Tag Archive for: Historical Fiction

Review: Stalking Jack the RipperTitle: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, YA
Pages: 392 (Paperback)
Source: Own
For: Play Book Tag, Unofficial Trim Challenge
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Goodreads Synopsis

Against Audrey Rose's stern father's wishes and society's expectations, she often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey Rose into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

My Thoughts

I’ve been fascinated by the story of Jack the Ripper ever since I was a teenager. I watched a couple of TV miniseries fictionalizing his rampage of terror with my parents and I often wondered who the real Ripper was and why he did what he did.

I’ve been excited to read STALKING JACK THE RIPPER ever since I knew the book existed. I just never took the time to read it. I’m so glad I finally did. I loved how Maniscalco wove the historical in with the fiction. I loved seeing the events of Jack’s murders through the eyes of Audrey Rose and the other characters around her.

Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.

One of the things I loved about STALKING JACK THE RIPPER was reading about the science of the times. In Maniscalco’s author’s note, she said she tried to remain as true to the capabilities of the time as possible. I thought it was really interesting that even though most of society scorned the work of forensic scientists because they thought it ungodly and mad, scientists were able to do all they did without the many advancements we have today.

I loved the cast of characters in STALKING JACK THE RIPPER, including Jack. Even though I guessed who Jack was in the end, I was surprised how it all went down. It made for a fun, surprising ending that I really enjoyed. View Spoiler »

I’m glad I finally took the time to read STALKING JACK THE RIPPER. Even though I’ve watched several miniseries and movies about the infamous Ripper, this is my first book. I now want to read more books and see how they compare. I also look forward to reading more by Maniscalco as I enjoyed her writing.

Have you read STALKING JACK THE RIPPER? If so, what did you think?

Review: Dread NationTitle: Dread Nation
Author: Justina Ireland
Series: Dread Nation #1
Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Horror, YA
Pages: 455 (Hardcover)
Source: Library
For: Book Club
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Goodreads Synopsis

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville--derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities--and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

My Thoughts

DREAD NATION was my IRL book club’s pick for April. I was really excited to read it as I’ve wanted to ever since I first heard about it. A zombie apocalypse during the Civil War? Yes, please. A strong black female character fighting to not only survive the dead, but also for freedom from the oppression during Reconstruction Era America? I say again, yes, please!

DREAD NATION is the first zombie novel I’ve ever read and I loved it. I loved how the “Shamblers” worked and how they changed the outcome of the Civil War and society in general. The Shamblers were so much fun to read about. I especially loved reading the fight scenes with all the different weaponry used against the dead.

There’s nothing white folks hate more than realizing they accidentally treated a Negro like a person.

The thing I liked the most about DREAD NATION, however, was the time period and how Ireland used the setting to discuss the oppression of black people not only during Civil War era United States, but in general. Even though the themes are blunt, DREAD NATION isn’t preachy. Ireland skillfully addresses issues of racism and inequality while delivering a complex, enthralling story.

Reading DREAD NATION was very eye-opening. I know I’ve lived a very sheltered and safe life (and I’m not talking about a life free of Shamblers). I felt like DREAD NATION wonderfully illustrates the perseverance and strength black people have while enduring horrific abuse at the hands of those who see them as lesser.

I’m glad I finally got a chance to read DREAD NATION. It was a powerful, entertaining story. I look forward to reading the sequel DEATHLESS DIVIDE.

Have you read DREAD NATION? If so, what did you think?

Review: The Magnolia PalaceTitle: The Magnolia Palace
Author: Fiona Davis
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Source: Book of the Month
For: Book of the Month
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Goodreads Synopsis

THE MAGNOLIA PALACE tells the story of two women separated by nearly 50 years. 21-year-old Lillian Carter stumbles upon an employment opportunity, but the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family, pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death. Her life falls apart as a looming scandal leaves her entirely without a safe haven. When 18-year-old English model Veronica Weber is dismissed from the Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick mansion, she chances upon a series of hidden messages: messages that lead her on a hunt that could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family.

My Thoughts

I received THE MAGNOLIA PALACE as my January book from Book of the Month. I’ve been excited to read it ever since I read the synopsis and I’m happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed.

I was hooked on THE MAGNOLIA PALACE from the get-go. I adored it from start to finish. When I’d put the book down, I’d keep thinking about it and I’d want to pick it right back up again. I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next.

I really loved the dual timeline. I thought it was the perfect vehicle for the story, especially with the mystery aspect of it. I was more invested in Lillian’s story than Veronica’s. I didn’t dislike Veronica or anything; I was just more interested in the 1919 time period than the 1966 one.

The rich think they’re protected, that they have magical powers, when in fact they’re only mortals, like the rest of us. Bodies break down, betray you. People you love die. Children die.

I had no idea that Henry Clay Frick, his daughter, and the Frick Collection were real as I read the story. I didn’t even know that Lillian was based on a model from the 1900’s. I loved reading the author’s note and finding out that Fiona Davis mixed non-fiction with fiction to create the magnificent story that is THE MAGNOLIA PALACE. I don’t know what historians or relatives of the Frick family and the model would think about Fiona Davis’ fiction, but I thought it made for a compelling read.

Ever since I finished reading THE MAGNOLIA PALACE at 2am, I’ve been trying to decide if I want to rate it 4 or 5 stars. I finally settled on 4.5 stars, which might change. One thing is for sure, I’m definitely going to be checking out more of Fiona Davis’ books.

Have you read THE MAGNOLIA PALACE? If so, what did you think?