Historical fiction is enjoying its turn in the spotlight of late with some truly terrific new releases and this is reflected in the amount of reviews you are all linking into our database. For February, there were 44 reviews on 29 books written by 27 authors.
The Light After the War by Anita Abriel had three reviews. This novel appears to be inspired by true events (quite common in historical fiction, particularly of late with WWII settings). From Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out:
‘I was intrigued by the inspiration for this novel, the main characters of The Light Before the War are based on (and even named for) members of Abriel’s own family. Her mother, Vera Frankel, and best friend, Edith, really did escape a train carrying them to Auschwitz, how closely subsequent events mirror their experiences isn’t entirely clear though Abriel confirms some key incidents (one which in particular shocked me) are true in notes found at the end of the novel.’
Kirsten Alexander (Half Moon Lake 2019) has returned with a new title, Riptides, which had four reviews entered throughout its release month.
This was a gripping read that I really appreciated:
‘Riptides is a complex and gripping story about the weight of one’s decisions, morality, and family obligation. Set in Brisbane during the mid-1970s, this novel is not just a story about siblings committing a crime; it’s also a snapshot of the state of Queensland, smack bang in the middle of Bjelke-Petersen’s ‘police-state’ reign.’
The Darkest Shore by Karen Brooks is another one I loved and I’m not the only one, with three other reviews in addition to mine being entered.
I couldn’t agree more with Jennifer’s review:
‘What follows is an intense story, which is largely based on real events. Ms Brooks brings her characters to life: the circumstances and friendships of the fishwives are as much a part of the story as their fight for freedom. I kept reading, wanting the hysteria to abate. I kept reading, wanting to see justice for the accused women, wanting to see Reverend Cowper get his just deserts. I read this novel twice. The first time, I read to find out how it would end. The second time, I paid more attention to the setting, to Ms Brooks’s depictions of character and place. I also appreciated the glossary and list of characters. This is a compelling, dark work of historical fiction. Not comfortable, and a reminder of both the best and worst of human nature.’
Another favourite to return with a new release is Kim Kelly with Walking. I too enjoyed this, along with two of our other regular reviewers, Brenda and Claire. From my review:
‘Walking is a love letter to love itself. And not just romantic love, but also the love we experience between friends and mentors, parents and parental figures. There really is so much woven into the story fabric of this novel – spanning two world wars with a Depression in between, Australia was a rapidly changing nation on the one hand, yet hopelessly staid on the other.’
I think I’m beginning to sound like a broken record but we had another favourite return with a new release in February, Kelly Rimmer with Truths I Never Told You, clocking up three reviews. From Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out:
‘Most emphasis of the story however is placed on the issue linking Beth and Grace – Post Natal Depression. In the late 1950’s Grace’s distress in the aftermath of her pregnancies is dismissed by her doctor, whose advice amounts to ‘pull yourself together’, and is ignored by her husband. In 1996, Beth is unwilling to admit she is not coping with caring for her infant son, and it’s only through the intervention of her husband and sister that she seeks medical help, whose response is immediate and practical. Rimmer also raises a number of other related issues, including the importance of access to inexpensive contraception, and safe, legal abortion to protect women’s emotional and physical health.’
It’s been a little while since we had some literary historical fiction, but Desire Lines by Felicity Volk fits into this category neatly. We had four reviews entered for this title, one of which was mine – I really have been reading within my genre of late! However, Amanda @ Mrs B’s Book Reviews loved this one so much she gave it five stars:
‘Desire Lines is the story of two individuals, Paddy and Evie, who we follow from childhood to adulthood. Each has troubled lives, but Paddy’s story is particularly bleak, truthful and utterly heartbreaking. The leads seem to spin around each other, but they also manage to come together for a time, only to be pulled apart again. The love between the leads traverses place, time, circumstance, position and life’s punishing setbacks. This union left a stain on my heart. Desire Lines is punctuated by poetic prose, which is tempered by strong imagery. I was able to absorb each perfectly formed word supplied by Volk, who is a true literary scholar. Desire Lines issues the reader with insightful references to botany, architecture, government policy, history and world events. I was visibly moved by the themes presented in Volk’s book, from family violence, poverty, parentage, abandonment, child migration, abuse, trauma, infidelity, lust, longing, trust, belief and most importantly, the keynote motif of desire.’
And that’s a wrap. Thanks to everyone who linked an historical fiction review throughout the month of February. I wish I could quote you all, but we would literally be here all day long. Until next month, happy travels back through time.