Tag: historical

New Release Review: Shadowplay

Posted June 21, 2020 by Lory in reviews / 2 Comments
New Release Review: Shadowplay

Joseph O’Connor, Shadowplay (2019) Till recently, I knew nothing about Bram Stoker beyond his name, as the author of Dracula. I didn’t know he was the theatrical manager for Henry Irving, and worked with Ellen Terry — about both of whom I did know a little more, largely thanks to my reading of the theatre-mad […]

Divider

Beautiful Books: Kindred

Posted November 24, 2019 by Lory in reviews / 2 Comments
Beautiful Books: Kindred

Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979) Not that far into the reading of Octavia Butler’s fourth novel, recently released in a beautiful new edition from the Folio Society, I realized that the title is a pun. The innocuous term kindred — denoting likeness, similarity, or shared ancestry — can also be split into kin – dread — […]

Divider

A neverending story: Sword at Sunset

Posted January 20, 2019 by Lory in reviews / 20 Comments
A neverending story: Sword at Sunset

Rosemary Sutcliff, Sword at Sunset (1963) Can a story still be compelling when we already know how it ends? In the case of the Arthurian legend, the appeal never seems to wane. Something about this doomed hero, who will be betrayed by friend and wife and sister and son, yet still strives for goodness and […]

Divider

Early Christians: The Blood of the Martyrs

Posted December 16, 2018 by Lory in reviews / 6 Comments
Early Christians: The Blood of the Martyrs

Naomi Mitchison, The Blood of the Martyrs (1939) Naomi Mitchison, who died in 1999 at the age of 101, was a prolific writer who dipped into quite an astonishing number of genres. She wrote historical fiction based in both prehistoric and historic times, contemporary fiction, fantasy, science fiction, travelogue, essays, memoirs, biography, plays … is […]

Divider

New Release Review: The Essex Serpent

Posted June 16, 2017 by Lory in reviews / 16 Comments
New Release Review: The Essex Serpent

Sarah Perry, The Essex Serpent (2016) Perhaps because the nineteenth century saw the rise of the novel as a literary form, giving us an unprecedented number of imagined narratives about daily life and relationships, there’s a particular fascination in trying to go “behind the curtain” of the period and discern what the Victorians did NOT […]

Divider

Three British imports from Candlewick

Posted June 11, 2017 by Lory in brief reviews / 6 Comments
Three British imports from Candlewick

I always find something I want to read in the Candlewick catalog, and among their spring/summer releases my eye was caught by three books that all turned out to have been previously published in the UK (Candlewick is part of the UK-based Walker Book Group). In other ways, though, they were quite different — not […]

Divider

New Reprint Review: The Winged Girl of Knossos

Posted June 4, 2017 by Lory in reviews / 8 Comments
New Reprint Review: The Winged Girl of Knossos

Erick Berry, The Winged Girl of Knossos (1934) Ever since Betsy Bird put this long-lost Newbery honor book from 1934 at the top of her list of underrated middle grade books I’ve been dying to read it. And lo and behold, sometimes dreams do come true! Three years later, it’s back in print thanks to […]

Divider

Towers in the Mist

Posted April 23, 2017 by Lory in events / 12 Comments
Towers in the Mist

Elizabeth Goudge, Towers in the Mist (1937) This book is offered in a giveaway open through April 26. Click the link to enter! Oxford has changed much in the eighty years since Elizabeth Goudge lived there, and even more since the sixteenth century. Yet it still bears within it the weight of its long history, […]

Divider

To be a king: Mary Renault’s Theseus books

Posted March 15, 2017 by Lory in reviews / 12 Comments
To be a king: Mary Renault’s Theseus books

Mary Renault, The King Must Die (1958) Mary Renault, The Bull from the Sea (1962) What is a true king? That question runs throughout the two historical novels that Mary Renault wrote about Theseus, the legendary ruler of Athens. As the young hero grows up, from mysterious beginnings, through trials that test his strength both […]

Divider

Stagecraft and swordplay: Scaramouche

Posted March 12, 2017 by Lory in reviews / 8 Comments
Stagecraft and swordplay: Scaramouche

Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921) After watching the 1952 movie of Scaramouche, with its brilliant fencing matches between Mel Ferrer and Stewart Granger, I became curious to read the book. How would the author deal with these exciting action sequences? And would the book give more context and background for the historical and political aspects of […]

Divider