My Review of A Casualty of Grace by Lisa Brown

My Review of:

A Casualty of Grace by Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown has written a captivating, realistic, thoroughly researched historical fiction which hooks the reader in the very first pages of the story. It was in England during 1893 that Oliver and Simon were left to fend for themselves when their mother died. Workhouses for uncared for children had been established and children were often sent to other places in the world as British Home Children to work on farms, in mills and in factories at the mercy of sometimes harsh and cruel taskmasters. Such was the fate of Oliver and Simon arriving in Canada in 1895 at the tender ages of thirteen and five.

This well written story is filled with beautifully descriptive sentences and phrases presented in short paragraphs and interwoven seamlessly into the fiber of the story.

“It was just a small opening, but the sun managed to make its way in, illuminating minute flecks of suspended dust and turning them into a sea of brilliant sparkles that looked like fireflies dancing in the unguarded moonlight.”

The dialect that was spoken by Oliver and Simon would have been challenging to write but the use of it was very effective, becoming part of the story itself and providing a realism to the story given the time and place.

The story flowed effortlessly, always with intent as each and every page was important and significant bringing meaning and purpose to the entire story. There were no space fillers or unnecessary words or paragraphs. Foreshadowing filled the reader with expectations, dread and anticipation.

The characters in the story were amazing. Oliver’s strength of character went well beyond his years. Simon was painted as the carefree, typical five year old, very protective of his older brother. Mr. Pritchard, the cruel, uncaring, taskmaster who in the end, met his fate in an interesting twist.  Peter Potts, who was Oliver’s predecessor on the Pritchard farm, became Oliver’s trusted friend.  Liza Pritchard was portrayed as a kind, gentle, pathetic soul, trapped by fate from which she saw no escape.  It was interesting to see how the author had characters, such as Peter Potts, Mr. Eager and the Fox children, appear and reappear later on in the story in meaningful ways.  Well done, Lisa Brown!

There is nothing about this book that I did not like. In my mind it is a real masterpiece. It is certainly the best one of the three books that I have read written by this author.

I received this story from the author with no expectations.

It would appeal to anyone who enjoys immersing themselves in historical fiction. It is truly a wonderful read!

A Review – Heirs of Glory by Tim Doutreval

A Review – Heirs of Glory by Tim Doutreval

Tim Doutreval captured it all; London and Paris in the late 1880s, the art and skill of the sport of fencing, the political arena of the time, as well as the intrigue of unravelling a mystery. In the well written historical fiction, The Heirs of Glory, which I received in exchange for a review through Goodreads, the reader is carried through an era of murder and mystery where secret societies, cloaked men, aristocratic fencing, slums, crypts, secret passages, back stabbing, betrayal and foggy narrow streets and alleys create the authenticity of the time and place.

The main character, Calvin Sheridan, begins as a weak, well-to-do, lazy, useless individual with no direction or purpose to his life. His strength of character grows slowly throughout the story and by the end Calvin is seen to be a thoughtful, caring, considerate and worthwhile human being. Many of the characters did not follow the straight forwardness of Cal’s character but rather aroused questions and confusion. Intrigue and mystery surrounded the fencing master Etienne Lefevre, Cal’s sister Anne, Cal’s fiance Bess. Throughout the story many characters surfaced and I was impressed with the author’s attention to the detail of each one of the characters. All were very carefully crafted and depicted through exceptionally vivid descriptions.

My only criticism of this book is the heavy emphasis on the techniques and moves in fencing. While it would probably appeal to those who take up fencing as a sport or are very knowledgeable about the sport, it is almost ‘overkill’ for the non-fencer who might find themselves skipping over some passages.

Overall, this book being true to history, would appeal to anyone interested in life in Britain during the late 1800s. From what I have read, it appears that this book is the first in a series. I do look forward to reading more of the adventures of Calvin Sheridan and Etienne Lefevre.