From the list on history in all its strange and unsettling glory.
Who am I?
Long before I fell in love with History as an academic subject, I fell in love with stories. And as the granddaughter of Caribbean immigrants, true stories of my grandparents’ early lives could transport me to another place as vividly as fiction. So although I have studied History to Master’s level, where I specialized in the legacy of slavery, it is always to fiction that I turn to breathe life into the past. My favourite books are those that are unsettling in the unfamiliarity of the world they create, and yet deeply moving because, at heart, the characters are motivated by timeless and human things like grief, ambition, or love.
Eleanor's book list on history in all its strange and unsettling glory
Why did Eleanor love this book?
Hilary Mantel’s trilogy following the life of Thomas Cromwell is absolutely peerless as far as historical fiction goes.
One of my favourite challenges of the genre is how to take a time and place that is completely unfamiliar, where characters are motivated by ideas and concepts that modern readers find strange, and yet still find that kernel of universal feeling that allows a reader to anchor themselves in the text.
This novel in particular does that perfectly, showing the desperate ambition and cunning of both Cromwell and Anne Boleyn.
The result is completely captivating – and means that the story unfolds as if its final destination is not fixed, even though we all know what must happen in the end.