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

The voice of a Renaissance heroine: a review of L. M. Elliott's Da Vinci's Tiger

When there are gems like this to be found, it’s no wonder adults get in the habit of raiding bookstores’ YA sections. This lyrical character-driven novel is narrated by 17-year-old Ginevra de’ Benci Niccolini, daughter of a banking family in 15th-century Florence, who was one of Leonardo da Vinci’s early…

Book review: The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig

This multi-generational novel, set between 1892 and 1944, is jointly written by three people, all bestselling authors (and good friends), but the smooth writing style makes it hard to tell it’s a collaborative effort. That said, I had fun guessing who wrote what. The three heroines are introduced one after…

Midnight in St. Petersburg by Vanora Bennett - review and giveaway

Opening in Russia in 1911, Midnight in St. Petersburg features a young woman seeking refuge, a tense love triangle, the dangerous stirrings of revolution, and the subsequent destruction of ideals. Music plays a part, too. In her newest historical novel to reach an American audience, Vanora Bennett takes an understated,…

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