Historical fiction is an extremely popular choice for book clubs everywhere. Rich with details from a time we missed and will never get to see, it’s easy to get lost in a new story set in a different time. Here are seven works of historical fiction (and one of nonfiction) from original points of view that give their stories life and make for books like nothing you’ve seen before.
The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff
Two Jewish women form a strong bond in a German traveling circus during World War II. Noa is a seventeen-year-old girl cast off from her family after being impregnated by a Nazi soldier. Forced to give up the baby for adoption, Noa works above a railway station until she finds a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants. On a whim, she takes a child and flees. Rescued by the circus, Noa must rely on Astrid to teach her how to become an aerialist. A stirring and emotional read not easily forgotten, The Orphan’s Tale is a story of friendship and love formed in a dangerous time.
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
Post WWII American history, the civil rights movement, Jim Crow laws and the race to space are all explored in this true story of the black women mathematicians who helped land Neil Armstrong on the moon. The “colored computers” whose calculations mapped flight patterns to gain entry into space were an essential part of history, yet they are often overlooked or forgotten. Intelligent, courageous and determined, five of the many computers at NASA were interviewed to write this book: Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Christine Darden and Gloria Champine. Be sure to read the book and watch the movie!
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The characters in my books are like real people to me. Writing about them is akin to meeting new friends and telling their stories. Some characters roll into my life, all vivid and full of color. They’re easy to recognize and might have a lot to say for themselves. Others might shuffle around in the background for a while, not really noticeable until I coax them out to get to know them better.
I immediately felt that I knew Arthur, the 69-year-old hero of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. But it was in the same way I might know a neighbor who lives a few doors away or a relative I haven’t seen for a while. He took time to trust me to tell his story. However, when he did, we had a lively, enjoyable journey together. I felt that I was holding his hand, helping him to take his first few steps, to live his life without his wife in it.
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Every avid reader knows that love can be a complicated and exhilarating roller coaster of a ride! We see it all the time in some of our favorite books. The perfect meet cute between two strangers, the promise of something more than a tryst and, at times, the devastating heartbreak and loss. To celebrate this Valentine’s Day, we’d like to take you through the many stages of love, one book at a time.
Falling in Love…
They say that the beginning of any relationship is the most fun and exciting. It’s the unexpected and thrilling joy of meeting that someone who gives you butterflies in your stomach. You can’t stop thinking of them and wanting to spend time with them, abandoning all sense of caution. In Wray Delaney’s An Almond for a Parrot, young Tully Truegood’s own love life is constrained by her strict upbringing as a courtesan and magician. Despite all of this, she can’t help but fall in love with one of her clients, beginning a passionate affair. Yet all good things eventually come to an end, and Tully ends up awaiting trial for murder. Her only chance at redemption is sending out her story to the one person who can save her.
Like to read a sneak peek? Click here!
The Power Struggle
There’s nothing easy about the courtship stage where two people are still deciding if their feelings are worth further serious pursuit. One person wants one thing while the other might argue for another. It’s a true power struggle that requires patient compromise if the couple wants to move forward. If you’re looking for a good laugh to de-stress, look no further than Sally Thorne’s The Hating Game. This hilarious story of two colleagues, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman puts the definition of competition to shame. Each is quite different in their work approach and finds the other intolerable because of it. Their passive-aggressive behavior toward each other reaches new heights when a promotion opens up. Yet somewhere between all their games, an attraction is fanned into fiery, dangerous flames. Who will be the first one to break?
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BookClubbish flew to Minnesota last weekend for the annual ABA Winter Institute conference featuring 650 booksellers from around the world. It was a whirlwind but here are our favorite moments:
We attended a Rep Speed Dating session where publishers circulated from table to table to present 7 books in 15 minutes. So excited to hear about the launch of a new literary fiction imprint, Park Row Books.
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