Posts Tagged ‘Series’

A Burnable Book – Bruce Holsinger

Posted in Historical Fiction on February 3rd, 2014 by admin – 4 Comments

A Burnable Book

Published
30/01/2014

Publisher
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Source
Lovereading

My Rating
3.5 stars

 

Bruce Holsinger’s fiction debut, A Burnable Book, is the first in a proposed series of historical thrillers set in 14th century London.  This is Chaucer’s London, it is 1385, a time of flux especially for the young king, Richard II, whose life may be in danger before he gets the opportunity to rule independently.  Rumour has it there is “a burnable book”, a treasonous tract the contents of which could overthrow the monarchy and threaten the stability of the whole country.

Enter John Gower, part-time poet and friend of Geoffrey Chaucer who has requested Gower’s help in tracking down this dangerous tome.  What follows is a well paced but complex story with many twists and  turns.  Equally complex is the vast range of characters, both real-life and fictional, and I was grateful for the list of characters at the front of the novel in order to frequently remind myself who was who.   Holsinger is well respected in the area of medieval research, as attested by his back catalogue of 6 non-fiction works in this field.  Such expertise is evident in the ease with which he brings alive the sights, sounds and smells of medieval London.

This is an accomplished debut novel reminiscent of the sprawling narratives of Ken Follett and C J Sansom.  It is slightly too detailed and convoluted for my liking but I think that Bruce Holsinger’s first foray into fiction will win him lots of new fans.

 

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Spirit of Lost Angels – Liza Perrat

Posted in Historical Fiction on September 28th, 2012 by admin – 2 Comments

Spirit of Lost Angels

  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • At the time of writing – only £2.79 on Kindle
  • My Rating – 4 stars
  • Source – the author herself
  • I suppose I could be described as a Francophile, given that I used to teach French to A Level (age 18) and I have a penchant for novels set in France e.g. Joanne Harris, Kate Mosse, Michelle Moran’s Madame Tussaud, Tracy Chevalier’s The Virgin Blue and more recently, Tatiana de Rosnay.  Therefore I was immediately drawn to Spirit of Lost Angels, set in late 18th century Revolutionary France.

    This is a very impressive debut novel with characters which spring to life from the opening pages.  Our narrator is a young peasant girl, Victoire, who experiences at first hand the tumult caused by the rumblings of revolutionary France.  Victoire is a surviver, having to “reinvent” herself on more than one occasion to keep her head above water.  We witness her rural upbringing, not quite the bucolic idyll and then a new life in bustling Paris, in the midst of turbulent social change.

    Real life historical figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Mary Wollstonecraft and Jeanne de Valois feature in this vividly described narrative adding authenticity to this epic tale.  The author wears her research lightly in this extremely readable, emotionally satisfying tale of a feisty young girl surviving the worst of times.  I am pleased to report that this is the first of a series of novels and I am really looking forward to hearing more about Victoire’s descendants.  Highly recommended for all lovers of historical fiction who enjoy a meaty tale!

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