Tag: Historical Fiction

Atomic Anna by Rachel Barenbaum

Atomic Anna
Author: Rachel Barenbaum

Published: April 5, 2022
448 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Three generations of women work together and travel through time to prevent the Chernobyl disaster and right the wrongs of their past.

Three brilliant women.
Two life-changing mistakes.
One chance to reset the future.

In 1986, renowned nuclear scientist, Anna Berkova, is sleeping in her bed in the Soviet Union when Chernobyl’s reactor melts down. It’s the exact moment she tears through time—and it’s an accident. When she opens her eyes, she’s landed in 1992 only to discover Molly, her estranged daughter, shot in the chest. Molly, with her dying breath, begs Anna to go back in time and stop the disaster, to save Molly’s daughter Raisa, and put their family’s future on a better path.

In ‘60s Philadelphia, Molly is coming of age as an adopted refusenik. Her family is full of secrets and a past they won’t share. She finds solace in comic books, drawing her own series, Atomic Anna, and she’s determined to make it as an artist. When she meets the volatile, charismatic Viktor, their romance sets her life on a very different course.

In the ‘80s, Raisa, is a lonely teen and math prodigy, until a quiet, handsome boy moves in across the street and an odd old woman shows up claiming to be her biological grandmother. As Raisa finds new issues of Atomic Anna in unexpected places, she notices each comic challenges her to solve equations leading to one impossible conclusion: time travel. And she finally understands what she has to do.

As these remarkable women work together to prevent the greatest nuclear disaster of the 20th century, they grapple with the power their discoveries hold. Just because you can change the past, does it mean you should?

Kim’s Review:

This book gave me anxiety! I’m a historian and a traditional one at that! And when someone, anyone starts messing with time, I get all clenchy inside! And in this book, everyone treats time with no respect!! Just going back in time, willy-nilly, not caring about the effects! Sooner, later, trying fix stuff from the last trip … it was just exhausting. The story itself was ok, and the characters were likable. The people that I felt were so underappreciated were Yulia and Lazar. They adopted their friend’s child without complaint and she turned into a brat! Molly and Anna kinda ruined the book for me. They’re the type of women who do what they want without a single thought about how their actions affect anyone else. I greatly dislike people like that. And the lesson, I just didn’t get it. The resolution was murky and unsatisfying. I’m glad I read this book … but I doubt I’ll ever read it again.

Purchase Links:
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The House of Whispers by Laura Purcell

The House of Whispers
Laura Purcell

Published: June 9, 2020
336 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr. Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.

Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last.

Kim’s Review:

This was a weird one. I think my only real criticism is that the end was a little too open for my liking. I mean I liked it, but I wanted more. Morvoren House is one of those amazing old houses that I would love to live in and explore all its mysterious books and crannies. I’m not a huge fan of Hester’s character; she’s kinda stupid in many common sense ways and that brings her down quite a bit. But everyone else adds fascinating and complex issues. The story kept me guessing almost to the end and once everything started to fall into place, it was neat and clear! This is a perfect book for those who like those gothic mysteries!

Purchase Links:
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Audiobook Review: The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

The Kitchen House
The Kitchen House #1
Author: Kathleen Grissom

Bahni Turpin

Orlagh Cassidy
Published: February 2, 2010

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: July 26- August 2, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.

Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.

Jessica’s Review:

I enjoy Historical Fiction and The Kitchen House was a book club read selection. I had never heard of it until it became the book we were to read for August.  Grissom did her research for the novel meticulously, but it was not really a book for me: How much tragedy can one group of people face?  It was too much melodrama in one book for me.  It also took almost half of the novel for me to become interested in it.  As it got further along, I was hoping for Lavinia to do something that she didn’t do.  I can’t say because of spoilers, but this novel was just ok.  There is a follow up novel dealing with one character many years down the road, and I just might possibly read that one at some point. I’ll have to look at some reviews first then decide.   

There was also an unexpected twist for me that happens that I am sure definitely happened in reality with slavery, but I just was not expecting it here!  The Kitchen House has an author’s note that gives the author’s inspiration and more appreciation for the novel for me.  Definitely read it to enhance your feelings for the novel. 

Purchase Links
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