Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, November 08, 2021

Booking some back in time reading

I know that for many folks the challenge of Nonfiction November is a tempting one indeed.

As for me, I prefer my history with a side of fiction there. Yes, facts are important and well planned research is to be appreciated.

However, I’m not alone in wanting to imagine what those times in the past were like for both regular people and prominent folk alike and historical fiction is the ultimate immersive experience, if you ask me.

November just feels perfect for diving into a fresh batch of historical fiction and a recent release, The Pilot’s Daughter by Meredith Jaeger , is a prime pick on my reading list.

The story begins in 1945, as reporter Ellie Morgan is more concerned about finding her missing in action father(presumed to have perished in the war) than her upcoming wedding.

Her search takes her to the San Francisco home of her Aunt Iris with a stack of love letters written to her father by a woman who wasn’t her mother.

Iris is less than thrilled to stroll down this particular path on Memory Lane as it leads back to her days as a Ziegfeld Follies dancer in New York during the 1920s, where she had a few unsavory encounters. One of those secrets may have lead to murder.

Despite the risk of revelation, Iris joins Ellie in her quest to discover the truth behind those past and present mysteries. One of the most intriguing elements of this book is that part of the plot is inspired by an actual cold case involving the death of a rather popular Ziegfeld Follies entertainer, so there’s something for the true crime crowd to take in as well here:

 In the meanwhile, I am catching up with a title that was set aside in order to focus more on my current readathon books.

Katherine Parr:The Sixth Wife is naturally the final book in Alison Weir’s Six Queens series about the wives of Henry the VIII. Being the one who “survived “ tends to get her overlooked by history and pop culture but as it turns out, Parr has plenty going on her own life before Henry showed up.

Widowed twice, Parr hoped to marry for love the third time around as she and courtier Thomas Seymour formed a serious attachment. Knowing how dangerous it would be to refuse an offer of marriage from this particular king, she planned to use her unwelcome position as queen to encourage religious reforms and perhaps moderate Henry’s quick temper.

Her steadfast nature made her several enemies, one of whom attempted to have Parr tried for heresy. Nonetheless, even when Henry finally died, she found no easy respite from the aftermath of the Tudor reign.

Weir’s background as a historian really works well with  her fictional takes on the characters, blending both of her storytelling sides as skillfully as a chef creates a simmering stew of delights. While I do still have one book in this series left to read(Jane Seymour), this finale promises to be a grand one worthy of applause:

I got some great news in my email over the weekend, that I won a giveaway for Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s latest work, Velvet Was The Night (such a great mouth feel to this title!).

Set in Mexico during the turbulent 1970s, we meet Maite, a bored secretary who finds herself caught up in unexpected intrigue as a cat feeding favor for one of her neighbors becomes a missing person case.

She’s joined by a man who calls himself Elvis, whose reason for seeking out this vanished lady is potentially deadly and possibly political. As the two of them dive into the who, what , where and why of this joint venture, the main question is how much are they meant to be together.

Moreno-Garcia conquers every genre that she tackles and this mix of history and mystery sounds like a good page turning beat that your imagination can dance to:

I don’t know how soon Velvet Was The Night will arrive but I know it’ll be worth the wait. That’s the thing about historical fiction; all of these tales tend to marinate into wonderful mental feasts as time goes on and finding those recipes are a true treasure that never grows old.

Of course, the best compliment to any work of nonfiction is that “it reads like a novel!” and that holds true both on and off the page;

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