Mini Book Reviews – The Wolf in the Whale, The Doll Factory, The Winter King

Hello, friends!

Here are a few quick reviews on some historical fiction books that I’ve read recently. Enjoy!

The Wolf in the Whale by Jordanna Max Brodsky

Rating: 2.5/5

This book was really tough for me to rate. The setting and descriptive writing took me on a journey to another world and time (1000 AD) that I wasn’t familiar with. The blend of Inuit and Norse mythology, culture, and folklore was interesting. The two things that kept it from a 4 star rating. First, the book was long and it felt like too many characters and events were being added into the story that slowed it down. The fantasy/magical inclusion of different gods and events also made it feel like too much was going on. I skimmed through alot of the book because I was just tired of reading already. I think I would’ve like it more if it were just a regular historical fiction.

Warnings: scenes of rape, violence, and hunting of wild animals


The Doll Factory by Elizabeth MacNeal

Rating: 3/5

The thing that drew me in was that the book involved pre-Raphaelite art and artists, which is one of my favorite art movements. This book is set in 1850’s London. The main character, Iris, is an aspiring artist and agrees to model for a painter in exchange for art lessons. Their relationship also leads to a romance in the story. The antagonist is a creepy taxidermist that develops an obsession over Iris and his part in the story turns it into more of a thriller experience. It was a fun and quick read.

The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell (Book 1)

Rating: 2.5/5

I was a bit disappointed in this book but I think it is more for personal preference than anything else. First, it is a retelling of Arthurian legend and I often don’t like retellings buuuut…I’d read book 1 from Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom series and loved it, so I wanted to give this one a try. I enjoyed the setting of the Dark ages, more specifically in the late 5th century just after the Romans left Briton. I liked seeing the society and culture of the Britons and different conflicts during that time such as Saxon invasions, and religion clashes as Christianity was growing in the area. I also LOVE Cornwell’s battle scenes. They are so dynamic! The main character (and narrator), Derfel was quite interesting and I liked reading about his story. I didn’t care so much about Arthur and the other parts of the legend. Reviews for the rest of the 3 book series say that the story gets better as the series progresses.


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