Historical Fiction

Carnegie's Maid book cover

Carnegie's Maid

Marie Benedict

FICTION Benedict Marie
Historical Fiction

"Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She's not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh's grandest households. She's a poor farmer's daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home. If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady's maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills she doesn't have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can't let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future -- and her family's."--

Kara's picture

In 1901 Andrew Carnegie was the world's richest man. He retired that year and set out to give all of his money away. On March 14, 1902 he gave $25,000 to Iowa City to build a public library. In 1903 he gave an additional $10,000 to Iowa City Public Library. He invested money in many causes he believed in including libraries, scientific research, world peace and others. Why did he become a philanthropist? In Carnegie's Maid, author Marie Benedict brings Andrew Carnegie alive and speculates about a person who may have influenced Carnegie and encouraged him to invest in others. -Kara

The pillars of the earth book cover

The pillars of the earth

Ken Follett

FICTION Follett, Ken
Historical Fiction

Heidi L's picture

It's been more than ten years since I read this novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed it then. I still remember some of the detail about building a cathedral, especially the incredible amount of time it took to finish such a structure, the dangers inherent in the work, and the remarkable vision and skills of the craftsmen who built these enormous and beautiful buildings. -Heidi L

Jane Steele : a confession book cover

Jane Steele : a confession

Lyndsay Faye

FICTION Faye Lyndsay
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery

"A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer, from the author whose work The New York Times described as "riveting" and The Wall Street Journal called "thrilling.""--

Amanda's picture

Jane Eyre is one of my absolute favorite books, and this retelling didn't disappoint! The prose reads like a 19th-century novel without being too archaic, and I loved the characters so much. I also enjoyed learning more about the Anglo-Sikh Wars and the Sikh religion. If you love classics, and especially if Jane Eyre is your jam, you will LOVE this! -Amanda

Chains book cover

Chains

Laurie Halse Anderson

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Anderson, Laurie Halse
Historical Fiction, Kids

After being sold to a cruel couple in New York City, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War.

Anne W's picture

Middle-grade historical fiction about the life of a young slave in New York City during the Revolutionary War. Isabel struggles to control her own destiny, protect her younger sister, and ultimately fight for her own freedom while the country fights for its freedom as well. -Anne W

News of the world book cover

News of the world

Paulette Jiles

FICTION Jiles Paulette
Historical Fiction

"In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act "civilized." Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember--strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become--in the eyes of the law--a kidnapper himself"--

Maeve's picture

The story, set in Texas right after the Civil War, captures the readers. It was recommended to me and I have recommended to everyone I know. -Maeve

Before we were yours book cover

Before we were yours

Lisa Wingate

FICTION Wingate Lisa
Historical Fiction

"Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about the woman's life will take her on a journey through her family's long-hidden history"--

Angela's picture

'Before We Were Yours' is a highly emotional and moving fictional story, inspired by true events. Through the telling of this story, Lisa Wingate sheds light on the despicable real life actions of Georgia Tann, a woman that ran a black market child trafficking ring masked as a legitimate adoption agency for decades in Tennessee. -Angela

Stella by starlight book cover

Stella by starlight

Sharon M. (Sharon Mills) Draper

jFICTION Draper Sharon
Kids, Historical Fiction

When a burning cross set by the Klan causes panic and fear in 1932 Bumblebee, North Carolina, fifth-grader Stella must face prejudice and find the strength to demand change in her segregated town.

Angela's picture

Stella By Starlight was phenomenal, poignant and inspirational. Told through the eyes of twelve year old Stella in 1932, after witnessing the Ku Klux Klan burning a sacrificial crucifix in the middle of the night. Stella lives in a world of segregation, where one day she dreams of a world where everyone is equal, regardless of colour. Slavery may have ended, but the community of Bumblebee will never be free. -Angela

Before we were yours book cover

Before we were yours

Lisa Wingate

FICTION Wingate Lisa
Historical Fiction

"Memphis, Tennessee, 1936. The five Foss children find their lives changed forever when their parents leave them alone on the family shantyboat one stormy night. Rill Foss, just twelve years old, must protect her four younger siblings as they are wrenched from their home on the Mississippi and thrown into the care of the infamous Georgia Tann, director of the Tennessee Children's Home Society. South Carolina, Present Day. Avery Stafford has lived a charmed life. Loving daughter to her father, a U.S. Senator, she has a promising career as an assistant D.A. in Baltimore and is engaged to her best friend. But when Avery comes home to help her father weather a health crisis and a political attack, a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her deeply shaken. Avery's decision to learn more about the woman's life will take her on a journey through her family's long-hidden history"--

Meredith's picture

A buzzy book that lives up to the hype! It will break your heart at times, but don’t let that scare you. -Meredith

The summer before the war : a novel book cover

The summer before the war : a novel

Helen Simonson

FICTION Simonson Helen
Historical Fiction

Heidi L's picture

This novel takes a number of interesting turns with enough suspense to keep you reading when you really should be doing something else. There are many likeable characters–and a few not-so–and the historical detail, never heavy-handed, illuminates the impact of social class, the looming Great War, and the limited role in society for a young woman. I hated to finish the book, because I had grown quite attached to Beatrice, Hugh, Aunt Agatha, and others in the story. -Heidi L

The prince and the dressmaker book cover

The prince and the dressmaker

Jen Wang

GRAPHIC NOVEL Wang
Graphic Novels, LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride--or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia--the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Casey's picture

Sweet, poignant and beautiful--don't miss this one! -Casey