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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Reyna Grande
Description: The year is 1846. After the controversial annexation of Texas, the US Army marches south to provoke war with Mexico over the disputed Rio Grande boundary. Ximena Salomé Benítez y Catalán is a gifted Mexican healer who dreams of building a family with the man she loves on the coveted land she calls home. But when Texas Rangers storm her ranch and shoot her husband dead, her dreams are burned to ashes. Vowing to honor her husband's memory and defend her country, Ximena uses her healing skills as an army nurse on the frontlines of the ravaging war. Meanwhile, John Riley, an Irish immigrant in the Yankee army desperate to help his family escape the famine devastating his homeland, is sickened by the unjust war and the unspeakable atrocities against his countrymen by nativist officers. In a bold act of defiance, he swims across the Rio Grande and joins the Mexican Army -- a desertion punishable by execution. He forms the St. Patrick's Battalion, a band of Irish soldiers willing to fight to the death for Mexico's freedom. When Ximena and John meet, a dangerous attraction blooms between them. As the war intensifies, so does their passion. Swept up by forces with the power to change history, they fight not only for the fate of a nation but for their future together.
Call Number: FIC Gra
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
Description: "A groundbreaking historical novel from a heralded author that explores the seldom discussed Puerto Rican Atlantic Slave Trade. At a time when importing humans from Africa had been prohibited by the Spanish Crown, Pola and other slave women provide their master with babies who are immediately taken away and sold on the auction block. Her serial rapes by a number of men are routine and often provided entertainment for the master and his friends. Understandably she grows into an angry, distrustful and combative woman who lives life in survival mode at all times. After repeated attempts at escape and having been beaten almost to death, she is sent to a new plantation owner as payment of a gambling debt. Pola's life in the second plantation is much more bearable than her past experience. In this new hacienda, she is taken in by a supportive group of other enslaved black women. Within the confines of this enslaved community, she encounters a wide variety of people and situations that are new to her. Among the people she meets is a Chachita, a young woman who becomes a surrogate daughter to her, and Simón, a man who, amazingly, takes nothing from her and offers her a hand in friendship. Her physical and emotional wounds begin to heal as she finds more freedom of movement and emotional support than she has known since captivity. Ultimately, she begins to reconcile her brutal past with a more nurturing present in which she allows herself to trust and love again" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Lla
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Karen Joy Fowler
Description: In 1822, a secret family moves into a secret cabin some thirty miles northeast of Baltimore, to farm, to hide, and to bear ten children over the course of the next sixteen years. Junius Booth--breadwinner, celebrated Shakespearean actor, and master of the house in more ways than one--is at once a mesmerizing talent and a man of terrifying instability. One by one the children arrive, as year by year, the country draws frighteningly closer to the boiling point of secession and civil war. As the tenor of the world shifts, the Booths emerge from their hidden lives to cement their place as one of the country's leading theatrical families. But behind the curtains of the many stages they have graced, multiple scandals, family triumphs, and criminal disasters begin to take their toll, and the solemn siblings of John Wilkes Booth are left to reckon with the truth behind the destructively specious promise of an early prophecy.
Call Number: FIC Fow
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
J. H. Gelernter
Description: "December 1803: A French invasion fleet is poised to cross the Channel and storm the beaches of southern England. One of Napoleon's top advisors--disaffected by the Corsican's tyranny--contacts the British naval intelligence service in hopes of defecting to London. His escape plan calls for a rendezvous at an international chess tournament in Frankfurt; a rare opportunity for him to travel outside France. Naval intelligence sends its top man and best chess player, Captain Thomas Grey, to orchestrate the advisor's escape to England. But Grey's mission changes dramatically when the defector demands that his pro-Napoleon daughter come with him--expecting Grey to act not just as escort, but kidnapper" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Gel
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Rebecca Kauffman
Description: "The seven Shaw siblings have long been haunted by two early and profoundly consequential events. Told in turn back and forth over time, from the early twentieth century through the 1950s, each sibling relays their own version of the memories that surround both their mother's mysterious death and the circumstances leading up to and beyond one sister's scandalous teenage pregnancy. As they move into adulthood, the siblings assume various new roles: caretaker to their aging father, addict, enabler, academic, decorated veteran, widow, and mothers and fathers to the next generation. A family knot of entanglement, each sibling encounters divorce, drama, and death, while haunted by a mother who was never truly there. Through this lens, they all seek to not only understand how her death shaped their family, but also to illuminate the insoluble nature of the many familial experiences we all encounter--the concept of home, the tenacity that is a family's love, and the unexpected ways through which healing can occur" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Kau
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Carole Lawrence
Description: "New York, 1880. Elizabeth van den Broek is the only female reporter at the Herald, the city's most popular newspaper. Then she and her bohemian friend Carlotta Ackerman find a woman's body wrapped like a mummy in a freshly dug hole in Central Park--the intended site of an obelisk called Cleopatra's Needle. The macabre discovery takes Elizabeth away from the society pages to follow an investigation into New York City's darkest shadows. When more bodies turn up, each tied to Egyptian lore, Elizabeth is onto a headline-making scoop more sinister than she could have imagined. Her reporting has readers spellbound, and each new clue implicates New York's richest and most powerful citizens. And a serial killer is watching every headline. Now a madman with an indecipherable motive is coming after Elizabeth and everyone she loves. She wants a good story? She may have to die to get it" --Back cover.
Call Number: FIC Law
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Jenny Tinghui Zhang
Description: "Daiyu never wanted to be like the tragic heroine for whom she was named, revered for her beauty and cursed with heartbreak. But when she is kidnapped and smuggled across an ocean from China to America, Daiyu must relinquish the home and future she imagined for herself. Over the years that follow, she is forced to keep reinventing herself to survive. From a calligraphy school, to a San Francisco brothel, to a shop tucked into the Idaho mountains, we follow Daiyu on a desperate quest to outrun the tragedy that chases her. As anti-Chinese sentiment sweeps across the country in a wave of unimaginable violence, Daiyu must draw on each of the selves she has been--including the ones she most wants to leave behind--in order to finally claim her own name and story" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Zha
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Joyce St. Anthony
Description: Irene Ingram has written for her father's newspaper, the Progress Herald, ever since she could grasp a pencil. Now she's editor in chief, which doesn't sit well with the men in the newsroom. But proving her journalistic bona fides is the least of Irene's worries when crime reporter Moe Bauer, on the heels of a hot tip, turns up dead at the foot of his cellar stairs. An accident? That's what Police Chief Walt Turner thinks, and Irene is inclined to agree until she finds the note Moe discreetly left on her desk. He was on to a big story, he wrote. The robbery she'd assigned him to cover at Markowicz Hardware turned out to be something far more devious. A Jewish store owner in a small, provincial town, Sam Markowicz received a terrifying message from a stranger. Moe suspected that Sam is being threatened not only for who he is...but for what he knows. Tenacious Irene senses there's more to the Markowicz story, which she is all but certain led to Moe's murder. When she's not filling up column inches with the usual small-town fare--locals in uniform, victory gardens, and scrap drives--she and her best friend, scrappy secretary Peggy Reardon, search for clues. If they can find the killer, it'll be a scoop to stop the presses. But if they can't, Irene and Peggy may face an all-too-literal deadline.
Call Number: FIC St. A
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Jeanne M. Dams
Description: June, 1925. Having been widowed in the First World War, Elizabeth Fairchild lives a quiet life at the home of her wealthy parents in genteel Oak Park village, Illinois. Although she does her best to avoid emotional entanglements, determined never to be hurt again, Elizabeth forms a close friendship with gentle Mr Anthony, who owns the local antiques store. But tragedy strikes when Mr Anthony is found stabbed to death in the alley behind his shop. Why would anyone murder a mild-mannered antiques dealer who simply loved beautiful things? A robbery gone wrong? A gangland execution? Or could it have something to do with the mysterious customer who bought a gold pocket watch from Mr Anthony on the day he died? When one of her father's oldest friends is accused of the crime, Elizabeth determines to expose the real killer. But her investigations soon attract unwelcome attention. With gangsters moving into the neighbourhood from nearby Chicago, Oak Park is no longer the safe haven it once was. Could Elizabeth be seriously out of her depth?
Call Number: FIC Dam
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Andrea Yaryura Clark
Description: "New York, 1998. Santiago Larrea, a wealthy Argentine diplomat, is holding court alongside his wife, Lila, and their daughter, Paloma, a college student and budding jewelry designer, at their annual summer polo match and soiree. All seems perfect in the Larreas' world until an unexpected party guest from Santiago's university days shakes his usually unflappable demeanor. The woman's cryptic comments spark Paloma's curiosity about her father's past, of which she knows little. When the family travels to Buenos Aires for Santiago's UN ambassadorial appointment, Paloma is determined to learn more about his life in the years leading up to the military dictatorship of 1976. With the help of a local university student, Franco Bonetti, an activist member of H.I.J.O.S -- a group whose members are the children of the Desaparecidos, or the "Disappeared," men and women who were forcibly disappeared by the state during Argentina's "Dirty War" -- Paloma unleashes a chain of events that not only leads her to question her family and her identity, but also puts her life in danger. On a Night of a Thousand Stars speaks to relationships, morality, and identity during a brutal period in Argentinian history, and the understanding -- and redemption -- people crave in the face of unspeakable tragedy" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Cla
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Melissa Fu
Description: It is 1938 in China and, as a young wife, Meilin’s future is bright. But with the Japanese army approaching, Meilin and her four year old son, Renshu, are forced to flee their home. Relying on little but their wits and a beautifully illustrated hand scroll, filled with ancient fables that offer solace and wisdom, they must travel through a ravaged country, seeking refuge. Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. Though his daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down? Yet how can Lily learn who she is if she can never know her family’s story?
Call Number: FIC Fu
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Hans von Trotha, Elisabeth Lauffer
Description: "October 16, 1943, inside the Vatican as darkness descends upon Rome. Having been alerted to the Nazi plan to round up the city's Jewish population the next day, Monsignor F. dispatches an envoy to a nearby palazzo to bring Ludwig Pollak and his family to safety within the papal premises. But Pollak shows himself in no hurry to leave his home and accept the eleventh-hour offer of refuge. Pollak's visitor is obliged to take a seat and listen as he recounts his life story: how he studied archaeology in Prague, his passion for Italy and Goethe, how he became a renowned antiquities dealer and advisor to great collectors like J. P. Morgan and the Austro-Hungarian emperor after his own Jewishness barred him from an academic career, and finally his spectacular discovery of the missing arm from the majestic ancient sculpture of Laocon and his sons. Torn between hearing Pollak's spellbinding tale and the urgent mission to save the archaeologist from certain annihilation, the Vatican's anxious messenger presses him to make haste and depart. This stunning novel illuminates the chasm between civilization and barbarism by spotlighting a little-known figure devoted to knowledge and the power of artistic creation." -- Back cover.
Call Number: FIC Tro
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
David R. Gillham
Description: 1955 in New York City: the city of instant coffee, bagels at Katz's Deli, ultra-modern TVs. But in the Perlman's walk-up in Chelsea, the past is as close as the present. Rachel came to Manhattan in a wave of displaced Jews who managed to survive the horrors of war. Her Uncle Fritz fleeing with her, Rachel hoped to find freedom from her pain in New York and in the arms of her new American husband, Aaron. But this child of Berlin and daughter of an artist cannot seem to outrun her guilt in the role of American housewife, not until she can shed the ghosts of her past. And when Uncle Fritz discovers, in a dreary midtown pawn shop, the most shocking portrait that her mother had ever painted, Rachel's memories begin to terrorize her, forcing her to face the choices she made to stay alive--choices that might be her undoing.
Call Number: FIC Gil
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Erika Robuck
Description: "Set across the European theater of WWII, Sisters of Night and Fog tells the story of two women whose clandestine deeds come to a staggering halt when they are brought together at Ravensbrück concentration camp. A striking reminder of how deeply we are all connected, which forces us to ask, "Could I have done what they did?"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Rob
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
James Runcie
Description: "In 1727, Stefan Silbermann is a grief-stricken thirteen-year-old, struggling with the death of his mother and his removal to a school in distant Leipzig. Despite his father's insistence that he try not to think of his mother too much, Stefan is haunted by her absence, and, to make matters worse, he's bullied by his new classmates. But when the school's cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach, takes notice of his new pupil's beautiful singing voice and draws him from the choir to be a soloist, Stefan's life is permanently changed. Over the course of the next several months, and under Bach's careful tutelage, Stefan's musical skill progresses, and he is allowed to work as a copyist for Bach's many musical compositions. But mainly, drawn into Bach's family life and away from the cruelty in the dorms and the lonely hours of his mourning, Stefan begins to feel at home. When another tragedy strikes, this time in the Bach family, Stefan bears witness to the depths of grief, the horrors of death, the solace of religion, and the beauty that can spring from even the most profound losses"--Dust jacket flap.
Call Number: FIC Run
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Aamina Ahmad
Description: "Not since childhood has Faraz returned to the Mohalla, Lahore's infamous walled inner city, where women still pass down the profession of courtesan to their daughters. But he still remembers the day he was abducted from the home he shared with his mother and sister there, at the direction of his powerful father, who wanted to give him a chance at a respectable life. Now Wajid, once more dictating his fate from afar, has sent Faraz back to Lahore, installing him as head of the Mohalla police station and charging him with a mission: to cover up the violent death of a young kanjari. It should be a simple assignment to carry out in a marginalized community, but for the first time in his career, Faraz finds himself unable to follow orders. As the city assails him with a jumble of memories, he cannot stop asking questions or chasing down the walled city's labyrinthine alleyways for the secrets--his family's and his own--that risk shattering his precariously constructed existence" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ahm
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Ann Parker
Description: "San Francisco music store owner Inez Stannert agrees to provide financial assistance to boardinghouse proprietor Moira Krause. When the common wall of the abandoned house adjoining Moira's is breached to expand her business, the corpse of a murdered man tumbles out, along with a worn canvas bag holding a fortune in gold coins. Then the locksmith who made the house's unbreakable locks is brutally slain, and the keys vanish. Inez and private detective Wolter de Bruijn set out to uncover the truth behind the killings" -- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Par
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Sheila (Sheila J.) Williams
Description: Born in West Africa in the mid-eighteenth century, Maryam Prescilla Grace--a.k.a "Momma Grace" will live a long, wondrous life marked by hardship, oppression, opportunity, and love. Though she will be "gifted" various names, her birth name is known to her alone. Over the course of 100-plus years, she survives capture, enslavement by several property owners, the Atlantic crossing when she is only eleven years of age, and a brief stint as a pirate's ward, acting as both a spy and a translator. Maryam learns midwifery from a Caribbean-born wise woman, whose "craft" combines curated techniques and medicines from African, Indigenous, and European women. Those midwifery skills allow her to sometimes transcend the racial and class barriers of her enslavement, as she walks the razor's edge trying to balance the lives and health of her own people with the cruel economic mandates of the slave holders, who view infants born in bondage not as flesh-and-blood children but as investment property. Throughout her triumphant and tumultuous life Maryam gains and loses her homeland, her family, her culture, her husband, her lovers, and her children. Yet as the decades pass, this tenacious woman never loses her sense of self.
Call Number: FIC Wil
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Philip Gray
Description: "The Great War has ended, but for Amy Vanneck there is no peace. Her fiancé, Edward Haslam, a lieutenant in the 7th Manchesters, is missing, presumed dead. Amy travels to the desolate battlefields of northern France to learn his fate and recover his body. She's warned that this open-air morgue is no place for a civilian, much less a woman, but Amy is willing to brave the barbed wire, the putrid water, and the rat-infested tunnels that dot the landscape. Her search is upended when she discovers the scene of a gruesome mass murder. What does it signify? Soon Amy begins to have suspicions that Edward might not be dead. Disquieting and yet compulsively readable, Two Storm Wood builds to an ending that is both thrilling and emotionally riveting"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Gra
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Jenny Ashcroft
Description: "Rose Hamilton is in desperate need of a life change when she reads the want ad in the newspaper for a companion needed to escort a young orphaned child to Australia. There are so many reasons she should ignore the advertisement-- the war, those treacherous winter seas, her family, her fiance... but she can't help herself. Within weeks she is boarding an enormous convoy, already too attached to five-year-old Walter. Unfortunately, the cattle station home of Walter's family isn't anything like either of them were told to expect. Rose can't leave this little boy who she's grown to love until he is happy and settled, and she knows the key to this is Walter's wounded fighter pilot uncle. But how will she ever part with Walter? And what if he isn't the only reason she wants to stay?"-- Provided by publisher.
Call Number: FIC Ash
Format: Book
Date Added: May 13, 2022
Subscribe to New Best Fun List: Time Was... New Historical Fiction
A Ballad Of Love And Glory : A Novel
Reyna Grande
FIC Gra
Peach Blossom Spring
Melissa Fu
FIC Fu
A Woman Of Endurance
Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa
FIC Lla
Pollak's Arm
Hans von Trotha, Elisabeth Lauffer
FIC Tro
Booth : A Novel
Karen Joy Fowler
FIC Fow
Shadows Of Berlin : A Novel
David R. Gillham
FIC Gil
Captain Grey's Gambit : A Novel
J. H. Gelernter
FIC Gel
Sisters Of Night And Fog
Erika Robuck
FIC Rob
Chorus : A Novel
Rebecca Kauffman
FIC Kau
The Great Passion : A Novel
James Runcie
FIC Run
Cleopatra's Dagger
Carole Lawrence
FIC Law
The Return Of Faraz Ali
Aamina Ahmad
FIC Ahm
Four Treasures Of The Sky
Jenny Tinghui Zhang
FIC Zha
The Secret In The Wall
Ann Parker
FIC Par
Front Page Murder
Joyce St. Anthony
FIC St. A
Things Past Telling : A Novel
Sheila (Sheila J.) Williams
FIC Wil
Murder In The Park
Jeanne M. Dams
FIC Dam
Two Storm Wood : A Novel
Philip Gray
FIC Gra
On A Night Of A Thousand Stars
Andrea Yaryura Clark
FIC Cla
Under The Golden Sun : A Novel
Jenny Ashcroft
FIC Ash