Another month gone and another wonderful selection of books added to our ever growing AWW database. Historical fiction has enjoyed a lot of attention of late and we have had 31 reviews returned on 23 books by 22 authors since our last round up. Thank you to all who have read and reviewed and then linked your review to AWW. Your efforts are what makes this site so vibrant.
Our most reviewed titles for this month were:
5 reviews – The Desert Nurse by Pamela Hart
5 reviews – The Peacock Summer by Hannah Richell
2 reviews – The Book of Colours by Robyn Cadwallader
2 reviews – The Burning Fields by Alli Sinclair
Our two most reviewed novels were also new releases for this month. I have read both of them and I completely understand why they were so popular. Both of these novels are excellent examples of the fine talent our Australian women writers offer readers.
The Desert Nurse by Pamela Hart takes us back to WWI. This is one of my top reads for this year so far:
You can always rely on Pamela Hart to write an authentic Australian story that is true to its era with a focus on the incredible Australian women who have shaped our nation’s history. With crossovers to characters from her previous WWI novels, Pamela shows just how small our nation was at the time of WWI, highlighting the enormous sacrifice Australians gave to the fight for world peace.
Likewise, Ashleigh from The Book Muse was full of praise for The Desert Nurse:
Pamela Hart again positions a woman in a man’s world- that of war, and this time, the medical world – and gives her a voice that the doctors and matrons she works with respect – especially William and Dr Fanous, who were like a balm to Evelyn’s harsh father. This contrast showed the spectrum of attitudes based on gender during this time. The historical backdrop to the novel was made more authentic with the inclusion of the real desert nurses – Evelyn and Hannah were the only fictional ones in Pamela’s story, and her inclusion of Connie Keys, Selina (Lil) MacKenzie, Alice Ross-King, Mabel Pilkington, and Dr Agnes Bennett – the first female doctor in the British Army who was in charge of the hospitals in the Serbian theatre of war.
Jess @ The Never Ending Bookshelf seemed to have loved The Desert Nurse just as much as I did:
Not only has Hart delivered a superb and beautifully written and emotionally poignant story about the war effort from the perspective of EVERY ONE involved, but she contrasts the harsh conditions of the army/base hospitals and the war front to those often forgotten about battles fought back at home in Australia by those left behind. There are notes of romance, and romantic suspense elements, a journey of self-discovery and acceptance, cameos made by some much loved characters, not to mention the fast paced page turning of a thoroughly gripping and absorbing novel. I simply could not put it down.
Tracey from Carpe Librum thought The Peacock Summer hit all the right notes:
I flew through The Peacock Summer and felt as though it was written just for me. Don’t you love it when that happens? The pacing was perfect without any dull periods and the writing was so atmospheric I could almost hear the peacocks in the garden with Lillian and trace my finger through the dusty rooms along with Maggie.
This novel also made a big impact on Michelle from Beauty and Lace:
The Peacock Summer is a beautiful tale of love, passion, secrets and the sometimes sinister coveting of beauty. A rich and complex tale to welcome Richell back to the bestsellers list if I’m any judge. A book I would whole-heartedly recommend to everyone.
This was my first novel by Hannah Richell, and like the other reviewers, I found it to be an incredibly good novel:
The Peacock Summer is a brilliantly atmospheric story of illusion and heartbreak, orbiting around an illustrious English estate filled with priceless treasures and the darkest of secrets. While I was tempted to simply devour this novel, I slowed down and lingered over it, because it’s that sort of story, where you want to just immerse yourself for as long as possible, so elegant was the writing and so consuming was the story. The house itself, Cloudesley, had a presence all of its own, Hannah Richell’s beautifully descriptive prose breathing life into this inanimate fixture.
Amanda at Mrs B’s Book Reviews was very taken with The Sweet Hills of Florence by Jan Dickinson:
The sheer dedication and commitment the author has demonstrated in ensuring all the historical facts are right in this novel astounds me. This is a book richly seeped in historical understanding. Jan Wallace Dickinson provides a comprehensive picture of the key influential figures of this time (Mussolini, his mistress and Hitler) and she also highlights the all-important plight of the ordinary citizens of the country. In addition, we receive a strong insight into the world of the resistance and the activities of the partisans. Likewise, Jan Wallace Dickinson touches on the influence of the Nazi war machine. One of my favourite segments of this novel revolved around the moves to hide Italy’s beautiful artwork from the clutches of the Nazi’s. It was captivating!
Brenda was full of praise for Whitsunday Dawn by Annie Seaton:
Whitsunday Dawn by Aussie author Annie Seaton is, in my opinion, this author’s best yet! Set in two time-frames, with the war years and the Japanese attacks on northern Australia; and current day, highlighting the threat on the Great Barrier Reef and its surrounds. I was enthralled – romantic suspense mixed with historical fiction. Two of my favourite genres. An intriguing plot with family secrets; characters who grew and became individuals; mystery, heartache and drama – brilliant!
My pick of the month is The Concubine’s Child by Carol Jones:
The Concubine’s Child is quite a magnificent story. It’s a deeply immersive novel, one that takes you by the hand and leads you down into the depths of a culture so ancient, yet still so revered in the modern day, something I found both startling and comforting in equal measure. While fundamentally this is a tale of revenge, it’s also a story about forgiveness and the ability to finally let go of the ties from the past.
Thanks for joining me for another round up of historical fiction. Until next month, stay warm and stay well read!
About Theresa: Writer, avid reader, keen reviewer, book collector, drinker of all tea blends originating from Earl Grey, and modern history enthusiast. I enjoy reading many genres but have a particular interest in historical fiction. You can find me and all of my book related news and reviews at Theresa Smith Writes, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter @TessSmithWrites