Historical fiction

* BLOG TOUR* The Girl From The Hermitage – Molly Gartland ★★★★

Blurb; It is December 1941, and eight-year-old Galina and her friend Katya are caught in the siege of Leningrad, eating soup made of wallpaper, with the occasional luxury of a dead rat. Galina’s artist father Mikhail has been kept away from the front to help save the treasures of the Hermitage. Its cellars could now provide a safe haven, provided Mikhail can navigate the perils of a portrait commission from one of Stalin’s colonels. Nearly 40 years later, Galina herself is a teacher at the Leningrad Art Institute. What ought to be a celebratory weekend at her forest dacha turns sour when she makes an unwelcome discovery. The painting she embarks upon that day will hold a grim significance for the rest of her life, as the old Soviet Union makes way for the new Russia and Galina’s familiar world changes out of all recognition. Warm, wise and utterly enthralling, Molly Gartland’s debut novel guides us from the old communist world, with its obvious terrors and its more surprising comforts, into the glitz and bling of 21st-century St. Petersburg. Galina’s story is at once a compelling page-turner and an insightful meditation on ageing and nostalgia.

My Review; A few of you may know that I’ve been struggling with reading lately. But this book finally got me back into it. Hurray! Something different. Historical fiction. The story is split into three parts. The few first pages had me hooked and interested.

It starts off with life during WW2 then part two moves onto after the war and finally part three is set on the future. It’s a life story of sorts focusing on a specific few characters. Brilliantly written and the cover is simple yet eye catching. Molly has a brilliant writing style and description for each time period. You can tell alot of research, time and thought have been put into this story.

Some chapters are a little too long for my personal liking but that didn’t bother me much as I was really enjoying reading it after my long book slump. A well deservesld four stars from me. Highly recommend. If you fancy something a little different this may be for you. Thank you for giving me my reading mojo back!

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Historical fiction · romance

*BLOG TOUR* The Innocents – Michael Crummey ★★★★

Blurb; From prizewinning author Michael Crummey comes a spellbinding story of survival in which a brother and sister confront the limits of human endurance and their own capacity for loyalty and forgiveness.
A brother and sister are orphaned in an isolated cove on Newfoundland’s northern coastline. Their home is a stretch of rocky shore governed by the feral ocean, by a relentless pendulum of abundance and murderous scarcity. Still children with only the barest notion of the outside world, they have nothing but the family’s boat and the little knowledge passed on haphazardly by their mother and father to keep them.
Muddling though the severe round of the seasons, through years of meagre catches and storms and ravaging illness, it is their fierce loyalty to each other that motivates and sustains them. But as seasons pass and they wade deeper into the mystery of their own natures, even that loyalty will be tested.
The Innocents is richly imagined and compulsively readable, a riveting story of hardship and survival, and an unflinching exploration of the bond between brother and sister. By turns electrifying and heartbreaking, it is a testament to the bounty and barbarity of the world, to the wonders and strangeness of our individual selves.

My Review; The sound of this book caught my attention, something different I’d thought I would give a try. I read the majority of it within a day. I have not read anything similar to this before. Definitely unique. I was sucked in. Due to unfortunate circumstances brother and sister find themselves alone and having to survive without their parents.

Brother soon takes on the role of dad and sister soon takes on the role of mum. This story amazed me at how they lived, survived, hunted, fished and cooked. Proper historical I could never see myself in their shoes. They never gave up. They had each other even with a bit of love which I must admit was a little wierd for me. But they did it.

With an open ending I hope they got a nice ending in my mind anyway. I somehow felt connected to them and I don’t know how. I felt sorry for them. Brilliantly written. Different. Unique. But I really enjoyed it. Similar in many ways to Adam and Eve But in this case there is other people around just not near them. Miles away. Made me appreciate what I have.

A well deserved four stars from me. Highly recommend. Check it out!

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fantasy · Historical fiction

The Kingdom Of Back – Marie Lu ★★★★

Blurb; Born with a gift for music, Nannerl Mozart has just one wish: to be remembered forever. But even as she delights audiences with her masterful playing, she has little hope she’ll ever become the acclaimed composer she longs to be. She is a young woman in eighteenth-century Europe, and that means composing is forbidden to her. She will perform only until she reaches a marriageable age—her tyrannical father has made that much clear.

As Nannerl’s hope grows dimmer with each passing year, the talents of her beloved younger brother, Wolfgang, only seem to shine brighter. His brilliance begins to eclipse her own, until one day a mysterious stranger from a magical land appears with an irresistible offer. He has the power to make her wish come true—but his help may cost her everything.

My Review; This is the first book I have read by marie Lu, I’ve heard she’s an amazing author and I do have her others on my shelf waiting. I treated myself to this one purely for the gorgeous cover. How beautiful is that!?

When I started reading it I must admit it wasn’t what I expected at all. But I carried on and before I knew it. I was hooked. It’s a mix between historical fiction and fantasy and it works perfectly. Two completely different worlds. The story focuses on music (piano) by Nannerl and Wolfgang Mozart. Nannerl wishes she won’t she be forgotton and her wish will soon be granted via helping another in a fantasy world herself and her brother created, but everything is not as it seems and she may have got it all wrong.

The story includes the highs and lows of both the siblings. The tasks Nannerl has to complete for her wish to come true but it soon turns dark and twisted. Nannerl has to fix it all before her wish costs her the most important thing (her brother). Brilliant written, imaginative, original. Perfect. I seriously loved it. Highly recommend. A well deserved four stars from me.

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