Category: Historical Fiction

Some of my favorite books that blend fiction and nonfiction

I love novels that are so steeped in history, they meld fiction and nonfiction. These are most often historical novels about real people who did noteworthy things, where the author builds the story around both fictional and nonfictional characters and dialogue. The best of these novels are deeply researched, and by the end I’ve experienced history in…

Review: Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

I really enjoyed this story about a week in the life of a young woman in Northern Ireland.  Majella is in her mid-twenties and lives with her mother in the very small fictional town of Aghybogey during the time of “The Troubles”.  Her day to day life is ordinary – she cares for her mother…

My Favorite Reads of 2020

This week, we’re sharing our favorite books of 2020 for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl).  I found it hard this year to identify ten favorite books, maybe because I read more than usual or because I read a wider range of books. Or maybe just because it’s 2020. I found myself struggling…

Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

I loved this book.  I already thought Schwab was great, but this book combines so many things I love – history, travel, France – and it’s really character/relationship driven.  The story is complicated, and there were lots of times I found myself trying to poke holes in the logistics of it all.  But it’s worth…

Review: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

I couldn’t be happier that Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet won this year’s Women’s Prize.  I love O’Farrell but I worried that this book couldn’t live up to my expectations, after all the rave reviews.  It absolutely did. Hamnet is about William Shakespeare, though he’s never actually named in the book. It’s 1596, and 11 year old Hamnet…

Review: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I ended up finding it both fascinating and moving. I knew it was about a true-life group of people in the Appalachians with blue skin, and it was also about the historic Packhorse Librarians, women who delivered library books on horseback to families in the…

Review: Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon

This was a fantastic historical novel about World War II that is even greater because it is nearly all true.  Author Lawhon gives us the story of real-life hero Nancy Wake, an Australian who serves as a British special operative in World War II, working with French resistance fighters. As with many historical novels, Lawhon…

Review: The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

If you’re trying to avoid thinking about the pandemic, this will NOT be the book for you. Otherwise, it’s another fantastic novel from Emma Donoghue, author of Room and The Wonder. This is a historical novel set in Dublin in 1918 during World War I and the devastating influenza pandemic. Julia Power is a 30-year old nurse in…

Review: Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell

To date, David Mitchell hasn’t written a book I didn’t like, and this one is no exception. In fact, it will be one of my favorites because of its subject matter.  I don’t always fully understand Mitchell’s work, especially the horology storyline that runs through his most recent books.  But I love the way he…

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