Vacation, TBR, or Bed: Historical Fiction

April 6, 2016 Blog, VTB 2

VTBEach week, choose three books, you can choose however you want (I am choosing books that are being published that week), make it easy for your three books. Then put those three books into the categories:

  • Take on vacation
  • Take to bed
  • Put onto your TBR forever

I’m going to start posting these on Wednesday with a link up if you want to join in on the fun! I’m really excited about it and think it will get us talking about why we want to (or not) read books!


Historical Fiction:

Last Painting_Layout 1-2.indd304 pages
Expected publication: April 5th 2016 by Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can’t shake them, even long after the reading’s done. In his earlier, award-winning novels, Dominic Smith demonstrated a gift for coaxing the past to life. Now, in The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, he deftly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.

In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke’s in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain–a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she’s curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.

Pretty Jane and the Viper
400 pages
Expected publication: April 11th 2016 by Pegasus

On April 26th, 1871, a police constable walking one of London’s remotest beats stumbled upon a brutalized young woman kneeling on a muddy road—gashes were cloven into her skull; her left cheek was slashed open and smashed-in; her right eye was destroyed; and above it a chunk of the temporal bone had been bashed out. The policeman gaped in horror as the woman held out her hand before collapsing into the mud, muttering “let me die” and slipping into a coma. Five days later, she died, her identity still unknown.

Within hours of her discovery on Kidbrooke Lane scores of the officers of Greenwich Division were involved in the investigation, and Scotland Yard had sent one of its top detectives, John Mulvany, to lead it. After five days of gathering evidence, the police discovered the girl’s identity: Jane Maria Clouson, a maid in the house of the renowned Pook family . . . and she was two months’ pregnant with Edmund Pook’s child when she died.

Murphy carefully reviews the evidence in the light of 21st century forensic science in order to identify Jane’s killer as Edmund Walter Pook. Using a surprisingly abundant collection of primary sources, Murphy aims to recreate the drama of the case as it unfolded, with its many twists and turns, from the discovery of the body to the final crack of the gavel—and beyond.

the murder of mary russell384 pages
Expected publication: April 5th 2016 by Bantam
Laurie R. King’s bestselling Mary Russell–Sherlock Holmes series weaves rich historical detail and provocative themes with intriguing characters and enthralling suspense. Russell and Holmes have become one of modern literature’s most beloved teams. But does this adventure end it all?

Mary Russell is used to dark secrets—her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond.

And what of the other person to whom Mary Russell has opened her heart: the couple’s longtime housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson? Russell’s faith and affection are suddenly shattered when a man arrives on the doorstep claiming to be Mrs. Hudson’s son.

What Samuel Hudson tells Russell cannot possibly be true, yet she believes him—as surely as she believes the threat of the gun in his hand. In a devastating instant, everything changes. And when the scene is discovered—a pool of blood on the floor, the smell of gunpowder in the air—the most shocking revelation of all is that the grim clues point directly to Clara Hudson.

Or rather to Clarissa, the woman she was before Baker Street.

The key to Russell’s sacrifice lies in Mrs. Hudson’s past. To uncover the truth, a frantic Sherlock Holmes must put aside his anguish and push deep into his housekeeper’s secrets—to a time before her disguise was assumed, before her crimes were buried away.

There is death here, and murder, and trust betrayed.

And nothing will ever be the same.


The Vtb verdict

  • Vacation: Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane
  • Bed: The Last Painting of Sara de vos
  • TBR: The Murder of Mary Russell

The Last Painting of Sara de vos really struck me! It sounds very interesting and I love a synopsis that can pull you into the story before you have even opened the book. I knew immediately where I wanted that one to go. I may even talk my family into reading this for book club!

This little game can be so difficult! I knew immediately where I wanted to put The Last Painting, however, the other two were more difficult. Both sound so good! It was only the fact that I had not read the previous in the Sherlock Holmes that had me hesitating to want to read that one. This is #14 in the series, meaning it would take me quite a bit of time to get to anyway. That and Pretty Jane sounds like the plot is going to get twisty and deep! Love it.



What books would you put on your list?

If you play, add your link below!

Upcoming lists:

  • Feb 3 – Teen & Ya
  • Feb 10 – Romance
  • Feb 17 – Literary Fiction
  • Feb 24 – Books Publishing Feb 22nd
  • March 2 – Ya
  • Mar 9 – Historical Fiction
  • Mar 16 – Ya publishing March 15th
  • Mar 23 – Cookbooks
  • Mar 30 – Ya publishing March 29th
  • April 6 – Historical Fiction

2 Responses to “Vacation, TBR, or Bed: Historical Fiction”

  1. Ichabod Temperance

    I am a sucker for all things Sherlock Holmes. I had not heard of this Russel/Holmes duo before. Thanks!
    I enjoy historical fiction, and the painting book sounds interesting.
    The ‘Pretty Jane’ book looks good, but I have a low tolerance for gruesome fare.
    Happy Reading!
    ~Icky. 🙂

    • Christina

      There is just something about Sherlock Holmes, isn’t there? Gotta love it! I do tend to read stuff with a lot of blood but the real stuff makes me nervous. I don’t like knowing there are people out there that can do the things in some of these books. Just read about H.H. Holmes and fortunately the writers wrote a lot about Chicago instead of everything about him. It was very even keeled, but still, a lot to take in!