Category: Historical Fiction

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. 

A review of The Bohemians by Jasmin Darznki

While it can be imprecise to learn history from a novel, The Bohemians describes a time and place and its characters so vividly that it surely enhances what one might learn from the straight historical texts. This is a fine, worthy book with its defined and canny captures of Lange, Lee, Dixon and others, and an engaging, rewarding read.

A review of Love’s Garden by Nandini Bhattacharya

The author’s style is simple and straightforward, and her use of highly descriptive prose generates excellent dialog and tantalizingly paints her characters as well as the tumultuous events in which they participate. I particularly enjoyed the alliterative flourishes: (“tawny tangy dancing woman”; “she senses sin and shame standing sentry”; “maggoty men”); the challenging vocabulary: (“termagants”; “tumescently proud”);  and plastic descriptions: (“fish belly pale inner forearm”; “moon whipped water”; “soda bottle eye glasses”; “ the barbed wires of consolation”).

A review of The Gopher King by Gojan Nikolich

The Gopher King is a ribald fantasy wrapped up in a psychological drama. As such, it can be appreciated at several levels. How much of Stan’s delusions do readers take literally? It is hard to say. But, in the words of the gopher king himself, “If you want to have a headache about the meaning of things, then you have to provide your own aspirin.”

A review of River Aria by Joan Schweighardt

River Aria is an exquisitely written conclusion to the Rivers trio. Schweighardt creates rich layers of meaning through the three books, across settings that are sometimes sumptuous and sometimes desolate, but always rich in psychology, history, drama, theatre, and a very subtle political thread that hints at the power of compassion.

A review of Mammoth by Chris Flynn

Most of the human characters in the book are real, and an attempt to bring back the Wooly Mammoth is happening, as detailed in the “Epilogus hominum” in order to try and slow global warming.  Flynn does a stellar job of bringing together fantasy and history and Mammoth is a joy to read.  The book is a cautionary, bold, loving and instructive tale that is mostly historically accurate, always funny, and often poignant.