Posts Tagged ‘Historical Fiction’

Rosamund: A Psychic Surveys Companion Novel (Book 3) by Shani Struthers

March 10, 2019 - 7:16 pm No Comments

Rosamund: A Psychic Surveys Companion Novel (Book 3) by Shani Struthers

Published by Storyland Press/Authors Reach on 17th January 2019

168 pages

If you have read any books in the Psychic Surveys series, then you will already know Ruby Davis, but who did she inherit her powers from. Documental evidence has come to light, written by Rosamund, an ancestor of Ruby explaining her powers.

Growing up without her mom, Rosamund spent all her time in their stately home Mears House. Having no contact with the outside world, Rosamund now 16 spent all her time reading and drawing. When she did see her dad, all he asked was “What do you see?”.  

Reading this story from Rosamund’s POV, conveyed just how lonely she was, her only contact was the maid Josie and she was torn between wanting to be friends and her place in the house. However, when she went to London with all the new sights and smells she was like another person. Her acquaintance with Constance showed her what she had been missing when it came to female companionship. However, things take a turn for the worse and as her dad shows her his real reason behind his obsession, she finds a friend in the most unlikely place and slowly she understands her abilities.

This was a well-researched book and from chapter one, you are transported into the Edwardian era. Some of my favourite scenes where Rosamund’s trips to London as you saw Rosamund blossom whilst you were reading. Whilst you are aware that this is a ghost story, it was done subtly and as you are reading, there are no clues that Rosumund is talking to a ghost. This gives it a believable feel as Rosamund was unaware of her gifts. This was a quick read and as the story builds into a life or death situation, you get the feeling that all is lost.

Whilst this is part of the psychic surveys series, this is a standalone and is a good introduction to the author’s work.        

D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret by Chris Turnbull

February 3, 2019 - 1:39 pm No Comments

D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret by Chris Turnbull

Published 27th October 2015

303 pages

If you ask folk what they know about Whitby, you either hear they do great Fish and Chips or Dracula.

Three years after Dracula was published, women are being murdered in Whitby, left with every victim was a calling card showing D: Detective Matthews is tasked with finding the culprit. Victoria is visiting Whitby with her politician husband, enjoying the sights and sounds oblivious to the attention she is attracting.

Mainly written from the POV of Victoria and D: helps you understand the danger that Victoria is in and the difficult job Det. Matthews had to do. Throughout the story, you don’t know much about D:,  he is a loner with an unhealthy fixation with Dracula and as Dracula obsessed over Mrs Harker, D: obsessed over Victoria.

As a historical fiction novel, this is well researched and as you are reading, you are transported back to Victorian Whitby. The descriptive writing has you imagining walking down the cobbled streets, smelling the sea air. Every character is the story is brought to life whether it is the children playing in the street or Victoria and Albert taking an afternoon stroll enjoying the Whitby sights. Like other’s, my favourite character was Tom, an 8-year-old carriage driver, who whilst having a difficult life, was a polite and conscientious young boy.

The story builds up to an exciting ending, which has you questioning the species of D: Ending on a cliffhanger, book 2 is already out. This a gothic crime thriller that anyone who loves historical crime needs to pick up

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

August 30, 2018 - 6:53 pm No Comments

The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

Published by Canongate Books on 30th August 2018

417 pages

Will Raven was going places, apprentice to the renowned Dr Simpson, he was learning midwifery from one of the best. But with a debt hanging over him and a desire to find out who is killing women all over Edinburgh, can Will be the Dr he wants to be.
At the start of this story Will Raven came across as quite pretentious. Quick with his mouth and never far from trouble. He always had something to prove, however as the story progress, you do get to find out more about his former life. By the end of the book he grew on me.
Sarah his partner in crime, was the housemaid of Dr Simpson. Like any maid in the 19th century maids were tended be ignored and women were second best. Throughout this book you could see how ambitious she was and if she was a women today she would of been a doctor, Clever, willing to learn and a very curious mind
I enjoy reading about 19th century and it was a pleasant change for a story to be set in Edinburgh and not London. The book was well researched and it was interesting to learn more about the medical procedures of the time. Whilst child birth was dangerous at that time, reading about it in graphic detail, just made it more real. Whilst this is a thriller it is a bit of a slow burn and it felt more like a backstory, that all changed in the last 25% of the book. As Will and Sarah were getting closer to the murderer it was full on and I was reading it quickly to find out who the murderer was. I enjoy a thriller more if the murderer is not easily guessed and this was one of those books. The ending was not expected and it showed just what type of people Dr Simpson and Will were.
This will be good to read as a series and I for one would love to read more about Will and Sarah.

 

 

 

 

 

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

July 25, 2018 - 10:02 pm No Comments

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola
Published by Tinder Press on 26th July 2018
352 pages

In 19th century Great Britain folklore was popular especially with the working class. Everyone would gather together to listen and swap stories. Each part of the country had variant stories and the task of collecting such stories were down to a small select few called folklorist.
Audrey Hart grew up listening to these stories. Unhappy with her life in London, she jumped at the chance to go to the Isle of Skye and help collect the traditional stories. As Audrey starts to collect the stories, she hears about the missing girls and when one turns up dead, she wants to find out whether it is the faerie folk or a resident of the Isle.
Lately I have read quite a few historical fiction, one thing they all had in common was the thriller element and this one was no different. However the addition of the folklore made the story more fascinating. Audrey was not your typical woman of that time, single, headstrong and ambitious. Travelling by herself to the Isle of Skye was brave.
Reading this story you can see that it was well researched not just the historical element but the folklore as well. The descriptive style of the author’s writers made the scenes come alive and it felt that you were there watching the mist roll in, whilst the mystery unfolded. The story never seemed to slow down as there was always something going on, whether it was Audrey walking around the countryside collecting stories, or her trying to fight for the girls. Whilst I had an inkling of the culprit, the reasoning surprised me. Whether you are a lover of historical fiction or are fascinated with folklore you will be in for a magical read.

The Bohemian Incident by Thomas Arnfelt

July 9, 2018 - 8:22 pm No Comments

The Bohemian Incident by Thomas Arnfelt
Published by Undrentide on 25th April 2018
286 pages

In 17th century Europe, religion was still a big thing and priests would travel spreading the word. But when a group of Jesuits disappear in Bohemia, the Vatican call on the assistance of Maximillian to find out what happened.
Maximillian was man of mystery and whilst he was not liked by certain people. I took to the him straight away as usually this type of character comes across as pretentious and arrogant, whilst Maximillian was good at his job, he did this more from being observant and courteous to others. As you read the story, more of Maximillian’s past comes to light and explains why he haunted by his dreams.
It took me a couple of pages to get into the story, as it was quite a slow start, but as soon as Maximillian got into the village, I really got into the story. The diary extract from the person behind the disappearances, broke the story up and gave it a thriller feel to it. With only a handful of characters, you learn about each one in detail and whilst there was. Set in the 17th century witchcraft was rife and whilst the scenes where not graphic the author gave these scenes a sinister feel. Elsa and Bertuccio were two of my favourite characters both servants, but both having as important roles to play as the other characters.
Thanks to the authors research I learnt something new as I did not know much about the 17th century and this is one pleasure in reading books. The is a steady story that will keep your attention and I will leave you with one word of advice “ That no wine is worth pouring out unless it really is poisoned. But that is seldom something you will notice until it’s too late and then you might as well drink it anyway”