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Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

Cameo Courtships

Cameo Courtships: 4 Stories of Women Whose Lives Are Touched by a Legendary GiftCameo Courtships: 4 Stories of Women Whose Lives Are Touched by a Legendary Gift by Susanne Dietze
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first Barbour historical romance collection I’ve read since they’ve changed the format to just four novellas per book. While the collections have always been written around a theme, “Cameo Courtships” takes that to a whole new level. All four stories are about a single family and a special cameo that gets handed down through the generations. The authors did a bang-up job of coordinating their stories and it reads almost like one long novel. It was hard to pick a favorite, but since I always do, I’ll go with “Taming Petra” by Jennifer Uhlarik because I loved “Buckskin Pete.”

 

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The Refuge

The RefugeThe Refuge by Ann H. Gabhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m a huge fan of Ann Gabhart’s Shaker books. I’ve liked them all. This one, however, might be my favorite. Ann does a great job of making the Shakers real in her stories. It would be so easy to make them cartoonish with their odd beliefs and odder ways, but she handles them with dignity and delicacy while showcasing their stories realistically.

This is historical fiction – not historical romance – but there is an undercurrent of a romantic thread in it which is touching. The Shakers believed that marriage was a sin. Yeah, I know, but they did. So the romance is all the sweeter for that background.

I enjoyed the movement and flow of the different points of view, including the young girl, Leatrice. It takes talent and attention to detail to write a child’s point of view well. Ann does. Her characters aren’t perfect (but then, who is?), but they are so realistic that you’ll be comfortable with them in minutes and involved in their lives before you even realize it.

You don’t need to have read any of Ann’s other Shaker stories to enjoy this one. But you may want to read them after!

 

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Lord of Her Heart

Lord of Her HeartLord of Her Heart by Sherrinda Ketchersid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love a good medieval read! What’s more romantic than knights, fair ladies, and castles? Sherrinda Ketchersid nails all of that, plus a bit of mystery, a dash of danger, and a hearty sprinkling of humor. This is not a dark, gothic read. It’s an engaging story with characters who’ll stay with you long after you’ve closed the book. If you’re new to the medieval time period, this is a great book to start with! (Beware: this time period can be addicting.)

 

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Sand Creek Serenade

Sand Creek SerenadeSand Creek Serenade by Jennifer Uhlarik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A deeply moving story set against the backdrop of a tragic moment in U.S. history. Even amid turmoil, however, love can blossom. When a young female doctor meets a Cheyenne brave, both their worlds expand. However, it’s a dangerous time to be on the plains. Blood has been spilled from both sides. Tensions are impossibly high. Some men aren’t to be trusted–even men in positions of authority. How can two people from such polar-opposite backgrounds find common ground that will allow them to help those who are hurting the most? Read this one and find out.

 

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Les Misérables

Les MisérablesLes Misérables by Victor Hugo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How can anyone give just three stars to a classic like Les Misérables? When it takes an avid reader almost six weeks to slog through it. Yes, I love the story! Who doesn’t? But the writing is not only old-world writing, it’s positively sloggy. For instance, there are four or five chapters that simply describe the sewer system in Paris and its history. Okay, Jean Valjean must walk through the sewer, but we don’t need chapters of description. (Tell us what time it is, don’t tell us how to build a watch.) There were also multiple chapters describing the street talk of the homeless youth of Paris. And – no – the reader didn’t need to know any of it. So while the story is excellent and the characters are fascinating, digging them out from amid the dross is a flat-out chore. Even for me … and I love reading the classics.

Now I’m ready to watch the new PBS Masterpiece Theater adaptation and I’m sure I will positively love it!

 
 

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Songbird and the Spy

Songbird and the SpySongbird and the Spy by J’nell Ciesielski
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Romance with a healthy dose of intrigue that will keep you turning the pages. A young American music student is caught behind the lines in occupied France during WWII. Her French relatives try to shield her, but she winds up alone and afraid until a kindly brother and sister take her into their home. They run a local pub, and she sings for her supper–literally. They pass her off as a French girl. When a certain German captain catches her eye, she does everything in her power to avoid him, but he won’t go away. The German captain isn’t what he seems either, and that revelation starts a whole new round of tension, conflict, and danger. A wonderful story by the same author as “Among the Poppies.” Well worth reading!

 

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The Midwife’s Tale

The Midwife's Tale (At Home in Trinity Book #1)The Midwife’s Tale by Delia Parr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this tale by Delia Parr, an author I haven’t read before. The characters are engaging, the setting is very well done, the research into the topic was obvious but didn’t overpower the story. It included a twist that I sort of saw coming, but had talked myself out of. That was nice! I thought the end was a bit rushed, but it didn’t destroy the story or anything.

If you’re interested in the early 1880s, stories set in Pennsylvania, and/or stories dealing with early healthcare, this is the book for you. It’s not a romance, it’s historical, but there is a nice thread of romance that runs throughout. Mostly it’s about the midwife and her life, her disappointments, her achievements, and the lives of the people she touches. Well worth reading.

 

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