Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Review: Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

Posted January 8, 2017 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet

After purchasing this book with a gift card on a whim some two years ago, I’ve let Life: An Exploded Diagram languish unread on my tablet until now. And while I recognize some really great ideas and motivations behind Mal Peet’s story here, I’m afraid that I would just as soon have left this one alone for another two years. It’s a book that tries to accomplish a lot in […]

Book Review: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Posted December 16, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

I think the major sticking point with Kindred is the necessary suspension of disbelief that has to happen in order for the reader to participate in the story. It’s a novel where the action is caused entirely by time travel, but Butler gives no explanation as to the hows/whys/wheres of the time travel. It just is. This is absolutely different from any other time travel novel I’ve read, and it […]

Book Review: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Posted November 22, 2016 // 2 Comments
Book Review: Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

A sign in the window of the local diner reads “No Negroes, Mexicans, or dogs”, and it sets the tone for the rest of Ashley Hope Pérez’s debut novel, Out of Darkness. Tackling subjects like integrated families, discrimination, interracial romance, and domestic abuse, this isn’t a book for the faint of heart. (Considering this is published by Carolrhoda Lab, who put out the unforgettably brutal Drowning Instinct, this should probably […]

Book Review: I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

Posted November 18, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

The last thing I expected to experience while reading this book was boredom, but there you have it. I found I Shall Be Near To You to be very dull. It’s a book about a young woman who runs away to join the Union army to fight alongside her husband, which sounds exciting. But actually, it wasn’t? The major problem with the novel, I feel, is that it’s too simplistic […]

Book Review: A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory

Posted November 5, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory

In historical fiction circles, Philippa Gregory is not generally recognized for her accuracy or seriousness. Her books are high on drama and glamor, and her reputation is for, at the very least, embroidering the details. I’ve read one of her Tudor novels, and it was perfectly fine, though it lacked staying power or memorability. A Respectable Trade is not like Gregory’s Plantagenet or Tudor books. It is, rather, a genuine […]

Book Review: These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

Posted September 15, 2016 // 0 Comments
Book Review: These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner

I feel like pioneer fiction has seen its peak come and go already; with a few exceptions, it’s not nearly as popular or common on new release lists as it used to be. But for those of us who grew up imagining themselves in a covered wagon alongside Laura Ingalls and Jack the bulldog, pioneer fiction will always be worth reading. Thus, Nancy E. Turner’s These Is My Words, published […]

Book Review: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Posted May 25, 2016 // 1 Comment
Book Review: The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

Sparkling, boozy, and surprisingly subversive: in The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, Genevieve Valentine retells The Twelve Dancing Princesses with feminist, 1920s flapper flair. From the cramped attics of their cruel father’s townhouse to the smoky basement speakeasies, this book follows Jo “The General” and her sisters as they take their lives into their own hands through dance. Written in unique (and highly parenthetical) prose and with excellent attention to […]

Book Review: The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella

Posted November 7, 2015 // 0 Comments
Book Review: The Sweetheart by Angelina Mirabella

I think any time an author writes a novel in a perspective other than the standard first person singular or third person limited, it’s going to get a lot of attention just for that reason. Though Angelina Mirabella’s debut novel has a lot going for it, what’s going to stand out for its readers right away is its second person narrative. Though, of course, I think the fact that The […]

Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

Posted October 25, 2015 // 4 Comments
Book Review: Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman

In her novel, Vengeance Road, Erin Bowman takes readers on a journey through rough, dangerous 1870s Arizona, in a story told with the voice of Kate Thompson, an 18-year-old who has just come home to find her father brutally murdered. It is, of course, a story with a lot of grit and blood and shooting and revenge—these are things that come with the territory. Kate is an angry girl with […]

Book Review: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

Posted September 3, 2015 // 5 Comments
Book Review: Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

This book was just a lot of fun! Two girl-fugitives dress up as boys and join a band of cowboys traveling the Oregon Trail—what a premise, and the author delivers on it. Under a Painted Sky is an adventure from start to finish, one that I found addictive and compelling. Author Stacey Lee is a talented, engaging storyteller, and I really liked the story of Sam and Andy and their […]

Book Review: The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

Posted August 16, 2015 // 0 Comments
Book Review: The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

“There is a goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne; but none of Forgetting. Yet there should be, as they are twin sisters, twin powers, and walk on either side of us, disputing for sovereignty over us and who we are, all the way until death.” With this epigraph, a quote by Richard Holmes, author Tan Twan Eng captures the mood and themes of The Garden of Evening Mists, a quietly profound novel […]

Book Review: Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry

Posted July 7, 2015 // 0 Comments
Book Review: Church of Marvels by Leslie Parry

Leslie Parry’s Church of Marvels is a slow, twisting tale of outcasts and coincidences, weaving together the lives of four people into one story, set in turn-of-the-century New York City. It’s a unique novel, one that I really enjoyed. The author was able to surprise me in a few areas even while I completely guessed other plot twists, which was something I liked—here I thought I had everything figured out, […]