Historical Fiction

The Fragment

Monday, August 21, 2017
Davis Bunn
The Fragment

This work of Christian Historical Fiction takes place in the early 1920s and introduces us to Muriel Ross, a young woman who works as a research fellow at the Smithsonian. In a time when women have just earned the vote and are slowly entering the work force, she has been unknowingly guided by a close family friend to develop the necessary skills to make her valuable on his life quest which is to identify a reliquary holding a piece of the true cross.

Their journey for this relic takes them to Paris and Constantinople during a politically volatile time and the danger makes this an Indiana Jones-type adventure.  Visiting the shop of Coco Chanel for couture fashions, exacting details of the war-torn people and places, and the impending threat of Ataturk's encroaching forces add realistic elements and completes a broader picture.  Muriel's talents as a photographer, her down-to-earth mannerisms and world view open doors to unusual places, and her compassion helps to bridge gaps even when language is a barrier.

This book ends with Muriel and her mentor, Senator Thomas Byron, back in D.C. seemingly with the potential for further adventure.  It will be interesting to see if Mr. Bunn intends this story to become a series.  Check our catalog.

Dana A, Reference

The Women In The Castle

Friday, July 28, 2017
Jessica Shattuck
The Women In The Castle

If you enjoyed The Nightingale or All The Light We Cannot See, give this one a read.  This story is set at the end of WWII in an old Bavarian Castle which once hosted parties for Germany's high society.  It is a story of three widows whose lives and fates become intertwined due to the war.  Unlike other historical fiction books I’ve read, this story picks up at the end of the war and looks at the communities and lives that must be rebuilt in the aftermath of WWII. This book has all the usual elements you'd expect of a WWII historical fiction; love, loss, redemption, and historical insight & perspective.  Check our catalog

Tanya H., Reference

 

A Fall of Marigolds

Friday, July 14, 2017
Susan Meissner
A Fall of Marigolds

A moving time-travel tale that vaccillates between the two most tragic events in the history of New York City. The story begins in September 2011 with Taryn, who has just lost her husband in the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center. It soon interchanges with Clara, who is a nurse at Ellis Island and has lost a potential suitor in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911. The two stories are woven together by a sense of love, loss, and hope and are connected physically by a scarf which becomes pivotal in both of women's lives. I found myself fulfilling the author's wish to "keep you up at night" as I stayed up until 3 AM on the night I finished reading the book. I was anxious to learn the outcome for both women. This story is an interesting and believable work of Historic Fiction.  Similar in style to Marie Bostwick's Field of Gold and On Wings of the Morning.  I will definitely read other books by Mrs. Meissner!  Check our Catalog

Dana, Reference

The Baker's Secret

Friday, June 16, 2017
Stephen P. Kiernan
The Baker's Secret

For all the World War II historical fiction fans, this one is for you.  This story takes place in France, on the eve of D-Day.  The story centers on the main character, Emma, a bread maker.  This is her story of the extraordinary lengths she goes to sustain her village during the German occupation.  A great story of resilience, perseverance and sacrifice. Check our catalog

Tanya H., Reference

 

The Boys who challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Phillip Hoose
The Boys who challenged Hitler
Fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen was outraged when the officials of his homeland, Denmark, let the Nazis take over the country without a fight.  He, his brother and some of his school friends decided to take matters into their own hands and sabotage the Germans. It started with changing road signs so the Nazis would get lost. After a while the group grew in size and courage and knowledge and soon important buildings used by the enemy  were bombed.  The Nazis grew frustrated with the Churchill Club (the boys named their club after Winston Churchill) and tracked them down.  But their efforts were not in vain; their courage sparked a full-blown Danish resistance.  The author, Phillip Hoose, was able to interview Knud Pedersen before he died to get the facts straight and tell a fascinating story. Check our catalog
 
Jeanne S., Youth Services

Three Sisters, Three Queens

Friday, December 30, 2016
Philippa Gregory

This story of Margaret Tudor, the quintessential English Princess of her time, and the often tumultuous relationship she shares with her siblings as she fulfills her predestine duty to be the wife of King James the IV of Scotland. 

Margaret Tudor is the narrator of this book, and when we meet her she’s a young girl of ten who worships older brother, Arthur Tudor Prince of Wales and is annoyed by the spoiled, childish antics of younger brother, Henry.  Mary Tudor, the youngest of the bunch, is a beautiful, carefree child still in the nursery and the sister of Margaret’s heart.  However, when Katherine of Aragon arrives at the English court to marry Arthur, Margaret’s entire world gets upended and jealousy begins to consumer her. She regards Katherine of Aragon as Katherine of Arrogant, and immediately envies her beauty, lavish wardrobe and jewels.  This jealousy dogs Margaret throughout the rest of this novel, and informs much of the precarious relationship she has with her sister, Mary, and sister-in-law twice over, Katherine. 

When Margaret arrives in Scotland to marry King James, a man seventeen years her senior and the greatest king Scotland has ever known, Margaret, often childish and self-centered, settles in to her new life and celebrates the fact that she is a true queen before both Katherine and Mary. While Margaret is the narrator of this story, the three sisters continue a correspondence that carries them across all the vagaries of their royal lives and the often brutal politics that shape their thoughts and actions.

I’ve read many of Philippa Gregory’s novels but was particularly interested to see how she’d handle the little known Margaret Tudor and her life as Queen Margaret of Scotland.  Although fictionalized and flavored with a relatable modern voice often reminiscent of a shallow, spoiled teenager, I really did enjoy this novel.  Philippa Gregory has a way of taking complicated history, distilling it and delivering it up for every person to enjoy. This was a very detailed, painstakingly researched account of Margaret’s life in Scotland.  The three sister-queens exchange letters and it is through these that we get a glimpse of Katherine and Mary’s most intimate thoughts.  Their lives are as fascinating as they are tragic, mirroring the time and countries in which they lived.  I believe this book is well worth the time if you’re a historical junky like I am.  My honest opinion?  I’d give this five out of five stars.

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Darci in Reference  

News of the World

Monday, December 19, 2016
Paulette Jiles
News of the World

Loved this book and no doubt someone will make it into a great movie!  Set in 1870 Texas, Captain Kidd is given a $50 gold piece to deliver a 10 year-old girl back to her family.  The girl had been captured by the Kiowa when she was 6, so that is the only family she knows.  The distance of this trip is quite far, and few would undertake such a dangerous mission.  The characters are superb and full of dimension.  As with any trip, bonds are broken and some are strengthened.  You won't put this one down until you find out what happens.  Highly recommended.

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Margaret B., Reference

The Fifth Avenue Artists Society

Friday, December 2, 2016
Joy Callaway
The Fifth Avenue Artists Society

This is a great story about the impact love has in life. Set in the late 1800s, the novel follows the life of Virginia Loftin, a poor girl striving to become a great author and live happily ever after with her childhood sweetheart, Charlie. After part of her dream fails, Virginia learns to become someone even more driven for success after joining an artist society. Again, Virginia must reevaluate herself after new revelations about the society and her former flame arise.

I loved Callaway’s unique plot and style of the novel and I had a hard time ever putting it down. This novel is fantastic for anyone in high school or older that enjoys an interesting love story.

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Miranda M., Circulation

The One Man

Saturday, November 26, 2016
Andrew Gross
The One Man

In 1944 physics professor Alfred Mendl is sent to a German concentration camp. He is one of the only two people with the knowledge to start a war or end it. The Germans are unaware of this special knowledge. The U. S. has put together a special mission to go into the camps to find Mendl and bring him back. Nathan Blum is the one man that has the special skills and is fluent in German and Polish to complete this mission. Many twist and turns and unexpected events. A thriller indeed.

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Barb O., Circulation

Inés of My Soul

Friday, November 4, 2016
Isabel Allende
Inés of My Soul

An amazing story of historical fiction about Inés Suárez, a Spanish woman who helped build the nation of Chile in the 1500s.

Inés was born in Spain, but made her way to the New World of South America in search of her husband in about 1537 when she was 30 years old. Although the trip was treacherous, especially for a woman, it is suspected that she wanted to escape the stifling monotonous life in Spain for a woman who is without a husband. She eventually made her way to Peru where she learned that her husband had died in battle.

It is in Peru where Inés becomes the mistress of Pedro de Valdivia, a famous war hero and Field Marshall. She accompanies de Valdivia on his mission to the south to found the country of Chile. Inés’s talents as a seamstress, a cook, and at the healing arts made her a valuable member of the small group of Spaniards who moved into the territory that is now Chile where the natives of the region were inhospitable.

This saga dramatizes the events that are known about the life of Inés Suárez. I recommend this to anyone who likes historical fiction with strong female characters.   

Check our catalog for this book.

 

Kathleen Z., Administration

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