Category: Historical Fiction

Review: Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht

I loved the first book by Knecht, Who is Vera Kelly? so I was very happy to receive a review copy of its sequel. These books combine a couple of things I really love – a complicated main character, a mystery, and the history…

Review: The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

If you’re looking for a book that explores the horrors of the Holocaust but does so in a really beautiful way, I recommend this book. It begins in Berlin, where a mother, Hanna, is trying desperately to save her daughter Lea.  She learns that there…

Mystery Series Mini-Reviews: the Kopp Sisters, Jackson Brodie and Maisie Dobbs

I don’t often write about books in series, but I read a few recently and thought it might be helpful to discuss them together.  For those who haven’t read these series, or aren’t caught up, I’ve avoided spoilers and focused more on the series…

Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

July was a pretty heavy reading month, but this book was pure fun and I enjoyed every bit of it.  Moreno-Garcia’s novel is set in 1920’s Mexico, where Casiopea, a young woman in Yucatan, is struggling in her oppressive grandfather’s home.  It begins as…

Review: The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish

I recommend this historical novel about two researchers who discover a cache of letters from the 1660s about a rabbi in London and the young Jewish woman he’s taken in, Ester Velasquez.  The rabbi and Ester have emigrated from Amsterdam, but before that they…

Review: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

It’s hard to say this book was fun, since it involved more violently ill characters than any other book I can think of… but it’s a page turner and yes, a lot of fun too.   Time travel, the Middle Ages, plague, and Christmas –…

Review: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers was heartbreaking, but so good and very worth reading.  I realize that reading a book about the AIDS crisis in the 80s isn’t a light read, but I feel like it’s really important to understand.  It’s also a book for anyone…

Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I always appreciate historical fiction that covers an event that I should be aware of.  Salt to the Sea is about the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, a German transport ship carrying 10,000 German military and refugees from Germany and surrounding countries.  Over 9,000…

Review: The Glass Diplomat by S. R. Wilsher

I was recently in Chile and heard and saw a lot related to the Pinochet regime.  We were told the country is still very divided amongst people who lived through that era.  So S. R. Wilsher’s book, The Glass Diplomat, was particularly interesting. The…

Mini-Reviews: Lethal White, In the Distance, I Am I Am I am, We Were the Lucky Ones

I didn’t have a chance to review any of the books I read in December because I was traveling, so I’m posting some mini-reviews of the more interesting books I read during my trip: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith: I will only say here…

Review: All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy

I liked this book though it didn’t resonate emotionally as much as I expected it to.  It’s a story of man in India who is recalling when his mother abandoned him as a child.  Gayatri was a free-spirited artist who clearly felt constrained by…

Review: A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden

I really enjoyed this Victorian-era mystery/thriller by Karen Odden, although I did have some issues with the pacing at the end.  Nell Hallam is a young woman who sneaks out of her brother’s home every night to play piano at the Octavian Music House. …

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