Tag: Books: Historical Fiction


Review: The Midnight Sun

Posted 3 June, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 1 Comment

The Midnight Sun
By: Cecilia Ekback
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Sweden, 1855. Worst thing I ever saw… The Minister of Justice has received a disturbing message. There’s been a massacre on one of Lapland’s mountains: a priest, a law enforcement officer, and a local settler have been slaughtered by one of the indigenous Sami people. The murderer is in custody, but he refuses to talk. The Minister dispatches his son-in-law, a geologist, to investigate, as there is another reason to visit BlackÂsen: it is a mountain with many secrets, a mountain whose rich mineral deposits have never been exploited. But Magnus does not journey alone. The Minister’s daughter, in disgrace, is sent with him.

The two unlikely companions venture out of the sweltering city to the wild landscape of Sweden’s far north under the strange, insomnia-inducing light of the midnight sun. There, the shocking truth they discover about the murders and what lies behind them will only be matched by what they discover about themselves. For Lovisa and Magnusóand for the people of BlackÂsenó nothing will ever be the same again. In The Month of the Midnight Sun tells a riveting story of the collision of worlds old and new, and cements Ekback’s status as a master of Nordic noir.

I completely forgot but I actually read her first book, Wolf Winter (review), a few years ago. Oops; clearly read too many books at this point :3 Anyway, I picked this book up on a whim (which is something of a rarity these days) and took it with me when I went on holiday a few weeks ago.

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Review: Jeremy Poldark

Posted 27 May, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Jeremy Poldark (Poldarks #3)
By: Winston Graham
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

Ross Poldark faces the darkest hour of his life in this third novel of the Poldark series. Reeling from the tragic death of a loved one, Captain Poldark vents his grief by inciting impoverished locals to salvage the contents of a ship run aground in a stormóan act for which British law proscribes death by hanging. Ross is brought to trial for his involvement, and despite their stormy marriage, Demelza tries to rally support for her husband, to save him and their family.

But there are enemies in plenty who would be happy to see Ross convicted, not the least of which is George Warleggan, the powerful banker whose personal rivalry with Ross grows ever more intense and threatens to destroy the Poldarks.

And into this setting, Jeremy Poldark, Ross and Demelza’s first son, is born…

At long last I’ve gotten around to the third book in the series. I was in a bit of a historical fiction mood before I went on holiday so apologies on how brief the following review will likely be; it’s been a while between the time I read the book and the time I’m typing this out.

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Review: The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

Posted 13 February, 2019 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Last Painting of Sara De Vos
By: Dominic Smith
Format/Source: Hardback; my purchase

This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can’t shake them, even long after the reading’s done. In his earlier, award-winning novels, Dominic Smith demonstrated a gift for coaxing the past to life. Now, in The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, he deftly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.

In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke’s in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain–a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she’s curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.

I found out about this book from Mel @ Book Musings and had it on my wishlist for a while. I then encountered it again for a very good price and decided to pick it up. I enjoy reading about art and discovering the world of art dealing and whatnot through these thriller/suspense/historical fiction novels.

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Review: Mikhail and Margarita

Posted 14 September, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Mikhail and Margarita
By: Julie Kestrom Himes
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

It is 1933 and Mikhail Bulgakov’s enviable career is on the brink of being dismantled. His friend and mentor, the poet Osip Mandelstam, has been arrested, tortured, and sent into exile. Meanwhile, a mysterious agent of the secret police has developed a growing obsession with exposing Bulgakov as an enemy of the state. To make matters worse, Bulgakov has fallen in love with the dangerously candid Margarita. Facing imminent arrest, and infatuated with Margarita, he is inspired to write his masterpiece, The Master and Margarita, a scathing novel critical of both power and the powerful.

The Master and Margarita was never my favourite Soviet novel; I had read it twice and it just never struck me one way or the other. I do however appreciate why it was seen as a sharp appraisal of the Soviet regime and its lackeys and I was curious to read this book because it was looking at the author behind the book and the people he associated with.

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Review: The Ludwig Conspiracy

Posted 29 August, 2018 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

The Ludwig Conspiracy
By: Oliver Pötzsch
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase

In 1886, Ludwig II, the fairytale king of Bavaria, was deposed after being declared insane by doctors who had never met him. He died mysteriously soon thereafter, his eccentric and beautiful castles his only legacy.

When an encoded diary by one of Ludwig’s confidants falls into the hands of rare book dealer Steven Lukas, he soon realizes that the diary may bring him more misery than money. Others want the diary as well—and they will kill to get it. Believing the diary to contain the secret truth behind Ludwig’s death, Steven and the detective Sara Lengfeld go on the run, investigating each of Ludwig’s three famous castles for clues. Just what in the diary could be so explosive that Ludwig’s deranged modern-day followers will do whatever it takes to keep it hidden?

I’ve been meaning to read something by Oliver Pötzsch for ages. I ended up picking up this book partly because it was on sale but also because it was a standalone and I wasn’t in the mood to pick up a series at the time.

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