The Stockholm Octavo: Book summary and reviews of The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann

The Stockholm Octavo

by Karen Engelmann

The Stockholm Octavo
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Oct 2012
    432 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Life is close to perfect for Emil Larsson, a self-satisfied bureaucrat in the Office of Customs and Excise in 1791 Stockholm. He is a true man of the Town - a drinker, card player, and contented bachelor - until one evening when Mrs. Sofia Sparrow, a fortune-teller and proprietor of an exclusive gaming parlor, shares with him a vision she has had: a golden path that will lead him to love and connection. She lays an Octavo for him, a spread of eight cards that augur the eight individuals who can help him realize this vision - if he can find them.

Emil begins his search, intrigued by the puzzle of his Octavo and the good fortune Mrs. Sparrow's vision portends. But when Mrs. Sparrow wins a mysterious folding fan in a card game, the Octavo's deeper powers are revealed. For Emil it is no longer just a game of the heart; collecting his eight is now crucial to pulling his country back from the crumbling precipice of rebellion and chaos.

Set against the luminous backdrop of late eighteenth-century Stockholm, as the winds of revolution rage through the great capitals of Europe, The Stockholm Octavo brings together a collection of characters, both fictional and historical, whose lives tangle in political conspiracy, love, and magic in a breathtaking debut that will leave you spellbound.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"The Stockholm Octavo is a book I really wanted to love. The premise: an historical fiction tale, laced with mystery, intrigue and hints of magic, set at a time and place I haven't read a lot about, really drew me to this novel. Coupled with the fact this is a debut work, I was utterly sold as soon as I read the description of the book.

Unfortunately, I found the story quite lacking. The pacing of the novel, rather than build anticipation and arouse curiosity, only served to drag the plotting down. Much time was spent in overwritten descriptions and setting scenes. By the time the action occurred - either with our cast of characters or to advance the story - I had lost interest. At moments, I actually found myself a bit bored - and this is not an occurrence I often experience while reading. I also found I was not eager to return to the book and could spend time away from it without feeling like I was missing out. I am sure these are the exact opposite reactions Engelmann was hoping for from a reader. I am sorry it turned out this way; I really am. I wanted to be transported and enveloped in this story and it just didn't happen for me." - Jennifer Dawson Oakes

Other Reviews
"Starred Review. Engelmann has crafted a magnificent, suspenseful story set against the vibrant society of Sweden's zenith, with a cast of colorful characters balanced at a crux of history." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Fantastic ... This rollicking adventure story reads at times like a fairy tale, with Good Guys and Bad Guys and obstacles to be recognized and overcome. It's all quite fun. As either historical novel or adventure story, this clever first novel should appeal to a broad range of readers." - Library Journal

"Delicious … the essence of witty intelligence. Readers will delight [in] every element in this Swedish weave, from the brutal winter weather to the unfurling of a lady's fan. The plot is an urgent one, and the characters mysterious, appealing, and memorable… I felt a real kinship with author Karen Engelmann." - Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahab's Wife and Abundance: A Novel of Maire Antoinette

"A delicious page-turner that brings 18th century Stockholm to vivid life, complete with scandal, conspiracy, mystery, and a hint of magic. Karen Engelmann's spectacular debut drew me in ... A captivating tale, beautifully told." - Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters

The information about The Stockholm Octavo shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Karen Engelmann lived and worked in Sweden for eight years. She has an MFA from Goddard College in Vermont. She currently lives in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more historical fiction...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: All We Have Left
    All We Have Left
    by Wendy Mills
    September 11, 2001 is a date that few Americans will ever forget. It was on this day that our ...
  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.