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

Irina Reyn's The Imperial Wife, a sharply written tale about female ambition

How do high-powered women navigate their world? What concessions should they make to achieve domestic harmony?Reyn (What Happened to Anna K., 2008) raises these important questions through the parallel tales of Tanya Kagan Vandermotter, head of Russian art at a New York auction house, and Catherine the Great, the intelligent…

Book review: Monterey Bay by Lindsay Hatton

Margot Fiske is a combustible mix of intellectual shrewdness and emotional need. Tall and appearing older than 15, she has lived an unsettled life alongside her quirky father.In 1940, his latest “industrial transformation” scheme brings them to the Monterey Bay coast, where she meets real-life biologist Ed Ricketts. She initiates…

The Painter of Souls by Philip Kazan, a novel about the young Fra Filippo Lippi

“No matter how stained something is, there’s always something bright underneath.”Pippo Lippi, the young Florentine who becomes the Carmelite friar Fra Filippo Lippi, has the innate gift of seeing into people’s purest selves and representing them in art. Philip Kazan’s first US-published novel is first in a projected series that…

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