Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott

Release date: September 26, 2017

This novel about the wife of Alexander Hamilton felt like it was missing something. I think it was the fact that there was no real antagonist or any main trial or obstacle for the protagonists to overcome. There were interesting events and hardships that cropped up but they were quickly resolved. I understand real history doesn't always lend itself to a clear antagonist or the arc of a good story line, but it's still necessary for a captivating novel.

I also felt there was too much "telling" and not enough "showing" which I felt made it more difficult to really connect with the characters.

It was well written though, and there were some very good scenes I enjoyed. I also couldn't help but picture Eddie Redmayne as Alexander for some reason, I guess because he had red hair in Pillars of the Earth, which certainly helped increase the enjoyment factor. But ultimately, I felt like portions of the book dragged, and the duel with Burr wound up rather anti-climatic.

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





Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Matching Covers: Green Hat

I think the second two might be the original backgrounds from the photoshoot.

   
   

Monday, August 7, 2017

2018 Upcoming Historical Fiction

I Was Anastasia: A Novel by Ariel Lawhon


Release Date: February 20, 2018



Russia, July 17, 1918: Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed.
 
Germany, February 17, 1920: A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water or even acknowledge her rescuers, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious young woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Why Kill the Innocent (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery) by C. S. Harris


Release Date: April 3, 2018



London, 1814. As a cruel winter holds the city in its icy grip, the bloody body of a beautiful young musician is found half-buried in a snowdrift. Jane Ambrose's ties to Princess Charlotte, the only child of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, panic the palace, which moves quickly to shut down any investigation into the death of the talented pianist. But Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero refuse to allow Jane's murderer to escape justice.

Untangling the secrets of Jane's world leads Sebastian into a maze of dangerous treachery where each player has his or her own unsavory agenda and no one can be trusted. As the Thames freezes over and the people of London pour onto the ice for a Frost Fair, Sebastian and Hero find their investigation circling back to the palace and building to a chilling crescendo of deceit and death . . .



The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen


Release Date: April 17, 2018



The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she’d thought.

Two decades before, Aidan’s parents died violently at Deeprath. The case, which was never closed, has recently been taken up by a new detective determined to find the truth. The couple’s unusual deaths harken back a century, when twenty-three-year-old Lady Jenny Gallagher also died at Deeprath under mysterious circumstances, leaving behind an infant son and her husband, a renowned writer who never published again. These incidents only fueled fantastical theories about the Darkling Bride, a local legend of a sultry and dangerous woman from long ago whose wrath continues to haunt the castle.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Between Earth and Sky by Amanda Skenandore


Release Date: April 24, 2018



On a quiet Philadelphia morning in 1906, a newspaper headline catapults Alma Mitchell back to her past. A federal agent is dead, and the murder suspect is Alma’s childhood friend, Harry Muskrat. Harry—or Asku, as Alma knew him—was the most promising student at the “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father, where Alma was the only white pupil. Created in the wake of the Indian Wars, the Stover School was intended to assimilate the children of neighboring reservations. Instead, it robbed them of everything they’d known—language, customs, even their names—and left a heartbreaking legacy in its wake.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Upcoming Historical Fiction

Blood's Game (Holcroft Blood 1) by Angus Donald


Release Date: October 5, 2017



Rascal, Rogue, Traitor . . . hero?

It is the winter of 1670. Colonel Thomas Blood has fallen on hard times. A man used to fighting, he lives by his wits and survives by whatever means necessary. Holcroft, his son, has entered the employ of the Duke of Buckingham, one of the most powerful men in the kingdom after the king. It is there that his education really begins. Both father and son must learn what it is to survive in a more dangerous battlefield than war - the court of King Charles II.

One missed step could prove fatal . . .



Fools and Mortals: 2 by Bernard Cornwell


Release Date: January 9, 2018



In the heart of Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft and a silver tongue. As William’s star rises, Richard’s onetime gratitude is souring and he is sorely tempted to abandon family loyalty.

So when a priceless manuscript goes missing, suspicion falls upon Richard, forcing him onto a perilous path through a bawdy and frequently brutal London. Entangled in a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal which threatens not only his career and potential fortune, but also the lives of his fellow players, Richard has to call on all he has now learned from the brightest stages and the darkest alleyways of the city. To avoid the gallows, he must play the part of a lifetime . . . .



Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira


Release Date: February 27, 2018



New York, 1879: After an epic snow storm ravages the city of Albany, Dr. Mary Sutter, a former Civil War surgeon, begins a search for two little girls, the daughters of close friends killed by the storm who have vanished without a trace.

Mary’s mother and niece Elizabeth, who has been studying violin in Paris, return to Albany upon learning of the girls’ disappearance—but Elizabeth has another reason for wanting to come home, one she is not willing to reveal. Despite resistance from the community, who believe the girls to be dead, the family persists in their efforts to find the two sisters. When what happened to them is revealed, the uproar that ensues tears apart families, reputations, and even the social fabric of the city, exposing dark secrets about some of the most powerful of its citizens, and putting fragile loves and lives at great risk.



All the Beautiful Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth J. Church


Release Date: March 6, 2018



A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas—and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love.

It was unimaginable. When she was eight years old, Lily Decker somehow survived the auto accident that killed her parents and sister, but neither her emotionally distant aunt nor her all-too-attentive uncle could ease her grief. Dancing proves to be Lily’s only solace, and eventually she receives a “scholarship” to a local dance academy—courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

I thought this was a very interesting way to essentially tell the story of Louise de Bettignies, a French female spy for the British during WWI. It covers two time periods, one during WWI, and the other just after WWII. It was strange the way Europe was still recovering from WWII in the later time period, and yet in the "flashback" chapters, we're in the midst of WWI, not in the midst of what created the devastation we see in 1947. I had to remind myself sometimes that two different wars were at play in this story. It put into perspective the fact that the World Wars weren't that far apart, and that the effects of war are inevitably the same.

But it was also about so much more than just Louise de Bettignies. It tells her story, and does her justice, but it also tells the story of many fictional characters, and in spite of being fictional, their stories are very real. It deals heavily with issues of PTSD and the human side of war, but it's also about a young woman finding her way in life, and an older woman coming to terms with her past.

It was wonderfully well written with characters that fully come alive, and a compelling plot that literally made it impossible to put down at times. I can't say enough good things about it - just read it and see for yourself.

I only have one question - is that a morally questionable hat on the cover?



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