Posts by Vicki J Kondelik

Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier

Cover of Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with A Pearl Earring, tells the story of two children in 1790s London, country boy Jem, who has recently moved to London when his father finds work with Astley's Circus, and streetwise city girl Maggie, and their friendship with poet and engraver William Blake. The children become the inspiration for Blake's most famous books of poetry. Chevalier paints a vivid portrait of life in London at the time of the French Revolution.

The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

Cover of The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

The Stranger Diaries is a contemporary gothic novel of suspense set at a high school in rural England. Clare Cassidy is an English teacher researching a Victorian novelist who used to live in one of the school buildings. There is a legend that he murdered his wife and that her ghost haunts the school. When two members of the English department are murdered and their bodies found with a line from a story by the Victorian novelist, and Clare finds that a stranger has written in her diary, she...

The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

Cover of The Blue by Nancy Bilyeau

The Blue is a historical thriller of industrial espionage in the world of 18th century porcelain manufacture. The heroine is a talented artist who wishes to become a serious painter, but, as a woman, that path is blocked to her in England. In Venice it would be a different story, but she doesn't have the money to go there. An unscrupulous nobleman offers to finance her journey to Venice if she accepts a job at a porcelain factory and steals the formula for a stunning new shade of blue...

Napoleon: A Life by Adam Zamoyski

Cover of Napoleon: A Life by Adam Zamoyski

In this detailed biography of Napoleon, Polish historian Adam Zamoyski gives us a balanced view of his character: not a hero, but not a villain, either. Zamoyski focuses on Napoleon's formative years and personal life, not so much on the battles, although that is covered as well.

Women and Power by Mary Beard

Cover of Women and Power by Mary Beard

Classicist Mary Beard writes, in two brief essays, about how the voices of powerful women in Western civilization have been suppressed though the years, from ancient times to the present day. She gives examples throughout history, from the ancient Greeks to the present.

Birth of the Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom

Cover of Birth of the Chess Queen by Marilyn Yalom

Birth of the Chess Queen tells the story of the chess queen's evolution from the origins of the game to the present day. The queen was not always part of the game, and when she was first introduced, she was not the powerful piece she is today. Historian Marilyn Yalom discusses how the queen came to be the most powerful piece on the chessboard, and tells the stories of several strong real-life queens in the Middle Ages and Renaissance who influenced the evolution of the chess queen.

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

Cover of The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

The Winter Ghosts is a beautifully-written novel about a young man whose brother was killed in World War I, who travels in the French Pyrenees in the hope that he will heal his emotional wounds. Stranded in a blizzard, he finds a remote village and meets a young woman who tells him a horrific story of the massacre of a Christian sect in the Middle Ages. But there is more going on than meets the eye. Time travel, ghosts, or the protagonist's imagination? It is up to the reader to decide.

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