Inspired by 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's famous painting, Tracy Chevalier creates a beautiful tale about Girl With a Pearl Earring. As a fan of both historical fiction and art, I fell in love with this book. In Chevalier's imagination, 16 year old Griet comes to live with the Vermeer family in Delft, Holland to serve as a maid in their home.
Shooting at the Stars is a fictionalized account of the Christmas truce that occurred in the trenches between British and German troops during World War I in 1914. The story is told conveyed through a letter by a British soldier to his mother. He tells of December 24th, when the British soldiers heard singing coming from the opposing trench 30 paces away. Stille Nacht--Silent Night. The next morning, they woke up to calls from the German soldiers. Warily, soldiers from both sides began to step out into “No Man’s Land”. They first buried their d
Marie-Laure LeBlanc lives a quiet life with her Father, Daniel LeBlanc, at Number 4 rue Vauborel in Paris, France. Daniel is a locksmith for the Natural Museum of History in Paris before the German occupation of France during WWII. Marie-Laure becomes totally blind by the age of six. Her Father fashions a miniature replica of their neighborhood from wood so that she may memorize and better navigate her surroundings while he is busy working at the museum.
Jamie Ford creates a poignant recollection of history with his debut novel, "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet". Henry Lee is a recent widower living in Seattle's Chinatown. The year is 1986, and yesterday's memories have assumed a place in the present with the re-opening of the majestic Panama Hotel. Artifacts found in the basement of the old hotel transport Henry back to 1942 when he was a student at Rainier Elementary serving lunch to his classmates alongside his Japanese friend Keiko Okabe. The twelve year olds attend the school on scholarship, and the
Sweeping tale of an African woman, Aminata Diallo, who is kidnapped near her village, at the age of 11, and sold into slavery in the United States. The story spans 60 years of Aminata's life from Africa to the US, then Canada, back to Africa and ending in England, where Aminata writes down her story for the Abolitionist movement in 1803, hoping to bring an end to the slave trade.
In 1950s New Orleans, Josie Moraine dreams of escaping the Big Easy and attending Smith College in Massachusetts. Unfortunately for her, this is an especially difficult task. Josie is the daughter of a French Quarter prostitute with a penchant for trouble. Josie's mother, Louise, fancies herself to be a gangster's moll and frequently gets Josie entangled in her mistakes.
At thirteen, Tula wonders "how many slaves / Mama will buy with the money / she gains by marrying me to / the highest bidder." Loosely based on the early life of the Cuban novelist and human rights advocate Gertrudis Gmez de Avellaneda (1814-73) who was nicknamed Tula, this novel in verse follows her through a dangerous open rebellion against 19th century slavery in Cuba and a personal fight to resist an arranged marriage. During this time in Cuban history, the most open rebels were poets like Gmez de Avellaneda. This award winning novel is recommended for gra
Odette is an only child living with her parents when Paris is invaded by Nazi's. Her father enlists in the French Army, leaving Odette and her mother living with food shortages and constant fear of being taken prisoner. Odette is sent to live in the countryside, hiding in plain sight while living with a family and pretending to be Christian. Her journey takes her on a personal search for her own religious identity. This work of historical fiction was inspired by the autobiography of Odette Meyers, an adult book titled
I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, but haven't been thrilled with her last few books. This one was a game changer for me. Jodi is back in full form! This book completely enthralled me. I particularly enjoyed reading Minka's perspective of the holocaust and life as a Jew inside of occupied Poland and the concentration camps. I did not want to put it down and had a few late nights while reading this book! If you love historical fiction or Jodi Picoult, I do not think you would be disappointed. Great read!
Two young girls, growing up in Charleston, South Carolina during the early 1800s, struggle to find their wings along the divergent paths they have been allotted in life. Sarah Grimke is the daughter of a wealthy Southern judge while Hetty "Handful" Grimke is the spunky slave presented to Sarah as a "gift" on her eleventh birthday by a domineering mother. Sarah reluctantly welcomes Handful into her life. Finding the practice of slavery distasteful, she uses the opportunity to teach the young black girl how to read and write. Sarah also de
Melanie Benjamin has assigned Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh, the storyteller in her book "The Aviator's Wife." The result is that Charles Lindbergh's co-pilot in the air, and in life, relates an interesting account of the couple's adventures amidst the clouds as well as on the ground. The aviatrix exposes a marriage built upon dependence and high expectation rather than mutual love. Though it is historical fiction, the imaginary and the true are blended together successfully to form a realistic ac
It's the summer of 1871 in the small town of Placid, Wisconsin when 13 year old Georgia Burkhardt, a rugged girl with a bullseye shot, sets out to find the truth behind her older sister, Agatha's disappearance. Georgia knew that she had something to do with her sister's broken engagement to a wealthy older gentleman but Georgia didn't expect Agatha to run off like that. After the town sheriff is sent to find Agatha and bring her home, he returns with an unrecognizable body wearing Agatha's dress. Everyone in the family but Georgia, accept
"Izabela, Aniela, Alicia, Eugenia, Stefania, Rozalia, Pelagia, Irena, Alfreda, Apolonia, Janina, Leonarda, Czeslava, Stanislava, Vladyslava, Barbara..." and so starts the counting-out rhyme of Rose Justice, 19 year old American ATA pilot and poet, ferrying Allied fighter planes for the British during World War II.
Every once in a while a book comes along that you say to yourself when finished reading, what a story. After reading this book, I felt this way. The story is about a family that immigrates to the United States from Ireland. The family lives in New York City encountering many hardships. One night a tragedy happens, and one little girl's life changes forever. She becomes an orphan in New York City. She is put on a train with many other orphans and travels to the Midwest with having a chance to be adopted. Vivian tells her story to a gal that has been
November has been designated National Native American Heritage Month. Even if it weren’t, I would still sing the praises of this wonderful book and its sequels. The Birchbark House introduces the reader to Omakayas (“Little Frog”), a young Ojibwa girl living on what is now known as Madeline Island, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior in the 1840’s.
Eleanor & Park are two high school misfits living in 1986, Omaha, Nebraska. Park is half-Asian, his mom is Korean and his dad American, and looks just different enough to stand out in his white bread community. Eleanor has long, frizzy red hair, is full-figured and lives in one of the saddest situations you can possibly imagine. She has recently come home to her 4 siblings, mother and no-good stepfather after having been away for over a year.
I learned from the author's note of this book that the time period between the early 1900s until the mid 1970s was considered "the Great Migration" where more than 6 million African Americans moved from the south to Northern cities such as New York City. The book is dedicated to those who left the South to move to the North.
This work of historical fiction is based on a true story of a boy who spied for the Resistance during the 1940 Nazi occupation of Norway.Espen is an average teenager whose life is caught up in a time in history that is anything but typical.Before the occupation he spent his days at school, playing soccer or participating in Scouts.
"Knit Your Bit" was a slogan of the American Red Cross during World War I when the Red Cross decided there would not be enough warm clothes for the soldiers over the cold winter in Europe. Men, women, and children began knitting for soldiers. There really was a "knit-in" at Central Park in New York City on July 30, 1918, which is the setting for this fabulous historical fiction.
In Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind, a book seller takes his son Daniel to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, where he finds among its labyrinthine stacks a book by Julian Carax called The Shadow of the Wind. It's the best book he's ever read and he wants to learn more about the author and read more of his books, but he discovers that not much is known about the author and that copies of his books are notoriously difficult to find. Daniel isn't satisfied with this and endeavors to learn more.
Wow! This book (and audio book) are absolutely phenomenal. I will start by saying, as a rule, I never enjoy books written in verse. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this one - especially listening to the audio. Five different voice actors perform the role of two dozen passengers and crew, and even the Iceberg.
It is the 1950s and seventeen year old Kit Corrigan has not had an easy life. She is part of a set of triplets that were raised by their poor, Irish, immigrant father in Providence, RI. The triplets (aka The Corrigan Three) lost their mother during their birth. Kit has always had big dreams of being a performer on Broadway and after the break up of her rocky relationship with boyfriend Billy, Kit heads out to New York City with stars in her eyes. Meanwhile, Billy and Kit's brother, Jamie, enlist in the Army together and are preparing to ship off to Korea.
I purchased this book in the spring and it was on my "to read" shelf for months. Then, someone in my book club suggested the title and it was chosen for our October book selection. I don't know why I didn't start reading it sooner! I LOVED it! Loving Frank is a historical fiction novel based on real events. It tells the story of world-famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and his affair with one of his clients, the also married Mamah Borthwick Cheney. The unique perspective of this book is that it is told from Mamah's point-of-view. Wright is a larger than life character.
Russian Winter is a novel about jewels, ballet, love, betrayal, and secrets. It centers on Russian ballerina Nina Revskaya, The Butterfly, a star of the Bolshoi Ballet in communist Russia. The tale weaves back and forth from her life in Russia to present day America, where she is auctioning all of her jewels.
Dodger is a tosher, a cheeky, enterprising young man who knows the sewers of London like the back of his hand. He searches in tunnels below ground to find lost treasures like coins or rings, always hoping to find the mystical Tosharoon—a conglomeration of treasures wrapped up in mud, and worse.
May Elizabeth Bitterly lives on the Kansas frontier with her family. May wants to study and become a teacher, but her father needs her to earn some money for the familiy by living and working on the neighboring Oblinger homestead, but just until Christmas. Mr. Oblinger has made a rustic sod house for his new young bride, who is not use to the roughness of life on the frontier. May cooks, washes and offers Mrs. Oblinger lessons of life on the frontier. Mrs. Oblinger does not return May’s kindness.
Tomorrow is a River is the story of Caroline, who, with her preacher husband Adam, settled a homestead near the Tomorrow River in Northeastern WI in the late 1800s. After being abandoned by her husband, Caroline and her 2 young children struggle to survive the rugged wilderness of pioneer Wisconsin with the help of a Menominee Indian woman who befriends them. Together they weather many storms, the most terrifying of all, the Peshtigo Fire of 1871.
Life wasn't easy for anyone during the Great Depression, but it could be even harder if you were African American. In this work of historical fiction, Hibernia a preacher's daughter, dreams of becoming a singer. Willie is recovering from a burn that will keep him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a boxer. Otis, an orphan, is struggling to find happiness but finds comfort in his family's radio and the sense of humor that was passed down to him from his father.
In 1923 two sisters set off on a mission to Kashgar, located on the Silk Road, though they speak little or none of the languages in the region. Lizzie is on fire with religious conviction instilled by Millicent, who is in charge of the mission. Evangeline is not convinced of the value of their work, but is coming along to protect her sister as well as to travel and experience the world, riding her green bicycle for hundreds of miles as they travel through deathly heat in the desert, and extreme cold in the passes of the Celestial Mountains.
The Kommandant's Girl is the story of what an ordinary person will do in impossible circumstances. Nineteen-year-old Emma has been married three weeks then the Nazis invade Poland. Her young husband leaves her alone to go underground with the resistance, and when she returns to her parents' home in the Jewish ghetto she is imprisoned there with the rest of the city's Jews. Late one night she is smuggled out and taken to her husband's Catholic cousin. In order to remain safe, she must assume a gentile identity, the single girl Anna.
Newbery award winner Avi (2003 for Crispin: The Cross of Lead) creates a captivating adventure set in his hometown of New York City in 1893. Life is a hardscrabble existence for Maks and his immigrant family: poverty, illness, threats of gangs, shortage of food, filthy living conditions, and dependence on an unfamiliar society. Thirteen-year-old Maks sells newspapers to earn a few pennies a day which sets him up as a target of the Plug Ugly Gang.
This is a tragic story of a wild, white Manchurian pony’s capture by men and his forced life of serving cruel owners, and later becoming part of an historic journey--the 1910 Terra Nova polar expedition to the South Pole led by Captain Robert Scott. James Pigg, as he is named after a book character, tells his story from his pony point of view. He finds kindness and friendship in Patrick, one of Scott’s men, and decides to work hard to help men accomplish their goal.
Whose side do you fight for if you're a slave during the American Revolution? While our country is fighting for freedom from Britain, who will fight for the slaves' freedom? The truth is that sometimes the slaves would fight for whoever promised them their freedom after the war. This book of incredibly well researched historical fiction takes the reader through the harrowing times of a slave girl named Isabel, herlittle sister Ruth, and a slave boy named Curzon as they fight for their freedom.
Meet spunky Abilene Tucker, 12 year old daughter of a drifter, who puts her on a train to Manifest, Kansas, to spend the summer of 1936 with colorful people from his past. A local diviner reveals stories from the days of World War I (1917-1918) in flashbacks that parallel life in 1936, as Abilene searches for a connection to her father. Mystery, adventure, spy hunting, secrets, and humor slowly form a memorable story of family and community.
It's the 1950's and Ruth's Daddy just bought a 1952 Buick! Ruth, her Mama and Daddy will be driving it from their home in Chicago to her Grandma's house in Alabama! The trip starts out pleasant, but as they continue their drive the family encounters white only restrooms and hotels. It's hard for Ruth's family to find places to rest and eat.
Ninth Ward is a perfect choice for both avid readers and reluctant readers. Set in the ill-fated 9th Ward of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, this story develops unique and beautiful characters while invoking a regional history of belief in magic and mysticism. Nine year old Lanesha is about to have the fight of her life. Lanesha was born with the gift of “sight”, the ability to communicate with ghosts, but has trouble communicating with her mother, who died during child birth. Mama Ya Ya, the elderly woman who has raised Lanesha, has the ability to see into the future.
Eleven year old Meli Lleshi is living a happy life with her Muslim Albanian family in Kosovo in 1998 when her life is turned upside down by the Kosovo War between the Serbs and the Albanians. The murder of fellow Albanians and the brief but terrifying disappearance of Meli's 13 year old brother, Mehmet, mark the beginning of this story. On the run from ethnic cleansing, Meli's family will abandon their home and business on a journey to escape. This journey will take them to the mountains, Uncle's farm, miles of traveling on foot while pushing Grandma in a wheelbarrow,
I got hooked on Kristin Hannah years ago after reading Angel Falls and have been an avid fan of hers ever since. Her books tend to be warm, romantic reads and the plots usually have strong family ties. In 2010 she published the book, Winter Garden. I anticipated a nice, heart-warming story as always, but this book went far beyond her usual charm. The book chronicles the lives of sisters, Nina and Meredith. The story opens with Nina and Meredith as adult children of a warm-hearted father and a seemingly distant mother.
As a reader with an avid interest in history, Anne Perry provides some of the most meticulously researched series I’ve ever read. Her two most famous (and intertwining) series are the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt and William Monk mysteries. They are set in Victorian England, and move from the world of the rich and famous to the hopeless poverty and dark underworld of Dickensian London. In the first book Thomas Pitt is a gamekeeper's son turned policeman, a relatively new profession.
Hadley Richardson was a Midwestern spinster when she first met Ernest Hemingway, seven years her junior. She was naïve, having been an invalid during most of her childhood and tending her mother through her long final illness. Ernest swept her into the world of flappers, jazz and speakeasies.
Soon they moved to Paris for the atmosphere, the jazz, the nightlife—and a place where Ernest could concentrate on his writing. There they became part of the “Lost Generation”—partying with famous artists and writers such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein and F. Scott & Zelda Fitzgerald.