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

Guest post: The story behind Freedom's Price, by Michaela MacColl

Today Michaela MacColl is stopping by with a post about the history behind her new middle-grade novel, Freedom's Price, whose heroine is Eliza Scott.  Eliza's father, Dred Scott, is well known to American history, but I had previously been unfamiliar with the story of his children and their lives in…

The complexities and contradictions of a king: Geraldine Brooks' The Secret Chord

In her gorgeously written novel of ambition, courage, retribution, and triumph, Brooks imagines the life and character of King David in all his complexity, from his humble childhood through old age.  A brilliant harpist and singer with immense charisma, this man beloved by the Lord is also a fearsome warrior…

Coming of age in the heartland: Carol Bodensteiner's Go Away Home

According to the US Census, the population of Jackson County, Iowa, was just over 21,000 in 1910. Opening three years later, Carol Bodensteiner’s debut, set on dairy farms and in the small town of Maquoketa, the county seat, is a heartfelt coming-of-age story that should appeal to adults and mature…

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