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Eliza May Brown

Historical, for our purposes, includes a whole bunch of stuff: mystery, suspense romance, and one "paranormal investigator." Eyes up: these are not your mama's books!

Five Stars are for life-altering books that I think you should keep and read again and again.

Four Stars are for great books.

Three Stars are for good books.

All of the above I recommend reading. You will very rarely see me give a review of One Star (awful) or Two Stars (not worth reading) because I usually don't finish books that I don't think are awful and/or not worth reading. Sadly, sometimes, I do get tricked into wasting my time.

Confessions of a Pagan Nun by Kate Horstey *** (Three Stars)

Don't you love this title? It's a good read, but the end was sad and predictable.

Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton **** (Four Stars)

Historical Suspense

First published in 1976, this is an oldie but a goodie. And, okay, your mama might have read it. Michael Crichton has a gift for making us suspend disbelief and fall for his amazing stories. If you haven't read it, you should. If you've read it once, it's probably time to read it again.

Falconer and the Face of God by Ian Morson *** (Three Stars)

Despite a disturbingly debauched dead villain, this was a good read. I loved the historical detail.

Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anna Elliott **** (Four Stars)

Historical Romance

This is a sweet and gentle romance perfectly suitable for a young reader. As a huge fan of Jane Austen, I give this one two thumbs up!

The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton *** (Three Stars)

Historical Suspense

Anything by this author is worth reading, but this isn't my favorite.

The Horus Killings by P. C. Doherty *** (Three Stars)

This story is an entertaining history lesson.

A Mixture of Frailties by Robertson Davies *** (Three Stars) 1958

Billed as a "comedy of manners" I recommend it as the only story I've read set in 1950s Canada/England, and the details are interesting. The story revolves around a working class young woman who is plucked from obscurity because she has a pretty voice and is trained by masters to sing. Of course, it was written by a man in 1958, so the girl's happily-ever-after is SOOO predictable.... 

The Moonstone and Miss Jones by Jillian Stone *** (Three Stars)Historical Adventure, Romance, Fantasy

A British adventurer (and paranormal investigator!) and a surprisingly innocent American (kinda) ship captain untangle conspiracies through time and space. I liked the romantic element the best and the setting--the seedy underbelly of London--was intriguing. I promise you haven't read anything like this story before.

Mrs. Jeffries in the Nick of Time by Emily Brightwell **** (Four Stars)Victorian Mystery

In this softer, gentler version of Anne Perry's world, the staff of a Victorian police inspector helps him solve crimes and, in a charming twist, they keep their involvement a secret from the inspector himself. I really enjoyed this book.

A Little Yellow Dog by Walter Mosley ***** (Five Stars)

An Easy Rawlins mystery. Walter Mosley is an artist and a craftsman; buy any of his books and read them all.

The Mad Monk of Gidleigh by Michael Jecks *** (Three Stars)

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Lust and murder claim a lot of "innocents" in this medieval tale of a precarious time.

The Plague of Thieves Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

*** (Three Stars)

Set in late-1800s San Francisco, this enjoyable mystery has a very strong female detective.

A Play of Heresy by Margaret Frazer *** (Three Stars)

This book had four solid stars until the very unsatisfactory end. I loved the historical detail and setting, the characters, and the intrigue.

A Rare Benedictine by Ellis Peters*** (Three Stars)

Three shortish medieval mysteries that introduce Brother Cadfael. I love the historical context and detail.

The Ravens of Blackwater by Edward Marston *** (Three Stars)

A tale of lust and greed set in 1086 England, where serfs are essentially slaves, Norman lords are almost kings of their holdings, and an accusation of murder can lead to execution without a trial. In this dangerous place a few men pursue justice. This book is worth reading just for the history lesson.

The Reeves Tale by Margaret Frazer *** (Three Stars)

Another interesting medieval mystery rich in historical detail.

Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering *** (Three Stars)

I love the premise--that a murder mystery has to follow a set of rules laid down by a 1920s monk-writer--and the hero and sidekick are charming. This book is set in 1930s England, and I really enjoyed the slang and setting.

Sir Philip's Folly by M.C. Beaton **** (Four Stars)

Originally published in 1993, getting republished in 2018 earned this book a spot in the "New Books" section of the local library. Imagine how excited I was to see a new M.C. Beaton series! I've read all of her Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth mysteries. This isn't new but, like her other books, this has a cast of complex and well-rounded characters who are intriguingly human in their foibles and adventures.

Sharpe's Tiger by Bernard Cornwell **** (Four Stars) 1997

Set in India in 1799, this book has such amazing historical detail that the story is almost incidental. But the author weaves an intriguing tale to tie it together and the characters really take you with them every step of the way.

The Stockholm Castle Mystery by Joyce Olson Moore

**** (Four Stars) 2015

Set in the Swedish Court in 1649, I really enjoyed everything about this story--the historical detail is terrific, the characters are wonderful, and the amateur detectives trying to solve the murder are very appealing. 

Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime by John Dunning

***** (Five Stars) Historical Mystery

I raved about this book in my blog. Read it for the mystery, for the incredible historical wartime plot, and for the romance. I loved everything about this story.

Venus In Copper by Lindsey Davis *** (Three Stars)

Historical Mystery

I kinda felt guilty that I didn't like this book more. It was beautifully researched and detailed and had an intriguing premise, mystery, and characters. But, somehow, it didn't ring my bell.

White Butterfly by Walter Mosley ***** (Five Stars) 1992

Another amazing Easy Rawlins book by Walter Mosley.