historical fiction

   

Thumbs up for A Curious Beginning, A Perilous Undertaking, A Treacherous Curse, A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell series #1 to #4) by Deanna Raybourn. Historical mysteries.

Escapist literature at its best. A series of mysteries set in Victorian England following the exploits of two natural historians: Veronica Speedwell, sexually-emancipated lepidopterist, and Stoker, black-sheep aristocrat and professional taxidermist. (“They fight crime!”) I don’t know about the quality of the mystery plots, in the sense that I don’t care; I’m just here for the banter and smoldering sexual tension.… >> Read more

I don’t habitually read romances, but last year I read a lot of them. Instead of posting my reviews as I read each book, I saved them all up for a massive Romance Review post. Even if you don’t want to read any romances you might, I hope, enjoy the reviews: I had a lot of fun writing them.

Contained within are lady scientists; death by carnivorous crab; questions about buttons; and every denomination of raciness from completely chaste to very very explicit. … >> Read more

Thumbs up for A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. Literature.

A Russian Count is placed under house arrest in a Moscow hotel in the early 20’s. My two coworkers and I (I work in a bookstore) all have different taste in books, with areas of overlap. A Gentleman in Moscow is the first book we’ve all adored. Very few things are as purely charming.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell. Literature. Thumbs up for Mr. Bridge by Evan S. Connell. Literature.

Mrs. Bridge was one of the first works of Literature-with-a-capital-L I ever read, and it quietly blew my mind. I’ve read perhaps a thousand books since then—and it still does. The two books follow the marriage, in vignette form, of a deeply conventional upper-middle-class couple in Kansas City in the 1930’s and 1940’s.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. Literature.

A young man–worldly and introspective relative to the society in which he lives, but that’s not saying much–is engaged to be married to just the right girl. Then her cousin, who is actually worldly, shows up from Europe…. Sometimes I think reading classic literature is hardly different from reading fantasy or science fiction.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Magpie Lord; A Case of Possession; Flight of Magpies; and Jackdaw by KJ Charles. Historical fantasy romance.

These came to my attention in an article on Tor.com. I sample a lot of books, mind you. A lot. Most of them, I don’t continue to read. I certainly don’t get hooked in the first couple of pages, decide to take a chance with my $1.99 and a few hours of my time, and never–when done with the first book–do I download and binge-read the next three books like an addict, mentally mumbling at the author “Take my money–please” and trawling her website for extra stories.… >> Read more

Thumbs up for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Young adult historical romance.

It’s 17– and Monty’s in love with his best friend Percy. Joined by Monty’s sister Felicity, they go on the Grand Tour of Europe. Everything that happens after that would be spoilers. I was expecting a sarcastic teen romance with historical trappings which I would put down after ten pages.… >> Read more