Historical Fiction

Some Luck by Jane Smiley

Beginning in 1920 and covering a span of thirty years, this novel tells the story of Rosanna and Walter Langdon raising their family on a farm in Denby, Iowa. During these thirty years much social and economic change has drastically affected life in America. Smiley has a true sense of family life in a small town on a farm and she develops her characters in a realistic way going through real-life events and consequences. This novel is the first in a trilogy that will span 100 years of the Langdon families’ stories.

Fiction SMILEY, J.

San Miguel by T. C. Boyle

While many books focus on a compelling character or family, this novel revolves around a particular place – a tiny, windswept island off the coast of California. Beginning in the 1880s and then shifting to the 1930s, Boyle traces the lives of two families that inhabit San Miguel, people in search of freedom and escape from sometimes troubled pasts. In addition to a stark and captivating place, this memorable tale offers compelling characters, heartbreaking circumstances, and the beautiful storytelling that readers have come to expect of T. C. Boyle. 

Stormbird by Conn Iggulden

In Conn Iggulden’s first book in the War of the Roses series, England and France’s bitter rivalry comes alive in vivid detail. Young Henry VI has just ascended to his English throne, yet he is known to be weak and ineffectual, relying almost completely upon his two advisers, low-born spymaster Derry Brewer and William de la Pole, the Duke of Suffolk. Derry and William secretly plan to unite the young French royal Margaret D’Anjou and Henry in marriage to quell hostilities, but hotheaded nobles like the Plantagenet Duke of York scheme for more war instead of peace.

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Ada was born with a clubfoot.  Her single mother is ashamed and keeps her inside their cramped apartment at all times. It’s only when her little brother James starts going to school and exploring the neighborhood that Ada learns what happens beyond her walls. When the children of London are evacuated due to the German bombings during WWII, Ada runs away with her brother.  They are placed with a reluctant guardian, Susan, who is suffering with depression. 

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

In 1901, two boys become friends in eastern Canada.  Benji is a black youth who intends to become a newspaperman.  His pal is a red-haired Irish boy named Alvin.  Alvin wants to become a scientist.  The duo met at a forensics competition. Benji has landed an apprenticeship with a local newspaper and is always thinking of his next story. Alvin lives with his father and Grandma. While exploring the woods, they encounter the “Madman of Piney Woods,” who turns out to be a Civil War veteran who has become a hermit.

A Quilt for Christmas by Sandra Dallas

In 1864 Eliza Spooner’s husband Will volunteers to join the Union army leaving her to take care of their Kansas farm and their two children. Eliza awaits his return and sends him a special Christmas quilt to help keep him warm. When one of her neighbors becomes a widow, Eliza opens her home to the young woman and her daughter. The two women help each other and form a special bond when they join other women in a quilting group. When Eliza is asked to hide an escaped slave she finds it in her heart to do the right thing even though it puts her own family in danger.

The Spiritglass Charade by Colleen Gleason

Beautiful and charming Evaline Stoker, sister of famous Bram, and intelligent, inventive Mina Holmes, niece of renowned Sherlock, team up for a second time in this steampunk mystery. London’s beloved princess calls upon Evaline and Mina for a personal request. One of her best friends, Miss Willa Ashton, is a seventeen-year-old beauty who is heir to a large fortune. Miss Ashton’s mother has passed away, and her ten-year-old brother has recently disappeared. Out of grief, Miss Ashton has been consulting spiritual mediums.

Flight of the sparrow : a novel of early America by Amy Belding Brown

Based on the real-life story of Mary Rowlandson (1637-1711) who lived in an outpost town in 1600’s Massachusetts this enthralling novel tells the story of Mary’s capture by Native Americans in an Indian raid.  Mary became a slave to a powerful female Indian leader and witnessed both savage cruelty and kindness while adapting to the Native American culture.  When she returned to English society and her minister husband she often felt shunned by her community and conflicted by the cruelty and prejudices imposed upon the Native Americans.  This novel gives a fresh in

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

Set against the backdrop of the Great Mississippi Flood during Prohibition in rural Mississippi, Tilted World tells the story of a bootlegger, her shady husband, an orphan baby, and two federal investigating agents and how their lives become entwined.  Weeks of constant rain and the impending natural disaster adds tension to this atmospheric story filled with murder and moonshine.  The strong-willed Dixie Clay who is mourning the recent death of her baby and decent, blues-loving agent Ted Ingersoll are drawn to each other in their mutual attachment to the orphan baby and thei

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

In her second novel, Valentine blends fairy tale with historical fiction by retelling Grimm’s “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” setting it in the Roaring Twenties. During the day, the Hamilton sisters are shut up in the top story of their father’s house. Ashamed of having twelve daughters and no sons, their father hides them while he waits to marry them off to advantageous matches. Some nights the girls sneak out to dance at various speakeasies around Manhattan.

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