my husband book cover
books, Tudor Time

My Husband is an unusual historical novel

My Husband, by Anne Elliott, has a different format from most historical novels. Rather than being full of action and dialog, the entire book is the reflection of a woman praying at a church where her late husband is buried, standing up. At first, this put me off and I…

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WWI

Rebellion — The Easter Rebellion Without Any Context

Rebellion — an Irish mini-series set during the Easter Rebellion of 1916 tells the stories from the perspective of several young women coping with the changes in their lives. Unfortunately, the characters in the drama seem to be living their lives in 2016, not 1916, and the choices they make…

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Jefferson and Varina Davis
1900s, Civil War

Varina Lacks Warmth

Varina, is the story of a tragic life — that of Varina Davis, the wife of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy. Her saga is indeed sad — an unhappy marriage,drug addiction, the deaths of almost all of her six children, and separation of many years from her husband.…

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Greeks Bearing Gifts
1950s

Greeks Bearing Gifts is not the best of the Bernie Gunther series

In preparing to write this review, I learned that Philip Kerr, the author of the Bernie Gunther books had died last month at the age of 62. One more book is to be published this year or next, but perhaps Greeks Bearing Gifts is a fitting end to the series,…

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Ancient Times, feature film

Paul, Apostle of Christ Film Tops Expectations

Paul, Apostle of Christ, is a religious movie even an atheist can love. It’s the story of the apostle who came after Christ, who started his career chasing and torturing those who came to be known as Christians, until he was struck down on the road by Damascus by a…

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1980s, feature film, Terrorism

Jon Hamm Can’t Carry Beirut

Jon Hamm may have been great in Mad Men, but he’s not that great starring in a major movie like Beirut. There are other problems with the film, notably the script, but I just didn’t buy Hamm playing a labor negotiator cum spy in Beirut. He’s playing true to form,…

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The Winchester Goose
Tudor Time

The Winchester Goose is a somewhat contrived tale of Tudor England

I enjoyed Judith Arnopp’s other books, including the Beaufort Bride series, the Song of Heledd and the Kiss of the Concubine, about Anne Boleyn. She tells a good Tudor story. But I found the Winchester Goose somewhat contrived. It’s the story of a whore working in London in 1540, during…

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Chappaquiddick
1960s, feature film

Chappaquiddick Hits Home

Anyone old enough to remember the Chappaquiddick incident, and even many of those who are too young to remember it, probably think there is little new to learn about what happened there almost 50 years ago. The new film doesn’t reveal much new, but handles the story from a perspective…

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Civil War

Legends and Lies unveils the U.S. Civil War

Legends and Lies, Fox News’ historical series, is kicking off its third season by focusing on the Civil War. Just like the first two seasons, which centered on western bad guys and then the revolutionary war, this season includes historical reenactments, interviews with historians, some historical photographs and quotes, all…

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17th century

The Devil’s Bride is a compelling look at 17th century witchhunts

The title, the Devil’s Bride, makes this film sound like a horror movie from the early 70s, and, indeed, a film of the same name was produced then. But this movie is a horror flick of a different sort: the story of what happens to women who are condemned by…

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