Category: Historical Fiction

A Month in the Country

by J. L. Carr, 1980 Short historical novel – 106 pages – set in England in the summer of 1920. A young man, Tom Birkin, a veteran of the horror that was WWI, and having an unfaithful wife, is hired to restore a painting on the wall of a church in a tiny town in […]

The Exiles

by Christina Baker Kline, 2020 This was the 3rd book selection for the Old Town Library Book Club 2022-2023 year. Historical fiction set in 1840’s London and Australia; specifically, Van Diemen’s Land, the colonial name for Tasmania. Young governess, Evangeline Stokes, pregnant and wrongly accused of stealing a ruby ring given to her by the […]

My Brilliant Friend

by Elena Ferrante, 2012 This is the first book of the Neopolitan novels. There are three more – next is The Story of a New Name. I’m not sure where I heard about these – maybe the Library’s monthly emails on travel books? It’s set in 1950s Naples, Italy, and tells the story of two […]


by Upton Sinclair, 1926 Historical fiction about the early days of the oil business. Recommended by an Economist reporter in order to learn about the business. It follows Bunny Ross, a young “oil prince” and his life in Southern California with his father, J. Arnold Ross, former mule-driver turned oil magnate. Bunny is a sweet, […]

Inside Outside

by Herman Wouk, 1985 Another EXCELLENT book by Herman Wouk. This one is long, 644 pages, but engrossing. It is set mainly in New York City in the first half of the 1900’s. It’s about a boy, a Jewish boy, who is born in 1915 in Bronx, New York, to Russian Jewish immigrants. It tells […]

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

by Kim Michele Richardson, 2019 Wonderful book recommended by neighbor, Pat. Historical fiction, 1930s, a “Blue” horse pack librarian (Cussy Mary), who faces hardship, tragedy, racism, but finds true love in the Kentucky mountains. There were really blue-skinned people, who had congenital methemoglobinemia, but were considered “coloreds” and discriminated against. This is a fictional account […]

Village School

by “Miss Read,” Mrs. Dora Jessie Saint, 1955 What a sweet, sweet book! Transports you to an English village in about the 1930s. It’s precious – the people, the cottages, the school, the children. She takes you through the 3 terms of school: Christmas Term, Spring Term, Summer Term. She teaches the older kids and […]

The Four Winds

by Kristin Hannah, 2021 Historical fiction covering the dust bowl, the depression, and the plight of Okies in California. Elsa is blasted by one traumatic event after another. She’s an unwanted oldest daughter of a wealthy family in Texas. She gets pregnant by an Italian boy, Rafe, who is forced to marry her. His mother […]

The God of Small Things

by Arundhati Roy, 1997 Excellent writer but such a tragic tale, and no redemption in the end. Seven year-old twins (“two-egg twins”) and their beautiful mother, Ammu, live with their Uncle Chacko, their grandaunt Baby Kochamma, and their grandmother, Mammachi, in their beautiful home and Paradise Pickle factory by the river in Ayemenem, India. Something […]

The Glass Palace

by Amitav Ghosh, 2000 Historical fiction about Burma and India in the late 1800s through mid-1900s. Learn about the royal family of Burma and their ousting by the British, learn about teak harvesting in Burma and rubber plantations in Malaysia. Learn about colonialism through the eyes of those colonized (Indians). Also learn that many Indians […]

Before We Were Yours

by Lisa Wingate, 2017 This book was the February selection for our Old Town Library Book Club. It’s historical fiction about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, a real organization, and children stolen and taken to an orphanage in Memphis. The truth is that many children were stolen or taken away from their parents under duress […]

The Huntress

by Kate Quinn, 2019 Action-packed historical fiction about Nazi hunters in the 1950s. Characters are very appealing, except for the Huntress – die Jagerin. There are 6 main characters: Jordan McBride, young American girl who wants to be a photographer; Ian Graham, Englishman and former WWII war correspondent, who wants to catch the Huntress because […]

The Night Tiger

by Yangsze Choo, 2019 What a fun romp through British-colonial Malaya (Malaysia) in 1931! Delightful characters (11 year-old houseboy Ren; beautiful Ji Lin, handsome Shin) and mystery (why do these people keep dying and where is that finger) and sumptuous descriptions of Malaysian food and the flora and fauna of the tropics. I loved it!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

by Betty Smith, 1943 A gift from Christie for my birthday last year, I finally read it and absolutely loved it. All of the characters are so lovable and endearing, and the setting and time (1912-1919 Brooklyn) are captivating. It’s 481 pages long but so well-written and engrossing, it was enjoyable and hard to put […]


by Anna Burns, 2018 Fantastic book! So original! Never read anything like this! LOVED it! Learned what Ireland in the 1970s was like – brought home the problems. Written from the perspective of an 18 year old Irish girl, Middle Sister. We never learn her first name. She has a wonderful relationship with maybe-boyfriend but […]

Washington Black

by Esi Edugyan, 2018 Fascinating book about a little boy, George Washington Black (Wash), who is a slave on the Faith Plantation in Barbados. He works alongside a big black woman, Big Kit. She takes care of him and he gets to sleep with her at night and work alongside her during the day. One […]


By Min Jin Lee, 2017 Ugh, glad this one’s over. It started out good, but about half-way through, it became trash, full of all kinds of sex for no good reason, and pointless interactions, except to reinforce how racist the Japanese were (are?) towards the Koreans. This was our 3rd title for the Old Town […]