Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Revelation Of Louisa May

Louisa is in shock. She just found out her mother is leaving for the summer to earn money for the family leaving her in charge of the household while she is away. Louisa does not want to take care of the house. She wants to write her stories and live her own life. Before long, Louisa is trying to solve a murder, help people trying to escape on the Underground Railroad, and falling in love. This is not the summer she was expecting.

I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review*. I was happy to review this book as it is one I have been looking forward to reading since I heard about it. I loved Little Women when I was growing up, and knew Alcott included some bits from her own life in her novels. I was hoping this book would show a different angle on her life, and was relieved when it did, as I did not want this book to compete with Little Women.

I thought it was an interesting way to tell young readers about the life of Louisa May Alcott. Although parts of the book are fiction, there is a fair bit that is from the Alcott's life. I particularly liked that the story included the Underground Railroad, her difficult relationship with her father, and the family's relationships with Transcendentalists like Emerson and Thoreau. I did not like the murder mystery portion of the story as much.

This is definitely a book written for a young adult audience. While adults might still enjoy it, I think that readers should be clear about the target audience. It was an easy to read book with history, mystery, and a bit of romance. It is a great way to learn more about a well loved author. It was a pleasant and quick read.

If you like Louisa May Alcott's books or young adult books I recommend reading this book.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book earlier than I would have gotten to it, or a book I might not have heard about otherwise.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Spider And The Stone

At the dawn of the 14th century, Scotland's throne sits empty. Edward Longshanks invades Scotland hoping to add it to his realm. James--the Black Douglas aligns with Robert Bruce against the English invaders. James and his love Isabelle MacDuff must choose between their love, clan loyalty, and loyalty to their king. Beginning after the execution of William Wallace, it is the story of Scotland's fight for independence.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.* My attention was caught from the start of the book. Craney pulls you in with intrigue, battle, and a little romance. It was an excellent fictionalization of Scotland's struggle for independence against an encroaching force. The characters come alive as you face their struggles with them. This is a very detailed account that will keep you reading to discover what happens to these brave characters.

I was particularly interested in the detailed battle scenes. It makes history come alive as you read about the tactics that were used, and how the battles played out. I also really liked that there were strong female characters. You always hear about William Wallace, Robert Bruce, and Edward Longshanks, but I liked learning more about Isabelle MacDuff, Isabelle of France, Elizabeth de Burgh and Robert's daughter Marjory in this story.

This was a well researched book, which I appreciate in my historical fiction. Perhaps some of the details could have been edited to make it flow a little better in some places, but on the whole it provided an interesting account of Scotland's war for independence. I also appreciated the author's note and sources for further reading. This makes it easier to find answers to questions about something in the story or when you want to learn more about this fascinating time in history.

If you enjoy detailed historical fiction I think you should try reading this book.

I read this book as an ebook on my Nook, and had no difficulties with it.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise.