(Review) A Song For Lonely Wolves: A Joseon Detective Novel, Book One by Lee Evie

Publisher and Publication Date: Interstice Press. February 26, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 297.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from Lee Evie, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of detective, women and literature, and historical fiction.
Rating: Very good.

Book One: A Song for Lonely Wolves
Book Two: An Ode to Hungry Ghosts
Book Three: A Hymn of Soldiers Lost

Landing page for the blog tour: A Song For Lonely Wolves.

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Indiebound

Lee Evie

About the Author:
Lee Evie is a historical fiction author. She writes with a focus on Korean history and loves dark adventures with a heavy dose of danger, mystery and romance. When she’s not writing, Lee Evie can be found watching drama, which she will do for hours on end. She believes drama watching is the ultimate joy of life. Even when they make her cry. An avid photography and travel lover, Lee Evie thinks stories are the most precious gift to the universe.
Website/Newsletter/Instagram/Goodreads

Summary:

A missing woman. A frozen body.
A bonded servant girl, determined to solve a mystery.

Joseon Korea, winter, 1590.

At the foot of a jagged mountain range, an isolated village lies in muddy snow. From her bed, a young noblewoman vanishes in the dead of night and rumours of a fearsome ghost with no face echo in her wake.

Hard-working and dogged Dan Ji, arrives in the long winding valley with her own ghosts. As a damo, a tea servant of the police force, she is overlooked and undervalued. Yet this case has gripped her heart, and she craves to prove her worth beyond simply cooking and cleaning for her superiors – she is determined to solve the mystery.

With only the officer in charge on her side – a hard young man with a bloody past and secrets of his own – Dan Ji must convince the local Magistrate and his provincial policemen to trust her judgement. Yet with mistrust brewing, the investigation slowly grinds to a halt. Until a frozen body is unearthed from the deep snows of the mountain range.

It is not within Dan Ji’s nature to leave a mystery unsolved, yet soon she discovers the fine threads of this investigation run much deeper than anyone has anticipated.

A dark historical mystery set in old Korea.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book by Lee Evie I’ve read in the past couple of weeks and I recommend them both.
Both books have strong female leads.
Both books are written with the setting in Korea.
Both books have lovely front covers of beautiful women.
Both books gave me a strong view of Korean culture and society in old Korea.

A Song For Lonely Wolves captured my interest in the first page with an edge of the seat drama unfolding.
Dan Ji is a damo, she is a servant. However, she is a remarkably strong and savvy person remaining steady under pressure. I love strong characters and Dan Ji is a favorite.
Themes in the story are loyalty, courage, ambition, and trust.
Lee Evie’s books are now a favorite for me. I’ll be anticipating other books in both series when they are published.

During the blog tour, we are giving away a paperback copy of A Song For Lonely Wolves by Lee Evie.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Gleam link for the giveaway: https://gleam.io/d28qw/a-song-for-lonely-wolves

(Review) Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels by Isabel Sun Chao and Claire Chao

Publisher and Publication Date: Plum Brook. 2018.
Genre: Memoir. Historical fiction. Women and literature.
Pages: 308.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: For readers who enjoy a book that’s part memoir and part historical fiction. People who have an interest in Chinese history and culture. Readers of mother and daughter relationships.
Rating: Excellent.

Advertisement from the 1930s. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Amazon link
The Kindle copy is $1.99 today.

Website for the book: Remembering Shanghai.

This book has won over twenty literary awards.

A thirteen page glossary is included.

Illustrations (both photographs and watercolor) are throughout the book, many of them are in color.

Summary:
Claire and Isabel (daughter and mother) traveled to Shanghai, China to visit the original family home in 2008. Afterwards, Claire began to write about the four generations of her mother’s family. Included is historical information about the culture and history during each generation. The main part of the book is Isabel’s life.

My Thoughts:
When the mother first saw the family home after an absence of sixty years, I was awestruck at her humility and ability to remain calm despite an awkwardness of how the home now looks. At one time, the family home was beautiful and elegant. A single family dwelled in it. Now, several people live in apartments, inside the home, that have been selected by the government. People look down on others who have wealth. It is looked upon as low quality in character. This is the society and culture of communist China. This is eye-opening to me. People judge before really knowing the people and their individual lives. And, often people judge because it’s what they’ve been taught.
I have a friend who is from South Korea. She made a comment to me that Americans are lazy. Some are and some are not. Further, some Koreans are probably lazy. This is a character trait and not respective of nation. Anyone who calls my husband lazy should work his job for a day. I dare you. He works for a large city on the sewer cleaning equipment. Ha! Yes, it is a crappy job. I’m being sarcastic. Back to the book!
I love women and literature stories. I love mother and daughter stories. I love stories with the setting in China. This book had a triple appeal for me. I ordered it for my birthday in February. I enjoyed reading every page.
Additional reasons why I love this book:
~Beautiful illustrations. I love art. The art included in the book is visually stunning. Definitely aesthetic quality.
~The interesting stories from the great-grandparents generation.
~Education about Chinese writing, name placement, clothing, and religion.
~The Chinese Cultural Revolution and the consequences on Isabel’s siblings and father.

Both the above photographs were taken in Shanghai. Free images courtesy of Unsplash.

(Review) A Portrait of Jane Austen by David Cecil

Publisher and Publication Date: Hill and Wang/a division of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 1979.
Genre: Nonfiction. History of Jane Austen and her era. Women and literature.
Pages: 208.
Source: Self purchase.
Audience: Readers of Jane Austen.
Rating: Good.

Amazon link

Summary:
David Cecil explains this book is not intended to be an analysis of Jane Austen’s life nor of the history of that era. It is meant to show her life through illustrations, letters, writings, and biographical information from family.

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed this book.
It’s an inexpensive hard cover book with illustrations throughout. Some of the illustrations are of the Austen family, copies of Jane’s letters and works, drawings made by the family, the homes they lived in, and other included history.
I learned about the Austen family. Jane’s grandparents and parents, siblings, and their families.
I learned about how Jane’s ill health in the final years had an effect on her writings.
Jane Austen was a creative genius. Her stories were not all the same, but with differing developments and expressions.
She was not afraid to branch out to something new. For example the last work, Sanditon. Sanditon was left unfinished because of her failing health, but it showed remarkable difference from previous works.
At times though, Jane Austen was not a confident writer.
I feel A Portrait of Jane Austen is a more personal study. The letters and biography information give the book an intimate quality.

(Review) Our Tempestuous Day: A History of Regency England by Carolly Erickson

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Publisher and Publication Date: HarperCollins. 1986. First Harper paperback 2011.
Genre: Nonfiction. British history. Regency Period.
Pages: 304.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Readers of British history or Regency Period history.
Rating: Okay-good.

Amazon link 

Links of interest on George III:
Britannica on George III
History.com on George III
Royal.uk on George III
Biography.com on George III

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George III

Links of interest on George IV:
Royal.uk on George IV
Britannica on George IV

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George IV

Summary:
The Regency period covers the years 1810 to 1820.
George III was born in 1738 and died in 1820.
King George III was the monarch of Great Britain and Ireland from 1760 to 1820. He had a mental illness that made him incapable of ruling during the last ten years. His son, the future George IV, became regent in 1811 and until his father’s death in 1820.
George IV reigned as monarch only ten years until his death in 1830.

Our Tempestuous Day focuses on George III and George IV. Other historical figures: Lord Byron, the Duke of Wellington, Caroline Lamb, Jane Austen, and Princess Charlotte are included.
The author uses characters to share what life was like during this time period, but these are people who are (mainly) in the upper part of society, not the common people.

My Thoughts:
I’ve struggled with whether to give this book an okay or good rating. I’ve toggled back and forth until I’ve decided to stay at okay-good.
The deciding factor for me in this rating is I wanted to read about the common people. The people closer to those in the Jane Austen’s stories. Chapter 18 finally answered some of my interests with how children were treated: stories of the “climbing boys,” child abandonment, street gangs, and prostitution.
However, the book is interesting in regards to how the two George monarchs lived. The opulence of George IV, and his tumultuous marriage and inappropriate treatment of the unloved wife.
Lord Byron is a character I knew a little about before reading this book. He was a scoundrel and didn’t care. You’ve heard the term, “love them and leave them.” I wouldn’t say he loved anyone but himself. He did leave them, that was a certainty.
Over-all, Our Tempestuous Day is a starting point for reading about the Regency Period.

(Review) The Philosopher’s Daughters by Alison Booth

the-philosophers-daughters
Publisher and Publication Date: Red Door Press. April 2, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction. Women and literature.
Pages: eBook copy. 356.
Source: I received a complimentary eBook copy from HFVBT, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of women and literature, and historical fiction.
Rating: Very good.

Amazon link

Giveaway link to Gleam
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of The Philosopher’s Daughters! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on July 6th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours about the tour: The Philosopher’s Daughter.

Praise for The Philosopher’s Daughter:

A lyrical tale of wild, frontier Australia. Evocative, insightful, thought-provoking.” -Karen Viggers, author”Booth is superb at the small detail that creates a life, and the large one that gives it meaning.” –
Marion Halligan, author“Delicately handled historical drama with a theme of finding self, both in relationships and art, backed by issues on race relations in Australia and women’s rights.” -Tom Flood, author and editor
Alison Booth
About The Author:
Alison Booth was born in Melbourne, brought up in Sydney and has worked in the UK and in Australia as a professor as well as a novelist. Her most recent novel, A Perfect Marriage, is in the genre of contemporary fiction, while her first three novels (Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky, and A Distant Land) are historical fiction spanning the decades 1950s through to the early 1970s. Alison’s work has been translated into French and has also been published by Reader’s Digest Select Editions in both Asia and Europe. Alison, who holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics, is an active public speaker and has participated in many writers’ festivals and literary events.
Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Summary:
A tale of two very different sisters whose 1890s voyage from London into remote outback Australia becomes a journey of self-discovery, set against a landscape of wild beauty and savage dispossession.
London in 1891: Harriet Cameron is a talented young artist whose mother died when she was barely five. She and her beloved sister Sarah were brought up by their father, radical thinker James Cameron. After adventurer Henry Vincent arrives on the scene, the sisters’ lives are changed forever. Sarah, the beauty of the family, marries Henry and embarks on a voyage to Australia. Harriet, intensely missing Sarah, must decide whether to help her father with his life’s work or devote herself to painting.
When James Cameron dies unexpectedly, Harriet is overwhelmed by grief. Seeking distraction, she follows Sarah to Australia, and afterwards into the Northern Territory outback, where she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life.
Her rejuvenation begins with her friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her growing love for the landscape. But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand seeking revenge.

My Thoughts:
The beginning of the story started slow for me. I hung on, because I wanted to get to the point when the two sisters were in Australia. Once the sisters began their new life in Australia, I enjoyed reading The Philosopher’s Daughters
The sisters are vastly different in personalities and temperaments. This is my first reason why I liked this story. The sisters bring different view points of women in the late 19th century, and they bring different perspectives of Australia. 
Sarah is strong-willed and determined, but teachable. Harriet is strong-willed and determined, but obstinate. This leads to some poor decisions from Harriet. 
Through their eyes I saw Australia. Australia is the setting for most of the book. The culture of the Aborigine people and how the white people treated them is a conflict in the story. Sarah and Harriet have a growing knowledge of the culture and society of both people groups, but the women respond in different ways. 
The land of Australia came alive. The vivid colors, terrain, and unbroken wildness became another reason why I like this story.  
I enjoy reading about how men and women relate to one another. This is not always pleasant reading, but it satisfies a curiosity about the different viewpoints of how the two respond to one another considering the society of that historical period. Sarah is a married woman through most of the story. Sarah speaks her mind, because she doesn’t always understand her husband. However, she submits to his leadership. Harriet doesn’t understand this type of thinking, because she wants to be independent and make her own life. This is an additional conflict. 
Over-all I felt this is a very good story!