Tag Archive: historical-fiction



The Fiery Cross (Outlander, #5)The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These are such great books. The story continues. And now I can watch the current series on TV. But…

Until this book, Divina Porter, the narrator of all the Outlander books, was able to change the voices for most of the characters enough that a listener could tell who was talking. Now with Bree and Roger and Ian grown, they all sound like Clair and Jamie. If my eyes could handle the tracking I would try to have the book or Kindle version open to track who is speaking. Instead, I have to back up a bit to see if I can find out. Or I just keep listening and finally, context will indicate who had just been the speaker. That throws me out of the story.

Is it me, or is this book a little less exciting? I know with Covid19 all around and the stress that has caused us all, it may be playing a part in my attention levels. I may have to reread the series later when life returns us to quieter minds. So I will try not to affect my rating on this issue. I still loved it and have already downloaded the next book. I can’t wait to see how Jamie and his men adjust to the American Revolution. What if you were on the wrong side of history and knew it but couldn’t do much about it as no one but you had access to future history? Yeah. What a conundrum! Great writing, Diana Gabaldon!

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Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4)Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oops! I nearly forgot to review this one. I just moved into the next read (a library book).

I really wish I would have read this before the series on television. I liked the rhythm of the story better. I like the viewpoints presented here as Clair’s rather than Bree. It is different not having the information that comes with the daughter making the voyage back in time and back to America.

I think we got into Roger’s head a little more, too. It doesn’t take away from the show. It is actually interesting the take the directors and actors took the storyline without losing the story.

No spoilers here. Just glad I read (listened to the Audible) it and can’t wait to get into the next one!

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Voyager (Outlander, #3)Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew! These books are long. But good. This review is for the Audible version. After you get used to her, Davina Porter, narrator, you will find her voice versatile and natural for this story. One of my reasons for using this method to read these books is pronunciation. There are words in Gaelic or French and a couple of other languages that I wouldn’t know how to say, and text-to-speech would garble.

I don’t usually like to read a book after watching the show. I like to form my ideas of the characters before I see a director’s point of view. But so far this series translates nearly directly. It makes me proud of the show and the author of the book. It seems each of the scenes in the show was in the books. The only difference in this one is Gilly (not sure of the spelling–Audible doesn’t have written word.) I won’t spoil it for you. I actually like the book version over the show. But both work.

I can’t wait to listen to book four. And I’m looking forward to the next season of the show.

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A Duel in Time: A Time Travel Romance (Thief in Time Book 5)A Duel in Time: A Time Travel Romance by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Inspirational! Who doesn’t enjoy a good time-travel book? This one addresses the subject of the musical Hamilton. What fun! And now I have to go find the books about him and the sheet music to play with, and learn to sing the tunes like I did with Phantom and Les Miz.

But the book isn’t all about the musical. It covered a lot about the history and character of the man, statesman, politician, Alexander Hamilton. And the fictitious twins of this century and their coming of age issues.

I always enjoy books by Cidney Swanson. I always have to say that her Saving Mars series is my favorite but all her work is so fantastic it is only that I have to be the old grown-up with left-over space-travel dreams that I gravitate to those books. But Time-Travel is fun, and educational and inspires me so much! Enjoy! I did!

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Everything My Mother Taught MeEverything My Mother Taught Me by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely love Alice Hoffman’s writing. I couldn’t resist when I saw this for free on Audible. And this did have her great storytelling. The narrator, Brittany Pressley, was superb.

The story kept me interested. But the end came too soon I didn’t realize it was a short story until it ended. And that is my biggest problem with this audiobook. I don’t like short stories. They leave me wanting more. I want to know what happens next.

Still, it was a delicious story.

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Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2)Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If my mind has not been very focused. This book may be the cause. Lack of sleep. Not because of worries. Nope, I just couldn’t stop reading/listening to the book.

I had the Audible Whispersynched with the Kindle version. Davina Porter did a marvelous job of narrating the story. Hers is not the sweet voice of the actress who played Claire Randall in the TV series. But Ms. Porter has the versatility to play all the characters perfectly.

The show did a good job following the books. The only thing I miss in the reading is the music.
That’s okay. I can Sing Me A Song of a Lass That Has Gone…

This story is captivating either way. I love getting involved in the history presented. I wish I were better versed in world history, especially France, and the British Isles. I know the next book will bring me into the founding of the United States of America. So that gives me a timeline I know, somewhat.

Since I read the book after watching the show, I wish I could have read it first. Not that the show is missing anything. I just like visualizing the story for myself. Now the people and places are fixed by the show.

At any rate, it is a good read, even if you’ve seen the show. It will keep you engaged in the story. I can’t wait until I can afford book three.

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WunderlandWunderland by Jennifer Cody Epstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This should be required reading for everyone. Especially now.

It was difficult for me at first as I thought maybe I was reading pro-nazi propaganda. But the people who suggested this read for me would never have recommended that kind of book. So I continued reading.

The book was written through differing points of view and differing times. It feels like a memoir at times as it gets quite personal.

Instead of it being propaganda, the author gives us an inside look into how a person/nation becomes less free-thinking, how certain biases become bigotry and hatred. She shows us how group-think and gang-mentality forms, even in the most loving people. Peer pressure and lack of trust promoted by the people in power move all the people into fear. I think that was my take away.

I would have given this book five stars but my experience with text-to-speech with this back and forth in time and differing personalities was difficult to figure out who was talking and when. Without eyes on the text, I would get lost.

If you can, please read this book. I think I may want to read it again and take notes. Maybe I’ll give more stars next time.

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The Girls in the PictureThe Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was so lucky to receive this book from NetGalley to read for an honest review. I loved it.

Stories about women friends are the best, especially those who stood strong and were able to fight the male machine. The early days of motion pictures either sex could do the job. Both were needed to reflect the real world while inventing a new one. Sadly after the two World Wars women were sent back to the kitchen. Such an unfair state of affairs.

I loved how these two, actress and screenwriter supported each other while they could. I was sorry that, as they predicted, once they had a male counterpart that friendship had to take a backseat. And as the reality seems to hold, the male world still stifles that of the female. It is sad that only now many decades later we are just now seeing that the fight for equality may be within sight, again.

Everyone needs to read books like this. History/HERstory is possibly more palatable in fiction. There is enough truth that a person can Google (as I did) and see these early movie marvels. Meanwhile, there are gems of wisdom for us all to carry into the rest of our lives.

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The Victory GardenThe Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I’ve read this story before. I know I haven’t. Though I enjoyed it, I found it trite. Again, don’t take this as a dismissal. There are many good qualities here. Young women should read books that speak to women in history. It’s good to see how far we’ve not come while learning what has improved.I

While I can’t rate this five stars, which means I will always remember it and may read it again, it does come up to maybe a 4.5. It was well written. It kept me interested, I wanted to know what happened next.

I love reading stories like this. Women during the world wars and how they had to do the men’s jobs. How stories of witches and unplanned pregnancies could cause gossip but not as often as peacetime.

So, please if you want a good read. Pick this one up. It is free of you have Kindle Unlimited.

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The Hollywood DaughterThe Hollywood Daughter by Kate Alcott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Thank you, NetGalley.

This was not one of my favorite books. Yet I couldn’t stop reading it. First of all the writing was well done. Second and more personal, I remember my dad pointing to Ingrid Bergman on the TV and telling me that she was his very favorite actress. I had to agree with him that she was beautiful and I loved how she spoke. I don’t know what the show was. Nor do I remember what she said or wore that impressed me.

I think I may be part of the target audience, Baby Boomer. I may be around the same age as the main character, Jessica Malloy, well, a little younger. I wasn’t born until, what chapter three or four? And I am a Southern California girl so the location references were personal for me.

And I remember an aunt talking to my mother and I like a Dutch uncle about communism. Mom didn’t say much. She usually had plenty to say, so I think this long lecture caught her off-guard.

So it was these personal notes that pulled me in and kept me reading. That and I wrote a teen-meeting-idol book in the sixties about meeting casually the Beatles. So I want to see how it happens to others who have idols in the entertainment industry.

More than that, it was fun watching Jessica grow into a young woman and ridding herself of the demons of growing up.

For me, though, this growing up angst is tiring. Who wants to go back and relive their teens? At least this girl wasn’t gaga about this guy and that. It was more about her family and her self -discovery.

I may have to find an Ingrid Bergman movie or two to complete my experience. Others may love this book. But I stick with my three stars as it is better than some but not as good as others. I may actually forget it soon which is what brings it to a four or five-star rating. Try it. Let me know how you feel about it. Maybe I missed something? I do read using text-to-speech.

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