Book reviews are a good measure of contemporary reaction to a novel. Usually written between six months and two years of a book's publication, they typically contain information about a book's plot, style, and quality of writing, as well as the author's biographical details. They may also give comparisons to other similar titles recently published. All of this information is useful in determining not only the reception of a novel, but the intellectual and aesthetic developments in the literary arts of the period.
What You Need to Know Prior to Searching for a Book Review:
This information is often found on the title page and the back (also called verso) of the title page. If you do not know the date of publication and do not have a copy of the book, look in Wikipedia.
When you know the year of publication, you can select the appropriate database. This is important because not all databases may contain the amount of coverage you need. For example, you likely would not want to choose a database that only contains current coverage when you need a book review from the 19th century.
Book reviews may appear in different kinds of publications: