Tagged: Historical Fiction

Song of the Sparrow – Book Review

About the book:

“The year is 490 AD.  Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat,  the daughter of one of King Arthur’s supporters,  lives with her father on Arthur’s base camp,  the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine’s only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur’s older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur’s second-in-command. However, when yet another girl — the lovely Gwynivere– joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. But can her love for Lancelot survive the birth of an empire? (From amazon.com’s product listing)

Jenn’s Review:

I read this book myself a few years ago, and fell in love with the long-poem form of it. The author did an amazing job of recreating King Arthur’s court and imagining subtle side currents to the main story that most of us have come to know so well. Well written and engaging. I would rate this a high middle-school level, and let my 11 year old read it recently as she was exploring epic poetry style writing, and she loved it.

Thrice Read Books has a hardcover edition of this book for sale here.

You can also buy this book from Amazon in Kindle, hardcover or paperback edition here. [affiliate link]

Jake – Book Review

About the book:

Orginally published in 2014 under the title Redeemed by a Rebel.

Jake Anderson killed a man defending his fiancĂ©e from a brutal attack, but lost her and his freedom in the process. Now he’s on the run, tormented by the need for vengeance.

Becky Finnegan will do anything to escape her drunken father’s fists, including slave away at their mine. Her only hope is to strike gold and make a new life for herself somewhere far, far away from Deadwood. But then Jake arrives and does the unthinkable…forces her to feel, to hope…and to love.

Jake would give his life to protect Becky, but all he can offer her is a broken heart, a criminal’s life, and a past haunted by failure. How can he save her when he’s already lost himself? Will he destroy everything, or can the beautiful rebel redeem Jake’s lost soul?

Jenn’s Review:

In Cynthia Woolf’s first book in her Destiny in Deadwood series, readers follow the story of Jake and Becky during Colorado’s gold rush. 

Jake Anderson loves his fiancee, even though her father frowns on their relationship and resents Jake’s humble occupation as a farmer. But when Jake comes to call on her, and finds her former beau standing over her with a gun, his life begins to unravel. He manages to exact a kind of vengeance on her murderer, but a crooked witness makes his getaway, leaving Jake in a bad situation, with warrants for his arrest for crimes he didn’t commit.

Along with his two brothers and his oldest brother’s two children, Jake makes his getaway to Deadwood, Colorado – a lawless place outside the jurisdiction of any arm of the law.

Becky struggles to maintain the mining claim she and her abusive, drunken father own, but when Jake stumbles into her life, her world is turned upside down. Both Becky and Jake try to avoid their growing feelings for each other, and when Becky’s father announces that he’s sold her to a seedy land owner, the couple hatch a desperate plan to keep Becky out of the hands of yet another abusive relationship.

Can the pair overcome their individual stubbornness and shady pasts to make a real future for themselves where the Law has no say, and vengeance rules supreme? 

Ms. Woolf spins a beautiful, if rough (because living out of tents as prospectors isn’t luxurious) tale of a man redeemed and a woman stronger than she seems. Sweet, raw and funny, all at the same time.

This book is available in Kindle, audiobook and mass market paperback formats from Amazon here. [Affiliate link]

David: Lord of Honor – Book Review

You can buy this book here.

About the book:

David, Viscount Fairly, has imperiled his honor…
Letty Banks is a reluctant courtesan, keeping a terrible secret that brought her, a vicar’s daughter, to a life of vice. While becoming madam of Viscount Fairly’s high-class brothel is an absolute financial necessity, Letty refuses to become David’s mistress-though their attraction becomes harder to resist the more she learns about the man…

Perhaps a fallen woman can redeem it.
David is smitten not only with Letty’s beauty, but also with her calm, her kindness, her quiet. David is determined to put respectability back in her grasp, even if that means uncovering the secrets Letty works so hard to keep hidden-secrets that could take her away from him forever…

The Review:

I’m not a stranger to the Regency Romance genre, but I haven’t read Grace Burrowes until now. When David: Lord of Honor came into our inventory, I picked it up, because of the unusual circumstances that bring the Hero and Heroine into each other’s lives (plus, attractive cover!).

Most romances, especially Regencies, are quick reads for me. I get lost in the story line at 1 in the afternoon, and it’s dinner time before I realize that the afternoon has passed and I’m just closing the cover of the book for the last time.

David: Lord of Honor was not such a book. I took my time through the first half of the book. It’s not that the plot is slow, because it is well-paced. I wasn’t bored (I don’t bother finishing a book if I cannot truly immerse myself in it by page 60). I was, rather, simply not compelled to sit and read the book in one sitting.

However, as the plot began to reach its climax, I had been drawn into the characters and their journeys. I couldn’t put the book down for more than a few minutes, because I needed to keep going. 

Their emotional journeys alone are compelling (it’s difficult at this point to not give away spoilers!), and you don’t want to stop reading, because you want them to get over themselves and get to their Happily-Ever-After (also known as the HEA).

I rarely cry while reading a romance anymore. Something about writing my own romance stories and knowing that at some point, this couple is going to part ways before they get to their HEA takes the sting out of that dark moment for me. But when David and Letty reach theirs, it hit me hard and I spent at least two chapters in tears.

Whether you’re a hard-core Regency fan or you just enjoy an engrossing romance, David: Lord of Honor is definitely worth a read. It is perfect for rainy days (something we have plenty of here on the Washington Coast) or quiet evenings. Make a pot of tea and enjoy the ups and downs of a brothel owner and his madam (and have the Puffs on hand!).

This book is also available from Amazon in Kindle, Paperback and Mass Market Paperback here. [affiliate link]

Black Beauty – Book Review

About the book:

Black Beauty teaches everyone he meets the true meaning of courage and loyalty. From escaping a burning barn to saving the life of his owner, every day is full of adventure. But he longs for a family to love him for the gentle horse he is. Will he ever find the perfect home?

Hear Black Beauty read by Jonathan Keeble, who appeared in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

With the included audio you can HEAR the entire book, word for word, READ ALONG with the audio, or READ the story on your own. 

Each HEAR IT READ IT classic presents the world’s greatest stories in an easy-to-read abridged format. The included audio contains a dramatic reading-with music and sound effects-that match the text, word for word, so children of all ages and reading levels can read along. 

Perfect for high-level young readers experiencing the classics for the first time and also ideally accessible for “reluctant readers,” HEAR IT READ IT classics give young readers the best possible introduction to the world’s timeless tales. It’s a terrific way for adults to re-experience the thrills of a classic tale, too!

Jenn’s Review:

Anna Sewell’s classic tale of the life of a Victorian era horse highlights social issues that were prevalent at the time, as well as issues of animal welfare that still go on today. Suitable as guided reading for children as young as 6, there are some scenes alluding to class differences and animal abuse.

Buy the Book:

Thrice Read Books has a copy of this book for sale here.

You can also purchase this book from Amazon in hardcover edition here. [affiliate link]