Category: Historical Fiction

Review: The Mapmaker’s Children

June 1, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction 11 ★★★

Review: The Mapmaker’s ChildrenTitle: The Mapmaker's Children
Author: Sarah McCoy
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: I didn’t connect with one of the characters or with the author’s writing, but I thought the dual narrative and historical setting were very well done.

Although abolitionist John Brown believed that women should play a supporting role, even he couldn’t deny the value of his daughter Sarah’s artistic talent. Through her determination to make a difference, she became one of the most important mapmakers for the underground railroad. She also faced personal challenges, including her inability to have children. One hundred and fifty years later, Eden is finding that she may also be unable to conceive. Her focus on having children has cost her a job she loved and is testing her relationship with her husband. The discovery that her house may have been part of the underground railroad may help her regain her joy in life. Read more »

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Five Ways The Last Bookaneer Made Book Pirates Boring

May 18, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction 23 ★★

Five Ways The Last Bookaneer Made Book Pirates BoringTitle: The Last Bookaneer
Author: Matthew Pearl
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:two-stars

Summary: Despite an exciting premise and some interesting plot elements, the dry, sometimes condescending writing made this a boring read for me.

In the same way that the phrase “assassin nuns” made me instantly want to read Grave Mercy, as soon as I got to the words “literary pirates” in this book description, I knew I had to read The Last Bookaneer. Sadly, unlike Grave MercyThe Last Bookaneer didn’t live up to my expectations. Although this book picked up a little towards the end, it was a mostly a very slow read that I was always close to giving up on. Here are a few of the reasons it didn’t quite work for me: Read more »

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Legacy: An Anthology (#30Authors)

May 18, 2015 Contemporary, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary, Magical Realism, Memoir, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 7 ★★★

Legacy: An Anthology (#30Authors)Title: Legacy
Author: Adria J. Cimino, Allison Hiltz, David Whitehouse, Didier Quémener, J.J. Hensley, Jenny Milchman, Kristopher Jansma, Lizzie Harwood, Marissa Stapley, Maureen Foley, Paula Young Lee, Piper Punches, Regina Calcaterra, Stephanie Carroll, Vicki Lesage
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

 

Last year, I was able to participate in the fun #30Authors event, connecting authors with bloggers and readers. This interaction led to the creation of Legacy, a collection of short stories written specifically for the anthology. This collection includes both fiction and nonfiction pieces, all connected by their exploration of the idea of legacy. Read more »

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Diamond Head Review

May 12, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction 9 ★★★

Diamond Head ReviewTitle: Diamond Head
Author: Cecily Wong
Source: from publisher for review, TLC Book Tours
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

Summary: Although I loved the historical setting, I didn’t immediately connect to the characters and even when I did, the plot didn’t have much drive.

This family saga spans four generations, following the Leongs from China to Hawaii and from the Boxer Rebellion to WWII. Throughout the years, the women  are each unlucky in love in their own way, with their accumulating secrets and tragedies influencing the following generations. Read more »

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The Invention of Wings – Review & Giveaway

May 9, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review 10 ★★★★

The Invention of Wings – Review & GiveawayTitle: The Invention of Wings
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: The characters and historical setting of this story were brought vividly to life in all their complexity.

From an early age, southern aristocrat Sarah Grimke knows she doesn’t believe in slavery. Her beliefs are challenged when she is given ownership of ten year old Hetty “Handful” Grimke for her eleventh birthday. Although the two become friends of a sort, their relationship is strained by their circumstances. Sarah is simultaneously weighed down by her guilt at her privileged position and by the restraints she faces as a woman, while Hetty will do whatever is necessary to attain freedom. Read more »

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Fiercombe Manor

March 26, 2015 Fiction, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Review, Women's Fiction 7 ★★★★

Fiercombe ManorTitle: Fiercombe Manor
Author: Kate Riordan
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This well-executed dual narrative was beautifully atmospheric and kept my interest all the way through.

Although Lady Elizabeth Stanton of Fiercombe appears well at her first public appearance in years, she and her husband both still have secrets to hide, from the world and from each other. After the tragic events following the birth of her first child and several subsequent miscarriages, Lady Elizabeth is fearful that her current pregnancy will also end in tragedy or at least disappoint her husband, who longs for a boy.  Thirty years later, when Alice is sent to Fiercombe to hide the fact that she is pregnant and unmarried, she becomes obsessed with learning the what tragedy befell Lady Elizabeth. In the gloomy, confined atmosphere at Fiercombe, Alice fears that tragedy will find her as well. Read more »

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Mistress Firebrand

March 18, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Romance 6 ★★★★

Mistress FirebrandTitle: Mistress Firebrand
Author: Donna Thorland
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: The romance and other plot elements were both enjoyable and complemented one another in a great way.

Jenny has always wanted to be famous for her plays, but had resigned herself to a background role until she has the opportunity to present her work to the playwright General John Burgoyne. British intelligence officer Severin Devere is concerned that Jenny will simply be a distraction for the womanizing general and during his efforts to control the situation is surprised to find himself falling for Jenny instead. Unfortunately, as Severin maintains his steadfast loyalty to the crown and Jenny begins to achieve fame writing propaganda for the rebels, they find themselves torn between their loyalties in the war and their loyalty to each other.
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Books With Interesting Female Protagonists in Mini-Reviews

March 16, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Romance, Thriller, Women's Fiction 8 ★★★

Books With Interesting Female Protagonists in Mini-ReviewsTitle: A Small Indiscretion
Author: Jan Ellison
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:three-stars

The main character of A Small Indiscretion is interesting in that she’s unlikeable, which seems to be the buzzword for female characters these days. Unfortunately, while I do want to see a diversity of both male and female characters, I don’t care if they’re unlikeable or not. What I want is for them to be understandable. Unlike Grace in Unbecoming, Annie has no explanatory backstory or clear motives driving her actions. This made her decisions, especially the ones I disagreed with or found stupid or selfish, hard to put up with. This book’s saving grace was that it did make me curious. As much as I wanted to shake Annie and ask her what she thought she was doing, I wanted to find out her whole story even more. It wasn’t my favorite read though and if you’re looking for an unlikeable or just different female protagonist, I think there are better books you could start with.

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The Ship of Brides

January 27, 2015 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review 18 ★★★★

The Ship of BridesTitle: The Ship of Brides
Author: Jojo Moyes
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This was an enjoyable read, but I didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I have in Moyes’ other books.

“The year is 1946, and all over the world, young women are crossing the seas in the thousands en route to the men they married in wartime – and an unknown future. In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other brides on an extraordinary voyage to England, aboard the HMS Victoria, which also carries not just arms and aircraft but 1,000 naval officers and men. Rules of honour, duty, and separation are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young stoker. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined in ways the Navy could never have imagined.” (Source) Read more »

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YA in Mini-Reviews

December 26, 2014 Dystopian, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Thriller, Young Adult 4 ★★★★★

YA in Mini-ReviewsTitle: Mortal Heart
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:five-stars

20522640Like the previous two books in this series, I loved Mortal Heart. The premise of assassin nuns was obviously awesome from the very beginning and the writing is beautiful, but what I think makes these books so perfect is the world building and character growth. As in the previous two books, the main character has lived through some difficult times and isn’t quite comfortable with who she is. She’s also questioning her faith, particularly her role serving the god of death. As Kelley points out in her review at Oh, The Books!, part of the reason this series is successful is because the author makes you feel for the main character. I also particularly love that at the end of every book the author has managed to surprise me with new information about the mythology of the world she’s created. Seeing this wonderfully creative mythology intersect with the main character getting a happy ending is something I’ve found enjoyable and heart-warming in each of her books. They always leave me smiling. Thanks to Christina at You Book Me All Night Long for the giveaway of this great book!
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