5-Star Book Reviews: Historical Fiction

Dig Reading Poster WomanWe continue our series of posts featuring some of the best books in the CA Library collection — today’s featured titles are all in the Historical Fiction genre. Follow the links for each book to learn more from the CA Library catalog!

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Artifice Artifice by Sharon Cameron — Isa de Smit grew up in her parents’ art gallery in Amsterdam, but in the middle of the war she survives by selling fake paintings to the Nazis while trying to help her friend, Truus, smuggle Jewish babies to safety — but in 1943 it is hard to know who to trust. “Painterly prose filled with rich intrigue depicts constantly shifting issues of trust in this complex, absorbing tale, based on historical figures” (Publishers Weekly). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

The blood years The Blood Years by Elana K. Arnold — Based on the author’s grandmother’s true experiences during the Holocaust in Romania, this harrowing story follows Rieke Teitler as she must decide whether holding on to her life might mean letting go of everything that has ever mattered to her. “Perfectly curated setting details make Rieke’s emotional journey rich, accessible, and immediate. An excellent choice for readers of Monica Hesse and Ruta Sepetys” (Booklist). Get the eBook

Courage to dream : tales of hope in the Holocaust Courage To Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust by Neil Shusterman and Andrés Vera Martínez — Taking readers into the darkest time of human history — the Holocaust — this graphic novel, woven from Jewish folklore and cultural history, shows what it means to face the extinction of everything and everyone you hold dear while exploring one common thread: the tradition of resistance and uplift. “Moving examples of the power of culture and folklore to offer help, hope, and inspiration to act” (Kirkus Reviews).

The Davenports The Davenports by Krystal Marquis — The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in 1910 Chicago, and the two daughters, Olivia and Helen, are finding their way and finding love — even where they are not supposed to. “This deftly written series opener examines the lives of Black elites following Reconstruction with a focus on the constraints of women. The strong characterization, developed through alternating third-person perspectives, and descriptive setting lure readers in” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Foul heart huntsman Foul Heart Huntsman (Foul Lady Fortune, Book 2) by Chloe Gong — In 1932 Shanghai, exposed national spy Rosalind Lang must rescue fellow spy, Orion, whose memories of Rosalind were wiped, and find a cure to a dangerous chemical weapon before it hands in the hand of foreign invaders. “Heavy on a classical interpretation of science fiction as well as clearly explained history that is rarely highlighted in Western media, this is a first pick for any library searching for a refreshing take on either genre” (School Library Journal).

Immortality : a love story Immortality: A Love Story (Anatomy Duology, Book 2) by Dana Schwartz — When Hazel becomes the personal physician to Princess Charlotte, the sickly granddaughter of King George III, she is dragged into the glamor and romance of the British court, but she soon realizes malicious forces are at work in the monarchy, and she may be the only one capable of setting things right. “Schwartz continues to seamlessly blend fiction with historical events, creating a richly detailed and engaging look at life in Regency London” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

One last shot : the story of wartime photographer Gerda Taro One Last Shot: The Story of Wartime Photographer Gerda Taro by Kip Wilson — From critically acclaimed author Kip Wilson comes this gripping coming of age historical fiction novel in verse about Gerda Taro, a vibrant, headstrong photojournalist with a passion for capturing the truth amid political turmoil and the first woman photojournalist killed in combat. “Wilson’s poems read so smoothly, and her subject is so compelling, that readers may be tempted to race through, but slowing down or reading aloud illuminates the full depth and poignancy that’s on display” (Booklist). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

Pride and prejudice and Pittsburgh Pride and Prejudice and Pittsburgh by Rachael Lippincott — When disheartened Pittsburgh teen Audrey transports back to 1812 England, she expects to find love as a Regency romance heroine, but surprisingly sparks fly when she meets Lucy Sinclair. “A delicious will-they, won’t-they romance across time and space” (Kirkus Reviews). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

The prince & the coyote The Prince & The Coyote by David Bowles — A heart-pounding historical epic that is Gladiator meets the Song of AchillesThe Count of Monte Cristo set in pre-Columbian Mexico. Illustrated throughout, this historical novel brings to life one of Mexico’s most treasured heroes – Nezahualcoyotl – in a story that will thrill readers far and wide. “Bowles’s immersive prose makes this a mature novel that never shies away from the ferocious realities of war and death” (Publishers Weekly). Get the Audiobook

Stateless Stateless by Elizabeth Wein — Chosen to represent Britain in Europe’s first air race for young people in 1937, Stella North is the only participating female pilot, and, while constantly having to prove herself as a worthy competitor, experiences turbulence when someone resorts to sabotage to get ahead of the game. “Wein’s thorough research and attention to detail make pre-World War II era Europe come alive for readers” (School Library Journal).

What the river knows : a novel What The River Knows by Isabel Ibañez — Set in 1884, nineteen-year-old Inez travels to Egypt after the sudden death of her parents to uncover the truth about their deaths, and as she attempts to unravel the mysteries her parents sought, she becomes a pawn in a larger game that threatens to kill her. “With an adventurous treasure hunt, a perilous mystery, and a character-driven romance set in a unique historical moment, this is Ibañez’s best work yet” (School Library Journal). Get the eBook | Get the Audiobook

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