Illuminations by Mary Sharratt
Hildegard von Biden is given as a tithe to the Catholic church when she is only eight and is locked away as an anchorite with the masochistic Jutta, but with the help of her indomitable spirit and visions from God, she becomes one of the world's most famous nuns.
I love most any book on a religious topic, and I especially loved this one. Hildegard was a fascinating woman, and Illuminations beautifully depicts her liberation and her development into a cultural icon.
Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
Selene's struggles in Lily of the Nile lead her to become Queen of Mauritania, but she won't rest until she claims her throne as the Queen of Egypt... even if the cost seems too great.
I enjoyed the second book about Cleopatra's Daughter just as much as I enjoyed the first. Stephanie Dray got creative with the limited amount of historical data available and crafted a novel that kept you rooting for the heroine up until the satisfying ending.
Shadow of the Swords by Kamran Pasha
This epic novel of the Crusades follows the battle over the Holy Land through Muslim, Jewish, and Christian points of view.
The history of the crusades is as intricate as it is interesting, and this book successfully captured it. The fact that the author is a Muslim made the book even more of an eye-opener. One thing I love about Kamran Pasha's work is he gives meaning and purpose to all his stories. While Mother of the Believers is still my favorite, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the crusades.