Michelle Isenhoff

Historical Fiction

Crispin: The Cross of Lead, by Avi, Book Review

Crispin’s mother just died, taking with her any knowledge of his past. In fact, the boy didn’t even learn his name until the priest told him–after the burial. He’d always just been “Asta’s son.” But the priest said his mother could read and write, that she hadn’t always lived as a serf bound to Lord […]

Anna of Byzantium, by Tracy Barrett, Book Review

If you enjoy historical fiction, pick up a copy of Tracy Barrett’s Anna of Byzantium. Ms. Barrett is primarily a writer of non-fiction, but she delivers a solid, fictionalized account of Anna Comnena, daughter of the Byzantine Emperor. Her writing is smooth, logical, and easy to follow. Set in the time of the Crusades, young […]

The Bronze Bow, by Elizabeth George Speare, Book Review

How have I missed this book for so many years? I’m familiar with Elizabeth George Speare. Her Newberry-winning story, The Witch of Blackbird Pond was one of my very first lasting favorites as an adolescent, and I later fell in love with The Sign of the Beaver. How did I miss The Bronze Bow? I stumbled […]

Night of the Full Moon, by Gloria Whelan, Book Review

If you haven’t become acquainted with the work of Gloria Whelan, you are missing out on a rare treat. She writes with a gentle beauty that makes reading feel effortless. Truly, every sentence is crafted so carefully, so vividly, that I float right through them. And she applies imagery as an artist applies color, adding depth and fullness to every […]

Books by Janie Lynn Panagopoulos, Review

I made a useful discovery when I picked up my first Janie Lynn Panagopoulos book. She is a Michigan native, and her novels bring our state’s past to life for children. I have now read three of her books: Traders in Time, Journey Back to Lumberjack Camp, and Mark of the Bear Claw, and I […]

Jahanara, Princess of Princesses, India 1627, by Kathryn Lasky, Book Review

The main character of this book, Jahanara, was a factual person, the favorite daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan (who built the Taj Mahal). This is a fictionalized account of her life presented in journal entry format, to the utter detriment of the story. While author Kathryn Lasky has scores of books to her credit, the […]

The Golden Goblet, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, Book Review

Published in 1961 and receiving Newberry honors the next year, The Golden Goblet is still a worthy read decades later. Within, young Ranofer wants nothing more than to become a goldsmith in ancient Egypt, but after his father’s death, he goes to live with his horrible half-brother, Gebu, who apprentices him as a stonecutter. After finding an […]

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