The Spirit Keeper

The Spirit Keeper by K. B. LaugheedTitle: The Spirit Keeper

Author: K. B. Laugheed. This is her debut novel.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Readers: Editor Kristina, retiree Sulyn, parents Emry and Sarah L.

Summary: The thirteenth child conceived of miserable Irish exiles, Katie O’Toole dreams of a different life. Little does she know that someone far away is dreaming of her.

In 1747, savages raid her family home, and seventeen-year-old Katie is taken captive. Syawa and Hector have been searching for her, guided by Syawa’s dreams. A young Holyman, Syawa believes Katie is the subject of his Vision: the Creature of Fire and Ice, destined to bring a great gift to his people. Despite her flaming hair and ice-blue eyes, Katie is certain he is mistaken, but faced with returning to her family, she agrees to join them. She soon discovers that in order to fulfill Syawa’s Vision, she must first become his Spirit Keeper, embarking on an epic journey that will change her life—and heart—forever.

Our Take: A fun book for readers who want a little bit of everything: history, romance, adventure and more.

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The Boleyn Deceit

The Boleyn Deceit by Laura AndersenTitle: The Boleyn Deceit

Author: Laura Andersen.  This is the sequel to her first novel, The Boleyn King.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Readers: At-home parent Colleen B., retiree Nancy, production coordinator Joanna, and editor Lori.

Summary: After presenting readers with an irresistible premise in The Boleyn King (what if Anne gave birth to a healthy royal boy who would grow up to rule England?) Laura Andersen returns in this deepening saga, into the dangerous world of the Tudor court, where secrets can bring down an empire, and even the strongest of monarchs may not be able to prevent history from repeating…

Our Take: This sequel continues to deliver a frothy re-imagining of English history for fans of Philippa Gregory. We look forward to the third book, coming next summer.

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A Wilder Rose

Title: A Wilder Rose

Author: Susan Wittig Albert. She is the author of several historical novels, including The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Readers: Blogger From Grind to Whine Stacey, metrics analyst Mary, stay at home parents Shawna and Marina, and lawyers Cait and Abby R.

Summary: In 1928, Rose Wilder Lane—world traveler, journalist, much-published magazine writer—returned from an Albanian sojourn to her parents’ Ozark farm. Almanzo Wilder was 71, Laura 61, and Rose felt obligated to stay and help. To make life easier, she built them a new home, while she and Helen Boylston transformed the farmhouse into a rural writing retreat and filled it with visiting New Yorkers. Rose sold magazine stories to pay the bills for both households, and despite the subterranean tension between mother and daughter, life seemed good.

Then came the Crash. Rose’s money vanished, the magazine market dried up, and the Depression darkened the nation. That’s when Laura wrote her autobiography, “Pioneer Girl,” the story of growing up in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, on the Kansas prairie, and by the shores of Silver Lake. The rest—the eight remarkable books that followed—is literary history.

But it isn’t the history we thought we knew. For the surprising truth is that Laura’s stories were publishable only with Rose’s expert rewriting. Based on Rose’s unpublished diaries and Laura’s letters, A Wilder Rose tells the true story of the decade-long, intensive, and often troubled collaboration that produced the Little House books—the collaboration that Rose and Laura deliberately hid from their agent, editors, reviewers, and readers.

Our Take: Lovers of Little House may find their dreams shattered when they read this novel of the truth behind how the books were written. Those who are big time LH gurus may find nothing new here. While some of our readers found the book to enrich their Little House love, others were more disenchanted.

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Quiet Dell

Quiet Dell by Jayne Anne PhillipsTitle: Quiet Dell

Author: Jayne Anne Phillips.  She is the author of several novels, including Lark & Termite.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller

Readers: At-home parents Megan V., Sarah L. and Krysta.

Summary: In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, mother of three, is lonely and despairing, pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters from a chivalrous, elegant man named Harry Powers, who promises to cherish and protect her, ultimately to marry her and to care for her and her children. Weeks later, the family are dead.

Emily Thornhill, one of the few women in the Chicago press, covers the case and becomes deeply invested in understanding what happened to this beautiful family, particularly to the youngest child, Annabel, an enchanting girl with a precocious imagination and sense of magic. Bold and intrepid, Emily allies herself with the Chicago banker who funds the investigation and who is wracked by guilt for not saving Asta. Driven by secrets of their own, the heroic characters in this magnificent tale will stop at nothing to ensure that Powers is convicted.

Our Take: This historical novel based on a true crime has strong writing but isn’t too fast-paced.

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The Cartographer of No Man’s Land

The Cartographer of No Man's Land by P. S. DuffyTitle: The Cartographer of No Man’s Land

Author: P. S. Duffy. This is her first novel, she is a science writer for the Mayo Clinic.

Genre: Historical Fiction.

Readers: Consultant Alila, bookkeeper Tykira, teacher Ninian and research assistant Rosie T.

Summary: When adventurous Ebbin goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and search for his beloved brother-in-law. With his navigation experience, Angus is assured a position as a cartographer in London. But upon arriving overseas he is instead sent directly into the trenches, where he experiences the visceral shock of battle. Meanwhile, at home, his perceptive son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief and a rising suspicion of anyone expressing less than patriotic enthusiasm for the war.

Our Take: Straight A’s for this historical novel. Whether you’re a WWI buff or just someone who likes historical fiction or enjoys novels of family our readers heartily recommend this book.

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