Tag: Historical Fiction

Nightingale by Amy Lukavics

Author: Amy Lukavics
Published: September 25, 2018
352 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…

June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.

Kim’s Review:

Lukavics is easily becoming one of my favorite authors. Every book has been a home run! She is able to capture the creepy and scary so effortlessly and I’m freaked out after every reading. Nightingale even has a psychiatric facility . . . Y’all know my affinity to facilities. The 50’s setting added a nostalgic feel and actually helped to soften my one problem with the story. The only thing I didn’t like was the attitude towards traditional women’s roles. I know that during the 50’s it was expected to stick to those roles and it was greatly frowned upon to deviate from them. It just felt like Lukavics overcompensated by looking down on those traditional women. I am a wife and homemaker, in and slightly less traditional capacity, but I decided that my husband, his career and our home outweighed any job I could get. That doesn’t make me any less of a strong, opinionated, free thinking woman. But I also understand that the 50’s were a different time and women back then had to fight harder for their independence. So it did not by any means ruin this book for me.

I really enjoyed the alien element. Normally, I don’t find aliens to be that scary, but in Nightingale, I was freaked out by them!!! They were terrifying!! June was a sympathetic character that I liked and completely believed. Burrow Place Asylum had all the elements of the perfect asylum, complete with experimentation, disappearances, and lobotomies. And thankfully, the resolution was completely satisfying and answered my questions and I was content! Overall, a great, scary read with all the stuff I love in it! I would save this for older teens, due to some adult elements but I’m sure those older teens would love this book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Dream Daughter

Author: Diane Chamberlain
Published: October 2, 2018
Audio Download

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 3-11, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

Jessica’s Review:

I can now say this: The Dream Daughter is my favorite book EVER!  Whenever I am asked about my favorite book, I can’t give an answer other than mentioning the book that got me reading again so long ago.  The Dream Daughter has taken its place and is perfection for me! This was the first book by Chamberlain I have read and it will not be my last.

The advice I can offer up to you is this: Read the book description, but other than that go into this book knowing nothing.  After finishing it, even reviews give away the angle this novel goes, which I will NOT do. Due to the angle the novel moves, this one is different from other Diane Chamberlain books.  All I will say is that there is a sci-fi angle. I listened to the audiobook version and I was skeptical about the novel when it got to the point where you realize the direction the novel was going, but then you are taken for a roller coaster of a ride!  In fact I am still thinking about the novel a few days after finishing it!  My mind was truly blown in a very good way!

Though a few parts were predictable for me, I still loved every bit of The Dream Daughter. I did not know how it was ultimately going to end and then we have that last line: SO powerful!  I am not a mother, but this is a novel for mothers: it shows the unconditional love that a mother has and that Caroline (Carly) will do whatever it takes to save her child.

The narrator, Susan Bennett, captured Carly’s voice perfectly. She conveyed all the emotions needed.

Again, I can say that this is my favorite book ever, so needless to say it will be my number one read of 2019.  Thank you so much to St Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio for sending me a copy to review.

The Dream Daughter is very highly recommended!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Dollmaker of Krakow

Author: R.M. Romero
Published: September 12, 2017
336 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

In the land of dolls, there is magic.
In the land of humans, there is war.
Everywhere there is pain.
But together there is hope.

Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past.

The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter–that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him.

But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks.

Kim’s Review:

This book is so beautiful! The cover and illustrations throughout are so gorgeous and really enhanced my reading. This book is perfect for middle school kids learning about the Holocaust. The metaphor of the Land of the Dolls was imaginative and easy to understand. There’s a simplicity to the story that still conveys the evil of the Nazis and the terror of the time without giving too much detail that would be inappropriate for kids. Karolina’s simple view of the world brings good clarity that works for younger readers.

The Dollmaker is such a sweet and gentle soul. Jozef and Rena are the perfect representation of Jews living in Poland during the Nazi invasion and occupation. Even the Nazi soldier that the Dollmaker “befriends” is written so well. I’ll admit that I didn’t engage as perfectly as I wanted to, but it’s really because I’m not a part of the age group that Romero was writing for; I’m not an elementary or middle school student, nor am I just starting out learning about the Holocaust. But I did love the story, the characters, and the setting. This is a book that I would put on the shelf of every elementary and middle school history teacher. It should be required reading in those history classes. I absolutely recommend this book to everyone, especially kids!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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