Historical Fiction

The things they carried book cover

The things they carried

Tim O'Brien

FICTION O'Brien, Tim
Historical Fiction

Casey's picture

This is perhaps my favorite O'Brien and one that I have revisited more than once. Sincere, heartbreaking, and unapologetically real, if you have yet to read any of Tim O'Brien's works, I would suggest starting here. -Casey

The four winds book cover

The four winds

Kristin Hannah

FICTION Hannah Kristin
Fiction, Historical Fiction

"Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman's only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows. By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa's tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive. In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa - like so many of her neighbors - must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family."--Provided by publisher.

Mari's picture

An intriguing historical fiction that demonstrates the total devastation of farmland in the dust bowl, the hardships suffered by the people of the Great Plains, the poverty and disadvantages endured by migrant workers escaping the dust bowl and heading to California in the depression era of the 1930s. A lot of the political unrest and action may resonate for readers of this time as we see some parallels between the depression and our current challenges during a pandemic. -Mari

All the ways we said goodbye : a novel of the Ritz Paris book cover

All the ways we said goodbye : a novel of the Ritz Paris

Beatriz Williams

FICTION Williams Beatriz
Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery

An heiress, a resistance fighter, and a widow are all joined by one legendary hotel: the Ritz in Paris.

Angie's picture

This isn’t just a historic romance, it’s a multi-generational mystery, set in the Ritz Paris, and spanning World War I, World War II, and the late 1960s. At the center of the story are three women: Aurelie, the young demoiselles de Courcelles surviving World War I; Daisy, a quiet housewife married to an odious Nazi sympathizer; and Babs, a recent widow who receives an interesting letter in the mail about a famous French spy. At first glance, these women don’t seem at all connected, but they are brought together by a talisman and the iconic Ritz Paris. Charming characters, amazing settings, and so much culture make this a great read! -Angie

The rose garden book cover

The rose garden

Susanna Kearsley

FICTION Kearsley Susanna
Fantasy, Historical Fiction

When Eva Ward moves to an old house on the Cornish coast, she discovers hidden pathways, mysterious voices, and ghosts of the past.

Brian's picture

Added by Brian

Pachinko book cover

Pachinko

Min Jin Lee

FICTION Lee Min
Historical Fiction

"A new tour de force from the bestselling author of Free Food for Millionaires, for readers of The Kite Runner and Cutting for Stone. PACHINKO follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan. So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity"--

Heidi K's picture

OK, OK...so this isn't the newest book and many have already heard about it or even actually read it by now. But, I need to add this as a recommendation at this time to encourage everyone who still has this in their to-read pile. Perhaps you, like me, have been a bit intimidated by the size of the novel. I had no idea how fast reading this would go once I started it! It's one of those books I look for moments to read bits and pieces of, and can't wait to go back to. So if you're still waiting to read Pachinko, like I was: What are you waiting for? This is the perfect saga to whisk you away from your reality this winter. -Heidi K

The Birchbark House  book cover

The Birchbark House

jFICTION/Erdrich, Louise
Read Woke, Diverse Characters, Historical Fiction

Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847.

Casey's picture

Guilty confession: the first time I listened to this book was on a trip and we didn't finish it. Not because it isn't lovely! I remember enjoying it so much that I'm excited to pick it up in its physical format and start this one from the top. -Casey

Hamnet book cover

Hamnet

Maggie O'Farrell

eAUDIO
Historical Fiction, Fiction

"A thrilling departure: a short, piercing, deeply moving novel about the death of Shakespeare's 11 year old son Hamnet--a name interchangeable with Hamlet in 15th century Britain--and the years leading up to the production of his great play. England, 1580. A young Latin tutor--penniless, bullied by a violent father--falls in love with an extraordinary, eccentric young woman--a wild creature who walks her family's estate with a falcon on her shoulder and is known throughout the countryside for her unusual gifts as a healer. Agnes understands plants and potions better than she does people, but once she settles with her husband on Henley Street in Stratford she becomes a fiercely protective mother and a steadfast, centrifugal force in the life of her young husband, whose gifts as a writer are just beginning to awaken when his beloved young son succumbs to bubonic plague. A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a hypnotic recreation of the story that inspired one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down--a magnificent departure from one of our most gifted novelists"--

Anne M's picture

This was my favorite book of the year. Maggie O'Farrell beautifully writes about the loss of a child and its impact on a family, specifically the loss of Hamnet, the young son of William Shakespeare. It was incredibly written. Descriptions are vivid. Characters become familiar. The story well-paced. It was one of those books where I kept wanting to listen--I would dutifully find more chores to do, run another mile, and organize my house just to keep listening. It is a novel that will stay with me. -Anne M

The women in black : a novel book cover

The women in black : a novel

Madeleine St. John

FICTION St. John, Madeleine
Fiction, Historical Fiction

"The women in black, so named for the black frocks they wear while working at an upscale department store called Goode's, are run off their feet selling ladies' cocktail dresses during the busy season. But in Sydney in the 1950s, there's always time to pursue other goals... Patty, in her mid-thirties, has been working at Goode's for years. She's married to Frank, who eats a steak for dinner every night, watches a few minutes of TV, and then turns in, leaving Patty to her own thoughts. She wants a baby, but Frank is always too tired for that kind of thing. Sweet Fay wants to settle down with a nice man, but somehow nice men don't see her as marriage material. The glamorous Magda runs the high-end gowns department. A Slovenian émigré who met her Hungarian husband in a refugee camp, Magda is clever and cultured. She finds the Australians to be unfashionable, and dreams of opening her own boutique one day. Lisa, a teenager awaiting the results of her final exams, takes a job at Goode's for the holidays. She wants to go to university and secretly dreams of being a poet, but her father objects to both notions. Magda takes Lisa under her wing, and by the time the last marked-down dress has been sold, all of their lives will be forever changed" --

Anne M's picture

Looking for a light and funny read? Set in an Australian 1950's department store during the holiday season, Madeleine St. John's "The Women in Black" is delightful. You'll meet Lisa, Patty, Fay, and Magda--all at different points in their lives--all with different hopes and dreams--as they work during the busiest time of the year. Christmas does not play a major part in this book other than it being a specific time and adding additional stress both at work and at home. What is important here is the relationships of the women, the changes they experience...and of course, the department store. -Anne M

The cricket in Times Square book cover

The cricket in Times Square

George Selden

jREAD-ALONG Selden
Historical Fiction, Kids

The adventures of Chester, a very musical country cricket, who unintentionally arrives in New York and is befriended by Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

A single thread book cover

A single thread

Tracy Chevalier

FICTION Chevalie Tracy
Historical Fiction

1932. After the Great War took both her beloved brother and her fiancé, Violet Speedwell has become a "surplus woman," one of a generation doomed to a life of spinsterhood after the war killed so many young men. Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother. After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother's place and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England's grandest cathedrals. There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers--women who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippers. Violet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda. But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren't expected to grow.

Anne M's picture

This is a splendid book and I know right off the bat, my explanation won't do it justice. Set in England between the wars, A Single Thread follows Violet Speedwell, a woman (approaching 40--her mother's tragedy, not Violet's) who feels lost, but finds meaning in embroidery. But it is more than that. It is also about finding kindred spirits and understanding through each other's art. It is about loss and finding support. Tracy Chevalier's books are always wonderful and this is no exception. A patron recommended this to me and for that I am grateful. -Anne M