Historical Fiction: 3 Good Reads

This year my mind has become weary with the news. The amount of time that I spend watching the news on TV is decreasing and the amount of time that I am reading is increasing. I admit that I have been a bit of a political junkie, and it is good to spend more time with books (the Bible being first).

Historical fiction is a favorite genre. Books can take us to another time period, showing us places, events and people. We can learn from books that are carefully researched. 

In the past month I have read three books in this genre. Two of the books are set in the time period of WWI, the Great War.

City of Scoundrels by Victoria Thompson includes the 1918 flu pandemic, along with masks and disagreement about the effectiveness of masks. The main characters are involved in cons and the movement of money to make people rich. So much reminded me of the current time that I had to check the publishing date. Did the author write this after the pandemic began? It was published in 2019.

Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Web is a WWI story set in Europe. The book has an unusual structure. The story is told completely by letters between the main characters. The reader is invited to see the effects of the war on daily life and decisions through the letters. This perspective allowed a view of internal emotions and hopes. I was drawn into the lives of the characters.

Tessa Afshar writes stories tied to Biblical characters. She has firsthand knowledge of the middle east—I enjoy her descriptions of setting. The Thief of Corinth is set in the time period following Jesus death and resurrection. The apostle Paul makes an appearance in the story. The reader gets a glimpse of wealthy villas in Corinth, the way of life in a rapidly growing commercial center.  Afshar presents Paul consistent with the Bible.

Each of these books does a good job of revealing human nature, the good and the bad that is possible in all of us.

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A Song of Home: Book Review

This past October I met Susie Finkbeiner at the Breathe Conference for writers. I went to her session on dialogue and picked up helpful tips for my writing. I learned that Susie writes historical fiction. When given the opportunity to be on her launch team for A Song of Home, I signed up. It is the third book in the Pearl Spence series. Having finished this book, I will go back and read the first two.

A Song of Home

The book is set in 1935. Pearl’s family has moved from the dust bowl of Oklahoma to Michigan. Pearl is a thoughtful girl, eleven years old. Through her eyes we see the complex troubles in her home and town. Her relationship with her mother has painful wounds.

Will Bliss, Michigan ever feel like home? She attends school and church, but has deep distress over her mother’s choices. She is a reader and finds comfort in the local library. Stories linger in her mind; her musings about life are touching.

Opal Moon brings some order to the Spence household. She offers friendship to Pearl and gives her an outlet for her energy. With music streaming from the radio, Opal teaches Pearl the new dance steps. (I learned about the Swing Era.)

Other women provide guidance for Pearl.   Aunt  Carrie  is  a  rock  of  stability. Mrs. Trask, the librarian, has a gentle kindness. Meemaw isn’t physically present, but her words of wisdom come back to Pearl. Pearl makes a connection between lessons from the Bible and events taking place in her life.

A Song of Home is a well-crafted story of love, forgiveness and hope.

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