Into the Book

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Historical Fiction


  1. Silence is the most well-known novel by Japanese writer Shūsaku Endō. As a Catholic, Endō tells the story of Portuguese missionaries, on a mission to Japan during the time of persecution. Fathers Rodrigues and Garrpe have gone to Japan to find out if Japanese Christians still exist, to convert new believers, and to learn what has happened to Father Ferreira, a well-known priest who is said to have apostastized and has disappeared. Endō’s novel attacks questions of faith, trust, and manages to show a deep personal conflict in the life of Father Rodrigues. Read on for more (some spoilers): (more…)

  2. The Shadow of the Wind is Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s first adult novel, telling the story of Daniel, a young man tasked with finding out the terrible secrets behind the Spanish writer Julián Carax. In a similar vein to Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Umberto Eco, Zafón has produced an immense Gothic novel. Filled with suspense, horror, and surprising wonder, The Shadow of the Wind is a phenomenal piece of writing that fully immerses you in its world (more…)

  3. The Paris Wife caught my eye several times at the bookstore before I took the plunge. Because it tells the story of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage, I was worried that the novel would be knockoff Hemingway, stripped to the marrow but without any of the vitality that fills his classics. However, Paula McLain has written an excellent and engaging story; one that stands apart from Hemingway yet clearly is saturated in his writing. (more…)

  4. Before he became a father of the Christian Church, Augustine of Hippo loved a woman whose name has been lost to history. This is her story.

    This is the hook for Suzanne M. Wolfe’s latest book, The Confessions of X. No, this isn’t an erotic novel, despite the blood-red cover and giant ‘X’ in the title, but the subject matter is pretty far out of my comfort zone. I’m the type who’s more likely to read Augustine’s Confessions than a novel extrapolated from them. But how did Naiad’s story stack up? Read on for more: (more…)

  5. Graham Greene’s End of the Affair is difficult to digest, equal parts claustrophobic and imaginative. Set in wartime England, Greene’s novel is defined by wartime frankness that reminds me of Hemingway. At the same time, End of the Affair is intensely personal and emotional, conveying a tone that Hemingway never attempted. It’s a lesser-known piece of British literature that’s well worth some exploration. (more…)

  6. When I think of Jane Austen, I often think “quietly brilliant.” Austen’s books are considered classics, but in my opinion they’re often under-rated — especially by guys. I recently finished Sense and Sensibility and was reminded all over again what fantastic work Austen produced, and how little credit she gets for her writing. Sense and Sensibility continues the trend of excellent characterization, great plot, and Austen’s famous witty dialogue. (more…)

  7. If you’re passionate about Christian history, and need a reminder of what death and persecution truly means the Christian, you want to read this book. Following a mix of fictional and historical characters — mostly Scottish Covenanters during the killing-time — Ballantyne ably portrays gruesome, heart-rending events while weaving several intense plots into one cohesive, powerful story. (more…)

  8. Ever had one of those days? One of those days where life in England is just rainy and gloomy and the summer can’t come fast enough? A day where, if given the chance, your nest egg would be given up just for some vacation time? A day where traveling to Italy to share a castle with people you don’t even know doesn’t seem like such a bad proposition? Yeah, Rose Arbuthnot and Lottie Wilkins are having one of those days.
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  9. Sayaka wasn’t expecting an earthquake on her last day of school. She hadn’t been expecting a tsunami, either. When a boring day of clock-watching is pushed aside by a disaster that buries her home town, she is left with nothing but questions, anger, and unfinished business with those she loves most–and may never see again.

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  10. Although I wouldn’t suggest The Book Thief when you’re feeling down, it is one of the greatest books I have read to understand suffering and death. Its descriptive language about Germany during WWII will bring new insight to you about how day-to-day life looked like during that time. The book thief is a girl named Liesel Meminger, a tough girl who has a huge appetite for learning. (more…)