A few of the historical fiction titles I’ve recently enjoyed and shared with others–each set within the first few decades of the 1900s.
The Chaperone by Laura Moriarity
Many are surprised when wife and mother Cora decides to accompany a neighbor’s spoiled but talented young daughter from quiet Wichita to New York. But Cora has a secret from her past she hopes to lay to rest on the trip — and along the way her life is changed in unexpected ways. Based loosely around the life of silent screen star Louise Brooks, this is a wonderful look at changes in American culture (especially for women) during the 1920s.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
In 1938, a chance meeting with a handsome banker propels working class Kate into a year of changes and discovery. Filled with descriptive zingers, Rules of Civility vividly captures issues ranging from friendship and social class to the jazz scene of New York City. [P.S. I just read this morning that it will be adapted into a movie.]
Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
It’s 1918 and a young couple, Tom and Isabel, are on a remote side of Australia where he is the lighthouse keeper. Despite their isolation, they are happy–but as Isabel remains unable to become a mother she coaxes Tom into making a choice that has devastating consequences. A complex, heart-wrenching and thoroughly absorbing read.
Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
Booklist gave this a Starred Review, saying, “Fay’s extraordinary first novel has everything great historical-adventure fiction should: a strikingly original setting, exhilarating plot twists, and a near-impossible quest.” I not only enjoyed the glimpses of life in China and Cambodia during the 1920s, but the descriptions of the ancient Khmer culture inspired me to to check out Passage to Angkor by Kenro Izu (778.94 IZU) so I could look at photos of the ruins as I read the story.
The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones
With the entire story taking place at an English manor home in 1912, you may start off thinking this is “Downton Abbey” territory, but the quirky characters, dark humor and an otherworldly twist makes this a delightful and original story.