Genre: Historical: Other
Book Review

The Road to Ironbark by Kaye Dobbie

The Road to Ironbark

Content warning: References to child abduction, the sexual abuse of children, and sexual exploitation generally. It is all referred to in fairly vague terms and is not depicted on the page, but there is a lot of upsetting back story. There is also a subplot that hinges on infidelity. The Road to Ironbark is two stories in one. At the tail end of the Gold Rush, Aurora Scott, a respectable widow with a less than … Continue reading The Road to Ironbark by Kaye Dobbie

Book Review

The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin

The Dragon and the Pearl

When I really love an author, I often try to pace out diving into their back list as much as my own self-control will allow, leaving me with some guaranteed, go-to winners for when I really need them. This strategy definitely paid off with Jeannie Lin’s The Dragon and The Pearl, the second book in her China-set Tang Dynasty series. Two deliciously complex characters locked in a steamy battle of wills in a well-rendered non-European … Continue reading The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin

Book Review

Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles by Jeannie Lin

Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles

I’ve been in a reading rut lately. It’s the worst feeling in the world, and my solution has been to try novellas instead. They’re less intimidating than full-length books: it’s an hour of my time instead of four, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted time if I hate the book, I don’t experience guilt if I DNF, etc. The list goes on and on. When Jeannie Lin released an anthology set in her 19th century … Continue reading Tales from the Gunpowder Chronicles by Jeannie Lin

Other Media Review

Guest Review: Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung

Rookie Historian poster from netflix showing main characters looking at one another against a back drop of tree blossoms

This guest review comes to us from Heather Morris! Heather Morris is a cyborg librarian living in North Carolina. She’s a Cool Aunt, a True Crime junkie, an ARMY, and an anxiety-riddled Gemini. You can find her on Twitter @NotThatHeatherM.  … I’ve recently fallen deep down the rabbit hole of K-dramas available on Netflix. I enjoy them for many of the same reasons I love romance novels. For one thing, you know from the beginning, … Continue reading Guest Review: Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung

Lightning Review

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gods of Jade and Shadow

Gods of Jade and Shadow is an exquisite wonder of a novel. Set in 1920s Mexico, Casiopea Tun accidentally frees the Mayan god of death from his prison when she unlocks a mysterious box in her grandfather’s room. Hun-Kamé’s power is limited until he recovers his missing jade necklace and missing body parts: his left eye, ear, and index finger. Unfortunately for Casiopea, a shard entered her body when she freed Hun-Kamé, tying them inseparably. … Continue reading Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Book Review

The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas

The Magnolia Sword

Sherry Thomas is the rare writer that I’ll follow to any genre. I inhaled her gorgeous European historicals as a teen and reread them at least thrice a year (The Luckiest Lady in London remains in my list of Top 10 Favorite Romances of All Time). When she wrote YA fantasy in the Elemental Trilogy, I mourned the loss of her historicals but nonetheless gobbled up those new books as well. When she moved on … Continue reading The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan by Sherry Thomas

Book Review

Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Lady Derring Takes a Lover

Reading Lady Derring Takes a Lover is like starting a new relationship. Everything is super awesome and wrapped in a blissful glow but then a few weeks pass and you start to notice that maybe your hot new date has some annoying habits, but that’s OK, because no one is perfect. What I’m saying here is that I was passionately in love with this book, but realized later that it’s not actually perfect, but still good. … Continue reading Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Book Review

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown

TW/CW: sexual assault. I enjoyed The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson, mostly because it tackles a subject that is dear to my heart: why is traditionally-female created art  (think quilting, embroidering, knitting) labeled “a craft” and of less than value than male-produced art? As a historical novel, a full third of the narrative I found to be unnecessary, which meant there were parts of the book I had to slog through … Continue reading The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Book Review

Murder on St. Mark’s Place by Victoria Thompson

Murder on St. Mark’s Place

CW/TW: domestic violence, violence against sex workers, depression, child neglect, and of course, murder, since it’s a murder mystery. I mentioned in my review for Murder on Astor Place,  book one in the Gaslight Mystery series, that I tapped out after this book. In this installment, Sarah Brandt is called to what she thinks is a birth, but turns out to be a call to help Agnes, a pregnant mother whose younger sister, Gerda, has just … Continue reading Murder on St. Mark’s Place by Victoria Thompson

Book Review

Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

Murder on Astor Place

CW/TW: in this book there is child assault, child sexual assault, incest, murder, more murder, and history of sexual assault revealed but not depicted on the page. I described the plot of this book to Elyse, and she, who reads all kinds of things that would scare me sleepless, said, “Holy mother of god. That is a PLOT.” Oh, yes. Yes, it is. Now, I can hear you thinking, “Sarah. Whoa. Why did you read this?” … Continue reading Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson

Book Review

The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy is so much fun. It’s a sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue but it works on its own. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue was an adventure story as well as a romance. The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy keeps the adventure but is not a romance, although romance is discussed. Set in the mid-1700s, it features Felicity Montague, who wants to be a … Continue reading The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Book Review

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White

The Glass Ocean

The sinking of the RMS Lusitania might not sound like a great setting for a sweeping historical adventure and romance, but I cut my young romance-loving teeth on the Titanic movie, and I am here to challenge your shipwreck tragedy notions. As historical fiction The Glass Ocean works beautifully. It had espionage, intrigue, a love-triangle and a truly horrifying talent show. That said, my romance-reader heart wasn’t entirely satisfied with how the romance played out, and craved a … Continue reading The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig and Karen White

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