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

Historical fiction paperback makeovers

Some historical novels first released in hardcover undergo cover redesigns for their paperback printings. This can be done for a variety of reasons. Maybe the hardcover design wasn't as successful as intended, the publisher wants to take the book in a new direction, or there's a feeling that a design…

The Sunrise by Victoria Hislop, a splashy beach read turned war story

In the summer of 1972, the city of Famagusta on Cyprus is a sun-lit paradise for wealthy vacationers. Victoria Hislop’s The Sunrise opens with the feel of a splashy beach read.The title comes from that of a 15-storey coastal hotel being constructed by Savvas Papacosta and his wife, Aphroditi, a…

P. J. Brackston's Once Upon a Crime, a fairy-tale spoof with personality

A fairy tale sequel and crime novel with a light, humorous twist, P. J. Brackston’s Once Upon a Crime is hard to pigeonhole. For her premise, she takes the character of Gretel, first made famous by her childhood appearance with brother Hansel in the witchy Brothers Grimm story, ages her…

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