Tag Archive | Historical Fiction

Persuasion Retelling: Perception by Emily Ann Benedict

Title: Perception
Author: Emily Ann Benedict

  • Date read: August 3, 2017
  • Rating: 5 stars
  • Genre: Historical Fiction (1930s) / Christian Fiction / Retelling (Jane Austen’s Persuasion)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 198 (ebook)
  • Series: Book 4 in the multi-author Vintage Jane Austen series (but stands alone!)
  • Fave character: Freddy
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free advance reader copy of this book from the author (thank you!); these opinions are entirely my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s WebsiteSeries Website

Another excellent addition to the Vintage Jane Austen series! I’ve quite enjoyed reading each of these standalone retellings by different authors—all so different, yet similar too, and delightful one and all thus far! 🙂

This one is a sweet retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, except it’s set in 1930s America during the Great Depression.

Perception is a lovely tale, in its own right, and also as a retelling. I so enjoyed all the parallels to Persuasion—which is one of my favorite of Austen’s novels—and also the twists and how it fit into a new era. It was fascinating how well this story translated to the ’30s, featuring Captain Wentworth’s character (Freddy, in this one) as a post-WWI soldier, and Anne Elliot (Abbey, in this) as part of a once-rich family which has to rent out their home due to financial troubles of the Great Depression. It all fit SO. WELL. I loved that. 🙂

I loved the characters! Abbey was a relatable heroine (quite liked her!) and Freddy was fabulous and unexpectedly fun sometimes. XD I quite liked some of the other characters too, like Freddy’s sister and her husband, and Sam. Many fun characters! I was impressed with how well-drawn the characters were, how some of them who in the original version I disliked, Miss Benedict’s writing managed to turn into characters that I either liked, or at least understood more and saw their side of things. Excellent character building!

The settings—both geographical and time-related—were quite well done too! It was interesting visiting Boston and Cape Cod and other places filling in for the old locations in Persuasion, and the 1930s feel felt very real—and I liked the old cars and such as a great touch. 🙂

Mostly, the plot and characters line up very well with the story it is retelling, but there were also a few surprising additions and twists which were super interesting! Like Abbey’s unexpected business venture, and other developments and surprises which were neat, and which I will not spoil. 😉

I also loved the Jane Watson cameo (so fun finding them in each of the books!!), and the few dashes of excitement and a snatch or two of unexpected peril, as well as the humorous bits of dialog from time to time. It was also kind of beautiful at times. ^_^

This author’s writing is lovely! It has a sort of quality to it that I can’t quite pinpoint, but was perfect for this story. I’m looking forward to trying more of her work. 🙂

Overall, this is a quite fun retelling of Persuasion, and a lovely clean romance of almost-lost-love, with a few surprises and even a dash of murder-mystery lurking in the background, all set in a well-drawn ’30s atmosphere, and skillfully penned. I quite enjoyed myself reading this, and definitely recommend! ^_^

Favorite Quotes

“So am I engaged to both of them now?” Freddy asked, smiling.

“I don’t think that’s legal, Freddy,” Bonnie replied drolly.

***

Abbey relaxed, grateful not only that someone had thought to throw a party for her, but that she had been able to escape attending.

***

Abbey could have laughed at Freddy’s appearance. He was clearly not yet sufficiently awake for this sort of conversation.

***

“You’re my guardian angel, Abbey,” she said as she climbed into the car.

“No, not really, Sam. I’m just a messenger.”

“But that’s what angels are. That’s how God says, ‘I’m here, and it’s going to be all right.”

***

“Tired physically, or tired of someone?”

Abbey couldn’t help smiling. “Tired of many someones, to be honest.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“I want to eat pasta.”

***

“I can’t settle for merely liking a man when I’ve known what it’s like to love one.”

~ ~ ~

Read my reviews for others in the series so far:

Have you read any retellings of Persuasion, or other Jane Austen books?

(Note to any potential reviewers: For a limited time, Emily Ann Benedict is currently looking for a few people to review this book on Goodreads and Amazon in exchange for a free download of it, so if you’re interested, do let me or her know! Thanks! You can also find the book at the links above.)

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, + Review: “Dreams and Devotion” by Sarah Holman

Welcome to the blog tour for the release of Sarah Holman’s latest book in the Tales of Taelis series: Dreams and Devotion!

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been reading through the series up to this point, and enjoying it greatly, so I’m excited to share it with you! 🙂

Here’s a bit about the book, as well as a GIVEAWAY and other tour stops, and then below is my review. 🙂

Dreams and Devotion

Some dreams will be dashed, and their devotion will be tested.

Dara’s life is full of farm work and worries, especially now that her older brother is a priest in a far off city. Yet she still has time to dream of the life she hopes will someday be. She dreams of marrying her dear friend and the worries of her family ending. Now, the selfishness of one person threatens her very way of life.

Dresden’s initial excitement about living a life devoted to the service of God quickly is dashed on the rocks of reality. The life of a priest is nothing like what he imagined. To make matters worse, he finds out his family back in his home village is on the brink of disaster. Torn between his vows and his love for his family, what will he choose?

Dreams and Devotion releases July 15, 2017

Buy the book for the special preorder price, here.


Giveaway

*****ENTER GIVEAWAY VIA RAFFLECOPTER HERE*****


About the Author

Sarah Holman is a not so typical mid-twenties girl: A homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and author of many published books and short stories. If there is anything adventuresome about her life, it is because she serves a God with a destiny bigger than anything she could have imagined.

Find her at www.thedestinyofone.com


Stops on the blog tour:

July 8

Bookish Orchestrations ~ Faith Blum

July 9

His Princess Warrior ~ Katie Hamilton

July 10

In the Book Case ~ Tarissa Graves

Jessica Greyson ~ Jessica Greyson

July 11

Gods Peculiar Treasure Rae ~ Raechel

Read Another Page ~ Rebekah Morris

July 12

Whimsical Writings For His Glory ~ Jesseca Dawn

Shannon McDermott ~ Shannon McDermott

July 13

The Page Dreamer ~ Deborah O’Carroll
(You are here! ^_^ Thanks for dropping by! <3)

July 14

Knitted by God’s Plans ~ Kendra E. Ardnek

With a Joyful Noise ~ Amanda Tero

Once Upon an Ordinary ~ Kate Willis

July 15

Jaye L. Knight ~ Jaye L. Knight


Title: Dreams and Devotion
Author: Sarah Holman

  • Date read: June 17, 2017
  • Rating: 4 stars
  • Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (in fictional country, medieval times)
  • Age: YA
  • Year pub: 2017
  • Pages: 137 (Kindle)
  • Series: Tales of Taelis, #4
  • Source: The author
  • Notes: I received a free e-ARC from the author for review purposes (many thanks!); these opinions are my own.
  • Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Dreams and Devotions is a well-written medieval tale about a brother and sister, Dara and Dresden (love their names!): a peasant girl’s life at her farm and home village, and her brother’s life as a new priest, separately facing adversity and growing stronger in their faith. It’s an extremely emotional and rather bitter-sweet book, focusing on the little things, but it kept me so absorbed and it was overall quite good.

My favorite part was the moonlit harvest scene—I loved it! ❤ There’s a scene that’s staying in my memory for a long time. ^_^

Even though it was not an “exciting” story, and focused mainly on the day-to-day life of farming in medieval times and other struggles, it was so well-written and had me absolutely hooked. I could NOT stop reading! I was super caught up in it. 🙂 It’s definitely an unusual and unique tale, more somber and thoughtful than fun or adventurous, but keeping the reader’s attention all the same.

There were many heart-touching or heartbreaking moments, both good and sad, which made me tear up a few times. I don’t always like when books do that but it definitely made me feel strongly. 😉 Sometimes there seemed to be no hope for awhile, but it did sometimes bring goodness out of the darkness and show God using some things for good. There were a lot of good messages throughout the story, many of which I liked. 🙂

I’m continuing to love visiting this land of Taelis! 🙂 Delmore Castle and various characters from Courage and Corruption feature in this book, which was super neat! The harvest song even came back! I’m curious to see where the rest of the stories will take us, so I’m eagerly looking forward to the next book in the series! ^_^ In the meantime, this is the fourth and latest Taelis book (though they can all stand alone!), and I’ve enjoyed the whole series so far. 🙂

It was a lot sadder than books that I normally like to read, feeling more like real-life sometimes than a work of fiction, leaving a few threads not wrapped up in a (to me!) satisfactory way (I wanted one character’s story to end up differently, but all we got was a note in the epilogue that unfortunately left it hanging, and I also expected a romance but didn’t find one; both were sad parts), but despite all that I’d still say it’s a good book, even if not my usual cup of tea. It was very well written, and I’m so impressed with the fact that, despite any quibbles or sadness (and these are my own, personal opinions!), it was still a very good book and had me extremely absorbed. Overall, quite good. 🙂

If you like Christian fiction and medieval times, a well-written book with heart, some bittersweetness, and people overcoming daily struggles and growing closer to God, you will love Dreams and Devotion. ^_^

Favorite Quotes

It was a stick he had fashioned into a crude bow. He had made it in their younger days when he and Geoffrey would play The Archer in the forest. She had been allowed to play with them at times, sometimes playing the part of the brave princess Brianna, sometimes playing a maiden in need of rescue.

***

“Dara, the greatest gift that we can ever offer anyone is ourselves. You have been a friend to me and so many others. You have not let the disappointments of this year keep you from being someone who dares to dream, hopes for the best, trusts God, and loves without holding back.”

***

~ ~ ~

Read my other reviews for the series:

  

~ ~ ~

Have you tried the Tales of Taelis series yet? Thanks so much for dropping by, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! ^_^

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

10 Thoughts on “Courage and Corruption” by Sarah Holman

Title: Courage and Corruption
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: June 16, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction (in fictional country, medieval times)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 161 (Kindle)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #3
Fave character: Uncle Edwin and King John
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

Ten Thoughts on Courage and Corruption

1. Still enjoying this series. 🙂 I think this one was the most well-written in the series yet, and it’s awesome to see this author’s writing improving more and more over time!

2. It’s about a twin brother and sister (Christopher and Catherine) who don’t… erm… get along. 😛 They have to learn to become better people etc. There are a lot of strong Christian messages/themes along this line throughout the book. 🙂

3. I didn’t enjoy the first half of the story as much because it was hard reading about these characters being so angry and argumentative, so I… kind of didn’t like them very much then because they had so much to learn. Likely just one of my reading quirks. 😛 So for that reason, it wasn’t my personal favorite of the series, even though it’s the most well-written and would likely be a favorite with most readers. 🙂

4. In the second half of the book, I warmed to the story much more, and I found myself quite enjoying the intrigue and excitement, once most of the character-building parts had been dealt with. 🙂

5. I LOVED the plot that emerged in this one, linking back to a certain event in Adventures and Adversities, and featuring descendants of the little prince from that one! :O I was so hoping that plot would come back and it DID. 😀 That was one of my favorite things about the story. ^_^

6. My other main favorite thing was all the little stories Uncle Edwin told. 🙂 That was so fun, like lots of mini tales within this one; my favorite was the one about the Shepherd King and the one about Princess Brianna and John in the garden. 😀 Lovely little follow-up to Brothers and Betrayal! AWK. Such cute. ^_^

7. It’s been great reading more of these books set in the medieval country of Taelis! I especially loved seeing familiar places like Coraway Castle and Delmore Castle (both of which are super super cool… I’d love to live in Coraway Castle! I hope to see more of it in future books too. :)).

8. There are also lots of references to characters and events from the first two books, which I loved. ^_^ (Some of that’s inevitably a little sad though, of course, with multiple generations. 😦 But oh well. Otherwise I liked the references.)

9. Oh, and along that line, it was neat to see the main characters from Brothers and Betrayal in this one a little, much older but still lurking around being great. 🙂 Bryon, John, and Brianna all make appearances. 🙂

10. Overall, while some of it didn’t click for me personally, I think most people would really enjoy this! If you like Christian fiction with strong themes and families and adventure and medieval times, you will probably like this one; and like I said, it’s probably the most well-written yet. 🙂 Can also stand alone. I’m definitely curious to continue reading this series in this lovely land of Taelis. ^_^

~ ~ ~

In the series so far (will update with links to my posts as I review them):

~ ~ ~

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Befriended (Short Story) by Sarah Holman

Here’s another short story review for another of the Tales of Taelis stories! 🙂

Title: Befriended
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: May 27, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Adventure / Christian (Medieval, Fictional Setting)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2016
Pages: 38 (Kindle)
Series: Short Stories of Taelis, #2 (prequel to Brothers and Betrayal, set after Adventures and Adversities)
Fave character: Kaden
Source: Amazon
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

This was a very quick, short read (I read it in fifteen or twenty minutes), but was a really cute story for all that. 🙂 I quite enjoyed it! ^_^

It’s set soon after Adventures and Adversities, with the same characters and a couple of new ones.

This is Eleanor’s story, and it was really neat to have one for her. 🙂 Kaden was a great character as well, and little John and Nathaniel were cute. 😛

I particularly liked the parts in the forest, and with the stars. ❤

I can’t really say much about it, lest I spoil the entire story, but overall it was sweet, had some moments that were fun and adorable, as well as spiritual moments, and overall made me happy.

It also made me more curious to continue reading this series! I’m looking forward to Brothers and Betrayal to see what John and Nathaniel do when they grow up. 😀

Definitely worth a read. 🙂

Favorite quote:

“My home is the North Star and with you,” Eleanor said.

~ ~ ~

In the series so far (will update with links as I review them):

~ ~ ~

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Adventures and Adversities by Sarah Holman

Title: Adventures and Adversities
Author: Sarah Holman

Date read: May 27, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Christian / Adventure / Historical Fiction / Medieval (in fictional country in Europe)
Age: YA
Year pub: 2013
Pages: 314 (paperback)
Series: Tales of Taelis, #1
Fave character: William
Links: GoodreadsAmazonAuthor’s Website

I was a little uncertain if I would like this at first, but I was pulled into this story and ended up quickly absorbed, and enjoyed it very much! 🙂

I really grew to like these characters!

  • Alditha, our heroine, who tries to find the good in the midst of hardship.
  • Her sweet little friend Eleanor, such a bubbly and feisty thing. 🙂
  • But mostly William, Eleanor’s brother, who may have a thing for Alditha… 😉 He was brave and good and kind and heroic, and I really liked his character!
  • I also, unexpectedly, really liked Captain Harold, a guard. He was so nice! He might have been my second favorite. 🙂
  • There are other memorable characters, both good and bad, which populate this story, and it was interesting to meet each of them—I quite liked the kind hermit priest as well. 🙂

It’s set in medieval times, in a fictional country in Europe called Taelis. This made the book feel like a historical fiction novel, but without me wondering if all the details were real, which made it more fun. XD

From the point of view of peasants and servants, it was a different look at the higher classes. These heroes and heroines are good hardworking people, simple folks who are kind and good and do their best in the face of adventures and adversities.

There was love and loss, friendship and hardship, laughter and tears, and through it all the characters strove to find God’s plan in their lives and trust in Him.

It seemed at first like it was going to be one of those quieter books without much adventure, but it turned out to have plenty of excitement after all! Most of it was about the day-to-day struggles—physical, emotional, and spiritual—of the heroine, but there are other things going on as well. There are dangers and adventures, plots and fights, storms at sea and riding through stormy nights on land as well. It kept me absorbed and interested!

Most of all, I was caught up in reading about William and Alditha, so long separated, as they struggled through their separate lives, and waiting to see if they would finally be able to see each other again. 🙂

There were a few things that seemed inconsistent or didn’t make sense to me, and some slightly distracting typos (I have an older paperback version of this book, so I don’t know if there is a newer version or not), but on the whole I don’t have many specific complaints. 🙂

Overall, I enjoyed the book a lot and fell in love with this medieval world and these characters, and this nice simple tale of love and faith. It drew me in and was a sweet story. ^_^ I’m definitely looking forward to reading more in the Tales of Taelis series! 🙂

~ ~ ~

In the series so far (will update with links as I review them):

~ ~ ~

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

Lost Lake House by Elisabeth Grace Foley

4starrating

Title: Lost Lake House

Author: Elisabeth Grace Foley

review

You’ve got to give it to it: that is one gorgeous cover. (I may also be immensely pleased at how well it goes with my blog’s color-scheme. But that’s neither here nor there… *cough*)

This is a historical-fiction novella set in the ’20s, and is a loose retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. It came out this year and when I heard about it from Shantelle, I simply had to try it out. 🙂

Because, ya know . . . Twelve Dancing Princesses. 😉

In this one there’s only one dancer, not twelve (and she’s not exactly a princess either), but there were some great nods to the fairytale which I really enjoyed… It was kind of amazing how well some of it was weaved in with the ’20s setting.

Anyways, it was a quick, sweet read, with lots of elegant description which really captured the setting and time period. (I’m not a huge fan of jazz or the ’20s, but that didn’t get in my way of enjoying it, particularly since I didn’t have to HEAR it. ;))

I liked how we got a few points of view, too. It was neat to see different sides of what was going on. It was a quiet story. A bit mysterious. Some gangster-type stuff showed up to make it a little exciting. There’s a hint at a really sweet friendship that might come out of this story… 😉 And while it’s not the main focus, it also holds a really poignant story about a father and daughter who don’t understand each other, which I thought was really well written and I liked the hope it ends with.

Anyone looking for a romance should look elsewhere, though, because there isn’t really one. That being said, I do ship the hero and heroine and hope maybe in the future they might become a thing. 😉 But I was okay with how it was. 🙂

I almost got really upset for a minute there near the end because I was so looking forward to seeing a certain scene, ::SPOILER (highlight to read):: namely when Marshall and Dorothy show up at her dad’s at the end… loved that bit. 😀 ::END SPOILER:: and then it looked like we were going to skip a week instead! D: Buuuut then I was appeased since we got it in a flashback. So that made me really happy. ^_^

While the overall plot itself wasn’t my favorite, and the heroine was just okay — at least until near the end — (not to mention how I really disliked the other girls), I did really like the hero, and I liked how it all turned out in the end. It might have been a 3-star but… I don’t know, it just ended with me feeling kinda happy and it was fun and cute and sweet and so it got an extra star. 🙂

Anyone who likes that era should definitely give it a shot, and for those obsessed with the Twelve Dancing Princesses, this one is worth reading for a few clever turns of that fairytale being put in a different setting. 🙂 And anyone else… well, it’s enjoyable in its own right as a sweet, short read, and overall I thought it was a pretty swell little story. 😉

summary

From Goodreads:

The Twelve Dancing Princesses meets the heady glamor and danger of the Jazz Age

All Dorothy Perkins wants is to have a good time. She’s wild about dancing, and can’t understand or accept her father’s strictness in forbidding it. Night after night she sneaks out to the Lost Lake House, a glamorous island nightclub rumored to be the front for more than just music and dancing…in spite of an increasingly uneasy feeling that she may be getting into something more than she can handle.

Marshall Kendrick knows the truth behind the Lost Lake House—and bitterly hates his job there. But fear and obligation have him trapped. When a twist of circumstances throws Dorothy and Marshall together one night, it may offer them both a chance at escaping the tangled web of fear and deceit each has woven…if only they are brave enough to take it.

Novella, approximately 26,000 words.

factoids

Genre/Category: Historical Fiction / Novella / Fairytale Retelling

Age Group: YA

Published: 2016

Pages: 77 (estimated; Kindle)

When Read: June 2, 2016

Favorite Character: Marshall

Source: Bought from Amazon Kindle

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer

 

A Spy’s Devotion by Melanie Dickerson

IMG_4841

5starrating

Title: A Spy’s Devotion (The Regency Spies of London, #1)

Author: Melanie Dickerson

review

Sometimes you just want an enjoyable read, you know? This was that for me. 🙂

I don’t read a lot of Regency romance type things, but I so wanted to try this one because I’ve loved Melanie Dickerson’s medieval fairytale romances. I was not disappointed — Melanie does an AMAZING job with the Regency time period! I just felt there; completely drawn in. It was really awesome to be in the time period, somehow. Simply fabulous. 😀

The heroine, Julia, was quite a good heroine — I really liked her, she was so nice but not stupid. The hero, Nicholas, was of course awesome; an honorable gentleman-spy-by-necessity. 😉 I really liked the alternating viewpoints between the two of them — that was such fun to read. The romance was really sweet and I so enjoyed reading their story. I JUST LOVED THEM! ^_^

The slight dash of espionage/suspense added a lot of interest to the plot. Regency spies in London — what a fun idea! I also loved that it had a bit of action and danger, which added to the heroism of the hero (and heroine)! I don’t tend to think of “action” when I think of Regency tales, but the time-period is perfect for it, so I LOVED seeing that in this!

I love Melanie’s fairytale retellings, but this was her first published “original” tale, and it was actually fun to not know anything about the plot and be kept guessing! So… I really love both this and her retellings, in different ways. I’m very much looking forward to book 2 of The Regency Spies of London, whenever it may release! (I hear it’s going to be about Nicholas’ sister Leorah, who I really liked, so that excites me!) I can’t wait!

This book is technically for adults as opposed to YA, but in this case I didn’t mind. It was quite an enjoyable Historical Fiction / Christian / Regency Romance novel, which I’d recommend to anyone who likes the genre, or even to try if you haven’t yet. I just really enjoyed it. 🙂

Overall? It’s not my usual genre or type of book to read, but it was a fabulous read despite that! I enjoyed it a good deal and I’d say I rather love it. ^_^

(Plus, that cover has got to be one of THE most gorgeous ones ever! It still makes me ever so happy every time I walk by my shelf and see it nestled in amongst my growing collection of Dickerson books. <3)

IMG_4838

summary

From Goodreads:

In England’s Regency era, manners and elegance reign in public life—but behind closed doors treason and tawdriness thrive. Nicholas Langdon is no stranger to reserved civility or bloody barbarity. After suffering a battlefield injury, the wealthy, well-connected British officer returns home to heal—and to fulfill a dying soldier’s last wish by delivering his coded diary.

At the home of the Wilherns, one of England’s most powerful families, Langdon attends a lavish ball where he meets their beautiful and intelligent ward, Julia Grey. Determined to maintain propriety, he keeps his distance—until the diary is stolen and all clues lead to Julia’s guardian. As Langdon traces an evil plot that could be the nation’s undoing, he grows ever more intrigued by the lovely young woman. And when Julia realizes that England—and the man she is falling in love with—need her help, she finds herself caught in the fray. Will the two succumb to their attraction while fighting to save their country?

factoids

Genre/Category: Christian / Historical Fiction / Regency / Romance / with a touch of suspense

Age Group: Adult (probably could be read by young adults as well)

Published: 2016

Pages: 312 (paperback)

Series?: Book 1 in “The Regency Spies of London”

When Read: March 10-11, 2016

Favorite Character: Nicholas Langdon

Source: Got for my birthday

findbook

{Goodreads} • {Amazon} • {Barnes & Noble} • {Libraries} • {Author’s Website}


Thanks for reading!

Dream away in those pages . . .

~ The Page Dreamer