Today I will be talking about the reviews that have been submitted to the challenge for historical fiction. January was a good month with 17 reviews all highlighting individual books! The vast majority of them were published in the last few years and include a few new to me titles but there were also some older books. As part of today’s wrap up, I thought I might mention the older books, one book that I have read but still need to review, and one that I would possibly not have heard of if not for the challenge.
I remember reading Ruth Park in high school. I loved both the book and the mini-series adaptation of Poor Man’s Orange which was shown on TV in the late 80s (showing my age now!) but I have never actually read the book or seen the movie of Playing Beattie Bow by the same author, which was reviewed by Tien who rated it as a 5/5 read. Tien said
looking at the cover, I thought it’d be something creepy (a quote at the back of the book reads, “It’s Beatie Bow – risen from the dead!”) but it’s not at all creepy! It’s a time travel tale which I adore and I love this book!
Time travel? Yes please! And now I need to read it too!
The other older book that was reviewed was The Commandant by Jessica Anderson which was reviewed by John from Musings from a Literary Dilettante. This book had been out of print for some time before it was republished as part of the Text Classics series. When a review starts off with the sentiment that “there are many things to love” about the book, goes on to talk about the writing having ” the flavour of Jane Austen, particularly in the scenes involving the female characters’ and then finishes wondering why a book like this would have gone out of print in the first place, my attention has definitely been caught.
One of the books that was reviewed during January that I hadn’t heard anything about previously was The Inheritance of Ivorie Hammer by Edwina Preston which was reviewed by Annabel Smith over at Goodreads. Whilst Annabel had some reservations about the book, she did enjoy the evocation of the time setting, the characters and the mystery and finished her review by saying
I think Preston is an exciting new voice in Australian fiction and I’ll be interested to see what she writes next.
I was glad to see Rebecca’s review of The Wedding Shroud by Elisabeth Storrs this month. I loved this book, and luckily so did Rebecca. Set in ancient Rome and the neighbouring Etruscan society, the reviewer says
The research that went into the detail and flow of the story is impressive. The author doesn’t skimp on the sights, smells, and sounds either. I felt immersed in Rome, in the Etruscan society, in the time period, and in the characters.
It would be remiss of me to close of this roundup without mentioning the review that Michelle from Book to the Future wrote about Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany which was announced as one of the longlisted titles for the Stella award this week. Michelle writes of the book:
Mateship with Birds is one of those elegant, slow novels I find utterly irresistible. Within a matter of paragraphs, Tiffany’s lush narrative falls into step with the laidback rhythm of country life. But this is not some kind of sentimental, landscape-driven piece, not is it a romance novel. It’s something entirely different – a devastatingly smart, original work of fiction that speaks in an understated, confident voice.
You can find more of the historical fiction reviews at any time by clicking on the Historical Fiction Weebly page. Other authors reviewed this month include M L Stedman, Kate Grenville, Isolde Martyn and more.
Marg has long been an avid reader of all genres but especially Historical Fiction. She has very strong memories of reading through the entire collection of Jean Plaidy novels in the school library and loves to read about all different eras and locations. Marg has been blogging about all different genres and other things at Adventures of an Intrepid Reader for more than 7 years, and was a founding member of Historical Tapestry, a group blog that has been focusing only on Historical Fiction for more than 5 years. You can tweet to her either @margreads or @historytapestry.
Wow, I remember reading Playing Beatie Bow as a child. I even remember having that same cover (handed down from older cousins no less). I’d like to say it brings back memories, but if you hadn’t mentioned time travel, I would not have guessed what it was about. Perhaps I should revisit (if I can find it).
Would be interesting to reread it after all this time.
I loved A Town Like Alice when I read it as a teenager.
Great book! Unfortunately wouldn’t qualify for this challenge though.