Category Archives: Historical Fiction

I Shall Be Near to You

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I Shall Be Near to You is the first book by author Erin Lindsay McCabe. For a first novel, it was great! BUT…It only gets 3 stars from me because it just never transported me off the pages and into the world of the story. For me, that’s the hallmark of a great book…when I forget I’m reading. Sadly, it didn’t happen with this book.

Rosetta Wakefield is a young newlywed who follows her husband into the civil war. The author’s notes at the end of I Shall Be Near to You recount the stories of some REAL women who did just that. It is a fascinating concept…going to war as a woman disguised as a man.

The fictional Rosetta takes on the persona of Ross Stone and does indeed follow her husband, even to the point of fighting at Antietam. Seeing the war through a woman’s eyes is enlightening. Still, the story just didn’t grab me and draw me in. I saw other reviewers who cried at a certain part of the story (omitted from this review for spoliers). I didn’t cry a tear. I wasn’t witnessing an emotional moment, let alone living one. I was just reading about it.

A minor criticism: at one point the author refers to pupils which are dilated from laudanum. As a nurse, I groaned at this small error. Opiods (which laudanum is) make the pupils constrict, not dilate.

I often judge books on a reread or don’t reread scale. This is in the latter category.

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The Wood’s Edge

The Wood's Edge

 

I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, so when I got the chance to review The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton I was thrilled. The book didn’t disappoint! The Wood’s Edge is the first in the Pathfiners Series and it left me eager to read book two!

From the back cover:
At the wood’s edge cultures collide. Can two families survive the impact?

The 1757 New York frontier is home to the Oneida tribe and to British colonists, yet their feet rarely walk the same paths.

On the day Fort William Henry falls, Major Reginald Aubrey is beside himself with grief. His son, born that day, has died in the arms of his sleeping wife. When Reginald comes across an Oneida mother with newborn twins, one white, one brown, he makes a choice that will haunt the lives of all involved. He steals the white baby and leaves his own child behind. Reginald’s wife and foundling daughter, Anna, never suspect the truth about the boy they call William, but Reginald is wracked by regret that only intensifies with time, as his secret spreads its devastating ripples.

When the long buried truth comes to light, can an unlikely friendship forged at the wood’s edge provide a way forward? For a father tormented by fear of judgment, another by lust for vengeance. For a mother still grieving her lost child. For a brother who feels his twin’s absence, another unaware of his twin’s existence. And for Anna, who loves them both–Two Hawks, the mysterious Oneida boy she meets in secret, and William, her brother. As paths long divided collide, how will God direct the feet of those who follow Him?

The Wood’s Edge is a story of faith, repentance, redemption and of God’s power to heal us from our wounds. I love Lori Benton’s writing. It is descriptive and conveys the tone of the scene quite well. I found myself really empathizing with all the characters as their stories unwound.

If you’re a fan of historical fiction, especially if you’re interested in the events preceding the Revolutionary War, you’ll love this book. I highly recommend it!

*I received a complementary proof of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Life Behind the Wall

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Life Behind the Wall is really a trilogy of books. Book one is Candy Bombers, book two is Beetle Bunker and book three is  Smuggler’s Treasure.  The trilogy traces a German family’s story from just after WWII in 1948 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The books are fictional but recount actual historic events. They are written from the perspective of a family which is separated by the Berlin Wall. It shows what life was like during the time that Germany was divided into two opposing political systems.

The characters were very likable and relatable. The protagonist in each story is a 13-year-old, so the book is a great choice for advanced elementary school and middle school readers. Even as an adult, I enjoyed the book and the story line woven throughout. Historical fiction is a great stepping-off point into the study of history, personalizing the conflicts, hardships and victories experienced in a time other than our own.

I enjoyed the book and will read it with my son, along with studying the REAL “Candy Bomber,” Gail “Hal” Halverson. Hal’s story is one of hope and charity in the midst of strife and I highly recommend that students look into his remarkable life story.

Life Behind the Wall is a compelling story of 4 generations affected by the aftermath of WWII and their sacrifices and struggles as well as their triumphs. The Christian message in the book is very subtle and not at all preachy, and there are discussion questions at the end of each of the books to stimulate application of such principles as honesty, courage and freedom.

***I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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