There was a slightly lower number of historical fiction reviews during the month of July than there have been through the year so far. Of the 14 reviews that were submitted there was one book that garnered 4 reviews alone, but more on that later. First though, I thought I would mention the books that were reviewed this month that I haven’t mentioned before in my roundup posts.
The first of these books is The Heaven I Swallowed by Rachel Hennessy which was reviewed by Whispering Gums. Set in the 1950s with flashbacks to earlier days, the book tells the story of Rachel Hennessy’s grandmother who as a member of the Stolen Generation. This book was also covered in the Literary and Diversity rounds ups this month so be sure to check them out to see if you might be interested in reading the book. I was interested, especially when I read this line towards the end of the review.
Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens to her. I recommend you do, because this is a quiet but fierce little book about real people and real situations. It’s not always pretty, but it has a heart
Another new to the roundup book that was reviewed by a participant in the challenge was Torn by Karen Turner which was reviewed by Monique at Write Note Reviews. Torn is the first book in a series set in the early 19th century with the second book due out next year.
The final book I wanted to mention before I get to the big book of the month is In Falling Snow by Mary-Rose Maccoll which was reviewed twice during July. I had this book recommended to me during a Twitter chat a few months ago but I haven’t managed to read it yet. Belle from Belle’s Bookshelf did read it and says:
Even though I predicted what would happen, the story was still compelling to me. It’s quite an emotional journey, as you’d probably expect from a generation-spanning war tale. The setting of WWI France is beautifully rendered, and I really, really want to visit Royaumont now. Overall this is a gorgeous book; I definitely recommend it for fans of historical fiction.
Maree Kimberley also reviewed the book over at Goodreads and said:
Falling in Snow is a meticulously researched, gorgeously written novel set in two different worlds: a hospital run by women near Paris during WWI, and inner-city Brisbane in the late 1970s. At times it moved me to tears. MacColl’s prose is intensely real. It’s not what I’d term spare but just so matter of fact, so close to the bone in revealing emotions, the joys and devastation of everyday lives.
Sounds like my kind of book!
So what was the book that received 4 reviews this month? Burial Rites by Hannah Kent which Amanda at Goodreads called “astonishing“, and Jennifer calling it “bleak and beautiful” although not everyone loved it with at least one reviewer giving up and Melanie at Blakkopy Kat finding didn’t quite live up to her expectations:
To say I didn’t make the summit of those expectations is probably the best way of framing my view of Burial Rites, but the journey was still worthwhile and there are plenty of good things to say about it.
It seems that it is one of those books that you have to read for yourself to decide whether you fall into the love it category of readers or not.
You can find more of the historical fiction reviews at any time by clicking on the Historical Fiction Weebly page.
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.
I’ve added The Heaven I Swallowed to my wishlist, would love to read that one! Happy to get a copy of Burial Rites, been seeing it around and hearing great things about it. And I have In Falling Snow to read next – excited it got picked up by a North American publisher, love seeing Aussie authors get recognition and readership overseas!
Some good reading ahead for you by the sounds of it!
Thanks for the link Marg! And that’s interesting about Burial rites … It’s one I’d love to read if I could just find the time!
I am a bit the same. I have had it out from the library but returned it unread.
So many books …
Our book club chose BURIAL RITES for discussion this month as Kent is an Adelaide girl and we are Adelaide book lovers. I liked it more than I expected to (though why I didn’t expect to is perhaps something to ponder…I like the ‘speculative biography’ genre). However thanks for linking to Melanie’s review…very thought provoking. I shall have to think more on the points she raises.
I’m waiting for In Falling Snow to come in through my library. I enjoy WW1 fiction and I need to get cracking on my AWW reading.
I avoided reading In Falling Snow because my manuscript The Grey Silk Purse is set in one of the other Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia where Miles Franklin worked. From my research I didn’t think any Australians worked at Royaumont so I am intrigued and now free to read it.