I’ve been meaning to read this for months because one of my critique group members recommends everything by Diana Gabaldon.  And yet, somehow, I hadn’t managed it.  I think I was half afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype.

But it really is that good.  The characters and settings are rich, the plot engrossing, and the romance fresh and satisfying.  I’d read it again.  I might even want to replace my e-book copy with an actual book.

Murder by Misrule

I think it’s tricky to have true historical figures in a novel, and even more so when said figure is a main character–and the main plot is not historical.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed this mystery with Francis Bacon as the leader of a group of amateur sleuths.   The characters are well-drawn; the details enlightening, and the mystery itself intriguing.

Tread Softly on my Dreams

I picked this up long enough ago that when I waded into late eighteenth century Ireland, I had no idea what I was getting into.  My formal history of that time and place is so lacking that most of the names (including Robert Emmet’s) were unfamiliar, and all the events came as a complete surprise to me.

I was impressed with Ms. Browne’s rich characterization and her ability to make the world come alive as if it were happening right now.  The language and thinking patterns of the characters felt a touch modern to me, but I was impressed with the story-telling and the way Ms. Browne infused such a dark story with an underlying sense of undying hope.

At some point, I’ll probably go pick up the others in this series.

Burial Rites

Extraordinarily well written, with fascinating characters, and lush details. I’ve never visited Iceland (and certainly not in the 19th century), but I feel like I’ve been there now.

Not a happy story, though. It has redemptive elements, but not that touch of joy and hope that makes me want to read books over and over. Glad I read it once, though.

Independent Miss

I discovered BookBub a few weeks ago, and have been picking up free (or occasionally cheap) copies of books that look interesting–trying to keep to a number I might actually read.  A few have been disappointing, but this one, by Becca St. John was a fun, well-written read.

The woman in this historical love-story feels a bit too modern to me (one of my pet peeves with historicals), but the medical/scientific side of things was both plausible and interesting, and the problems that arise from them make for unique, believable conflict, a rare combination in romance.  As someone who tends to skip over the smutty bits of romances, I also appreciated the relatively clean love scenes in this book.

On the whole, I found this a delightful way to spend a lazy afternoon, and I think I might be willing to pay something for my next book by this author.