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Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: January 2020 – Looking Ahead, Looking Back
Author Guest / January 15, 2020

The traditional character associated with the month of January was Janus, the Roman god portrayed as two heads looking in opposite directions, one forward and one back.  Often the New Year is a time of appraisal of what has worked—or not worked—in the year gone by as we set new goals for the year ahead. The theme of past events reinterpreted in the light of the present is a trope popularized by novelist Kate Morton and other best-selling authors.  So for this month that traditionally draws upon the past to make reflections about present and future, we’ll look at several works of historical fiction that pinball back and forth between the current day and significant events in the past. Perhaps because the dangers and privations of war create drama and reorder all of life’s priorities, the “then” portion of all these stories takes place in either the World War I or II era. We begin with LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb.  The novel is written as a series of letters, beginning in October 1914 and continuing throughout the war, between Evie Elliott, her brother Will, and his best friend Thomas Harding, interspersed with chapters featuring…

Fresh Fiction Favorite Historical Fiction of 2018
Author Guest / December 19, 2018

Every day from now through the end of the year, we’ll be sharing our reviewers’ favorite reads of 2018. A different genre will be featured every day! We’ll share why these books were some of our favorites and what made them so special. We hope you’ll share yours in the comments, too! Today, we are discussing our favorite historical fiction novels of the year. What were some of yours? CARNEGIE’S MAID by Marie Benedict Reviewer: Clare O’Beara Carnegie’s Maid contrasts the Irish people who come to America with the Scots who came one generation earlier and are now wealthy industrialists, so lots to see. We find out how Carnegie got his love of libraries. Women’s Fiction Historical [Sourcebooks, On Sale: January 16, 2018, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492646617 / ] A self-made man takes lessons from his Irish maid A TOUCH OF DOWNTOWN ABBEY AND AN AMERICAN DYNASTY Buy CARNEGIE’S MAID: Amazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Powell’s Books | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Ripped Bodice | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR *** NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA by Chanel Cleeton Reviewer: Danielle This book captured the spirit and turmoil of Cuba during a major…

Review of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME
Author Guest / April 8, 2014

“Surviving the Titanic disaster and picking up the pieces” The Girl Who Came Home Hazel Gaynor Reviewed by Clare O’Beara The tragedy of the Titanic continues to fascinate us. This well-written story shows the point of view of some of the ordinary travellers aboard her – Maggie Murphy, leaving Ireland with her family, is one. THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME starts with her last moments in the only home she has known, a rural Irish cottage, as fourteen people from her small parish in County Mayo pack up and head off for a better life in America. Maggie is leaving behind a young man, Seamus Doyle, and she promises to write. Harry Walsh is a crewman, a steward with White Star Lines, proud to be working on the maiden voyage of such a fine vessel. He’s only assigned to the third class passengers, but he’s determined to give them equally as good a service as the millionaires aboard. The scale of the ship in dock is quite staggering to all viewing her in Southampton. Some of the wealthy people even bring their small dogs aboard. Fast forward to Grace Butler, darting admiring looks at a fellow student’s Converse sneakers during journalism…