Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Theras and His Town by Caroline Dale Snedeker

Theras is a little boy growing up in Athens. His life is turned upside down when he must move to Sparta. He wants nothing more than the escape back to Athens even though the journey would be very dangerous.

Theras and His Town is historical fiction written for children that allows the reader to really get a good glimpse into life in Athens and Sparta and the extreme differences between the two. It is very biased toward Athens being good and Sparta being bad. I enjoyed it as much as my sons (even though I was reading it to my 8-year-old, my 10-year-old listened in and kept commenting on how good it was). I highly recommend it as a family read-aloud and for those studying ancient Greece.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 68
Pages Read in 2017: 20,039
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Assigned to Adrian for School

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Anna of Byzantium by Tracy Barrett

Anna Comnenus is the heir to the throne of Byzantium, but then her power-hungry grandmother realizes she cannot control and twist the child for her own purposes. Anna is an intelligent thinker and, guided by her slave schoolmaster, learns her history.

Anna was a real person who wrote an eleven-book epic about her father, The Alexiad. Her book is where we get much of our information about Byzantium today. Anna of Byzantium is an excellent historical fiction about Anna. The author’s note at the end tells what is real and what was made up or changed. I found the story extremely engaging and well-written. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or is studying the Byzantine Empire.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 60
Pages Read in 2017: 17,810
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Pre-reading for Fritz for Next School Year

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Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Isabel and her little epileptic sister Ruth are sold to a nasty loyalist woman in 1776 New York. Isabel begins spying on her master’s meetings and informing the patriots. Soon the Redcoats arrive and the Revolutionary War is literally on her doorstep.

This book is historical fiction covering the time period of just under a year. The author wove real people and events from New York in the early part of the Revolutionary War into the story of a fictional slave girl. The story really drew me in. I highly recommend reading Chains to anyone interested in or studying that time period.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 47
Pages Read in 2017: 13,927
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: A to Z Authors (A)

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Where Home Is by Karen J Hasley

It is 1910, and Katherine Davis has graduated from medical school and taken a one-year position as the doctor at Hull House in Chicago. She throws herself into the work she loves while at the same time being courted by Douglas Gallagher, a wealthy man who isn’t quite what he seems. The year goes by quickly and soon she is on her way back to Laramie Wyoming excited to see family and friends and hopeful that she will be able to set up her own practice.

Where Home Is is a gentle love story mixed into the historical backdrop of the early 20th century. The glimpses into the practice of medicine in the pre-antibiotic era and the buzz of life at Hull House were fascinating. The story moved a bit slowly, fitting with the era. I enjoyed it very much and was so happy with how it ended. It’s part of a loosely related series (this is the third book). It is not necessary to read any of the other books for this one to make sense.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 114
Pages Read in 2016: 31,044
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Outcast by Rosemary Sutcliff

Saved from drowning as an infant, Beric, a Roman, is raised by Celts. Eventually the tribe decides to force him out. He ends up a slave in Rome. He escapes only to be sent to the galleys. Eventually finding his way back to Britain, he must find his own place among his people… whoever they might really be.

Much of Outcast was good. It dragged on occasion, however. I recommend it for those interested in the time period.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 103
Pages Read in 2016: 27,670
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The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff

A couple more generations have gone by and now Aquila is part of the last Roman soldiers in Britain. He feels more British than Roman and so decides to desert and stay with his family when the soldiers sail away. The Saxons attack his family home, carry off his sister, leave him for dead, and kill everyone else. Aquila ends up a slave. He manages to escape and becomes a soldier and companion to Ambrosius in battles trying to drive out the Saxons.

The Lantern Bearers progressed so incredibly slowly. There were short bursts of action, but mostly it was just dull. Sometimes it was hard to keep track of who was who mainly because I simply didn’t care about any of them. I don’t particularly recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 62
Pages Read in 2016: 15,916
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The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff

Marcus Aquila’s son, Flavius, along with his cousin Justin are young members of the legion. They cross the wrong person and must flee. When they chance upon the eagle hidden by Marcus years before, they know they must rally the right people to save Roman Britain.

If I wasn’t pre-reading this series for my son to read next year in school, I would not have read The Silver Branch after reading the first book in the series. This would have been a mistake. The Silver Branch was so much better and more enjoyable. I recommend this book to anyone interested in history (it’s not totally necessary to read the first book first).

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 53
Pages Read in 2016: 13,372
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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