Category Archives: Historical Fiction

The Girls in the Stilt House by Kim Michele Richardson

Publication Date: 06 April 2021

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

ARC from Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley

Rating: 4 out of 5

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Sixteen year old Ada Morgan returns home pregnant to a backwoods swamp located along the trace in Mississippi and finds out just how desperate her life has become. Having run off the previous year, the girl returns to her abusive, belligerent father, Virgil, who is mixed up with bootlegging and running moonshine for the wealthier land owner in the area. Ada meets Matilda, a young black girl, when Matilda saves her life.

The haunted tone of the novel along with a twisted story of murder, arson, and bootlegging had this reader turning the pages to find out how these two young girls survive the harsh events that will give you nightmares. As sad as the story, the book is well worth the read. An unwanted pregnancy, racial intolerance, and abuse are overcome by these young women in a satisfying end to this unique story. Readers of Where the Crawdads Sing and The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek will enjoy this book.

This ARC copy was received from Sourcebooks Landmark. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#TheGirlsInTheStiltHouse #NetGalley

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Dance With Death by Will Thomas

Series:  A Barker & Llewelyn Novel, 12

Publication Date: 13 April 2021

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Rating:  3.5 out of 5

Meet Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn, private enquiry agents residing in London where the novel begins in the year 1893. Follow these two interesting characters around London as they attempt to keep the high strung Tsarevich Nicholas safe as he attends a royal wedding.  Please do not refer to them as detectives; remember they are private enquiry agents!

The investigation into the mysterious La Sylphide, the mysterious person shadowing the Nicholas, takes the pair through all walks of Victorian life. Walk in the Palace Gardens, ride in Hyde Park, attend a masquerade ball and step into the seamy side of night life as the men investigate the identity of the mysterious La Sylphide and what harm might befall the Tsarevich.

A blend of mystery and intrigue as Barker and Llewelyn work to solve the mystery of La Sylphide.  All is not what it seems when the men finally solve the mysterious person behind La Sylphide. The resolution of the mystery brings major turmoil to the life of one of the men. Read this intriguing nineteenth century historical mystery to find out who La Sylphide is and what exactly this person is after.

This ARC copy was received from Minotaur Books and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#DanceWithDeath  #NetGalley

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Strongheart: The Lost Journals of May Dodd and Molly McGill by Jim Fergus

Series: One Thousand White Women

Publication Date: 06 April 2021

St. Martin’s Griffin

ARC copy from St. Martin’s and NetGalley

Rating:  3 out of 5

Strongheart concludes the One thousand White Women series. This third and final novel continues the story of some of the white women sent west to be brides of Native Americans. The year is 1875; the year of the Battle of Little Big Horn. The tale revolves primarily around a recounting of journal entries from these women detailing their life two years after they were brought west.

By the year 1875 the women had undergone a transformational experience and blended into the tribe and the Native American way of life to the extent that they were willing to fight against the United States soldiers in order to preserve their families and way of life. Detailing the beginning of the Strongheart women’s warrior society, the story moves back and forth through different time periods in the life of the women and their ancestors.

I had to suspend my rational mind in places in order to believe some of the events related in the novel.  The multiple narrators made the story a bit choppy in places as well. An interesting fictional story that one must remember is just that, a fictional story!

This ARC copy was received from St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#Strongheart #NetGalley

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Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly

Series: Lilac Girls, Book 3

Publication Date:  30 March 2021

Publisher:  Ballantine Books

ARC Copy from Ballantine Books and NetGalley

Rating:  4 out of 5

An interesting, detailed story of the Woolsey family of young strong-minded, women with abolitionist hearts raised by their dedicated, hardworking mother! This story predominantly focuses on Georgeanna “Georgy”, a hard working dedicated young woman of 28 who sets her heart on becoming a nurse during the early years of the Civil War. Georgy, her sisters, and their mother are a force to be reckoned with during this difficult time of war.

Adding to the complexity of the story is the underlying tale of Anne-May Wilson Watson of Peeler Plantation and one of her slaves, Jemma. Anne-May is the epitome of a cruel slave owner who takes advantage of her status and slaves in the worst ways imaginable. Jemma, a bright, determined young girl, is determined to save herself and her family. Her life becomes intricately woven in with the Woolsey family as their paths cross in an unlikely place.

The book is based on the real life Woolsey family with characters, events, and places taken from the Woolsey family letters. Woven with threads of historical fact, the story deals with all the deeply emotional aspects of the Civil War and slavery. Mingled amidst the serious backdrop of the war, family drama and a bit of romance shows up.

I enjoyed the story told from varying points of view which added to the depth and detail of the story. Solid read for people who enjoy detailed historical fiction! Don’t miss reading the author’s notes in the back of the book. They are well worth it.

This ARC copy was received from Ballantine Books and NetGalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Eternal by Lisa Scottoline

Publication Date: April 2021

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Random House

ARC copy from Netgalley and G. P. Putnam’s Sons

Rating: 4 out of 5

Meet Elisabetta D’Orfeo, an outspoken young Italian girl who dreams of being a writer someday; her friend Sandro Simone, a young Jewish teen who is brilliant in mathematics and devoted to his family who have lived in Rome for many generations; and the third friend that completes their circle of friendship,  Marco Terrizzi, a young Italian teen who gets drawn into working for the Fascist party before he ever leaves school. The story set in Italy encompasses the years of WWII and the regime of Mussolini and the aftermath of the war for these young people.

Life altering events during the war will forever change the lives of these three young people who have grown up intertwined until they are forced to grow up and accept the changes that war and young adulthood will bring to them. The reality of one of them being Jewish, one working for the Fascist government, and one struggling to support her drunken father puts them on unique paths.

The historical detail in this novel is excellent. I had no comprehensive knowledge of the Jewish Ghetto neighborhood in Rome so the level of detail was enlightening. The author’s notes at the end add depth to the overall story. The characters are vivid and alive with their Italian heritage and the dynamics of their struggle to survive the war. This book is an outstanding first effort into the field of historical fiction for well-established author, Lisa Scottoline.

This ARC copy was received from G.P. Putnam’s Sons and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

#Eternal #NetGalley

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An Extravagant Death by Charles Finch

Publication Date: 16 February 2021

Publisher: Minotaur Books, an imprint of St Martin’s Press

Rating:  3.5  out of 5

Laced with murder and mystery, this novel begins in London in 1878 when the famed detective, Charles Lenox solves a case that effectively gets him banished to America. Upon arriving he becomes entangled in the murder of a beautiful young debutante, Lily Allingham, in Newport, playground of the rich and famous.

With plentiful suspects showing up as the layers of the plot are revealed, the story definitely keeps the readers’ attention.  Lenox’s dry British wit shows admirably at times throughout the story. The book is rich in historical detail, places and names to spice up the tale. Follow Lenox on his journey from the Prime Minister’s office in London to Caroline Astor’s ball in Newport as he works to uncover who murdered young Lily Allingham!

This ARC copy was received from Minotaur Books and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

Publication Date:  16 February 2021

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

ARC copy from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson

Rating: 5 out of 5

“The things we thought we were supposed to do and be once upon a time, they evolve as we do.

-René Touliard

A captivating story of two strong, resilient women, each working in her own unique way against the German occupation of France! Meet Lila de Laurent, Parisian dressmaker working for Chanel in 1939, and Sandrine Paquet, wife, mother, and member of a prominent publishing family. As the war begins to take shape in early 1940, the lives of these young women are changed forever. Lila goes from high fashion with its captivating parties to dressing the women of the Nazi regime. Sandrine’s life changes dramatically when she must go to work for the Nazis at the Jeu de Paume sorting, cataloging, and readying stolen Jewish artwork for transport to Germany.

Both women, driven by their own reasoning work, in very different jobs for the La Résistance. Lila, driven by guilt, works passionately for information to help La Résistance in their battle against the Nazi regime and to recover the stolen family jewelry and artwork of the Touliard family. Sandrine, driven by love for her missing husband and her family, begins work under Rose Valland, an art director working through the resistance to document the stolen artwork of France and its Jewish citizens.

Behind these strong, brave, and capable women are their men, René Touliard and Christian Pacquet, both members of La Résistance as well. A cast of secondary characters work in conjunction with these brave men and women to add depth and reality to this dynamic historical story. An excellent blending of history, faith, and love pulls this story together.

Read this excellent piece of history to follow the journeys of Lila and René and Sandrine and Christian as they find their way through the occupation and war working toward a different future than the one they faced down. Be sure to read the Author’s Notes at the end as they add depth and detailed explanations to the novel.

This ARC copy was received from Thomas Nelson and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Shadows of the White City by Jocelyn Green

Series: The Windy City Saga, Book 2

Publication Date:  02 February 2021

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Rating: 5 out of 5

This book is a beautifully guided tour of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair intermingled with a captivating story of Sylvie Townsend’s life 22 years after the Great Fire of 1871, where we first met her in book one of The Windy City Saga series. Once again Jocelyn Green artfully brings to life a story that blends fictional characters with historical events, settings, and people.

Now in her early forties, independent Sylvie still runs her bookshop and has raised Rose, a young Hungarian orphan, for the past thirteen years on her own. Living in the apartment above Sylvie are the Bartok brothers; steady, solid Kristof and Gregor, handsome and a bit wild. Both brothers play for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Exposition Orchestra at the Fair. When Rose disappears one day at the Fair, Sylvie finds she may need the support and assistance of the steady Kristof more than she could ever imagine.

Sylvie and Kristof must decide if Rose’s disappearance intertwines with Gregor’s wild life style. Drawn closer together while they try to piece the puzzle together, the pair finds comfort in each other’s presence and in the comfort of close friends and Sylvie’s sister, Meg and her family.

As control and fear dictate Sylvie’s choices, she works on learning to trust the Lord’s timing during difficult times.  One of the most importance lessons Sylvie and Rose both come to understand is the value of the gift of choice. Sylvie, Rose, Kristof, and their friends and relatives explore the true value of family of choice.

Come and spend some time exploring the 1893 World’s Fair with a guided tour by Rose, listen to a concert where Kristof plays beautiful classic music, and take a ride on Mr. Ferris’s Wheel! See the sights, smell the Parisian perfume, taste the hot chocolate! Don’t miss this great piece of history woven throughout the story.

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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The Vanishing at Loxby Manor by Abigail Wilson

Publication Date: January 26, 2021

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

ARC from Netgalley.com and Thomas Nelson

Rating: 5 out of 5

A great, atmospheric and moody story filled with intrigue, murder, and a secret society! The backdrop of the dark and inhospitable Loxby Manor as well as the nearby ruins of Kinwich Abbey with its mysterious lights flickering at night adds to the suspenseful story line.

Nothing is as Charity Halliwell remembers when she steps back in to Loxby Manor, home of her best friend, Seline Cavanagh, after five years away. A dark atmosphere seems to prevail as she is banished to her guest room upon arrival. Seline briefly shows up that first evening, only to disappear into the night.

Where has Seline disappeared to? Who is behind her mysterious disappearance? Piers Cavanagh, the disgraced son of the family, arrives to try and sort through the mysterious comings and goings at Loxby Manor. As Piers and Charity try to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Seline, they find themselves exploring their past and trying to untangle the secret society of the Ancient Order of the Gormogons.

Read this twisty story to find out if Piers and Charity can uncover the mystery of Seline’s disappearance and who is behind the secret society.  I didn’t see it coming until the end! I highly recommend this engaging tale for readers of historical fiction, Regency fiction and Christian fiction. 

This ARC copy was received from Netgalley and Thomas Nelson. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Lana’s War by Anita Abriel

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Publication Date: 12 January 2020

Publisher:  Atria Books, Division of Simon and Schuster

ARC copy from Netgalley and Atria Books

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Traumatic, life altering events change Lana Antanova’s life forever as she witnesses the deadly work of the Gestapo in Paris. As a result, Lana, the daughter of a Russian countess, goes to work for the Resistance in southern France along the Riviera posing as the mistress of a very wealthy Swiss businessman, Guy Pascal.

The unique setting for WWII definitely got my interest as well as the lifestyle of the German officers and the Russian émigrés which highlights the distinction between people during the war. As Lana and Guy work together to save as many Jewish people as possible, they find themselves drawn together in spite of the difficult times. One of the most personable characters of the story is the taxi driver, Pierre, who is much more than what he seems to be on the surface.

When Guy disappears one night, Lana must take charge of her life and alter her plans. Follow Lana as she travels to Switzerland and reinvents her life. The story sets a good pace and kept my interest most of the time. However, the ending is too farfetched for this reader.

This ARC copy was received from Atria Books and Netgalley. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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