Skip to main content

Mini-Reviews #4: Historical Settings


The Archers of Isca by Caroline Lawrence
The sequel to Escape from Rome; this was almost as good as its predecessor! This book focuses more on Fronto, the eldest sibling, although we also get a lot more of the other characters than the book description implies. I love the characters in this series so much, so that was great. Like the first book, there is a fast-moving plot but it is also quite character-driven, which I like. The ending does feel a bit inconclusive, as there are a few plot strands left quite open, but since this is part of a series that is understandable (although it is quite a long wait until the next book comes out!) There was one twist in the story that, as a Roman Mysteries fan, I found very exciting, but I won't spoil it for you! All in all, this was a very good book, and I'm looking forward to seeing how the story develops through the rest of the series.
Unequal Affections by Lara S. Ormiston
For a Jane Austen sequel, this was actually pretty good! It tells the story of what might have happened had Elizabeth accepted Darcy's first offer of marriage, in Kent. I'm not sure I can quite accept that, but if you can get past the premise, it's a pretty good book. The development of Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship feels fairly realistic, if a little fast; they have quite a lot to work through, since in this version of the story Elizabeth never receives Darcy's letter trying to explain what she perceives as the injuries he has done to those around her, and since she is not entirely honest about just how much she disliked him (until his proposal began to change per perception of him). The author also does a good job of delving into the implications of their decision - for example, what will Bingley's reaction be to his friend doing something that he had recently convinced him not to do (getting engaged to a woman of low connections who doesn't love him)? How will Elizabeth's family and her neighbours react, and how will they get on with Darcy? The characterisation and dialogue is mostly true to the original novel and the time period - although there are a few modern turns of phrase, and one or two historical inaccuracies, these are not major issues - and I enjoyed spotting a few quotes from the original novel.
The Princess Virginia by C.N. & A.M. Williamson
Princess Virginia has always fancied herself in love with the Emperor of Rhaetia (who she has never met), so when he offers to marry her, she ought to be delighted - however, she decides that she only wants to marry him if he truly loves her, so she decides to travel to Rhaetia under an assumed name and try to win his love. Naturally, not everything goes quite as planned, but everything comes right in the end. It's a slightly ridiculous story, but a very entertaining one, which I thoroughly enjoyed.


Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Tuesday: Forgotten Classics

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre. I've decided go for classics, so I'm listing ten older books that have been mostly forgotten or that I think should be better known:
A Cathedral Courtshipby Kate Douglas Wiggin A sweet romantic tale combined with a tour of English cathedrals
The Heir of Redclyffe by Charlotte Mary Yonge A tragic Victorian bestseller
White Boots by Noel Streatfeild A story about family, friendship, and ice skating
The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit Six children determine to restore their family's fortunes - but things don't really go according to plan
Seven Sisters at Queen Anne's by Evelyn Smith Seven sisters go off to school for the first time,
Half Magic by Edward Eager A magic coin that only grants half of what you wish for - what could possibly go wrong?
Jane of Lantern Hillby L.M. Montgomery I've reviewed this recently here.
Young Bess by Margar…

Top Ten Tuesday: Mystery Recommendations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's theme is Ten Book Recommendations for ______. Since I've been reading a lot of mystery/detective books lately, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list of mystery recommendations. Then I realised I already made a similar list last September ... however, I've read quite a few new ones since then and I think this list is different enough for it to be worthwhile. So, here are ten books I recommend to people who like mysteries (especially of the classic or historical variety.

A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson (mini review) This is one I've read recently. Set in a small town in 1950s England, featuring a mysterious death which occurred seven years earlier.
One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters This is the second in Ellis Peters' Cadfael series, and one of the best that I've read so far, although I'd recommend the series as a whole.
Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens The sec…

Book Review: The Bookseller's Tale by Ann Swinfen

SummaryThe Bookseller's Tale is the first in a series of mysteries set in 14th-century Oxford. The book takes place a few years after the population has been decimated by the Black Death, the effects of which are still widely felt. Nicholas Elyot, the main character, is a bookseller who lost his wife to the plague. One day he finds the body of a student in the River Cherwell, and discovers that his death was not due to natural causes. The town authorities don't seem to have any interest in investigating the murder, but Nicholas and his friend Jordain Brinkylsworth, a member of the university, feel they owe it to the victim to find out. Thoughts  One of the big things I liked about this book was the historical detail - we find out quite a bit about medieval Oxford, the university, and particularly about Nicholas' work as a bookseller, which I found really interesting. Some readers might not enjoy these details as they mean there is a little less focus on the mystery, but I…