1910s

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 ...

A-
Murder on the Last Frontier

I fully admit - I’m not the biggest fan of mystery novels. When I saw that Murder on the Last Frontier was set in Alaska, I was curious. When I saw the amateur detective was a woman in 1919, I decided to give it a shot. When I finally read the blurb for the book, and saw the heroine was a suffrage ...

B+
Silence for the Dead

The renewed interest in recent years in all things interwar and post-war means that those who used beg for more cultural artifacts from 1914-1950s need beg no longer. I, personally, am having a blast on the audiovisual front — not a fan of Downton Abbey, but I love Parade’s End and Foyle’s War ...

B+
Diamonds and Deceit

If I had a penny for every time a book series boasted about being designed for fans of Downton Abbey I would be a rich reader. Or at least a moderately well off one. At Somerton is a series which actually succeeds at being that rare breed, a book that actually reads a lot like that beloved televisio ...

A-
The Walnut Tree

I think one of the most horrifying things in the world would be to be away from home when war broke out. Suddenly, your visit to a foreign land turns into an unintended stay. You find yourself trapped in an unfamiliar area, with the very real possibility that you might be killed before you can get h ...

B-
Trouble at the Wedding

J.D. Robb’s Innocent in Death has a line that really resonates with me. It’s something Mavis says to Eve when some people are speculating that Roarke is cheating: ”All guys have the small jerk gene, it makes them guys. But only some have the big jerk gene. He doesn’t.” Mavis is, of course, ...

B
Home By Morning

Like many other readers, I long for books that have unique settings. While small town USA in 1918 is not an exotic location, it is a most under-utilized one. When I saw that Alexis Harrington’s Home by Morning was written around World War I and the influenza epidemic of 1918, I knew I had to read ...

A
A Countess Below Stairs

A Countess Below Stairs was the first Eva Ibbotson romance I ever read, and I've been an avid fan ever since. Why? Because her stories are so vivid. In A Countess Below Stairs, Anna Grazinsky, a White Russian in exile goes to work as a housemaid in a beautiful mansion called Meersham. The owner is t ...