars. Her ancestral witchy aunt deliberately brought them together to expose corruption in her troubled community.

Hearing about the mysterious disappearance of the local innkeeper, the three investigate. Asking questions in a village shrouded in fear and long-held secrets is dangerous. Annie’s clumsy spellmaking brings her to the notice of the powerful Manor Steward. Between falling in love, delivering babies medieval-style, becoming an apprentice witch, and seeking a murderer, Annie discovers that even magic and steadfast friends cannot keep her out of danger.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Blackberry Wine

Maureen Thorpe Why did I love this book?

I read this book many years ago in 2000. This book with magic realism awoke my love of magic (buried since a child). Five bottles of homemade wine hold powerful but subtle magic which transform the hero’s life. I love the concept that there is always hope; that there is something out there if we just reach out and believe. The setting is in France which also awoke a desire to travel–and I love making homemade wine! 

By Joanne Harris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blackberry Wine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This captivating and charming novel from international multi-million copy seller Joanne Harris takes us back to the French village we first discovered in Chocolat. Seamlessly interweaving the past and the present, magic and memory, it is a sensual rollercoaster that will appeal to fans of Victoria Hislop, Fiona Valpy, Maggie O'Farrell and Rachel Joyce.

'Thickly sensuous, wildly indulgent, magical escapism: Chocolat lovers will drink deeply' --GUARDIAN
'Joanne Harris has the gift of conveying her delight in the sensuous pleasures of food, wine, scent and plants... Blackberry Wine has all the appeal of a velvety scented glass of vintage wine' --…

Book cover of Life After Life

Maureen Thorpe Why did I love this book?

This story is about an upper-middle-class English family who is caught up in the events of WW2. The domestic details are fascinating including the kinds of puddings served. (I love puddings). Where this story differs is that Ursula, the heroine, has to keep reliving parts of her life until she ‘gets it right’. I could not stop thinking about Ursula for a long time. I was so impressed by how the story did not follow any normal pattern but demonstrated the power and flexibility wielded by the author. Kate Atkinson also attached a Pinterest page to her website. The visuals made a huge impact upon me so I added a Pinterest page to my stories.  

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…

Book cover of The Hobbit

Maureen Thorpe Why did I love this book?

I have read The Hobbit three times to date. As someone who is fascinated by magic—this is a story of magic. A small six toed person embarks on a journey that requires all of his courage and a lot of help from his friends. Now I come to think of it, that is the theme for all of my books, except for the six toes). I fell in love with the different characters and learned how they make or break a good story. I also learned that persistence pays off; that being fearful can be overcome.

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

40 authors picked The Hobbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Special collector's film tie-in hardback of the best-selling classic, featuring the complete story with a sumptuous cover design inspired by THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and brand new reproductions of all the drawings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End.

But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid…

Book cover of The History of Mr. Polly

Maureen Thorpe Why did I love this book?

This book was first published in 1910. When I think of H.G. Wells, I think of his story about a time machine but this story, which I studied in school, was about changing your life, living your dream. Magic happens when Mr. Polly attempts suicide with the result that he becomes a hero and frees himself from the chains that bind him. I learned that all is possible. One does not need to be young, beautiful, and run a 4-minute mile to achieve one’s goals. With this thought in mind, I have run a marathon and entered two triathlons, finishing both and not coming last! I began my writing career at 70 years of age and am now the author of 5 books on mystery, history, and magic. 

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Mr. Polly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mr Polly is an ordinary middle-aged man who is tired of his wife's nagging and his dreary job as the owner of a regional gentleman's outfitters. Faced with the threat of bankruptcy, he concludes that the only way to escape his frustrating existence is by burning his shop to the ground, and killing himself. Unexpected events, however, conspire at the last moment to lead the bewildered Mr Polly to a bright new future - after he saves a life, fakes his death, and escapes to a life of heroism, hope and ultimate happiness.

Book cover of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Maureen Thorpe Why did I love this book?

A bit of a cheat, I confess, as this is a play. But what a play. Stories within stories. Characters so real, they are flesh and blood. And so much magic, real magic, delivered by a fairy queen and king, fairies, and a hobgoblin called Puck. As an author I learn so much from Shakespeare’s plots. He is able to describe human behaviour so well. I enjoy losing myself in magic or fantasy, suspending reality. (I just thought of Harry Potter). 

By William Shakespeare, Arthur Rackham (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Midsummer Night's Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare between 1590 and 1596. It is one of his most played pieces. The events of the play take place in and around Athens in ancient Greece and include scenes from a fairytale world inhabited by characters from Greek mythology.

A fullscreen colorful edition optimized for Kindle Fire HD. Includes about 70 illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

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What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

By Joy Neal Kidney,

Book cover of What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

New book alert!

Who am I?

I'm the oldest granddaughter of Leora, who lost three sons during WWII. To learn what happened to them, I studied casualty and missing aircraft reports, missions reports, and read unit histories. I’ve corresponded with veterans who knew one of the brothers, who witnessed the bomber hit the water off New Guinea, and who accompanied one brother’s body home. I’m still in contact with the family members of two crew members on the bomber. The companion book, Leora’s Letters, is the family story of the five Wilson brothers who served, but only two came home.

Joy's book list on research of World War II casualties

What is my book about?

After helping her grandmother leave flowers at the graves of her three sons lost during WWII every Memorial Day, decades later, the author learned that only one is buried at home in Iowa. One is buried overseas. The other has never been found. Joy Neal Kidney had to find out what happened to the three young pilots who never came home.

What Leora Never Knew is Joy Neal Kidney’s journey of research and remembrance, and the companion book to Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II. Five brothers served. Only two came home.

What Leora Never Knew: A Granddaughter's Quest for Answers

By Joy Neal Kidney,

  • Coming soon!

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Interested in country life, HG Wells, and Middle Earth?

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