Showing posts with label historical fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historical fiction. Show all posts
April 16, 2014

Review - The Queen's Handmaid

The Queen's Handmaid
By Tracy L. Higley
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: March 18, 2014
Retail: $15.99
ISBN: 978-1401686840
Pages: 400
Buy Link:
Blog Tour:


I can't believe this month is half way over already. 2014 is flying by way to quickly, but I have made time to read several new titles, including The Queen's Handmaid by Tracy L. Higley.

Now, I'm mostly a fan of books set in the 1800s, but The Queen's Handmaid is set in 39BC, which is a bit of a stretch from the wild wild west era. Though I don't read books from this time period, however, I do watch movies (Gladiator) and television series (Spartacus) that are sent around that era, so I thought I would give the book a shot.

The Queen's Handmaid centers on a young woman named Lydia, who happens to be the handmaid for Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. She doesn't have a family, as she has been an orphan since birth, and she now resides in the Queen's palace, where she spends her days taking care of the Queen's children.

Age is catching up with Cleopatra and having a beautiful young handmaid is causing a few problems, as men are taking notice of Lydia, especially Herod, the Galilean governor.

February 2, 2014

Book review: Isabella, Braveheart of France

Isabella: Braveheart of France
Colin Falconer
Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing
Pub. Date: September 3, 2013
Historical fiction

I was hoping to stir things up last time I posted a review here, but no one seemed ready to agree or disagree with me. So let’s try again today…
I read a lot of historical novels, and quite a few related to French history. In the 1950s, a very popular series on the Capetian kings was written by Maurice Druon. Fortunately for the English speaking world, this series is being republished. Here is for instance my review of the first volume.
So when I saw another recent book connected to this family, in the person of Isabella, I was thrilled.
Isabella of France is still a tween, as we would say today, when her father marries her to Edward II of England, of course merely for strategic reasons. She does fell in love, but does not receive in return what she expected. Stuck between her two countries and a tricky war situation, she has to rely on what she learned from her father to decide what to do, and maybe take decisions that could change the European political landscape.
The book started well, I liked the style, with short sentences and the use of the present tense. 
January 12, 2014

Review of Mistress of the Revolution

Mistress of the Revolution
Catherine Delors
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Pub. Date: 2008
ISBN: 978-0525950547
Pages:  451
Historical Fiction/Romance?
public library
Reading Challenge
Buy Link

A few years ago, I discovered Catherine Delors through her excellent historical novel For The King, so I decided to read her previous one, Mistress of the Revolution.
The book opens in London in 1815, about 20 years after the French Revolution. The narrator Gabrielle de Montserrat reminisces about these events and the following years by writing about them.
After difficult beginnings in the Auvergne region, she is taken to Paris and presented at the court of Versailles, where she is introduced to all the intrigues and affairs. She is helped financially by Villers (a Duchess’s son) and becomes his lover. He gets politically involved, on the wrong side when monarchy is soon to be ended.
Gabrielle is by now lady-in-waiting to the Countess of Provence (the king’s sister-in-law). She ends up getting arrested herself. Will she humble herself, and try to get help from Pierre-André, the sweet heart of her youth, a commoner who made his way up and has now strong political influence in Paris? Would he or even could he really help her?
December 15, 2013

Book review: Mozart's Last Aria

Mozart Last Aria
Matt Rees
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pub. Date: 2011
ISBN: 978-0262015860
Pages:  303
Historical thriller
Bought a book sales
Reading Challenge
Buy Link

I love historical fiction, mysteries, and classical music, so I really had to try this one. Reviews have been harsh towards it, but I have to say, I really enjoyed it.  The book opens with Mozart’s youngest son opening a journal left by his aunt, Maria Anna, “Nannerl”, Mozart’s sister. I’m not sure this extra setting was necessary, but after this prologue, I was caught.
One day, Nannerl receives a letter than her brother died. But it appears that before dying, he knew he had been poisoned. Nannerl decides to go to Vienna to try to figure out what really happened and who did it.
I really enjoyed how suddenly the plot widens and involves Mozart’s music and political involvement, as well as European politics and history. The historical novel soon turns into mystery and crime novel. For those who know well Mozart’s work, this will be no big news, so I guess it is no spoiler to tell you that Mozart was a freemason.
Now, there’s freemason and freemason. 

November 10, 2013

Review - Sutton
By J. R. Moehringer
Narrated by Dylan Baker
Publisher: Hyperion
Pub. Date: 2012
Duration: 15.12 hours
Buy Link
Reading Challenge

At my block book club, each member shares about the book he/she read and liked during the previous month. One member shared with excitement about Sutton So I had a very long trip planned by car, I decided to listen to it. What a great experience it was!
In the French literature, we have a long tradition of the "gentleman cambrioleur", a thief who is at the same time a gentleman, robbing without violence. The most famous one is Arsène Lupin, a character invented by Maurice Leblanc  in 1906.

But the "gentleman thief" is not necessarily a fictive character only. Indeed, Willie "The Actor" Sutton (1901-1980) was a notorious bank robber in the US, even making it to the first FBI's list of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. He managed to escape several times from maximum-security prisons. As the legend and folk hero he had become, crowds cheered him when he was finally released from Attica State Prison on Christmas Eve 1969.

To avoid being bothered forever by journalists, he made a deal to spend a day with a newspaper reporter and photographer, taking them on a tour of his life.
This book is precisely organized  around what that day might have been – Sutton left two autobiographies, but as they contradict each other, the author had some margins to write a believable fiction based on some known facts.
November 1, 2013

Review - Gunpowder Tea

Gunpowder Tea
The Brides Of Last Chance Ranch Series
By Margaret Brownley
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: October 8, 2013
ISBN: 978-1595549723
Pages: 328
Buy Link:
Blog Tour:


In the third installment in The Brides of Last Chance Ranch series, Gunpowder Tea finds the Pinkerton agent Miranda Hunt taking on one of the biggest cases of her career - tracking and capturing the notorious outlaw called the Phantom, who has been spotted near the Last Chance Ranch.

Luckily, she finds a way to sneak onto the ranch when she discovers a classified ad for an heiress at the Last Chance Ranch! This is the prefect cover she has been waiting for. She takes the identity of Annie Beckman and begins her investigation, which isn't as easy as she first thought. She doesn't know exactly what the Phantom looks like, so every man she comes across is a suspect.

Unknowing to Miranda, a Wells Fargo detective, Jeremy Taggart, is also undercover, using the name Branch and he is also searching for the Phantom. He is unaware of whom Miranda is and that he is on her suspect list.

October 29, 2013

Review - Beloved

Where The Heart Lives
By Robin Lee Hatcher
Publisher: Zondervan
Pub. Date: September 24, 2013
ISBN: 978-0310257776
Pages: 304
Buy Link:
Book Tour:


I'm well aware of author Robin Lee Hatcher, but I missed out in reading the previous books in the Where The Heart Lives series, Belonging and Betrayal, but the Beloved seems to more of a standalone novel.

The Beloved centers on Diana Brennan, who at young age was separated from her siblings and was put on an orphan train heading west, where she was adopted by a loving couple. At age seventeen, she fell in love with the handsome Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. What started out as friendship, lead to courting and then marriage.

Settling down at a young age wasn't what Tyson really wanted and he eventually leaves Diana to seek out adventures in far off lands, which involved fighting alongside the Rough Riders in Cuba. During this time, he makes no attempt to send letters to his wife.

Years past by and Diane is ready to get on with her life and plans on having Tyson declared legally dead by the courts, so, hopefully,  she will get another chance at finding love and maybe get married again.

October 14, 2013

Review - The Journey of Josephine Cain

The Journey of Josephine Cain
An American Tapestry
By Nancy Moser
Publisher: Summerside Press
Release Date: September 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0824934279
Pages: 336
Buy Link:
Blog Tour:


Fans of AMC's Hell on Wheels are waiting on pins and needles about the questionable fourth season, until then they can sink their teeth in the recently released The Journey of Josephine Cain by Nancy Moser. The plot involves an unmarried socialite, Josephine Cain leaving Washington D.C. to work side-by-side with her general father, who is supervising the day-to-day building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Life on the great frontier isn't exactly what Josephine thought it would be like, as she is not use to the harsh weather, deadly gunfights and other dangers of the west. Things take an unexpected turn when she falls in love with an Irish railroad worker, Hudson Maguire.

Hudson works along side his brother Raleigh, who both is saving money to send home to their family. He didn't expect to fall in love with a well-educated proper woman, Josephine.

October 3, 2013

Review - The Courier of Caswell Hall

The Courier of Caswell Hall
An American Tapestry series
By Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Sumerside Press
Pub. Date: September 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0824934262
Pages: 336
Buy Link:
Blog Tour: 


During 1781, the Continental and British armies are at war, a war that pits father against son, brother against brother, and neighbor against neighbor. In Virginia, Lydia Caswell only wants the two sides to have peace, unlike her Loyalists parents or even her friend Sarah Hammond, who might just grab a gun and join the fight.

By chance, Lydia finds a wounded man near a riverbank on a snowy night. This happens to be the same night the British made plans on sailing up the James River and raiding the capital. The man is named Nathan, who changes her life forever, introducing her to a world of coded messages, disguises, couriers and spies.

As Lydia starts to fall in love with Nathan, she starts to question her beliefs. She must choose between the loyalty to her family and having freedom. Meanwhile, her friend Sarah is put in a similar position when love and war collide.

June 8, 2013

Review - Stealing the Preacher

Stealing the Preacher
By Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: June 1, 2013
ISBN: 978-0764209666
Pages: 352
Buy Link:
Blog Tour:

Crocket Archer is excited about traveling to Piney Woods, Texas for an interview to be the new pastor, but his plans are quickly ruined when he is forced off the train and kidnapped by the outlaw, Silas Robbins, who plans on giving the preacher to his daughter as a birthday present.

Being an outlaw's daughter hasn't been easy on Joanna, especially after her mother passed away. For months, she has been praying for a preacher to be sent to her community's abandoned church. Someone that may help change her father's way of life. Her prayers are answered when her father brings Crocket Archer home.

At first, Crocket wants nothing more than to escape this madness, but he starts to have a change of heart when he lays eyes on the beautiful Joanna, who quickly steals his heart.
December 14, 2012

Review - A Hidden Truth

A Hidden Truth
By Judith Miller
Publisher: Bethany House 
Pub. Date: September 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764210006
Pages: 352


Over the years, I have become a fan of historical fiction, many involving the Amish, the Mennonites, and the Shakers, but I have never read a book about the Amana Colonies. A Hidden Truth by Judith Miller is about the Amana Colonies and is one of the reasons why I wanted to review it, courtesy of Bethany House in exchange of my honest review.

A Hidden Truth takes place in East Amana, Iowa in 1892 and centers on two women, Karlina Richter and Dovie Cates. The colonies are very strict, with no access to the outside world or the "outsiders". Karlina has lived all her life in Amana, but has always been curious of what life was like outside the colonies.

Just as her father wants to move from Ohio to Texas, Dovie Cates gets permission to visit the Amana Colonies, where her birth mother grew up. She wants to learn more about her mother's past. She stays with the Richter family.

December 5, 2012

Review - Every Perfect Gift

Every Perfect Gift
A Hickory Ridge Romance
By: Dorothy Love
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub. Date: December 4, 2012
ISBN: 978-1595549020
Pages: 320


I missed out reading the first book in A Hickory Ridge Romance series, but I did read the second book, Beauty for Ashes, which wasn't my kind of read. Why did I agree to review Every Perfect Gift courtesy of Thomas Nelson in exchange for my honest review? Actually, I didn't realize that the book was part of the series. I've been in a Christmas mood and the beautiful cover reminded me of the holidays. That being said, I eagerly signed up to review it.

Set in 1886, Sophie Caldwell returns to Hickory Ridge, Tennessee, where she grew up in an orphanage. She never knew who her parents were and her slightly dark complication made her an easy target of bullying from other children at the orphanage. Luckily, she was adopted by a loving couple, Wyatt and Ada Caldwell, and moved to Texas, but she has returned to Hickory Ridge to start a new life and maybe find some resolution to her past.
December 4, 2012

Review - A Home in Drayton Valley

A Home in Drayton Valley
By Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764207884
Pages: 352


I have the majority of Kim Vogel Sawyer's novels, so naturally I was eager to sign up to review her newest book courtesy of Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. I'm also a fan of historical novels, so I adored the beautiful cover with the young woman sitting in the grass with the steamboat floating down the river in the background.

Twelve years ago, Tarsie Raines arrived in New York from overseas to start a better life. It is now 1880; the only family she has is her best friend Mary Brubacher and her children. And then there is Mary's good for nothing husband Joss, an alcoholic and gambler. Mary's health is failing and Tarsie helps take care of her and the kids, when she isn't too busy dreaming of moving to Drayton Valley that she read about in James Redpath's Handbook of Kansas.

Joss's gambling debts leads to trouble for them; therefore they must flee the city, along with Tarsie. They travel by wagon, heading to the state of Kansas. Mary's health turns for the worst. Before Mary dies, Tarsie promises to care for her children and help Joss find faith in the Lord.
December 3, 2012

Review - Whispers in the Wind

Whispers in the Wind
Wild West Wind book 2
By Lauraine Snelling
Publisher: Bethany House
Pub. Date: August 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-0764204166
Pages: 352


Cassie Lockwood returns in book two of the Wild West Wind series from author Lauraine Snelling. Cassie had traveled in the Wild West show that her father co-owned. With her shooting and riding skills, she became a major attraction for the show. After her father died, ticket sales declined and the show was cancelled. Before the bank investors could repossess her wagon and horse, she discovered a land deed belonging to her father. It seems he owned some land in North Dakota. Cassie packs her belongings and heads to the land of her father's dreams.

Whispers in the Wind continues Cassie's journey to North Dakota, where she finally arrives at the hidden valley, only to discover that someone else has already built a ranch on the land. The family includes Mavis Engstrom and her three children, who may now lose their home because Cassie is the rightful land owner.
Cassie learns a startling discovery that Mavis’s husband had co-owned the land with her father. Now she must try and share the land with these strangers.

Mavis's oldest son, Ransom, doesn't trust Cassie. Her daughter, Gretchen, is more accepting of Cassie as she has always wanted an older sister. The youngest son, Lucas, more than accepts Cassie, as he has fallen madly in love with her.
November 20, 2012

Review - No Safe Harbor

No Safe Harbor
by Elizabeth Ludwig
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0764210396
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
Pages: 336
Buy Links:
Blog Tour Link:


Set in the year 1897, Cara Hamilton thought that her twin brother, Eoghan, was deceased until she gets an unexpected letter from him, in which he urges her to come find him and warns her to trust no one. She boards the ship called the Servia and travels across the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland to America.

When Cara arrives in New York, she meets a stranger named Rourke Walsh. She takes refuge at a boardinghouse where she befriends most of the women whom are living there, all except Deirdre. Why would a woman that hardly knew her, hate her so much? There has to be here than meets the eye about this woman. Cara is determined to learn more about Deirdre, especially when she catches Deirdre prying in her room.
November 15, 2012

ARC Review - Crossing on the Paris

Crossing on the Paris
By Dana Gynther
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pub.Date: November 13, 2012
ISBN: 978-1451678239
Pages: 314


I received an advanced copy of Crossing on the Paris a few months ago courtesy of Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review. Normally I don't read many books that are set during the early twentieth century, but I was intrigued by the cover art and thought that I would at least give it a try.

In the debut novel from author Dana Gynther, set sail aboard the ocean liner the Paris on its maiden voyage from Le Havre, France to New York during the year 1921. The plot centers around three women from different backgrounds.

Julie Vernet has suffered many losses during her lifetime. She lost her brothers during WWI and is still grieving. She is spent all of her life in poverty in France and when she got a chance to work in the steerage class (3rd class) as a maid, she eagerly took it. Her expectations for the life aboard a liner were high, but she was in for a shock as to how the 3rd class lived. Just when she is at her lowest, she begins a romance with a handsome engineer.
October 5, 2012

Review - Queen of the Waves

Queen of the Waves
By Janice Thompson
Publisher: Summerside
ISBN: 978-1609366865
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
Pages: 336
Blog Tour Links:
Buy Link:


I've always been interested in the RMS Titanic every since I watched the Robert Ballad special in the 1980s. My parents bought me every book that came out on the ship. I lost interest in it when the bloated and overrated 1997 Titanic came out to theaters. This year marked the 100th anniversary since the Titanic sunk and many books have been released about the famous ship. I bought a few of the fiction books that came out earlier this year, but I haven't had time read them yet. When I saw that Queen of the Waves was available to review through Litfuse Publicity Group, I eagerly signed up for it.

Queen of Waves is part of the An American Tapestry series and involves a spoiled rich young woman, Jacqueline Abingdon, who is in love with her family's gardener, Peter Bowen, but her father wants her to marry the wealthy Roland Palmer. Jacqueline makes plans to runaway and to marry Peter. She is supposed to be on the maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic, but she gives her ticket to a poor English girl, Tessa Bowen. Tessa will take her identity on the ship while Peter and she can exchange their vows and start their life together without her father ever knowing.

Review - Where the Trails Ends

Where the Trail Ends
By Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Summerside Press
ISBN: 978-1609366858
Pub. Date: October 1, 2012
Pages: 336
Blog Tour Link:
Buy Link:


The year is 1842 and the Waldron family is on the Oregon Trail trying to reach Willamette Valley before winter arrives. Mr. Waldron tells his family that the Willamette Valley is the Land of Milk and honey, and that he would build them a home of their dreams. They barely escaped the fall's deadly thunderstorms and the wrath of the wild animals, but they might die of hunger and thirst before arriving at their destination.

The book focuses mostly on the daughter Samantha Waldron, who is extremely close to her little brother, Micah. When the family tries to cross the Columbia River, a violent storm erupts above them causing the river to become out of control. Samantha and Micah are saved by Lord Alexander Clarke and brings them to Fort Vancouver. Micah is just fine and plays with the other children living at the Fort, but Samantha takes several days to recover. The only thing Samantha has left is her little brother Micah.

Alexander helps Samantha by giving her a job as the school teacher. There are many single soldiers stationed there and Alexander makes sure none of the men make an uncalled advanced toward Samantha, whose heart now belongs to him anyway. Just as the two start to become close, a ship from England arrives to take Alexander back home.

Suddenly, Micah goes missing. Who will help Samantha find her little brother?
September 30, 2012

Review - Michal's Window

Michal's Window
By Rachelle Ayala
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform 
ISBN: 978-1475081480
Pub. Date: April 12, 2012
Pages: 458
Buy Link:


This stunning biblical tale centers on Princess Michal, the daughter of King Saul, as she first meets the shepherd boy/harpist named David, who is arrives at the kingdom to help mend her father who is tormented by evil spirits. The Princess falls in love with David and before long the two are wedded.

Situations occur that causes King Saul to order the death of his son-in-law. Fearing for David's life, Michal helps her husband escape the wrath of her father.

Michal is later reunited with the now King David, but he has changed from the man that she had known. David has several wives and other lovers, but Michal still loves him and is determined to win his heart at all costs.
September 22, 2012

ARC Review - The Malice of Fortune

The Malice of Fortune
By Michael Ennis
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 978-0385536318
Pub. Date: September 11, 2012
Pages: 416
Buy Link: Amazon

Juan, Duke of Gandia, was murdered while on his way to visit his love, Damiata, causing Pope Alexander VI to become emotionally drained as Juan was his favorite son. In another twist, Damiata also went missing the night of Juan's murder, having witnessed her lover's death.

Five years go by and the Pope Alexander VI sends Rodrigo Borgia to find Damiata and bring her to him. The Pope believes that she is responsible for his son's death, but gives her a chance to prove her innocence by finding the real killer. Thinking that she will just run off and hide again, he takes her son Giovanni as leverage.

Damiata heads to Imola, where she finds out there have been a string of similar murders. The bodies have been buried throughout the city and the bodies' parts were specifically arranged to resemble a geometric design. Soon she meets a Florentine diplomat named Niccolo Machiavelli who assists her efforts in finding the killer or killers. Now here is another twist, the one and only Leonardo DaVinci, the famous Renaissance painter, is also investigating the murders and DaVinci eventually teams up with them.


Rating System

AMAZING!!! Go get this book right now!!

Great! Highly Recommend

It's ok. Borrow from a friend material.

Not that good but at least read the blurb.

Leave it on the shelf!

Currently Reading

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog


Designed by Blogovation Design. Powered by Blogger.

Follow by Email


Grab My Badge

Find Me On


Blog Stats

Google PageRank Checker

Future Google PR for - 5.16