1910s

B+
The Moonlight School

The Moonlight School is a prettily written if occasionally predictable inspy with a heart of gold. Its feeling for life in the Kentucky hills alone is worth the price of admission. Lucille – Lucy - Wilson carries an ugly, heavy burden with her.  When she was a little girl, it had been her job ...

C
A Family for the Titanic Survivor

Lauri Robinson’s A Family for the Titanic Survivor has a decent grasp on the times and pretty good research going for it, but the reactions of two of its characters to the tragedy is incredibly implausible, and its lack of true tension works against it in the end. It’s 1912, and Irish immigra ...

B+
Death of a New American

Death, passion and good sleuthing combine in Death of a New American, the second instalment in Mariah Fredericks’ Jane Prescott series. It’s 1912, just after the sinking of the Titanic, and the New York-based Benchley family is trying to move on with life as best they can.  Mild, plain, olde ...

B+
A Summer for Scandal

It’s 1911, and while Emilia Cruz and Ruben Torres are both authors, he’s a literary darling and newspaper publisher, while she uses a pseudonym to write The True Accounts of a Former Courtesan, an explicit and swashbuckling adventure serial. When their paths cross and Ruben learns Emilia’s sec ...

A-
City of Secrets

I don't usually gravitate toward historical mysteries, not because that I dislike them exactly, but the few I’ve read have left me feeling vaguely unsatisfied. Still, when I first heard about Victoria Thompson's Counterfeit Lady series with its con artist heroine, I decided to give it a try. Fortu ...

C
I Was Anastasia

I've long been fascinated by the story of Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov, and so, when Ariel Lawhorn’s I Was Anastasia came up for review, I was thrilled to get a chance to read it. I had really high hopes for this book, but, because of some quirks in the storytelling, I found myself quite disapp ...

C+
Dragon Springs Road

My experience with books set in China has not been stellar – I've read too many authors who seem only interested in transplanting characters with western attitudes to a more exotic setting. Janie Chang's Dragon Springs Road, I am happy to say, does not fall in this category. If anything, by adheri ...

C+
The Confectioner's Tale

Paris is one of my favorite cities to visit, so when I learned that the historical portions of The Confectioner’s Tale are set in Paris in 1910 it seemed a perfect book for me to review. I was intrigued to learn that the “contemporary” portion is set in 1988 – mostly in Cambridge, another fa ...

C+
Secrets of Nanreath Hall

For the longest time, Susanna Kearsley, Lauren Willig and Susan Meissner were the only authors I regularly encountered who wrote dual timeline  novels. However, they seem to be everywhere all of a sudden. I love this device, so I'm certainly not complaining. In fact, I was quite eager to read Secre ...

B
The Summer Before the War

Many, many novels have claimed to be “for fans of Downton Abbey.” Most of those tales do not live up to the hype but Helen Simonson’s The Summer Before the War, while making no such claim, actually delivers on that promise. Beginning, quite literally, in the summer of 1914, before war is decla ...