Historical Fiction for Your Book Club
Do you love historical fiction? Are you looking for your next historical fiction pick or trying to decide on a novel for your book club? If so, check out the historical fiction featured here on Book Club Bites. Each includes a book club guide just for you!
The Thread Collectors is a collaborative novel written by authors Shaunna Edwards and Alyson Richman. Loosely based on the authors’ family histories, the novel tells the story of two women working to support the Union effort during the Civil War. As the novel progresses, the women (a black woman in the South and a Jewish woman in the North) work to aid the Union effort through sewing and later discover how their stories are intertwined.
Once We Were Home is Jennifer Rosner’s newest novel. Her first, The Yellow Bird Sings, was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist.
Once We Were Home is beautiful, moving story about the Jewish children who were displaced during the Holocaust and never returned to family, it is a little-explored area of WWII fiction. Delving into the definition of family, identity and heritage, and ultimately themes of forgiveness and peace, there is plenty to talk about for your book club.
Code Name Edelweiss is Stephanie Landsem’s newest novel about the rise of Nazi influence in 1930s Hollywood and one man’s mission to curtail the efforts.
Based on true events, the novel follows Leon Lewis (the real man behind the fight against Hitler in Hollywood) and one of his fictionalized spies.
If you love WWII fiction, you’ll likely love this historical spy novel based on events that occurred on American soil (an unusual setting for WWII fiction!). The tie-in to old Hollywood is also fun and interesting!
Most book clubs will know Madeline Martin from The Last Bookshop in London and, with The Librarian Spy, she has delivered another WWII novel centered around book lovers. The novel follows two women – one in Nazi occupied France who works at a newspaper for the Resistance and an American librarian in war-neutral Lisbon who collects war propaganda in hopes of finding coded messages.
Embers on the Wind is Lisa Williamson Rosenberg’s latest work of fiction. Tackling the interwoven stories of many generations of black women, Rosenberg spins a tale of complex emotion, especially regarding heritage. The tone and style of the novel reminded me of Toni Morrison or Alice Walker. And Rosenberg echoed those authors in raising questions about heritage, race, identity and more. (A large portion of the novel takes place at a house once used by the Underground Railroad).
The Call of the Wrens is a dual timeline story following two women who join the Wrens (the nickname for the Women’s Royal Naval Service). The first timeline follows the first group of Wrens in WWI and the second timeline follows the second group in WWII. As their stories intersect, the reader learns about these brave groups of women who served Britain in many capacities during the world wars. Interwoven in both timelines are two unforgettable love stories, friendships between brave women, and characters who battle their own internal enemies even while serving bravely during the war.
Touted by many as a gothic mystery, Ashton Hall has gothic vibes as well as a mystery, but I didn’t feel like that was the center story. To me, it read very closely in feel and theme to The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. While that novel also features a mystery, its core was about women’s rights and independence. I felt the same can be said of Ashton Hall.
The Invincible Miss Cust is Penny Haw’s first historical women’s fiction novel, but I hope it isn’t her last. The novel follows Aleen Cust as she grows up in Britain and ultimately becomes Britain’s first woman veterinary surgeon.
Aleen Cust defied seemingly insurmountable odds from both society and her own family in order to study in the field, practice, and finally become the first licensed woman veterinary surgeon in Britain.
Has your book club been searching for a novel about Ukraine? Given the devastating current events in Ukraine, you might be wishing to read more about the country and its people. If so, The Memory Keeper of Kyiv is the perfect choice.
The Memory Keeper of Kyiv is a dual-timeline novel. It follows a young woman and her family as they deal with Stalin’s invasion and the resulting famine in the 1930s and her granddaughter as she comes to term with her own losses and seeks to reconnect with her family heritage in the early 2000s.
If you love a novel about searching for clues to the past, you’ll love The Italian Daughter, Soraya Lane’s newest novel.
When Lily receives an unexpected inheritance containing only two clues linking her to a family she’s never known, she sets out on a journey to discover the past.
Set in present day and post-WWII Italy, the novel follows Lily and her ancestor, Estee, as they navigate through difficult life choices that will both separate and eventually draw them together.
If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie, you probably know that in 1926 Mrs. Christie went missing for 11 days. When she surfaced, she claimed to have no memory of what happened during that time and to this day it remains a mystery.
That is until Marie Benedict hypothesized perhaps the most logical reason for Mrs. Christie’s disappearance in her latest novel The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. While I was skeptical that Benedict could offer a plausible story for Mrs. Christie’s disappearance after all these years, I’m happy to tell you that she does!
The Lost Apothecary is Sarah Penner’s debut novel. A dual-timeline story split between present day and late 1700s London, it is one of my favorite novels of the year. The split timeline along with plenty of tension made for a fun and fast read. Despite feeling like it was a quick read, the characters were well-developed and complex. And the plot was well-crafted and satisfying.