Ask the Editors: For Moms Who Love Historical Fiction

With less than two weeks to go before Mother's Day, time is running out to get in that last-minute shopping. Fortunately, we -- the books editors at Amazon -- are helping out as best we know how. If you tell us a bit about your mom's reading habits, we'll get back to you with some books we think she'll like, and a bit about why we think each one will fit. Leave your reader profiles in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

Lorraine asked: OK, I'll take you up on that. My mom's favorite authors are Donna Leon and Diana Gabaldon. Can you suggest other similar authors who write that complex, history/mystery kind of thing?

We recommend:


  • C.W. Gortner's The Tudor Secret, which is about a nobleman’s servant/orphan who gets sent to the Tudor court to support Princess Elizabeth’s claim to the throne. Along the way, he gets caught up in plenty of royal conniving and backstabbery, and finds out that what he knows about his past is all wrong -- and he might have a personal stake in the whole royal business.

  • Charles Finch's A Stranger in Mayfair, which is set in 1860s London. Charles Lenox is now a Member of Parliament, and has to balance his duties as an MP with his new marriage to Lady Jane Grey, and his hobby: solving murders. In this case, it's the murder of a servant of one of his fellow MPs. And neither his Parliamentary colleage nor the London police are being all that helpful.

  • And if Ancient Rome piques your mother's interest, try Ruth Downie's Caveat Emptor, which follows the eternally reluctant Gaius Petreius Ruso -- he's a doctor who always seems to get caught up in murders rather than medical work -- as he investigates the death of a tax collector. Between navigating the politics of Roman society and getting caught up in a barbarian conspiracy involving the rebel queen, Boudicca, it's a great book for anyone who loves historical fiction and/or fiction set in the ancient world.

Lee asked: My mom loves historical fiction. She has enjoyed books by Jean Auel and Diana Gabaldon. She also loves to read Stephen King, Michael Connelly and David Baldacci, to name a few. I guess she will read just about anything! She has a Kindle and has downloaded every free e-book there is - LOL! Thanks for your help!

  • See above for historical fiction. Jean Auel, meanwhile, has a new book: The Land of Painted Caves, the last of the Earth's Children series. In it, Ayla of the Zelandoni is training to become a clan shaman, which compels her to journey across a dangerous prehistoric world. Along the way, she has to deal with bands of marauders, wild animals, disease, and natural disasters. Ayla has come a long way from the five-year-old from Clan of the Cave Bear, but Jean Auel is as entertaining a writer as ever.

  • I also can't resist pitching one of our Best Books of October 2010, Worth Dying For by Lee Child. Here's Daphne's blurb for it: "You'd think that after 14 novels featuring hardscrabble hero, Jack Reacher, Lee Child's pulse-pounding series would start showing signs of wear. It is nothing short of remarkable that Child is not only able to continually reinvent his ex-military cop, but that each installment is better than the last. Worth Dying For finds our battered hero hiding in plain sight in a tiny Nebraska town, trying to recover from the catastrophe he left behind in South Dakota (no spoilers here, but readers are still arguing over 61 Hours’s cliffhanger ending). Fans rarely see such a physically vulnerable Reacher (in the first part of the book he is barely able to lift his arms) but it just adds to the fist-pumping satisfaction of seeing our weary good guy take on the small-town baddies."

Keep those questions for us (and recommendations for your fellow Omni readers) coming!

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