Sarah Johnson

About me

Librarian, HNS book review editor, readers’ advisor, author of Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre and Historical Fiction II. I first joined the HNS in 1998 after seeing Richard Lee’s post about the Society on a Usenet group. Shortly thereafter I signed on as a US-based reviews editor and got the word out about the magazine to American readers and publishers. Now, 15 years later, I serve as the overall book review editor for the Historical Novels Review. I’ve been reading and collecting historical novels for many years and also review for Booklist and Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries. I’ve also written for Bookmarks Magazine and Canada’s Globe & Mail. For my full-time job, I work as a reference and electronic resources librarian at Eastern Illinois University, which means I answer research questions, teach workshops, and work with electronic journals and e-books. My husband and I share our home in rural Illinois with too many cats and about 10,000 books.

From my website

A look at The Promise by Ann Weisgarber, set on Galveston Island in 1900

Ann Weisgarber excels at depicting the inner lives of people living through difficult historical times.  She writes with a graceful simplicity that lays bare the natural beauty of the landscape and her characters' turbulent emotions.  I found The Promise to be an even more engrossing read than her first novel,…

The WWI home front as seen in Elizabeth Jeffrey's Meadowlands

You might call this one "Downton Abbey lite."The premise of Meadowlands will be familiar to followers of the WWI saga trend.  The aristocratic Bartrams see their world upended as their country plunges into war.  Life as they know it won't ever be the same again.  Etc.Unlike their distant parents, Sir…

Courage, controversy, and love in the Enlightenment: The Philosopher's Kiss

In our day, authors and editors of reference books aren't considered to be especially dangerous.  Dedicated and scholarly, perhaps, but not overly controversial.  In addition, the print editions of multi-volume reference sets also becoming a thing of the past.  The Encyclopedia Britannica, for instance, ceased hard copy publication in 2012…

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