Shattered Drum by C. P. Lesley

So many historical novels set in the 16th century focus on Tudor England (and sometimes also France, with a smattering of Italy) that I get very excited whenever a story is set in other parts of Europe. C.P. Lesley is on one of the few historical fiction authors that I know of whose work brings... Continue Reading →

Silent Water, The Jagiellon Dynasty #1

Prologue Bari, Kingdom of Naples March 1560 The nightmares did not start until my old age, when sleep becomes elusive for some, while for others it is burdened with images from their past they would rather not remember. The stone cellar, dank and malodorous; the glint of a blade; the killer’s cold eyes; the victim’s... Continue Reading →

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

Given the subject matter of Kate Quinn's latest novel The Huntress, it is difficult to use terms like "enjoyment" and "fun" to describe the reading experience. So I will limit myself to saying that it is among the best historical fiction I have read in a long, long time. The novel opens with a scene at... Continue Reading →

Botticelli’s Muse by Dorah Blume

Artist Sandro Botticelli's painting Primavera is one of the most celebrated artworks of the Italian Renaissance. Breaking with many conventions of the past, it askewed religious imagery in favor of a secular theme of spring awakening. As such it garnered a great deal of criticism from Church authorities when it was painted in the late... Continue Reading →

I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon

When I read a well-executed historical novel, it typically sends me on a mini research bender where I try to read up on the era or the event as much as I can. I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon is one of those novels. The historical event it's woven around is the Russian Revolution - actually, two... Continue Reading →

Connecting with Berthe Morisot

Guest post by Paula Butterfield  It was the middle of another fall quarter, and I was again teaching my course on Women in the Arts. I’d already introduced my students to the floral still lifes of 16th c. Dutch artist Rachel Ruysch, and Elizabeth Vigee-Lebrun’s portraits of the 18th c. French court. Each student had... Continue Reading →

The Whale: A Love Story by Marc Beauregard

The Whale: A Love Story is a fictionalized take on a question that has puzzled literary scholars for more than 150 years. Was the short, intense friendship between two American writers Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne simply a meeting of minds, or something more and - given the times - forbidden? The two first met... Continue Reading →

Traditional vs. Amazon Publishing

Since the release of my debut novel The Greenest Branch in June 2018, I have been asked many times about my experience as an indie author, and whether I will take that route in the future with my new historical mystery series. Below is what I have told them. I know that many aspiring (as well as... Continue Reading →

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