Being Mary Ro by Ida Linehan Young

might be forgiven if, after seeing the book’s cover, they think Being Mary Ro (2018, Flanker Press) is another stereotypical Victorian-era romance novel. In some ways it is, but Being Mary Ro is more historical fiction than it is romance, similar to Genevieve Graham’s Promises to Keep. Like that book, it is based on a historical incident and broadened to include fictional characters and other historical references.… Continue reading “Being Mary Ro by Ida Linehan Young”

First Quarter Best Reads of 2018: Fiction

it is almost May and the Spring 2018 titles are upon us! While I have been able to review some of them, thanks to advance reading copies (ARCs) from the publishers, I thought I would highlight some of the best reads from the last few months.The following titles are in no particular order.

Short Fiction

Historical Fiction

Some Observations

The first thing you might notice, and I have no explanation for this, is that there are more titles here from female writers vs.… Continue reading “First Quarter Best Reads of 2018: Fiction”

Piau: Journey to the Promised Land by Bruce Murray

is encouraging to see more books (either fictional or non-fictional) being written about the Acadians and their lives and way of life before and after 1755. That was the year of “Le Grand Dérangement” when they were the victims of cultural genocide by the occupying British command and put on ships to be dispersed around the globe, never to return to their beloved Acadia. Some stayed, only to be enslaved, forced to work the land they once farmed as their own, but now for British landowners.… Continue reading “Piau: Journey to the Promised Land by Bruce Murray”

A Splendid Boy by Melanie Martin

Since it has been one hundred years since the Battle of the Somme in WWI, there have been numerous books produced, both fiction and non-fiction that deal with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and its heavy involvement in the Great War. A Splendid Boy (2016, Flanker Press) by Melanie Martin is a fine example of the type of historical fiction Flanker Press produces.

Synopsis

A Splendid War is about an adolescent love between a merchant’s daughter (Emma Tavenor) and a poor fisherman’s son (Daniel Beresford) that is torn apart by not only Emma’s father’s disapproval (with which he punishes Daniel’s father who is heavily in debt to him) but by the war, which Daniel uses as an excuse to make a clean break from Emma, for he has promised Mr.… Continue reading “A Splendid Boy by Melanie Martin”

Dancing in a Jar by Adele Poynter

Life in the small Newfoundland village of St. Lawrence was not easy in the early 1930’s. The town was still recovering from the tsunami that hit there in 1929. The disaster killed 28 people and left hundreds more homeless or destitute. It was the most destructive earthquake-related event in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history and, making matters worse, occurred at the beginning of a worldwide depression. It was into this environment that Donald Poynter and his new bride Urla Crammond entered upon leaving the U.S.… Continue reading “Dancing in a Jar by Adele Poynter”

This Marlowe by Michelle Butler Hallett

The time: Elizabethan England in 1593. The Reformation is past, but protestant England cannot relax, fearful that Catholics will try to take the throne after Elizabeth dies (or is assassinated), since she has no successor. Due to this fact, the Queen keeps trusted advisers close to her whose role is to gather intelligence as they fear for the Queen's life at every turn. Christopher Marlowe.......

Algonquin Quest Series Books One and Two by Rick Revelle

Kingston (Ontario) area author Rick Revelle has authored two books now in his Algonquin Quest series, I am Algonquin (2013, Dundurn Press) and Algonquin Spring (2015, Dundurn Press). While they are in the Young Adult (YA) genre, they are very mature in tone, and I was totally engrossed in them. In fact, by the middle of Book One, I was greatly anticipating Book Two which I had waiting on the shelf.… Continue reading “Algonquin Quest Series Books One and Two by Rick Revelle”

Grist by Linda Little

Back in High School English class, we had to read Margaret Laurence’s A Jest of God, which I did enjoy reading, although looking back it might have been too mature a book for teenagers to study in depth. At any rate, any book with a strong and overburdened female living back in the late 1800s/early 1900s is fated to be compared with her beleaguered Manawaka heroines.… Continue reading “Grist by Linda Little”