Apologies for the lack of “if you like” recently. It’s been a rather busy few months.
Since my first family saga comes out very soon (just two more weeks until The Ashford Affair!), this seemed like a good time to do an “if you like” about those old sweeping, family sagas. All of these are books I devoured in my teens, in the heyday of the vast, sweeping family saga.
If you like family sagas, you’ll probably like….
— Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A Woman of Substance, Hold The Dream, and To Be the Best, which follow the rise of an Edwardian housemaid to head of a department store empire, followed by her granddaughter’s struggles to hold on to her legacy;
— Along the same lines, Jeffrey Archer’s As the Crow Flies, another early twentieth century rags to riches story;
— Wilbur Smith’s Courtney series, beginning in late nineteenth century Africa with When the Lion Feeds;
— John Jakes’s North and South, Love and War, and Heaven and Hell, following the intertwined destinies of a Northern and a Southern family from the years before the Civil War to the decades following;
— June Lund Shiplett’s “Winds” series, beginning with Raging Winds of Heaven and ending with Gathering of Winds (which I accidentally read first, despite it being the eighth book), spanning from England to the American south and all the way to Texas;
— Celeste de Blasis’s “Swan” trilogy, Wild Swan, Swan’s Chance, and A Gathering of Swans, another England to America tale of a family’s growth;
— Alexandra Ripley’s Charleston and On Leaving Charleston, tracing a tangled Southern family from the Civil War through the Jazz Age;
— Joel Gross’s The Books of Rachel, which, even more ambitiously, went all the way from fifteenth century Spain up through the twentieth century. (I vaguely remember there being another book, The Lives of Rachel, that went all the way back to Biblical times, and then back up through the Middle Ages.)
This is just the tip of the ice berg. There were so many others…. All the old Judith Krantz novels, like Princess Daisy and I’ll Take Manhattan; the Sidney Sheldon saga/thrillers, like Bloodline; and others with plots I vaguely remember but names I’ve long since forgotten (like the one about the Russian noblewoman who winds up becoming a Ziegfield girl).
What were your favorite sweeping family sagas?