RSS Feed

Tag Archives: historical fiction

Review: The Bookseller

Review: The Bookseller

Title: The Bookseller
Author: Cynthia Swanson
Published: 2015
Length: 338 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★

Though she’s still unlucky in love at thirty-eight, Kitty Miller has embraced her life as the co-owner of a quaint bookshop, which she runs with her best friend in 1960s Denver. She doesn’t have a conventional life, but she has her independence and people who love her and whom she loves in return. Then one day, Kitty wakes up in someone else’s bedroom. In this incredibly lifelike dream, she is married with young children and, better yet, in love with her soft-spoken, attentive husband. As time passes, Kitty’s strange dreams become more frequent and–up to a point–more enticing. She begins to lose track of reality and to dwell more and more on her dream-life until she fears she that the life she already has may slip away from her.

Note: This review is mostly spoiler-free; I’ve included one spoiler is included in my Goodreads review.

Read the rest of this entry

Review: Distant Waves

Review: Distant Waves

Title: Distant Waves: A Novel of the Titanic
Author: Suzanne Weyn
Published: 2009
Length: 330 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★

Following the death of their father, Jane Taylor and her four sisters grows up in an unconventional spiritualist town in New York with their medium mother. Mimi, the eldest, and Jane, eager to get a taste of the real world, take a spontaneous and unsupervised trip to New York City after the revelation of a family secret. While there, Jane meets her hero Nikola Tesla and Mimi gets swept up in the glamorous world of high society. The consequences of this brief trip will turn all the Taylor girls’ lives upside-down, however, because the next April they all find themselves as passengers on the ill-fated RMS Titanic.

Read the rest of this entry

Review: The Legend of Tarzan

Review: The Legend of Tarzan

Title: The Legend of Tarzan
Director: David Yates
Released: 2016
Length: 110 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Starring: Alexander Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

(A wild movie review appears!)

They’re singing the legend of Tarzan. He was thought to be an evil spirit, a ghost in the trees…

Tarzan has been one of my favorite stories since I saw the Disney film in theatres when I was eight years old. I even had a big Kala stuffed animal. My father loves the original Edgar Rice Burroughs books (the first one of which I’ve also read, though it was a long time ago) and turned me on to the 1984 film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, which is probably the definitive screen version of Tarzan. So when I heard about a new Tarzan movie, I knew we were going to have to go together.

Read the rest of this entry

Review: A Friend of Mr. Lincoln

Review: A Friend of Mr. Lincoln

Title: A Friend of Mr. Lincoln
Author: Stephen Harrigan
Published: 2016
Length: 415 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ½

During the Black Hawk War, Cage Weatherby encounters a tall, gangly fellow militiaman named Lincoln. They become friends after the war, though Cage is a poet and Lincoln an aspiring lawyer and politician. Over the years, they support each other–especially as they fall in and out of love with unsuitable women–but Cage becomes disillusioned with what he sees as his friend’s dishonorable actions and hypocritical views on slavery, which Cage fiercely opposes. He must decide whether he can remain friends with a man he no longer respects or indeed even trusts.

Read the rest of this entry

Review: Blackhearts

Review: Blackhearts

Title: Blackhearts
Author: Nicole Castroman
Published: 2016
Length: 369 pages

My star rating:  ★ ★

After the deaths of her parents, Anne is sent by her malicious half-brother to work in the Drummond household as a maid. Anne is of mixed racial heritage, and she longs to escape the judgmental people of Bristol and travel to the West Indies to find her mother’s family. Meanwhile, the young son of Master Drummond, Edward–called Teach–has just returned from a year at sea. Despite his father’s disapproval, he is desperate to escape his arranged marriage and resume his sailing career. Sparks fly from the first time the two meet, and soon Anne and Teach begin working together to achieve their mutual goal: escaping the Drummond household.

Read the rest of this entry

Review: Dark Triumph

Review: Dark Triumph

Title: Dark Triumph
Author: Robin LaFevers
Published: 2013
Length: 385 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Returned to the household of her sadistic and scheming father, Count d’Albret, by the abbess of the Convent of St. Mortain, where she took refuge after the traumatic death of her stepmother, Lady Sybella lives in constant anxiety and vigilance. She has only the promise that she can dispatch him in the name of their god to comfort her–until she receives new orders that she is to smuggle d’Albret’s gravely injured prisoner out of the city so that he may return to aid the embattled young Duchess Anne. Sybella obeys, though not without bitterness, and finds her plans rapidly spiraling out of her control.

Read the rest of this entry

Review: Rebel Queen

Review: Rebel Queen

Title: Rebel Queen
Author: Michelle Moran
Published: 2015
Length: 354 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ½

Unable to marry due to her family’s poverty, Sita devotes herself to military training and education in the hope of joining the Rani of Jhansi’s elite female guard, the Durga Dal, and thus of providing a suitable dowry for her younger sister. After a life spent in purdah, unable to leave her own courtyard, Jhansi and the royal court come as a shock to Sita. She is intelligent and able, but struggles to understand the intrigue and machinations of the ambitious people around her. Sita’s personal struggles are overshadowed, however, when the British become interested in annexing her mistress’ kingdom. Sita and Rani Lakshmibai must ultimately decide whether to keep the peace or to fight.

Read the rest of this entry