Historical Fiction

May 21, 2021

This book is realistic fiction. The main characters of this book are Maxine, London, Alice, and Rose (Maxine’s sister). The main characters want to get out of the place they are trapped in (The Massachusetts School for the Feeble-Minded) because they are diagnosed as morons, imbeciles, and idiots because of something “bad” they did. Their parents dropped them off there because they didn’t want them, and the main characters know that they won’t come back. That is why they don’t see a reason to leave.  London tries to get out but she gets caught on a farm she ran to for food and water. London

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help

4
Rated by
May 9, 2021

The Help is a historical fiction novel set in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s. It revolves around three main characters: Aibileen, Skeeter, and Minny. Skeeter has returned from college determined to become a writer. She causes a stir in her hometown by deciding to interview the black women who work for the white families in the town. At first, only Aibileen will help her, but eventually, more and more gather till there are over ten. The publication of her book causes everyone in her town to forever change the way they view the black women and the way they are treated in their town.


I

We Were the Lucky Ones cover. Man and woman sit on bench with their backs facing us.

We Were the Lucky Ones

By Georgia Hunter
5
Rated by Kari E.
Apr 30, 2021

What a book. What a story. What a family. The Kurcs are a Polish family who will not let the cruelty and dehumanizing Nazi and Soviet rule crush their spirit.  


We see babies born, weddings, and a family desperately wishing they were all together again. They feel lucky just to be with one another.  We follow the lives of the Kurc families’ five children through the war.  


Addy moved to France to finish his studies and stayed after finding a job. Now, he cannot return to Poland because there is no safe way to get there and he doesn’t have the right paperwork. His one hopeful thought is

Apr 30, 2021

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a classic historical fiction novel about a mysterious figure, after whom the title is named, who rescues French nobility from the guillotine. He is famous both in France and England for his cunning disguises and daring rescues of the aristocrats from under the very noses of the people who want them dead. His identity is a secret which both his archnemesis, Chauvelin, and his great admirer, Marguerite Blakeney, desire to know. Marguerite, who is unsatisfied in her marriage to the foppish Percy Blakeney, becomes entangled in the fate of the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel by

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Sherwood

5
Rated by
Apr 23, 2021

When Robin of Locksley dies in the Crusades, Lady Marian of Edwinstowe is left without her best friend in a world that expects her to be little, quiet, and defenseless—everything she is not. While trying to help her maid’s brother, Marian is mistaken for the dead Robin— and she doesn’t correct them. With taxes rising to pay for the King’s crusade and the people of Robin’s land starving, Marian teams up with outlaws Will, Alan, and John under her new identity to do as she believes Robin would have done to help his people. But as she continues her act, it gets harder and harder to hide her

Apr 20, 2021

The Book Thief is a historical fiction novel about a girl named Liesel who loves words and books, to the extent that she is willing to steal them. It is narrated by the sarcastic, ever working, overwhelmed, and caring Death throughout the period of World War II. Given by her mother, who is unable to care for her, to foster parents, she learns from her foster father, Papa, how to read so that she will be able to read the first book she ever stole, which is the last link to her little brother, who died on the way to their new home. Gradually, Liesel grows to love books, stealing them from Nazi

Apr 14, 2021

In The Three Musketeers, a historical fiction novel, D’Artagnan, a young man from Gascon who is loyal to the king and queen, travels to Paris seeking to become a musketeer. There he discovers his future best friends, Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, and a plot by Cardinal Richelieu to steal the throne. The four friends go on many adventures in service of the queen and her reputation, but are often foiled by Milady, a beautiful, evil, and mysterious agent of the Cardinal. In a surprising twist at the end, Milady is brought to justice and D’Artagnan receives his wish and is promoted in the musketeers

Feb 27, 2021

It is France, 1714, and a young French village girl named Addie kneels on the forest floor on the eve of her wedding and prays for freedom from an arranged marriage. She forgets, though, that it is after dark, and the gods that answer after dark never play fair. In a moment of desperation, she makes a bargain with the devil himself — freedom to wander, to explore, to dream, but with one catch: she will be forgotten by everyone she meets. However, three hundred years later, Addie’s life is turned upside down when she walks into a bookstore in New York City and the owner, a boy with a broken

Feb 13, 2021

Written by John Knowles, ​A Separate Peace​ is a realistic fiction story about a boy named Gene who attends boarding school in New England and is set during the years of World War II. The plot mainly follows Gene and his best friend Phineas. Gene is quiet, inverted and an intellectual. Phineas is everyone’s favorite person; he is athletic, charming, and a daredevil. The two are complete opposites but could be described as “inseparable.” Although, they struggle with their friendship as certain events unfold through the story.


Overall it was a simple story with a strong message. This is very

Feb 9, 2021

In 1893, witch trials are rampant, especially in the town of New Salem.  Juniper, Agnes, and Bella are three sisters bound together by magic after years of separation.  While having to work through buried conflicts with themselves and each other, these sisters realize how magic and witchcraft are on the brink of extinction.  Together, these sisters work with witches in the town of New Salem to combat the misogyny and anti-witch attitudes that dominate New Salem society, all the while learning the value of their own witching abilities and womanhood.


The most compelling aspect of the book was

Feb 3, 2021

Lovely War​ by Julie Berry is a romance and historical fiction novel that follows the lives of four individuals during World War I, told from the perspective of Aphrodite (goddess of passion and love). Hazel, James, Colette, and Aubrey’s paths cross by mere circumstance, and with Aphrodite’s help, beautiful relationships are formed. As time passes, the perils of war threaten to interfere with the romances and friendships. Will the power of love be enough to salvage the fates of these individuals, or will the war be the demise of their relationship?


Although I am typically not a huge fan of

Book Cover

Deacon King Kong

By James McBride
5
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

Dec 18, 2020

Beatrice Clayborn is a young, powerful sorceress secretly practicing magic in a patriarchal world that doesn’t allow women the freedom of sorcery. Beatrice’s greatest dream is to become a Mage, but her family is relying on her to secure an advantageous marriage in order to avoid financial ruin. There’s only one problem with this — once married, she will be locked into a collar that will cut off her magical powers to protect the children she will inevitably bear. While scouring the bookshops of Bendelton, Beatrice discovers a grimoire that could help her become a Mage, but she is swindled out

Dec 17, 2020

Lovely War, written by Julie Berry, is a historical fiction romance novel narrated by the Greek goddess of love, Aphrodite, as a defense for her infidelity to her husband Hephaestus with Ares, god of war. She speaks of two couples whose stories intertwine with each other, both of whom met during the first World War, and recounts their tragic yet beautiful tale to explain why love and war are attracted to each other and to demonstrate how love requires vulnerability. As she does so, she masterfully weaves together a story of music, acceptance, prejudice, and sacrifice which draws to a close in

Dec 16, 2020

After sixteen-year-old Alice Prewitt’s French grandmother passes away, she finds out that she has inherited an abandoned apartment in Paris. Alice travels to Paris in order to see the apartment for herself, but she makes a shocking discovery — her grandmother had a sister: Adalyn, a resistance worker during WWII. However, Alice has no idea about her great-aunt’s work, and what’s more, Adalyn’s old photos and diary suggest that she was a Nazi sympathizer. With the help of Paul, a handsome French teenager, Alice starts to uncover the truth that Adalyn took to her early grave.


This novel was

Dec 10, 2020

Ever wondered what happens after the “and they all lived happily ever after?” Emma Theriault is here to tell you in her 352 page novel that continues Beauty and her Beast’s story against the backdrop of the French Revolution. Belle, who has chosen to not take the title of princess after marrying her prince, is torn between the world of her past as a commoner and her future as the wife of a royal. Her inner turmoil is only amplified by the stirrings of revolution threatening to overtake Europe. Belle must use her unique upbringing to heal her country and root out betrayal within her own circles

The Right Sort of Man book cover. Woman with back to camera looking down a sunny street

The Right Sort of Man

By Allison Montclair
5
Rated by Kari E.
Dec 7, 2020

Gwendolyn Bainbridge and Iris Sparks attend a mutual friend’s wedding and hit it off immediately, both taking credit for the match. After a lovely lunch the pair decide to go into business together opening The Right Sort Marriage Bureau in Mayfair, London in 1946. Their services are much sought after and their pairings have lead to many happy marriages so far. They both have the ability to size people up and get a clear reading of personalities and secrets being withheld. 


Iris doesn’t talk about her training and time spent during the War. But she’s got a lot of particular skills useful for

Traitor by Amanda McCrina "Betrayal is a matter of life and death"

Traitor

5
Rated by
Dec 7, 2020

Traitor highlights the societal division and question of morality that was prominent during World War II. In this novel, the lives of two teenagers, a Ukrainian orphan named Aleksey who fights to protect his brother and stay alive, and Tolya, a half-Polish, half-Ukrainian seventeen year old who is unsure of where his loyalties lies. As the lives of these two teenagers intertwine, they encounter both old and new, good and bad, all the while trying to stay alive in the midst of not only an international war, but an internal war.     


The most compelling aspect of this book was how the lives

Picture of a woman with only lower face shown, dressed in a 1950's style gown that is coral in color. The title is printed on the lower part of her full skirt, with an image of the skyline of the city of Havana on the very lower edge of her skirt.

Next Year in Havana

By Chanel Cleeton
4
Rated by Lisa H
Oct 21, 2020

The historical fiction novel Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton is a fascinating look into Cuba before and after Castro comes into power. The novel is told in split timelines with stories about two women in Cuba: one facing a revolution that would tear apart everything she knows, another facing a Cuba she has only heard about in family stories.


In Cuba 1958, Elisa Perez is a nineteen-year-old sugar heiress when she meets Pablo at a dinner party. Their chemistry is immediate and undeniable. It is love at first sight and the relationship is doomed from the start due to Elisa and Pablo

Oct 21, 2020

The year is 1957, and Spain has something to hide. Under fascist dictator General Franco’s tyrannical rule the only option is silence, and defiance comes with a hefty price —imprisonment, death, or worse. Meanwhile, 18-year-old Daniel Matheson, the rather spoiled son of a wealthy oil tycoon, journeys to Madrid with his parents, who are brokering a deal with Franco. However, through his photojournalism and the friendship of Ana, a maid at the hotel he is staying at, he realizes that there is a different side of Spain hidden under the image of sunny streets and luxurious accommodations presented

Jul 24, 2020

As a teen invested in equal rights, I really enjoyed this book. I didn't know much history about this topic and because of that the most compelling aspect of the book is how it provided a new perspective. Lots of other teens like me will find this book informative and inspiring, and that is what makes it awesome. I also love books that have multiple POVs and make each person’s story come together in the end, and this book did a really good job with that. I think publishing novels like this one is really important to the current generation. We need books like this to empower us to do better

The Broken Girls

By Simone St. James
4
Rated by Hebah A.H.
Jul 6, 2020

One of the best things about working in a library is the regular opportunity to talk about books (and other media) with people. Often, I can provide a recommendation for something else to read or try in those conversations, but it isn’t always a one-way street. Sometimes, patrons put books on my radar that I overlooked, either because the cover or description didn’t grab me, or it’s just outside my usual genre preferences. One of these books was Simone St. James’s The Broken Girls.


As a story with a historical fiction subplot and an intrigued journalist starring in the other main plotline,

Once Upon a River

By Diane Setterfield
5
Rated by Meghan F
Apr 29, 2020

Fairy tales are often dismissed as stories only for children, but I've never been able to stop reading them, even as an adult.  C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote, "Some day you will be old enough to read fairy tales again."  These types of stories are ones I turn to again and again, whether they be new tales or the dark, Grimm originals.  I especially love historical novels that incorporate fairy tale elements - which is why I was so excited when I heard about the new book by Diane Setterfield.


Set in a small English town on the river Thames, the story centers around a local inn, The

Lonesome Dove

By Larry McMurtry
5
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

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

Outlander, Season 1, Volume 2

By Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
5
Rated by Becky C.
Dec 2, 2019

When my friends started raving about the TV series, Outlander, I was more, meh. It sounds a bit outlandish, frankly. A twenty-something combat nurse from England finishes her tour of duty in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. On vacation in the Scottish Highlands with a husband she barely knows, after having been separated for five years during the war, she gets sucked back in time to the 18th century. Great. Another military conflict. Only this time, being English, she's on the side of the occupier in occupied lands. She eventually falls in love with a hunky (and educated, and

The Secret History

By Donna Tartt
3
Rated by Megan K.
Oct 25, 2019

Donna Tartt  has been on my radar for quite awhile, and I finally picked up The Secret History at the recommendation of multiple coworkers. To be honest, I finished this novel over a week ago, and I am still unsure how I feel. I was unimpressed with much of the book, but something about it is still stuck in the back of my brain. The entire book is a psychological analysis of the six main characters before and after murdering their friend. Tartt opens the book with a prologue describing Bunny’s murder from the point of view of Richard, the narrator. The rest of the novel is then split up into

The Giver of Stars

By Moyes, Jojo
5
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

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate
4
Rated by Kari E.
May 17, 2019

Before We Were Yours is a moving, fascinating portrayal of an upper class Southern family dealing with dementia care, cancer, secrets and a family in 1939 ripped apart just because they live on the river. Have your Kleenex ready and Google pulled up. This novel presents many topics to discuss for book groups.


Dual timelines tell the story of Avery Stafford digging into her Grandma Judy’s past. A woman named May Crandall approaches Avery at a nursing home event, confusing her for someone named Fern and slipping Avery’s bracelet off. When Avery returns the next day to retrieve the bracelet, a