Reviews

Viewing entries tagged with 'historical fiction'

6 Aug 2018

This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman

Albert Black has been accused of murder, and the death penalty stands, “Will goodness and mercy prevail?” - alas no, not in 1950s New Zealand, not with the shadow of the Second World War affecting how politicians make decisions, and not with the prejudicial Mazengarb Report being delivered to every household in the country, spreading moral panic.

10 Jul 2018

Rotoroa by Amy Head

Rotoroa is the story of three quite different people who all end up in the same place for a while. The time is significant: New Zealand in the 1950s, post-war, emerging rock and roll, six o’clock swills, the bridge going up in Auckland and mushroom clouds appearing over atolls in the South Pacific.

13 Mar 2018

Into the World by Stephanie Parkyn

Into the World is an historical adventure on the high seas with great characters and an interesting plot. From the beginning of the novel, when Marie-Louise Girardin brands herself and her infant son before leaving him to the fate of an orphan and fleeing France, we are drawn into her story. What could drive a woman to do such a thing?

28 Feb 2018

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

I read Egan’s prize winning A visit from the Goon Squad with a detached fascination – an intriguing experimental novel. This book is very different and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a fascinating historical novel in its own right, but one with a narrative structure that tries to reflect how the individuals themselves discover the “real story”, rather than as a flowing narrative, while also reflecting the cultural perspectives of the period with the whole almost being immersed in the rhythms and power of water, which plays a huge part in the novel.

15 Jan 2018

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Katey Kontent, daughter of an immigrant Russian family, reminisces about her life in New York after seeing photographs of some of her early friends in an exhibition. The story is one of post-depression, pre-2WW New York, of the WASP culture, the at once egalitarian/hierarchical society, and the many choices one makes that define a path through life.

27 Dec 2017

The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron

Building on research that rehabilitated Neanderthal culture in the popular view, Cameron has created a story around the possible first encounter between a young Neanderthal woman and local homo sapiens. In a parallel story she follows the paleoanthropologist who discovers the female Neanderthal’s remains.

18 Dec 2017

Heloise by Mandy Hager

“Of all my frustrations with the Christian Church, besides its demonising of women, there are two that most confound me: the preoccupation with unquestioning obedience and the notion of original sin.” So says one of Heloise’s early teachers – a Jew who was forced to convert and who along with her daughter had faced the worst that the patriarchal society of 12th Century France could inflict. And Heloise’s exploration of the life and character of Heloise is unflinching in its descriptions of the endless abuse and disempowerment of women.