Madeleine Robins and Naomi Novik

As one rabid Georgette Heyer fan to another, I’m sure you’ll agree that we can’t go home again to Regency England often enough. Here’s a couple of time machines set on one-way, non-stop…

robinsMiss Sarah Tolerance elopes with her brother’s fencing instructor from Regency England to the continent, and when he dies returns home. Cast off by her family, she determines to make her way in the world without falling into prostitution, the usual fallback of the Fallen Woman, and instead sets herself up as an Agent of Inquiry. Setting, plot and especially character are all excellent in Point of Honor and Petty Treason by Madeleine E. Robins. Trust me, you will believe a woman can be a PI in England in 1810.

novikWhat if the Napoleonic Wars had been fought with dragons? That’s Naomi Novik‘s thesis in Her Majesty’s Dragon and its four sequels, in which swashbuckling action mix seamlessly with serious themes like class conflict and slavery. My favorite in the series, Empire of Ivory, turns history on its head by providing Africa with a capable, charismatic leader determined to unite the continent against slavery. Imagine if that had happened in real life. Novik’s 19th century British dialogue and mastery of nautical detail are absolutely convincing. A thumpin’ good read. [Note: And as I post this I discover to my great joy the sixth in the series, Tongue of Serpents, comes out in July!]

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