Historical Fiction

The remains of the day book cover

The remains of the day

Kazuo Ishiguro

FICTION Ishiguro, Kazuo
Historical Fiction, Fiction

The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

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Added by Jason

Manhattan Beach : a novel book cover

Manhattan Beach : a novel

Jennifer Egan

FICTION Egan Jennifer
Historical Fiction

"The long-awaited, daring, and magnificent novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad. Manhattan Beach opens in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Anna Kerrigan, nearly twelve years old, accompanies her father to the house of Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. Years later, her father has disappeared and the country is at war. Anna works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that had always belonged to men. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. She is the sole provider for her mother, a farm girl who had a brief and glamorous career with the Ziegfeld Follies, and her lovely, severely disabled sister. At a nightclub, she chances to meet Dexter Styles again, and she begins to understand the complexity of her father's life, the reasons he might have vanished. Mesmerizing, hauntingly beautiful, with the pace and atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan's first historical novel is a masterpiece, a deft, startling, intimate exploration of a transformative moment in the lives of women and men, America and the world. Manhattan Beach is a spectacular novel by one of the greatest writers of our time"--

Anne M's picture

This book is very different from "A Visit from the Goon Squad." I guess it is much more straightforward in narrative elements and how the plot unravels. However, there is a happening here: in the language, in the emotional struggles of the characters, in the changing society of America in World War II. I loved this book--reveled in every page turned. -Anne M

The duchess deal : girl meets duke book cover

The duchess deal : girl meets duke

Tessa Dare

FICTION Dare Tessa
Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

The Duke of Ashbury needs a wife. Emma Gladstone, a vicar's daughter turned seamstress, will do. They both have terms for the marriage, but will they be able to stop from falling in love?

Amanda's picture

I cannot overstate my love for this book. It's sweet, funny, whacky, and so much more. Fabulous characters, wonderful writing. It's got a marriage of convenience, well-developed characters, awesome female friendship, ridiculous pet names, superheroes, feminism, politics, body acceptance, a heroine who stubbornly insists on making clothing out of drapes, etc. etc. and many more delightful things. I read it in a matter of hours and stayed up late to finish it. Totally worth it. -Amanda

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"--

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