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historical fiction

Tall Poppy Review: “Dragon Springs Road,” Orphan’s Tale

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In Dragon Springs Road (William Morrow Paperbacks), Janie Chang constructs a magical, rich and compelling historical novel set in the early twentieth-century about Jialing, a girl of Eurasian descent, as she navigates her life as an orphan near Shanghai, China. The Western Residence of Dragon Springs Road is the place Jialing calls home. Abandoned by her mother, a mistress to the estate’s owner, who is forced to flee with him after his financial demise, Jialing is befriended by Fox, a mystical creature who becomes her guide. Fox drifts in and out of Jialing’s life in both animal and female form as Jialing works as the bondservant of the Yang family, the new owners of the Western Residence. With the Yangs, Jialing…

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Orphan Plight in “The Home for Unwanted Girls”

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Joanna Goodman’s The Home for Unwanted Girls (Harper) is the compelling story of Maggie (based on the author’s mother) and her family set in 1950s Canada.  At that time orphanages were being converted to hospitals for financial benefit.  The Quebec government saved money changing the educational facilities to mental institutions, and the Roman Catholic Church received subsidies. Want more BookTrib? Sign up NOW for news and giveaways! Thousands of orphans were falsely deemed mentally ill and many of the teaching nuns changed from black uniforms to white and called themselves nurses… they were complicit under the new law set in place by Canadian politician, Maurice Le Noblet Duplessis. This cruel reality from the past is the backdrop for this emotional, fast-paced historical fiction…

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How Nicola Cornick Merges Two Loves: History and Writing

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The life of a writer can be a strange business. Frequently people assume it’s a glamorous job; they imagine a world of book launches and literary parties with a few words thrown down on paper in between. It can be seen as arcane and exciting and if you tell people it is 90 percent solitary, spent at your computer, dressed in pajamas or your dog-walking clothes, they nod and smile and don’t believe you. I didn’t believe it myself until I gave up my job as a university administrator to be a full-time author, fifteen years ago. The first three silent months were absolute bliss. Then I started to feel lonely. That was the moment when I realized that I…

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“The Masterpiece:” NYC’s Grand Central as One of the Stars

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Today’s radiant Grand Central Terminal belies the nadir of its seventh decade when decay, crime, and overreaching developers threatened its existence. Thanks to the genius of landmark preservationists and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the building was rescued and restored to its original beauty during the 1980s. The iconic Manhattan train terminal – specifically the Grand Central School of Art, part of an artists’ cooperative that was founded in 1924 and occupied much of the sixth floor of the building – is the star of The Masterpiece (Dutton), Fiona Davis’s third novel about New York City.  A romantic thriller about art and architecture, it is set against the unlikely backdrop of two of our nation’s most dispiriting eras:  the Great Depression of the…

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Ike and Kay a World War II Passionate Love Affair

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There are some stories we hear and dismiss as just rumor… and then there are others that are too good to ignore. This is exactly what led critically acclaimed historical fiction author James MacManus to discover the incredible story of the love affair between Dwight Eisenhower and Kay Summersby, his wartime aide and driver. Ike and Kay (Overlook Press) sees a love story between two people amid the carnage and the horrors of the Second World War in Europe and North Africa. The affair between Eisenhower and Summersby was fragile but passionate, made stronger by the support she offered to him throughout the difficulties of war.  Though Eisenhower returned to his wife, there’s no doubting they were genuinely in love.…

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Sarah MacLean on Wickedly Weaving Scandal & Privilege

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BookTrib is partnering with Bookish to bring you more great content. If you’re looking for an addicting summer read, you can’t go wrong with Sarah MacLean’s Wicked and the Wallflower, the first book in her Bareknuckle Bastards series. The story follows the electric romance between Lady Felicity Faircloth, who is trying to recover from a recent scandal, and Devil, who hopes to use Felicity to get revenge on his brother. This is one of our top romance picks of the season, so we were delighted to have the opportunity to sit down with MacLean to talk about this exciting new series. Here MacLean shares how James Joyce inspired the book’s theme of consent, and her plans for smuggling booze into 19th-century London. Bookish: Lady Felicity Faircloth appeared in The Day…

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Tall Poppies Review: “Promised to the Crown” is Embroidered with Love

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Lovers of historical fiction will be swept away by Amie Runyan’s Promised to the Crown. I was! This book follows three young women as they leave their homes to travel across an ocean towards a future each has chosen but none can quite imagine. Rose, Elizabeth and Nicole come from different backgrounds, and undertake their journeys for vastly different reasons. But in Canada, their fates intertwine and they become fast friends, sharing heartache and happiness as wives and mothers who forge their own paths in the northern towns and teaming wilderness. In the 17thcentury, a girl without a dowry had little hopes to make a happy match and secure a future in France. Meanwhile, the colony of New France needed…

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The Hype About New Psycho Thriller And Its Debut Author

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It’s one of the most talked about books, included on every list of recommendations, no matter what the occasion. Tangerine, the psychological thriller by debut author Christine Mangan, is not only beautifully written prose, but electric in imagery. Taking place in Tangier, Morocco, in the 1950s, the novel is vivid and full of heat, winding the characters up tighter and tighter as events around them begin to fall apart, only adding further to the feelings of claustrophobia and anxiety that are the hallmarks of every great thriller. Alice and Lucy used to be best friends and roommates, practically inseparable. But after an accident, the two haven’t spoken in over a year – which is why Alice is so startled when Lucy shows…

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25 Years Ago, Eleanor Hibbert’s Death at Sea Ends Life-Long Historical Romance

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When English author Eleanor Hibbert died aboard a cruise ship 25 years ago on January 18, 1993, she didn’t die alone. Buried at sea somewhere between Athens and Egypt in the Mediterranean, Hibbert took with her at least eight pseudonyms, including Victoria Holt, Jean Plaidy, and Philippa Carr, to name only her three best-known. Hibbert’s long career produced 200 books that were translated into 20 languages, selling 100 million copies. After her death, her literary estate was valued at nearly 9 million pounds (which is almost $13 million US dollars today!). Hibbert’s final cruise was her usual solution for escaping cold, dark English winters. Her exotic destinations often turned up later in her books, and although she’d break for games…

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Tall Poppies Review: An Author’s Magic Shines Through In ‘The Queen’s Mistake’

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The Queen’s Mistake by Diane Haeger is a work of historical fiction that makes the events of centuries ago feel fresh, relevant, and enticing. This book is luminous, as is its titular queen. The novel tells the story of the very young and very beautiful Catherine Howard, who, as King Henry VIII’s fifth wife is destined, like all of his wives, for a very sad fate. Catherine Howard plunges headlong into danger, even as we wish that she would stay put, in her simpler life, far away from the castle and the king’s rapacious appetites. We know from the first page that the Queen’s dalliance with King Henry VIII will end in disaster. No spoilers here; it’s history after all.…

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Tall Poppies Review: Nomi Eve’s ‘Henna House’ is Thrilling in Concept and Reality

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Sometime in the middle years of my twenties, my sister and my cousin hennaed my breasts on a lark, using a dime-store-quality kit we bought off a mysterious woman at a street fair. It was summer. The air was heavy. The moon was full. It all made sense at the time. I had no idea how very close we came to correctly approximating the tradition of henna, which I did not understand to be such a robust and ritualized art form until I read Nomi Eve’s Henna House. Historical fiction thrills me in concept and reality; the idea that while being entertained I might also learn something vital; the possibility of acquiring – by osmosis! by accident! – facts and…

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Jewish History is Revisited in Martha Hall Kelly’s ‘Lilac Girls’

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If you missed the release of Lilac Girls, now is the time to buy the paperback. It is historical fiction based on true and harrowing events during World War II. For me, the Holocaust has always been mostly about how the Jews were prosecuted; a devastating time in our history across the world. But of course the Jewish people were not the only ones who were affected. Author Martha Hall Kelly gets up close and personal with Kasia, a young Polish girl with Jewish ancestry who is completing secret missions for the underground anti-war efforts and is captured by the Gestapo with her sister and her mother. One of these unforgettable characters is Herta, an out of work, German doctor…

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Interview with Sam Lightner, Jr., Author of ‘Heavy Green’

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Experienced climber Sam Lightner, Jr. talks with BookTrib about his latest book, Heavy Green. Heavy Green focuses on a little known CIA operation that could shift the outcome of the Vietnam War. Expertly researched, Heavy Green is a historical novel that shows a different side of the conflict at the time. In this interview, Lightner shares why that is and offers a new trajectory in how we should begin looking and discussing that period in our nation’s history.

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Tasty Food and Book Pairings for Every Literary Genre

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There are food and wine pairings, book and wine pairings, and even book and coffee pairings but no one knows what to eat with a book! What should you munch on while reading Mockingjay? Or nibble while reading New Moon? Well, lick your lips and attack a snack, because here are five foods pairings to go with every literary genre: Romance Ah, yes, the red wine and bubble bath classic. And what goes better with red wine than some nice dark chocolate? As you probably know, chocolate is the food of love. Turns out, there’s actually a chemical found in chocolate that can release serotonin, which can make you feel like you’ve gone down Lover’s Lane, never to return. But…

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Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst Bring ‘The Beguiled’ to Life Again

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nicole kidman the Beguiled

It’s a game of trust and deception in Thomas P. Cullinan’s novel, The Beguiled, which is being adapted for the screen…again. Originally published in 1966 under the title A Painted Veil, the Civil War thriller blends history, suspense and even a little romance. It’s a dark, engrossing tale that caught the eye of Sofia Coppola, who’s adapted it for the screen with an all-star cast that includes Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell and Kirsten Dunst. The novel, which was re-released on June 13 as a movie tie-in, tells the story of a wounded Yankee soldier who turns up in the woods near Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies in rural Virginia during the Civil War. The women take him in, though…

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ICYMI! Our Top Picks from the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards

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It’s once again time for the annual Goodreads Choice Awards, where thousands of readers choose their favorite books of the year. The competition is stiff this go around, with three stages of voting and tons of awesome reads to choose from. Goodreads has always been about the readers, bringing together authors and their fans in a truly personal way. The Choice Awards are no exception, and is, according to Goodreads, “the only major book award decided by readers.” Which is why this is such a great chance for the book lovers of 2016 to let their voices be heard The Opening Round vote started on November 1 and goes until the 6, so if you haven’t voted yet, now’s the time!…

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