Category Archives: Historical Fiction

War of the Wolf: A Novel (Saxton Tales Book 11) by Bernard Cornwell

Reviewed by Teri Davis

War of the WolfHow could anyone teach about life in the late 900s or early 1000 A.D.? The time of Saxons, Mercians, Danes all battling over land that would become England. Along side the land issue is the decision of religion. Christianity is being followed by most of the inhabitants while the many of the Danes hold on to their beliefs and loyalties to the Norse Gods. Naturally, among each side are inner battles of ambitious rulers fighting and acquiring loyalties for power and possessions.

War of the Wolf is the eleventh book in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon series explaining how England became a single country. All of these books feature Uhtred, who in my mind resembles one of the larger fighting men in Game of Thrones with numerous scars and battle wounds from constant altercations.

War of the Wolf is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, now an older and wiser man. In the first book, I viewed him with distaste as his taste of fighting seemed impulsive. Throughout the series, Uhtred grows more interlining from his experiences and challenges so that now he thinks, plots, and attempts to outwit his enemy. Now, it is easier to see Uhtred as wise and even caring and protective of his friends, allies, and family.

Uhtred now has reestablished his life in his northern family home of Bebbanburg which took many years. He is comfortable in his northern home and would rather be home than fighting. He realizes that even though home, peace is always temporary with the constant threat of the Viking invaders, the wild fighting Scots from the northern lands and the battling for power from the Mercians, now in control of England.

Uhtred is summoned to King Edward in Wessex to decide the next king whether through oldest illegitimate sons, legitimate heirs, or other lesser leaders. Uhtred has no intention of going until he discovers the problems of his son-in-law. The needs and vengeances of the family outweigh the dangers.

In War of the Wolf, Uhtred proves his leadership and acquired wisdom in this battle of kings as well as a new challenger proves a threat to him, his family, and his ancestral homeland. His skills or lack of skills in this new world of diplomacy as well as his strategic fighting abilities demonstrates that peace is never permanent. There is always a new, younger, stronger, and perhaps smarter challenger.

War of the Wolf is thoroughly enthralling as Uhtred enters of a world of constant change.

For a reader unfamiliar with this series, I would strongly recommend to read at least the first book or to watch the television series The Last Kingdom before this particular novel. Being acquainted with the characters, especially the names is extremely helpful as well as understanding the people. Personally, I enjoy how each person matures and their previous life choices affecting their life in this eleventh book.

How could anyone learn of life in the 900s and 1000 A.D. in England. Read the Saxon series by Bernard Cornwell. Bernard Cornwell is a master storyteller with this newest book in the Saxon series, War of the Wolf.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Everyone Brave is ForgivenDoes everyone view the events of World War II the same way? Imagine living in London during 1939, before the Americans entered the War. Naturally, at first everyone believes it will be a short series of battles with the Brits leading the way. Everyone wants to do their part, with many able-bodied men immediately enlisting. The wealthy, or those from the “better” families”, became officers. A few chose to stay working in the city to maintain the continuity of life. The children were evacuated to the country. Some chose to remain. What was life like in Londen then?

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is a story for those who search for the genuine experiences of the past. The strong voices of each character discloses the true life of the time period. Whether from Mary North being a single and pretty new teacher and finding her place in the world, or Hilda as Mary’s best friend, Tom is her boss and fiancé, Allistar going off to fight, or Zachary as the black and poor. Each voice explains living through a turbulent time of hardship.

Chris Cleave loosely based this novel on his grandparents. This London resident has won the Somerset Maugham Award in 2006, been on the shortlist for the 2006 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, also on the shortlist for the Costa Award and having his books on the New York Times Bestsellers’ List. He is the author of Incendiary, Little Bee, and Gold.

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Fools and MortalsAre all mortals foolish? In Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the character Puck is quoted as saying, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

Yes, we have all done innumerable foolish things in our past. William Shakespeare revealed the true nature and foolishness of people of his time period through his keen eyes of observation. Whether death, romance, love, stupidity somehow he was able to develop his characters into real people in his comedies or tragedies. Even though Shakespeare wrote years ago, the time and place is different, but people are still the same. Surprisingly, even though the setting is different from four-hundred years ago.

Bernard Cornwell also wondered about the brilliant author, William Shakespeare. In Fools and Mortals, Cornwell explores the world of theater in London with Shakespeare during the late 1500s. The story is told through the perspective of William’s younger brother, Richard, who is an actor in his brother’s company.

Noir by Christopher Moore

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

NoirFirst things first, I love the cover of this book! Do you ever pick a book because of the cover? I do and I would grab this one in a heart beat. The pin up girl in bright red and the two men in black suits and fedoras screams 1947. The golden gate bridge is also displayed lending a hint to the setting of the story. There is a snake and a green three fingered hand resting on the title that adds a bit of mystery to the overall design. This is cover love at it’s finest.

In the summer of 1947, San Francisco is changing. The war is over and work is hard to come by. Sammy “Two Toes” Tiffin is a bartender at a seedy gin joint when one night a dame named Stilton, aka the Cheese, walks in and Sammy falls hard. They spend time together and enjoy some razzmatazz until one night the Cheese goes missing. Sammy sets out to rescue her and save her from the two mugs in black suits. However, what he finds he never expected. With a colorful cast of characters and bountiful twists and turns down dark alley’s, we are off on an adventure.

Chanting the Feminine Down by James C. McCullagh with Roy McCullagh

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Chanting the Feminine DownOddly enough, when an author subtitles his book it is often more about the author then the book. However, McCullaugh here declares this to be a “Psychological, Religious and Historical Novel,” he is not being disingenuous.

This story is well researched and well documented. It is a tribute to the author’s dedication and abilities in research and correlation of large amounts of data and information. The author provides source references and other interesting information at his website, Chanting the Feminine Down.

Two Journeys Home: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe (Derrynane Saga) Book 2 by Kevin O’Connell

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Two Journeys HomeAt a little over six-feet tall, long raven hair, intelligent beyond her years and Irish, all describe the beautiful Eileen O’Connell as she returns to her home in Ireland after spending almost six years in the court of Empress Maria Theresa. Her duties in Austria are as nanny and friend to two of the young princesses, Archduchesses Maria Carolina and Maria Antonia. Part of her task is also to prepare each of them for their royal lives of the future, hopefully queens.

Many years ago, Eileen had been raised in western County Kerry in Ireland. Her family had earned their wealth by investing in illegal commercial maritime trading activities.
After her sixteenth birthday, Eileen’s family had arranged for her to marry a man, over fifty-years her senior. Unsurprisingly, she had hated being his young wife in this arranged situation, but within seven-months of the marriage, she had learned to love and cherish him. His death was a shock to her. The obvious solution for a wealthy young woman of the 1760s in Ireland is to be remarried.

Salk Creek by Lucy Treloar

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Salt CreekMost of us strive for adventure and riches in fulfilling their dreams of the future.

Hester Finch’s grandparents arrived in Australia from England continuing their lives of wealth and status. Unfortunately, for Hester and her siblings, her father has dreams. This was life on her mother’s side of the family who fell in love with a man who was considered beneath her. Yes, he wanted the family to maintain the lifestyle they were accustomed to living.

Having already failed at many prospective investments and opportunities, he decides that the family needs to start over. He chooses a deserted, dry region new Salt Creek in South Australia, uprooting their lives in every aspect with dreams of success and wealth.

Timeless Travels: Tales of Mystery, Intrigue, Humor, and Enchantment by Joseph Rotenberg


Timeless TravelsWho is today’s American Jew? Joseph Rotenberg styles himself as a modern-day maggid (traditional Jewish storyteller), weaving tales from the everyday to the fantastic, each one bringing the reader a slice of the American Jewish experience. Just as Sholem Aleichem did more than a hundred years ago in his famous stories describing Russian Jewish life, these tales inform and entertain by uncovering little-known events and personalities that have impacted the American Jewish world. In the 1950s, the late Harry Golden, in his popular collections Only in America and For Two Cents Plain, introduced Jewish culture to many non-Jewish Americans. Joseph Rotenberg’s work updates that vision to depict the contemporary, modern American Jew who is today increasingly as much at home in the halls of the Ivy League, the corridors of power in Washington, the corporate boardroom, and the theater as he is in the beit midrash and the synagogue. You’ll laugh, cry, and wonder as you travel through Joseph Rotenberg’s incisive and at times laugh-outloud funny collection of tales.

Timeless Travels is a fascinating and thought-provoking account of the experiences and travels of Jewish people throughout history, by the talented author, Joseph Rotenberg. Timeless Travels will appeal to readers of all ages. I highly recommend this page-turning collection of short stories.”

Douglas R. Cobb – Reviewer for Bestsellersworld.com

The Midnight Watch: A Novel of the Titanic and the Californian by David Dyer

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Midnight Watch“The midnight watch: a time of loneliness, demons, and trances”.

The night the Titanic sunk, April 14th, 1912, was also the same night that the closest ship, the Californian had difficulty itself fighting the constant enclosing ice and avoiding icebergs.

Click Here for More Information on The Midnight Watch

During the midnight watch on the Californian, a distress call was sent to them by the Titanic. The Californian’s captain, Captain Lord, chose to ignore all communications including lanterns using Morse Code, telegraph communications, and the sight of eight white rockets from the sinking Titanic

The rescued survivors of the Titanic in the rowboats actually could see the Californian in the distance and expected them to save them and those in the frozen ocean.

Fortunately for those in who were rescues, another ship, the Carpathian was further from the Titanic and collected those lucky survivors.
Unfortunately, thousands died in the ocean while hoping the nearby ship; the Carpathian would rescue them quickly.

However, the Carpathian did not come to their aid.

Eventually, communication between Carpathian and the Californian was established with directions for the Californian to search for bodies. For some reason, the Californian found none, of course, the location they supposedly looked was not correct.

The Midnight Watch is based on the investigation both in the United States and England regarding the role of the Carpathian and the choices made by Captain Lord.

Lord’s crew was torn between honesty and loyalty. On shipboard, everyone is expected to follow the captain through all situations even when he is either wrong or lying. For many of the crew, this conflicted with their values of honesty and the rules of the sea with loyalty to their captain.
The Midnight Watch is the fascinating story from various perspectives of the actual historical events. Viewing the disaster from different people in varying roles allows the reader to decide whether or not they agree with the final decisions.

Even with the disastrous event happening more than one-hundred years ago, The Midnight Watch is an investigative mystery into the past

The author, David Dyer, writes what he knows best. Having worked on various types of merchant vessels, and graduating from the Australian Maritime College, he worked as a lawyer at a London legal firm whose parent company represented the Titanic’s owners in 1912. Currently, he is employed as an English literature in Sydney.

Dyer has created an utterly enthralling journey in the Titanic’s disastrous past.

Goodnight from London: A Novel by Jennifer Robson

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

Goodnight from LondonIt is 1940 and there is a war in Europe. Ruby Sutton, a journalist in New York City, is working for The American. After only six months on the job, she is called to her Editor’s office for a meeting. Concern and worry consume her as she waits to speak with Mr. Mitchell. She is however very surprised to be offered a placement as a war correspondent writing for Picture Weekly in London. She accepts the once in a lifetime opportunity, but is apprehensive about her humble upbringing surfacing. Upon her arrival in London she is met by Mr. Bennett; a soldier and a good friend of her new boss Kaz. Ruby easily settles in and enjoys writing for Picture Weekly. She also sends a column home to The American called Dispatches from London. She is extremely talented at humanizing the war and speaking to the families that have been affected by it. There are many endless nights spent in terror in air raid shelters during the Blitz. When Ruby looses everything except her life, she is forced to confront a past she had hoped to leave behind in America. With the kindness of strangers and one very handsome soldier, Ruby begins to heal and starts to move forward.

Click Here for More Information on Goodnight from London

I have been struggling to write this review for days now. Not because I disliked the book I loved it, but because it is a classic World War Two love story. It has a strong female character who is independent, self sufficient and very, very likable. A woman you would be honored to have as your friend. There is a man, handsome and mysterious just out of reach. It is rich with bombings, death, air raid shelters and overall destruction at its heart. Sadness and hope spring from its depths. Collusion, lies, condemnation, dissent, love, faith, healing and friendship all abound throughout Goodnight from London. It is a story not to be missed.