In which we throw it back and I review three historical fiction audiobooks today — let me know if any of these books sound like something you’d enjoy!
I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes
Narrator: Emily Woo Zeller
Length: 12 Hours 21 Minutes
on July 7th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Asian American, Historical, Contemporary Women
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
The smallest items can hold centuries of secrets...
Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt's island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara's life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.
Inspired by true events, Kelli Estes's brilliant and atmospheric debut serves as a poignant tale of two women determined to do the right thing, and the power of our own stories.
The Girl Who Wrote In Silk by Kelli Estes reminds me that I definitely do not read enough adult historical fiction. It is such an interesting audiobook. Actually, The Girl Who Wrote In Silk works so well as an audiobook. I’d definitely recommend going the audiobook route if you’re interested in reading this book.
So, The Girl Who Wrote In Silk is mainly about this woman named Inara Erickson who is basically cleaning up her dead aunt’s giant house on this island near Seattle. Inara turned down a job at Starbucks corporate do this, which really pisses off her rich dad. However, she finds that the estate is calling to her. Meanwhile, she finds this bit of fabric that is absolutely gorgeous and has a story woven throughout it. It captures her imagination and so she takes it to this university professor who decodes it. There’s a parallel story that intertwines which is that of Mei Lein. Mei’s story takes place in the past. She’s experienced a massive amount of tragedy and trauma and a difficult life. Her story is absolutely fascinating. I won’t give too much away, except to say that in the very beginning Mei’s entire family dies and how she survives and moves forward is astounding.
Ultimately, I do not often read books like The Girl Who Wrote In Silk and I regret that because this was such a layered, good book. You should read this book if you’re looking for an audiobook with strong plotting and secrets. Also, the narrator Emily Woo Zeller is tried and true. She’s got plenty of audiobooks under her belt and does such a superb job with this book. I’m still just really surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. Definitely worth your time and a listen.
Other reviews of The Girl Who Wrote In Silk by Kelli Estes:
- Nerd Problems – “an incredible story filled with history, love, angst, and pure pain“
- The Tipsy Verse – “I was completely hooked“
- Cover2CoverMom – “a must read“
Support Good Books & Good Wine with your purchase of The Girl Who Wrote In Silk:
I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
Narrator: Santino Fontana, Heather Alicia Simms, Madeleine Maby, Kyle Beltran
Length: 12 Hours 5 Minutes
Published by Simon and Schuster on April 11th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
From the author of the New York Times bestseller and beloved book club favorite The Kitchen House, a novel of family and long-buried secrets along the treacherous Underground Railroad.
Jamie Pyke, son of both a slave and master of Tall Oakes, has a deadly secret that compels him to take a treacherous journey through the Underground Railroad.
Published in 2010, The Kitchen House became a grassroots bestseller. Fans connected so deeply to the book’s characters that the author, Kathleen Grissom, found herself being asked over and over “what happens next?” The wait is finally over.
This new, stand-alone novel opens in 1830, and Jamie, who fled from the Virginian plantation he once called home, is passing in Philadelphia society as a wealthy white silversmith. After many years of striving, Jamie has achieved acclaim and security, only to discover that his aristocratic lover Caroline is pregnant. Before he can reveal his real identity to her, he learns that his beloved servant Pan has been captured and sold into slavery in the South. Pan’s father, to whom Jamie owes a great debt, pleads for Jamie’s help, and Jamie agrees, knowing the journey will take him perilously close to Tall Oakes and the ruthless slave hunter who is still searching for him. Meanwhile, Caroline’s father learns and exposes Jamie’s secret, and Jamie loses his home, his business, and finally Caroline.
Heartbroken and with nothing to lose, Jamie embarks on a trip to a North Carolina plantation where Pan is being held with a former Tall Oakes slave named Sukey, who is intent on getting Pan to the Underground Railroad. Soon the three of them are running through the Great Dismal Swamp, the notoriously deadly hiding place for escaped slaves. Though they have help from those in the Underground Railroad, not all of them will make it out alive.
Kathleen Grissom’s The Kitchen House had a lot of hype back when it was released. However, because I am the actual worst I never did get around to reading it. Instead, when Netgalley presented me with the opportunity to download the companion, Glory Over Everything, I went with that instead. And well, downloaded it and it sat on my Kindle until I ended up putting a hold on the audiobook via Overdrive. Straight up, the audiobook of Glory Over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House is where it is at. This is an excellent listen about a very dark time in American history.
Glory Over Everything is about Jamie Pyke who is half Black and is the son of the master of this plantation and a slave. Jamie, however, has made his escape from the plantation. You see, Jamie can pass as white. So, now he lives in Philadelphia and is this famous artist. Unfortunately, he gets this rich woman pregnant and has to tell her the truth about his ancestry, given that her child could come out darker than expected.
So, that happens and things go real bad real fast. In the meantime, one of Jamie’s servants, Pan, has been sold into slavery in the South. Jamie owes Pan’s father his freedom and so they travel back to the South, at great risk, to save Pan. There’s death and betrayal and hurt and loss. There’s also a great journey that will require using the Underground Railroad.
Glory Over Everything was such a well written book. It is infused with so much emotion and pain. I mean, if you want a tough book, this would be the one. There’s a lot of different storylines in this book, from Jamie to Pan to Sukey. There’s many, many characters. Yet, their different connections are all quite interesting. The audiobook handles all the perspectives very well with the various narrators. The audiobook of Kathleen Grissom’s Glory Over Everything is narrated by Santino Fontana, Heather Alicia Simms, Madeleine Maby, and Kyle Beltran.
All the narrators were new to me. I can’t say who narrated which part, but I will say each narrator choice made perfect sense. 100% would recommend this one, it was even worth waiting for. I had it on hold as for once another person at the library wanted to listen to this book at the same time. I absolutely LOVED it. I really want to read The Kitchen House too now, or actually, listen to The Kitchen House.
Other reviews of Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom:
- A Slice Of Brie – “many chapters will have you on the edge of your seat“
- I’ve Read This – “Especially good for book clubs“
- Enchanted Prose – “You may also shed tears“
Support Good Books & Good Wine with your purchase of Glory Over Everything:
I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Warriors of the Storm by Bernard Cornwell
Narrator: Matt Bates
Length: 12 Hours 12 Minutes
Published by HarperCollins on January 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Action & Adventure, War & Military
Format: Audiobook, ARC
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
The ninth installment of Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit BBC America television series.
A fragile peace reigns in Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia. King Alfred’s son Edward and formidable daughter, Aethelflaed, rule the kingdoms. But all around the restless Northmen, eyeing the rich lands and wealthy churches, are mounting raids.
Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the kingdoms’ greatest warrior, controls northern Mercia from the strongly fortified city of Chester. But forces are gathering against him. Northmen allied to the Irish, led by the fierce warrior Ragnall Ivarson, are soon joined by the Northumbrians, and their strength could prove overwhelming. Despite the gathering threat, both Edward and Aethelflaed are reluctant to move out of the safety of their fortifications. But with Uhtred’s own daughter married to Ivarson’s brother, who can be trusted?
In the struggle between family and loyalty, between personal ambition and political commitment, there will be no easy path. But a man with a warrior’s courage may be able to find it. Such a man is Uhtred, and this may be his finest hour.
Of the three books reviewed today, I enjoyed Warriors Of The Storm by Bernard Cornwell the least. I mean, it is an okay read. However, it just was not a me book. Perhaps that is due to a number of factors. I listened to the audiobook as I do with all things and was just not entirely in love with or feeling it. I won’t try to dissuade you from reading this book. I did not even strongly dislike Warriors Of The Storm, just I did not love it like I did The Girl Who Wrote In Silk and Glory Over Everything.
Warriors Of The Storm by Bernard Cornwell is the ninth book in his Saxon Stories series. I have read exactly zero of the other books in the series. I do not actually know if you need to read them all in order to enjoy each book. However, based on the summary of this book, I felt like I was fine not having read the others. So, basically Warriors Of The Storm is about Uhtred who controls Chester. Uhtred is in love, I think, with this girl named Aethelflaed. But, his brother is married to her. She’s also the king’s daughter. So, the Irish are about to invade, because OF COURSE THEY ARE. And war is on and it’s up to Uhtred the warrior to save England and take on the challenge. There’s also a priest in this book too.
Overall, my attention really truly wavered during Warriors Of The Storm. The audiobook is narrated by Matt Barnes and I am sure it is up to par and standard. I just had the absolute worst time paying attention. It felt slow even though I had the narration sped up to 1.5x. I could not bring myself to be invested in any of the characters or the wars. I could not even tell you any intricate plot details. So, I feel kind of apathetic about Warriors Of The Storm. Some people will like it. Some people won’t. I will recommend that if you have a short attention span, you read this book with your eyes and not your ears.
Other reviews of Warriors Of The Storm by Bernard Cornwell:
- Adam-P-Reviews – “this was another enjoyable book“