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 →

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 →

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