Category Historical Fiction

Circe by Madeline Miller

I’m a big fan of Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, which is so far my favorite out of all the Women’s Prize for Fiction winners. So I was very excited when Miller’s second novel, Circe came out in April. Circe, a goddess of sorcery in Greek mythology, is the daughter of Helios, the solar […]

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. When she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. Sarah Schmidt’s debut See What I Have Done begins on August 4th in 1892 at Fall River, Massachusetts, soon after the body of Andrew Borden, a wealthy manufacturer/ entrepreneur is discovered by […]

Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky

I saved Suite Française, the novel that revived the world’s interest in Irène Némirovsky when it was published close to six decades after her death, for last. Suite Française is the first two parts of what is considered Némirovsky’s masterpiece; a five-part novel she had in mind that would have taken the model of Beethoven’s […]

Niki: The Story of a Dog by Tibor Déry

The Ancsas are a middle-aged couple in Communist Hungary. They are quite an ordinary couple – Mr. Ancsas is a mining engineer, and Mrs. Ancsas a housewife – living in the outer suburbs of Budapest. However, Niki is not a story about them; it is the heartwarming story of the terrier that finds and adopts […]

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is a book that completely surprised me! When I started to work my way through the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017 shortlist, I kept Do Not Say We Have Nothing for last because the reviews I read about it were mostly negative. One of the recurring complaints by some […]

The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell

In 1857, when Chapatis begin to appear mysteriously in the most unexpected of places, only Mr. Hopkins, the Collector for East India Company senses danger. His attempts to warn others fall on deaf ears. Yes, the British made a mistake in handling religious matters in India, but surely the native Indians wouldn’t want to reject […]

Troubles by J. G. Farrell

Major Brendan Archer meets Angela one afternoon in 1916 while he was on home leave. When letters come pouring for him to the trenches, signed ‘Your loving fiancee, Angela,’ it seems like Brendan may have acquired himself a fiancee without having any recollection of it. So after the war ends in 1919, Brendan goes to […]

The Judges of the Secret Court by David Stacton

In 1963, two years after David Stacton published The Judges of the Secret Court, Time magazine named him one of “the best American novelists of the preceding decade.” Alongside Stacton in the list were big-league literary giants like Joseph Heller, John Updike, and Philip Roth. However, Stacton was not a well-known writer in his time – his historical novels didn’t make […]

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Heart’s Invisible Furies is the story of Cyril Avery, a Dubliner. Cyril’s story is told in different times of his life, from his conception to his old age, and in the backdrop, we see the gradual transformation of Ireland. The back cover says this novel is John Boyne’s most ambitious novel yet, and it […]

The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies

There aren’t a lot of books set in Sri Lanka, my motherland. So I was thrilled to read The Tea Planter’s Wife, a story set in the early 1900s when Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. The protagonist of the story is Gwen, a nineteen-year-old white lady who joins her older, widowed husband, Laurence in […]

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

I am a volunteer at the local library bookstore. It is a second-hand bookshop, and it is very rarely I come home after my shift without a book! Last week I bought a hardcover copy of The Underground Railroad in mint condition for $5! I was not going to read it immediately, but when it […]

The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan

… “I proposed to the Vicar that the village’s dear choir should become a women’s only choir.” “And how exactly did you do that?” Mrs. B. asked in her usual condescending way. “I explained that now that there’s a war going on, we’re far more in need of a choir that ever before. We need to […]

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Ruby Bell was a constant reminder of what could befall a woman whose shoe heels were too high. The people of Liberty Township wove her cautionary tales of the wages of sin and travel. They called her buck-crazy. Howling, half-naked mad. The fact that she had come back from New York City made this somewhat […]

The Virgin’s Lover by Philippa Gregory

All the bells in Norfolk were ringing for Elizabeth, pounding the peal into Amy’s head, first the treble bell screaming out like a mad woman, and then the whole agonizing, jangling sob till the great bell boomed a warning that the whole discordant carillon was about to shriek out again. The Virgin’s Lover, as you might guess, […]

Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

In Heat and Dust, we have Olivia, the beautiful society wife of Douglas, the “upright and just” civil servant who “worked like a Trojan” in pre-independence India. Left to her own devices in a house full of servants all day long, Olivia is bored out her mind, but one fine day they get invited to […]