Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Life and Fate

I recently spent three weeks in France with students (it was wonderful, thank you!) Normally when I go on this trip, I bring a large variety of books on my Kindle, so I’ll have something to read for any occasion. … Continue reading

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The Letter of Marque

The 12th book in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series opens with Jack not being quite himself, having been dismissed from the Royal Navy on false charges. On many counts, he’s lucky. In The Reverse of the Medal, his friends made sure he … Continue reading

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The Murder of Mary Russell

How’s that for a title to make long-time fans of a series nervous? The fourteenth book in Laurie R. King’s Russell/Holmes series begins with Russell facing down an unexpected visitor in her and Holmes’s Sussex home. The intruder appears to be … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mysteries | 4 Comments

Dreaming Spies

I’m not sure how I managed to miss this, the thirteenth novel in Laurie King’s series of Mary Russell/ Sherlock Holmes novels, when it came out in 2015. I’ve been reading them since the very beginning, and normally I leap … Continue reading

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Fools Crow

Fools Crow is a deeply engaging historical novel by James Welch, following the lives of the Pikuni (Blackfeet) in the early 1870s in Montana. The main character is a young man named White Man’s Dog, but after a few brave and … Continue reading

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Old Mortality

I’ve read a reasonable amount of 19th-century British literature, but somehow up until this point, I’ve never read anything by one of the most important and influential 19th-century British authors around: Walter Scott. I don’t know how I missed such … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Fiction, Historical Fiction | 18 Comments

The Observations

If you’ve read much in the way of Victorian pastiche, you’ll know it’s a tricky business. It can be as marvelous as Sarah Waters’s Fingersmith or Michael Cox’s The Meaning of Night, or it can be as annoying as Michael … Continue reading

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East of Eden

When Leslie, Christy, and I decided to read East of Eden together, I thought, “No big deal. Steinbeck’s books aren’t that long, and they read quickly. I’ll polish it off in a couple of days.” If you’ve seen this chunkster, you know … Continue reading

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The Coroner’s Lunch

Dr. Siri Paiboun shouldn’t really be a coroner. He’s served most of his life as a doctor for the Laotian people, and now, at the age of 72, he thought he’d be able to take a peaceful, if not ideal, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mysteries | 6 Comments

Tipping the Velvet

Although I’ve read and enjoyed all of Sarah Waters’s other books and consider her one of my favorite authors, I went into Tipping the Velvet with low-ish expectations. Not many people seem to list this as their favorite Waters novel, and I figured … Continue reading

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