Tag: history

The Underground Girls of Kabul

September 21, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Review 19 ★★★★

The Underground Girls of KabulTitle: The Underground Girls of Kabul
Author: Jenny Nordberg
Source: NetGalley
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads
Rating:four-stars

Summary: This was a very enjoyable story, but a very sad reality.

In Afghanistan, where a son is viewed as an honor and daughters are viewed as a burden, it is not uncommon for a family to temporarily raise a daughter as a son. This can happen because the family needs the financial help of having a working son; because the family wants to increase their standing in the community; or because of the superstitious belief that raising a pretend son will help a woman give birth to a boy. Girls raised in this way are typically treated as women once they reach puberty. Some find this experience helps them survive a world dominated by men while others struggle with their return to womanhood because of the oppression they then face.
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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
Rating:four-stars

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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France On the Brink

August 8, 2014 History, non-fiction 7

France on the BrinkTitle: France on the Brink
Author: Jonathan Fenby
Source: from publisher for France Book Tours
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: The author did a fantastic job showing how history has shaped the French and encapsulating the difficulties their country faces with fascinating anecdotes and just enough optimism.

France is currently facing many challenges, including high unemployment rates and disillusionment with their government in the face of scandals. Even more worryingly, many are turning to violence and bigotry as a way to combat their fear. France is still strong in many areas though, including tourism, with it’s varied local culture and cuisine. Read more »

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Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered

August 4, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction 14

18775443Title: Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered
Author: Dianne Hales
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Summary: This wasn’t the most organized nonfiction I’ve read, but the author did an amazing job bringing the people and time period to life.

Although the Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world, little is known about the real woman represented in the painting. There is even some speculation about which woman was Da Vinci’s model. Lisa Gherardini is the most likely candidate and in this book, Dianne Hales brings together what is known about Lisa’s life. She also uses this “quintessential woman of her times” to explore what life was like for women in Florence during the Renaissance.
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The Romanov Sisters

June 4, 2014 Biography, History, non-fiction 16

18404173Title: The Romanov Sisters
Author: Helen Rappaport
Source: from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Summary: Parts of this book were interesting or moving, but most of the time so many details of the sisters’ monotonous daily routines were included that the story dragged.

Even during the lifetime of the four beautiful Romanov sisters, their mysterious personal lives lead to much speculation and idolization. This book uses many diaries, letters, and other first person accounts to bring the sisters to life. The book starts when their mother journeys to Russia, a lonely bride in a strange land. It then follows the rest of the sisters’ lives, through the beginning of the first world war and their eventual murder by Bolshevik soldiers. Read more »

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The Map Thief

June 1, 2014 Biography, History, Narrative Non-Fiction, non-fiction, Psychology 28

18693681Title: The Map Thief
Author: Michael Blanding
Source: from publisher for review
Rating: ★★★★★
Fun Fact: Because mapmakers continued to depict California as an island after it was known not to be, Ferdinand VII of Spain issued a law which simply stated “California is not an island.”
Review Summary: This is a well-researched story which included both interesting personal details and awesome fun facts written in an engaging way – everything I want from narrative nonfiction!

To most people who knew him, E. Forbes Smiley III appeared to be a respectable, well-to-do map dealer. However, there were some who suspected otherwise, noting his sometimes bounced checks and less than friendly business practices. Nothing could be proven until he dropped a razor blade while visiting a rare book collection, raising the librarians suspicions. The Map Thief tells Smiley’s story, from his childhood through his arrest, as well as the history of map-making and map collecting. The author shares bits of an exclusive post-arrest interview with Smiley and is able to share other personal stories from interviews with friends. He also addresses clues that Smiley might not have been entirely forthcoming about how many maps he stole. Read more »

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