Author Rating: A

Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, or Anthony Hope as he was known to his readers, was born February 9, 1863, a young contemporary of Thomas Hardy. While Hardy is remembered and celebrated today, Hope is largely forgotten as a writer. I only discovered him by chance while looking through Andy Minter‘s Librivox catalog. I am delighted to have discovered Hope. His writing is quick and engaging.

His tenth novel, published in 1893, The Prisoner of Zenda put Hope firmly on his contemporaneous public’s map and then further popularized when it was made into a movie in 1913, again in 1922 and 1937. Even though he’s forgotten as a writer, his storytelling has influenced movies and TV shows well into the late 20th century. Hope published 32 novels by 1925 and died July 8, 1933.

The Prisoner of Zenda: being the history of three months in the life of an English gentleman (Listened 09/2016) Recommended

Rupert of Hentzau: being the sequel to a story by the same writer entitled the Prisoner of Zenda (Listened 11/2016) Recommended

I listened to both of these as audio recordings, read by the wonderful Andy Minter who brings the stories alive with his deft chracterizations.

The two novels are set in the imaginary central European country of Ruritania, where adventure and true love and heartbreak await.


Author Rating: B/D

I give an author rating of B based on her historical fiction. Otherwise, this author rates a D.

Mary, Queen of Scots (read 1970s) recommended

An engaging biography of this 16th century queen of Scotland and cousin to Elizabeth I of England.

Quiet As A Nun (read 6/30/08) AVOID

This is an astonishingly bad book, interesting only from a sociological view of attitudes in the 1960s and ’70s. Fraser should have stuck to non-fiction.

Author Rating: A+

The Woman in White (read 1980s, again 1990s) Highly recommended

Basil (read 1990s) Recommended

Hide and Seek (read 1990s) Recommended

No Name (read 1990s) Recommended

The Moonstone (read 1980s, again 1990s) Highly recommended

Man and Wife (read 1990s) Recommended

A Rogue’s Life (read 1990s) Recommended

The Dead Secret (read 1990s, again 11/2/07) Highly recommended

Wilkie Collins (January 8, 1824 – September 23, 1889) is considered to be the “father of the detective novel,” and he is still one of the best. The Woman In White and The Moonstone being the most notable. A contemporary and friend of Charles Dickens, hugely popular in his time, Collins wrote 27 novels, more than 50 short stories, at least 15 plays, and over 100 works of non-fiction.