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.

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