Review: The School for German Brides by Aimee K. Runyan

I have only read one of Aimee Runyan’s books but I adored it! I have had the others are on my TBR list and she is always one that I keep an eye on when I see new historical fiction coming out. When I saw this book I was instantly intrigued! A school to make the perfect German bride?! What in the world? I knew it was one that I couldn’t pass up as it would no doubt explore a plotline and history that I never even imagined before!

One of the things that always stands out about Runyan’s books is the attention to historical detail. Historical fiction writers often walk a delicate line between adding lots of interesting (or interesting to them) historical detail that will give the story teeth and context but at the same time, not adding so much historical detail that it bores readers. Runyan always does a great job at striking a good balance of both historical detail and facts but not so many that it becomes bogged down with details and slows the story.

I loved that this book really looks at the behind the scenes life of the German people under Nazi rule—-especially the female perspective. I was so intrigued by this one before I even received my copy in the mail! I saved it for my trip to Arizona so I could have plenty of time to savor it and enjoy all the details without feeling like I had to rush through it, seriously vacation reading is the best for books like this! I had plenty of time to read it and savor it but at the same time I did read it quickly because it was an engaging story!

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Review: The Mozart Code by Rachel McMillan

Over the years I have read and enjoyed many or Rachel McMillan’s books! I especially loved her book The London Restoration that I read in 2020. It was a standalone novel with lots of historical detail and some romance. While I enjoyed her historical mysteries, it was the standalone novel that really made me love her writing!

When I saw that she was coming out with a new standalone piece of historical fiction, I was eager to get my hands on it. I love books about espionage and spies especially when they are women spies! I have read a lot of historical fiction with female spies in WWII and while that might be the hot ticket right now, I never get tired of reading books like that!

McMillan is a wonderful writer and I know how much detail she puts in her books not only with her characters but with her historical facts as well. If you enjoy historical fiction by Kate Quinn or espionage mysteries by Susan Elia MacNeal, then you will no doubt enjoy this latest novel from McMillan! I waited and waited and waited for my copy to arrive and when it finally did, I had COVID. While I planned to read it during my quarantine, I ended up having a hard time focusing on reading so I saved it for my flight to Arizona. I quickly read this one in a matter of days once I started it on the plane—it was an excellent choice that’s for sure!

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Review: The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth

It’s been a hot minute since I read anything by Kate Forsyth. Generally she writes more fantasy and fairytale retellings but this book is firmly in the historical fiction genre. So needless to say when it came up for review, I was intrigued because it was different than what Forsyth typically writes and she is such a wonderful writer that I knew this one would be on par with her other books!

Obviously it was an easy ‘yes’ to review but beyond just the author and genre of the book I didn’t know too much going in. I mean of course I get an officially summary of the books I review but sometimes I just say yes based on the author or cover before I really read the summary. When I sat down to start reading this one I was more or less blind. I knew it was a historical fiction piece and based on the cover I was guessing WWII (which I was correct) but beyond that I didn’t know much else.

But instantly I knew this was going to be different than the traditional WWII novel. The setting really distinguishes itself from traditional WWII books set in London, Paris, or even Germany. This book is set on the isle of Crete which instantly made me want to know more. I can’t recall a single historical fiction novel set on this small isle and it really made the novel for me!

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Special Feature: The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan

It’s funny how war changes so much about society in unexpected ways. I loved that this book really wanted to tell the story of how war changed life for these three very different war brides. Sewing really used to be such a bonding experience for women not to mention a point of pride. I can remember my my grandma telling me about sewing with her friends and sisters and the pride she took in the fact that she sewed her own wedding dress (in the 1930s!).

In the age of everything including wedding dresses being at the tip of our fingers, it’s pretty amazing to think about women sitting around making their own wedding dresses. One of the reasons that I wanted to feature this book (and will later read) is for this reason! It just sounded so charming and really a way to nightlight a bygone era. I cannot wait to dig into this one a little later this year. It sounds like a wonderful work of historical fiction and one that historical fiction fans won’t want to miss!

When I got married in 2004, I actually had my grandma help me make my wedding veil. It was an experience and item that I will forever cherish. I am so excited to read this book because I understand how meaningful working on a project like this with someone can be. I can’t wait to check this book out. Plus Jennifer Ryan has a couple other successful novels under her belt and I can’t wait to see what magic she weaves with this one!

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Review: Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society was high up on my TBR list last year and I enjoyed it, but when I saw Natalie Jenner was publishing this book, I was thrilled! The Jane Austen Society was just ok for me, I liked it but there were a few bumps that I felt needed to be ironed out, however I liked it well enough to be eager for Jenner’s next novel!

The Bloomsbury Girls is set in post WWII London which is such an interesting period to me. The world just came out of this massive war and they were still feeling to effects of rationing and economic instability but yet were rapidly bouncing back from a dark period in history. So the 1950s always seem like a very exciting period in modern history which is one of the main reasons this novel really made me pause and take note. Then I saw this book featured books, bookstores, and rare books—I mean come on could this one be calling my name any harder?!

If you love books and historical fiction this is going to be a easy book to pick up and enjoy. I am pleased to report that I liked this one a lot more than The Jane Austen Society, this book really drew me in and reminded me how much I love reading some of these post war era authors like Daphne Du Maurier and why I love reading and bookstores in the first place! This was a wonderful read and I certainly recommend it to book lovers!

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