Browsing Tag

historical

reviews

Forged by Iron by Eric Schumacher

Forged by Iron (Olaf’s Saga Book 1) by Eric Schumacher

From the bestselling author of Hakonís Saga comes Forged by Iron, the first in a series of thrilling tales about Olaf Tryggvason, one of the most legendary and enigmatic kings of the Viking Age.

Norway, AD 960. The fabric that has held the Northern realm together is tearing. The sons of Erik Bloodaxe have returned and are systematically killing all opposition to the High Seat. Through treachery, Harald Eriksson slays Jarl Trygvi, an heir to the throne, and then he comes for Trygviís wife, Astrid, and son, Olaf.

Astrid and Olaf flee their home with the help of Astridís foster father, Torolv Loose-beard, and his son, Torgil, who are oath-sworn to protect them. The group escapes east, through the dark, forested land of the Swedes and across the treacherous East Sea, all the while evading the clutches of Haraldís brutal henchmen.

But the gods are fickle and the group is torn apart, leaving them to fend for themselves in Forged by Iron, a must-read for all who enjoy action-packed historical fiction.

The book is told from Torgil’s point of view and at the start of the book he is a 12-year old boy who is charged with looking after 8-year old prince Olaf who loves to get into trouble. Olaf’s father King Trygvi is betrayed and killed so Olaf, his mother Astrid escape with few others first to Sweden and then to what is now Estonia.

I wasn’t overly fond of Olaf who certainly knows he’s a prince. He came off as an arrogant brat, but it will be interesting to see how he’ll turn out as a grown-up. Torgil, who as a child was kinda shy, holds a bit of resentment and jealousy for Olaf but they grow closer during their ordeals. I’m looking forward to seeing how their relationship will turn out now that their both adults and back together. How far Torgil’s sense of duty for looking after Olaf will take him?

I enjoyed reading the book and learning more about Olaf and of this time. Can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

4/5

Published: Legionary – A Next Chapter Imprint (April 15, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

About the Author

Eric Schumacher (1968 – ) is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005.

To date, Schumacher has published three novels, collectively known as Hakonís Saga, and one novella. More information about him and his books can be found on his website. You can also connect with Schumacher on Twitter,†Facebook,†Goodreads, and†AuthorsDB.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, April 15
Interview at Passages to the Past

Monday, April 20
Review at History + Fiction + Adirondack Spirit

Wednesday, April 22
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, April 23
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Sunday, April 26
Feature at Reading is My Remedy

Tuesday, April 28
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Wednesday, April 29
Feature at I’m All About Books
Feature at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Thursday, April 30
Guest Post at Historical Graffiti

Friday, May 1
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Monday, May 4
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, May 6
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Friday, May 8
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Sunday, May 10
Review at Journey in Bookland

reviews

Blog Tour: Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

Sin Eater by Megan Campisi

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Alice in Wonderland in this gripping and imaginative historical novel about a shunned orphan girl in 16th-century England who is ensnared in a deadly royal plot and must turn her subjugation into her power.

The Sin Eater walks among us, unseen, unheard
Sins of our flesh become sins of Hers
Following Her to the grave, unseen, unheard
The Sin Eater Walks Among Us.

For the crime of stealing bread, fourteen-year-old May receives a life sentence: she must become a Sin Eater—a shunned woman, brutally marked, whose fate is to hear the final confessions of the dying, eat ritual foods symbolizing their sins as a funeral rite, and thereby shoulder their transgressions to grant their souls access to heaven.

Orphaned and friendless, apprenticed to an older Sin Eater who cannot speak to her, May must make her way in a dangerous and cruel world she barely understands. When a deer heart appears on the coffin of a royal governess who did not confess to the dreadful sin it represents, the older Sin Eater refuses to eat it. She is taken to prison, tortured, and killed. To avenge her death, May must find out who placed the deer heart on the coffin and why. (publisher)

The book is set in a fictional sort of Elizabethan England kinda world. I mean the queen is called Bethany and her predecessor Maris, a new religion has replaced the old one. You get the idea. I think I spent too much time thinking who this court lady is supposed to be in real life… The set up was interesting but weird. I had not heard of Sin Eaters before so I had to do some googling and apparently, the role existed but very little is known about it.

The story is told by May’s point of view as she tries to adjust to her new life as a Sin Eater and being shunned by everyone. And it’s such a dark and lonely life when you’re not allowed to even speak. Basically, all you do is hear people reciting their sins before they die and then you eat the food that symbolizes the confessed sins. And there’s court intrigue where May gets involved and needs to uncover.

It was a well-written and imaginative story. May was a likable character who was determined to uncover the mystery. Since she can’t talk and doesn’t know how to read, she has to learn all by herself which was interesting. I didn’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t this. And that’s in a good way.

What a great debut! I really enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author. And I think the cover is cool.

4/5

Published: Atria Books (April 7, 2018)
Format: ebook
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher

reviews

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the depths of a nineteenth-century winter, a little girl is abandoned in the narrow streets of London. Adopted by a mysterious stranger, she becomes in turn a thief, a friend, a muse, and a lover. Then, in the summer of 1862, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, she retreats with a group of artists to a beautiful house on a quiet bend of the Upper Thames . . . Tensions simmer and one hot afternoon a gun-shot rings out. A woman is killed, another disappears, and the truth of what happened slips through the cracks of time.
Over the next century and beyond, Birchwood Manor welcomes many newcomers but guards its secret closely – until another young woman is drawn to visit the house because of a family secret of her own . . .

As the mystery of The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton begins to unravel, we discover the stories of those who have passed through Birchwood Manor since that fateful day in 1862. Intricately layered and richly atmospheric, it shows that, sometimes, the only way forward is through the past. (goodreads)

The book follows many people through time, from 1862 to 2017, who have some connection to a house called Birchwood Manor. Elodie is an archivist who finds an old satchel with a photograph of a woman inside it. She’s determined to find out who it had belonged and who the woman is.

I don’t really know what to say about this. The book started a bit slow and was quite hard to get into but then suddenly it got better. I’m not usually a huge fan of the “present-day” pov’s but here it was my fav and I enjoyed Elodie’s story most. I didn’t mind the time changed, it was well stated where we were, but there could have been fewer characters to keep track of.

While this wasn’t bad, it certainly wasn’t as good as the previous books I’ve read by the author. I would suggest this isn’t the first book to try by this author.

3/5

Published: Mantle (September 20, 2018)
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 596
Source: Library

reviews

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel

The Light After the War by Anita Abriel

It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban arrive in Naples. Refugees from Hungary, they managed to escape from a train headed for Auschwitz and spent the rest of the war hiding on an Austrian farm. Now, the two young women must start new lives abroad. Armed with a letter of recommendation from an American officer, Vera finds work at the United States embassy where she falls in love with Captain Anton Wight.

But as Vera and Edith grapple with the aftermath of the war, so too does Anton, and when he suddenly disappears, Vera is forced to change course. Their quest for a better life takes Vera and Edith from Naples to Ellis Island to Caracas as they start careers, reunite with old friends, and rebuild their lives after terrible loss.

Moving, evocative, and compelling, this timely tale of true friendship, love, and survival will stay with you long after you turn the final page. (publisher)

Vera and Edith are two Hungarian Jews who escape a train bound to a concentration camp. They end up in Austria, hiding in a freezing barn. After the war, hearing none of their families survived, they go to first to Naples then Ellis Island and finally Caracas, Venezuela. There they try settling to live and find job, love, and sorrow.

What I found interesting was that it was set in the aftermath of the war and seeing the refugees trying to find life after the Holocaust. The only thing about the war is through flashbacks. The story is based on the experiences of the author’s mother. And I’m wondering how much is true and how much fiction. Because the book felt more like romance than historical fiction and there were just too many coincidences to be believable.

It was an easy and quick read and I loved reading about the aftermath of the war. And how people were trying to learn how to go on with life after such horrific times.

3,5/5

Published: Atria Books (February 4, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher

reviews

Cartier’s Hope by M. J. Rose

Cartier’s Hope by M. J. Rose

New York, 1910: A city of extravagant balls in Fifth Avenue mansions and poor immigrants crammed into crumbling Lower East Side tenements. A city where the suffrage movement is growing stronger every day, but most women reporters are still delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages. But Vera Garland is set on making her mark in a man’s world of serious journalism.

Shortly after the world-famous Hope Diamond is acquired for a record sum, Vera begins investigating rumors about schemes by its new owner, jeweler Pierre Cartier, to manipulate its value. Vera is determined to find the truth behind the notorious diamond and its legendary curses—even better when the expose puts her in the same orbit as a magazine publisher whose blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.

Appealing to a young Russian jeweler for help, Vera is unprepared when she begins falling in love with him…and even more unprepared when she gets caught up in his deceptions and finds herself at risk of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve.

Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, of ruthless men and the atrocities they commit in the pursuit of power, this enthralling historical novel explores our very human needs for love, retribution—and to pursue one’s destiny, regardless of the cost. (publisher)

Vera Garland is grieving the loss of her father. When she is clearing her father’s things, Vera finds some letters that reveal a family secret. While trying to get revenge, she befriends Jacob Asher, a jeweler, who has secrets of his own.

Born to a privileged life, Vera wants to work as a journalist and feels strongly about the suffragette movement and women getting the right to vote and getting paid the same as men. Vera has a troubled relationship with her mother, a society matron, who doesn’t understand her choice to work.

Vera was an intelligent, sometimes impulsive feminist who was ahead of her times within her circles. I liked her but didn’t always agree with her decisions. I would have liked to learn more of a fellow journalist, but I liked Asher and Vera’s lawyer cousin Stephen.

While I enjoyed the book, I feel it didn’t live up to her previous books. But I haven’t read a book by her that I didn’t like.

3,5/5

Published: Atria Books (January 28, 2020)
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher