Author Archives: Barbara Howe

The Silence of Medair

I cried over Andrea K Höst’s noblebright fantasy novel, The Silence of Medair. That’s a compliment, you understand. To become so engrossed in a story that the real world gets put on hold for a few hours, to identify so … Continue reading

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2018 Recap

Out of the six dozen or so books I read (or started and abandoned) this year, here are the ones that were most successful in capturing my attention and drawing me into that state of willing suspension of disbelief long … Continue reading

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Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

The match is entirely unsuitable. Everyone in the small British village of Edgecombe St Mary agrees on that. He, a retired career army officer, rubs shoulders with the titled and the wealthy; she’s the village shopkeeper. He’s a respected member … Continue reading

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Why does fantasy have to be so long?

Why is so much speculative fiction so long? In the past year I have read several stories that were more than 500 pages: Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (782 pages), Brandon Sanderson’s Well of Ascension (763 pages), Eric … Continue reading

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Armistice Day

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns stopped. That was one hundred years ago today. Out of a population of one million, New Zealand sent nearly one hundred thousand (100,000) men—and a few … Continue reading

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Uprooted

Uprooted, the Nebula-award-winning novel by Naomi Novik, is one of the most captivating fantasy novels I have read in several years. I was hooked within the first page, from the fairytale-like opening paragraphs, and although there are a few things … Continue reading

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Spindle

Although I love fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty, with its passive princess, is not usually one of my favourites. But in Spindle, Polyhymnia is no princess, Luck, the man who kisses her awake, is no prince, and being dragged kicking awake … Continue reading

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Fingersmith

Fingersmith, Sarah Water’s neo-Victorian crime novel, is the lesbian daughter of Oliver Twist and The Woman in White, fostered by Jane Eyre. Got your attention? There is a romance, between two people who happen to be women, but ‘lesbian’ is … Continue reading

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Pay Dirt

The ghoul claims he’s cursed. Ozzy Turner tells him he isn’t, and Ozzy ought to know. He makes a living breaking curses and finding lost items, and every test he knows has come up empty. He’s right; when the ghoul … Continue reading

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George

In most ways, Melissa is a typical fourth-grade girl: she likes to wear pink, she cries when upset, she has a BFF, and she loves Charlotte’s Web. She loves the character of Charlotte so much that she’s devastated when she … Continue reading

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