Five London Family Sagas

Five London Family Sagas

Julia Herdman writes historical fiction. Her debut novel is  Sinclair – Tales of Tooley Street Vol 1

Tales of Tooley Stree Is a family saga based around an 18th-century apothecary shop in Tooley Street London. Sinclair is a lonely Scottish doctor down on his luck. He agrees to work in the apothecary shop of a recent widow, Charlotte Leadam and a twisting tale of adventure and romance ensues involving family and friends from Paris to Edinburgh.

The family saga is a genre of literature that chronicles the lives and doings of a family or several related or interconnected families over time.

In a novel or a  sequence of books with a connected group of characters and places, families and history are explored from the character’s perspectives.

The word saga comes from the Icelandic language and refers to Old Norse and Icelandic family stories.

The typical family saga follows generations of a family through a period of history in a series of novels. Several subgenres of the form exist such as the AGA saga, war-time sagas, 19th-century sagas, and political sagas.


Family Saga No. 1

Circles of Time: A Novel (Greville Family Saga) by Phillip Rock

A generation has been lost on the Western Front. The dead have been buried. A harsh peace forged, and the howl of shells replaced by the wail of saxophones as the Jazz Age begins in London. Ghosts of the summer of 1914 linger tugging at the memory of Martin Rilke and his British cousins, the Grevilles.

Everyone at Abingdon Pryory wants to forget the past.  The old values, social codes, and sexual mores have been swept away.

Martin Rilke throws himself into journalism. Fenton Wood-Lacy is exiled in faraway army outposts. Back at Abingdon, Charles Greville recovers from shell shock. Alexandra is caught up in an unlikely romance.

Circles of Time captures the age in the midst of one of England’s most gracious manor houses, in the steamy nightclubs of London’s Soho, and the despair of Germany caught in the nightmare of anarchy and inflation.

Lives are renewed, new loves found, and a future of peace and happiness is glimpsed—but only for a moment.


Family Saga No. 2

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

The Forsyte Saga is John Galsworthy’s monumental chronicle of the lives of the moneyed Forsytes.

The Forsytes are a family at war with each other. The story of Soames Forsyte’s marriage to the beautiful and rebellious Irene and its effects upon the whole Forsyte clan run through the series.

The Forsyte Saga is a brilliant social satire of the acquisitive sensibilities of a comfort-bound class in its final glory. Galsworthy spares none of his characters, revealing their weaknesses and shortcomings as clearly as he does the tenacity and perseverance that define the most influential members of the Forsyte family.


Family Saga No. 3

The Palliser Novels: 6-Volume Set by Anthony Trollope

In his autobiography, Anthony Trollope called the Palliser Novels “the best work of my life,” adding “I think Plantagenet Palliser stands more firmly on the ground than any other personage I have created.”

The novels centre around the stately politician Plantagenet Palliser, but the interest is less in politics than in the lively social scene Trollope creates against a Parliamentary backdrop.

Trollops’ keen eye for the subtleties of character and “great apprehension of the real” impressed contemporary writers from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Henry James, and in the Palliser Novels we find him at his very best.

This is a masterful portrait of Victorian society and politics with a profoundly human touch.,


Family Saga No. 4

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London’s grandest postcode.

Set in the 1840s when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters.

But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond’s new legendary ball, one family’s life will change forever.


Family Saga No. 5

The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard

The Light Years, Marking Time, Confusion, Casting Off and All Change

Howard offers a classic English country-house saga, covering the late 30s to late 50s, as the various members of the upper-middle-class Cazalet family circle are hatched, matched and dispatched against a background of the changing times.

Her characters are forensically interrogated to reveal their strengths and their weaknesses. Based on her own experience, Howard’s characters have a ring of authenticity that is rare.

the war looms large and alters lives. It is the social history of this class of people who would disappear with the modernity and taxes of the 1960s.