Historical Fiction

Ruth Fielding at the War Front by Alice B Emerson

Ruth Fielding at the War Front by Alice B Emerson

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Historical fiction

Ruth Fielding series was published in the USA during World War I. There are thirty books in the series and Ruth Fielding at the War Front is the fourteenth in a row. Three authors wrote different books in the series with the pseudonym Alice B Emerson. As a matter of fact, Ruth Fielding at the War Front was written by W Bert Foster.

Ruth Fielding is posted to the same French war front as her boyfriend Tom Cameron. After reaching there, she enquires around about him but gets rumours that he went on the other side to help Germans, but doesn’t believe them. Her friend introduces her to Countess Marchand who takes an instant liking becomes mutual. But Ruth Fielding doesn’t like the countess second son Major Henri Marchand as she feels she doesn’t do enough for the alliance against Germany. She also hears the rumours that the Countess’s first son Count Allaire Marchand is Missing in Action. If this is the scenario of her social life outside the hospital, inside the hospital premises, she observes a mad man called Nicko coming in several times to distribute chocolates. His physical appearances resembles that of Major Henri Marchand and Ruth Fielding becomes further suspicious about him when Nicko is seen talking to the wounded German soldier being treated on the French side. Amidst all these happenings, there are rumours from the villagers saying they are seeing a ghost. What does Ruth Fielding do now? Where is Tom Cameron? Is the ghost real? Can she trust Major Henri Marchand just like she trusts the Countess? What happened to Count Allaire Marchand? Who is Nicko? Read Ruth Fielding at the War Front to know what happened next.

Though Ruth Fielding at the War Front is in the middle of the series, the readers can read it like a stand-alone book as the characters are newly introduced through the story. But considering the storyline and the complexities, there are not many hurdles in Ruth’s path. Except few misunderstandings, everything’s a smooth sail. At least, the struggle is not shown much in the story.

Nevertheless, Ruth Fielding at the War Front makes a great read for kids and a one-time good read for young adults.

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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Review by Shwetha H S

Genre: Historical fiction, Classic
Imprint: Puffin Classics
ISBN: 978-0-141-32554-5

Charles Dickens. The name itself brings tirade of literary works to the reader’s mind. Out of such works, Oliver Twist, Christmas Carols and David Copperfield are few.

A Tale of Two Cities is about a civil revolution, one that takes the good and the bad alike; for personal vengeance leaving rationality, and for benefit of the public without rationality. Though it is supposed to be about two cities, the story takes place in London, Paris and Saint Antoine. There are people moving between these places to bring out the story that is so magnificent and greater than life that one cannot help but sit back and revel in it.

Doctor Alexnadre Manette is brought to civilized life back by his good old friend Jarvis Lorry and daughter Lucie Manette, and brought to London from Saint Antoine. She also aids in saving life of Charles Darnay whom she marries later. Charles Darnay and Sidney Carton, a lawyer and a family friend, are lookalikes. Due to circumstances that were unanticipated, Charles is imprisoned in Paris during the French revolution. Mr. and Mrs. Defarge, the couple who once helped Manette family, now are hell-bent on prosecuting Charles Darnay due to his aristocratic connections in France. How the doctor, his friend and Sidney Carton help in getting Darnay out of prison and escaping from France is the story of this masterpiece.

The outstanding characters of this story are Sidney Carton and Madame Defarge also known as Therese Defarge. The reader will pity Carton for being a loyal person who is in love with Lucie Manette, but little can be guessed about the role he plays in her life. Madame Defarge is a sinister figure who will give you chills even on a summer noon. All other characters are important in their place. There are too many characters in the story, but they are all justified. None of them is unnecessarily stuffed to make the story grow.

A Tale of Two Cities is an astounding book that never lets the reader down and never lets the reader put it down. So captivating is this story that you will regret for not having read it sooner in your life. Love, vengeance and loyalty are personified in the form of characters created by Charles Dickens. It might even turn to be an overwhelming read.

One should never judge a book by its cover, and one should never judge a book by its title too. I thought this must be another story of how two cities tried to be better than one another, but I was proven wrong. This is much more.

If you have not already read A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens as a part of your school curriculum, then this moment, right now is the best time to start reading it.

The Errant Hours by Kate Innes

The Errant Hours by Kate Innes

Review by Shwetha H S

The Errant Hours by Kate Innes in a historical fiction, but in real it is not a complete fiction. Most of the characters are real and existed in the era when this story took place. Though the storyline couldn’t relate to the title, story is nevertheless enjoyable and manages to keep you reading it. Every character that has dialogues in the story is interesting and has its own perspective about the happenings.

The story is about Illesa Arrowsmith, a girl who has lost both her parents, trying to save her brother from being killed by cruel and deceiving forest keepers of the King. In the process of saving her brother, she meets a lot of people who are ready to help her and her brother. She is not happy, but you can say she was lucky in finding help wherever she went; it is another thing that she put herself in harm’s way too. The author has done a great job in depicting the lifestyle of that era, so it is not difficult to imagine Illesa and others busy in random chores. The story keeps moving ahead and every now and then it will be like “Ok, now Illesa will not be able to escape”, then there will come someone to help her. One of the main characters to help her is Sir Richard Burnel. He is there with her through thick and thin, whether he wants or not, and so does she. But sometimes it does feel like too much of coincidence, but the story has to go on. Even if the author tried, this story couldn’t have had unnecessary characters. Also, this book actually has one main story and three sub-stories, so it is something to look forward to.

A good story with good research about history related to 13th century Wales makes The Errant Hours a good one time read. If you read it again, maybe it is because you are not from that part of the country where the story takes place and you are confused with the names they have for different parts of the day. You see, the Errant Hours!