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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Emily Neuberger
Description: "Under the bright lights of Broadway, one new musical pushes the boundaries of love, legacy, and art. Growing up in rural Wisconsin, Eleanor O'Hanlon always felt different. In love with musical theater from a young age, she memorized every show album she could get her hands on. So when she discovers an open call for one of her favorite productions, she leaves behind everything she knows to run off to New York City and audition. Raw and untrained, she catches the eye of famed composer Don Mannheim, who catapults her into the leading role of his new work, "A Tender Thing," a provocative love story between a white woman and black man, one never before seen on a Broadway stage. As news of the production spreads, an outpouring of protest whips into a fury. Between the intensity of rehearsals, her growing friendship with her co-star Charles, and her increasingly muddled creative--and personal--relationship with Don, Eleanor is forced to confront her own naïve beliefs about the world. And when explosive secrets threaten to shatter the delicate balance of the company, and the possibility of the show itself, she must face a new reality and ultimately decide what it is she truly wants."--Cover flap.
Call Number: FIC Neu
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Sebastian Barry
Description: "Winona Cole, an orphaned child of the Lakota Indians, finds herself growing up in an unconventional household on a farm in West Tennessee. Raised by her adoptive father John Cole and his brother-in-arms Thomas McNulty, this odd little family scrapes a living on Lige Magan's farm with the help of two freed slaves, the Bougereau siblings. They try to keep the brutal outside world at bay, along with their memories of the past. But Tennessee is a state still riven by the bitter legacy of the civil war and when first Winona and then Tennyson Bouguereau are violently attacked by forces unknown, Colonel Purton raises the Militia to quell the rebels and night-riders who are massing on the outskirts of town. Armed with a knife, Tennyson's borrowed gun and the courage of her famous warrior mother Winona decides to take matters into her own hands and embarks on a quest for justice which will uncover the dark secrets of her past and finally reveal to her who she really is" --Publisher's description.
Call Number: FIC Bar
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Lauren Francis-Sharma
Description: "In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rendón quietly but purposefully rebels against the life others expect her to lead. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house, for it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she, alone, views as her birthright. But when her homeland changes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners--Rosa's family among them--will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom. By 1830, Rosa is living among the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Montana, with her children and her husband, Edward Rose, a Crow chief. Her son Victor is of the age where he must seek his vision and become a man. But his path forward is blocked by secrets Rosa has kept from him. So Rosa must take him to where his story began and, in turn, retrace her own roots, acknowledging along the way the painful events that forced her from the middle of an ocean to the rugged terrain of a far-away land" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Fra
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Afia Atakora
Description: "Conjure Women brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom. Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love" --Publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ata
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Jennifer Steil
Description: "As a young girl growing up in Vienna in the 1930s, Orly has an idyllic childhood filled with music. Her father plays the viola in the Philharmonic, her mother is a well-regarded opera singer, her beloved and charismatic older brother holds the neighborhood in his thrall, and most of her eccentric and wonderful extended family live within the city limits. Only vaguely aware of Hitler's rise or how definitive her Jewish heritage will become to her family's identity, Orly spends her days immersed in play with her best friend and upstairs neighbor, Analiese. Together they dream up vivid and elaborate worlds, where all of the things they love about their own lives can exist forever. But in 1938, Orly's peaceful life is shattered. Her older brother flees Vienna first, and soon Orly, her father, and her mother procure refugee visas for La Paz, a city high up in the Bolivian Andes. La Paz couldn't be more different from Vienna--the altitude alone sabotages her mother's efforts to bake the pastries they loved back home. Even as the number of Jewish refugees in the small town grows, her family is haunted by the music that can no longer be their livelihood, by the missing brother who was once the heart of their family, and Orly yearns for the solace of her friendship with Analiese. Yet they find a daily rhythm in this strange, new land. Years pass, the war ends, and suddenly the threat they fled looms again. Just as Bolivia took in Jewish refugees, the country now accepts a small number of Nazi refugees. Orly reckons with a darkness that not even victory at war can extinguish, and she must decide: Is the security and joy of her day to day life in La Paz what defines home, or is the pull of her past in Europe too strong to ignore?" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ste
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
C Pam Zhang
Description: Ba dies in the night; Ma is already gone. Newly orphaned children of immigrants, Lucy and Sam are suddenly alone in a land that refutes their existence. Fleeing the threats of their western mining town, they set off to bury their father in the only way that will set them free from their past. Along the way, they encounter giant buffalo bones, tiger paw prints, and the specters of a ravaged landscape as well as family secrets, sibling rivalry, and glimpses of a different kind of future."-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Zha
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Gill Hornby
Description: "Whoever looked at an elderly lady and saw the young heroine she once was? England, 1840. For the two decades following the death of her beloved sister, Jane, Cassandra Austen has lived alone, spending her days visiting friends and relations and quietly, purposefully working to preserve her sister's reputation. Now in her sixties and increasingly frail, Cassandra goes to stay with the Fowles of Kintbury, family of her long-dead fiancé, in search of a trove of Jane's letters. Dodging her hostess and a meddlesome housemaid, Cassandra eventually hunts down the letters and confronts the secrets they hold, secrets not only about Jane but about Cassandra herself. Will Cassandra bare the most private details of her life to the world, or commit her sister's legacy to the flames? Moving back and forth between the vicarage and Cassandra's vibrant memories of her years with Jane, interwoven with Jane's brilliantly reimagined lost letters, Miss Austen is the untold story of the most important person in Jane's life. With extraordinary empathy, emotional complexity, and wit, Gill Hornby finally gives Cassandra her due, bringing to life a woman as captivating as any Austen heroine"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Hor
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Alice Miller
Description: "On the eve of World War I, Georgie Hyde-Lees-on her own for the first time-is introduced to the acclaimed poet W. B. Yeats at a soirée in London. Although Yeats is famously eccentric and many years her senior, Georgie is drawn to him, and when he extends a cryptic invitation to a secret society, her life is forever changed. A shadow falls over London as zeppelins stalk overhead and bombs bloom against the skyline. Amidst the chaos, Georgie finds purpose tending to injured soldiers in a makeshift hospital, befriending the wounded and heartbroken Lieutenant Pike, who might need more from her than she is able to give. At night with Yeats, she escapes these realities into an even darker world, becoming immersed in The Order, a clandestine society where ritual, magic, and the conjuring of spirits is practiced and pursued. As forces-both of this world and the next-pull Yeats and Georgie closer together and then apart again, Georgie uncovers a secret that threatens to undo it all. I"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Mil
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Rishi Reddi
Description: "A sweeping, vibrant first novel following a family of Indian sharecroppers at the onset of World War I, revealing an unknown part of California history"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Red
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Paulette Jiles
Description: "In March 1865, the long and bitter War between the States is winding down. Till now, twenty-three-year-old Simon Boudlin has evaded military duty thanks to his slight stature, youthful appearance, and utter lack of compunction about bending the truth. But following a barroom brawl in Victoria, Texas, Simon finds himself conscripted, however belatedly, into the Confederate Army. Luckily his talent with a fiddle gets him a comparatively easy position in a regimental band. Weeks later, on the eve of the Confederate surrender, Simon and his bandmates are called to play for officers and their families from both sides of the conflict. There the quick-thinking, audacious fiddler can't help but notice the lovely Doris Mary Dillon, an indentured girl from Ireland, who is governess to a Union colonel's daughter. After the surrender, Simon and Doris go their separate ways. He will travel around Texas seeking fame and fortune as a musician. She must accompany the colonel's family to finish her three years of service. But Simon cannot forget the fair Irish maiden, and vows that someday he will find her again."--Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Jil
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Katharine Schellman
Description: "London 1815. Though newly-widowed Lily Adler is returning to a society that frowns on independent women, she is determined to create a meaningful life for herself even without a husband. She's no stranger to the glittering world of London's upper crust. At a ball thrown by her oldest friend, Lady Walter, she expects the scandal, gossip, and secrets. What she doesn't expect is the dead body in Lady Walter's garden. Lily overheard the man just minutes before he was shot: young, desperate, and attempting blackmail. But she's willing to leave the matter to the local constables--until Lord Walter bribes the investigating magistrate to drop the case. Stunned and confused, Lily realizes she's the only one with the key to catching the killer. Aided by a roguish navy captain and a mysterious heiress from the West Indies, Lily sets out to discover whether her friend's husband is mixed up in blackmail and murder. The unlikely team tries to conceal their investigation behind the whirl of London's social season, but the dead man knew secrets about people with power. Secrets that they would kill to keep hidden. Now, Lily will have to uncover the truth, before she becomes the murderer's next target" -- book jacket.
Call Number: FIC Sch
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Connie Schultz
Description: "In the 1950s, Ellie and Brick are teenagers in love. A basketball star, Brick could escape his abusive father and be the first person in his working-class family to go to college. But when Ellie becomes pregnant, they marry, she gives up her dream of nursing school, and Brick gets a union card instead. This riveting novel tells the story of three generations in a working-class family; especially Brick and Ellie's daughter Samantha. Illuminating issues facing working-class, Rust Belt people, Erietown also chronicles the evolution of women's lives, and how much people know about each other and pretend not to, the grinding factory work of a smart man in a blue-collar job, and the secrets that explode lives"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Sch
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Tracey Enerson Wood
Description: "When Emily Warren Roebling marries Captain Washington 'Wash' Roebling--the handsome, charming soldier of her dreams, and her brother's dear friend and aide during the Civil War--a lifetime of family fun and happiness seems within her grasp. But then Wash accepts the position as Chief Engineer on his father's magnum opus, the Brooklyn Bridge, and it changes both of their lives forever. In Brooklyn, the happy home they'd dreamed of warps around the bridge. Incapacitated from working in the high-pressure tanks at the bridge's foundations, Wash convinces Emily to be his messenger to the site. Little by little, Emily finds herself taking over the project--with no formal training or education in math and science. Emily throws herself into building the bridge but faces suspicion and disparagement at every turn as she supervises dangerous construction sites and argues for the safety of the bridge amongst Manhattan's male elite. The Engineer's Wife delivers an emotional portrait of a woman transformed by a project of unfathomable scale, and of a husband and wife determined to build something that lasts--even at the risk of losing each other" --Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Woo
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
C. W. Gortner
Description: "Sarah Bernhardt’s highly dramatic life starts when she returns to Paris after her convent schooling and is confronted by her mother’s demand to follow in the family trade as a courtesan. To escape this fate, Sarah pursues a career onstage at the esteemed Comédie-Française, until her rebellious acting style leads to her scandalous dismissal. Only nineteen years old and unemployed, Sarah is forced to submit to her mother’s wishes. But her seductive ease as a courtesan comes to an abrupt end when she discovers she is pregnant. Unwilling to give up her child, Sarah defies social condemnation and is cast adrift, penniless and alone. With her striking beauty and innovative performances in a bohemian theater, Sarah catapults to unexpected success; suddenly, audiences clamor to see this controversial young actress. But her world is torn asunder by the brutal 1870 siege of Paris. Sarah refuses to abandon the ravaged city, nursing wounded soldiers and risking her life. Her return to the Comédie and her tempestuous affair with her leading man plunge Sarah into a fierce quest for independence. Undeterred, she risks everything to become France’s most acclaimed actress, enthralling audiences with her shocking portrayals of female and male characters. Sarah’s daring talent and outrageous London engagement pave her path to worldwide celebrity, with sold-out tours in Europe and America" --Amazon.com
Call Number: FIC Gor
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Cassandra Clark
Description: "Who would cut the throat of a young nun and throw her remains in the river? And what was she doing outside the confines of the priory in the first place? Secretly acting as a spy for Henry Bolingbroke, Chandler is torn by conflicting loyalties and agonising self-doubt. As the king's cousin marches towards Wales and England teeters on the brink of civil war, Chandler's investigations will draw him into affairs of state - and endanger not only himself but all those around him."--Publisher description.
Call Number: FIC Cla
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Ali Araghi
Description: "As a child living in his family's apple orchard, Ahmad Torkash-Vand treasures his great-great-great-great grandfather's every mesmerizing world. On the day of his father's death, Ahmad listens closely as the seemingly immortal elder tells him the tale of a centuries-old family curse . . . and the boy's own fated role in the story. Ahmad grows up to suspect that something unseen must be interfering with his family, as he struggles to hold them together through decades of famine, loss, and political turmoil in Iran. As the world transforms around him, each turn of Ahmad's life is a surprise: from street brawler to father of two impossibly gifted daughters; from radical poet to politician with a target on his back. These lives, and the many unforgettable stories alongside his, converge and catch fire at the center of the Revolution."--Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ara
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Eliot Pattison
Description: "When Duncan McCallum is asked by Benjamin Franklin to retrieve an astonishing cache of fossils from the Kentucky wilderness, his excitement as a naturalist blinds him to his treacherous path. But as murderers stalk him Duncan discovers that the fossils of this American incognitum are not nearly as mysterious as the political intrigue driving his mission. The Sons of Liberty insist, without explaining why, that the only way to keep the king from pursuing a bloody war with America is for Duncan to secretly deliver the fossils to Franklin in London. His journey becomes a nightmare of deceit and violence as he seeks the cryptic link between the bones and the king. Every layer that Duncan peels away invites new treachery by those obsessed with crushing American dissent. With each attempt on his life, Duncan questions the meaning of the liberty he and the Sons seek. His last desperate hope for survival, and the rescue of his aged native friend Conawago--imprisoned in Bedlam--requires the help of freed slaves, an aristocratic maiden, a band of street urchins, and the gods of his tribal allies"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Pat
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Alex George
Description: "One day in the City of Lights. One night in search of lost time. Paris between the wars teems with artists, writers, and musicians, a glittering crucible of genius. But amidst the dazzling creativity of the city's most famous citizens, four regular people are each searching for something they've lost. Camille was the maid of Marcel Proust, and she has a secret: when she was asked to burn her employer's notebooks, she saved one for herself. Now she is desperate to find it before her betrayal is revealed. Souren, an Armenian refugee, performs puppet shows for children that are nothing like the fairy tales they expect. Lovesick artist Guillaume is down on his luck and running from a debt he cannot repay - but when Gertrude Stein walks into his studio, he wonders if this is the day everything could change. And Jean-Paul is a journalist who tells other people's stories, because his own is too painful to tell. When the quartet's paths finally cross in an unforgettable climax, each discovers if they will find what they are looking for. Told over the course of a single day in 1927, The Paris Hours takes four ordinary people whose stories, told together, are as extraordinary as the glorious city they inhabit."--Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Geo
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Marisel Vera
Description: "It is 1898, and groups of starving Puerto Ricans, los hambrientos, roam the parched countryside and dusty towns begging for food. Under the yoke of Spanish oppression, the Caribbean island is forced to prepare to wage war with the United States. Up in the mountainous coffee region of Utuado, Vicente Vega and Valentina Sanchez labor to keep their small farm from the creditors. When the Spanish-American War and the great San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899 bring devastating upheaval, the young couple is lured, along with thousands of other puertorriquenos, to the sugar plantations of Hawaii-another US territory-where they are confronted by the hollowness of America's promises of prosperity"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ver
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Alexandra Lapierre, Jeffrey Zuckerman
Description: "Born into Russian aristocracy, wealth, and security, Moura never had any reason to worry. But in the upheaval of the Bolshevik Revolution, her entire world crumbles. As her family and friends are being persecuted by Vladimir Lenin's ruthless police, she falls into a passionate affair with British secret agent Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart. But when he's abruptly and mysteriously deported from Russia, Moura is left alone and vulnerable. Now, she must find new paths for her survival, even if it means shedding her past and taking on new identities. Some will praise her tenderness and undying loyalty. Others will denounce her lies. But all will agree on one point: Moura embodies Life. Life at all cost" --Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Lap
Format: Book
Date Added: Aug 1, 2020
Subscribe to New Best Fun List: Time Was... New Historical Fiction
A Tender Thing
Emily Neuberger
FIC Neu
The Body In The Garden
Katharine Schellman
FIC Sch
A Thousand Moons : A Novel
Sebastian Barry
FIC Bar
The Daughters Of Erietown : A Novel
Connie Schultz
FIC Sch
Book Of The Little Axe
Lauren Francis-Sharma
FIC Fra
The Engineer's Wife
Tracey Enerson Wood
FIC Woo
Conjure Women : A Novel
Afia Atakora
FIC Ata
The First Actress : A Novel Of Sarah Bernhardt
C. W. Gortner
FIC Gor
Exile Music
Jennifer Steil
FIC Ste
The Hour Of The Fox
Cassandra Clark
FIC Cla
How Much Of These Hills Is Gold
C Pam Zhang
FIC Zha
The Immortals Of Tehran : A Novel
Ali Araghi
FIC Ara
Miss Austen
Gill Hornby
FIC Hor
The King's Beast : A Mystery Of The American Revolution
Eliot Pattison
FIC Pat
More Miracle Than Bird
Alice Miller
FIC Mil
The Paris Hours
Alex George
FIC Geo
Passage West : A Novel
Rishi Reddi
FIC Red
The Taste Of Sugar : A Novel
Marisel Vera
FIC Ver
Simon The Fiddler : A Novel
Paulette Jiles
FIC Jil
The Woman Of A Thousand Names : A Novel
Alexandra Lapierre, Jeffrey Zuckerman
FIC Lap