Classic, Saga and historical Fiction Reviews

I never used to enjoy historical fiction but Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks changed that for me. Here are some historical, classic and literary novels I have read and reviewed. Please let me know in the comments if you have any recommendations of others I can try!

The Ops Room Girls

Ooh, I loved this book! The story follows, Evie, a reserved, academically gifted young woman whose hard work and dedication have earned her a prestigious scholarship to study at Oxford University. When tragedy strikes, she can no longer follow the path she has carved for herself and impulsively signs up for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) to try and salvage her dreams in some way. Her talent in mathematics sees her posted to the Ops Room as a plotter in an Air Force base near the Sussex coast. There she befriends shy May and glamorous Jessie as they navigate a male-dominated world where the danger of war comes every closer.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Storms Gather Between Us

Imagine gentle waves lapping the shore. It’s a hot day and the sea looks so inviting. But when you dip your toe in, it’s freezing! “What’s this got to do with books?” I hear you cry! Well, before I started reading Storms Gather Between Us, the prospect of reading a saga genre book felt a little like the cold sea, possibly with a few jellyfish thrown in for good measure. You see, I associated this kind of book with the Catherine Cookson’s my mum used to read. I have nothing against those books; they’re just not my cup of tea (or ice cream if we’re sticking with the beach metaphor). So imagine my surprise when I dipped my tow in and not only was the sea jellyfish free but warm and inviting. So much so that I began to swim.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Gossips’ Choice

Lucie Smith is a respected midwife whose husband, Jacob, is the town apothecary. Their bond and happiness is tested in 1665 with Lucie’s involvement with the local Manor House, the return of their only surviving son from plague-ridden London, a housemaid’s pregnancy out of wedlock, and an allegation of malpractice against Lucie.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Billy Tapper Zillionaire

What a fun read! Billy McTaggart is following his father’s footsteps as a tapper in a British railyard in the years following World War 2. He wants to make something of himself, so the girl he’s given his heart to and his dear mam can be proud of him. Early in the book, Billy makes a discovery in an abandoned rail car which changes the path he thought his life would take. The reader follows him on his adventures through rock and roll, romance and Britain’s strict class system, and sees him meet some colourful characters, some of whom you will recognise!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Eliza Doll

This story follows Ellie, who lives a nomadic life with her dog, Jack. Eking out a living selling homemade dolls at craft fairs around the country, there is one doll she can’t bear to finish. Because this doll represents her past and unimaginable pain which she isn’t ready to face up to.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

We Have Always Lived In The Castle

This is a book that I’ve wanted to read for years, so had deliberately tried to keep myself away from reviews and theories surrounding it – I’m sooooo glad I did. Often cited as being Shirley Jackson’s greatest work, the story joins Mary Katherine Blackwood as she walks derisively through a town full of people she loathes, and who loathe her family in return. Or at least, they loathe what remains of her family…

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Girl Out Of Place

I found this book a fascinating insight into a part of history I know very little about. It’s told in the first person perspective of Nell, and the reader is with her as she and Auntie Karly are the first to walk out of the internment camp at the end of the war. The scene in which she is torn between looking back at the field in which her mother is buried one last time, and fear that if she looks back she will be shot by a Japanese guard, is still on my mind.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“‘But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.”

– One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

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