Posts Tagged ‘historical figures’

Seventh Son

December 5, 2012

Seventh Son

Author: Orson Scott Card

Title: Seventh Son

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: July 1987

Number of Pages: 241 pgs.

Geographical Setting: Northwestern American Territory

Time Period: Late 18th to early 19th century

Series (If applicable): Tales of Alvin Maker Series; Book One

Plot Summary: Alvin Junior is the seventh son of a seventh son. Such a birth brings to one great powers, even those of a Maker. Evil forces however, are set on killing the child before he can reach adulthood and realize his true potential as a seventh son of a seventh son. This evil force, known as the Unmaker, uses those around Alvin in attempts to kill the child, including his father and Reverend Thrower. There is hope for young Alvin though, a young girl has been acting as a guardian angel, watching over him. She is known as a torch and can see the heartfires in everyone around her. This young girl, along with the help of Taleswapper and Alvin’s family, will help Alvin learn how to best use his powers and relinquish the forces of evil.

Subject Headings: Magic; Healing; Good and evil; Frontier and pioneer life; Maker, Alvin; Guardian angels; Nineteenth century

Appeal: Brothers and Sisters, Historical Figures, Good Vs. Evil, Alternative American Frontier, Religion, Builds in Intensity, Folklore, Fantasy, Hexes, Magic, Guardian Angels, Late 18th to early 19th century

Three appeal terms that best describe this book: Magic, Good vs. Evil, Alternate American Frontier

Three Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Storytelling : An Encyclopedia Of Mythology And Folklore edited by Josepha Sherman  (2008)

If you liked reading about different types of myths and Folklore found in Seventh Son, then you may want to check out his book. It’s a compilation of different Myths and Folklore stories told throughout the world. In these stories you will hear about both good and evil creatures that live among us (so to speak).

2. Children of the West: family life on the frontier by Cathy Luchetti (Apr 2001)

Like in Seventh Son, this book shows you what life was like, for families, back in the early 19th century. Alvin and his siblings worked hard each day to put food on the table even with the help of their special knacks. Read about the daily life and activities of real people who grew up during this time.

3. The arrow and the cross: a history of the American Indian and the missionaries by John Upton Terrell. (1979)

This book recounts how missionaries form the Protestant and Catholic church set out to convert the Native Americans to their own religion and the resistance they received from them. In Seven Sons, Alvin is visited by a Native American Indian who wishes to show him the ways of good. Reverend Thrower wants to fulfill his duty and see to it that a church is build and those in down renounce their beliefs in magic. This book will also give you a good insight on what can be expected in the second book of the Alvin Maker series, Red Prophet.

Three Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

1. Armageddon’s Children by Terry Brooks (Aug 2006)
If you liked reading a story about a young boy who possess powers to save the world from evil you may want to check out this book. Set in a futurist United States, where evil forces enslave survivors of the ruined country, one man sets out to find a child that could save them all.

2. The Briar King by Gregory J. Keyes (Dec 2002)
An evil force of death is reawakening. A monk realizes that the text he is translating contains ancient curses meant to awaken this evil. Only a special lineage can prevent the evil’s take over. Those who have the power to stop this evil fight for their lives. If you like reading a story about good vs evil, a small few banding together to save the world, and folklore, than this book is for you.

3. New Spring by Robert Jordan (Jan 2004)
If you liked reading about the fate of the world resting in the hands of newborn boy, then this book is sure to please. After hearing that a boy born of prophecy, and destined to lead the world against the dark Shadow forces, two men set out to find and protect the infant known as the Dragon Reborn.

Name: Madison Gailus

Angel of Harlem (audio book)

March 25, 2009

Author: Haulsey, Kuwana
Title: Angel of Harlem
Genre: Historical fiction, African-American, audio book,
Women’s lives and relationships
Publication Date: 2004
Number of Pages: 368 p.
Geographical Setting:
Harlem, New York City
Time Period: 1900-1930
Series: None

Plot Summary: Angel of Harlem is a novel based the remarkable and groundbreaking life of Dr. May Edward Chinn, the first African-American doctor in New York. The author presents the story from May’s point of view, with a brief, third-person flashback that recounts her father’s dramatic and tragic flight from slavery during the Civil War. May’s own story unwinds at a leisurely pace and is told in deeply lyrical prose that paints a detailed and colorful portrait of the characters and the city and era in which they live, giving great attention to Harlem in the 1920s. Starting with her poverty-stricken childhood, early schooling, and battle with chronic illness, the novel ambles toward its true source—May’s late teen years and young adulthood, during which time she trains as a professional musician but ultimately changes directions into a career in science that eventually leads her to medicine. Throughout the story, May and her family and friends face prejudice and racism, and May often finds herself additionally challenged by sexism from white and black alike. Over the course of the story the reader also encounters, through May’s friendships, many important and influential figures of the Harlem Renaissance, including Paul Robeson, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston. Angel of Harlem is an inspirational lesson in perseverance, dedication, self-determination, and love of self, family, and community.

This title was presented as an audio book narrated by Brenda Pressley. The audio book is available on 9 CDs with tracks of approximately three minutes in length.

Subject Headings: Chinn, May Edward, 1896-1980; African-American women physicians; women physicians; self-sacrifice in women; self-sacrifice in mothers; teenage pregnancy; determination in women; African-American role models; music; prejudice; racism; sexism; grief in women; cancer – research; African-American father and daughter; African-American mother and daughter; alcoholism; slavery; the Twenties (20th century); medicine; African-American fiction — 21st century; biographical novels

Appeal: bittersweet, character-centered, contemplative, densely written, detailed setting, details of 1920s Harlem; details of medical training and practice, dramatic, elaborate language, elegant language, engaging characters, faithful characterization, family-centered, flashbacks, graceful style, heartwarming, historical details, hopeful, insightful, intimate, introspective, issue-oriented, historical figures, leisurely-paced, literary, literary references, lyrical style, metaphorical language, optimistic, political, resolved ending, sympathetic characters, thoughtful, thought-provoking, unhurried, urban, vivid language, well-developed characters

Similar Fiction Authors and Works:

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

  • The Harlem Renaissance: Hub of African-American Culture, 1920-1930. Watson, Steven. 1995. (illustrated history of the Harlem Renaissance, profiles of prominent Harlem Renaissance writers featured in Angel of Harlem)
  • The Hellfighters of Harlem: African-American Soldiers Who Fought for the Right to Fight for Their Country. Bill Harris. 2002. (History of the famous African-American regiment that fought in WWI, in which a secondary character from Angel of Harlem served)
  • Paul Robeson. Martin Bauml Duberman. 1988. (Biography of African-American scholar, activist, singer, actor, athlete, Paul Robeson, a secondary character in Angel of Harlem)

Name: Cynthia

The Illuminator

March 19, 2009

Author: Brenda Rickman Vantrease

Title: The Illuminator

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2005

Page Numbers: 402

Geographic Setting: England

Time Period: Medieval; Late Fourteenth Century

Series: Book one of two (sequel is The Mercy Seller)

Plot Summary:

In order to gain the protection of the church and keep her sons’ inheritance, Lady Katherine of Blackingham Manor agrees to house the master illuminator Finn and his daughter. Unknown to Katherine that Finn not only works for the church, but also for the heretic cleric John Wycliffe of Oxford illuminating an English translation of the Bible. But Finn also has another secret that could put both himself and his beloved daughter in jeopardy in this tale of love, betrayal and tragedy.

Subject Headings: Catholic Church – History – 14th century; Illumination of books and manuscripts; inheritance and succession; feudalism; religion; politics; fourteenth century; historical fiction; Great Britain – History – 14th century; biographical novels; Wycliffe, John d 1384

Appeal: Character-centered, strong sympathetic main characters, historical figures, historical details, detailed settings, page turner, multiple plot lines, dramatic, religious, political, engrossing, family-centered, rural, details of manor life, details of church life, details of peasant life, strong secondary characters, open ending

Red Flags: sexuality, violence, murder, depictions of near rape,

Similar Authors:



My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuck (Translated by Erdag Goknar): Set in 16th century Istanbul, this novel features a group of artists who are hired by the sultan to illuminate a book in the European style at a time when figurative art is considered Islamic heresy.

Katherine by Anya Seton: A love story set in the backdrop of 14th century Britain features the historical figures of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. It has the same feel of murder, loneliness, cruelty and redemption.

Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer: Written in and set in late 14th century Britain; this tale depicts the way of life during that time. Also the fictional character of Finn was said to have met Chaucer at court.

Non Fiction:


Wide as the Waters: the Story of the English Bible and the Revolution it Inspired by Benson Bobrick: Tells the story of the English bible and how King James hired a team of experts to translate the Bible into English. Also examines the political, social, cultural and spiritual ramifications of the King James Bible.

The British Library Guide to Manuscript Illumination: History and Techniques by Christopher de Hamel: A guide on the history and techniques of illuminating manuscripts. Features full color pictures of manuscripts from all over Europe throughout the middle Ages.

Last Knight: The Twilight of the Middle Ages and the Birth of the Modern Era by Norman Cantor: “There may not be a more fascinating a historical period than the late fourteenth century in Europe. The Hundred Years’ War ravaged the continent, yet gallantry, chivalry, and literary brilliance flourished in the courts of England and elsewhere. It was a world in transition, soon to be replaced by the Renaissance and the Age of Exploration — and John of Gaunt was its central figure.”

By: Michelle B.


March 18, 2009

Author: Louis L’Amour

Title: Lando

Genre: Western

Publication Date: 1962

Number of Pages: 222

Geographical Setting: Tennessee, Texas, Mexico

Time Period: c.1868-1876

Series: The Sacketts

Plot Summary: Orlando “Lando” Sackett sets out for the West on his own after the money for his education and inheritance was squandered by the man his father paid to take care of him. He quickly meets up with the Tinker, a man who can fix anything, who teaches him how to fight. However, traveling with the Tinker only raises more questions about his missing father and the truth about his mysterious fortune. After meeting up with another of his father’s old acquaintances, the three set out to try and find the source of his wealth, while being pursued by those who would try to steal it from them. On the way, Lando is captured and sent to a Mexican prison after being betrayed by his mother’s family. Hardened by six years in jail, Lando escapes and sets out to find his father and get his revenge.

Subject Headings: Sackett family (Fictitious characters) – Fiction; Americans – Mexico – Fiction; Prisoners – Fiction; Revenge – Fiction; Mexico – Fiction; Western stories

Appeal: easy, measured, steady, distant, eccentric, faithful, inspiring, recognizable, series, vivid, action, cinematic, conclusive, flashbacks, coming of age, resolved ending, detailed setting, historical details, historical figures, rural, gritty, unpretentious, accessible, cadenced, dialect, earthy, bildungsroman, authentic

Red Flags: violence, fighting, shootings, stabbing, murder

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction):

Riders of the Silences by Max Brand. Those who enjoy books about characters skilled in multiple fighting techniques might try this title. This story of revenge also includes details of long journeys across the American (and Canadian) West.

Tonto Basin by Zane Grey. This coming-of-age tale centers on a conflict between family members and those who would steal their livelihood. Strong back story and setting lend authenticity to the book.

Six Bits a Day by Elmer Kelton. Two brothers endure conflicts with competing ranches in this action-filled story. Also includes details of cattle drives.

Similar Authors and Works (Non-Fiction):

The Oregon Trail by David Dary. This history of the Oregon Trail focuses on the individual stories of the various types of people who used the trail such as fur traders, missionaries, farmers, gold hunters, and more.

Children of the West: Family Life on the Frontier by Cathy Luchetti. The author combines primary sources to paint a picture of pioneer life in the American West.

Boone: A Biography by Robert Morgan. This biography of pioneer and frontiersman, Daniel Boone, separates the man from the myth and shows him to be all the more interesting for it.

Name: Tori