Book Review: The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell #BookReview #TheLastKingdom #HistoricalFiction

The Last Kindgom (The Last Kingdom #1)

By Bernard Cornwell

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Blurb from Goodreads:

This is the exciting—yet little known—story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.

The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred’s kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father’s land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.
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Book Review: The Story That Cannot Be Told by J. Kasper Kramer #BookReview #TheStoryThatCannotBeTold #MiddleGrade #HistoricalFiction

The Story That Cannot Be Told

by J. Kasper Kramer

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My Review:

Ileana loves to collect stories, and she has a very large number to share. The issue is that stories can be dangerous where she lives. Her uncle has experienced this first hand as he’s been missing since the publication of one of his stories. Now, when the family’s safety is put at risk in Bucharest, they send Ileana away to live with her grandparents for a time. Here Ileana discovers that there’s so much she never knew.

The setting is Communist Romania in the late 1980s. It’s such a difficult time with food rationing, unrest and low living standards in general. I have to admit that I didn’t know much about this time period in Romania, nor did my kids. The book is both educational and entertaining— woven with folklore in between what’s happening in real time. We never lost interest and my kids were literally buried in their books. It’s beautifully crafted with wonderful characters and storytelling.

Personally, I enjoyed the story very much and decided on a 4-star rating, whereas the kids were a solid 5-stars —no questions asked. Some of the content was a little more complex, but it didn’t faze them. We looked forward to reading it daily. We read physical hardcovers and also enjoyed the audio along with the book.

The Story That Cannot Be Told is tense at times and also full of emotion, but funny too. It has also inspired me and my children to read more historical fiction. I recommend it for middle-graders, adults with an interest, and anyone who loves a good story.

4.5 stars

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ARC Book Review: The Den by Abi Maxwell #TheDen #WomensFiction #BookReview

The Den

by Abi Maxwell

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From Goodreads:

A luminous, hypnotic story of youth, sex, and power that tells of two young women who find themselves ostracized from the same small New England community for the same reasons–though they are separated by 150 years.

Henrietta and Jane are fifteen and twelve, growing up in a farmhouse on the outskirts of town. Their mother is a painter, lost in her art, their father a cook who’s raised them on magical tales about their land. When Henrietta becomes obsessed with a boy from town, Jane takes to trailing the young couple, spying on their trysts–until one night, Henrietta vanishes into the woods. Elspeth and Claire are sisters separated by an ocean–Elspeth’s pregnancy at seventeen meant she was quickly married and sent to America to avoid certain shame. But when she begins ingratiating herself to the town’s wealthy mill owner, a series of wrenching and violent events unfold, culminating in her disappearance. As Jane and Claire search in their own times for their missing sisters, they each come across a strange story about a family that is transformed into coyotes. But what does this myth mean? Are their sisters dead, destroyed by men and lust? Or, are they alive and thriving beyond the watchful eyes of their same small town? With echoes of The Scarlet Letter, Abi Maxwell gives us a transporting, layered tale of two women, living generations apart yet connected by place and longing, and condemned for the very same desires.

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In the Shadow of the Hanging Tree by Michael A. McLellan | Book Review | Author Interview | Signed Giveaway Including a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card! #HistFic #BookReview #Giveaway #Fiction

HiIn the Shadow of the Hanging Tree

by Michael A. McLellan

From Goodreads:

In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…

Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from Confederate militiamen.

Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the westward expansion.

Henry finds himself caught in the middle.

Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history.

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