Hen-Picked Books

The Hist Fic Chic’s Book Review

(Disclaimer: The Hist Fic Chic will only post book reviews here with a four or five-star rating, as well as on NetGalley and Goodreads.

If you submit your book for review and your book fails to meet the standard for a 4 or 5-star rating, you will be informed. The Hist Fic Chic will give you the option not to have your review posted on Goodreads if it is awarded a 3 star rating or less.)

All five-star books will automatically entered in the end-of-the-year book awards revealed January 1st.



“The Violinist of Auschwitz” by Ellie Midwood – FIVE STARS

Ellie Midwood is an expert wordsmith and brilliant storyteller. This story is a sumptuous feast of words amid the starving and bleak setting of Auschwitz, and she contrasts her main character’s angelic artistic abilities against the dark demonic depravity of the SS, especially when she introduces the characters such as Mengele, the notorious Doctor of Death.

Without giving too much away, since I am already telling the reader of this review to get this book as soon as possible for your next read, I will highlight some of my favorites lines – lines that broke my heart. I was immersed from the first paragraph and by chapter five, I was in tears. The tears never left and I read this in one sitting, not from the ease of the read, but from the sheer inability to put it down.

So many lines stood out for me, such as: “Hatred aged them just as fast as suffering aged their victims. Alma thought it to be a form of poetic justice.” or “Sensitivity doesn’t live long here. Sensitivity gets people killed.” or “Alma stepped outside the warehouse, a pillowcase bursting at the seams with dead people’s belongings, the bright August sun spilled its golden light onto her with astonishing insolence.” or, oh my, I could go on and on. This novel lacks nothing in the availability of highlighter-worthy passages and sentences – ones I will certainly go back and read again and again.

The immense skill of showing the contrast between the light airy beautiful music from a violin against the stark gruesome darkness of the realities of Auschwitz proved Ellie Midwood’s genius as a writer. Within one novel, she captured the essence of hope and despair, of life and death, of humanity and inhumanity, and of the sheer will and strength this incredible woman showed in the face of utter deplorable insanity.

Bravo, Ellie, Bravo! Your name is now added to my favourite author’s list!!


Historical Stories of Betrayal – FIVE STARS

First and foremost, I must say I am privileged to know many of these phenomenal historical fiction authors and have shared and re-shared Twitter and FB posts for many years now. But knowing someone through social media and reading their words is quite a different experience.

In reading “Historical Stories of Betrayal” and noting the different aspects in style and voice, I truly hear their passion and soul in the stories.

This is a book not to be missed! Here you are given a sampling of short stories and excerpts spanning the globe from ancient Rome to the Tower of London; and through the eras from the 5th-century to the 19th-century – all with one basic premise known throughout time: BETRAYAL.

I do have my favourites among the twelve stories, all having to do with my own insatiable appetite for particular eras and locales, but for the sake of this review, I must say – each and every story is a pearl in this luscious historical jewelled necklace. You will not be disappointed and I highly recommend not only reading the short stories and excerpts of these authors, but grabbing up their novels, as well.

%d bloggers like this: