Historical Fiction

The Verdun affair : a novel book cover

The Verdun affair : a novel

Nick Dybek

FICTION Dybek Nick
Historical Fiction, Fiction

"A sweeping, romantic, and profoundly moving novel, set in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and Los Angeles in the 1950s, about a lonely young man, a beautiful widow, and the amnesiac soldier whose puzzling case binds them together even as it tears them apart. In 1921, two young Americans meet in Verdun, the city in France where one of the most devastating battles of the war was waged. Tom is an orphan from Chicago, a former ambulance driver now gathering bones from the battlefield; Sarah is an expatriate from Boston searching for the husband who wandered off from his division and hasn't been seen since. Quickly, the two fall into a complicated affair against the ghostly backdrop of the ruined city. Months later, Sarah and Tom meet again at the psychiatric ward of an Italian hospital, drawn there by the appearance of a mysterious patient the doctors call Douglas Fairbanks (after the silent film actor)--a shell-shocked soldier with no memory of who he is. At the hospital, Tom and Sarah are joined by Paul, an Austrian journalist with his own interest in the amnesiac. Each is keeping a secret; each has been shaken by the horrors of war. Decades later, Tom, now a successful screenwriter, encounters Paul by chance in LA, still grappling with the questions raised by this gorgeous and incisive novel: How to begin again after unfathomable trauma? How to love after so much loss? And who, in the end, was Douglas Fairbanks? From the bone-strewn fields of Verdun to the bombed-out cafes of Paris, from the riot-torn streets of Bologna to the riotous parties of 1950s Hollywood, The Verdun Affair is a riveting tale of romance, grief, and the far-reaching consequences of a single lie"--

Anne M's picture

This novel seems like an ode to Hemingway--and not because of the obvious World War I, ambulance driver, fascism details. It is something in the characters, their interactions with one another, a love story gone wrong. -Anne M

An extraordinary union book cover

An extraordinary union

Alyssa Cole

FICTION Cole Alyssa
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

Amanda's picture

This book is fantastic! Elle is a free black woman, serving as a Union spy during the Civil War. She clashes with another spy while they're both undercover, and sparks fly! -Amanda

Maisie Dobbs book cover

Maisie Dobbs

Jacqueline Winspear

MYSTERY Winspear, Jacqueline
Historical Fiction

Kara's picture

The Maisie Dobbs books by Jacqueline Winspear feature a strong female lead character and many memorable support characters. Maisie is independent, determined, and skilled at sleuthing. -Kara

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society book cover

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Mary Ann Shaffer

FICTION Shaffer, Mary Ann
Historical Fiction

In 1946, as London emerges from the shadow of World War II, author Juliet Ashton is having a terrible time finding inspiration for her next book. Then she receives a letter from Guernsey Island, and learns of a unique book club formed on the spur of the moment as an alibi to protect its members from arrest by the occupying Germans during the war. Captivated, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds there will change her life forever.

Kara's picture

I spent a wonderful afternoon about 10 years ago reading this book. Recently I saw Netflix is releasing a movie in August based on this book. Actually, I thought the movie was out, and, when I discovered it won't be released until August, I decided to re-read the book by listening to the eAudio version. It was just as funny as I remembered and the characters came alive in a different way through the excellent narration. If you're looking for a great summer read/listen, this is a great book! I'm excited to watch the movie in August! -Kara

I'll be seeing you book cover

I'll be seeing you

Suzanne Hayes

FICTION Hayes Suzanne
Historical Fiction

Kara's picture

This is a wonderful epistolary historical fiction story that evolves through letters written by two women whose husbands are soldiers in WWII. Rita lives in Iowa City and Glory lives in New England. Although each woman is different, they share the reality of trying to put on a positive front while struggling with the gut-wrenching fear that comes with a loved one serving in a war. Through letters they share happiness and sorrow, exchange recipes, and help one another come to terms with how they have been changed by war. I listened to the book and Tavia Gilbert's narration is excellent. Note: The book is an imprint of Harlequin Mira. Don't let the word Harlequin scare you. Harlequin Mira is a Harlequin imprint that focuses on mainstream fiction and not romance. This book is not a romance. I discovered it through searching in the eAudio Libby App and was pleasantly surprised to find Iowa City and many local references in the novel. -Kara

The book thief book cover

The book thief

Markus Zusak

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Zusak, Markus
Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

Amanda's picture

This gorgeous, heartbreaking book is literally told from the perspective of Death, and is set during the Holocaust. It's so beautiful and haunting--once you read it, you'll never forget it. -Amanda

The madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie book cover

The madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie

Jennifer Ashley

FICTION Ashley, Jennifer
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

In the aristocratic circles of London, 1881, everyone says Lord Ian McKenzie is crazy--and possibly a murderer--but a young widow longing for passion is determined to bare the truth about the dashing and darkly charming Scotsman.

Amanda's picture

A beautiful historical romance featuring a male lead who is on the autism spectrum. Also features a murder mystery element! This book is so wonderful and sensitive. It also kicks off a great series! -Amanda

Alice Network book cover

Alice Network

Kate Quinn


Historical Fiction

Kara's picture

A suspenseful story alternating between 1915 and 1947 that includes an English spy network of women, a heartbroken American college student searching for her French cousin who went missing in WWII, and a Scotsman with PTSD. Each character is haunted by their war experience and on a personal journey to find truth and hope. Kate Quinn is a great storyteller who expertly develops characters and only shares plot details when she is ready. I listened to the eAudio version and Saskia Maarleveld's narration is excellent. -Kara

Hello Lighthouse book cover

Hello Lighthouse

Sophie Blackall

jE Blackall
Picture Books, Historical Fiction, Nature, Kids

"Explores the life of one lighthouse as it beams its message out to sea through shifting seasons, changeable weather, and the tenure of its final keeper."--

Casey's picture

All in all,"Hello Lighthouse" radiates as much warmth as light and will surely be pored over for its lustrous details and touching story. -Casey

A tale of two cities book cover

A tale of two cities

Charles Dickens

FICTION Dickens, Charles
Historical Fiction, Classics

Heidi L's picture

One of Dickens's shorter novels, but perhaps the most quoted: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...." The French Revolution comes to grim life in these pages, and unfortunately, at times it doesn't seem very different than the societal battles we still fight. I love Charles Dickens's long sentences and humorous use of words and names. This one made me cry too. -Heidi L