Can you guess the most popular genre borrowed in 2021 by your fellow GPL patrons? Historical fiction of all types easily topped the list and will likely do so again this year. Perhaps it’s because they present limitless material to mine, across a huge variety of settings and time periods. Some titles lean more toward capturing accurate historical details within a story form, while others seek to create an overall atmosphere with more fiction than fact. Each of these stories allow for vicarious experiences for the reader: safe exposure to a past that showcases the resilience of humans under extreme conditions.
Since we ventured last month into speculative fiction, it only seems fitting to delve into its counterpart for March. The following books are the latest from some of the most beloved authors of historical fiction. Fans of the genre will be excited to re-immerse themselves in a well-crafted series or stand-alone from a trustworthy source. People new to the genre can discover why these novels consistently delight their many fans. I have included publisher's descriptions this month. I hope they help entice you!
|Violeta by Isabel Allende
Setting: Span of 100 years in Chile, beginning 1920
This sweeping novel from the New York Times best-selling author of A Long Petal of the Sea tells the epic story of Violeta Del Valle, a woman whose life spans 100 years and bears witness to the greatest upheavals of the 20th century.
|The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict
Setting: 1920's England
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room returns with a thrilling reconstruction of one of the most notorious events in literary history: Agatha Christie's mysterious 11-day disappearance in 1926.
|The Second Mrs. Astor by Shana Abe
Setting: Titanic Crossing 1912
This riveting novel takes you inside the scandalous courtship and catastrophic honeymoon aboard the Titanic of the most famous couple of their time—John Jacob Astor and Madeleine Force.
|The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen
Setting: Venice, Italy 1938
Love and secrets collide in Venice during WWII in an enthralling novel of brief encounters and lasting romance by the New York Times bestselling author of The Tuscan Child and Above the Bay of Angels.
|The Last House on the Street by Diane Chamberlain
Setting: Two timelines in North Carolina, 1965 and 2010
A community’s past sins rise to the surface in New York Times bestselling author Diane Chamberlain’s The Last House on the Street when two women, a generation apart, find themselves bound by tragedy and an unsolved, decades-old mystery.
|The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis
Setting: New York City, 1919
Fiona Davis, New York Times best-selling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue, returns with a tantalizing novel about the secrets, betrayal, and murder within one of New York City's most impressive Gilded Age mansions.
|The Mitford Vanishing by Jessica Fellowes
Setting: Europe during the Spanish War, 1936
A mystery with the fascinating Mitford sisters at its heart, Jessica Fellowes's The Mitford Vanishing is the fifth installment in the Mitford Murders series, inspired by a real-life murder in a story full of intrigue…
|Matrix: a Novel by Lauren Groff
Setting: Nunnery in 12th Century, Angleterre
One of our best American writers, Lauren Groff returns with her exhilarating first new novel since the groundbreaking Fates and Furies.
|The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Setting: Dust Bowl Texas, 1934
From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.
|The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Setting: England, start of WWII, 1940's
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Huntress and The Alice Network returns with another heart-stopping World War II story of three female code breakers at Bletchley Park and the spy they must root out after the war is over.
|Eternal by Lisa Scottoline
Setting: Italy Rise of Fascism, 1930's
#1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline offers a sweeping and shattering epic of historical fiction fueled by shocking true events, the tale of a love triangle that unfolds in the heart of Rome...in the creeping shadow of fascism.
|Miss Kopp Investigates by Amy Stewart
Setting: Post WWI America, 1919
Life after the war takes an unexpected turn for the Kopp sisters, but soon enough, they are putting their unique detective skills to use in new and daring ways.
|The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Setting: Nebraska, 1950's
Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles's third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.
|A Sunlit Weapon by Jacqueline Winspear
Setting: England 1942
In the latest installment of the New York Times bestselling series, a series of possible attacks on British pilots leads Jacqueline Winspear's beloved heroine Maisie Dobbs into a mystery involving First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
March's Featured Reviews
|The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal
Setting: Great Exhibition, London 1850
In this “sharp, scary, gorgeously evocative tale of love, art, and obsession” (Paula Hawkins, bestselling author of The Girl on the Train), a beautiful young woman aspires to be an artist, while a man’s dark obsession may destroy her world forever.
|The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Setting: Two timelines in London, 1791 and present day
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them - setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.
Hop on the Holds List
1. Resistance Girl - Mandy Robotham (Mar.)
2. Dream Town - David Baldacci (Apr.)
3. Kingdom of Bones - James Rollins (Apr.)
4. The Lioness - Chris Bohjalian (May)
5. The Bookwoman's Daughter - Michele Richardson (May)
I have recently finished reading The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood and Shit Cassandra Saw by Gwen E. Kirby. I enjoyed listening to the translation of Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.
Right now, I am diving into Autopsy by Patricia Cornwell and The Night Shift by Alex Finlay. I also just started listening to the audio version of Gory Details: Adventures from the Dark Side of Science by Erika Engelhaupt.
What do you consider to be great "historical fiction?" What time and place would you teleport to, if given a chance? Let me know: (email@example.com).
Thanks for all your recommendations, I really enjoy connecting with other book lovers!
Until next time: Be safe, be well and be well-read!
So, who am I, anyway? I am a resident of West Groton, with a husband, 4 teenaged children and a Samoyed puppy-all of whom are systematically destroying our house. I am currently working part time at the Groton Public Library and in a former life I was employed as a Director or PR/Marketing at a high-tech consulting firm. My BA is in Psychology, but most of my time was spent in college earning a Concentration on the Novel. That is all to say that I make no claims at being an expert of any kind and my thoughts, opinions and mistakes are solely my own. I am just a person whose passion for books has continued to grow from the moment I was first able to grip and gnaw on them, and I have been devouring them ever since.
- June 2023 — Phenomenal Fathers
- May 2023 — Mysterious Massachusetts
- April 2023 — Bridging the Gap
- March 2023 — Spring for Short Stories
- February 2023 — Book Lovers
- January 2023 — The Girl Who...
- December 2022 — Fine Arts Fiction
- November 2022 — Beyond the Bestsellers
- October 2022 — Bewitching Books
- September 2022 — Non-Human Narrators