historical fiction

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

Thumbs up for Cotillion by Georgette Heyer. Romance.

This is my third Georgette Heyer. I always feel that I should like her more than I do – that’s why I keep trying. And this one, like the other two, was perfectly enjoyable. I just find them…pleasing, not riveting.

Mr. Westruther drew his snuff-box from his pocket, and flicked it open. “If someone would have the goodness to inform me whether I am assisting at a tragedy or a farce I should be grateful,” he said sardonically.

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Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Taras Bulba and Other Tales by Nikolai Gogol. Short stories.

“Taras Bulba” – an adventure novella about the father and two sons of a Cossack family – is a fun historical swashbuckler which does a fine job of evoking a time and place: the landscape, the culture, the individuals. This is, mind you, assuming you can overlook the rampant anti-Semitism and various other bigotries, which were so pervasive that even I – used to putting up with a lot of offensive stuff in old books – found it difficult to squint past.… >> Read more