RSS

Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Earth's Children

Book Review: 4 Treasure Boxes
Book 1 of the Earth’s Children Series
Publisher: Brilliance Audio, Listening Length: 19 hours and 36 minutes (512 pages), ASIN: B001AWVRX6

An earthquake during the Ice Age separates a little girl, Ayla, from her family. This same earthquake destroys the home of The Clan of the Cave Bear. While the clan is looking for a new home they find the little girl, who is hurt and dying.  They decide to adopt Ayla even if she is one of the “others” and different from themselves.  This is Ayla’s story as she grows up within her new family.

Clan of the Cave Bear is the first of six books in the Earth Children’s series. This is a fictional story that takes place at the dawn of time, over 30,000 years ago and examines the life of The Clan. They are Neanderthals at the twilight of their existence. The series also explores life with Cro-Magnons, the first early modern humans. Ms. Auel has done extensive research on this time period and her books have a wonderful historical quality. The story is told by a third-person omniscient narrator centering primarily on the main protagonist, Ayla, a young Cro-Magnon woman who is adopted and raised by The Clan.

I first read this book many years ago and I enjoyed it as much today as I did then. The pre-historic setting is well drawn. The characters are all thoroughly developed and the reader really gets to know what life was like living in the clan. The theme is one of community, family, love and belonging. Ayla must repress who she really is in order to exist within the confines of their society. Without the safety and security of the clan she would surely die, besides this, she also deeply loves these people who have become her family. The ending is sad but satisfying.

This is a standalone story, ending at a turning point in Ayla’s life. It also ends with a beginning, Ayla’s story will continue on in a completely different direction in The Valley of the Horses, the next book in the series. I highly recommend this book  it is excellent, well told and very interesting.

 

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; 1st edition (May 31, 2005), Paperback: 576 pages, ISBN-10: 0060786507, ISBN-13: 978-0060786502

The Prices, an American missionary family of six, attempt to bring Christianity to the Congo in 1959, but things do not turn out the way they hope. Instead, the land, people and customs are so foreign that the Congo imprints itself onto the family and irrevocably changes all of them. This story follows both the Congo’s trials and tribulations during this time as well as the lives within this family.

This historical fiction starts in 1959 in the Belgian Congo and continues through to 1990. The story is told in a first person narrative alternating between the five Price women, Orleanna, the mother and her four daughters: Rachel, Leah, Adah, and Ruth May. Barbara Kingsolver has 13 published books and has received several awards for her various works.

The Poisonwood Bible illustrates how war negatively affects people’s lives. The story shows first how World War II changed and destroyed Nathan’s life and ultimately led them all to the Congo. Since the majority of this book takes place in Africa during a time of war and strife, the heart-wrenching damage done to Africa and it’s people is continually revealed as this tale is told. The story is a clear indication of the evil and harm that greed and selfishness can do. This tale is well written with great character development.

I highly recommend this novel; it gives a really good description of Africa. I loved the picture Ms. Kingsolver draws of the pre-Belgian Congo. This is a standalone story with a great beginning and middle, I found the ending to be a bit weak, but overall still a really good read.

To Purchase: “The Poisonwood Bible” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Tags: , ,

Island in the Sea of Time by S. M. Stirling

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Nantucket Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
First book in the Nantucket Series
Publisher: Tantor Audio (October 27, 2008), Audiobook – 25 hour(s) and 13 min. (608 pages), ASIN: B001JK662G

Imagine how different our world would be if the knowledge and technology of the 21th century was introduced to the people of the Bronze Age?  Island in the Sea of Time brings up this concept when Nantucket is inexplicably thrown into the past.

This is the first of three books in the Nantucket series, and it is considered both science fiction and alternative history.  Mr. Stirling has written numerous books and series in the science fiction, fantasy and alternative history genres.  This book takes current day Nantucket and places the island over 3,000 years in past. It is told in a third person narrative by the various different characters.

This is a great book, I love the concept. There was plenty of action with lots going on all the time. The characters are interesting and likeable, even some of the bad ones, but I did not feel they were as deep as I would have liked. Overall it is an exciting and fascinating read. First we deal with the adjustment the Americans had to go through once they realized where in time they were and then we see the impact they are having on the people in 1250 BC.  Hindsight is definitely an asset in this situation.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading alternative history. I am looking forward to reading Against the Tide of Years, which is the next book in the series.

Question to Ponder: Would our world be better today or worse, if our technology was introduced and implemented within the confinements of 1250 BC?


To buy: “Island in the Sea of Time” from Amazon, click here or on picture above
1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible

 

 

Tags: , ,

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch and Lee Chadeayne

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
Publisher: AmazonCrossing (December 7, 2010), Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 646 KB, Print Length: 448 pages, Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Language: English, ASIN: B003P9XMFI

This an amazing story that takes place in the mid-1600s in the Bavarian town of Schongau and centres on the executioner Jakob Kuisl.  During this story children are being murdered and the town council wants to execute the midwife as a witch for committing these crimes.  However, Jakob knows she is innocent and sets out to find out who the true culprits are, despite the obstacles that he must face.

The Hangman’s Daughter was written by a descendant of the Kuisl family and the book is a historical fiction.  It is also falls into the suspense genre since we know that a crime was committed, but not by whom until the end of the book.  It is told in the third person narrative from the various characters within the story.  The main protagonists are Jakob Kuisl, the hangman, his gorgeous daughter Magdelena Kuisl and Simon, the physician’s son.

Jakob, with the help of his daughter and the young handsome doctor, tries to uncover the mystery of who is murdering the children. However, he is on a time crunch and must do this before the government official arrives in town for the trial.  He has great pressure put on him by the town’s council to force a conviction from the midwife through the use of torture. The executioner and his family are shunned by the townsfolk which makes the task even more difficult.

The story is exciting and there is a fair bit of action in it.  There are numerous interesting characters including the “devil”, an evil man with a bone hand. The historical references to the witch hunting done in the previous years were gruesome and unsettling, yet also thought-provoking. The story progressed with good pacing and the climax at the end was full of surprises. The author did a good of first putting out many different tenticles and then weaving them all together for a satisfying story.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction, the depiction of  Germany in the mid 1600s is fascinating. Also, if you enjoy reading a good suspense, you will enjoy this book.

 

Tags:

Immortal in Death by J. D. Robb

This entry is part 3 of 26 in the series In Death Series

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
In Death, Book 3
Publisher: The Penguin Publishing Group (Electronic Edition: August 2003), EBook: 487 KB, Language: English, ISBN-0-425-15378-9

Lieutenant Eve Dallas has a new homicide to investigate, but this time the suspect is her best friend the cute, funky Mavis Freestone. This is a futuristic suspense that takes place in 2055 in New York City. 

Immortal in Death is the third book in the In Death series by J.D. Robb, to date she has written 37 books in the series with book # 38 to be released in November 2010.   I have read most of these books and found them all to be enjoyable and well written.  This book falls into both the suspense and romance categories as the book focuses equally on the case Eve is currently working on as well as Eve and Roake’s relationship.  The books are told in a third person narrative that focuses primarily on Lieutenant Eve Dallas, a dedicated and talented homicide detective. At times, the author also gives us insight into some of the other characters including the murderer. The books are written by Nora Roberts under the pseudonym of J. D. Robb.

While this investigation is going on, Eve is preparing to marry the gorgeous and very successful Irishman known only as Roake. This is a new and interesting facet to Eve’s character.  She is extremely tough and a highly dedicated law enforcer.  Previously she has spent very little time focusing on her feminine side but this upcoming wedding is forcing her to deal with that aspect of her life. The parts of the book that deal with Mavis facing potential charges for murder are very touching and brought a tear to my eye, especially when Eve is forced to treat her as a impersonal suspect.  Eve really hates doing this, but she is forced to this action to prove that she is unbiased which will ensure that she remains the Primary Investigator.

The book is well written and the characters are all well developed. It is during this book that the series adds Officer Peabody as Eve’s aid.  She is cute, efficient and has a quirky sense of humour. The book shows a lot of growth within Eve herself as she opens up new parts of herself.  Parts that she has kept locked away for years due to the terrible abuse she suffered as a child. The book does a good job of following Eve around as she investigates the multiple murders and the ending was every interesting as well as quite unexpected.  This part of the story-line built well with a good climax at the end which included some good action and fast thinking on Eve’s part. I really enjoyed reading about Eve’s growth and discovery of her childhood.  It is also fun to read about the interactions between Eve and Roake.  The sex scenes were well written and quite moving.

This is a standalone book, and I am sure that if you read it you would be quickly reading the first two books in the series.  I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about strong female lead characters and enjoys a suspense story.  But if you are looking to solve a mystery along with Eve then you will be disappointed since you cannot solve this book on your own.  J. D. Robb keeps too much information out which makes this is impossible, but the story is well written and certainly enjoyable.  I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about a bit of romance since there is a fair bit of this as well as some hot sex scenes between Eve and Roake.

 

Tags:

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

Book Review: 2 Treasure Boxes
6th Book in the Outlander Series

Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (September 27, 2005) Hardcover: 1157 pages, Language: English, ISBN-10: 0385324162, ISBN-13: 978-0385324168

Time Traveller Claire Fraser is living two hundred years in the past with her husband Jamie and their family in the back woods of North Carolina.  This book shows Claire and Jamie’s life in America just prior to the American Revolution.  There is a large spectrum of events occurring from simple things like day to day life to Claire being arrested for murder, to Brianna, their grown daughter, being kidnapped.  The more exciting storylines each had their own satisfying build with a good climax. There are numerous other events that occur in the book which make the story very interesting.

I always enjoy reading about what life was like back then and this book does a good job of portraying the history of the 1772’s within an interesting fiction story.  There were also several action scenes which are very interesting to read. However if you were hoping for any romance there was none with very little in terms of sex between Claire and Jamie, maybe they are just getting too old and for this reason this book is not a romance in any way shape or form.

On the whole the book was entertaining but at times I found it to be a bit too mundane. The ending was a bit of a surprise and not at all what I was expecting but still interesting.  The story flowed well weaving the tale from event to event.  The majority of the book was told from Claire’s point of view but at times it did shift to some of the other characters.  This gave us a bit more insight into some of the characters in the book.

The book is stand alone as well as a continuation of the story, which I found satisfying.  I liked that the book completed all the story lines it started in the book and it answered all the questions raised during the book.  I understand there is now a 7th book in the series called An Echo in the Bone, but I also understand that it ends with a cliff hanger, so I think I will wait to read it once book 8 is also completed.

I enjoyed reading the book and found it to be entertaining and satisfying but I also found that it was a bit over descriptive with insipid details.  I do not think all these descriptions added anything to the storyline, if anything it made the story a bit cumbersome. For this reason I gave the book a 2 Treasure Box rating.

I recommend this book to anyone who has read the previous Outlander books, it was not one of the best books in the series but it was still enjoyable. However, if you were looking for the romance then this not the book to read.   I also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading historical novels as this book certainly does this well.

 

Tags:

The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes

Fifth Book in the Outlander Series

The saga continues in the same exciting and entertaining fashion as the previous novels.  It is 1771 and the story continues immediately following the fourth book with Brianna and Roger being formally married.  The American Revolution is imminent and Claire, Roger and Brianna all have foresight as to what is going to occur so it helps them all prepare.

We find that many storylines that started previously are brought to a conclusion during this book. I thought there was a pretty gruesome part concerning Roger and it makes me wonder if he could do it all again would he still follow Brianna into the past.

I really enjoyed reading about how they lived their lives in 1771 and of course the romance and sex is always fun to read about. The book came to a good conclusion and was overall very satisfying

 

Tags:

Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Outlander

Book Review: 4 Treasure Boxes
Third Book in the Outlander Series
Publisher: Dell; First Edition edition (October 1, 1994), Paperback: 1072 pages, ISBN-10: 0440217563, ISBN-13: 978-0440217565


I loved this book, it is truly a romantic tale. Since it was revealed at the end of the last book that Jamie could still be alive in the past, the beginning of the book  goes back and forth between the present and the past showing what both Claire and Jamie are up to.  Claire has a hard decision to make, leave her daughter and attempt to find Jamie or stay with Brianna.

There are currently seven books in the Outlander series and book eight is expected early in 2013. These books are all considerate historical fiction, but they also include plenty of romance.  The story is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, a English woman, Clare, who has time traveled in Scotland to just over 200 years into the past.

Needless to say, she decides to attempt to go back and find Jamie and due to research she is fairly certain where to find him.  It is a very brave thing for her to do since it has been 22 years since she last saw him and anything could have happened in that time. It is really touching the nervousness she has when they first meet again.  I could really relate to Claire’s insecurities surrounding this event.

There are many touching scenes between the two as well as some sexy ones as well.  The story moves around over the globe covering many advertures by the couple and with trouble following Jamie around it leaves room for lots of excitement. We learn more about how the stones work and there is some interesting parts concerning mystism.  Claire is also a doctor now which makes her ability to help people in the past even greater than in the first book.

The ending is quite thrilling with an interesting twist that leaves you wanting more.

To Purchase: “Voyager” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Tags: , ,

Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes

Fourth Book in The Outlander Series

Interesting historical novel with absorbing characters and adventures. This book immediately follows events from Book Three and it takes place in America in 1767. It also briefly comes back to the present and further builds on Brianna and Rogers characters and relationship. 

Brianna discovers some distressing information about her parents and decides to go to the past and join them.  Roger, who realizes he loves her, decides to follow.  The book is about their journey, both to past and together in the past, they have a number of unpleasant events that both bring them closer together and separate them. Claire and Jamie also have a number difficulties to overcome and of course there is an enjoyable level of romance between them plus the usual number of hot and heavy scenes.

It is always delightful to read about living in the past and to join in the life of these entertaining characters. The book had a good ending and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Tags:

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Outlander

Book Review: 3 Treasure Boxes
Second Book in the Outlander Series
Publisher: Dell; First Edition edition (November 2, 1993), Paperback: 976 pages, ISBN-10: 0440215625, ISBN-13: 978-0440215622


An enjoyable story with some interesting twists.  Twenty-two years have passed in Claire’s life after the end of the first book but it takes place in 1968 and introduces 2 new characters, one of them being Claire and Jamie’s daughter Brianna.

There are currently seven books in the Outlander series and book eight is expected early in 2013. These books are all considerate historical fiction, but they also include plenty of romance.  The majority of the story is told in a first person narrative by the main protagonist, a English woman, Clare, who has time traveled in Scotland to just over 200 years into the past. At times it moves into a third person narrative for the other main characters including Jamie, Claire’s husband, Brianna, Claire’s daughter and Roger, Brianna’s love interest.

The book moves back and forth through time with a flash back to 1743 where Claire explains to Brianna how she came to be in the present and the truth of her heritage. There is a fair amount of reference to historical events and how our characters relate to what is happening, considering that Claire already knows what the outcome will be.

There is lots of action and plenty of sexy parts between Claire and Jamie. There are also some very endearing and heart-rendering parts in the book as well. The ending is quite startling and leaves room for the story to continue.

To Purchase: “Dragonfly in Amber” from Amazon, click here or on picture above

 

Tags: , ,