Tag Archive: historical-fiction



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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The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd (Wyattsville, #4)The Regrets of Cyrus Dodd by Bette Lee Crosby
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. Sorry, I’m so late in reviewing. I read it quite a while ago. Still, I remember it with fondness.

This is the fourth of this series and I never got book three. I hate reading things out of order. But the book sat on my Kindle shelf so long I decided to give it a try. I’m so glad I did. This was one of the best character development stories I’ve read in a long time.

Bette Lee Crosby can write so well, you feel you are there, smelling, tasting, feeling everything the characters do. Their mental confusions can make you wonder about your own thoughts. The sadness the characters feel draw the Kleenex near. But when things work out you nearly are jumping up and down.

Please give this gem a try. It easily could stand alone. The other books in the series only give you a bit of a back knowledge, not really needed to care about what is happening and to whom. Loved it! I can’t wait to read more of Ms. Crosby’s work!

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Wives and DaughtersWives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I just wrote on the Kindle version on GoodReads, I found the text-to-speech didn’t work for me. I had an Audible credit sitting there when my friend recommended this book so I pick this up. The Kindle and the Audible didn’t synch up so I gave up trying to read while listening and just listened.

The story didn’t grab me as much as the narrator’s voice and her ability to characterize the whole story. It took me a longer time than books usually take but I felt I needed to soak Nadia May’s storytelling in. She was fantastic. I could see the story as if I were watching it in a movie. It might make a fun movie.

Since this was the Victorian British Isles, the history of women shows. It shows how far we’ve come and yet how far we need to go until there would be real equality. Even the title represents the ownership of fathers and husbands. Yet it is a good example that young women today should read and take their time to soak in why many modern women are still not happy with our positions in life.

Still, just as a story it is fun. Often I would get bored with it and then Nadia May’s voice and excitement would pull me back in. I’m glad I read it. Give it a try.

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A Crown in Time (Thief in Time Book 4)A Crown in Time by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cidney Swanson has done it again! This was a fun time-travel to Elizabethan England from 21st century here in America. It is the perfect ‘what if?’ with a mixture of thrilling moments fighting evil and or impossible situations and sweet moments of love. Imagine you could actually meet THE Queen Elizabeth!

Ms. Swanson presents some of the questions of time-travel and puts her own spin on things. Those crazy questions brought up in the past of seeing one’s self in the past, etc.

Meanwhile, there are three young women, newlyweds with spouses from other times. So well written that I found myself fighting a sore throat when the main character complains of same. Yes, it was coincidence but I worried about hypochondria. But after being out in public I realized it was allergies to certain perfumes had irritated my throat. Hot tea took care of it. But that is scary to think you can be so drawn into the book that you ‘catch’ their disease. Good thing I’m too old to feel the pregnancy symptoms! LOL!

If you get the chance, read this series. Even better start with my favorite series Saving Mars. Cidney Swanson can pull you into her books within a sentence or two and keep you up way past sleep time as you try to find a good stopping place.

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Fruit of the Drunken TreeFruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Though this story takes place in the 1990’s in the times of drug lord Pablo Escobar in Bogotá, Columbia, it’s lessons are current for us here in the USA. It centers on two young girls and how they affect each other and each others’ families.

I actually finished the book a couple days ago. I needed time to think about how to review this. Besides what I said above I just couldn’t decide. If you want to know more about the book go read the reviews on GoodReads. Many just write out the story themselves. Why bother with reading it with all that information? I don’t like to include blurbs about the books I read. I figure there are plenty of those out there. My review is to tell future me what I thought and possible current events or life events and how they might have influenced my feelings. If that helps others, I am glad. So for my future self: remember when they separated babies from parents because of a need to get rid of illegal immigrants? How many of them were seeking asylum from life similar to what the characters in this book were living with? I have friends who lived through being held up by guerrillas. I don’t believe that these people are taking away our jobs. Watch how the costs of foods go up as citizens take back the farming jobs. Just saying.

Anyway, this book was well written, at times even poetic. It kept me up as I couldn’t leave the characters when it was well past time to sleep. I think everyone should read this book. Even if it doesn’t change your point of view, it could help educate on the history and peoples of South America. And if it feels factual, like a true story, know that the author did live through a lot of what the book tells about. The girls playing with injured Barbies. The dreams of the girl’s leg with sock and shoe that the main character saw on TV news minus a child’s body. These are just a couple incidences that felt too real to be fiction.

When I rate a book with five stars I know that I will remember it. It affected me deeply.

I’m so happy that NetGalley had it for me to read for review.

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A Sword in Time (Thief in Time Series Book 3)A Sword in Time by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely love this series. Nearly as much as I did Saving Mars. Let’s see, space travel, living on another planet, or Time Travel to ancient Greece? Space Travel. But this runs a close second.

Cidney Swanson writes the way I wish I did. She grabs your attention and won’t let go until the book is finished and then leaves you wishing for more.

Maybe it is from too many nights awake reading this that I got this latest fibro attack? Maybe worth it?

At any rate, this is a must read series! I think you will like it! I can’t wait for more!!!

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The Museum of Extraordinary ThingsThe Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alice Hoffman does it again! I am always certain of a deep and interesting read if I pick up something she’s written.

This one has well researched historical events and has thrown in the fictional characters making a seamless story. I loved the main characters who felt real, flaws and all.

Of course, this book drew me in as the main character posed as a mermaid. My inner mermaid was overjoyed and scared for this girl as she attempted to fool the public for her father’s museum of defected folks that he revamped into scientific anomalies. In the mermaid’s case, webbed fingers, has her dad putting her in water most of her life.

The story was played against a backdrop of labor strikes and unhealthy work conditions that causes fires. The other main character is a young man whose father seems deeply depressed. The world has treated his people horrendously. This young man’s story plays out near the mermaid’s. Though the romance doesn’t happen through most of the book, and it doesn’t take over the story, get ready, love happens. But it helps the story.

I don’t know why I don’t want to give this five stars. It is a story I will remember. I guess because overall, it left me depressed. And I wanted more of the happiness these people deserved. Maybe a book two will bring them back? It is depressing history, but necessary to read and learn from. Please give it a read if you get the chance. I was able to pick this up from our e-library. Best way to read books that are normally too expensive for my taste. Enjoy.

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