Historical Fiction

The back of Helen of Troy with a short sword hanging off of her belt

Nobody's Princess

By Esther M. Friesner
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Anne G
Jun 26, 2023

Nobody's Princess is a great historical fiction story about Helen of Troy. It does not support history but tells a mythological fiction story about her based on what we know. This was such a great girls disguised as boys themed book. I am looking forward to reading the sequel about our main woman of steel Helen. It is a very good book but it drops off at the end so you need the sequel about Helen's adventures in the Mediterranean Region.

In this book Helen starts out strong with some great adventures. Long before the Trojan War there was a young girl named Helen who was good at disguises

Book Cover

Travelers Along the Way: A Robin Hood Remix

By Aminah Mae Safi
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Chris K.
Jan 11, 2023

Just excellent. Action, suspense, wit, an amazing setting, and great characters.

Safi reimagines the Robin Hood legend during the height of the Third Crusade in "the Holy Land, with all its names for God and all its pilgrims and all its war" with a female Muslim protagonist.

Rahma and her sister must sneak out of the coastal city of Akko (Acre), just recaptured by the Christians, because those Europeans don't recognize female soldiers as legitimate. Through the sleeping armies of Richard I of England (the Lionheart) and Yusuf ibn Ayyub, al-Nasir (Saladin) and on the road to Jerusalem. Later

Cover reads "Hester: A Novel" and "Laurie Lico Albanese." The words are surrounded by deep pink roses, tiny white flowers, and foliage.

Hester

By Laurie Lico Albanese
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Alice Pi
Oct 17, 2022

Witch trials are already a thing of the past in this historical novel set in Salem, Massachusetts during the lifetime of Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter. Witch trials are over; but their memory lives on in Hawthorne’s nineteenth century, with tensions lingering amongst the old Salem families and Hawthorne himself bearing ancestral guilt over his own great-great-grandfather's role in sentencing accused women to death more than a century earlier.

But Hawthorne is not front and center here. He is upstaged by a new immigrant from Scotland, Isobel Gamble, who becomes his lover

Jun 7, 2022

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a look at a new fiction release that hits the shelves this week. Today marks the debut of Piper Huguley's BY HER OWN DESIGN, a fictionalized history of a real-life person, Ann Lowe, a dressmaker who worked with some of the most famous and influential people in America but who was all but invisible herself.

Ann Lowe was born and raised in 1918 in rural Alabama to a poor Black family. Growing up, she learned sewing from her mother and her grandmother and found she had a gift for it, but with her opportunities severely

cover of The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks by Igort

Learning More About Ukraine

By Igort
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Bet M
Mar 16, 2022

What do you do when calamity strikes the world yet again? How do you handle the confusion of trying to unravel the news? As someone who works at a library, perhaps it’s not surprising that I turn to...the library. What book or film can I find that connects me to someone’s story so I can more clearly see and hear the events from those involved. 

In recent years, I've needed the library a lot! To better understand the Black experience in America, some helpful reads for me have been “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi, “A Black Women’s History of the United

Book Cover

Deacon King Kong

By James McBride
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Chris K.
Feb 2, 2021

Deacon King Kong is a sort of love letter to a few blocks of New York City projects in 1969, and to the endearing cast of colorful characters brimming with personality. McBride has a magical touch bringing to life the adage everyone has a story. His descriptions are vivid, engrossing, and entertaining, giving both people and setting depth and truth. His dialogue, as well. It's a hard setting full of people living hard, flawed lives. McBride never ducks the grit and grime, violence and suffering, yet still manages to find some measure of joy and an abundance of humor. He paints a breathing

Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Charles H
Apr 23, 2020

If you are a fan of the western genre, chances are you have heard of Lonesome Dove. Likewise, if you follow award winning books, you may have seen it on a list for its 1985 Spur Award or its 1986 Pulitzer Prize. Some of you may have even watched the CBS miniseries from 1989 starring Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones. Lonesome Dove is not an obscure novel and it has received a great deal of praise, but coming in at a whopping 843 pages it can be daunting to those of us more used to a book in the 200-250 page range. If you, like me, have been avoiding this read because you are scared of the time

A Woman of No Importance

Finding Inspiration in the Past

Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Bet M
Apr 1, 2020

The past two months of quarantine shutdown have been bizarre to say the least. Surprised by how hard it's been to focus on simple tasks and know how to deal with whatever each day might bring, I turned to another time in history where the whole world was under threat and people had to deal with a cloud of confusion that hung over everything--World War II. Obviously COVID-19 is not the same as WWII by any means, but I was inspired and encouraged to read the stories of how women in particular faced the challenges of such a world-impacting crisis.

I think my favorite book was A Woman of No

The Giver of Stars

By Moyes, Jojo
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Lisa H
Oct 7, 2019

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes is historical fiction at its very best!  Set in 1939 Southern Kentucky, the lives of five strong female characters come together to form and operate the Packhorse Library, where they deliver by horseback, books, magazines and newspapers to those living in remote, rural areas.

One of the main characters, Alice, an Englishwoman, marries an American and is brought to Kentucky where she hopes to start a new, dazzling life with her husband. That is not to be the case.  Alice finds living with her husband and her father-in-law to be stifling and oppressive. Alice

The Terror, Season One

Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Sam S.
Feb 7, 2019

The Terror is a fictionalized account of the real historical event known as Franklin's Lost Expedition. The expedition, a crew of 129 men split between two British Royal Navy ships, set out in 1845 to discover a new route through the Arctic for trade between England and China - a route deemed the "Northwest Passage." Over a year after the expedition initially set sail, both ships (HMS Erebus and HMS Terror) became trapped in thick ice off the northern coast of Canada. The crew, utterly isolated and unprepared, were left to fend off the unrelenting cold of the Arctic with few provisions and

Bad Times at the El Royale (DVD)

By Drew Goddard
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Zachary C
Jan 2, 2019

With an impressive cast,

Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, and serious breakout star of 2018 contender, Cynthia Erivo

Bad Times at the El Royale  is the follow up to Drew Goddard's critically acclaimed directorial debut, The Cabin in the Woods...

   

   The El Royale Hotel was once a hot celebrity getaway, frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack.  Its days of glory are over, however, as a series of strangers check in to an otherwise empty hotel.  There's a priest (Bridges), a vacuum salesman (Hamm), a singer (Erivo), and a woman (Johnson) whose

An Extraordinary Union: A Novel of the Civil War

By Alyssa Cole
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Karyn H
Dec 14, 2018

 

An Extraordinary Union is a historical romance set during the turbulent American Civil War. The heroine is spunky Elle Burns, a former slave with an eidetic memory who becomes a detective for the Union through the Loyal League, a society of freed and enslaved blacks with networks across the country to funnel intelligence to the North. Her latest assignment is to pose as a mute slave in Richmond, Virginia in the household of Confederate Senator Caffrey. The hero is Malcolm McCall, a Scottish born detective for Pinkerton, also assigned to gather intelligence from the Caffrey household, posing

The Little Stranger

By The Little Stranger
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Sam S.
Dec 3, 2018

The Little Stranger follows Faraday, a respectable country doctor in post-World War II England who is called to assist the Ayres family—an aristocratic family whose once elegant home, Hundreds Hall, has fallen into disrepair as their power and wealth dwindle with the collapsing noble class. His patient, Roderick, lives there with his mother and sister as they all wage daily battles to prevent the inevitable loss of their formerly prosperous country estate. Roderick was wounded in the second World War and has never recovered—but his injuries are not all that plague him. The entire family is

Assassin's Creed: Origins

By Ubisoft

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Mar 3, 2018

The latest in the Assassin's Creed juggernaut, Origins (available for PS4 and XBoxOne) is immediately striking due to the sheer amount of pretty.  The vast expanses of desert, the detail in the cities, the shining pyramids, the stars in the sky...this game is gorgeous.  Happily, it's more than just a pretty face!

The controls are a little bit smoother in this iteration, although you'll still have moments of climbing the wall right next to the ladder you were intending to use.  After this many games, I'm fairly certain that's a feature by now, not a bug.  The weapons/armor system reminds me of

The Fortune Teller

By Gwendolyn Womack
Star Rating
★★★

Rated by Catherine G.
Feb 2, 2018

This is an interesting book about prophecy, antiquity, and crime, with just a tiny bit of romance. The story is about how Semele, an appraiser for a prestigious auction house in NY, finds a 2,000 year old manuscript that was written for her. Semele discovers this manuscript while cataloging items from a recently deceased private collector in Switzerland. The collector left her a handwritten note warning her not to tell anyone about the manuscript. She realizes there must be some connection between herself and the deceased collector even though they had never met. As Semele flies back to NY she

The Lake House

By Kate Morton
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Colleen O.
Oct 31, 2017

Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors, and she does not disappoint with The Lake House. The story moves through several time periods beginning in the present when Detective Sadie Sparrow (who is on enforced leave from the department due to leaking a hunch to the media) goes to Cornwall to stay with her granddad. There she discovers the remains of a grand estate buried in the woods, and her curiosity is piqued. She learns that the estate was abandoned in the wake of the disappearance of the one-year-old son of the house, who was never found. The detective in Sadie rises to the fore, and she

Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787

By Winston Graham
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Rachel N.
Oct 23, 2017

Originally released in 1945, Ross Poldark is the first of a twelve-part series that explores the Cornwall of a couple hundred years earlier. The story follows Ross Poldark, a man recently returned home from America after the Revolutionary War to find the life he was expecting unrecognizable. Ross does what he can with his current options and begins laboring to bring his land and home back to their previous conditions. Ross encounters Demelza, a girl with a troubled background, and offers her a place in his home as a kitchen maid. Demelza agrees, but only if she can bring her dog (my kind of

Moonglow

By Michael Chabon
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Jed D.
Sep 21, 2017

A majority of Moonglow's plot focuses on a Jewish grandfather reminiscing on his deathbed to his grandson Mike, an author. 

There are stories about the Holocaust, rockets, the Challenger explosion, hunting a dog-eating snake, and the 18 months the grandfather spent in prison after a fit of rage at his job. As a reader, we aren’t given all the details of every story. We know Mike’s dad is out of the picture, but we can tell what kind of father he was by what he packed in a suitcase for his son when dropping him off at the grandparents’ house:  pajama tops, swim trunks, a fake leather vest from

The North Water

By Ian McGuire
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Jed D.
Aug 1, 2017

The North Water is beyond dark. Cormac McCarthy’s The Road looks like a leisurely stroll through a park on Sunday compared to this gruesome novel about a 19th century whaling expedition. The Volunteer is heading out on a six month voyage to northern waters, where hopefully all the whales haven’t been killed yet. Captain Brownlee, the ship’s surgeon Sumner, and harpooner Dax all carry secrets on board--some repugnant, some violent--while the financier may have sinister motives for sending them on this assignment. What happens after they set sail is gripping, graphic, and gruesome, and is not

The Buddha in the Attic

By Julie Otsuka
Star Rating
★★

Rated by Sam S.
Jul 19, 2017

The Buddha in the Attic is a short novel depicting the lives and struggles of Japanese mail-order brides arriving in America in the years leading up to World War II. It is not one central story that follows a single character--or even a few. Instead, the author uses the first person plural narrative style (through the use of "we" and "our") to tell the stories of countless, mostly nameless women. The narrative begins on the boats, as the young girls share their dreams for the unknown future, and continues with their lives in America as they struggle to adapt to a new land and a new language

The Boston Girl

By Anita Diamant
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Hannah Jane W.
Feb 3, 2017

The Boston Girl is told by 85-year-old Addie, who revisits her long life of memories during an interview given by one of her grandchildren.  It’s an incredibly intimate one-sided conversation that completely ensnares the reader.  This storytelling style made me feel as if Addie was my grandmother.  Like other special books with superb storytelling, The Boston Girl envelopes the reader inside a bubble.  While reading it, you feel like you are living the story and your real life is just an inconvenience that exists outside of the bubble. 

Addie Baum is both fiercely independent and endearingly

The Lie Tree

By Frances Hardinge
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Chris K.
Jan 5, 2017

What had she just done? She had obediently opened a door and stepped through into blackness, without even knowing if there was a floor on the other side.

Why, oh why, haven't I read more books by Frances Hardinge? I loved the first book of hers I read years ago, thoroughly enjoyed another, and have seen how well reviewed everything she writes is. Now this one has convinced me I simply must find a way to read them all.

In spite of everything, there was real pleasure in the thought of her lie sending tremors through Vane, knocking her enemies off balance. She was filled with pride and a

11.22.63 (DVD)

By James Franco
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Jed D.
Sep 12, 2016

Quite possibly the best Stephen King mini-series adaptation so far, 11.22.63 finds English teacher Jake Epping traveling back in time though a portal in his local diner to September 9, 1958. His plan is to thwart the assassination of John F. Kennedy in five years, living off of bets he places using sporting events he already knows the outcome of. While waiting for that fateful day in Dallas, Jake ends up becoming a teacher again using false credentials, falling in love with school librarian Sadie, and investigating any potential clue to Lee Harvey Oswald's involvement. Time has other ideas for

The Light Between Oceans

By M.L. Stedman
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Jed D.
Sep 8, 2016

Soon to be a motion picture, The Light Between Oceans is an Australian novel with themes of love, loss, and isolation. Set in the years following World War I on a fictional lighthouse island miles from shore, PTSD-suffering Tom and his young wife Isabel are being torn apart by multiple miscarriages. When a baby and a dead man in a boat wash ashore, they decide to keep the child as their own, not knowing the consequences that decision will bring in the future. This might be my book club’s favorite book of the year for its straightforward moral dilemmas, but I imagine this book would be

The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Rachel N.
Sep 7, 2016

I was hesitant to start this book. I rarely seek out books about World War II because they bring out a lot of emotions that I'm not always ready to experience. I also find that books with a lot of hype tend to fall below my expectations. I'm really glad I looked past my issues and picked up a copy of The Nightingale. I could not put this book down. The writing was incredibly rich and engaging. I loved how Kristin Hannah chose to tell the story of two sisters, and how they were each brave in their own way. One sister, Isabelle, hatches a plan to lead downed airmen out of France to Spain by way

The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963

By Christopher Paul Curtis
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Becky C.
May 31, 2016

Told from the point-of-view of 10-year-old Kenny, it's really his big brother Byron who's the hero of this funny, emotional sucker-punch of a novel. Byron, thirteen, is a juvenile delinquent--a black sheep--according to Kenny, and pretty much everyone else in the so-called "Weird Watsons" family. But in the end it's Kenny who helps Byron overcome his depression over witnessing tragic events during a trip to visit their grandmother in Birmingham, Alabama during the height of the struggle for Civil Rights. 

I came *this* close to giving up on the book after reading chapter five, which is way

The Lake House

By Kate Morton

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Apr 20, 2016

Family secrets are kept well-hidden until a modern day detective uncovers clues to solve a 70 year-old mystery of a little boy’s disappearance. Alice Edevane is an introspective, long-time crime writer who crafts perfect stories for her readers. However, Alice cannot reveal the secrets she’s kept surrounding the disappearance of her youngest brother Theo at a Midsummer’s Eve party at the Loeanneth Estate in 1933. Sadie Sparrow is a Detective Constable with London’s Metropolitan Police who is embroiled in a scandal after leaking information to the press about the Met’s mishandling of a missing

Lilac Girls

By Martha Hall Kelly
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Lisa J.
Apr 4, 2016

It's September 1939 and as Hitler invades Poland with his sight set on France, the paths of Caroline, Kasia and Herta are set on a course that will change their lives forever. Socialite Caroline Ferriday lives in New York City and volunteers at the French Consulate, helping French nationals visiting the United States. She also organizes aide for French orphanages. Kasia Kuzmerick is a Polish teenager who sees her way of life disappearing with the occupation of Hitler and she works as a courier for the resistance movement in Poland. Meanwhile, German physician, Herta Oberheuser, frustrated at

Playing with Fire

By Tess Gerritsen
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Diane H.
Mar 25, 2016

In Playing with Fire, Tess Gerritsen takes a break from her Rizzoli and Isles series to bring us the tale of two people, separated by over 70 years, who connect through an extraordinary piece of music.

Julia Ansdell is a musician, a violinist. While in Rome, she discovers a book of Gypsy tunes in the window of an antique store. When she picks up the book, a piece of paper falls out. On it is a handwritten composition, entitled Incendio, by L. Todesco.

Looking over this waltz, Julia is unaware of the dramatic and traumatic effect it will have on her and her family. She only knows that she