Readers' Favorite

Featured Post

Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

October 30, 2021

5 New Historical Fiction Books

by Susan Roberts

I read a lot of WWII fiction but today I have three reviews of strong women during the early 1900s and two books about strong women in WWII.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

A View Most Glorious by Regina Scott 

A View Most Glorious
October 2021; Revell; 978-0800740542
audio, ebook, print (368 pages); historical romance

This beautifully written novel takes place in Tacoma, Washington, in 1893.  Cora is from a rich family and her mother has picked out the man for her to marry.  Cora isn't the normal socialite of the time.  She went to college, works in her stepfather's bank, and has no intention of marrying Cash Kincade, the man her mother thinks is perfect.  Cora is part of the suffragette group and has been asked to climb Mt Rainier to prove that women can do anything that a man can do  She needs a guide for this treacherous climb and hires Nathan- a man who's turned his back on high society and is content to live by himself out of the city.  Her mother has agreed that if she is successful on climbing Mt Rainier, she will quit pushing her to marry Cash so Cora has two good reasons to be successful.  The trip is dangerous and difficult but the more time Cora spends with Nathan - the more she realizes that he and his lifestyle may be just what she needs to be happy.

Along with two great characters and a good plot, we also get beautiful descriptions of Washington and the land around Mt. Rainier.  Cora finds out that she is much stronger than she thought she was and that achieving her goals will bring her happiness in her life.

Buy A View Most Glorious at Amazon

Sunday's Orphan by Catherine Gentile

Sunday's Orphan
September 2021;; 978-1647185732
ebook, print (396 pages); southern fiction

"Fletch suspected that this was why these men saw fit to part their lips into toothless smiles that gleamed with persistence.  Pink was the color of their gummy hope while his grayed with promises broken, dreams delayed" 
(loc 484)

Sunday's Orphan was a difficult book to read - it was full of violence and hatred.  It also used a word over and over that we don't use now and every time I read this word, it was a mental jolt for me.  But to put it all in perspective, this was a true depiction of what life was like in the Jim Crow era in the South in the 1930s.

Promise is a 20-year-old woman who was raised by her uncle and inherited his land when he died.  He had taught her that there was no difference between blacks and whites and she continued to live her life that way.  Her hired hand, Fletcher as well as his mother known as Mother Hart, were also good friends of the family. When Daffron, a cousin, returns to the farm to work, his intention is to take his father's land back from Promise.  He is a cruel man who thrives on hatred between the races and he enjoys lynching black men.  His main goal was to lynch Fletcher who he felt was too educated -- Fletcher actually had an offer from Harvard to study to become a doctor.  Promise felt that to save Fletcher, they needed to pretend that they weren't friends but Daffron knew that Promise was friends with Fletcher and his mother and planned to punish Fetcher.  This is an excellent book that contrasts Promise's view of her friends against the hatred of the Jim Crow south.

From the introduction of the book, written by Jeremiah Conroy, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus University of Southern Maine:

"Sunday's Orphan by Cathrine Gentile is just plain excellent.  Through its acuity of expression, emotional and psychological insight, and the unfolding characters, it allows us to enter an historical period - the Jim Crow South that is critical to understand racism today.  This is imaginative work that hits home."

 Buy Sunday's Orphan at Amazon

The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon

The Accidental Suffragist
June 2021; Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing; 978-1948018968
ebook, print (258 pages); historical fiction

Women have only had the right to vote for a little over 100 years and this book is a reminder of how women stepped out of their normal lives and worked to get us the right to vote.

The year is 1912 and Helen lives in a tenement in New York City with her husband and children.  Life is tough and both parents have to work long hours every day at a factory to put food on the table for the children.  To help the family, their oldest daughter goes to work at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and her parents are devastated when she dies in the fire there.   When Helen meets some of the women involved in the suffragist movement after the fire, she knows that she needs to work with them.  She is offered a job and becomes one of the major planners of marches and protests.  Her work with this group caused problems in her home and with her friends.  Her husband is taunted at work by men who want to keep women in their place and believe that women aren't bright enough to vote. Often at the marches, men catcall to the women marching and it occasionally turned to violence with no police protection because the policemen were on the side of the men who were causing problems.   The longer Helen works with the leaders of the movement, the stronger she becomes and knows that this is a cause worth fighting for.

This book covers the years from 1912 - 1919 - the year that women finally got the right to vote.  The research that the author did is apparent on every page of this book from the day-to-day life of the poor people trying to make ends meet to the real-life heroes of the movement.  This is a book that you don't want to miss.

(Kindle Unlimited subscribers can read the ebook for free)

The Sisters of Auschwitz by Roxane van Iperen

The Sisters of Auschwitz
August 2021; Harper; 978-0063097629
audio, ebook, print (320 pages); Jewish history

The unforgettable story of two unsung heroes of World War II: sisters Janny and Lien Brilleslijper who joined the Dutch Resistance, helped save dozen of lives, were captured by the Nazis, and ultimately survived the Holocaust.

I read a lot of WWII fiction and am always saddened at the persecution that the Nazis carried out.   Reading this history book about two sisters, was even more difficult because the story was not based on real people - it was about real people.  I was astounded at the actions of these two sisters - how many people they saved and what their life was like in Auschwitz.  They were real heroes!

In 1940  the Nazis occupied the Netherlands.  As they begin to carry out their 'final solution',  many people become part of the resistance groups.  By the winter of 1943, resistance had grown.  Two sisters, Janny and Lien Brilleslijper, work diligently to keep people safe despite the danger that it brought to them.  They sheltered many people   in a clandestine safe house in the woods, they called “The High Nest.”  They were one of the main places for the resistance as well as hiding people who were escaping being taken to the camps.  Eventually, someone reported them to the Nazi hierarchy and the two sisters were caught and sent to several camps before they were put on the last train to Auschwitz.  On the transport, they meet the Frank family who were just discovered in the attic hiding place.  They became friends with Anne and Margot and tried to protect them after they arrived at Auschwitz.  Their time in the camp was very difficult but through their courage and resilience, the Brilleslijper sisters survived.

The author did extensive research and used the sisters' archives and photos.  She also took many oral histories that added to her knowledge of this time in history and the lives of the two sisters.   Be sure to read her notes at the end which explain where she got all of her information.

These brave sisters have been forgotten over the years and this book reminds the world of how brave and resilient they were and how they worked to make a difference in their lives and the lives of people that they saved.

"The Jews did not go to their deaths willingly - there were Jewish resistance fighters. Female ones at that." (p 281) 

Bluebird by Sharon Cameron

October 2021; Scholastic Press; 978-1338355963
audio, ebook, print (464 pages); young adult

"This is a new world now.  That's what they'd told her.  The old world is ash.  Burnt like paper in the fire winds of Berlin.
Sometimes, Eva thinks, people tell you lies." (p 1)

This wonderful, insightful novel begins in 1946 when Eva is arriving in New City from the rubble of Berlin.  She's taking care of a young girl who can't speak for herself.  Brigit has been unable to speak since a terrible event happened to her during the war.  Eva works to make everyone believe that she is in America to start a new life but the truth is that she holds a deadly secret.  She has been asked by the CIA to participate in project Bluebird - a plan to find a   Nazi doctor who was working on developing mind control and is hiding in the US to avoid the Nuremberg trials.  The doctor worked on his theory using prisoners in the concentration camps with no regard to whether they lived or died due to his experiments. Once he is found, the government plans to make sure that he stays free and works for them to further develop mind control. Eva agreed to help to get out of Germany but her plan is much different -- she wants revenge for all of the atrocities that were performed on the prisoners at the camps.  

When Eva was growing up in Berlin during the war, she believed the rhetoric of the Nazis.  Her parents and the rest of the family followed Nazi beliefs and were enamored with Hitler.  As the war continued and she learned more about the concentration camps and the treatment of Jewish people, the more she turned away from Nazi beliefs.  When the war ends in defeat, she begins to question everything and works to help other people and get revenge for them on the people who treated them so cruelly.

This book was well written and it is apparent that a lot of research was done.  I had never heard of project Bluebird and spent some time on Google learning about it.  This book has it all - it's full of suspense, friendship, and a bit of romance.  It's full of twists and turns and hope that Eva finds the guilty people before they find her and kill her.

This was a book that I didn't want to put down and now I know that I need to check out earlier books by this author.

Buy Bluebird at Amazon 

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by following us. Get even more book news in your inbox, sign up for our newsletter today! Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


Post a Comment