Conspiracy by S.J. Parris

The Giordano Bruno historical mystery series by S.J. Parris is one of my favorite, and part five, Conspiracy, does not disappoint. Set in Paris in the fall of 1585, it sees Bruno return to Paris after his latest adventure helping quash a plot against Queen Elizabeth in London. The philosopher is in search of a quiet life and... Continue Reading →

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 →

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 →

The Relic Master by Christopher Buckley

Until I read Christopher Buckley's The Relic Master, I failed to realize what now seems quite obvious, namely that historical fiction is rarely humorous. It is not necessarily a criticism. Historical novels tend to be set in pivotal eras or woven around events that bring about major changes and are  often marked by violence and suffering.... Continue Reading →

The Cloister by James Carroll

On a rainy day in November 1950, Father Michael Kavanagh seeks refuge in New York's famed Cloisters Museum of medieval art at the northern tip of Manhattan. There he meets a mysterious woman who turns out to be a Jewish historian and Holocaust survivor. One of the few possessions she managed to salvage from the ravages of... 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 →

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