Showing posts with label historical fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label historical fiction. Show all posts

Friday, October 15, 2021

With Love, Louisa: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 3 Reviewed

With Love, Louisa Reviewed
The Larkhall Letters book series has kept me reading, and laughing, for days! 

I've quickly moved from one book to the next.  Most recently, I finished reading With Love, Louisa.  Sadly, I now have to wait for the next book in the series to be published to continue following the lives and escapades of the ladies and gentlemen of Larkhall. However, you can start the series today, then wait along with me in eager anticipation of the 4th book.

In book 3, as you would expect from the title, Louisa Rosemeyer is the main character. Previously, she has been a likable support character in the series.  We first meet Louisa in book 1, The Ace of Hearts.  She and her older sister Alice (the main character of book 1) visit Larkhall for the summer in hopes that one or the other will find a lovable husband so they can avoid being forced into arranged marriages by their stepfather. 

In book 2, The Captain's Confidant, Louisa had become Bridget Northcott's companion, which allows her to safely remain at Larkhall and travel with the Northcott family. 

Book 3 opens with Louisa feeling uncomfortable with continuing to live at Larkhall with Bridget's brother, Matthew, her self-appointed older brother, and their elderly aunt. She believes it will cause a great scandal if she remains in the home with a single man.

Unexpectedly, the shy Louisa manages to find herself in an extraordinary situation that had me rolling with laughter as she winds up in the very worst place while seeking a hiding place in an unfamiliar home.


With Love, Louisa Book Synopsis

 With Love, Louisa: A Regency Romance
(Larkhall Letters Book 3)
Check Price
When Louisa Rosemeyer decides it is time for her to leave the protection of Larkhall, she pens a letter to her wealthy widowed aunt, Mrs. Irwin, whom she hopes would welcome a companion. Louisa hasn't met Mrs. Irwin, but she knows she owns an estate, Benham Abbey, in Folkswich. To her happy surprise, Louisa receives a response to come as soon as possible.

However, Mrs. Irwin did not write the letter.  Her tenant, Jack Warwick, replied to Louisa and signed Mrs. Irwin's name. He believes it would serve his disagreeable landlord right to be required to receive unwanted company and believes it would be a grand joke on Mrs. Irwin.

Upon arrival at Benham Abbey, Louisa is mistaken by the housekeeper as a hired maid and escorts her to the servant's quarters. Because it is already bedtime, Louisa believes this is a mistake that can be rectified in the morning and she is exhausted from travel.  However, she can't sleep due to hunger.  She decides to venture to the kitchen for a snack. When she hears a man's voice, she is frightened.  After all, why would a man be in her elderly aunt's home?  Fearing that it could be an intruder, she decides to hide, but she has to keep moving further away as it seems the man is following her.  

Both the man and Louisa are shocked by what happens next!

 

Conclusion

It is rare for me to find a book series that every individual book deserves a separate review.  However each book in the Larkhall Letters by Ashtyn Newbold has an excellent plot with wonderful characters and could easily be enjoyed without having read other books in the series.

With Love, Louisa is a delightfully entertaining story with several difficult situations that must be dealt with properly and in accordance with societal rules.  

In the end, I feel I have made a few new friends and I wish them every happiness.  


Read My Other Reviews of Books in the Larkhall Letters Series

 The Ace of Hearts Review The Captain's Confidant Review




Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




House of Sylvestermouse







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, September 24, 2021

The Captain's Confidant: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 2 Review

I previously reviewed the first book in the Larkhall Letters series. Because it was such a delightful book to read, I immediately started the second book in the series, The Captain's Confidant

We originally met Bridget Northcott in book 1, The Ace of Hearts. I instantly liked her!  She was a gracious hostess, sweet friend, and clearly someone who could keep secrets.  In book 1, Bridget didn't even tell her brother, Matthew, Alice Rosemeyer's real reasons for visiting his estate, Larkhall.

When Bridget shared her own secret with Alice and told her why she wasn't interested in considering any would-be suitors, it is obvious why keeping confidences was so important to Bridget. She had a big secret of her own!  For years, she had been in love with her brother's friend, Captain Colin Foster.

Any romantic reading the book would hope that Bridget's captain returned her love. However, at the beginning of book 2, when we discover that Captain Foster is engaged to someone else, that hardly seems likely. 


The Captain's Confidant Synopsis

 The Captain's Confidant: A Regency Romance (Larkhall Letters Book 2)Check PriceWhen his older brother dies in an accident, Captain Foster is forced to return home and assume his place as heir and master of Thorncarrow.  Colin resents having to leave his career and his beloved sea. He has been living the life he wanted.  Now, he is choked by obligations, debt, and an unwanted estate. Captain Colin Foster is a very unhappy man.

When they find out that Colin is back at Thorncarrow, Matthew and Oliver Northcott make plans to visit him.  They hope they might be able to help him ease into his new role as owner of an estate. Plus, they are interested in how he had so quickly become engaged to their neighbor, Miss. Tabitha Terrell.  

Bridget is heartbroken to hear of Colin's engagement and questions how he could even consider marrying Tabitha. He knows firsthand of the spiteful things that Tabitha did to Bridget when they were kids. She is determined to find out how he could possibly love her and convinces her brother, Matthew, that he should allow her to accompany them to Thorncarrow.  However, upon arrival, is seems Colin is not thrilled to see Bridget. He sends her and her companion to stay in the dower's house with his mother.

In her own state of distress, Bridget decides to vent her anger through a letter that is never meant to be delivered.  However, a maid finds the letter and promptly takes it to the addressee, Captain Colin Foster.  After Colin reads the letter, he decides to write one of his own and that is how Bridget becomes the Captain's confidant. 


My Conclusion

Sharing secrets with someone you trust is something we all need to be able to do from time to time. Knowing they would never betray you is paramount.  

This is a sweet story of an old friendship that is reestablished after years of separation.  It is also the story of forgiveness and reconciliation of other broken relationships.  No doubt, there is a message of encouragement laced within the pages of this story for all of us if we take the time to reflect upon it.

 




Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




House of Sylvestermouse







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, September 17, 2021

The Ace of Hearts: A Regency Romance - Larkhall Letters Book 1 Review

The Ace of Hearts
I've only read a few Regency romance novels and I don't remember ever recommending one in the past. While they are clearly romantic fiction, which is my preferred genre, there is no guarantee they will be clean and wholesome.  When I search for a new book, I have learned to use the term "clean and wholesome" and have had much greater success finding a romantic fiction book that doesn't include graphic sex.

I've seen Regency romance novels in the "clean and wholesome" search results, but past experience has made me hesitate to choose one again. However, when I saw "The Ace of Hearts" was included in my KindleUnlimited membership, I felt I had nothing to lose if I tried a Regency romance again.  After all, I could stop reading if it became too racy and know that I had not spent a dime on the novel.  I'm really glad I gave that genre another chance!

I love historical fiction and thanks to Pride and Prejudice, I am very fond of the British Regency era depicted in books, especially if the book includes a touch of humor. While I am fascinated by the aristocracy, I admit I am glad I don't live under their rigid rules and expectations for women.  The "Larkhall Letters" book series reminds me, once again, to be grateful that I was not subject to an arranged marriage because my family estate needed an infusion of cash, or because someone was in the right social class.

In "The Ace of Hearts", Alice Rosemeyer went to great lengths and engaged in socially unacceptable activity in order to avoid her stepfather's arrangement for her marriage and life.  Given her circumstances, I'm sure I would have been inclined to run away too.

 

The Ace of Hearts Book Synopsis

 The Ace of Hearts: A Regency Romance
(Larkhall Letters Book 1)
Check Price
Alice thought she had found a way out of having to marry her stepfather's choice when she and her step-brother, Isaac, colluded to help Isaac win the heart of a wealthy heiress, Diana Herring.  He had agreed to use some of Diana's dowry to setup a dowry for Alice that would attract a more desirable gentleman for her to wed.  Alice's hopes, along with her stepbrother's hopes, were dashed when his hopeful bride's brother refused Isaac as a suitor for Diana. 

While Thomas Herring may have made a very wise decision for his sister, Diana, that decision made Alice desperate to devise another way to gain her independence.  Without telling anyone, including her stepbrother, she made plans for her and her younger sister, Louisa, to visit a friend in another city for the summer.  Bridget Northcott was excited to have the two Rosemeyer sisters join her at Larkhall and was more than happy to introduce them to prospects, which happened to be her brothers friends and guests for the summer.  Surely the sisters would catch the eye of a more desirable suitor.  

But, Alice did not wish to be bound by matrimony. She much preferred the idea of being independent and able to provide for herself and her sister if necessary.  When she found a like-minded ally, as well as financial backing, in Diana's aunt, she was thrilled to consider a different future.  It was one, however, that would require careful planning and anonymity. Together, they made a plan.

Thus, the Ace of Hearts was established and open for business!

 

My Conclusion

I found this to be a delightful read that occasionally made me laugh. I could easily envision the characters as described by Ashtyn Newbold. Their actions, unusual, yet creative schemes, and antics were rather entertaining.  Plus, the parlor games were quite amusing! 

This is one Regency Romance Novel I can highly recommend! I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.





Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




House of Sylvestermouse







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Review of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Historical Fiction by Kim Michele Richardson
I found this historical novel very interesting.  It is based on two pieces of history that were new to me.  The author did a lot of research to make sure she got the significant facts correct and then wrote her novel surrounding these events.

Historical Facts

The novel takes place in the 1930's and was inspired by the blue-skinned people of Kentucky and Kentucky Pack Horse librarians.

The Blue people of Kentucky were first discovered in the hills of eastern Kentucky.  They had an extremely rare disease that causes the skin to be blue.  This disease limited oxygen to the blood and caused a bluish tint to the skin. It is called Methemoglobinemia. These people lived in remote areas of the Kentucky hills near Troublesome creek and were shunned by other people in the area because they looked different.

The Kentucky Pack Horse librarians were started with the signing of Roosevelt's New Deal Acts.  The Pack Horse Library project was established in 1935 and ran until 1943.  It was created in an effort to both create jobs for women in rural Appalachia and to bring books to the people that lived in the poorest and most isolated areas of eastern Kentucky.  These librarians were known as the Book Women.

 

The Novel

The book takes place in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky in 1936.  It follows a pack horse librarian,  Cussy Mary Carter (also known as Bluet) through her travels as she delivers books, magazines and compassion to the poor people in the remote areas of the Kentucky hills.

Bluet has blue skin and is shunned by many of the town's people because she looks different and they feel that she has something they could "catch".  She finds peace in her job as a pack horse librarian and in the joy she brings to the people in the hills as she brings them reading materials.  She also will take the time to read to those who are not able to read themselves and she shows a lot of compassion to these people who have little food and possesions.

We also see Bluet as she works in the library storage area once a month and interacts with the other librarians.  Some are very mean to her and others are very kind.  

Bluet's mother has passed away and she lives with her father.  Troublesome Creek is a mining town and her father works in the mines.  A side story with the father shows the troubles that the miners have and the way  they live with the black lungs they got from working in the mines.

I found the main character Cussy Mary to be someone I really got to know in the book and looked forward to continue reading the book.  This is a book I would strongly recommend.

Another Book on the Kentucky Pack Horse Librarians

The book club I belong to read another book on the pack horse librarians.  It was called The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes.  I also found it fascinating.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Book Review of The Beekeeper's Promise

 

The Beekeeper's Promise is a work of historical fiction that takes place in the World War II era.  It portrays two women of courage.  The first is Eliane, who lives in a small town in France during the the war and the second is Abi who visits that small town in 2017. The chapters in the book alternate between Eliane's story and Abi's story.

First Storyline

Eliane lives in rural France and we hear her story starting in the late 1930's near the beginning of World War II.  She lives on the Count Comte's Bellevue estate and she is employed as a kitchen assistant in the main chateau.  One of the duties she loves is taking care of the many beehives.  She does an excellent job and the Count arranges for some additional beehives to be moved from a nearby farm for Eliane to also mange.  When the beehives are moved Matthieu oversees the move and Eliane and Matthieu soon develop a close relationship.
The story then evolves as the chateau is taken over by the Nazi's and the Count moves out to a side cottage.   Eliane continues on with her duties with the bees and in the kitchen.  Without giving away more of the story I will say that Eliane and many of the others become involved in the war effort.  The French resistance is very much a part of this novel and the courage of those involved is evident.  I found it to be a very interesting and educating book.

Second Storyline

Abi, who lives near London, is recovering from an accident and severe depression.  Her friend talks her into attending a Yoga retreat in a small French town.  During the retreat Abi wanders off into the French countryside and gets herself lost.  A storm comes up and Abi is rescued by Sara who is driving by in the area.  Sara brings her to her home to wait out the storm.  It turns out that her home is the former estate of Count Comte.  Sara and her husband Thomas have turned the estate into a wedding venue.  It is the height of the wedding season and a key employee has taken ill.  Abi stays to help and during her stay Sara tells her the story of Eliane.  Through this story, which is told gradually over the weeks that Abi is working at the wedding venue, Abi realizes that she too can be strong and face the future.






My Recommendation

This was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed.  In fact I think I will recommend it for my book club to read.  I loved all of the characters and the author, Fiona Valpy, did an excellent job of making me feel that I was part of the story.  It was one of those books that carried the characters with me long after I had finished reading.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, July 9, 2021

A Better Country Book Series by Kristina Hall Reviewed

A Better Country Book Series
When I received a request to review "To the Uttermost", which is book 2 of A Better Country series by Kristina Hall, I quickly agreed to read it.  However, I wanted to start with book 1, "Strangers and Pilgrims" and I'm really glad I did.  

Reading Strangers and Pilgrims first allowed me the opportunity to get to know the main characters in the series.  Understanding their background and the struggles this created family survived, helped me appreciate and understand them.  I doubt I would have grasped the depth and reason for their close relationships without the revelations of book one.

Both books caused me to really stop and think about several things. When reading books, hearing stories, or visiting battleground sites of the American Civil War, I often consider how families were forever changed.  Reading a book, even a fiction book, about a soldier who returned home to find his parents dead and his home town overrun by the enemy, is not a scenario I previously considered. However, I have no doubt it is a plausible plot and was, most likely, a reality for far too many at that time in history.

As long as the reader keeps in mind that there are evil people in every region of every country and doesn't get locked up on Civil War sides, I believe "Strangers and Pilgrims" offers an excellent message for all.

It is unlikely anyone would struggle with the content in "To the Uttermost", but you will want the background provided in "Strangers and Pilgrims". 

 

Strangers and Pilgrims Synopsis

In book 1 of A Better Country series, Harry Reiner has just returned to his home town in Texas and to a very unwelcome reception.  He is easily identifiable as a Confederate soldier in this town overrun by Yankees, and they are intolerant of his presence.  He is shot and left for dead in the middle of the street. Only one woman has the courage to come to his aid.  

Rose Kendrick previously stood up against the self-appointed leader of the town, Edwin Burton, and is almost an outcast herself. She survives by taking in laundry, but once she takes in Harry, her business completely dries up. She finds herself, her home, and her loved ones under physical attack. 

Sally Guilford is an orphan who was previously taken in by Rose.  She is Rose's helper, adopted daughter, and biggest defender. Sally is also Rose's greatest area of weakness and evil people are not beyond threatening or even harming a child.

Doyle is an adult man who is Rose's only friend in town. Every time Rose is under attack, Doyle comes to her defense, which puts him in great danger.  Because he has previously taken a bullet while defending Rose, his physical strength is limited.

These four individuals don't stand much of a chance against a lawless town full of enemies lead by a vengeful and spiteful leader.

------

Throughout this book, Christians are reminded that they are "strangers and pilgrims on the earth".  (Hebrews 11:13)

 

To The Uttermost Synopsis

Book 2 of the series picks up a few years later where Harry Reiner and his family are living on his parents horse farm, but the book begins in the wilderness of Colorado with Owen Lockart and his 3 brothers escorting a captured outlaw to jail. 

The outlaw is a member of Vic Guilford's gang. When the 4 brothers are ambushed by the gang, only Owen survives.  He vows revenge for his brother's murders. 

Owen heads to a farm in Texas (Harry Reiner's farm) where Guilford's sister lives. He believes the brother will visit his sister there and give him opportunity to exact revenge.  Since Harry is familiar with the Lockart farm and their excellent horses, he doesn't hesitate to hire Owen.  Of course, Harry has no knowledge of Owen's true intentions.

When the area farms are hit by rustlers, Harry and his workers establish around the clock watches. When the rustlers attack his farm, they kill one of his men and shoot Harry.  All of the remaining workers, except Owen, quit. They don't believe defending Reiner and his farm are worth their lives. 

Once again, Harry finds himself wounded and fighting a battle with little help.  Unfortunately, his one remaining healthy worker has ulterior motives and Vic Guilford is back in town.  Owen will go to great extremes to take down Guilford, but when another's life is threatened, will he go to the uttermost?

------

The message of this book is clear as we watch how a desire for revenge will eat away at someone's character and overshadow all else.  

 

My Recommendation

Both of these books deal with the insidious nature of anger, hate, & revenge.  Conversely, they also include kindness, love, & forgiveness.  

Too often, books can make forgiveness look easy and don't really explore the depths of emotions.  I don't believe that is the case with either of these books.  I think the author did an excellent job of walking us through the events, as well as the hearts and thoughts of those involved.  She didn't try to make it all look simple or effortless, and everything isn't tied up neatly with the bow of Christianity.  

We all struggle with being humans.  I highly recommend this series to believers who recognize we are strangers on this earth seeking Him to the uttermost.





Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




House of Sylvestermouse







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, May 21, 2021

The Widow and the Highlander Book Review

Widow and the Highlander
The Widow and the Highlander by Martha Keyes is the first book in the Tales from the Highlands series.  After I finished the first book, I immediately wished to move to the second book in the series. It isn't that Keyes didn't wrap up the first novel.  She did. It was simply that I wasn't ready to move on from the story. 

You know you have found a wonderful series of books when you hate the idea of starting a different book by another author. Unfortunately for me, the second book in Tales from the Highlands has not yet been released. 

It is doubtful the I will forget the MacKinnon clan and I have added the The Enemy and Miss Innes (Tales from the Highlands Book 2) to my wishlist so I will know as soon as it is released. I am certain, no matter what else I have started reading, I will move back to this series to continue reading about Catherine and her sister, Elizabeth.

I highly recommend this historical fiction and I am certain I will enjoy the entire series once it is published. 


The Widow and the Highlander Synopsis
Historical Fiction - Scotland 1762

 The Widow and the Highlander
(Tales from the Highlands Book 1)
Check Price
Christina isn't certain what to do next!  She is actually relieved, perhaps even happy, to be a new widow.  After her abusive husband, Gordon, dies due to illness, she finds she can breathe again. That is, until his cousin, Angus MacKinnon, "suggests" she marry him.  Angus and several of his family members had taken up residence at Dunverlockie after the funeral, and don't plan to leave.

Because Christina's father invested deeply in Dunverlockie, he made MacKinnon sign a will that would legally transfer ownership of the estate to Christina if Gordon died before a child was born, Christina now solely owns Dunverlockie.  That does not bode well with the MacKinnon clan and they are determined to regain control of the estate one way or another.

The MacKinnons had originally established ownership of Dunverlockie after Gordons' father betrayed a friend, then set back and watched him executed for treason.  MacKinnon's reward for turning him in as a traitor to the crown, was Dunverlockie.

Christina was not married to Gordon at the time of the execution.  In fact, she would have been a child.  Therefore, she did not know the family that had been removed from the home.  What she did know, was that the MacKinnons were a vicious clan and she didn't wish to remain a part of their family.  However, she had her own siblings to consider and she needed the income Dunverlocke provided.  When she suspected she was being poisoned, she knew she had to do something whether she wanted to or not. After all, aside from her own sister, she didn't know who was an ally and who was an enemy inside or outside of the castle.




Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




House of Sylvestermouse







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, May 14, 2021

Timeless Treasure by MaryLu Tyndall Reviewed

The book, Timeless Treasure by MaryLu Tyndall, took me by surprise! 

I have read several books by Tyndall and always loved them.  She is one of my favorite authors because I know I can depend on her for a great story with clean content. However, Timeless Treasure is more than a great story.  It is an exceptional historical fiction that I would highly recommend.

When I read historical fiction, I want historical accuracy.  Tyndall certainly did her "homework" for Timeless Treasure.  The story is based on a real pirate, Stede Bonnet, who was executed in 1718.  The author built a romantic story around Bonnet's real life with a fictitious tale of why he turned to pirating even though he was a well educated, wealthy landowner, married and with children. 

So many things in Bonnet's real life story seem unexpected, contradictory, perhaps even unbelievable, but they were true.  He was factually known as "The Gentleman Pirate" because of his own behavior, yet his association with Blackbeard, who was certainly no gentleman, is well documented. It should also be noted that he knew nothing about sailing prior to becoming a pirate.

The fictional suggestion that he was in love with someone other than his wife and wished to secure a separate fortune to support their life together, would be a plausible explanation for why a wealthy gentleman would turn pirate. Thus the reason this book is exceptional! 

 

Timeless Treasure Synopsis

 Chapter One takes place present day and introduces us to a decedent of Stede Bonnet.  Lexie Cain has just returned from her mother's funeral to a home where she is no longer welcome since it belongs to her step-father.  She is there only to retrieve an ancestral chest containing photos, school papers, a scrapbook, and some old letters. Flipping through the letters she discovers they were written by Bonnet. Those letters change the course of her life.

The opening paragraphs of chapter two introduce us to Stede Bonnet and the woman he loves, Melody, at the burial site of his firstborn son. We discover just how bereaved, miserable and unhappy Stede is with his life.  When Melody informs him that her father is moving her family away from Barbados to Charles Town, a city in the colony of Carolina, Stede's desperation intensifies. He must do something to change the course of his life.

Current day Lexie Cain moves to Charleston in the hopes of finding buried pirate treasure.  She gets a job in the local museum, takes the first "Bonnet" letter to a college history professor for authentication, and then finds herself the target of criminals.

As Lexie reads through the letters with the professor, Barret Johnson, we are all hearing Bonnet's tales of piracy, his longing for a life with Melody, and his plans for a happy future together.  In spite of the fact that we know from the beginning that Bonnet is hung, we hold on to the hope that it was somehow not him that was executed. That he somehow managed to find the happiness he so desperately sought.

_______________________

 

There is no way I will tell you more of the story, yet there is so much more than this brief introduction of the book, including the romance that develops between Lexie & Barrett.  

I would never wish to ruin this marvelous book for anyone else.  You deserve to be able to "walk" through this adventure for yourself.  It would be dastardly indeed for me to rob you of this experience and I refuse to do that.  After all, I am no pirate!


Books by MaryLu Tyndall Previously Reviewed

The Liberty Bride


Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




House of Sylvestermouse







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Monday, May 3, 2021

Book Review - The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson

Have you ever read a book that makes it hard to start another book because you have a hard time moving on from the characters that you just finished reading about? Or a book that was so good that you read it at least one more time? The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel is one of those books for me. I have started reading it for a second time. This novel, inspired by historical programs and people, includes issues of remote Appalachian living in the 1930s, literacy, poverty, spinsterhood, and the impact of having a different skin color. This is the personal story of one woman's life. A woman who is both astonishingly brave and who is as uncertain as most of the rest of us.

Historical Fiction Review on ReviewThisReviews.com

I was hooked from the opening paragraph:

"The librarian and her mule spotted it at the same time. The creature's ears shot up, and it came to a stop so sudden its front hooves skidded out, the pannier slipping off, spilling out the librarian's books. An eddy of dirt and debris lifted, stinging the woman's eyes. The mule struggled to look upward, backward, anywhere other than at the thing in front of it."    -- The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Cussy Mary Carter lived with her father in their one-room log house in Troublesome Creek, Kentucky. Her mother had passed away and her father was desperate to find a husband for his grown daughter. While his goal of her being a respectful woman and safe as someone's wife, it did not fit with her chosen career of librarian. A pack horse librarian to be exact.

From 1935 to 1943, The Pack Horse Library Project ran through the Works Progress Administration (WPA) (part of President Roosevelt's New Deal programs. The WPA focused on work relief programs). Librarians were hired to circulate books to families on their routes. The routes were up to 18 - 20 miles per day and the librarians rode these routes on horseback. The routes were often rugged and dangerous but the librarians were determined.

Cussy Mary was devoted to the families along her route. All of her families. Those who were avid readers as well as hesitant readers. She was often the only outside contact families would have for long periods of time. She was a hero to these families.

She was also a pariah. Cussy Mary was one of Kentucky's Blue People. I had never heard of this family group who (partly due to geographical region and partly genetic) had noticeably blue skin. Superstitious people in the region blamed the blue people for bad things that happened. These people were shunned, ignored, or abused. The opening of this story includes a victim of a hanging.

When testing and a possible "cure" for Cussy Mary's colored skin is offered she finds that fitting in may or may not be as easy as the doctor would lead her to believe. She has some difficult decisions to make. 

From the Author:

After the end of the novel, Kim Michele Richardson includes very interesting information in her Author's Notes.  She writes:

"I've modified one historical date in the story so I could include relevant information about medical aspects and discoveries"

In other words, The Pack Horse Project was not ongoing when the "cure" for Cussy Mary's blue skin was discovered. 

At times, when I notice that an author adjusted factual information in order to create a more interesting story I am a bit disappointed. But in this case, I was not bothered.  In fact, I was very interested by the information about the causes and cure of the congenital disease. I am still amazed that prior to this book, I had never heard of either the Pack Horse Project librarians or the Blue Fugates of Kentucky and the things they experienced in their daily lives. 

Other Recommendations:

The ReviewThis! contributors clearly love to read. Click our Book Reviews tab at the top of this page to see all our collective book reviews.

A few other historic fiction reviews I have written are: Galway Bay (a must-read that begins in Ireland during the potato famine),  Chesapeake (a James Michener tale that is set on the Chesapeake Bay and spans 400 years), and Nickel's Luck (a cast of fictional characters living in the real town of Indianola, Texas in the 1800s. Indianola is no more and I bawled learning the history of that town and it's people). 





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Book Review: A Splendid Ruin by Megan Chance

 

A Splendid Ruin


I just finished a wonderful historical novel by Megan Chance and I couldn't wait to start this post and review it for you.  The novel takes place in San Francisco before and after the historic earthquake of 1906.

Plot Synopsis


The story unfolds as May Kimble, whose mother has died, leaves New York and travels to San Francisco to live with relatives she didn't even know existed. When she arrives she finds her relatives living in luxury and she is introduced to a life she only dreamed existed.  Her cousin Goldie takes her under her wing and introduces her to society and everything about San Francisco.  Goldie helps her shop for a new wardrobe, introduces her to all her friends, and takes her to see the sights of the city.  For the first time May wears beautiful gowns and attends balls.



As the plot continues to unfold May sees that everything is not what it seems and she may be in real danger.  She wonders who she can really trust and must use her wits to survive a possible terrible future.  How will she escape?  This is a compelling novel that shows just what a human being must endure in order to survive.

Main Characters


This book is full of interesting characters.  Of course there is May who is a talented undiscovered artist. 

May's relatives the Sullivans are certainly interesting.  Goldie the cousin who is all about being in societies limelight.  Uncle Jonny  is so generous to May, but is there an ulterior motive?    Aunt Florence  is May's mothers sister.  Why is she so ill she cannot visit with May?  There are so many questions May wants to ask her about her Mother and Father.  In the Sullivan household are several servants and one in particular, Shinn, is a big help to May.

Other characters of interest include Ellis Farge, an architect who admires May's artwork and Stephen Oelrichs, an attorney and Goldie's former fiance. Then there is Alphonse Bandersnitch, a writer for the society pages of the newspaper.  Don't you just love that name?  Bandersnitch is not his real name and everyone is trying to guess his identity.  He does a great job of remaining anonymous even while attending all of the society happenings around town.

Recommendation


I could go on and on talking about the book, but I don't want to spoil it for you.  Let me just say it is full of mystery and intrique with lots of twists and turns.  I recommend this as a must read!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Friday, March 12, 2021

The Governess of Penwythe Hall (The Cornwall Novels - Book 1) Reviewed

Cornwall Novels
I recently started reading the Cornwall Novels by Sarah E Ladd and thus far, I have really enjoyed all of them.  The stories begin in Cornwall, England, 1811, which is a fabulous setting for historical fiction.
 
The first book, "The Governess of Penwythe", is an excellent foundation for the series. Delia Greythorne is the governess of five children, but she is more than just a governess.  She is the one constant in the children's lives.  When both of their parents die, they must leave their home and everything they are familiar with, to live with their uncle who they hardly know and do not trust. Unfortunately, returning to Cornwall is the one thing Delia never wanted. Her very life hangs in the balance. 
 
 

The Governess of Penwythe Hall Book 1 Synopsis

 
 The Governess of Penwythe Hall
(The Cornwall Novels)
The opening scenes in this book are in Cornwall (1808) and Cordelia (Delia) Greythorne is leaving her home. Recently widowed, her husband's family not only blames her for his death, but believes she knows more than she is telling. Her mother-in-law follows her to the carriage and hurls final insults at Delia.  The Greythorne family has many secrets, all of which Delia knows, and that makes her a threat to them. They want her gone and perhaps would kill her if she didn't have valuable information they needed.  
 
Delia starts a new life as governess to the Twethewey family in Easten Park, Yorkshire which is just far enough away from Cornwall for Delia to feel safe.
 
Randall Twethewey is a wealthy widower with 5 children.  When he is seriously injured in a horseback riding accident, he has a new will written.  Originally, his children were supposed to go live with his sister-in-law, Beatrice, but he worried that her husband would run through the children's inheritance.  With death pending, he decided to make his estranged brother, Jac, the children's guardian.  He also met with the children's tutor, Hugh Simon, and governess to pay them to stay with his children so they would have the two adults they depended upon and trusted so much with them throughout the transition into a new home with an almost unknown guardian.
 
While not as wealthy as his brother, Jac Twethewey owns Penwythe Hall, which was actually the reason for the breach between brothers.  As the oldest brother, Randall expected to inherent Penwythe Hall, but their benefactor left it to Jac instead.  Randall believed Jac had cheated him out of his proper inheritance.  Once you get to know Jac, you know he didn't cheat anyone out of anything.  Their Uncle Angrove simply believed Jac would be a better overseer of Penwythe Hall and left it to him.

Life as they knew it was about to change for everyone. None of them would remain untouched by the necessary move, including their unsuspecting Uncle Jac who had no way of knowing of his brother's death prior to the children's arrival at Penwythe Hall.

However, in Cornwall, their governess was most at risk.

 



Once You Have Read the First Book in this Series, You Will Want More!



Read More Book Reviews at
ReviewThisBooks.com




House of Sylvestermouse







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Pam Jenoff's Lost Girls of Paris Book Review

Lost Girls of Paris Book Review


With the novel The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff, I once again reviewed life in Europe during and just after World War II. The book is fictional but based on the true story of Vera Atkins and her female special operations agents.

THE STORY


I struggled at first to settle into the pages of this book but when I did, I was rewarded with the story of a woman named Eleanor Trigg and a group of women she recruited and trained to become secret agents. Those women would eventually be sent from England to occupied France as part of the resistance movement’s effort to disrupt the advance of the German army. The women were employed as couriers and radio operators and were eventually lost. 

The book travels from Europe to New York City when a suitcase containing photographs of the missing women is found in Grand Central Station. The story of these female special agents would have been totally abandoned and they themselves left unaccounted for if it were not for the efforts of one woman after the war.

REVIEWS


Reviewers on Amazon peg the book quite correctly as romantic in nature. Some question some of the historical facts and many of the decisions made by characters in the book. Some felt that the book had too many coincidences and that it did not always ring true. However, despite these criticisms, the book received 86 percent four- and five-star ratings, which does not seem too bad to me so I looked further.

U.S.A. Today called this Jenoff work of fiction “a gauzier, more florid and awkwardly romantic account” of the true story of Vera Atkins and her team of  spies saying that the book has “all of the tension of a Hallmark card.” I agree. It definitely is romantic and nice version of the story and is not the best historical fiction book from that time period that I have read.


The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff


Kirkus calls the book, “a sadly slapdash World War II adventure”, which references, I believe, some of the factual problems readers have with this book. The problems are in errors with the details. Did diners (restaurants) have television sets in the 1940s? Would those TVs have been broadcasting the news while diners ate their meals? How could you have planned a honeymoon aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, which was not built until the 1960s? Was renting a car possible in those days? Were the terms single mother and Ms. in use? Was duct tape available to the public or just the military? How many states were there in the United States in 1946? I have not fact checked any of these questions and some of them I did not jump out at me when I was reading the book. A few of them could have and hopefully have been easily corrected in subsequent printings.

Finally, the readers at Goodreads give The Lost Girls of Paris a score of 3.88. Once again, that score is not too bad in my opinion. On that platform, reviewer Matthew said, “I liked the story, but in the realm of WWII fiction it is not in the upper echelons. Maybe you will enjoy it more than I did and can look past the issues…” Personally, I am inclined to agree with that score on Goodreads and with Matthew’s comments. 

I would RECOMMEND but NOT highly recommend the historical work of fiction that is The Lost Girls of Paris.

If you enjoy historical fiction set in World War II, Europe, or if you are looking for a book with interesting female protagonists, you should enjoy this book. That is, if you are willing to accept it as written and not be tripped up by historical inaccuracies like those referenced above.

If you want to learn more, you can find The Lost Girls of Paris on Amazon by clicking right here. If you do read the book, be sure to come back and let us know what you think.

I will end with a question. How important is historical accuracy to you in your historical fiction books? Do mistakes like those mentioned above ruin a book for you or are you happy to discount them as part of an author’s work at crafting a compelling story?

See you
At the book store!
Brenda

More World War II Fiction:




Pam Jenoff's The Lost Girls of Paris


The Lost Girls of Paris






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Review of Historical Novel....West with Giraffes

Photograph my sister Julie took while in Tanzania

 

West with Giraffes is one of the best books I've read in a long time and I have read some books I've really enjoyed lately.  But you know how some books just resonate with you, well that is how West with Giraffes was with me.  I usually read before I go to bed for about 1/2 hour.  With this book, I would wake up in the morning thinking about the book and of course I had to make time to read more during the day.
 

                                      

Setting

The book is based on the true story of two Giraffes that are waylaid during a hurricane and end up on the docks in New York City.  They are met by two unlikely characters who end up driving them all the way to the San Diego Zoo.  The time frame is during the Great Depression and we learn some of the history of the era along the cross country drive.  It is based on the amazing story when two giraffes make headlines when they travel cross country.


Characters

The characters in the book are so real you feel as if you know them personally.  

The Old Man-  During most of the book Riley is called the Old Man.  He is the one who met the giraffes at the  dock in New York.  He works for the San Diego Zoo and he is tasked with meeting the giraffes and taking them to San Diego.  We get  to know him gradually as he makes his way across country with Woody.

Woody is a 17 year old orphan from Texas.  When his family is wiped out during the dust bowl tragedy he makes his way to New York City where he ends up on the dock when the giraffes land.  He hears they are headed to "Californy" and makes it his goal to somehow follow them there.  Woody's full name is Woodrow Wilson Nickel and during the long trip cross country we find that he is as endearing as his name.

Red is a young photographer with a secret who is determined to be published in Life magazine and claim her fame with her story about the giraffes.

The giraffes themselves really show their different personalities and become a wonderful part of the book.  All of the main characters are drawn in by a love of the beautiful animals.  They call the giraffes Boy and Girl.  Girl had been injured during the hurricane and they all had to stop often to treat her hurt leg.  She is the more aggressive of the two giraffes.  Boy is shy and more approachable.

This is a book that I would highly recommend.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


FOLLOW US ON:
Review This Reviews Quick View Home Page

The Review This Contributors



Cynthia SylvestermouseCynthia SylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMary Beth - mbgphotoMary Beth - mbgphotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasBev OwensBev OwensWednesday ElfWednesday ElfBarbRadBarbRadOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisRenaissanceWoman2010RenaissanceWomanLou16Lou16The Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelSam MonacoSam MonacoRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieBuckHawkBuckHawkDecoratingforEventsDecoratingforEventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G




Review This is Dedicated to the
Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor


We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten


Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner




“As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement

X