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Historical Fiction Book Reviews

Find below the books we've reviewed in this genre.

Markus Zusak Highlights the Importance of Rhetoric in ‘The Book Thief’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jun 19th, 2020 10:52 pm

It didn’t take very much for Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief to take permanent residence at the top of my favorite books. Though the Harry Potter series has been the crowning monarch on that list, after many years, it has opened the door to its palace and allowed The Book Thief in. I say it didn’t take much, but I’m sure Markus Zusak would beg to differ. As much as I’d like to think that he breezed through it in one sitting, I’m sure that he agonized over every word as every single writer who unde...

Taylor Jenkins Reid’s ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ is a Model of Literary Inclusivity
Reviewed By Maria Chance Dec 19th, 2020 2:00 am

People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy. — Taylor Jenkins Reid Taylor Jenkins Reid’s The Seven Husband’s of Evelyn Hugo grants us center stage view into the life of the fictional Evelyn Hugo, a movie star who rose from nothing to eventually rank among some of Hollywood’s greatest nam...

Review of Songs in Ursa Major
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 21st, 2021 12:39 am

Jane was no longer aware of what her hands were doing, but somehow they kept playing. The song filled the room like water, suspending them, weightless, as they watched each other. Jane knew the moment the music ended, gravity would return.” — Emma Brodie, Songs in Ursa Major When Jane Quinn steps on the stage at the Bayleen Island Folk Fest to fill in for the missing, yet clamored music sensation Jessie Reid, she has no idea that her whole life is about to change. From here on, Emma Brodie’s S...

Vanessa Riley’s ‘Island Queen’ Is the Powerful, Fictional Retelling of the Life of Dorothy Thomas
Reviewed By Maria Chance May 14th, 2022 2:27 am

There are queens born and there are queens made. In Island Queen, Vanessa Riley tells the story of a real-life, self-made queen of the highest order: Dorothy Kirwan Thomas. Born into slavery, the daughter of a slave and a plantation owner, Dorothy was barely five years old when she was first introduced to the darker side of life, as the British fought the French on the island of Monserrat for power, as friends died wounded right on the floor of her and her mother’s hut, as bombs exploded in the...

Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘City of Girls’ Explores One Woman’s Journey from Shame to Self-Love
Reviewed By Maria Chance May 24th, 2022 10:11 pm

In City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert takes us back to the year 1940, introducing us to Vivian Morris, a girl whom most judgmental minds would find easy to label an airhead and a tramp. Vivian starts out with very little direction in her life. At the age of 19 she’s been kicked out of college for slacking and her days at home are mostly limited to bouncing a tennis ball against the walls of her parents’ house. Thus, fearing she will be lost forever, they send her off to Manhattan to live with her...

Unravel A Mystery Disguised as a Love Story in Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White’s ‘All the Ways We Said Goodbye’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jun 8th, 2022 2:01 pm

In All The Ways We Said Goodbye, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White team up to bring us an epic tale of three women connected through time, love, heartbreak and war with the Ritz Paris as their silent witness. We meet the three main characters of this novel by moving swiftly back and forth through time, from 1914 at the brink of WWI, to 1942 at the heart of WWII and finally, to 1964, a liberal turning point for humanity as the world rebelled against war and the societal constraints...

Cambria Gordon’s ‘The Poetry of Secrets’ Explores the Terrors of the Spanish Inquisition Through the Lens of Star-Crossed Lovers
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jun 8th, 2022 2:20 pm

When we begin Cambria Gordon’s The Poetry of Secrets, the year is 1481, and Isabel is the oldest daughter of the Perez family, which consists of her two parents, grandmother and her sister, Beatriz. They reside in Trujillo, Spain where they’re known as conversos, meaning “converted ones,” one of the more civilized terms for Spanish Muslims and Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. At this time, there’s only one option for Jews who refuses to...

Douglas A. Martin’s ‘Branwell’ Casts the Spotlight on the Infamous Brontё Brother
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jun 8th, 2022 2:28 pm

In Branwell: A Novel of the Brontё Brother, Douglas A. Martin zeros in on the life of Patrick Branwell Brontё, the infamous brother of the acclaimed, world-renown authors Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontё. Readers familiar with the Brontё family history will most likely already know that Branwell struggled his whole life with alcoholism and an opium addiction that accelerated his untimely demise. Martin takes us step-by-step, from the birth of the only Brontё boy to his last breath, as he attemp...

Clare McHugh Recreates a Relatable Royal Family in ‘A Most English Princess’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 2:35 am

Queen Victoria’s daughter takes center stage in Clare McHugh’s slice of history, A Most English Princess. Beginning with her childhood and leading us to her last days, we are given a front-row invitation to witness the life of the young Princess Royal, addressed throughout the novel simply as Vicky. As a child, confused as to why her younger brother Bertie is the heir to the British crown instead of her, her father, Prince Albert, assures her that her life will be no less filled with purpose. No...

Louise Fein Explores WWII from a Nazi Perspective in ‘Daughter of the Reich’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 14th, 2022 4:59 pm

In Daughter of the Reich, Louise Fein delves into the difficult task of bringing a character to life who wholeheartedly follows Hitler’s anti-Semitic, fascist movement. When we first meet Hetty the year is 1929, and she’s an eight-year-old child. One day, while hanging out with her brother and his friend at a lake, Hetty falls in. Not knowing how to swim, her brother’s friend, Walter, is quick to dive in and pull her to safety. Hetty’s entire family showers Walter with endless gratitude. In 1929...