historical fiction

The Cover of "The Roaring Days of Zora Lily" by Noelle Salazar

The Roaring Days of Zora Lily

By Noelle Salazar

Rated by Gregg W.
Jan 19, 2024

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of No Wait Wednesday, where we turn the spotlight on a book that's on the "New Release" section at one of our Library branches that we think absolutely deserves your attention. The best thing of all? There's no waitlist (at the moment!), so place your holds now!

Today's book is The Roaring Days of Zora Lily by Noelle Salazar. If you're a fan of historical fiction, then you might know that Salazar made some noise in the World War Two sub-genre a few years ago with her well-regarded 2019 debut about a group of female pilots, The Flight Girls, that combined

Cover of "The Caretaker" by Ron Rash

The Caretaker

By Ron Rash

Rated by Gregg W.
Jan 8, 2024

Hello and welcome to the first No Wait Wednesday post of 2024, where we take a look at a book that's on the New Release shelf at one of our local Libraries that might deserve a bit of extra attention. Nobody likes to wait in line for something good to read, so if the hold list for the latest bestseller might seem a bit daunting, come on over and check out a great book that's right here, ready and waiting for you.

Professor, poet, and novelist Ron Rash might be in the conversation as one of the best authors that many folks have never heard of. Critically-acclaimed, a regular on year-end best of

Cover of "Vampires of El Norte" by Isabel Cañas

Vampires of El Norte

By Isabel Cañas

Rated by Gregg W.
Dec 18, 2023

Hello and welcome to another edition of No Wait Wednesday, where we take a look at a book on a New Release shelf at one of our branch Libraries that's available right now for lucky patrons to check out. There's nothing quite as disappointing than hearing about a good book from someone and then discovering that you'll have to wait weeks before it is available from the library. It's far better to skip the lines and try something that's available now and ready to go for you to enjoy. Today we'll be looking at Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas, also the author of 2022's word-of-mouth hit, The

Cover of "The Paris Deception" by Bryn Turnbull

The Paris Deception

By Bryn Turnbull

Rated by Gregg W.
Oct 10, 2023

Hello and welcome to this week's edition of #NoWaitWednesday where we take a look at a great book on the New Release shelf at a local branch that's just waiting for you to place your holds. We know that patrons don't like being 432nd in line for the latest New York Times blockbuster, but there's always plenty of great stuff to read right under your nose.  

Our patrons have a seemingly insatiable appetite for lush and vivid historical fiction set around World War II. From "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr to "The Nightingale" by Kristen Hannah to "The Diamond Eye" by Kate Quinn

Cover of Lone Women by Victor LaValle. A black woman stands alone on a prairie.

Lone Women

By Victor LaValle
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Allison M
Sep 20, 2023

Lone Women by Victor LaValle blends the best of several genres, giving us western, historical fiction, horror, thriller, and plenty of social commentary to boot. The year is 1914 and our heroine, Adelaide Henry, is fleeing California – her parents are dead and all she has with her is a suspiciously heavy locked steamer trunk. She makes her way to Montana where, thanks to the Homestead Act, single women were able to claim plots of land, work it for three years, and then “prove up” to owning the land. The harsh Montana environment is difficult enough for anyone to survive, let alone a young

Cover of Lauren J. A. Bear's "Medusa's Sisters" featuring the snake-haired creatures of Greek myth

Medusa's Sisters

By Lauren J. A. Bear
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Gregg W.
Aug 22, 2023

Hello and welcome to #NoWaitWednesdays, where we pick an item off the New Release shelf at one of our library branches that's available for a lucky reader to discover. There are always plenty of gems at the library to find that don't require a two-month wait on the hold lists, and the New Release shelves are always a great place to explore and find your next favorite read.

Medusa is a familiar figure in Greek mythology - a female monster with snakes for hair and a gaze that turns men to stone, usually presented as an antagonist to the hero Perseus, who then cuts off her head to use as a weapon

Cover of The Witch of Tin Mountain by Paulette Kennedy

The Witch of Tin Mountain

By Paulette Kennedy
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Gregg W.
Aug 15, 2023

Hello and welcome to #NoWaitWednesday, where we take a look at a title that's sitting on our New Release shelves that's just waiting for a lucky patron to check it out.

Set in the hills of the Ozarks on the Missouri-Arkansas border during the Great Depression, a young woman, Gracelynn Doherty, lives a quiet life as she helps her grandmother get by as a midwife and apothecary to the local community, supplying herbs, advice, and rudimentary medical care to those around Tin Mountain. Whispers abound that Gracelynn - and her Granny - are actually witches, but people still come to their remote

Cover of Hula by Jamin Iolani Hakes

Hula

By Jasmine Iolani Hakes
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Gregg W.
Aug 1, 2023

Here at the library, we love books. We especially love books that we don't have to wait for. This is why on #NoWaitWednesdays, we spotlight a book that - at the time of this writing, anyway - is sitting on the New Release shelf at a local branch, just waiting for someone to come by and check it out. So if this book sounds like something you might be interested in, go ahead and press that hold button! You might be deeply immersed in its pages far faster than you might expect.

Many of our book group patrons LOVE a good multi-generational novel. There's something about a story where one generation

Cover of The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons

The Air Raid Book Club

By Annie Lyons
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Gregg W.
Jul 11, 2023

Hello and welcome to the New Title Tuesday for this week! Patrons can't seem to get enough of feel-good reads, and to be honest, neither can we - especially during times of great stress, there's nothing like making a mug of tea and sinking deep into a book that has a heartwarming plot, engaging characters, and a feel-good ending that you just KNOW will lift your spirits. This week, for our New Title Tuesday pick, make sure that you have The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons on your holds lists if that's the sort of thing you're looking for.

The novel begins with a widow named Gertie who owns a

Cover of "Banyan Moon" by Thao Thai.

Banyan Moon by Thao Thai

By Thao Thai
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Gregg W.
Jun 21, 2023

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of New Title Tuesday, where we take a closer look at a new release that's hitting the publishing world this week.

Summer is in full swing, and some of our patrons might be looking for a deeply immersive novel - something that grabs us and transports us to another place and another time. Banyan Moon, a debut novel by Thao Thai, is a sprawling, epic, multi-generational novel that focuses on interweaving mother-daughter relationships through three generations of fierce, independent women that stretch from the modern Florida coast to back, years ago, to the

Cover of THE HACIENDA by Isabel Cañas

The Hacienda

By Isabel Cañas

Rated by Gregg W.
May 10, 2022

Hello and welcome to #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a look at a new release in the publishing world that will hopefully be a welcome addition to your holds lists.

Today marks the debut of THE HACIENDA by Isabel Cañas, a dark, glittering gem of a debut novel that's already drawing comparisons to Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA by way of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's MEXICAN GOTHIC. This novel, a gothic suspense thriller with hints of the supernatural, is delightfully atmospheric and perfect for those who like thrills and chills that tiptoe up to the line to horror bet never actually crosses that line.

Cover of ELEKTRA by Jennifer Saint

Elektra: A Novel of the House of Atreus

By Jennifer Saint
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Gregg W.
May 3, 2022

Hello and welcome to this week's #NewTitleTuesday, where we take a closer look at a title that makes its debut to the publishing world - and our patron's holds lists!

Jennifer Saint's novel ARIADNE was a powerful word-of-mouth hit last year - the novel from the point of view of a princess of Crete who helps hero Theseus find his way through a maze in the basement of her father's palace - was both a crowd-pleaser and a great book club pick for those looking to dig a little deeper into the character from Greek mythology. Saint is back with a similar novel, this time not only looking at

Cover for The Once and Future Witches with floral background

The Once and Future Witches

By Alix E. Harrow

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Dec 15, 2021

“Witchcraft isn’t one thing but many things, all the ways and words women have found to wreak their wills on the world.”

“A witch is just a woman who wants too much”.

The Once and Future Witches is a deftly told historical feminist fantasy novel about three sister witches who help bring witching back into the world. The story unfolds alongside the late 1800s suffragette movement, and the women's movement soon turns into the witch's movement as the ways of witching slowly spread through town, and women reclaim the power they lost to time.

The novel is rich with historical details but also

Picture of stormy sky with black/purple clouds on top of a dry dusty landscape in west Texas. Title is in white, all capital letters across the clouds.

Valentine

By Wetmore, Elizabeth
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Lisa H
Nov 8, 2021

Valentine, by Elizabeth Wetmore is a hauntingly powerful, and beautiful debut novel set in Odessa, Texas in 1976. Wetmore has created four main characters with deep narratives, and all intertwined in ways that make the reader truly understand them in various ways. The detailed characterizations help to draw an accurate divide between age, class and race in west Texas in the mid-1970’s.

The story takes an emotional toll, right from the start when Gloria Ramirez, a fourteen-year-old Hispanic girl, who projects a tough-girl image, is attacked and raped after getting into a stranger’s truck. So

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

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
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 seeing

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

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
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

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
Star Rating
★★★★

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 coming

The Broken Girls

By Simone St. James

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
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, Th

Once Upon a River

By Diane Setterfield

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
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 Swan

Outlander, Season 1, Volume 2

By Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Star Rating
★★★★★

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

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
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

Before We Were Yours

By Lisa Wingate

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
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

The Harvey Way

By Carolyn Meyer
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Heather McCartin
Apr 8, 2019

In the late 1800s and early-mid 1900s, the Harvey Girls were considered to be elite hostesses and servers for entrepreneur and businessman Fred Harvey.  Harvey developed the concept of the ‘Harvey House’ dining areas along various railways across the United States, including the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe.  These hospitality restaurants worked in tandem with the railways in order to provide first class service to passengers and railroad employees.  Meals were served promptly on a strict schedule and all Harvey Girls were expected to follow a strict code of conduct that included a

The Woman in White (DVD)

By Wilkie Collins (novel) & Fiona Seres (screenplay)
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Bet M
Feb 26, 2019

This 5-episode miniseries, featuring two memorable female leads, expertly tackled Wilkie Collins's 656-page suspense novel (published in 1860) and kept me on the edge of my seat even more than many a modern thriller.

The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow

By Alyssa Palombo

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Dec 21, 2018

This story is the legend of Sleepy Hollow from the point of view of the main female character, Katrina Van Tassel. Having grown up the only daughter to a wealthy farmer and doting mother, Katrina is strong in her opinions, desires and actions. While this strength of character gets Katrina into some mischief, it also allows her to follow her heart and find a deep love with the new school teacher, Ichabod Crane.

When Ichabod first arrives at Sleepy Hollow he stays with the Van Tassel family until he finds the first host family among his pupils. Katrina's father hires him quickly to be her music

The Help

By Kathryn Stockett
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Heather McCartin
Dec 5, 2018

The Helpthe debut novel by Kathryn Stockett, published nearly ten years ago, has the remarkable ability to remain relevant in today’s polarized climate of questions and the search for truth and justice.  Here we meet three different women: Skeeter Phelan, Aibileen Clark, and Minny Jackson, all wanting to change the status quo without knowing how or when to start.  Set in 1960s Jackson, Mississippi, there is a strong divide between the races that results in violence and fear among the residents as the Civil Rights Movement continues throughout the nation.  The power struggle exists in the

Lincoln in the Bardo

By George Saunders
Star Rating
★★★★★

Rated by Chris K.
Oct 24, 2018

Strange, fascinating, moving, disturbing, challenging, poignant, and human. Oh, so very human.

Lincoln in the Bardo is a book that delves deep into the human condition and the particular human penchant for storytelling. It presents a myriad cast of characters, each obsessed with telling his or her own story to others. And to living it out, over and over. They are stuck in their stories. Limited by them. Blinded by them. Stories of regret, sorrow, and unfinished lives. Unhappy stories.

For the characters are ghosts. Or spirits or phantoms or souls or what you will. Trapped in a limbo of their

Transcription

By Kate Atkinson
Star Rating
★★★

Rated by Heather B.
Oct 15, 2018

I am, in general, a huge fan of Kate Atkinson’s novels. I loved Life After Life, its sequel A God in Ruins, and all of the books in her Jackson Brodie series. That’s why it pains me to say I was a bit disappointed in Transcription.

Transcription tells the story of Juliet Armstrong, a young woman who is recruited by the British intelligence agency MI5 at the beginning of World War II. The main task she is charged with is transcribing the meetings among a group of British fascist sympathizers and supporters. As she is drawn further into the web of British spies and their targets, she’s left

Nefertiti

By Michelle Moran
Star Rating
★★★★

Rated by Sam S.
Aug 27, 2018

Nefertiti follows the titular character through the eyes of her sister, Mutnodjmet, from their early life through Nefertiti's swift ascent to the throne as one of history’s most powerful women. Headstrong, cunning, and limitlessly ambitious – Nefertiti defies tradition to become Egypt's first female co-regents during one of its most tumultuous and unique periods, with Mutnodjmet as her near-constant, often reluctant companion and advisor. All the while, Mutnodjmet—a  thoughtful, intelligent young woman with a passion for healing and nature—yearns to find her own destiny, away from the courts

The Marriage Of Opposites

By Alice Hoffman

Rated by Library Staff (not verified)
Jul 31, 2018

I absolutely love this book and consider it one of my "top 10" favorites! I did not expect to like it when a friend lent me her copy to read, but it blew me away. 

Alice Hoffman's writing is so rich in detail that it's mesmerizing. The Marriage of Opposites is historical fiction set during the 19th century, based on the real life of Rachel Pomie', the mother of Camille Pissarro who became a famous artist and one of the fathers of impressionism. Most of the story is set on the island of St. Thomas, and then ultimately in Paris. Rachel Pomie' is a girl that does not like rules and is constantly