Category Archives: Historical Fiction

The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) by David Castello

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

The Diary of an ImmortalThe story begins during the height of World War II. Twenty-one-year-old U.S. Army combat medic Steven Ronson, describes his weariness of the death that’s all around him. For him it is especially difficult when his company is the first to liberate the Nazi Concentration Camp, Dachau. While exploring the camp along with some other soldiers, they enter the cottage of a commander of the German military. Inside they find a lavishly decorated room with beautiful paintings and fine furniture. Behind one of the paintings, a wall safe is discovered. It contains German cash, jewelry and a large, mahogany box which is given to Steven. Thinking that it may consist of medical instruments, he opens it and finds two envelopes and a sizable stash of bottled pills. Thus begins his dalliance with immortality.

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The letters explain a doctor’s discovery of a formula designed for Adolf Hitler to give him immortality. After seeing so much death, Steven decides to take the pills and develops amazing, superhuman abilities. For one, his body is able to heal itself of any injuries.

Tempting Skies: Book Three, Beyond the Wood Series by Michael Roueche

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Tempting SkiesHow would you like to read your ancestors’ journals about their lives while living through the Civil War? Would you be able to understand the perspectives of both sides?

Just recently in the year 2012, while searching through the attic of a mansion in Lexington, Kentucky, scheduled for demolition, a manuscript and letters revealed the history of this estate beginning in the 1820s. These documents are the foundation of the third book of this trilogy.

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Betsy Richman Henderson Gragg appears to have a charmed life. Born as a privileged daughter of a slave-owner and beautiful, she married a Southern gentleman who fought for the Confederacy. When he dies in battle, who quickly remarries. Fortunately, Betsy finds love again and this time marries a Union soldier, Their love quickly has her carrying their child.

The Flame Bearer (Saxon Tales Book 10) by Bernard Cornwell

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Flame Bearer“When we are young we yearn for battle. In the firelit halls, we listen to the songs of heroes. Then the day comes when we are ordered to fight with the men, not as children to hold the horses and to scavenge weapons after the battle, but as men. … We are almost men, not quite warriors, and on some fateful day we meet an enemy for the first time, and we hear the chants of battle, the threatening clash of blades on shields, and begin to learn that the poets are wrong and that the proud songs lie.”

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Before the year 1000 A.D., England was a group of tribal kingdoms. Since the Romans left, there was constant fighting over land and religion with little time for peace. The invasions from the Vikings were constant. Throughout the years many of these kingdoms were merged into larger ones through marriages, battles, or treaties. Finally, there is some peace due to a treaty between Sigtryggr, Northumbria’s Viking ruler and AEthelflaed, Mercia’s Saxon queen.

Exiles: A Mystery in Paris (The Daniel Levin Mysteries Book 1) by Lawrence J. Epstein

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Exiles:  A Mystery in ParisAlthough the title of the novel by Lawrence J. Epstein reads Exiles: A Mystery in Paris, in fact there are several types of mysteries tackled on various levels. The readers are invited to explore these and see beyond the shadow of the murder case which reigns over the plot.

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It all unravels in Paris, 1925 – a period marked by recovery, vitality and hope. It is the hope of a fresh start that pushes Daniel Levin to leave his home and venture into a foreign land to try and accomplish his dream of becoming a writer. While he quickly befriends the right people and receives a lot of help from them, he still has to face a lot of obstacles alone. Some of these are regarding his literary carrier, some even threaten his life.
Soon after his arrival, a murder takes place in his vicinity. The audacity of the crime and the fame of the victim guarantee the headlines. While he begins as merely a keen observer, his status will shift as he will find himself ever more involved in the case. Meanwhile, he is also faced with the mystery of love and its many masks. Levin thus has the opportunity to discover a city like Paris through a woman. As a bonus, the pages of the book are spiced with the appearances of famous characters of the likes of Sylvia Beach, Ernest Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein, all of who are strongly portrayed and bring an extra layer of complexity to the novel.

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Three Sisters, Three Queens“You can’t do what you want when you are a princess,…You are doing the work of God, you are going to be the mother to a king, you are one below the angels, you have a destiny.”

Can anyone possibly imagine what Margaret Tudor’s life was like as a child? Author, Philippa Gregory, her natural curiosity to this character has created a marvelous, insightful perspective to the infamous and long-lasting events of the time.

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Margaret adored her older brother, Arthur who was to be the next King of England. Along with her younger sister, Mary, the two sisters joined by a third, the intended wife of her brother, Katherine of Aragon from Spain, these three united in a sisterly bond lasting most of their lives. Her parents were Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, the ones who sponsored the expedition of Columbus.

The Wanderer’s Last Journey (The Orfeo Saga Book 4) by Murray Lee Eiland Jr.

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

The Wanderer's Last JourneyIn The Wanderer’s Last Journey, the fourth volume of the young adult Orfeo Saga, Murray Lee Eiland, Jr., delivers an exciting, fast-paced historical fantasy that will no doubt please devoted fans of the series.

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The Wanderer’s Last Journey opens with a burst of action. Traders from a foreign land have arrived Linnaeus’s kingdom, where Orfeo and Clarice are currently residing. Soon a scuffle ensues, during which Orfeo is taken captive. In order to get Orfeo back, Clarice has no choice but to send for Daryush, the Kassite. She and Semria, Daryush’s wife, join Daryush on the quest when he arrives at court. Soon, Zurga joins the search as well. He first looks for clues first at home and then travels to Egypt. There, he learns that foreigners from across the sea have kidnapped Orfeo; he soon enlists a crew to go and rescue Orfeo.

The Dream Lover: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The Dream Lover“There is only one happiness in life, to loved and to be loved.”

George Sand was of the few women throughout history who followed her dreams and desires without consideration of society’s rules. She liberated herself at a time when females were considered property. She wore trousers, left her children, wrote books that were admired even by Balzac, lost her inheritance to her husband when she divorced him, how could this person survive in the world of France in mid-1800s? This woman who wrote under the name of a man while living with her personal standards and not society’s. I was curious about any woman who held Chopin spellbound.

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The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The NightingaleLiving in France before the invasion by the Germans at the beginning of World War II is difficult to imagine. Were the people ready? What should they buy and store? Were their clues of the impending invasion? Why didn’t the citizens leave the country while they were allowed to travel freely?

From our perspective, today, looking back in history, we often cannot understand why the French people didn’t all leave the country. Of course, where would they go?

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The Nightingale is a masterful tapestry interweaving the tale of two sisters, Vianne, and Isabelle. The two live in the same place but have very different lives.

Though Heaven Fall: A Medieval Parable by Jeri Westerson

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Though Heaven Fall“The sins we commit on earth are like pebbles upon a scale, each weighing a man’s soul heavier and heavier. If his soul is too heavy, you see, it cannot soar aloft to God. Bus when we pray and atone, only then may we lift each pebble–one by one–free of this scale.”

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In the thirteenth century in England, life’s hard. For Edric, he is barely surviving. He is a cripple with a clubfoot who roams the streets of England, begging and or stealing and even occasionally earning a little money playing music on his pipe.

Warriors of the Storm: A Novel (Saxon Tales) by Bernard Cornwell

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Warriors of the StormThere has been numerous books about Richard the Lionhearted and his mother, Queen Eleanor. However, the years before their reigns do not have the documents supporting the history. The basics have been recorded but not many accounts still exist showing the various perspectives. What about the time period just as England was becoming a country?

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Fortunately for most of us, Bernard Cornwell masterfully has researched this time period and has created a phenomenal saga in his Saxon stories.