Tag Archives: historical fiction

November 2018 Book Reviews

29 Nov

I don’t know about you but I love seeing what other people are reading, and what they think about what they’ve read. It gives you insight into that person – and also offers different genres/authors up for you to delve into as well! Over the years I’ve really branched out in both the reading of different genres and of course, new authors. I do get a little nervous on some of them but it’s typically worth it – even if I end up not liking the book, I learn a little more about what I like and don’t like. And, as a writer, that is invaluable.

I’m not sure where that stemmed from, but let me know if you agree with me! I’d love to hear what you, my lovely readers, think about that.

As for what I read this month, I didn’t read a whole lot. Due to participating in Nanowrimo, I kept myself from picking up a novel and instead worked on my own! So this month’s book reviews will be rather short.

Here we go!

 

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott – Running to escape a life of being a maid, Tess secures a spot on the Titanic just as it’s about to sail. She’s hired by the formidable fashion designer Lady Duff Gordon. As an aspiring seamstress, she can’t believe her luck. She soon catches the eye of two very different men, one a Chicago millionaire and the other a sailor. But when tragedy strikes, Tess is one of the last passengers to find a spot on a life boat, along with the sailor who sees Lady Duff Gordon’s dubious responses during the tragedy. She will need all her wits about her as the media attacks her new boss, sits through the hearings about the Titanic’s sinking and as she enters the world of fashion.

~This book was lent to me with the words ‘it’s such a good book’. But as it was by an author I’d never read/heard of, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. But since I’d never read a book focused on the Titanic, I was hopeful about it. And , thankfully, it really was a good book! The glittering world of High Society in 1912, the fear of drowning and then the heartbreak after was described so well. It did take me a bit to really get sucked into the story but when Pinky Wade entered, I was hooked. The twists were unexpected and the ending left me feeling satisfied. A good historical fiction for sure.

The Great Hunt – Wheel of Time Series #2 by Robert Jordan – Time passes as the Wheel turns and the Horn of Valere is found. The Horn that, when blown, will call the dead heroes to fight for them against their enemy. Gleemen have told the story of the Great Hunt for the Horn of Valere for years upon years, but now, it’s been stolen.

~ Book 2 was just as good as the first one I thought, but I might have enjoyed it more because I knew the main characters. I did still get lost a little with all the different story lines going on, though. The twists that this story is taking is crazy- I can’t wait to get the third book from the library! 

 

Currently Reading:

Dear Theo (I’m slowly making my way through this)

Constantine’s Sword by James Carroll (sadly, I haven’t touched this in weeks.)

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Only the River Runs Free by Bodie Thoene

 

~Laura

What have you been reading this month?

 

Series Review – Timber Ridge Reflections

22 Jun

Hello friends! I have a quick series review for you today. You simply must check this series out. You Must!

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From a Distance – Eastern photographer Elizabeth Westbrook hopes that Colorado will prove to be a place where she can not only further her career, but also be cured of the illness that’s threatening her life. Loner Daniel Radcliffe only wants to protect his land but when he’s called on to repay a debt, his carefully guarded secret is threatened.

 

Beyond This Moment – The small Colorado town of Timber Ridge represents a chance for Dr. Molly Whitcomb to start over. But being a Professor in Romance Languages doesn’t prepare her for the new life she’s forced to invent. Sheriff James McPherson has always been able to read people – and he knows that Molly has a secret. But when he learns what it is, it threatens his position in the town and what he’s always known about himself.

 

Within My Heart – Rachel Boyd and her two sons struggle with running their ranch without their late husband and father. When her only recourse is to trust Dr. Rand Brookston, she balks at it. He is a doctor, just like her father was. Dr Brookston came to the Colorado Territory with a dream of opening a proper clinic but trust, and money, are both hard to come by.

 

While at the library one day, I stumbled upon this series and am so glad I did! It is now on my ‘favorite series’ and ‘favorite author’ lists. I adore historical fiction novels and Alexander does a fabulous job of describing the times just enough so that you’re engrossed in it but doesn’t overdo it to where you’re bogged down with descriptions. The plots of these three books were enjoyable and there was at least one point in each that I teared up. She throws surprises in that I did not see coming – which makes them even more fun! They are set in the late 1800’s, which is one of my favorite time periods.  The descriptions of the dresses made me long to actually see them. (And wear them!) 

I also liked that Elizabeth was working in a field that was still largely a male career ; that Molly’s story highlighted how different the expectations/ repercussions were for men and women; how Rachel fought to keep her ranch afloat despite the physical labor and frustrations. You continue to see/get to know the characters from the previous book and I love when authors do that. 

I highly recommend this series to anyone wanting a great series that has a message in each book! I can’t wait to read more by Tamera Alexander! 

~Laura

Have you read any books by Alexander? Who’s your favorite historical fiction author?

Book Review – The Silent Governess

8 Nov

Happy Tuesday!

One day, while wandering aimlessly through Barnes and Noble, I stumbled upon The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen. Intrigued, I pulled it from the shelf and started reading in one of the cozy chairs. I was quickly drawn in to the story and was so sad when my OH was ready to leave! I regretfully put it back on the shelf, and it only took me two years to get it from the library!

WHY IN THE WORLD DID I WAIT SO LONG? (groanofagonyandfrustrationatmyself)

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I think this book has made it to my top-10 list. It was that good.

Synopsis:

Olivia Keene flees home, believing she has committed a terrible crime. But when she accidentally overhears Lord Bradley’s secret – her flight is stopped and he has to decide what to do with her. Forcibly engaged at Brightwell Court as a nursery maid, Olivia is relieved to be well hidden but is also anxious at that fact. Lord Bradley is sure she’s hiding something, something other than his secret that if told, would destroy his entire life. But as he watches her, he is drawn more and more to the mysterious Miss Keene, despite the danger she represents.

 

I enjoyed this book on so many levels. Mystery. Romance. Friendship. Faith. When I had just about decided I knew what had happened/what would happen, Klassen threw in another twist and I’d invariably shout ‘what?’.

I feel like Klassen brings a more realistic-look at how life really was in her historical fiction.  Even as I was raging at how a maid was being treated, I couldn’t help but think how it’s probably pretty accurate. I appreciated that raw/harsh look at daily life that was balanced by the faith-filled words of Mr. Tugwell.

Because of the story line/ theme of the novel, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger readers.

Another one of her novels that I love, is The Apothecary’s Daughter. Just in case, you know, you need to get two new novels to read!

What are you reading lately?

~Laura

 

*While covering different genres, I do not read anything that has blatant sexual content. I will tell you if there is any sort of such (typically very mild and delicately put) in them and if I don’t think they’d be appropriate for young/teenage readers.*

Book Review – July 2015

3 Aug

Hello again!

I am so very excited about the new look and direction for SGL! As I, even with the best of intentions, rarely posted crafts or recipes, I am going to focus on books, writing (what I’m working on and tips and encouragements), chronic pain management and will be continuing the Virtue Series until the end of the year. So far, these seem to be the topics that you, my lovely readers, are interested in. You will undoubtedly see other changes coming along over the next few months (me being an Amazon associate hopefully will be the first one!). I hope you like this new look and direction – but for today, we have the book review for July.

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I picked up a few books while at an antique store in Ca on vacation, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Mayor of Casterbridge. The former I read way back in high school and enjoyed it so I am interested in reading it again with a different perspective. The latter ,well, you’ll have to keep reading to hear what I think of it!

And yes, I am very excited about Harper Lee’s new book, Go Set a Watchman, but am far too cheap to pay full price for a book. Plus while in Ca, my mom and I got given two bags of novels from my aunt that I have never read any of! Who needs to buy books when you’ve got such family and friends??

The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy – While intoxicated, Michael Henchard sells his wife and young daughter. Upon realizing what he has done, he makes a vow to never drink again. Years pass and he rises up in wealth until he is the Mayor. Unexpectedly reunited with his wife and daughter, the shame that he has always had of his past is now put to right….or is it? This was such a great book!  Henchard is a tragic hero,  always seeming to get in his own way.  As I read more of the story, the harder it was to put down! The twists weren’t what I had expected and even the satisfying conclusion followed that pattern.  There is a moral lesson being taught throughout,  but I won’t spoil it for you – go read it for yourself!

Courting Morrow Little – Laura FrantzReturning home to Kentucky,  Morrow Little’s memories of the day Shawnee warriors destroyed her family come back full force. Will dealing with them while taking care of her ailing father, who has befriended two Shawnee, and the chaos of the war between the whites and ‘savages’ , be too much? Will she choose to marry a man she doesn’t love instead of letting go of her bitterness – and betraying the memory of those she loved – and pursue a life with a man of contradictions? This Book! Ah, this book. I have never read a book with this setting and story line – the struggle during the war raging in the 1760’s. I got sucked in the first page and was sad when it was over. I will admit to getting upset about 3/4 of the way through that something else had gone wrong. But it was still a great historical-romance-fiction-i’ll-be-reading-it-again-book!

The Secret – Charlotte Bronte –  A collection of short stories by Charlotte and her siblings are in this light read. Each are set in the imagined world of Verdopolis and are full of intrigue, lies and love. It has been fun reading through these again – being full of the beautiful maiden, heroic duke and crafty villian. If you are a fan of the Bronte’s, you must read these as they were written when they were young and still learning their own style of writing.

Elantris – Brandon Sanderson – I know, only last month I gave a review on it,  but I really hadn’t read it since March/April and it was the PERFECT book to read while on vacation! I loved it just as much the second time, picking up on different things said and referenced, which made it fun.

The Sherwood Ring – Elizabeth Marie Pope – After her father dies, Peggy Grahame Is sent to his ancestral home,  Rest-and-be-thankful.  She meets Pat Thorne, a British scholar , who is promptly tossed out by her Uncle Enos. As she is left to herself, and wondering when she’ll see Pat again,  Peggy learns the family’s history, and that the mansion really is haunted! This was such a fun read, and due to the fact that I read it while traveling, it was also a quick one! The storyline was unique and the characters – in both modern time and historical – were engaging.  I always enjoy a book that can pull off 2 different times. It would be great even for preteens. It is absolutely a book I’m going to be reading again.

The Problem of Pain- C.S. Lewis – ” How human suffering raises almost intolerable intellectual problems”- Lewis addresses one of man’s most frustrating questions, why do we suffer if there is a loving God?      I haven’t finished this book but it has been very good so far.  His way of wording things is different enough that I’ve had to go back sometimes and read a section again but that’s not a negative for me. It’s been nice to read about a question that I have struggled with off and on, I’m sure most of us have! Very enlightening and I’m only on the fourth chapter.

~If you purchase a book from Amazon by following a link here on SGL, I will get a percentage of the sale =) ~

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