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This historical mystery is set in 19th-century Istanbul–the protagonist and sleuth is a eunuch named Yashim Togalu. The author, Jason Goodwin, has previously written the acclaimed history of the Ottoman Empire, Lords of the Horizons (1999). The Janissary Tree is his first book of fiction and won the 2007 Edgar…

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Margaret Lawrence wrote four historical mysteries about Hannah Trevor, a midwife struggling in 18th century America.: Hearts and Bones, Blood Red Roses, The Burning Bride and The Iceweaver. These books, published in the 1990’s, are set in post-Revolutionary War Maine, a world that I, who majored in US history, knew…

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Here’s a post I wrote several years ago on therealeve.com. I thought it was timely given that school is out as of next week!OK, so, school is out and, at 7:30 in the morning, you hear, “But Mom, can’t I turn on the Playstation. I’m sooo bored and, there’s like,…

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I was thinking tonight about a book I read earlier this year, a novel by Nancy Reisman, The First Desire. While I read, I felt I was living the lives of others, a part of a family, albeit a family vastly different from my own.The family followed in this book,…

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King Dork, by Frank Portman, is the funniest book I have read in ages. It’s a YA book for older kids–14 and up–and for anyone who loves bands, hated parts of high school or has a sense of humor. Here’s an excerpt from the first page:There’s always a bit of…

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Sometimes the perfect use of the comma can lure one into wonderful prose. The first sentence of Rebecca Stott’s Ghostwalk seduced me and, for that, I am grateful. Ms. Stott writes:”Unrepaired and swollen with rain, the gate in the orchard wall refused to move until Cameron put his full weight…

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