Favorite Historical Fiction Books: The Second Half of 2019

Hey guys! Check out some of my favorite historical fiction picks from July onwards of this year!

Clicking on the picture takes you to the GoodReads link, clicking on the title takes you to my review!

 

6. The Last Word

The Last Word

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1861. Miss Lucinda Leavitt is shocked when she learns the author of her favorite serialized novel has died before completing the story. Determined to learn how it ends, Lucinda reluctantly enlists the help of her father’s young business partner, Mr. David Randall, to track down the reclusive author’s former whereabouts.

David is a successful young businessman, but is overwhelmed by his workload. He wants to prove himself to his late father, as well as to himself. He doesn’t have the time, nor the interest, for this endeavor, but Lucinda is not the type to take no for an answer.

Their search for the elusive Mrs. Smith and the rightful ending to her novel leads Lucinda and David around the country, but the truths they discover about themselves—and each other—are anything but fictional.

5. Photographer of the Lost

The Photographer of the Lost

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4. The Swords of Silence

The Swords of Silence: Book 1: The Swords of Fire Trilogy

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Where once new ideas and beliefs were accepted, now the country’s military dictator, the Shogun, is shutting his country down to any outside influences.

Father Joaquim Martinez, who left Portugal to make Hizen Province, Japan, his home, has been tending quietly to the lives of his villagers, but everything is about to be thrown into turmoil, as the Shogun has outlawed Martinez’s beliefs. Those who won’t recant or accept banishment, face a death sentence.

With the threat of a massacre looming, and the Shogun’s samurai closing in, Father Martinez must decide, if he is willing to risk everything, to save those he has sworn to protect.

 

3. In The Shadow of Wolves

In the Shadow of Wolves

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The Second World War is drawing to a close, but the world is far from safe. Left to fend for themselves, women and children are forced out of their homes in East Prussia to make way for the advancing victors. As the Russian soldiers arrive, the women know that they are still very much in danger, and that for them, the fight for survival is only just beginning.

Facing critical food shortages and the onset of a bitter cold winter without heat, the women send their children into the nearby forests where they secretly cross the border into Lithuania, begging the local farmers for work or food to take back home to their waiting families. Along the way the children find cruelty, hardship and violence, but also kindness, hope, and the promise of a new and better future.

Based on meticulous research, this stunning and powerful debut novel by Alvydas Šlepikas tells for the first time the story of the ‘wolf children’ and the measures many families were forced to take in order to survive.

 

 

2. A Tapestry of Treason

A Tapestry of Treason

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Her actions could make history – but at what price?

1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, The House of York.

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV.  Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her.  Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.

 

1. The Secrets We Kept

The Secrets We Kept

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A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice—inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world–using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.

The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story—the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago’s heroine, Lara—with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak’s country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature—told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.

 

A Tapestry Of Treason – Blog Tour


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Synopsis:
Her actions could make history – but at what price?

1399: Constance of York, Lady Despenser, proves herself more than a mere observer in the devious intrigues of her magnificently dysfunctional family, The House of York.

Surrounded by power-hungry men, including her aggressively self-centred husband Thomas and ruthless siblings Edward and Richard, Constance places herself at the heart of two treasonous plots against King Henry IV.  Will it be possible for this Plantagenet family to safeguard its own political power by restoring either King Richard II to the throne, or the precarious Mortimer claimant?

Although the execution of these conspiracies will place them all in jeopardy, Constance is not deterred, even when the cost of her ambition threatens to overwhelm her.  Even when it endangers her new-found happiness.

With treason, tragedy, heartbreak and betrayal, this is the story of a woman ahead of her time, fighting for herself and what she believes to be right in a world of men.

This is one woman’s quest to turn history on its head.

Book Information:
By: Ann O’Brien
Published By: HQ, Imprint of HarperCollins
Publishing Date: 22/08/2019
Format: Hardback [eBook & Audio]
Price: £14.99

 

My Review

I have to admit, I’ve never read a historical fiction book like this before but I have enjoyed watching movie adaptations of ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ and ‘The Duchess’ < though the latter is a biography instead of a historical fiction novel.

Still, I read the synopsis of this and knew I couldn’t pass it up with my love of history and let’s face it, we always could use a few more books about women that history has swept over. I was delighted to take part in this tour!

The first chapter just drops you in, you’re caught up immediately into the world that Constance of York occupies. There is no mistaking Anne O’Brien’s attempt to immerse you completely into this world. You are transported to 1399/1400s and it is rife with political intrigue.

O’Brien does a great task in not focusing too much on one set of details, in particular, instead, she takes everything into consideration. There is the expectation of women of the time, but also the reality of women in that period. They may not have much power out front but they can still do things their own way. Constance is a woman of ambition and of course that tends to make her not well received by others, viewed as immoral though others around her are forgiven and lauded for treasonous thoughts all because they are men and she’s a woman.

I was slightly daunted by the page count but then O’Brien builds up this quiet intensity, she brilliantly keeps the tension all the way through out. It actually made it hard to put down, there was this feeling of Constance running out of time or rather that she was always on the verge of being in trouble and I was completely on board for that. 500 pages and it kept me on the edge of my seat, to me that’s the sign of a brilliant novel. I adored it and I now adore O’Brien.

Anne O’Brien clearly does her research and brings Constance to life, giving her a voice that would fit in seamlessly as fact rather than the fiction it actually is.

If you’re a fan of history and/or Philippa Gregory books then I highly recommend this five cups of coffee read to you!

[Thank you to HQ for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review as part of the tour]

 

About the Author

 

Sunday Times bestselling author Anne O’Brien was born in West Yorkshire. After gaining a BA Honours degree in History at Manchester University and a Master’s in Education at Hull, she lived in East Yorkshire for many years as a teacher of history. Todayshe has sold over 250,000 copies of her books in the UK and lives with her husband in an eighteenth-century cottage in the depths of the Welsh Marches in Herefordshire. The area provides endless inspiration for her novels about the forgotten women of history.

 

The Rest of the Tour

A Tapestry of Treason Blog Tour (1)