At the Library: Snuggle up on a cold day with a historical fiction series

At the Library: Snuggle up on a cold day with a historical fiction series

As we sit out the mean little month of February, here are a few popular historical fiction series on DVD to enjoy on a cold day. All are available free from your library. 

“Poldark,” produced by the BBC and PBS Masterpiece, is addictive. Captain Poldark returns from the American Revolutionary War to his father's ailing copper mines. Armed only with his integrity, each crisis requires a gallop across the rugged Cornish cliffs on his black charger. Haughty Elizabeth holds his heart, and Demelza's hair reflects her varying circumstances. The peasants are grubby, the bankers dastardly, and the doctor fresh faced. If tricorne hats and smoldering honor are your thing, then enjoy! Look out for the scene in the hay field … not since Darcy emerged from the lake in 1995 have we enjoyed quite such a moment.

“Outlander” jumps from the end of World War II back to 1743 Scotland and the Jacobite Rebellion, with feisty nurse Claire Randall having a very odd experience at some standing stones. Although this involves time travel, it’s not science fiction-y, and the premise is surprisingly easy to accept as the story gallops along. If you have Scottish ancestors, you might like this one. But be warned, there’s bawdy clan humor, adult scenes and it’s shockingly violent in places. Certainly not one to put on when the kids are around. Mamby pamby Englishwoman that I am, I kept my finger on the fast forward button.

“The White Queen” is based on Philippa Gregory’s historical novel series. Beginning in 1464, it spans the War of the Roses — the battle between the Houses of Lancaster and York. Think Richard III (recently dug up in a Leicester parking lot), princes in the tower and so forth. Told through the powerful characters of Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret Beaufort and Ann Neville, this tumultuous period beats Henry VIII’s matrimonial dramas hands down. If you enjoyed The Tudors TV series, you are in for a treat. The story is a combination of grown up fairytale, witchcraft, treachery, female rivalry, medieval finery, and, unlike “Game of Thrones,” is based on real history.

Incidentally, if “The White Queen” sparks your curiosity about British history, I recommend David Starkey’s TV series Monarchy from Channel 4 — I think episode 7, The Crown Imperial, covers the War of the Roses — but the whole series is a great education.

Top-requested books■1. “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” by Michael Wolff■2. “The Woman in the Window” by A. J. Finn■3. “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah■4. “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng■5. “The Rooster Bar” by John Grisham■6. “The Wife Between Us” by Greer Hendricks■7. “The 17th Suspect” by James Patterson■8. “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate■9. “Fifty Fifty” by James Patterson■10. “The Fallen” by David Baldacci

Top-requested movies■1. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”■2. “Lady Bird”■3. “Darkest Hour”■4. “Wonder”■5. “Dunkirk (2017)”■6. “Murder on the Orient Express”■7. “Coco”■8. “A Bad Mom’s Christmas”■9. “Only the Brave”■10. “Victoria & Abdul”

Top billingFor All Ages■MONDAY –– 4-7 p.m., Tax Prep Help (with AARP) – This program is available to all taxpayers, no AARP membership required. Drop by the library for assistance with your taxes, given on a first-come, first-served basis; 6-7:00 p.m., Internet Basics 2: Everyday Internet Uses – This free class will walk you through setting up an email account, and teach you about using different websites (including social media). Must have completed Internet Basics 1 to register. ■TUESDAY –– 1-2 p.m., Afternoon Book Discussion – This month’s selection is Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. New members are always welcome; 5-6:30 p.m., Teen Semi-Interactive Movie – We’ll be watching a great cult classic: The Goonies. Come enjoy the movie, treats, themed activities, and trivia! Registration is required; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Knit & Crochet Club – Bring your project, work on a project with others, or swap yarn and ideas with fellow yarnies; 6-7:30 p.m., Renaissance Toastmasters of Westerly – This club meets twice a month to share stories, provide mentorship, and help build your self-confidence in your public speaking skills. ■WEDNESDAY –– 10-11 a.m., 1 to 3-Year-Old Storytime – We’ll venture through story and song in this interactive storytime; 10-11:45 a.m., Homeschooler’s Book Group (FULL) – Our book for this session is Story Thieves by James Riley; 3:30-6:30 p.m., Teen iPad Petting Zoo – If you’ve been curious about iPads, but don’t have one of your own, here is your chance to play around with them. Just drop by the Teen Space!■THURSDAY –– 10-11 a.m., 3 to 5-Year-Old Storytime – This story hour is full of stories, song, play, and crafts; 5:30-7:30 p.m., Chess Club – All ages and experience levels are welcome; 6-7:30 p.m., Word Basics 1: Basics of Word Processing – Become more comfortable with the basics of word processing, in a low-pressure environment. We’ll cover basic formatting of fonts/colors, how to copy and paste, and how to use some of the built-in tools such as spellcheck. ■SATURDAY –– 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Tax Prep Help (with AARP) – This program is available to all taxpayers, no AARP membership required. Drop by the library for assistance with your taxes, given on a first-come, first-served basis; 2-3 p.m., Adult Writer’s Workshop – We will be meeting on alternating Saturdays and Thursdays to share our work, discuss readings, and free-write together! New members are always welcome.

Jules Belanger is a reference librarian at The Westerly Library.


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