This month ten historical novels were reviewed. A bit of a quiet month. Two are very familiar to participants of the Australian Women Writers Challenge. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent was reviewed this month by Janine of The Resident Judge of Port Phillip. She writes, “Many reviewers rave about her descriptions of settings, and I need to join with them in praise. Her descriptions of setting are so evocative that you can almost see it.”
The other popular title is Wild Wood, reviewed this time by Veronica on Goodreads. She observes, “Some readers may work out the twists and family secrets but I’m never good at that so I had no clue to the final revelations. Well I thought I had a clue but I was completely wrong!”
Several of the books reviewed this month are titles I have not come across, so it is exciting to see them here.
Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman features two adventurous love stories over 100 years apart, Isabella in 2001 and Libby in 2011. “Both Isabella and Libby must learn that letting go of the past is the only way to move into the future. The answers they seek lie in Lighthouse Bay.” Melba of Melba Says “This novel is beautifully written and explores the very real human emotions of grief and forgiveness.”
Indulge by Jenny Schwartz is about “Angels and djinn, steampunk pilots and lady inventors.” Sounds intriguing. Margaret on Goodreads observes, “This engaging collection of stories of yesteryear demonstrates Jenny’s considerable talent as an author. Rich in historical detail, Jenny Schwartz weaves tales of intrigue and love, often with quite surprising twists.”
The Turning Tide by C.M. Lance is “A novel of secrets, mateship and betrayal, set against a dramatic backdrop of wartime Australia – a sweeping saga that will be enjoyed by readers who crave action and adventure with a little bit of spice.” Brenda on Goodreads found “…the horrors of war aren’t told in a graphic way – they don’t need to be of course, as we’ve all read accounts that HAVE been graphic. The story is told in the two time frames, and it’s told beautifully.”
In Illuminations by Gillian Polack “Rose is an Australian medievalist on sabbatical in France. She discovers a strange manuscript that tells the tale of Ailinn and Guenloie, two women living in Arthurian Britain. As Ailinn and Guenloie seek to discover and overcome the evil threatening their world, Rose is preoccupied with her research and the strange behaviour of her boyfriend.” Elizabeth of Early Grey Editing observes “…it was a tale about the way small deeds and small lives can overcome great evil–often more effectively than flashy and powerful lives. It’s a very feminist novel, commenting on how those small lives are often overwritten by those with power. Arthur and his knights aren’t shown in a very favourable light.”
Sydney Harbour Bridge by Vashti Farrer is set in 1932 when Sydney (and the rest of Australia) are suffering hard times. “Both Alice and Billy tell the story of building the spectacular Harbour Bridge which will link the north shore to the working class suburbs of the south and unify a separated city.” I was interested to read that Mel from Subversive Reader was disappointed. “Unfortunately, the book was light on the fiction side of things. Mostly the diary entries of both Alice and Billy are a collection of facts and thoughts about the building of the bridge and the economic and political situation of the time. There’s barely any other story, though there’s a tiny bit about a friend of Billy’s whose family was forced to move to a camp.”
A book that we should be seeing more of is A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French because the title is the first in The Matilda Saga by this very prolific author. “In 1894, twelve-year-old Matilda flees the city slums to find her unknown father and his farm. But drought grips the land, and the shearers are on strike.” Shannon of Giraffe Days has high praise for the book. “A Waltz for Matilda deserves to be better known and more widely read than it currently is. It’s a Young Adult historical fiction novel that is accessible to children and just as satisfying and wonderful a read for adults – it’s not many authors who have such breadth in their style. French effortlessly captures the tone and feel of the era, both through period details and characterisation as well as through the way she writes.”
Looking forward to seeing you all in a month with a host of new titles. I’m expecting a bumper crop too as we are only half way through the month and already ten books have been reviewed.
My name is Debbie Robson and I am a bookcrosser, booklover and author. I love researching the 20th century and finding those small but relevant details that can make the past come alive. You can find me on twitter: lakelady2282