Historical Fiction

#BookReview
Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran

#BookReview Rebel Queen by Michelle MoranTitle: Rebel Queen

Author: Michelle Moran

Published by: Touchstone on March 3, 2015

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 355

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy conquest. After all, India is not even a country, but a collection of kingdoms on the subcontinent. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the land she loves.

Told from the perspective of Sita, one of the guards in Lakshmi’s all-female army and the queen’s most trusted warrior, The Last Queen of India traces the astonishing tale of a fearless ruler making her way in a world dominated by men. In the tradition of her bestselling novel Nefertiti, which Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander series, called “a heroic story with a very human heart,” Michelle Moran once again brings a time and place rarely explored in historical fiction to rich, vibrant life.


Review:

I have to admit that when I picked up this book I knew very little about the Indian Rebellion against the British invasion in 1857, and I was not sure what to expect. Saying that, however, I was pleasantly surprised. 

This is the captivating and engaging story of Rani Lakshmibai, the Queen of Jhansi. And It is narrated by Sita, a young girl from a small village who grows up to become a Durgavasi, a select group of women who shield and protect the Queen.

It is a very interesting story about powerful women, independence, self identity, loyalty and sacrifice. The plot builds nicely. The characters are engaging. And the setting is vividly described.

It was a thoughtful, enjoyable read, and I hope that anyone who likes historical fiction will give it a try.

 

 

About Michelle Moran

Michelle Moran is the international bestselling author of seven historical novels. A native of southern California, she attended Pomona College, then earned a Masters Degree from the Claremont Graduate University. During her six years as a public high school teacher she used her summers to travel around the world, and it was her experiences as a volunteer on archaeological digs that inspired her to write historical fiction.

In 2012 Michelle was married in India, inspiring her seventh book, Rebel Queen, which is set in the East. Her hobbies include hiking, traveling, and archaeology. She is also fascinated by archaeogenetics, particularly since her children's heritages are so mixed. But above all these things Michelle is passionate about reading and can often be found with her nose in a good book. A frequent traveler, she currently resides with her husband, son, and daughter in the US. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

#BookReview
The Evening Chorus by Helen Humphreys

#BookReview The Evening Chorus by Helen HumphreysTitle: The Evening Chorus

Author: Helen Humphreys

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers on February 3, 2015

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover

Source: Borrowed

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Downed during his first mission, James Hunter is taken captive as a German POW. To bide the time, he studies a nest of redstarts at the edge of camp. Some prisoners plot escape; some are shot. And then, one day, James is called to the Kommandant’s office. 

Meanwhile, back home, James’s new wife, Rose, is on her own, free in a way she has never known. Then, James’s sister, Enid, loses everything during the Blitz and must seek shelter with Rose. In a cottage near Ashdown forest, the two women jealously guard secrets, but form a surprising friendship. Each of these characters will find unexpected freedom amid war’s privations and discover confinements that come with peace.


Review:

This is a touching story about three characters trying to survive and find their way amongst the unpredictability of war.

The imagery is beautiful and the power of nature and the solace one can find within it is clearly depicted.

This is a quiet, understated book that is elegantly written and definitely worth a read.

 

#BookReview
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

#BookReview The Boston Girl by Anita DiamantTitle: The Boston Girl

Author: Anita Diamant

Published by: Scribner on December 9, 2014

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 320

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Tent and Day After Night, comes an unforgettable coming-of-age novel about family ties and values, friendship and feminism told through the eyes of a young Jewish woman growing up in Boston in the early twentieth century.

Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine – a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love.

Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her “How did you get to be the woman you are today?” She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naïve girl she was and a wicked sense of humor.

Written with the same attention to historical detail and emotional resonance that made Anita Diamant’s previous novels bestsellers, The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth-century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world.


Review:

I really enjoyed this book.

This is the life story of Addie, an eighty-five-year-old woman, who was born and raised in Boston in the early 1900s to Jewish immigrants. It is a sentimental story that touches on the importance of friendship, family relationships, the fight for women to be educated and employed outside the home, love, loss, disappointment, frustration, and success.

I thought this story was extremely interesting and captivating, and I really liked the way it was narrated.

I would definitely recommend this for book clubs.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

About Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant is the author of twelve books -- the newest novel being THE BOSTON GIRL.

Anita is best-known for her first novel, THE RED TENT, which was published in 1997 and won the 2001 Booksense Book of the Year Award. Based on the biblical story of Dinah, THE RED TENT became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the US and overseas, where it has been published in more than 25 countries.

Three other novels followed: GOOD HARBOR, THE LAST DAYS OF DOGTOWN and, DAY AFTER NIGHT.

Anita has also written six non-fiction guides to contemporary Jewish life, which have become classic reference books: THE NEW JEWISH WEDDING, THE JEWISH BABY BOOK, LIVING A JEWISH LIFE, CHOOSING A JEWISH LIFE, HOW TO RAISE A JEWISH CHILD, and SAYING KADDISH..

An award-winning journalist, Diamant's articles have appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, Real Simple, Parenting Magazine, Hadassah, Reform Judaism, Boston Magazine and Yankee Magazine.PITCHING MY TENT, a collection personal essays, is drawn from twenty years worth of newspaper and magazine columns.

#BookReview
A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

#BookReview A Reliable Wife by Robert GoolrickTitle: A Reliable Wife

Author: Robert Goolrick

Published by: Algonquin Books on January 5, 2010

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 305

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 5.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for “a reliable wife.” But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she’s not the “simple, honest woman” that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man’s devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways. 

With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick’s intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.


Review:

In a nutshell I was disappointed.

I picked up this book thinking it might be good to put into book club. Unfortunately, I decided it wasn’t good enough.

For me the characters were flawed, unlikable, and unrealistic. I couldn’t sympathize with any of them.

The story was quite dark and seemed to overly revolve around sex. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t mind a little sex in a book. However, this book took that to another level. Literally, if the main character wasn’t having sex, then he was talking about sex or he was thinking about it.

On a positive note, the story did have some beautiful sentences and the harshness of life in the early 1900s in the Midwestern United States was clearly depicted. And even though for some the plot might have been predictable, I think for others there would be a few unexpected twists.

Overall, I would say if you are someone who has lots of time to read, give it a shot. If not, I would suggest giving it a miss.

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