Discussion Forums - Historical Fiction

Topic: February ALREADY! What are you reading?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: February ALREADY! What are you reading?
Date Posted: 2/1/2012 10:29 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,969
Back To Top

I don't see this topic started yet, so here goes:

I am currently reading Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson - another historical mystery. This is her debut novel and even though I am not quite half way through it, I am really impressed. This mystery takes place in a small village in England in 1780 and it boasts a well developed cast of characters, not to mention a fairly intriguing plot. This is a story in which there appears to be two mysteries going on side by side - but not a difference in time periods - just location. I think this author has it nailed so far. She can describe characters with all their strengths and flaws; she's got the ambience of the time period down pat; she's got a great mystery developing - I am very happy reading this book and I hope it isn't a disappointment at the end!

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 10:35 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
Back To Top

I finished Jeri Westerson's Serpent in the Thorns yesterday and I'm starting our readalong book, Crystal Cave.

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,584
Back To Top

I've also started The Crystal Cave but I am sneaking in a little bit of The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson.  I like this one much better than Girl With the Dragon Tattoo so far anyhow.

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,178
Back To Top

The Crystal Cave, and I am also reading The Belly Dancer, by Deanna Cameron set around the worlds fair in Chicago in 1893.

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 763
Back To Top

I'm continuing to read The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig.

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 11:38 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
Back To Top
I am in the middle of a classic--The Confessions of Nat Turner--for my IRL book group. Really enjoying it, HF at it's best. It tells the story behind the only major slave revolt in the US from its leader's imagined perspective---really thought-provoking.
Date Posted: 2/1/2012 12:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
Back To Top

Colleen -- I read Confessions of Nat Turner many years ago and loved it!

Cheryl -- The Girl Who Played With Fire was my favorite of the trilogy, too.

I finished Will Thomas' The Black Hand yesterday -- the fifth installment in the Barker/Llewelyn series. Yet another solid entry -- in which we learn a bit about the Mafia and more about detection techniques and the streets of London in the 1880s. What makes this series so fun is the relationship between the two detectives (or rather "enquiry agents") and Lewelyn's wit as he narrates each story.

Now onto Umrigar's The Space Between Us for one book club to be followed by Schiff's Cleopatra for my other book club.

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
Back To Top

I just started The Mill River Recluse on my Nook. It was a .99 book and sounded good. I'm also working on Caleb's Crossing on audio, but I think I'm going to ditch the audio version and try to find it on my nook or paperback instead. The narrator is bugging me. I'll also be starting The Crystal Cave for the read-along! If I ditch Caleb's Crossing on audio, I'll probably start The Wolves of Andover instead. I happened across it at the library and the synopsis sounded really good. I'd never heard of it before, but I'm excited to check it out. I'll just cross my fingers the narrator doesn't bug me. LOL

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,139
Back To Top

Ooh, ooh! I finished a great book at the end of January - The Bungalow by Sara Jio. It was an easy read and I really, really enjoyed it. I had part of the story figured out early on, but I would still recommend this one. It was a recommendation from a friend and I was lucky enough to find it at my library without a wait list. ;) I haven't read her other book, The Violets of March, but I've heard great things aobut that one, too.

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,438
Back To Top

Don't usually read two books at a time, but am reading Crystal Cave, and also Etta about Etta Place of Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid fame.  Very good so far.


Date Posted: 2/1/2012 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 3,153
Back To Top

Reading The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht, a deviation from the reading challenges, after which I will tackle Massie's Catherine, about which I have read so many good things.  Enjoyed Lord John and The Scottish Prisoner very much, as much as the first one in the series, Lord John and the Private Matter.  Lord John and the Hand of Devils is a compilation of three stories about Lord John and his military adventures.  This one was a most entertaining read, too.  In addition, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade was ok, but my least favorite in this group as I thought it was wordy and slow moving. The Crystal Cave was enjoyable as well but I may have enjoyed it more had not Stephen Lawhead's series been so fresh in my mind.  Finished The Soul Thief by Cecelia Holland which was a most enjoyable read.  It begins in Ireland - a choice for the historical fiction mystery miniseries.  I liked it very much and am looking at Holland's long list of novels to choose another.   God's Thunderbolt by Carol Buchanan was so well done but I had trouble deciding where to put it in the challenge.  As so often happens to me with some books and/or authors, it takes me awhile to get caught up in a novel.  So it was with Grail by Stephen Lawhead.  It is such a good one that I can say no more here.  Soul caught me from the first chapter.  It was so much fun that I do need to check out more writings by Cecelia Holland.   I understand from the little research I've done about her is that The Soul Thief is the first of a series of five novels which may well be must reads based on my reaction to the first novel.  Read Prairie Son by Dennis M. Clausen for my HF nonfiction read.  This is the story of a man who is adopted for to become the hired man on the farm while the man who adopts him plays cards and fishes.   

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is outstanding.  I cried as it climaxed and the author finished.  Marchetta is a rare writing talent and I hope that I can find time to check out other novels by this author.  I quite liked Delirium by Lauren Oliver.   Delirium is science fiction and reminds me so much of 1984 that it's unbelievable.   The big difference is that it is written for YA readers and views love and the showing of emotion as disease.  My next YA read was Over the Wall by Ritter, a pretty good one, well worth reading.  Divergent by Veronica Roth was excellent.   A gift from DH I will pass it on to my granddaughter.  She liked The Hunger Games series so I have a feeling she might like this one, too.  For fantasy, I completed Dragonstar by Barbara Hambly from a series I've cherished and deplore its end.   Also read my first book by Roger Lelazny, a fantasy/science fiction author I've had on my TBR pile for ages, Trumps of Doom.  It's number six in the series, a bit late in the Amber series so I have to go back and start at the beginning.  A most entertaining read for fantasy was Steampunk!  An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant.  The Louise Penny mystery, Bury Your Dead, a Barry Award winner, is awesome.   Normally, I can determine the murderer(s) from the author's clues but not in this one.  If you like mysteries, do include this read.  Just have to pick up another mystery award winner, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, an Arthur Ellis Award winner.  And, I turned to classics for The Awakening by Kate Chopin, first published in 1899, a most interessting little read.   Praire Son for Biographies and Memoirs as well as HF.   Prairie Son is interesting but there is some redunancy in the tale.  Perhaps part of it is because I grew up in a large family on a farm and lived so much of what is written.  Am so glad that HF challenges required reading non-fiction in the challenges as I found I really enjoyed reading them.   After all, it's all about living, isin't it?


Last Edited on: 2/28/12 11:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 49
Date Posted: 2/1/2012 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,513
Back To Top

I'm working on "Russian Winter" By Daphne Kolotay.  It tells the story of a Bolshoi Ballet dancer in the 40s/early 50s in Stalinist Russia (the USSR) and now when she's living in Boston and selling her jewels. 

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
Back To Top

I just started The Crystal Cavesmiley.

Last Edited on: 2/1/12 2:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2012 3:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/31/2007
Posts: 482
Back To Top

Deb, I read The Space Between Us a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Would be interested to hear what you think once you're done.

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 6:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,584
Back To Top

Deb:  Mr Barker would be rather put out with your describing him as a detectivecool

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2007
Posts: 1,900
Back To Top

I'm reading Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison.  Its okay so far but not spectacular.

Bonnie (LoveNE) - ,
Date Posted: 2/1/2012 8:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2007
Posts: 5,982
Back To Top

Why Crystal Cave of course!

Date Posted: 2/1/2012 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2006
Posts: 929
Back To Top

I'm still working on Wild Swan. I haven't had much time to read lately and it really bugs me that I am getting off to a slow start again this year. Need more hours in the day........or more days in the weekend! I was planning to re-read Crystal Cave but I don't think I can fit it in just now.

Was listening to A Discovery of Witches but decided to ditch it. I absolutely do not get the "sexy, hot vampire" thing. It's just gross to me. Can we say stinky breath??? Yuck!!  I will say that the narrator of the book is fantastic, Jennifer Ikeda, I think. I need to check if she has read other books.  Anyway, I will pick up One Shot, the next Jack Reacher on my list, when I return Witches to the library tomorrow.

Date Posted: 2/2/2012 8:21 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,727
Back To Top

I'm reading Crystal Cave for the read-along.  Love. 


ETA:  Yes, it's another drive-by post, or whatever it's called!  LOL...I have no LIFE!  On March 23rd, my life will officially settle down.  Drinks will be on me, ladies!!! (and gentlemen)

Last Edited on: 2/2/12 8:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/2/2012 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,969
Back To Top

Well, I finished Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson and it didn't let me down. I gave it a solid 4 stars and actually thought about 5. Even though I had an inkling of "who dunit" fairly early, the author kept throwing a few red herrings in there to keep me on my toes. Loved the book and even though I have the next one, I'll hold off on reading it until I have the third one in my hot little hands - that's what I do! Darn, but I can't figure out a way to make this book fit into the historical mystery challenge!

I've started on The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau and so far, that one is moving along quite nicely. Would like to get into the read along of Crystal Cave but I seem to have other books waving/ yelling at me. so I have to see how it goes. With DH out of town going on the second week now, I'm finding more time to read - fancy that!

Date Posted: 2/2/2012 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,141
Back To Top

Hello from Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Made it down yesterday just in time to take mother to the doctor.  She is very sick.  So sick they gave her a shot of antibiotics, as well as tablets.  I think they were concerned this could morph into pneumonia very quickly.  If she does not have a real change by tomorrow, I will call them back.  She has asthma and it is really in a state with the bronchitis.  She crackles when she breathes and it worries me.  Am making potato soup right now.

As to reading, I am working on "A Wicked Deed" by Susanna Gregory.  The fifth installment in the Matthew Bartolomew series.  Thus far, I have enjoyed every one of these books.

Vicky --- always good to see your name!!!  What happens in March???

Jeanne --- where in the heck did you ship your husband off to???

Date Posted: 2/2/2012 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
Back To Top

I'm reading Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath. A post civil war Texas romance. This is the second of her books I've read and I'm liking her a lot. The library got in a bunch of her books on Kindle and decided to try a few.

Date Posted: 2/2/2012 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
Back To Top

Listening to Catherine the Great by Robert Massie. It's fabulous.

Date Posted: 2/2/2012 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,178
Back To Top

Hi Genie!

Jeanne, I was just looking at Imogen Robertson book the other day and added them to my wish list.

Date Posted: 2/2/2012 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,969
Back To Top

Hey Genie! Good to see you pop in every now and then. Maybe it will get to be more often, huh?

Becky - DH is working on a contract basis for Lockheed Martin - some proposals they've got going and he's been in Colorado Springs. A few days of being gone would be good but this is getting ridiculous!