Sep 292015
Review: The Sisters of Versailles

Most of the historical fiction I’ve read centres on the English monarchy, so reading a story about 18th century France was exciting. I know almost nothing about French monarchs, but this story was everything I expect from a good historical fiction. The drama surrounding kings and mistresses seems to be pretty universal, and the court scheming was quite entertaining. The story viewpoint moved between each of the five sisters, which resulted in a really well rounded look at everything that happened. It made some of the schemes and actions seem more elaborate and cruel, especially when you consider that all […]

Apr 012015
Review: Wild Wood

This was an interesting story with a duel plotline: the modern day Jesse on a quest to find her birth mother, and Bayard from 1321 whose older brother’s choice of wife is causing strife in town. I found that the historical story was far superior to the present story. Bayard was a well developed character, and all his actions were believable. His was a difficult life, but it had both ups and downs, and we got to see quite a few sides of him during his narrations. On the other side, Jesse greatly aggravated me. She made several decisions that […]

Feb 172015
Review: Doctor Death + Giveaway

This was an engrossing, very Gothic feeling story. It started as a straight forward historical based murder mystery, and ventured into magical realism, and almost paranormal. Looking back, it’s easy to see the directions the story took, but while reading, I couldn’t guess what would happen next, and honestly, I was too captivated to stop to speculate. Madeleine was a delightfully intelligent young woman who knew what she wanted to do with her life, and it didn’t include being the stereotypical woman of her time. She was smart enough to realize that she couldn’t be straightforward with her interests and […]

Feb 162015
Review: Mistress of My Fate

Told in a diary-memoir style, this is the beginning of Henrietta’s tale of her rise from a poor orphan cousin living in a noble man’s house to a well-known London courtesan in the 1700s. This first book covers a large portion of time and moves fairly quickly, although there is significant detail provided. I think this detail may have hindered my enjoyment of the book a little bit because there was just so much of it. This is a really long book, but a lot of detail could have been eliminated, without affecting the story at all. I found that […]

Oct 202014
Review: The Tudor Throne

I normally find Tudor stories to be very complex with drama, backstabbing, and endless amounts of intrigue. This book was much more subdued than most Tudor stories I’ve read, but it was still an enjoyable glimpse into Mary and Elizabeth’s lives. Both Mary and Elizabeth had alternating first person narratives over the same time period, which made it easy to contrast and compare the sisters. It was interesting to see how each of them perceived and reacted differently to the same events. It really highlighted how different from each other they were, and also lent a very believable air to […]

Sep 082014
Review: Sisters of Treason

The appeal of historical Tudor fiction is the intense scheming. The political and personal plots are so intense and passionate, it’s hard to believe they have a basis in reality. But even when the actual stories are fiction, there is still a grain of truth in the events, and this is true of Sisters of Treason. A story about the sisters of Lady Jane Grey, two historical characters about which litle is known, this book creates a realistic image of them. It’s easy to feel sorry for Mary, a tiny woman with physical deformities, but her sister Catherine, is just […]

Mar 222014
Guest post: D Lawrence-Young

As part of his book tour for Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard, I have author D Lawrence-Young here with a guest post about how and why he writes historical novels. I have always liked learning history, even when I had to suffer three of the world’s most boring history teachers in high school. Fortunately, when I went home and told my parents about what I had studied, my father would ask pointed and cynical questions about the heroes or the events we had concentrated on that day. In that way, I learned that there was more than one way […]

Mar 112014
Review: The Lost Sisterhood

Told in a double narrative, current day Diana and long ago Marina, this is a story about Amazons. More than that, it’s a story about love, history, and understanding who you are. While Diana’s narrative was fun and exciting, it was Marina’s story that sucked me in. The adventures she embarked on in long ago Greece were intriguing. I love the retelling of Troy and the hints of Amazon influence in that, and other, well known myths. The modern narrative felt a bit like a Dan Brown search. Hopping from place to place, following artifacts with bad guys chasing, the […]

Feb 202014
Interview: Lissa Bryan + Giveaway

What inspired you to become a writer? I’ve always written stories in my head. Sometimes, they were original stories, and other times, I took books and movies and wrote a new ending for them, or sent the characters off on new adventures. I had no idea anyone else did that until I discovered fanfiction. I gathered up my courage and decided to try my hand at a few stories of my own. One of them became popular and it brought me to the attention of my publisher, The Writer’s Coffee Shop. They asked me if I would be interested in […]

Feb 192014
Review: Under These Restless Skies

This is a fairly classic retelling of King Henry and Anne Boleyn from just before their marriage, to just after her death, told from the viewpoint of Will Somers, the king’s fool. There is one key difference: the fact that Will’s wife is a selkie. While the addition of a selkie was unique, I didn’t find that it added a lot to the story. Yes, it made Emma naive and innocent, without any knowledge of politics and the evil facets of humanity, but other than that, there wasn’t much there. Emma willingly gave herself to Will, and there was never […]