Book Reviews: Recent Historical Fiction Reads

I recently read even more historical fiction!

Who even am I??…

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

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Oh man I really enjoyed this historical mystery!! I had no idea what to expect going into this book. The cover and synopsis immediately intrigued me and knew this was something that I needed to give a read. But I wasn’t expecting to be as swept away into this story as I was.

This is told in dual timelines – in 1791 London at secret apothecary and present day following a woman struggling in her marriage. I love dual timeline stories but oftentimes one timeline is stronger than the other. But in this case I was equally invested in both timelines! I loved how the two timelines played off each other and we got to see Caroline learn and deduce things we as a reader learned in the past chapters. 

I loved the grey morality and feminist themes throughout this book. I loved the characters, the writing, and the audiobook narration was absolutely fantastic. All in all I can’t recommend this book enough! It was a seriously immersive experience and I ‘m still thinking about this story a month later. I can’t wait to read more from Sarah Penner in the future! 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

In the Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce

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This historical horror was eerie and disturbing. Being the mind of a serial killer was extremely unsettling but absolutely captivating. 

I absolutely loved some of the choices Camilla Bruce made in telling this story. This is told in 2 POVs – one being the killer herself, Bella, and the other her sister. Doing this really highlighted the way that Bella twists scenarios. I found it really easy to sympathize with Bella when we were in her head, but then hearing the same situation from a biased outsider would flip everything on its head. I just loved how the author was able to make Bella so layer – she was really unlikeable and frustrating but I never hated her. I even found myself feeling heartbroken for her at times. It was a really fascinating character exploration that blew me away. 

However, despite loving all of that about this book, I did find it too be a little too long throughout the middle. It seemed at times to hang and dwindled on scenes at times and I would find my attention wavering. This is quite a long book, especially for a True Crime thriller, and I just wish it had been a pinch shorter to keep the pace up. 

Definitely stick around for the author’s note at the end! I’m not a true crime lover so I had never heard of Bella’s story before this. So it was really cool and insightful to hear about the inspiration and theories she ran with to create this story. I will definitely be checking out more from Camilla Bruce in the future!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hello Stranger (The Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

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This seems to be an unpopular opinion but this is my favorite of the series so far! I loved Dr Gibbson in the previous books so I was really excited to see she got her own book! Garrett was so strong and independent and it was really cool to see a woman in a profession during this time period.

The chemistry between her and Ethan was so steamy. I loved their interactions together and their banter. Even though I felt like their connection lacked history or depth, I was somehow still here for it. I was completely in love with them as a couple. 

I also really enjoyed the spy plot (which doesn’t seem to be the case for most people). I thought it was fun and unique. I personally love historical mysteries and this totally gave those vibes. The stakes felt really high and their relationship/feeling were definitely put to the test throughout this. 

I will say I really hope we can get through one book in this series without a character nearly dying… 

While this is currently my favorite of the series, Wes’ story is next so I don’t know if this will hold the title for very long. Wes is my favorite character of the series and I absolutely cannot wait to dive into his story!


11 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Recent Historical Fiction Reads

  1. I have been debating buying The Lost Apothecary so much! I’m a sucker for a pretty cover and that one is gorgeous. It also sounds so good! Yours is the first review I’ve seen for it and I’m really excited to read it! I’m also just about to start the Ravenels. I’ve read Chasing Cassandra and loved it and want to start from the beginning of the series. – Amber

    Liked by 1 person

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