Time Was... New Historical Fiction

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We can't give you a time machine, but we can give you the next best thing - historical fiction. Explore the world's vast history with these gripping reads. 

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Polly Samson
Description: 1960. The world is dancing on the edge of revolution, and nowhere more so than on the Greek island of Hydra, where a circle of poets, painters and musicians live tangled lives. Forming within this circle is a triangle: its points the magnetic, destructive writer Axel Jensen, his dazzlingly beautiful wife Marianne Ihlen, and a young Canadian poet named Leonard Cohen. Into their midst arrives teenage Erica, with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. Settling on the periphery of this circle, she watches, entranced and disquieted, as a paradise unravels. Burning with the heat and light of Greece, A Theatre for Dreamers is a spellbinding novel about utopian dreams and innocence lost - and the wars waged between men and women on the battlegrounds of genius.
Call Number: FIC Sam
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Trent Dalton
Description: "Darwin, 1942. As Japanese bombs rain down on her hometown, newly orphaned Molly Hook looks to the skies and runs for her life. Inside a duffel bag, she carries a stone heart and a map that will lead her to Longcoat Bob, the deep-country sorcerer whom she believes cursed her family. Accompanying her are the most unlikely traveling companions: Greta, a razor-tongued actress, and Yukio, a Japanese fighter pilot who's abandoned his post. With messages from the skies above to guide them towards treasure, but foes close on their trail, the trio will encounter the beauty and vastness of the Northern Territory and survive in ways they never thought possible" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Dal
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Paul Howarth
Description: After their family's cattle farm is attacked in the 1890s Australian Outback, two estranged brothers reunite to attempt to revive the business and are called to testify after a reprisal slaughter is perpetrated against the Kurrong.
Call Number: FIC How
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Rivka Galchen
Description: "The story begins in 1618, in the German duchy of Württemberg. Plague is spreading. The Thirty Years' War has begun, and fear and suspicion are in the air throughout the Holy Roman Empire. In the small town of Leonberg, Katharina Kepler is accused of being a witch. Katharina is an illiterate widow, known by her neighbors for her herbal remedies and the success of her children, including her eldest, Johannes, who is the Imperial Mathematician and renowned author of the laws of planetary motion. It's enough to make anyone jealous, and Katharina has done herself no favors by being out and about and in everyone's business. So when the deranged and insipid Ursula Reinbold (or as Katharina calls her, the Werewolf) accuses Katharina of offering her a bitter, witchy drink that has made her ill, Katharina is in trouble. Her scientist son must turn his attention from the music of the spheres to the job of defending his mother. Facing the threat of financial ruin, torture, and even execution, Katharina tells her side of the story to her friend and next-door neighbor Simon, a reclusive widower imperiled by his own secrets. Drawing on real historical documents but infused with imagination, sly humor, and intellectual fire, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch will both provoke and entertain. The story of how a community becomes implicated in collective aggression and hysterical fear is a tale for our time. Galchen's novel touchingly illuminates a society and a family undone by superstition, the state, and the mortal convulsions of history" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Gal
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Esther Freud
Description: "A sweeping story of three generations of women, crossing from London to Ireland and back again, and the enduring effort to retrieve the secrets of the past. It's London, 1960, and Aoife Kelly--once the sparkling object of young men's affections--runs pubs with her brusque, barking husband, Cash. Their courtship began in wartime London, before they returned to Ireland with their daughters in tow. One of these daughters--fiery, independent-minded Rosaleen--moves back to London, where she meets and begins an affair with the famous sculptor Felix Lehmann, a German-Jewish refugee artist over twice her tender eighteen years. When Rosaleen finds herself pregnant with Felix's child, she is evicted from her flat, dismissed from her job, and desperate to hide the secret from her family. Where, and to whom, can she turn? Meanwhile, Kate, another generation down, lives in present-day London with her young daughter and husband, an unsuccessful musician and destructive alcoholic. Adopted and floundering to find a sense of herself in the midst of her unhappy marriage, Kate sets out to track down her birth mother, a search that leads her to a Magdalene Laundry in Ireland and the harrowing history that it holds" --FantasticFiction.com.
Call Number: FIC Fre
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Vanessa Riley
Description: Born into slavery on the tiny Caribbean island of Montserrat, Dorothy bought her freedom, and that of her sister and her mother, from her Irish planter father. Rising above the harsh realities of slavery and colonialism, she built a legacy of wealth and power as an entrepreneur, merchant, hotelier, and planter. Leveraging the competing attentions of the men in her, life, Doll answered to no one but herself as she rose to rose to power and autonomy against all odds. -- adapted from jacket
Call Number: FIC Ril
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Alison Weir
Description: "Having sent his much-beloved but deceitful young wife Katheryn Howard to her beheading, King Henry fixes his lonely eyes on a more mature woman, thirty-year-old, twice-widowed Katharine Parr. She, however, is in love with Sir Thomas Seymour, brother to the late Queen Jane. Aware of his rival, Henry sends him abroad, leaving Katharine no choice but to become Henry's sixth queen in 1543. The king is no longer in any condition to father a child, but Katharine is content to mother his three children, Mary, Elizabeth, and the longed-for male heir, Edward. Four years into the marriage, Henry dies, leaving England's throne to nine-year-old Edward--a puppet in the hands of ruthlessly ambitious royal courtiers--and Katharine's life takes a more complicated turn. Thrilled at this renewed opportunity to wed her first love, Katharine doesn't realize that Sir Thomas now sees her as a mere stepping stone to the throne, his eye actually set on bedding and wedding fourteen-year-old Elizabeth. The princess is innocently flattered by his attentions, allowing him into her bedroom, to the shock of her household. The result is a tangled tale of love and a struggle for power, bringing to a close the dramatic and violent reign of Henry VIII"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Wei
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Francis Spufford
Description: "Lunchtime on a Saturday, 1944: the Woolworths on Bexford High Street in southeast London receives a delivery of aluminum saucepans. A crowd gathers to see the first new metal in ages--after all, everything’s been melted down for the war effort. An instant later, the crowd is gone; incinerated. Among the shoppers were five young children. Who were they? What futures did they lose? This brilliantly constructed novel lets an alternative reel of time run, imagining the life arcs of these five souls as they live through the extraordinary, unimaginable changes of the bustling immensity of twentieth-century London. Their intimate everyday dramas, as sons and daughters, spouses, parents, grandparents; as the separated, the remarried, the bereaved. Through decades of social, sexual, and technological transformation, as bus conductors and landlords, as swindlers and teachers, patients and inmates. Days of personal triumphs, disasters; of second chances and redemption" --Amazon.
Call Number: FIC Spu
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Samantha Silva
Description: "Midwife Parthenia Blenkinsop has delivered countless babies over the course of her career, and when she arrives at Mary Wollstonecraft's door, everything appears normal. But after the baby girl is delivered, the women will spend the next harrowing days together, fighting for the survival of both mother and daughter. Over those eleven days, Mary Wollstonecraft recounts the life she dared to live amidst the impossible constraints and prejudices of the late 18th century, rejecting the tyranny of men and marriage, risking everything to demand equality for herself and all women. She weaves her riveting tale to keep her fragile daughter alive and give her a reason to fight, even as her own strength wanes. Wollstonecraft's urgent story of loss and triumph forms the heartbreakingly brief intersection between the lives of a mother and daughter who will change the arc of history and thought for centuries to come. In radiant, emotionally gripping prose, Samantha Silva delivers an ode to the dazzling life of Mary Wollstonecraft, one of the world's most influential thinkers and mother of the famous novelist Mary Shelley. But at its heart, Love and Fury is a story about the power of a woman reclaiming her own narrative and passing along that legacy to her daughter" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Sil
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Michael Punke
Description: "In December 1866, tensions were rising in Wyoming, between the Native American tribes who had lived on the land for generations and the settlers who would destroy their home. Crazy Horse and his fellow Lakota hunters had been watching for months as Colonel Carrington and his army set up camp on one of the most crucial swaths of hunting ground in hundreds of miles, and began to build forts. More disconcertingly, the settlers had brought women and children, which meant they planned to stay. As the Lakota and neighboring tribes set forth with repeated attacks to discourage the settlers, Captain William J. Fetterman, anxious and arrogant, claimed that he could take offense and rid the area of Native American people with only a small army of 80 men. And he would--unless Crazy Horse could find a way to lure the army to their doom. A story of protection and betrayal, of courage, wit, and perseverance against unfathomable odds, Ridgeline grapples with essential questions about who owns land: those who are born on it, or those who would kill to claim it" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Pun
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Emma Brodie
Description: The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. Jesse Reid's intricate guitar riffs and supple baritone are poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance. That is, until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show. Jane Quinn is a Bayleen Island local whose music flows as naturally as her long blond hair. When she and her bandmates are asked to play in Jesse Reid's place at the festival, it almost doesn't seem real. But Jane plants her bare feet on the Main Stage and delivers the performance of a lifetime, stopping Jesse's disappointed fans in their tracks: A star is born. Jesse stays on the island to recover from his near-fatal accident and he strikes up a friendship with Jane, coaching her through the production of her first record. As Jane contends with the music industry's sexism, Jesse becomes her advocate, and what starts as a shared calling soon becomes a passionate love affair.
Call Number: FIC Bro
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Linda Rui Feng
Description: "In the summer of 1986, in a small Chinese village, ten-year-old Junie receives a momentous letter from her parents, who had left for America years ago: her father promises to return home and collect her by her twelfth birthday. But Junie’s growing determination to stay put in the idyllic countryside with her beloved grandparents threatens to derail her family’s shared future. What Junie doesn’t know is that her parents, Momo and Cassia, are newly estranged from one another in their adopted country, each holding close private tragedies and histories from the tumultuous years of their youth during China’s Cultural Revolution. While Momo grapples anew with his deferred musical ambitions and dreams for Junie’s future in America, Cassia finally begins to wrestle with a shocking act of brutality from years ago. In order for Momo to fulfill his promise, he must make one last desperate attempt to reunite all three members of the family before Junie’s birthday—even if it means bringing painful family secrets to light" --Publisher.
Call Number: FIC Fen
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Maris Lawyer
Description: "From debut novelist Maris Lawyer, The Blue Line Down is a breakneck tale of betrayal, loyalty, and unexpected homecoming. Jude Washer wants to run: away from the coal mines where he is destined to work, away from his father's abuse of his little brother,away from the prison-like confines of his village. Whispers of unionizing ripple through the small West Virginia mining town. When the mines take Jude's brother away from him, Jude takes matters into his own hands. With nowhere else to go, Jude joins theBaldwin-Felts Agency, a band of violent men dedicated to stamping out unionizers across the mountains. It is 1922, and the Baldwin-Felts are poised to raid a mining town in Virginia. When the coal miners fight back against the agents, Jude, now twenty-four, and Harvey, a new recruit, take an opportunity to flee amid the bloodshed. With the Baldwin-Felts on their tail, Jude and an injured Harvey make their way down the mountains, where they are intercepted in South Carolina by a ragtag gang of bootleggerswho put them to work to pay off a debt. Jude is desperate for a place to call home, but can he find it in these hardscrabble hills among strangers?"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Law
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Audrey Blake
Description: "When Dr. Croft takes in orphan Eleanor Beady, he doesn't realize that he's gained an apprentice. Raised amidst Croft's experiments, 'Nora' becomes his most trusted assistant--an unthinkable and unlawful pursuit for a woman. Nora helps Croft's groundbreaking research and his clinic gain recognition, and she finds she doesn't mind working in the background, as long as she can continue to hone her skills. But the arrival of a new surgical resident threatens to undo all that Nora has strived for. Dr. Daniel Gibson is too proper to be trusted, too skilled to dismiss, and too smart to be fooled for long. He expects Nora to change her clothes before dinner and spend her evenings perfecting her needlework, not her sutures. Though Nora knows it's best not to reveal her expansive knowledge of human anatomy, she isn't going to give up the work that fascinates and fulfills her--no matter what it costs her" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Bla
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Jonathan Lee
Description: "On Friday the 13th of November, 1903, a famous man was killed on Park Avenue in broad daylight by a stranger. It was neither a political act nor a crime of passion. It was a mistake. The victim was Andrew Haswell Green, the 'Father of Greater New York,' who shaped the city as we know it. Without him there would be no Central Park, no Metropolitan Museum of Art, no Museum of Natural History, no New York Public Library. His influence was everywhere, yet he died alone, misunderstood, feeling that his whole life might have been, after all, a great mistake. A work of tremendous depth and piercing emotion, The Great Mistake is a portrait of a self-made man--farm boy to urban visionary; the reimagining of a murder investigation that shook the city; and the moving story of a singular individual who found the world closed off to him, and, in spite of all odds, enlarged it" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Lee
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Alka Joshi
Description: "It’s the spring of 1969, and Lakshmi, now married to Dr. Jay Kumar, directs the Healing Garden in Shimla. Malik has finished his private school education. At twenty, he has just met a young woman named Nimmi when he leaves to apprentice at the Facilities Office of the Jaipur Royal Palace. Their latest project: a state-of-the-art cinema. Malik soon finds that not much has changed as he navigates the Pink City of his childhood. Power and money still move seamlessly among the wealthy class, and favors flow from Jaipur’s Royal Palace, but only if certain secrets remain buried. When the cinema’s balcony tragically collapses on opening night, blame is placed where it is convenient. But Malik suspects something far darker and sets out to uncover the truth. As a former street child, he always knew to keep his own counsel; it’s a lesson that will serve him as he untangles a web of lies" --Amazon.
Call Number: FIC Jos
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Rafe Posey
Description: "In 1927, orphaned eight-year-old Alec Oswin sails from India to an unknown future in England. Meanwhile, in the English fenlands, June Attwell memorizes maps, patterns, and railway timetables, hoping for a future beyond her father's vicarage. Alec and June become friends, and, in time, marry. When the Second World War breaks out, Alec joins the RAF, while the Foreign Office sends June to its covert Y-service outposts on the edge of the war-torn Empire. Their postwar reunion is bittersweet: Alec, shot down and imprisoned in a series of POW camps, grapples with his injuries and the loss of his RAF career. June, on the other hand, has found her vocation and struggles to follow the expected path to domesticity, as much as she loves Alec. But Alec wants nothing more than to make a life and a family together. With the war behind them, their scars—both visible and unseen—make them strangers to each other. Now each must decide how much to reveal to the other, which dreams can be sacrificed, and which secrets are too big to bear alone" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Pos
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Nathan Harris
Description: "In the waning days of the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry, freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, wracked by the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm, hoping through an unexpected friendship to stanch their grief. Prentiss and Landry, meanwhile, plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys. Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community. In the aftermath of so much turmoil, it is Isabelle who emerges as an unlikely leader, proffering a healing vision for the land and for the newly free citizens of Old Ox" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Har
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Eric Nguyen
Description: "When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she continues to send letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father. Over time, Huong realizes she will never see Cong again. While she copes with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memory and imagination. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong takes up with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity--as individuals and as a family--tears them apart, until disaster strikes and they must find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ngu
Format: Book
Date Added: Jul 23, 2021
Subscribe to New Best Fun List: Time Was... New Historical Fiction
A Theater For Dreamers
Polly Samson
FIC Sam
Songs In Ursa Major
Emma Brodie
FIC Bro
All Our Shimmering Skies : A Novel
Trent Dalton
FIC Dal
Swimming Back To Trout River : A Novel
Linda Rui Feng
FIC Fen
Dust Off The Bones : A Novel
Paul Howarth
FIC How
The Blue Line Down
Maris Lawyer
FIC Law
Everyone Knows Your Mother Is A Witch
Rivka Galchen
FIC Gal
The Girl In His Shadow : A Novel
Audrey Blake
FIC Bla
I Couldn't Love You More : A Novel
Esther Freud
FIC Fre
The Great Mistake
Jonathan Lee
FIC Lee
Island Queen : A Novel
Vanessa Riley
FIC Ril
The Secret Keeper Of Jaipur
Alka Joshi
FIC Jos
Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife : A Novel
Alison Weir
FIC Wei
The Stars We Share
Rafe Posey
FIC Pos
Light Perpetual : A Novel
Francis Spufford
FIC Spu
The Sweetness Of Water
Nathan Harris
FIC Har
Love And Fury : A Novel Of Mary Wollstonecraft
Samantha Silva
FIC Sil
Things We Lost To The Water : A Novel
Eric Nguyen
FIC Ngu
Ridgeline : A Novel
Michael Punke
FIC Pun