Tag: Historical Fiction

Friant’s Video Friday: Book Review: The Secret Room by Cynthia Mercati

Today Kim is bringing you a video review of The Secret Room  by Cynthia Mercati.

The Secret Room
Author: Cynthia Mercati

Published: August 15, 2000
72 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Annie of Holland learns about her values and the importance of hope and memories while helping care for a Jewish family hiding in her father’s church during WWII.

Kim’s Video Review:

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick

Blood Red, Snow White
Author: 
Marcus Sedgwick

Published: July 1, 2007
304 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

There never was a story that was happy through and through.

When writer Arthur Ransome leaves his unhappy marriage in England and moves to Russia to work as a journalist, he has little idea of the violent revolution about to erupt. Unwittingly, he finds himself at its center, tapped by the British to report back on the Bolsheviks even as he becomes dangerously, romantically entangled with Trotsky’s personal secretary.

Both sides seek to use Arthur to gather and relay information for their own purposes . . . and both grow to suspect him of being a double agent. Arthur wants only to elope far from conflict with his beloved, but her Russian ties make leaving the country nearly impossible. And the more Arthur resists becoming a pawn, the more entrenched in the game he seems to become.

Blood Red Snow White, a Soviet-era thriller from renowned author Marcus Sedgwick, is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats.

Kim’s Review:

This was another random find from Ollie’s! It’s about Russia, did you really expect me to pass it up? The problem is that I wished I liked it better. It gave good perspective on the Russian Revolution, which I liked! It’s hard to remember that the players in history were just people too and Sedgwick did a great job of reminding me of that. Trotsky was an idealist and he was willing to chase those ideals no matter where it took him. I also enjoyed the espionage that other countries employed throughout the whole affair. The twists and turns of the spies were interesting and engaging.

What’s sad is that I wasn’t all that fond of the main character, Arthur Ransome. I didn’t like his personal traits and he seemed far too reluctant and innocent of the world to take any part in espionage at all. He left his wife and child for selfish reasons and continued that selfishness throughout the whole book. I just didn’t like him. And the main thing that brought this book down for me was the blurred line between fairytale and history. Some authors can weave storytelling through history and do it successfully. Sedgwick didn’t do that. It felt like such a naive way of viewing history! If fairytales are used to educate the young, then these failed because I believed they confused the issues. But perhaps that’s simply because I’m a historian!

I’m glad I read it, but I doubt I’ll ever read it again. I would recommend this to very specific readers and really only out of curiosity than anything. It’s the kind of book I’d rather sit and discuss that read in its entirety.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: Conclave by Robert Harris

Conclave
Author:
  Robert Harris

Published: November 22, 2016
287 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

The Pope is dead.

Behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election.

They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals.

Over the next seventy-two hours one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth.

Kim’s Review:

Robert Harris has reawakened my love of tiny details. Normally I’m not that detail oriented with anything in real life, but you offer to take me on an hour by hour tour of the actions of Chamberlain at Munich or, in this case of the College of Cardinals picking a new Pope, then you bet your booty I’m gonna say yes while jumping up and down and feeling out in my pants. I acknowledge that a book about the Conclave is probably not that appealing to most, and certainly not to Catholics. If there’s anything I learned from this book, it’s that very little within the Vatican has to do with religion and politics play a bigger role in Conclave than the Holy Spirit. Since I’m not a Catholic, I wasn’t offended by anything I read, however, I wouldn’t recommend this to any Catholics.

There were certain things that I thought were relatively predictable so at first I was feeling smug that I had figured it all out barely halfway through. But then I got to the end, where I realized that I had been so distracted by the predictable, that I completely missed the twist. And oh what a twist! I really liked this book and I’d recommend it to any who love those little nitty gritty details of culture and history.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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