Historical Fiction

Cats Literature Reviews

June 2021 and Mid-Year Reading Recap

Sigh.  Well, I think posting a monthly (and even half-year) reading recap a full three weeks into the next month has to be some sort of record, even for me, but here we are.  And I admit that at this point I’d even been contemplating holding off another week so as to combine this with […]

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Literature Reviews

Gary Corby: The Ionia Sanction

The Ionia Sanction is the second book in Gary Corby’s mystery series set in the Athenian Republic of Pericles and the great philosophers, and I picked it as an introduction to the “actual” book I’d been planning to include in my Summer Games reading project — the series’s third book, which is set during the […]

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Cats Literature Reviews

Mystery Writers of America Presents: Odd Partners

A few years ago, I read a Mystery Writers of America short story compilation named Face Off, which featured short stories where two different authors’ series detectives / protagonists teamed up to solve a given crime, with each of the authors writing part of the respective story.  I thought that was an interesting (and surprisingly […]

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Literature Music Reviews

May 2021 Reading Recap

Still a lot of work on the back end of the blog, including on my “featured authors” pages (see the right column on the main Literature page and the introduction of my April 2021 recap post).  So, contrary to plans, still no new posts in my alphabet blogging series in May.  However, the time-consuming back end […]

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Literature Reviews

Graeme Kent: Devil-Devil

This book (and series) had been on my radar ever since I first started to put together reading lists for my Around the World project.  A mystery set in the Solomon Islands, with a Lau policeman as one of the major characters — and set in the time period immediately prior to the end of […]

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Literature Reviews

Graeme Kent: One Blood

My experience with book 1 of the Ben Kella and Sister Conchita series was encouraging enough to move on straight away to the second book, which started vigorously enough with the death (murder?) of an American tourist — or was he? — in the tiny church of the Gizo Island mission where Sister Conchita has […]

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Literature Reviews

Daphne Du Maurier: My Cousin Rachel

Oh, I wanted to like this so much better than I ultimately did; for its glorious Cornish and Italian (Florence) settings alone, as well as for the fact that Du Maurier (as she herself insisted) apparently identified so much with this novel’s first person narrator, Philip Ashley, that at times she almost felt like she […]

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Literature Reviews

Ursula K. Le Guin: Lavinia

The final six books of Vergil‘s Aeneid (half the epic’s length, until its abrupt and arguably premature ending) deal with Aeneas’s arrival in Latium and the hostilities ensuing after the Latian king, obeying a prophecy, promises his only daughter Lavinia’s hand to the Trojan warrior.  Now, this being a heroic epos setting out to chronicle […]

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Literature Reviews

Arthur Conan Doyle: Sir Nigel

I didn’t quite want to limit my “birthday boy” look at Arthur Conan Doyle’s work to the predictable Sherlock Holmes binge, so I decided to take a look at one of his historical novels in addition.  Well, I suppose I have to hand it to Sir Arthur for mastering, with panache, genres as diverse as […]

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Cats Literature Reviews

April 2021 Reading Recap

First things first: The persistent bug preventing followers / readers to comment on my posts straight off the post (i.e., other than by using the WP Reader) has finally been weeded out, thanks to my hosting service’s IT team … so you can, at last, comment even if you’re not using the WP Reader.  (I […]

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Literature Reviews

Simon Beaufort (Susanna Gregory): Deadly Inheritance

Having once had recourse to a book by a writer from the Medieval Murderers group in April, I figured I might as well go on and finally give a try to the Geoffrey Mappestone series that Cambridge academic Elizabeth Cruwys (aka Susanna Gregory) writes, together with her husband, under the pen name Simon Beaufort.  I first […]

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Literature Reviews

Georgette Heyer: The Grand Sophy & Sylvester

I am, so far, not overly convinced that Georgette Heyer’s historical romances are for me: Not only as a general matter (I am not a major romance reader to begin with), but more specifically, because this is essentially Austen fanfic … and as with all fanfic and pastiches, give me the original rather than the […]

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Literature Reviews

Michael Jecks: The Chapel of Bones

I was in sore need of something more substantial after my foray into Georgette Heyer’s version of Regency England, and Michael Jecks is one of the authors on whom I’ve long been able to rely in order for this sort of thing — and fortunately, he came through for me yet again.  The Chapel of […]

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Literature Reviews

William Shakespeare: Richard II & Twelfth Night

I could of course not let April go by without paying my respects to the Sweet Swan of Avon: 2021 isn’t one of the “really big” Shakespeare years (those tend to end in -4 and -6, for the anniversaries of the Bard’s birth and death years); although I have no doubt that if it weren’t […]

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Lifestyle Literature Movies Music Reviews

February and March 2021: Reading Recap

Well, go figure.  The first quarter of 2021 is already behind us, never mind that I’m still having to remind myself on occasion to write “2021” instead of “2020” … (and we’re even a week into April already, but let that go). Anyway, since I never got around to doing a “February in review” post, […]

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Literature Reviews

Toni Morrison: Sula

I’d been planning to pair this book with Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, as an exercise in comparing an African American and an African coming of age story, but Nervous Conditions never materialized in my mailbox, so I’m going to have to postpone that reading experience to a later date.  Which, perhaps, isn’t such a bad […]

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Literature Reviews

Robert van Gulik (transl.) & Anonymous: Celebrated Cases of Judge Dee (Dee Gong An)

This was “technically” a reread, but as unlike Robert van Gulik’s series of mysteries that were inspired by this book, I had not actually revisited the original novel itself in a minor eternity, almost all of it felt as fresh and new as if I had been reading it for the very first time. Although […]

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Literature Reviews

Philip Gooden: The Salisbury Manuscript

After the double disappointment of Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl and (especially / even more so) Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride, I felt in need of crawling into some warm, cozy and comforting place and curling up there, and in book terms that usually means taking recourse to a mystery — in this instance, the first […]

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Literature Reviews

The Medieval Murderers: Sword of Shame

Following on from my successful foray into Philip Gooden’s — relatively — new series, I decided to conclude the month of March with a revisit of one of the Medieval Murderers‘ round robins; the second book from the series, Sword of Shame.  In its entirety, this book is fairly average for the series — well-researched […]

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Literature Reviews

Alexandre Dumas: Les trois mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers)

Look, here’s the deal: If you’ve formed your idea of this tale based on its numerous movie adaptations, and / or if you are expecting a saga of gloriously heroic derring-do, swashbuckling and romance, be warned: You’ll be sorely disappointed; maybe you’ll even end up hating the book, because what Dumas actually wrote has almost […]

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