📚1800s #HistoricalFiction Set In The Austria-Hungarian Empire. Rosie’s #Bookreview Of The Soul Machines by Alenandru Czimbar.

The Soul MachinesThe Soul Machines by Alexandru Czimbor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Soul Machines is historical fiction set during the end of the 1800s in the Austria-Hungarian Empire; the book begins in Transylvania when a teenage boy, Tudor, is out gathering chestnuts when he discovers a strange artefact. He shares his discovery with his friends, Sami and Roli. The trio meet a Count who happens to be searching for lost artefacts, and he explains about other objects which he believes are similar to the one Tudor found.

The object becomes highly sought after by more than one group of people. All sorts of mishaps occur to those who touch or get near to it. There are several secondary story threads running through this book and the author has touched on the political and social situations of the era, with an interesting twist at the end.

I liked the setting of the story and I was intrigued by the opening chapters. However, I thought that the book could do with a tighter edit, with particular attention to dialogue, character development and descriptive details.

The storyline and setting were appealing, it just needs a bit more thought to lift it to its full potential.

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Orange rose book description
Book description

This story opens on a burgeoning mining town in Transylvania during the fading years of the 19th century. Life goes on uneventfully, save for the occasional trouble caused by the greedy local baron. Three young men―a poor Romanian, a gypsy, and a rich Hungarian―are bound by a strong friendship that is frowned upon by the town elite. During a trip to the baron’s forbidden lands, one of the men discovers a mysterious artifact that symbolizes humanity’s evil nature, bringing out the worst in people, particularly those predisposed to wrongdoings. Far right extremists, socialists, and an order of Christian Orthodox monks vie to get their hands on it, which leads to a series of tragic events that disturb the town’s peace. Murders, insanity, and suicide wreak havoc in the region. A wild chase and a fight for the possession of the artifact end up altering the mind of a boy who is bound to change the course of history. Meanwhile, a doomed love story begins between the young man who unearthed the artifact and a rich local girl who’s already betrothed. The story takes place in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and spans an eclectic mix of fiction subgenres, including romance and mystery. Themes include the rise of extreme politics in Europe, feminism, and the conflict between religion and naturalism.

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📚A Dual Timeline Story Set In #Idaho. Rosie’s #Bookreview of #HistoricalFiction The Meadowlark by B. C. Walker.

The MeadowlarkThe Meadowlark by B.C. Walker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

The Meadowlark is a dual timeline story set in Idaho.

The story begins in 1885 with Cassie’s family of homesteaders heading to Willow Creek —they intend to become farmers. The biggest challenge in the area is the water supply and much of the early parts of the story focus on the canal systems and irrigation channels that the first pioneers dug to water their crops.

In the modern-day timeline we are introduced to Emma who has a couple of mysteries to solve which led her to Willow Creek. Sadly Emma was my least favourite character; who she was and what she did in her life never felt real, so I was keen to return to the historical chapters that followed Cassie’s lifetime up until 1936, filled as they were with progress in the town of Willow Creek, including many of the technological improvements of the era and how they became part of everyday life.

This was an ambitious project for a debut novel. The early pioneers and the canal irrigation systems were well researched and were quite fascinating to read about, but it needed weaving into the story more artfully. I can see the amount of research and ideas that make up this story, but some areas need filtering. The story became swamped at times with detail that added little to the story lines. More time spent on character building and less on practical detail would have made the story far more compelling.

The book includes some maps and photos which added to the historical interest. My overall feeling about this book is that there is a good piece of history in there, but it needs the help of an experienced editor to lift the main characters so that they are equally as interesting as the irrigation project.

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Orange rose book description
Book description

In 1885, southeastern Idaho was the last part of the country to open for homesteading. Young Cassie Rapp arrives with her family to farm a country overrun by sagebrush and lacking water. With others they meet, they harness the mighty Snake River and turn 100,000 acres of barren earth into the rich farm community it is today.

Meanwhile, modern-day character Emma Rose, a notable speaker and business consultant, is trying to make sense of her recently deceased father’s request to be buried in a small Idaho town. Her journey of discovery begins from there.

The Meadowlark is a sweeping saga of generations of powerful women set against the building of the American West and a modern discovery of deep family roots. Rich in historical detail and human emotion, this is the story of the uphill struggles endured by the people settling this country and the pride, perseverance, and faith it takes to succeed then or now.

The Meadowlark offers the debut of a strong new writer. B.C. Walker combines a keen observer’s eye and the particularity of place to lay out a lush, large-scale, multi-generational story.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #NewRelease #HistoricalRomance THE RETURN OF THE DISAPPEARING DUKE by @laratemple1

The Return of the Disappearing DukeThe Return of the Disappearing Duke by Lara Temple

4 stars

The Return of the Disappearing Duke is an historical romance set mainly in Egypt in the early 1800s. Rafe Greybourne turned his back on his family at the age of sixteen and fled to join the army. Now as a mercenary he is currently in Egypt hoping to find his brother.

Cleo Osbourne also searches for a brother, having spent several years abroad with their father in his pursuit of antiques and treasures. However, a recent tragedy has left Cleo alone and she now needs help and protection.

I enjoyed the unusual Egyptian setting, particularly the trek through the desert and later the weeks spent at sea traveling to England. The romance is hot and passionate but doesn’t overwhelm the storyline. This is a quick read and I appreciated the elements that touched on historical explorations and Ancient Egypt.

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Book description

A scarred mercenary…

Or the Disappearing Duke of Greybourne?

Rafe has spent years running from his true identity. He’s a lone wolf, living far from aristocratic England and his violent father. Then unconventional Cleopatra Osbourne requests his protection as she crosses the Egyptian desert. In Cleo he discovers a fellow outcast—and a fierce desire! Cleo must return to London, and here lies Rafe’s dilemma—because following his heart means claiming the title he’s avoided for so long.

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