Category Archives: 19th Century

review: The Other Alcott

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The Other Alcott by Elise Hooper Abigail “May” Alcott, sister of Louisa May Alcott, is followed in this fictional biography which takes place in the 1870’s in Boston, London and Paris. May, whom Louisa had fictionalized as “Amy” in her Little Women series, had received negative reviews of her illustrations included in the books, and as such set out to… Read more »

guest post: Scarlette Pike on Researching her 19th Century Africa Novel

A desperate prayer and a dream led me to read the journals of Dr. David Livingstone (You may know him from the famous quote: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume”). He landed in southern Africa in 1841 employed by the London Missionary Society to spread Christianity. He then traveled through the interior of Africa preaching, but after only one man was converted… Read more »

guest post: John Nuckel on a Chance Meeting with Teddy Wilson

One of the most important events in American music happened at New York’s Carnegie Hall in 1938. There was a Benny Goodman concert that night. It actually was radical to have Goodman there at all playing his brand of swing music on the stage of such a prestigious venue. The seminal moment came when he brought out his quartet to… Read more »

History + Vampires

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Browsing the sadly lacking audiobook selection at my local library (this particular library seems to have something against audiobooks that aren’t your usual big name mystery novels), I picked this one up even though I have not read Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I don’t think it will be an issue, as it’s giving a bit of a recap. So far… Read more »

And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer

Here’s an odd duck I came across yesterday. The strange title coupled with the enormous girth of this book caught my eye in the Historical Fiction section. I was also intrigued with the octogenarian author’s life and decided to do a little research. I found a nice review of the book at Novel Matters with a ‘strong recommendation’. And Ladies… Read more »

Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners

This one is non-fiction, but caught my eye today. Looks like an interesting biography…her life would make an intriguing novel! Emily Post: Daughter of the Gilded Age, Mistress of American Manners by Laura Claridge BOOK DESCRIPTION “What would Emily Post do?” Even today, Americans cite the author of the perennial bestseller Etiquette as a touchstone for proper behavior. But who… Read more »

Reader, She Married Me: A New Jane Eyre Novel

Mr. Rochester: A Novel by Sarah Shoemaker “Reader, she married me.” BOOK DESCRIPTION: For one hundred seventy years, Edward Fairfax Rochester has stood as one of literature’s most romantic, most complex, and most mysterious heroes. Sometimes haughty, sometimes tender-professing his love for Jane Eyre in one breath and denying it in the next-Mr. Rochester has for generations mesmerized, beguiled, and,… Read more »

Victoria Wilcox’s Doc Holliday Debut

Before reading this immensely detailed novelization of the early life of John Henry “Doc” Holliday, I had only the 1993 film version of his character in mind (played by Val Kilmer), and a steampunk fantasy novel I reviewed for the May 2013 issue of Historical Novels Review—The Doctor and the Rough Rider by Mike Resnick—in which to form an opinion… Read more »

First Line Friday: A Conspiracy in Belgravia

From the Prologue… Thank goodness for a blatantly obvious murder. From Chapter One… This is an account of a remarkable man named Sherlock Holmes. BOOK DESCRIPTION “Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had… Read more »

First Line Friday: Gone with the Wind

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Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell “Since its original publication in 1936, Gone With the Wind—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and one of the bestselling novels of all time—has been heralded by readers everywhere as The Great American Novel…. Read more »

highlight: Napoleon in America

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I came across this one on Twitter and it sounds intriguing! Napoleon in America by Shannon Selin Author’s Website “What if Napoleon Bonaparte had escaped from St. Helena and wound up in the United States? The year is 1821. Former French Emperor Napoleon has been imprisoned on a dark wart in the Atlantic since his defeat at Waterloo in 1815…. Read more »

guest post: Fiction and History in Richard Buxton’s Whirligig – A writer’s choice

I decided to base Whirligig, my novel set in the American Civil War, largely in Tennessee and Georgia. The battles around Chattanooga were interesting to me. I only knew of Chickamauga and the subsequent epic charge up Missionary Ridge in summary, but I liked their relative anonymity when compared to the better known eastern battles of Gettysburg or Sharpsburg. I… Read more »