The mammoth list of off-the-beaten-path book recommendations, brought to you by our HNS Conference panel

shopJulie K. Rose, Heather Domin, Audra Friend, and I presented a lively panel at the HNS conference in St. Petersburg. Members of the audience shared many suggestions for off-the-beaten-path books, and although we started out with a six-page handout of  these novels, I’m sure the length has increased considerably…so Heather Domin has graciously compiled a comprehensive list of our recommendations plus those from panel attendees. I can tell you that my heaving TBR pile is about ready to topple with additions from this wonderful list! Happy TBR pile-building!!!  (the list can be found at http://teacake421.livejournal.com/132133.html)

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This list began as a panel at this year’s HNS Conference called ‘Historical Fiction Off the Beaten Path’, which I co-presented with Andrea Connell of The Queen’s Quill Review [AC], Audra Friend of Unabridged Chick [AF], and author Julie K. Rose [JR]. The purpose of our panel was to show readers the variety of historical fiction available to them, and to show writers that there is an audience for every story. The four of us came up with a short list of books published in the last five years that fall outside current trends in historical fiction:

• lesser-known locations and/or periods
• unusual protagonists or points of view
• lack of famous historical figures
• POC  (persons of color) and/or LGBTQ characters
• characters with physical differences
• mixing of genres or sub-genres
• unusual choices in style or structure

To that list we’ve added all the books suggested by the panel audience, with the intention of starting a miniature database on our websites. This list is not exhaustive and will continue to grow, so check back to see what’s been added, and please do send us your own suggestions!


Ancient World

Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (Greece)
HD, JR: genre mixing (mythology), unusual setting, LGBTQ
Part Greek mythology, part women’s fiction, part metaphysical rumination, part literary opus, with a bonus lesbian liaison — this book defies categorization, and the result is a truly unconventional historical novel. -HD

Augustus by John Edward Williams (Rome)
[panel] unusual style (epistolary)

Daughter of Kura by Debra Austin (Paleolithic Africa)
HD: unusual setting
Set on the plains of Paleolithic Africa, this story of a young woman’s journey from matriarch to outcast paints a fascinating picture of our early human ancestors without the use of fantastical elements. – HD

Lavinia by Ursula K. LeGuin (Etruria)
JR: unusual setting

The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon (Greece)
AF: unusual setting

The Wedding Shroud by Elizabeth Storrs (Etruria)
HD: unusual setting

Thunderbolt: Torn Enemy of Rome by Roger Kean (Carthage)
[panel] LGBTQ protagonist, genre mixing (action/adventure)

Written in Ashes by K. Hollan vanZandt (Egypt)
AF: unusual setting

1st Century

Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray (Rome, Egypt)
AF, JR: genre mixing (magical realism), unusual setting

The Soldier of Raetia by Heather Domin (Rome, Germany)
JR: genre mixing (adventure/romance), unusual setting, LGBTQ
One of my favorite books. Beautifully written and engrossing. You feel transported in time and place. -JR

2nd Century

Eromenos by Melanie McDonald (Rome)
AF, HD: unusual setting, LGBTQ

3rd Century

Agent of Rome series (The Siege and The Imperial Banner) by Nick Brown (Syria)
HD: unusual setting, unusual protagonist

6th Century

The Dragon’s Harp by Rachael Pruitt (Wales)
JR: genre mixing (fantasy), unusual setting

7th Century

The Woman at the Well by Ann Chamberlin (Syria)
JR: unusual setting

8th Century

Seidman by Erich James (Iceland)
HD: YA, genre mixing (paranormal/romance), unusual setting, LGBTQ

The Cross and the Dragon by Kim Rendfeld (Francia)
AC, HD: unusual setting

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay (China)
JR: genre mixing (alternate history), unusual setting

9th Century

The Bone Thief by V.M. Whitworth (Wessex)
HD: unusual setting

11th Century

Illuminations by Mary Sharratt (Germany)
AF: unusual setting

Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell (England)
JR: unusual setting

12th Century

Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (England)
[panel] unusual protagonist

13th Century

A Thing Doneby Tinney Sue Heath (Florence)
JR: unusual setting

Cuzcatlán Where the Southern Sea Beats by Manlio Argueta (Pre-Columbian South America)
[panel] unusual setting

Something Red by Douglas Nicholas (England)
HD: genre mixing (horror)

Sultana by Lisa Yarde (Spain)
HD, JR: POC main characters, unusual setting

15th Century

A Prince to be Feared by Mary Lancaster (Romania)
AF: unusual setting

I, Iagoby Nicole Galland (Venice)
AF: unusual setting

16th Century

Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani (Persia)
AF: unusual setting

In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker (England)
AF: genre mixing (light sci-fi)

The Queen’s Rivals by Brandy Purdy (England)
[panel] unusual protagonist

The Raven’s Heart by Jesse Blackadder (England)
AF: LGBTQ

Tom Fleck by Harry Nicholson (England)
HD: unusual protagonist, no famous figures
A delightful, folksy adventure set in rural England and Scotland, this novel uses a likable everyman to tell the story of ordinary people in an extraordinary time, including a rare look at Jewish life in Tudor England. -HD

17th Century

The Book of Seven Hands by Barth Anderson (Spain)
JR: genre mixing (paranormal), no famous figures, LGBTQ

The Midwife’s Tale by Sam Thomas (England)
AF: unusual protagonist

The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman (Amsterdam)
AF: unusual setting

The Tito Amato series by Beverle Graves Myers (Venice)
[panel] unusual setting, unusual protagonist

The Tsar’s Dwarf by Peter H. Fogtal (Russia)
[panel] unusual protagonist

White Heart by Julie Caton (New France)
[panel] unusual protagonist, lack of historical figures

18th Century

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind (France)
[panel] unusual protagonist, genre-mixing (horror)

Sea Witch by Helen Hollick (“Pirate Round” South Africa to the Caribbean)
AC: unusual setting, genre mixing (fantasy)
A pirate adventure with wide appeal starring a multidimensional and charming rogue. -AC

Spirit of Lost Angels by Liza Perat (France)
AC: unusual setting, LGBTQ
A bittersweet, multilayered tale that will touch your heart, told in a humble yet strong and powerful voice during a time of revolution and female suppression. –AC

The Blighted Troth by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer (New France)
AF: unusual setting, genre mixing (Gothic)

The Mirrored World by Debra Dean (Russia)
AF: unusual setting

The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf (England)
AF: unusual setting, genre mixing (horror)

19th Century

Bone River by Megan Chance (America)
[panel] unusual premise, genre mixing

Burning Silk by Destiny Kinal (France and America)
AC: unusal setting, unusual protagonist
A sensual and sensitive story written in lush prose. –AC

Butterfly’s Child by Angela Davis-Gardner (Japan, Illinois)
AF: unusual setting

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber (England)
[panel] genre mixing (literary, romance)

Daughter of the Sky by Michelle Diener (South Africa)
AF: unusual setting

Gillespie and I by Jane Harris (Scotland)
AF: unusual protagonist

Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye (New York City)
AF: unusual setting

Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg (St. Kilda islands)
AF: unusual setting

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna clarke (England)
[panel] genre mixing (magical realism)

Miss Fuller by April Bernard (America)
AF: unusual protagonists

Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio (America)
AF: unusual protagonist

Slant of Light by Steve Weigenstein (Missouri)
AF: unusual setting

Syncopation: A Memoir of Adele Hugo by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt (France)

The Family Mansion by Anthony C. Winkler (Jamaica)
AF: unusual setting

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (New York City)
AF: genre mixing (mythology), POC main characters

The Luminist by David Rocklin (Ceylon)
AF: unusual setting

The Master by Colm Tóibín (England)
[panel] unusual style

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff (America)
[panel] unusual protagonist, time-slip, genre mixing (mystery, literary)

The Personal History of Rachel duPree by Ann Weisgarber (South Dakota)
AF: unusual setting, POC main characters

The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas (Turkey/Ottoman Empire)
AF: unusual setting

The Rose of Sebastopol by Katharine McMahon (England, Crimea)
AF: unusual setting

The Thing About Thugs by Tabish Khair (England)
AF: POC main character

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson (America)
[panel] unusual characters and premise

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay (NYC)
AF: unusual protagonist

Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards by Kit Brennan (England, Spain, France)
AF: unusual setting

20th Century

A Different Sky by Meira Chand (Singapore)
AF: unusual setting, POC main characters

Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara (New England)
AF, JR: unusual setting, no famous figures
Complicated, frustrating, very real characters and a lovely evocation of 1930s America, beautifully written. -JR

Dina’s Lost Tribe by Brigitte Goldstein (France)
[panel] time slip (1300s), unusual premise

Fires of London by Janice Law (England)
AF: LGBTQ

Oleanna by Julie K. Rose (Norway)
AC, AF, HD: genre mixing (literary), unusual setting, no famous figures
A gently told tale with quiet depth, atmospherically stark yet richly detailed. -AC

Our Man in the Dark by Rashad Harrison (Southern U.S.)
AF: POC main characters

Seal Woman by Solveig Eggerz (Germany, Iceland)
JR: genre mixing (literary), unusual setting, no famous figures
So beautifully written and so present and real — I felt like I was reading a biography and not a work of fiction. -JR

Skeleton Women by Mingmei Yip (China)
AF: unusual setting, POC main characters

Small Wars by Sadie Jones (Cypress)
AF: unusual setting

The Concubine’s Gift by K Ford K (China, Nevada)
AC: unusual setting, genre mixing (fantasy)
A tastefully handled and respectful exploration of sexuality and a lightening-fast fun read. -AC

The Detroit Electric Scheme by D.E. Johnson (Detroit)
AF: unusual setting

The Edge of Ruin by Irene Fleming (New York City)
HD: unusual setting
This short, fast-paced mystery is set in the early days of the American film industry, with an ensemble of quirky characters, an unusual setting and premise, and an interesting peek into a little-known world. –HD

The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat (Haiti)
AF: unusual setting, POC main characters

The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin (Pacific Northwest)
AF: unusual setting, no famous figures


Coming in 2013

Ancient
Heirs of Fortune by Heather Domin (Germania) [JR]
Hetaera by J.A. Coffey (Greece, Egypt) [AF]
Medea by Kerry Greenwood (Greece) [AF]
Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson (Ice Age Europe) [HD]
The Golden Dice by Elizabeth Storrs (Etruria) [HD]

3rd Century
The Far Shore by Nick Brown (Syria)[HD]

6th Century
The Secret by Stephanie Thornton (Constantinople) [AF]

7th Century
Hild by Nicola Griffith (Britain) [AC, AF, JR]
The Sword Dancer by Jeannie Lin (China) [HD]

9th Century
The Traitor’s Pit by V.M. Whitworth (Britain) [HD]

11th Century
Godiva by Nicole Galland (Britain) [AC, AF, JR]

13th Century
Sultana: Two Sisters by Lisa Yarde (Spain) [HD, JR]

18th Century
Benjamin Franklin’s Bastard by Sally Cabot (America) [AF]
Revolutionary by Alex Myers (America) [AF]
The Purchase by Linda Spalding (America) [AF]

19th Century
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent (Iceland) [AC, AF, JR]
Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown (nautical) [AF]
Linen Shroud by Destiny Kinal (America) [AC]
Palmerino by Melissa Pirtchard (Italy) [AC, JR]
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo (Malaya) [JR]
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier (American Midwest) [AF]
The Mask Carver’s Son by Alyson Richman (Japan, France) [AF]
The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundaresan (India) [AC, AF]
The Outcasts by Kathleen Kent (Texas) [AF]
The Movement of Stars by Amy Brill (New England) [AF]
The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber (New York) [AF]
The Specimen by Martha Lea (England, Brazil) [AF]

20th Century
Above All Things by Tanis Rideout (UK, Himalayas) [AF]
A True Novel by Minae Mizumura (Japan, America) [AC]
The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee  (Iran) [AC]
The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert (South Africa) [AC]


Additional Resources

Europa Editions
Goodreads
Historical Novel Society Review Index
Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews
Unusual Historicals
Royalty Free Fiction
Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

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Holiday Picks from The Queen’s Quill

I am finally finishing The Cross and the Dragon. I do apologize for taking so long. I hope to have a review up by the end of this week.

Since it’s the holiday season, and books are always a good gift (if you are part of the gift-giving crowd), here is a roundup of my favorite Indie review books from 2012. Honestly, the books I am listing were all engaging and engrossing reads–and the narratives and settings were so varied–that I simply cannot chose just one to recommend as an overall best book. This was a great year for Indie reading!

Spirit of Lost Angels-Liza Perrat

Vivaldi’s Muse-Sarah Bruce Kelly

Burning Silk– Destiny Kinal

Sea Witch-Helen Hollick

Oleanna-Julie K. Rose

The Afflicted Girls-Suzy Witten

Happy Holidays and I will see you at the end of the week for the next review.

A few more notes on Oleanna

The review of Oleanna is up on the HNS website; the link is http://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/oleanna/

To expand a little, I was touched by this book, by it’s very poignant starkness. As I wrote in a twitter feed: “Oleanna: a gentle tale with quiet depth, atmospherically stark yet richly detailed like the culture and people of Norge herself. Beautiful.” The prose was simple yet expressive; no fancy writing gimmicks or extraneous details, but every word was carefully chosen.

So many themes were touched upon in such a delicate and understated manner:

-a woman’s place in society (just as in Eucalyptus and Green Parrots);

-having choices or living for duty;

-the rural vs. urban society theme;

-women’s suffrage; and

-the struggle of continuing on and coping after being left behind.

Some of these themes were expanded on more than others, but the novel gave a satisfactory overview of what was going on in Norway at the time. I do wish the history had been explored in a little more depth, integrated a  little more robustly into the story, as this is a time period and a situation I  (and I’m sure many readers) know nothing about and have not seen any HF set in before. However, too much historical material would have ruined the ambiance of the novel, so I say this with reservation.

The cover is absolutely appropriate and quite lovely. The layout needs work, however- what looks like double spaced text (but the author informed me that it’s not) is a bit distracting, the footnote on pg 140 needs an asterisk, and the footnote on pg 170 is in the middle of the text (needs to be moved beneath the text).  There are a few typos. HOWEVER, these are truly small details, and I only say them for a possible benefit when reprinting.

Overall, I recommend Oleanna. I truly enjoyed this tale and still experience flashbacks of some of the scenes from the book.

Next in the “From Mainstream to Indie” series

I am working on an interview with prolific writer Joan Druett, author of the recently re-released historical novel,  A Love of Adventure:

Set in the 1850s, this novel follows the adventures of a sea-captain’s daughter as she struggles both to learn the truth about her father’s death and to claim her inheritance, the brig “Pandora.” It is a tale of love, mutiny, and life aboard the whaling ships of the last century. (from amazon.com)

AND the Wiki Coffin series of seafaring mysteries based on the events surrounding the fates of the ships of United States South Seas Exploring Expedition, set in the mid-nineteenth century.

Joan is not only a fiction author but also a maritime historian and writer of nonfiction on maritime topics including women’s roles in the nautical realm. You can read about her publications and background on her website:  http://www.joan.druett.gen.nz/index.htm. We will be talking about her journey from mainstream publishing  to Indie, as she has recently re-released her above-mentioned historical novel as a self-published e-book.

As for the next review, I will be publishing the link to the HNS review of Julie K. Rose’s Oleanna and some further thoughts at the beginning of August.

Oleanna, Darkness into Light, and what’s coming next…

I have completed Oleanna and Darkness into Light. I am holding myself back from writing a full review for Oleanna right now, due to the fact that I am reviewing this for the HNS and it is our policy not to post reviews on our personal blogs until after the issue has come out. I plan on adding a link to the HNS review, which is limited to 300 words, as well as elaborating on my comments here, in August. To summarize my thoughts on Oleanna, however, I found it to be a gently told tale with quiet depth, atmospherically stark yet richly detailed (how can that be? I will explain in the review), like the culture and the people of Norway herself. Quite beautiful.

For Sam Baty’s post-WW2 thriller, Darkness into Light, which continues the adventures of Jennifer and Otto (survivors from the first adventure during the war), I would write exactly the same review for this book as I had for the first installment. Thus, the problem with reviewing books in a series. In order to avoid useless repetition, I will simply direct you to the first review, HERE.

Next up: Eucalyptus and Green Parrots (Lori Eaton) 

THEN: Vivaldi’s Muse (Sarah Bruce Kelly), Spirit of Lost Angels (Liza Perrat), The Concubine’s Gift (K. Ford K), Saving Gerda (Lilian Darcy–with its beautiful cover–I really wish this wasn’t only an e-book!), and The Other Alexander (Alexander Levkoff). That should take us into the winter, and I am trying to read faster so that I can also fit in a few other e-book  titles before the new year.

Our Summer Reading Journey Begins…

I am grateful and thrilled to have been offered so many intriguing books to review, and I regret that I cannot set aside the time to review them all this summer! If I haven’t responded back to your query yet, I will; please be patient.

This summer we will journey from WW2 Argentina to post-WW2 Europe; from the world of classical music in 18th-century Venice to a family tale set in early  20th-century Norway; from late 18-century France and the heart of the Revolution to  the exciting and treacherous  world of pirates, and from a rebellious king’s daughter’s adventure in chaotic medieval Europe back to the present with a contemporary love story set in small-town Pennsylvania.

*Please be aware that if I feel I cannot do the book justice after 50 pages, I will be sure to let the author know of my decision and update the schedule. All plot descriptions are borrowed from amazon.com.

June’s book is the second in Sam Baty’s  adventure-thriller series, Darkness into Light:

Even though the ferocious battles of World War II have concluded, the world is unfortunately not a safer place. The iron curtain has dropped in front of Eastern Europe, Josef Stalin is focused on world domination, and United States Army nurse Jennifer Haraldsson is on a mission to find her former patient and foe, German POW Otto Bruner. Once attracted to Otto until wartime secrets divided them, Jennifer must know the truth. Does she love him or not? After Otto is transferred to a detention camp in West Germany, he remains devastated by the loss of Jennifer and witnessing the post-war destruction of his beloved Germany only makes it worse. Desperate to win Jennifer back, Otto summons his friend Ernst Peiper to help, but they soon discover they are being targeted by a group of Nazi extremists and must be transferred to another camp. But Otto is ready to risk everything for love and escapes off the transporter truck into the dark of the night. In a last-ditch effort to rendezvous, Otto and Jennifer throw caution to the wind and cross into the other’s territory, never realizing that their unsettled world is much more complicated than they ever imagined.

July: Eucalyptus and Green Parrots by Lori Eaton:

Virginia Reed has followed her husband, Clem, to Argentina, trading in her mother’s Texas poultry factory for an apartment in Buenos Aires and a cocktail-bright social life among American expatriates. But it is 1943. The Nazis have overrun Europe, Japan dominates the Pacific, and Allied and Axis agents are fighting a secret war for control of Argentina. When Clem’s clandestine activities put her family at risk, Virginia is shaken from her comfortable life and forced to take control of her family’s destiny. As Virginia navigates the political undercurrents of a country struggling to remain neutral in a war that is consuming the world, she finds friends in unlikely places and enemies frighteningly close to home. In the face of conflicting loyalties and desires, Virginia uncovers a hidden strength and a dormant thirst for independence.

August: Vivald’s Muse by Sarah Bruce Kelly:

Vivaldi’s Muse explores the life of Annina Girò, Antonio Vivaldi’s longtime protégée. Annina first falls under the spell of the fiery and intriguing prete rosso (red-haired priest) at a young age, when Vivaldi is resident composer at the court of Mantua, her hometown. Stifled by the problems of her dysfunctional family, she has long dreamed of pursuing operatic stardom, and her attraction to the enchanting Venetian maestro soon becomes inseparable from that dream.

One review for August issue of HNS Indie Reviews: Julie K. Rose’s Oleanna:

Set during the separation of Norway from Sweden in 1905, this richly detailed novel of love and loss was inspired by the life of the author’s great-great-aunts. Oleanna and her sister Elisabeth are the last of their family working their farm deep in the western fjordland. A new century has begun, and the world outside is changing, but in the Sunnfjord, their world is as small and secluded as the verdant banks of a high mountain lake. The arrival of Anders, a cotter living just across the farm’s border, unsettles Oleanna’s peaceful but isolated existence. Sharing a common bond of loneliness and grief, Anders stirs within her the wildness and wanderlust she has worked so hard to tame. When she is confronted with another crippling loss, Oleanna must decide once and for all how to face her past, claim her future, and find her place in a wide new world.

September:  Spirit of Lost Angels by Liza Perrat:

Her mother executed for witchcraft, her father dead at the hand of a noble, Victoire Charpentier vows to rise above her poor peasant roots. Forced to leave her village of Lucie-sur-Vionne for domestic work in Paris, Victoire suffers gruesome abuse under the ancien régime. Can she muster the bravery and skill to join the revolutionary force gripping France, and overthrow the corrupt, diabolical aristocracy?

Spirit of Lost Angels traces the journey of a bone angel talisman passed down through generations. The women of L’Auberge des Anges face tragedy and betrayal in a world where their gift can be their curse.

Amidst the tumult of revolutionary France, this is a story of courage, hope and love.

In between these intriguing books, I am chomping at the bit to dive into the next two books in Helen Hollick‘s fantastic Sea Witch Series: the second voyage of Captain Jesamiah Acorne, Pirate Code; and the third, Bring it Close: “meticulously researched, full-blooded adventures full of heart-stopping action, evil villains, treasure, and romance.” I would also like to do an interview about her publishing experiences of going from mainstream to Indie.

I am also trying to squeeze in two e-books, the first, Wanting Rita by *Elyse Douglas (which looks to be an intriguing contemporary novel–I think–not my normal type of reading selection):

When his high school sweetheart experiences a devastating tragedy, Dr. Alan Lincoln reluctantly returns to his Pennsylvania hometown to see her. It’s been 15 years. Rita was a small town beauty queen—his first love whom he has never forgotten. He was a nerd from a wealthy family. Her family was poor. They formed a strong connection during their senior year, but Rita married someone else, and the marriage ended tragically.

Alan’s marriage of three years is disintegrating, and he sees in Rita the chance to begin again with the true love of his life. Rita has been mentally and emotionally shattered, but she reaches out to Alan and fights to build a new life with him. During a passionate summer, however, the past and present converge and threaten their rekindled love, as Alan and Rita must struggle with old ghosts and new secrets.

*Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the husband and wife writing team of Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington

And the second,  Loud, Disorderly, and Boisterous by Adam M. Johnson:

Imagine for a moment that you are a dangerously clever, thoroughly over-educated sixteen year old, who feels wholly disconnected from her current station in life and hates her father. Imagine also that you have the further misfortune to find yourself alive during the 13th Century, that your father is the philistine king of a small Central European country, and that he does not approve of the fact that you can quote Aristotle more expertly than you can curtsy. Finally, to top everything off, imagine that you have just learned that you are to be married off to a German nobleman who believes that you will make an excellent pawn in an ongoing struggle to become Holy Roman Emperor…

What do you do?

If your name is Aletheia––first and only daughter of his Royal Highness Edward IX, and most indubitably born in the wrong century––you proceed to flee. If your name is Aletheia, you also find yourself embarking on a bizarre and comic odyssey across perilously chaotic medieval Europe. During her journey our heroine will encounter cross dressing Romanians, bamboozle criminally incompetent highwaymen, crush spherically odious tutors (using only the power of pure logic), and, in at least one desperate instance, impersonate the Virgin Mary, all in the hopes of reaching a final destination that is about to be sacked by an army of waylaid Crusaders…

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So many wonderful authors have sent me requests for intriguing Indie titles that I wish I didn’t have a full-time job so I could accept everything! I am rather booked up for the summer at this point, but if you can wait a little longer for a review (until the fall), I’m happy to accept queries.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been visiting and requesting reviews!

The Summer Line Up

I will soon be completing Helen Hollick’s Sea Witch, and will post a review as soon as I am able. The line up for the next few months is as follows:

May review:The Duke Don’t Dance by Richard Sharp  (All summaries from Amazon.com):

Compressed between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boom were those who became known to some by the ill-chosen name of the Silent Generation. They were those born too late to share in the triumph of the great victory, too early to know only the privilege of the American empire and in too few numbers to assure themselves a proper identity and proper legacy. Despite those attributes, they invented rock and roll, filled the streets in the struggle for racial equality, bled in the heated precipitates of the cold war and opened the doors to the sexual revolution and feminism, her serious-minded sister. Their triumph lay not in their completion of these transitions, but in their survival through them. The Duke Don’t Dance follows the adult lives of men and women who made that journey.

This book may not fall under the category of historical fiction exactly, but it comes close.

June review: The second in Sam Baty’s thriller series, Darkness into Light:

Even though the ferocious battles of World War II have concluded, the world is unfortunately not a safer place. The iron curtain has dropped in front of Eastern Europe, Josef Stalin is focused on world domination, and United States Army nurse Jennifer Haraldsson is on a mission to find her former patient and foe, German POW Otto Bruner. Once attracted to Otto until wartime secrets divided them, Jennifer must know the truth. Does she love him or not? After Otto is transferred to a detention camp in West Germany, he remains devastated by the loss of Jennifer and witnessing the post-war destruction of his beloved Germany only makes it worse. Desperate to win Jennifer back, Otto summons his friend Ernst Peiper to help, but they soon discover they are being targeted by a group of Nazi extremists and must be transferred to another camp. But Otto is ready to risk everything for love and escapes off the transporter truck into the dark of the night. In a last-ditch effort to rendezvous, Otto and Jennifer throw caution to the wind and cross into the other’s territory, never realizing that their unsettled world is much more complicated than they ever imagined.

July review: Eucalyptus and Green Parrots by Lori Eaton:

Virginia Reed has followed her husband, Clem, to Argentina, trading in her mother’s Texas poultry factory for an apartment in Buenos Aires and a cocktail-bright social life among American expatriates. But it is 1943. The Nazis have overrun Europe, Japan dominates the Pacific, and Allied and Axis agents are fighting a secret war for control of Argentina. When Clem’s clandestine activities put her family at risk, Virginia is shaken from her comfortable life and forced to take control of her family’s destiny. As Virginia navigates the political undercurrents of a country struggling to remain neutral in a war that is consuming the world, she finds friends in unlikely places and enemies frighteningly close to home. In the face of conflicting loyalties and desires, Virginia uncovers a hidden strength and a dormant thirst for independence.

I’d like to review Sarah Bruce Kelly’s Vivaldi’s Muse at some point, as it looks like a splendid read, as well as Before the Fall by Orna Ross and The Silk Weaver’s Daughter by Elizabeth Kales. For the August edition of the HNS Indie Reviews, I will be reviewing Oleanna by Julie K. Rose (and will also post comments about the book here). What a wonderful summer of reading ahead!!