With more than 20 reviews again during the month of May, the historical fiction genre continues to be well represented in the Australian Women Writers Challenge.
One of the things that some times makes it difficult to do these roundups at the end of the month is that historical fiction often crosses over into other genres which have already been covered by other roundups. For example, this month the two books that have been reviewed most with three reviews each were The Burial by Courtney Collins and Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (and yes, I am resisting the urge to make comment on the fact that both of the most reviewed titles were about burials). Both of these books have also been classified as literary and were therefore included in the Classics and Literary roundup which Whispering Gums posted earlier this month so if you are interested in hearing more about those books head over to the link above. Another book that received multiple reviews was Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany which has been included in previous roundups.
Today I thought I would focus on the other books and authors that have been multiple times during the month of May.
Amanda Curtin’s new book, Elemental, was released by University of WA during May and was reviewed twice for the challenge.
Magdalena Ball from Compulsive Reader says of Elemental
Elemental is an exquisite novel. Every word of it is tightly crafted and pregnant with possibility. It is self-referential and post-modern in the way it undermines time, creating a genetic and emotional link between characters in multiple times and places. Yet, at the same time, there is something almost old fashioned and timeless in its deep perceptions and observations, and in the sheer, slow beauty of its prose as Meggie not only discovers herself, but creates a genetic immortality through what she passes on to her children and the way in which she recrafts her inheritance. Elemental is indeed a wonderful, engrossing read, but it also shines of greatness.
Annabel Smith said on Goodreads
There is a great deal of tragedy in this novel, and a sense of lessons learned the hard way, but these are always balanced by the joy of community, and hope, and also by Amanda’s beautiful prose
The fact that part of Elemental is set partially in Perth dovetails nicely with the two books that were reviewed this month by Deborah Burrows. Burrows writes stories that are a strong mix of historical fiction, crime and romance and both of the, were set against the background of World War II Perth.
Bree from All the Books I Can Read read A Stranger in My Street which was Deborah Burrows debut novel and was impressed saying:
I’ve read quite a few books set around WW2 and just about all of them have taken place in Europe. It was refreshing to read something set close to home and get an idea of what life was like for Australians while the war was going on.
Deborah Burrows’ second book, Taking a Chance, was released during May and was reviewed by Shelleyrae at Book’d Out and Monique at Write Note Reviews. Shelleyrae enjoyed revisiting WWII Perth saying:
Just as in A Stranger in My Street, I really enjoyed the blend of mystery and romance in Taking A Chance. I loved revisiting wartime Perth (my hometown) and was once again impressed by the author’s ability to seamlessly integrate the historical detail of time and place. With all of that, combined with strong characterisation and a well crafted plot, I can only recommend you ‘take a chance’ on this entertaining and engaging novel.
Warm and satisfying, Taking a Chance is a worthwhile read that will appeal to lovers of historical stories, romances and gentle mysteries.
The last recent release I want to focus on is Out of the Silence by Wendy James. I have to confess that I didn’t actually realise that Wendy James wrote historical fiction. I think I thought she wrote contemporary fiction and so hadn’t paid a lot of attention to her books. After reading both Brenda’s review and Bree’s review I now want to read Out of the Silence. It sounds fascinating. Bree said
Out Of The Silence is a fascinating blend of history and human nature resulting in a terrible crime. It’s done without censure, without judgement, with a gentleness that doesn’t justify Maggie’s actions but seeks to explain how she may have been so far pushed to end up at this point. How as a young, single woman, her options were so few and that for her, what she did was the only solution to her problem. Her story is written with such sensitivity.
And from Brenda
The facts and fiction of women fighting for their most basic rights back in the early 1900s blended well, and it was extremely cleverly written.
You can find more of the historical fiction reviews at any time by clicking on the Historical Fiction Weebly page.
I look forward to seeing the wide range of historical fiction books that are reviewed during the month of June and to sharing a selection of them next month.
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 still 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.
Good round up as usual Marg. Must say I thought Wendy James wrote contemporary or crime fiction too, so this interested me also. So many books!