Category Archives: Historical Fiction

Where reviews done on historical fiction books can be found.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova


“A singular image drifted back to me: Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, where I’d strolled that recent sunny morning, and the gates where the Ottoman executioners had displayed the heads of the sultan’s enemies. Dracula’s head would have warranted one of the highest spikes, I thought – the Impaler finally impaled. How many people would have gone to see it, this proof of the sultan’s triumph? Helen had told me once that even the inhabitants of Istanbul had feared Dracula and worried that he might fight his way into their very city. No Turkish encampment would have to tremble again at his approach; the sultan had finally gotten control of that troublesome region and could set an Ottoman vassal on the Wallachian throne, as he’d wanted to years before. All that was left of the Impaler was a gruesome trophy, with its shrivelled eyes and tangled, blood-caked hair and moustache.”

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova was published in 2005 and I might have missed it if not for the advice of a friend who suggested it for the historian in me. And that is exactly who this novel is perfect for, anyone with that historian thread in their interests.

This story is told from several different characters’ point of view but all focus on the same fixation; searching for the resting place of Vlad the Impaler. Paul has always impressed the importance and love of history on his teenage daughter, bringing her when he visits other countries to give his academic lectures. He has secrets however and he slowly begins to reveal them to his daughter as she matures. It has been a lifelong obsession that started with the disappearance of his thesis advisor during University, Paul Rossi, which catapults him into a whirlwind of historical research that will lead him across the world. Paul is accompanied by a brilliant but enigmatic woman named Helen and trailed by a strange librarian who seems to defy death. The search for his advisor, who in many ways is valued more as a father figure, will take them to Istanbul, Hungaria and eventually Romania. With each location they gather another piece of evidence about the infamous Vlad Tepes, the barbaric warlord of the fifteenth century who earned the name Dracula, and begin to unravel the legend of Vlad the Impaler’s life and mysticism. All of this is learned through letters left for Paul’s daughter  as she too begins a search for her father, who has suddenly disappeared as well.

It only struck me as I wrote this review and searched through the book for the daughter’s name that it is never actually revealed. One might assume from this that she is the “Historian” that the novel is named for but, in my opinion, the title of historian can apply to numerous characters including Paul, Helen, Professor Rossi, the numerous academics they receive assistance from throughout the story and ultimately the very man they are searching for. History is the name of the game in this book. The constant use of research, the countless libraries they visit, the ancient manuscripts and songs that yield evidence, the academic atmosphere of the entire story is the literary dream for anyone who loves learning about history and all the facets it is recorded in. When doing a bit of background reading about the book I learned that Elizabeth Kostova did a tremendous amount of research to make this retelling of Dracula’s story as accurate as possible. As with any historical fiction some things have been changed to enhance the story but it is quite evident how much effort Kostova has made to ensure her novel was historically captivating and realistic.

With that being said, I can certainly see how someone who does not have a great interest in history might find this book a bit tedious. It is almost 700 pages and for some that is just too long. I will admit that it took me a while to get into the book but when I did I was eager to read it to completion. Koskova is a beautiful writer and the descriptions of the locations are stunning. However, I think it is safe to say that this is certainly a book for someone with the patience for intense but gradual story-weaving and a love for everything history.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is a historical fiction of significant standing, both in storytelling and length. Readers of a certain nature will love the historical nature of this novel and appreciate the quality of its writing. The subject of Dracula has always been fascinating and Kostova writes a new version of the age-old story grounded in historical evidence that makes it a treat to read for all the history lovers out there!

Devon – a1000booklife

Other books written by Elizabeth Kostova: The Swan Thieves (2013)


Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction

The Wolves of St. Peter’s by Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk


“It didn’t help that he could hear what sounded like wolves in the distance, yipping and howling that seemed to come from the hills beyond the Trastevere. Could they even be inside the walls? He had never known a wolf to carry anything off other than a sheep, but he was sure the local wolves, like everything here, would be bigger and meaner. He imagined them with ribs protruding under matted coats, blood and saliva dripping from gleaming white fangs as they slunk along in the rain. It was, as Raphael had said, a cursed city.”

Italian history has always fascinated me, Italian Renaissance history even more so. Throw in a few key artistic characters of the time (that would eventually become infamous for their creative genius) and I’m hooked. The Wolves of St. Peter’s was not a book that was on my radar before I read it, but after finishing it I have to say it was a great read with a mystery twist that keeps you hanging on right to the very end.

Francesco Angeli has been outcast from his beloved Florence. A passionate affair with the Duke’s wife had sent him fleeing for his very life, a social pariah, forced to do penance by becoming the servant of the ill-tempered and disgruntled Michelangelo. It is an arrangement forged by his father to provide a living for his son while in Rome but mainly enacted to punish Francesco’s foolishness. While Rome in 1508 offers numerous corporal diversions, including the intellectual company and finesse of a competing artist named Raphael and the subsequent visits to the elegant Imperia brothel, Fransceco still yearns for the comforts and prestige of his home and the woman he unwisely loved. Life becomes even grimmer as the city begins to flood, starving wolves roam the city walls and one morning Francesco witnesses a stunning, blond-haired woman being pulled from the Tiber River, a woman he knows. His search for the truth behind the beauty’s murder will plunge him into the midst of a scheme of treachery and deviousness performed by some of the most colorful characters in Rome.

There is so much richness in this novel, the characters and settings are an endless feast. I have yet to walk the streets of Rome (someday, someday) but I have strolled down the corridors of Venice and it was like being back there again. Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk have an artful skill which draws you back into 16th century Rome, with its hobbled homes and thriving docks. However, while many authors tend to focus on the glorious warmth of Rome, Buonaguro and Kirk reveal Rome in its darkness and most damp grandeur, reflecting the very nature of the story being told. Flooded, dreary and plagued by wild animals, the Rome in The Wolves of St. Peter’s is a city of mystery, one where people scheme and unleash intentions not suitable for the light of day.

Within this setting are characters that are rich and endowed with a wide range of attributes; the arrogance, yet wistful hope, of Calendula, the bat-man Dante’s perceptible insanity, the clever bravery of Susanna, the colorful pomp of the Turk. One of my favorite elements was the depictions of the artists Michelangelo and Raphael, two names that would become synonymous with the beauty of art and architecture in Italy. Only a few names would surpass theirs in artistic recognition. Michelangelo is the intolerable and cantankerous artist chosen to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, a job he detests while still being consumed with its perfection. He is paranoid of other artists, specifically Raphael who is everything Michelangelo is not; polished, well-respected and active in the highest echelons of Roman society. They play perfectly against one another, highlighting the contrasting elements the other possesses. I’m always interested in how artists are portrayed, as most of them lived extraordinary lives themselves, and whether these two depictions are completely accurate was never a concern, mainly because they were just so enjoyable to read.

Apart from the book being wonderful all on its own I love to be able to support, and recognize, local authors. Buonaguro, from Toronto, and Kirk, from my hometown of Kingston, take the age-old tale of a man who cannot have the woman he loves and spin it anew with thrilling suspense and a full parade of imaginative characters. They take a place and historical period which is ripe with creative possibilities (in my mind at least) and write a story that is gripping, saturated with remarkable characters in a city that has a life of its own. It makes me wish, and search, for more books like this to feed my literary hunger for Italy, artists and secrecy.

Devon – a1000booklife

Other books by Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk: The Sidewalk Artist (2005) and Ciao Bella (2009)

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers


“I have done what I was told to do, what I promised I would do. I have risked much and ventured back into my worst nightmares, all because I believed the abbess- believed that even though she did not like me, her service to Mortain would ensure that she would be truthful with me, see me as a useful tool, if nothing else. But clearly I have been duped and have allowed myself to be the worst kind of pawn.
Even worse, I wasn’t able to accomplish the one thing that would have made it all worthwhile- killing d’Albret.”

For those of you who have read the first book in this series, Grave Mercy, get ready for an even better story and more impressive heroine in Dark Triumph. If you who haven’t read the first installment and this is your initial foray into the His Fair Assassin series, get ready for a dark ride through a medieval world full of tension, schemes and action.

In this second addition to the series, Sybella is the leading lady assassin who has been forced back into the midst of her family by the Abbess of the convent where she serves Death, which is as good as being thrown into a nest of snakes. She is driven to the brink of insanity by her past but must now face those memories on a day to day basis as she tries to thwart the plots of the Duke d’Albret and his efforts to corner a young Duchess into marriage to lay claim to her lands and right to the throne. All of this changes when she rescues the Beast of Waroch, a man who is different than her in every way possible from size to temperament. As they journey back to the Duchess’ court Sybella finds salvation in the most unexpected of places and gathers the courage to finally put an end to guilt of her past.

First off, I loved Sybella. In my eyes she was an immense improvement as the main heroine compared to Ismae from the first book. Despite being a handmaiden of Death, Sybella is haunted and scared, devoid of any true concern for herself but seeking atonement for past sins by doing every miniscule thing she can to stop the Duke (and the man that society believes is her father). There’s a darkness to her that I thought was completely missing from Ismae in Grave Mercy. What can I say, when I read about an assassin I want to see some edge and obscurity to them.

Overall, the whole book had a much more sinister feeling then the first one did, which is what I would expect from a book about assassins and young women who are the enact the justice of Death. There are some really dark issues in this book; emotional manipulation, murder, incest. There were some points where I was surprised that LaFevers went as far as she did in some directions, especially considering this is a book for young adults and even more so with how light-hearted the first book seemed in reflection. But Dark Triumph seems to be jam packed with darker issues, making up for some of the disappointment from the first novel. The time period of the book is also one that I hold close to heart (I have a Masters in Medieval Studies) so when I think of conniving courts, oppressive lords and peasant society taken to the extreme in fiction, this is what I hope to read.

I was also impressed to see that love and the act of falling in love didn’t become such a central focus until later in the story. It is a teen novel after all so I knew love would enter into the thick of things sooner or later, but I was pleased with LaFevers for holding off as long as she did. I liked Sybella being hard and cold, and to have her fall head over heels in love like some fainting princess would have cheapened her character. And ultimately, after reading the horror story that has been her life, you can’t help but want love for Sybella in the end.

I was somewhat skeptical after reading the first book, Grave Mercy, because it seemed to lack the deadly luster I had been hoping for but Dark Triumph as just as dark as I had hoped for. That darkness is the series redeeming factor for me. I can only hope that it continues in the third book Mortal Heart which is due out in the spring of 2014. If you like a story full of action and a heroine that is dangerous as much as she is flawed, Dark Triumph is a great place to satisfy that itch.

Devon – athousandbooklife

Other books by Robin LaFevers: Grave Mercy (2012) and the Lowthars Blade trilogy

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Teen

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne


“And one final thought came into her brother’s head as he watched the hundreds of people in the distance going about their business, and that was the fact that all of them – the small boys, the big boys, the fathers, the grandfathers, the uncles, the people who lived on their own on everybody’s road but didn’t seem to have any relatives at all – were wearing the same clothes as each other: a pair of grey striped pajamas with a grey striped cap on their heads.”

As a historian you gain an intimate familiarity with the more sensitive topics in our past. The Holocaust and the horrors of World War II is one of the more recent tragedies that the modern population is aware of and is remembered because of how many people and families it touched. I’ve always been a firm believer that while it happened over half a century ago, it must be remembered and recognized. How this is done in literature is often a touchy subject, particularly when trying to teach the younger generations. John Boyne has written a wonderfully, but respectfully, touching story of two young boys, Bruno and Shmuel, who live on different sides of a fence.

This review won’t be as in-depth as those that I have written previously. And I won’t be reviewing The Boy in the Striped Pajamas as much as giving a nod of my head to Boyne for handling such a sensitive issue with such humility and integrity, while still weaving a story that is educational in the reality of how worlds collided during that trying time and how a young boy might have seen it.

Much as I have always believed these stories need to be told, I also firmly believe that one of the more appropriate ways to do so in through the eyes of a child. It allows a way of relaying events of a serious nature but with the innocence that allows it to be read by a younger audience. When reading the Author’s Note Boyne makes a statement that resonated with me:

The issue of writing about the Holocaust is, of course, a contentious matter, and any novelist who explores it had better be sure about his or her intentions before setting out. It’s presumptuous to assume that from today’s perspective one can truly understand the horrors of the concentration camps, although it’s the responsibility of the writer to uncover as much emotional truth within that desperate landscape as he possibly can.

Throughout the writing and rewriting of the novel, I believed that the only respectful way for me to deal with this subject was through the eyes of a child, and particularly through the eyes of a rather naïve child who couldn’t possibly understand the terrible things that were taking place around him.

He wrote Bruno as that naïve child. The German son of the camp’s overseer has no idea of what sits outside his window and even when he meets a young Jewish boy named Shmuel he can only make childishly appropriate explanations for the differences in their appearance and situation. As the reader, who is aware of where Bruno lives and what is happening to Shmuel, you cannot help but be slightly annoyed with Bruno’s selfish concerns but that, in itself, is the mind of a child.

The age group this book is intended for certainly varies. Adults could read it and respect the seriousness of what was happening even though the eyes of a child. Teens (which is the category where this book is usually found) could read it and learn about a dark time of our history without some of the more horrific details found in other venues. Whether or not this is suitable for younger readings, such as twelve and under, is a judgment call. The book is written in a simple manner and so in regards to the reading level it would acceptable. However, the topic itself might make it appropriate only for a reader who has a sense of maturity and could handle the more serious elements of the story, which while masked by a child’s naivety, can still be detected.

John Boyne has taken a sensitive approach to a truly sinister element of history in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and written a story that teaches about this time while still being respectful for the lives lost during it as well. For the reader the fence represents the division between two very different worlds, but for Bruno the fence was merely something that kept him from playing with another small boy named Shmuel who for some reason always wore grey striped pajamas.

Devon – athousandbooklife

Other books written by John Boyne: He has published numerous books for both adults and younger readers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Teen

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman


“I tasted grit between my teeth. I was a woman of the desert now, no longer the shy outsider, a city girl frightened of scorpions. I had become fierce, willing to do anything to get what I wanted. This was the way hunters were born. I felt that savagery inside of me, a dark glimmering of will that resolved to survive. If I wanted something it became mine. I sneaked up on migrating birds and caught them in my scarf, sometimes in my bare hands. I was cunning, a lioness.”

Every year or so for the past few years a book is written that dignifies the struggle of women and gives them a voice when they have so often been historically silenced. In 2009 it was The Help, a personal favorite of mine. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman is the book that personifies this trend for the year of 2011 in my eyes. Haunting and written in a breath-taking manner, it is a story of love, companionship, loss and faith. It’s a hidden secret perhaps but one that has truly redefined the art and literally beauty of storytelling.

As is so often the case with novels that affect me so deeply The Dovekeepers was a gift from my mother. I myself had picked it up from time to time while in a bookstore, but always put it down again for some reason. I would like to think I may have been saving it for myself. The story follows the stories of four fascinating women: Yael, the motherless daughter of a famed assassin who possesses more courage than any of the men around her, Revka, an elderly grandmother who now cares for her two young grandsons who have lost as much as her and are equally traumatized by it, Aziza, raised as boy until her teenage years who is just as fearless as any warrior and who earns the love of one just as fierce and brave as herself, and lastly Shirah, the so-called Witch of Moab, a woman who practices earthly and unknown magics and nurtures a forbidden love of her own that has influenced her all her life. While their tales are told individually, their lives converge together as they all come to Masada after fleeing persecution and find themselves the keepers of the vital doves who live on the mountain and help it thrive.

This is one of most beautifully written historical fictions I have ever read. It’s as simple as that. The historical details Hoffman includes are extensive and bring the story to life, but Hoffman succeeds at doing something beyond merely setting a historical stage for her characters. There are countless historical fictions out there in the literary world that do a sufficient job at doing just that, but it is rare for authors to truly submerge themselves and their readers in the historical realities of the time. Hoffman’s details are intimate, from the subtle description of the plants Shirah uses to perform her prayers and sacrifices, to the survival skills that emerge in Yael as she comes to love living in the desert. There is a sense of all things feminine, but that does not necessarily negate them to being of a weak or lacking nature. The characters contain layers of depth, so riddled with their own strife that you cannot help but feel for them and to grow attached to them as their lives change and they struggle to continue forward. Hoffman succeeds wonderfully at writing in such an elegant fashion while not crossing that line that leaves the reality of the situation blurred by excessive description or overly poetic story telling.

When I finished reading the book I read the acknowledgement, something I rarely do. In it Hoffman states that she’s not a historian in any way, but that she performed extensive research in preparation for writing this novel. I was slightly stunned when I read this, because the extent of historical knowledge woven into the story was to an extent that I could only assume a seasoned historian could provide. There’s no doubt that Hoffman touches on some very dark topics; the death and rapes of loved ones, the jealous rivalry and competition between women, deadly persecution, the realities of war and the atrocities soldiers perform. The stories of the four main women would be too hard to read if not for the perseverance and strength that Hoffman incorporates into their characters. They are all Jewish women fleeing the Roman armies who are trying to annihilate their people over two thousand years ago. Society is more familiar with the atrocities committed against the Jewish community in the past century, but it is important to remember that they have faced persecution consistently throughout history. Hoffman gives a glimpse into what these women might have struggled through, to not only protect themselves but also their children and the men they loved.

In so many ways the stories are based on such common elements of life and yet there is a literary complexity that makes The Dovekeepers a memorable read. For anyone who loves an intricate historical fiction, it is a must read. I would also venture to say that it’s a necessary read for anyone who enjoys a book that portrays the historical lives of women as they might have been. History itself often leaves the lives of women buried, because the documents left are so commonly written by men. Historical fiction opens the doorway to allow the stories of women to shine through, told in stories but often laced with historical truth. Much like my mother likely suspected The Dovekeepers is a profoundly touching book for any of the special women in your life.

Devon – athousandbooklife

Other books by Alice Hoffman: She has written extensively (including books for teens and children), but some of her more well known books include Turtle Moon (2002), Here on Earth (2010) and The Red Garden (2011)

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction

The Gods of Gotham by Lindsay Faye

“I hadn’t been south of City Hall Park since a massive slice of city had burned to the ground. The closer I came, the slower my feet went. Smoke assaulted my nostrils even though there wasn’t any, embers pulsating within the rubbish heaps. Eager hammers rang out like the pounding of the city’s pulse. Buildings- still intact, plastered with clothing and medical and political advertisements- grew ever more scorched. Occasional structures, formerly wooden, were missing entirely. And therein lay the source of the hammering: Irishmen, hundreds upon hundreds of Irishmen, were sweating through their shirts with nails in their teeth while a native or two looked on, drinking from a flask and calling out jeers.”

Historical fiction has always been a personal favorite genre, but the art of blending historical fact and intriguing fiction can be hit and miss. Lindsay Faye masters the challenges of the genre in The Gods of Gotham and presents an enthralling literary portrayal of the socially charged atmosphere of New York City during the 1840s. I actually purchased this novel a few months ago when my workplace chose it to be the company’s spotlight choice for the month. It sat on my shelf for some time as life took precedent, but when I finally sat down and read the first chapter I was hooked to the point where it came with me on a weekend away.

The story follows Timothy Wilde, a man who is as scared externally and internally as the city that surrounds him. When life takes a sudden turn beyond Tim’s control he finds himself joining the first ever official police force for a city that is ready to ignite, due to the daily arrivals of poor Irish people, discrimination against the local black communities, growing discontent of locals and the Catholics who aim to assist anyone less fortunate than them. When a young girl, nick-named Bird, stumbles across his path during his first shift, blood-soaked and adept at lying, the story takes an even darker twist and draws Tim deeper into the underworld of a city he is hardly eager to serve in the first place.

Faye’s writing completely immerses you in the historical period and antics of the time. The settings are vivid and must have been extensively researched; the attention to detail suggesting that historical research and knowledge are behind her ability to write with such richness, edged with an elaborate finesse. The best example is the use of a slang dubbed “flash” which is used by the individuals of questionable intentions, from newspaper boys to the thugs who man the streets. So often when we think of New York the hectic and skyscraper-littered image of modern day New York comes to mind, and so it’s refreshing to read about it before it became fully manufactured and to see the struggles people went through as it evolved to the city we know today. It’s often difficult to imagine that on your own, but the setting Faye provides is a great place to start.

One of the things I often find with historical fiction is that one element of the novel seems to be weaker than the other; if the setting is amazing, the characters often lack depth and vice versa. Thankfully, it’s not the case in this work. The characters are realistic, flawed but hopeful. The emotions many of them experience through the book are easily related to and the characters become as much a facet of the city as the buildings and streets they flitter between.

While this book is a descriptive dream for those who enjoy descriptive historical fiction, I can see how some people might feel overwhelmed by this book. Faye’s writing often becomes intense, flowing in a manner that verbally dances around what is actually taking place; for a reader who wants a concise story told without flowery prose, Faye’s work might prove to be a bit frustrating. However, I personally found it easy to lose myself in.

Steeped in historical depth with an intriguing plot and character turns, Faye takes a modern day mystery and revives it with a little historical flare. Numerous issues are addressed and the very core of the mystery stems from issues that were likely very realistic in the past. For people like me, who enjoy a realistic and well-researched historical fiction, The Gods of Gotham is a historical treat.

Devon – athousandbooklife

Other books by Linsday Faye: Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson (2009)

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

“Although something inside her told her that this was a crime- after all, her three books were the most precious items she owned- she was compelled to see the thing lit. She couldn’t help it. I guess humans like to watch a little destruction. Sand castles, houses of cards, that’s where they begin. Their great skill is their capacity to escalate.”

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a historical gem, infused with characters, emotions and experiences that will linger in your mind and will no doubt make this book an instant favorite. It is without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year and in all honesty, perhaps over the past few years. From the first page I wanted to devour this book, to read it without letting life interrupt and yet it was also a novel that I wanted to savor, to draw out over time so I could fully appreciate it. Selfishly I realized that to finish it too quickly would be a shame and I would be denied of Zusak’s ingenious and captivating story telling. I cannot say enough good things about this book; I have yet to find another book from its genre that can compare.

The novel follows Liesel Meminger, an orphan who is taken in by Hans and Rosa Hubermann, during the years preceding WWII in the German city of Molching, where the fervor for the Fuhrer touches all aspects of daily life. Despite the troubling circumstances of her arrival, Liesel comes to benefit from the affection of those around her; Papa and the playing of his accordion, her childhood friend Rudy and his endless attempts to earn a kiss, the firm but loving hand of Mama. However, Liesel finds true contentment in reading and she soon becomes a thief of books to expand her small but treasured library. As with so many stories from this era, life turns when her parents do not side with the aspirations of those around them and they ultimately make the most decisive and dangerous choice of all when a promise from the past leads them to hide a Jew named Max in their basement. What transpires afterwards is nothing that anyone could have anticipated.

There are many unique aspects of this book that were unexpected. The writing is absolutely beautiful; there really is no better way to put it. Australian born Zusak weaves his stories with an intricate complexity, and while the book itself is a series of numerous smaller stories, they all come together to form a seamless story line. Zusak also puts so much originality into his characters that you cannot help becoming attached to them as you read about individual quirks and deeds. Another truly interesting aspect of the book is that the narrator is Death. It took me a few chapters to realize who was telling the story, but it adds a unique, all-seeing narrative that is littered with poignant wisdoms about humanity at the time. His portrayal is refreshing and not the typical caste of Death that might be expected, but that of a benign, shapeless form that watches the mishaps of humanities and strives to perform his duties as efficiently as he can, while trying to understand the acts of humans. One of the most telling statements made by Death is towards the finale of the book when he states, “I am haunted by humans.”

The consistent theme of reading and books in the novel seems conventional but it molds the lives in the book in some regards, allowing the characters to escape, to learn and to show emotions for those around them. Liesel’s (also affectingly known as saumensch) first literary acquirement mirrors the loss of her mother and brother, the second and third are hard-earned gifts of love from her Papa Hans, another an act of extreme courage and the most important book comes as an expression of gratitude from Max. Loss, love, courage, gratitude; four themes of many that are woven into The Book Thief. In a time when the world around them was twisting and turning into something foreign, books were the one thing that kept Liesel grounded. I think many readers can associate with that notion, turning to books when stressed or needing to be motivated or just looking for an exciting and completely different life that can be experienced through words.

I was somewhat surprised to remember after finishing the book that I had discovered it in the Teen section of a book store. In many ways it seems too advanced to be in the Teen section, but when I consider what I was interested in and my reading level when I was a teenager, perhaps it is suiting to still have books of this quality available to young adults. However, adults can appreciate its brilliance as well and the numerous friends and family members I have recommended it to have enjoyed it immensely.

Published in 2005 The Book Thief has won numerous prizes and awards of recognition, all of which are well deserved in my opinion. It was a delightful surprise, a book that I had never heard of before but which has left a lasting impression. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who appreciates literary masterpieces that pull you completely into another world and keep you engrossed in it.

Devon – athousandbooklife

Other books by Markus Zusak: I Am The Messenger (2006), Getting The Girl (2004) or When Dogs Cry (2001), Fighting Ruben Wolfe (2000) and The Underdog (1999)

Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Teen