The Lodger by Louisa Treger

lodgerIt takes a lot of courage to base a novel on a true story. While creating a work of fiction gives an author a degree of creative license, the writer also holds a certain degree of responsibility to tell the story of a person or event without deviating too much from the facts.

Louisa Treger has proven herself more than a match for these challenges in her debut novel, The Lodger. In her novel, Treger explores the story of Dorothy Richardson, author of the autobiographical 13-book series Pilgrimage and contemporary of authors including Virginia Woolf. As a young woman in London at the turn of the century, Dorothy’s life is full of hardships modern readers can instantly relate to. Continue reading “The Lodger by Louisa Treger”

A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon

A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon, pub. Aug. 2013, 292 pg.

Rating: 5/5 stars

I have always been a huge fan of both historical fiction and fantasy, so when I picked up A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon and realized it combines my two favorite genres, I couldn’t wait to keep reading.

Astoria Harding is not considered a normal young lady by the standards of society in 1857 Londinium, Anglica. Instead of wishing for a husband, she spends her time learning about the natural sciences from her Grandpapa and longing to make a scientific discovery that would get her inducted to the Royal Society. When her family has to move to Bharata (a land full of magic and mysticism), Tori undertakes her Grandpapa’s legacy to find a magical giant, golden lotus that is rumored to exist there. Little does she know, Bharati forces as well as the Anglican government also want to find the lotus, and both sides will do whatever it takes to ensure they find it first.

This book was right up my alley for a number of reasons, the first of which is Tori herself. Continue reading “A Thousand Perfect Things by Kay Kenyon”

Beautiful Days by Anna Godberson

Beautiful Days by Anna Godberson, pub. 2011, 368 pg.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Do you like the 1920s? How about humor? Or romance? Or action? What about great dresses, socialite intrigue, or New York City?

If any of those topics catch your interest, you’ll want to check out the Bright Young Things series by Anna Godberson.

Beautiful Days is the second book in the series which follows three young women in 1920s New York. One wants to be a star, one was born into a wealthy family, and one is the daughter of a famous bootlegger. If that’s not enough to get you hooked, I don’t know what is. These books are full of forbidden love, danger, and struggle, as well as adorably funny moments, priceless friendships, and great fashion.

While it’s not exactly the most intellectually stimulating read, I love this series. I adore the 1920s, and I love reading about the socialites of eras gone by (which is exactly the same reason why I watch Downton Abbey). Godberson has a great way of portraying the time period and drawing you in. You fall in love with the characters, and you can’t help but sympathize with them even when they’re being infuriating or making frustrating decisions.

One of my favorite things about this book are the clothes. It’s pretty impressive when just a description can make you perfectly picture a dress or piece of jewelry and instantly make you envious that it isn’t yours. Godberson does an amazing job of describing the great clothing (we’re talking awesome 1920s fashion here, folks) as well as describing everything else. Continue reading “Beautiful Days by Anna Godberson”

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, pub. 2007, 675 pg.
Rating: 5/5 stars

East London, 1888 – a city apart. A place of shadow and light where thieves, whores, and dreamers mingle, where children play in the cobbled streets by day and a killer stalks at night, where bright hopes meet the darkest truths. Here, by the whispering waters of the Thames, Fiona Finnegan, a worker in a tea factory, hopes to own a shop one day, together with her lifelong love, Joe Bristow, a costermonger’s son. With nothing but their faith in each other to spur them on, Fiona and Joe struggle, save, and sacrifice to achieve their dreams.

But Fiona’s life is shattered when the actions of a dark and brutal man take from her nearly everything-and everyone-she holds dear. Fearing her own death, she is forced to flee London for New York. There, her indomitable spirit propels her rise from a modest West Side shop-front to the top of Manhattan’s tea trade. But Fiona’s old ghosts do not rest quietly, and to silence them, she must venture back to the London of her childhood, where a deadly confrontation with her past becomes the key to her future. –From cover


One of my friends recently asked me for a book recommendation, and I was so excited to share this book with her. I think I’ve recommended The Tea Rose to just about everyone who has asked me for a good book since I first read it. It is a masterpiece of a book, with everything from love to mystery to murder within its pages.

Jennifer Donnelly handles historical fiction extraordinarily well, weaving in historical figures and events so seamlessly that they seem like she invented them herself. Continue reading “The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly”