Category: Historical Fiction

A review of Love and Ruin by Paula McLain

Although Love and Ruin is a first-rate historical novel, it might not have pleased Gellhorn, because, in a way, it reduces her to a footnote in Hemingway’s life. By focusing on 1936-1945, Gellhorn’s “Hemingway” years, McLain makes them seem the major experience of Gellhorn’s life, when in fact they were just a blip on the radar screen of Gellhorn’s eighty-nine year life span. Even so, Love and Ruin is a page-turner, a novel that’s hard to put down.

A review of The Frozen Dream by Edward James

Some parts off the story follow history closely. The author, Edward James, knows this period well. HIs descriptions of the boats, their crews, and the historical settings are fascinating. The book also describes the real life and death of Richard Chancellor, a historical figure who stumbled into Ivan the Terrible’s court and became the first English diplomat to Russia. The other character, Arthur, is fictional, but his side of the story gives life to the nomadic tribes, the Sami people, who are too often left out of history but whose lives and customs remain unchanged since the dawn of time, even until today.

A review of The Love That I Have by James Molony

The Love That I Have should be an educational experience for many entertained and amazed readers. We take our freedoms for granted and the stark comparisons between our own carefree lives and the inhabitants of Nazi Germany are a chilling reminder of how important it is to maintain these privileged liberties. This is a book that belongs within a bookcase, the one you can reach for, then show your houseguest and say…”Now, this is a great story I’m sure you would like…”

A review of Before We Died by Joan Schweighardt

Though Before We Died is a fictional story, full of intrigue, mystery, and a driving plot that makes it very readable, it is also built around real events as described in the prologue, particularly the catastrophic impact of the rubber boom on some areas of the Amazon, ecologically and in terms of the impacts on the native tribes. The book also confronts issues like racism, exploitation, slavery, and rampant colonialisation, seamlessly integrating the universal into this particular story in a way that feels natural

A review of White Houses by Amy Bloom

Naturally Lorena is subjective, althought historians have written that Franklin’s affability and charm hid a selfish, determined core. One must remember that he was coping with a disability and deteriorating health while pulling his country out of a depression, then leading it through a world war. As Doris Kearns Goodwin shows in her non-fiction work, No Ordinary Time, Eleanor played a vital role during these national crises. 

A review of The Murderer’s Maid by Erika Mailman

Fans of historical fiction (especially those based on true events) will likely enjoyThe Murderer’s Maid.  Mailman clearly did her research—she included some of the documented incidents that are now part of the Borden family lore, and creates an interesting secondary storyline that weaves together the past and present into a compelling read.

A review of Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Overall, this book is interesting because it gives a new perspective on war from a boy who has never been involved in it. Also, because it is from the perspective of someone who is from a foreign country, the reader can understand what World War II was like for that country and how it affected them. I was personally intrigued by the character Pino because of the hope that he held throughout the whole war. Even though things around him were falling apart, and it seemed like nothing was going right, Pino still had faith that everything would be ok.

A review of Grace in Love by Ruth Latta

Having co-authored, with Joy Trott, the biography Grace MacInnis: A Woman to Remember, Ruth Latta is an expert on her subject. In Grace in Love, she holds a magnifying glass to a crucial portion of Grace Woodsworth MacInnis’s long life. Because Grace in Love is a novel, not a biography, some fictional characters mingle with the real ones.

A review of Rome’s Sacred Flame by Robert Fabbri

Throughout the reading my mind often reflected back to Colleen McCullough’s collection. She remodelled Gaius Julius Caesar to her own interpretation and I sensed the same thing happening with Robert Fabbri’s Titus Flavivus Vespasianus. In this book he wastes little time in dispatching friend or foe (including his brutalised wife) into the next world with his trusty gladius. I can understand why this is a bestselling series with an ever-growing audience.

A review of Xaghra’s Revenge by Geoff Nelder

Geoff Nelder is one of those writers who seems to be able to work across multiple genres seamlessly. There’s always an element of action, a hint of steamy romance, and his trademark twist. In his latest novel, Xaghra’s Revenge, the twist is a mixture of history, science, horror and fantasy. The research that underlies this novel is obviously impeccable. The narrative is built on the true story of Turkish pirate Rais Dragut, a brutal and deranged man who, in 1551, captured the entire population of Gozo, one of the Maltese islands, and sold whoever survived the terrible journey into slavery in Northern Africa.