Book talk: Historical fiction

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This week, Michael Popple checks out three impressive pieces of historical fiction.

All The Tears in China by Sulari Gentill

Pantera Press, $32.99

It is 1935 and wealthy Australian troublemaker Rowland Sinclair travels to Shanghai on behalf of his brother. Accompanied by his loyal friends, Rowland soon discovers the dark side of Shanghai when a woman’s body is found in his room. Caught up in a sinister plot, Rowland is forced to navigate an unfamiliar and unforgiving city to clear his name.

This is the ninth book in Sulari Gentill’s outstanding Rowland Sinclair series, which once again provides the reader with a slick and entertaining story that expertly combines exciting history detail with a scintillating mystery. An enjoyable example of good Australian fiction.

Half Moon Lake by Kirsten Alexander

Bantam, $32.99

In 1913 Louisiana, four-year old Sonny Davenport walks into the woods and vanishes without a trace. After months of highly publicised searching a boy is found by the police and the Davenport family identify him as Sonny. When a second woman arrives in town claiming to be the boy’s mother, it ignites an emotional conflagration for everyone involved.

Debuting Australian author Kirsten Alexander presents a powerful story inspired by the fascinating Bobby Dunbar case. This is a chilling story of grief and obsession that will stick with you long after you finish. An exceptional and emotional debut.

At The Wolf’s Table by Rosella Postorino

Simon & Schuster, $29.99

Germany, 1943. With her husband away fighting in the war, Rosa Sauer is conscripted by the SS to become one of Hitler’s food tasters. Taken to Hitler’s fortress with nine other women, Rosa is forced to test everything that the Fuhrer eats. As months pass, Rosa must find a way to survive the conflicts within the bunker and the brutal attentions of her guards.

This novel is an intriguing piece of historical drama that focuses on a woman placed in an impossible situation. The first English translation of this 2018 Italian bestseller, readers will love this remarkable historical tale.

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