Category: Historical Fiction

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…

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 a Cinderella story — Casiopea and her mother are poor relations,…

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 were refugees from the Inquisition in Portugal.  The researchers soon discover…

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 – what more can you want in a book? Connie Willis received…

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 who likes a long, layered, multi-generational story. Makkai tells this story…

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 that I was disappointed with this entry in the series, which…

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 her marriage and societal expectations.  She leaves her family for a…