Thursday, 4 October 2018

Playing catch up - Historical fiction challenge

I have once again neglected my blog this year... my reading has continued and I will now do my update on my historical fiction reads (challenge) for the year on this one blog post...

Last Christmas in Paris by
As we were Paris bound in July my reading in early 2018 was anything French/Parisian... this is a nice little story set in WW1 about Evie and Thomas who carry on a romance by letter while Thomas is fighting in France...its is done using the epistolary style and I must say it is done really well... abit like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.  An fairly easy book and worth reading if you like a light and romantic read.

My Name is Mary Sutter by
Set in the Americal Civil War, this story is about a young lady who wants to become a doctor. Trained as a mid-wife by her mother she wants to take it one step forward and become a surgeon. In order to follow her dream and leave behind some romantic heartbreak, Mary travels to Washington DC to help tend the thousands of wounded soldiers.  Under the guidance of two progressive surgeons Mary starts to undertake more hazardous and difficult medical work and her dream to be a surgeon looks like it might be fulfilled. However, she is called home to  help with the difficult birth of her twin sisters baby.  Mary Sutter is a strong heroine, who is to be admired and pitied. She wants a life she can not have because she is a women and faces continued sexism and disappointment. Despite this she rallies forward and her determination is eventually rewarded and she finds happiness in life and love.  I have not read a huge amount of historical fiction set in the Civil War but this has wetted my appetite for more.

Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
I listened to this on audio.  I was not sure what to expect having not read much of pre-revolutionary America, espeically old New York.  It was an intriguing read. One minute is was a mystery, the next a love/hate story, a horror, it was often farsical but rarely boring! A story of fortunes won and fortunes lost, men beaten down to only rise again, treachery and deceit all this woven into seamless and vivid descriptions of the beginnings of New York.  I really enjoyed this and its was a pleasant surprise...

Mrs M by Luke Slattery
Story set both in Mull and Ulva as well as the colony of New South Wales. A historical fiction book about Governor Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth who spent 11 years in the colony. Governor Macquarie often made bold and radical decisions. He wanted the colony to be more than just a prison, he believed that pardoned convicts could make worthwhile contributions to the development of the society, once gaining their 'freedom' they would help to build a new world. Macquarie was much maligned during his last 2 years of life as a report on the colony ridiculed his endeavours. A sad story in the end for Macquarie who was progressive in his vision.
A very good rendering of the historical fact, swathed in a fictional story of their lives together and a romantic liaison for Elizabeth with a convict architect.
I really enjoyed this one but I think it helped that I had studied convict history at University.

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