Historical Fiction

B
The Woman in the Castle

I've been on a bit of a World War II kick lately, so Jessica Shattuck's latest novel, The Women in the Castle, seemed like something that would be right up my alley. I relished the idea of seeing how a group of women and children rebuilt their lives and created a cohesive family unit after the strug ...

B
Mr. Rochester

I first read Jane Eyre over twenty years ago, right before I entered high school. I was captivated from the very beginning of Jane's story, and have revisited Charlotte Brontë's classic novel five or six times since then. It's the kind of story I can never imagine growing tired of. So, it should co ...

B-
The Witchfinder's Sister

I’ll admit right out of the gate that one of the reasons I picked up The Witchfinder’s Sister for review is because the real-life events that play out in the novel took place in the area in which I now live – North East Essex and South Suffolk.  Matthew Hopkins is a well-known historical figu ...

A-
The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli

The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence is the story of Simonetta Cattaneo, a young woman who moves to Florence in order to marry the rich and potentially powerful Marco Vespucci, but ends up finding love in the arms of another man. It's a richly drawn historical novel, filled with art, intrigue, love, ...

A-
The Song of Achilles

In her Orange Prize for Fiction (2012) winning The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller presents Homer’s Illiad from a slightly different perspective, that of Patroclus, whose name would be forgotten in history except for his connection with the great hero and demi-god Achilles, and the Trojan w ...

A+
Palisades Park

Here’s an unexpected, unheralded treat of a novel, set in the fondly remembered but long-closed Palisades Park in New Jersey. Focused on the Stopka family, who run a French fry stand in the park’s busy, colorful environment, our protagonist is seven-year old Antoinette, who insists on going b ...

C
For the Most Beautiful: A Novel of the Trojan War

For the most Beautiful is the first book in début author Emily Hauser's Golden Apple trilogy. Per the Author’s Note in the back of the book, Ms. Hauser took her inspiration from Homer's epic poem, the Iliad, although her aim is not to reinvent the story, but to provide motivation, thoughts, and f ...

A-
The Orphan's Tale

World War II is a period in history that fascinates me. Every time I read a book set during this bleak period, I learn something new. In The Orphan's Tale, author Pam Jenoff explores the role German circuses played in hiding Jewish people and smuggling them out of Germany. Since I absolutely love ci ...

B-
A Piece of the World

Christina Baker Kline’s A Piece of the World is a fictionalized look into the life of Christina Olsen, the tough-minded farm woman who became a model, friend and occasional muse for surrealist painter Andrew Wyeth. Compared to Wyeth’s somewhat more exalted status as the son of illustrator N.C ...

B+
The Orphan's Tale

For me, the hallmark of a good book is a desperate desire to reach the end. The Orphan’s Tale was a very good book and I became deeply invested in finding out how it would conclude. When Noa’s family finds out that the German soldier who had been lodging with them had seduced her and left her ...