Tag Archives: historical fiction

North and South, Chapter One, by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

“Edith had rolled herself up into a soft ball of muslin and ribbon, and silken curls, and gone off into a peaceful little after-dinner nap.” — from Chapter 1, North and South, by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell.

“The first chapter of a book is often the hook to draw a reader in. It could make you eager for more or realize it isn’t for you.” Lynne T of LibriVox

The characters in the first chapter of North and South drew me in. This story gives us a glimpse of conditions for several social classes in 19th century Victorian Sussex England.

North and South, Chapter 1 read by Grace Buchanan for LibriVox.

I’m looking forward to recording this book in its entirety.

Read the entire book “North and South” at Project Gutenberg.

Listen to all the work that I’ve done for LibriVox.

Listen to a collection of first chapters of fiction and nonfiction books at LibriVox

This chapter is Track 11 in the LibriVox First Chapter Collection 7.

This is a LibriVox recording. All LIbriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit: LibriVox.org.

Image credit:
frontispiece, North And South, illustration via Gutenberg.org, Public Domain

The History of Emily Montague Vol. II, by Frances Moore Brooke

As I rehearsed for this recording, I was inspired by characters from Jane Austen books, movies, and audiobooks, especially Lydia Bennet (Pride and Prejudice), Emma Woodhouse (Emma), Lucy Steele (Sense and Sensibility), and Mary Musgrove (Persuasion).

The History of Emily Montague is a novel about courtship during the mid 1700s between silly young girls and awkward gentlemen. Frances Moore Brooke probably influenced Jane Austen’s work, as their lifelines overlapped, and they were both from England, and their writing styles are similar (e.g., characters, issues.

Volume 1 describes the predicament of Emily Montague as she discovers that marrying Sir George Clayton, the man whom her uncle chose for her, might not be in her best interest as she finds herself attracted to Colonel Rivers. Her decision to spend the winter with her friend Arabella Fermor increases her opportunities to distance herself from Sir George and align with Colonel Rivers.

I recorded the letters that Arabella wrote in Volume 2 from the 4-volume set. Most of her correspondence is to her and Emily’s dear friend back in London (Lucy Rivers) who happens to be Colonel Rivers’s sister, and who has her own romantic story to tell. Here are the first two letters from Volume 2.


The entire second volume at Internet Archive, recorded for LibriVox.

I am delighted by this story’s turn from Arabella’s immersion in flirting to her describing the Canadian landscape at some length. What an interesting choice of character to do such a job for the author as she was the first European to publish a novel in and about Canada. I am familiar with “one of the noblest works of nature,” which Arabella describes, and am saddened as I think about how it has changed as a result of development, especially in the U.S., particularly from the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Listen to the entire first volume of this book.
Listen to the entire second volume of this book.
Listen to the entire third volume of this book.
Listen to the entire fourth volume of this book.

Read the entire book at Project Gutenberg.

Listen to all the work that I’ve done for LIbriVox.

This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information, or to volunteer, please visit: librivox.org.

Reblog: Meet Susanne Alleyn’s Main Character

originally posted at:

The “Meet My Main Character” Blog Tour

June 23, 2014
by Susanne Alleyn

WeaverGrace tagged me to continue a tradition of bloggers begun here. Meet My Main Character Blog Tours resemble radio interviews: keep on reading for answers to questions posed to me, and a week or two later for answers to the same questions posed to a couple of other authors whom I’ve selected. This tour asks the authors of works-in-progress (in my case, the sequel to The Executioner’s Heir) to answer questions about the main characters of their historical novels. So, meet my main character . . .

What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Charles-Henri Sanson is my main character, and he was a real person. Born in 1739, he was destined to be the master executioner—maître des hautes œuvres—for the city of Paris in the second half of the 18th century . . . Despite his official title and the “yuck” reaction most of us would have to a professional executioner, Charles Sanson was a decent, compassionate man trying to make the best of a terrible career that he was stuck with because of fate and social pressure . . . He realizes that he can never break away from the profession and title of executioner, and his goal becomes, instead, to be the most honorable and humane man he can be, within the job that he can’t escape, even during the Revolution. . .

read more at Susanne’s blog

Reblog: Meet Jessica Gajda’s Main Character

originally posted at:

The “Meet My Main Character” Blog Tour

June 24, 2014
by JMGajda

Last week the amazing Weaver Grace was kind enough to ask me to participate in an interview where authors of works-in-progress discuss the main character of their historical fiction. While the book I’m writing isn’t strictly historical fiction per se (it’s a fantasy based on a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood), it’s based on 16th – 18th century Afro-Brazilian culture and late medieval English nunneries.

I’ve been researching extensively, reading scholarly works such as Eileen Power’s eye-opening ‪Medieval English Nunneries:‪ C.1275 to 1535 (available for free on Kindle), which dispels any notions of quiet-living, pious women. It must be remembered that many women of this period who ended up in convents were not necessarily there because they felt called to serve God, but often because they had no choice. Late Medieval English nunneries were sometimes used as dumping grounds for unmarriageable or unwanted females of the nobility and the upper class (untitled, rich merchants and such) . . .

1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?

Porcelana is my main character and she is fictional. She is an Afro-Brazilian albino who’s been hand-picked to train to become one of the warrior/nuns of Convento do Pano Vermelho (The Convent of the Red Cloth), the protectors of her town who hunt the savage wolves said to roam freely in the surrounding forests . . .

Young Porcelana
Young Porcelana (Photo of Young Afro-Brazilian Girl by Gustavo Lacerda)

My inspiration images for the young Porcelana are from the amazing Brazilian photographer Gustavo Lacerda whose website you can visit by clicking here . . .

read more at Jessica’s blog