Sarah Johnson

About me

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, nearly 18 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. My published books include Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre (2005) and Historical Fiction II (2009). I’ve also written for Bookmarks Magazine and Canada’s Globe & Mail. For my full-time job, I’m a reference librarian and professor at Eastern Illinois University, where I answer research questions, teach workshops, and administer 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

Women of World War II: a gallery of historical novels, new and old

Over the last few days, my husband and I have been getting into the historical crime drama series The Bletchley Circle on DVD, since we'd missed seeing it when it aired on PBS. Set in 1952, the show focuses on a quartet of women formerly part of the code-breaking team at…

By Light of Hidden Candles by Daniella Levy, a multi-period novel of cultural heritage, faith, and love

Entertaining, culturally rich, and fearless in speaking of complex theological questions, American-Israeli author Levy’s debut novel delves into the history of Spain’s crypto-Jews—descendants of Jewish people who secretly observed their faith following expulsion or forced conversion. The story is structured into three intertwined narratives, two contemporary and one historical. Alma…

Blood Moon by Ruth Hull Chatlien, a tense fictional account of the Dakota War of 1862

Ruth Hull Chatlien spins a taut and believable tale in her second historical novel, Blood Moon, which dramatizes Sarah Wakefield’s six-week captivity among the Dakota people in 1862, along with her four-year-old son and infant daughter. The wife of Dr. John Wakefield, a government physician at the Upper Sioux Agency…

 
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