When you’re in the mood for something slower-paced that draws you into a certain time and place with lots of accuracy and detail PLUS great stories and emotional pull, that’s the time to find a historical fiction title! Recently members of the Library Staff met to discuss the historical fiction genre and many of us were surprised to realize we read more of these types of books than we had assumed. It seems like this genre used to be dominated by really long sagas (think James Michener, John Jakes, Taylor Caldwell, Irving Stone, etc.) but you can find absorbing titles that are shorter as well. Here are some that the Staff recently enjoyed:
The Glory Cloak by Patricia O’Brien – Really interesting mix of fact and fiction about the Civil War and particularly hospitals and nursing; characters include Louisa May Alcott and Clara Barton among others.
My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliviera – another book set during the Civil war about a New York midwife who wants to be a doctor. Really captures the atmosphere of Washington, DC during Civil War, the role of women and medical conditions. Historical characters like Lincoln are part of story.
The Woman of the Green Glade: The Story of an Ojibway Woman on the Great Lakes Frontier by Virginia Soetebier – real history written as a novel; very researched story of the daughter of Indian chief in Wisconsin in the late 1700s. Especially great if you are familiar with the upper Great Lakes region.
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson – Young adult novel about a 14-year-old girls struggling to survive during the Yellow Fever epidemic in Philadelphia. Liked how the story captures the role of African Americans who helped care for fever victims.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett – set in the 1960s at start of Civil Rights movement, pulls in details that are true to the time as well as themes of racism, feminism, etc.. The audio is so good, people may want to listen to it as a separate experience from reading the book.
Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez – Ohio in 1850s provides a “vacation” destination for white male slave owners and their black mistresses in this shocking, eye-opening, and tragic debut novel. May be a good companion read to The Help.
The Long Song by Andrea Levy – Set against the backdrop of a sugar plantation in Jamaica during the years (1820s – 50s) leading up to the bloody slave rebellion, the story, told in flashback, captures the birth of a nation.
The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer – compelling debut novel about three Jewish Hungarian brothers and how their lives and relationships are tested by the onset of WWII. Liked how the author used individual stories to illuminate the larger issues without being too sad.
Want more historical reading ideas? Try our booklists, including “Mysteries with a History.”
- Shawshank Redemption November 19, 2013
- Music, seen November 29, 2013
- Melody Makers November 29, 2013