Category: Historical Fiction

A review of The Girl From Moscow by Julia Levitina

Levitina draws on her own experiences growing up in Moscow in the 1980s and the book is rich with verisimilitude, following the trajectory of Ella as her dreams of playing the role of Natasha Rostova from Tolstoy’s War and Peace dissolve into fear and a desperation to leave Moscow to escape the KGB and protect her unborn child.

A review of A Gilded Drowning Pool by Cecelia Tichi

As our detective duo uncovers new facts, and tangos with a decidedly subpar and self-serving police chief, their position in society and ability to move through the world unencumbered becomes even more important. Like wealthy daughter-of-a-lawyer Nancy Drew, their bold moves and demanding lines of questioning are only possible because they have the resources and status to back them up.

A review of Restless Dolly Maunder by Kate Grenville

Restless Dolly Maunder is an easy and fast-paced read. It may be labelled as fiction, and certainly Grenville uses all of her narrative capabilities to create such a compelling character, but the book is as much a story of Australia’s history as it is the tale of a strong, intelligent and thwarted woman whose struggles helped transform the lives of generations to follow.

A review of Ravage & Son by Jerome Charyn

The grim urban setting of Ravage & Son, its violence, cast of criminals from all classes, and atmosphere of pessimism and disillusionment are characteristics of the noir genre.  In Charyn’s story, we see a promising youth who was given the chance to make something of himself in the world’s terms, yet chooses a different course for several reasons and eventually is defeated by the milieu he sought to clean up.

A review of A Striking Woman by Ruth Latta

A Striking Woman is a powerful look at a challenging era in world history. The author expertly and accurately paints a true picture of society in early twentieth-century Quebec, setting the stage for the confrontations that developed later in the life of one very determined woman. Her knowledge of contemporary history is evident. The title is catchy and certainly provides the reader with multiple metaphoric connections to the word, ‘striking’. Ruth has a vivid approach to portraying Canadian women throughout history.

A review of One April After the War by C S Boarman

Throughout the novel, the author’s exhaustive knowledge of the era’s politics, technology,  social mores, and the geography of Kentucky and Ohio, come into play, with the result that the reader is totally immersed in the historic setting. 

A review of The Blue Butterfly by Leslie Johansen Nack

Did W.R. ruin Marion’s life and career?  I would say “No.”. She enjoyed a period of stardom like many actors, though her forty-eight films in twenty years were uneven in quality. She married unhappily and drank too much, but she appears to have been a well-functioning alcoholic noted for her philanthropy, especially to children’s charities. At the time of her death she was the richest woman in  Hollywood. The title, The Blue Butterfly, suggests sadness, but my view is that she was a rosebud who became a rose.

A review of The Accidental Suffragist By Galia Gichon

All in all, The Accidental Suffragist is an intriguing, poignant, and gripping story that takes its readers on a whirlwind ride through vital history and does so with admirable pacing, authentic world building, and well-crafted sentences, along with its sympathetic and vivid characters—and above all else, a captivating story.

A review of A Girl Should Be by Ruth Latta

The descriptive narrative sets the stage, allowing the reader to step into the story and feel a part of it. Dialogue is well constructed, paying particular attention to the topics of discussion and the vocabulary relevant to this era. The protagonist, Annie, is a fun-loving young woman with a passion to succeed, to make something of herself, and to follow her dreams.