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 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.
If you are a fan of WWII fiction, then you know that in the last few years there has been a boom of great historical novels from the time period that feature unique aspects of the war. The Paris Library is another novel about WWII France from a unique perspective. It follows Odile Souchet, who secures a position at the circulation desk of the American Library in Paris just as the war breaks out. Through her, we see how the war affected citizens of Paris and those who stayed through the Nazi occupation of France.
Inspired by the Dust Bowl and migrants who left the plains for California, The Four Winds is another sweeping historical by Hannah. If you don’t know, there is some long debated controversy surrounding John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath (which Hannah’s The Four Winds echoes). At the time, another writer, a woman named Sanora Babb was researching and writing her own novel about the Dust Bowl and Depression.
In a way, the already hugely popular The Four Winds gives Babb some justice. Hannah speaks often of using Babb’s research in her own writing.
In The Book of Lost Friends, Lisa Wingate conquers another fascinating, yet obscure, piece of American history. This is another dual-timeline novel by Wingate. It follows Hannie, a freed slave, as she travels through post-war Texas in search of her people and attempts to return home to Louisiana, and Benny, a modern-day teacher, struggling to inspire her students until she unearths a history that links them to Hannie and much more.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of the most popular books of recent years. It tells the true story of Lale Sokolov, who became the tattooist of Auschwitz during his many years at the concentration camp, tattooing numbers on incoming prisoners. One day, Lale tattoos the arm of a beautiful girl and, despite the circumstances, it is love at first sight. The book chronicles the love affair of Lale and Gita, their time at Auschwitz, and their struggle for survival.
The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline is based on true historical events, namely the passage and establishment of English convicts to the island that would later become Australia. The book follows two female convicts as they cross the ocean and eventually land in Australia and one aboriginal child as she is “adopted” by an English family on the island.