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Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Up Next – Queen of Kings

Ugh.  Three pages in and I find out this involves vampires.  Not my thing.  But I will read it anyways!

 
 

Read – The Auschwitz Violin by Maria Angels Anglada

This is a beautiful and haunting book.  The story opens in the 1990s with a concert featuring a beautifully crafted violin.  The story then traces the roots of how the instrument was crafted:  by a luthier in a concentration camp.  The violin owes it existence to a bet between to ruthless Nazi commanders of the camp.

This book is simple and that alone makes it hauntingly beautiful.  The last few chapters do seem to bounce around a bit, but it makes sense in the end.  Probably some of the most chilling parts of the book are the openings of the chapters, which feature actual Nazi documents from the concentration camps.  The disregard for human life is stomach churning, but adds an additional depth of emotion that makes this book that much more poignant.

Highly recommended.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2011 in Historical Fiction, Read

 

Read: Lily of the Nile – Stephanie Dray

Synopsis:

With her parents dead, the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony is left at the mercy of her Roman captors. Heir to one empire and prisoner of another, it falls to Princess Selene to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers…

I stepped into this book knowing that it was close to the same story line as Michelle Moran’s Cleopatra’s Daughter.  And indeed, it was almost frighteningly close for the first three chapters.  I assume that it should be expected considering the subject matter is widely known.

I did like the differences.  While Selene and Helios share the bond that is unbreakable in both books, it does come to an end in each as well… although for entirely different reasons.

Cleopatra Selene discovers that she truly is her mother’s daughter, and she comes to know the power and responsibility that her mother shouldered.  Guided by the knowledge that she is Isis Resurrected, Selene engages in a dangerous game of strategy and test of wills with the man who ultimately brought her parents to their deaths… Julius Caesar Octavianus… Augustus… Octavian.

I did enjoy this book, and read it in only two or three days, although spread over a week.  I thought the last chapter was like walking into a brick wall.  The story came to a screeching halt and I was left wanting more.  More comes out in October, 2011… as Stephanie Dray releases Song of the Nile.

Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter has become the emperor’s most unlikely apprentice and the one woman who can destroy his empire…

Color me happy in October.  I’ll snatch this up as soon as possible.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2011 in Historical Fiction, Read

 

Up Next…

We shall see how this goes.  In scope, it sounds exactly the same as Cleopatra’s Daughter by Michelle Moran.  (I can’t recommend Moran’s book enough, in my humble, utterly useless opinion.)

The time frame seems to be during and after Moran’s book.  I should speed through this with no problem, as it is a favorite time period for me to read about.

Happy reading.

 

 

 
 

Attempted To Read: The Secret Supper – Javier Sierra

I am rather adamant about finishing a book once I start it.  I think it is awful to put one down and never find out how it ends.  With that being said, I owe myself a flogging for not finishing this book… and then an additional flogging for ever attempting to read this book.

I had started The Secret Supper initially last winter.  I figured this would be a good, deep read, great for those hot chocolate in hand evenings when the world was white, quiet, and utterly boring.  Little did I know that this book would be far more boring than the great expanse of white stuff outside.

di Vinci is completing his great masterpiece, The Last Supper in Milan in 1497.  And being di Vinci, everything is mysterious and coded.  Not only that, but the famous painter is hiding secrets and symbols in his paintings, which is far more injurious when you consider the painting is installed in a church. None of the saints appear holy, the supper table isn’t quite right, and why do the saints resemble well-known heretics?

Normally this would be my speed, I’d eat it up in three days and exclaim how wonderful and rich the writing was.  But I just could not stand to read another page once I forced myself through 2/3 of the book.  I have no idea how it ends.  But I’m guessing Leo wasn’t burned at the stake… The Last Supper wasn’t destroyed… and I probably won’t learn my lesson and will attempt another book that I will inevitably not finish at some point in my life.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2011 in Historical Fiction, Read

 

Next Up…

 
 

Read: The March by E.L. Doctorow

I have just finished the last page of The March by E.L. Doctorow.  This is an epic tale in three parts about William Tecumseh Sherman’s infamous March through the South at the end of the Civil War.

War was indeed, hell.  There is no sugar-coating as to how the Northern troops went about “liberating” the African-Americans at the time.  Yes, they were often freed from their masters, but they were then left for themselves with very little provisions.  A key character in the book, Pearl, is freed from her life as a half Negro-half white plantation child.  But Pearl is different, as she is as white as any of the Southern Belles.  Only when she speaks do you find her true beginnings.

I am somewhat torn on this book.  I only rated it 3 1/2 stars on my reader.  While the story was fascinating with all the twists and turns, and the ability of the author to tie the characters together was truly wonderful, the skipping around and sometimes lengthy internal conversations of the characters, especially Sherman, became tedious.  I’d find myself skimming them over and hoping that they would end soon.  Kilpatrick is a truly vile individual in this book, although he gets him comeuppance in fabulous fashion.

A young Southern plantation wife, a Judge’s daughter with a gift for nursing, a German doctor with a brilliant skill, famous generals, ordinary soldiers and individuals are carefully weaved back and forth through the story.  I did feel that the ending was very blunt.  I wanted to know more of what happened to Pearl, her beau, Calvin the Negro photographer, and the little slave boy David.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2011 in Historical Fiction, Read