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.


Jonathan F. Putnam
Description: "In the winter of 1839, a sensational disappearance rocks Springfield, Illinois, as headlines announce a local man has accused his two brothers of murder. Not one to pass up an opportunity, Abraham Lincoln takes up the case of the accused with the assistance of his best friend Joshua Speed to search for evidence of innocence. But just as soon as they begin, Lincoln and Speed find their friendship at grave risk of rupture as they vie for the hand a beautiful new arrival in town: an ambitious, outspoken young woman named Mary Todd. As the trial arrives, can Lincoln and Speed put aside their differences to work together for justice once more? An innocent man's life may be in the balance -- and nothing is as it seems."--Publisher description.
Call Number: FIC Put
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Tracy Chevalier
Description: 1932. After the Great War took both her beloved brother and her fiancé, Violet Speedwell has become a "surplus woman," one of a generation doomed to a life of spinsterhood after the war killed so many young men. Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother. After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother's place and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England's grandest cathedrals. There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers--women who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippers. Violet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda. But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren't expected to grow.
Call Number: FIC Che
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Elizabeth Hardinger
Description: Growing up on a farm in rural Kentucky, fifteen-year-old Albertina "Bertie" Winslow knows how to do a lot, but when her mom dies after a long illness, Bertie finds herself in charge of four younger siblings and their dissolute, unreliable daddy. Yet no matter how hard she tries to hold the family together, the task is overwhelming. Finally, Bertie makes the only choice she can—breaking up the family for its own survival, keeping the girls with her, sending the boys off to their grown brothers. Ever pragmatic, Bertie marries young, grateful to find a husband willing to take on the care of her sisters, and eventually moves to the oil fields of Kansas. But marriage alone cannot resolve the grief and guilt she carries over a long-ago tragedy, or prepare her for the heartaches still to come. Only by confronting wrenching truths can she open herself to joy—and learn how to not only give, but receive, unfettered love. -- adapted from jacket flap
Call Number: FIC Har
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Karl Marlantes
Description: In the early 1900s, as the oppression of Russia's imperial rule takes its toll on Finland, the three Koski siblings--Ilmari, Matti, and the politicized young Aino--are forced to flee to the United States. Not far from the majestic Columbia River, the siblings settle among other Finns in a logging community in southern Washington, where the first harvesting of the colossal old-growth forests begets rapid development, and radical labor movements begin to catch fire. The brothers face the excitement and danger of pioneering this frontier wilderness--climbing and felling trees one-hundred meters high--while Aino, foremost of the books many strong, independent women, devotes herself to organizing the industry's first unions. As the Koski siblings strive to rebuild lives and families in an America in flux, they also try to hold fast to the traditions of a home they left behind. -- From statement provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Mar
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Angie Cruz
Description: Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year's Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by César, Juan's free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay. As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family's assets, leaving César to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, see a movie at Radio City Music Hall, go dancing with César, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.
Call Number: FIC Cru
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Clare Clark
Description: "Based on a true story, this gorgeous new novel follows the fortunes of three Berliners caught up in an art scandal--involving newly discovered van Goghs--that rocks Germany amidst the Nazis' rise to power. Hedonistic and politically turbulent, Berlin in the 1920s is a city of seedy night clubs and sumptuous art galleries. It is home to millionaires and mobs storming bakeries for rationed bread. These disparate Berlins collide when Emmeline,a young art student; Julius, an art expert; and a mysterious dealer named Rachmann all find themselves caught up in the astonishing discovery of thirty-two previously unknown paintings by Vincent van Gogh. In the Full Light of the Sun explores the trio's complex relationships and motivations, their hopes, their vanities, and their self-delusions--for the paintings are fakes and they are in their own ways complicit. Theirs is a cautionary tale about of the aspirations of the new Germany and a generation determined to put the humiliations of the past behind them."-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Cla
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Laura L. Sullivan
Description: "From the glittering ballrooms of 17th Century England to the dangerous intrigues of the French court, Laura L. Sullivan brings an unlikely heroine to the page, turning on its head everything we’ve been told about The Three Musketeers and their ultimate rival. -- 'I have gone by many names, though you most likely know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess. Seductress. A secondary player in someone else’s tale. It’s finally time I tell my own story. The truth isn’t tidy or convenient, but it’s certainly more interesting. Before you cast judgment, let me start at the beginning, and you shall learn how an innocent girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe. Because we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong.'" -- Back cover
Call Number: FIC Sul
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Petina Gappah
Description: Gappah's powerful novel of exploration and adventure in 19th-century Africa is the captivating story of the loyal men and women who carried explorer and missionary Dr. Livingstone's body, his papers, and maps, 1,500 miles across the continent of Africa, so his remains could be returned home to England and his work preserved there. Narrated by Halima, the doctor's sharp-tongued cook, and Jacob Wainwright, Livingston's rigidly pious secretary, the story winds through the continent in the time just before its colonization by European powers.
Call Number: FIC Gap
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Karen Brooks
Description: "When Rosamund Tomkins enters the world with her darkling eyes and strange laughter, the midwives are afraid, believing her a changeling. But Rosamund's life is set to be anything but enchanted. Born into poverty, brutalised and ignored by her family, it is only when she is married off to a nobleman that her life undergoes a transformation, as her husband recognises in Rosamund a magic she does not know she possesses but which affects almost all who encounter her. Presiding over a luxurious chocolate house where men go to be seen, exchange news and indulge in the sweet and heady drink to which they have become addicted, Rosamund feels blessed. But disaster strikes, and Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she has worked so hard to achieve. Forced to make a choice, she can either walk away from all she has grown to love with her soul intact or make a deal with the devil. Set against the backdrop of Restoration London, the plague and the Great Fire, this is a tale of cruelty, revenge, redemption, love and hope, and the sweet, sinister temptation of chocolate."--FantasticFiction.com.
Call Number: FIC Bro
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Tracy Borman
Description: "At the end of The King's Witch, the first book in Tracy Borman's Stuart-era trilogy, Frances Gorges was pregnant with the child of her dead lover, Thomas Wintour, executed for his role as a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Now, in The Devil's Slave, Frances is compelled to return to the dissolute and dangerous court where she has been suspected of witchcraft. Catholics have gone underground in the Puritan regime of James I, and yet whispers of conspiracies continue to echo behind closed doors. Against this perilous backdrop, accompanied by her son George and her husband Sir Thomas Tyringham-whom she married conveniently to mask the true identity of her son's father-Frances reunites with her former mistress, Princess Elizabeth, now of marriageable age, as well as other less friendly members of the court: Prince Henry, the heir to the crown who emulates his father's brutality without scruple; Lord Cecil, eager to persecute Frances as a witch even as his own health rapidly declines; and King James himself, ever more paranoid and cruel towards alleged heretics and traitors. Yet a surprising ally emerges in the person of Sir Walter Raleigh, himself a prisoner in the Tower of London. With more lives than merely her own on the line, Frances finds herself caught in a spider's web of secrets, promises, and plots."-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Bor
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Caroline Lea
Description: After her father dies abruptly and her Mamma becomes ill, Rósa marries herself off to a visiting trader in exchange for a dowry, despite rumors of mysterious circumstances surrounding his first wife's death. Rósa follows her new husband, Jón, across the perilous Nordic countryside to his remote home near the sea. There Jón works the field during the day, expecting Rósa to maintain their house in his absence with the deference of a good Christian wife. What Rósa did not anticipate was the fierce loneliness she would feel in her new home, where Jón forbids her from interacting with the locals in the nearby settlement and barely speaks to her himself. Seclusion from the outside world isn't the only troubling aspect of her new life--Rósa is also forbidden from going into Jón's attic. When Rósa begins to hear strange noises from upstairs, and her fears mount when the local villagers reignite the rumors about the death of Jón's first wife. Rósa's isolation begins to play tricks on her mind: What--or who--is in the attic? What happened to Anna? Was she mad, a witch, or just a victim of Jón's ruthless nature?
Call Number: FIC Lea
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Gill Paul
Description: "1918: Pretty, vivacious Grand Duchess Maria Romanov, the nineteen-year-old daughter of the fallen Tsar Nicholas II, lives with her family in suffocating isolation, a far cry from their once-glittering royal household. Her days are a combination of endless boredom and paralyzing fear; her only respite are clandestine flirtations with a few of the guards imprisoning the family--never realizing her innocent actions could mean the difference between life and death. 1973: When Val Doyle hears her father’s end-of-life confession, "I didn’t want to kill her," she’s stunned. So, she begins a search for the truth--about his words and her past. The clues she discovers are baffling--a jewel-encrusted box that won’t open and a camera with its film intact. What she finds out pulls Val into one of the world’s greatest mysteries--what truly happened to the Grand Duchess Maria?" -- Back cover.
Call Number: FIC Pau
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Lauren Kate
Description: 1736. Violetta has a secret: When she climbs out of her window at The Hospital of the Incurables, the revered music school and orphanage that has always been her home, she can look out over the city and dream. But when she stumbles upon Mino, a violinist from the boy's hall who also seeks solace in the skyline, she feels a surprising connection. The two begin a passionate duet that will transform their lives. Yet, as Mino becomes determined to find his lost mother, and Violetta's desire to sing in the ospedale's famous coro make clear she can never leave its walls, they find their love torn in two. Known as the city of masks, Venice is the perfect place to hide one's heart, but as Violetta becomes a legendary soprano with a secret nighttime life, and Mino seeks the truth among the city's canals, their fates prove inextricably linked. A haunting memory Violetta has kept hidden since childhood soon leads them both to a shocking confrontation. Vibrant with the glamour and beauty of Venice at its zenith, The Orphan's Song takes us on a breathtaking journey of passion, heartbreak, and betrayal before it crescendos to an unforgettable ending, a celebration of the enduring nature and transformative power of love.
Call Number: FIC Kat
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Lara Prescott
Description: At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak's magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world--using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally's tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.
Call Number: FIC Pre
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Monique T. D. Truong
Description: A Greek woman tells of how she willed herself out of her father's cloistered house, married an Irish officer in the British Army, and came to Ireland with her two-year-old son in 1852, only to be forced to leave without him soon after. An African American woman, born into slavery on a Kentucky plantation, makes her way to Cincinnati after the Civil War to work as a boarding house cook, where in 1872 she meets and marries an up-and-coming newspaper reporter. In Matsue, Japan, in 1891, a former samurai's daughter is introduced to a newly arrived English teacher, and becomes the mother of his four children and his unsung literary collaborator. These three women tell the story of their time with Lafcadio Hearn, a globetrotting writer best known for his books about Meiji-era Japan. Their accounts witness Hearn's remarkable life but also seek to witness their own existence and luminous will to live unbounded by gender, race, and the mores of their time.
Call Number: FIC Tru
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Amanda Skenandore
Description: ""The dead can't hurt you--only the living can." Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies--and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer's shortcomings. Tall and serious, Effie keeps her distance from the other girls in her boarding house, holding tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work. But despite her reticence, two encounters--with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline--introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirées and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place."--Front flap.
Call Number: FIC Ske
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Mary Doria Russell
Description: "In July 1913, twenty-five-year-old Annie Clements had seen enough of the world to know that it was unfair. She's spent her whole life in the coal-mining town of Calumet, Michigan where men risk their lives for meager salaries--and had barely enough to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. The women labor in the houses of the elite, and send their husbands and sons deep underground each day, dreading the fateful call of the company man telling them their loved ones aren't coming home. When Annie decides to stand up for herself, and the entire town of Calumet, nearly everyone believes she may have taken on more than she is prepared to handle"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Rus
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Philippa Gregory
Description: Midsummer's Eve, 1648, England is in the grip of civil war between renegade King and rebellious Parliament. The struggle reaches to every corner of the kingdom, even the remote Tidelands -- the marshy landscape of the south coast. Alinor a descendant of wise women, crushed by poverty and superstition, waits in the graveyard under the full moon for a ghost who will declare her free from her abusive husband. Instead, she meets James, a young man on the run and shows him the secret ways across the treacherous marsh, not knowing that she is leading disaster into the heart of her life. Suspected of posessing dark secrets in a suspicious country, Alinor's ambition and determination marks her out from her neighbours. But this is the time of witch-mania, when it is dangerous for a woman to be different....
Call Number: FIC Gre
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Sara Donati
Description: "Dr. Sophie Savard, daughter of free people of color returns home to the achingly familiar rhythms of Manhattan in the early spring of 1884 to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of Dr. Anna Savard, her dearest friend, cousin, and fellow physician she plans to continue her work aiding the disadvantaged women society would rather forget. As Sophie sets out to construct a new life for herself, Anna's husband, Detective Sergeant Jack Mezzanotte calls on them both to consult on two new cases: the wife of a prominent banker has disappeared into thin air, and the corpse of a young woman is found with baffling wounds that suggest a killer is on the loose. In New York it seems that the advancement of women has brought out the worst in some men. Unable to ignore the plight of New York's less fortunate, these intrepid cousins draw on all resources to protect their patients"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Don
Format: Book
Date Added: Sep 30, 2019
Subscribe to New Best Fun List: Time Was... New Historical Fiction
A House Divided
Jonathan F. Putnam
FIC Put
The Glass Woman : Novel
Caroline Lea
FIC Lea
A Single Thread
Tracy Chevalier
FIC Che
The Lost Daughter
Gill Paul
FIC Pau
All The Forgivenesses
Elizabeth Hardinger
FIC Har
The Orphan's Song
Lauren Kate
FIC Kat
Deep River : A Novel
Karl Marlantes
FIC Mar
The Secrets We Kept
Lara Prescott
FIC Pre
Dominicana
Angie Cruz
FIC Cru
The Sweetest Fruits
Monique T. D. Truong
FIC Tru
In The Full Light Of The Sun
Clare Clark
FIC Cla
The Undertaker's Assistant
Amanda Skenandore
FIC Ske
Milady
Laura L. Sullivan
FIC Sul
The Women Of The Copper Country : A Novel
Mary Doria Russell
FIC Rus
Out Of Darkness, Shining Light : (Being A Faithful Account Of The Final Years And Earthly Days Of Doctor David Livingstone And His Last Journey From The Interior To The Coast Of Africa, As Narrated By His African Companions, In Three Volumes) : A Novel
Petina Gappah
FIC Gap
Tidelands
Philippa Gregory
FIC Gre
The Chocolate Maker's Wife
Karen Brooks
FIC Bro
Where The Light Enters
Sara Donati
FIC Don
The Devil's Slave
Tracy Borman
FIC Bor