Historical Fiction

City of girls book cover

City of girls

Elizabeth Gilbert

Historical Fiction

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love. In 1940, nineteen-year-old Vivian Morris has just been kicked out of Vassar College, owing to her lackluster freshman-year performance. Her affluent parents send her to Manhattan to live with her Aunt Peg, who owns a flamboyant, crumbling midtown theater called the Lily Playhouse. There Vivian is introduced to an entire cosmos of unconventional and charismatic characters, from the fun-chasing showgirls to a sexy male actor, a grand-dame actress, a lady-killer writer, and no-nonsense stage manager. But when Vivian makes a personal mistake that results in professional scandal, it turns her new world upside down in ways that it will take her years to fully understand. Ultimately, though, it leads her to a new understanding of the kind of life she craves - and the kind of freedom it takes to pursue it. It will also lead to the love of her life, a love that stands out from all the rest. Now eighty-nine years old and telling her story at last, Vivian recalls how the events of those years altered the course of her life - and the gusto and autonomy with which she approached it. "At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time," she muses. "After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is." Written with a powerful wisdom about human desire and connection, City of Girls is a love story like no other.

Mari's picture

I love historical fiction, it’s probably my favorite genre. This is *technically* historical but it is super, super fiction-y. I found the story to be very colorful and interesting and was compelled to keep reading, but I found the characters to be a little contrived. I was interested in the World War 2 chapters, but wish there was a little more substance. It’s a racy read that fans of romance would probably enjoy! -Mari

The count of Monte-Cristo book cover

The count of Monte-Cristo

Alexandre Dumas

FICTION Dumas, Alexandre
Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Classics

Casey's picture

Riveting, heart breaking, and beautifully told, prepare to watch as nineteen year old, Edmond Dantes's life comes crashing down around him through no fault of his own. Fourteen years in prison later, we see him rise from the ashes only to descend to the depths of villainy. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and unabridged. -Casey

A tale of two cities book cover

A tale of two cities

Charles Dickens

FICTION Dickens, Charles
Literary Fiction, Classics, Historical Fiction

Casey's picture

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair...in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only." This may be my favorite Dickens, be ready to shed some tears! I'm planning on picking this one up again in March. -Casey

The Dutch house : a novel book cover

The Dutch house : a novel

Ann Patchett

FICTION Patchett Ann
Historical Fiction

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. Cyril's son Danny and his older sister Maeve are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another.

Becky's picture

"The Dutch House" compiles a set of memories and stories that span the course of five decades. Ann Patchett skillfully moves us back and forth in time, with the house serving as an integral piece to our understanding of the characters and changing family dynamics. I love the moments and conversations between Danny and his sister Maeve. One particular conversation that stuck with me throughout my reading was when Danny and Maeve were discussing whether or not the past could be viewed as it actually was or whether the past is altered by the lens we use at present. I really enjoyed reading Patchett's, "The Dutch House! It’s a great read for those who enjoy well developed characters, interesting family relationships, fairy tale undercurrents and a historical setting. -Becky

One crazy summer book cover

One crazy summer

Rita Williams-Garcia

jFICTION Williams-Garcia, Rita
Kids, Historical Fiction

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Island of the Blue Dolphins book cover

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Scott O'Dell

jFICTION O'Dell, Scott
Kids, Classics, Historical Fiction

Left alone on a beautiful but isolated island off the coast of California, a young Indian girl spends eighteen years, not only merely surviving through her enormous courage and self-reliance, but also finding a measure of happiness in her solitary life.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Number the stars book cover

Number the stars

Lois Lowry

jFICTION Lowry, Lois
Kids, Historical Fiction

In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, ten-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

Inside out & back again book cover

Inside out & back again

Thanhha Lai

jFICTION Lai, Thanhha
Kids, Historical Fiction, Poetry

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

The birchbark house book cover

The birchbark house

Louise Erdrich

jFICTION Erdrich, Louise
Kids, 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.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W

The journey of Little Charlie book cover

The journey of Little Charlie

Christopher Paul Curtis

jFICTION Curtis, Christopher Paul
Kids, Historical Fiction

When his poor sharecropper father is killed in an accident and leaves the family in debt, twelve-year-old Little Charlie agrees to accompany fearsome plantation overseer Cap'n Buck north in pursuit of people who have stolen from him; Cap'n Buck tells Little Charlie that his father's debt will be cleared when the fugitives are captured, which seems like a good deal until Little Charlie comes face-to-face with the people he is chasing.

Anne W's picture

Added by Anne W