Category: Historical Fiction

Band of Sisters

by Lauren Willig, 2021 Pat loaned this book to me. It was about the Smith College Relief Unit, a group of American women, graduates of Smith College, who volunteered in WWI to help French villagers devastated by the Germans (1917 – 1919, in villages near the Somme). They had no idea what they were getting […]

West with Giraffes

by Lynda Rutledge, 2021 Wonderful book, recommended by neighbor, Pat. It’s historical fiction about a true life 1938 pair of giraffes that survived the hurricane out to sea near NYC in 1938, and then the journey across country to the San Diego Zoo, to become the first giraffes in a zoo in America.

The Covenant of Water

by Abraham Verghese, 2023 Beautiful novel by the author of Cutting for Stone, and The Tennis Partner. Marney told me about it. It is 715 pages long! It is set in southern India, spanning almost the entire 1900’s. It concerns a family that lives on a small estate called Parambil, near the ocean on the […]

Cuba Libre

by Elmore Leonard, 1998 Gene M. was reading this book and it sounded interesting. It was a fun, action-packed romp through 1890’s Cuba. The characters were good and the good guys win! Realize how bad the Spanish were to the Cubans. The Americans fought against the Spanish and won. The blowing up of the Maine […]


by Geraldine Brooks, 2022 Superb book! Geraldine Brooks can write! Her dialogue and descriptions are like Herman Wouk’s–they flow like water. The book is about a thoroughbred racehorse named Lexington. Jarret, a young black slave is in the stable when he is born at the Meadows in Kentucky in 1850, and he’s there with him […]


by James A. Michener, 1983 A 616-page novel about Poland, it’s history from the 1200s to 1980s and Lech Walesa’s Solidarity, told through fictional families and towns. The first few pages of the book tell what is historic and what is fictional from each chapter. That is helpful. The Tartars, which were Genghis Khan and […]

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 […]