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 visual preview of historical novels for early 2017

Blurbs for historical novels set to come out next winter and spring are starting to appear, so I've been periodically adding more to my wishlist.  Here are ten which have descriptions and covers, along with details on why they sound enticing.In post-WWII Greece, a woman who sings laments for the…

An ordinary, extraordinary life: Brad Watson's Miss Jane

Partway through Brad Watson’s beautifully contemplative second novel, there’s a scene that speaks a powerful truth about its lead character and theme. Mrs. Ida Chisolm, concerned about the health and future of her teenage daughter, Jane, braves possible social disapproval by going into her small Southern town and consulting a…

Anna Solomon's Leaving Lucy Pear, about a child and two mothers in 1920s New England

In 1927, Lucy Pear Murphy is nearly ten, a kind and strong-willed girl whose black hair and dark eyes mark her as a misfit in her family. Her unusual name reflects the secret circumstances behind her upbringing.A decade earlier, late one night on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, her desperate birth mother,…

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