Do you have an old favorite that you'd like to share?
by Hella S. Haasse
Pub. Date: April 1991
Publisher: Academy Chicago Publishers, Ltd.
Format: Paperback, 594pp
Sales Rank: 576,588
Edition Description: Reprint
Description (from Library Journal):This novel exemplifies historical fiction at its best; the author's meticulous research and polished style bring the medieval world into vibrant focus. Set during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453), the narrative creates believable human beings from the great roll of historical figures. Here are the mad Charles VI, the brilliant Louis d'Orleans, Joan of Arc, Henry V, and, most importantly, Charles d'Orleans, whose loyalty to France brought him decades of captivity in England. A natural poet and scholar, his birth and rank thrust him into the center of intrigue and strife, and through his observant eyes readers enter fully into his colorful, dangerous times. First published in the Netherlands in 1949, this book has never been out of print there and has been reprinted 15 times. This first English translation should find an enthusiastic audience. Highly recommended. BOMC featured selection; Quality Paperback selection.-- Starr E. Smith, Georgetown Univ. Lib., Washington, D.C.
Why I Chose This Book:
THROUGH A DARK WOOD WANDERING represents everything I like best about reading historical fiction. While I read this account of the life of Charles d'Orleans, I surrounded myself with reference maps and academic texts on British, French and European history. I read this book when it was first translated into English back in the late 80's/early 90's -- before the Internet had conquered the world. (Kind of gives a modern twist on the term "Dark Ages.") I just recall being so drawn into the events of the One Hundred Years War, that the contemporary world fell away from my consciousness. I would spend hours sprawled on my bed, poring over maps, and following up references in my texts. I love the way complete immersion in the historical period enables me to grasp the reality of that period - to fully understand, to know on a visceral level, and appreciate that the individual people actually existed and the events actually occured. I guess that's what they mean when they talk about bringing history to life. Closest thing to time travel that I've ever found!
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