Posts tagged ‘historical fiction’

 An Impossible Dream?

Bowery Girl

Written by Kim Taylor Blakemore

Mollie and Annabelle are two friends living in 1883 Manhattan. Mollie is a pickpocket and Annabelle, a prostitute. The two share a dream of moving to the other side of the river when the Brooklyn Bridge is completed. When they meet Miss DuPre who runs a settlement house, it appears their dreams just might come true. But there are dangers around every corner in the tenement district.

The author presents a vivid picture of the setting in Victorian Manhattan, and the characters appear authentic. I especially enjoyed the dialogue. If you enjoy historical fiction, this one is an enjoyable quick read.

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A REAL PAGE TURNER

THE CAVES OF SAN PIETRO

WRITTEN BY SUSAN GAYLE

An enjoyable historical fiction read based on real characters. A well-researched tale that follows several families during World War II and the Spanish flu pandemic.

The characters are believable and well-developed. Readers are drawn into the tragedies, the struggles, and at times, a bit of humor despite the awful circumstances. Each of the separate stories hits the mark and makes a deep impression on the reader.

If you enjoy historical fiction, adventure, and in-depth characters, you will like this tale.

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Looking for even more fun for your whole family? Check out http://www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

#SAVING DR. WARREN -BOOK TOUR and GIVEAWAY

In partnership with The Awareness Tour hosted by The Children’s Book Review and Jeffrey J. McKenna

TRAVERSING TIME

Saving Dr. Warren… A True Patriot

Written by Jeffery J. McKenna

ABOUT THE BOOK

Saving Dr. Warren … A True Patriot

Written by Jeffery McKenna

Publisher’s Synopsis: Patriotism Prevailed in…

  ✯ The American Revolution

  ✯ WWII

  ✯ 9-11

What About Today?

How do we share Patriotism with America’s Future?

The novel Saving Dr. Warren… A True Patriot answers that question through the eyes of a 14 year old boy.

Steve O’Dell loves to write and does it well. But as an eighth-grade student at Needham Middle School, his talent sometimes seems more an embarrassment than a blessing.

Then, on Veterans Day 2001, Steve’s award-winning essay propels him into an adventure twisting through Revolutionary battles and bloodshed. Thanks to the bizarre bequest of a manuscript and a musket ball from a long-lost family war hero, Steve’s journey with the Revolutionary War hero Dr. Joseph Warren begins.

A time-traveling talisman missing from the archives of one of Boston’s oldest historical societies takes Steve through portals of history, where he walks side by side with a real Boston patriot. He makes house calls with Dr. Warren on March 5, 1770, and stumbles onto the bloodstained streets of the Boston Massacre. From the killings of March 5 to boarding tea ships in 1773, Steve’s history book explodes to life as he helps Dr. Warren and forges a friendship with Boston’s True Patriot. Steve watches Dr. Warren launch Paul Revere on his midnight ride, and he helps Dr. Warren dodge British musket balls in the first battles of the War for Independence. With each adventure, Steve tastes the light that ignites The Revolution.

Steve will eventually convince others that the Revolutionary relic he was given really does open portals through time, but he faces his most difficult quest alone—saving Dr. Warren from the onslaught at Bunker Hill. Can he do it? And if he fails, will he ever return to this century?

Saving Dr. Warren…A True Patriot rips through the pages of history. From the Revolutionary War to the vanishing veterans of World War II, to the ashes of September 11, 2001, Saving Dr. Warren demonstrates to both old and young that patriotism, standing like an old oak tree on a grandfather’s farm, has and will endure.

Ages 11-15 | 366 Pages | Publisher: Jeffery J. McKenna | ISBN-13: 978-0999901205

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3mXKR1x

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeff Mckenna resides in a peaceful Southern Utah town amidst the red rocks that make up National Parks like Zion and Arches. He loves mountain biking over the brightly colored sandstone that surrounds him, as well as new trails he finds when he goes on cross-country RV trips with his wife. Along with reading entertaining historical fiction novels, Jeff believes a great way to learn to love America is by exploring her beautiful landscape and visiting cities and states from sea to shining sea. 

Jeff’s love for his country is what has fostered his love for writing. Uncovering America’s history can be messy, but Jeff dives in with both hands to uncover what lies hidden in our nation’s past. He loves to reveal forgotten heroes and help them come alive for young Americans as they race through the pages of his historical fiction novel, Saving Dr. Warren… “A True Patriot.” 

Jeff would love to hear about the American heroes you’ve discovered as you’ve dived into history! 

For more information, visit https://www.jefferyjmckenna.com/

My Book Review:

As a historian and educator, I applaud the author’s mission to teach young people history while making their journey an entertaining one. I try to do the same with my nonfiction history series.

McKenna pens a novel of historical fiction in which the reader embarks on a time travel adventure. One learns about 9-11, World War II, and the American Revolution. In Part One, readers meet Steve O’Dell, the protagonist. When his eighth-grade teacher announces a Veterans Day essay contest, Steve’s only interest is winning the $500 prize. He gets his best friend Grace to brainstorm with him for ideas, but he decides to pitch the piece only to what he thinks the judges want to hear. When Steve wins the contest, he gets annoyed about the publicity it engenders.

Then Steve discovers an uncle who was a World War II hero. He has been given a manuscript and a musket ball that will allow him to travel back in time to the American Revolution. He walks alongside Dr. Joseph Warren. Steve will find himself at The Boston Massacre and The Boston Tea Party, watch Dr. Warren dispatch Paul Revere, and dodge the musket balls at The Battle of Bunker Hill. Will Steve survive the carnage and find a way to return to the twenty-first century?

This exciting adventure packs lots of historical knowledge inside a compelling middle-grade adventure that will be enjoyed by adult readers as well.

GIVEAWAY

Click on the link below to enter

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/3d5cb282198/

One (1) grand prize winner receives:

  • A copy of Saving Dr. Warren … “A True Patriot,” autographed by Jeffery McKenna
  • An original 1700’s musket ball

Two (2) winners receive:

  • A copy of Saving Dr. Warren … “A True Patriot,” autographed by Jeffery McKenna

The giveaway begins December 10, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends January 10, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

TOUR SCHEDULE

Dec 10The Children’s Book Reviewhttps://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/Book Review
Dec 11Lisa’s Readinghttps://lisasreading.comInterview
Dec 12Life Is What It’s Calledwww.lifeiswhatitscalled.blogspot.comInterview
Dec 14Life Is What It’s Calledwww.lifeiswhatitscalled.blogspot.comBook Review
Dec 15Confessions of a Book Addicthttp://www.confessionsofabookaddict.comBook Giveaway
Dec 16Barbara Ann Mojica’s Bloghttps://bamauthor.meBook Review
Dec 17icefairy’s Treasure Chesthttp://icefairystreasurechest.blogspot.com/Book Review
Dec 18The Lovely Bookshttps://thelovelybooksbookblog.blogspot.com/Interview
Dec 21Tales of A Wanna-Be SuperHero Momhttp://wannabesuperheromom.blogspot.com/Book Giveaway
Dec 22J.R.s Book Reviewshttps://jrsbookreviews.wordpress.com/Book Review
Dec 23Fairview Elementary School (Library)https://fveslibrary.blogspot.com/Book Review
Dec 28Library Lady’s Kid Lithttps://janemouttet.wordpress.com/Book Review

A REELING REPUBLIC

Bodies in the Tiber: An Ancient Rome Political Thriller: The Sertorius Scrolls Book 3

Written by Vincent B. Davis II

Quintus Sertorius has just returned from five years of fighting for the Roman republic in the north. He is eager to return to Rome and pick up his life with a family that he is certain barely remembers him.

Davis has a fluid writing style. He bases his historical fiction on research, but he is adept at creating interesting and complex personal characters. It is the year 100 B.C. While Rome has been victorious, the republic has never been in greater danger. Sertorius has been writing a diary of sorts in his scrolls for the past year documenting history while also providing personal glimpses into his ambitions as well as his fears.

This is the third book in the series which begins seven years earlier when Sertorius loses his father and his rural village. In a struggle to survive and provide for his family, Sertorius leaves them and is thrust into the role of politician in a corrupt society.

The author uses his own military experience to enrich his story. An engaging and fascinating read for anyone interested in ancient history.

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STARTING OVER…

Buzzy and Thomas Move Into The President’s House

Written by Vicki Tashman

Illustrated by Fatima Stamato

Buzzy is a Briad dog living on a plantation farm in Monticello with her owner, Thomas Jefferson. Buzzy enjoys spending her days sitting at the feet of her master while he writes letters, romping in the vegetable garden, and playing tug of war with Thomas. One day, Thomas informs Buzzy that he has been elected president and that they will be moving to Washington, D.C. Buzzy is sad, afraid and confused. She does not want to leave her friends Caractacus, the horse, Bull, the farm dog, and Dickie, the pet mockingbird. When moving day arrives, she places her sleeping pillow, her dish, and her rope in the sleeping crate herself. After arriving at her new home, Buzzy is happy to discover that she likes her new surroundings and surprised to see Dickie will be staying as well.

This beginning chapter book is based on historical fact. It is delightfully illustrated. Targeted for children in the four to eight age range, I believe it most appropriate for primary grade children who are beginning to read. The story is well-written and is perfect for children whose families are planning a move to assuage many of their fears about leaving friends and familiar circumstances behind.

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TORN BETWEEN TWO SIDES

Fields of the Fatherless

Written by Elaine Marie Cooper

fieldsfatherless

Short novel of Christian historical fiction based on a true historical account of the 1775 conflict in the village of Mentonomy, Massachusetts. Betsy Russell is an eighteen year old girl living in a Patriot family near colonial Boston. Her village is busy preparing a militia for the inevitable battle looming on the horizon with the British. Betsy feels slighted that her younger brother Noah is taught how to fire a musket, while she is expected to stay home and play a support role. When Betsy confides her feelings to the blacksmith, he gives her a small knife to defend herself and protect her family. Betsy could never imagine what role that knife would play in her future.

The battle brings both joy and tragedy to the Russell family. Betsy will grapple with grief, struggle with her Christian faith, assume heavy family responsibilities, become a nurse, and find out about love in many unexpected ways. This novel is based on actual historical events; the fictional characterizations and quotes from the Bible add a humanistic element to the narrative. Some of the battle details are a bit graphic, which is the reason I would suggest the target audience to be age thirteen and older.

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WAGONS HO!

Wagon Train Kids Headed West for Gold

Written by K.B. Shaper

Wagontrainkids,pic

Middle grade historical fiction tale focusing on Jack and his younger sister Mary. The family lives on a farm in Connecticut. One day the children are shocked to learn that their parents are selling everything and heading West on a wagon train in the hopes of finding gold in the California hills. The author traces the journey as the family heads north to Albany and then west to Missouri. There they meet Mr. Booth, the wagon master who will guide them to California.

Shaper goes into detail about the supplies and the preparation needed to prepare for the journey. I do think more time should have been spent describing in detail what the children saw on the journey. In that respect the plot is a bit uneven. One night the members of the wagon train observe someone watching them. Jack and Mary are warned to run if their father signals them. The adventure begins when the children become separated from their parents and are left on their own. A kindly stranger rescues them and brings them into San Francisco, where they work to earn their keep. Will the children be reunited with their parents and what happened to the rest of the members of the wagon train?

The story ends abruptly, if satisfactorily. Some readers may question whether telling the children to run and hide and that they will be found when the danger is past is a realistic scenario. The plot features a traditional nuclear family story with a bit of history about the mid nineteenth century, but may be short of adventure for some 21st century readers. I would still recommend it as an easy chapter book for early middle grade readers. Teachers might use it as a read aloud to supplement this period of American history.

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STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE

Sara: A Canadian Saga

Written by Audrey Austin

Sara,acanadiansaga,pic

This novel of historical fiction begins in the maritime provinces in Canada in 1916. It features two protagonists Sara and Roy, who are both age ten at the time. The reader experiences their struggles as children determined to succeed in troubled families whose lives are complicated further by the Depression years. Roy vows to “make something of himself”: Sara works hard to be an independent woman able to support herself.

When Sara and Roy meet and fall in love, circumstances will force them into the same unhappy lives that plagued their parents. Sara’s father is broken by the loss of his business; Luke loses his mother and detests his father’s remarriage. After Roy and Sara marry, the economy will turn sour, Luke loses one job after another. Sara gives up her good secretarial job to follow Luke. Not long after children are born who turn out to be much like their bickering parents. Eventually, Sara and Roy will be separated as he is forced to move to the city of Toronto to find employment. Finally things seem to be improving economically, but their personal struggles intensify.

Despite the turmoil, their family seems to be able to overcome one obstacle after the other. Luke and Sara both have conflicting personalities which are mirrored in their offspring, yet the family always manages to survive, The novel ends in 1942 with Sara rediscovering her childhood journal and reflecting upon her life.

I enjoyed learning about the history of Canada during this time period. The characters are well developed and true to life. This novel is a wonderful coming of age book for children age twelve and older. It is realistic family fiction that is an engaging quick read. If you enjoy historical fiction with strong compelling characters, this book is a good choice.

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FREE OR SLAVE?

Runaway

Written by Dennis Maley

Runaway,pic

This work of historical fiction which stretches nearly two hundred pages is a fascinating study of white and black characters struggling with each other not in the North and South but in the new western territories caught in the battle between slave and free. Maley’s protagonist is a fourteen year old black boy named Blanche Bruce who begins life as a slave in Virginia, but later struggles to assert his independence in Missouri after his current master’s death. Here he is owned by a printer who relies on him to set type for his newspaper. Bruce had secretly learned to read and write as a young boy. The author admits that Blanche is a composite character, but his thoughts and actions are very believable as the intricate plot unfolds.

Bruce will take a journey along the Underground Railroad, while he is pursued by the pro-slavery forces he left behind in Missouri. They consist of an unlikely alliance of preachers, lawmen, politicians and citizens. Butler reveals himself as a clever young man struggling to differentiate between exactly who are his friends and enemies. The pro-slavers found opposition in the abolitionists and free soil settlers who hoped to make the new territories a land of new opportunity. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot as Blanche struggles to find a safe haven. At the end of the tale, which has a surprise ending, the author provides an epilogue illuminating what facts are real and which are fiction. This section is instrumental in understanding the plot; the reader might wish she had it earlier as sometimes the story line becomes complicated to follow.

I still recommend the book as an interesting one appropriate for adults and children age twelve and older. It presents a good psychological study of the pre-civil war era that is a lot less widely known and understood. Students of mid-nineteenth history can use it as a vehicle for examining the personal, moral and political conflict occurring in America’s new territories at that time.

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FINDING ONE’S WAY

 

The Candle Star (Divided Decade Trilogy)

Written by Michelle Isenhoff

TheCandleStarpic

This is the first book in a trilogy examining the Civil War through the Underground railroad setting in Michigan in 1858. In this first volume, the protagonist is fourteen year old Emily whose petulant personality and insolent behavior has resulted in her parents’ shipping her off to stay with an uncle in Michigan. Emily has never been off the Ella Wood plantation in the Carolinas. She presumes her life will be much the same, and her faithful slave Zeke tries to make her comfortable.

Things turn out very differently. Emily will not have a tutor, she will have to walk to a school, do chores in her Uncle Issac’s inn, and learn to deal with free slaves who are her equal. Emily rebels at once, she steals a neighbor’s horse, skips school, and treats the household members as if they were “her slaves.” Her uncle refuses to give in to her; he cringes when she befriends slave bounty hunters from Virginia as her equals. Emily is curious to find out what her uncle writes in a small book hidden in a secret compartment. But gradually she must learn to respect another way of thinking, her black friend Malachi makes her realize that her way of thinking may be jaded. He encourages her to pursue her dreams of painting and not to limit her goals to become a proper Southern plantation wife.

Isenhoff has done her research. She introduces characters based on real prototypes like Frederick Douglass and George deBaptiste. Her language is smooth and polished. Take the following excerpt: “Emily looked the boy over. He had skin the color of strong tea before the cream was added, and his eyes were as dark as the midnight sky.” The reader quickly assimilates himself into the character. Only complaint I have is that the story line sometimes seems to move too slowly, but it is certainly not predictable. There are many twists and turns and lots of surprises before Emily is ready to return home to her plantation. Changes are on the horizon for the country. Will Emily be successful in acclimating herself to a changed order? What will happen to her uncle and staff at the River Inn?

I would recommend this book to children and adults age ten and up. There are lots of issues that middle grade students are facing that are addressed in the book irrespective of the difference in time period. Any reader who enjoys history, character study and good writing will enjoy this book series. Classroom teachers and librarians should consider it a good resource to a study of the pre-Civil War period from a humanistic point of view.

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