Tag: Historical Fiction

The Broken Girls

Author: Simone St. James
Published: March 20, 2018
336 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants–the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too smart for their own good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming–until one of them mysteriously disappears. . . .

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past–and a voice that won’t be silenced. . . .

Kim’s Review

The Broken Girls has been on my list for quite some time. My birthday was the perfect excuse to get it, so I did. St. James has this wonderful knack for subtlety that just slides under the radar and then once all the anticipation and creepiness builds up, it hits you and then you have to sleep with the lights on. But first, what drew me in was Idlewild Hall. I wish I had an abandoned, haunted girls school in my town. I’d be there all the time! I liked the students and the bonds they formed with each other, despite their skepticism about life.

St. James weaved so many emotions and situations into the story, that at first, the plot seemed to be all over the place. Then, by the end, everything had unraveled and everything was put in its place and made sense. The present tense story line was interesting and had plenty of twists and turns. My one issue and the reason I gave 4 stars, was Fiona’s obsession over her sister’s death. The problem was that they had already convicted someone for her death and he was in prison, so it wasn’t like there was no closure. It just got tiresome after a while. But other than that, this book was a chilling, emotional read that had me in goosebumps. Every thread was tied and the ending was satisfying and complete. I definitely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Author: Kate Quinn
Published: February 26, 2019
560 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold, reckless Nina Markova grows up on the icy edge of Soviet Russia, dreaming of flight and fearing nothing. When the tide of war sweeps over her homeland, she gambles everything to join the infamous Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on Hitler’s eastern front. But when she is downed behind enemy lines and thrown across the path of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, Nina must use all her wits to survive.

British war correspondent Ian Graham has witnessed the horrors of war from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials. He abandons journalism after the war to become a Nazi hunter, yet one target eludes him: the Huntress. Fierce, disciplined Ian must join forces with brazen, cocksure Nina, the only witness to escape the Huntress alive. But a shared secret could derail their mission, unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride grows up in post WWII Boston, determined despite family opposition to become a photographer. At first delighted when her long-widowed father brings home a fiancée, Jordan grows increasingly disquieted by the soft-spoken German widow who seems to be hiding something. Armed only with her camera and her wits, Jordan delves into her new stepmother’s past and slowly realizes there are mysteries buried deep in her family. But Jordan’s search for the truth may threaten all she holds dear.

Kim’s Review:

I loved this book so much!! It has everything historical fiction should. The timeline was clear and flowed easily. There wasn’t a single character that I disliked.They all had chemistry that worked well. And what was so nice was that I already knew who the Huntress was. It was obvious from the very beginning and the story was far more about the journey, the backgrounds of the characters, the research, the legal details. There were certain mysteries that unraveled the further into the book I got. It was interesting learning how Anneliese got from Germany to the US. I thought Ian’s journalism throughout the war was an interesting twist. I absolutely fell in love with Tony! Everything about him was perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing. Nina was a frickin badass and I think there should be more female characters like her! She and Jordan, the young photographer who was never taken seriously but had great dreams, should be the role models put out for girls today!

To be honest, the technicalities of photography never interested me much, but Jordan’s passion was contagious. The emotions were so thick and I felt the tension build more and more. I got so invested in the outcome that I couldn’t put the book down! I definitely recommend this book and I know consider it to be one of my favorite historical fiction books!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Author: Octavia E. Butler
Published: June 1976
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 18-26, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

The first science fiction written by a black woman, Kindred has become a cornerstone of black American literature. This combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction is a novel of rich literary complexity.

Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland. After saving a drowning white boy there, she finds herself staring into the barrel of a shotgun and is transported back to the present just in time to save her life. During numerous such time-defying episodes with the same young man, she realizes the challenge she’s been given: to protect this young slaveholder until he can father her own great-grandmother.

Jessica’s Review:

I came across Kindred when I was looking for books for First Line Friday, and this one has a doozy:

I lost an arm on my last trip home. My left arm.

That first line, the book description, and the fact that it is the first science fiction written by a black woman piqued my interest in Kindred. My library also offered it in audiobook format:  SCORE! The only thing I was worried about was when I borrowed it was the age of the book. Written 30+ years ago, some sci-fi books do not ‘age well’ and become dated quickly.  This did not end up being an issue for me as I felt this could take place now. You guys know by now that I am selective with sci-fi and even more selective with fantasy. And did you say TIME TRAVEL!?!?!?!    That is the kind of sci-fi and fantasy I can read! 

Kindred blew me away.  This novel will be in my top reads of the year.  I was intrigued the whole time listening to the audiobook and had no idea how it was going to end.  It twisted in ways that I did not expect and then that shocker of an ending: OMG, I would have never expected that! This needs to become a limited series that stays true to the novel.  Octavia Butler wowed me with Kindred, this is a novel everyone needs to read!

If you are looking for answers to why or how Dana time travels, you will be disappointed.  Kindred does not explain the time travel, but the strength of the novel is on the time, location and people of the antebellum time period. Butler must have heavily researched for the novel.   Dana interprets the how and why her time traveling happens, hoping she is correct in her thoughts.

Since Kindred takes us back in time, we get a clear picture how slavery was from the view of the African American.  Yes, the ‘N word’ is used a great deal in this novel, but that was how people spoke in antebellum times.  Parts of the novel will be difficult for some to read. This is a novel that will have you thinking about it long after you have finished reading it.

Kindred is very highly recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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