Earlier, I posted about a few of my favorite books that I read in 2010. The problem is, I read so much and like so many stories that it’s hard to whittle things down to a manageable list … but I try.
I’ve already mentioned The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, So Over It, and Tour de Force. Today I’ll share the highlights of three favorite historicals.
A Tailor Made Bride, by Karen Witemeyer. This was Karen’s debut novel, and just the cover was enough to catch my attention (love that dress!). But, no matter how the cover looked, the story snagged me from the very beginning. Hannah is a feisty woman who takes a lot of townspeople by surprise when she buys a storefront in Coventry, Tx. and moves in sight unseen. They aren’t quite sure what to do with a lady who takes walks and does exercises each morning, who befriends the most unlikely people, and who isn’t afraid to start her own business alone. That’s not to say things are easy – and one of her biggest challenges is in dealing with Jericho Tucker, the town’s liveryman. Sparks fly, but in a fun and realistic way. Their conversations were so well written that I could hear them in my mind; their bantering made me laugh. Karen might be a debut novelist, but her skills are on par with some of my favorite longtime authors. I haven’t had the chance to read her second novel (A Head in the Clouds), but would like to. I’ll definitely be looking for more of her titles in the future.
Within My Heart, by Tamera Alexander. Tamera ranks as one of my very favorite authors, no matter what genre I’m reading. Her characters are well-rounded and realistic, her descriptions put me right in the story world, and she always includes something in the plot that surprises me. And, of course, there’s always the happily ever after. Many of Tamera’s fans had been waiting for Within My Heart to release because it finished her Timber Ridge Reflections trilogy. We finally learned the histories of characters Rachel Boyd and Dr. Rand Brookston – which explained why they were simultaneously drawn to each other but determined to stay apart. We also finally had closure to the tension between Rachel and Daniel Ranslett, the boyhood friend of Rachel’s first husband Thomas. I love how Tamera reveals her characters’ imperfections without making them wimps; instead, it just makes me love them more. Yes, I’m always looking for her next release.
Dancing Through Fire, by Kathryn Lasky. I love working book fairs at my kids’ schools because they’re fun, but I also like checking out some of the latest titles for kids. I actually bought Dancing Through Fire at a Scholastic book fair – partly to satisfy the long-ago dancer in me and partly because wanted to read a story set in that timeframe. The story takes place in Paris during the 1870s and focuses on a girl names Sylvie. She’s what’s known as a “little rat,” or a young student in the Paris Opera Ballet. Then war comes to Paris and changes everything. Even the dancers immersed in their own world of ballet are forced to deal with reality, and girls like Sylvie grow up quickly – and learn some important lessons. I wouldn’t want my third grader to read it yet, but it’s a good blend of history and fiction for upper elementary or middle school girls. Author trivia: Kathryn Lasky has written more than 100 books for children and adults, including the books that the movie Legend of the Guardians was based on. We haven’t seen the movie, but one of our son’s buddies said it was his favorite movie of all time.
And, there you have it — three of my favorite historical novels from 2010, though they’re certainly not the only ones I enjoyed. So many books, so little time … and blog space! 🙂