1. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
This beautiful story follows Tom Builder and Prior Philip as they struggle to keep their dream of a thriving town and matching cathedral alive as they face setbacks triggered bythe tumultuous politics of 12th-century England as different lords vie to gain control of the throne in the wake of the recently deceased king. Ken Follett expertly weaves together stories of a multitude of a characters to create a wonderfully diverse portrayal of one of the most dangerous times in English history.
- Winter of the World by Ken Follett
This is the second installment of Follett’s epic Century Trilogy. He masterfully weaves together the stories of five young adults coming of age during the turbulent early decades with the rise of Nazi Germany, the Spanish Civil War, and social activism in England. His characters span nearly every major nation involved in the struggle: Carla Von Ulrich quietly struggles against the Nazi hold in her homeland of Germany… American brothers Woody and Chuck Dewar, each with a secret, take separate paths to momentous events, one in Washington, the other in the bloody jungles of the Pacific… Lloyd Williams learns that he must fight communism as hard fascism as he becomes embroiled in the Spanish civil war… Daisy Peshkov, and American Socialite, cares only for parties and games until she is transformed by the devastation of the war… Daisly’s cousin Voloyda meanwhile secures his position in Soviet intelligence. Through these stories and many others, Follett vividely paints the harsh realities of those immersed in WWII.
- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
While on her honeymoon in Scotland in 1945, former combat nurse, Claire Randall, is sucked back in time 1743. As she struggles to survive in the alien world, she is ensnared in political intrigue as conflict between the Highlanders and the occupying English intensify. Once she begins to find a place for herself, Claire becomes a woman torn between two irreconcilable lives.
(These three are all around a thousand pages long, perfect for winter break J Read at your own peril )
4. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
The Heretic Queen follows the story of Nefertari, the lone survivor of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty and the niece of the the disgraced queen Nefertiti. Nefertari spends her life in the shadows until the Pharoah’s aunt takes her in and sends her to the Temple of Hathor where she raised and educated in a manner befitting a future queen. Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. The Heretic Queen is a sweeping novel of power and redemption.
(Moran is a very talented author )
5 The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan
This enchanting historical epic tells the captivating story of one of India’s most controversial empresses — a woman who shaped the course of the Mughal Empire. Skillfully blending historical reality with the richness of a fairy tale, The Twentieth Wife transports readers to the 1500s as Mehrunnisa must battled myriad obstacle to maintain her love with Prince Salim and secure her place in history.