A Discovery of Strangers by Rudy Wiebe, A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith, Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb, Churchill's First War by Con Coughlin, City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn, Empress of the Night by Eva Stachniak, Girl Reading by Katie Ward, Go Away Home by Carol Bodensteiner, Lionhearted by Sharon Kay Penman, Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose, Starshine by John Wilcox, The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin, The Book of Salt by Monique Truong, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear, The Expected One by Kathleen McGowan, The Golden Dice by Elisabeth Storrs, The Mountain of Light by Indu Sundarasan, The Proposal by Margaret Evans Porter, The Russian Tapestry by Banafsheh Serov, The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey, The Storms of War by Katie Williams, To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin
45 books in 2014!
Shocking admission: I’ve never tracked my books before, so when 2014 began, I was encouraged by others setting ambitious reading goals and decided that the least I could do was write down the titles, authors and impressions of each book tackled.
Some were superb, others I did not finish (life’s too short to read truly unappealing books). Several were enjoyable although not particularly distinctive. Most were historical fiction; a few were non-fiction. I read several in my capacity as book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and others for book club discussions.
Since I don’t like the five star rating system used by sites like Goodreads, I’ve taken a different approach. GR = good read, several caveats; ER = excellent, few caveats; OR = outstanding; DNF = did not finish; NMT = not my type; LR = light, enjoyable read.
Here’s the first six months. I’ll post the second list on Thursday. For those I’ve reviewed, a link is included.
|Jan||The Aviator’s Wife||Melanie Benjamin||ER||Book club; great story about Anne Morrow Lindberg|
|The Book Thief||Markus Zusak||DNF||Death as the narrator left me cold|
|The Secret Rooms||Catherine Bailey||ER||HNS review; non-fiction page-turner set in early 20th century England|
|The Book of Salt||Monique Truong||GR||Book club; Gertrude Stein’s Vietnamese cook|
|Reading Like a Writer||Francine Prose||GR||Non-fiction; some excellent chapters, others I skimmed|
|Feb||The Golden Dice||Elisabeth Storrs||ER||Part of a series on ancient Rome|
|The Proposal||Margaret Evans Porter||LR||19th century romance with twists and turns|
|Becoming Josephine||Heather Webb||GR||Stronger after Josephine meets Napoleon|
|Mar||The Mountain of Light||Indu Sundarasan||ER||Fascinating look at India|
|Churchill’s First War||Con Coughlin||GR||HNS review; non-fiction about Churchill’s time in
|To Serve a King||Donna Russo Morin||LR||The story of Genevieve, a spy for Henry VIII|
|Go Away Home||Carol Bodensteiner||LR||Coming of age in early 20th century Iowa|
|Lionheart||Sharon Kay Penman||ER||Superb account of Richard I|
|A Discovery of Strangers||Rudy Wiebe||ER||Book club; based on Franklin’s failed arctic voyage|
|Apr||The Expected One||Kathleen McGowan||NMT||Rated ** on Goodreads|
|Empress of the Night||Eva Stachniak||DNF||About Catherine the Great|
|May||Girl Reading||Katie Ward||NMT||Book club; more like a set of short stories|
|The Storms of War||Katie Williams||GR||HNS article on WWI novels; multiple threads make it read like a TV series|
|Starshine||John Wilcox||GR||HNS article on WWI novels; story meanders too much|
|The Care and Management of Lies||Jacqueline Winspear||ER||HNS article on WWI novels; wonderful read|
|Jun||The Russian Tapestry||Banafsheh Serov||GR||HNS article on WWI novels; on the Russian front|
|A Star for Mrs. Blake||April Smith||GR||HNS article on WWI novels; American gold star mothers|
|City of Jasmine||Deanna Raybourn||LR||delightful mystery set in post-WWI Damascus|
Quite the range – and so many to recommend.
M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available in paperback from Amazon and in e-book formats from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.