Tag Archives: History

My Last Lament

5 Feb

Aliki is one of the last of her kind, a lamenter who mourns and celebrates the passing of life. Told in flashbacks, we experience Greece during and after WWII, through the eyes of Aliki as a child, a young woman, and an old woman. Lyrically written, this book evocatively shares a time and place with its readers. Reminiscent a bit of All the Light We Cannot See, in that the book shares a deeply personal and unusual look at the devastation of war. Definitely recommend, especially for those interested in history.

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a fair & honest review.




7 Jan

I loved this book – which is the basis of a series about to premiere on Masterpiece/PBS. Daisy Goodwin, a writer and television producer (and poetry anthologist  says Wikipedia), does a marvelous job of bringing this iconic Queen to life, starting with her as a young girl required to step into the position.

Nicely fleshed out characters, making Victoria come alive, and giving the reader a whole different appreciation for the woman often only perceived as a stodgy old woman.

Read this book ASAP and then get ready for a delicious visual experience with the show. Yum.

I received this in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.

The All Souls Triology Comes to an End

18 Sep

First of all, let me say that I am a huge fan of Deb Harkness and the first two books in the series.  So I was quite excited to read the third book. I plunged in…and found myself wandering and wondering – Who are all these people? What is happening? Why is there so much talking and so little action?  I blamed myself, thinking I should have re-read the first two books so that I could seamlessly pick up the threads (kind of a pun). I persevered, remembering most of the characters, but still felt like I was reading A LOT of talking. The vivid descriptions of place, character and tension that made the first two books such a delight to read are largely gone. What little action there is feels like forced resolution of conflict, over & done in a few pages. No tension builds at all. The antagonist Benjamin has no motivation other than being evil. Diana’s revelation is that she stops being afraid. If each of these three books ends up as separate movies, this one will feel like a let down. It’s like the part in Harry Potter where they just wander around the woods for half the book.

If you are already a fan of the All Souls Trilogy, then of course you’ll want to read this book. Please do and I hope you enjoy it. I love the world that Deb has created, and I want to go back there – but I want more energy, more action, more tension, more substance. Someone suggested a Gallowglass book – yes, please! Write more! Still a fan.Book Of Life

The Boleyn King: An Imagined History

14 Jun

A nice treat for fans of The Other Boleyn Girl and similar series. Here, the author imagines that Anne Boleyn does give King Henry a son, isn’t beheaded, and that son William rules England.  This was a fun combination of actual and imagined history, with both historical and fictional characters combined. I really enjoyed the concept and the execution (not literal beheading type execution … oh, you know), and look forward to the next books in the series to find out more about these characters.

The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England

15 May

I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging history of one of Western Civilization’s most influential ruling families. I imagine that much of this is familiar to people from the UK, but as an American, I found the book both informative and entertaining. I love when historical non-fiction brings the past to life and The Plantagenets succeeded in that. 


Privateer’s Apprentice – YA Historical Fiction

12 Apr

Jameson Cooper, an indentured apprentice, gets gang-pressed into service on Attack Jack’s privateer’s ship and embarks on an unexpected adventure.  He becomes a part of the privateer’s crew, helping discover new lands for the Queen. This book is nicely paced, and would be a good fit for teens interested in historical fiction with action.

Out of Order: Stories from the History of the Supreme Court

11 Apr

Justice O’Connor has written a wonderfully warm and engaging history of the the United States Supreme Court, and brings to life the colorful and contentious men – and recently, women – who have served this country as the highest court. Like the best professor you have ever had, she graciously treats you as if you recall why Marbury v. Madison matters, and then shares the case law, politics and importance of the pivotal decisions that have shaped America. I was struck by the impact of such things as the earliest Justices having to “ride circuit” across the fledgling country, bringing the federal government to local communities and stitching together this disparate nation.

“Out of Order” is a thoroughly enjoyable, informative survey of a critical part of America’s Constitutional structure – highly recommend!