Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction

Travel back in time to see the fall of Rome, the machinations of the Cold War, or Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address through these works of historical fiction.


Compiled by:
Matt N.
Africaville

Jeffery Colvin
Adult Fiction - Colvin

In a small Nova Scotia town settled by former slaves, the lives of three generations of the Sebolt family-- Kath Ella, her son Omar/Etienne, and her grandson Warner-- unfold against the tumultuous events of the twentieth century. Like her ancestors, Kath Ella's life is shaped by hardship as she struggles to conceive and to provide for her family during the long, bitter Canadian winters. As her son grows up, the rebellious Omar refutes the past and decides to break from the family, threatening to upend all that Kath Ella and her people have tried to build. Over the decades, each successive generation drifts further from Africaville, yet all take a piece of this indelible place with them.


Blackberry & Wild

Sonia Velton
Adult Fiction - Velton

Set in eighteenth-century Spitalfields, London, Blackberry and Wild Rose is the rich and atmospheric tale of a household of Huguenot silk weavers as the pursuit of the perfect silk design leads them all into ambition, love, and betrayal.


Circe

Madeline Miller
Adult Fiction - Miller

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe is a strange child, she discovers that she does possess power -- the power of witchcraft, which can transform rivals into monsters and menace the gods themselves. Threatened, Zeus banishes her to a deserted island, where she hones her occult craft. With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man's world.


Contoras

Carolina De Robertis
Adult Fiction - Derober

In 1977 Uruguay, a military government crushed political dissent with ruthless force. In this environment, where the everyday rights of people are under attack, homosexuality is a dangerous transgression to be punished. And yet Romina, Flaca, Anita "La Venus," Paz, and Malena--five cantoras, women who "sing"--somehow, miraculously, find one another. Together, they discover an isolated, nearly uninhabited cape, Cabo Polonio, which they claim as their secret sanctuary. Over the next thirty-five years, their lives move back and forth between Cabo Polonio and Montevideo, the city they call home, as they return, sometimes together, sometimes in pairs, with lovers in tow, or alone. And throughout, again and again, the women will be tested--by their families, lovers, society, and one another--as they fight to live authentic lives.


Daisy Jones & the Six

Taylor Jenkins Reid
Adult Fiction - Reid

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go-Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it's the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she's twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Another band getting noticed is The Six, led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she's pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.


The Dutch House

Ann Patchett
Adult Fiction Patchet

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.


The Gimmicks

Chris McCormick
Adult Fiction - Mccormi

Set in the waning years of the Cold War, a stunning debut novel about a trio of young Armenians that moves from the Soviet Union, across Europe, to Southern California, and at its center, one of the most tragic cataclysms in twentieth-century history—the Armenian Genocide—whose traumatic reverberations will have unexpected consequences on all three lives.


The Girls with No Names

Serena Burdick
Adult Fiction - Burdick

In New York City in the 1910s, Luella and Effie Tildon realize that even as wealthy young women, their freedoms come with limits. When the sisters discover a shocking secret about their father, Luella, the brazen elder sister, becomes emboldened to do as she pleases. Her rebellion comes with consequences, and Effie suspects her father has sent Luella to the "House of Mercy." Effie gets herself committed to save her sister, but when Effie's own escape seems impossible she must rely on an enigmatic girl named Mable to survive.


In West Mills

De'Shawn Charles Winslow
Adult Fiction - Winslow

Azalea "Knot" Centre is determined to live life as she pleases. Let the people of West Mills say what they will; the neighbors' gossip won't keep Knot from what she loves best: cheap moonshine, nineteenth-century literature, and the company of men. Set in an African American community in rural North Carolina from 1941 to 1987, In West Mills is a magnificent, big-hearted small-town story about family, friendship, storytelling, and the redemptive power of love.


The Last Train to London

Meg Waite Clayton
Adult Fiction - Clayton

1936. Stephan Neuman is the son of a wealthy Jewish family in Vienna. His best friend is Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. Their world is shattered when the Nazis take control. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. But after the Anschluss-- Hitler's annexation of Austria-- European countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, Tante Truus races against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad


Little Gods

Meng Jin
Adult Fiction - Jin

Combining the emotional resonance of Home Fire with the ambition and innovation of Asymmetry, a lyrical and thought-provoking debut novel that explores the complex web of grief, memory, time, physics, history, and selfhood in the immigrant experience, and the complicated bond between daughters and mothers.


The Night Tiger

Yangsze Choo
Adult Fiction - Choo

Quick-witted, ambitious Ji Lin is stuck as an apprentice dressmaker, moonlighting as a dance hall girl to help pay off her mother's Mahjong debts. But when one of her dance partners accidentally leaves behind a gruesome souvenir, Ji Lin may finally get the adventure she has been longing for. Eleven-year-old houseboy Ren is also on a mission, racing to fulfill his former master's dying wish: that Ren find the man's finger, lost years ago in an accident, and bury it with his body. Ren has 49 days to do so, or his master's soul will wander the earth forever. As the days tick relentlessly by, a series of unexplained deaths racks the district, along with whispers of men who turn into tigers. Ji Lin and Ren's increasingly dangerous paths crisscross through lush plantations, hospital storage rooms, and ghostly dreamscapes


Out of Darkness, Shining Light

Petina Gappah
Adult Fiction - Gappah

Gappah's powerful novel of exploration and adventure in 19th-century Africa is the captivating story of the loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone's body, his papers, and maps, 1,500 miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there.


Run Me to Earth

Paul Yoon
Adult Fiction - Yoon

Alisak, Prany, and Noi--three orphans united by devastating loss--must do what is necessary to survive the perilous landscape of 1960s Laos. When they take shelter in a bombed out field hospital, they meet Vang, a doctor dedicated to helping the wounded at all costs. In a world where the landscape and the roads have turned into an ocean of bombs, we follow their grueling days of rescuing civilians and searching for medical supplies, until Vang secures their evacuation on the last helicopters leaving the country.


The Secrets We Kept

Lara Prescott
Adult Fiction - Prescot

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak's magnum opus make its way into print around the world. 


The Shadow King

Maaza Mengiste
Adult Fiction - Mengist

With the threat of Mussolini's army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid to Kidane and his wife Aster. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie's army, rushes to mobilize his strongest men before the Italians invade. His initial kindness to Hirut shifts into cruelty when she resists his advances, and Hirut finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and rage. As the war begins in earnest, the Emperor goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope. Hirut helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians.


This Tender Land

William Kent Krueger
Adult Fiction - Krueger

1932, Minnesota—the Lincoln School is a pitiless place where hundreds of Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated.Over the course of one unforgettable summer, four orphans will journey into the unknown and cross paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds.


The Water Dancer

Colson Whitehead
Adult Fiction – Coates

Young Hiram Walker was born into bondage. When his mother was sold away, Hiram was robbed of all memory of her—but was gifted with a mysterious power. Years later, when Hiram almost drowns in a river, that same power saves his life. This brush with death births an urgency in Hiram and a daring scheme: to escape from the only home he’s ever known.