Friday, September 7, 2018

Early 2019 Releases in Historical Fiction

The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel by Marie Benedict

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Her beauty almost certainly saved her from the rising Nazi party and led to marriage with an Austrian arms dealer. Underestimated in everything else, she overheard the Third Reich's plans while at her husband's side, understanding more than anyone would guess. She devised a plan to flee in disguise from their castle, and the whirlwind escape landed her in Hollywood. She became Hedy Lamarr, screen star.

But she kept a secret more shocking than her heritage or her marriage: she was a scientist. And she knew a few secrets about the enemy. She had an idea that might help the country fight the Nazis...if anyone would listen to her.

Annelies: A Novel by David R. Gillham

Release Date: January 15, 2019

The year is 1945, and Anne Frank is sixteen years old. Having survived the concentration camps, but lost her mother and sister, she reunites with her father, Pim, in newly liberated Amsterdam. But it’s not as easy to fit the pieces of their life back together. Anne is adrift, haunted by the ghosts of the horrors they experienced, while Pim is fixated on returning to normalcy. Her beloved diary has been lost, and her dreams of becoming a writer seem distant and pointless now.

As Anne struggles to overcome the brutality of memory and build a new life for herself, she grapples with heartbreak, grief, and ultimately the freedom of forgiveness. A story of trauma and redemption, Annelies honors Anne Frank’s legacy as not only a symbol of hope and perseverance, but also a complex young woman of great ambition and heart.

That Churchill Woman: A Novel by Stephanie Barron

Release Date: January 22, 2019

Wealthy, privileged, and fiercely independent New Yorker Jennie Jerome took Victorian England by storm when she landed on its shores. As Lady Randolph Churchill, she gave birth to a man who defined the twentieth century: her son Winston. But Jennie—reared in the luxury of Gilded Age Newport and the Paris of the Second Empire—lived an outrageously modern life all her own, filled with controversy, passion, tragedy, and triumph.

When the nineteen-year-old beauty agrees to marry the son of a duke she has known only three days, she’s instantly swept up in a whirlwind of British politics and the breathless social climbing of the Marlborough House Set, the reckless men who surround Bertie, Prince of Wales. Raised to think for herself and careless of English society rules, the new Lady Randolph Churchill quickly becomes a London sensation: adored by some, despised by others.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Night Tiger: A Novel by Yangsze Choo

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dancehall girl to help pay off her mother’s Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for.

Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master’s dying wish: that Ren find the man’s finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master’s soul will wander the earth forever.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel by Mary Calvi

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Did unrequited love spark a flame that ignited a cause that became the American Revolution? Never before has this story about George Washington been told. Crafted from hundreds of letters, witness accounts, and journal entries, Dear George, Dear Mary explores George’s relationship with his first love, New York heiress Mary Philipse, the richest belle in Colonial America.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Irishman's Daughter by V.S. Alexander

Release Date: February 26, 2019

Ireland, 1845. To Briana Walsh, no place on earth is more beautiful than Carrowteige, County Mayo, with its sloping fields and rocky cliffs perched above the wild Atlantic. The small farms that surround the centuries-old Lear House are managed by her father, agent to the wealthy, reckless Sir Thomas Blakely. Tenant farmers sell the oats and rye they grow to pay rent to Sir Thomas, surviving on the potatoes that flourish in the remaining scraps of land. But when the potato crop falls prey to a devastating blight, families Briana has known all her life are left with no food, no resources, and no mercy from the English landowner, who seems indifferent to everything except profit.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Release Date: September 25, 2018

Juliet Armstrong works with MI5 during WWII, first simply (and rather boringly) transcribing recordings of conversations among Nazi sympathizers. But it's not long before the world of espionage engulfs her and she is asked to do much more.

I found myself struggling to get through this. The majority of it was just so dull, with what felt like a lot of rambling. Not badly written, just not captivating. It wasn't until about half way through that things picked up and became much more interesting. I still wasn't hugely invested in the characters, but the plot at least picked up. Or at least, I thought it did, and then the WWII story line abruptly ended and jumped forward, which I was expecting at some point, since I knew it was a dual time period plot, but moving forward in the timeline meant the plot slowed down again. There was another peak in the story line at the end, but I'm still not sure all the dribble in between was worth it.

There were some things I really like about this like the writing style and the periodic witty and dry quips in the narrative. And in some ways I think this could actually make an interesting movie (slow paced, granted), but I felt like much of it was just tedious.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

End of the Year Releases

House of Gold by Natasha Solomons

Release Date: October 23, 2018

From the New York Times bestselling author of The House at Tyneford, an epic family saga about a headstrong Austrian heiress who will be forced to choose between the family she's made and the family that made her at the outbreak of World War I.

Set against a nuanced portrait of World War I, this is a sweeping family saga rich in historical atmosphere and heartbreakingly human characters. House of Gold is Natasha Solomons's most dazzling and moving novel yet.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Heads You Win by Jeffrey Archer

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Leningrad, Russia, 1968. Alexander Karpenko is no ordinary child, and from an early age, it is clear he is destined to lead his countrymen. But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, he and his mother will have to escape from Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they are confronted with an irreversible choice: should they board a container ship bound for America, or Great Britain? Alexander leaves that choice to the toss of a coin . . .

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Splendor Before the Dark: A Novel of the Emperor Nero by Margaret George

Release Date: November 6, 2018

With the beautiful and cunning Poppaea at his side, Nero Augustus commands the Roman empire, ushering in an unprecedented era of artistic and cultural splendor. Although he has yet to produce an heir, his power is unquestioned.

But in the tenth year of his reign, a terrifying prophecy comes to pass and a fire engulfs Rome, reducing entire swaths of the city to rubble. Rumors of Nero's complicity in the blaze start to sow unrest among the populace--and the politicians...

(Full description at Goodreads)

Josephine Baker's Last Dance by Sherry Jones

Release Date: December 4, 2018

Discover the fascinating and singular life story of Josephine Baker—actress, singer, dancer, Civil Rights activist, member of the French Resistance during WWII, and a woman dedicated to erasing prejudice and creating a more equitable world—in Josephine Baker’s Last Dance.

In this illuminating biographical novel, Sherry Jones brings to life Josephine's early years in servitude and poverty in America, her rise to fame as a showgirl in her famous banana skirt, her activism against discrimination, and her many loves and losses. From 1920s Paris to 1960s Washington, to her final, triumphant performance, one of the most extraordinary lives of the twentieth century comes to stunning life on the page.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Upcoming Historical Fiction

The Survivors by Kate Furnivall 

Release Date: September 6, 2018

Germany, 1945. Klara Janowska and her daughter Alicja have walked for weeks to get to Graufeld Displaced Persons camp. In the cramped, dirty, dangerous conditions they, along with 3,200 others, are the lucky ones. They have survived and will do anything to find a way back home.

But when Klara recognises a man in the camp from her past, a deadly game of cat and mouse begins. He knows exactly what she did during the war to save her daughter. She knows his real identity. What will be the price of silence? And will either make it out of the camp alive?

War of the Wolf: A Novel (Saxon Tales #11) by Bernard Cornwell

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Bernard Cornwell has dazzled and entertained readers and critics with his page-turning bestsellers. Of all his protagonists, however, none is as beloved as Uhtred of Bebbanburg.

And while Uhtred might have regained his family’s fortress, it seems that a peaceful life is not to be – as he is under threat from both an old enemy and a new foe. The old enemy comes from Wessex where a dynastic struggle will determine who will be the next king.  And the new foe is Sk├Âll, a Norseman, whose ambition is to be King of Northumbria and who leads a frightening army of wolf-warriors, men who fight half-crazed in the belief that they are indeed wolves. Uhtred, believing he is cursed, must fend off one enemy while he tries to destroy the other. In this new chapter of the Saxon Tales series—a rousing adventure of courage, treachery, duty, devotion, majesty, love and battle, as seen through the eyes of a warrior straddling two worlds—Uhtred returns to fight once again for the destiny of England.

Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Margaret Parker and Hattie LaCour never intended to turn outlaw. After being run off their ranch by a greedy cattleman, their family is left destitute. As women alone they have few choices: marriage, lying on their backs for money, or holding a gun. For Margaret and Hattie the choice is simple. With their small makeshift family, the gang pulls off a series of heists across the West.

Though the newspapers refuse to give the female gang credit, their exploits don't go unnoticed. Pinkertons are on their trail, a rival male gang is determined to destroy them, and secrets among the group threaten to tear them apart. Now, Margaret and Hattie must find a way to protect their family, finish one last job, and avoid the hangman's noose.

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler

Release Date: October 16, 2018

Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America’s great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York’s old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built 9 mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women's suffrage movement.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Review: Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

Release Date: August 28, 2018

An aspiring journalist takes a photo of questionable moral integrity, showing what the Great Depression has driven people to and it winds up being his big break. But when he returns to followup on it, he learns just how his photo and accompanying article has influenced the family in the photo and his niggling remorse over it turns into full blown regret and forces him to take a good, hard look at who he has become. Desperate to make things right, not only with the family, but also with his own parents and friends he has driven away, he embarks on a journey of atonement and self growth.

Based on a similar photo taken during the Depression (see below), the subject matter seemed compelling. It was very well written with well developed characters, but I felt like the plot dragged a little bit. I enjoy a good slow paced book, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't and this time it was more the latter. It wasn't a bad read, but it was not as 'powerful' as I thought it was going to be, given the subject matter.

The real life photo which
inspired this novel
I think particularly because the actual photo (in the novel) that wound up being published was staged, the whole book felt too far removed from the real and gritty hardships and desperation of the Great Depression. It was really more about the journalist's remorse over staging the photo and what it winds up doing to the family. The story follows him and his love interest, neither of whom are particularly struggling all that much and don't embody the true depths of despair that time period evokes. I felt like this really could have been placed during almost any time period - the question of what some journalists will sometimes do for a good story and how they deal with those questionable ethics is something that isn't exclusive to the Great Depression. I'm not saying that such a topic isn't worthy of a novel, but this is not what I expected it to be, and therefore it lost it's impact on me.

Additionally, I have to say - the idea that Ellis knew how to pick a lock with hair pins just because he had "a father who preferred tinkering with machinery to conversation" seem ridiculously unrealistic and contrived for the sake of the plot. Maybe if Ellis had an uncle or such who was a locksmith, that would have been more believable, even if still a little contrived. But I just don't know how the author is making the connection between the two. This alone wouldn't be enough for me to dislike it, but it was so silly, I couldn't let it go unmentioned.

Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ebook Deals

Click the cover to view and buy the book in the Kindle store. While I only post links to the Kindle store, often times you can find the same titles on sale at other stores.

US Kindle Deals, fiction under $4, non-fiction under $6:


UK Kindle Deals, fiction under £3, non-fiction under £4:


Disclaimer: Ebook prices are subject to change anytime. I can only promise they are under a certain price at the time I post them.
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