Category: Historical Fiction

Gutenberg’s Apprentice

October 13, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction 23 ★★★★

Gutenberg’s ApprenticeTitle: Gutenberg's Apprentice
Author: Alix Christie
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: Although this story was slow-paced, I loved how the author captured the way people would have thought and acted at such an interesting time in history.

When Peter Schoeffer’s foster-father insists he return to Munich, abandoning a promising career as a scribe in Paris, he’s dubious about Gutenberg’s invention. He doesn’t believe that a machine can replace a scribe and at first thinks the idea borders on blasphemy. However, as he is able to add some beauty to Gutenberg’s process, he begins to see the potential of the printing press. However, Gutenburg’s volatile temper and warring political and religious factions threaten what Peter has come to see as a divinely inspired project he must complete.
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Henna House

August 12, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Review, Women's Fiction 13 ★★★★

Henna HouseTitle: Henna House
Author: Nomi Eve
Source: from publisher for review
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads

Summary: This was a beautiful, poetic, inspiring story. I loved both the rich historical setting and the exciting foreshadowing.

Adela’s father’s health is failing and he’s desperate to find her a husband. As a Jewish child, if she is  isn’t betrothed when her father dies, she will be take from her family to be raised by a Muslim family instead. Just when Adela is giving up hope, her uncle arrives with a handsome son and an aunt who teacher her about henna and the woman’s world her harsh mother has never let her be a part of. However, when Adela’s family is forced to flee to Aden, she will begin to discover herself only to be betrayed by those she loves.
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Alias Hook

July 9, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling 22

18404312Title: Alias Hook
Author: Lisa Jensen
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This was a truly delightful story, with the setting and emotional impact amped up into something awesome for a perfect, adult fairy tale.

Before he was sent to Neverland by a curse, Benjamin Hookbridge was a ruthless privateer. Now he’s simply a storybook villain, at the mercy of his childish opponent. His hatred has kept him from imagining any way out but death until Stella Parish enters Neverland. Although Hook fears this is just another trap of Peter’s, her faith in him and in the magic of Neverland might be exactly what’s needed to set him free. Read more »


The Sea Garden

June 26, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction 17

18635091Title: The Sea Garden
Author: Deborah Lawrenson
Source: from publisher for TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The first of three interconnected stories didn’t work for me, but I enjoyed the second two and loved the way the three stories worked together to provide a richer experience.

Since this story is not just a dual narrative but a triple narrative, for the full explanation you’ll want to visit goodreads. The first storyline follows a British garden designer hoping a commission on a beautiful  island will be her chance to break into the international scene. However, once she realizes that her clients are eccentric and possibly malicious, she’s not sure the job is worth the risk. The second story is that of a young blind woman living in Nazi-occupied France with a difficult decision to make. And the third story is that of a British intelligence agent during WWII who falls for a French agent who disappears, suggesting he might have had hidden allegiances. The way these three stories connect is a surprise. Read more »


All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

May 6, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary, Uncategorized 12

18505785Title: All That is Solid Melts Into Air
Author: Darragh McKeon
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Summary: Despite being a bit dark and depressing,  this book swept me off my feet with fantastic writing and a fascinating setting.

Signs of the impending collapse of the Soviet Union are everywhere, but fear of the regime is equally widespread. Piano playing prodigy Yevgeni faces violence daily as he travels the city. His aunt and mother struggle to make ends meet while staying under the radar. Everyone knows something has gone terribly wrong, from farm boy Artyom who notices that the cows’ ears are bleeding to Grigory, a doctor who sees how peoples’ lives are valued less than keeping up appearances. All of these characters will struggle to not only survive, but to make a difference. Read more »


The Shadow Queen – Review and Giveaway

April 29, 2014 Historical Fiction 15

18209338Title: The Shadow Queen
Author: Sandra Gulland
Source: from publisher for France Book Tours
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Although I wish the protagonist was more the focus of the story, I loved the lush historical setting and the plot which gave us a glimpse at a very cool facet of life in the 1600s.

Even as the young daughter of poor, travelling players, Claudette longs for a better life. When her mother begins working for a theater in Paris, it opens an opportunity for Claudette to interact with the rich and famous. She is beguiled by the life of the mysterious young lady Athenais, with whom she forms an uneasy friendship. When Athenais becomes the mistress of Louis XIV and needs someone she can trust, it is Claudette she asks to serve as her personal attendant. Claudette is easily seduced by the richness of life as Athenais’ attendant but quickly learns that life at court is as much about acting as the theater. Read more »


When the Cypress Whispers

April 22, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Women's Fiction 22

18090103Title: When the Cypress Whispers
Author: Yvette Manessis Corporon
Source: from publisher for TLC Book Tour
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: I wanted to love this book, with its great insight into Greek culture, beautiful setting, and decent writing, but I couldn’t understand the main character and disliked both the ending and the message I felt this book was promoting.

After the death of her husband and her parents, Daphne forgets about happiness and about her Greek heritage. However, she eventually gets engaged again and returns to Erikousa to visit her Yia-yia (grandmother) before getting married. While there she learns about her surprising family history and is inspired by her grandmother’s strength. She also realizes how much family and her Greek heritage mean to her. Read more »


The Collector of Dying Breaths

April 5, 2014 Historical Fiction 5

18144112Title: The Collector of Dying Breaths
Author: M.J. Rose
Source: from publisher for France Book Tours
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Although the writing of this book included bits that were melodramatic and bits that were dry, I really enjoyed the action-packed plot, complex characters, unique mythology, and rich grounding in historical fact.

Jac L’Etoile has been hiding from her past. She’s avoided joining the family perfume business, is skeptical about her visions of past lives, and tries not to think about her ex-boyfriend Griffin. However, her brother’s death will force her to confront all three as she tries to finish his final project: reconstructing an ancient formula for reviving someone using their dying breath.  Through her visions, she learns about the originator of the dying breath project, René le Florentin. René is both a perfumer and a poisoner for Catherine de Medici. Only by learning about René’s tragic death can Jac hope to avoid the same fate. Read more »


Three Souls

February 26, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction 10

Three SoulsTitle: Three Souls
Author: Janie Chang
Source: from publisher for TLC book tour
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: This was a beautiful, thoughtful book with a creative, new to me mythology and a vibrant setting.

Despite being a ghost, Leiyin has a lot to accomplish. To learn why she hasn’t moved on to the afterlife, she has to relive her memories of a life she’s forgotten in death. Along the way, her three souls (valuing duty, love, and wisdom) will help her achieve understanding. As she learns when she relives her life, a selfish decision made in the pursuit of romance led to her punishment with a hastily arranged marriage. These events started her on the path towards her death. However, she left behind a daughter she loved dearly and who she’s willing to protect at any cost – even if that means being stuck in limbo forever. (I’m not sure my description did this wonderful, complex book justice, so you might also check out the goodreads description. ) Read more »