The Locksmith’s Daughter by Karen Brooks

Among the slew of Tudor-era historical fiction novels The Locksmith's Daughter stands out with an interesting premise: its protagonist is a female whose primary identity is not that of someone's wife or mistress. On the contrary, Mallory Bright has a trade - of sorts. She can pick any lock. This being the 16th century, Mallory... Continue Reading →

The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

In the 1750s London, Genevieve Planché - a young Huguenot (descendant of French Protestants who had been forced into exile) - dreams of becoming a painter. But hers is not an era conducive to such female ambition. The most Genevieve can hope for is a job as a decorator at a porcelain factory in Derby,... 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 →

Song of the Siren by C.P. Lesley

Song of the Siren starts off an exciting new series Songs of Steppe & Forest by author C.P. Lesley. It takes us deep into Eastern Europe during the middle part of the 16th century. It was a century that saw the reign of some of the most fearsome and consequential monarchs in history, from Henry VIII to... Continue Reading →

Munich by Robert Harris

My own writing and research take me back to the Middle Ages and, more recently, the 16th century Eastern Europe. So it is refreshing to come across historical fiction that is much closer to our own times, and set in the period that I am also quite interested in but do not know as much... Continue Reading →

A Column of Fire by Ken Follett

This is a review I have wanted to post for months, but this book is MASSIVE at over 900 pages. Ken Follett strikes again! Of course, Ken Follett needs no introduction. After the runaway success of Pillars of the Earth and World Without End comes the third part in the Kingsbridge series. A Column of... Continue Reading →

The Vatican Princess by G.W. Gortner

Lucrezia Borgia continues to be the subject of biographies, a hit TV series (sadly cancelled before its time), and historical novels, including the recent Vatican Princess that probes the depths of depravity that the infamous papal dynasty of the early 16th century sank into, engulfing everyone within its orbit. As an illegitimate but beloved daughter... Continue Reading →

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I finally read Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders's Man Booker Prize winner for 2017, and it was quite an experience. The book made a splash for its unusual theme and innovative style - it is written in a quasi-dramatic form and composed in part of quotes from history books and primary sources, including diaries of White House... Continue Reading →

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