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Tag Archives: historical fiction

Review: The Wicked and the Just

Review: The Wicked and the Just

Title: The Wicked and the Just
Author: J. Anderson Coats
Published: 2012
Length: 342 pages

My star rating: ★ ★ ★ ¾

The lives of two girls who feel they’ve lost everything–including estates they consider their birthrights–entertwine in thirteenth-century Wales when Cecily d’Edgeley’s father becomes an English burgess in the town of Caernarvon. Cecily feels her life has been ruined and dreams only of fancy gowns and returning to her childhood home, now occupied by her uncle. She struggles to adjust to living by new rules and among new people who are neither respectful nor submissive like the peasants at Edgeley. Meanwhile her new housemaid Gwenhwyfar, herself once the daughter of a lord, works to the bone simply for a meager supply of food and a few paltry coins.  She hates “the brat” and all the English of Caernarvon, and she’s hardly the only one. As Cecily grumbles about learning to walk like a lady and innocently torments (she thinks) her Welsh servants, tension fed by anger, fear, and hunger brews among the persecuted native populace beyond the city walls–tension that, before long, must boil over.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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