Treasure hunting. Code breaking. Doodles and audio clips. If your reading experience doesn’t include these elements, then I guess you haven’t picked up Emilie Autumn’s new ebook edition of The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. While the detective skills may seem more fitting for a mystery novel, TAFWVG is actually part-autobiography, part-historical fantasy about being institutionalized for mental illness in the Victorian era and today. Emilie Autumn continues her dedication to a personalized relationship with her fans by developing this new level of interactive fiction. Continue reading Interactive Fiction: Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls Ebook Review
The Queen of the Night is full of historically-based characters, intrigue, mystery, romance and a continent-spanning story, years in the telling. It’s about a young woman with the voice of an angel who loses her family and home, only to persevere through war, myriad and various hardships and calamity to eventually become a star of the French opera. Personally, that’s a pretty compelling basis for a story, or at least that’s what I thought at the outset of Alexander Chee‘s drama.
Regrettably, TQotN is beset by numerous issues that Chee’s beautifully-descriptive prose simply isn’t able to assuage as the story progresses– well, ambles along would, frankly, be a more accurate description.
Last summer at Book Expo America, I picked up a few historical fiction titles that I’ve only recently gotten around to finishing. Each one stars a female historical figure who held a position of great power or importance but who tends to get left out of history books in favor of her male counterparts. So, if you are interested in a fresh perspective on some of world history’s most significant events and leaders, including the reigns of Cleopatra and Catherine the Great and the Lincoln assassination, I highly recommend each of the books below. Continue reading Historical Fiction Starring Powerful Women You Know Nothing About
On the second day of Book Expo America, I had the opportunity to attend a panel in which Geraldine Brooks, well-known author of People of the Book and March, discussed her newest upcoming novel, The Secret Chord. I then got to meet her both after the panel and again at the signing for the book. The Secret Chord is a historical fiction retelling of the life of King David. In the panel, Ms. Brooks discussed her research process, the role of faith in her writing, female characters, and more. Continue reading Geraldine Brooks at BEA: The Secret Chord Review and Panel Overview
Back in 1914, Constance Kopp– along with her younger sisters Norma and Fleurette– experienced an unfortunate altercation with a man by the name of Henry Kaufman. After having run his automobile into the three sisters’ horse and buggy on a road near Paterson, New Jersey, a battle of wills, and eventually of bullets, ensued as Constance sought reparation from the factory man for damages regarding the sisters’ only means of wheeled conveyance. As a result, Constance Kopp became one of the first women to be deputized in the United States.
Inspired by this historical skirmish, the bestselling author of The Drunken Botanist, Amy Stewart, offers us a fictionalized account of the story in the charming novel Girl Waits With Gun.
I love to read; it’s been a hobby of mine since I was a wee tot, and, while I’ll always enjoy a good novel full of interesting, well-developed characters, intriguing themes and an entertaining plot, I’ll never say no to a good short story or poem. It’s remarkable what sort of emotional impact of some artfully-composed stanzas can have, or how an intelligently-written narrative in prose can grip the reader despite its brevity.
In addition to her children’s and young adult books and tales, which range from factual to fictional, Jane Yolen has also crafted some incredibly thought-provoking and poignant little treasures in both her short stories and poetry; I’d like to share some of my favorites with you.
Every year I look forward to August as the opening month of both the Pennsylvania and New York Renaissance Faires. I love dressing up and jumping in a car full of my friends to show up at a fairground full of strange characters with interesting life stories and a common interest in history, fantasy, mythology, etc. But entering this world can be a little intimidating if you’re not sure what it’s all about. Or maybe you are just so excited you want to fill your week leading up to it with relevant books and music and drooling over the vendors’ websites. In any case, I’ve compiled here a list of books that will get you psyched and ready for ren faire. Continue reading 5 Books to Prepare You for Ren Faire Season
So a couple of weeks ago, I got really sick. Like, sicker than I had been in almost two years. Which was, of course, the perfect time to start a show that wasn’t even on my list but had just been added to Netflix: The Borgias.
Showtime first began developing The Borgias as a replacement for the soon-to-conclude hit The Tudors in 2010, setting it up for a 2011 debut. Like The Tudors, the Borgias focuses on a powerful family in circa-16th century Europe. Writers are not focused on accurately depict historical events, but on building upon the mythology of the titular family.The series is set in Rome during the Renaissance, and tells the story of the coronation and “reign” of Pope Alexander the VI and his four children. I’d recommend the show if you’re someone looking for a trashier Game of Thrones, one based on real history, and with a lot of costume porn. And Jeremy Irons’ “you are all beneath me” face provides an element of snark similar to Tyrion’s popular witty commentary. The writing isn’t groundbreaking, but a few of the story lines are quite addicting and contain interesting political commentary. But right now, I’m going to go into the reason I, personally, kept watching through the rough patches. And that reason is Lucrezia Borgia and her flawless face.
Warning: MAJOR spoilers for The Borgias (as well as Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey) below the cut!