Sunday, January 17, 2021

Review: War Lord (Saxon Tales #13) by Bernard Cornwell

The 13th and final installment of the book series that inspired the TV show, The Last Kingdom, is a sad but necessary conclusion to such a great and epic tale. Uhtred is now in his 70s, and while that's not impossible even for the era (average life expectancy if one survived childhood in the Middle Ages was in the 60s), it is starting to get a bit unrealistic, especially as a warrior who still engages in combat. For the last few books, I've been wondering how long Cornwell could really stretch this out, but now that it's finally come to an end, I will miss it, of course. I think that's why I took so long to finish it, I didn't want it to end.

Uhtred's epic journey was such an enjoyable way to detail the turbulent establishment and unification of the country of England and it's monarchs and leaders who made it happen, starting with Alfred the Great, all the way through the reign of his grandson, Athelstan. While Uhtred's relationship with each of them was always rather grudging at best, I think he secretly wanted to believe in Alfred's vision, and it also brought a lot of humor to the series. 

In some ways, I wish the story could continue, following succeeding monarchs, perhaps through Uhtred's son's voice, but I know it wouldn't be the same. All good things come to an end, and this was a fitting and worthy ending to Uhtred's story.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

February 2021 Releases Part 1

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner 

Release Date: February 2, 2021

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin's silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin's odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn't right.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Longest Echo: A Novel by Eoin Dempsey 

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Occupied Italy, 1944. In the mountain regions south of Bologna, Liliana Nicoletti’s family finds escaped POW James Foley behind German lines. Committed to the anti-Fascist cause, they deliver him to a powerful band of local partisans. But when the SS launches a brutal attack against the Resistance, Liliana’s peaceful community is destroyed. Alone and thrown together by tragedy, James and Liliana fight together as Monte Sole burns. Forging an unbreakable bond, they know their only hope of survival is to make it to the Allied lines.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Comes the War (Eddie Harkins Book 2) by Ed Ruggero

Release Date: February 9, 2021

April 1944, the fifty-fifth month of the war in Europe. The entire island of Britain fairly buzzes with the coiled energy of a million men poised to leap the Channel to France, the first, riskiest step in the Allies’ long slog to the heart of Germany and the end of the war.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck

Release Date: February 9, 2021

France, March 1944. Virginia Hall wasn't like the other young society women back home in Baltimore—she never wanted the debutante ball or silk gloves. Instead, she traded a safe life for adventure in Europe, and when her beloved second home is thrust into the dark days of war, she leaps in headfirst.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Paris Library: A Novel by Janet Skeslien Charles 

Release Date: February 9, 2021

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Dangerous Women by Hope Adams

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Nearly two hundred condemned women board a transport ship bound for Australia. One of them is a murderer. From debut author Hope Adams comes a thrilling novel based on the 1841 voyage of the convict ship Rajah, about confinement, hope, and the terrible things we do to survive.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Sunday, January 3, 2021

January Historical Fiction Releases Part 2

Find Me in Havana: A Novel by Serena Burdick 

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Cuba, 1936: When Estelita Rodriguez sings in a hazy Havana nightclub for the very first time, she is nine years old. From then on, that spotlight of adoration—from Havana to New York’s Copacabana and then Hollywood—becomes the one true accomplishment no one can take from her. Not the 1933 Cuban Revolution that drove her family into poverty. Not the revolving door of husbands or the fickle world of film.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Children's Train: A Novel by Viola Ardone  (Author), Clarissa Botsford (Translator)

Release Date: January 12, 2021

Though Mussolini and the fascists have been defeated, the war has devastated Italy, especially the south. Seven-year-old Amerigo lives with his mother Antonietta in Naples, surviving on odd jobs and his wits like the rest of the poor in his neighborhood. But one day, Amerigo learns that a train will take him away from the rubble-strewn streets of the city to spend the winter with a family in the north, where he will be safe and have warm clothes and food to eat. 

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly 

Release Date: January 12, 2021

From the author of the international bestseller The Light Over London and The Whispers of War comes a poignant and unforgettable tale of five women living across three different times whose lives are all connected by one very special place.

In this sweeping novel reminiscent of Kate Morton’s The Lake House and Kristin Harmel’s The Room on Rue Am√©lie, Julia Kelly explores the unexpected connections that cross time and the special places that bring people together forever.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The City of Tears: A Novel (The Burning Chambers Series Book 2) by Kate Mosse 

Release Date: January 19, 2021

August 1572: Minou Joubert and her husband Piet travel to Paris to attend a royal wedding which, after a decade of religious wars, is intended to finally bring peace between the Catholics and the Huguenots.

Also in Paris is their oldest enemy, Vidal, in pursuit of an ancient relic that will change the course of history.

Within days of the marriage, thousands will lie dead in the street, and Minou’s family will be scattered to the four winds . . .

A Thousand Ships: A Novel by Natalie Haynes 

Release Date: January 26, 2021 

In the middle of the night, a woman wakes to find her beloved city engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over. Troy has fallen.

From the Trojan women whose fates now lie in the hands of the Greeks, to the Amazon princess who fought Achilles on their behalf, to Penelope awaiting the return of Odysseus, to the three goddesses whose feud started it all, these are the stories of the women whose lives, loves, and rivalries were forever altered by this long and tragic war. 

(Full description at Goodreads)

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