Author: erin@bookforher

Review: The Patriots by Sana Krasikov

Available now: The Patriots by Sana Krasikov

****4/5 stars-loved it

A multi-generational Russian-American-expat saga told in three parts, from pre- soviet Russia to post.

Recommended readers:

  • If you are a fan of historical fiction,
  • and a devotee of the bleak Russian novel, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

At the heart of the debut novel The Patriots is the character of Florence Fein, an idealist in depression era- America who departs Brooklyn for a new life in Russia. The story then alternates from her own story to that of her son and grandson, both affected very deeply by her youthful decision and the lessons of history. All three live part of their lives in the U.S. and part in Russia, each lending their own voices to twentieth- century history and rendering a clearly meticulously-researched and sweeping chronicle. Be prepared to be sucked into another world, on a journey long, weighty and somber.   But then, if anyone has a recommendation of Russian fiction that tends away from the bleak, I’d love to hear about it.

(Hint: A Gentleman in Moscow might apply here)

The Patriots is available now

Review: No Man’s Land

Available now: No Man’s Land by Simon Tolkien

28924044***3/5 stars-liked it

Okay, I admit it.  I pick out a book for its evocative, eye catching cover.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like historical fiction of the Great War, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

No Man’s Land traces the journey of an orphaned boy from impoverished city slums and a mining town in the country to the great house and finally the Great War, with all the devastation and disillusionment you come to expect in a novel of the lost generation. Tolkien’s description of of sights and sounds of combat and its impact on human beings, his efforts at relaying what is largely unimaginable,  are the best sections of the novel.  Less engaging is the culmination of the story in homecoming and a renewal of rivalry between the main character and his foster brother, though perhaps a homecoming initially less than joyous is exactly the point.

No Man’s Land is available now 

An Icelandic Christmas Eve

198381-reading-by-the-fireAccording to the BBC, Iceland has more books and writers per capita than anywhere else in the world, with the Christmas traditions to prove it. In fact, it is said that one in ten Icelanders will publish a book, and their nod to the Christmas season is complete with a book festival in the days leading up to the holiday for the sole purpose of gift giving (and reading, apparently.)  Also chocolate! In Iceland, it is tradition to give a book on Christmas Eve, and then, to head to bed- with chocolate- to spend the rest of the evening reading.  We can’t imagine a better tradition.

Bravo, Iceland, and Merry Christmas from Books for Her.

 

 

lovethispic

Review: Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow

29430012A Gentleman in Moscow is available now

*****5/5 stars

Amor Towles does it again with prose, plot, and characters who grab hold and won’t let go.  Need a gift this Christmas?  This is it.

Recommended readers:

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 5/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

On house arrest in Moscow’s grand Metropol Hotel for being a Former Person in the new Soviet Union, Count Alexander Rostov once wrote a poem that inspired revolutionary fervor, and cannot, apparently, simply be shot at dawn. He is instead removed from his old suite of rooms and confined to the attic, where he builds a new life full of the kind of characters you can only hope to meet in your own. It’s a novel of fully-realized tragedy that somehow doesn’t get lost there, instead brimming with optimism and hope. With Rules of Civility, Towles had me for life– I looked up from the ending of that gem feeling as if it were impossible that I could be somewhere besides 1930s New York– and once again, Towles wins me over. Wonderful prose, characters, and plot, the holy trifecta for any writer, complete with literary, historic, and cinema references. With Amor Towles, know that you are reading something from someone infinitely more intelligent than you, but who writes so that you can still enjoy it, who makes you stop and think while still plunging forward to discover what happens next.

To quote the dust jacket: “He can’t leave. You won’t want to.”

Buy it now on Amazon

Coming January 10th: The Second Mrs. Hockaday

Coming in January: The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers

28110868****4/5 stars-loved it

A young bride accused of murder must fend for herself and her farm during the Civil War.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like letter format novels,
  • and if you like romantic and historical suspense, this one is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 characters
  • 4/5 plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 4/5 steaminess, including violence

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

 

Inspired by a true event, The Second Mrs. Hockaday uses the convention of letters, court inquests, and journal entries to tell the story of a woman accused by her husband of murdering a child conceived while he was away at war. This unusual format grabbed and held my attention from the start, as I tried to determine through perspectives of multiple characters what really happened. A stunning debut.

Available on Amazon January 10th:  The Second Mrs. Hockaday

November 29th: Heather Graham’s Ondine

Available November 29th: Heather’ Graham’s Ondine

29429587***3/5 stars

Recommended readers:

  • fans of romance novels

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3/5 overall
  • 3/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

First published in 1988 under her pen name, Shannon Drake, Ondine is now being re-released as Heather Graham. A play on the mythological tale of a mermaid given life by a man, this Ondine is a real-life 17th century duchess in hiding, saved from the gallows by a passing nobleman who has reasons of his own for taking a bride. This is stock entertaining historical romance novel, with a massive twisty plot, miles of dialogue, and, I must say, a somewhat excessive use of the exclamation point.
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Available November 29th: Ondine

 

Just for funsies, check out the original cover (!):

Available November 22nd: Victoria

Available November 22nd: Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

30841109***3/5 stars-liked it

From the creator of the new PBS series of the same name, a novel of Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne of England.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like historical fiction,
  • If you’re an anglophile,
  • and if you like real figures in your historical fiction, this novel is for you.

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 3/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Based on Queen Victoria’s own diaries, Daisy Goodwin’s novel follows the young Victoria’s ascension to the throne, and her supposed relationship with her prime minister and private secretary, Lord Melbourne, who really shines as a character. Overall, I much preferred Goodwin’s first two novels, The American Heiress and   The Fortune Hunter in particular, which were as full as historical detail and feeling, but managed to surprise me. As a novel, Victoria is somewhat anticlimactic to a reader who knows the outcome, and likely outdone by the visual beauty of the new television series.

Victoria will be available on Amazon November 22nd

Available November 29th: To Capture What We Cannot Keep

Available November 29th: To Capture What We Cannot Keep

****4/5 stars

25901561A fictional portrayal of a man who designed and built the Eiffel Tower

Recommended readers:

  • Lovers of Paris
  • Parisian lovers
  • Francophiles

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 4/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Someday, perhaps, I will be able to resist an enigmatically-titled historical fiction novel with a misty picture of the Eiffel Tower on the cover. Alas, today is not that day.  To Capture What We Cannot Keep explores the romantic entanglements of Émile Nouguier, an architect and engineer who built the Eiffel Tower, and the initially disdainful Parisian reaction to the “modern” tower. Though only intended to last through the World’s Fair Exhibition of 1890, Eiffel’s tower became a marvel of modern engineering, a new form of art, and the symbol of France. This is a novel full of beautiful historical detail and discussions of class and modernity, a wonderful way to escape to a Paris on the cusp of great change.

Available November 29th:  To Capture What We Cannot Keep