Category Archives: Historical

The Typewriter Girl by Alison Atlee

Betsey has been a typewriter at an important insurance company in London during the 1900’s. She’s sure that this is the best job a woman can hope for, but then she is offered the chance to be the excursions manager at a resort town. This is only for a trial period for the summer. And John Jones, the man that got her the job seems much more attached than he should be. And she feels something too… Can they make this work out? I thought this was a fun historical fiction. It lets us think about what the world was like for “misbehaving” girls in not so long ago.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Historical

The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights, Volume 1 by Anonymous, Malcolm C. Lyons and Ursala Lyons

I have been meaning to read the complete version of the Arabian Nights for a long time. Although this book is nowhere near all of it (only the first 294 nights), it is still an amazing start. It took me a very long time to finish, since it’s nearly 1000 pages, but well worth it. The Arabian Nights is a series of tales told by Shahrazad to King Shahriyar to spare her life, as well as those of other girls. As long as the king is invested in hearing the story the next night, she will not be killed. The stories include those that we all know, such as Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, as well as many others that are not as well known, or as child-friendly. I definitely suggest this book to anyone interested in great short stories that have survived the test of time.

Leave a comment

Filed under Classics, Fiction, Fiction Classics, Historical, Popular

A Glove Shop in Vienna and Other Stories by Eva Ibbotson

Many of us already know Eva Ibbotson’s work (for example, see my last post on Madensky Square). This book is a bit different. It’s a collection of short stories (many of which are only a few pages long) that are quite enchanting. For those that already know Ms. Ibbotson’s historical fiction books, there will be lots of parallels to many of the tales you already know. For those that are new to these stories, it’s a wonderful gateway to the world of Ms. Ibbotson’s historical fiction.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Historical, Popular

Madensky Square by Eva Ibbotson

Many of you probably know Eva Ibbotson from her young adult books, such as Which Witch?. She has also written an entire set of adult historical fiction novels, all of which are excellent. Madensky Square is about, unsurprisingly, Madensky Square in Vienna, as told by Frau Susanna, who owns a dress-making shop on the square. She starts her journal (how the story is told) in 1911, and then keeps it for an entire year. It discusses the chaos of Vienna in this time period, as well as the stories of those people whose lives intersect her own. This includes her “protector,” a military man, as well the little boy across the street who plays piano all day long according to his uncle’s dreams of fame. As with all of Ms. Ibbotson’s novels, this story is simply enchanting and takes you immediately to this world of Madensky Square.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Historical, Popular

Juliet: A Novel by Anne Fortier

When Julia’s great-aunt (who raised her and her twin sister) passed away, she was suddenly thrust into a crazy world in Sienna. Her ancestor was the inspiration for Juliet, and Julia just happens to have the same name as her, Guillietta Tolomei. As she explores Sienna and learns more about her family’s past, she realizes that the curse put on her ancestors (“a curse on both your houses”) is still in effect. Can she manage to escape it and have her happily ever after? Fun for Romeo and Juliet fans and everyone who just loves a good story.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Historical, Mystery, Popular

Austenland by Shannon Hale

Jane was living the life of a single thirty-something in New York City when her great-aunt left a three week vacation to Austenland in her will. Jane had always measured all boyfriends (and dates) by Mr. Darcy, but she decided to use this trip as one last fling before giving up on men altogether. In the crazy pretend world of 1816, she fully immersed herself and got surprising results. As a huge fan of Jane Austen, and Pride and Prejudice in particular, I quite enjoyed this story. It has just the right elements of modern life and the classic story to be a fast, fun read.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction, Historical, Popular

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott

This is the first book in a series surrounding Nicholas Flamel and various others. It starts with twins witnessing Nicholas (whom they think is a San Francisco bookseller) and Dr. John Dee over a copper-bound book. This leads to many adventures to keep the last two pages of the book from Dr. Dee and the Dark Elders he serves who are trying to control the world and make humans slaves. Nicholas, the twins and a vampire Scathach travel through various realms of the Elders as well as around California with Dr. Dee always right there. There the twins learn that legends and mythologies all have a ring of truth to them… This book was quite good, although it mostly just set up the plot for the remainder of the series. We are left at a cliff-hanger at the end, forcing us to go find the next book in the series. A good read, but not ideal was a self-contained enjoyment.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, Popular