Tag Archive: historical-fiction



The Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War IIThe Last Bookshop in London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m so sorry I am finished reading this book! I wanted to live with these characters. No, I didn’t want to live during a war, especially while bombs were dropping. But I love living with book people who love to share books with those they love. Oh, yeah. I already live that, sans bombs!

Saskia Maarleveld (Narrator) keeps the story live. Not even a moment did I remember real life while in the book.

I love stories about females during World War II, but they are often soft mushy girls who do not seek their inner strength. They often fall in love with the guy and become arm candy or the like. Not our main character here. She seeks her own worth and, in the process, finds a fellow book lover, even before she has become addicted to the same.

Please, if you get the chance, try this book. I think you may love it as much as I did. I was lucky to pick it up on Libby, but I am seriously thinking of getting my own copy for when I want to curl up in a guaranteed good read. I hope you love it as much as I do.

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The Book Woman's Daughter (The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, #2)The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t realize until the author’s note at the end of this book that this is book two of a series. So it can obviously stand alone. I was lucky to find it on Libby as an audiobook. I don’t know if the book reads with quite the accent of the narrator, Katie Schorr, but I think she adds authenticity to the story.

I don’t usually add the blurb about the book but I don’t think I could do the story justice, so:

In the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett has always known that the old ways can make a hard life harder. As the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, Honey and her family have been hiding from the law all her life. But when her mother and father are imprisoned, Honey realizes she must fight to stay free, or risk being sent away for good.

Picking up her mother’s old packhorse library route, Honey begins to deliver books to the remote hollers of Appalachia. Honey is looking to prove that she doesn’t need anyone telling her how to survive. But the route can be treacherous, and some folks aren’t as keen to let a woman pave her own way.

If Honey wants to bring the freedom books provide to the families who need it most, she’s going to have to fight for her place, and along the way, learn that the extraordinary women who run the hills and hollers can make all the difference in the world.

It’s worth the read. May I suggest the possibility of triggers in abusive situations? Serious outcomes. But the strength of the young woman as she learns to stand up for herself is amazing.

It is worth the read. Now I am looking up book 1 and hoping it won’t be difficult to go backward. I’ll let you know later.

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The Orphan’s Mother by Marion Kummerow


The Orphan's MotherThe Orphan’s Mother by Marion Kummerow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I hated to end the reading or listening to this book. Sarah Durham narrated the story with all the acting skills needed to do the many parental and child voices. She managed the German and Polish names and words; at least, I thought they sounded right. It is one of the reasons I love Audiobooks so much. Other languages, if read by my voice and eyes, would probably be wrong.

I love books about women during the wars. You know there must have been situations like this. There must be even now with COVID19 orphans, earthquake orphans, etc. The news rarely brings the stories to life. But people get misplaced and have to survive somehow.

This is more than just one mother. Watching all the moving parts turn the story deeper and deeper is intriguing. Amazing writing!

My only objection is the missing parts of the orphan’s life. I wanted more.

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Yellow WifeYellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a challenging, necessary read. But with Robin Miles narrating, the story became something I couldn’t stop ‘reading.’ It is a book written colloquially, so I think without narration, it might have seemed bad writing. But as you hear how the language is spoken, it feels quite natural.

I have never heard the term “Yellow Wife.” But it makes sense. How horrid the things humans have done to humans. I don’t understand that at all. To force people to work beyond their capacity or force women to marry those they didn’t love or chose to be with. It is all baffling.

At any rate, I am glad there are authors to take us into the past to see the kinds of things that have happened.

Since it was based on someone who had existed and that person’s history, the fiction around it became something believable. Just bring a box of Kleenex and gird up your loins for a good story that includes the cruelties of humans against humans.

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The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels (Dangerous Damsels, #1)The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t do this often, but I think I should include the blurb from the GoodReads page.

“A prim and proper lady thief must save her aunt from a crazed pirate and his dangerously charming henchman in this fantastical historical romance.

Cecilia Bassingwaite is the ideal Victorian lady. She’s also a thief. Like the other members of the Wisteria Society crime sorority, she flies around England drinking tea, blackmailing friends, and acquiring treasure by interesting means. Sure, she has a dark and traumatic past and an overbearing aunt, but all things considered, it’s a pleasant existence. Until the men show up.

Ned Lightbourne is a sometimes assassin who is smitten with Cecilia from the moment they meet. Unfortunately, that happens to be while he’s under direct orders to kill her. His employer, Captain Morvath, who possesses a gothic abbey bristling with cannons and an unbridled hate for the world, intends to rid England of all its presumptuous women, starting with the Wisteria Society. Ned has plans of his own. But both men have made one grave mistake. Never underestimate a woman.

When Morvath imperils the Wisteria Society, Cecilia is forced to team up with her handsome would-be assassin to save the women who raised her–hopefully proving, once and for all, that she’s as much of a scoundrel as the rest of them.”

My friend, a Pirates of the Caribbean fan like me, suggested this for fun. Her book club had just enjoyed it.

But after the serious reading I had been doing of late, this was just not my cup of tea. At least at first. By the end, my sense of humor came back, and I had a hard time reading it before bed without letting Laugh out Loud moments escape me.

My copy came from the library on the Libby app. It was the audio version and the narrator, Elizabeth Knoweldon, was a hoot to listen to. I loved her accent and how she adjusted her voice according to the character.

If you are looking for a fun summer read, this might do the trick!

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A Plague of ZombiesA Plague of Zombies by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am going to give this another listen later. I feel I lost something or that it ended far too soon.

I love reading about Lord John. His sense of morality, committed to doing the right thing, propels him more than other men you might read about. He cares deeply and wants to save lives and hearts/

The narrator isn’t as fun as Davina Porter and I think she could have done this book. But Jeff Woodman does a good job keeping the story going.

If you are on an Outlander binge you can’t quit, here is one to help give you your fix.

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Virgins (Outlander, #0.5)Virgins by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In my attempts to soothe my addiction to all books Gabaldon, I found this, a short story sequel. Thank goodness I found it on Libby as I would have been very disappointed to have spent any money on it.

I was so used to Davina Porter’s voice that this new narrator was harsh and not as easy to follow. I could not tell who was who. Allan Scott-Douglas has a great accent to help make the story feel Scottish. And though having a male voice for the males, I think Davina could have done this better.

The story is quite forgettable. I had hoped for more about how Ian lost his leg, but it was even before that happened. I don’t know that we gained anything about the characters that we didn’t already know.

Please don’t take it from me, there are lots of five-star ratings for this book, so I don’t want to discourage you from trying it out for yourself. It could just be a moment in my life that didn’t fulfill me as I hoped.

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Go Tell the Bees That I Am GoneGo Tell the Bees That I Am Gone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As much as I love all the Outlanders, this may be my favorite. The sad part is that the next book isn’t ready to read. So now I am floundering with Diana Gabaldon’s novellas. And Davina Porter makes Ms. Gabaldon’s writing shine!

Don’t let it scare you; think honey, not stingers. Bees do play a part in telling this story. My takeaway is to always talk to the bees; they want to know.

As with the rest of the series, this book is educational about the American Revolution. It is inspirational as I long to read and research our history to know more than I learned in school. It proves my point that the student will feel curious if you throw in a bit of magic.

Ah, but, Diana, why did you have to leave this on a cliff? Especially knowing that it would be ages until your perfected sequel (as opposed to the Game of Thrones hurried ending by someone else.) But it wasn’t a high cliff, so I’ll tolerate it knowing our heroes will be safe somehow and once again save the day.

I love, love, love all the lessons the Frasiers and friends have to teach us and can’t wait for more.
If you get the chance, please listen to these books in audio form as Davina Porter brings the story to life.

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Written in My Own Heart's Blood (Outlander, #8)Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes, I reread it. And I still say the same things about it being my favorite Outlander so far. Do you want to know why? Okay, beyond Diana Gabaldon’s writing and research and Davina Porter’s voice acting, this character and scenes list goes beyond the first review I wrote below.

Characters: Jamie Fraser, Brianna Randall, Roger MacKenzie, Jeremiah MacKenzie, Fergus Fraser, Marsali Fraser, Germain Fraser, Ian Murray, Lord John Grey, Benedict Arnold, Claire Randall Fraser, Jonathan Randall, Dougal MacKenzie, Geillis Duncan, Jenny Murray, Young Ian Murray, William Ransom, Rachel Hunter, Denzell Hunter, William Buccleigh MacKenzie, Amanda MacKenzie, Harold, Duke of Pardloe, Henri-Christian Fraser, Brian Fraser, Jane Pocock, Frances Pocock, Dorothea Grey, Jerry MacKenzie, George Washington.

Settings: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1778 (United States)
Lallybroch, Scotland, 1980 (United Kingdom)
Lallybroch, Scotland, 1739 (United Kingdom)
Savannah, Georgia, 1779 (United States)
North Carolina, 1779 (United States)
Fraser’s Ridge, North Carolina, 1779 (United States)

***

I thought that book 7, Echo In The Bone, was my favorite of the Outlander books. Nope. Written in My Own Heart’s Blood wins. It was fantastic!

Regardless of the time the characters land in, they all grow and help us learn the rules of Gabaldon’s Time Travel.

What can I tell you that won’t spoil it for you?

As usual, there is a lot of research evident in the reading, and as one supposes, there are instances of poetic license, which Diana Gabaldon admits she has it framed on her wall.

The most exciting part of the book is as Breanna talks about Doctor Who in a chapter called, Thank You For The Fish. (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy). Now I really wish I had a TARDIS so that I could play in all three universes.

And I wish I could move on to book 9, but my Audible credits don’t come until the middle of the month. A quick note about why I read by Audible most often now: actual reading is impossible for my eyes. It seems to be a tracking issue. So I use a lot of Kindle Text-to-Speech. Though TTS works well for most books, I want to hear the words pronounced correctly when there are other languages involved. Davina Porter is able to range the language barriers and character ages and sexes with apparent ease. I love listening to her.

If you get the chance, the books are as good if not better than the shows, and the Audible versions are the best of all the worlds. Enjoy!

***
By the way, since the first reading and the need for Audible, I have had cataract surgery and hope that soon I can read paper books. But for books like this with many foreign languages I don’t know how to pronounce, I’ll stick with Audible.

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An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7)An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Below is my first review of this Audio version of the book. Nothing has changed. This is still my favorite Outlander book. It was great to read it as this season of Outlander streams. In fact, the scene from a couple of weeks ago I had just read the same day. Claire got sick. I’ll write no more about that without spoilers.

I took longer to read (listen) this time. Instead of knitting, I spend the listening time on Diamond Painting a series of dragons. I can only devote an hour or so to that endeavor. So with the before-bed read and creative pursuits, I couldn’t read straight through. I am already set up to read book 8. It’s like I can’t remember what happened next, yet I kind of remember and can’t wait to revisit it all.

***
This book may be my favorite of all the Outlanders. Maybe because of how I chose to read it nearly 24/7. After all, I had reached the skinny-mini underbelly of all streamings–teens or young people who look like Barbie Dolls going through the samo-samo life issues. Give me some older adults, women of all shapes and colors, real people, not Hollywood mothers, whores, or weaklings. Not enough streaming of strong women holding up half the world. So back to reading the only way I could. Audible.

Also, I was making scrubbies and washcloths while listening. That helped me ‘hear’ better.

By constant reading, I could stay in the story better. And family members came and listened with me on occasion. So it wasn’t a lonely process.

At any rate, I loved watching the cast of the characters struggle with life and time travel issues and historical moments. I especially loved the parts about Brianna and Roger at Lallybroch recovering letters from Claire and Jamie. And though I used to find Willy obnoxious, I think I clicked with him this time. And I grew more in love with John Grey. How nice to see good, honest, quality men portrayed.

I tried to find something else to read last night as my bedtime read but couldn’t resist looking for more Outlander. Now I am listening to book 8, Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.

Time to lower my reading goal as I seem stuck in tome reading. I love it! I hope you get the chance to read these. Oh, and Davina Porter does so many voices so well. I still wish for more actual actors, for sometimes Bri and Claire sound the same, and all the children sound the same, and Roger, even with his sore throat, sounds like other men. Still, for one person covering so many people, Davina is fantastic!

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