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The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a sweet and heartwarming historical fiction set in England during WWII. After renowned fashion designer Cressida Westcott’s home and design business is bombed in the London Blitz, she leaves London and returns to her familial home in a small village. Hoping that her niece and nephew are more welcoming than her deceased, estranged brother, she appears on their doorstep with nothing but the clothes on her back. She wonders how she will handle living in a small village while she tries to rebuild her business and life back in London.

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Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a charming historical fiction set in 1950s London and is a follow up to the Jane Austen Society book, but can be read as a stand-alone. The story is set in Bloomsbury Books, a new and rare book store that has been running for a hundred years. It is run by men that are set in their ways. The general manager created 51 unbreakable rules that all employees must abide by, and they especially chafe the women working at the store.

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Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a good YA Fantasy continuing the story of the Disney movie Brave. The book is set several years after the movie and we find Merida traveling the countryside learning new skills and the triplets languishing at home, unchanged and unmotivated. In fact, most of her family seems to be stuck, with little purpose or motivation to change things. Which is the problem.

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The Interpreter by Isabella Pallavacini

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a good historical fiction book based on true events of the author’s father during WWII. It depicts parts of the war that I haven’t read much about – what was going on in Italy and Sicily during the war and how it affected the country and it’s people. The book focuses on one family’s experiences, ranging from Switzerland, Germany, Sicily, Italian and the United States.

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1979 (Allie Burns #1) by Val McDermid

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a good historical fiction mystery thriller set in 1979 Scotland. Allie Burns is an investigative journalist at a newspaper in Glasgow, Scotland. She’s living in a “man’s world” and struggles to make her way and write the kind of stories she wants to write. Allie teams up with a co-worker to follow the trail of an illegal tax evasion scheme. From there the story escalates to much bigger issues that could cost Allie her life.

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Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is a good historical fiction mystery set in Harlem in the early 1960s. Ray Carney came from nothing and with his drive and ambition he’s opened his own furniture store selling reasonably priced furniture. Money is always tight, so if his cousin Freddie drops off the occasional piece of jewelry, he doesn’t ask questions, and neither does the jeweler he takes it to.

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The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is one of the best WWII books I’ve read and devoured it in 2 days. It’s a unique story, inspired from true life events of survival against horrible odds.

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America by Mike Bond

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This was an interesting historical fiction that follows four young people as they grow up during the 1960’s. Troy is an orphan that is taken in by Mick and Tara’s family. Daisy is the girl that Mick loves. As the foursome deal with growing up, the author weaves the turbulent times of the 60’s throughout their story. Often the characters bring up what is happening in the country at the time, from the presidential debates, Kennedy’s assassination, landing on the moon and the Vietnam war. Sometimes these “history lessons” made sense in the story, but more often than not, they felt forced and stilted.

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The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is a very good historical fiction set in Paris during WWII and is based on a true story. Odile is a young French girl who dreams of working at the American Library in Paris. She obtains her dream job, forming deep friendships with the other workers. She also starts to date a handsome police officer introduced to her by her father. When war breaks out and the Nazis occupy Paris, she and her fellow librarians are determined to keep the library open. They send valuable books out of town to safety, and they smuggle books to Jewish patrons that are forbidden from going to the library.

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