As promised (threatened, actually), I've finally gotten around to reviewing a few of my recent reads. One was for the Historical Novel Society (http://www.historicalnovelsociety.org/; blogger's doing something odd every time I try to link directly through a word lately), OH Johnny by Jim Lehrer, so I won't post that review here yet. However, I will give you my thoughts on two other excellent reads I can highly recommend.
First up is What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell. I received this one through the Amazon Vine program, and all I can say is...wow. Though it's technically young adult, it's so well written that I can safely recommend it for everyone. The whole time I was reading, I kept picturing an old black and white film unfolding in my mind. The author does a fabulous job of evoking the 1940s in a film noir style. Fifteen year old Evie tells the story of her stepfather Joe, recently back from the war and on the path to becoming a successful businessman, and her beautiful mother Bev, and what happens when the family takes an impromptu vacation to Palm Beach during the off-season. Evie's innocence is forever compromised when she discovers that there's a level of deception going on she'd never thought possible, and when it all leads to murder, she's the one who holds the key to exoneration. Or does she?
I hope you are as blown away by this worthy National Book Award honor book as I was. Here's the link to my amazon review, in case you are interested: http://www.amazon.com/review/R24X1O4UKHJ1JG/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm.
The second novel I'll review here is Devil's Brood by Sharon Kay Penman. I actually started this one wayyyy back in November, but just couldn't sustain the attention necessary to get into the 700+ page behemoth. I almost didn't make it this time, either; I have to say Elizabeth Chadwick (www.elizabethchadwick.com) has pretty much spoiled me for medieval historical fiction. This one took so long recapping and getting to the real action that I just plodded along until around page 300 or so, and then it took off. Once it did, I really got into it and finished it with a smile on my face. If I don't agree with Penman's overall take on some of the characters (okay, specifically: don't call William Marshal Will), I can appreciate the depth of her research and the way she brings them to life. Of course, Eleanor of Aquitaine is my personal hero, so anything with her in it automatically gets my attention, and when it's as well done as Devil's Brood, all the better. I can recommend this one to all my historical fiction loving friends with the caveat that you need to keep reading because it does become riveting once the set up is finished. A link to my amazon review is found at http://www.amazon.com/review/R1K02SDOW1QVQ5/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm.
That's it for now. I've got another book to review for HNS and two more for Amazon Vine, plus only, oh, let's say, 500 others lying around here to get to. At this rate I'll need to live to be about 150 to get them all read. That's the plan, anyway.