Historical Fiction

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"--

Angie'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. -Angie

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.

Angie'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. -Angie

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

Burial rites : a novel book cover

Burial rites : a novel

Hannah Kent

FICTION Kent Hannah
Historical Fiction

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard. . . . BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place --

Anne M's picture

Agnes Magnusdottir and Fridrik Sigurdsson were the last people executed in Iceland. It was January 12, 1830. They were both convicted of murdering Natan Ketilsson, a noted herbalist, healer, and farmer, stabbing him to death and setting his house on fire. In Burial Rites, Kent offers her interpretation of Agnes’ final months. Agnes awaits her execution housed with the family of District Officer Jon Jonsson, which understandably causes friction in the household. What I appreciate about the novel is that the murder isn’t the center of the narrative. Rather, Kent writes well about the building of a relationship and the development of trust and understanding between people who already have their minds made up about each other. This growth is stunted by the impending execution, which hangs over the situation like a sword of Damocles. Indeed, an axe is being fashioned. I also enjoyed how Kent used government documents and letters from officials on how to deal with the prisoners and the execution into the narrative. It’s a bleak novel—but it really can’t be anything else. -Anne M

The devils of Cardona book cover

The devils of Cardona

Matthew Carr

FICTION Carr Matthew
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery

"In this gripping historical thriller set in sixteenth-century Spain, a Catholic priest is murdered by a mysterious Muslim avenger as the Inquisition continues to force Moriscos to live and worship as Christians. In March 1584, the priest of Belamar de la Sierra, a small town in Aragon near the French border, is murdered in his own church. Most of the town's inhabitants are Moriscos, former Muslims who converted to Catholicism. Anxious to avert a violent backlash on the eve of a royal visit, an adviser to King Philip II appoints local magistrate Bernardo de Mendoza to investigate. A soldier and humanist, Mendoza doesn't always live up to the moral standards expected of court officials, but he has a reputation for incorruptibility. From the beginning, Mendoza finds almost universal hatred for the priest. And it isn't long before he's drawn into a complex and dangerous world in which greed, fanaticism, and state policy overlap. And as the killings continue, Mendoza's investigation is overshadowed by the real prospect of an ethnic and religious civil war. By turns an involving historical thriller and a novel with parallels to our own time, The Devils of Cardona is an unexpected and compelling read"--

Anne M's picture

If you want history with a dose of mystery than Matthew Carr’s The Devils of Cardona is your book. Judge Licenciado ­Bernardo Mendoza is sent to the Aragon region of Spain to investigate the murder of a Catholic priest. However, this is 1584, the Inquisition is in full swing, and the suspect, known only as the Redeemer, is a supposed Moor calling for the end of Catholic rule. This is a delicate situation for the King of Spain as he doesn’t want a revolt. When Mendoza arrives at the scene, he soon learns that this murder is much more personal than the historical and religious conflicts being exploited. So who is this Redeemer, is he the murderer, and what does he really want? -Anne M

Golden Hill : a novel of old New York book cover

Golden Hill : a novel of old New York

Francis Spufford

FICTION Spufford Francis
Fiction, Adventure, Historical Fiction

"New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746. One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat arrives at a countinghouse door on Golden Hill Street: this is Mr. Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion shimmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge sum, and he won't explain why, or where he comes from, or what he is planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him? Rich in language and historical perception, yet compulsively readable, Golden Hill is a story "taut with twists and turns" that "keeps you gripped until its tour-de-force conclusion" (The Times, London). Spufford paints an irresistible picture of a New York provokingly different from its later metropolitan self but already entirely a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love--and find a world of trouble"--

Anne M's picture

It is funny and exciting. It is well-written with a great sense of character and a great sense of place. There is adventure, romance, and mystery. And it does not shy away from the dark issues of pre-revolutionary America, including religion, slavery, and the infighting of colonial government. Golden Hill is a great story. Put it on hold today—you’ll be a happy reader. -Anne M

All the stars in the heavens : a novel book cover

All the stars in the heavens : a novel

Adriana Trigiani

FICTION Trigiani Adriana
Fiction, Historical Fiction

Anne M's picture

The novel focuses on what happens between Loretta Young and Clark Gable as they film The Call of the Wild on location, as well as the fallout of their relationship. Trigiani individualizes each character and relationships are not portrayed as tawdry or depraved as the rumor mill at the time would make them out to be. It is also a well-written, solid read and it left me wanting more. -Anne M