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Travel Through Time with Some Historical Fiction

Historical Fiction

Historical fiction immerses you in a different time and place. You can travel back to 16th Century England, 19th century Liberia, 1920s Mexico, -- the possibilities are endless. Historical fiction can also give us insight to the lives of historically marginalized people, and allow us to deepen our understanding of the past.

Here are some titles to try:

News of the World by Paulette Jiles – In this post-Civil War novel, Captain Kidd is approached with a proposition: to help transport a woman who escaped captivity from the Kiowa tribe back to her family in San Antonio for a cash reward . As time goes on, the journey and mission are not as straightforward as they once seemed, and Captain Kidd is faced with difficult decisions. This book was a finalist for the National Book Award.

She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore – An epic novel focusing on Liberia and its founding. Blending history with magical realism, Moore focuses on three characters and their interconnected lives. A striking story of family bonds, power, and the complexities of life. Try this if you enjoyed The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Richardson – Based on the true story of rural librarians in the 1930s, this book is a fascinating look at the impact of books on rural life. Cussy Maryj Carter traveled far and wide to bring reading materials to remote areas of Kentucky as part of the Pack Horse Library, People are suspicious of her, and particularly of her blue-tinted skin. Will she be able to win them over?

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia – Combining Mayan folklore with a rich setting in 1920s Mexico, this historical fantasy is tinged with magical realism. Self-discovery and adventure await Casiopea after opening a mysterious box in this captivating book.

Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir – Part of the Six Tudor Queens series, which profiles each of King Henry VIII’s wives. Alison Weir is a noted historian who has written many nonfiction and fiction books on the Tudors. With this series, Weir sets out to challenge the narrative we typically hear about each of the different wives, by providing alternative reasonings for their actions and giving them more of a voice. Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai – Successive generations of one family find life as they know it upended again and again as the events of the 20th century unfold in Vietnam. Using her own family members’ lives as inspiration, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai writes of the resiliency of the human spiritand the life-changing consequences of war.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – Join Monty, Percy and Felicity on a fun romp through 1700s Europe in this award-winning Young Adult novel. Best friends Monty and Percy set out to travel the continent, and Monty’s sister Felicity joins them on their Grand Tour. Each harbors their own secret desire, like Felicity, who desperately wishes to be able to study medicine, and Monty, who is in love with Percy. As their rollicking adventure continues, they encounter many new people and have to figure out who to trust along the way.

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