hatemostcordial (hatemostcordial) wrote in victorian_novel,

Historical/Thriller/Suspense recommendations

 OK...lately I've been on a kick...let's call it historical-thriller-suspense novels.  I have recently read and finished:

-The Thirteenth Tale
-As Meat Loves Salt (not a thriller, but it's the atmosphere I'm looking for)
-The Meaning of Night
-Sings the Nightbird
-The Queen of Bedlam
-am currently reading Fingersmith

Now, I need recommendations, please, in this same vein.  I am loving the 16th/17th century, and the suspense.  I don't mind the love stories, but I don't want just straight romance.  It's not my thing.  I want the dark, brooding, London-y historical thriller.  Look at the list above: if these books had love-children, what would they be?  Ideas?  Thanks.  
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First thoughts: carry on with the Du Maurier. Jamaica Inn, for instance, is historical, set in a remote and windswept location (so not London, sorry), and dark and brooding like anything. There is a fairly central romance, though.

Not sure whether Wuthering Heights would be your thing or not.
Out of curiosity, which of the ones you mentioned are 16th/17th century? I've only read the first and last, which weren't.

Are you actually after Victorian novels (which is what this comm is about, after all) or novels written recently but set in the Victorian era? Or neither?
As Meat Loves Salt and Sings the Nighbird, 17th
Queen of Bedlam, 18th
The Meaning of Night and Rebecca, 19th

I guess not so much with the 16th, huh? I sit corrected.
And, I guess mostly books set in the Victorian era but written recently. I've read a lot written in the Victorian era already.
Rebecca is set in the twentieth century, actually (written in 1937 and seems to be set around then), but Du Maurier wrote a fair bit of historical fiction, mostly set in the 18th and 19th centuries. It tends not to be set in London, though; she writes about Cornwall a lot. Jamaica Inn would be a good start; My Cousin Rachel is more like Rebecca, and Frenchman's Creek is a bit more romancey and set in the 18th century. I've got the four of them in a volume together.

I've been going through good historical fiction that I know. I don't know if you have an interest in lesbian fiction or whether Fingersmith and Rebecca were just there because you liked them, but one novel that occurs to me is Emma Donoghue's Slammerkin. It's set in the 17th century and a fair amount of it is set in the London underworld (prostitution, mainly). It's not that overtly lesbian (unlike Donoghue's other writings), about the same level as Rebecca. It's based on the real story of a girl who committed a murder for the sake of some fabric! If you like Fingersmith, personally I reckon Sarah Waters read Slammerkin and Wilkie Collins' The Woman in White and cobbled them together. If you haven't read Collins, I think you'd like him very much, plus gothic texts from that period generally. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde would fulfil a lot of your requirements: did you know that it's technically set in London but is thought to be really a depiction of his native Edinburgh (where I happen to live myself)?

Another novel which is set in late 17th century London, this one very highly acclaimed, is Rose Tremain's Restoration, though it's not so much of a thriller. Tremain's Music & Silence inhabits the same time period (slightly earlier, it's the early 1600s here) but is set instead in Denmark, and is a little darker in tone.

If you want to go a bit earlier, I can offer you Umberto Eco's erudite but relatively readable (for Eco) novel The Name of the Rose, a superb murder mystery set in a medieval monastery - and though that sounds conventional or formulaic, it isn't.

Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace is another novel investigating a real-life murderer, or rather a woman accused of murder (again a servant), this time in 19th century Canada, and is one of her greatest works.

Jeanette Winterson's Sexing the Cherry has 17th c London mixed up with magical realism, quite a different style here.
Wow...thanks for the thorough response. I'll check them all out!
Dissolution, by C.J. Sansom. (England in the 1530s. The sequel, Dark Fire, is set in London in 1540.)

A Conspiracy of Paper and A Spectacle of Corruption, both by David Liss. (London circa 1720)
Thanks! I'll check them out!