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Posts Tagged ‘historical fiction’

The Crimson Bed

By Loretta Proctor

Matador 2010  (Imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd.)

Author site: http://www.lorettaproctor.co.uk/

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crimson-Bed-Loretta-Proctor/dp/1848762887

Henry Winstone and his best friend, Frederick Ashton Thorpe, are artists during the Pre-Raphaelite movement of the Victorian era. Although Henry has pretty much forsaken the snobbish materialism of polite society, Fred isn’t quite so ready to give up his fastidious lifestyle. But even Henry must eat and has taken a commission to paint Eleanor Farnham’s portrait. Seeing the half finished portrait of Ellie at Henry’s studio, Fred is smitten and returns the next day to meet her. Deciding she’s everything he’s ever dreamed of in a woman, Fred pursues her and he and Ellie wed.

But Fred can’t let go of disgraceful events from his past and this leads him down a dark path of more shameful acts. Ellie too hides a painful past that affects her relationship with Fred. Their marriage deteriorates even more when Fred allows his mother to fire his jealousy with her vicious gossip of impropriety between Ellie and her godfather, Lord Percy Dillinger. When more appalling secrets come to light, not only is Ellie’s marriage in jeopardy, but her mental and physical health as well.

When I first began reading The Crimson Bed, I was hooked within the first few pages. Ms. Proctor is a highly gifted writer and knows exactly how to draw the reader in. At first I didn’t like any of the characters with the exception of Henry. But I couldn’t stop reading and I came to realize these characters were genuine, complicated and deeply flawed, which leant them a certain charm that was mesmerizing.

With such extraordinary characterizations, a gripping plot and well-researched historical backdrop, The Crimson Bed is an excellent work of fiction. This isn’t a gene romance, but there is a love story. The historical details of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and the artists are exceptional. This is a character driven novel with elements of romance, suspense and mystery. I was so emotionally invested in the lives of these characters, I laughed, I sobbed, and I bit my nails to the quick during the tenser moments. I dare anyone to read The Crimson Bed and not be so affected.

–Willow

 

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Becoming: A Chronicle of Metamorphosis

By Mark Lichterman

Metropolis Ink (June 15, 2008)  

Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Mark-Lichterman/dp/0646492160

“Do you remember your radio and “Captain Midnight,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Junior Miss” and “Let’s Pretend”? The first time you inhaled a cigarette? Your first swallow of hard liquor? The thrill of the first exploration of the body of your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife… your own body? Your first orgasm? Remember when as a people we loved America, and showed it? Then you might be ready for a nostalgic, funny, romantic, sexually frustrating novel. A novel that may remind many of us of ourselves, “way back then,” when God’s most mysterious creation was the opposite sex. A novel about life and the often funny, sometimes sad, day-to-day things that stir the memories of our lives…”

The above is a quote from the blurb for Mark Lichterman’s Becoming and I put it there because it so aptly describes the novel. When I decided to review this book, I was worried because number one, I rarely have time to sit down and read a book as long as this one and two, because I stupidly felt I’d never be able to connect with anything in it. I’m female, Christian, grew up in the country, and the time period was before my time. I was wrong, wrong, wrong! The subject matter is timeless, the characters so genuine they jump from the pages and into your heart, and being the mother of boys—I could even relate to the male point of view.

The story begins in 1939 on Chicago’s eastside and follows five-year-old Mitchie for the next seventeen years of his life. A true coming of age story told in graphic detail. And the humor—did I mention the humor? I found myself laughing out loud many times. I especially loved when the humor came at a time when it was totally unexpected, the way it is in ‘real life’. I can’t say all I’d like to say about the book because it needs to be experienced first hand and I don’t want to spoil that experience for the reader by saying too much.

Mr. Lichterman is a talented storyteller with a beautifully unique writing style and strong voice. His characters are delightfully flawed, giving them an unsurpassed charm and authentic quality. Becoming transcends all gender, ethnic, and geographical backgrounds, so no matter where you’re coming from, if you love truly great coming of age stories, give this one a try.

My one complaint is I felt the book ended too soon. Yes, even at 736 pages, I was sad when reading that last page and know these characters will be with me for a long time.

–Willow

       

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Mud and Gold

Shayne Parkinson

Buy Link E-Book: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1187

Buy Link Print: http://stores.lulu.com/shaynep 

Picking up where Book I ended, Mud and Gold is the second in the trilogy, Promises to Keep. I purchased this book after reading the first in the series, Sentence of Marriage. The same excellent writing, characterization, and realism make Book II just as riveting.

Amy is persuaded by her stepmother to accept Charlie’s offer of marriage—believing this to be the only way to make things right and regain her respectability. Her new husband is a man old enough to be Amy’s father, both ill mannered and brutally abusive. Nothing Amy does pleases him and she’s often beaten with little or no provocation. The only time she’s spared is when Charlie knows she’s pregnant, fearing he’ll harm his unborn child.

Amy’s story is heart wrenching to say the least and although I could understand the reasons for her staying and putting up with her husband’s brutality, I kept waiting and hoping she’d finally have enough and stand up to him. After bearing Charlie two sons and suffering numerous miscarriages due his ill use of her, Amy discovers Charlie has been less than faithful, visiting the village whorehouse. She finally stands up to him and moves out of their bedroom. It’s a small step in the right direction and I almost cried with relief.

Then there’s Amy’s cousin and best friend, Lizzie. She marries Frank and their developing relationship is a true delight. I have to be honest and admit Lizzie is my favorite character. She’s full of spunk and knows exactly what she wants and how to get it—a woman ahead of her time, full of caring warmth and good cheer. You can’t help loving her. Frank is her direct opposite and the perfect match for her. Amy’s two older brothers also fall in love and marry. Their stories are just as captivating as Lizzie and Frank’s, keeping the main plot from being too maudlin.

Mud and Gold is the perfect blend of darkness and light. Ms. Parkinson has created quite a masterpiece with the Promises to Keep series, full of so many interesting characters and intriguing stories. If you love historical fiction, don’t miss these books.

 –Willow

https://workinggirlreviews.wordpress.com 

    

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