Category: Historical Fiction

The Last Camellia

November 29, 2013 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Thriller, Women's Fiction 8

15848920Title: The Last Camellia
Author: Sarah Jio
Source: from a friend
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: While the plot was fascinating and the writing well done, this book was missing that special something which makes me fall in love with a book.

An apparently innocuous English estate, home to the last of a much-prized variety of camellia, becomes the site of mystery, murder, and intrigue across the years. Right before the beginning of WWII, Flora is convinced by a ring of thieves to take a job as a nanny in order to locate the camellia. Falling in love complicates her plans substantially and puts her in great danger. Over fifty years later, Addison moves into the manor in an attempt to escape her past. Now both her past and that of the manor are catching up to her and if she doesn’t solve the mystery of what happened to Flora, she might be in grave danger as well.
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Gracianna

November 8, 2013 Fiction, Historical Fiction 9

17355195Title: Gracianna
Author: Trini Amador
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Although the beginning was a bit choppy, by the end I was completely engaged in the story and had a hard time putting it down.

Gracianna is a fictionalized account of the life of the author’s great-grandmother. Inspired by his discovery of a loaded German Luger in her house when he was only four years old, Trini learned all he could of her life from his relatives. He filled in the gaps with a gripping tale of a courageous woman recruited into the French resistance during the Nazi occupation of Paris and forced to make some very difficult choices. Read more »

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The Girl You Left Behind

October 19, 2013 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction 24

17572903Title: The Girl You Left Behind
Author: Jojo Moyes
Source: from publisher for SheReads book club
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: This book was so well written and so intriguing that I couldn’t put it down, even at the end of Dewey’s 24 hour read-a-thon.

In 1916, French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything – her family, reputation and life – in the hope of seeing her true love one last time. Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him is threatened… (from Goodreads) Read more »

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Bookends About Dark Triumph

August 10, 2013 Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Young Adult 6

9943270Title: Dark Triumph
Editor: Robin LaFevers
Source: bought at Rochester Teen Book Festival
Rating: ★★★★★
Review Summary: The perfect sequel to Grave Mercy, with the same strengths – strong protagonist, constant action, and fascinating setting.

For those of you who read Grave Mercyyou’ll recognize our new protagonist Sybella from her encounter with Ismae at the convent. In this book, Sybella is forced to face the dark events that chased her to the convent for refuge in the first place. We learn a lot about her past and the reasons she has such a drive for revenge. We also share her discovery that revenge might not be enough and, as with Isame, learn more about the mythos surrounding the nuns position as servants of the god of death. Read more »

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Bookends About Jane Eyre

June 15, 2013 Classics, Fiction, Gothic, Historical Fiction 4

11016Title: Jane Eyre
Author: Charlotte Brontë
Source: library
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The plot was a little boring and unbelievable but the writing was so gorgeous I didn’t even mind!

Today I’m going to be sharing with you the goodreads summary of the book because I think it does a great job explaining not just the action of the plot, but the character development that is the most exciting part of the story. Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity.  She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
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Bookends About The Perfume Collector

May 25, 2013 Fiction, Historical Fiction, Uncategorized 5

Title: The Perfume Collector
Author: Kathleen Tessaro
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: Although the ending didn’t tie things up quite as neatly as I would have liked, this was still an amazingly enjoyable read. Very well written with characters who were so real I couldn’t stop reading until I found out what happened to them.

Grace Monroe is an incredibly intelligent young woman, struggling with both her marriage and her expected role as a society wife in 1950’s London.  When she mysteriously inherits a fortune from a French woman she’s never met, it seems like the perfect time to escape to Paris. Once there, she begins unraveling the dark and romantic secrets of her benefactor’s past and of her own. Read more »

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A Reading Buddies Bookends

April 1, 2012 Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction 6

This last month was my first time participating in the Reading Buddies discussion run by Erin Reads and I’m already looking forward to next month’s read!  The adult fiction books which seem to be popular in the discussions she leads are definitely outside my usual reading bubble and at least with this first book, I really enjoyed that.  The March read was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.  When I first started carrying this book around to read I was worried someone would ask me what it was about because I wasn’t really sure how to sum it up nicely.  Then I looked up the genre for my genre-based reading challenges and discovered the wonderful German word, “Bildungsroman”, meaning a coming-of-age novel (or directly translated “formation novel”).  It makes me happy that there’s a word that so precisely describes what this book is about. Read more »

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Really Great Bookends – Part II

February 26, 2012 Fiction, Historical Fiction 13

This week I read two non-project books which were so good, I thought they each deserved their on post.  You can read about the first one here.

Current Fiction Readings

As I’ve spent more time wandering the library, I find more and more books that I’ve heard a lot about and which I can’t believe I haven’t read yet.  The Help was one of these books and based on the waiting list after me, I was lucky to stumble on a copy!  And I must say, along with the Percy Jackson series, this book is a convincing argument in favor of listening to all the hype some books get.  I loved this book.  In fact, my first thought when I finished it was that I just didn’t have words to describe how much I loved this book.  Since then, I’ve been pondering what to say about it and there are two specific features which I think contribute to the success of this book.

First, the author does an incredible job of telling the story from three different perspectives, accents and all.  At different times you almost believe a matronly black woman, a spunky young black woman, or a shy young white woman is sitting down next to you telling her story.  (For those of you who avoided the hype, this is a book about three women trying to enact change in a racist community during the period of Jim Crow laws, so my identification of the women’s races is both pertinent to the plot and important because of the great job the author does capturing the accents of the two black women.)

The second really great thing about this book was the subject, because more than a book about the process of desegregation, this was a book about people.  A book about human nature.  A book about people bravely coming together to do something good.  I’m almost scared to watch the movie, I just have trouble imagining it living up to the book!  I think I might rent it some times this week though (as the waiting list at the library is almost 100 people long!) and I’ll let you know how it goes if I do.

Summary

The Help – 5 stars – Awesome!  The characters felt very real and the story was incredibly moving.  Listen to the hype.  Read it.

Other Review:

  • The Mind of Tanitha – “I loved this book. I loved the way it took me to a different country, a different time…”

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