Vicki J Kondelik
Posts tagged with fiction
January 3, 2023 •
This epic novel tells the story of three important figures of the French Revolution: Camille Desmoulins, Georges-Jacques Danton, and Maximilien Robespierre, from their childhoods to the tumultuous events of the Revolution. Mantel has a unique and compelling writing style that draws the reader into the world she writes about.
October 28, 2022 •
In this creepy novel of suspense set in 1920s Paris, American private investigator Harris Stuyvesant searches for a young woman, an artists' model, who has gone missing. His search takes him to a theater producing realistic horror plays and the studio of an artist who creates art objects out of human bones. He also encounters many famous people from the literary and artistic world of Paris at the time, including Hemingway, Picasso, Cole Porter, and the surrealist artist Man Ray, who plays an important role in the plot. Not for the squeamish, but a perfect Halloween read!
October 11, 2022 •
Magpie Murders is a clever mystery within a mystery. It begins with Susan Ryeland, an editor for a London publishing house, reading the last manuscript by a recently deceased mystery author. Then you read the manuscript along with her: a classic English village mystery in the style of Agatha Christie. Frustratingly, it cuts off just before the solution is revealed, and the rest of the book returns to the present day as Susan searches for the missing chapters. Soon enough you learn that the author of the manuscript was murdered, and Susan has to find the real-life murderer as well as the pages that will reveal the murderer in the fictional world.
September 2, 2022 •
In this mystery, one of a series set in Gilded Age New York, Prudence MacKenzie, a judge's daughter turned detective, and Geoffrey Hunter, a former Pinkerton agent, search for two missing children--a brother and sister--in the streets of New York. They learn that the missing girl has been sold into prostitution, and, with the help of historical figures such as Jacob Riis and Nellie Bly, attempt to rescue the children. The book paints a detailed portrait of life in New York in the 1890s, from the parlors of the wealthy to the sordid streets and alleyways of the tenements.
March 25, 2022 •
Matrix is a beautifully-written historical novel by Lauren Groff about the medieval abbess and poet Marie de France. Marie is cast out of the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, her sister-in-law, because she is considered unmarriageable, and sent to a remote abbey, where she eventually becomes the abbess and creates a utopian community of women, while struggling against harsh conditions and opposition from the church authorities. Groff writes in a poetic style that draws you into Marie's world.
March 11, 2022 •
Arsenic and Adobo is the first in a new mystery series featuring a Filipino American heroine, Lila Macapagal, who works in her family's restaurant. When her ex-boyfriend dies after eating a dessert in the restaurant, Lila is accused of the crime, and she has to find the real killer in order to clear her name and save the restaurant. The book's greatest strengths are the characters and the descriptions of Filipino food.
February 3, 2022 •
Half Life is a beautifully written historical novel with two parallel stories. One is about the famous scientist Marie Curie, and follows the events of her life: her marriage to Pierre Curie, her scientific discoveries, and her Nobel Prizes. The other is completely fictional and is about the woman Marie Curie might have become if she had stayed in Poland and married her first love. Both stories feature an admirable, brilliant woman as the protagonist. The real story and the fictional story are equally compelling.
January 12, 2022 •
In this mystery set in Brighton, England, in 1965, private detective Emma Holmes investigates the murder of a theatrical impresario. His wife, a former music hall star, is accused of killing him. To prove her innocence, she hires Emma and her partner in the firm, Samantha "Sam" Collins, to solve the crime. Emma is also the wife of the police superintendent, Edgar Stephens, and they decide to work together, along with a young police officer, Meg Connolly. Griffiths writes vividly about the world of theater, film, and television in England in the 1960s, in this entertaining mystery.
January 3, 2022 •
This sequel to The Three Musketeers continues the adventures of d'Artagnan, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. The new ruler of France is the cunning and manipulative Cardinal Mazarin. During a rebellion against his rule, the musketeers find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. They travel to England to save Charles I from execution, and fight against Mordaunt, the evil son of Milady, who is determined to avenge his mother's death.
November 10, 2021 •
This is a wonderful, complex historical novel about a group of Smith College graduates who go to France during World War I to give aid to French villagers whose homes were devastated by the German invasion. The novel focuses on Kate and Emmie, two friends from very different backgrounds, and how the tensions created during their time in the war zone threaten to destroy their friendship. Author Lauren Willig paints an unforgettable portrait of life in the war-torn French countryside.