Fiction

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 

Mogul by Joanna Shupe

Available Jan. 31: Mogul by Joanna Shupe

****3.5/5 stars- loved itjshupe-mogul

Mogul is another great Gilded Age historical romance.

Recommended readers:

  • If you’re a fan of not-your-typical setting: Gilded Age
  • if you like Candace Camp, Jane Feather and others
  • and if you like a super-quick read

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 3.5/5 for characters
  • 3.5/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Two star-crossed lovers have fought themselves for years to forget their love – and when Lillian Davies needs help finding her missing brother, she knows there’s one person, the man who she’d least like to ask for help. Calvin Cabot is a self-made newspaper mogul, and seems to try to help all those around him, even at his own expense. One of my new favorite historical romance authors, Joanna Shupe’s The Knickerbocker Club Series has been refreshing and quick-reading. Though not my favorite in the series, Mogul is excellent. Shop the full series: The Knickerbocker Club.

Available Jan. 31: Mogul by Joanna Shupe

Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

Available Jan. 10: Lucky Boy

****4/5 starsshanthi-sekaran-luckyboy

More thoughtful than entertaining, in Lucky Boy there is no right or wrong ending – just a taste of life.

Recommended readers:

  • If you enjoy thoughtful, real life reads
  • If you like to step into someone else’s shoes via fiction

Here’s my Rankings:

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

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Two people who grow up in different environments.  One a teenager who grew up in Mexico and dares to sneak across the border and start a new life in America. Another who grew up taking her own unique path, despite her strong Indian heritage. Both women find struggles and solace raising a little boy. Lucky Boy is a thoughtfully written story, making you experience a different perspective on life, motherhood and life’s harsh realities. I can’t remember another book, where I was so unsure of how I wanted it to end.

Available Jan. 10: Lucky Boy

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

Available tomorrow: Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

*****4.5/5 starsjmcveigh-leopardatthedoor

Like Gone with the Wind, but set in 1950s British-occupied Kenya: You’ll love it!

Recommended readers:

  • Fans of British history
  • If you like Gone with the Wind for its historical insights and feels
  • If you like fictional history and a mix of genres

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 5/5 for plot
  • 4.5/5 overall

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

After spending her adolescent years in England, Rachel has longed for her family’s Kenya farm, where she roamed the land, worked and loved the family’s slaves, that she left behind after her mother’s death. Now, no longer a child, Rachel comes to see the harsh challenges of British-occupied Kenya in the 1950s, both from the native Kenyans to the extremist Mau Mau fighters to the white settlers. It’s like a Gone with the Wind, set in Kenya, where the stark contrast of slaves and owners – along with the dramatic political climate, make this an intense, emotional and thoughtful read. I loved it!

Available tomorrow: Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh

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

Christmas in America: Historical Romance Anthology

Available now: Christmas in American: Historical Romance Anthology

****3.5/5 stars: Liked itChristmas in America

History, romance and some quick reading stories from interesting American eras.

Recommended readers:

  • If you can’t commit to a full novel
  • If you enjoy historical romances set in America

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 2/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Quick reads for some holiday downtime, Christmas in America is a collection of short stories set in different eras in American history. I was drawn to this collection by my latest favorite historical romance author Joanna Shupe, and her story was fabulous and quick reading. Two stories are great, one good, and one just OK. So enjoy!

Available now: Christmas in American: Historical Romance Anthology

Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt

Available tomorrow: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

****4/5 stars

With everything you love about historical romance, Duke of Pleasure is action-packed and fun.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like a historical romance, especially with sword-fighting heroines
  • If you’re a fan of a come-back story in your romance
  • If you like Elizabeth Hoyt, Lisa Kleypas, and Mary Balogh

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 3/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

The whooping 11th book in the Maiden Lane Series, Duke of Pleasure is a fabulous historical fiction with action, romance and a little mystery. A Duke on a mission, Hugh Fitzroy is about to be killed when he’s strategically attacked. But a masked hero appears and helps him fight for his life. Only he discovers that hero is a her. As he continues his mission – on the streets of London and another mission at home with his two sons – the Duke finds an unlikely friend and ally who was raised on the streets.

One of my first Elizabeth Hoyt books, Duke of Pleasure is exactly what I love about historical romance – witty characters, come-back stories and overcoming the odds. And bonus: If you like Duke of Pleasure (which you probably will), you’ve got a slew of other Maiden Series books to pick from. I haven’t read one I didn’t like. Shop all Elizabeth Hoyt Maiden Series on Amazon.

Available tomorrow: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

 

The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble

Available this month: The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble

****3.5/5 stars: Liked it

Fun and witty, if you love Regency Romance and a tomboy English lady, The Dare and the Doctor are for you.

Recommended readers:

  • If you like Karen Hawkins
  • If you enjoy historical romances especially Regency Period

Here’s my Rankings:

  • 4/5 for characters
  • 3/5 for plot
  • 4/5 overall
  • 2/5 steaminess

REVIEW FROM BOOKS FOR HER:

Long-time penpals, Dr. Rhys Gray and Miss Margaret Babcock have been friends since he treated her father. Now he’s excited to help Margaret introduce her rose hybrids to the elite society of botanists in London. Though she’s not a traditional society lady, Margaret goes to London to present her prize plants. A quick-reading and fun historical romance, it had some of my favorite elements: A tomboy lady and set in the Regency Era.

Available now: The Dare and the Doctor by Kate Noble