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Staff Reviews: Historical Fiction

Check out these "" reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


'Rose Under Fire'  by  Elizabeth Wein

"Rose Under Fire" by Elizabeth Wein

★★★★ Rose Justice, an American Air Transit Auxiliary (ATA) pilot, is captured by the Germans in late 1944 and sent to the concentration camp for female prisoners at Ravensbrück. She struggles learn the rules of the camp, whether those imposed by the guards or those of her fellow prisoners. The novel paints a vivid portrait of life in the prison camp and Rose’s...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, YA Fiction With Adult Appeal, Historical Fiction

'The Book of Night Women'  by  Marlon James

"The Book of Night Women" by Marlon James

★★★★★ This captivating novel pulls us deep into the world of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. We begin when she is just a child born of a too young mother who didn't survive her birth, and the white slave driver. Lilith has been afforded a certain amount of protection as a child but quickly learns what...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

'The Invention of Wings'  by  Sue Monk Kidd

"The Invention of Wings" by Sue Monk Kidd

★★★★★ Sarah Grimke is just a child when she is given the ten-year-old slave girl Hetty 'Handful' Grimke as a present on her eleventh birthday. Sarah knows in this moment that she cannot be a part of the slave owning lifestyle of her southern aristocratic family. Sarah tries to free Hetty and is quickly put in her place by her powerful mother. Hetty’s equally...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

'Orphan Train'  by  Christina Baker Kline

"Orphan Train" by Christina Baker Kline

★★★★★ I finally had a chance to read this book I kept hearing about, and it did not disappoint! This novel follows Molly, a present day child in the child welfare system, as well as a girl from the past known by many names. Molly meets this woman, now Vivian, through a community service project, and as they sift through Vivian's attic, they sift through her past...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

'The Book of Life'  by  Deborah Harkness

"The Book of Life" by Deborah Harkness

★★★ In the final installment of the All Souls trilogy, Matthew and Diana return from Elizabethan England to further dig up the origins of witches, daemons, and vampires. They need to find the alchemical manuscript known as Ashmole 762, or the Book of Life, to uncover these secrets. They must find the manuscript before it gets in the wrong hands, namely, Matthew...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Supernatural, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

'The Boleyn Reckoning'  by  Laura Andersen

"The Boleyn Reckoning" by Laura Andersen

★★★★★ In the thrilling conclusion of this trilogy about the Boleyn King who never was, Minuette finds herself caught between the king’s increasingly obsessive love and her loyalty to her secret husband Dominic. As the backdrop to this love triangle, Catholic and Protestant factions vie for power, causing families, friendships, and political loyalties to fracture...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

'The Perfume Collector'  by  Kathleen Tessaro

"The Perfume Collector" by Kathleen Tessaro

★★★★ This is a lovely, yet predictable novel about a woman who inherits an apartment in Paris from someone she has never met. Grace is living unhappily in England when she discovers the mysterious Eva d'Orsey left her a beautiful apartment and a generous stock portfolio. A richly-detailed work of historical fiction, Tessaro weaves together the duo plotlines of...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

'The Painted Girls'  by  Cathy Marie Buchanan

"The Painted Girls" by Cathy Marie Buchanan

★★★★ Set in 1878 Paris, this book tells the story of the van Goethem sisters as they struggle to survive extreme poverty following the death of their father and the descent of their mother into severe alcoholism. Antoinette loses her place on the opera stage and must find a way to help her family survive. Marie, with encouragement from Antoinette, takes her...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

'The Wind is Not a River'  by  Brian Payton

"The Wind is Not a River" by Brian Payton

★★★★★ This historical fiction captures events during World War II that were held in great secrecy from the American public: a Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. A reporter, John Easley, is shot down while traveling with American troops flying over the bleak and inhospitable island chain. He is unable to communicate with the outside...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction

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