Category: Historical Fiction

While Beauty Slept

February 22, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Re-telling 23

18079665Title: While Beauty Slept
Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary: This was exactly what a grown-up fairy tale should be – dark, hauntingly beautiful, emotional, complex, but still with a fairy tale ending.

We all know the fairy tale story of sleeping beauty, but have you have ever wondered what that story would have looked like in real life? What would cause the king and queen to avoid inviting a powerful woman to their daughter’s baptism? Was the woman who cursed the princess really a fairy, a witch, or just a very bitter woman? And if not by magic, how was the princess cursed and then saved? Elise is able to tell a tale to answer all those questions from her time as a servant in the castle. She’ll also tell a tale of her own, including love she won and lost and the sacrifices her loyalty to the princess demanded. Read more »

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The Medea Complex

February 15, 2014 Fiction, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Thriller 10

18685624Title: The Medea Complex
Author: Rachel Florence Roberts
Source: from author for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: This book was a haunting psychological thriller that kept me quickly turning pages, but it was also great historical fiction with a plot that perfectly fit the time period.

Lady Anne has been committed to Bethlem insane asylum, declared unfit to stand trial for a crime she doesn’t seem to remember. Her husband is unsure whether to love her or hate her and may harbor dangerous secrets of his own. Dr. George Savage simply wants to restore Lady Anne to her sanity and return her to her husband. However, when events spiral out of control both Dr. Savage and the reader will be forced to question everything they’ve learned about Lady Anne and her husband. Read more »

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The Fairytale Keeper

February 8, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Re-telling 6

13603568Title: The Fairytale Keeper
Author: Andrea Cefalo
Source: from author for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Although I was disappointed by the way fairy tales were randomly tossed into this story, I thought it was unusually accurate and enjoyable historical fiction.

In Germany in the 1200’s, much of life revolved around the church. However, pre Martin Luther, many people in small towns still rely exclusively on sometimes corrupt officials to interpret the bible for them. When Adelaide’s town suffers a plague, the church abandons the people. Although tithes continue to increase, few priests are brave enough to provide the funeral services they claim are necessary for a happy afterlife. After a bribable but cowardly priest disrespects her mother’s funeral, Adelaide is determined to bring down the corrupt priests, despite having to work within the many rules restricting women’s rights in the middle ages. Read more »

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Some Almost Awesome Fiction in Mini-Reviews

February 3, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction 23

17333319Title: Burial Rites
Author: Hannah Kent
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★☆

The writing in this book was as beautiful as all the reviews say. Hannah Kent has the rare skill of finding new metaphors which speak right to the soul without relying on the familiarity of a cliche. The emotions, the tension, and the scenery were all very vividly brought to life. I was less impressed with the plot. Although I knew to expect this to be sadder than my typical fare, I was surprised by just how bleak things got. I was also unimpressed by the main characters’ naivete and inability to escape the bad situation which led to her present plight. Finally, while I loved the inclusion of “primary sources” and the real feel they gave the book, the author’s use of a report to unemotionally wrap up the ending felt very anticlimactic. The writing impressed me enough that I would still be happy to read more by Hannah Kent. Read more »

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The Secret of Raven Point

February 2, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction 11

16130674Title: The Secret of Raven Point
Author: Jennifer Vanderbes
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: This book was darker and more depressing that my typical fare, so I think it’s a testament to the author’s superb writing skills that I was blown away anyway.

Juliet Dufresne has always looked up to her brother so once he enlists, becoming a nurse is an easy choice. When her brother is reported missing in action, Juliet is determined to find out what happened to him, even if that means lying about her age. However, once she reaches the front, her only connection to her brother is  a man so shell-shocked, he may never speak again. Juliet will have to work hard to balance her desire to learn more about her brother with her duty to her patient. Read more »

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The Gods of Heavenly Punishment – Author Interview and Giveaway

January 20, 2014 Blogger Events, Fiction, Historical Fiction 2

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment PB CoverAs I mentioned in my review last week, I was blown away by the realistic characters and vivid descriptions in Jennifer Epstein’s The Gods of Heavenly Punishment. I’m therefore particularly thrilled to have Jennifer join us at Doing Dewey today for an interview and a giveaway. Read on to learn more about the inspiration and research that led  up to this fantastic novel. Read more »

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The Gods of Heavenly Punishment

January 17, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction 18

The Gods of Heavenly Punishment PB CoverTitle: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
Author: Jennifer Cody Epstein
Source: from publisher for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Although the story was a bit sad for my tastes, this beautifully written book captivated me with vivid personalities and intriguing, interconnected stories.

The defining event of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment is the firebombing of Tokyo in WWII. However, what the book is really about is people and the way they affect one another. Fifteen-year-old Yoshi’s experiences leading up to and following the firebombing will be “shaped by those considered the enemy: Cam, a downed bomber pilot taken prisoner by the Imperial Japanese Army; Anton, a gifted architect who helped modernize Tokyo’s prewar skyline but is now charged with destroying it; and Billy, an Occupation soldier who arrives in the blackened city with a dark secret of his own. Directly or indirectly, each will shape Yoshi’s journey as she seeks safety, love, and redemption.” (source)

Read more »

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Somewhere In France

January 10, 2014 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance 26

Somewhere in FranceTitle: Somewhere in France
Author: Jennifer Robson
Source: from publisher for TLC book tour
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This was a touching romance perfect for the time period, yet touching on issues relevant to women today.

Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford has always thought fondly of her bother’s friend Robert since as a child he encouraged her to pursue her dreams. A surprise meeting years later reveals him to still be equally supportive and their mutual attraction is obvious. However, Elizabeth’s mother disapproves of Robert almost as much as she disapproves of Elizabeth’s career aspirations. The war and encouragement from friends give Elizabeth the courage to break with her parents. As an ambulance driver she is eventually sent to the front, where she is reunited with Robert (a surgeon). Although they are reunited, his fear for her safety is a strain their relationship might not survive. Read more »

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Witch Finder

January 9, 2014 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism 8

18039069Title: Witch Finder
Author: Ruth Warburton
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: This was a fun, light, action-packed adventure but the anticlimactic ending and two-dimensional villain left me wanting something more.

London. 1880. In the slums of Spitalfields apprentice blacksmith Luke is facing initiation into the Malleus Maleficorum, the fearsome brotherhood dedicated to hunting and killing witches. Luke’s final test is to pick a name at random from the Book of Witches, a name he must track down and kill within a month, or face death himself. Luke knows that tonight will change his life forever. But when he picks out sixteen-year-old Rosa Greenwood, Luke has no idea that his task will be harder than he could ever imagine. (Source) Read more »

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Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

December 31, 2013 Fiction, Historical Fiction 6

18079837Title: Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Review Summary: Although the details of the time period were fascinating, the story telling was dry and the plot unengaging.

Kate Chase, known as the Belle of Washington in the civil war era, was as beautiful and charming as she was politically savvy. Her good humor and social graces earned her the friendship of many but Mrs. Lincoln perceived her social success as a threat. This rivalry was only one of the challenges she faced while managing her father’s political career and her many suitors. Read more »

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